when i moved to the vail area in the mid-80s my life changed a lot– suddenly i was earning a pretty good wage, and dealing with friends in a more wide-open way. i began to travel a lot– i’d jump into my car and go to denver (“down the hill” as we termed it, 100 plus miles each direction) for a movie or perhaps shopping, see friends etc. and on the weekends, when i wasn’t working in one of my studios or the other, i might drive someplace in the four corners area– utah, colorado, new mexico, nevada– to shoot photos and explore. mostly i drove subarus– i had several station wagons– and after the mid-90s i might use my celica– swift transport, but as always the idea was to bring myself to someplace interesting and different, and just maybe get an image or two that brought a smile or maybe an eye-opened “OH– HOLY COW”!!

i’d estimate this trip as being in the early 90s, think i was driving my 1989 subaru wagon, and exploring southern utah (a state i found to be appreciated more by non-residents than people of the state– not a blanket statement, but a perceived tendency).

late one morning i was looking for a suspension bridge– i can’t remember how i learned of it, other than it wasn’t on my map, so i think someone mentioned it to me, or i saw a sign along the road. it was down a rough trail and, to be honest, somewhat disappointing. yes, it was a suspension bridge over a river, but it wasn’t remarkable in the least, and thick foliage on both sides of the river made it appear and disappear without much fanfare or import. pretty much midday, with plenty of thin clouds, making the light bright but flat and a bit hard.

BUT!!– there WERE these most interesting bushes, with flowers that seemed to be suited more to an age presaging modern man– flowers that looked as if they belonged to a transylvanian landscape perhaps. the leaves were a dusty green with sharp aggressive corners, but it was the blossoms i found fascinating– they seemed to emanate a greenish radioactive “glow”– almost a phosphorescence that drew my total attention. i shot some B&Ws of them (why i didn’t also shoot them in colour is beyond me) and continued upon my way.

well, the photos were more or less disappointing– check them out above– but the memory of those blossoms and leaves lingered in my memory. finally i did a couple of pen and ink drawings of them, both of which sold. the first one i have only old slides of, and they have suffered over the years from colour shifting, but i was in contact with my friend john volponi who bought one of them, and he was kind enough to send me a photo of his datura piece

i’ve always wanted to do a painted version of this, and to try to bring to the image something of what i saw that morning so long ago

the first thing i did was to change the composition a little bit, cropping it somewhat, and putting the blossoms into the lower left quadrant of the piece– not sure why, but i felt it had a somewhat “georgia o’keefe” styling for some reason.

i decided to restrict my palette to mostly greens, violets, and whites and began to go over those leaves with varying tones of these three hues. the background got really dark before i began hauling in on the reins and bringing in the colours i wanted to sink deeper into the background.

and then i got back to work on the pods– the casings, whether fully furled or drawn back from the blossoms

and then it came time for my final return to work on the blossoms themselves, employing a technique more common to oil painting– layer after layer of thin colour, slowly building up an effect. i did one layer of thick pigment, almost troweling it on, and that brought out the greens again. finally i signed and dated it and painted the sides of the canvas, after which i did a little noodling around, little things i felt made the image “pop”. after that it was finished.

or was it? almost two weeks later i got a notion that there was something more i could yet do, and after waking up one morning after dreaming of just what to do– tones, brushstroking, pressure, you name it– i got up and did three more passes on the canvas and suddenly– there it was, the slight greenish glow i had remembered.



the skull and  crossbones design is one that brings on images of swashbucklers and cries of “avast, me hearties!!”– but leave the eye patch at home for these pieces– you’ll want to see every detail!!

it’s an iconic symbol really, but for me it is a stepping off point for many other forms and alternate designs– however, let’s begin with the basics– the skull and crossbones pendant. it’s simple and evocative,with a ring-like bale (part the  chain runs through) that could just as well function as an attachment for your basic skull and crossbones charm.

weight- 1.75 grams 18KY

dimensions- 9/16″X3/16″X3/8″, 14mmX5mmX10mm

and here we have your basic skull and crossbones earrings– this particular pair use posts, but they are also available as posts and nuts, hooks, or lever backs. they stand out and announce that there will be no prisoners when worn!!

weight- 3.5 grams 18KY

dimensions- 3/8″X3/8″X1/8″, 9.5mmX10mmX3mm

and now we get to some of the alternate designs i wrote about earlier on… what do the  skull and crossbones remind us of? well, pearls, of course– this is an elegant set of skull and crossbones with dangling pearl earrings i show here– these particular ones are cultured freshwater button pearls, sumptuous beauties 10 mm in diameter– almost half an inch. however, anybody with a yen for other pearl types can send me a request for an estimate, which i shall gladly furnish. this pair uses hooks, but they are also available with posts, posts and nuts, or lever backs– set sail in your dreams with these lustrous gold skull and crossbones with  dangling pearl earrings!!

weight- 7 grams 18KY

dimensions- 15/16″X7/16″X5/16″, 23mmX11mmX8mm (not including findings)

and so, what more for alternate designs? well, in the future there may be a bracelet design, whether hinged or solid– emeralds come to mind of course– or….?

we can ship these items to you anywhere in the world safely and securely via FedEx. shipping to the continental US is $80. if you live outside the US or in hawaii or alaska please get in touch for a shipping quote

crossbone pendant and earrings



reflections– i’ve always loved them. as a child i would pretend they were another reversed world, and i would try to “see round the edges!, try to discover something new and wild. of course, since my life isn’t a hollywood movie it never happened, but i used to try just the same.

cozumel is a reflection lover’s dream– when the rainy season hits, or one of the regular storms that wade ashore the combination of heavy precipitation and somewhat iffy drainage (being around sea level the drains don’t have a lot of “fall”, plus people often aren’t courteous about the way they throw or drop garbage, clogging things up) leave heaven-facing “mirrors”everywhere– the photo above was taken just this morning during my early walkabout.

one morning we had a good downpour, and then the sun came out bright and shiny. i was on a walk, avoiding getting my sandals swamped and checking things out. the air was still full of moisture and this, with the sharp sunshine imparted a special quality of light to everything.

i came upon this scene and was amazed– the colours in the reflection seemed a lot more vivid than those of the “real” world. a mayan woman in a red dress was pushing a triciclo (three wheeled cargo cart) along, and i decided right then and there it would be my next painting and that i would integrate the triciclo into the piece.

as always, the sketching process took up some long time– once more it was shown to me strongly that i am not much of a sketch artist, sigh. but this time i decided i would be using my paint brush to “draw” with, which simplified matters greatly the fact i’d never done much of this was a little daunting, but i have noticed how my painting acumen has become better and better over the years, so i determined i would make a try.

everything starts slowly– first the complementary colours, most of which don’t show strongly in the finished work, then building up layer after layer of slightly different tones to bring a shimmer to the work. in the past i have basically taken the colour i was using in the upper portion of the painting and adding in a little grey to make it a tad duller. however, with my thoughts about the intensity of colours in the bottom half i blended separate mixes of pigment for each of them

the windows presented a problem– i didn’t want them to take too much of the “attention” of the image, so decided that i would treat them very simply– first the undercoating, reminiscent of drapery, but with no frame they looked quite odd

the mayan woman was a little indeterminate as well, but i counselled myself to have patience, it would all come together if i just didn’t freak out about it all. during this time i saw several mistakes i had made and i had to make them disappear.

i had a couple dry patches, where i couldn’t see where i was going or what to do, but finally i began to drop deeply into “the zone” and everything became straight ahead– a few days later i was pretty sure it was finished, so i signed it and took some time to stare at it. that was a friday, but every day for five days afterwards i made big changes on the canvas, even discovering one more error that i had to deal with.

wednesday came and with it no more inspiration– i stared at the piece for several days before adjudging it finished– finally!!

this canvas i have entitled “casa amarilla con triciclera”– “yellow house with triciclera”– hope you like it. NOW what shall i do?



cozumel, dead of winter– even though it has yet to go 7:00 the sun is just tipping below the horizon. i am en route to the flamingo hotel (which i have re-christened as the flaming O) to see my friend frenkie, a guitarist and banjo player who is trying to keep the candle of traditional banjo and guitar music (not to mention the celtic harp) burning– interspersed with some of his own compositions. he is a true madman, obsessed with his goal– but being an artist myself, i find obsession to be the one true thing about the universe, and so i support his efforts and enjoy his music whenever i am able.

