Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Karen's Show at Shain Gallery

If it's October that means it time for Karen's annual solo show at Shain Gallery in Charlotte. This year was, I'm pretty sure, her biggest show ever. In number of paintings that is. A total of 30. A combination of new work and a few pieces relocated from other galleries.

It began as all of these trips do with an alarm clock, followed by a big bowl of food for the kitty, bagged organic apple and peanut butter sandwiches on Ezekiel bread, to be washed down with coffee in our insulated mugs, then select our destination on the Garmin, hit the play button for a little John Grisham on the iPod, and we're off.

It was a nice ride and fun to see everyone after a year away. We hung around a while and got reacquainted, and while we were hanging out a few "fans" came in for a preview of the the work prior to the opening.

Blind Trust

One of them bought Blind Trust on the spot! After that we went to have lunch at CO, another tradition while in Charlotte then downtown to check into our hotel. As it turns out our hotel card key not only gets us into our room it also gets us into the Mint Museum, so after a brief rest we headed out to the Mint. 

It's Never Too Late to Mend  |  Norman Rockwell

There was a lot of good stuff there, but for me the highlight was a Norman Rockwell.  I devoured every inch of this painting with my eyes. Man . . . 

We were there a couple of hours then it was time to get back, get cleaned up and make our way back to the gallery. The space looked great, the staff had done a wonderful job of hanging the show. A few guests had already arrived and wanted to meet Karen, so she dove in and I faded into the background to preserve the moment in pictures.

Lou beverage master for the evening

The evening went along smoothly, the weather was perfect, the guests were really happy to have an opportunity to speak with Karen. I don't think it could have gone any better.

Lou, Eli, Kimberly (and friend) chilling at the end of the night.

Lou, Sybil and Eli taking a break.

Sybil letting Karen know she had sold 17 paintings that night!

With the evening done and seventeen sold paintings under her belt Karen and I thanked Sybil, Eli, Kimberly and Lou for their hard work and returned to our hotel. The next day we decided to stay in town a little longer than usual to visit the Lark & Key gallery. Duy Huynh is one of our favorite artists and Sandy Snead, his partner in life and business, is always fun to talk with.  

We had a great visit then stopped at our new favorite Charlotte restaurant Living Kitchen. It's a totally vegan plant based restaurant with fabulous food, great atmosphere, and really friendly staff. Wish there was one here in Atlanta. Then it was back to  "the Rainmaker" and the road home.

Friday, September 27, 2019


Mix   |   16 x 16   |   Oil on panel

I wanted to try something kinda monochromatic and felt this mixer would be a good subject. It was definitely a learning experience and much harder than I anticipated. Trying to get those subtle variations in that smooth surface was a bear. Karen kept trying to convince me it was done but I just couldn't stop working on it. When it got to this point I finally said enough already, so I think it's done . . .

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Sky Bucket No. 2

Sky Bucket No. 2   |   24 x 36   |   Oil on panel

Fortunately my first Sky Bucket painting sold pretty quickly, so I'm taking that as an invitation to visit the well once again. I'm hoping enthusiasm for this subject will last, and in the end, I'll be able to paint all four of my images.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Pool Bowl: Red No. 7

Pool Bowl: Red No. 7  |  16 x 16  |  Oil on panel

I finished up the second Pool Bowl last night and when these are both dry and ready I'll be shipping them up to Rehs Galleries. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Pool Bowl: Yellow No. 1

Pool Bowl: Yellow No. 1  |  16 x 16  |  Oil on panel

I've been working on two pool bowls simultaneously since the completion of Chinatown. These were done on request, and it's been fun to paint something that wasn't a fish. I just finished Pool Bowl Yellow One and am in the early stages of the second pass on Pool Bowl Red Seven. I'm hoping I can complete it in the next week or so.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Chinatown   |   24 x 24   |   Oil on panel

It's been about two and a half months but Chinatown is finally complete. I knew going in this was going to be an epic painting but it turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. I had wanted to fully immerse myself in a complex painting for a long time, selfishly, with this piece I finally gave into that urge. Fortunately for me I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Eugen Schoenfeld . 1925 - 2019

Eugen Schoenfeld  |  1925 - 2019

My father in law Eugen Schoenfeld died early this morning at 93 following a series of medical hits over this past year. Rather than write about my own personal memories of him I am posting the obituary written by my nephew Alex Valin, with input from Gene's daughters. It is a much more substantial telling of this man's remarkable life.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A good friend of mine sent me a link to a blog post he came across online by David Dorsey where the the subject of that post is . . . me! David is an author, painter and art commentator and if you'd like to read it here is the link to his post.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Karen's Solo Show at Principle Gallery

Skies Clear

Karen and I were in Charleston this weekend to attend the reception for her solo show at Principle Gallery. We had been sweating the weather during the preceding week convinced that the show would be "rained out" by what looked like, on radar, to be a significant storm scheduled to arrive just about the time the show was to begin.


