Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This little pooch looked so cute I had to paint his picture. I changed my thoughts on the background and was going to change it around a little, but the paint is too wet to do that just yet. Maybe later. After looking at this puppy, I dug out my photo book and looked up our dog's baby pictures. That could be tomorrow's painting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


These are a couple of characters that wandered onto our place a few years ago and never left. They've eaten most of my flowers, torn up most of the fencing around here, try to eat the magnetic signs from my vehicle anytime I forget to remove them, and have rubbed their horns on a few nice cars, but they kind of make up for the mischief they've caused by their friendly, lovable, personalities. They don't care much for being looked at through the camera lens though and it was tough getting some good photos of them. Now you can see how adorable they look as well. This is a 9"x12" oil painting.

Monday, October 27, 2008


A blue iris for Iris. This is painting #16. It's an acrylic 9"x12" and one of my favorite flowers.

Not doing the math

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Benevolent redistribution of wealth to benefit the relatively powerless and disfranchised in societies is obviously a very difficult and constant work in progress. It's especially difficult because many of the really powerful and wealthy want the redistribution of wealth and power to continue in their direction--as easy-to-generate "funny money" which can be used to exploit Nature and poor humans, and used to stoke the fires of "new" growth from Natural Capital, ... and do it on the backs of poor Human Capital (disfranchised and relatively powerless).

Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress after this 2008 election could be a great step toward curbing rampant conversion of sustainable Natural Capital to inappropriate Built Capital (e.g., war machines/tools/infrastructure; equipment to "Drill, Baby, Drill"; a luxury wardrobe for Sarah Palin; ...) in the U.S. and the world, and toward the effective building of sustainable Social Capital and robust Cultural Capital.

(See for some great and truly positive presentations by Dr. Cornelia Butler Flora, Director, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, Iowa State University.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Local-Global Community Activism

I have several "personal pieces" I've started as contributions to this blog site. ... But with travel to Guatemala, precinct chair responsibiliites, and other commitments--I've been guilty of submitting nothing to BBC for days. (I'll try to finish these incomplete blog contributions and submit them in the near future!?)

I did come across two wonderful contributions (below) from two great social activists while doing a bit of work for a graduate student who is working on a thesis dealing with "conflict resolution, global community activism, campesino-globalization challenges ... and sustainability":

From --

"Shared – dare I call it – WISDOM

(These were compiled in 2005, based largely on my university and international development experience over the past 60+ years, as possible ‘testing questions’ for all theory & practice.)

• Ask of all theory & practice – what is it in the service of? – before supporting or copying it

• Work mostly with ‘small meaningful achievable initiatives' vs. ‘Olympic-scale projects' (most of these are abandoned or fail, & have numerous negative side-effects)

• Don’t get stuck in endless ‘measuring studies’ (‘monitoring our extinction’) – these are often designed to postpone change that is perceived as threatening to existing power structures

• To achieve sustainable progressive change, focus (at least first) on enabling the ‘benign’ agendas of others vs. trying to impose on them your own ‘benign’ agendas

• Focus on enabling the potential of people, society & nature to express itself – so that wellbeing, social justice & sustainability can emerge (in integrated, synergistic ways)

• Collaborate across difference to achieve broadly shared goals – don’t end up isolated, alone in a ‘sandbox’

• Don’t let ‘end point’/goal differences prevent possibilities of early stage collaboration

• Outcomes are only as good & sustainable as the people creating & implementing them – so start with the people; & remember that we are a relational/social species!

• Use the media – let me repeat – use the media! – such ‘political’ communication is key to change

• Work with business & the public/community; government will always follow, but rarely lead!

• Celebrate publicly at every opportunity – to enable the good stuff to be ‘contagious’

• Keep working on & implementing – especially with others – your (shared) benign visions

• Most of what is remains unknown – which is what wise people are able to work with; so devote most effort to developing your wisdom vs. your cleverness, which is just concerned with the very limited pool of what is known (Einstein was clear about this!)