ANYHOW– there i am, in a hurry to find a parking spot when i am totally TRANSFIXED by the efforts of the sun to plunge below the horizon beyond the muelle fiscal (the public pier where the passenger ferries to and from the mainland dock)– i had been searching for a new idea to paint, and i realised that this was it. i jumped from the truck, in a hurry to snap an image– however, i am a little late and what i get is actually a minute or two past the idea– however, it was as good as i was going to get– see the image above.

for a change i didn’t do as complicated a sketch for this piece, thinking i could do much of the work en scene– i also realised i would have to do some very experimental (for me) work to produce something i might like. there is many a time i wonder why i do this to myself, but it seems to be my modus operandi. the sketch still took some time, as always i envy those with a native ability to draw, but it is pretty much all work for me.

as i worked on the canvas, i had sudden “dejá vu” flashes, but it took a little while before the reason dawned upon me– kitsilano!! vancouver, when i lived there in the early 70s, 3rd between cypress and maple. i would walk down to the ocean, around where the planetarium is, sit along the beach and gaze out over burrard inlet at the west end. whereas the ferry docks here are mellow and soothing, burrard inlet is a positive RIOT of colours, all back and forth, quite electric, reflecting the west end like the business end of a busted high-tension cable. sometime in the late 80s/early 90s i did a pen and ink piece to try to bring it to life, but not entirely well if memory serves me right– wish i remembered who has it now so i could take a look.

and then there was the matter of brushstrokes– the past few paintings i have done i have concentrated upon brushstroking, and i had some new ones in mind when i began this piece.

you can see how they began here, somewhat emanating from both sides of the centre mass of the docks themselves– verticals for the sky and water and horizontals for the land, docks and grounded boat. however, as i made my way down the line with the painting it became increasingly apparent that it wasn’t much working, and so some new brushstrokes arose and made themselves familiar.

the sky grew dark and so did the sea, the bank of clouds behind the docks muddy and the land indistinct, the image a little boring.

and so i brought the light, sparingly at first, but gaining in momentum– i had a lot of fun with this particular stage, as i felt confident in where i as going and how i was getting there. but when i began bringing the light down into the water i ran into a glitch– brushstrokes again– and needed to take a little break before continuing. i spent the time beginning to paint in the ferry depot itself, mostly a mass of light like that on the end of an arcing welding rod

so intense the light that there were halos of it all down the line, all the lights glittering and even bouncing off the sleeping ferry boats themselves. here i got the first real intimation of what it was about this scene that had caught my attention– the depot was actually just an extension of the sunset, the maw of a huge glowing crucible with the sun just over the lip.

then the REAL fun began– bringing the reflections of the depot into the water– i had envisioned this process many a time, but it took a lot of sitting and looking at the canvas at times, changing my theory, evolving the image.

but finally i finished it and signed and dated it, left it standing on the easel. i wasn’t happy with my results, but i was unsure what it was that bothered me so much. so i stared at it….. and stared at it….. and then STARED AT IT for a good week or so, coming to the conclusion i didn’t like the reflections in the lower area– it took me some time to figure out what i wanted to do and more than one pass to make it happen

so now it was TRULY finished– or was it? i had an injury that required my laying on the couch watching old movies for a few days, but the painting was close by, and i suddenly knew that the problem was with the middle reflections of the light in the water. when i could stand again for longer periods i did an experimental paint mix to see if i was somewhere around the right tone– i liked it so much i just used it, then remixed it a little darker and did one last pass and– VOILÁ!!– “puesta del sol, muelle fiscal”– sunset at the government pier



my first frogfish– i saw one that had tumbled from its sponge onto the sand. when the divemaster who had shown it to me carefully lifted it back up and placed it onto the sponge again and took his hand away– it DISAPPEARED!! the camouflage was that good.

no worries about this frogfish disappearing– not a chance!! this design took about a year to produce, there were so many volumes and contours to reproduce– it was quite satisfying to finally get it into the mold-making frame

all those splendid textures, volumes and contours are carefully brought to life in this beautiful three dimensional piece, and topped with a special design bale (part the chain runs through)– riveted to allow it to swing and sparkle plenty!! no danger of this piece getting “lost in the shuffle”, my unique frogfish pendant will stand out anywhere!!

we can ship this piece to you anywhere in the world safely and securey via FedEx. shipping to the continental US is $80. if you live outside the US or in hawaii or alaska get in touch for a shipping quote

weight- 8 grams 18KY

dimensions- 7/8″X7/8″X5/16″, 21mmX21.5mmX7mm

price- $750



i almost called this one “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be”, but think i may have used that phrase in another post– and “never say never” might also apply. first, a bit of background– i first began working in two dimensional art in the early 80s– i was a school janitor at the time, working the 3:30-11:30 shift. during the day i would work on my sculptures. but coming home i found i couldn’t just crash, and watching old movies on a fuzzy B&W set was ok, but i wanted to do something with my hands. innocently enough i began playing around with pen and ink– not your precise art pens, which make perfect dots (as there is something about perfect dots in general and polka dots specifically that annoys the hell out of me), but rather a dip nib pen that made random sortuv dots. i did a couple of cards for friends and was just messing around, looking for something more interesting to draw, when i came across a photo in a national geographic that piqued my interest.

legrower woman 1983

berber bride 1984

and so “legrower woman” was born. the paper i used wasn’t the best, and the pen nib really “picked” the surface, resulting in it not being flat, and in the end, to get it framed, i had to have it drymounted. end of THAT kind of paper for me.
by the time i made “berber bride (also a nat’l geo photo) i was using good thick watercolor paper and getting quality results– i have always been a great fan of georges seurat, and i used a pointillist approach to making my images. but it was primitive, i gridded the paper to make my “sketching” easier (if you look carefully you can still see the gridding in this piece– i erased the lines, but my dots avoided the lines) and tried to avoid having to deal with my shortcomings as a 2-D “artist”.
well, time as they say “moved on”– i began using my own photos and sketches to create my images, and learned a laborious manner of actually “sketching”– it takes eons, as i am not your best sketch artist (however, for the most part all those people i knew way back when with great aptitude for it don’t do it any more– i don’t blame them, as it didn’t mean enough to them to cause them to pursue the life of an artist. johnny cash might sing “don’t take your guns to town, boy”, but i say “beware becoming an artist, be careful for what you wish”)– i am good enough to get myself to where i can do something with it. but i made a slight error– i said i’d NEVER go back to working with other peoples’ images again. a mistake.
i did pen and inkers for many a year, and got pretty proficient at the style, more and more complex mixtures of colors to create things.

porch view 1993

here is a view from my porch up in wildridge colorado. i continued working in this way til well after i moved down here to cozumel, and i am intensely disappointed i didn’t shoot more photos of all those wonderful pieces i created. the world of analog photography made it difficult for me– i felt i had to set up a “stage” and try to shoot great pictures– you must forgive the ones i include here, they come from old slides that have colour shifted a little.
that’s your history lesson– since i arrived here i have moved into working with acrylics– 2002? 2003? not certain. my work is still pointillistic, but much evolved and in some ways hard to recognise as such– sometimes only i can see it i think. ok, and on with the show.
a friend of mine was travelling with her hubby in thailand, and sometimes put her images up on FB– she has a fair eye for composition and imagery, and i liked checking her stuff out. one of them was of a small boat, and i was struck by the perfect “moment” it portrayed, and i remember remarking to her “this could be a painting!!”. i stuck it away in my files, not thinking i might use it, but liking the occasional gander i took at it. and after quite some time i decided to try my hand at producing what i saw in the image– not necessarily the image itself, but a sense of something to portray, that “moment” i wrote about.


as always, my sketching abilities were put to the test, but i persevered and managed to get what i needed, primitive as it may have been. i got interrupted by a vast amount of diving for a while, but kept returning to it til i sorta lost myself, and left it fallow for quite some time.

in progress 2

it didn’t stop me from looking at it and trying to fathom where it needed to go– nosirree!!– it GLARED at me whenever i passed by. finally though, i had an extended time to sink back into it and things really started to happen with the piece.
i began to remember the tonal progressions i had wanted to use, and after some time i got obsessed with my work on it, to the point of waking up in the middle of the night with my hand poised in the air, executing brushstroke after brushstroke– like THAT!! and THAT!! twist the brush SO– like THAT!! and THAT!! must admit, i didn’t get much sleep a couple of nights there– the somnambulist painter, at your service!!
the painting began to take formidable shape and things got a lot pickier– i had to force myself a times to relax and let it flow, feel no fear, feel nothing but that ENERGY that hit me and follow it all the way through.

in progress 2

another tidal wave of diving ensued, and i thought i might again lose the thread, but somehow i stayed with it, attached by some ethereal umbilical cord (but don’t ask me which side of it i was fixed to!!), and when once more i had time i pushed everything i had into it, living with the piece day and night. obsession is mostly a negative trait, but for an artist i think it is pretty basic foundation stuff– a building block of what makes you what you are.

