Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rant of the Day - Politics, like football, is not for the faint of heart!

When I was in high school, so many, many moons ago, my favorite class/subject was History.  Cranford High School (Cranford, N.J.) was a little different from the norm in that only 11th and 12th grades actually attended the high school.  The 9th and 10th grades (freshmen and sophomore) were lumped in with the lower grades at the junior high schools. There were 2 of them, one on the north side of town and one on the south side of town.  Then the juniors and seniors from both sides attended the high school.  I mention all of this because, in my Sophomore year, while I was still at one of the Junior High Schools (Orange Ave., on the north side of town to be exact), I had the bright idea to go out for the High School football team.  Now, dripping wet and fully clothed, my weight at that time was at best 120 lbs., which made me the smallest guy on the team. 

Needless to say, I didn't see much action, and what made matters worse, when I did get into a game, I still didn't see much action because I was pretty much blind as a bat without my glasses.  Since they didn't fit too well under the helmet, and I didn't want to take a chance on smashing them and my nose in the process, I mostly wandered around in a fuzzy haze. It wasn't until after college that I finally got my first set of contact lenses.  Anyway, my high school football career was short-lived and mostly limited to special teams action.  My one chance at pulling off any heroics came in a game on a rainy afternoon, when I was actually inserted into the game as a wide-out.  As I ran the route, and made a particularly good move on my defender (if I say so myself), I turned back to the quarterback and lo and behold, the ball was headed my way.  Although it was a little overthrown, I think if I could have seen it better, I could have adjusted better to make the catch, but it's hard to judge distances on a blurry object that you can't really focus on.  

So, my one shot at a touchdown went by the wayside. My two other most vivid memories from that season are the broken  coccyx (tail-bone) I received from one particularly hard tackle during practice one day.  I was a halfback on this play, and had the ball when the defender decided that tackling me wasn't good enough.  He had to pick me up and carry me about 10 additional yards before slamming me to the ground.  Which brings to mind my other memory.  My coach, Mr. Messina, liked to say that contrary to popular belief, football was not a contact sport.  "Dancing", he would say, "is a contact sport.  Football is a collision sport."  My broken tail-bone can attest to these words of wisdom.  

So, to get back to the first sentence above, here I am about to enter my junior year at the high school, and my American History teacher turns out to be, oh no, Mr. Messina.  Well, since I didn't go out for the team that year, I figured that I was really in for it in this class.  And while I did take a little ribbing on the first day of class, it turned out to be a great class and Mr. Messina became my all-time favorite teacher. So much so that when it came time to select my classes for my senior year, I made sure that I was in his Far Eastern History class. His approach to American History and Asian History and their impact on current events still resonates with me today, 43 years later.  

As I watch the unfolding political scene of today, I can't help but think about how he might tack on an addendum to his adage from those days.  If dancing was a contact sport, and football was a collision sport, I'll bet that politics would be a demolition derby.  The participants seem to be of similar mind sets as well.  In a demolition derby, the last car "standing", or able to limp across the finish line in one piece is declared the winner.  Barring some colossal mishap however, spectators are generally not a part of the "action", and will walk away from the event unscathed, having enjoyed the afternoons' festivities. Not so in politics.  We seem to be such a polarized nation lately, what with the Tea Party and the Occupy folks and everything else, that the participants in this particular "sport", have lost sight of the fact that by the time they are finished, by the time the "last man (or woman) standing" limps across the finish line, there's going to be nothing left after this particular demolition derby.  And that would be a shame.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Something new - Rant of the Day! - The Trashing of America

So, as I start to get back into the groove of publishing these blog posts, I am faced with the same dilemma as in my earlier forays, namely "What to write about?"  It's tough to come up with something that may (or may not, in many cases) be of interest on a daily, or even semi-weekly basis.  As anyone who has followed me before knows, I have plenty of online endeavors that I may choose to promote from time to time (website, storefronts, galleries, Amazon shop, and now, even a Pampered Chef website).  But seriously, who wants to keep being bombarded with that crap all of the time.  In an effort to mix things up a little last year, I started to feature the artwork of artists other than myself in this blog.  I have fun with that, and enjoy putting the spotlight on the work of artists that my friends, family and other readers may not be exposed to otherwise.  Plus, it may help to introduce that artist to an audience that he or she would not normally reach. That, in turn, lead to a regular feature in my Art from the Inkwell Monthly Newsletter - "Artist of the Month".  Links to my various websites, storefronts and galleries are located in the side panel of each blog post, so readers always have easy access to those sites, whether the content of the blog refers to them or not. 

