Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You Brave Veterans

                         " November 11th,  Boston "  6x6 in. oil on canvasboard
                                                              $200.00 SOLD
                                 All Paintings Come Framed & Ready to Hang


And she says this:
Remember the day I borrowed your brand new car and I dented it?
I thought you'd kill me,
but you didn't.

And remember the time I dragged you to the beach,
and you said it would rain, and it did?
I thought you'd say, "I told you so."
But you didn't.

Do you remember the time I flirted with all the guys
to make you jealous, and you were?
I thought you'd leave me,
but you didn't.

Do you remember the time I spilled
strawberry pie all over your car rug?
I thought you'd hit me,
but you didn't.

And remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance
was formal and you showed up in jeans?
I thought you'd drop me,
but you didn't.

Yes, there were lots of things you didn't do,
But you put up with me,
and you loved me,
and you protected me.

There were lots of things
I wanted to make up to you when you returned from VietNam.

But you didn't. -


Monday, August 8, 2011

New Painting 8-8-11

                                         " Free Ride " 16 x 20 oil on canvas

        Earlier this year, I was asked to do a painting for a charitable event called " The Ride For Semper Fi ". It was a great honor for me to contribute to such a worthy cause. I believe the painting will be auctioned at the 2nd Annual  Boeing RFSF charity golf tournament being held on 9/24 in Mesa, AR. For more info on the tournament and silent auction, or if you would like to bid on the painting , go to the Group's website listed below.
        About The Ride for Semper Fi
The third annual Ride for Semper Fi is a philanthropic bicycle ride that begins in Scottsdale,
Ariz., and ends three days and 430 miles later at SeaWorld in San Diego. Fifty cycling
enthusiasts, including some former Marines, will complete the journey. The ride begins on
Oct. 13, but the fundraising journey begins now with a goal to raise more than $177,500 to benefit the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. To donate to the Ride for Semper Fi, or to learn more about us, visit:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Painting 7-7-11

                                  " Beach Talk " 6x6 oil on canvasboard $200 SOLD

           Continuing on with the summer theme, you can find an abundance of great subject matter for figure studies at the beach. For this painting , I was drawn to the hand gesture the woman on the left was making , conveying a sense of a dialogue between the two figures.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Painting 7-1-11

                               " Swee- Pea " 8x10 oil on canvasboard $300.00 SOLD

                 A few weeks ago, as an effort to attain more "summer themed" reference material (photos) for subject matter to paint, my wife and I drove down the south coast town of Marion, MA. While roaming around the picturesque village we decided to walk down to the harbor where I noticed among all the sailboats and other pleasure craft, this tiny workhorse of a vessel. I believe it to be a dredge or something similar. Upon closer inspection of the craft, I noticed the name, Swee- Pea .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Painting 6-22-11

                         " Down To The Beach" 6x6 oil on canvasboard $200 SOLD

        With the advent of summer kicking off this past month , I've been extremely busy painting new material for the season. Summer is art festival time and I've been gearing up for that as well. Last year I won for best oil painting at one local festival and I also received honorable mentions. This year I'm out for a " Best In Show" award , but that will require painting on a much larger scale. In the meantime, I'll continue to post more small gems like the one above. It depicts an everyday scene commonplace to the small beach-towns that dot the southeastern Massachusetts coast.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Painting to Honor Memorial Day - 5/22/11

                                          " A Time for Honoring " 8"x8" oil on canvasboard $275 SOLD

      Last weekend I had the distinct pleasure of taking part in an activity which I cherish every time I get the chance to participate- the replacing of flags at the grave sights of those who have most honorably served our country. Each year our local veterans' agent coordinates a sizable effort , recruiting members of the VFW, American Legion , Boyscouts, Girlscouts, Cubscouts and Brownies to get the task done before Memorial Day. Naturally, being the parents of a cubscout ourselves and perhaps more notably , being a disabled veteran of one of our Nation's most recent armed conflicts, my wife and I are always acquiescent participants in this solacing and moving endeavour. The kids have a good time doing it too, and I'm always deeply touched by their eager coherence to partake in the labor. My hope for them is that they will store these memories somewhere deep inside their still undeveloped conscience, almost subliminally, so that they will always associate sacrifice with honor . That they will learn to appreciate those sacrifices and gain a good understanding of the actual cost of freedom and use that knowledge to make sound decisions for the good of our Nation. I hope that they will ultimately learn to respect and revere our flag and the countless indomitable, heroic acts of valor it has taken to defend it and the liberties and freedom it represents .This is my pure and simple ( if not naive) hope, for patriotism and a sincere respect for our fallen to endure.
       This Memorial Day , please take a quiet moment by yourself or with family and friends to  remember those who have given all they could possibly give to preserve and secure our freedom.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Long Awaited Justice 5/10/11

