Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Card, 2009

This year's holiday card, linocut on card stock. Am torn between calling it "Candy Cane Triumphant," or "Behold, the Power of the Cane-Shaped Peppermint Stick!"

I kid, I kid. Anyway, warmest holiday wishes for now and the New year. Peace on earth, good will to all. And candy.

weekend update

My son earned his yellow belt in karate. We brought in and decorated our little live douglas fir. And went sledding! Very cool to get so much snow so much earlier in the winter.


Messing around with some of the leftover postcards from last winter's show. Painting and shmearing over them with oils.

Monday, December 14, 2009

That time of year again

Check out last December's posts for the holiday cards I've made for Christmases past. Scroll down a bit.

We've started sending out this year's card, and I'll be posting it here soon, too.

Bergen Street Comics

Bergen Street Comics is one of the sparkling new and charming little shops on Bergen between Flatbush and Fifth, and I finally stopped in on the way to the studio yesterday. Something for my wife had caught my eye, and of course I also found something for my son and myself. In the interest of the season, I'm going to keep those titles to myself for now, and just say that it's a great little shop, warm and welcoming, even to a big waterlogged slob like me stepping in out of the rain.

I will say that what I found for myself is 'The Hunter,' a graphic novelization of one of Donald Westlake's Parker novels, by Darwyn Cooke. I've had a scrap from the NY Times on my wall for months, from a review, and it had caught my eye because of the cool, three color palette, punchy black inking, and pulpy, noirish subject matter. A link to my B movie paintings that I thought I should pay attention to, especially since I think one of my projects in the new year will be some two-color linocuts.

Nice folks at the comics place, and I plan to go back. I just wish my son liked the fancy schmancy hot dogs next door. It's also down the block from Melt, where we ate for our anniversary, and which is not, despite my brother's fervent wishes, affiliated in any way with a gourmet mac n cheese place in Cleveland.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Went bowling this weekend. Channelled my inner Dude. Despite growing up in Toledo, Ohia, I was never a big bowler. But this weekend a friend had a birthday celebration that included rolling some balls at the lanes in the Port Authority. Lotsa fun. Our son had a blast, too, and my wife was rolling unconscious for a while, three straight strikes and a couple spares.

On our way from the lanes to dinner at a homey little Italian place, walking along the edges of Times Square, it snowed a little bit--big, wet, floppy flakes that glistened in the night air. Christmas lights and headlamps reflected in the slick black streets. Beautiful night. "God, I love this dirty town!"

Sunday we saw Fantastic Mr. Fox. I am a Wes Anderson fan, and I'd put this up there with my favorites of his. The whole stop motion world seems perfect for his stagelike, neoclassically balanced images. Really a fun, beautiful, touching film. We watched Up again on DVD this weekend, too, and that is even better than I remembered. It will be a tough call between those two come Oscar time [and don't forget Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which is also a really fine and funny animated film. but I think the Academy will overlook it because of the silly title].

Oh, and there should be a moratorium on the use of the old saw about second acts and American lives. Maybe, fifteen minutes of fame, too. Sick of 'em.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

rainy lights

I'm loving the pics the iPhone takes. This is a shot on the way home from work last night, the corner of Fulton and the Flatbush Extension, looking west at the holiday lights in Fulton Mall. And below are some obligatory cameraphone selfportraits, taken in the studio.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Had a nice big fat holiday weekend. Went to the parade, got home in plenty of time to stuff and roast a big ol' turkey. Next day after my run, my wife and son came to the studio to help print this year's holiday cards [which I will post once they're all in the mail], then a nice party down the hall that evening. Saturday was karate class for my son, a birthday party in the neighborhood for a sweet little three year-old in our building, then a terrific fifteenth anniversay dinner for the little lady and me, at Melt, a place I love, and more importantly a place with no kids' menu. I had a braised lambshank with truffled grits and my goodness gracious sakes alive it was good. And we had champagne, of course. Sunday I had another nice run and workout in Prospect Park, then a little studio time, and got home in time to start some turkey soup. And then we had our first dinner of leftovers: stuffing, turkey, butternut squash, green beans and spinach. And the last of my wife's incredible--incredible-- pumpkin freaking pie, with a graham cracker crust, no less. Like I said, a nice big fat ol' holiday weekend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Forgot to mention