meditation 2018

well, i shan’t tease you any longer or delay showing you the piece– this blog has gone on long enough already!! most of my work is rather more “dynamic” than “crystalline”– that is, i try to give it some movement, even if it is only the viewer’s eyes that roam– but this has turned into more of a still life than anything else i can think of– “meditation” is what it is called, but “the moment” might be just as apt.



i thought that, by putting all my seahorse jewellery into one place, you the customer might be better able to compare all aspects of these wonderful gold seahores– appearance and size, modelling and style for example.
here is a comparison shot showing all three sizes i have in my inventory.

to begin with, my GRAND SEA HORSE– many of my designs feature smoothly realised and refined hydrodynamic lines– but this grand seahorse sports textures a-plenty. realistically carved, with a webby, knurled, almost faceted surface, this curvaceous creature fairly dances wherever it might hang, from the high quality sparkly 10 point (3mm diameter) diamond eyes to the tip of its musical tail. a must for all those who value jewellery that ever seems to be on the move. the glittering sculpted bale with heavy rivet gives it plenty of room to SWING!!
and here’s an idea– this seahorse would make a positively SMASHING pair of earrings– you have only to ask..

weight– 13 gms 18KY

dimensions– 1 11/16″ X 11/16″ X 3/8″, 42mm X 19mm X 9mm including bale

my medium seahorse design is the newest in my line of golden seahorse jewellery– you might like to read “zen and the art of seahorse design, a “the making of” story which will give you an idea of how such things evolve.
this is the most fully “realised” version of the design, with a veritable smorgasbord of detailing to make it come alive. for those of you who might like a finely-sculpted piece of gold to wear, this medium gold seahorse would add so much!!
i’d like to add that this design would make for a serious-looking pair of earrings as well– please ask me for a price if you are interested.

this is my original seahorse pendant, a beautifully designed piece, suitable for a pendant or even a charm hanging on your bracelet– i include views of both sides here.

dimensions– 15/16″ X 11/32″ X 3/16″, 23.5mm X 8mm X 5mm including bale
weight– 2.5 gms 18KY

gold seahorse pendants

but what collection of seahorse jewellery would be complete without seahorse earrings? i just happen to carry some…
these are similar to the small gold seahorse pendant listed above, except that the backs are flat– more like 60% “in the round”. the pair shown here employs hooks, but they are available with posts, posts and nuts, hooks or lever backs should you wish.
as an asidemy small seahorses are probably the most “special order friendly” pieces i have in my collection– i have made a multitude of altered designs, using them in multiples or in combination with other gold pieces or gems. I LOVE special orders and creating something new and unique. please get in touch if you have an idea of your own!!
i can even make a pair using the 3-D pendant version of the small seahorse, just please ask!!

dimensions– 3/4″ X 11/32″ X 3/32″, 19mm X 8mm X 2.5mm
weight– 4.5 gms 18KY

small gold seahorse earrings

i can ship this piece to you anywhere in the world safely and securely with fed-x. shipping to the continental US is $75.00.if you live outside the US, in alaska or hawaii, please just contact me to get a shipping quote



i’m putting all my stars in one basket!!

first, the grand sea star pendant– this design is based upon the cushion sea star, and has a way of attracting more than a casual glance. the richly applied texture gives this sea star a glittery “faceted” appearance, complemented by the smooth reflective contours of the special design “water droplet” bale. this golden pendant is lavishly detailed on the reverse side as well.

allow this grand sea star pendant add some serious SPARKLE to your look!!

dimensions– 1.25″ X 5/8″ X 1/4″, 32mm X 17mm X 6.5mm
weight– 8 gm 18KY gold

my newly designed medium sea star pendant has the same wealth of rich detail as the larger version, and sports a special design bale all of its own and is smoothly polished on the reverse side.

it will glitter and glow over a candle lit dinner or flash like your eyes on the dance floor

dimensions– 9/16″ X 15/16″ X 9/32″, 15mm X 24mm X 6mm
weight– 4 gm 18KY gold

“starkle starkle little twink
how i wonder what you think”–
well, i think that this small sea star pendant is simple and elegant, with smooth contours able to leap from a casual lunch to a gala ballroom in seconds!!

dimensions– 9/16″ X 3/8″ X 3/32″, 14mm X 10mm X 2.5mm
weight– 1.4 gm 18KY gold

sea star pendants


my medium sea star earrings look exactly like the pendant of the same name– lush texture on one side and smooth polish on the other– these medium gold sea stars are like a day on the beach!!
available with posts, posts and nuts, wire hooks or lever backs

dimensions– 9/16″ X 1/2″ X 1/4″ each, 15mm X 13mm X 6mm each
weight– 6 gm 18KY

medium sea star earrings

my small sea star earrings are, once more,exactly like the pendant of the same name– a matching pair that is simple, beautiful, versatile and easy to accessorise. they will look snazzy in diving gear underwater or dining under stars much further away.
available with posts, posts and nuts, wire hooks or lever backs

small sea star earrings

gold small sea star jackets

these small sea star jackets are drilled in the middle, making room for whatever stud one might wish to wear that evening– these ones shown have moonstones, but anything else is possible– diamonds, anyone? ask for a quote!!

dimensions– 3/8″ X 3/8″ X 3/32″ each, 10mm X 10mm X 2.5mm each
weight– 2.5 gm 18KY (jackets only)

small gold sea star jackets

i can ship this piece to you anywhere in the world safely and securely using fed-x. shipping to the continental US is $75. if you live outside the US or in alaska or hawaii please just contact me for a shipping quote.



or “there’s a million ways to the top of this mountain”.

a while back some nice person commissioned a medium seahorse– i had long thought this might be a good idea, and a commission was the perfect goad to actually making the attempt. as with any item one wishes to make multiple copies of, the first thing was to make a “master”– something that can be put in a mold to make casting waxes from. one can cut a master using hard carving wax, or model one by building softer wax up to form a design, or “construct” one using sheet and wire wax, or build one of metal, or….. as i say, there are many ways of doing things, and some even involve using several of these techniques.

my first thought was that the tail of the seahorse was going to be the most difficult part– not because the work is too picky, but in wax it would be super FRAGILE– working with broken and repaired wax is no fun at all, and often leaves you with a lesser design. my best bet was going to be to cut the form out of some thick metal and sculpt it into shape.

however, this wasn’t satisfactory either, as it wouldn’t give me the thickness i wanted to give a good volume to the piece. what i finally settled on was cutting the form out of thick silver sheet and applying wax to the surface of the sheet to build it up. however, this method was not totally satisfactory– whenever i got near the volume i wanted the wax stopped adhering to the surface and would fall off, entailing some interesting use of the english language as i cursed and cursed.

so– on to PLAN B– i brought the sheet and wax to as close i could without losing anything and made a mold of that. the mold material is a catalytic latex formula– one mixes two components together and pour it into a frame with the mounted designs within.

when this compound “cures” it looks pretty transparent, and it makes the cutting open of the mold easier– cutting molds apart is a whole art in itself, and sometimes i am confounded in visualising just how to do it, but this one was pretty easy really.

of course, THEN i had to use a machine that holds wax in a molten state, and fill the empty space left when i cut the first design out– it extrudes the wax under pressure, and then you have to wait for the wax to cool and take it out of this mold. BUT– this wasn’t the finished design.

no, now i had to model using soft wax, a wax spatula and a small torch, building up this intermediate wax to a usable form. i then put this new version into the mold frame and made a second mold, which i could use to shoot more waxes. now i could cast the first copy.

here is the piece as it looks, freshly cut out of the cast– you’ll notice the extra “sprues” that connected it to the body of the cast, just like the ones that connected the design to the mold frame. on the right you will see an image of the piece with those parts trimmed off, the bale (part that the chain goes through) properly oriented. looks pretty rough, don’t you think? you’d be right. but many pieces look this way when first cast. it takes a lot of effort to bring the design to a finished form– if you’re lucky you have worked all the bugs out of the design in the initial stages, and for the most part i had. my only glitch was figuring out how to put the karat stamp onto it– it’s in between the dorsal fins at the back of the piece. i hope you like the finished piece as much as i did!!



i am fascinated by shadow and light, and this translates into a lot of my work– my B&W and infrared photography, for instance, but also into my paintings and the like. for this reason i have always loved the look of scaffolding on a day with plenty of light, and i thought that one day i must “do” a painting with some scaffolding in it.

well, as they say, “be careful what you wish for”!! i hadn’t anticipated just how complex and full of hair-tearing that such an image might be. i was visiting a friend in mérida on the yucatan peninsula, when i came across these two guys plastering a wall– i took some photos of them, telling them i would “make them famous” some day, and had myself a real concrete design for a painting.

