Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Landscape with fog

These days it's usually foggy and dark as I drive to and from work, which means I spend a lot of time thinking about painting landscapes that are foggy and dark. Here's one I did as soon as I got in the door this evening.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bad First Impression

Someone who calls herself an executive recruiter asked to establish contact with me on one of those professional networking sites I got suckered into joining. Here's her attempt at making a good first impression. Aside from the highlighting I've done, it appears exactly as she posted it. There's nothing added, nothing subtracted:

I initially study the job position for which the recruitment is carried out. Then specifies the job description by considering the different skills and qualities essential for the particular job position. This study also helps them to analyze the candidates during the interview process. Many a times the organizations hiring the third party recruiters provide adequate information about the job description.

As an executive recruiter, i have Excellent communicating skills, both written as well as verbal, Knowledge about personnel recruitment procedures, Expert in providing trainings .Adequate knowledge about labor relations, Providing efficient customer and personal service, Expert knowledge about management principles, Knowledge about using various computer software, Knowledge about human psychology, Expert resume reading skills.

My responsibilities are:
Understanding the actual job profile for which the recruitment has to be done
Studying the job position thoroughly and gathering all the necessary information about the particular job profile
Communicating with the supervisors and subordinates about the skills required to undertake the particular job
Preparing appropriate job description according to the analyzed job profile and requirements
Establishing and maintaining constructive and cooperative working relationships
Undertaking recruitment process by shortlisting candidates according to their resumes and personal interviews
Assessing good as well as bad qualities of the candidates and judging them efficiently
Interacting with the people outside the client organization, but related with that respective organization
Organizing, managing and prioritizing work effectively
Documenting and recording the information
Analyzing the gathered information and making quick and effective decisions
Evaluating the information and determining the compliance with standards

Who knows what will happen when I retire from the Air Force? Maybe I'll have need of an executive recruiter. I doubt it, but the future is wide open, so it's pretty hard to say definitely. One thing I can say with 100% certainty though, is that this particular executive recruiter (even with her "Excellent communicating skills," and "Adequate knowledge about labor relations,") will not be the one I turn to.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Four New Paintings

Here are a couple portraits I've been working on. Each presented its own challenges.

The photo I used as a basis for this portrait was taken in a location that was not very interesting. I moved Sibylle and her horse to the hill above the village, and I'm pleased with the way it worked out.

I often walk Bica at a time when the morning light is low. It hits the top of the trees and leaves the low sides of the hills in shadow.

The vineyards take on unbelievable colors in the fall.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bica's Morning Run

There are plenty of mornings when I don't feel like walking my dog. I'm usually feeling sleepy or thinking about work, or worrying about a host of things that seem more important than letting the dog go outside to relieve herself.

Once we get out the door though, and especially once we get outside the confines of our village, where I can slip off her leash and let her run - then I never fail to be grateful for something that forces me outside into the morning a little earlier than I would be otherwise. Watching her run makes me happy.

That's what this painting is about.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Michael Kiefer, 11 September, 2001

New York, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, Benghazi.  We will not forget.

On 11 September, 2001 I was in Amman, Jordan. I was the senior member of a small American military detachment getting a refresher course in Arabic at the Royal Jordanian Military Language Institute. At the time of the attacks, I was just signing onto my email account at an internet cafe in central Amman. I saw a news banner announcing that two planes had crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center, and I was certain that I was looking at an advertisement for a movie. Within two minutes, my embassy cell phone rang. "Get all your people to the embassy right away." I was told. That's when I knew it was no movie ad. 

As I was scrambling to get my colleagues together, 26 year-old Michael Kiefer was breathing his last in New York City. Michael was one of the 2,996 innocents who lost their lives in Al Qaeda's most successful attack on our nation. Maybe you remember it? In case you've forgotten, let me remind you by telling you about Michael, because Michael Kiefer is a shining example of what our nation lost in that attack.

To say Michael was a fireman does not do justice to the drive and the passion he brought to his work. Some people have a job they do and others have jobs that they are; by all accounts, Michael was one of the latter. From his early years he knew that he wanted to be a fireman. Childhood photos show him wearing a fireman costume, and people tell of how, as a boy, he was so accomplished at mimicking the sound of a siren that he once convinced his school bus driver to pull aside for a firetruck that wasn't there. 

