Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Mystical Procession

I haven't posted in a while.  It is time to get back to serious work.  The last piece I intended to share is called Mystical Procession.  It features multiple identical Ostriches and young women walking in cadence, against a highly decorated background which can be seen through the figures. The color is lush, and good enough to eat!
Mystical Procession, Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 24" 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Turtle Trainer

This is a recent painting.  It's called "Turtle Trainer", is acrylic paint on stretched canvas, and measures 20"x16".  All the vestiges of circus have been removed.  All that is left is a boy, and his turtles, and the world they inhabit.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Miss Global Warming

In response to the overwhelming evidence of climate change, and mankind's contribution to it, I painted this painting.  It is called "Miss Global Warming, and is a 36"x36" acrylic painting on stretched canvas.  The face is modeled after the mother of artist Kay Sarver. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Time Flies

 It has been a long while since I posted.  Time flies by imperceptibly sometimes. Old black and white movies used a wall calendar as a motif to symbolize the rapid passage of time.  Each page represented a day, and the large black and white numbers would fall off the wall in rapid succession.  That device seems slow compared to what we experience in our world today. 

The painting above is a detail of a painting I have begun.  No title yet.  Five ostriches marching in succession.  They set the stage for a black and white checkered floor that spreads out in its perspective grandeur, setting the stage for.....This painting's purpose is to retrieve my sanity that I lost while working on a behemoth  project that took way too long, but that is the subject of a different post.  I digress!

"Prima Ballerinas" is a 24"x30" acrylic painting on canvas.  It incorporates the circus theme and the concept that life is one big act and we are its players.  I love to juxtapose animals with children in games that children devise, because innocence and humor are common byproducts of such behavior.  Many times the animals display infinite patience.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Moon Drop

 "Moon Drop"; 24" x 24"; available.

The child's face in my painting "Pretty Boy" captivated me; I wanted to reuse it.  I was playing around with images and placed a figure with a similar face in a texture-filled jungle with lush vegetation. The idea of twins came into my head- along with a performing animal once again.  The concept of balance is an underlying theme I like to use in this series, but I wanted to take this beyond the normal things one would expect to balance.  A ball or another animal wouldn't be good enough, and so I chose the moon. It came with a Shakespearean reference which was perfect for the painting!  How extraordinary to have the moon falling out of the sky!

I  added a reference to the moon's effect on water, and the tides, so included a wave on the ground reaching up towards the moon. As I painted this, I slowly eliminated all the detail that I had originally intended to incorporate into the piece.  Symbols were eliminated from the twin's coats, and the jungle foliage was simplified over and over again.

The outdoor setting is still a stage for a performance, but the part each participant plays,  and its meaning, are puzzles to be solved.

Monday, February 11, 2013


We have a new member of our family.  Her name is Sugar (see above), and she is four years old.  We picked her up in Nashville, Tennessee, and drove her home over the weekend.  In the past she was a therapy dog, and is as sweet as can be, hence the name.

My previous standard poodle was Nina, pictured below.  She was a senior rescue, and I used to tell people that I didn't want a dog younger than I was. She was a regal lady who spent many hours with me in my studio. I didn't make many paintings of her because it is very hard to see the face and eyes of black dogs, particularly when they are wearing a poodle topknot.  Below is one of the few images I made : a 7" x 5" acrylic painting. 

We lavished Nina with lots of  love.  Sadly, Nina died of liver disease last year. We miss her so much.  The empty spot in our hearts and our home prompted us to get Sugar.  

Pictured below is our beloved Jack.  He was the beloved pet who inspired me to paint him for over three years.  Jack was my muse, and companion during a difficult period in my life.  

