Walrus Mandala!

I just completed this commissioned work for a Long-time Friend and Collector, to His specifications. It is one of the more unusual Paintings I’ve ever done and goes into the series of Marine Mammals, which I dearly Love!

Walrus Mandala

All of these elements went into making the painting, which begins as pen and ink drawings and then I organize them and make a color-study on my computer. Usually those beginning colors are just suggestions and new colors are added before the painting is complete.

Walrus Elements

Walrus Elements 23

Sometimes even an incidental Art-piece is created. In this case it figured heavily in “the Earliest Days of the Miracle Wave” painting.

Incidental ART Piece.

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Chinese Birthday/New Years Dragon pART 2.3

I have been working on a slew of Commissioned Paintings this Summer, as well as some just for Fun.

Here is the recently completed Chinese Birthday/New Years Dragon pART 2.3:

ChineseBirthdayNewYearspART23

Thirteen and a half years ago, I travelled for the first time to the Island of Jamaica, with Snake Oil Medicine Show and I painted the original (then titled) New Year’s Dragon,

New Year's Dragon

even though it was the year of the Monkey. The next year We returned and I was asked to make a T-Shirt design for the Chinese New Year Party. Thus, the second version:

CHNY2K4

So as You can see above the 2.3 version is clearly inspired, and yet somewhat different than the first two.

I was asked in January to make a next Dragon and I am quite happy with how this one came out, thirteen years later.

Art pARTy¡

Parts One through Twenty-three.

Join the Art pARTy¡ Fun mix-up of imagery here with the off-kilter scanning of this colored-pencil and ink drawing, featuring one of the Art pARTy¡ Heads that I make, inspired by the Moai of Easter Island.

Join the Art pARTy¡ Fun mix-up of imagery here with the off-kilter scanning of this colored-pencil and ink drawing, featuring one of the Art pARTy¡ Heads that I make, inspired by the Moai of Easter Island.

Since the Year Two-Thousand I have been drawing these Heads. Here is an original sketch and the first painting in the series.

Original Sketch.

Original Sketch.

painted in 2000 by Phil Cheney. Acrylic on canvas.

painted in 2000 by Phil Cheney. Acrylic on canvas.

Join to-day!

Join to-day!

A drawing of the two large Papier-mâché Heads I built in the early days of the 2000s.

A drawing of the two large Papier-mâché Heads I built in the early days of the 2000s.

the Pond Farm Brothers at the French Broad River Festival in 2009 (featuring the Art pARTy¡ heads).

the Pond Farm Brothers at the French Broad River Festival in 2009 (featuring the Art pARTy¡ heads).

 

the Sweet Spot of Summer pART six.

We took Sunday off, it was Our day to chill at Maranacook Lake, before the LONG drive back to Our Home, nestled in the super-green Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC. After We finally got out of the Easy Street Lounge and made Our way back to Bobby Watson’s Camp, somewhere deep in the Summer Night, We got to sleep. The next morning, fueled by bacon and eggs, We played a special version of “Dancing Bobby Watson’s Song” for Bobby et al. on His front porch, overlooking the Lake: it’s Dancing Bobby Watson’s Song.

performing a special version of Dancing Bobby Watson's Song.

performing a special version of Dancing Bobby Watson’s Song.

On this day, as well, We got to spend some time with some of Maine’s Finest Residents. The Attendees of the Performance the Night before were a Who’s Who of What’s What in the Maine-frame but the raucous activities and the mad-cap status which overflowed from the Easy Street Lounge (formerly the Speak Easy, owned and operated by Joey Gagne long, long ago), made it hard to concentrate on Anybody for very long. We were also set to embark on a Pontoon Boat ride all up and down Maranacook Lake and before that, Krekel and I took some personalized Paddle-boats out to Blueberry Island…

Paddle Boat Commander. Blueberry Island Docked in a tiny cove. Mid-Lake swimmer.

We were lucky to get to visit with Lindon, Greta Joseph, Scotty Perrow, Andy and Darlene (Bobby’s neighbors and owners of the Pontoon Boat “pARTy Barge”) and Sheila Meader. We also got to eat Lobster Rolls and Ice Cream before turning in for the Night. In the morning We were leaving at first light to head South after a brief but action-packed tour of Favorite Friends and Locations on the Eastern Tip of the Nation!

Pontooning on Maranacook Lake!

Pontooning on Maranacook Lake!

Pontoons Slicing. IMG_6032 IMG_6057

Sheila Meader with Krekel and I. I got Abbott's Hat and Krekel got His beads.

