Oil on canvas, 11″ X 14 “

Were I either elephant or waterfall this would be a good way to spend the summer.

Silver Horse of Silver DawnSILVER HORSE, SILVER DAWN

Oil on Canvas, 11″ X 14″

I’ve been privileged to live in the company of some fabulous creatures.  This was outside my barn door every dawn, the occupants changing position and mood with the rising sun.  I lived in the tack room of a barn I’d converted to a studio and apartment.


Oil on Canvas, 11″ X 14″  e

I’m not sure how or why this got started in me but the longer I kept at it the more fun I was having.  I think it may be inside a cave, the lake is very shallow, and they’ve been there a good long time getting to know each other.  It’s nice and warm and there’s no hurry. Oh, and somehow the moon got in there. Unless it’s the sun.

Chinese Animal~Rescue Revolutionaries, Thank You

(NOTE: there are NO GRUESOME PHOTOS below on this post)

Small brave bands of revolutionaries in countries with heretofore famed appetites for pets on the dinner menu are fighting on their own home soil to reverse that. It comes as happy news to these ears. I thank all of you with all my heart. (WARNING, THIS LINK GOES TO HEART-WRENCHING PHOTOS – volunteers save 1000 cats)

 Changsha road crashThere have been sporadic, horrific pictures of dogs in marketplaces, cats packed in crates and shipped to food plants. And I’ve cried through every one of them.  Like the new generation of celebrities back to wearing furs, it’s fostered by upscale life styles and considered delectable and smart and top dollar chic.

A truck carrying hundreds of cats met with an accident  This is part of the story, the link above will lead to more. Not an easy read, I’m only adding this paragraph here…..

“1000 CAS RESCUED.  The cats come from the countryside and are raised by villagers as a cheap and easy way of making extra money. They keep them indoors with long pieces of nylon string tied around their necks.  Because eating kittens is considered bad luck, they wait until the cats are more than 12 months old before selling them either directly to the markets or to ‘middlemen’ who trade on their behalf.    Every evening they are moved to cages outside the restaurant and customers are invited to select the one that takes their fancy. The chef then kills the cat of their choice by cutting its throat.   Animals Asia Foundation believe renewed interest in eating cat is linked to the upturn in the economic fortunes of Guangdong, the most prosperous province in China.”

In yesterday’s news, New Zealand environmentalists are proposing to end nation-wide cat ownership in order to save  their birds. NZ has the highest cat per home percentage of any country, there’s a debate afoot.  And in China, from first-hand tourist reports, the zoos are a nightmare of neglect and atrocities, by visitors.  But along with knowing our enemies I offer my praise and thanks to my allies ~~ big-hearted men and women in China who are defying their government and societal trending.   I HAVE READ OF YOUR EFFORTS, I HAVE SEEN PICTURES OF YOUR THRILLING RESCUES. GOOD LUCK! DON’T STOP!   Courage is always a welcome sight.

Kittens At The Beach

Kittens At The Beach, The Bird Watchers (Detail – oil on linen)

The original oil painting is slightly larger. I’m likely going to be doing more work before it’s really done but I’m very pleased with the way it’s progressing.

The kittens are George Jones and Tammy Wynette. I worked from a photograph of them taken inside their house at the moment the curtains were drawn back and the view of a thousand birds was in front of them. I moved them to the beach, invented a carved winged-lion chair, added the usual indulgences provided to kittens, including but not exclusively, wavy fabric, beach umbrella, insects, birds, bugs, torn slipper, and more. Great experience to work on. I’ll post the finished painting within the next few weeks.

The Gallery Bell

The Hawks Perch of Big Sur

Long day yesterday. Around 9 I was starting dinner and glad for the respite from business in the gallery. I was up to the third Poirot mystery on the set of 3 from Big Sur library and looking forward to watching the remarkable Belgium detective do his stuff, all symmetry and little gray cells at work.

I have installed a doorbell on the gallery downstairs that rings upstairs, and a bit of a peculiar contraption that urges visitors to ring if the shop’s closed. PUSH ME printed on a big yellow wooden one-time cart handle, that adjusts to the ringer’s height and predilection. It’s been a delightful solution to painting in the studio and not missing customers.

Around 10pm as Hercule Poirot was solving murders in 1939 near Egypt’s pyramids, that very same bell rang. I trotted out and peered over the balcony.

A fine young man, reveling with buddies at The Maiden Pub next door, glass of beer in hand, wanted to go through the gallery and buy something. Sweet. I went down and opened the doors to him and turned on the lights.

He was all bright-lit himself with cross country adventure, the kind of glow I’ve seen often from voyagers to Big Sur who can’t believe they made it or believe how perfectly wonderful it is. Tall and strapping, looking like transplanted mid-America farm and ranch. A total delight whose name is Dylan. He hadn’t seen his parents for close to a year and his mom was on her way for a visit and he wanted to get her a present and he was up front right away, he had ten bucks for it.

We did some searching and negotiating and came in on budget. I gift-wrapped, we hugged, Dylan returned to the pub, an ebullient spirit of good nature and fine character who is clearly finding answers to his liberating dreams at the blossoming start of youth.

As for this painter, it’s become the kind of experience that never ceases to amaze or sweep me with strong emotion. The pleasures found at the other end of a small red bell on a chunk of yellow wood with PUSH ME writ large on it are awesome and sweet.

The Economy

I opened The Hawks Perch in Big Sur a year ago. Still here. There’s a lot of hysterical chatter about America tanking but, as always, I recommend flying in the face of conventional wisdom. I started selling paintings on day one and still haven’t stopped. I’m selling cheap, and not every day, but hot damn I’m still afloat. The human heart needs art in hard times as well as good, or that all the doom and gloom only applies if you stick on preordained paths without looking for your own. John Muir, in his triumphant campaign for America’s first national parks, said: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread. A place to play in.” Paintings are like that.



This gallery contains 4 photos.

THE HAWKS PERCH Located in Big Sur on California’s central coast where giant redwoods dip their toes into the purple sand of Pfeiffer Beach and the air is pungent with bay, acacia, lavender, and fern….the first stop in Big Sur … Continue reading