Monday, July 29, 2013


it came like a dream,
a hobby project,
from the world of assembling materials.
from the dirt
a yellow chamois cloth was handpicked and cleaned.
its edges became
hand stitched with bright red and orange embroidery thread.
carefully mounted
beneath a clear bottle shell
surrounded by a smooshed sea of grocery bags painted red.
covered with a delicate netting of a potato sack.
now constructed like a womb
an imagined thinking entity
bestowed with value
--- pleasing to my eye.
you are precious to me, says this lover.
you are a delight to me.
more than a son or a daughter,
more than blood and bone,
you are a reading conscious intelligence
for me to hold, to love, to kiss, to embrace, to know, to see.
it is i who stop and find you, 
wash and dress you,
and call you mine.
this now, this dance,
this new, this moment, says my lover.
me with you = more.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

slide 100 - nephew

Yesterday was our turn to watch grand nephew Tad. Here are the plus moments that I recall.
  • Using 'nectors and plastic colored straw units he fitted together a big circle base and up and up four squares tall, like a great big bin, he called it a rocket, stretching his attention span, focus, refocus, redirect, and finish with Jan's remarks. Learning about the words vertical and horizontal. Then, instead of tearing it apart, we left it up in his living room for Granpa to appreciate later after work.
Tall empty box

  • The long empty cardboard box in our couch room he figured how to grab the middle with his stubby arms and vertical haul it carefully out and down into our side yard and open it out flat.

  • With prompts and exploring he enjoyed being inside the space his size. Later, hands grabbing it hiding himself and running on short legs through the grass, with peals of joy squealing as he ran, hidden shell with bare feet.

  • Sword fight with weed stems. Box on end became a castle. Box parts became gold and spaghetti and helicopters and shields. Flat on hill, grab rope swing, run, jump on flat, and slide down hill. He named it "Slide 100."

  • Eating most of his burger instead of just French fries. Me making over my little bites of hamburger. His boasting of big bites of hamburger with ketchup.

  • Letting our tummies settle. Driving round with windows open, air flowing in. Stop beside a road sign, help Tad interpret number speed limit, round red signs, color of fire hydrant fire plugs, I see a tree, you see a car.
12 foot pool
  • Our yard, our little pool, space seems small, until you close your eyes for the water game marco polo, searching, crawling in wet cool water, reaching for ankles slipping beyond reach. Animated wrist and hand mouth saying pretend "can't catch me," flopping, splashing when caught, Tad puts diving plastic colored ring over wrist and pulls Uncle Karl by the wrist around the big pool. The unannounced ceremony of water emptied over my head from toy boat, trickling down my neck, eyes closed, water up to my neck as I sit down on the pool bottom. Taking turns saying the "marco," waiting for the other to reply "polo." Jan standing, sifting floating leaves and crumbs, with her long pool handle net. Not crowded, lost in these long moments, his hugs, and giggles. Later, out and dry, flip flops on, back in car seat, four years old, and headed home to GG and Poppy. Poppy talking about the straws and nectors. Tad making piles of straws and back in box and taken home by Uncle Karl. Straws and nectors a birthday present which he treasures and shares once and a while.
bounce bounce
  • Thanks to God for box action, inventing, bouncing on trampoline, Tad conversing, building, reasoning, being in moments, far from everything else, special, real as kin. Knowing there will be other new times as well. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for your care, breaking in tenderly, significant, and the composition of letters, posting, and knowing people through emails, phone calls, youth group, kansas city print society, the life you have given me to be in You, tethered strong, rocking me to sleep, second chances, and the certainty of Your love, Your knowledge of my existence, the little moments glued into my consciousness.

