Once Upon A Time…..and now

EXPRESSIONISM is a radical distortion of perspective to demonstrate the emotional effect of the world on the Painter, and thereby evoke mood and ideas in the Viewer. Expressionists are not looking for, or at, absolute reality. But the heart of the Expressionist Painter may assimilate life in unorthodox form and explosive color.

Which, it seems to me, is right up the alley of any kid.

Bed In Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Children turn into grown ups.

Georgia O’Keeffe, oil portrait by Sparhawk

When Georgia O’Keeffe grew up she ran into New Mexico’s thunderstorms to catch electricity.
   Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.
SPARHAWK is a trailblazing 1-woman 1-cottage cottage industry inspiring the world through audacity. If I were dropped in the middle of a meadow in my petticoats I would still make my way in the world.  QEI  & The Hawk


EXPRESSIONISM in all arts became a movement at the turn of the 20th Century. But its practitioners before and after included the likes of: EL GRECO, NIETZSCHE, VAN GOGH, DE KOONING, KAHLIL GIBRAN, MUNCH, ROUALT, KANDINSKY, KLEE, and SPARHAWK.

About children’s books…..I am continuing to complete a half dozen children’s books, all variously illustrated with my paintings and drawings, and my original writing. Dedicated to the unusual & possibly strange which are the bedfellows of the young.


This Wooly Mammoth is Nobody's Fool

LOOTIE is a wooly mammoth in love with a circus juggler. This is Lootie, after the first date, heading back early morning to the big tent with a rose bouquet and strawberry frappe for her fellow, Sweetie Reetie. She discovers the circus left town in the dark of night, and, in the well documented W.Mammoth tradition of certainty that love conquers all, sets out to find him.

The Outer Space Pup

The Amazing Adventures of Ginger Snap, (black terrier). Ginger describes, to her human and the house cat Babette, an earlier life on a threatened planet. Faced with scorning disbelief, forced to reveal her secrets, Ginger brings them to the edge of the earth. Thus begins an amazing adventure. Anything is possible.




The 2 Pillow Cat.

The 2 Pillow Cat. A small town is struck by disaster. Though all survive,  the town must be reconstructed. It becomes the mission (and a source of ingenious discovery) for a young girl to provide a safe haven for her cat, who has been unsettled by change, and is unable to nap, ever, at all,  with anything less than two pillows. Period.





Brilliant Child Conducts Interesting Life

Doctor Manxi and Her Inimitable Bear. Her history is shrouded in deep fogs, no one knows how she became a doctor at the age of five, nor how she comes to possess extraordinary wisdom. In her small farming village up north, she and her bear solve weighty problems while wandering the hills, and provide useful morals. It is Dr Manxi’s passion to learn something new every day. And find a delicious snack en route. Nothing, she has discovered, is too small to pay attention to. The inimitable bear concurs.

Dream Big

The Rich Dreams of A Poor Cat. (Artists Don’t Eat Every Day). A struggling city artist shares the ups and downs of fluctuating prosperity with her cat, who lives a rich fantasy life replete with servants and a 24 hour a day well staffed and loaded kitchen.




Recent Posts

Let Us Not Forget

My name is John Hayes, and I recently received the following sad news which I would like to post for those who have noticed Barbara’s absence from these pages:

“Alas, your fears are justified. Barbara died in early September (2018) from complications of surgery. . . She had survived radiation for tumors behind her eyes, and her sight had improved. She was in the middle of chemotherapy. Evidently, however, her cognition and balance led to a fall and immediate hip surgery for the break. She aspirated during surgery.”

I “met” Barbara online in 2012 while reading her book, The Gandy Dancer & Other Short Stories. We shared a love of art and writing, and over the next half-dozen years our email correspondence would grow to ¾’s of a million words.

From the beginning it was obvious that Barbara was special. Her observations and insights, her paintings and drawings, her bohemian life as an artist – in so many ways Barbara defied the norm and approached greatness.

In 2013 I described Barbara’s life in a blog as:

  • A life lived on the edge where the risks are greater but the rewards are priceless
  • A life spent saying ‘no’ to compromise and ‘yes’ to distant horizons
  • A life bristling with the ‘courage to be’ and practiced in the art of joyful engagement

If ever there were a biography as yet unwritten I would love to read,” I noted in that same blog, “it would be Barbara’s.” And toward that end I urged her many times to sketch her life in words, as well as to let me photograph and document her canvases. An artist of her caliber should not be forgotten.

“The only impulse I’ve had is to try and organize and solidify my papers and work, to make it easier on historians to keep alive, and still have some control over what gets selected out. Whoosh. I want some legacy, I think about it.” 

– Barbara Sparhawk

And yet, two months after Barbara died her body still lay unclaimed in a morgue in Carmel, California. I do not know if the situation has since been resolved.

If anyone has more information or thoughts they would like to share, please do.


“So we shall have at it and write for the sake of, and see where it leadeth and be happy and full in our souls from the splendours of the language, shall we not.”

– Barbara Sparhawk


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