Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From...

Above: Bailey, home from college, going old school with the Etch A Sketch ,the I-Pod Touch of its day. Top 10 of all time favorite toys, what's No.1? Big Loo, check it out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Word For '09...

...Monetize, as in "How do I monetize it?". This was on the minds of many individuals I encountered in '09. Here's the scenario: You've got a skill or talent that produces a product or service, the dismal job market has you thinking; maybe I can make a living off this music-painting-writing-consulting... I have been doing on the side. The website and blog are up, you have been "tweeting" and "facebooking" this new venture, maybe your YouTube video has gone viral or the song posted on MySpace is drawing attention, now, how do I take these "freebies" and monetize it? Sorry, I can't answer that question, but you have stepped onto the road, see where it takes you.
Discouraged?, read this article in the NYTimes about Ca
rmen Herrera, who sold her first painting at age 89, after 60 years of steady art making, now that's patience and faith.
Above: 2 "cards" from my BUSINESS NOIR series, produced over a 3 month period in 2001, oil on paper, 10x8", (I should do a post about these)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Idea, Jon Gnagy

When I was 9 my parents gave me a, "Jon Gnagy, Learn To Draw Kit" for Christmas. I had not asked for one so it was a surprise. At the time what I knew of the "art world" I had learned from the set of World Book Encyclopedias we had at home. Looking at the box, with the name I could not pronounce, I figured this guy was right up there with Rembrandt and Van Gogh. The kit included the instruction manual you see above, pencils and exotic drawing supplies such as: block charcoal, shading stumps, sandpaper (for sharpening) and a kneaded eraser,what the ****!? Intimidating, you bet, but I loved it. Many hours were spent attempting to master the drawing lessons and materials therein. In hindsight though what I learned was not how to draw necessarily, but something more important, an idea, the idea that being an artist might be a future option, and that those close to me felt the same.
Above: the 2009 version, why don't you get one for somebody here.
Check out this video of Jon drawing a clown on YouTube, awesome!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This Is A Horse

I have spent the past two days painting a horse in a small picture (10x12") I will be sending to my dealer in Santa Fe. What you see above is my palette after completion. The main pigments used were; zinc white, mars black and raw sienna. The mixing of black and raw sienna make a beautiful dark brown, and an endless spectrum of grey hues when white is added. I wanted to keep the greys warm so I introduced a bit of burnt sienna as the white was increased. I think more time was spent messing around on the palette than actual painting, (this happens often).

Below: the unfinished painting with said horse.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


5,000... the average amount of calories to be consumed by each diner today, bring it on.
Above, Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade,1937,see more here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Edward Hicks

Edward Hick's, Peaceable Kingdom (above) is a painting I have always enjoyed. What the casual art observer might not be aware of is that he painted over 60 versions of this subject and a majority of the elements in this painting; the figures, animals and landscape, are based on images he saw in popular prints and paintings of his time.The beauty and vision occurs when these cribbed images are filtered through his mind and hand. He makes them his own.

Edward Hicks popped into my head this week as I was listening to the radio, the commentator was lamenting the fact that we live in a "mash-up" world, culture was not progressing but merely remixing the past. Only a social critic would make such a statement, artists know better, "thievery" has always been a part of the creative process.
To learn more about Edward Hicks read this book.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holiday Salon...etc.

This Wednesday TEW Galleries opens it's "Holiday Salon". I will be contributing 3 new paintings, 2 are shown above. The show will feature new works by gallery artists and the recent paintings of Atlanta fave, Lucy Currie, plus Tim's jewelery collection. Go have a look and pick something out, the show should run through December.
Speaking of shopping, what was going on in October? Every artist/dealer I have spoken to recently (granted, its not been many) have reported last month as the busiest in a long while. I guess those rebounded portfolios, have eased the collectors' consciouses. In another world...the major auction houses showed some bounce, it's not 2006, but the usual faces got the usual bucks, "artnet" lists the latest results, here, always an interesting read.
And... the NYTimes had a great story about David Hockney and his recent landscape paintings. I admire Hockney's game, to use a sports metaphor, his use of hip technology to enhance what he does with paint and brushes has kept this 72 year old painter fresh and current, now that's a role model. Here's the article, don't miss the slide show and video, fascinating.
Above top: DREAM VACATION 28x25 oil canvas 2009
below: CONJURER 28x25 oil canvas 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall Color In Atlanta

As a painter, I can not compete with the natural world at it's visual best. Occasionally I will take a painting I am working on outside to see how it holds up when not confined to the mysteries of the cave, (studio). If it appears lifeless outside...not a good sign. "You should paint that", I am often told, as the person points to a flower or sunset, my response is always a halfhearted, "yes, I should", but I know I won't. What I will do is try to translate that "feeling" I have when experiencing natural beauty, take paint and replicate those soul stirring moments, whether I am painting an apple or a clown's nose. It's an intuitive reaction that continually occurs during the painting process, difficult to explain and execute.