Michael bought a scanner that he used to listen for fire alarms, and would ride his bicycle to watch the firemen work. Sometimes he rode so far from his neighborhood that he was brought back home by police escort. Michael earned perfect scores on his fire academy physical and written entrance exams, and began training in October, 2000. He graduated in December of the same year. He drew one of the busiest assignments, engine Company 280/ladder Company 132 Firehouse of Crown Heights Brooklyn. In achieving his lifelong dream, we could say that Michael Kiefer accomplished more in his short life than will many men who live to see a century, but that would be only half his story.

In addition to being a fireman, Michael was a committed Christian, beloved son to Pat and Bud, and older brother to Kerri and Lauren. He was saving his money to buy a ring for his girlfriend, Jamie Huggler. Son, brother, boyfriend. He was the kind of guy who dedicated himself to a job that would put his life at risk in order to save others. He was just one of 2,996, who died at the World Trade Center,13 years ago today, but in him was a reflection of all the strength, the selflessness, the goodness, that we love about America. On this anniversary of our nation's loss, take a moment to remember Michael. Say a prayer for the peace of mind of those he left behind, and give thanks that our nation can still be the home of men like him.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Calling Jimmy Doolittle

On 21 December, 1941 - two weeks after the attacks on Pearl Harbor - President Franklin D. Roosevelt directed the Chiefs of Staff of the US military to conduct a bombing attack on the Japanese homeland as soon as possible.

It was understood that the military accomplishments of such an attack would most likely be negligible, and that the risks would certainly be high. Nevertheless, the president understood that the moral effect of the attack overshadowed those drawbacks. It was necessary for the American people to see themselves as rising to the enemy that had attacked them, just as it was necessary for that enemy to consider the consequences that would result from its actions. That attack, led by Lt Col James (Jimmy) Doolittle, would become known as the Doolittle Raid, and would set the tone for American defiance in the face of a determined enemy.

At the same time, and for a considerable period afterward, the President, Prime Minister Churchill, and Joseph Stalin were debating the way in which the United States would finally, fully enter the war. Some lobbied for an attack in Europe that would immediately draw German divisions away from Stalin's beleaguered forces, while others counseled an attack at a point where American troops might face a slightly more gradual learning curve. Thus was conceived America's unlikely mode of entry into World War Two - an invasion of North Africa to attack Germany in response to Japan's attack on Hawaii.

It is worth noting that during this period of intense debate, the leaders did not refer to not having a strategy. That is most likely as it should be.

It is also worth noting that even before a comprehensive strategy was devised, the planning for an attack had been ordered, an attack that may not have been militarily decisive, but that went more to the heart of the enemy than has any of the 100 or so airstrikes launched recently against ISIS targets in Iraq. Such an attack is in order today, just as it was 72 years ago. (The raid was actually flown in April, 1942.)

In having declared itself the Islamic State, ISIS has made our job easier. With a state against which we can focus our efforts, we can dispense with the ridiculous concept of a "war on terror." The President can ask Congress to declare war on the newly-formed state, and we can get about the business of destroying it.

All we need is a modern-day Jimmy Doolittle, and the kind of men who will set him in motion.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


It's taken me a long time to finish this painting, but sometimes that's just the way it works out. I think it's worth the wait.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lisbon Skyline, and an homage to John Singer Sargent

The whole time I worked on this painting - which, in truth, was not a long time at all, since one of my goals was to work quickly without obsessing too much on details - I was trying to keep in mind John Singer Sargent's treatment of light, and his use of color in shadows. I'm pleased with the result.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Today's Painting

I left Portugal a year ago, and I've been thinking about this view of Lisbon's skyline ever since. There's still a fair amount of work to be done on this, but here's a look at how far I've gotten today.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gerhardshofen revisited

Last week I completed a small study of a view of Gerhardshofen, which is a short distance outside of Nurnberg. That study was in preparation for this painting, which I finished today.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Two New Paintings


Sheep in the Shade

There are a lot more landscapes I hope to do in the near future, if I can just find the time...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A New Portrait

Here's a portrait of Keith and Nathan Miller, two extraordinarily talented guys. This was a lot of fun to paint, and it's got me hoping to do more portraits in the future.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Retouching an old painting

This little painting has been with me since I left Saudi Arabia, but I hadn't looked at it lately.  When I saw it yesterday I saw a bunch of things I wished I'd done differently as I was painting it. I usually try to leave a painting alone once I've finished it - and certainly once it's been framed - but this particular one was so much in need of help that I pulled it out of the frame and went to work on it.

