Wednesday, December 23, 2015

May Your Holidays be Filled with Peace, Light and the Distant Sound of a Train Whistle

"The MA and PA; Chugging along the tracks in Snowy Evergreen" (10" x 14") oil on canvas, 2014
In Baltimore we are experiencing near record, warm temperatures during December. It's rainy today and downright muggy instead of raw. Our firewood remains stacked and barely touched in the shed. So for all my friends and followers who are pining away for cold and snow, here's a little remembrance of a snowy day along the MA and PA tracks in North Baltimore. The specific location is next to Stony Run in a little neighborhood called Evergreen. If you are curious about this adorable railroad that ran between Maryland and Pennsylvania there is an ultimate book on the subject titled, "The Ma & Pa: The History of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad," by George Hilton. You can still see the remains of the MA & PA roundhouse on Falls Road by the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Things Go Better with Coke

"Coca-Cola Machine" oil on panel, (12" x 6") 2015
The Baltimore Museum of Industry has a wide assortment of vintage objects in its permanent collection. This mid-century Coca-Cola vending Machine has been sitting in their lunch room for years. One cannot purchase an ice cold bottle of coke from it. In fact I assume it's there merely to amuse the diners and patrons. It's a pretty old piece that probably sold those 6 1/2 ounce, green-cast, glass bottles of the vanilla and cinnamon flavored beverage.
The original bright red paint is still intact, save some dings and dents, and it begged me to do a painting of it. So even though I usually come alive with the "Pepsi generation"I could not resist this machine's appeal.  So here's a little oil painting to honor its position in my favorite Baltimore museum.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

BAZAART - A Holiday Gift Show

Hope you can join us again this year!  BAZAART, presented by the American Visionary Art Museum,  is always loaded with creative excitement and holiday cheer. It's the weekend of Thanksgiving so bring your family and friends for a stimulating shopping atmosphere. I'll be there with lots of new, original work and of course some new editions of  prints

Saturday, October 31, 2015


"Cambridge Ice Box" oil on panel, 12" x 16", 2015
This past spring while visiting Dorchester County's Historical Society in Cambridge, MD  this  vintage ice box in their museum really captured my imagination. It made me recall our summertime  trips to the local ice house in Catonsville, MD. An electric refrigerator  always stood in our kitchen but ice was not abundant in those days. Two metal ice cube trays did not yield enough ice for fishing trips or our homemade snowballs. Freezer compartments were downright tiny and storage of extra ice was unheard of.
The ice house I remember was on Mellor Avenue in my hometown. We'd back into the loading dock and the ice man would step down swinging his tongs one-handed as he plunked a large chunk of ice  into the rear compartment of our station wagon. My father had the job of attacking it with an ice pick making the ice more manageable for what ever event we had planned.

I've often wondered about real ice boxes and how many times per week ice had to be delivered to keep the food from spoiling. In those hot Baltimore row house kitchens I'm sure there was a lot of melting ice. I favor this model because it's white and seems so friendly. I've seen many wooden oak types in antique shops but they seem too formal for my taste in vintage appliances. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ladies, You're Sewing It All Wrong

"Singer Sewing - Pink Thread" oil on panel, (11" x 14") 2015
A friend, knowing that I love to paint various images of the vintage Singer sewing machine which  I found in our basement, sent me this section of a brochure which came with the 1949 Singer Machine. It is pointed directly at the homemaker of post-WWII era. I wonder how many women took this advice seriously and never sewed in a bad mood or with crooked lipstick or heaven forbid, in a messy house.

Sometimes I do my best paintings when I'm not wearing lipstick. In fact when I did the painting above two weeks ago, I probably left the house without doing all my urgent household chores. Does it show in the artwork?
"Singer Sewing Rear" oil on panel, (8" x 10") 2015
"Singer Sewing w/Green Thread" oil on panel, (11" x 14") 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It's Pretty Crabby Around Here

This past weekend I felt very crabby. So I painted a leftover crustacean from a crab feast. He'd been in the freezer for a few weeks. Then I searched my collection of Maryland tin cans and found one with a crab on the front of it. This crab meat was from Cambridge, MD. The packing company is named Epicure which is still in business. It's nearly impossible to find tin containers of crab meat. Everything I see in the stores is plastic. So I'm  glad to have found this one at a flea market. Remember, if it's not Maryland crab meat, it won't taste as good. And included here below are the paintings I did over the weekend.
"Loner Crab" oil on panel (6" x 12") 2015
"Epicure Crab Meat" oil on panel, (6" x 8") 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015


