Friday, August 30, 2013


Why do most people use this word incorrectly? Check (here) for the history of this word and its correct usage.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Pink House


I was in a really rotten mood that day back in 1983. I was unemployed, tired of job hunting and feeling depressed. To improve my spirits I decided to do something I practically never did—Plein Air painting. I packed my art supplies and hit the road. I was a studio painter, but I’d long fantasized about the Impressionists and what it would be like to plant an easel in a landscape, empty my head of all preconceived thoughts and let my eyes and hands take over.

As usual things didn't go as planned. Read about it (here).

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dining With the Smoke Detector: Conclusion

Part I (here).

The front door was open to let out the smoke, making it unnecessary for the firemen to sink their axes into it.
A George Clooney look-a-like said, “We were just driving by on a grocery run and saw all the smoke. Is everything okay?”
Before I could answer, Mrs. C., wrapped in a wet towel, appeared at the top of the stairs. “What’s going on? Why is the smoke detector going…” Her voice trailed off at the sight of firemen standing in our foyer. She may have giggled. I’m sure she did. She would later deny it. 
“Sorry, guys,” I said, “but it’s just a small grease fire, nothing to worry about.”

As it turned out, there was much to worry about. Read more (here).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dining With the Smoke Detector


I should have listened to the little voice in my head telling me to keep my mouth shut. Before I knew it I was in deep water. “Why don’t you take the evening off?” I said to my wife. “I’ll cook dinner tonight.”
“I don’t feel like spaghetti or tacos,” she said, ruling out my specialties.
“Very funny. I can cook other stuff.”
She leaned forward on her stool at the kitchen counter where she was balancing our checkbook. “Like what?” She looked amused.
“You like pot roast, don’t you?”
“It’s rather complicated. Tell you what; go ahead and make your spaghetti.”
Under no circumstances was I going to make spaghetti, which in my case meant opening a jar. “Pot roast it is!”
“Making pot roast isn’t as easy as you think.”
I shrugged. “I grew up on pot roast, and I’ve seen you make it often enough. How hard can it be?”    
As it turned out, pretty darn hard. Read about it (here.)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ditched: Conclusion

Part I can be found (here).

I resisted the urge to grab my bike and pedal away as quickly as possible. I’d never seen a dead person, much less the body of someone I cared deeply about, someone like Helen Delgado. I’d practically grown up sitting at her kitchen table, watching her roll tortillas and tamales, mooning over her while she listened patiently to my babbling. I was afraid to walk around the crumpled Mercury, terrified by what I might see, but Ricky was my best friend and I couldn’t abandon him to deal with this on his own. I inched over and stood beside him.

Read the rest (here).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


      I was startled to hear knocking on our front door early that September morning in 1965. It was Sunday. I was enjoying a bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes and turning the TV dial looking for cartoons instead of religious programming.
     I opened the door and saw Ricky Delgado standing on our porch, an expression on his face I hadn’t seen since we’d snuck away to a local carnival so he could ride The Hammer. Ricky looked nervous.
     “Did your folks come home last night?” he asked, his voice thick with concern.
     “Of course. Why wouldn’t they?”

What happened next I'll never forget. Read about it (here).

Monday, August 19, 2013


 Last night our niece returned to her Seattle home with her four month old baby in her arms. She confronted a burglar in her living room. The burglar fled and no one was harmed, but this incident reminded me of my one and only confrontation with a burglar.

Read about it (here.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Best vacation Ever!

 “Stop shouting at our customers!” the bank manager said. 

“Sorry.” I hadn’t realized I’d been yelling. It was 1977 and I’d only been out of teller school a few months. This was my first week working in a real bank.

The manager came up to my window several minutes later and said, “Our customers are complaining about your yelling. You need to get your ears checked.”

Check (here) for what happened next.


Friday, August 16, 2013

This One Sold #4

Parody, an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect, is a useful tool when seeking ideas for conceptual art. When I taught illustration I often gave an assignment to find a famous work of art and mock it in some way. I’ve painted many parodies over the years and not long ago I posted one—Anne of Claws based on Holbein’s Anne of Cleves.