Above: A tree next to the Cyclorama in Grant Park, Atlanta Ga. What a beautiful day today, much fuel was added to my creative battery.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Above, Bette Davis in "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte". I was 9 years old when my older brother took me to see this film, portions of which, I spent balled up in the fetal position on the sticky floor of the PIX Theatre in Rock Hill, S.C. Southern-fried creepiness at its best, check out the trailer here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


R. Crumb has illustrated the Book of Genesis. Five years in the making, this 224 page, hardcover book was released last week and currently ranks #7 in sales at R.Crumb and the Bible, not as odd a pairing as it at first seems. As a kid I always thought "Mr Natural" was kinda like a hip god. I think I will check this one out. The Sunday N.Y.Times has an insightful review here.

Many of my paintings' themes and imagery have their genesis in the stories of the Old and New Testament. Its impossible to shake the powerful archetypes contained therein. Below is the latest.

Above: Traveling Ark Song, 20x18 Framed, oil on panel,2009 (private collection)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Clown Painting

On occasion I feel the need to make a "clown painting". Their appearance in a picture frees up space in my head, allowing me to make choices I usually don't consider. My clowns are not the kind with makeup, I imagine there condition as a permanent state, in there world, that's how people look. I enjoy being a part of that world for brief intervals.
Above: Arrival Of Fun, 20x18 (26x24 Fr) oil panel, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nashville Arts Magazine

The October issue of Nashville Arts Magazine features a cover story about my paintings, check it out here. This monthly publication covers Nashville's cultural scene, with articles about a broad range of creative expression; stone carving to pasta making. The look of the magazine is polished but hip, professional but "open-armed".With over 90 pages of content it's available for free throughout the metro area, pick one up when your in town. Kudos to Paul Polycarpou for being the catalyst behind the magazine's recent revival.

Above: The Blackberries, 20x22 framed, oil on panel 2008 (private collection)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sweet 16

Above: Nick Jonas, Phillips Arena the Atl. Photo by Madison

Friday, September 25, 2009


From my student days to about the year 2000, the Kodachrome slide, was the medium used to promote my paintings. I would send out packets containing a sheet of slides and a resume to prospective galleries and curators with the hope of representation or inclusion in a juried show. This process was costly, time consuming and usually fruitless. Digital photography, in-house publishing and the Internet have swept film to the sidelines. Now speed is the new nemesis, "get it to me by lunch". My upcoming show came together with mind boggling efficiency. What would have taken at least 2 months; a magazine spread, updated website and printed invitation, could be accomplished in less than 3 weeks.

After 74 years Kodak has pulled the plug on Kodachrome film. Photographers will lament the passing, (you cannot beat the color and durability of the film) painters, not so much. I have read you can get a digital camera with a "Kodachrome" exposure setting.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Fall Season: Part 2

The Autumn months tend to be my most productive. The light and atmosphere begins to soften, as the natural world starts its inward retreat. Perfect conditions for painting, which is to my advantage as I have a show opening in Nashville on October the 3rd. This exhibition at The Arts Company will coincide with an article about my paintings in the Nashville Arts Magazine. More on these events in another post.
Above: Spirit Of The River, 26x24 oil panel 2009, sending to Nashville for the show.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Fall Season

Last Spring the key phrase whispered among gallery owners and working artists was " If I can get through summer, I should be fine". From what I see, surprisingly, most made it. What we failed to realize then though was that the summer is usually slow, numbers-wise. Your budget is not based on summer stats, the Fall season is when you make your hay. The new mantra is "I need a big Fall". This recent article in the N.Y.Times illustrates the mood of gallery owners up there and mirrors what I hear locally.
Above:THE GIFT, 18x16,oil on wood,2004 (private collection)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Edisto Island, S.C.

At our house "vacation" means the beach, and for the past 11 years that beach has been Edisto Island, S.C. Fairly isolated by East Coast standards, it takes a good 40 minute drive to reach any type of major commercial development. The beach itself is mainly homes, private and rental, family owned businesses, and a condensed Piggly Wiggly grocery store. What the island lacks in upscale amenities is made up by a great beach and stunning scenery. It's not for everyone but perfect for my taste and sensibility.
The great American artist, Jasper Johns, purchased a home on Edisto in the early 60's, living and painting there through much of that decade. In college we were shown a film of him working in his studio, (which appeared to be a screened in porch). I tried to find it on YouTube, no luck. The above sculpture is a homage to his friend, the poet Frank O'Hara, a frequent guest. If you visit the island be sure to check out the BBQ joint run by his half brother, "Po Pigs Bo-B-Q", on Highway 174.

