Beginning of a mosaic wall

mosaic wall in processLiz and I own Independent Artist Studios, a small business were we design and construct large-scale mosaic mural installations.

With all of our installations being on the East Coast, I decided to mosaic the concrete block wall that encompasses our back yard.

We did not have a ton of material, just a lot of leftovers from old jobs and a mish-mash of odd pieces of stained glass – so I opted to do a totally abstract free-form design for the first panel.

As you can see, I ran out of material just about the same time as the temperatures increased to a point of being prohibitive and non-conducive to outside work.

There is a local stained glass supplier, and I intend to pay them a visit – I want to have this panel complete before the open studio tours this fall.

Filly’s Roadhouse

Fillys RoadhouseFilly’s Roadhouse, oil on canvas, 8″x10″ $100

Filly’s roadhouse in Apache Junction is a cowboy bar. Out back is a hitching post for horses, out front a sign informing would-be cowboys not to hitch out front.

Inside is a great bar with a small selection of American beers on draught. The kitchen cooks up the best Wings in the states, let alone the East Valley. There is a stage inside where you hear only country-western – so you better git used to it, boy…

Filly’s is high on my list of favorite bars, especially on Wednesday afternoons for the wings special. The bartenders are the best, and every time I visit I wish I had a horse…

What to do with empty bottles…

bottle wallI started a project a few months ago – with temperatures hitting 115° and higher, now is not the time to continue working on it.

I am building a wall of bottles and mortar around the studio. The wall will be high enough on most places to serve as a bench under the Palo Verde tree, and will be an Objet d’art when complete.

Old, but still pertinent

Jakes ChristmasChristmas at Jake’s O Mine, oil on canvas, 8″x10″ $100 (unframed)

Jake’s O Mine was the first bar painting I did in Arizona. An Apache Junction landmark; one that the local officials wish would go away, and one that I hope will stand firm.

Small dive bars are hard – Jake’s has no kitchen, so you have to order from outside and have the food delivered if you want to munch during the night.

However, you cannot get the same camaraderie at just any bar that you find at Jake’s. Just before Christmas, Liz and I went to Jake’s for a few beers one weekday night. The bartender was putting up decorations, and it wasn’t long before Liz was helping.

And thus was born my second painting of Jake’s – a quiet night with a few regulars.

My dad would be proud

97 degreesI spent time in the studio today. You can’t sell artwork unless you have some to sell.  I guess that goes for anything.

I cranked the AC to 80° – which to northerners might seem rather high. It is 106° outside, so 80° feels good. It really feels good if the studio ever reaches that temp. I was able to get it down to 96°…

I bought this Chevy thermometer at auction for $5, I was hoping it had some value. It was worth the $5 I paid for it, and it now hangs proudly in the studio.

I think I get my obsession for knowing the temperature from my dad – he always had a thermometer hanging on the front porch and checked it maybe ten times a day, almost as frequently as he checked his wristwatch.

My dad would really like this thermometer as it was a Chevy thermometer, and he was a GMC man through and through. Me – ever since GMC played welfare recipient with our tax dollars and demanded that taxpayers bail them out for their piss-poor management I vowed to never buy a GM product. Chrysler did it twice – and Ford managed to bail themselves out of the last fiscal recession without whining like spoiled brats that think they deserve money stolen from the working class that can barely even afford to buy one of their new cars. But, I digress…

Anyway, I finished (for now) my painting of Filly’s Roadhouse. I worked on eight saw blades – sanding down paintings and going over with fresh paint and new detail. If they actually work out, I will post pictures of them. Filly’s will be posted soon…


You are now leaving the PineCone Research website. Thank you for your interest in our panel.

Dry Gulch at Second Water

Dry Gulch at Second Water

Dry Gulch at Second Water, oil on canvas board, 11″x14″

Tonto National Forest is comprised of almost 3 million acres of mountain and desert. It is the fifth largest national forest in the United States, and the largest of the six in Arizona – but it is not the picture that generally comes to mind when one thinks of a forest.

Yes, there are trees – Ocotillo, Palo Verde, and even Ponderosa pine on the eastern extremity of the forest.  The most common “tree” however is the Saguaro cactus, unique to the Sonoran Desert. Continue reading »

Best Nigerian Scam yet…

I received this in my inbox this morning, and it was so good I had to share it!  What do you think I should do?

FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
J. Edgar Hoover Building, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 USA. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice

Attention: Funds Beneficiary,


This is the final warning you are going to receive from this office and I hope you understand how many times this message has been sent to you?

We have warned you so many times and you have decided to ignore our e-mails or because you believe we have not been instructed to get you arrested and today if you fail to respond back to us with the payment then we would first send a letter to the mayor of the city where you reside and direct them to close your Bank Account until you have been jailed and all your properties will be confiscated by the Federal Bureau Of Investigation. Continue reading »

Everybody has a Book

I have well over a decade of experience in desktop publishing that served me well for the seven years I published INFERNO Newspaper.

After the newspaper gig, I used the experience to do layout and design for my own book, Bar Exam. In addition to freelance graphic design and web design, I offer my services of editing and desktop publishing to others.

Morel “Mo” Pagano has now published three books, and is working on a fourth. Everybody has a book is Mo’s second book. It is non-fiction, his reminiscences of the early days of jazz in Atlantic City, his days at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, stories of Greenwich Village in the 1950’s, and of a childhood growing up in Newfield, an Italian-American town in southern New Jersey.

Everybody has a book is available form in paperback and Kindle eBook.

Scorpion Gulch

Scorpion GulchAs I go through the image files on my hard drive, the immensity and volume of the posts on the old iteration of this blog astounds me.

For me, writing, like painting, is a process. I rarely paint the same scene twice, and I would be hard pressed to replicate older posts.

Recently we made a trip to South Mountain in Phoenix. On the road to South Mountain the remains of old buildings catch the eye. The one is a one room store front (pictured) and the other is the walled remains of a house.

“Scorpion Gulch” was built in 1936 by William Lundsford as a trading post, and was operated as a small store until the late 1960’s. The store served as a bar in the 1970’s, and soon after the property was deserted and allowed to fall into disrepair.

Listed on the Historic Register in the 1990’s, and currently the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has stabilized the walls, and it is open to the public.

Fourth of July Barbeque

barbequeIn Arizona, there are not a lot of outdoor activities during the summer months, the smart people stay inside in the air-conditioning.

We are not that bright.

We decided to have a barbeque, and sat outside on the patio with the mister going full blast. I installed a mister system a few weeks ago under the eaves of the patio, and even though it has six heads spraying water, the water never hits the ground. The temperatures hovered around 105°.

chicken wingsLiz made her famous potato salad, and we provided ribs. Liz made a batch of guacamole dip, and she picked up a dozen peppers for ten cents each at the produce market which we grilled. Mike and Tami brought the chicken and beer and soft drinks.

Mike has the best recipe for chicken wings on the grill. We purchased a real charcoal grill when we got out to Arizona – mostly because it was cheaper than laying our a couple hundred for a propane grill. I don’t think I will buy a propane grill again – the flavor is so much better with real charcoal briquettes. Continue reading »

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