Last week in the park [see pic in previous post] we saw a huge and gorgeous great blue heron walking along the river bank, no more than fifteen yards away.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From the studio, via the iPhone camera

Playing around with the iPhone's camera, some shots of works in progress in the studio:

The Speed of the Sound of Shuffling, or: Parenting in the 21st Century

"Daddy, why can't zombies move fast?"

Hmm, Dr. Spock doesn't cover questions about the undead from five year-olds. Does Dr. Van Helsing have a parenting book? Maybe there's a need for this kind of thing, maybe I should write "What to Expect When You're Raising a Vampire Hunter."

The question is really my fault, anyway. We were playing a game on the way home from school where I pretend I don't know where he is, even though he's riding on my shoulders. And while he's up there (this started around Halloween), he makes spooky noises to scare me, like ghostly moaning, witches' cackles, jingling skeleton bones, etc. And then he makes a noise and says it's zombies. "Well," I say, "I don't have to worry too much because zombies move pretty slow."

Hence, later, the question. My answer touches on logical reasons, you know, the crumbling bones and wasting muscles, etc.

And also, "Hey bud, you know there's no such thing as zombies, right?"

"Yeah, Dad!"

Later, he asks his mother the same question, just to check up on me, I guess.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Never thought I'd have an iphone. But I do, and it's cool. I got that Brushes app but haven't played around with it much yet; hopefully will post some the decent results here, in time.

Have to figure out what this year's holiday card will look like.... For the first time in years, am completely high and dry with no sense of what to do. Usually I have a few alternates from the year before percolating, but not this year, not yet.

great dane

I'm no Joe Dog Whisperer, but Scooby Doo is an monstrously large dog, even for a great dane, I think.

And I don't say that just because I was scared of dogs as a kid.

I mean, I'm no Michael Vick, but don't it make you wonder who'd win in a fight between Scoob and Marmaduke? Not that anyone would want to see it.

These are the kinds of observations that sound completely original and witty to me in this little corner of the internets, but which have probably been made about a million times at other places on the cyberhoohah. Or at least, I should hope, in Mad Magazine.

And we'll leave Clifford out of the equation entirely.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


At least the 2009 season is over. I was watching up till the seventh inning stretch last night, but went to bed after I realized how disheartening it was to be watching a Joba Chamberlain v. Shane Victorino matchup. Those two hot dogs.

Some consolation in knowing lil' Vicky made the last out. I guess.

And another thing: just you wait till next year.


In more positive news, a great Halloween weekend. Party in our building on Friday, a full day of scary stuff to do on Saturday, mostly in Prospect Park, with Boo at the Zoo and its Haunted Barn, and the Audobon Center. Then that evening, trick or treating and the parade in Park Slope. This ex-Ohia boy was impressed with the big city trick or treating. And my son, of course, had a blast.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Untitled, 2005, monotype with blue ink wash, 8x6in.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I think I might be okay with the visiting team winning every game of the World Series, as the Phillies did last night, soundly spanking the Yanks in front of the poor home fans in the Bronx. That way, it's assured that for every game of the series there's a stadium full of miserable Yankee or Phillie fans.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Park Slope Haiku

Chill October rain
slicks brownstones in the twilight
Spongebob glows inside.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Haunted Baseball Season

That never ends.

I know it's completely and utterly irrational to think that the entire 2009 season has been designed and inflicted by the Baseball Gods as one long, excruciating, festering and gaping maw of an open wound in the soul of every New York Metropolitans fan, but COME ON!!! The Yankees and the Phillies??? Two teams it's impossible for Met fans to root for??? And now it's dividing Met fans as passionately as any issue in this godforsaken season??? Shane Victorino or Derek Jeter??? The little league helmet vs. Captain Smirk??? Shoot me now, shoot me now.

