Saturday, August 13, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
In the old days (old days meaning a generation or two!) in the rural areas of the Philippines, Filipino men serenaded (the ritual was called "harana") women at night with their songs of love, usually with a guitar. This was a lowland ritual which most likely meant it was a Spanish influence. I don't think I would ever paint that scene since it seems so fluffy. So, here is one that's more to my liking: an old Filipino man playing a guitar, serenading no one. "Harana", 6"x6" gouache.
Stockton's an odd town. It has a terrible public image because it always pops up in articles titled "The worst cities for...". A few list that Stockton is part of: "Forbes' Most miserable city in America", "Least educated city in California", and "Highest foreclosure rate in America". And there's more: "Highest crime rate in California", "Highest umemployment rate in California", and "City most resembling Dante's Inferno". I made that last one up, of course, but I'm sure it would be in there also if there was such a list. Like with all lists, it only takes into account big-time economic data and ignoring the data not often used for ranking. Some of the data that easily places Stockton at the top: number of farmers' market per capita, most comfortably sunny weather year round, most culturally diverse collection of hole-in-the-wall restaurants, best collection of thrift stores, and neighborhoods where people know and watch out for each other. That's my defense of this much maligned city/town in the Central Valley. To Forbes, I say "Go fuc* yourself"...this city is still learning and has its problems but it's not that bad. A friend of mine told me that Stockton is a one horse town. It is also quite the melting pot of cultures and colors. For a painter, it is a gift. For now, I am enjoying a good cup of iced tea and hanging out at the front porch, the Delta breeze making music with the wind chimes. Here are a couple of paintings of Stockton: "Stockton's finest" (top), gouache 9"x12" and "Colors of Stockton" (bottom), gouache 20"x14".
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Bush taxis in Central Africa is basically a large van with several seats and one never knows who or what will be sitting next you. I’ve sat next to young women who are amused by my foreign ways and laugh at everything I say, drunk men carrying dead monkies for dinner, dead antelope with blood still dripping, or old women with handbags full of market trinkets. I even sat next to an older woman with six fingers that, I suppose, is not too unusual. On one particular long road trip in Cameroon, I met a very well-spoken tall Cameroonian who spoke of his music and his aspirations on introducing his music in France and outside of Cameroon. Usually, talking to strangers in a bush taxi is usually just that, bullshitting. We shared the same first name; he was my “homonym” as they call it there. At the next pit stop, he said he promised to buy me a copy of his album. At a stall that was selling cassette tapes, he spotted a copy of the tape he was looking for next to pirated copies of American albums. It has his dapper image at the front with his name, Rene Ben. He signed it and told me to listen to it when I have time. After the long trip and great company, we parted ways, inserted the tape in my cassette walkman, and listened to the album in the bush taxi that took me back to my Gabonese village. His music had beautiful rhythms of drums mixed with classic central African melodies. It was the best African album I’ve ever listened to, even better than Cameroon’s idolized Papa Wemba. I don’t know if he ever made it big but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. This is a painting of Rene Ben based on his album cover.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
This is a painting of a Southern Traditional dancer typified by the buckskin pants and the porcupine hair head dress. I couldn't come up with a good title for this painting without sounding generic so i am just titling it "Pacifica", watercolor 12"x16".