Poppies, Rattle Snakes & Sean Penn

Hi friends,

Long time, no hear from, I know – guilty as charged! I plan to rectify this silence beginning now. “Sticktuitiveness,” right? :)

Thanks, as always, for reading, “following,” “liking,” commenting, and even buying with respect to my art. So nice to have a community, whether virtual or face-to-face, with whom I can share my artistic journey.

In this post and ensuing ones, I’ll share some highlights of 2018 thus far. This post concerns the much needed sales of two paintings that started off the year in fine style: the first, a 3’x4’ painting of a poppy field made from a plein air (“in open air”) study; the second, a 22”x28” plein air painting of the incredible hiking and climbing area not far from Bend called Smith Rock. Here’s a little backstory to each along with some images.

 

Field of Joy, Oil on panel, 20"x16", 2017. Available

Poppies. Oil on board, 20”x16”, 2017 (plein air study, available)

Poppies are my favorite flower – no, not for the opium, but as a symbol, a symbol of my mom. As a kid growing up, my mom always had a lovely flower bed of poppies in the front yard, beautiful glowing orange poppies with the purple stamen – yes, the opium kind. Rest assured, my dear mom was not a user! Each day as my brother John and I walked out the front door with our Star Wars lunch boxes and oftentimes matching shirts to await the bus, I’d admire those poppies while hearing my mom’s words, “Think, think; behave; be good; have a nice day.” Mom would also encourage me to whistle since I took a liking to it, and no better time to spin a tune while waiting for the bus. John was the quiet one; I was the talker – pretty much the same to this very day. He once famously stated at the breakfast table, “It’s too early to talk” while I gabbed away. Ever since those formative childhood years, the image of the poppy has become associated with the image of my mom. At 88 years old, she (and my dad) is still with us, but one never knows for how long. So wonderful to have a powerful symbol that evokes her loving presence wherever I or she may be!

Poppy Paradise. Oil on linen, 36"x48", 2017. Sold

Field of Joy. Oil on linen, 36”x48”, 2017 (sold)

 

Smith Rock, a hiker’s and climber’s paradise, and not too shabby for a painter either! I’ve visited Smith Rock several times now, both on foot and with a brush in hand. My first visit was perhaps the most memorable, and here’s why. One feature of the high desert here in Central Oregon, and particularly in and around Smith Rock, is the presence of rattle snakes. Since I had never seen a rattle snake, I was quite intrigued and slightly frightened by their presence, and very much longed to see one. After hiking the “up and over” of Misery Ridge and strolling along the river path, I saw something move in the grass. Wish granted: a rattle snake! I followed it at a seemingly safe distance, warning fellow hikers with their unleashed pip-squeek dogs to beware. Looking down the trail to see who I could warn next (I felt this snake was my discovery!), I saw an incredibly stunning woman walking toward me with this self-assured, studly sort of man just behind her. I found him quite odd since he was wearing blue jeans in this arid environment and no shirt, strutting his way down the trail, arms forced out to the side due to his powerful trapezious muscles that wouldn’t allow them to linger close to his body. I warned them of the rattle snake and chatted with this fellow for awhile about it, all the while suspecting I’ve seen this man before. Conversation done, off the couple went, only to be trailed by a group of middle-aged women who apparently were in their party. I heard one of them say the name Sean, referring to the man, and then it clicked: I was just chatting with Sean Penn, the hero of Fast Times at Ridgemont High! Of course Sean Penn was topless and wearing jeans! I figure I may have saved his life and career by warning him of the rattler that could have struck a fatal blow upon him. He owes me, I reckon! At least he could buy a painting! 😉

Smith Rock. Oil on linen, 22"x28", 2017. Sold

Smith Rock. Oil on linen, 22”x28”, 2017 (sold)

Smith Rock. Oil on board, 22"x28", 2016. Available

Monuments. Oil on board, 22”x28”, 2017 (available)