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.


Here’s a ‘did you know’. El Paso,Texas is closer to the Pacific Ocean then it is to Houston! Not only is Texas big, everything about it seems to be big. The concept of ranch size is boggling. Larry and I recorded some music at Gazelle, a studio in Kerrville, TX, last week and Louie, at the studio, told me his grandfather or maybe great grandfather in the 1850s came out here and claimed land, I am sketchy here, with a Mr Shreiner. Shreiner said he’d take everything north of the Guadalupe River and Mr Real took everything south of it. That was something like 12 million acres for Mr. Real. In the ensuing years much of it got sold but they still retain 6-7000 acres that they ranch raising horses and prize lambs and have a hunting lodge. See Real Ranch.
My Massachusetts mentality says Wow! Actually, my national view has expanded since I have been on ‘the road’. Seeing The Great Plains-farming takes on a whole new meaning. But-my farm in Massachusetts is lush and fragrant in the summer and it is intimate like a draperied living room. One can see the details like an early 19th century French painting. The trees, leaves, veins on leaves, caterpillars on leaves and the eyes on the caterpillar. Mid West farms are Cecil B. De Mille productions in Cinemascope. A painting with great washes of green or ochre depending on which end of the summer season, and a broad brush of ultramarine/cobalt blue sky with perhaps a pale Naples yellow ribbon of a road. Too expansive for small details.
Last night we had a campfire and sang songs and ate popcorn. It had gotten cold so I had a blanket around me. Looking over the treetops by the Guadalupe at the pale moon I was reminded of Rousseau’s Carnival Evening. Very atmospheric.