His Beauty and Grace will never be forgotten.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Frog Handler

This is a 24" x 12" painting of a child circus performer who has a commanding presence on a small stage.
There are four frogs; one is on a high platform, and one is slung over the handler's arm., as if he had made a failed attempt to escape.
Two immense frogs are on leashes at the handler's feet. It appears that the frogs will be jumping through hoops, which the handler is carrying.
This piece is sold.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Buchanan Gallery, Galveston: Summer Show

These are a couple of shots from the Art Chatter Group Show that we had last summer.  It was a perfect night for an opening, and the exhibition was full of excitement.  Pictured above is the entrance to the gallery.  My painting, "Dog of My Heart" greeted everyone as they came through the doors.  The painting was flanked by Damon Thomas' Blue Dogs (I do not know their exact titles) Who guarded the entry as if it was the portal to King Tut's Tomb!

Pictured above is three of my "Jack of Hearts" Paintings: Dapper Dog (sold), Pretty Good Dog, and Winged Dog.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pretty Boy

The series I am working on, Pretense, is about performance, clothed in a circus theme.  The circus part is mere decoration.  I am interested in the fact that we are all actors, and are constantly creating our scripts.  Who are we? What do we want to do?  How are we going to do it?  Why? What should we say and how should we say it?   Some people put on grandiose performances from huge arenas, and always have a sold-out crowd.   For most of us, our stages aren't big- maybe a four foot circle, and the audience comes and goes.

This painting is of a young boy on a small stage as seen through a vintage looking glass.  He is a reluctant participant in this performance, and would rather be somewhere else.  Seated on his lap is a large white cockatoo.  The title, "Pretty Boy" is a double entendre about the beauty of the boy, and the  phrase we say to parrots.

The boy is sitting on a miniaturized circus cart that is used to cage and transport animals.  His stage is so small that the curtain behind him presses in on all sides.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2012 Was a Very Good Year

I haven't posted for several months and so now is a good time to look back on the year that has just closed.  It was a great year.  I was in three shows; pictured above is the Gambol Show that was judged by my hero Mary McCleary.  The two large ochre paintings are mine.  It was in the Houston Art League in December.  I would put my other shows images on this page but blogger has come up with a new format and I am having trouble loading my picture files. I was the featured artist at the Archway Gallery with my Pretense Show in May, and then in June, Buchanan Gallery in Galveston had a group show for the Art Chatter Critique Group which was very exciting, and a lot of fun.  My sales have been very good- you might say that I am a happy camper!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pretense II Opening Today

Everything is ready for the opening tonight.  The paintings are installed, and the show looks great!  It is Cinco de Mayo, and a full moon is rising, the biggest moon of the year.  The work can be seen on my website: www.artaskew.com.   

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The opening of my show PRETENSE II is only two weeks away.  I have tons to do.  I need to paint the edges of my canvases, wire the paintings, print gallery labels, recheck prices, pick up new business cards, pick up banner, design a handout, design something with the name of the show and my name, and print out the my artist statement which is really an explanation of the show.  Hope I don't encounter any head winds!

Pictured in the poster is House of Cards, which is 48"x48".

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

False Face

Originally, this painting was part of a diptych with the other half being a head (see "Portrait with Mask, June 15, 2011 post). However, I felt the head was more of a portrait, and one that overpowered the image of the mask, which had a validity of its own.

I beefed up the color and changed the proportions a bit, and like the way it came out. It measures 24" x 18", and is acrylic on canvas.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Balancing Act Again

Got my images back from the photographer and so I am posting "Balancing Act" once again. This idea went through a few incarnations until I achieved what I wanted. I love orate stages with the velvet curtains and highly decorated backdrops, and the idea that this would be one very small stage.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


I am putting this painting in Archway Gallery's April Exhibition in Houston. It is acrylic on canvas, and measures 40x30 inches. I have put a brown band along it's border to delineate the edge of the painting. The figure actually floats on the white surface of the canvas. The work will be up April 7-May 3rd. Because of the Easter holiday, the reception will be Saturday April 14th, 5-8PM.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Clown Face

This clown painting will be in my art exhibition called Pretense II. The show opens on May 5th at the Archway Gallery in Houston, Texas, and we will celebrate Cinco de Mayo along with my art. So if you feel like a margarita and a circus atmosphere, come join us.