As luck would have it the inclement weather cleared out a few hours before the show and left us with a perfect evening. In fact the entire weekend, weatherwise, was gorgeous. We arrived to find Frank and Thomas had done a beautiful job of hanging the show, and after catching up on the news of the past year Karen and I headed down King Street to CO, our favorite Charleston restaurant for two bowls of Curry Laksa.

Gallery Fills

In the past we had had use of an apartment the gallery owned located directly above the gallery. A very nice and unbelievably convenient place to stay when we were in town. Unfortunately, for us, the ownership of the building had just changed hands and the apartment was gone, so we were on our own to find lodging. Happily Frank, who I believe is really a wizard, worked a deal for us to stay at the Spectator Hotel just a couple of blocks down from the gallery. Nicest hotel we've ever stayed in. Ever. It even provided the services of a butler. A butler! 

Karen and Thomas

Rested and groomed for the evening we left the hotel around five and walked down the street for the opening. It wasn't long before the gallery began to fill and Frank and Thomas started to work the room. By the time the doors were closing Karen had sold three paintings with two more on hold. 

Eric was there as always to serve drinks

Frank had arranged for Karen to attend a "Meet and Greet" at the French Quarter Inn on Saturday so that gave us another day to spend in Charleston. For us that means visiting as many art galleries as we can with lunch at the Brown Dog Deli somewhere in-between. 


Saturday went great. As I mentioned before the weather was perfect and our day went as planned. Saw a lot of good "art". We were fortunate in that one of our favorite artists, Jeffery Larson and his son Brock, were having a show at Helana Fox Fine Art. We also had a long visit with Robert Lange at his gallery Robert Lange Studios. They were having a show that weekend entitled Shiny Stuff which included collaborative pieces created by Robert Lange and Nathan Durfee, and work by George Ayers. RLS is always one of the highlights of our trips to Charleston.

Karen and Guest

At five thirty we headed around the corner from our hotel to the French Quarter Inn. The Meet and Greet was set up in the lobby. Frank had brought over three paintings from the gallery and Karen mingled with the guests, answered questions, and received compliments about her work for about an hour and a half. A nice low key event to wrap up her show.


Karen and I had picked up a couple of "Wacky Jackies" from the Brown Dog Deli earlier and stashed them in the little fridge in our room, so after the Meet and Greet we went back to our room for dinner and call it a night.

Karen and Guest

My "payment" for helping Karen with her shows is breakfast at Eli's Table. We'er both vegans, but I do eat eggs on two occasions. One is when my brother comes into town from New York and needs his Waffle House fix and the other is when we attend Karen's show in Charleston and I order the Wild Mushroom Omelet at Eli's Table. I'm ashamed to admit this, but now it's out.

Meet and Greet

Frank new we'd be at Eli's Sunday morning and joined us for breakfast. Afterward we thanked him and Thomas for all there help putting together the show, said our goodbye's then headed back home with a good book on "tape".  A really, really nice weekend. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019


Untitled  .  Work in Progress  .  Fragment of a 24 x 24  .  Oil on panel

My current painting is taking so long that I figured I'd better put up a Work In Progress shot to show that I'm actually still around. This is a small portion (approximately 8 square inches) of the underpainting. The size of the finished painting will be 24 x 24. The subject came from a photo Karen took at a street market in New York's Chinatown. I've lusted over this image for years and she kindly granted me permission to use it. I'm hoping to finish the underpainting today or tomorrow so I can get going on the next pass. For me the second pass is the most fun. I fear this piece may take three passes. Fingers crossed I can get it done in two.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Black Grapes No. 3

Black Grapes No. 3  |  24 x 24  |  Oil on panel

I've been doing quite a bit of hard edge mechanical themed work lately and was in the mood for something a little more organic, so I went back to my folder of black grapes. It took a while to get this one done, but it was a very enjoyable journey. 