• Always be humble & provisional in your knowing, & always open to new experiences & insights

• Take small meaningful risks to enable progress, transformational learning & development

• Devote most effort to the design & management of systems that can enable wellbeing, social justice & sustainability, & that are problem-proof vs. maintaining unsustainable, problem-generating systems, & devoting time to ‘problem-solving’, control, & input management

• Work sensitively with time & space, especially from the position of the ‘others’ (ask: who, what, which, where, when, how, why, if & if not?)

• Act from your core/essential self – empowered, aware, visionary, principled, passionate, loving, spontaneous, fully in the present (contextual) – vs. your patterned, fearful, compensatory, compromising, de-contextual selves

• See no ‘enemies’ – recognise such ‘triggers’ as indicators of woundedness, maldesign & mismanagement – everyone is always doing the best they can, given their potential, past experience & the present context – these are the three areas to work with

• Be paradoxical: ask for help & get on with the job (don’t postpone); give when you want to receive; give love when you might need it, or when you might feel hate

• Learn from everyone & everything, & seek mentors & collaborators at every opportunity"

From --

"Rules for Radicals

In 1971, Saul Alinsky wrote an entertaining classic on grassroots organizing titled Rules for Radicals. Those who prefer cooperative tactics describe the book as out-of-date. Nevertheless, it provides some of the best advice on confrontational tactics. Alinsky begins this way:

What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.

His 'rules' derive from many successful campaigns where he helped poor people fighting power and privilege

For Alinsky, organizing is the process of highlighting what is wrong and convincing people they can actually do something about it. The two are linked. If people feel they don’t have the power to change a bad situation, they stop thinking about it.

According to Alinsky, the organizer — especially a paid organizer from outside — must first overcome suspicion and establish credibility. Next the organizer must begin the task of agitating: rubbing resentments, fanning hostilities, and searching out controversy. This is necessary to get people to participate. An organizer has to attack apathy and disturb the prevailing patterns of complacent community life where people have simply come to accept a bad situation. Alinsky would say, 'The first step in community organization is community disorganization.'

Through a process combining hope and resentment, the organizer tries to create a 'mass army' that brings in as many recruits as possible from local organizations, churches, services groups, labor unions, corner gangs, and individuals.

Alinsky provides a collection of rules to guide the process. But he emphasizes these rules must be translated into real-life tactics that are fluid and responsive to the situation at hand.

Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. 'You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.'

Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. 'If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.'

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. 'The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.'

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city’s reputation.

Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, 'Okay, what would you do?'

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. 'The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.' "

Friday, October 24, 2008


Painting #15 finished! It's an elf who's found some tiny fairies in the dark woods. This is one that I've thought about painting for a while but only today got around to doing it. This is a 5"x7" acrylic. Hope you enjoy it and have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Here we go once again, back to the land of long ago (or, fantasy). The knight looks as though he's going to be toast, but will he? Maybe he's related to Indiana Jones and will take the chain that's hanging on the other side of his belt (that we don't see) and toss it up around the dragon's head, distracting it just long enough to make it to the trees? Or perhaps the damsel in the castle has sent her falcon to distract the dragon so her love can escape? How do you think the story goes? Would you believe that I saw this at the Renaissance Festival? This painting is a 6" x 6" oil.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today we dive into the realm of fantasy and oils. The Lovers are a pair of elves that are so completely captivated by each other that they are oblivious to the world around them. It was inspired from a couple that I saw at the Renaissance Festival's 1001 Dreams theme this past weekend. There was a lot of really cool things there and there's nothing like a bit of fantasy to refuel the imagination. Wait until you see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today I painted another watercolor floral and thought it looked kind of pretty until I put it on the computer. It appears that this one needs some adjustments too. How humbling! This watercolor floral combo thing is really getting on my last nerves. Not sure how much longer I'm going to stick with it.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Someone asked me to paint some watercolor florals when I first started doing "a-painting-a-day" so,that's the plans for this week - although, I may end up yelling "uncle" and switching to oils instead. Today's painting is called Autumn Floral and, as you can tell, it's not finished. Ahhhhg! Yes! It's supposed to be a finished painting but it seems that my second watercolor in this series has beat me as well. I feel like digging in and working in this medium until I can turn out some decent ones, but am not sure if I want to do it right here in front of God and everybody all week long. I've worked on this painting since this morning. It needs to dry a little bit before going back over some areas to ad more details and/ or color but I just can't hang any longer this evening. I'm going to have to re-post it tomorrow. In the mean time, feel free to click on the word "comment" below here in micro print and tell me what you think of it so far.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hatemongers for McCain