So. Yes. I know it's completely and utterly irrational, but so is being a *&)%$#-ing Mets fan.

A *&%$#!@ pox on both yer #*%!!$ houses, ya @!#%-ing *%#$!s....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Magician with Assistant

2006, ink, charcoal and acrylic, 19x25in.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Never mind

Looks like Rush the Magic Windbag's bid to buy into the Rammies is dead in the water. Sigh of relief. But I guess you still gotta wonder about his pals who dropped him, if they ever had the poor judgement to ask him in on the deal in the first ol' place.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rush and the Rams

If Rush Limbaugh successfully buys into the Rams, I will officially renounce my lifelong status as a Ram fan. I will toss the ashes of my Jack Youngblood and Wendell Tyler football cards into the East River and make a choice betwixt the Jets and Jints.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: great fun! A lot like Up, in that it's more than just funny, it's big and grand oldstyle adventure. And I think it's as good as Up, no question.

I've never seen the book, so I didn't have any preconceived notions. On that note, looking forward to seeing Wild Things, just not sure if it will be too intense for my five-year old. He usually will watch anything, but we had to leave twenty minutes into Ponyo, which had some pretty scary water monster images.

Friday, October 9, 2009

blood test

Two things I don't want to hear from the person about to draw blood from me:

"This is a really confusing vein!"

"I don't know what's wrong with me; I'm just dropping everything today!"


oil on canvas, 18x20in.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

That day

I don't understand how anyone can be afraid that we will forget. It takes only the slightest trigger to bring the pain and sorrow back to the surface. More about these images here, and why I am posting them today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jessica DuLong and the Hudson River

See the new link to the left, for our neighbor Jessica DuLong and her new book My River Chronicles, in which she writes about her work as engineer on the John J. Harvey fireboat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Labor Day/West Indian Day Parade

Stiltwalkers, 2002, oil on canvas, 20x14in.

Cop on roof, 2002, oil on canvas, 20x18in.

Guy on float, 2002, oil on canvas, 24x20in.

Paintings based on photos of the 2001 West Indian Day Parade.

Friday, August 28, 2009


...is my wife's birthday.
Happy Birthday, honey, and thanks for everything, as always.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

breaking news

In a press conference later today, Omar Minaya is expected to announce that the New York Mets will be placing me, 41 year-old Brooklyn artist Patrick Jewell, on the 15-day disabled list. They are expected to call up my cat Livvie to take my place on the roster. Livvie throws right, bats left and plays for catnip.

Forgive me if you've heard this one, or something like it, before.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


An unassisted triple play to end the game? insert primal scream here.

although, truth is, this year as a mets fan, all you can do at this point is throw up your hands and laugh.

yeah. laugh until they cart you away.

unassisted triple plays are fascist.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Coincidence or premonition or something

Once before I made mention here of a novel I started to write about twelve years ago but never finished. There are a few lines from that novel that describe an artist's work--small, black and white paintings--and seem to presage the b movie paintings. Here's the full paragraph:

Harry starts back toward the Medieval Hall. He walks quickly. It feels good to be moving somewhere, leaving burglary behind, but Archie keeps up with him. Archie is a painter, too, who took nights because he doesn't like tourists, and he likes morning light best for his painting. Harry saw his work once and didn't think the light would be all that crucial for his small, sooty, black and white cityscapes. It was in a group show in a Brooklyn storefront, and Harry didn't think much of it, but he told Archie they were like Truffaut movies, which made Arch happy, even if neither of them knew exactly what it meant. A painting can't really be like a movie, for god's sake. 'How's the party going?' Archie says, fumbling to hook his flashlight to his belt, while trying to keep up with Flynn. 'You got the restaurant tonight?'

