Posted tagged ‘nostalgia’

Oils Again

January 11, 2019

oilsBack in November of 2017 in Linseed Oil Memories, a post on my art blog, Artsy, about my Mom teaching me to oil paint while I was in high school, I wrote this: If I were asked, “What’s your favorite art medium?” I’d answer, “Oils.” Yet, I haven’t done it for years. Hoping to encourage my Inner Artist to try it again, I asked Santa for oil painting supplies and, with the help of my wife, Muri, I received a wooden artist’s box and easel, along with an assortment of paints and brushes. Yes even a bottle of linseed oil and a can of turpentine. But as November 2018 rolled around, my art supplies were still sitting unused in my office. I needed … if you’ll pardon the expression … a kick in the ass which came from my daughter, Amy. One November afternoonKittens when we were talking on the phone, she asked, Would you want to paint watercolors of my dogs for me for Christmas? Although I paint quite a lot in watercolors, my work tends to be on the impressionistic side in part because I don’t have the patience to do a lot of details in watercolors. So, before I could think, I said, How about if I do them in oils? After all, I’d painted two kittens sixty years ago. It’s like riding a bike, right? (more…)

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A Christmas Eve Past

December 24, 2018

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At ten years old, had someone asked me what I liked better, Christmas or Christmas Eve, I wouldn’t even had to think. Christmas, of course. A mere six years later, Christmas was still the favorite, but Christmas Eve had gained a lot of ground. By sixteen, I’d learned to appreciate anticipation of Christmas Eve, my Mom’s happy Christmas mood, the smell of pies9 cooking in the oven and carols on the radio. And, of course, going out with my Dad to pick up gifts from our relatives homes was one of my favorite things of the year. And here I sit at seventy four, looking back nostalgically and I find that many of my favorite memories are of Christmas Eve. And in particular of one about 40 years ago.

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Art History

June 3, 2018

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Recently, I posted an photo of me, my parents, Florence and Frank, and my siblings, Glenn and Pat in the living room of the house I grew up in. That room was the center of my universe from the time we moved there in 1952 until I went off to college. When family … grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins … visited, we sat in the living room. Dad would often move the table from our smallish kitchen to the living room to give us more room for Thanksgiving. Christmas trees were decorated and presents opened there. I told my parents that I had proposed to my college sweetheart there. Dad took countless naps while reading the paper in the chair by the door and I learned my love of classical music listening to Mom’s records on the stereo under the picture window. In my college years, Mom and I would sit up watching Johnny Carson and talking on the sofa under “Dad’s mirror” (he never walked by it without a little gavotte). More than once, he’d call from their bedroom at the end of the hall, Would you two keep it down out there?

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Coffeetoo

June 1, 2018

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As I get older, I find that the poignant feeling of nostalgia is becoming a regular companion. I suppose that 74 years of experiences … tastes and smells and what Jackson Browne calls the fragments of the songs carried down the wind from some radio … give me ample opportunity to touch some nearly forgotten moment.  I remember as my Dad was pushing into his eighties he became a sentimental old guy who would tear up regularly over memories. I know now that those weren’t usually tears of sadness but of gratitude for a good life.  This morning, as I was getting ready to go to the park, I had such a moment.

I do not go lightly into the park. I bring a briefcase full of electronics, pads and writing instruments. I bring a camera, and today, a light lunch, quickly assembled in our kitchen. I bring a large vacuum cup, usually filled with Diet Coke from Mickie Dee’s but today I didn’t want to stop so it was full of lime fizzie water from Trader Joe’s.  As I loaded my paraphernalia into my car, I remembered that I had a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen, so I went back for my travel cup. I’d left it upstairs, and as I retrieved it from the vanity, my wife Muri, said, Coffee, too? And instantly I was a child again, in my Mom’s kitchen. Dad was having a cup of coffee and I was having a Coffeetoo.  No, my Mom didn’t give me coffee.   She used to stir some Eclipse Coffee Syrup in a glass of milk for me.   The first time she made it for me, she said, Buddy, would you like some coffee, too? And from that day on, it was alwayscandy-cigarettes_1 known as Coffeetoo.  These days, I see kids coming out of Starbucks with their Moms carrying five buck concoctions of I don’t know what.   But that can’t hold a candle to my memory of a Coffeetoo with Dad, made especially for me by Mom.  And, by the way, nothing topped that off like a candy cigarette on the way to school.

Have a great weekend.

 

Christmas Mornings

December 25, 2017

wreathThis is my 73rd Christmas Morning.   My oldest memory comes from a picture I have, me sitting on the floor with a train set I got for Christmas in my parents first aparment in New Haven, Connecticut, and I remember getting a red Columbia bicycle our last year thereelectric-train before we moved to the little house in East Haven that would be home until I got married.  My wife had her first Christmas tree in our apartment in Rhode Island the year we got married (she was jewish) but we returned to my parents house for Christmas morning until we moved to California in 1971, going from White Christmases to Warm Christmases.   And from family Christmases to best friend Christmases with our friends Don and Jackie and their kids.  Once we adopted our two kids, Aaron and Amy, those were some of the best Christmases ever.   As our kids grew into adults, as often happens, Christmas Mornings lost some of the magic.   There is nothing like seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. (more…)

Old Music

November 16, 2017

art journalThis fine Southern California morning I am in my office.   I have just finished the wash for a watercolor painting.  OK, it’s not so much a painting as a visual journal entry, paint going where it will until something hopefully emerges.  So far it hasn’t.   That is one of the points of art journaling, to teach creative patience.  I have been listening to music and came across an old favorite I haven’t heard in a long time, Desafinado by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.   I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much music slips into obscurity over time, sometimes because tastes change (I don’t listen to much Neil Young any more) but just as often because there is so much music in our personal soundtracks (you do have one of those, don’t you?) that we can’t possibly listen to them all.   That seems a shame. (more…)

The Eclipse Curmudgeon

August 22, 2017

Clipboard01When I was a boy, I saved up my money and bought a 3 inch reflector telescope from Edmund Scientific.  I believe it cost $29.95, which tells you how long ago it was, in the 1950s.  I don’t remember how old I was … I would guess twelvish.  With this telescope, from the hay field behind our house I could see the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, some of the larger nebulae, double stars and of course, incredible detail of the surface of the moon.   Nobody ever told me not to point my telescope at the sun.  Nobody had to.  I was a smart kid.  But when I learned about sunspots and heard a report of exceptional sunspot activity, I certainly wanted to.   I don’t know where I found the piece of green plexiglass that became my solar filter.  To the eye, it was opaque but if I held it up to the sun, I could see the sun through itplexiglass … which gave me an idea.  Using my Dad’s jigsaw, I cut a circular piece the size of my telescope tube and taped it over the open end.   Wallah.  Sunspots at 60X power.   I seem to remember watching a partial eclipse using my improvised solar filter, too.  Those was the good old days … or the bad old days, depending on your point of view.  No one checked the transmittance of my plexiglass disc, checked if it was compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.   Was my tape job sufficiently secure to assure the filter wouldn’t fall off, vaporizing my eyeball?  Yep, it was.  I still have two working Older Eyes.

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