I've got another life form based composition on the drawing board now. It's an image I've been thinking about for quite a while. I haven't committed to it just yet, simply because it scares me. If it were to turn out like I'd like it could be a cool painting, so I'm hoping I can summon up the courage to "face my fear" and dive in. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year with VW

VW   |   30 x 30   |   Oil on panel

It's the time of year when I, sincerely, like to thank all of the people who have taken the time to visit my blog. It really means a lot to me, so thank you! 

I've been working on this piece for a while now and was hoping to get it in under the wire to be my final painting for 2018. Made it with a few hours to spare. I came across this bug in the parking lot of our local Whole Foods and took a bunch of shots for a possible future painting. I've owned two beetles in my life so I have a definite soft spot in my heart for this little car. When I was working up the composition I couldn't get the 1959 DDB Advertising Agency's "Think Small" campaign out of my head, so I stole it. I made sure to use the correct typeface (futura) then matched up the kerning, and other modifications to come as close as I could to the original ad. I grew up with those ads and seeing as how this will be the final year of the beetle it felt appropriate.

Monday, November 19, 2018

State Fair   |   24 x 36   |   Oil on panel

I've had the itch lately to try something "different". A couple of autumns ago Karen, my brother Doug and I went to the Georgia State Fair. I felt that the event would provide some interesting photography so I brought along my Fuji. The next day I was going through my photos and came across a half a dozen shots of peoples legs and feet hanging out of the skybucket as the passengers  were towed above the fair grounds at dusk. I always liked those images but feared they were just a little too "different" from what I usually paint, and may not be positively received. So I banked those photos for the last couple of years waiting for the right moment. I finally built up the nerve and now that it's done, I have to say I'm pretty happy with it. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Karen's Solo Show at Shain Gallery

Karen and I drove up to Charlotte Friday to attend the reception of her solo show at Shain Gallery. We headed out of Atlanta a little before 7. With warm beverages within reach and Stephen King's the Stand playing on the iPod I hit the cruise control and we were off.

We got into town around 11 and stopped by the gallery to say hello and check out the room. The space looked great. Sybil Godwin, the gallery owner, and her staff had done a wonderful job of hanging the paintings. After spending some time getting reacquainted with everyone Karen and I drove over to our favorite restaurant CO for two bowls of Curry Laksa. 

With lunch under our belts we went to our hotel to check in. We stayed at the LeMéridien last year and liked it so much we decided to stay there again this year. At check in the desk clerk made us, "guests of the day"! I guess she thought we had nice faces. As a result we got free valet parking, free breakfast and they upgraded our room to a suite on the 16th floor with walls of windows on two sides. Spectacular view. 

At six we entered the gallery and the first patrons were just beginning to arrive. The weather that evening was perfect and it wasn't long before the gallery was full. Karen, who is usually a little apprehensive about being the center of attention, soon got into a comfortable groove with the crowd. Which was good because everyone wanted to speak with her. When the show was over she and I said to each other,  "this is about as good as it gets".  

Oh, and one last thing, Karen sold sixteen of the twenty paintings she did for the show!

As things were winding up at the gallery I was talking to Bill Godwin, Sybil's husband about where Karen and I might have dinner. He knew we were vegans and said he, a devout carnivore, had heard good things about Luna's Living Kitchen, so we went there. It was a little hard to find, especially in the dark in an unfamiliar city, but eventually Siri and a phone call got us there. The structure had a nice open air industrial chic design with large funky art on the walls. Everything on the menu was all whole food plant based with no processed products. Not even tofu. Our server was friendly, I mean really friendly, and was happy to spend as much time as we needed describing items on the menu. We started with a nut based cheese plate, which sounds strange but was really good, then Karen had the Carrot humus bowl and I had the Mexican bowl. Man! Karen commented to me about half way through her entree, "this is the best salad I've ever had in my life". That coming from someone who eats a lot of salads. I wish there was a Living Kitchen in Atlanta. 

The next morning after our (free) breakfast we set the Garmin for home and drove back still riding the high of the night before. All in all a virtually perfect couple of days. 

Here are a few images of the reception:

One of the first patrons to arrive

Sybil, the gallery owner second from the left running the show

Karen with one of the guests

Wall with a couple of red dots


Lou, running the bar and Eli, on the right, Sybil's gallery director

Karen with Sybil's husband Bill speaking with a guest

Kimberly the new gallery manager & Lou