This little guy is thinking his dreams are finally coming true. We all have dreams that we'd like to see come true. Monday voting starts, and because of a dream some women made come true back in 1917, all women now have the right to cast their vote. How many of you know of the "NIGHT OF TERROR", Nov. 15, 1917? That's the night that Alice Paul and 32 other women, who were arrested for demonstrating against President Wilson in front of white house, were thrown in jail and terrorized to make them behave. Women still weren't allowed to own property then either. If you don't remember reading or hearing about the Women's suffrage movement and this Night OF Terror, you should check out this link:
Hope to see all you ladies out there at the polls this coming week!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Fair day! Try your luck at the games! Who can resist them? It's the thrill of chance and the feeling that you're sure you're going to win! Did any of you happen to wander over to the Home Arts area at The Guadalupe County fair last week? I entered 1 painting, called Passing Glances, (it's on my website) and got a champion ribbon. What a sweet surprise that was! Sometimes you just have to take a chance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I read somewhere that to paint well you have to be in the daily habit of painting at a certain time each day and, as time goes by, you one day you find that you're doing more than just painting. You're slipping into the right brain creative mode and are exploring, learning, and growing without even realizing that it's happening.
I'm wondering if a person should jump right in with both feet and paint from the imagination alone to expand the right brain creativeness or if we should still work on the "rules of drawing and painting" as we go along? Last Saturday my son and I went to an art district at LaVillita in San Antonio and checked out the galleries there and it was energizing to see all the different styles and types of art. Ok, it was energizing for me, but for my son, he was happy with the hot dog, pop, and mood ring he got. I wanted to come home and paint some of that bizarre, yet intriguing, art. That said, today was not that day. :D
Today's painting is my own driveway. Yes, it looks as though we don't own a lawn mower, but we do, and sometimes we even use it. Afterwards I'm always rewarded with a great case of poison oak - something there's plenty of here!
This is a 9"x12" acrylic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This little Pie Bald Fawn is being raised by my vet and is so adorable and friendly that I thought she'd make a good painting subject. Doesn't she look like she's smiling? Have you ever seen a fawn with this much white on it before? She was inside a building when we took her picture, but, this sunny outdoor setting seems more peaceful and natural to me.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Monday! Monday! This was an incredible site down Hwy 123 south of Seguin back in the Spring, but, my painting today didn't do it justice. It's a watercolor and is one of those "boo boos" that occasionally happen. I wasn't going to post anything at all today, but then what about my goal of 5 paintings a week for 7 weeks? So, here it is anyway. Maybe it can be saved with more work on it this weekend? Maybe I'll repaint it until I get it right. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Today's Quote

Imagination was given to us to compensate for what we are not; a sense of humor was given to us to console us for what we are.

