A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper personal column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, with readers in 131 countries.-- Sunrise on the old Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The death penalty, questions

I know much of the world, including friends and other  "liberals" in this country, are appalled that many states in America still have a "death penalty," marking us  as uncivilized, and alongside the atrocities of certain totalitarian (North Korea) and fundamentalist religious countries elsewhere, especially in the "Mideast."
I'm no longer a "conservative"--whatever that means--and  am ambivalent about the death penalty. I know it has been used unjustly and racially in this country, and I'm opposed to that. I also know that it often costs more to eventually execute a person than put them away for life. Given the "political atrocity" and embarrassment in Oklahoma with Mary Fallin's hurry-up attitude in the last execution, concerns about the death penalty are usually justified.
Sometimes there are crimes of such horror, of such evil, that I believe a death penalty is more than justified.
 I know that we're not in the Old West anymore, where rustlers and criminals can be hanged on the spot, as in "Lonesome Dove," and the changes to our legal system are the marks of a more civilized society. Technology is changing all of this also. When we have video-taped and other digital evidence of some of these crimes, I contend it is infantile and ridiculous to refer to such criminals as "suspects."
When there is no doubt, stand by what the Constitution calls for,  a "speedy" trial.
Sometimes evil needs to be eradicated. Why should evil that causes so much misery be allowed to live on taxpayer dollars?  Timothy McVeigh? Hitler? Osama Ben Laden? Or an Oklahoma son who murders his family? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why I paint

Art...I've been around it all my life, and it seems I've only recently began painting. Glancing back through old black and white photos makes me realize that's not so. 
I remember getting in trouble in grade school in New Mexico for drawing in class rather than paying attention. But it's only natural, growing up in the home of my Dad Terrence Miller Clark, who was an uncanny portrait artist from Oklahoma who could draw anyone and anything, and a landscape painter. His work hung all over our house when we grew up, and my brother and I still have much of it hanging on our walls or in storage.
I still have his old metal paintbox, with some aged oil paints, out in the garage and Susan has been urging me to try oils rather than just watercolors. I suppose that is in the near future. I do so love the smell of oil paint.
But I know I chose watercolors a few years ago because the opportunity arose to take lessons, I needed therapy, and I wasn't in "competition" with my Dad's work.
Still, I'm sorry it took me so long to "come back" to art...getting away from the type-A career-oriented workaholic I was. 
I found this 3" by 4" photo, dated 1947, of me with watercolors at age three and four in Fort Worth, Texas, , painting. And then here's Susan's 4.5" by 6.5" sketch of that. They both hang on the wall in front of me when I paint. 
I guess that's why I paint.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Saluting Ukraine--fighting for survival

I painted this back in March, when Russia's dictator Putin invaded this peaceful land, annexing part of it. The struggle continues and innocent people are suffering. It symbolizes the Ukraine's flag, being invaded by blood and bars.
I reprint this to call attention to those brave people who so value freedom, trying, alone, to withstand the new Hitler. They serve as examples for us Americans who take our freedoms too much for granted, I think.
During the past week, there have been more readers of this blog from Ukraine than any other country, save the U.S.  Now I know the following term is also the name of one of Ukraine's political parties, but this is merely a salute to your dedication to 

Thank you.

Autumn brilliance

Brilliance--11 by 15 watercolor, 300 Lb. d'Arches
No matter how much you try to capture the brilliance of autumn, you usually fall short, but this is much closer, as my wife Susan (art critic number two after me)  urged me to "Use more brilliant colors."

Reflecting on autumn colors

Reflections--11" by 15" watercolor, 300 # d'Arches
The leaves are just starting to turn here, but it won't be long. The mums are bright, the air crisp, the skies brilliant, the days shorter. Photographs from the mountain west of the aspen already quaking and golden, or from the northeast of the hardwoods in vivid varieties of color  whet  anticipation and wet the paintbrush..