So now, with "Rant of the Day", I'll throw in some additional observations that may, or may not, be of interest to anyone reading.  And the observations may not always be "rants", but I thought that made for a nice title, so what the heck.  Which brings me to today's topic - "The Trashing of America".  Each day, as part of my daily routine, I take the dogs (Boots and Cooper) for a nice walk in the woods in the foothills near our house.  There is an access road called Packsaddle Road, which winds its way up the mountain for about 8 miles, with any number of off-road paths and trails to follow.  The scenery can be quite stunning, with many vistas of the surrounding foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  That is, until you take into consideration the amount of refuse left behind by other visitors to these woods.  I'll try to pack out some of the beer cans and bottles strewn around once in awhile, but this task is just overwhelming.  Lately, I've been seeing enormous piles of corn husks along some of the paths I frequent.  Can't figure this one out, unless some folks have started producing moonshine up there.  No other evidence of a still is visible though - just piles and piles of corn husks, along with beer cans, bottles and occasional wads of used toilet paper - really disgusting.  Why not pack out your trash, instead of treating the mountain like some sort of land-fill?  Other areas of road are used as a sort of make-shift rifle range, in spite of all of the "No Shooting" signs posted, so there are spent shell casings all over the place (along with the beer cans, etc.).  And of course, let's not forget the poachers.  At all times of the year, not just hunting season in the Fall, you are bound to come across various deer and elk carcasses littering the trails and hillsides, again with the seemingly requisite beer cans, etc.  I would hazard a guess that these poachers are probably the same idiots who are dumping their corn husks, shell casings, beer cans and used toilet paper wads all around. Just last month, I came across the carcass of a Black Lab wrapped around a tree along the main part of the access road.  It seemed that the dog must have been struck by a vehicle and thrown to its final resting spot a few yards off the the road.  Happens all of the time I guess, but back there in the woods, it must have been someone's companion, or pet, probably one of the previously mentioned poachers.  You would think that some attempt to carry the animal out would have been made.  Instead, after about a week, the maggots accomplished their task of reducing the carcass to a pile of bones.  I'd hate to think of one of my dogs ending up that way.  I even checked in with my Veterinarian down the road to see if anyone had reported a missing dog recently, just in case some sort of closure would be needed.  All of this brings to mind the famous commercial of about 40 years ago, wherein piles and piles of roadside trash and refuse, smokestacks spewing their black smoke, and rivers filled with floating debris lead up to a closing shot of a Native American looking out over the mess with tears running down his cheek.  I guess we really haven't learned any lessons yet, have we?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Holiday Special x 2!

What better to get back in the groove of hitting the blog on a more regular basis that to start off by letting everyone know about the Holiday Specials I'm running this month. Let's start off with my Etsy Shop, where  I'm offering FREE SHIPPING now through December 31, 2011. Simply use the COUPON CODE:  HENSHE at check-out to take advantage of this offer.  This is good for anything in my shop, whether it's a Note Card Package, Print, or any of the laser-engraved fine wood gift items available.  Payments at Etsy are handled with PayPal, so you can rest assured that your transaction is secure.  Just click on the link above for easy access to the shop, and get started on that last minute shopping!

"Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse"
Over at my FineArtAmerica Gallery, I'm offering 20% OFF, also now through December 31, 2011. Simply use the DISCOUNT CODE:  GDPDBZ at check-out to take advantage of this offer.  Here you'll find Giclee Prints of the artwork in various sizes, with matting and framing options available, as well as canvas and canvas stretching options offered.  Or perhaps you're looking for 5 x 7 fully customizable Note Cards, available singly, or in packages of 10 or 25 cards.  There's still plenty of time to find those Stocking stuffers and finish up with your last minute shopping, and as with the Etsy Shop, transactions here are through PayPal.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

1,000 "Likes" = BOGO COUPON!

As the title suggests, today I am launching a new campaign to boost the number of "Likes" for the Art from the Inkwell Fan Page.  It started this morning with the publication of the October edition of Art from the Inkwell Monthly Newsletter.  As I was preparing this month's edition, I happened to read an article in my Constant Contact Learning Center about a Pet Supply store in Cincinnati that was able to boost the number of "Likes" for their Facebook page to over 5,000 in less than a week!  I thought, wow! I've got to try something like that.  

So here's how it works:  Since I am basically starting from scratch (33 "Likes" so far), I've set a target of 1,000 "Likes" and "Joins" by the end of the month.  Once I've reached that plateau, I will be sending out to everyone on my mailing list a BOGO COUPON (Buy One, Get One at half-price).  That is why the "Joins" are tied in to the "Likes" - I'll need email addresses to be able to send the coupons to everyone.  For those 33 who have already "Liked" the Art from the Inkwell Fan Page, you are half-way home.  Simply go back to the page and "Join My List".  For those of you who are already on my mailing list, you too are half-way home.  Simply go to the Art from the Inkwell page and "Like" it.  I've provided a link at the top of the post to get over to the Fan Page to get started.

Now, once that has been accomplished, kindly share this information with everyone in your address book: family,  friends,  even people you don't particularly care for, would be helpful.  The sooner I reach that 1,000 "Like" plateau, the sooner I will be able to start sending out the coupons.  As I said, I've featured this campaign in the October Newsletter, as well as here on the blog, and have sent out emails to everyone on my personal mailing list.  I will be posting this to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also, so I apologize for the overkill if you have already seen this, but I want to make sure that I reach as many people as possible.  That is why I greatly appreciate your help in this matter, by contacting the people you know to pass on this information.  