Sheila Meader with Krekel and I. I got Abbott’s Hat and Krekel got His beads.

IMG_6077 Scotty and Greta

WHoa!

WHoa!

Tiny Elf and Friend.

Nighty-Night!

the Sweet Spot of Summer pART five..

Another velvet smooth morning on the BIG Lake. The crazy show went on in the ten o’clock hour after a BIG Dinner of stuffed haddock plates, rib eyes and yes, even caesar salad… they were out of that and beef medallions but Liz Munster still had romaine lettuce, vinaigrette and beef tips (close to medallions). I think there’s a cormorant on the floating dock, the closest one, on the corner, the rest are ducks, that are sunning there. Yesterday, the wind blew in from the left, which I reckon is North. Tiny mosquitoes are visiting no-doze, a lot of loud lady-voices pierce the otherwise pristine morning air. Birch trees, with their green leaves in the sunshine, all the time. We really got soaked on Kineo and they really kicked the ass of bluegrass all the way back to the Mountains of Western North Carolina. We had surprise X-Factor Guests, Rich on Drums, Arthur on a Paul McCartney Bass (from the early Beatles’ days), Bobby Watson on the Sax (no doubt), Peter Re on the Keyboards, and Christina, Abbott’s second or third Wife, the only Lady on stage, also on Keyboards, and Jason Krekel rockin’-the-Fuck-out on Guitar and Fiddle-playing and singing all the songs. I even got to sing on some that We had rehearsed. There’s the recap if You missed it or had forgotten. This is the fifth installment of the Sweet Spot of Summer…

In the cool on the porch of Cabin Five, looking out into the wonder. Across the Lake a pine-clad monolith sleeps, or a resting ancient Whale, stuck here since the Seas receded. I can think of worse places to be stuck… except maybe in mid-Winter. I don’t see how there’s enough wood in Maine to keep all of these Folks warm. King told Us that they turn everything way down low in the B & B. When You come to Maine, You’ve got to do it right, don’t go straight to Moosehead Lake, take it slow and steady as she goes. The Nautical is infused in these deep Woods.

On Saturday morning I swam in Moosehead Lake, at the little beach of the Birches, finally, right before the hour of high Noon. I jumped off the floating dock, too. Krekel went in first and inspired me to, as well. I had been collecting the rocks on the shore, which is an infectious pursuit, and by doing so, I was also collecting warming light energy from Our closest Star, the Sun! Once I built up enough warmth to go in the water, I did, slowly at first, wading out to my mid-section, then diving into the cool, clear water, filled with sparkles both above and below the fishy surface layer. When We went to check-out at the Main desk, a Fellow with red hair and beard, and wind-blown like the rock-face of Mount Kineo itself, said to Me “Hey good job last Night!” and before I could even say “Thank You!” a Lady behind the counter, who I’d never even seen before added: “Yeah… pourin’ Bee-ahs down His throat!” and I hadn’t had a single beer that whole night. I think I had a sparkling water.

This was the day of Our Gig in Hallowell, Maine, back to the Spiritual Captial, again. To the Easy Street Lounge, where it’s “a Hare Bit More Colorful than the rest” (to say the least) but before that, We had to get back to Maranacook Lake, to Bobby Watson’s Camp. Bobby invited Jason and I to eat Lobsters that afternoon and We were gonna get to eat two each, plus (You guessed it) corn-on-the-cobb!

"no Chicken Lobsters!"

“no Chicken Lobsters!”

Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake on a Saturday Morning.

The drive back down was lovely, We took a right once We crossed the Moose River, near Liz Muntser’s Headquarters, and headed toward Jackman. We weren’t going all the way to Jackman, though, there was a short cut, another Logging road, but much shorter than the one We took on Thursday. Just a drop-down to 201, with Krekel navigating by reading the Map that We got from King on Wednesday.

the cut-off to 201.

the cut-off to 201.

the pARTy Barge.

the pARTy Barge.

Oh, Thank Gravy! We made it back to Maranacook and a quick dip We took in the lake by where the pARTy Barge is parked, then to Lobster eating We embarked. Bobby Watson, Tina, Don, Lindon, Darlene and Andy were there with their Lobster Bibs on. We were “shuckin’ those Lobster Bugs!” according to Lindon, who lives nearby in the Summers. We also had the Steamers, which are Clams. After the Lobsters and Clams and more Corn, Krekel and I took the winding country road around between the Lakes and over a big hill down towards the Kennebec River. At the bottom there, next to the little alley-way, which runs between the shrubberies by the River, is the downstairs entrance to the Easy Street Lounge. Giant flowers as big as Your face are popping out in every color from the trellis that protects the back porch below the decks of apartments stacked haphazardly above for several stories.