"Betterton Lunch" oil on canvas
18" x 36"
Over the weekend I exhibited at HONFEST in Baltimore, MD. This street festival offers a venue for men and women to dress up as 1950s women at work and play.  Some are even awarded prizes for their costumes. It's always fun to watch the parade of people as they stroll by and/or stop in my tent. This year one particular visitor to my booth gave me a great surprise. As he began to speak to me I  gleefully interrupted him and said,
 "I know that voice! You are on our TV every evening as we watch Baltimore Oriole's baseball."
Gary Thorne,  MASN play by play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles, humbly acknowledged my remark and then began to talk about my paintings and prints of working women before purchasing several pieces.
The next day, I missed the game since I was at HONFEST for the entire weekend. A friend of mine was watching  the Sunday afternoon game though, as Gary Thorne honored the working women of Baltimore, mentioning HONFEST, while showing some of my work. What a thrill to have a blending of two of my favorite subjects...paintings of women and d'em Os.

"Operators Are Standing By" oil on board
24" x 24"
"Grossmudder with Her Chickens" oil on canvas
18" x 24

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vintage 1947 Telephone Obsession - made in Baltimore

Telephone 1947 (6" x 6") oil on board 2015
I have this inspiring telephone given to me by an old friend. It pulls me towards it more often than I'd like to admit. Yes, some imaginary conversations have taken place on it but it also got some good  reality workouts in my studio until a few years ago when we went digital. I like how substantial it feels in my hand. I have several vintage telephones but this old, heavy black device cries out to me to be painted from time to time. I'll show you what I mean. Below are three additional paintings of the same phone made by Western Electric in 1947. More than likely it was made here in Baltimore at Western Electric's former, gigantic facility in Point Breeze.

Green Telephone on Table (12" x 16") oil on canvas 2010

Telephone ( 10" x 10") oil on panel 2014
Telephone (12" x 16") oil on canvas (2011)

Here is a little film of Point Breeze and its history. I guess I didn't realize that Western Electric stood on the former grounds of the Riverview Amusement Park. This film includes footage that shows the destruction of the park to clear the way for the industrial plant.

Also included in my collection is this very old phone. The bell box is large and heavy. I hope to paint more of this one soon. Hollywood actress Betty Davis uses this model quite often in her earlier films.

Betty Davis Phone (6" x 6") oil on panel 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Baltimore Shops Exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Industry

Poster included in the exhibit of Baltimore Shops at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
The Baltimore Museum of Industry on Key Highway has a terrific exhibit which runs through March 8, 2015. It features an assortment of shops and stores that many of us patronized before the big chains appeared in our city and suburbs. Among those locally owned stores is a known favorite of Baltimoreans who shopped at Edmondson Village and Eastpoint Shopping Center. Of course I'm talking about Hess Monkey Town.
"Hess Monkey Town" oil on canvas 
The painting that I did nearly 30 years ago one night as I tried to imagine what it looked like appears again here in this blog.  However my breath was nearly taken away when I saw a photograph of the interior of Hess Monkey Town's barbershop The Snippery. (I'm not sure if this photo below is Eastpoint or Edmondson because of the exterior landscape). It was the first time in my life that I saw a photo of this memorable shoe store/barbershop. I am happily surprised at how much I remembered about how Monkey Town looked. Even the spooky, fake monkeys on the wall seemed to leave an impression on me since the primates that I painted were just as crazed looking.

"The Snippery" at Hess Shoes in Edmondson Village or Eastpoint
I know the photo is a bit rough, after all I shot it with my iphone and it's behind glass. I highly recommend that you get yourselves to the museum to see this exhibit. You will feel a thrill as you enter this magical environment created by the BMI's dedicated employees and volunteers. And you will see the sign in this photograph that has a monkey menu which is impossible to read here.
The Baltimore Museum of Industry is open Tuesday through Sunday - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have some additional thoughts after visiting please post your thoughts here. I'd be very pleased to hear from you.