So, with Christmas right around the corner, and whatever birthdays, anniversaries, graduations or other occasions might be on the horizon, a BOGO COUPON  might come in handy.  The coupon can be redeemed for anything on the website (Print, Maple Burl Clock, Gift box, Myrtlewood plate, trivet, etc.) of equal or lesser value than the original item purchased. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm Back, or Here we go again!

Well, as I look out my studio window and notice that the raindrops outside mirror the raindrops on my blog page, it can only mean one thing - Summer is over and the rainy season here in Oregon is back.  What that translates to is that less time will be spent outdoors tending the daily chores around the property - mowing the yard, weed-whacking, tending to the vegetable and flower gardens, various and sundry touch-up paint  jobs, organizing the pole-barn, cleaning out the other barn, etc., etc, etc.  Consequently, more time will be spent indoors, and while there are a fair amount of indoor chores to tend to, I'll have more time to focus on artwork, my blog-posts, the website and other web galleries and storefronts, and whatever other endeavors I am involved with.  Of course, I'm still clinging to a small ray of hope that since we had such a lousy summer for the most part, we can make up for it with a nice Indian Summer.  Just a couple of weeks ago, we actually had temps in the 90's for a couple of days, fairly unusual around here.  But since we didn't get our first 90 degree day until late August, I guess we were owed a few.  And since we'll be in Sunriver, Oregon in a couple of weeks for a conference that Fran is attending,  I'm hoping for some nice weather, especially since I already have a tee-time booked for one of the days.

This is a great time of year for fresh produce. We had quite a good crop in our small vegetable/herb garden.  Actually, we didn't plant as much as the last couple of years, but what we did plant was gang-busters.  Lots of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and green beans on the vegetable side, and plenty of oregano, basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, chives, lemon balm and orange mint on the herb side.  I've already made my pesto for the year and here's a little tip.  Pesto is so easy to make. All you need is 1 cup of olive oil, 2 cups of loosely packed basil leaves,  1 cup of Parmesan cheese, 2 garlic cloves, and 1/2 cup of pine nuts or walnuts.   Run it through the food processor or blender, and oi la - deliciosa!  If you are going to make a lot of it, rather than jar it, pour it into those plastic ice cube trays and freeze it.  This recipe will just about fill one ice cube tray. Then whenever you want a pasta dish with pesto, you just pop out a "cube" of pesto - one cube per dish is a perfect amount, and bingo! you have a quick and easy meal in the time it takes to cook the pasta.  I have three trays frozen, so that should last til next growing season.  In my next post, I'll include some other recipe tips for all of the chefs out there.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Save 15% in my Etsy Shop!

Save 15% on any purchases through my Etsy Shop through the end of the month.  Simply use this code:  FLH221 when completing your  purchase.  This coupon is good for all 11 x 14 Matted Prints, Note Card Packages, and any of the unique laser-engraved gift items displayed throughout the shop.  All purchases are completed through PayPal, so you can rest assured that all transactions are safe and secure. Offer expires May 31, 2011.  The link in the title will take you over to the Etsy shop, where you can browse through all of the artwork uploaded thus far.  

Introducing Cooper!  As most of my friends and readers are aware, last year we said goodbye to two cherished members of our household. Henri, our Australian Shepherd mix, and Sheba, our Keeshond/Shepherd mix, pictured in the profile photo with me, were together with us for 12 of their 14 years and will always be in our hearts.  And they were gone within a month and half of each other last summer.  Boots, our Shelty, also in the photo, was lonely, so shortly thereafter, we welcomed Cooper to the family.  Cooper is a Blue Healer mix, and I've recently completed a Pen & Ink portrait of him, which I've posted here.  The pose shows him in one of his more anxious moments, as he awaits with patient anticipation his share of the bowl of ice cream which is just out of range of the shot. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Introducing - Merv Leib and Leibographics!

As I've been working on my Art from the Inkwell Monthly Newsletter, I thought I'd give an extra shout out to this month's featured Artist of the Month - Merv Leib.  I really enjoy this feature of the newsletter and have incorporated it into my blog as well.  It not only gives me the chance to showcase the talents of some of my artistically inclined friends, but also affords me the opportunity to meet, through the magic of the Internet, many other talented individuals of the artist community.  I was approached earlier this week by Merv's daughter-in-law, Kirstine, who serves as his webmaster, with the prospect of exchanging links.  Once I looked over Merv's website, which is actually his blog, I knew that exchanging links was not going to cut it.  His work is fantastic!  So, in addition to exchanging links, I knew that I had my next entry in the Artist of the Month selection of my newsletter.  And as with previous Artists of the Month, like Arman, Christopher and Sally Ann, I thought I'd put in an extra plug here in the blog.  The link in the title will take you over to Merv's blog, titled "Leibographics", where you can see all of the artwork he has posted.  In the meantime, here are a couple of samples to whet your appetite.  Merv and Kirstine have also begun work on an additional blog that will feature Merv's cartoons, and you can find this link on the Leibographics blog as well.

