Church

Religion – the house of God

Our English word religion has a Greek heritage. The Greek prefix for Religion is “religio” meaning “to bind up”.

Binding up can be good, as in binding up a wound. But it has another connotation, meaning to restrain.

Now restraint can be fun in some situations… meaning that law enforcement is not involved! But in a religious context, I think Jesus said he wanted to free people, not restrain them. Too often, our religions seek to restrain not only people but God, too.

I don’t think God likes to be restrained. I haven’t met him, so maybe he has kinks. I mean, he said we are created in his image, and I have kinks. Are my kinks His? If so, I feel sorry for him.

Mosaics

Mosaic panel

I was dragged into doing mosaics. Not willingly… it was Liz’s thing. I did my oil painting, and found object sculptures, she did her multi-media and mosaics.

But the deadline was crashing down on the AtlantiCare mural, 56-foot long, 10-foot high. She had an apprentice assisting, but I was dragged in screaming and kicking. By the end, I was hooked.

I brought in the next commercial job… a friend asked us to do murals for an adult retirement center. I talked him into tripling the stipend, and we installed a three-panel permanent installation.

We did a two-panel install after that, and taught classes in Key West. I did a really cool class with high school art students after that. Since then, we solicit public art projects. The best thing about this is getting paid for doing what we love.

 

Tabled

mosaic tableWhat do you do with an old table that has really no purpose? Mosaic it!

I focused on geometric patterns on this first table. I based the background on nature… sky, earth.

Wood is tricky to mosaic on… it expands and contracts based on humidity. The terrazzo  has to be adhered with mastic. Sanded grout is best.

mosaic table

The other table I did was a crappy pine end table. It was so ugly, no amount of refinishing or paint would have helped it.

One year during Artists Open Studio Tours I didn’t feel like painting. When I paint I get covered with oil paint and turpentine and linseed oil. And my paintings often do not make sense until they are completed. So I decided to mosaic an ugly old table.

Again, geometric designs ruled. Just call me lazy.

 

How to tile a floor

mosaic floor We had a floor that was bare plywood. Money was at a premium, when is it not?

We had tons of sample tiles from tile stores, but not enough to tile a floor. What to do?

Being artists, we did what an artist would do. We tiled the 16′ x 20′ floor one day with broken sample tiles.

It took one day to lay the tile, and one day to grout. We chose mostly natural colors, with a few colorful tiles in between.

The tiles were free, we had to buy the thinset mortar. For under $100 and a couple days of intense work, we had a masterpiece.

You don’t have to be rich to look like you can afford a work of art on your floor!

This was the first project I did with mosaics. It was not long before I was doing large scale public installations.

Everything has a beginning.

 

The Rose

The Garden Path
The Garden Path

The Rose

I was requested to show some paintings that were not from my bar series.

I did some paintings, mixed media on board.

The media is acrylic, oils, spray paint, water.

I wanted to paint nudes, but not the typical nudes. Flowers as vaginas had been done, much better than I could ever do. My previous nudes were lacking, a little stiff. I do not do realism that well, not what I enjoy painting. But I can delve into abstract realism, and this is one of my attempts.

Home sweet home

I love Arizona.

Arizona is the 48th state in the union, the last of the contiguous states to be admitted. We became a state in 1912.

One of the reasons we were last is that Arizona was the first state to give women the right to vote. When we applied to become a state, the other states demanded that we revoke the women’s right to vote. The state legislature did just that, and we were allowed into the union.

That very same year, Arizona then approved womens’ suffrage and joined 8 other states – beating the 19th amendment by 8 years.

The climate is unforgiving here in the Sonoran desert. The plants, the animals, and the climate all bite back. We don’t take a trip to the grocery store without a bottle of water.  Rattlesnakes are a challenge while hiking. Monsoon brings flash floods, and dust storms look like something out of a science fiction movie.

So why do I like it here? Independence, maybe. Our saguaro cactus live only here. We have coyotes, javelina, mountain lions, bobcats, bear and other wildlife.

We are still a part of the wild west. We carry guns openly, and people don’t look twice. We target shoot in the desert, camp, fish and kayak. All the things that I grew up with back east as a kid and young adult. This is one of the last places we can still practice those skills.

 

Jack, the evil bartender

The Erin Rose
Jack, the evil bartender

The Erin Rose, New Orleans.

On our last day in New Orleans, last trip, we stumbled into a bar on the outskirts of the safe district.

This was after hurricane Katrina all but wiped out the birthplace of jazz. Bourbon Street was still half vacant.

The Erin Rose was a local joint. The bartenders and dancers and employees of other NOLA establishments began or ended their day at the Erin Rose. They did not cater so much to tourists as to locals… my kind of dive.

Jack was a bartender with ESP, he knew exactly what you wanted before you asked. We had intended to have a few drinks before our flight left. We have a habit of arriving at the airport two hours before our flight leaves.  We leave nothing to chance. Jack changed all that.

Nothing but honest, Jack told us in advance that his goal was to make us miss our flight. A few beers turned into a few beers and a few shots. Then more beers, and more shots. Then more shots. Then he gave us shot glasses and other gifts as we ordered more drinks.

You see, the bartenders at the Erin Rose had a contest going to see who could make the most people miss their flight. The night before, they held a bachelor party captive, and the entire party missed the wedding. All in good clean fun.

We watched as locals came and went, preparing for their shifts or ending their shifts. Yet we stayed. Finally, Liz was the voice of reason and ended our stay. I wanted one more round, and jack agreed. Liz won. We arrived at the plane just as the last passengers were boarding.

When our flight reached Dallas/Fort Worth, we were still drunk. We barely found our connecting flight. When we landed at Philadelphia International Airport, we were still a bit inebriated.  But we made it home in one piece.

As much as I like Jack, I am glad he lost that bet!

Wild Horses couldn’t drag me away

Wild horses on the Salt River. Not the best photo, but my cellphone is wrapped tight in waterproof case when we go kayaking.

You don’t think of rivers when you think of the desert, but the Salt River flows through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

These horses date back centuries, and are protected. They are not afraid of humans, and will walk by as we kayak.

The Salt River provides hydroelectric power to the valley.

Broken Home

broken homeMixed media, found object piece. A local gallery had an exhibit where we were given a piece of wood shaped like a house. We had to turn them into a piece of art.

I laid old photographs under glass and mosaic-ed the rest.  I usually don’t get involved in these types of shows, but as a board member I was sort of obligated.

Mosaic Floor

mosaic floorMosaic Floor…

This was a personal project.  We owned a house built in the latter part of the 1800’s.  The house was an Italianate style Victorian house.

Two living rooms, two bathrooms, two staircases (one for family, one for servants) three bedrooms, the house was huge.

The dining room was almost 20 x 20 feet. It had carpet over plywood… we did not know what was under the plywood.

Our friend, Norman, worked for a lumber supply company. They also sold floor tile. Every year the displays were replaced. Norman gifted us truckloads of old tile displays.

These tiles became our mosaic floor. Who says you can’t do a house on nothing?