Good Samaritans

       Oh America.  I’ve never in my life hated the mix of people here.

Here’s an odd and funny 9-11-2013 experience I had. . .

I think I mentioned that the Miata’s front bumper had popped loose and was kind of dangling, and I went into the shop down the block and asked them to look and the mechanic, one of two brothers who run the place, fixed it with a twistie baggie tie.  It’s held good as new for months! I was delighted, they wouldn’t take a cent.  I have to get the Miata smogged this month and was thinking well I’ll go back in there for it and give them some proper business.

Barbara’s Miata

[after being vandalized w/ a rock]

Over the past couple of days they’ve had a cyclone fence with signs erected around their gas station. They only do mechanic work and they never sold gas.  However, the gas tanks are being dug out of the ground. I suspect there’s some idiot California law that you can’t have an empty tank or hazard hysteria something. 

Well I saw them out this morning when I drove by, putting up tiny signs every couple of feet that declared, OPEN!! and you could hardly read them. I drove in and said, Hey…you need a sign! Give me a couple of hours. So I went to the gallery and made them one, painted a big piece of wood I had white, and blue letters, OPEN FOR BUSINESS, then AUTO. REPAIR. SMOG. and painted a nice picture of a pick-up truck on the bottom. I’d been working all morning on the blog and swept up in 9-11 reports and feelings. I brought the sign over to them. They loved it, they were so pleased and excited, I found the brother who fixed my bumper and put out my hand and shook his and said, Now we’re even.  It was lovely.  Happy moment.

Here’s the interesting thing, they’re a family of Sikhs. Turbans, beards and all. But flying a good-sized American flag on the wall outside their bays. Sweet guys.

Oh America.  I’ve never in my life hated the mix of people here, it was always what totally thrilled me about New York.  I’ve loved that exposure to a zillion cultures, food and smells and styles so different from my own experience.  I figure if you’ve lived any length of life or been anywhere or seen anything else you get an idea of how precious if imperfect this country is.  People hating America bothers me. I find it beyond understanding.

I’m really glad I told you about the experience I had with the Sikh garage mechanics, because Chapter Two unfolded today.

From the easel in the back of my gallery I saw one of the Sikhs walk by and halooed.  I went out, he had come to see Moses next door, who’s his friend; Moses was closed today. 

He said it’s slow, he’s been walking around the neighborhood visiting his neighbors. The Pizza guy, the restaurant guy.

I invited him in to see my work.  He thanked me again for the sign and said it was unusual for people to do things like that for each other. And that it had helped to bring him business. And could he have cards from me because people ask about the sign and really like the truck I painted on it.

I said, Well you fixed my bumper! and it was a great opportunity that I could repay you with the sign.

In fact another (professional) local sign maker did a big Open For Business sign for them too! What a neighborhood.  They’re having the old gas tanks removed from the ground, major dig, because California charges them $7,000 a year just to have them unused in the ground!!

I said, I have to get the car smogged later this month and I’ll come to your place and give you some real business.

Oh, I’ll do that now.  No charge.

Well, I looked at him: No you can’t do that.

Yes, I can.

No, it’s too much.

No, it’s not.  You brought us business.

I was almost in tears by now because this and the coming registration due in a week were weighing heavily on me.  I mean it has been slow. But I got him the paperwork and handed him the key and thanked him profusely and off he drove.

My God.  Imagine.

He drove back a bit later and said the car passed smog but it was close because it was a little smoky but it’s okay, and handed me the paperwork marked N/C.

Then he said, And by the way your rear brakes are shot but I didn’t know if you needed the car right away, if you have time I’ll do the brakes.

You can’t do that!

Yes, I can. No trouble no charge, don’t worry.  I want to do it.

That’s too much.

No no you brought us business.

But then tell me how much it costs so I can at least repay you at the end of the month.

Well it’s about 89 dollars for parts, but don’t worry, it’s not a problem.

(He was very firm and serious about this, that it really was okay by him.)

Would you like a painting? Is there a painting here you’d like?

I’m really floored by what’s been said, had no idea the brakes weren’t good but suspected so, and just so touched by all this and he’d admired my art work.

I’ll bring my wife back, she will pick a painting.

I don’t know if there’s enough gas in the car to even get you back! (I’m driving on fumes and a prayer.)

It’s okay, he said. I put gas in the tank. (Me–near a faint!).

All of this was pretty transporting and I’m not sure what happened next but I guess I gave him the key back again and off he went.  He returned at ten after 5 with everything fixed.

Promised to come back with his wife for a painting.

Oh John.  Such goodness in people.  All started with a baggie tie on my bumper, no charge.  A sign to help their business, no charge. The rest is history.

What a day.

Cradle of the Sun

This painting is a real treat.  I’ve kind of headed into it the way Trevor’s Treasure Island developed, more every day and in an odd direction.  With absolutely no foreground but rocks going into darkness I have all of a sudden added a chair and desk on the top of a peak, some kind of Greek ruins on a sandbar, a turquoise-lavender pool, stone gargoyles and seahorse, a writing desk, and steps…many steps.  I’ve decided to go with it, do not know what the hell I’m up to but up for the adventure.