Monday, July 1, 2013

june 3 - 26

I am honing my skills, Bill Boelson tells me.

june 3rd 
start painting large tree by porch

action: Get arms reaching, eyes and hands mix specific leaf greens and place those colors on large panel, to get focus going.

june 4th 
painted tree same at dawn
18 1/2 x 36 inches, cradled panel
june 7th    
12 noon - 5:00 pm painted beside our neighbourhood pond. 
action: See far far up (clouds above my head) and wide wide wide (from left to right) and down down down (to where my feet are standing). To accomplish this, the close tall trees on the opposite side were scaled down.   24 x 24 inch wrap around canvas

painted wide wide pond span,
action: See wide wide wide left to right and include tree closest to me.  7 7/8 x 26 inches, cradled panel.
and painted above cloud pattern on existing cow scene.
the blue on the lower portion has created distance to horizon, which I like very much. 11.5 x 22 inches, cradled panel.

june 11th 
daybreak 6:00 - 8:00 am, painted cloud study along 13th street 

action: Record daybreak, hillside, tree row. 16 7/8 x 30 7/8, cradled panel. 
rain storm interrupted workout (see video, click

10:30 a-3:30 p painted cloud studies on two square panels

9 x 12 inches, watercolor paper in frame,
blue painters tape over frame
9 x 12 inches, canvas panel in frame,
blue painters tape over frame
also painted study of south creek on thirteenth street 
9 x 12 inches, watercolour paper in frame,
blue painters tape over frame
june 12th 

daybreak 6:00 - 8:00 am painted over the drips from yesterday
action: Record daybreak, hillside, tree row. By the time the right potion was finished the interesting middle had moved out of view. I smooshed in what I remembered. More cloud studies needed. 16 7/8 x 30 7/8, cradled panel. 

8:30 am-12:02  started on north creek along 13th street, which at this point is out in the countryside on a gravel road.

north creek, 16 x 20 inches, cradled panel

june 18th 
up at dawn up, looked at neighbors cow pond,
drew quick 9 x 12 inch sketch of old 24 hwy pond, ABOVE
7:30 am - noon painted two tall trees
  • Always wondered why John Constable works looked so MESSY (below). Guess what? I have MESSY works too.

(Study of Sky and Trees, courtesy of John,
two trees sketch, 8 x 10 inch canvas panel in frame,
blue painters tape over frame
"When you work outdoors you fight with time and can find yourself in a panic, because the moving sunlight changes the colors you are looking at in nature. The clouds you were trying to get right have moved out of view. It is like mixing up a casserole using mislabeled ingredients and no measuring spoons, hoping it will taste alright when you pull it out of the oven."    karl marxhausen
and painted water scene on large sketch pad (14 x 17 inch)
(when in doubt, paint on paper first)


june 20th   

1:00 pm - 4:15 pm painted sunlit creek near Griffin farm, north of Carrollton, MO.
on large 14 x 17 inch sketch pad. (By the time I finished the sun had moved and the shadows were all wrong. Still, painting the study downloads the mental information. Taking photographs with a camera CANNOT give me what I need. Field work, grunt work, swinging a sledge hammer at the rock pile, THIS SHARPENS my skills. Period.)

4:30 pm - 6:50 pm scouted late daylight scenes with truck:
drew quick 9 x 12 inch ink sketches of Schnare pond, moss creek on west side, and old 24 hwy pond.

 june 22nd
up at dawn, 6:15 am - 7:30 am started painting square panel of Schnare pond (sketch, below)

7:00 am - 8:00 am painted east view (sketches above)
action: See far far far left to right along the bottom portion and far far far up in the sky.

12 x 16 inch panel
9:00 - 11:00 am painted fish in pond corner. Lincoln Street lakes owned by Miles Conner

10 x 10 inch square panel
11:30 am - 2:25 pm painted tall tree, from straight up above my head down to ground level. Ignoring the out buildings and trees further back.
tree cluster, 12 x 16 inch panel
june 24th
6:00 am - 7:30am  painted east sky

east sky study on 9 x 12 sketch pad

7:30 am - 8:45 am  finished Schnare pond

schnare pond, 10 x 10 inch panel

10:00 am - 11:45 am painted moss creek scene
action: Work on clouds first, then the trees. Use ink sketch of scene.

