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Friday, March 30, 2012


It was an experiment asking, "Will people buy paintings from an artist (me) if he paints like a ten-year-old?".
As an elementary school art teacher, I know the style well. After being in three art shows these last two weeks the answer is more or less,"No".

Yes, I sold a few but most of my customers were ten. Apparently their parents had given them a little spendin' money.
Maybe I've been around kids too long but part of me enjoys their refusal to follow my directions like, "Stop putting the eyes where the hair should be!".
Despite my instructions, many first graders think of the human form as a smiling potato with stick-like appendages.
Whatever. This year I went with the flow.

Picasso once said, "I wish I could paint like a child again", but if he had he might have gone broke.
By the end of the Gifford Lane Art Show I had sold six ten-dollar paintings and one didgeridoo. Many
people enjoyed playing with my hula-hoops but none of them bought one.

By the end of the day I had made enough money to pay the show's entry fee and buy lunch.
I'm not complaining. Creating these forty pieces on plywood was a joy and the social interactions at these gatherings, priceless.

At the March 18th show several people told me,
"You're booth makes me happy".
And that should be enough.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


When my wife's father died we inherited a few things including a baby elephant tusk.
Francesca and I didn't know quite what to do with it.
Unless you're a son of Donald Trump (his two boys went on an African killing spree last week), shooting elephants isn't the coolest thing.

Neither is possessing the body parts.

Still, there is a beautiful piece of ivory hiding on a low shelf in our living room.
Today a zoologist friend and his wife stopped by for ice cream. He spotted the tusk and quickly let us know that it was not African at all. He told Francesca, "You've got is a walrus tusk and your dad may have found it on a beach!".

We were elated, our sins washed away.

Phil also let us know my trophy "sea turtle bone" is actually a gill plate from a refrigerator-size Ocean Perch.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


We went on a beach walk
this morning, south of
Santa Cruz. Here are a few of the pictures I took.

The night before we had dinner with former Miamian, Adam Steckley.
He works for the O’Neil Foundation which teaches oceanography to kids.
Five days a week school children board his 65-foot catamaran sailboat for the trip of a lifetime.
As they cruise Monterrey Bay many confess they have never been on a boat or even seen the ocean.

We learned that last month was amazing. For three weeks humpback whales crowded into Santa Cruz harbor to feed.
“They just weren’t surfacing for air," said Adam, “These were huge animals leaping out of the water, gulping millions of tiny fish at a time. Try teaching an ecology lesson with these swimming school buses crashing around you!”

As you might expect, the whales became his lesson.

WIth on office on the beach, it seems to be the perfect job for our young surfer friend.
It's understood that when the waves are good, almost everyone in Santa Cruz manages to paddle out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We are the Bay Area this week. Walking in the Berkeley hills we spied a lemon tree from Mars. Its owner let us take a few.

At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art we gazed at these two busts, one made of chocolate and the other, soap. The artist calls them, “Lick and Lather”.
It was the first time I ever had the urge to eat a statue.

Since televisions are flat now, we sometimes see them on walls as art.
This one had a quiet interior tableau where nothing moved...except
rising cigarette smoke.

We wondered, “How’d they stay so still?”.

If you stared long enough you'd notice an occasional blink or or hand movement.

We thought the smiling woman had the toughest position. She held that grin so well.
It took about ten minutes for the cigarette ash to reach the filter and drop.

When it did, the video looped back then started again.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


The Gifford Lane Art Stroll will pop up for the 14th time on Sunday, March 18, from noon to five pm. It's the best little art festival in South Florida.
Residents of the Center Grove street barricade their block for an afternoon of art, music, and refreshment. Seventy artists,
including me, will show their stuff.
Many give away cookies.
I will be selling my usual collection of didgeridoos and hula hoops.
I will also be exhibiting a new series of visual creations. Painted on plywood, most reflect the artistic styles I see every day as an elementary art teacher.
Prices start at five bucks.

Gifford Lane is one block east of SW 32 Ave. and two blocks north of Grand, just across the street from the tennis courts.
The Stroll is always lots of fun. We hope to see you there.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


You first notice the warning signs in the Everglades National Park and wonder, "How can a bird hurt a car?". Then, you see the big black vultures perched on parked vehicles ripping the rubber that seals the windows shut.

We had arrived at Nine-Mile Pond last month to go on one of the park's free canoe adventures. As Francesca and I watched the birds in action, it didn't seem like such a great deal if, while we were paddling,
vultures were dining on our Toyota.
I did my best to scare them off. They just flapped to the side and waited for me to leave. They know that humans eventually go away.

Francesca and I noticed many people had tied plastic bags to their cars to scare the
birds. The thin plastic bounced around in the breeze. Having no such bags, we spread a blanket over our
van, tied it down, and paddled off.
Our guide led us on a three-mile tour. As we made our way through mangrove tunnels and searched for crocodiles I
kept thinking about how this "free" adventure might cost us hundreds in car repairs. Thankfully, at some point I forgot about the vultures and actually enjoyed myself.
After three hours we rounded the last turn home. I grabbed the binoculars and saw our camper intact, still somewhat protected by our flapping picnic blanket. The birds were eating a Chevy Silverado nearby.
Detroit rubber is mm-mm good.
Earlier our ranger guide explained that the vultures rip rubber out of boredom, "They're adolescents, too young to hang
with the big guys, so they do this to pass the time".

There was no rubber left on ranger's truck. She seemed okay with it as it was owned by the government.

The daily canoe trips are great fun provided to you by the American taxpayer. You may want to try it before the
mosquitoes the over in May. Reservations can be made by calling (239) 695-2945.

Last weekend a friend of mine took the
guided tour. She reported that there were no big birds hanging around the parking lot.
Apparently they've gone north for the season. South Florida's turkey vultures
summer in Ohio.

I'm calling my friends in Columbus to warn them now.