                              " Tuesday Morning " 8x8 oil on canvasboard ( to be
                                    auctioned for highest bid, proceeds will go to
                                               Homes For Our Troops )
                                                  Winning bid : $1000 SOLD/DONATION
                                    e-mail me at to bid

            Sunday night,  May 1st, at approximately 10:40 EST, while wrapping up a night of primetime television, my wife Jenn and I , along with the rest of the world , were informed that President Obama was about to address the nation with important news of the utmost urgency. Of course as the world minutes later learned, that news was the announcement of the death, at the hands of our heroic Navy Seals, of the world's most notorious scoundrel, Usama Bin Laden. I've had over a week now to come up with the right words to express my thoughts, my thanks, and the raw emotions that I wanted to convey in this post but to tell you the truth, as I sit here and grasp for them , my mind is clouded by a tangled complexity of introspection, muddled by the preceeding week's news and conversations from various talking heads on both radio and television. I think I may have summed up my thoughts on the tidings best when on the following morning, I made a post on my Facebook page which read, " I have never been more proud to be an American veteran than this day." And those words could not have been more sincere. Of course I realize that those words will hold little weight and are none too consoling for those thousands of family members of the victims of 9/11 and for the many more thousands who have lost loved ones in the Global War On Terror and sadly , I could never produce any words worthy. But for my own sentiments, they seem fitting.
          I wanted to mark the historic occasion with a special painting, which I will auction off to the highest bidder on this blog. The painting, which I've posted above, depicts the World Trade Center in the glow of a beautiful morning's light, much like it could have appeared that fatefull Tuesday morning in September of 2001, moments before the Terror began. I can usually sell paintings of this size for around $275 so I'd like to start the bidding at $250 at least. The proceeds will go to Homes For Our Troops , a non-profit organization wich builds specially adapted homes for severely wounded veterans of  Iraq and Afghanistan and an organization of which my family and I were the very first recipients six years ago this October. They have gone on to build over 100 homes since for much deserving veterans. Check them out at . If you would like to bid on the above painting please email me at  . I will keep the current high bid posted below the painting above. The painting comes ready-to-hang with a beautiful  3" wide, plein air style, gold frame.

AUCTIONING WILL END AT 12:00 am ON MAY 18th, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Painting 4-21-11

                                  " On The Rocks " 18"x20" oil on canvas $900.00 SOLD

            Technically, spring has been here for a month now. However, around here in the northeast we haven't had much warm weather to show for it. But as I sit and write this post there is a glorious new day dawning on the outside world . And even though for the last month the April Showers have been wreaking their torrential havoc on much of this great country of ours, as evidence in the painting I've posted above I've been unmindful of their wretched gloom , and longing  for a much brighter landscape to contemplate and preserve. And what better way to do this than to conceive of the day when I can escape to the ocean or to one of  the local lakes or ponds with my kids and watch them cast their rods into the depths and retrieve from there the indigenous quarry. The look on a child's face when they catch their first fish of the season is indeed priceless. The excitement and fervor of the moment as they battle to reel in the wild game from it's aquatic surroundings is something extraordinary to behold.
            Fishing is one of the many activities that I used to enjoy immensely before I lost my arms. And while there do exist adaptive devices that I could employ in order to be able to fish again , I find that the exhaustive effort takes most of the fun out of it. Luckily for me, my kids enjoy it too and I can re- live the experience through them. The painting above reminds me of the days when my friends and I would go out for the day and cast into the blue depths in pursuit of some monster fish that lurked below, prowling it's murky kingdom of oceanic bliss.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thoughts On War 4-10-11