but golly gee– even the original sketch for the piece took me literally WEEKS– fortunately or not, i am a poor sketcher it would seem, sentenced to laboriously construct my designs like a regular fred flintstone at the bedrock prison quarries– it really drove me NUTS trying to bring all the lines to an approximation of where they belonged, to give a coherent image of what i saw– all those odd angles of things modulating the direction of the lines– i never realised it could be so difficult. however, i managed to plod on and get what i wanted in the end.

while i worked on this i was thinking of how to keep the scaffolding and its shadows apart, so i wouldn’t start painting one thinking it was the other. tonal progressions coursed through my mind, and finally i decided i wanted pretty much everything in the piece to be mixed with either green or blue. the only parts of the painting not so mixed are the sheets of plywood covering the window gaps. i used a lot of violet as we,, but not as obsessively as i have in other paintings.

the image began to form, but fuzzily and indistinctly– i was playing around with some brushstrokes i found interesting and somewhat “electric”– that is, they seemed to have a dynamic energy to them, “exciting” the idea in my mind. the tonal progressions flowed easily and rapidly, quickly covering the surface of the canvas and slowly solidifying the picture– it all seemed so easy and effortless, i got carried away by the flowering of this early stage of the piece.

i began to get inklings of what the final colors should be, and to slowly bring them into the piece, bit by bit. everything seemed certain and easy and to come out of me with sucha flow. more and more i began to experiment with different brushtrokes, as each separate one imparted its own energy, its own electricity to the canvas– and the image was getting more and more sharp and real– or as real as i was thinking it should be anyhow.

i filled the street with the new brushstroke, the building in the right background, the wall, the boards, pretty much everything got into this new scheme, except for the sidewalk and the sky, the latter of which i liked very much and thought was more or less finished. the image seemed to crackle with energy and a vivacious spirit– everything was going so very well.


the diving season had arrived in full force, and i was a diving fool– five and six days a week much of the time, my clients were experienced for the most part, and the dives long and full of wonderful sights. but all that nitrogen that slowly filled my cranium brought with it a price– very little in the way of being able to concentrate fully and utterly, to work on the painting. the few days i DID have off were spent doing some very mundane stuff– LAUNDRY for instance, a ubiquitous bane. or jewellery as well, i had orders and this work required less high brain activity, as i had done it so many times before. the season went on and on…..

finally it began to lessen a little bit, and i had time that might be spent upon the canvas…. but it had become a stranger to me, full of fears and the unknown– i had absolutely no idea where i had been with it, what i wanted to do with it, where it needed to go. it looked at me accusingly as i passed it by, doing this and that– ANYTHING but accept the risk of what i would have to do, to find a way into it again.

i took some time off and went to colorado and yellowstone, a couple of blogs for which i have already written.

when i came back i was determined to find my way again, and i went “on the hunt”– staring at it for long periods of time, trying to take it apart like a watch, to see what made it tick. i didn’t put any paint down for a long time, and the stuff i did do was at first not satisfactory. but it gave me an idea of where it did need to go, and so i finally one day began– hesitantly and fearfully, but i made myself do it.

it seemed to work, and the more i bent my attention to it the further into the piece i got once again. i discovered the tonal progressions i had been using. i did the first passes on the scaffolding and the two human figures. it wasn’t flowing quite like it had been in the early stages, but i gained more and more confidence in what i was doing as i went along– bumbling, stumbling and fumbling it moved, bringing me along in its magical torpid flow and giving me a zing!!

right from the beginning with this painting i had sketched in two bags of gravel in the right foreground, by the base of the scaffolding. i ended up deciding that they were extraneous and distracting detail, so i painted them out. this required my overpainting all the sidewalk by the right hand building, but it bore a silver lining– i could employ the brushstroke i was using in most of the rest of the piece, make it more a part of the overall image. it also made me realise that i was truly in synch with what i was doing.

then i went back to work on the scaffolding– it had just been roughly sketched in really. it may look like two, but there are actually eight or nine different colors in the scaffolding, not counting the originally sketched lines. sometimes it was tough– i had to work quickly, as the paint tended to dry quickly on the pallet, but also to be cognizant of which pieces overlapped which– fine tuned my concentration and, for the most part, it was successful. there were a couple times when i had to go “GRRR!!” and touch things up, but very little really– i was happily in the zone.

then all of a sudden it was over– i was finished it seemed. i signed and dated it and painted the sides of the frame to make them disappear and sat and thought about things.

i did this and that, little bits here and there, just “noodling” as i call it. but slowly i became aware that the sky, which i had always liked so very much, now seemed to lack something– “oomph” if you will, as everything else in the painting had caught that wonderful almost nervous energy. that phrase by the singer meatloaf came to mind– “everything louder than everything else!!”. i decided that a little bit of dark manganese blue might be just the thing to make it “lift off”, and so i put down a pass with that. it worked!! i was very happy with it, but a little voice in my head kept saying– “if that looks so good, wouldn’t MORE look even better?”. that’s when the fear set in good and strong– what if i was wrong? it would be too late to turn back. i wrestled back and forth, walking to and fro in front of the painting, and decided to do it. but exactly how dark? what brushstroke? WHICH BRUSH??

and so it was with much trepidation that i began putting more pigment down upon the canvas. it took all of about two minutes before i KNEW i had been right– this last pass with the manganese blue caused the sky to explode!! i began first chuckling to myself, then out and out LAUGHING while i almost THREW the paint down– in fact, i came damn close to actually CAPERING!! it was a dangerous moment. and then i was done. may i please present “los albañiles!!



in a wonderful retro move, yellowstone has the original buses that were used some time ago to transport tours round the park. i didn’t ride in one, but shot detail after detail from them– beautiful motor cars, complete with roll-back canvas roofs so the people could stand up and ogle and mug for the camera. their grilles and front windows remind me of some large beast baring it’s fangs– pretty fierce!!
time to get to the geysers, right? i mean, you’ve certainly waited long enough!! “old faithful” was great, and a marvelous show, but not so wonderful for pix– the light was a little lacking– so i am going to press on and go to something a little more dramatic. excuse any run-on sentences i write, i just finished up reading jack kerouac’s “dharma bums” and it’s rubbed off to an extent.
“old faithful” was not our only stop that day, not by a long shot. they have realy built up the lodge there, and my memories of it are a little different from the reality. they have painted the entire structure a dark (i shall not utter the adjective i have always given it) brown color, not too evocative, but the interior quite beautiful and huge. people lounging around on the many chairs inside.
the geysers are many and varied and ever so difficult to photograph in a way that gives one anything like the experience of being there– it’s ATMOSPHERIC– foggy and misty and there are a lot of smells in the air– sulfur being the most prevalent– after all, you are basically in the caldera of the largest volcano on the face of the earth. in some ways it looks desolate and destroyed, but it is really blood and sinew EARTH IN ACTION AND MOTION, with the scab torn off, maybe bleeding a little and messy, but right IN YOUR FACE impressionistic– a world in the midst of creation.
volcanic activity is everywhere, in the form of minerals trickling up to the surface through vents filled with super hot liquids. they spew across the surface of the land like pure pigment squoze directly from the tube, colors vital and almost violent in their appearance, full of texture, steam and menace. i’d be spouting cliché if i were to compare it to conan doyle’s “lost world”, or the many caveman movies coming complete with dinosaurs, but it IS elemental and oh so PREHISTORIC in how it meets not only the eye, but the olfactory and even deep within it resonates like the bell at the end of the world!
copper is also quite prevalent in the mix of elements–this pool, a very famous one, looks exactly the color of my test tube of copper sulphate from my home chemistry set when i was a child. what occurred to me when looking into the depths of this wide maw was that i would have loved to have a thermally protective suit to DIVE the sucker– your ultimate cenote dive, getcher tickets right here folks!!
these photos are but a taste of the whole– time for YOU to buy some tickets and go there yourself.
all too soon it was time to go– a little tired from getting up and “doing dawn” someplace, then moving a little and shooting more pictures. two photogs in one vehicle is CRITICAL MASS– but we had a great time. our plan the first day of travel was to stay in a small town called pinedale, but we stopped so much as we went along that we only made it back to jackson that night. i’m anything but sorry though– the next morning showed us this perfectly SPLENDID mist in the trees, and so we left jackson late instead of early as we had planned. it was like that all the way back to salida as well– always something to catch the eye and imagination!!
this photogenic barn with the grand tetons in the background, f’rinstance– this is an infrared shot, giving it a hint of something different.
we were ever so late getting back to salida, and it could have been later yet, except the light was so poor between minturn and leadville that it did not lend itself to shooting any images. we vowed to do something about THAT when i went back to denver though.
and after a couple more days in salida that’s what we did. there was a time when we were as much as an hour plus ahead of time, but when we entered minturn we were already twenty minutes late. worth it all though, as those aspens were gorgeous– FABU!!
i had the boo’s breakfast burrito with green chili (and an extra side of green chili, just like i used to when living in that area) at the turntable cafe– it had been– well– YUPPIFIED!! hard to recognise inside, but the burrito was just as i remembered it, and a real highlight of my trip.
i won’t say that the rest of my trip was anti-climactic, as it wasn’t, but not really fodder for a blog. it was all over too quickly and i was back home on the island again wondering if it all had really happened. however, all i have to do is to think about yellowstone and the tuning fork in my soul begins to emit a perfect tone.



