Wednesday, November 30, 2011

one of two

this guy here was part of a crew of two that followed the direct orders of a client whose house i was painting to put the new refrigerator in the old walk-in pantry... i am not sure if it still resides in that spot, but i was very uncomfortable watching the decision and execution unfold as it did. sometimes, you just have to do what your told and leave the lessons to be learned by others.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

neighbor friend

i highly recommend, if you have young children, that you: 1. find a neighbor with young children. 2. befriend that neighbor. 3. trade turns babysitting for each other. 4. become great friends.
my wife and i successfully accomplished this feat with this young woman and her wonderful family. we first met at a "neighborhood watch" type get together... that is not usually something that i do. she had a very young baby, and my daughter was several years old at the time, and this neighbor desperately looked to my wife and i for a little bit of support... or a huge chunk of it. the first number of months with a newborn are trying, period. it is an upheaval of galactic proportions, and new parents must find a way to understand that this stage is going to fade. our friend here just needed a little bit of hope. i remember the look on her face as one of "oh, god, please help me, because i see that you survived raising a newborn and i feel like i'm going to flip out soon please help me." well, i am pleased to report that she did survive too, and she and her husband have done well with their angel that is a dozen handfuls... notice the photo with the pink clad girl in the background picking up a plastic wheel barrow... that is her daughter. it has been a blessing to have made such a friend with this neighbor. we have shared mother's days, father's days, snow days, saturdays, and many other moments that have made life more joyful because they have been shared with a friend. we fairly regularly still trade nights to babysit for the other, and it really is a huge benefit... as i said, i highly recommend it. on top of all of that, she has helped me create my art website and my photography website... extra benefits as she is a wonderful project manager for a design firm. she is a delightful human being with an passionate, insatiable appetite for Life. thanks, neighbor, friend.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the help

here are two of the women that have helped with the operations at my grandfather's restaurant that has been in business for 73 years. the first worked at the front of the house for a while, tending to to-go orders and other essential services. she has since moved on to beauty school, i believe. my mom told me countless times (as she was hoping to keep a good worker,) that this employee could make more money in the restaurant than she could ever make as a "beautician"... but i must cheer for the one that follows dreams instead of money. the other woman is part of the backbone of the establishment. she has been there for years, and she is the one that makes the famous spaghetti sauce and the infamous strawberry pie. the drum of sauce is forty gallons, and i honestly can't tell you how often she has to make a batch, but i can tell you that she has done a lot more stirring than most people. the strawberry pie... that is another feat of unbelievable skill and determination and loyalty. i will not get too deep into the details, but last year during "strawberry pie week" (the one week of the year that they make the best, freshest, sweetest strawberry pie ever... it was just included in Garden and Gun magazines top 50 southern sweet treats,) she, with a bit of help from her daughter, made approximately 1100 pies in five days. she has done that for a couple of decades (but only in the last five years has it really begun to reach such great heights). she is as sweet as the pie, and i thank her for being so loyal and hardworking; my grandfather's/mother's restaurant would really struggle without her at the helm of the kitchen.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

classic sport

i am just settling in after a crowded three days of thanksgiving with more food and people than i could possibly handle. i love my family, and i love the mix of classic american thanksgiving food and lebanese delights, but in the span of those several days, i think that i had a bit too much... i feel like i need to fast from food and people for twenty-four hours. anyways, this young man was there last year but not this year. had he been present, there would have been twenty-seven of us. though i really missed him and his family... well, i think you get the point. i did get the news though his grandfather that he will be a big brother by the time june rolls around, and he will be good. the light during these photos was perfect, and there were tons of great actions shots of this little man playing football. as it is printed on the football, this is (he is,) "classic sport."

