Piled Higher and Deeper

I think paintings are either commissioned, or, they are bought on impulse.  “Oooo I like that, it would look nice in the dining room.”

I paint what I like. It is on impulse, a dream, or I have looked at that scene on my way home and now I want to paint it. I like to paint landscapes, seascapes, pet portraits, old buildings with charm and sometimes people. I like to paint vegetables and fruit and glassware and copper and fabrics draped over or around. So now I have paintings piled higher and deeper.  Apparently I am not painting what people are looking for. YOU know, if you are a trained singer or flautist you probably want to sing or play for someone, else, what’s the point?  Me too. I don’t paint in order to stack more under the couch or closet but that’s what it’s come to.


Conkey’s Tavern Painting will be found in the Lost Towns Brew Pub in Gilbertville, MA, when it opens in September.

I just finished an oil painting of Conkey’s Tavern. in Pelham, Mass.  It is extinct having fallen to the ravages of time and The Quabbin Reservoir.  Some of it was preserved and is in the American Museum in Bath, England.  I painted it from a photo, of course, but I had to use artist license to make it look like it is was habitable.  Notice on the right side front where an addition was put on. I painted what I saw, the not so careful meshing of the clapboards. Actually the siding looks rough sawn.  I added a chimney which had fallen off and I painted the clouds looming in the distance foreboding  disaster. It was built in the 1750s by Conkey himself and was the meeting place of The Shay’s Rebellion group.  Did you know that after the men came home when the Revolutionary War was over, they found in many cases their fields fallow, overgrown with weeds and small trees. It took years to bring it back to where it could produce enough for them to sell and get some money coming in. All this while the government was taxing them. They couldn’t pay so they faced jail and get their property confiscated.   The government in their ever brilliant minds don’t think about how these men will get the money if they are cooped up. So what does Daniel Shay do? He  plots to rebel against the government. There is a shootout in New Braintree among other places.  Keep in mind these men have endured the hardships of battle, weather, lousy food to wrest our country from Uncle George III and to top it off , they are owed money from Uncle Sam.  I feel bitter just thinking about it.

So I am focusing on finding other farms in the Lost Towns area to bring back to life. You look at these old photos and see nice farms, fields all clear of trees and scruff that 3 or 4 generations labored to clear and till or graze their stock. The government says

“We need your farm to provide water for Boston” some hundred plus miles away. “So find yourself another place “(and start again).  The factory workers didn’t have that depressing problem. They got up and looked for another factory. I am not intending to slight the emotions of factory or office workers.

I’d love to hear your opinions on some or all of the thoughts in this blog.

Collecting material

Went with my daughter on her CSA deliveries and took lots of photos for my series of books for which I am constantly collecting material. CSA means Community Supported Agriculture where a subscriber pays up front in Winter for a weekly supply of what ever veggies are available in the summer. This is a way for the farmer to have an income in the winter when the earth is asleep – up North. Much like a subscription to anything…come June the subscriber gets a box or 1/2 box of assorted vegetables and fruits of what ever is ripe at the moment in the fields. In New England in early June that might be peas,lettuces, strawberries,radishes,and so on. As the summer progresses the varieties widen. It is a great idea and is done nationally.
So my children’s book will incorporate that concept. Kids are involved as they accompany the parent at pick up or go to the farm and see where things grow. At a farm machine museum near Sacramento, the curator told me that many kids that come in to the museum are unaware of the source of their food and a book about it would be a good thing.


On the advice from the book buyer at the train museum in Jamestown we went to Sacramento Rail Museum thinking that because Up In Smoke had to do with steam engines the museum store would be interested. No, Mr Grenache said only books to do with trains. We did take a tour of this terrific museum. After a 29 min. movie on how CA got a railroad (with enormous help from the Chinese men, they invented black powder millenia ago and were familiar with it’s use for leveling rail beds and tunnels) The civil eng. who planned the route thru the mtns found a way not to exceed a 2% grade. We were able to go aboard the Pullman car fitted out with beds made up. Reminded me of Some Like It Hot scene on the train. In the Dining car the tables were set with the various patterns of the differing train lines. They were beautiful. Poppies, columbine, landscape scenes, colorful geometric pattern. Now all this china is very collectible and pricey so they had a plastic bubble covering each entire table. The steam engines were gorgeous with their gold, red, green etc details.
We took the advice and went to The Ag Museum in Woodland. Colleen was extremely encouraging and took some books. She even gave me ideas for future books I may write on agriculture for children. I have so many ideas right now I could bust. By the way if you have any interest in antique trucks and farm machines you will be delighted with The Ag Museum on Hays Ave in Woodland. The trucks have been restored beautifully and the variety is astounding. Chevys and Fords of course but Reos, Diamonds, types we never heard of. It’s a big place so wear comfy shoes.