Posts Tagged ‘Principle Gallery’


Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.

Alan Watts


I wasn’t planning on showing this newer painting for a while. But I came across this lovely piece of music and this painting seemed to pair perfectly with it, at least to my eyes and ears.

The painting is an 18″ by 36′ canvas that I call Starmap and is part of my annual show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria which opens June 1.

I have been working on a series of paintings like this, with blocks of color making up the sky and stars as points of light showing at the intersections of these blocks. I love working on these pieces. They require an emptying of the mind with a focus solely on what is before you. There’s this interesting sense of constant problem solving that bounces from making each form correctly and balancing that form within the whole composition. I continually go back and forth from tight focus to wide focus.

I probably can’t properly explain it but for me, it is an exhilarating process as each added form and layer of color, each poke of light from the stars, subtly transforms the piece into something more than I was expecting. It feels more complete and full than the first thoughts and brushstrokes that initiated the painting, leaving me with a giddy kind of satisfaction. I know that this has been the case thus far with each of the paintings in this series.

Now for this Sunday morning music, I thought this wonderful piece, Nocturne, from young Hungarian guitarist Zsófia Boros paired up beautifully with the feeling that this piece creates for myself. I’ve listened to it several times this morning and it just seems right.

Give a listen and have a great Sunday.



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“The whole value of solitude depends upon oneself; it may be a sanctuary or a prison, a haven of repose or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell, as we ourselves make it.” 

― John LubbockPeace and Happiness


I had never heard of John Lubbock before coming across the short quote above. He was one of those interesting 19th century British characters,  a titled member of a wealthy banking family who made great contributions to liberal causes and to the advancement of the sciences and math. For example, it was John Lubbock who coined the terms Paleolithic and Neolithic in describing the Old and New Stone Ages, as well as helping to make archaeology a recognized scientific discipline. He was obviously a man who used his position and access to higher knowledge to add to both his own intellect and that of our our collective body.

That being said, his words this morning gave me pause. I have generally viewed solitude as a sanctuary, even in the troubled times of my life. It was a place to calm myself, to gather my thoughts and clearly examine what was before me.

I never really gave much thought to the idea that for some this same solitude could seem like a hell or a prison. What differentiates one’s perception of such a basic thing as the solitude in being alone? How could my place of sanctuary be someone else’s chamber of horrors?

If you’re expecting me to answer, you’re going to be disappointed because I can’t really say.  I would say it might have to do with insecurity but I have as much, if not more, uncertainty and insecurity than most people. We all have unique psychological makeups and every situation, including that of solitude, is seen from a unique perspective.

This is also the basis for all art. What else could explain how one person can look at a painting and see an idyllic scene while another can feel uneasy or even offended by the same scene?

Now, the painting at the top, a new piece titled A Place of Sanctuary intended for my June show at the Principle Gallery, is a piece that very much reflects this sense of finding haven in solitude. For me, it is calming and centering, a place and time that appeals to my need for sanctuary.

Someone else might see it otherwise. They might see something remote, alien and unsettling in it.

I may not understand it but that’s okay, too. So long as they feel something…

I had never heard of John Lubbock before coming across this short quote. He was e


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I am kind of at ease this morning. It’s nice to not have any big obligations directly ahead of me after finishing yesterday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. It lets me unwind from the anxiety that those kind of events create, the kind that is always there even though I try to appear at ease when speaking in front of groups of people. Fortunately, the folks who come to my talks are really good people who make it as easy as possible.

I want to thank everyone who came out on such a gorgeous day with so many other things going on to spend a little time with me at the talk. It was wonderful speaking with so many friends that I only get to see once in a great while and to meet so many new people. It was a good day all the way around and I hope everyone there felt that the time was spent well. I’ve said this before but their willingness to open themselves to me makes it easy to open myself up to them.

And that is a gift to me.

Speaking of gifts, of course, the highlight of the talk came at the end when I get to share a gift or two with them. I can’t explain how much pleasure I get out of this part of the talk. I’m sure other artists think I am crazy for giving away my work but the way I look at it is that it’s just a small pay back for all they have given me. Without their support, without their encouragement and interest through the decades, there is no telling where I would be or what I might be doing. Of if I would even be at all.

So, in my eyes I am playing with house money and just sharing a bit with my friends. Thank you so much to everyone at the talk yesterday and thanks to my good friends at the Principle Gallery– Michele, Clint, Pam, Taylor and Pierre– for allowing me to be a part of their wonderful gallery. I am so grateful–thank you.

Now for this Sunday’s musical selection I was looking at the new painting above, Back in Time, and wanted an old song. While shuffling through older music I settled on the old folk tune, House of the Rising Sun. This version from the great Odetta came late in her life and delivers to the song great weight and grace. Just a great performance.

Enjoy and have a great day.

And thank you…

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Four Front -2003

Yeah, you read that right, I’m willing to sell off some orphans.

Don’t worry, I’m not really a heartless bastard. I’m talking about a handful of my paintings that have shuffled around the country over the years and somehow found their way back to the studio. I consider these paintings my orphans.

