Some News From Mid-July

As I promised in my May 1 post, three paintings — “Purple Glass,” “Sublime,” and “Christmas Glow” — which I based on the spectacular nature photography of my nephew Dave Pellegini, now appear on the Prints and Paintings page.  (For a closer look at Dave’s work, here is his website address:  You’ll find all sort of good things there.)  In addition, I placed four small watercolor paintings on the page too.  They are limited palette studies of a single subject, a flower-filled watering can with bananas and a teacup.  (The watercolors are intermingled with the paintings from Dave’s photos; I have yet to master the knack of placing media items like prints and paintings exactly where I would like to put them on the page.  I gather it’s a problem other wordpress users have too.)  I had hoped to enter the watercolors in a “Small Works Show” at the Yellow Barn Studio on the weekend of July 20-21, but it turns out that we’ll be with our family at the Jersey shore in Cape May that weekend, so I won’t be able to participate in the show, and the flower-filled watering cans will have to make their exhibition debut at some later date.

On the literary front, as I suggested back in May, I have in hand fair copies of more than forty much-revised poems that Ann and I will be sorting through over the next few weeks before offering the survivors to Rennie McQuilkin for possible publication by Antrim House.  I hope that he’ll like them.

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A May 1st Update

Once again I’m conscious of the swift passage of time.  It doesn’t seem like eight months have passed since my last post here, but when I count up the months, there are eight of them.  Not that those eight months have been uneventful.  On October 25, my wife Ann and I were overcome with joy when our daughter Kate gave birth to our first grandchild, a healthy little girl whom Kate and her husband Devin Maroney named Claire.  Claire has been the light of our lives ever since.  Her image appears below, in her Easter finery, four days before she became six months old.

Now to the arts.  Neither of the paintings whose images appeared in my last post was sold, but that is often the case at the Labor Day Show.  Makers of jewelry seem to make the most sales at the event, perhaps because as opposed to 24″ x 30″ acrylic paintings priced in the hundreds of dollars, jewelry tends to be small, relatively inexpensive, and a person can wear it.

I took part in another advanced acrylic abstract workshop in the fall and completed a number of paintings based on the spectacular outdoor photography of my nephew Dave Pellegrini of Malden, Massachusetts.  On the unanimous advice of my colleagues in the workshop, I entered one of those paintings, “Purple Haze,” in the Yellow Barn’s curated members’ show.  Unfortunately, in yet more evidence of the subjective nature of some artistic assessments, the curator did not select “Purple Haze” to appear in the show.  So it goes.  I did appreciate the support of my colleagues.  An image of the painting appears below.  The other paintings from the workshop will appear in the Prints and Paintings section of the website in the near future.

During the winter months, I varied what I had been doing and took a Yellow Barn course called “Approaching Abstraction: Watercolor” from a Georgetown University art instructor named Ann Schlesinger.  It was a fun course, in which we did a series of watercolors and collages, some abstract and some not.  I will be including a selection of the pieces I am most pleased with in the Prints and Paintings section as well.

At present, five of my colleagues in the advanced acrylic abstract workshop and I are preparing for a group show, “Abstractly Speaking,” in the Park View Gallery at Glen Echo Park.  Each of us will be displaying four or five paintings; images of all five of mine — “Purple Haze,” “After Zao: Beanstalk,” “After Diebenkorn,” “De Kooning Colors,” and “After Diebenkorn: Work on Paper” — appear either in this section or in the Prints and Paintings section of the  website.  The show opens this Friday, May 3, with an artists’ reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until Saturday, June 2.  My colleagues have produced some interesting work.  I hope lots of people will drop by and see it for themselves.

Finally, on the literary front, over the past few months I have been revising several dozen poems that I will be submitting to Rennie McQuilkin, my publisher at Antrim House Books, in the hope that he will judge them as worthy of publication as he did the poems that make up Food for a Journey.  The revision process is almost completed.  We’ll see how the poems turn out.

I’ll try not to wait eight months before posting again.