Easy Street Lounge.

Easy Street Lounge.

Jason Krekel and His ALL-Star Band!

Jason Krekel and His ALL-Star Band!

the Easy Street Lounge is “a Hare Bit More Colorful”, all right. It may well be the most color-full spot in a very color-full Town. Hallowell is perhaps the cherry on top of the BIG pile of whipped cream that is the State of Maine. Inside, the World’s largest collection of Paint-by-Numbers Art hangs on the walls, along with other odd items, including the entire collection of Blue Bunny paraphernalia left to Our host Bruce Mayo by Abbott Vaughn Meader. Bruce is also a painter, himself, and many of His own works also adorn the walls, the halls and the bathrooms. A cozy spot, even when the snow is piled high and the river is frozen over out back. We were lucky enough to get a gig there last Summer and even luckier this year, as the only date available in ALL of August was this very night, August 9th, 2014.

Mister Spock by Bruce Mayo.

Wise Men.

Jesus Clock.

Illuminated Peacock.

Moonrise over the Kennebec.

  Moon mirror in the bathroom. by the banks of the Kennebec.

tonight!

tonight!

Jason Krekel and Bobby Watson performing at the East Street Lounge.

Jason Krekel and Bobby Watson performing at the East Street Lounge.

It was a blast to be a part of this Creativity Outfit, representing the Entire East Coast. I continued to work on my painting of two Elephants and some super-natural activity, outtakes from the OUR Fest Artwork. We got to see a tons of Old Friends at the Show, Scotty Perrow joined the Fellows on the Drumkit, He first appeared with a Bongo and later was heckling Us when I sang one of Abbott Vaughn Meader’s Songs.

and other implements of Cosmic Significance.

and other implements of Cosmic Significance.

 

the Sweet Spot of Summer pART Four

As I sit here on Labor Day, the very first day of September, 2014, with the Cicadas making a racket all around my location in Woodfin, NC, I search back in my mind to remember that Loveliest of places, Maine, and more specifically, Moosehead Lake, where a gentle rain storm swept across from Mount Kineo, it soaked the vibrant greenery and the moss and made all the smooth rocks very shiny by the shoreline. I had collected plenty of twigs and pine cones before the rain to build a fire in Our Cabin and Krekel had gone off to Lincoln’s Camps to meet Peter Re, et al, over there. Peter is an incredibly talented Piano/Keyboard Wizard and an Old Friend of Ours, involved over the many years in forwarding the musical vibrations. I stayed behind to unwind a little after the whirlwind of OUR Fest, the Flavor Bay and the traveling and touring of the past two days, I was bushed.

a warm fire on a cool August Evening on the shores of Moosehead Lake.

a warm fire on a cool August Evening on the shores of Moosehead Lake.

“I’ve seen the Sun come rising out of a Lake at the break of dawn, it glowed like gold and it looked like the whole World had just begun.” from a Wish of Continual Seeing of Things by the Dynamic ARTs League. I penned those lyrics at Moosehead Lake back in August of 2004, upon rising early and seeing what looked like a fire on the Lake. This Friday morning was no different… Krekel was sawing logs on a tiny fluffy cot in the corner of the log bedroom, festooned with antlers and other random rustic appointments, jutting out at odd angles, so I woke up and tip-toed to the door of the cabin, opened the screen door with more creaks and squeaks than I had heard since the previous year’s visit and walked out into the dewy green carpet of soft grass stretching for several feet to the water’s edge. There was Mount Kineo, in the middle of what looked like 1 million diamonds shining, the Sun having just made its way over the tippy-top of that ancient rock and singeing, ever-so-slightly, the pine trees that line the hump-back island.

Our goal for the day-time part of August 8th, 2014, was to hike to the top of Mount Kineo and climb the Firetower there, a tradition which also began in 1998 and has continued with every trip to Moosehead Lake since then, of which there have been several, at least 8, that I can remember. In order to do that, We needed to catch a boat-ride over there. Peter Re had a boat and called Krekel just after breakfast to say He would be by to fetch Us in 45 minutes. Until then We sang songs on the porch and enjoyed the complete serenity of the surroundings. The Golf People were either up and gone on a Golfing excursion, or still passed-out from the previous Evening’s revelry…

a very unusual drift-wood object upon the rocky shore.

a very unusual drift-wood object upon the rocky shore.

