Some of you may already know about the commitment I made in May to focus the year ahead on completing the ever elusive “body of work”.  It’s not like I haven’t been making art all this time but I know there have been times when I lacked direction and others when I simply let myself be distracted.  No more.   As Mr. Peck said to Mr. Niven in The Guns of Navarone, “You’re in it now boy.  Right up to your bloody neck!”  That’s probably a paraphrase but you get the idea.  I don’t expect I will ever let up from this point on.

This blog post is titled “Inventory” and with good reason.  Making  art is one thing, selling it is another.  My dad taught me you can’t sell if you don’t have inventory, which means you better be prepared to work.  Some of my more prolific friends out there are rolling out a painting a week or even every day!  I never thought I could keep up with that pace but now I do know that doesn’t really matter anymore.  The main thing is to get in there and make art.

I like the idea of looking backward in order to achieve my goals.   I dream of the end I have in mind and work backward to the steps it took me to get to that point.  This type of thinking has helped me to achieve success in many different ways.

The ceramic sculpture, “Standing Figure” has now been constructed. To give you an idea how long it has taken for me to do this sculpture, the design was originally sketched out in 1990.  This is the curse of a brain that is rolling along like a locomotive, keeping journals of drawings and ideas for the last 40 some odd years.  I tell myself I will get back to this or that one but up until now, that hasn’t happened.  Now it is happening.

The kiln load of ware is ready to be fired to bisque. Fall is officially here and this is the time to be firing.  This coincides very well with my production schedule:  make ceramics during the hot months and fire during the cold ones.  The rest of the time I’m painting and drawing.

I’m back to some functional pottery in the form of beer steins and mugs.  Additionally I’m returning to several bottle and box designs from 2011, long overdue to be produced.  Once completed, all works will be posted for sale here on the blog.  Many of these will be carved and accented with underglazes.  My style could be compared to the Arts and Craft movement that flourished in Europe and North America from 1880 to 1910, later to be replaced by Modernism in the 1930’s.

I’m continuing new works on canvas, greatly influenced by my new surroundings here in the hill country of Texas.  One of my favorite things to do is explore the many hidden roads around the area.  Each trip elicits surprise, wonder, and a magic that is in the heart of the places I visit.

Untitled work in progress, 36" x 48" 2015
Untitled work in progress, 36″ x 48″ 2015

All this while Mary and I begin intense activity in the back of the house, creating a raised bed vegetable and herb garden.  We plan to install gutters to conserve water for the garden, kept in plastic barrels.










Getting Back To It

Well, it’s certainly been too long since I posted on this blog.  But there has just been so much that has happened.  The house and studio were completed three months ago.  It took me awhile to complete most of the organization and get set up to work in the studio.  Thanks to my friend P. Clay Volmer, we were able to accomplish the big job of moving out of our apartment and moving in to our new home.

P. Clay also spent many long hours working in my studio building a rack on the south wall that I designed to be versatile enough for large paintings and ceramic murals up to 84 sq ft.  Tying in the panels to the framework was really tricky.

I’m now at a point in my life where I finally can get back to the many artworks that I have been envisioning for the last forty years or so.  Life just kept getting in the way.

May 16th I made the commitment to put in a full year to completing the elusive body of work that life kept getting in the way of.  (Oh yes, this is my blog and I can end a sentence with a preposition)

Two weeks ago I finished up an amazing 5 day workshop, Big Clay,  with Billy Ray Mangum and Carl Block, who have been offering this gig for the last five years.  The workshop took place at Billy and Beverly’s Eye of the Dog Art Center in  San Marcos, Texas.  This wonderful community of artists has embraced us with open arms and we love being a part of it.

I am now working on several projects at once and I’m getting real flow in the studio.  The first painting I completed in May, The Source, was one I started when I was still in recovery in 2010 but never finished.  Now it’s done and I’m working on four others.

The Source 2015 wb
The Source, 48 w x 36 h, acrylic on canvas, 2015

I also started a large sculpture in the Big Clay workshop.  Based on drawings from 1990, this is part of series of works that were planned in multiple media.  This first work, Standing Figure, is slab built, composed of modules, and may stand as high as 6 ft when completed.




M & M Ranch coming together

If you dream it, it will happen.  I never  expected that the dream we had would come together this fast.  Since we made the decision to move back to Texas from Las Vegas, things have been rolling forward like a steam engine.  Our main goal in returning was to get back to our families and we have certainly been able to do that better than we have in the last fifteen years in Nevada.  But another part of our dream was that somehow in the next five years we would own a house in the hill country and a studio in which I could devote myself to real focus on a large body of work.

This is coming together in  a small home and studio on a hill just north of San Antonio.  Construction will probably start by end of October with completion in four months.  Beautiful area close to many of our favorite small towns!