A Time For Reflection-2002

There is a special small group of paintings that are accompanying me tomorrow when I head down to Alexandria for my Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. They are primarily older pieces that, while I like having them around here in the studio, I would like to have a home where they can get the attention that I feel they deserve from fresh and appreciative eyes that look at them on a regular basis.

A home where they can do the job they were meant to do, to fulfill their purpose

Some of these paintings in their first trips through the galleries were saddled by framing that didn’t suit the work. Tow had thick, heavy frames and extra wide mats that created a distraction from the actual work and overwhelmed the images.

A couple are favorites of mine that just never caught the right person’s eye.

And a couple have been with me for so long that I can’t figure out why they’re still here. For instance, the painting at the top of this page, Four Front from back in 2003, falls into this category.

These paintings are only going to be there for my time in the gallery on Saturday and are specially priced. If they don’t find a new home, they come back to the orphanage–er, studio.

Look at these little guys and tell me that they don’t deserve a home to call their own.

You Can Win This Painting!

So, try to get into the Principle Gallery tomorrow, Saturday, September 16. The orphans will be on display along with new work from the studio. The Gallery Talk begins at 1 PM and concludes with a free drawing for those in attendance for the painting shown here, The Warmth of Breath. Plus, there are a few more surprises that I don’t want to divulge here.

I am anticipating a good time with good questions and a lively conversation so I am hoping you can take part tomorrow. I suggest getting there early for a good seat. Plus, you can take a look at my orphans. Look forward to seeing you there!

In the Window: The Vigil 2005

In the Eye of Grace- 2006

No Mail- 2010

Call to Waking- 2011

The Journey- 2006

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“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” 

― Thich Nhat HanhThe Miracle of Mindfulness


This gets harder and harder all the time.

I can’t describe the knot I get in my gut when trying to pick a painting that is given away at the end of my Gallery Talks. I really agonize over this choice, wanting to make sure that the selection is truly substantial, really representing my work and having enough meaning for myself that it hurts a bit to give it away. This choice hit all those points dead on for me.

The painting for this Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery is The Warmth of Breath, coming in at 16″ by 20″ on canvas.

I am not sure my photography on this painting does it justice, especially in capturing the depth of color. I consider this a very representative piece for my body of work. It is simply constructed with deep colors and texture as the  signature Red Tree casts itself across the face of the Sun/Moon. It’s a painting that seems to draw my attention, the warmth of it always making me stop to consider it if only for a short moment. The title refers to the thought of being self aware, of recognizing the breath of life that flows through you and bonds you with all living things.

There is, for me, a real meditative feel in this painting, one that calms me greatly. I am hoping that it does the same for someone else after this Saturday.

So, to recap, this Saturday, September 16, I will be giving a Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. The talk starts at 1 PM and if you are in attendance you will have a chance to win this painting. Plus, there are a few twists I have planned that I can’t disclose here but I think will please those at the talk.

It could involve card tricks, juggling, mind reading, interpretative dance, yodeling or a combination of all of these things.

Or not.

You will have to come to the Principle Gallery on Saturday to discover what I mean.

Hope to see you there.

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“As he was about to climb yet another dune, his heart whispered, “Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.” 

― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist


This is another new painting, 4″ by 18″ on paper, that is part of the new group of paintings that will be coming with me to the Principle Gallery on Saturday, where I will giving my annual Gallery Talk beginning at 1 PM.

I call this piece All the Treasure of the World. It’s a continuation of the theme that I featured here a few weeks back in an entry about Acres of Diamonds, the story of an African farmer who sold his land to seek wealth far and wide without realizing that the actual treasure was in his original land.

The difference here is that the definition of treasure is altered from wealth in the form of diamonds and gems to the real treasure that is contained in personal contentment and a deep emotional bond with one’s life and the surrounding world.

Instead of mining for diamonds and gold, one sees the wealth found in being able to watch a cloud lazily meander across the sky.

In the beauty of a field filled with flowers or the gentle curve of a path that takes you home.

In the tears that come with memories of joy or sadness. The tears that come from the recognition of one’s own humanity.

Maybe that’s a lot to ask for in a simple painting but I see these things in this piece. And I feel better for it, understanding in a way where the real treasure lies.



at the





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The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.

Wendell Berry


I finished this 40″ by 16″ canvas just the other day, readying it to take with me to the Principle Gallery for my Gallery Talk on Saturday. It was one of those times where the painting itself felt good and invigorating, to the point that I wished there was more to do when I was done with the painting.

Everything came easily and every stroke seemed to add something evident and valuable to the piece. There was no struggle to try to determine what path to follow- it all was there waiting for me to simply take action.

That’s a rare and wonderful moment, at least in my experience.

That ease of process normally shows in the final product. It doesn’t seem worked over and has a freshness in its color and line rhythms. I think that holds for this painting, at least to my eyes which I admit may be somewhat biased.

The meaning that I have attached to this painting adds to to my pleasure in it. A lot of what I see can be gleaned from the words at the top from poet Wendell Berry. I see this as about how one rises above their environment, their past, their failures, their shortcomings and the examples set by those around them.


Trying to be better at whatever they choose, be it their jobs or relationships or their knowledge of the world around them.

Just being a better person, allowing yourself to rise to new heights where you can see beyond the encroachment of the past and the obstacles of the present.

I call this painting Above and Beyond.

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