i can’t believe that it was over a year ago when i last began a blog. this one was called “if it isn’t one thing it’s your mother”, but it barely got off the pad and i just couldn’t bring myself back to it, for whatever reason. it lay fallow til this morning when i deleted it and began this little message in a bottle.

not that i haven’t been busy– far from it. i finished up yet another painting, this one called “natasha”– i did a pen and inker of this piece way back when, but always wanted to paint it. the subject is someone from my distant past, a tantalising gal i once knew, lost in the river of time now. “natasha” is not her name, either– i used to call her by that though, as in “boris and natasha” from rocky and bullwinkle.
this piece came out of me smoothly and quickly, almost effortlessly– as if i had been doing it for a long time, and i suppose you could say that i HAD.
after some time i began another, a little project i had always wanted to do SOMETHING with– scaffolding!! i’ve always loved the way that scaffolding lays shadows down upon a freshly-plastered wall. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR they say, and i cannot disagree– just sketching in those interesting shadows took a couple of weeks or so!! after i got to the actual painting though, things went quite smashingly– i was experimenting with a couple of different brushstrokes, and it gave an amazing look to the canvas. then the diving season got more and more intense, and suddenly i ran into a bit of a reef with it. this photo is months old and i haven’t done a single brushstroke since– but i feel i am finally ready to get back into the piece once again.
so, you’re probably wondering what the hell i was talking about at the beginning, with my summer vacation and all. yeah, i salivated for it over a period of months, and when the day came to go i was ready. of course, the day came earlier than expected– three days before the flight i got both a “check in early” email AND a “your flight has been cancelled” email– “EGAD!!” i cried (well, no– that was NOT the word i used)– and frantically did the sudden reshuffle shuffle to get me out of town a day earlier than before.
spent a couple of days in denver with a friend, getting a great feed of SUSHI and SASHIMI in, making some food of our own, and buying lots of stuff– you have no idea all the crap one CANNOT buy down here in the tropics!!
then it was time to go– first up to salida to visit with a friend– the photo at the top is from a lake we would walk by often, a beautiful still bit of water, in places covered with gorgeous green algal SCUM– very photogenic!!
we then packed up and left for yellowstone park. it was a long day of driving, exacerbated by the fact we are both photographers, and prone to yelling– “STOP THE TRUCK!! I WANNA TAKE A PICTURE!!”. when we finally rolled into jackson wyoming there was not a lot of light left– just enough to snag some pix of these loverly swans a-swimming round. they were real hams and hung about for us.
next morning it was off to the park. i had been here for a short time in the mid-70s and then again sometime in the 90s, and had some pretty strong memories of it. WRONG!! so much of what i remembered was, to be charitable, “off”– and usually my memory is pretty trustable. however, we went out and did “old faithful” on a bit of a grey day (all those fires north of us in wyoming, montana and idaho were spewing a lot of smoke into the atmosphere). it subsequently cleared up a lot as our time went by, whether because of wind or diminution of the fire i have no idea.
y’know, if i were reading this missive i would be running out of steam by now,so i think i am going to write this sucker in two parts. you have just arrived at the end of part 1



2013 9 i had intended to name this post “girl with sharks”, after the painting i just finished this week after about six months of angst. sometimes being an artist is all about “what’s next?”, and i must admit to being prone to this– sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes a flaw. anyhow, i was looking round for what i was going to attempt, when it suddenly occurred to me that i have as yet to take any official photos of my sculpture, “inner conflict” truth be told, since i finished it three years plus ago i have rarely even looked at it in anything more than a superficial way– my only thought being that after 21 years of toiling on the piece i was absolutely sick of seeing it, and so it got ignored for three. long. years. i knew in a “sortuv way” that it was a little dirty, so the first order of business would be to clean it up so it looked as spiffy as possible when i did the imagery. easy,no? an hour or so of work perhaps and then wait a day for it to dry (marble being a form of calcium carbonate is slightly hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs some water), then slap a coat of wax on it and VOILA’!!– instant sculpture. but– mea culpa!! it was quite filthy really, and i spent a couple hours out there, sweating a river, at the end of which time i realised i must go out there again tomorrow and do a more thorough job on the piece. q-tips will be involved. sigh. my negligence was criminal, and so after i finish this blog it will be off to the spanking machine for me– maybe three times!! more to follow on this subject. err, the subject of the sculpture, that is.

gs8 ok, so on to “girl with sharks”– i have not had all that many commissioned pieces in my career, but i thought it would be somewhat of a challenge to do what this client wanted. basically there is a place somewhere around the bahamas where an enterprising photographer can go out on a boat. once arrived at the destination the water is chummed and when the fish that eat the chum come round the sharks arrive. a model enters the water, creating a photographic opportunity i suppose….. and this photog wanted me to do a painted version of one of his images. i played with the idea somewhat, expanding the image and moving some stuff around, taking the model’s mask and fins and snorkel away. wish i had the earliest images of this piece, but sometime last january some #$@%^&^%***^%$#%#@!! thieves entered my house and absconded with my computer. GODS CURSE ALL THIEVES!!

gs18 BUT!!– suddenly it was the middle of diving season an things got very heavy– i was tired and my tiny brain was so full of nitrogen that i could do little painting. it went on and on, and when at last i got shut of it i was quite lost in the wilderness, couldn’t remember much about my tonal progressions and had no idea how to get back to where i had been. in the end it took a lot of sitting in front of the piece, just looking at it, marinading my brain in the various threads running through the design. real boring stuff, but slowly it seemed to work and so i picked up my brushes again and began working. or not. i was pretty frustrated, i’ll tell you that. but slowly the stints of painting extended themselves and my immersion in the ocean of paint was complete. the ocean came first.

gs24 and then the sharks “happened”– suddenly they had weight and seemed to inhabit their area in a three dimensional sense– even the water had a deeper field of focus. either the light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train, but it didn’t stop me. then, as happens sometime, it seemed to me i had hit a reef– “the girl”.

gs29 i really struggled with her for some time, trying to understand all the volumes and shapes involved– i got to know that damn photo quite intimately, you might say!! and slowly but slowly it began to yield its’ secrets. turns out it wasn’t a dusky brazilian gal, but rather a caucasian blonde– huh!! her bikini wasn’t white, but a pale blue. the more i understood the more it began to happen for us.

gs38 it wasn’t without its’ bumps though– i can remember one four day stretch of sitting and looking at it again, at her, before finally hoisting the brushes again and painting frantically. and so, after everything, it happened.

girl with sharks 2016 acrylic 19.5X26.75 in.jpg now– what’s next?? oh crap, it’s back to cleaning that damn sculpture again. but first, a visit to the spanking machine……



BETTER & BETTER!! the first in this series was when i created a new juvenile drumfish was quite unique, and it remains so– but that just wasn’t enough. i then designed and made a tiny drumfish element. the first thing i used it in was a double dangle drumfish earring 1

a couple of tiny gold rings secured them to the earrings, giving them a wonderful range of motion, and imbuing them with a movement reminiscent of the real thing. the pair pictured has posts, but they are also available with either hooks or lever 7

i then used my new new “elbow post” to give even a single tiny drumfish on each side that same particular motion. the gold wire seems to disappear, leaving the tiny drummie seemingly dangling in space, winking and 5

and of course, i made some simple studs as well– simple and 4

i have used all this as a preamble to introducing my new design– the triple tiny drumfish earring set. these earrings bring the design even further along, opening it up.drummie triples

at the same time it continues to preserve that wonderful unique motion. anyone who has seen these lovely creatures in the wild as a group will find my triple drumfish ALMOST as mesmerising as the real thing!! these ones are on hooks, but they are also available with either posts or lever backs.