It’s the sort of freedom I felt with your portrait which is a rare experience. Certainly possible with what you allowed, and unique in that only with historical portraits of my own devising have I ever moved into such a myriad of things.  Yours is the first portrait I let myself and you let myself do that with, and I am liberated from previous constraints as a result. 

It IS getting interesting.  I keep moving the waves and clouds around.  The very clouded sky reveals a reticent sun.  I’m calling it The Cradle of the Sun, or The Sun’s Cradle, which I find very exciting in and of itself and not sure what I’m up to.

The Cradle of the Sun

There’s a storm coming in from far away places ~~ sweeping up water, spray marking its path ~~ dark and fierce on a gentle cove.  Still visible inside fast-moving formations, the Sun is cradled by its cloudy banks. The golden strength hits boulders and quiet foreground pools which will be next to feel the crash of wind and sea. Large birds take frenzy flight. And a viewer’s ready chair says ”Come to me”… a kind of magic seating  … a match to the heady seascape beyond, and below, and around it.


T H E      H A W K S     P E R C H     G A L L E R Y

Calla Lilies and Leaf, InteriorT h e      H a w k s     P e r c h      G a l l e r y

on Carmel Valley Road is filled with beautiful paintings. mermaid facing leftLADY BUG MOON WALK Everybody needs a painting in their lives! And~~ I can’t help the feeling~~ the more the merrier.

Big Sur Kitchen, Rabbit Vase and PoppiesOPEN NOON TO FOUR DAILY TIL LONGER HOURS IN SPRING EMAIL  for appointments at any other time, glad to make it your day

There is no wall in anybody’s life that is too small or crowded that will not benefit from another painting.

Detail Center, Artist and Three Cats   White IrisDSCF4165ALL MY PAINTINGS ARE MUSEUM QUALITY ~~ IN RICHLY PIGMENTED OILS ~ STUNNING COLOR ~ STRONG IMPASTO POTENT EXPRESSIONISM !!DSCF3782A good painting produces a powerful connect in us, straight to our interior ~ to explain the heart’s undescribed beatings ~ fix the eye on color that excites or reminisces ~ clear a path to untried places.  Here is the unmet friend. DSCF4202And you will also find beautiful PEN & INK drawings,


JensenPORTRAITS (great commission prices)

Blue Bird WatcjerPlasterD   DETAIL RT.CHILD, EXQUISITE Renaissance Sculptures, Handmade Redwood Frames, Turtle-shaped Drawer Pulls. Dexter Lives Here

Hand-Painted SIGNS ON WOOD, DSCF3994Garden Light Garden Light Fixtures, Tibetan NecklacesDSCF3810       USED BOOKS – NOVELS and ART BOOKS,  beautiful GREETING CARDS, great chairs to sit and look, read….and Inspiration in every direction! The whole place is alive with beautiful things. Come add to that……………..DSCF4233

The Hawks Perch 

6 miles in from the Ocean

9700 Robinson Canyon Road



EMAIL for appointments at any other time, glad to make it your daySparhawk mona lisa 2

Carmel Valley Voter Report


I always end up crying.

I  envision recent purple fingers of Iraqis casting first time votes. I picture marching Suffragettes before my time. The Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers and the Civil War and all the country bloodied for freedom here then, the wars between, and more young and old dying on foreign shores for freedom there, now.  The days when only landed gentry could choose the government. The bad choices and the good ones of America’s present and past.

Little, sweet Carmel Valley.

To vote here is not like Brooklyn.

Brooklyn (God bless ’em in the throes of Hurricane Sandy) above.

Here is a tiny local place full of neighbors. Active, happy, but respected ground, 2 minute wait in line, wobbly portable ”booths” set a few feet apart, with privacy-possible side wings. No urgency, a second study of California’s propositions. I make my marks. This year we connect arrows.

At the entrance, a boy of maybe 8 years next to his little sister maybe 4 stand behind their father. The children peek at mystery. Before they turn to leave I place my hand on the boy’s back and bring him gently forward a pace and say, This is the place where you will come to vote when you’re older. Those are the places to mark your ballot. This is the way you choose your government and its leaders. You can do this because you are in America, and this will be your sacred honor.

I thank two banks of short tables of the maybe ten volunteers for being there. They all respond, smiling. They thank me for coming to vote. A serious-looking 18 year old girl has voted and walks out past me.

I take an “I VOTED” sticker for my car, protesting that it is bi-lingual. Do you have any that are just English? It is our native tongue, our country’s language. I embarrass the volunteer who says he understands, but steps back silent, clipboard protectively between us. 

Are we, in this great country, afraid of immigrants and ashamed to be proud of all we have managed to become. Yes. I fold off the non-English part of the I VOTED sticker and put it, altered to suit me, on my windshield.

Then I put the key in the ignition and weep, glad to live in the United States of America with all its turbulence and breathless, heart-wrenching, joy-filled longing to get it right. Today I am a part of that more than usual.