-Mark McGinnis

BBC logo a collaboration with Brad Foster

When the Banned Books Cafe (BBC) opened on Juneteenth in 2006, talented fantasy artist Brad Foster was commissioned to design a logo.
What he designed to spec was the logo in the upper left corner of this blog. It's an image of Don Quixote in honor of Miguel Cervantes, one of the funniest writers of the ages.
My mission is to look for the annotated version of his novel and attempt to reread it.
However, click on the headline of this post and read about Brad Foster ... browse his web site and I guarantee you'll see something you will love ... one of my favorites was the above piece, which was prominently displayed in the BBC when it was open.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Whoo! Hoo! It's Friday and my 5th painting for the week is just now finished! Oh Yeah! I'm probably going to clean my "castle" before the kids and grandkids come over, and then...who knows. This flower is a close up of a wonderful Texas roadside plant that I took a bit of artistic liberty with. It's usually seen as a white flower with lots of pink tinge, but, I like it this way better. Hey, that's why it's a painting and not a photo, right? If the color really bothers you, go ahead and paint one yourself and then show it to me! Now - on to the weekend! Hope yours is a good one!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Ok, just for the fun of it (but, mostly because Winston asked about it again) I'm sticking this painting called Feathered Friends up here. It was in the Fantasy Feather show here in Seguin this Summer and won Best of Show. :) I had been racking my brain for something to paint that might be a winner and my oldest daughter started bugging me to paint a dragon (for her house) and, since the theme of the show was "fantasy" feather, this idea seemed to fit. It's 30"x40" oil. It was really fun working on it.


I see this horse almost every day on my way into town. Actually, it's my neighbor's horse and he has a field of them. They're all so beautiful, it's hard to pick just one. Horses are one of my favorite subjects to paint! They're so majestic and yet so naturally down to earth that you can't help but love them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


This painting was done from a photo that I took at Mustang Island on Spring break. The seagulls were so fascinating! We brought our lunch on to the beach and at the first sight of food the gulls surrounded us, seemingly hovering in the air, and squawking like crazy. It was a first and it was fun!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Painting #2 in goal of 35

Here's the latest one. The idea for this came from some sketches I did while brain storming for something special to paint for a competition this Summer. It is a 5"x7", Acrylic, called Angel of the Morning.

Clean Sustainable Communities All Over the World

We do have significant knowledge and scientific acceptance of “Natural Law,” i.e. physical and biological principles like: entropy, biogeochemical cycles and photosynthesis, evolution via natural selection, etc., community succession and trophic levels, carrying capacity, territoriality, effective local community communication and having real ecologically-sound fun, etc., etc.. Therefore, it seems almost impossible that there are folk who don’t realize the serious local and global problems of rampant conversions of Nature (e.g., somewhat it was like 10,000 years ago or even 150 years ago) to very artificial systems.

Nevertheless, there is a prevalence of: 1) ignorance about ecological principles; 2) superstition, traditions, imbedded cultural mores; and 3) technological fix mindsets which continue to facilitate the polluting, scorching and paving of earth (resulting in dead zones in estuaries, desertification, global climate change) —and contribute to continuing global poverty and war, … . Moreover there is the continued mantra that “technology will fix all the nasty socio-political/economic--ECOLOGICAL damage we’ve done”. [Many pseudo or wantabe conservationists/conservatives are technological fixers and are guilty of masking the continued energetic burn of the Natural World—and/or they are serving as catalysts for this burn through the promotion of processes of conventional/industrial organic agriculture, inappropriate biotechnology, and development of various energy sources such as fuel cells, nuclear fission/and even fusion?, and various “renewable” alternatives other than reliance on solar energy capture that is local and ethical.]

When we consider these social complexities, I would hope that ecologically literate folk (and I believe there are many of these folk—and many more who’d like to be) won’t become frustrated and cynical, and throw up their arms and give up. We must continue to support a conserving and sustaining process that includes 1) faith in the Natural World, 2) hope that as a community we can stave off the Seven Deadly Sins, 3) charity and love for all of humanity and the Natural World.

And it is of utmost importance that we must work hard (but with pleasure and celebration) locally to: 1) conserve topsoil, 2) maintain watersheds in a healthy and sustainable/Natural state, 3) protect and enhance biological diversity, 4) slow down our economic engine to the point that it runs sustainably on daily ethical use of the sun, 5) emphasize sufficiency more than efficiency, 6) utilize the appropriate technologies we already have in a sustainable way, vs. always searching for more appropriate technologies, and 7) recognize that health, education and welfare are all ecological concerns.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Here's the 1st painting for my goal of 35 in 7 weeks. It's another view of the Hydro Plant in Seguin, Tx. Let me know what you think of it and if you have any good ideas for a painting. Thanks!


