Sunday, October 18, 2020

Treasured Memories (Old Paint) 11 x 14 UART 400 GRIT 8 Ply Board

A child watches their father lay the first fresh coat on the clean new wood beneath the stair, the bolt then securely fastened and a new place is born for a bike, hand prints upon the latch, giggles as the spoke wheeled metal frame is removed, a hiding place during hide and seek, shade to eat a popsicle on a July day and a place to scare a sister come Halloween. Where a first kiss was met from a girl next door before her mother called her home for supper. Children age, they visit less frequently, not able to fit as well in the old coat, they grow so fast, the first coat, is scraped down and new coat is fit and applied. Years continue to march on, the bike no longer fits beneath, the hiding place cramped by the lawnmower that now rests there on summer days. Seasons come and go and again the paint is scraped and covered with a new coat as a bit more what once was is gone or buried beneath. The father cannot stoop as well to lay down the paint and the bolt now wears its own hat and coat of paint; screws having sealed it in place with several shades of rusted orange. Rain and snow are eating at the metal, burnt orange spreads out and stains, as cracks appear, wood splits and a trash barrel now resides beneath the stairs. Children grown, their adult hands only touch to help dad replace what is to be stored. Memories of times past will creep at odd moments as a finger picks at the coats of paint, we dream of being a child again, but we have been scraped and covered with our own new coat but beneath we are holding tight the last of our own old coat of paint.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Each Year the Rose Returns 16 x 20 pastel on 8 ply UART Board, 400 Grit

Witness to children’s voices, lover’s strolling by, warm summer rains, and winter’s chill. The tragedy of life and it’s best moments too. A bride standing nearby with hope and dreams not yet realized. The gnarled bones of an old man clutching his popcorn to feed the geese, as he remembers with heavy heart she who left not a year ago. Each year the rose returns to bring joy to those who stop for a moment to marvel at its beauty. Most just push by heading to a meeting with that impossible client, cell phone to ear or some distraction that results in head bent oblivious to what surrounds them beyond the illuminated screen the captures their stare. But oh, those who stop, the wind, the sun, that one person, eyes transfixed, to marvel at what they are, will make the resplendent bloom determined to return year after year.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Weathered. Worn. Tattered. Torn. Pastel 11 x 14 8 Ply Uart 400 Grit Board

When I was but a young lad some 50 odd years ago, I could not imagine a summer day without family and friends playing ball, be it a pick up game of Home Run Derby at Stackpole Field or Whiffle Ball in the Roby School. Football, touch or tag at the same locations, street hockey at parks around town. Summer meant first light to when the streetlights came on, only going home for maybe a quick lunch or some change for the 3 PM Ice Cream truck run.

During a recent walk from my home to the town where I grew up, no worries, it is only a five mile round trip walk, but during that walk I was reminded of my times noted above and how quiet the parks and ball fields are these days. Every elementary school in town had a ball field used for Minor Little League, later T-Ball and both girls and woman’s adult softball. As I passed one of these schools during my walk, the infield dirt now overgrown with grass, the rubber of the pitcher’s mound barely visible, I could hear the echoes of my youth slowly fading like the silence on those fields.

As I stared out at that overgrown field, I noticed this white object just beyond second base in the outfield grass. I walked out to pick it up and found this baseball. It was all in tatters. I thought how appropriate. It spoke to me of not just what once was, but what has become of great pastimes and memories.  I placed the ball on the weathered bench and thought, and so this is what we’ve become. Baseball perhaps above all other sports reminds us that interest in participating and playing these games has waned in favor of worn thumbs on hand controllers, an inability to understand and appreciate the nuances and the beauty of the sport in a world of fast paced, I need it now lifestyle. This is what our youth, our past time has become. We share no commonality. We’ve grown old and tired, the young bored and complacent. No sport perhaps shows that more than baseball. The playoffs that are just starting can be quite exciting, but those moments are few and far between.  The sport, what it meant to be a child in a different time, my time, my life, they have all become like this broken baseball and this splintered weather bench. It has become weathered, worn, tattered and torn.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Summer Breeze 12 x 16 pastel on 8 ply UART Board, 400 Grit

Living in New England sometimes it feels like we have only two seasons, Winter and not Winter. The summer’s can at times be rather cool and other times quite hot. It is the way that Mother Nature intends as hearty New Englanders we adjust accordingly. That being said, it is during the Winter time that days of Summer can help carry us through the cold, snow, slush and barren gray of the day. The thoughts of sitting by the shore as a warm sun filters down, the one you love on your arm as day sits in the time that is not quite afternoon, but not evening either, when the breeze kicks up and a waves seem to increase in sight and sound, the blues and greens mix together, close to the shore the seaweed sways in the pull of the currents and is seen through the entwined foam and water. Spray hits the rocks illuminating all kinds of colors forged so very long ago. It is peace, it is tranquility and it is all lost on a Summer Breeze.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Widows Lament Pastel 400 Grit Uart 8 ply board 12 x 18