So I just think it's a little curious how things go, how a throwaway line from something I wrote years ago comes back to kind of describe paintings I've been making recently, especially since one of the reasons I started to work from imagery like the movies is because I was in a studio with no natural light in the early aughts. Funny old world.

A few things

I'm a painter.

You can wade through this weblog and see some of my work, read some of my thoughts and jottings.

This post is a reminder about some other places on the web where I do things, links to which are always on the right of this here bloggy thing.

Want to see a selection of my paintings? Go here.

Want see a lot of my paintings, drawings, prints, old work, photos of my studio? Here.

My day job is in the Media Center of the Library of Long Island University's Brookly Campus. Here's a newsletter I write there, mostly about movies in the collection.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled whatever.

What if....

Watching a Scooby Doo movie with my son, and Adam West does a voice, a crazy old beachcomber, big kahuna type. Got me thinking. I wonder how the world would be different today if Adam West had played Captain Kirk and William Shatner had played Batman.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

dere it is, dere it is, dere it is!

Home a lot of this week with my five year-old son. His daycare's closed for the week, and we're also having the bathroom redone. Stifling NYC August heat. So we are watching a lot of cartoons, I have to admit. Fun for both of us. Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, Superfriends. DVDs rock.

He likes the newer Scooby Doos, which are much more self-aware, of course, than the originals, and where Fred's become kind of a dim bulb, and Daphne's made herself more useful. And Velma never loses her glasses anymore. Mike Piazza makes a cameo in one of the newish ones. But we also some of the old guest star ones with Batman and Robin and the Harlem Globetrotters. One of my favorite things about watching Scooby Doo with him: the first time the gang got caught by one of those haunted house traps where the stairs collapse and turn into a slide, I said, "It's the old stairs-turn-into-a-slide" trick, and now he says that exact same sentence every time it happens. Which is a lot. It happened in a Superfriends episode yesterday, sending Robin into a deep pit, and he said it, and then he said, "Hey, that's the first time I've seen that trick with a hole at the bottom!" And it won't be the last, my son. It won't be the last.

Animaniacs are fun. Looney Tunes are perfect--nothing I can say right now to add to them. And Superfriends are great, corny, gentle fun.

Yesterday was the first time we tried one of the crafts, from the little sections between adventures. You remember, where Aquaman would show you how to make a piggy bank from an old bleach bottle, Superman would teach you how to bend iron pipe into a pinata, and Wonder Woman would tie a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue. Uh, waitaminute, no those aren't quite right. Must be thinking of some barely adolescent, David Lynchian fever dream.

So anyway. Yesterday Wonder Woman did have a craft project that we made at home and had a lot of fun with: a balloon powered rocket! And all you need is some string, some tape, a straw and a balloon. And it's pretty cool. You run the string through the straw, tie it between two places, blow up a balloon and tape it to the straw without tying the end. Count down and blastoff, letting go of the end and the ballon-straw rocket shoots on a straight line across the room. I felt kind of redeemed for letting my kid watch a lot of tv. Kind of pathetic, I know.

triple apple day

So I changed the title of this weblog the other day, looking for something odder and snappier than just my name, since this has become more than just another place to post images of my artwork. what does triple apple day mean? Besides a prescription for healthy eating? It comes from my son and his misunderstanding of a line from the Johnny Test theme song. I like the way it sounds, and don't really know what it means, more than that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

James Ensor at the Modern

Finally made it to the Museum of Modern Art, my first visit since it reopened, since the reopening somehow coincided with my new fathershipness. My last visit must have been the Matisse/Picasso show in Queens.

I don't have much in the way of a fully formed reaction to the renovations and new galleries. I like that the helicopter is still prominent. The galleries feel a little confusing, for lack of a better word, in that I found myself having to think a lot about where I was walking next and why. And I have to say I liked the old Matisse room better, which had a window and felt more comfortable than the current Matisse gallery. The current gallery feels a little airless and claustrophobic in comparison and the paintings could use a little more breathing space. Some of the ab-ex stuff hasn't aged too well, I am sorry to say.

