Archive for Art Rants

Summer is here!

ceiling fan in ramadaSummer is here already, a little bit early! The temps are in the 90’s in the valley.  I installed the ceiling fan under the ramada just in time!

We wanted a tropical themed fan to coincide with the Key West themed bar area. All of the fans at Home Depot had light kits included. Yeah, I know, you do not have to install the light kit; I have this aversion to paying for something I don’t want or need.

We checked out, and all of the fans that fit our criteria started at around $300 – insane. I finally went to the Home Depot website, because they claim that if you cannot find it in the store, you can find it online. Did you know that you can get a kayak from Home Depot? Read more

There was a time…

Lights… that I would have had my Christmas shopping done by now.

The fake tree would have been decorated, and the house would be decked out in the Christmas spirit. We always had a real tree too, which would be set up two weeks before the big day.

This year I managed to get the house lights up the weekend after Thanksgiving. And the gift shopping list is greatly reduced. I did buy Liz a gift that will be a surprise, and I hope she will appreciate. I have to get her another – that will be next paycheck.  It sucks living from check to check – that seems to be the new normal, though. Read more

A taste of the Keys

Making a tiki barThe 1970’s atrocity of a bar is part-way through its conversion to a Key West original!

I am happy to have a creative outlet, as I cannot walk into the studio without going into a panic attack.  My side of the studio has become a clusterfuck of debris and junk and piles of household items and tools that have no other home.

It has become such a quagmire that it is impossible for me to even clean up a small workspace. There is simply no empty space to move anything to. I walk in, look around, try to figure out a game plan, and my head begins to explode.

The bar is a nice project, and inexpensive to boot.  I like that! Liz picked up the 70’s bar set for $40 at auction. It is heavy and solid, and a good base. We agreed on a Key West theme, and so the bar was destined to become a tiki bar. Read more


Desert Detritus ClockI hate to revisit old works without having anything new in the works – no pun.

Today the Superstition Museum hosted their annual Prickly Pear event. They had a Prickly Pear breakfast, and you could purchase almost any type of food stuff made from the fruit of the Prickly Pear cactus – jelly, syrup, candy. The pads of the cactus are edible – great with eggs.  I especially enjoy them pickled. Read more

The Tilted Kilt

Tilted KiltsIt was with regret that we heard the news that Monti’s is closing after more than 60-years. Monti’s restaurant is a landmark in Tempe, housed in an adobe hacienda that is reported to be haunted, it is renowned for the steaks.

After our hike in the morning, Liz, Mike and I had decided to reward ourselves with one last visit to Monti’s. So how did we end up at a chain restaurant instead? Read more

Blast from the Past

beer04This is an old one from the archives. Atlantic City Beer Festival, 2007 I think. It was near the end of Inferno Newspaper‘s seven-year run.

I showed my press credentials at the door, and Liz and I got in for free. And we got VIP treatment at the booths, with a lot of freebies.

Inferno started life as an underground arts newspaper, and evolved into a politcal/current events publication that raised eyebrows and ire.

I have toyed with the idea of starting a newspaper like Inferno in Apache Junction. The concept for the masthead is OUTSIDER. Distribution, and ad sales are the two main hitches in my plan. I don’t have the energy to be a sales person in addition to being artistic director and editor in chief. Not to mention, layout and graphics…

There are not too many things I miss about New Jersey, but the one thing I do miss is the sense of community that my artist and creative friends shared. Inferno was a project that was created out of a desire to share, and everyone contributed out of generosity, not out of greed.  Nobody got paid, and I laid out more money from my wallet than I ever got in return.  In the few years that I did end up in the black, I never did earn a return that was even close to minimum wage. I devoted at least 40 hours a week to the rag, and my best year rewarded me with $2,000, plus or minus…

So I have to wonder why I would even entertain the notion of doing it again.

Phoenix Art Museum

“Art is a response to life. To be an artist is to undertake a risky way to live, to adopt one of the greatest forms of liberty, to make no compromise. Painting is a form of love, of transmitting the years in art.” ~ Antonio Berni

Liz and I spent the afternoon at the Phoenix Art Museum. Our main attraction was the featured exhibition of Argentinian artist, Antonio Berni. We knew little about him going in, except that he worked with found objects and created some amazing sculpture. He was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, although virtually unknown in the United States. Read more

Writer’s Block

captains2Or rather, Painter’s Block…

I have not been in the studio in eight months.  In the beginning of the year, the excuse was getting used to working nights. This summer, it is the fact that the studio is 110ºF.

The truth is, I have no creative drive – possibly due to a combination of the above.  However, I don’t even have that much of a creative drive to write.

Perhaps with cooler weather, and some paid days off in my future, I will tap into some reserve.

Captain’s is a little dive bar that Liz, Mike and I hit for a few cold beers after auction night.  It looks like it might be possible inspiration for a new American Bar Series painting. Captain’s is “My Kinda Place”… you know – that ubiquitous bar song from last decade that made you want to throw the cue ball into the jukebox with excessive force. Read more


captchaOkay – I let up on the rules allowing people to comment on my blog.  At first I restricted it to only people that registered – difficult for new users.

But I have two problems. One is the deluge of spam coming from China and Turkey.  The Turks destroyed this site with a massive attack at one time, due to my outspoken criticism of their government for denying the Armenian holocaust. The Chinese attacked me incessantly because I refuse to sell the domain name. Read more

Salsa/Pinata festival – art show

Art boothYesterday, Liz and I had a booth at the Salsa and Pinata Festival in Apache Junction. Temperatures hit the 100’s, so needless to say, traffic was slow. Heat, coupled with the fact that the snowbirds are heading home (a mixed blessing, IMO) kept attendance low.

The event had more booths than the previous farmers markets.  I am fortunately in the position to influence decisions, sitting on the board of SACA and friends with the people that hosted this event. Next year we will likely move it forward a month to April. Our organizations are already working on grants to fund the next year of events.

Cowboy SoapLiz was just hired by the Superstition Mountain museum, a full-time job with great hours and decent benefits – we will both have paid vacations in time to enjoy ourselves next spring.  I hear Key West calling – but maybe San Diego will be in the running – I have never been there. I have been to Palm Desert and Palm Springs – that was years ago. California Dreamin’…

Liz loves handmade soaps, and bought a supply for herself. She bought me a bar of Cowboy Beer Soap – made with real beer.  I would say it is a waste of good beer, but they used light beer, so I don’t feel so bad!

After the festival, we headed home and unpacked. Too spent to cook, we headed to the Handlebar – a great little pub and grill in Apache Junction. They have about 30 craft beers on tap, and a dozen or so wines from smaller wineries. Their menu is small, but everything is excellent. I had the fresh Alaska salmon with a side of bleu cheese potato salad and asparagus. They had a duo on guitars playing jazz versions of popular songs – low-keyed and a perfect way to end the day.