Opuses And Oil Painting

So I retired on April 15th, and before the end of the month I had written and recorded my opus, “Home”.
Now what am I gonna do?
(The recording is way at the end and 9 minutes long, so if you start it now it might be done by the time you’re finished reading!)((Yes, 9 minutes. Didn’t I say it was an opus? That’s short for an opus, really.))

Moving on to painting my masterpiece, I guess. I’ve recently completed my first seascape, my first breaking wave! As a student, I’m pleased with the result, generally. I had the hardest time getting the hue of the sand right. First it looked like snow and then like mud and then like flesh tone. I called the piece “Fleshtone Beach” for a while. I really struggled with the scrubby plants, re-working the underpainting and then getting carried away and ending up with a green I’m just not satisfied with. Mostly it’s “art-mill” style, which is a good way to practice brush strokes and palette knife work, but tends to throw some rules out the window.

The Storm Surge

I’ve recently tried to break out of the confinement of training myself to paint in realist or in impressionist styles. Those remain my lofty goals, but most efforts in that area bring frustration due to my undeveloped skills. It’s just something I need to continue to pursue patiently. Like learning to ride a bike, but falling down a hundred thousand times before you get it.
So my first experience with Galkyd painting medium met with mixed results. I should have used a clear gel or maybe even oil. I foolishly ignored the fast-drying characteristics of the Galkyd. I covered the canvas with it, to try a wet underpainting method. I wasn’t half way through the piece and it started drying and getting sticky, so I had to rush to complete it. Anyway, it still struck some people (or they were stricken by it, I guess), so it hangs in the gallery. I call the piece “Galkyd Lake Sunrise”. A good lesson. And p.s. to any novices out there: Galkyd would be good mixed on the palette as needed. It leaves the paint with a high gloss and dries quickly. It says it’s tacky in 24 hours, but in my experience it was completely dry by then. If you have experience with clear gel I’d be keen on hearing about it.

Galkyd Lake Sunrise

This is my first post of my attempts at painting in oils. Most of my “best” works have been given to children and friends. I imagine I would still find them flawed and amateur if I saw them now. An artist is never satisfied with their own work.

Island Life

I regret digital media is not the kindest to such things. The paints have pigments the camera can see but we can’t. I’m using my Ott Light which is supposed to be “daylight” for painting under, but is more of a fluorescent light. Anyways, I picked the images that were closest to showing the colors correctly.
The last little piece, “Island Life”, is currently on the easel. It’s a small format canvas, 5 x 9 inches, which brings its own challenges. As you can see, the basics have been laid in. The next step is adding branches and foliage to the trees, then some shimmers on the water and at the waterline of the rocks. I might try some brushy blueberries, but the foliage debacle in the seascape has left me gun-shy.

I love to paint and write and play music. The writing has taken the back seat lately to the other pursuits, and to life in general now that spring has brought all that mowing and gardening and sunbathing to Engleville. I’ve spent a lot of manic high hours in the music studio, and have put up a couple of scratch versions of my songs. This one is a bit of collaboration with my son Ryan, who was doodling with a theme on the piano. He said he wanted to name it, and decided it reminded him of our beloved Victorian Ark that houses us. This inspired me to write the lyrics, and I couldn’t stop until I cobbled together an entire rock anthem. I’m hot on the trail of a couple more new songs, so won’t make any promises about the writing. As always, the tunes I post are not polished master recordings, just my dabblings in the studio to get the songs out of my head.

Until next time!



Is it this house?
Is it these walls?
Is it these old familiar rooms and airy halls?

The Sparrow nigh?
This Mourning Dove?
Each day some new treasure here to love?

No. It’s not of timber.
No. It’s not of stone.
It’s a warm and whole belonging.
I’m Home.

Did I choose?
Has it been known
By all the stars forever I’d call this my own?

How can it be
These ancient trees
And fragrant lawns could be all the world to me?

Here, this simple man,
In this humble glen I can
Feel Home.

Snow will fall.
Winds will blow.
I don’t claim it’s always Paradise, y’know.

Through chilling cold,
Each tempest thrown,
Through everything that cuts me to the bone,

Here, the storms may test me.
Here, no ill can best me.
The surest place I’ve ever known
Is Home.

If you’re adrift
Out on the sea
Amidst the raging storms of this mortality,

Or slashed and burned,
Or beat to hell,
Or lost to us at the bottom of your well,

If you need a rescue,
A place where you can run to,
I have a place for you,
There’s always room
At Home.