"Clown Face" measures 24" x 18" and is acrylic on stretched canvas.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Balancing Act

The image above is a detail of a painting called "Balancing Act." I will post the entire painting after I get it professionally photographed, as the colors shifted a bit. The painting is 20" x 16", and is Acrylic on canvas.

This painting is another in my series of paintings for my show Pretense II which is opening on May 5th at Archway Gallery in Houston, Texas.

I enjoy putting animals in preposterous circus acts and showing their personal nature as they accomplish their task. The Anole Lizard is rather magical in the way it changes colors, and has always been my favorite. They are all over Houston, and sometimes make their way into your house during particularly bad weather. Last summer, Beatrice lived under my entertainment center, evading the deadly attention of Lola the cat. I gave her water bottle tops full of water, and tried to find her insects, but the record-breaking drought had made my backyard a wasteland. She survived to make it outside once the rains began again.

This wonderful lizard has eyes nearly identical to our own. If you encounter one, it will tilt its head and study you. It's body is sleek, and it's lines are elegant, so it seemed the perfect candidate for a balancing act. From afar, the painting looks like a seal is doing the balancing. But it is a colorful lizard, indeed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Moment in the Sun

I took a break from my circus series and revisited an image that I had done a sepia drawing of several years ago. This is called:"A Moment in the Sun" and is acrylic on canvas, measuring 36" x 60". I changed things up a bit, and replaced two of the figures. There is something about how the figures are arranged, the way the light hits their faces and bodies that intrigues me. This is from an old family photo from the late 1940's, an era where cameras were at waist level which gave the people in the photo an epic quality. Images had to be brightly lit, so everyone stared bravely into the sun until eyes watered. It took a few seconds to regain one's vision.

I love that suspended moment in photography where everything halts, and a scene is fabricated by the participants that may not have anything to do with what has gone on previously. It is a one second drama, frozen in time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fantasy World

The quote is from Itzah C. Krej. It made me start thinking of fantasy worlds, and how we all live in our own fabricated worlds. Fantasy is easier to observe in children, because they don't disguise it. Adults, on the other hand, have a death grip on reality, but never stop to question
if their perceived reality is really real, or just a more sophisticated world of make believe.

Fantasy World; Acrylic on Canvas; 24"x36"

Gambol Art Competition: Juror: Mary McCleary

I have entered these two paintings in the Art League Houston Gambol Show which opens Friday, December 2 at 6PM. The juror is one of the most amazing artists who will be in art history books someday: Mary McCleary. I will have to restrain myself at the opening and hide all evidence of idol worship, because I am definitely a fan.

The first painting above is called "Big Show." It is acrylic on stretched canvas, and measures 48"x60".

The second painting is titled "Courage." It is acrylic on stretched canvas, and measures 48'x60"as well.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Black Sheep

Posting another image showing my progress on the painting titled "Black Sheep." Performance, and irony are expressed through vintage circus images which compel the viewer to take a closer look.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Paintings

I have been working on a number of pieces. This is a detail of a piece I am calling "Black Sheep", although that could change as the image develops. The size is 40"x 30".

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Portrait with Mask

My diptych is complete. It is two canvases which measure 24"x 18" each. Don't really have a title yet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The "Copy This Painting" Movement

The painting above is called "Liberty", and it is another one of my celebratory paintings.

I got a couple of comments about my last post where I mentioned a place where you can drink and do art. My first exposure to this sort of thing was when I went with my friend to give a demo at an art league outside of Houston. A teacher there was trolling for students, and advertised her upcoming workshop to the group by holding up four paintings. "At the end of my workshop" (she gushed), "you will have four paintings exactly like these!" I was somewhat taken aback. I had seen the results of teachers who created disciples in their classroom, where every student became a clone. But I had never seen copying paintings as the central theme of a painting class, or any other sort of class. Just doesn't seem like art to me.

