Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This Winter's Work...thus far

My painting this winter has often taken a back seat to shoveling snow and refilling the bird feeders. Then more shoveling. Shoveling out the mailbox. Shoveling the walkway. Shoveling a tunnel so that the oil delivery guy can get to the side of the house. I've also read a lot and taken quite a few notes for a possible new book. Not a zombie thriller, but a novel. It's just something I'm working on. It may never result in anything, but I do enjoy the research.

I did attend a critique session in January for artists at the Attleboro Arts Museum and found it helpful. It was a two hour session. There were six of us. Each of our works was 'critiqued' by our peers and the session leader who was an assistant professor. We were easy on one another which lead to feelings not getting hurt. However, I was expecting just a little more brutality, e.g. 'what do you really think of my subject, my composition, color, technique?' We got a little of that, but with the 16 ounce boxing gloves with short rounds. At any rate, I'd go to another.

This winter's work in painting is not yet finished. I've posted some of my work off to the right in the column. You also will see some in prior posts. Hope you find them interesting and enjoyable.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Word About 'Are You All Set?'

Since this blog covers books (yes, mine), and since books are comprised of words and language, I can't help complaining about the use of a certain phrase, i.e. 'Are you all set?' Over the years, the meaning of this has deteriorated drastically, much like the retail and service sectors where it is used so often. An example? Sure.

A few days ago I paid a visit to the local office supply store, one of many of a well-known national chain. I took my purchase and stood at the checkout while the polite young cashier responded to a question from a customer regarding an item she could not find. The cashier spoke into the cord on her neck, describing to her manager exactly what the customer was looking for and asking him to come forward.

So, here was the scene. A young cashier, the customer and me. That's all. The manager arrives, sees the customer and the first thing out of his mouth to the customer is, "Are you all set?" I've heard it a million times before and still amazed.  Am I wrong to think that the more appropriate approach would have been, "How can I help you, m'am?" or something similar? Did he really think that anything could be 'all set' in the 20 or 30 seconds that had elapsed between the time he was called by the cashier and the time he arrived to speak to the customer?

No, hell no, she wasn't all set. She wanted her question answered and it hadn't been. 'All set' has come to mean a really rude and sloppy way to ask if someone needs your assistance. Civility and courtesy have taken a back seat. Only my opinion.

Don't get me started on another idiom...i.e. 'No problem'. I'll leave that for another time.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recent Works

These are recent paintings of mine. None are titled yet. However, first and second ones involve the NYC skyline. The top one shows the Brooklyn Bridge while below that we see two bridges. Below that is a quaint village scene. Fourth in line is the Nubbick Light in York ME. Fifth is a prior painting of mine which I decided to experiment on. It's as if the painting were over a brick wall. It's not quite finished. sixth, I've tried to render a North American Great Ape, known to many as Sasquatch or Bigfoot. No, it's not a portrait. I haven't seen one...yet.

Monday, December 1, 2014


After a couple pounds of Elmer's glue, two broken drill bits, two yards of bookcover material, more than a thousand pages, a few dozen yards of dental floss and two large Davey boards, it's done...and I'm happy with the result. These volumes, if retained for posterity, will last a long while. They are hand bound and should remain an heirloom for many years.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Short Video of My Bookbinding Project

The process is exacting. The covers have to be cut to the right length as well as the spine. It must be placed in the right place on the cover for glueing. I've used almost 30 ounces of glue to make eight books, a good portion of a roll of waxed dental floss for binding/sewing the pages together and a couple yards of material for the covers. You have to be careful not to glue everything in sight. Waxed paper helps. I still have to put a title on the front and perhaps the spine for the editions. Almost done.

Monday, November 24, 2014

In the Process of Binding My book(s) of My Family History

This will be my last update and final version of my family history. It's all done except for putting the block of text into a handbound cover. Actually, there are two volumes to the history. I've tried to include everything pertinent including complete ancestral lines to over a dozen families in our ancestral background, famous ancestors, photos, various documents, letters and notes from relatives and as much anecdotal history as I could find (as opposed to just dates).

The process for assembling a hardbound book goes something like this (keeping in mind that the print is only on one side of a couple hundred pages of 11x8.5" paper:
1. Put together the block of pages.
2. Glue the spine side of them.
3. Drill holes close to the spine and sew the pages together. I used waxed dental floss for its strength.
4. Attach end pages and glue again.
5. Glue a saddle (also called a mull) to the spine of the block.
6. Glue the 1/8" cardboard covers and spine to a cloth cover.
7. Setting the block properly within the cover, glue each end page to the covers while also glueing the saddle to end page and the cover.

Some photos are shown to the right of the book blocks, with saddle, cardboard sheets from which I cut the covers. It's not all finished yet, but close.

