Thursday, August 31, 2006

Necklaces, Pastels and Glen Ford

I missed Wednesday. How did I manage to do that? In any event, what started as a so-so Wednesday (a sub-so-so really - involving the end of a 3 day period of torrential rain, standing water on my studio floor, and the futile search for the affordable yet elusive wet-vac) ended on a lovely note.

By the end of the day, I had been contacted by a well established gallery located in the South who wants to carry a line of my original works and I spent a good part of my evening having a wonderful time having dinner and stimulating conversation about art with my friends Michael Scotko and Karen Kiick - both extremely talented artists themselves. I love being in a room with other artists - talking, laughing, discussing our work and our role in society as artists. I can't get enough.

Karen, an award winning sculptor and painter, also makes wonderful jewelry. She gave me a necklace as a present and I am crazy about it! I wear artistically designed masculine necklaces often - and this one is perfect for the coming autumn season. Here I am wearing it this morning waiting for my coffee to brew...

Early morning

And here is a close-up of it:


A common theme in all of Karen's work is her ability to successfully present a sense of vision that is tactile in nature and inextricably bound to the very human desire to touch and feel rock, stone and clay. Our primordial ancestors need and ability to create tools from natural resources in order to scrape and paint imagery onto a cave wall is buried inside all of us. There are reasons that people are drawn to ancient stone ruins, graveyards, ancient cathedrals and castles and Karen's architecturally inspired work satisfies that want in an approachable and sophisticated way.

Her husband Michael Scotko is a self-taught pastel artist specializing in landscape. His work is brilliant - they transcend simply "pretty" landscapes evolving into thought provoking, soulful, delicate sanctuaries on paper that immediately calm and quieten. They're so enchanting that to see them in real time is the mot proper way to experience them, but until then - you can visit his site for a sampling at

Now, I must end this post on a sad note. One of my favorites and a screen icon has passed. Glen Ford. I always found him so compeling on screen no matter what role he was playing - usually a good guy done wrong. And - of course, just one word..."Gilda"

Glenn Ford: 1916 - 2006

In Memoriam...
Glen Ford
May 1, 1916 - Aug. 30, 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The most intimate and internal things in the world...

Here is the latest bizarre email that I have recieved in reference to stocks of some sort.

"No, the young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. There was a short round jacket with a high, rolled collar. Then Anthony saw that Carlo Cibo was sitting on the chest laughing. The custom imparts a certain tone and discipline to a tropical community.

I shall take it up with the ecclesiastical authorities. What will anything matter fifty years from now to Carlo Cibo? He is no fool I can tell you, that old man. I play them off one against the other and go my own way. Complete darkness descended except where the doll stood in a kind of foul light. Father Trajan thrust his hands into the chest and pulled out the Madonna proudly. You see, said Cibo quietly, as they mounted the broad steps to the Paseo. As for the peccadillo of the soul I leave that to the church; heroics to the military.

He wondered if all events for Cibo inevitably resulted in more and better food. Clothes were, he felt, the most intimate and internal things in the world. It is the firm of Cuesta and Santa María. He is always steered in the direction which his bowsprit indicates. If it had not been for that he would have plunged out in his sleep into the garden below.

He pushed Anthony by the arm toward the black emanation in the corner. It understands us instinctively by just remembering itself. He remembered a naked child in the vestibule of the Casa da Bonny feather. "

A little online research informed me that this probably an excerpt from the novel “Anthony Adverse”, written by Hervey Allen

and made into a film in 1936. According to one source the novel was the “greatest best seller of its day, and was only surpassed when Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With The Wind”. As to why an excerpt appeared today in my email sent by a stranger with the dubious name of Clair. Who knows.

I do know that while I was on my 4 mile high speed exercise walk this morning a black fast moving SUV sped by and someone inside yelled “asshole” at me. I couldn’t figure out why that happened and it stuck with me for a minute.

I didn’t know the occupants and only even glanced towards the vehicle after the vocalization had occurred. It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later after I had turned around the bend of the large park did I notice a friendly looking fellow drive by. He was probably in his early 30’s, clean cut gent. Our eyes met briefly as I was walking and a slight smile came across his face. It was then that he lifted up his hand and offered me a peace sign. And then I knew. He must had seen the button that I was wearing...


And so. sadly, had someone in the SUV. Someone so brainwashed by what’s happening in our world, especially by our government, that they felt the need to call me, a perfect stranger walking down a street, an asshole.

Because I was wearing a peace button. What does this kind of behavior remind you of folks?


Be careful out there fellow peace lovers...

Monday, August 28, 2006

"She Hates Me" - not really...

Well - the close of another Monday. Weather wise, the whole weekend was humid and overcast. The light was a diffused white/smokey haze from sunrise to sunset.
Friday night, George and I went up the street to this hip coffee shop and watched "She Hates Me" (great musicians, badly designed website) perform.