simple stud– 0.75 gm 18KY, 1/4″X5/16″X1/8″, 6mmX3mmX10mm
w/ elbow post– 0.9 gm 18KY, 5/16″X3/8″X3/16″, 10mmX9mmX4.5mm
double dangle– 2.5 gm 18KY, 1 5/16″X1 1/16″X3/16″, 42.5mmX27mmX4.5mm
triple dangle– 5.0 gm 18KY, 1 7/8″X1 1/16″X3/16″, 47mmX27mmX4.5mm


studs and elbow posts

multiple tiny juvenile drumfish earrings

i can ship these pieces to you anywhere in the world safely and securely using Fed Ex. shipping to the continental US is $50. if you live outside the US or in alaska or hawaii please just CONTACT ME in order to get a shipping quote!!



salida, mercadoi had a mostly excellent trip to merida recently, the only fly in the ointment being a nagging bronchial ailment, which i seem to have passed on to a friend who lives there– sorry, buddy!!

one of the best results i had from the trip was a sudden jump-starting of my photographic muse– i had been feeling somewhat stale and jaded in cozumel, the result of wandering too many times down the same streets, seeing mostly the same sights. but merida gave me a fresh look in a much different light as i trod along, happily wandering down this calle and that one, seeking avenues unknown. i found some, but others just seemed a little different. anyhow, suddenly my mind was all abrim with new angles and new ways to look at things.mad possum

this new sensitivity has traveled back to cozumel with me, especially as the bronchial annoyance has faded. i haven’t had a lot of time since i got back, what with diving and such, but this morning i was really in the zone or whatever– i could feel it happening and it filled me with energy. and so it was that i came across an canvas advert along the street, and suddenly i was transported.oops, no, it wasn’t this wild weasel or possum or whatever, but rather this sign…

motel ha

it was the turn of the century, 2000, and i was driving, moving from my old home in colorado to my new one here in mexico. i had had a long day and was looking forward to a little dinner and a kip, but the place i had been thinking of staying in turned out to be not so nice. i figured i would just go to the next town and find a place there, but nothing looked encouraging, and the day wore on, hot and sultry, dusty and gritty. then suddenly i was in veracruz, the road changed from a two laner to six on a side, populated by a mad herd of taxi drivers and it began to pour rain. there was a boulevard between my six lanes and the ones going the other way, and almost no divisions to change direction. alluva sudden a tiny sign appeared out of the downpour, and by the time i had read it– “hotelarea” i had passed the gap. “CURSES!!” i cried, and tried to find a way back to where i had come from. there wasn’t anything– “not a sausage!!”, as john cleese would have said. i was tired and afraid i was going to get into an accident. the only choice i could see was an exit to the airport or else i had to go back onto the toll road, so i chose the airport, thinking like any stupid american that of course there would be a hotel there. WRONG!! now i was sure i was going to get into an accident and end up in a real bad spot.

suddenly i realised that i had to get a grip or i WOULD get into an accident. there was no divider now, so i pulled a sudden U-turn in front of a bunch of police cars and started back to town. after an interminable interval i saw– SALVATION!! a motel– PEPSI MOTEL was the small sign, and so it was with vast relief i turned into the narrow entrance. out of the darkness came a guy, motioning me to follow, and he guided me into a garage, and after i came out he closed the sucker– odd, i thought, but hunger was clawing at my innards, so instead of inquiring i asked about food. well, he said– he could make me a grilled cheese sandwich. GIVE ME TWO!! i almost yelled, and so he did. not gourmet stuff by any means, but it tasted pretty darn good to me.

so there i am in my little room, swilling the last vestiges of tequila from my bottle and picking my teeth, trying to watch monday night football on a screen full of snow. something about the room bothered me, and i couldn’t quite put my finger on what the hell it was. but it occurred to me when i lay back on the bed– THE MIRROR ON THE DRESSER!!– laying on the bed it gave an exact view of what was happening on the mattress, and it came to me like a sudden flash of lightning– i was in THE MOTEL OF ASSIGNATIONS– a fuck motel if you will, a “hot pillow joint”, and the covered garage meant that one could bring whoever there and have their vehicle out of the public eye, shielded from gossips and detectives. i began to laugh, it was pretty funny– not just the location, but also my naivete, that it took me so long to figure things out.

of course, living as i do now, i know that most time when it sez “motel”, this is what it means. still and all, a nice advert i had to admit– a tetch evocative, if i do say so myself. not that I plan on staying there….



m 3m 2a few months ago, some friends of mine brought me a little maquette of marilyn monroe. a local artist had made it for them, but obviously he was not aware of the iconography of the image, and he had subsequently left the country. they asked me if i could do something with it, and so i took the project on.

first i had to take off as much of the garish paint as possible, and i tried to do as much as i could with the dress and the way it billowed up– even though i liked the way the artist had postured the body, the physics of the dress had also escaped him somewhat. this got me into the world of papier mache’ sculpture, which i spent quite a while researching. “it ain’t yer parents’ papier mache’ anymore, dorothy”!! i couldn’t believe how much things had changed, and how much innovation had evolved in the making of this seemingly simple compound.i decided to work with what they called “papier mache’ clay”, which was not clay at all, but rather a combination of cheap toilet paper, white glue, joint compound and mineral oil.

m 6m 4 you basically mix the stuff up together using a basic mixer. my first batch was a little coarse for what i had anticipated, but it did yeoman service on the dress, giving it a nice light cloth-like texture and imparting a sense of movement to it. i filled in some trenches in the breast areas as well.

however, for the face and bum i made a separate smoother mix, filling out her jaw area and forehead (she’d sorta looked like a mongolian mexican marilyn til then) and amplifying her til then somewhat nonexistent glutes. luckily enough the “clay” kept well for a couple of days, and i made several applications, learning a little more about how it worked every time. after all this plastic surgery was completed i gave it about four good coats of flat white paint, to cover up all the rest of the colors, which were distracting in themselves.

m 11m 10 now i had a figure that, in the words of bernini “looks as if it has been dipped in a sack of flour”– somewhat without personality. and so the painting commenced. my first attempt at the skin was just too CORAL!!!– it reminded me of a set of cupboards i had when i last lived in canada. so i toned it down. the dress was a problem, but in the end highlighting it with titanium white and brushing iridescent white into the curves gave it great grace and movement. the hair was not easy– what color IS platinum blonde, anyhow? i messed around with and got something fine.m 24m 25

but by far the most difficult thing to do were the eyes– despite all my modelling work, the topography was not always conducive to portraying them, and many was the time i had to curse and grind my teeth, paint everything out and then go back and try to get it right the next time.. i must have spent two days trying to get it to all work together. and then the next morning i just couldn’t leave it alone– i had to do “one more pass”!!m 30

don’t get me wrong, i don’t think this to be a perfect marilyn, but rather one that has some of the spirit of the iconic image that most of us have grown up with. tom ewell may not have aged well, but marilyn certainly has. interestingly enough, i took the time to watch “the seven year itch” recently, and i was quite amazed at how little footage of marilyn on that subway grate there was. somehow i think the image i have in my mind was a longer video, done to promote the film, or perhaps it was at the film opening. i know i have seen more than i saw in that film!!m 27

THE END p.s.– happy mexican independence day everybody!!



or “TMOAAP”, as i have come to refer to it, is moving along. glacially at times, with not a little tension, but i continue to make progress.asp 9 since this was not my first foray into aspen paintings or even aspen drawings, i decided that i wanted to do it with some different techniques– the last thing i wanted to do was to repeat what i had done before, but rather to break some new ground. the original drawing and painting were both squares, and the last painting a horizontal work, so the first thing i decided was that i wanted to do a vertical piece, featuring the long aspen trunks and the way they picked up the hints of violet in the later afternoon light up by edwards colorado. it was great to have some different photos to work with, to bring it all back to me, and composition went fairly well. sketching it all in was, as usual, nothing easy for me, but i got it done and began putting pigment down on the canvas.asp 25
and at first i was using my normal manner, moving around the painting, employing the tonal progressions in all areas of the piece one after the other, trying to get them all to relate to one another. my earliest layers of pigment were put down in a basic pointillist style, little flecks of color slowly bumping up against one another, first filling up the space and then overlappingasp 45

and violet– violet everywhere, in the greens and blues and greys– mixed in with the pigment or even painted atop other layers. this is where my brush stroking began to change as well. i had experimented with this particular stoke a while back in my taqueria movil painting, but here i decided to use it everywhere i could. i compare it with “automatic writing”, as i am trying to disconnect with my conscious brain a little bit and allow the other more mysterious part take over a bit. it really got me going, and at times i began to experience that wonderful omnipotent feeling that comes when you are in total control without actually consciously controlling anything. not sure that makes sense, but it is how i felt.asp 70

of course, with all this “controlled lack of control” i finally surfaced to realise that i had run the sucker right off the rails. what the hell was i doing?? why were the bright grasses painted with such yellowy yellows?? had i totally ruined everything???