Pillar Point - Pt. Lobos

Old Timer

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Letter from an unhappy camper!!

Just realized that I haven't posted anything in almost a month.  It's been a busy month, with a trip to Florida for my mom's 80th birthday, and then a visit with some friends in Seattle for Easter weekend.   I thought that this email I received this morning would be a good way to get back into the swing of things.  Even though they are not my words, I agree with the sentiments.  Does anyone else???
Alan Simpson, Senator from Wyoming , Co-Chair of  Obama's deficit
commission, calls senior citizens the Greediest Generation as  he
compared "Social Security" to a Milk Cow with 310 million  teats.
August, 2010.
Here's a response in a letter from a unknown  fellow in Montana ...
I think he is a little ticked off!   He also  tells it like it is !
"Hey Alan, let's get a few things  straight..
1. As a career politician, you have been on the public dole  for FIFTY
2. I have been paying Social Security taxes for  48 YEARS (since I was 15
years old. I am now 63).
3 My Social  Security payments, and those of millions of other
Americans, were safely  tucked away in an interest bearing account for
decades until you political  pukes decided to raid the account and give
OUR money to a bunch of zero  ambition losers in return for votes, thus
bankrupting the system and turning  Social Security into a Ponzi scheme
that would have made Bernie Madoff  proud.
4. Recently, just like Lucy & Charlie Brown, you and your ilk  pulled the
proverbial football away from millions of American seniors  nearing
retirement and moved the goalposts for full retirement from age 65  to
age 67.  NOW, you and your shill commission is proposing to move  the
goalposts YET AGAIN.
5  I, and millions of other Americans,  have been paying into Medicare
from Day One, and now you morons propose to  change the rules of the
game. Why? Because you idiots mismanaged other parts  of the economy
to such an extent that you need to steal money from Medicare  to pay
the bills.
6.  I, and millions of other Americans,  have been paying income taxes our
entire lives, and now you propose to  increase our taxes yet again. Why?
Because you incompetent bastards spent our  money so profligately that
you just kept on spending even after you ran out  of money. Now, you come
to the American taxpayers and say you need more to  pay off YOUR debt.
To  add insult to injury, you label us "greedy" for calling "bulls...t" on
your  incompetence. Well, Captain Bulls...t, I have a few questions  for
1. How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers  during
your pathetic 50-year political career?
2. At what age did you  retire from your pathetic political career, and
how much are you receiving in  annual retirement benefits from the
American taxpayers?
3. How much do  you pay for YOUR government provided health insurance?
4.  What cuts  in YOUR retirement and healthcare benefits are you
proposing in your  disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or, as usual,
have  you exempted  yourself and your political cronies?
It is you, Captain Bulls...t, and  your political co-conspirators called
Congress who are the "greedy" ones.  It is you and  your fellow nutcases
who  have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from
millions of loyal,  patriotic taxpayers.  And for what?  Votes.  That's  right,
sir.  You and  yours have bankrupted America  for the sole purpose of
advancing your pathetic  political careers.  You know it, we know it, and
you know that we know it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Introducing Bluegatorjewelry on

Here's another in my Artist of the Week/Month/Whatever entries.  This week/month/whatever focuses on SallyAnn Cobia Rogers, and her shop on  Bluegatorjewelry.  The link in the title will take you over to the main page of her shop, where you can browse through her selection of handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry (earrings, bracelets and necklaces). SPRING is almost here! Plan ahead with jewelry in flowery spring colors. More designs are being added frequently, so keep checking back.  In addition to the shop on Etsy, you can catch up with SallyAnn through her Fan Page on Facebook or her Blog. 

Although I've known SallyAnn and her husband Steve for something like 40 years, from our time at Florida Southern College, we've reconnected recently through the magic of the Internet and Facebook, etc. I found out that, like me, she has a shop on Etsy, and has been marketing her jewelry there for about 10 months or so.  So, I'm happy to give her a little plug here.  By the way, those of my readers who also go back to my college days, may be interested in catching up with Steve through his blog:  Looking Toward Portugal

Here are a couple of examples of the jewelry you can find at Bluegatorjewelry:

