“THE NEW HAT”~ Sparhawk painting



I painted this years ago in one hot humid summer week.  I was exploring me, testing my mettle on 60 desolate acres in the log cabin I’d rented in Blue Ridge mountains alongside Harper’s Ferry, where I feverishly filled canvases with pictures for a gallery I found that said they’d take me, and filled notebooks with words for the bones of a novel, for which the publisher remains unfound.



I needed a break. Too broke to shop for real (and DC was about 2 hours east), this was the substitute. Okay, imagine with me: speeding off in a fabulous little (Robin’s egg blue) Sunbeam Alpine convertible (my dilapidated old Ford on its last legs) to an unbelievably divine shop (somewhere) and buying a hat! matching the dress! Not a farm hat but one incapable of protecting from wind or rain or bees, simply THE superb bonnet made for late afternoon drinks in an incredibly gorgeous famous old Washington bar with a handsome poet who just phoned he’d be landing his seaplane on the Shenandoah especially to meet me ~~4:30 sharp  ~or thereabouts. Be there! He could only stay til Wednesday. Before which he’d be ripping off said new hat etc. and we would be lost to lust. So here in the picture, rushed home to try it on, all the bits around including the hatbox and tissue it came in, getting ready for my quick dip in the pond then roaring off on the long and dusty trail to my rendezvous. Oh what a life!

Well, I thought about it all week while I worked on this, and the marvelous fantasy embroidered itself in. Big canvas too, about 7 X 4 feet. It went to the gallery in Middleburg,  Virginia where it did not sell.

The following fall I moved west.  The New Hat  went from east coast storage to garage to covering a broken fireplace flue above the mantelpiece in some godforsaken cottage; then across America in moving vans to horse ranches and eventually slotted into the back of a 1974 Chevy & up the mountains of Yosemite.  There, 7  years later on the day before I moved back to the coast The New Hat sold to the Yosemite gallery owner who’d exhibited my work and fallen in love with it. Which happily covered gas and my first month at a fellow artist’s house in Pebble Beach, a room of my own en suite, the smell and sound of the sea, and the sight of the breakers  below. And some sweet romps with an interesting surfer who never read poetry or wrote it, preferred beer to Benedictine, couldn’t pilot a plane, didn’t like being indoors ever but knew how to handle serious waves and me, and did nice work with fish on a campfire, too.

There’s never any telling where a new hat will take you.










NEW PAINTINGS ~~~March 2014

                  Here are 4 brand new, original Sparhawk oil paintings. 

The original of    The Water LiliesLilies, Rowboat, Dock. Full. Dark has been re-worked since I first posted it. It’s a large canvas, about 36 X 30.  I had a splendid time continuing, developing and enriching the details, adding much including a rowboat and oar with an invisible enthusiast, the rope left behind wrapped ’round a sunken tree limb, and draped up at a dock. It is the product of a childhood memory.

Lilies, Rowboat, left


The Dawn Pond is two 12 X 12 inch canvases side by side. Farm Pond, Ducks, TwoFarm, Pond, Ducks. Right



Farm Pond, left, upper detail

  Road to the Pond 

Road to the Pond, full, bright

Both Dawn Pond and Road to the Pond (12 X 12 inches, oil on canvas) are from my photographs of the wild in the woods farm I’d rented in Virginia, less than a mile from Harper’s Ferry. It was sixty acres in the Blue Ridge range, log cabin, out buildings and barn from the mid 1800’s, and so striking in its varied landscape from meadows and ponds, hills with thick underbrush and tall trees, wild roses and wild flowers, an abandoned asparagus patch near the old stone garden house, wild berries, thousands of birds, owls and eagles, frogs and snakes, fox, bear, and mountain lions…..you name it….the lively and fabulous American woods.  I’m going to start painting more of those years. 

Camelias in Glass Bowl, FullThe Camelias, Camelias In Glass Bowl, detail whitewhich were painted from local bushes here, white Camelias to the left and hot pink camelias to the right of my Carmel Valley Gallery door, The Hawks Perch.  I believe I found myself slipped into Gauguin’s palette here. In the process I discovered that Gauguin came to his marvelously intense darks, which he used abundantly in shadows and plants, by adding an off yellow like Turner’s Yellow maybe, to black, producing a wonderful green highlight.  He’d also use rust/orange in interesting blocks or spots, and blues nearby. I don’t ordinarily use such combinations but was pleased to find it for the dark Camelia leaves, and the colors around them.

Come for a visit! THE HAWKS PERCH GALLERY, The Farm Center, Carmel Valley Road at

Robinson Canyon Road.  Open 11 ~ 4 Every Day!