Summer's over folks.

The stunning photo at the top of the post is by Heath Cash, see more here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Every summer my painting stops, the heat in Atlanta turns the brain to mush and my limbs to lazy noodles. I don't try to fight these lackadaisical urges, (which tend to last about 3 weeks). Time is spent reading, cleaning, and preparing surfaces to paint on. What a perfect time to hit the beach.
Above: Maddi's video of the birds on Edisto Island, S.C. 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Painting Horses

I am not a "horse guy", I didn't grow up around horses and can count on one hand how many times I have ridden one, but lately I have enjoyed painting them. The smooth surface texture fits my current painting style and the techniques I use to depict a horse match those I use to render a flower or cloud. The nostalgic element attached to a horse also jives with the inherent mood in most of my work. Featured in this post are 2 of the latest.

Above: SEAFOAM 17x15 (23x21 Fr) oil on panel 2008
Below: no title yet, 17x20 oil on panel 2008

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Despite the cosmopolitan trappings, Atlanta has never given up it's rural roots. If you walk the older neighborhoods in town you can still see glimpses of this past. Keeping chickens has become popular with young urban professionals these days, but long before this puzzling trend you could still find homes in my neighborhood with full gardens, and barn yard animals. Around the block from my house there was an old guy who had chickens and a goat, he grew corn, tomatoes, beans, blueberries, apples and blackberries. All that remains now are his blackberries, which run the length of the property on the street-side. You are allowed to pick whatever you can reach from the sidewalk and for the next month the labors of the past will provide refreshment after a jog.

Above: BLACKBERRIES, 18x20 Fr, oil on panel, 2007

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

Growing up in a state where fireworks were legal made the 4TH of July one of my favorite holidays. My Dad always bought a huge supply from the local Jaycees and we would light them up after a day of barbecuing. Dangerous but thrilling, burnt fingers and ringing ears were a given. Now I leave it to the pros.
Above: downtown Atlanta 2008

Maddi's latest cupcake creations, yum.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Above: Jeff Koons "Michael Jackson And Bubbles" 1988 (life size: porcelain and gold leaf), sold for 5.6 million, Sotheby's 1991, collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

J.A. Keiger Jr. Hialeah, Fla. 1952, miss you Pops

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oxford American

Oxford American's current issue features the above painting, "Sleepwalker", on pg. 44, kicking off the "Odes To The Best Of The South" section. Winners of several National Magazine Awards, Oxford American is published 4 times a year and features the writers, musicians, and artists that are influenced by this creatively fertile region of the USA, the American South. The Fall Music issue, with CD, is always a great read and listen. Now, get to know them here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Shows End, This & That

The TEW show came down this Friday. If you have not been by, Corky has rehung several pieces upstairs on the second floor landing.

Some observations from this last month: For the first time, the age range of buyers was closer to my own and even younger, (ok I'm 52). I made a conscious effort in this show to limit my visual themes, I thought this made for a focused viewing experience (this trend will continue). The largest painting was 44"x36", going forward, the urge is to keep increasing the size, (have the smallest works run their course? we'll see). The dominant pigments used in this group of paintings were, cobalt blue and raw sienna (my new fave).

Switching gears, the Atlanta art "blogosphere" has had an increase in activity as of late. Long time local art critic, Cathy Fox, joined the ranks this past week. She, along with several other AJC expats, Pierre Ruhe (classical music) and Steve Murray (film) have created artscriticAtl. Maybe I am being too optimistic here, but I am starting to feel something, shall I dare say, a synergy, or heaven forbid the "c" word, community. Atlanta's art scene has mirrored the sprawl we see around us, subdivisions, separated by economics, taste and terrain. Is the Internet dissolving these perceived barriers?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Artists vs The Economy

These past several weeks the New York Times has been collecting stories submitted by artists answering the question, "What effect has the recession had on your life and work"? Hundreds of creative types have responded and you can read the tales of woe and triumph here. There is also a follow up piece, highlighting several individuals, accompanied by a nifty slide show.
Speed reading through the responses confirmed what I have experienced and heard from others. Times like these can spur creativity, an attitude of , "what have I got to lose" starts to develop, invigorating the work. Now, if you are a mature artist, with an overhead to match your success, stress can begin to dominate your psyche, there's a lot to lose.
A majority of my art world connections began their careers during the late 80's recession, it wasn't a great time to start a gallery or to quit your job and paint, but we did it anyway. Is this downturn a totally different animal, maybe, but what I do know is this, regardless of what is in
their wallets, artists will continue to adapt and create.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Inspires You?..