I got an impassioned email from a dear friend who is a talented artist/photographer/and teacher. She staunchly defended art in any form. I have printed out part of her statement below:

in response to your post.,,,about those places where you make a painting. Yes, there is a main focus on product, vs, process, no room for creativity, no personal expression, etc. etc. However, on the contrary, you could also look at it as a non-threatening way to get someone who has never held a paintbrush since being made fun of in grade school for having no talent or for whatever reason, and labeled themself "not an artist" to be able to simply...paint. Even though the subject, purpose, and instruction sucks, it could serve as an excercise in confidence building, proving the fun of art, and allowing them to learn and appreciate that making your own art (even if it looks like evryone elses) is better than going to the local Kirklands or Hobby Lobby and buying a framed print of some obscure landscape that had no experience to connect with it. It could serve as a catalyst to inspire future works of art with more meaning. With technology being so entertaining in the world today, it seems like the allure to art is less and less. Maybe that is just how I see it in my little bubble. It just seems like the majority of people I know don't care about art. The teachers who pick up their kids from my class couldn't care less about what beautiful painted masterpiece their kids made in my class today. They often tell them to fold it up and put it in their pocket so they can go outside to play. I have NEVER in 8 years received a phone call from a parent who loved the art their kid brought home. I doubt very few pieces of art ever make it to a fridge much more a frame or even a push pin in a wall!! But I do it because I know that the process of making the art was so much more important to them than the paper they take home. Its the experiential knowledge they take with them that is so important. I think no matter what you are painting there is just something about putting paint on a brush and watching it magically transform a white blank space into something beautiful,something terribly ugly, or something that just says something that words cannot. If there were words to express that feeling, I guess there would be no need for paint. I'll get off my soapbox now.
I like your painting, BTW!!

America's disconnect with art is a terrible shame. I wish that this great teacher was getting positive feedback from the parents who have children in her class. I salute all teachers at this time of year.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Celebratory Paintings

For the past two weeks, I have worked on small pieces I call "celebratory paintings". They focus on fun and freedom of expression. I put my inner critic in a closet, and let the good times roll.

This painting's story: My daughter went to an after work get together at one of those places where you drink and are "taught" how to paint a specific painting. The leader/teacher had an art degree from a major west coast university. The image of choice was a sappy abstract landscape: solid black lined trees and faux fauvist dabs of color that were to be the foliage. NO DEVIATING from the original image. My artistic daughter got depressed that no creativity was allowed. She also imagined a younger me as the teacher, and wondered how that young woman settled on this humiliating occupation. She thrust the painting into my hands when she got home and said: "PAINT OVER IT!" I did.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Big Show

I am posting a progress report for The Big Show. Spring has come to Houston, and a similar delicious display of color is being created in my studio with this work. This painting is so much fun to work on that I can barely contain myself!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Big Show

I have started a new large painting, and I am so excited to get back to the format that I love best. Although small paintings are precious, and are a necessity for those with walls full of art or people with small budgets, I love the painting that grabs you from across the room. I love the impact of big work. This canvas is 4'x5'! Stay tuned for progress reports on this piece!

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Painting and a Houston Mystery!

The Trying Room; acrylic on canvas; 24"x24"

I have been working on a new painting this month. This idea has been floating around in my head for quite some time now. I wanted to create a room knee deep in masks, with a child wandering through the space, making his selections. The masks are in my collection; they are carefully selected to symbolize the choices we make when we decide who we want to be. We make these selections not only in our youth, but every moment of every day.

Methodist Mystery

While visiting an artist friend in the Methodist Hospital in Houston, I noticed that the trees outside were netted so that the leaves and debris couldn't fall to the ground. I couldn't believe my eyes and had to take photos to prove to myself that it was actually true.

None of the other trees in the medical center have netting; I wonder what were they thinking?