Bear Totem Earrings - $25.00

Aqua beach glass earrings - $15.00

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Although I had a dog named Max growing up in New Jersey, this is not a portrait of that Max.  Unfortunately, I don't think I even have any photos of that particular Max.  I think we named him for Maxwell Smart.  He had a fondness for scaring the beejeesus out of the mail man, the meter man, just about any man in a uniform, although he was at heart really friendly.  This Max greets everyone who enters Mah-Ann's Pro Fitness Center in Keizer, OR.  My wife, Fran, took some classes there last year and snapped this photo, along with a few more, and now, Max is the latest entry into the Pet Gallery on my website.  I also have his portrait posted in my FineArtAmerica gallery and my Etsy Shop, so there are all kinds of ways to check him out.  The link in the title will take you over to my FineArtAmerica Gallery, but if you are interested in a print or note cards of Max, I'll point you in the direction of my Etsy Shop, where you can still take advantage of the 10% Discount through the end of the month by using the code:  B00Coo upon completion of your transaction.  This portrait was done in ink, using black and brown Micron ink pens, and a combination of stroke work with stippling, or pointillism.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Lover Boy 
Meet Lover Boy (LB), the February Horse of the Month posted on the Redwings Horse Sanctuary website.  One of the new features of this blog is to focus from time to time on animal, pet and human interest stories, in addition to my usual posts of artwork, products, and my other general ramblings. The Redwings Horse Sanctuary is one of those animal organizations that you will find posted on my "Links of Interest" page on the website, and I thought "what better way to focus on animal interest stories than to feature articles from the various organizations that I have some some affiliation with.

Lover Boy is a Belgian Draft horse, descendant of horses used by knights and farmers to better human lives in early times. He is over 17 hands high, and weighs in at a hefty 1900 pounds.  Lover Boy  was one of the four foals rescued from the Premarin slaughter sales held in Canada. Redwings originally planned to rescue four fillies, and when LB was brought into the ring he was listed as a filly. When the Redwings Staff went to pick him up and discovered he was a colt, she was told, “you can just pick out some other filly and we’ll send him back into the ring”. Well, Redwings wasn’t about to give him back to be sold again, so he went home with the three fillies.  
He was named Lover Boy because he was the first foal to be rescued and spent the first night alone (he was only 3 ½ months old, not yet weaned from his mother, and forcibly taken from her). When the three fillies were brought into his corral the next day he was so happy to see them, he immediately gave them all “horse hugs” and was named “Lover Boy”.

The mission of Redwings Horse Sanctuary is to eliminate the causes of equine suffering through education and community outreach programs, rescue abused and neglected equines, and provide permanent sanctuary or selected foster homes for those equines.  For more information on Lover Boy, and the other horses at the Redwings Horse Sanctuary, which is located in Lockwood, CA, please visit their website at the link provided in the title.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Save 10% on purchases in Etsy Shop

Eagles in Ink
Now that I'm getting the hang of Etsy, and have uploaded about 50 or so products to my shop, I figured it was a good time to kick off a 10% Savings Promotion.  The code to redeem upon completion of your transaction is:  BOOC00, and the promotion runs through the end of March.  The link in the title will take you over to my Etsy Shop where you can start your shopping spree!  The items you will find in my Etsy Shop are basically the same as posted on my website, but this promotion is exclusive to purchases through my Etsy Shop.  There are a few tweaks I've implemented on my Etsy Shop, most notably to the note card packages.  As on my website, note card packages contain 10 cards/envelopes per package, but on Etsy, I'm making many more assortment packages available.  For instance, there are about 5 different Wildlife Assortment packages available here, each one with 2 each of 5 different images.  Each image in the package is previewed in the details of that package.  The lighthouse assortment packages are the same as on the website:  one assortment contains the 10 Oregon Coast Lighthouses, and the other assortment contains the Washington and
East Coast Lighthouses currently available.  This discount is good for all items posted in the Etsy Shop, including all of the laser-engraved gift items listed there.  Here a few examples to give you an idea of what you'll find, and remember, the discount code is valid through March 31. 2011.

Goldpanner - 2 pc. Round Box
Dall Sheep - Maple burl Clock

Heceta Head Lighthouse -Rectangular Box

Friday, March 04, 2011

Land of Enchantment, and some good friends

Having recently returned from a trip to Santa Fe and the surrounding area, I realized it has been about two weeks since I posted anything, so I thought it would be apropos to share some details about the trip. First of all, thanks to Arman for putting us up for the week.  Arman has been mentioned in this blog as a featured artist, and also in this month's newsletter as Artist of the Month.  This past week, two  sculptures that he entered in a nationwide competition sponsored by the VA (Veterans Affairs), took 1st Place at the regional level, and will now move on to the nationals in Arkansas. Good luck!  It was great to see Bob & Carolyn in Albuquerque, and spend some time at their home in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.  Hope we don't have to wait another 12 years to see them again. 

Pictured above is the incredible spiral staircase at the Sisters of Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe.  As the chapel was being built in 1876, the local carpenters neglected to erect stairs up to the choir loft, and due to the confines of the chapel's construction, adding a staircase was thought to be impossible.  About that time, a wandering carpenter happened into town, and undertook the task of designing and building the spiral staircase out of wood, not steel, since the nearest forge was hundreds of miles away.  The task defied the laws of architecture, and he also had to contend with the town's corrupt businessmen who wanted to ensure that the staircase was never completed.  A TV movie was made of this story in 1998, starring William Petersen and Barbara Hershey, the DVD of which is naturally for sale in the Gift Shop.  And also naturally, we walked out with a few of said DVDs, one for us, and a also as gifts. In the movie, it's stated the wood used was long-leaf pine, after a failed attempt with oak, but to add to the mystery of the staircase, the literature in the Gift Shop states that when a sample was submitted for testing, it could not be determined what kind of wood it was.  The results came back stating it was not a type of wood they'd ever seen before.  (Twilight Zone theme music here!)  Not a single nail was used in the construction, nor was a center pole used to stabilize the staircase during construction. Pretty amazing!