well, no– not really. time to get a hold of myself and FOCUS again, a little less willy-nilly this time. slowly at first and then faster and faster and feeling that marvelous ENERGY all over again. i think i crashed and burned maybe a half-dozen times on this piece, living and dying, ecstasy and suicide. one moment i would be so sure– “YESSIRREE, THIS IS TOTALLY WHY I AM AN ARTIST!!”, but much of the time– gosh!!asp 79 the trees came to life, the trunks violet pillars and the upper leaves green flames.

then the soldiers came. i put in these regimented flowers everywhere and then wondered why i didn’t like my painting any more. sigh. overpaint them and hope for the best. but i shouldn’t have worried so much, as every time i suffered a setback the painting would come back stronger and stronger. i was feeling a little looney around the edges, totally obsessed, people asking for jewellery orders that i had left lay fallow on my bench five months before. i couldn’t be bothered. nothing else mattered.asp 99

RELEASE THE HOUNDS!! i would mutter to myself after every defeat– take your brain out of gear and let it go. and that’s what happened. slowly but slowly it came on and on, and you could tell how it went by the look on my face. finally though it was down to the short stokes, wondering if i would ever get there.asp 111

then came the day i tried to introduce the flowers again. i had thought long and hard about it, and had this “GREAT IDEA!!”– complementary colors. yellow flowers in the violet areas, red in the green and orange in the blue. i tellya, it wasn’t my best idea ever. i hated it. more thinking, an entire afternoon spent looking at it and wondering what it was that i had to do. unfortunately, i was interrupted by some diving, but i was back at it soon enough, and my new idea worked just fine.asp 117

and so it seems to be done. maybe. i signed it a few days ago, but have worked on it several times since. little subtle stuff, but every time it made things better this could be it, but i suppose you will have to wait for my next blog to find it out.



natasha 2012 acrylic 35inX56inwell, “natasha” is all done, and i left the signature where it was– i was satisfied with how it looked. this would be the official pic here.

then came a long patch of other stuff– i have been diving quite a bit these last couple of months, with my “sharkbaiter” group, a bunch of people who come down every year and dive around this part of the year– carnaval. we have a lot of fun, they’re all good divers and so easy to guide. we have dinner together and socialise at times too. the group morphed from just a couple to about six or seven on occasion.

when i had a moment or two i would work on my huge ongoing “negatives” project. this time i was taking selected negatives and cleaning them with a solution and then re-scanning them, and pushing them once again through my photoshop program.aspens 9 i had a lot of success with this procedure, and having more experience with the neg scanner helped me a lot too. in the end i had just a few that i shall have to re-scan AGAIN, trying for better results, but before that i need some help with the finer points of my photoshop program– mostly to take out the odd dust spot or whatever that has remained upon the surface of the celluloid. my computer techie put a couple of helper downloads on my computer, but not having a human close by to help with some points made it absolutely frustrating. looking forward to getting some good help, and i am not talking psychiatrists here!!cupola 1 this one is a composite that i like, although i judge it not to be of any use, unless i was to really “muscle” it in photoshop– but that isn’t much my desire here, much as i might do such things in the future. first thing is to produce my little “internet book” of my older photo images.

i am also back to shooting analog film again, having picked up some infrared film online– expen$ive stuff, but what the hell, it is my obsession. not sure of my results, i haven’t yet developed any of the two plus rolls i have shot, but i am excited to see how it all is coming out.

meanwhile, i have discovered alluva sudden that i am in somewhat of an artistic funk– i am not well-motivated, and there are pieces of jewellery i have not gotten to, despite having the time to do them. i was starting to get worried.

part of it is that i have had someone in my house, painting the interior, and the place fairly REEKS of fresh paint (yeah i know, what did i think it would smell like?), plus the painter is clattering around and the house is kinduv in an odd state. just the same, every silver lining has its’ cloud– err, rather, the painting (which is bringing my little hovel back to being a home again, and hurray for that!!) process has had a fringe benefit. when we moved a piece of furniture around i found a box of slides. i thought it was slides i had already looked at, but yesterday morning when i opened the box i realised it was all the images from a shoot i did many a year ago at an aspen grove. the few images i had of this subject have been fodder for a pen and ink drawing and two paintings–aspen grove 2013 acrylic 42.5X32.5 this one would be the latest. i have had pending requests for more of these pieces, but i was plumb out of inspiration on this subject, but finding these slides has gotten me going on it again. i am going to produce a large piece here, the bull goose loony “aspens” painting. i remember the shoot i had in the grove, how i had noticed that at certain times the trees, which were mostly grey and green in color, would turn shades of violet and purple, and i was looking for this that day. i shot over a period of time, and so i will have some different point from which to start a new painting. looking forward to it.



nat 15even “the gorgon”– someone expressed the opinion that this painting reminded her of this mythical person. i can see the resemblance, really, especially as the curls in the hair began to attain a somewhat serpentine movement and volume. plus, the subject of this piece could certainly turn me to stone with just a look. i do not say this in a negative sense, certainly not all the time. she was quite a sparkling and mesmerising gem i thought, at least I was hypnotised– hell, that was how i got into the mess in the first place!!nat 20stop me in my tracks indeed– some of the passes i did while working on this piece were as long or longer than any i had ever done before. especially the darker blues in the hair, at one time i realised my feet were in some agony, product of not wearing my sandals, and for once i actually stopped for a couple of minutes and put them on again. i hate stopping in mid-pass, but it improved my brushwork immensely.nat 27slowly but slowly the complementary colors began to recede into the paint itself, becoming much less apparent, but affecting the texure and feel of the way i was applying the paint. i worked on balancing the color values as one area abutted another. the blue that forms the frontier of her nose needed some work, and then the green of the background i made to look rough and unfinished. the brushwork here looks pretty random, but in reality it is some of the most deliberate in the entire painting.nat 30i’ve had paintings i had to coax before, some i have had to drag out by the scruff of their necks, and others have resisted whatever efforts i have made, but this baby literally GUSHED out of me–i guess i was ready to address the matter, as it must have percolated through my system for more than a few years now– funny how things are sometimes like that.nat 34and so now it is sortuv finished– it may even BE finished, i shall be looking at it for a few days and trying to decide if there is anything left i can do with it. but i have signed it, after many an hour of thought (as i knew quite early in the process it would be an issue with me), in the lower left corner. i don’t see how i had an option, as i disliked the thought of it clouding up any of the hair, and the spaces in the lower right without hair would have been darkened as well. still lookin’ and still thinkin’ about it, but i think it is there to stay. i shall be shooting official pictures of the piece in a while, but i shall leave that for a future blog. hope you like “natasha” as much as i do.



or as siggy freud might have pondered– “is this just a cigar or what??”– but more on that later.taqueria mo'vil 2014 acrylic 56X28, 1.42X.71m
here’s a picture of my finished painting, which i like a great deal. had an official unveiling to good reviews. BUT!!– being a typical artist, it was on to “the next thing”, as, when something is done i somewhat lose interest in it. some people are adrenaline junkies, i get my kicks by driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to make my new project work.

tshirt revisedthe first thing i did was to design my t-shirt, something i have wanted to do for quite some time. i originally did a t-shirt design for the anita boat, but it never went over well, and looking back at my old drawings i can see why– the image was nice, however it had not much elan, pizzazz, “pop”, whatever you call it. my new one has some movement and a subtle violence, a threatening element i like quite a bit. the printer did a great job as well– i picked up the finished product about an hour ago, and the printer dude managed to make it look like i have hand-drawn the image on all the t-shirts. now i gotta sell ’em!! any offers out there? $15.

ok, let’s get back to siggy. years ago i had a “relationship”. it didn’t go all that well, and it affected me for many a year. in the late 90s i wanted to give it some sort of a concrete form, that i might rid myself of all the negative energy, and so i did a pen and ink drawing of how i felt about it (back then i worked a lot with pen and ink– dip nib pen, and pointillism, just to drive myself round the bend). this is how i ended up with “natasha”–natasha not her real name, more of a pet name i might call her at times. all good and well. the drawing almost sold on a number of occasions, but never quite, affording me the opportunity to see it over the years, and i have always thought that it would be an interesting subject to paint. and so this became the time. it also makes me wonder if it means anything– am i revisiting my old pain, or is it just another piece of my work?nat 2

the honest answer is, i suppose “a little bit of both”– i had to let myself drift back to that time in my life, experience some of the feelings i felt, in order to really give the design a vision. however, i found that it is nowhere near as tender a spot as it once was– i think i’m ok with it. and this gives me the freedom to do something with it, to expand it and make it something somewhat new. the sketch above won’t give you much of an idea, it is like most of my sketches, and doesn’t photograph particularly well. i always muse on how i should invest in some stock from the liquitex company, as i use so much of their titanium white when i sketch. nat 6

this is a current shot, taken just this afternoon, and it is still early in the development. most of the paint on the canvas is of my “complementary colors”, most of which won’t be seen in the final stages, just a “flavor”, but i have done a little bit on the hair and lips, the background. i have been telling people that, at this stage, it is looking like a zombie girrrl with animated eyes. don’t worry, it will get better.