View to the north
View to the north



8-17-14 Man on a mission in a town full of Missions

Hello folks,

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  Been trying to work some kinks out of the photographs.  And life has been moving along at an incredibly fast pace.  And life has been moving along at a ponderously slow pace.

We often look at each other and say I can’t believe we were able to make this happen so fast!  We made a commitment and we got back to Texas and our families.  If anyone had told me six months ago I would be living in midtown San Antonio, I would have just laughed.  But here we are, living in a little apartment right in the heart of the action, with museums only minutes away, a quick walk to a farmers market, great eateries, the River Reach, walking and running groups, a bouldering wall within a block of our apartment, really interesting neighborhoods, and great people.  We’re loving it here!

Exclamation points aside, our outlook is very positive.  Mary and I are taking some time this month to focus on family visits and make new friends.  Our ultimate goal is a house with room to work in, space for guests, and especially a place where family and friends can gather together.  Meantime, I’m on a mission to get some fresh artworks made, to teach a few individuals some pottery, to promote an old friend’s works, to learn more of the history of this town that treasures its past, and see what new ideas arise.  I am finding inspiration around me in the landscape and seeing past themes reborn in new light.  Enjoying the pleasure of talking shop with sculptors, painters, potters, photographers, and the occasional farmer.

Bloom wb
Study for Bloom, thrown and cut stoneware, ht 4 in x 6 in diameter, 1992
Study for Arbor.wb
Study for Arbor, extruded stoneware, ht 8 in x w 9 in, 2005

The above are themes I have explored before but now I am seeing them in a different aspect.  It will be intriguing to see where these studies take me.

Riding the Whirlwind

Movie reference:  The prime minister speaking to the general in Saudi Arabia, describes the position of Lawrence.  “Oh, I wouldn’t want to be him.  He’s riding the whirlwind, you know.”

Well, that about covers it for what Mary and I have been going through since we made our decision to return to Texas.  We’ve logged over 5,800 miles of travel on our Camry, the first of two cars we will bring down to Texas as we move forward with the sale of our house in Las Vegas, NV.  There are several stories within stories here, too numerous to recount them all.  We’ve been out to the eastern  sierras to say goodbye to our friends out there, then on to Monterrey to spend a couple of nights in Carmel, and from there to Sacramento, picking up my brother George, who joined us for our Uncle Nathan’s Celebration of Life(RIP) Event, which was totally awesome.

A quick turn-around back to Las Vegas to rest and catch up for the next leg of the trip.  Across the southwestern states of Arizona, New Mexico, driving through a non-stop dust storm and down into central west Texas to San Angelo, where one of my new works in clay was accepted in a national ceramic competition and we hand delivered it.  Down from San Angelo to Llano and on to Enchanted Rock to do some of my first “real” rock climbing in three years (I’m getting stronger) and meet up with old climbing buddies and eat great barbeque!  On to San Antonio, staying with sister and brother-in law, whose beautiful property overlooks the incredible Cibolo Canyon, and make cold calls on tile and stone suppliers and contractors, starting to look for work.  Whew!

Next we came down to Houston to move my mother in-law out of her apartment so that she could move to an assisted living facility in  San Antonio.  Our tight deadline for the opening events of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts exhibition forced us to return to San Antonio and from there on to Georgetown, a quick evening with my sister, and then drive to San Angelo State Park where we camped on the ground the first night with the bright light of the moon keeping us awake until well after 2 am.  The next morning was crisp and breezy but I was able to close my eyes and listen very carefully, identifying a slew of bird calls, most notably, the wild turkeys that were all over the area.

The events of the opening night of the exhibition with entries from all over the country, the ceramic symposium, and the after parties were terrific.  We found an amazing community of artists who were visiting from areas around Texas, and each was great fun to meet.  The entire group was very welcoming and I send my personal thanks to my original contact, Bridget and her husband Bill who introduced us to everyone.  We are very excited about taking part in future exhibits and visiting new and established studios.  I hope to add links here once I have more.

Of note to our friends in Las Vegas, I am proud to have been one of two artists whose work was accepted in this very prominent exhibition, and both of us came from working in Clay Arts Vegas in the Las Vegas Arts District.  Below:  my accepted work “Wing”

Wing, detail d
Wing, detail d
Wing, detail c
Wing, detail c
Wing, detail b
Wing, detail b
Wing, 14 in x 12 in x 12 in, thrown, scratched, altered, stoneware and porcelain; slips, glaze, bronze luster, dirt, asphalt, rocks, duff, 2014
Wing, 14 in x 12 in x 12 in, thrown, scratched, altered, stoneware and porcelain; slips, glaze, bronze luster, dirt, asphalt, rocks, duff, 2014