Tag Archives: city life

Please Let’s Eat


Clay tiles, Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06, January, 2018.


Seen on the Street

I did these tiles from photos taken in Philadelphia, PA, at various times. The scenes are more or less faithful to the original, as I saw fit!

Clay tiles, Velvet underglazes fired at cone 06, January, 2018.



Multi-layered Postcards

I took a couple of pieces of recycled cardboard cut to postcard size and gessoed them. Then I painted over them with acrylics, in a random kind of way. Them I drew on them in ink, using a couple of different pens.

Both scenes were taken from photos I took at the plein air event I did in June 2017, in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. The cards were done in September 2017.

Tiles From December, 2016 – Group 3

These tiles feature people doing things. Each one is 4″ x 4″.

Paint Brochures and My Pen #2

Here are two little drawings done on paint cards. I tried to illustrate the paint color names with my drawings.

Portrait of a Beauty in Late Summer

In March I mentioned a warehouse/factory building next to the parking lot of the Pennypack Trail, where I often run or walk. Here it is in August.

Warehouse at Welsh Road parking lot 8-27-15 #2 small

I’m fascinated by this building. It’s still in active use, so I am restricted to the view of it I can get from the park. That concentrates my idea of what the building is – I can only really examine one façade of it.

The building looks like it is full of – to put it plainly – junk, and yet I heard sounds of banging or hammering coming from inside, meaning someone is doing something in there. And I know it’s busy – I see the trucks and cars parked around it and people going in and out. It’s a bit of a mystery.

Lastly, it’s a typical example of a style of building once very common around here in Philadelphia – the huge long open span building with clerestory windows. No extra detail, meant to be utilitarian only, and yet beautiful.

Yesterday was a sunny bright day and after I finished my exercise I got out my camera for more pictures. This time I concentrated on the windows. I just can’t get over the wild array of detail and color in these simple shapes.

So, here are the pictures.

This building is just the kind of place I’d like to tour. Forget museums or historic houses, as much as I like them – a factory or warehouse like this one is just the thing for me.

Plein Air

I spent last Sunday in Chestnut Hill, a Philadelphia neighborhood near my house, participating in a plein air event. Now, the timing of this event was not the greatest for me, being as it was a few days before my second cataract surgery. My eyesight was quite confused – when you see 20/20 in one eye and 20/800 in the other, and your close-up vision is also a bit shaky, well, maybe painting is not what you ought to be doing.

But, I went ahead anyway. I want to try this type of event whenever I can. I haven’t been able to do much plein air as I had wanted to so far this summer, once again due to my sight.

Forty artists or so were participating. We were assigned a block along the main street in this section of town, Germantown Avenue. I was in the 8300 block on the east side. I chose a view looking south – an intersection a little bit down the hill. I set up my table and got to work. Once I had the painting pretty well set up, I moved into the shade (it was a very hot day and as the sun moved, I did too).

I enjoyed the experience. I think I’m gradually getting an idea of how plein air and I can work together. I did feel restricted by adhering to the elements of the scene and not adding or amending as I would if I were just painting along free to go anyway I wanted. What this told me is that for me, plein air makes a great starting point, and then I want to embellish. Good. I learned something valuable.

So here are some stages of my painting. I plan to do some changes to it back here at home as soon as my eyes heal a bit more (I had the second surgery yesterday and so far, things have gone well with both eyes). I want to simplify some sections and make some additions to turn it into a landscape that’s partly real and partly straight from my own head. I’ll have to see where it goes.

And here are some photos from the reception – they displayed all the paintings done that day.

Recent But Not Related?

Here are a couple of recent acrylic paintings I’ve done. They are the same size – I like this 18″ x 18″ square shape.

The first one, with the woman and the tree, is purely from my imagination, and I’m not sure from what drawer I pulled it out. I think it’s one of those with a story, a story that each viewer creates. I like that. Let the painting have its own life!

The second one is based on a memory. About twenty-five years ago or so, I worked for a bank, downtown, on the tenth floor. Our office overlooked the rooftop pool of the Holiday Inn next door. In the summer, it was a tantalizing sight to see the people enjoying themselves at the pool while we were at work.