time to go to work again, but just had something to say this afternoon…



would most likely call what i am feeling “post-partum depression”, and indeed i am somewhat depressed this afternoon. some of it can be blamed on the weather– it has been doom and gloom for a few days on the island, thunder-boomers everywhere, the early hours dark enough to be night, punctuated by the sharp pocketa-pocketa of approaching rain and then the gargoyles of heaven sluice down a heavy pounding– hard to just call it “rain”, as the streets are quickly alive with gushing tendons of water. it all happens as quickly as this run-on sentence you just read.taco 84“down in the black gang” is how i have described my feelings the last couple of weeks– i have felt like one of those guys shovelling coal into the flaming maw of a ship’s boiler, oily skin covered with a thick layer the color of jet. the weather has been hot and dense and slippery with sweat, making the wearing of clothes uncomfortable and itchy. after my morning walkabout, sometimes dancing between the raindrops to avoid  becoming drenched, i have been mostly trapped inside my house, painting. painting painting painting painting painting painting painting. that or staring at the painting. glaring at the painting. then back to it for a while and then looking at it once again, trying to assess just how much good i was doing. taco 88but somewhere in there the magic slowly slid in– it began when i figured out just how the shadow from the awning above the triciclo fell on the  ground, and suddenly i was right down into it again, after so damn long– i was once more confident, and the inner query of “what do i do next?” no longer elicited a cold shiver, but rather i knew what it had to be. that patch of dirt i had finally realised couldn’t be green but brown turned out to include both colors. the faces of the figures in the shadows and light suddenly sprang out, they just had to be that way– and there!! and there!! and– there!! i worked so fast i painted the woman in the foreground’s right arm as sliding behind the triciclo, and as i hurriedly changed it back i found even more depth in the way her body curled and formed the posture. i had thought the tree finished, but i ended up putting in three different colors on the trunk and then two more on the flowers and another couple on the leaves. more color in the grass– a pale whitish green– and the shadow the tree threw down upon it as well.taco 93and then, just like one of those flat earth society ships that reaches the end of the map i fell off– the piece had been signed and, for all intents and purposes, finished. after this i noodled around with it some, but since yesterday in the late morning there has been nothing forthcoming. i think i am done. hence my little “down mood” today– well, that and the draggy weather of course. i have yet to take the actual finished shots of the piece, will wait for a few days and especially a little better ambient light, so i can capture it a little bit better.


and then it is on to the next thing i suppose– i have several projects i want to pursue. gotta shoot the pix for the new tiny drumfish design and do the posts, but that will come in time. i have a special order for a clownfish that i have not done, really preparing myself for it. and then there is a grotesque– i spoke of gargoyles up above, and just read a book that involved carving them, or rather, grotesques– apparently it is called a gargoyle only if it is used to conduct and spew water, but i have a hankering to do some stone cutting again, a big yearning. first, i suppose, i need some stone…….



WON’T TAKE IT!!”– or perhaps better written as “we seem to have hit a reef!!”. it was some time ago that last i wrote a blog, and it is just about time, don’t you think? now, where was i?…..taco 63oh yeah, “taco 63”– “taco” being my shorthand for the name of this painting, which would actually be “taqueria movil”– “mobile taqueria”.

now, part of the reason i haven’t written in some time is that i was plain busy, diving. diving diving diving diving diving– you get the picture. so much nitrogen in the bloodstream and brain that it sortuv co-opted my thinking for quite some time. but the worst of it is that it really removed me from my painting, all those tonal progressions, and slowly the piece began to get less and less familiar and difficult to connect with– i lost track of where i was going with it in a mental sense–you can take that however you want!!

when i finally started to get a wee snisket of time for myself, i had some jewellery orders and the like, but really i had become frightened of what seemed to me to be an opaqueness in my thinking about the piece. so i began to break it up into smaller parts and try to work on it that way.taco 67i painted the guy in the foreground, beginning with his shirt and then continuing on with the other member of the foreground, the woman. it was slow going, i had to pick my way along, unsure of where i was headed at times, but getting some good stuff here and there. i started and stopped, started and stopped, and really i DID have a lot of orders with the jewellery to do, so in the meantime i brought my new pieces there to fruition– first the 3-D trunkfish and then my big manta ray pendant these are both excellent pieces and i feel very good about the work i did on them, bringing them to a finished state.grand manta ray3D trunkie reverse 1


and now, WATCH OUT FOLKS!!– as soon as i can figure out a away to photograph them, i shall be producing pages and posts on my brand new TINY DRUMFISH DESIGN– it truly IS tiny, and a whole saga in the making as well– a tale of toil and terror and a lot of sore fingertips!!

but that’s a whole separate barrel of monkeys– today i wish to write about my painting and how i am continuing to work on it, despite all the struggling and seeming painting in the dark you might say. i puddled around with the piece, and slowly there was a tiny bit of light at the end of the tunnel, it would seem. i began to see the things that i DIDN’T like about the work, first the dirt area where most of the background figures sit or stand (do you see the dark silhouette of someone behind the woman in the foreground? it’s become a habit of mine to put such a figure into some of my paintings.taco 79but the ground was not a brown i decided– it had to be more green and grey and fit in with the grassy area, and this worked too. now i am starting to add the light areas in the dirt, once more having to experiment and see how it goes, adding and subtracting the shadows all over the place, really in search of arriving where i once was– with a full idea of what is going on in the painting. keep your fingers crossed for me, please–this could be one of my very best if i can only find myself again.morning glory 2013 acrylic 23X60My beautiful picture

and now for some fond farewells– my friends manny and sharon were down to dive this last week, but also to pick up a sculpture they wanted– “water” has been with me for a quarter century plus now, and it is like a good friend who moves away. i know she is going to a great home though, and i plan on visiting her in the not too distant future.

and then in a surprise move, my friends brian and tina, also down to dive, told me they wanted my most recent painting– “morning glory”– i had to hustle around to create a packing tube for it, and was once more a little sad to see it go– i have been enjoying the way the light plays over it during the day, but these people are not too far away, and i think they will see me on their doorstep before too long as well.

i thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support and praise– i am humbled by it all.




grand manta rayanyone who has been in the water with these wondrous creatures has to admire their sinuous, dancer-like movement, and i have tried to incorporate some of that feeling into my design. the upper surface is a little textured, giving the piece a shimmery “matte” effect, whereas the underside is soft and creamy, much like the inspiration.grand manta ray reverse

yet another special design bale gives a great sense of movement to the work, looking to lend a sense of majesty to the wearer.

this piece comes from an original commission shown here, a line of diamonds along the crest of the body. a quote for this special design is available upon request.grand manta ray special

majestic manta ray pendant

dimensions– 1 3/8″X 1 5/16″X 1/4″
42mmX 34mmX 6mm

10 gm 18KY gold


we can ship this piece to you anywhere in the world safely and securely using FED-X. shipping to the continental US is $50.00. if you live outside the US or in Alaska or Hawaii please contact me for a free shipping quote



grand eagle ray 1i’d had so many requests for an enlarged version of my eagle ray pendant that i just couldn’t resist– the expanded size has allowed me to add extra detailing all the way around. just like the original eagle ray pendant, i have hung this from the wing, giving it a beautiful “in flight” appearance, the specially designed rivetted bale allowing it freedom of movement to enhance its’ sleek look, ALMOST as good as the real thing!!grand eagle ray reverse

great eagle ray pendant

1 1/4″X 1″X 1/4″
30mmX 25mmX 7mm

7 gm 18KY gold


we can ship this piece to you anywhere in the world safely and securely using FED-X. shipping to the continental US is $50.00. if you live outside the US or in Alaska or Hawaii please contact me for a free shipping quote



grand octopus 1more than a mere expansion of my regular octopus, this work of the jeweller’s art is softly modelled, the tentacles flowing in kicky swirls that refuse to catch in your hair, reaching in all directions.grand octopus reversethe rich detailing of the reverse side and specially designed bale give this piece the look of something ready to make a move of its’ own– better grab it before it gets away!!

grand octopus pendant

1 3/8″X 23/32″X 3/8″
36mmX 18mmX 9mm

9 gm. 18KY gold


we can ship this piece to you anywhere in the world safely and securely using FED-X. shipping to the continental US is $50.00. if you live outside the US or in Alaska or Hawaii please contact me for a free shipping quote