We also spent some time in Taos, and took in the hot springs at Ojo Caliente. After a week in cool, dry, clear-skied New Mexico, we returned to cold, damp, cloudy, rainy, snowy Oregon. But hey, summer is just four months away!  If we're lucky.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

20% OFF Giclee Prints - 10 Days left!

Since I'll be out of town next week, I thought I'd get in one last reminder about the 20% OFF Sale over at my website on  The link in the title will magically transport you over to that site (Beam me up Scotty!).  The Discount Code to take advantage of this sale is:  GDPDBZ. This discount is good through 2/26/2011.

I have over 70 images uploaded there now, with more to follow this week, and this promotion is good for any size Giclee Print, as well as purchases of Note Cards and Note Card Packages. Matting and framing options are also available for the prints, and there's even a canvas option if you are so inclined.  Here are a few of my more recent postings there, but I hope you'll get a chance to check out the entire gallery.

I've recently organized all of the images into categories, or galleries to make it easier to find a specific image. Pictured at the top is "The Reiner", which you will find in the Horses Gallery.  To the left here we have my rendering of the Oregon State Capitol building, which you will find in the Scenic Portraits Gallery.  Finally, to the right, we have my rendering titled "Kestrels", which you will find in the Wildlife Gallery. 

Coming in March, look for a special through my Etsy Shop which will feature the laser-engraved wood product line.  Since the shopping cart on my website is not really geared to specials on a wide spectrum without making massive changes to the website, I'm looking forward to being able to offer these special promotions through my Etsy Shop and FineArtAmerica Gallery.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Artist of the Week - Arman Barajas

As part of my ongoing endeavor to feature the work of other artists in my blogs and newsletters, the featured artist this week is Arman Barajas, of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Arman is a friend, and if you've visited my website at all over the past 5 or 6 years, you are looking at some of his work every time you visit Art from the Inkwell.  Arman is responsible for the re-design of my website, everything from color scheme to navigation to logo.  

While web design is one of Arman's talents, this blog will focus on his work as a sculptor. The link in the title will take you to his website, but here is an excerpt from his Artist Statement to help you along with the introduction:  

Understanding myself, relating to others, and life around me are my inspirations, and the emphasis of my body of work. My art gives a minimal amount of information, and is stylized to create a genuine feeling for nature, humanity, and balance.

I've included a few examples of his work here to get you started, and I hope you will get a chance to stop by his website to see more of his work.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Final 2 weeks of FineArtAmerica Special - Discount Code GDPDBZ

Just a quick reminder about the special that has been running through my FineArtAmerica Gallery for the past few months.  You can still get 20% off any purchase of Giclee Prints or Fully-customizable Note Cards through February 26, 2011.  Just enter the Discount Code GDPDBZ when you go through the check-out process to receive your discount.  Matting and framing are available, and also included in the promotion.  Now onto other matters.  What's up with Castle Hill Lighthouse, pictured here?  Only good stuff, I hope.  It seems to be a hot ticket item for me lately, both on the FineArtAmerica Gallery and my recently opened Etsy Shop.  Took less than two weeks to record the first sale on Etsy.  Must be some saavy shoppers with a keen eye for detail over there.  But seriously, for my artist friends out there, if you haven't checked out either of these sites yet, I would highly recommend them both.  They are great venues to post your artwork, get a little extra exposure, and maybe even make a few sales!  Let me know if you have any questions about starting up accounts at either website.  It really is a snap.  And you just can't beat their rates.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Check out this great product I found!

I stumbled across Christopher Sia the other day while searching through other Artists' websites and online offers, etc. and really liked the content. The link in the title will take you over to his site. As someone who works in Pencil, as well as Ink and Scratchboard, I got to thinking that if I was ever pressed to give a "How to" type class or write an instruction manual on what I do, I wouldn't know where to begin.  That may sound kind of silly, but it's true.  I don't really know how to do what I do; I just do it.  I've worked with other artists through the years, getting tips and techniques, but never any formal training.  I've been pretty much self-taught in my chosen media, whether it be Pen & Ink, Pencil, Scratchboard or Calligraphy.  So I guess having some natural talent is a good thing (a good place to start, anyway), but can also work against you in some ways.  Quite a few years ago, when I was living in Orlando, I was "recruited" to teach a class on Calligraphy to a local women's craft class.  Here again, I knew my process for getting to the end result, but I had a heck of a time breaking it down into basics that beginners would be able to follow along with.  So, I grabbed my "How to" books and plotted out a 6-week course, and you know what - we had some fun with it for the next 6 weeks!  The most challenging part of the class was having someone who was left-handed in there, and trying to figure out how to adapt the strokes to her natural motion.  Don't really remember if we were successful on that one or not!  Anyway, this looks like a great course - very succinct and easy to follow, with lots of extras.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New artwork - Meet Scooter