In 1994 I was contacted by the art director of Portland State University’s alumni magazine. He needed cover art for an article titled “Curriculum Revolution.” I immediately began thinking about famous revolutionary works of art, and Delacroix’s iconic Liberty Leading the People sprang to mind. My idea was to show Lady Liberty sporting a mortarboard, graduation cap, instead of the Phrygian cap in the original painting. I presented a sketch and received the art director’s approval to proceed to the final art…with one exception. The director was adamant that I not show Liberty’s monumental breasts. Too titillating for college students, I supposed. 

Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People painted in 1830

Check out my finished cover illustration (here).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thanks, Rowdy

The children I grew up with were not always kind, especially when their attention fell on short chubby kids like me who talked too much. Making matters worse, I had a peculiarity that prompted additional ridicule, a birthmark on my upper lip. When I was a kid, one of the popular Smith twins across the street commented that my birthmark reminded her of the one on Marilyn Monroe’s cheek. Her comment was overheard and before long everyone was calling me Marilyn, even my best friend Ricky Delgado.

Read here how another celebrity came to my rescue.


Monday, August 12, 2013

America's Great Pastime: Conclusion

Check out Part One of this story (here).

My difficulties as an umpire fell into two categories: first was a lack of familiarity with the rules of the game, conveyed to players and spectators by the erratic methods I used to communicate my decisions; second, my co-umpire (Mrs. C.) found it all but impossible to remain impartial and not show favoritism to the hardworking smallest kid in the game.

Find out what happened next (here).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

America's Great Pastime


Summer is the time for sports and many bloggers have great tales to tell about their athletic prowess. I’m not one of them. My greatest athletic achievement is summed up in my post “The Zone.” But there was a time when I was coerced into participating in another baseball game, this time as an adult. Those of you who know me are right to assume it didn’t go well.

Read about it (here).

Friday, August 9, 2013

Food in Motion

 Last year I wrote about my pet peeve over kids only holding drumsticks in chicken advertisements. I still haven’t seen a child holding a thigh or breast. I now have another peeve—food in motion.
Physicists claim that everything is in a constant state of motion and advertisers have taken this to heart. Remember the days when commercials showed food on plates? Hungry Man Dinners didn’t need to be rendered motionless with a baseball bat. Times have changed. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This One Sold #3


This illustration has sold several times and has always been one of my favorites. An art director asked me to paint a picture that illustrated the futility of chasing after money. I immediately thought of one of literature’s most famous lunatics—crazy old Don Quixote—tilting at windmills in the belief that they were evil giants. Quixote believed it was his responsibility to rid the world of them. In my picture I decided to incorporate money into the scene by adding currency to the windmills.
The story of Don Quixote has inspired many artists, none more esteemed than Picasso
who created dozens of paintings based on this fictional Spanish knight. My illustration is included on Business Fundamentals, my royalty free art CD.

Click (here) to see the entire picture. Can you guess what the US Department of Internal Revenue used this picture for?

Monday, August 5, 2013

An Attack of the Grumpies

It isn’t often that I wake up grumpy, but I did so on Sunday morning. It didn’t help when the microwave went out—it will probably cost a few hundred bucks to fix. It didn’t help when I called my mother and listened to her complain about everything she could think of. If you think the world and everything in it is going to hell in a hand basket just e-mail me and I’ll gladly share my mother’s phone number. Tell her you hate Obama and she’ll invite you to her place and reward you with a sumptuous meal that will include kale.

To find out what cured my case of the grumpies click here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Fallen Star


She was once a star attraction with people paying good money to wait in line just to gaze at her tender expression. A place of honor was afforded her, a spacious wall with excellent lighting to show her off to best effect. You might not think her worthy of such attention; she isn’t young or beautiful or sexy, but she came with one of the best pedigrees on earth for a painting—she was created by Rembrandt van Rijn. Or was she?

Read about her here.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Six Minutes That Could Happen Anywhere

You might have heard about this on the news, but for me it’s personal; it happened in the building where my wife and son work.

The Police Records Department is located several yards inside the front door to our city hall. A thin young man, approximately eighteen years old, paced in the entryway before approaching the window and mumbling something.

Kathy (not her real name) was working the desk. “Could you repeat what you just said?”

What happened next made the national news. Read about it here.