I had seen them once before but only briefly. Though the coffeehouse was uncomfortably warm and there was more than one overtly loud and obnoxious buffoon in the audience, the performance was really enjoyable. Shannon McGill's voice is simply angelic and touched with a haunting rustic quality. She has wonderful phrasing and intonation which blends perfectly with Kevin Sullivan's masterful guitar work.

I also spent some of the weekend and today finally finishing my My Space site. Feel free to visit by clicking here:

I also was informed by one of my curators that the current issue of the international published magazine of high-finance " Trader Monthly " has a photograph containing of one of my works featured prominently in an article entitled "30 Under 30: The top young talent currently slaying the capital markets. " The photograph is of Josh Slavitt (of the firm BNP Paribas of New York). He's one of the "30 under 30" and in the photograph he is standing right underneath my work entitled "Le Désir Secret". Gotta love free publicity.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Crazy dream...

Super odd dream story from last night. Dressed in running shorts, t-shirt, and athletic shoes, I find myself wondering the halls of some office building somewhere.
Though I could tell it was present time, the offices aren't exactly new. They were well maintained and clean, but not new. They had that look and feel of offices from the 70's - short shagged industrial gold brown carpet everywhere, warm yellow hued lighting, stolid burnt tangerine colored plastic and super shiny ever so slightly off-white opalescent tiling.

Based upon my interaction with other folks in the building who all knew me and greeted me by name, I must have been working there. It didn't seem to matter that they were all in business attire and I was dressed as if i were headed for the gym.

After walking the halls for a bit, I stop in the men's room.

So, I'm standing there at the wall urinal going about my business and who walks in but George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Now, of course, for me the dream has drifted into "nightmare" zone. "This is just great" I remember saying sarcastically to myself, since I am definitely not a fan of either men.

He looks at me and gives me that insipid frat boy smile nods and says "How ya doin". I nod back, and out of respect for the office of the Presidency itself (not, in this case, for the fellow who currently holds the office) I respond with a stern "Good morning, sir." I stare straight ahead and go about by business. Bush and Cheney begin to discuss something political ( I wish I could remember!) as if I weren't there. I remember thinking that whatever they were discussing, it wasn't something that I wanted to be in on and it made me very uncomfortable. I finish up, quickly wash my hands and leave without saying a word.

As soon as I opened the door to leave, I found myself walking up a street about a block away from the house I grew up in. I was till wearing the same clothes, but this time my shoes were missing and I had a sliver-grey back pack with me that was very heavy. I kept switching the back pack on and off my shoulders to distribute the weight. It' s lovely early summer day and I'm walking by the park that i spent so much time playing in. I walk by the house of one of the neighborhood kids that I knew and there are small bleachers set up in his front yard. There's a small group of people sitting on the bleachers eating muffins watching this kid and his sisters give some sort of speech. I walked by and continued to the house I grew up in. I pass another grey stone house which was adorned from top to bottom in a huge shiny red ribbon- complete with a bow at the top.

Though it appeared to look more like holiday decorations rather than a gift. In fact, I remember thinking that the whoever lived in the house had really jumped the gun on the holiday decorations as we were still several months away from Christmas. And then for some reason, I remember thinking that the person who lived there had this decoration up year round. It was a lovely house. It seemed to me to have been built in the 1920's or early 30's. The stone used were thick hewn roughly textured blocks of limestone that had darkened and weathered over the years. There were also beautiful crystal clear windows that ran that enclosed the entranceway/porch to the house. They were made of cut glass so that the sunlight refracted in prisms all about them. And the red ribbon made it just that much more lovely really.

After that, it becomes vague and I wake up. That was about 2 hours ago or around 5:00 AM. You would think that someone getting up that early had some cows or something in the backyard that had to be milked or something.

But that's not the case at all. I just like getting up early.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Little button - big message

See this little button?

What is the first word that pops into your head when you see it?

I ordered mine from shortly after the fiasco in Iraq began.And here is why. Because symbols are incredibly powerful and Peace is beautiful. If you are old enough to read or speak then you know the what the peace symbol means when you see it. I try to wear this little button every day. I own more then one and keep them about the house to make it even more easier to grab it and pin it onto my shirt when I'm heading out the door.

In my opinion, since everyone knows what this symbol means, the first second they see it, the word PEACE is spoken in their head. Whether they agree with it or not, or want it or not, the "little button with the big message" has planted the word PEACE in someone's psyche. It is impossible to see the symbol and not hear the word PEACE in your head. Imagine if everyone in the world spent just 60 seconds a day repeating the word PEACE ( or its equivalent in the language of their choice) as a silent meditation. What do you think would happen? There is power in that word - and if I can help someone speak the word in their mind even for a second, then I feel like I'm doing something to help end this futile, wasteful war and to help build something beautiful. What realy makes me happy is when someone asks me where they can get or tells me that they are going to find one that they have had in the bottom of some shoebox from the past somewhere. If you have one of those, then now is the time to pull it out and wear it proudly or order some now from Give them to family and friends, even complete strangers. Just spread the word.