At the gas station before home I meet four people:  one (a small business owner) heading to vote, three who would not.
A construction worker, no, because, “It’s all rigged,” a girl in her twenties who said, “Do I have to?” and an elderly man who said he never ever votes. The traffic to the polling place is, nonetheless, getting busier.

credits: Grant Wood; NY Post; Norman Rockwell

One more, Flowers and Moth Caught by the Wind



I did this awhile back, and it’s been one of my favorites. It’s got a nice weight of paint on it and the colors are good, and there’s a fine activity to it. If I do say so myself.

The moth is in the lower right hand corner, not too visible and definitely not in distress.  This sold, last week in the gallery.

I overheard two musicians talking about the effect of wild climate on the landscape. Of course plants love the wind, said one. Otherwise there wouldn’t be poetry.

Sparhawk Garden & Meadow

Last winter. I sort of remember my hands stretched out in front of me, blindfolded by fear, stumbling through the chaos of what had been and was no more. Then I found a teeny new studio. Which had a massive garden. Which seized my heart on day one. Which surely angels led me to.

Moi: It’s PERFECT!

Real Estate Agent: It is?

It is. I’ll let you see for yourself. It had exquisite bare bone established, fallen, gone to seed and cluttering dead branched shrubs and trees. I watered, fertilized, tilled, moved rocks, opened to sunlight, transplanted, and incrementally added every flowery small cheapo thing I could get from Grigg’s Nursery down the block. That was the new. The old have revived, blossomed, stretched arms to the sun. Brutally pruned cherry tree, hedges brush-cut before they could flower, tall reedy Oriental Lilies chopped to knee high are all now an hourly windsong thrice the height of yore. Just started really. This is the beginning and I am very proud. And yes, naturally, I painted the chairs.

Ah, August you darling you, let joy be unconfined……..

Late Summer Arrives

We’ve had a cool summer on the central coast, only now beginning to break its grip, finally heating up. Big Sur south coast (Big Sur Kate) announced 84 degrees before dawn, and I envy that cozy kind of hot air. Carmel Valley isn’t matching it.

Carmel-by-the-Sea was jammed yesterday. Fog lifted, word is out. The ocean was going from turquoise to a deep ultramarine blue, brilliant white foam on the cresting waves that hit those cratered copper colored boulders along that stunning coastline. Down by Carmel River a long slim span of kelp just under the surface put a mystic shine on the blue. When you get closer you see the orange and brown sea creature dancing.

In that little sheltered, sand dune protected bay just a few feet from the ocean, a man in a big straw hat was practicing kayaking. Doing all the maneuvering, memorizing technique. His young daughter was inner tubed, laughing, weaving in dad’s wake.

Always curious to see tourists, which I once was. I wish it were not the case but Carmel fosters a kind of uneasy pretension, all that beauty and so few sure of themselves in it. Until you hit the beach and get carried by it. Thank God for nature and it’s power to connect with what’s real and discard what ain’t.

A friend in Yellowstone overheard a visitor who said, I’m comfortable in my own skin here. The friend’s been there for weeks now, photographing grizzly bears and wolf packs vying for fallen bison, and has amazing photographs (Oops John) of the incredible wild things that live out their dangerous lives within those acres and acres of flowered pastures and purple mountain majesties.

Enough time in wilderness we forget how we look, what needs fixing, the fugit of tempis, and all the stuff that doesn’t matter once our hearts and brains are on fire with the call of the wild. All that registers is, Oh my God, look where I am! The stuff dreams are made of.

Gardens have been delighted with the cooler weather, very good year for plants and flowers, no heat drooping anybody. I feel so bad for the drought-stricken mid west.

I heard a radio report on the weather in Fresno, I think they’re looking at 113 degrees today. But if you live in Fresno you expect it.

When I lived in Coarsegold and up above Bass Lake (5100 feet) we’d get some of those hot mountain top days making for spectacular sunsets.

Those hills around Yosemite are famous for flying saucers and UFO’s. You learn to take your new neighborhoods in stride. It’s always something.

The Gallery is Dead Long Live the Gallery

Delighted to report on things remaining the same…and VASTLY improved….along with the fine drama of change.

The new gallery, THE HAWKS PERCH III, is now up and running in beautious Carmel Valley.  Despite petulant volunteering of directions from the old Big Sur locale, I am being re-discovered in the new digs the intrepid and faithful. It’s wonderful here, painting sales are brisk, new students for the pen and ink classes, and a beautiful gallery to show my work and welcome visitors.

I’m off Carmel Valley Road by just a few feet, it’s called Robinson Canyon Road, six miles east from the splendid coastal town of Carmel. Lovely group of small old western wooden buildings painted barn red and trimmed in white. We’re bordered by meadows, Carmel Valley River, beautiful gardens, Buddhist Temple, Episcopalian church (and someone doing lovely call to the faithful chimes on Sundays), and Carmel Valley’s most famous asset, perpetual sunshine.

Come visit, see all the new paintings (dragonflies, hummingbirds, ladybugs, bees, butterflies, oceans, stormy skies) and stop in on Tuesdays 5-6 pm for the pen and ink drawing classes. I look forward to seeing all the old friends, and welcoming the new ones. THE HAWKS PERCH III is ready to rock. And it’s true, the really good stuff never dies.