Friday, November 25, 2011

near the end of the dairy bar

fifty-four out of the seventy-three years that my grandfather's restaurant has been open, this well bow-tied gentleman has been frequenting that establishment. still, he can be found at least three times a week at the bar, usually down towards the end near the grill. it is loyal customers like this that have helped turn my grandfather's idea into a famous institution. he has probably paid any number of my bills with his appetite for Jim's; for that, i am grateful. he was also one of a number of young boys who spent countless hours at my grandparents house... using it as a second home and receiving love from some of the warmest people that i know. as i am in huntington now for thanksgiving, and will soon be heading down to "the store" maybe i will see him at lunch. thanks for eating at Jim's.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

in no man's land

if my memory serves me correctly, in the thirty-nine years that i have been living here on earth, i have gone to huntington, west virginia to spend thanksgiving with my family every year. there have been no storms, deaths, weddings, football or basketball tournaments, change of plans to thwart this ritual... ever. this portrait was snapped on the day before i departed last year; she is another one of the parking lot portraits of this series... a hero of sorts. these are some of the most unsuspecting folks because they are deep in the midst of the transitioning phase of being in between places... it is a no man's land of sorts. there was a gentleman that i asked before this woman who, with a bit of grumpy attitude, said something like, "Nope, i don't do that kind of thing." i most likely rebutted with some sly cheap shot to poke him in his fear. anyways, i will be leaving again tomorrow for the annual ritual. there is a slight possibility that this will be the last thanksgiving for my aging sittee (arabic for grandmother). she is in her mid nineties, and her will to live has grown tired over the last two years. she may live to be one hundred and nine. i am very thankful for my family roots that are deep and strong.

Monday, November 21, 2011

artist on the run

i met this man when i painted a house that he lived in with his wife who he is no longer with. he had just started to catch fire with the Muse, and he was turning out tons of paintings that had begun to take over much of the house. his "studio" was situated somehow on the landing at the top of the stairs, easel and all. he was making great use of the space, but the space was psychically shrinking. i'm not sure if he ever found a larger space, but i like to imagine that he did. this portrait was taken just outside of a client's house at the end of another workday... i ran into him when he was on a run.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


a portrait of convenience (store clerk). (i sort-of know this guy. he works at the corner gas station, and i knew that i would try to get him into this project, and he helped me out on this particular evening; convenient).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

self check-out

it was late. he was at the grocery store in need of something. i needed him to be at the grocery store. it was one of those late night desperation portrait photo sessions, and this young man was the ideal item in the produce section. actually, as i just checked the "metadata" of the photos, it says that they were shot between 11:58 and 11:59, just within the bounds of my project description. maybe, my camera clock is an hour early due to daylight savings time... regardless, it was late. "paper or plastic?"

Friday, November 18, 2011

he's got it

here is another one of the artists from the building where i do my Work. i see him from time to time, and it is usually the standard, "hey, how's it going?" and then we move on to our studios or the next place to be... occasionally, we catch up with each other on what's going on in each other's studios. on this particular day, he ran straight into my portrait trap as he was exiting the building. i had just been thinking that as i was going into the building for a stretch of time, it was going to be dark by the time i left, and that would lead to me having to solve the nighttime portrait problem later. he was right on time, and he was styled quite appropriately (whatever that means). he does have a glow about him here, and i like to think that he had just spent several hours with a painting that stirred his "chi" in the most positive way, and now he was beaming. the artist is often a superstar/rockstar of sorts, even if it is alone in the confines of the studio, with only an audience in the mind... it still counts for a lot somehow. i guarantee that you can not wipe that radiance off his countenance.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

birthday birthday

this fellow artist is celebrating a birthday today... not terribly coincidentally, this photo was taken on her birthday last year, as she celebrated by painting a mandala type watercolor with her significant other. she is certainly in her element here, both in the studio, and within herself in celebratory style. the tools of the her trade surround her, and i am not going to try to define that trade, because by all accounts, i would simply (with plenty of inferred complexity,) call her an artist by trade. she needs to work with her hands, her mind, and her Spirit. she has never directly told me this, so it could be just another failed assumption, or it could be spot on... who knows? she may tell me if she reads this. regardless, i am glad that she is one of the tenants in the building where i have a studio. to it, she brings a very pleasant energy. happy birthday again.