I heightened the contrast and deepened the shadows and I'm happy with the effect. I'll put it back in its frame now, and resume work on the portrait of Keith and Nathan Miller.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Progress Report

Here's a first look at progress on my current project. The outlines are sketched in, and I've got most of the cool-colored background in place. So far, so good.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Next Project: Keith and Nathan Miller

After producing enough paintings for two simultaneous shows, I needed a bit of a breather; I haven't picked up a brush in a of couple weeks.

I'm itching to get back to work now, and I'm excited to have such a great project to look forward to.  Today I'm beginning a portrait of Keith and Nathan Miller based on this photograph. Keith is an old friend and a masterful guitarist. You can find him on Facebook and you can hear some of his work here, too. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Leading Ponies

Here's another painting that I finished recently, but hadn't gotten around to posting yet.  I see this man and his ponies all the time, and he's probably a little concerned by the frequency with which I take his picture.

Esslingen Towers

I finished this painting around two weeks ago, but never got around to posting it.  This is a view of the unique towers of the church in Esslingen, which are connected by a high bridge.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Current Project

Here's my current project.  Although I've signed it (to prevent it being stolen) I still have some work to do. My next show opens Saturday. I'm hoping to get this finished in time to include it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Ride

Yes I've signed it, but I'm sure it's not quite done yet.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Tonight's Painting: Farrier and Pony

When was a kid, I thought I'd like to be a blacksmith or a farrier when I grew up.  Both occupations still hold a fascination for me, so when I saw a farrier at work at a local stable I asked if I could take some photos of him.  I'm not really sure he said yes, but I was pretty sure he didn't say no, and nobody threw me out of the stable.  This painting is the result of those photos.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Good Night's Work

I should probably be doing another local landscape since I have a show opening here in ten days, but I've been thinking a lot lately of Guincho Beach, where Bica and I used to take Saturday morning walks.  Sometimes you just have to paint what's on your mind.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Fall Vineyard, Esslingen

This one has been on the table for a week or so. I'll put it away for the rest of the weekend, and if, when I look at it on Monday, I decide it's finished, I'll take it to the framer.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fall Vineyard, Esslingen

Here's my current project, which I hope to finish in a day or two. It's a view of the vineyard above Esslingen, ablaze in fall colors.  There's plenty of work to be done yet, but I'm pleased with it up till now, so I thought I'd post this picture.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Morning, Sao Pedro Estoril

This painting has been languishing on the shelf since July.  I think it's finally finished now.

Painting Esslingen (still)

Here's another view of Esslingen.  The village is full of lovely old buildings.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Painting Esslingen

On the hilltop above Esslingen is a high wall,straddled by this imposing structure.    The building and wall overlook the terraced vineyards and the old city center, which houses the cellars of Kessler Sekt, Germany's oldest producer of sparkling wine.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crows at Dawn

Lately I've been seeing a lot of things I'd like to paint while driving to work in the morning. This is one of them.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Another View of Weil der Stadt

I'll have two shows opening in March.  One of them is in the village of Weil der Stadt, and the other is in Esslingen.  I'm hoping to have plenty of local scenes to show in each.

October Fog

It's nice to work on something simple for a change.  There's a row of trees I see every day on my way home from work.  As this is the first time in years that I've lived in a climate where leaves change colors in the Fall, I enjoyed gauging the season by their transition from green to gone.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Two More Minis

Two more tiny paintings today - these are 3 x 4 inches.

I've also started another large painting, but I'm trying hard to produce a few of these small ones every week.  I need to fill the collection of frames I bought, and I also need a good variety of sizes for the two shows I'll open in March.  

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A View of Herrenberg

I've been working on this painting for about a week now, and finally it's done.  Not only does this kind of detail take a lot of time, but I wanted lots of contrast between areas of light and shadow, and in order to accomplish that, I painted the shadows in several layers.