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Another Labor Day Show, After a Watercolor Class and Two Acrylic Workshops

Time really does fly, and as it flies, another Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo arrives.  This year’s show runs from Saturday, September 1, to Monday, September 3, from 12-6 pm.  (For more detail on the event and its history, see my August 28, 2017, post on last year’s show.)  Again I entered two paintings and both were accepted.  Their images appear below.  The painting inspired by Richard Diebenkorn is based on an image from a collection of his works on paper that I picked up at the Matisse-Diebenkorn show at the Baltimore Museum of Art in January 2017.  The painting inspired by Zao Wou-Ki is based on a small ink drawing that appears in the catalogue of the Asian Society’s 2016 “No Limits” show of Lao’s work in New York City.

After Diebenkorn: Work on Paper

After Zao: Streamers No. 1









Images from the watercolor class and the acrylics workshops mentioned above appear on the Prints and Paintings page of this website.  There are five images from Christine Lashley’s late winter portrait and figure watercolor class: three portraits of our male model Harry (he was dressed as an early 19th-century gentleman), a portrait of our female model Mallina (she is much younger and more attractive than the painting suggests), and a figure painting of my son Mark from his playing days as a running back for Penn’s sprint football team; it is based on a photo of Mark that appeared on the cover of the team’s 2001 media guide.  (Time has certainly flown since those days.)

The other six images come from advanced abstract acrylic workshops overseen by Carol Jason this past spring and summer.  I have also included a print of the Zao Wou-Ki ink drawing that inspired the three “Streamers” images on the Prints and Paintings page as well as the “Streamer” entry in the Labor Day Show.  The next abstract acrylic workshop begins in mid-September.  Here we go again.


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Two Art Shows, Two Art World Adventures

I didn’t sell either of the two paintings that were selected for the Labor Day Show, though a friend was surprised to happen upon “Ascending” at the show and surprised me in turn with a photo of it on her phone.  I was, however, fortunate enough to have another painting, “Streaming No. 1” (shown below), juried into the Yellow Barn’s 23rd Annual Members’ Show, which ran for three weekends in December.  The painting, acrylic on canvas, is based on one of my watercolors, which was inspired in turn by the late, redoubtable Zao Wou-Ki, whose work I have mentioned in an earlier post.

Streamings No. 1

Now for the adventure part.  During the fall, I was contacted by a New York City art gallery, which shall be nameless, seeking to represent me in the art market and sell my work.  I was initially interested, but my enthusiasm waned once I learned that the representation involved a minimum payment of $3,850 for ten linear feet of exhibition space in the gallery.  I thanked the gallery for its interest and declined the offer of representation.  I subsequently learned that the gallery, described on-line by others as a “vanity gallery,” has an extremely mixed reputation for its representation of artists like me.  I may have dodged a bullet there.

Adventure Part Two.  Later in the fall, I received an email from a “Patrick in Ohio” who described himself as an “ocean engineer” who was about to relocate to the Philippines and who wanted to purchase two of my paintings to present to his wife — she very much liked my work, he said — as gifts on their next wedding anniversary.  He said that the shipping agent handling his relocation would pick up the paintings and deliver them to him.  He could not pick them up, he said, because he was on a training voyage in the Atlantic Ocean with a group of graduate students.  Fool that I was, I eventually shared with him information about various paintings and their prices and some non-sensitive contact information as well.  I was then startled to receive a confusing email from him suggesting that in order to complete the transaction, I would have to make a payment of some kind to the shipping agent.  I began to wonder whether I really wanted to sell my paintings to this particular “ocean engineer.”

My doubts were almost immediately confirmed when I received another email, this one from a “Mark in Jacksonville, Florida,” an “ocean engineer” who was relocating to Ireland and who wanted to purchase two of my paintings as surprise presents for his wife on their next wedding anniversary.  He too explained that he could not pick up the paintings himself because he was on a training voyage in the Atlantic Ocean with a group of graduate students.