                                         "Warrior" graphite on paper

            One of the favorite pastimes of both my wife Jenn and I is reading. We both do a lot of it , probably too much. She's into science fiction / fantasy novels (and reads a ton of them) while I prefer the classics, particularly American literature. I feel that one can gain a great sense of America and American ideals and values by reading the works of it's great authors.You get a more clear vision of those values and ideals when they are incorporated into some great intriguing story with characters that are both interesting and often brutal in their own individualism and originality.So it should come as no surprise that when the BORDERS bookstore down the street from us announced it was closing and having a huge sale with 50-60% off all books, we were eager to get there. There was still some great stuff left by the time we arrived . I got some great selections, Steinbeck's Burning Bright , Absalom,Absalom! by William Faulkner, and Windblown World , a collection of journals by Jack Kerouac, one of my all-time favorite writers. But as I was on my way to pay for them, out of the corner of my eye I noticed Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun , something I'd been meaning to read ever since I was a teenager and first saw Metallica's legendary music video for One. I snatched  the book off the shelf and went and found my wife who only had found one book she wanted. I kinda felt like a jerk with my four books and her with only one but she assured me that that was all she wanted . So we headed for the register and whata ya know, five books for under twenty bucks, great deal!
         When I got home and reached into my goodie bag I pulled out Johnny Got His Gun and was surprised to see that the book appeared from it's front and back covers to be an anti-war novel. I'm not sure why I was surprised by this as I had known the basic story-line of the novel since my headbanger days. I now realize that the reason for this has something to do with my own views on war, sacrifice, honor, duty, and service to country. You know, those same ideals we all heard growing up and never quite grasping their true meaning. Some people, myself not included , might equate those same ideals as blind-patriotism and those same people might warn against their danger as being too abstract and meaningless in the face of the horrific consequences of modern warfare (modern meaning post-industrial revolution) and indeed , the apocalyptic death and destruction that the world has borne witness to since the first muskets and cannon started rolling off assembly lines and out  factory doors has been startling. Johnny Got His Gun is the story of Joe Bonham , a twenty year old, all American boy next door growing up in turn-of-the-century  America who gets drafted into the Army after America enters World War I . While serving on the front lines in France, Joe sustains a direct hit from an artillery shell and suffers horrific injuries, losing both his arms and legs. Joe's face is also horribly disfigured, leaving a gaping hole where is eyes ,ears ,nose, and mouth were once located. Because of this, Joe cannot see, hear, smell , taste, or talk. Despite all that, Joe is kept alive and awakens to a nightmare of being fully conscious but unable, at first, to communicate or even sense the world around him. Joe has trouble distinguishing reality from dreams as he slowly begins to comprehend the extent of his injuries, leaving him to question the justification of his predicament. He is left to wander through memories of his not yet fully developed, twenty year old mind, memories which become very symbolic to the to the over-all themes and moral lessons of the book. Joe becomes embittered by his plight, and his thoughts begin to rail against the injustice of capitalist greed, which he sees as the reasons for the war. The book begins to take on a common anti-war theme of the poor vs the rich and so-on. As the years roll on, Joe begins to make breakthroughs and incredible accomplishments such as learning to tell time and eventually becoming able to communicate through Morse code by tapping his head against his pillow. Through this communication he expresses his wish to live and to travel the world as a sort of circus side-show example of the horrors and moral consequences of modern warfare. He is denied his request as "Against Regulations" and this is where the book ends, leaving the reader with the assumption that the powers that be are afraid to let him out to expose the horror and reality and the evils of capitalist wars.
        I found the book to be engaging and very well written. In fact, I finished all 250 some odd pages within a twenty four hour period. A new record for me I think. Trumbo must have done extensive research with disabled veterans before he wrote it. There were many parts of the book where I could relate with Joe Bonham's condition empathically. For instance, when Joe is taking inventory of his injuries and realizes he has lost both his arms, his first thoughts are "How will I work and make a living?", which is the exact thought that first crossed my own mind as I regained consciousness and realized I had lost both my own arms. Another part that struck a chord with me was when Joe describes the " funny prickly feeling" he experiences once, "a kind of fear not like any ordinary fear, a panicky dread" , which describes better than I've ever been able to, the symptoms of a panic attack. There were other instances where I could definitely empathize with the character of Joe Bonham but what I could not relate to and will never relate to is his sense of betrayal.
       Admittedly, there are immense differences between the circumstances of my own injuries and those of Joe Bonham. However, as someone who spent 15 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center recovering amongst dozens of combat veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , who had all suffered from horrible amputations and traumatic brain injuries, I cannot help but feel to be at least somewhat of an authority on the matter. And as this is fact, I cannot say that in all my time there I ever came across anyone who really felt that same sense of betrayal. This may be hard for some of you to believe and perhaps, since my leaving the place, some things may have changed. But in fact, I found the exact opposite to be the case. Many of the brave young men and women that I met while there expressed an eager desire to get better and return to Iraq or Afghanistan and continue there service as soldiers or marines, missing limbs and all. As for myself, I never felt that my injuries were the result of some vast conspiracy by rich white men like Bush and Cheney to make a grab for oil in the middle-east, although many have made similar arguments. My own reasons for joining the military and my own opinions and views on democracy and freedom are far too complex to be assuaged by tired old arguments such as War for Oil or The Rich vs The Poor . The fact of the matter is  that we, who serve, do not have time for such debate. We have missions to perform. Rather it is that we leave the matter to you, the citizens, to elect the leaders that will ultimately make the final decisions to send your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, and mothers and fathers off to war. And should those decisions prove to be folly, well then it is up to those same citizens to throw the bums out! That is why the decision to go to war should never be taken lightly and the consequences should always be weighed carefully. This may sound obvious to most of you but if so, why is it that most anti-war sentiment and protest manifest itself only after wars have already been started? Or more commonly, when they start going badly ( as if they could ever go any other way).
         Human beings were designed to be free-thinking individuals. And while it may sound cliche', there is a price to be paid for such freedom. As long as the world is full of independent thinkers, there are bound to be differences and conflict among them. Unfortunately, we have yet to evolve from our primitive instincts to use violence to solve these conflicts. Of course, there are always other age-old  reasons and justifications for armed conflicts to arise, but I maintain that at their root, there is always a simple difference of opinion. Until we, as a civilization were to create some Brave New World where human beings are indoctrinated at birth, to think and live a certain way, in unison, and be content with that, things will always be the same. But the prospects of that are more frightening than any war I could ever imagine.

