The Legend of Tommy O’Toole – Not My Flag, Not On My Watch

I did this oil painting (30 X 40 inches)  in the early ’90’s, using the New York Daily News front page as reference. The full story on O’Toole and my experience (see headboards on front page of The Hawks Perch, above).

Ex-Marine Sgt.Thomas O’Toole was a NY Supreme Court officer when he saw demonstrators across the plazas where he worked, setting fire to the American flag. He had just returned from open heart surgery, but ran down three flights of steps, across the plazas at downtown Brooklyn’s courts, and put out the flames with his bare hands.This painting was exhibited at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 1994, and became the centerpiece of a traveling Law Enforcement Action Paintings, a series of fifteen oil paintings I did while working on designing and sculpting the memorial to slain police officers of New York.

Full Color, Signed Posters are still available for $35 each (handling, shipping and tax is included in that price), though there are not many left.The poster, including the two inch white border, measures  19 X 25 inches.

If you’re interested in purchasing one or more, please email me,

Happy Birthday America

The Hawks Perch, Big Sur

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA     We’re 235 years old today. The spirit of revolution is never far from our hearts. Nor should the men who were the first American politicians be who pledged their “lives, their liberty, and their sacred honor” on that declaration of independence from European tyrants. We need a long hard look for a single politician today with any honor much less sacred. Americans are good in a crisis and excellent at accomplishing the impossible. In due course we’ll throw the scoundrels out, drain the DC swamp, and continue changing the world for the better by example. The past decade has been an educational intro to cultures which need getting up to speed, discovering the enlightenment of human potential, individualism, and independence. We’re still a beacon. Happy Birthday sweet land of liberty, shine on.

BIG SUR SUMMER      We really are in the most spectacular Big Sur summer, enveloped in gorgeous sunny blue-skied air. The recent short rain set all the aromas loose again, the potent bay, sweet fern and jasmine, sharp acacia, and dark rich riverbank earth. There’s a waft of salt mixed in from the ocean.

Big Sur is in a sweet pocket of sun with fog and cloud banks just to the north and the south of us.

Bearded Iris, Big Sur Hillside

Sold a large painting yesterday,  “Wild Bearded Iris by Riverbank”, (shown), it’s headed north above San Francisco with a wonderful couple. They didn’t say a word for a good ten minutes, walking around the gallery, looking, looking in silence, then the woman stopped in front of a painting she’d kept returning to and out of dead quiet said, “It’s beautiful! It’s so beautiful!” and I swear I saw her heart leap.

There are more pleasures with my gallery than I can sometimes count and sometimes am barely aware of. One is the joy of connecting work I’ve done with a stranger. Good day. Business coming back, roads open, campers and thrilled travelers, and the air rife with the happiness of being alive.