I've set a goal for myself - a challenge - to paint 1 painting each weekday, 5 days a week, begining today and ending on November 21st. That will be a total of 35 paintings. I'm excited about it! I have a long list of future painting ideas, but the list isn't quite long enough. If you have suggestions on things you'd like to see me paint, blog me on it. I'd love to hear your ideas!
The painting that you see here is one that I did recently. It's the Hydro Plant in Seguin, Tx.
I'll add today's new painting on this evening after it's finished. Let me know what you think of it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ele (Meu Amigo Roland) Tem Razão!

We had an Earth Day planning committee meeting in Seguin’s city hall yesterday. Immediately afterwards I felt somewhat satisfied that we’re making some progress toward reducing our ecological footprint here in Guadalupe County and environs.

Moreover some folk in the U.S. feel a bit satisfied today after the action of Congress to band aid Wall Street and Main Street. And perhaps some feel quite satisfied that one or the other of the presidential candidates (or one of the candidate’s perky idiotmatic … sorry … idiomatic partner, ... with lipstick) will actually achieve energy independence by 2013 and a high input U.S. economic system run on renewable energy*.

Nevertheless, I am personally rarely satisfied for very long! And my friend Roland was right on yesterday when he “analyzed”, “Well it’s great that our city can plan an Earth Day event, but can’t even get started with planning a curbside recycling program-- that could benefit the poor, and be user friendly for this important sector of our population.”

Moreover Roland points out that no politician (presidential candidate or otherwise) is really dealing with the ills of our capitalistic economic system--a system which keeps us addicted to irrational exuberance, rampant consumption, big houses, conventional air conditioning, mal-transport, exotic imported foods, high inputs of non-renewable energy*, the military-industrial complex, and blaming problems in this ecologically extractive economy on the bogeyman … .
*”I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona. If you’ll buy that I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.” G. S.

**High artificial inputs of energy period are problematic, whether it involves renewable, or non-renewable, energy.


Here we are, talking about art while the world around us is in chaos. Some think this is a frivolous subject in times like these. They feel their time and money could be far better spent by focusing on things that will save our planet and correct our society. Well, that's exactly why art is needed so much more now than ever before. Art deepens our creative abilities allowing us to think, reason, and invent better. It helps us understand our history and our culture as no written words ever can. We see illustrations and understand math, science, music, etc., much better with artistic graphics. Look at the effects of art on school children. "Students in "arts rich" schools scored higher in creativity-imagination, expression, cooperative learning, risk-taking, and measures of academic self-concept than students in "arts poor" schools. Teachers and principals in schools with strong arts programs reported that the presence of the arts led teachers to be more innovative, to have increased awareness of students' abilities, and to enjoy work more". So, you see, it's not just the children that benefit from art. It's good for adults as well.
Art calms our minds and our bodies and helps us to refocus and maintain our mental and emotional balance and heals the injured psyche. "Art therapy is the use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art".
Colors reach into the deepest parts of our emotions and cause us to react to them without consciously realizing it. We can use colors to shift our emotions and to heal us as well.
Think about it now, do we make better decisions and come up with better solutions when we're stressed out and anxious or when we've calmed down to the point of good reason? Maybe we should get out our pencils and paper and start drawing again.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Paradise for birds

The first person to identify the island in the background of the photo above will be treated to a libation of his or her choice at one of the watering holes in my neighborhood. But the winner will have to come down here. Come and say hello and watch the birds.

The ones in the photo above are seagulls, landlubber!

A huge population of hummingbirds has invaded the island. They fight each other for sugar water by slapping their wings at one another.

They're usually in motion, but I've seen a couple of them perch on a limb ... never seen that before.