I haven't posted any artwork in a while, so I thought I'd post one of my more recent horse portraits - "Scooter".  Scooter belongs to our family veterinarian, Keri Sanders at Ark Animal Care in Mill City, OR.  Keri and the staff at Ark Animal Care are the greatest.  Over the past summer we lost two of our faithful companions, Henri and Sheba to old age.  They were both over 14 years old, and were a special part of the Howe/Tripoli household.  We greatly appreciated the care and kindness of everyone at Ark Animal Care, to us yes, but especially to Sheba, and then Henri, as we dealt with their illnesses up to the time it came to say goodbye, just a little more than a month apart.  Anyway, I did this portrait of Keri's horse, Scooter as a show of our appreciation. I completed the rendering using a combination of stippling, or pointillism and stroke work, and worked with black and brown inks.  The framed original now hangs in the office of Ark Animal Care.  The link in the title will take you to my FineArtAmerica Gallery, where you can see a larger image of the portrait, as well as all of the other portraits there.  I've recently organized the artwork into galleries, which for the most part, correspond to the galleries on my website.  There are a few differences, most notably the combining of the Northwest, Southwest and Golf Course categories (as you would find them on the website) into one gallery - Scenic Portraits, on FineArtAmerica.  As I add more artwork into that gallery, I will more than likely sort them out again down the road.

And now, for something a little different, as Monty Python used to say (no hammers smashing heads here though).  A few posts ago I introduced readers to Christopher Farlow, as artist associate of mine through FineArtAmerica, and he will be featured again in February's newsletter.  Today, I'd like to introduce my readers to one of my LinkedIn associates, Cindy Rademacher, owner of CJK Marketing.  Cindy lives in the Missoula, Montana area, and her businesses deal with Health, Wellness and Fitness.  One of her newest additions is a diet lollipop! Go figure, who would have thought you could lose weight by sucking on a lollipop. I'll try to have more info on Cindy's websites for February's newsletter as well, but in the meantime, to view her public profile on LinkedIn, just click on this link:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A reminder and a correction

Just a quick entry here to post a reminder to anyone actually reading this that there is a little over one month remaining to take advantage of the 20% Discount on all purchases through my FineArtAmerica Gallery.  The link in the title will take you over to my website there, and all of the artwork has recently been organized into galleries to make it easier to sort through the images.  Use the DISCOUNT CODE:   GDPDBZ  upon completion of your purchase to receive the discount.

In my last post I mistakenly listed Christopher's last name as Farley instead of Farlow.  Don't know where that came from, as I was looking right at it and actually typed it correctly in the link I provided to his FineArtAmerica gallery.  Chalk it up to a minor brain fart I guess.  Anyway, his name is Christopher Farlow, his artwork is still fantastic and worth checking out, and at least I was successful in pointing out to him that the title of his piece "On Eagle" should in actuality read "On Eagle's Wings".  So I guess we all have those little brain farts from time to time.  So long as they are not while driving a car or operating heavy machinery.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Featured Artist - Christopher Farlow

All right, this feature is not quite like Google's Artist of the Day, but I mentioned in an earlier post that I would from time to time try to introduce my friends and readers to new artists (or at least new to them!).  I came across Christopher a few days ago while I was putting in some time on my FineArtAmerica Gallery.  I belong to a few different groups there and was looking over some of the new work posted in the Pencil Drawing Group, and was blown away by Christopher's portraits.  The link in the title (or here) will take you over to Christopher's website, where you can see for yourself some of his incredible artwork.  I've posted a few images here to whet your appetite, but I heartily recommend taking a tour of his website to see the complete portfolio. In addition to the posting in this blog, Christopher has given me his permission to include his artwork in my monthly Art from the Inkwell Newsletter as well, so those of you who follow me there will get to see more in February's edition.  In the meantime, enjoy!

This one is titled "Jessica Biel Drawing".  In Christopher's FineArtAmerica Gallery, there are actually 6 other Jessica Biel Drawings, at various stages of completion, so they are titled, appropriately enough with "Work in Progress" included in the title.  Each one focuses on a different portrion of the overall portrait, this one being the finished project.
This one is titled "On Eagle" and shows excellent craftsmanship in portraying wildlife in pencil.  There is a second eagle portrait titled "On Eagle's Wings" as a work in progress.  Not sure if the "Wings" was left out of the first title on purpose.  I'll have to check with Christopher on that.  All of these pieces are also posted on Christopher's FineArtAmerica Gallery.  This link goes directly to Christopher's gallery, just as my link will take you to my gallery.  If you would like to look through the portfolios of other artists who post their work on FineArtAmerica (and there are thousands!), you'll need to go to the main page at FineArtAmerica, and probably open an account to have access to all of the artwork posted there. There are three types of accounts:  Artists, Galleries and Collectors.  To my artist friends out there:  this is a great place to post your work and meet artists from all over the world and start new friendships and share experience and insights.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Shop on