 

Mount Kineo on Friday morning, August 8th, 2014.

Mount Kineo on Friday morning, August 8th, 2014.

crystal clear and sparkling waters of Moosehead Lake.

crystal clear and sparkling waters of Moosehead Lake.

Peter Re and his Wife Deborah Jean (pronounced like She was from the South: Debra-Jean) arrived and We all greeted and headed to the Marina to get onboard His new boat. There were two Sea Planes tied up at the dock and one of my biggest ALL-time dreams is to Fly-in to Moosehead Lake on a Sea Plane. Logistically it’s kind of tough. One would either have to take a Train to an Airstrip and then land in a field near a Lake or other water-body, big enough to take off and land on, then ride a Hay Wagon from the Airstrip to that place and get on a Sea Plane, which would deliver You from there. I still haven’t done it but I’d go in a heartbeat, just so You know. The one I got close to was called “Headin’ North” and it really plucked on the old Heart-strings. We piled into the boat and Krekel and I sat up front in folding lawn chairs to even things out, Peter Re said it was a bit choppy on the Lake already, although the Sun was shining brightly and the big puffy clouds that We could see seemed so far away, floating over the distant purple Mountains to the South and East.

 

"Headin' North"

“Headin’ North”

Me by the Inland Sea.

riding out of the little Marina at the Birches Resort and Saloon.

riding out of the little Marina at the Birches Resort and Saloon.

Deborah Jean and I in the motor launch.

Deborah Jean and I in the motor launch.

a rare view of the backside of Mount Kineo. The flint-rock Mountain rises up 1100 feet out of the black water, there, which descends to a depth of 300 feet at its lowest.

a rare view of the backside of Mount Kineo. The flint-rock Mountain rises up 1100 feet out of the black water, there, which descends to a depth of 300 feet at its lowest.

Captain Peter Ray at the Helm of his boat and Krekel as unofficial First-mate.

Captain Peter Re at the Helm of his boat and Krekel as unofficial First-mate.

We made for the North end of the Island of Kineo, which is actually more of Peninsula, as it is attached to the Mainland by a thin spit and a roadway (wide-enough for a Golf Cart), and then putted around to the backside of the Mountain and Peter Re dropped a fishing line into the deepest part of the Lake, there, while Deborah Jean took the helm. There was much recollection of times past, fishing with Abbott Vaughn Meader and Jason’s Dad, Tim Krekel. After a short while, Deborah Jean was ready to go back home, She may have had a premonition of some sort, We may never know… Peter said He’d drop Us off at the dock for the Kineo Launch, which was on the opposite side of the Island from where We were but He pulled in his fishing line and We motored around with much spray and bouncing in the now rough waves, although still below bright blue skies. They dropped Us off and headed back for the mouth of the Moose River and Peter said to call Him when We were ready for Our Pick-up. Krekel and I were both hungry and were delighted to find that the Golf Course on Mount Kineo, had a little Clubhouse, which contained a Grill. Neither of Us had ever seen it before but the Manager assured Us that it had been there for 16 years… 

Of course, there's a Golf Course on Mount Kineo... They say it's the second oldest in Maine.

Of course, there’s a Golf Course on Mount Kineo… They say it’s the second oldest in Maine.

With full bellies We began to walk along the trail that runs along the base of Mount Kineo and has three possible ascents. We took the Bridal Trail and it started to sprinkle just a bit, so We thought We’d take shelter at the Honeymoon Cabin, just a little ways up that trail…

Remains of the Honeymoon Cabin.

We were completely surprised to find out that the Honeymoon Cabin (similarly to most things built on that Island over the years) had burnt to the ground, probably by Ice Fishers or Snow Mobilers over the long Winter. There was no shelter to be found in the woods and the light rain had let-up, so We went on up the trail towards the Summit. It was muggy and muddy and We passed several weary Hikers making their way down, warning Us to take another route, as it was very muddy up there, they told Us. We, being consummate Hikers, continued on, not dissuaded by the groups of grumblers coming down. They really wasn’t any problem, We were able to easily get around the muddy spots and got to the Firetower with a little huffing and puffing. It was by this point very cloudy and windy but We climbed the rickety metal stairs to the top, nonetheless.

at the confluence of the Indian and Bridal trails.

at the confluence of the Indian and Bridal trails.