This is the question I am most frequently asked and the one most difficult to answer. I imagine the majority of art patrons have this mental image of the artist that has been cultivated by modern literature and movies, the painter as "shaman-savant", and some aspects of that vision hold some truth. I have had experiences while painting that would reinforce this stereotype, but they are few and far between, and don't necessarily produce great images. Painting is an extreme pleasure and a task that I work long hours to achieve a satisfactory result, simple as that. But that answer is cheating the questioner, so I will continue this dialog in another post and offer this: At my opening last Friday, I was chatting with an individual and he wanted to know why I painted hydrangeas? I started scanning my data bank for an enlightening reply. When the silence was beginning to reach that uncomfortable stage, I sighed and said, "I have several outside my studio and I just love looking at them". He smiled and said, "thanks for being honest , I thought you were going to explain how they have this deep meaning and symbolize....,we started laughing and then continued the conversation, both with a bit of relief.
Top: Detail (The Prayer)
Bottom: The Prayer, 22x20 framed, oil panel, 2008, get it at TEW

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday Opening at TEW

The Wizard
The work has been in the gallery for 2 weeks and on the wall for 10 days, there has been a private party at a client's home and a preview reception, a magazine ad was placed, many invitations and PR packets sent, several email "blasts" and studio visits, all this has taken place before the public Friday opening. I began work on this show over a year ago, starting with a plan that I wrote down in my sketch book, of what I wanted to present (I kind of followed it). Gone are the days of frantic production and stressful arguments with the dealer (sort of), that never worked for me. I enjoy the commercial gallery process, always have, it has it's moments of BS and financial uncertainty, but the personal interaction with the gallery staff and their clients is an enriching experience, fueling the creative side. To be honest, getting paid to paint my pictures is pretty nice, it's what I always wanted and as of Friday night, it looks like it will continue.

Directly above: Me trying to look like a stable, successful artist, (yikes, scroll down, have I aged that much in 20 years, the beard might have to go).
I put the show on flickr, check it out here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

20 Years With TEW

I have been represented by Timothy Tew for 20 years and my 16th exhibit at TEW opens this week. When I first met Tim he was showing and selling paintings at a French restaurant in Buckhead, (Cafe Les Artiste) and looking to open a tiny space at the TULA Art Center. He had seen a painting of mine at a Post Properties show house, where my large abstract canvas was hung, (above the shrimp bowl and behind the buffet table, a choice spot). It caught his eye, prompting a phone call and a request for a studio visit, thus starting a relationship that, at the time, I could not have imagined. The evolution that took place in our lives and the Atlanta art world between then and now would require more than a blog post, but come by May 8th to view the 2009 edition and say "hi" to my friend Tim, and me, I'll be on the second floor.
Above: Charles Keiger,1989, 235 Forsyth St. studio, trying to look like a cigar chomping, hard core, abstract expressionist. Studio and painting lost in a fire, 1997.
Below: The first invoice-letter,click the image to read, (does anyone miss the typewriter?)
Note: I am going to increase the posts while the show is up, check back for pictures and maybe a few insights into what goes on during this commercial process.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arts Company

My gallery in Nashville, The Arts Company, has a nice feature about me on their blog, be sure to check it out here. Anne Brown, the owner, is one of the "pros" in the Southern art world; honest, friendly and knowledgeable. The gallery is a couple of blocks from the Ryman Auditorium and anchors the Downtown Nashville Arts District. On the first Saturday of every month there is a gallery crawl in the evening, with over 20 establishments participating. This event is great entertainment, offering a diverse display of creations and a hip crowd of participants. Go, you will not be dissapointed.
Above: Sweetheart Of The West, 20x18 Fr, oil on wood 2007
available at the Arts Company, Nashville

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Modern Ark

Two interesting articles in The Wall St. Journal this week.
Artists vs Blight was a report about painters and sculptors moving into boarded up houses and abandoned industrial areas in cities such as Cleveland and Detroit. Galleries, restaurants and latte shops are following them, (this is what we do).
The second article told of the construction of contemporary Arks, including one just christened in Hong Kong, that was built to biblical specifications, complete with fiberglass animals! Be sure to check out the slideshow. The story of Noah and the flood has always been an Old Testament favorite of mine. I have used the image of an Ark in several paintings, here are two examples.

Top: ROAD TO DAMASCUS 22x18 fr oil panel 2007 (private collection)
Bottom: ANCIENT BEGINNINGS 24x18 fr oil panel (private collection)