Just a quick posting here to announce the opening of my new storefront on  Thanks to some of my LinkedIn contacts and groups, I was introduced to the online marketplace that is  Follow the link in the title for a preview of my shop there.  So yes, here is yet another way for folks and (hopefully) potential customers to access the artwork from my website.  Each one of my storefronts is just a little bit different from the others, so if you don't see what you're looking for on one, just check out the others.  Looking for T-Shirts, Mugs, Calendars, and a whole slew of other products? Then is the place to go.  How about quality Giclee prints in a wide variety of sizes and Fully-Customizable note cards? That is the specialty of  Plus they have matting and framing options available.  So far, I'm in the process of uploading select images to and will offer them as prints and note-cards, and down the road, I should be posting some of my laser-engraved gift items there as well.  The number of items posted there will more than likely be on a rotation schedule that will change every few months, but you can always slide back over to my website to have access to my complete line of 11 x 14 double-matted prints, note card packages, laser-engraved gifts and original artwork.  PayPal is available on all of the storefronts for safe and secure payment of your purchases, and links to the various storefronts will available on this blog, as well as my monthly newsletters and on the website.  And don't forget that you can always access my Amazon Shop as well if you're looking for Kindles, Books, CD's and all things Amazon.  As always, I welcome any inquiries regarding commissioned portraits, and would be glad to answer any questions regarding any of the product lines available through my website and storefronts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sad day for America

No links today, nor artwork, nor news of Holiday Concerts or recent trips.  Just some random ramblings about what transpired over the weekend.  What a sad and tragic day Saturday was.  I had just returned home from my daily walk with the dogs in the foothills near our house, and was settling in to prepare and cook my world-famous spaghetti sauce.  As I was prepping the sausage and ground beef (soon to be meatballs), I thought I'd check my DVR recordings for a little entertainment while I cooked.  I turned on the TV and of course, never made it as far as checking out the recorded programs listing.  The rest of the day was devoted to coverage to the tragic shooting in Tucson, AZ.  Once again, violence and hatred take over the headlines, and senseless killings rule the day.  A Federal judge, a 9 year old girl, a political aide and 3 others lay dead in the aftermath, and 14 others were seriously wounded in the shooting spree, among them Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was the reported target in the incident.  She suffered a through-and through shot to the brain and is in critical condition in the ICU. 

What has transpired since, in many regards, is equally sad and somewhat shameful.  The political positioning and speculation as to motive began almost immediately.  Left, right, sane, insane, unchecked vitriol from all sides.  It makes one pause to consider the sad state of affairs in America.  But is it really any worse than at any other time in our nation's history?  I think not.  We are a nation born of bloodshed, and political unrest has been a benchmark of our growth throughout our history.  Once it took days, or even weeks for news to reach from one end of the country to the other.  Now it is seconds.  Once it was eptithets that were hurled at opponents, and maybe an occasional duel or two.  Now we use automatic weapons and hurl hand grenades.  But let's keep everything in perspective.  In Sunday's Statesman Journal, our local newspaper in Salem, Oregon, the events of Saturday morning and all that had transpired since, were relegated to page 11.  Plastered all over the front page of the newspaper, above the fold and below were articles about tonight's BCS title game between Oregon and Auburn.  Now that is truly shameful.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

FineArtAmerica update

Back to business now that the Holidays are over, guests are gone, and Holiday Concert Series has run its' course.  Speaking of the Holiday Concert Series, as promised, here's a quick review of the Pink Martini New Year's Eve Concert - FANTASTIC!!  One of best concerts I've ever attended; I'd rank it right up there with the James Taylor/Carole King concert that we saw last summer.  And you could tell that the audience was filled Pink Martini fans, because even though they may not be widely known around the country yet, whenever one of their signature songs was performed, the place went wild.  China Forbes, their singer is amazing.  If you listen to any of their CD's, you get accustomed to hearing her sing in English, Spanish, Italian and French, no big deal.  In addition to those selections, she sang three versions of "Silent Night", in English, the original German, and Arabic.  A traditional Chinese New Year's song was performed, in Chinese of course, and yet another portion of the show was devoted to Hannukah, sung in Hebrew and a Spanish/Hebrew hybrid language, call it Hebrish or Spanbrew or something. But it was beatiful nonetheless.

Dall Sheep
Okay, back to the topic. Pictured here is one of my latest postings to FineArtAmerica, titled "Dall Sheep". The link in the title will take you over to the profile page at FineArtAmerica.  Since I have over 60 images posted there now, I've organized everything into Galleries to make it easier to tour through the site.  The galleries for the most part will mirror what I have posted on my website, like Faces West, Wildlife, Horses, etc.  As a reminder, there is still almost two months left on the 20% OFF promotion for Giclee prints and note cards purchased through FineArtAmerica.  That Discount Code again is GDPDBZ, and expires on 2/26/2011.