Monday, November 17, 2014

This Season's Work So Far...see Column of images on the right

I've posted five images of the paintings I've finished so far this winter season. I took the pictures on a rainy, dark day inside, so the images do not do the work justice (in my opinion). Three of these will enter the member's exhibit at the Attleboro Arts Museum in the next few days.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Auction Results

I am so pleased. Both of my paintings sold. "Village Shoppes at Night" sold for $308 and was the highest selling painting in the silent auction. The other, 'Chariot Tracks in Ancient Pompeii' sold for $108. The paintings are visible in my earlier post of October 12.

It is interesting to note that both have been shown in Art Shows in Taunton and Attleboro. 'Chariot' won a first place in Taunton. 'Village' didn't win a thing either place, but certainly had more appeal to the public.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Silent Auction

I'd like to know how 'they' chose which items went into the live auction and which were placed into the silent auction. It turns out both of my donations were part of the silent auction. The silent auction went on after a couple weeks of online bidding and continued all night through the live auction. There were three sections of items in the silent auction, i.e. A, B, and C. Mine was the first item in Section A and got a great placement with maximum visibility. Some of the others were tucked around a corner. There were three to four very active bidders which served to generate quickly higher prices. It was fun to check the bidding sheet from time to time and receive one pleasant surprise after another.

That's it for now.

Attleboro Arts Museum Charity Auction (cont'd)

As I have never been to one of these before, I was duly impressed. The event was well-organized and professionally executed. A buffet of hors d-oeuvres downstairs. An open bar. All was covered by the $35 entry fee. My entry was free since I was a donator. The auctioneer was quite good and moved things along.

Although we left before the event concluded, I would not be surprised if the lady shown in my picture to the right was the eventual winner of my painting. Several bidders returned to up their bid, but she always seemed to be there to outbid them, returning perhaps 8-10 times to up her bid.

We did not see any of the silent auction items get anywhere the number of bids as my "Village Shoppes at Night'. It was exciting, amusing and satisfying to actually witness the interest first-hand.

I'll report back, probably early this week, with the final results.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


The auction was very well attended, especially considering the blowing, rainy, raw weather outside.

Attleboro Arts Museum Charity Auction

We just got back from the auction held tonight. We left a little early. I donated two paintings which ended up in the silent auction. They both sold. One of them had the most activity of any other works (that we saw). Silent bidders went through three bidding sheets by the time we left. The opening bid of $98 had risen to $248 by the time we left (with probably 45 minutes to an hour left). I was quite pleased to see how much interest there was. Must have been a dozen or more bidders with several placing many individual ones, coming back every 10 minutes to be the highest. I'll find out soon if the bids went higher.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Go Take a Look at the Online Auction for the Attleboro Arts Museum

Here's the URL...

I've donated two of my paintings for the cause.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Taunton Art Association 2014 Fall Art Show

The final day of the Art Show was today. A lot of excellent entries. My 'Gulliver Street in the Fall' took 3rd place in the Acrylic category. I show it below. I always agree with most of the judging, but never agree with it all. The judges certainly were qualified. Three were used with some diversity in backgrounds and expertise, e.g. watercolor, photography in particular. I always wonder how they reach a consensus. Must be interesting. Anyway, my third place was my best entry. Other times I've won with a piece that I entered as a 'oh, well...this is different...maybe someone will like it.'

There is some good work and good artists that never seem to win (not talking about me) but place 2nd or 3rd. The excellence of art work is in the eye of the beholder and the whole process of judging is subjective. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Painting Season Has Begun

For many of you, there is no painting season. Which could mean one of two things. It doesn't have seasons, it's all year long...or...well, or not. For me, I look forward to the fall and winter to get back into painting. It's a great diversion in the colder weather. It's an inside sport. Outside is golf which, for me, diminishes as the weather gets colder.

Anyway, it's also the season for showing, i.e. art shows. These have become one way I can measure my development as an artist. Sales and/or awards mean at least someone other than myself has taken note of what I have done.

I have my own feelings about how much I improve from year to year. Each year I try to develop a little more expertise, trying something new, whether it's different subjects, techniques or whatever.

I can tell I am improving, although it's never fast enough. I use strictly acrylic paint, mostly since oils and the their cleanup are slightly more toxic, in my view. I tried watercolors long ago with little success. Acrylics have some advantages.They dry much quicker. But they also have disadvantages, one major one being the difficulty in blending colors or softening an effect. Just watch Bob Ross with his use of Liquid Clear to see what I mean.

This year one of my goals to to create realistic ocean waves, especially coming into a beach.

In the next few entries, I'll share some early work started this month.