           The above image was one of the first complete drawings I created after losing my arms.The accomplishment of re-teaching myself to draw was of paramount importance to my recovery. The drawing was published in the book "Blood Brothers"by journalist and fellow Iraq amputee, Michael Weisskopf. I later presented the original to the president and founder of  Homes For Our Troops, John Gonsalves.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Long Time No Post ! 3-30-11

                     "Old Ironsides Cruising Boston Harbor" 12"x24" oil on canvas SOLD

       I apologize for the absence of the last 2 months but its been the same old story for me, Depression,Depression Depression ! I thought by writing this blog it would some how pull me out of this midnight-black fog of life but sadly, it has not been the case. The long ,dark months of winter have always been a time of semi-gloom for me but never have I been so irretrievable from the depths of  the glowering sea of despair as these last few weeks. Does anyone else out there in the cold, crestfallen , wretchedness of this never-ending winter of discontent know what it's like to wake up in the morning and have absolutely no desire to do anything at all but sit and rot the day away? Now I know for some of my hard-working ,nine to five readers out there that this may sound like a pleasant respite from your weekly toil but for me its like my soul has taken a vacationThe passion has completely left, walked out on me . I feel divorced from the interests which normally make life so rich an experience.
       But alas, a new dawn approaches on the horizon. A glimmer of replenishing light in the pitch-black cavern of joylessness. For I have sought treatment for what ails me with a VA psychiatrist. Or was it a psychologist? (I know not the difference). And I am feeling much better.With a little luck( and a little Zoloft) I'll be back on my feet and smelling the ever sweet fragrance of spring in no time. I'm painting again , the one which I've posted above I've submitted to the Department of Defense to hopefully hang in a brand new facility opening this August in Washington DC.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Painting 2-7-11

"Jazz Trio" 6x8 oil on canvasboard $250 SOLD
       I've always been a big music fan. In fact, before losing my arms my main creative outlet was playing guitar and songwriting. I like a wide variety of music styles, from various forms of rock and jazz ,to very old blues and folk. In the last few years its been mostly jazz from the 50's - 60's that has been satiating my need for music while painting. Artists like John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, and Lee Morgan provide the perfect backdrop. It was only a matter of time before jazz became subject matter.
   There's also a very distinct stlyle of visual art called Jazz Art, characterized usually by very expressive figures and forms with vivid, intense color. Google Jazz Art and hit images to see some examples.