George Washington’s Birthday

My son Ryan brought two grandkids with him up to Engleville Pond to do some ice fishing. Ellie and Evan got to see the ice auger at work and listen to dad drone on about how to set a tip-up, then they were free to cavort about.  So maybe more cavorting than fishing. It was in the mid-20’s and overcast, and all that snow made for tricky exposures. It’s tough to check pix on the camera screen, too, because of the brightness. Even with all the modern metering, snow is still overwhelmingly bright.  I got too involved looking for stick arms, berry buttons and other adornments, as well as assembling a snowman to put them on. Didn’t shoot as many photos as I could have, and I think I actually fished for a sum total of perhaps two minutes. Cavorting is so much better. I carved a few facial features into the snow, and inventive Ellie colored balls of snow with her blue drink to make eyes. Ryan said “He looks like George Washington!” Maybe the pix don’t show it, or maybe you had to be participating in the cavorting to appreciate it.

I’d like to promise more fotos and less frolic next time, but somehow that seems unlikely.






A March sampler from around the town and trails. Click any image to start a full-size carousel.



Gotta run. Trout are calling.



Winter Walk

We donned our snow shoes and headed for the woods, Ryan and I. He had visited a few days before to check out the trail and break it. It was fairly cold, mid-20’s. The overcast skies would sometimes part enough for a brief wash of sunlight, and were otherwise true to their grays of winter. We stopped at the lean-to for coffee, and stopped from time to time to shoot a photo. Mostly, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the woods, the snow, the sky and the breeze.

Though it occupied barely an hour of our Saturday, it was the highlight of the weekend. New snow, the wind in the woods, and my favorite hiking partner, son Ryan. One hour of perfect peace. It doesn’t get any better than this. 



Bevy Of Birds

I photograph a lot of outdoors stuff, and birds are probably my most frequent subject. That’s what happens when you combine an avid photographer with an avid bird-watcher! I’ve been assembling a compilation of shots for various purposes, and thought I’d post a sampling, and some of my personal faves. Click any photo to start full-size carousel.


Too many to fit in one gallery. So here’s a couple dozen more!



Of course there are a great many more. Next time I sort through, we’ll do another gallery!


Seek peace,



December Gallery

A little sampling for December.

I found it quite interesting when reviewing the Trailcam photos, that the Trailcam decided, on its own apparently, to take a lovely snapshot of the quiet wood at sunrise on New Year’s Day 2018.

It also caught a great shot of a Barred Owl, the moment it landed on its prey.

I was pleased to get my own shot of the owl. 

I’ve also included a shot of Rock Doves, which we all know as Pigeons, taking off from the farm fields of our rural area. This is for Ellen Jennings at Passing By Photo, who told me she’s never seen pigeons outside of an urban environment. Truth is, Ellen, that even in the country, these birds hang around people, their farms and livestock. It seems their favorite place is perched on the silo.


Grandson Max moves up to Varsity Basketball this year, and provided us with exciting game pix. Younger sister Lizzy is right behind him, Captaining the JV Girls team. Their game was a real nail-biter. Tied, overtime, and a loss in just the last eight seconds!

We did the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count last weekend, and my prize was a shot of a Pileated Woodpecker. I see them from time to time, but this is my first photo of one. It’s quite obscured by a branch or two, and flew off before I could shoot a second frame.

May peace find you and keep you throughout the New Year!



April Gallery

Thirty Frames Hath April.

Click any image to start full-size carousel.

Much of April’s gallery is made up of photos of birds around the feeder on the side porch. Usually I look out this window from my comfy chair, and see all varieties of feeder birds. They thrill me with their beauty and entertain me with their antics. I was going to do a post called “Outside My Window”, or something, just filled with these shots. They’re less than perfect as they’re all shot through window glass. Still, you can’t diminish their beauty with just a piece of glass. Trout fishing in the snow was a new experience for me. Grandson Max is in the photo. As always, these are raw, unaltered “proofs” right from the camera.   -Paz


March Gallery

Thirty-One frames hath March.

March brought us two blizzards, one after the other, piling about 40 inches of snow on Engleville. It’s been a beautiful winter, and I hate to see it end, but alas, I have no say in the matter. The deep snow keeps whitetail deer pinned down deep in the forests. These are referred to as their “winter yards”. You can tell it’s been a tough winter when they all break out en masse at the first chance, to forage for food needed urgently as the new fawns are born. And on we go to Mud Season…er…I mean Spring!  -Paz

Click any image to start full-size carousel.