Here are some recent entries from my sketchbook...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Everyone likes muffins....

Ah - this bizarre yet sweet animation made me laugh today, which I enjoyed greatly. I do so wish I had a muffin... A couple of weeks ago, I greedily consumed the most decadent dark chocolate muffin with milk chocolate chips and chocolate covered espresso beans baked within. My eyes still glaze over like a junkie's when I think of it...

Today also would have been the 94th birthday of American film dancer great - Gene Kelly. What amazing talent he had. A what awesome powerful legs. He was the Fred Astaire of the working class.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Aint that nice...

I'm not going to spend a lot of time making excuses for why I've not updated this blog in 11 days. I've had a busy topsy turvy last few weeks and frankly, I can't wait for what has been a rather unenjoyable summer to fade away. I love autumn and am ready to start a new season. I will do my best to keep this blog updated as best as I can - especially since my dear friend Kathryn had informed me that she reads it with her morning coffee.

Today is August 22, 2006. While flipping mindlessly through the 8,000 digital cable channels the other day, I stopped for a nano-second on the conservative skank Glenn Beck's how to speak directly out of your ass program. He suggested that he had a feeling that something "big" was going to happen today. I hope that he is wrong as I am driving to New Jersey later this morning and don't suffer detours, road blocks, and traffic well. Perhaps the big thing would be for him to realize while staring deep into his own vitriolic eyes while shaving what a hate mongering self-important wind bag he is, but I doubt it.

Today also happens to be the 36th birthday of Giada De Laurentiis. I have seen her cooking show several times. I like what she prepares and have even incorporated one of her dishes into my own culinary repertoire. However, her physically big mouth frightens me and sometimes gives her a truly maniacal look.

Plus, she uses the word "nice" much too often. A big slab of salmon flesh isn't "nice". Angry perhaps and dead - and certainly tasty when prepared properly, but "nice", no.

Friday, August 11, 2006

In Memoriam...

Wow. It must be the "August"ness of it all. That would explain why I have neglected to update this blog in 10 days. To be fair, I have had a crazy 10 days. It's been more than I want to place in the blog, but I'll touch base on some of them, in one of my favorite tools - the list. Here are just some of the things that I have dealt with or experienced in the last 10 days since my last update.

▪ I heard and then watched the beach modular home directly across from mine explode and the burst into a flaming fireball.
▪ I entertained several different groups of friends in two different states and had a blast
▪ I heard someone smashing the driver side window of someone's car at 3:45 in the morning.
▪ Sold one of my favorite large-scale paintings
▪ Consumed crab ravioli with lobster cream sauce in one of my favorite Italian restaurants
▪ The ice-maker stopped working a second time covering the kitchen floor with an inch of flesh numbingly cold water
▪ I was clunked on the side of my head by the heavy blade of a fast moving ceiling fan while standing on a ladder
▪ Sold one of my favorite large-scale paintings
▪ Was contacted by a nationally celebrated talk radio personality about commissioning a portrait
▪ Watched Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain" starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews from 1966
▪ Visited the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia which was teeming with screaming, pushy, sweaty, hyper-active children from all walks of life.
▪ Made the perfect Bean Dip and Mango Guacamole
▪ Became slightly addicted to Bravo's "Project Runway"

Now, I learned today of Mike Douglas's death at the age of 81. I remember his show on television when I was growing up. He celebrity was super-huge then and being a guest in his show was quite a good PR move. One of the things that I remember and that I thought was hip was the way in which he would have different celebrities host his show for a week. One great team was John Lennon and Yoko Ono. How cool is that, huh? Huh?

In Memoriam...
Mike Douglas
Aug. 11, 1925 - Aug. 11, 2006

He died on his birthday. I have always found that fascinating. I don't know who told me and I have no idea how true it is, but I was once told that often people die within three months surrounding their birthday - usually in the month preceding or directly following the date. Though that was not the case of my father ( birthday in April, died in September) it was the case for my mother (B: September - D: August). In any event, there is something very Zen to me about the phenomena of people dying on the day they were born

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

August 1, 06

meaug106.jpg, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

It's self-portrait Tuesday. This is my new closely trimmed beard. I may keep it for a while if it doesn't become too hot. Though today, we are to hit a high of 105 degrees! Am I in Death Valley, the Middle East or the African plains? No - I am in New Jersey! Where else should it reach 105 degrees in Summer? I intend to spend most of the day in my AC enriched studio painting.