Pique Assiette Mosaic wall in progressAfter a hiatus, I began work again on the mosaic panel in our yard. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon – I cranked up the tunes, opened an ice cold bottle of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, and got to work.

I put in a good four hours on the wall before dinner – filled in some empty spaces. A few more weekends and I should have this baby completed and ready for grouting – as long as the supplies hold out – I am running low on stained glass and used the last of the ceramic tile yesterday.

This morning it is much cooler – there is a front moving over the desert from California.  I will get a little more work done before the afternoon sun pokes out.


Desert Spring Colors

Desert Globemallow It is spring time in the Sonoran Desert. It is a balmy 80° F (35°C) with a soft breeze.  Plants are beginning to bloom, with the hardy Desert Globemallow pushing its way up through the crusty arid soil. It is amazing that these delicate looking plants can survive a mostly waterless winter.

white Oleander

The Oleander is in full blossom – we have a white and a red in the back yard along the wall. And the Palo Verde tree is now bright yellow-green – a burst of color against a brown landscape.

The Cow-Tongue cacti are just beginning to show buds which will soon be flowers. Continue reading »

Renaissance Fair

The Renaissance FairThe Arizona Renaissance Fair is winding down – it ends with the end of the month. We hit it last Saturday for Celtic Day.

The fair is less than a fifteen minute drive from home, which makes it a convenient way to waste money! But the $20 ticket is a fair price – no pun intended – as you get more than your money’s worth.

One day is not enough to see all of the events and sideshows. The fair is a permanent medieval city, many of the acts are local residents. Beside the local crafts such as handmade instruments, attire and sundries, there are informative and educational booths, lots of live music, and comedy troupes. Continue reading »

Going to the Dogs

Lynne Lockhart websiteWhen it rains, it pours.  It could pour cats and dogs, in this case it simply deluged me with dogs!

In the past month, all of my loyal website clients made changes to their sites. I love when that happens.

Lynne Lockhart, hailing from Maryland’s eastern Shore, decided on a total makeover for her website. (Click on the image to visit the site.)

Beside the obvious cosmetic changes, she changed the focus of the site to feature her specialty, dog paintings. And she is amazing, especially when you consider that every painting featured on the main index page of the website is a mere 6″x6″. With a minimal number of brushstrokes she manages to capture the personality of her subjects.



Honeybee swarm

Yesterday bees swarmed our yard.

Last week a woman in Mesa, Arizona was attacked by Africanized bees – stung over a thousand times. It is that time of year when the “killer bees” swarm, and they are truly dangerous as they are very aggressive.

It turns out a child had disturbed the hive, and Africanized bees, a hybrid of African honey bees and American honey bees, attacked and the results were not pretty. Fortunately she survived the attack. Continue reading »

Painting Sale?

Joes Bar Seattle I am contemplating a painting sale. Liz has been having a great deal of success selling her paintings on eBay. Although I would get a higher price selling in a gallery, I cannot afford to frame all of my paintings.

Listing some of my collection on eBay is totally dependent upon feedback I get from my buyers. I cannot afford to allow them to go for $20 each, but if I can get $50 or more for unframed 8X10’s on stretched canvas, then I would be happy. After all they are doing no good hanging on the wall in my studio! I price these paintings at $150 in a gallery setting, so this is a deal!

A working studio

The StudioWhen we decided to relocate to Arizona, Liz made a scouting trip. Her job allowed her plenty of time off, mine didn’t.  I told her that I didn’t care about the location or the house, we are enough in tune with each others needs that I knew she would pick a decent neighborhood (not crack alley, and certainly not an HOA – just a good working class area).  I only had two demands – space large enough to serve as a studio for both of us, and a bar within crawling distance of home.

The beginning of a big projectShe bid on two houses on the same street – one was larger, but with a smaller, more open yard – chain link fence which I was not too keen about. The other is the one we ended up getting. The house is comfortable, two bedrooms (one is actually smaller than some closets in modern houses). Our dining area is on the patio – and we are able to use it 10 months out of the year comfortably.  In the heat of the summer, the mist system I installed makes it bearable in the evenings.  The entire house is 900 square feet, very cozy. But, not amenable to having a studio inside. Continue reading »

Kirk McBride

Kirk McBride never stops – three big updates to his website in less than a month!

He added three new paintings, including this one, to his Coastal Gallery – sixty paintings of the Maryland coast.

Whether he is painting skiffs and oyster boats, or old trucks in the desert, or Volkswagen Beetles by the California coast, he has a way of giving the illusion of detail when his style is truly loose. He lets the viewer fill in the blanks.


Th eIrish Rose and Jack the Evil Bartender
N’awleans – the Irish Rose, and Jack, the evil bartender

And finally, since I am on a roll this week, reminiscing, I offer you a tour of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

This was my first and only trip to the city that is the birthplace of Jazz. I was there a total of three nights, and I am certain that my liver would not have survived a fourth.

As with my two previous posts, clicking on the image will take you to the original entry. Not a few paintings were born from this trip, and all of them have long since sold, if I am not mistaken.

Another Blast

The Southernmost Point

Since I am in an introspective/retrospective mood, I figured I would share my first trip to Key West.

Liz and I made the trek with Stacy and Harry, taking turns driving pretty much straight through from New Jersey to Florida, where we stayed at Stacy’s sister’s house before continuing down Rt 1 the next day.

We rented a small two bedroom accommodation at Courtney’s Place, the only place we will stay when we visit.  Even though I had lived in Florida in the 1980’s, I had never made to down to the Keys. It was an experience to visit from Christmas through New Years – and certainly not an experience for the faint of heart.

Anyway, the picture links to the original unedited post.

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