Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barber Shop Nostalgia.

It seems every time I go down to South Jersey to see my Dad, I encounter someone from my childhood.
And of late, I've been indulging in nostalgia.

About two weeks ago I took my Dad to get a haircut, at Joe Barca's shop, in the little town of Elmer.

A visit to Joe's Barber Shop is like stepping back into a Saturday Evening Post cover, from the late 1940s.

Joe is still cutting hair at the age of ninety four. When I was a youngster, he was my barber.

On the wall he proudly displays a picture of himself, as a dapper young pilot, during the second world war. But the image I will always remember from those visits to his shop, to get my "DA" trimmed, is the one below.

It's by the illustrator Paul Detlefsen, once famous for his idyllic scenes of country life.
I, of course, was the naive farm boy in the straw hat. I knew even then I wanted to be an artist.

This is is an illustration I did about a year ago, for a puzzle company. Most Illustrators I know, no matter
their age, are fueled by the child still lurking within.

And here is an image from two years ago of Joe and his son, Joey, who is the other barber in the shop.
Next time I'm in South Jersey, guess where I'll be getting my long-overdue haircut? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Art From My Teens.

Like so many artists I know, I was the kid in school everyone thought of as the "Class Arteeeeest."

Here I am in Mrs. Gloss's Art Class, while at Bridgeton High, in South Jersey, in 1955.

I was about sixteen when I did this cover for a History assignment. My apologies to all of my Indian friends out there.

Whenever my brothers and I played "Cowboys and Indians," guess who played the Indian?

I figured I must have been a Chiricahua Apache Indian in a previous life, for better or for worse.

My fantasies knew no bounds.

And of course, many of those fantasies were inspired by unrequited teenage lust.

Which was all the more frustrated by good old Catholic guilt, and tons of "Impure Thoughts!"

Ahh, to be free of Society's rules, like my hero, Tarzan.

But thank goodness there are no "Thought Police" in the U.S. of A.
And if there were, I knew how to deal with them.

As long as I had my pen, and my imagination, I was in charge.

Did I tell you my brothers and I also used to make Cowboy and Indian movies?
Yup, that's me squatting in the back, as Geronimo. But that's another story.

Friday, March 11, 2011

U.S. Air Force and Sin City.

Two weeks ago I found myself at Philadelphia Airport, drawing fellow passengers as we all awaited our flight to Las Vegas, Nevada.

My brother Frank and I were flying to Sin City to attend the retirement ceremony of his son Bryan, and
celebrate his 25 years of service in the U. S. Air Force.

I cannot tell you how many drawings I've done  over the years of dozing passengers.

There's no doubt it brings out the voyeur in me.

Upon our arrival at the Vegas airport, we were greeted by rows of blinking slot machines, and a very scary lady holding a weapon.

The view from our hotel room was a bit surrealistic, but it appealed to the Artist in me.

As did this character I kept catching glimpses of in the smoke-filled casino, at all hours of the day and night.
Wait a minute! I think I know this guy!

Son Pierce and Maggi and Diver took time off from their U.S. tour to join us for a few days of partying.

They return to Philly on April 3rd, just in time to celebrate Diver's fourth birthday, and to play at The Grape Room, 400 Main Street,in Manayunk, on 16 April.

Was this woman ending a night of gambling, at 8 a.m., or just beginning her day with a beer and a stack of bills?

The highlight of the trip, of course, was Bryan's retirement ceremony.

He and his family and friends had good reason to be proud of his accomplishments.

And here is a very young and naive me, in the Air Force in 1958. Not quite yet the Artist, and definitely not
meant for a career in the military. 
Not everything that happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Provence beckons.

I don't know about the rest of you out there, but in my Philly neck of the woods, I've actually been seeing small signs of spring in the offing. Sunlight appears at my window a bit earlier each morning, and on my walk yesterday, delicate violet and gold crocus smiled at me as I passed. Can our next trip to Provence be far behind?

My friend Ellen Greenberg and I invite you to join us for our second "Painting In Provence Workshop", which will be held during the week of August 29 thru September 5, 2011.

Our "home away from home" for the week will once again be in the beautiful medieval "perched" village of Bonnieux, set high up on the north side of the Luberon Mountain range, in Provence.

We will be staying at Le Clos du Buis, as we did last year. This incredibly lovely Bed and Breakfast is in a 200 year old building that formerly housed a bakery. It has been lovingly restored by our hosts, Chef/Owner Pierre Maurin, and his wife Lydia.

Each day's adventure begins with a lavish buffet breakfast.

Our daily excursions to the towns, wineries, marketplaces, and artist's studios will be chaperoned by our private guide, the very French, always elegant, and incredibly knowledgeable Laurence Minard-Amalou.

We will visit the studio of the Cubist master, Paul Cezanne, in the ancient city of Aix-en-Provence.

And the 12th century cloister and asylum where the anguished Vincent Van Gogh painted many of his most famous works.

We will experience a private wine tasting at the organic vineyard Chateau la Canorgue, just a short walk from our hotel. The film "A Good Year," starring Russell Crowe, was made here, a few years ago.

Evenings will be spent enjoying the fare in our choice of the many quaint restaurants in Bonnieux.

And I will have the pleasure of sharing everything I know about painting with you during our late afternoon painting sessions, in the hotel's beautiful garden, with it's magnificent views beyond. (LaCoste, wc)

Here is our group of friends and fellow travelers at last year's farewell dinner. Everyone agreed it was an absolutely wonderful week of delightfully new experiences, and Ellen and I invite you...and friends of yours, to join our "Painting in Provence" workshop, (29 August thru 5 September) or the new "Picturing Prague" photography workshop during the following week. (9 September thru 16 September.)
Here is the link to see details of the two itineraries: