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.

Treading Water or Moving on

Since mid-October I have given little thought to painting except it didn’t interest me.
I started up again with my friends at Hitchcock Art Group to be social.  I painted animals on rocks. I fooled around with Zen doodling. I progressed to finishing my illustrations for my book (at the publishers now) called Godfrey Finds a Home and edited and reedited the story.

 That got me moving. Then I bought some apples and pears and did some watercolor still life paintings. The winter was long and cold. I accepted that I wouldn’t be going South for winters, anymore. I wouldn’t be seeing Utah and Colorado. I had the motor home listed for sale on Craigslist and E bay and gave several hundred dollars to two different folks who said they would advertise the motor home on magazines and other places. Rip-off. Not a bite in six months and I didn’t hear from those folks after the first couple of check-in calls.  I cannot drive it and I cannot afford to park it. I am walking away from this millstone. 
My choir had a special Sunday in May and I painted a watercolor of the Church for the program. We did some interesting music from Vaughn Williams, for one.


I watched Last Love on Netflix. Actor Michael Caine, a retired philosophy professor, is speaking to a young friend. He was ‘treading water’after his wife died. The girl asked him if he loved life. He says yes, but, life is people, food, music, art, nature. When you lose someone you gave all your love to, everything else dies, too. You are surrounded by countless others that cloud your vision, an unwelcome distraction. You seek oblivion in isolation. Solitude make you wither.

I am studying piano for the second time in 60 years. I figure if I’m going to direct the choir I’d better get some solid music background. It is different for me this time as I am learning the bones and structure and not just tickling the keys with kiddie tunes.
I wish I had done it 10 years ago so I could have played chords with Larry.I have been accepting commissions for pet and house portraits and I am unpacking boxes (after 6 months here) and settling in.  Larry’s children and his sisters and brothers have been wonderful to me, very caring. He would be pleased. The river birch I planted in his memory, is doing well.