At this point, even I got the picture.  I called the Washington, DC, field office of the FBI and was advised to have no further contact with “Patrick” or “Mark,” and to consult the FBI’s “Internet Crime Complaint Center” at  I have had no further contact with either “ocean engineer,” and I have learned from that the scam they were attempting to work on me is often used in connection with on-line auctions, where the target is the seller and the scammers try to persuade the seller to make various payments in order to compete the sale.  When I mentioned “Patrick” and “Mark” to Walt Bartman, the Yellow Barn Studio’s director, he assured me that my experience with people like them was far from unique.  I think I dodged another bullet — two of them in fact.

On the brighter side, I’m taking an enjoyable portrait and figure class from Christine Lashley at the Yellow Barn during the current winter session.  I hope to post some of my paintings from the class on this website once the session ends.

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Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park

For the past 46 years, Glen Echo Park, an arts and cultural center in neighboring Glen Echo, Maryland, has hosted an art show over the Labor Day weekend.  This year’s show, Number 47, runs Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, September 2-4, from 12 to 6 p.m. each day.  The show includes two-dimensional artwork (paintings and drawings), three-dimensional pieces (pottery, sculpture, works in glass), jewelry, sleeved prints (linocuts, woodblocks, and prints of two-dimensional works), and all works are for sale.  I’ve entered pieces in several previous shows, and even sold a drawing a few years ago.

In the past, the show accepted every work submitted, but the number of submitting artists has grown to such an extent that the show is now at least partially curated, and artists must send in digital images of their works before they are accepted.  I submitted images of two abstract acrylic paintings, each 24″ by 30″, both reflecting the influence of the late Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-Ki, whose work I mentioned in an earlier post.  I learned a few days ago that both works were accepted, each priced at $350.  Images of both appear below.  We’ll soon see if anyone is interested in buying.

After Zao: Ascending

After Zao: Beanstalk

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The Takoma Park Reading — The Video

The video of the March 16 reading at the Takoma Park Community Center is now available.  Just Google “Third Thursday Poetry (March 16, 2017).”  The video is almost an hour long.  As I noted in the first post, Mary Beth Hatem introduces the program, and reads the slightly modified John O’Donohue poem in the process.  Nancy Arbuthnot begins to read from her poetry at about the 8:00 minute mark.  I come on at the 29:00 minute mark and read until about the 51:00 minute mark.  Mary Beth comes back and ends the program with the George Saunders poem.  I hope that you’ll have a chance to view the video and will enjoy it when you see it.

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The Takoma Park Reading

Thursday night’s reading at the Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium was most enjoyable.  Nancy Arbuthnot, Professor Emerita of English at the United States Naval Academy, read several of her poems first, and then I read four poems from Food for a Journey, “Cloistered Life,” “Visiting Saint-Sulpice,” “Tribute,” and the book’s title poem.  (A late-arising family matter prevented Nicole Bresner, the third poet scheduled to read, from participating in the program.)  In light of the current political situation, my wife Ann had suggested that I be sure to read “Cloistered Life”; the poem is based on my memories of the immigrant Italian grandmothers of my elementary school classmates.

Though not large, the audience was attentive and enthusiastic.  My daughter Kate attended the reading along with Ann, and all three of us appreciated the opportunity to chat with members of the audience at the reception that followed.  I am very grateful to Sara Daines and Marilyn Sklar, who arranged the reading for the Takoma Park Arts and Humanities Commission, and to moderator and Takoma Park poet Mary Beth Hatem, who enriched the evening by reading two topical poems, one at the beginning of the event and  the second at its conclusion.  The first poem was an amended version of “A Blessing for a Friend on the Arrival of Illness,” by John O’Donohue, with “these days” substituted for “illness”; the second was “Trump L’Oeil” by George Saunders.  If you are not familiar with “Trump L’Oeil,” it is worth Googling.

The reading was taped for Takoma Park’s CityTV, but the video is not yet available on YouTube.  I will update this post once it does appear.

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