Corn Shed at Cold Harbor / charcoal

corn shed charcoal

Some thoughts about being in the right place at the right time.

The flip side of that coin is knowing when to get the hell out of Dodge because you don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. My tip for avoiding disaster is to watch for red flags. Metaphorically speaking, one or two small red flags means you should stay aware of the surroundings. Big red flags mean don’t hang around to see what happens next. It’s a self preservation thing.

If you want to be in the right place at the right time it’s a good idea to not book your time to tight. Then you can go for the opportunity when it’s available. Don’t stay home to work, go out and scout. Talk to anyone who’s interested. If they tell you about a great place go check it out. If you get a call that you should be there because someone requests your presence, go. Unless there’s red flags on it, then decide for yourself.

It still amazes me that the farm I like at Cold Harbor, Via Farm, is the most peaceful and safe place in my stomping grounds because 150 years ago it was a crucial piece of land hotly contested by two armies. Cold Harbor was part of Richmond’s outer defenses. The Union army tried to break through so they could get to Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, and destroy it. They fought there and then fought there again later but couldn’t get to Richmond that way. People kept saying, “this war can’t last long.” but it did. Over the course of a few years dead and wounded soldiers were strewn over the land for miles.

Now, 150 years later it’s lush and green, peaceful and safe. The old weathered corn shed has so much personality it almost talks. It seems like nothing in life goes as planned, but then I see a twist of fate that brings me to a great view. That’s what I call being in the right place at the right time.

Sometimes Reaching is Hard…But Reach We Must…


Big Life – Collage

There are times when life is a song. You know all the words, sing along, and even throw in a few improvised moments with wild abandon. And everything falls into place. Like magic. But we have all experienced times that are challenging. We not only forget the words, but at times the tune. And life seems to be getting smaller, restricted, limited. And this is where I am at the moment.

On the way home from a doctor’s appointment I stopped at Starbucks for coffee. I reached into a bin of cup sleeves and pulled out one with the following message:

“Your life is big. Keep reaching.” – Oprah Winfrey

Encouraging advice continues on the back: take a few moments to pause and reflect. Teavana and Oprah call it your own personal “steep time”. Time to Steep Your Soul.

It was just what I needed to read. Synchronicity? I believe so. And it was enough to get me back to hearing a  bit of the tune…if not the words. I rifled through my box of ephemera. I found a vintage romance magazine. The image of the woman from a 1920’s ad was just what I needed. Someone happy, effervescent…dare I say Bubbly? Someone clearly reaching and enjoying life.

The substrate for the collage is a canvas panel. The background is a page from the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper Want Ads circa 1972. Hershey Kiss wrappers, fine art images, tea dyed gauze, a dried petal from an iris plant, tea bags, printed and rubber stamped tissue paper, dictionary text. Acrylic paint sponged and pushed through purchased and hand cut stencils finish the collage.

So, although my life is still not filled with lyrics and a tune, I am hopeful. I know the big life is there. I just need to keep on reaching.

Knob Handled Bowl with Pegasus / Greek ca.320 BC

pegasus bowl

It’s terracotta at the VMFA. This is what the plaque says.

And when Perseus cut off Medusa’s head, there sprang forth great Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus. Now Pegasus flew away and left the earth, the mother of flocks, and he came to the deathless gods: and he dwells in the house of Zeus and brings to wise Zeus the thunder and lightning. Hesiod, Theogony

Musician in the Sun / acrylic by Helene Ruiz

musician in the sun
Helene said she did this painting as a tribute to her dear departed brother. He was a guitar player.
Isn’t it beautiful?! It’s in gallery 140 at Artworks. Come on down and see our great show!

my soft sculpture / pillow display at Artworks

pillow display

I made shelves out of cardboard and draped them with fabric I like. They’re in gallery 140 at Artworks on Hull St. just a few blocks south of the 14th St. bridge. We have a great collection of art in there.

If you want to read the ramblings of my subconscious check out the short story I sent to
titled ” In a Dream I Saw the City of the Dead”

Richmond, VA. and Shockoe Valley / oil

Richmond with shockoe

I posted a photo from this overlook on Oct. 20 / 2012.
I didn’t use a photo or ruler to do this painting. It’s all freehand in plein air. It took me over 40 hours to get it finished but I enjoyed hanging around on this beautiful spot for 2 or 3 hours every day. And I had to take my time and go over it again and again until I had the colors and values close enough to what I see. Getting the values and colors right gives the effect of aerial perspective. My lines aren’t exactly straight but close enough that it doesn’t bug me.

I have to keep challenging myself so my drawing and painting skill will improve. This is a complicated drawing and I didn’t want to leave anything out except the traffic. So I did simplify it a little. First I drew it on an 11×15 sketchbook and it looked kind of crowded so I decided to use an 18×24 canvas since it’s a little easier to draw larger. I knew I had my proportions and perspective close to right when it all fit into the space.

Vampire mural / street art / Richmond VA.

vampire mural
Now here’s an artist that can communicate. I mean, I doubt he’ll type in to me, “No, that’s not a vampire.”
It can be found on Madison St. at Broad.

It’s my new favorite.

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