Reality and Then There’s My Version

As I mentioned before, I’ve been doing paintings based on everyday sights around my area – some of the photos that are used as references were from the Sunshine Project and others just snapshots of daily life. Many times I’ve taken a picture out of my car window (while stopped, of course). Keeping the camera readily available has been a good idea.

Here are some paintings and the photos that inspired them. All are 8″ x 10″ on birch board, painted in acrylics.

A Long Time in the Making

Here is an artist book I recently finished. It’s called Reverie.

This book has been in process for a very long time. I think it was in the summer of 2012 that I prepared 5 discarded children’s library books for becoming artist books – I started by gluing together every 2 or 3 pages to make a good surface for collage. I then did some preliminary painting in each book.

After that, I worked on each book separately. It takes a long time to make an artist book like this – each page is an individual work.

I don’t have an idea for the overall book when I start. I just make pictures as I feel like it. Then, when all the pages are done, I look through it and see if a thread emerges. Sometimes I decide to change or enhance a page or two. And one time I saw a nice storyline, but the pages were in the wrong order. So I just cut the book up and set things up my way. So the words in the book follow from the images – I write according to what I see.

This particular book, Reverie,I think I finally finished it, words and all, in December, 2013? But I got sidetracked with my latest round of health issues, so it’s finally appearing now. The book images appear below and under them, you can find the text all written out.


Cautious steps
toward the sharp-shadowed concrete stairs
Steps and stairs evaporate
into a blue-black fog
obscuring what is to come next
A dare to take a chance
it is
and can you answer it?

The city moves from night to day
Last night, this morning:
All those who walked
along those streets in the dark
outward away going home just going
Have reversed course and now
in the hard bright sunlight
appear to know more answers to things
than they did
last night
at the tail of a worn out day

Alone, there is time to think
Under the night sky, there is time to think
Walking in this landscape, there is time to think
But did you?

The sun glares down
at everything under the sky
The empty lake ripples.
The shadows on the fringes of the shore
know who put them there
and who can take them away.
While under the sky
The empty lake ripples
in no debt to anyone
The empty lake ripples
takes no sides

There is something about a green day
And a pink dress
And a walk in the grass
that hides your feet
as you shuffle step through it
There is something
about the idea
of a new pattern
fresh hopes
green ideas

What if you
were quite small
where today you are large
and you saw things
from small
The blades of grass waved in your face
and insects viewed you with suspicion
as a possible rival
It’s hard to run fast
when you need to jump over twigs with all your might
just to get over them
and fallen leaves are as big as bed sheets
and the insects still have not made up their minds
about you

This is your town
here on the map
This is your house
here on the street
The bus goes by
eight times a day
and three at night
You read books
in your living room
You‘re saving up
for a new roof
and a bit of paint
This house really has a lot of appeal
for you
and that’s why
you put the pots of ferns on the porch steps
and planted those magnificent bushes
that enfold the house
the way the house
embraces you

There is a lot of ugly in this world
You stand smack in the middle of it at times
But this isn’t one of those times
There is nothing but beautiful
as far as your eye can see
right here it’s just beautiful
to you
pleasing to your eye
restful to your soul
Because you’re here
where you want to be

In the evening
just before dark
in the chill fall
like every year this time
you stand in your front yard
small on the edge of the world
But it’s another story here
in your front yard
by your little white stucco house
and your tall tree
just one leaf left on its branches
and you think about
standing here this year
last year
next year
if the fates allow
in the center of the world

People step out into the world
decked out in some kind of personality
to make themselves known
They are doing it
talking on the phone
buying a car
doing push-ups
cleaning the garage
wearing carefully chosen clothing
And making the most of every minute
chance sends
all day long every day
in public
or at home
It’s making the statement
that satisfies
not so much the statement

Can the neighbor’s cat
really be that large
that observing
that disapproving
of you
and what have you done
to deserve this attention
if you have

In the city
the buildings are lighted
the bus roars along the black street
in the private thoughts
of the fading sun
in the brassy voices
of the orange streetlights
in the half-turned face
of the green cheese moon above
You and your shadow consider each other
decide to walk together
for as long as it suits the both of you
or at least through tomorrow