I have spent a good portion of my life up in Gloucester, Rockport, Magnolia, and all along the coast of New England. My relatives are from that area and I knew well about those that go down to the sea in ships. I had an uncle who lost an arm working on a fishing trawler and a relative have his boat wrecked at Norman’s Woe, famed for the Wreck of the Hesperus made famous in Longfellow’s’ poem. The hard life of being a fisherman was one of great toil and little reward for those who worked the boats. Yet something about the sea shall always call the human spirit and it was no different for the men and later women who left the safety of harbors and shore to ply their trade, to catch fish, to be one with the sea. Each time the lines were cast off, the spouse might stand upon the dock, children in tow, wondering, is this the last time they would see their love. Was he truly her love, or was love of the sea first in his heart. Would love for the sea claim yet another. They knew storms in these parts come upon the coast quickly. Racing up the east coast from the Carolinas, the counter clockwise spin of the winds causing a northeast wind to rival any hurricane found in warmer climates. Yet mouths needed to be fed. Bills need to be paid and as his wife bid farewell, the last kiss still moist upon their lips, when those storms came, one could not help but think, this time maybe they should have held on a little longer, begged a little harder. Maybe this time, they could break the seduction of the sea, the sound of the sirens calling her husband, to his death. As the last image faded from site, as the storm kicked up, with each drop of rain, each rush of wind, would brush and mingle with the tears of a widow’s lament for letting him go. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sanctuary (Inner Harbor, Rockport, MA)
Pastel 17.75 x 22.75 400 Grit UART 8 ply board 

No offense to my south shore and southern New England brethren but I have always found the coast of New England, northern New England with its rocks and strong lines more interesting than the sandy dunes more often found on Cape Cod and other areas south of Boston. But no matter where you prefer or reside, sailors and fisherman have long found the harshness of the storms that come off the Atlantic with those North East winds need special protection. They built harbors, like this one in Rockport to protect their livelihood from the wrath of Mother Nature. Even behind granite structure like this did not always provide safety for when Mother Nature truly is angry with her children there is no sanctuary or escaping her fury. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

New Hope (She Gives Me) 16 x 20 Pastel 400 grit UART

Sadly there are only two National Historic Sites dedicated to the visual arts. Both are in New England, those being the Saint-Gaudens site, which is located in New Hampshire and the Weir Farm in Connecticut.

The Weir Farm is off the beaten path along the CT/NY border and as I found out many in CT do not know it exists. During my own visit to that pristine place I was strolling about thinking of the artists that at one time walked there: John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam and John Twatchman are just a few of painter J Alden Weir’s friends. 

I found this scene during my journey around the grounds. I found myself being attracted to the morning light as it came through the same gate those talented artists walked through did many years ago.  I thought of their footsteps, how Weir came to this place and so much more. I thought of my own journey, especially since I had lost my wife a year and half previous to this visit, how my life had changed from what I expected, had planned, had dreamed over the years with my wife, and now that she was gone, how my path was now changed and continues to change forever.

I had resigned to myself that this change, this journey that I was now undertaking I would probably be one I would be taking alone. It was not, as time wore on, that did not want somebody back in my life, to share a life, create new memories for that new journey, it was just that apparently in today’s world I don’t measure up to what woman want, both literally and figuratively. After many rejections, I had pretty much determined that I might as well give up and start planning for a life alone.

Then as the saying goes, when you least expect it and you’re ready to give up hope…things again can change.

She came into my life on a Sunday evening in late July 2017. Like the soft breeze along Lynn Shore Drive and Lynn Beach, which is where we took our first walk on that summer night, talking and laughing for just about two hours. It felt natural, it felt right, it felt like we had known each other for years, had merely lost touch and now the circle that is life had brought us back together. But we had never met, at least not in this life, but still there was something special about the night, about her, about us. Things just seemed to click. It is now a number of months since that July night, and we remain as one, making new memories, sharing a new journey, and falling in love time and time again. She has ignited a spark deep within my heart where it had turned cold. She has taught me to once again to dream of what can be.  She has given me love and she has given me hope. It is because of her and the gift she has given me that this painting is titled “New Hope (She Gives Me)”