A couple reactions to the paintings, though, via my hero Henri Matisse. This time my favorite Matisse was the subtly drab Rose Table. And I found myself thinking about The Dance in a new way, perhaps because I've read Spurling's excellent two volume biography since the last time I was able to visit the Modern's fantastic Matisse collection. Looking at the Dance, I was struck by how he must have felt working on this piece in his studio, how strangely frightening it must have been, working on that scale, with that kind of color, and that simplified drawing and elegant crudity of line. It might have been exhilerating and terrifying all at once to be looking at this big wild thing in your studio.

I am nowhere near as afflicted with studio anxiety as Matisse was [it was almost debilitating for him], but I do feel it often enough to be comforted in knowing that Henri - and another painting hero of mine, Willem de Kooning - had his own doubts in the studio.

So anyway, the Ensor show. A trip and a half. Before this, I had seen only a handful of Ensors, and had not really ever given him much thought. When you've only seen a few in person, it's easy to write him off as a flake and a reclusive eccentric. But the chance to see a larger selection, all at once, that includes the scraped and knifed and darkly colored early work, the trademark masks and grotesqueries, and the beautiful graphic work - both the drawings and the etchings were a real revelation - really helped to make his work resonate with me, especially because of the theatricality, weirdness, and humor of my own b-movie paintings.

I'm not sure how yet, because only work will tell, but I'm looking forward to seeing how Ensor's own obsessiveness, theatricality, weirdness, and humor will affect my work. I know it's time to make some prints again, monotypes, drypoints, and some larger linocuts. And we'll see what happens.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The drive from the Thruway down to Cooperstown on 28 has to be one of the most beautiful drives I've ever made. And the whole winding road just drips with Americana all the way to Cooperstown's Main Street. On the way, I got a couple texts and voicemails from my sister in Louisville -- she'd used her Slugger connections to not only comp us tickets but set up a behind the scenes tour for us.

The Franchise

On the tour, we saw a number of items close up, a mix of things that had been retrieved for VIPs to see the weekend before, which was induction weekend. A Joe DiMaggio glove, a Babe Ruth jersey and bat, a Jackie Robinson jersey, a Satchel Paige hat, a Lou Gehrig hat, and more. Our hosts were as kind and gracious [and patient with our five year-old] as could be.

We were able to handle some baseball bats as long as we were wearing the white cotton gloves, so we asked for a Mike Piazza bat, my wife's favorite Met. We saw a silver plated Babe Ruth bat, presented to him as a gift. I asked about a particular knob and was told it was one of Sammy Sosa's, and they assured me it wasn't corked; they had checked! A bat had a maple leaf stamped on its handle so I asked about that, and it was one of Alfonso Soriano's [a bigass bat, too], and the stamp simply meant it was made of maple.

Then I was handed a Honus Wagner bat. Wow. It was a big, thick handled, warm brown bat from Hillerich and Bradsby, with some kind of color decal remaining on its barrel. I tried to remember some of the things I knew about Wagner: his big hands which were said to scoop up dirt and rocks along with the ball as he fielded his position at shortstop. I choked up a couple inches and could imagine how it was used to slap and slash the ball around to all fields, the handle end so thick and weighty that his big hands and wrists must have been a kind of fulcrum. I could feel how the tool would fit the swing of an old time ballplayer, how the heavy thick handle would help balance the motion of the barrel making it a natural stick to slap and spray the ball around, a marked contrast to the modern bat of say, Sosa, with its thinner handle and the whiplike all or nothing torque produced by a modern power hitter.

I didn't want to be greedy, so I didn't push for more stuff like a kid in a candy store, but later you do wish, 'oh why didn't I think of asking for so and so's bat,' or what have you. It was a little overwhelming and an enormous, undreamed-of treat. My son said his favorite part was turning one of the enormous cranks which move the bookshelves which hold every book ever written on the game. Everywhere you turned there was some fascinating bit of baseball history or lore or just plain quirkiness.