              moss creek drawing on 9 x 12 inch sketch pad                 

moss creek scene, 12 x 16 inch panel
june 25th 
sore sluggish body from exercise laps at indoor pool yesterday afternoon
7:00 am - 7:30 am drew two pencil drawings of cows in water

drawing, 9 x 12 inch sketch pad

drawing, 9 x 12 in sketch pad
bathroom concerns took me home and afterwards decided to stay in our yard,
8:00 am - 9:00 am painted curved branch in side yard woods
branch study, 14 x 17 inch paper, sketch pad
rain interrupted, asked the K-6 CES art teacher (my wife) to critique my june work, OUCH.(red barn looks good, east view on paper would look good on a panel)
"Your picture is not communicating what you want it to convey!  To make it work, paint out the orange area in front." Jan Marxhausen
  • It is hard to sit still and listen to a critique of your own work. Hard not to interrupt.
  • A piece I am working on may well be finished. And I can accept that.

  • My wife and I were at a family gathering out in the Sugertree Township. Over the cornfield were beautiful orange last light clouds. Many were well formed. One thunderhead was all messed up. My wife pointed to it and said, "That is NOT FINISHED." And there was chuckles. (I for one cringe when I hear those words spoken of a piece I poured long hours into)
june 26th 
5:00 am woke up refreshed. A good exercise workout and plenty of rest makes for lots of energy and well being.
6:00 am - 8:00 am painted east view onto framed panel

9 x 12 inch, watercolour paper in frame,
blue painters tape over frame

8:00 am - 9:00 am  started new barn on framed panel,

study, 9 x 12 inch on panel in frame,
blue painters tape over frame

drew 9 x 12 inch ink sketch under shade tree looking down at houses 

10:00 am - 11:30 am painted cove 1 at Lincoln Street lake
action: Mix paints colors for sunlight hitting sandy bottom at pond edge.

sandy bottom, 14 x 17 inches on large sketch pad

11:30 am - 12:40 painted second cove

second cove, 17 x 14 inches on large sketch pad
  • After trying to make the sandy bottom read as such, later I looked at sandy bottoms by Hudson River Valley painters. IT IS HARD WORK. I can relate with the painted mixtures used by those who work I admire (ie. Alfred Bricher, Aaron Shattuck, Frederick Richard Lee, and John Constable) 

and drew a 9 x12 inch sketch of tree tunnel


june 27th 
dawn, look at ridge on route E, no pond in sight, drive by cemetery tree cluster - too dark, eastern big impressive cloud cluster over the city of Carrolton,
6:30 am - 9:00 am paint water scene at old 24 hwy 16 x 20 panel, pushing the comfort zone, panic, take it easy, got branch in water
16 x 20 inches, cradled panel

looked at east tenth street location, spotted white cattle on hillside,
9:30 am - 11:00 am start painting storm scene

11 by 14 inch canvas

Chris Woodward pulled up on his four-wheeler, "Wow, you work fast. You just started that when I passed by the first time!!"  The cowhand showed me how to open and close the gate, where to drive to reach the ridge by the winding lake, and permission to draw his cattle.
june 28th 
truck door won't close, repair shop has it today.
8:30 am -10:00 am organize computer photo files,
10:00 am seven mile pedal bike ride,
12:00 - 1:45 pm more organizing of files,
2:00 pm tetanus shot,
2:30 - 3:00 pm photograph paintings and upload those files. 
  • I once thought that an artist found a scene with "everything what they wanted" and then they painted what they saw. I think there is more to it now.

  • Bill Maxwell told me artists did pencil sketches while outdoors and then did more finished work back at the studio space.  According to Bill,  Michelangelo once said: The difference between good art and great art was in the details. What that means, Bill explained, is that doing studies helps one understand how a plant looks or how light falls on an object. This understanding took work, work, and more work.

July begins today. See you at the art reception at the Burkholder Project in August.
Mark Friday night, August 2nd, from 7 to 9 pm.

The truck works now. Gone paintin'.