Climbing Up the Firetower. Mountains to the Northeast. Looking down. Storm a-comin'!

it was too Windy to even take a decent picture of Ourselves at the top. Here's the best We could do.

it was too Windy to even take a decent picture of Ourselves at the top. Here’s the best We could do.

We got back down and there was a very Young Couple getting ready to go up the Tower. We told them it looks like a Storm is coming and forgot completely that three minute rule that applies to that part of the Country. We decided to take the Indian Trail back down, which is a bit more steep than the Bridal Trail but slightly shorter. Within a few minutes of reaching that decision, very large heavy drops of cool rain began to fall, a few at first, then a little bit more, We thought We’d take shelter in some trees as We moved quickly down the side of a rock face trail but there was to be no shelter… the Sky opened up like the rains of the Great Flood. Droplets the size of Jello-cubes and big chunks of ice fell on Our heads and shoulders. We were instantly drenched to the bone, soaked-through. I remember being caught in a rainstorm like this in the Summer of 1978, there are few downpours of this nature. Surrender to the soaking was the only option, We slipped and slid and hopped, accompanied by gully-washers, transferring items from the top of the Mountain all the way down to the edge of the Lake, and finally, We reached the path at the bottom, followed shortly thereafter by the also-soaked Young Couple We had seen at the Summit. Krekel called Peter Re, who had called Us when We were on the Tower. We could actually see He and Don riding out of the Mouth of the Moose River, in their tiny boat with the V-shaped wake behind it, on their way to retrieve Us. They had had to turn back very shortly after that, to ride-out the Storm on dry-land. Peter said there was no way He could come get Us now and that We’d have to sit-tight. We made it to the floating dock at last, under darkened Skies in mid-afternoon and inquired of the Motor Launch Captain as to how much it cost to ride over to the Rockwood Landing. He said “Five bucks, one-way.” We could call Liz Munster to pick Us up from there, in the case that Peter could not pick us up but sure enough, here He came, racing across the heavy chop to scoop us up and bring Us to the Lincoln Camps, with chattering teeth, We were fed hotdogs in Lobster Roll buns and warm beans! 

Liz Munster did deliver Us from the Lincoln Camps back to the Birches. She gave Us a good pep-talk on the way, using allegory and stories, again of Abbott and Tim to illustrate Her point. She was instrumental in the setting up of the Gig and Accommodations at the Birches and was very helpful with most other things in the Great North Woods. She is often referred to as the “Moose Queen of Moosehead Lake”. Two more Musicians had been added to the Blue Bunny ALL-Stars for the Gig that night, while We were on Mount Kineo, a drummer that Peter Ray had met at a Gas Station and a Bass Player from a Famous Local Band. Along with Krekel on Guitar, Bobby Watson on Saxophone, Peter Re on Keyboard and Me painting, all inside of a giant rock Fireplace in the Great Room of the Birches. We really appreciated the lift and got on Our swimming suits and went directly to the Hot Tub!

pARTy in the Great North Woods! the Blue Bunny ALL-Stars with Liz Munster in the front row!

pARTy in the Great North Woods! the Blue Bunny ALL-Stars with Liz Munster in the front row!

the Painting I was working on with the Blue Bunny ALL-Stars.

the Painting I was working on with the Blue Bunny ALL-Stars.

a Monster Rocker, no doubt!

Rich, a Monster Rocker, no doubt!

Peter Ray on the ivories.

Peter Re on the ivories.

Rocks made Smooth by Eons in the Waters of the Greatest of ALL Maine Lakes.

Rocks made Smooth by Eons in the Waters of the Greatest of ALL Maine Lakes.

We had a delicious meal in the dining hall of the Birches Resort. I had Baked Haddock, stuffed with Crab and Others had Steak and We all had Corn-on-the-Cobb (except Liz Munster, who had Caesar Salad, even though They were out of it). Around 9:30pm most of the dining crowd cleared out, got after-dinner drinks, or headed out for a smoke (even in Northern Maine there is no smoking indoors). The Gig came off without a hitch, after a slight hic’cup at the very beginning, when the PA System had been left out in the same rain storm We got caught in on Mount Kineo. After a very brief set-up, that took all of 15 minutes, the Band launched into a rocking melody that sounded liked they had been practicing in a Garage nearby for ages! All night long We stayed strong and I got to sing a few rollicking numbers, with dancers and revelers rolling and spinning and flying around the Room. Many numbers and several encores later, We concluded the Night with a lengthy load-out and a walk of 150 feet back to Cabin 5.