My childhood heroes, the Big Red Machine

So yeah, wow. After thanking our gracious hosts, we moved on to explore the museum and its galleries, and I have to say that the place is worth the trip even without the VIP treatment. The Hank Aaron section is great, as is the section on fans and ballparks, and the sections on the Negro Leagues and Latin America. The staff is great. My son liked the clip of Abbott and Costello, too. And there's a nice feeling as you walk around with all the other baseball fans, most folks decked out in their team's colors. I think we'll go back, and take some more time to explore some of the other attractions in the area.

Also highly recommended: a meal at the Doubleday Cafe, again on a tip from my sis. Thanks again, Sis, and many, many, many thanks to our hosts Jim and Sue. You can tell they love spreading a little baseball joy. And they know that we Met fans need all the joy we can get this year.

Jerry Koosman's jersey from '69

Niagara Falls

The falls themselves are a thrilling sight. To get close on the Maid of the Mist or on one of the tunnel walks is a pretty awe-inspiring experience. I'd advise you to skip the cheesy '4-D' Fury of Niagara CGI movie, though. We also had a lunch up in the Skylon Tower, a massive and strange cement tower with a weird, Battlestarish name, and though the food was nothing special, the view in the revolving restaurant was great. And the elevator ride was fun, too.

We stayed in a crowded camping complex full of tents and RV's and cabins. Kind of like the good camp in The Grapes of Wrath. We had a cabin. I got to cook out most nights, and even succeeded in making a couple campfires. Gotta love fire. We had no plumbing in the cabin, so it was a shortish walk to the toilets and showers. There was also a swimming pool and waterpark, a playground and a small arcade. It was great fun.

A short walk from the Falls is Clifton Hill, a jarring and cheesy stretch of shiny tourist trap amusements, even worse than today's 42nd street. Ripley's, a House of Frankenstein, a Dracula's Castle, Wax Galleries, and so on. I wasn't expecting that kind of stuff, but it's good cheesy fun. We didn't get the chance to spend any money there, which is fine.

A funny mix of small town and touristy junk and natural wonder.

And the drive up was nice, we took 17 to Elmira, then up to Rochester and over to Buffalo. What a great big beautiful state New York is.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

kid's eye view

My son wanted to use the camera. This is a five year old's perspective on the Niagara rapids.

the 2009 Mets and W.B. Yeats

See, The Second Coming.

Widening gyres, centers can't hold, things fall apart, rough beasts slouch, etc.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

more Falls

night photos

Some vacation pics, taken at dusk or at night, around the cabin where we stayed.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Had a great week off. We drove to Niagara Falls.

a few random Met fan thoughts

Is it better to be out of contention early, or to suffer through the last day of the season failures of the past two years? I don't know.

Whenever the bases are loaded, the chance for a grand slam crosses my mind. Last Saturday, with Angel Pagan walking to the plate with the bags full, not even the remotest possibility of a salami crossed my mind. Not the most remote inkling, not the vaguest pie-in-the-sky, fairy godmother granting wish, genie in a bottle, lottery-winning, golden ticket dream entered my weary Metfan soul.

We also stopped at Cooperstown last week. Highly recommended, and I will spill more on that soon, because, thanks to my big sister, it was a very special visit. Meantime, I will just say that I wish with all my heart that the Tom Glavine Met jersey be removed from display. They don't have to burn it and let Jerry Seinfeld dance on the ashes or anything, but they should take it and fold it carefully and put it somewhere it will never see the faintest light of day again.

Also, why not more '86 stuff? Just Ray Knight's helmet, far as I could tell. Seaver case was great, and the Koosman jersey. And I loved the Big Red Machine display as they were my faves as a kid.

As somebody who has not lost faith in the core of the team, this is going to be a rough end of the season, and an ugly offseason.

Well, let's go Mets, anyway. It's still baseball, and that's good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009