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Painting 1-31-11

                          " Tenement Laundry " 6x6 oil on canvasboard $200 SOLD

        For some reason, hanging laundry has always been a popular theme for subject matter in many artists' paintings. Perhaps because it hearkens back to simpler times when electric clothes driers weren't available to average working class people. But it was the strong shadows cast across this brightly lit triple- decker in my hometown of Brockton, MA which caught my eye.
       Check out the new "Share It" button right above my picture in the right hand collum, please consider using it to share this on Facebook or Twitter . Help me reach 100,000 pageviews. Thanks and feel free to drop me an e-mail.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Painting 1-27-11

"Coldwaith Building, Brockton" 6x8 oil on canvasboard $250
        I am constantly drawn to architecture for subject matter to paint. Not merely for the fact that I find architecture interesting, but also because they make for great studies in perspective, value,composition, and  virtually every element that goes into what I think makes a good painting. When I choose a building to paint, it's not necessarily because it holds some particular sentimental value to me, rather it is because I see all of the elements aforementioned above coming together harmoniously in good balance. It could be the dark shadows being cast in contrast to bright sunlit areas causing intense drama in the scene, or the wide range of values created by the same sunlight as well as different tones and shades of color. It could also be a good contrast of complimentary colors that draws my eye. All of these elements are important in the making of good artwork, but of course there are many others as well. By focusing on one area of the building, the composition takes on a quality that is almost abstract in the first stages of the painting process, which gives me a better understanding of how shapes and lines relate to one another. It's only by placing the right values in the right places that the painting then starts to take on some depth , giving the appearance of a third dimension.
        So these are but a few examples of why buildings make for great subject matter. In the end, one of the main purposes of my painting them is to gain greater insight, and knowledge of art.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Painting 1-20-11

                                  "Tourists" 6x8 oil on canvasboard $250 SOLD
       Hello Again everyone. It's been awhile but I've been pretty busy so far this New Year. Thanks to all the blog traffic I got back in December , I've been selling a lot of paintings and taking commissions, also I've had a couple of offers to do shows. I hope this keeps up but its been putting a strain on my ability to produce more work. I guess I'll have just have to work harder, which I intend to do.
        So far this year we've had at least three major snow storms and there's nothing more I'd like to do than produce some great New England winter scenes . But you see, in order for me to paint I must have some sort of visual reference and that usually means that I have to paint on sight or work from photographs. My wife Jenn is the one who takes pictures for me, my disability prevents me from shooting my own. But she's been working full time lately, so we haven't been able to find the time to go out and shoot and if you think I'm going to go out and stand and paint in the freezing cold and snow your nuts! Its supposed to snow tomorrow and I'm hoping that we'll be able to go out this weekend.
      In the meantime, I'll have to settle for painting from the photos I have on file and because I don't have any winter scenes I'll have to dream about summer and paint from the warm confines of my heated garage studio. This particular scene was taken from a family visit to Provincetown , MA. , located at the very tip of Cape Cod. Its a picturesque little town by the sea, brimming with shops, art galleries, seafood restaraunts and well, ..... plenty of tourists. We stayed exactly three hours (the kids were very bored) , which is exactly how long it took to drive home. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Painting 1-4-11

"West Chop Light" 8x8 oil on canvasboard $275 SOLD

Last month some of you emailed me and asked if I had any paintings of lighthouses. At the time I
did not, however I did have plenty of light house photos wich my wife had taken while visiting Martha's Vineyard, wich lies practically a stones throw off the coast of Cape Cod and not far at all from where we live . I painted this scene from one such photo. It depicts the lighthouse known as West Chop light, and is seen here from the road on wich it lies. If you've ever visited the island, and have taken the ferry from the Massachusetts mainland at Wood's Hole or Hyannis, you can see the light from its other perspective as it peeks through the trees, perched upon the bluff as you gaze out starboard when approaching the ferry landing at Vineyard Haven. I chose to paint it from this particular view because it had the flagpole in the foreground. Perhaps some day I'll paint it from the other vantage point.