Category: Bio

Ketman

Ketman is a strategy to avoid trouble that is used by people who are out of step with the prevailing authority or orthodoxy. It’s a way to dissemble. At a minimum people practicing ketman must self-censor their speech. When silence isn’t enough, ketman-practitioners find ways to appear to actively support the regime. When ketman-practitioners cannot…

Dreams

When I go to bed, I often try to think about a problem with a painting. Then my consciousness runs another stream in the background. Before I fall asleep, the solution to the problem occurs to me–‘ah ha!’ Sometimes the solution comes in the morning, and sometimes it doesn’t come. However, as interesting as this…

Whiskey was the cause

Perusing Ancestry.com’s records, I came across this Kentucky newspaper article from 1896. During a drunken brawl, a man, Billy Patrick, was stabbed in the head. At the time the article is written, Patrick is expected to die. The perpetrator, my great-great-grandfather Ben Risner, attacked the deputy sheriffs who came to arrest him. During the ensuing…

Family mystery

My great-grandfather Ramey had a fierce personality. Even in his 90’s, he had no time for nonsense, epically from unruly children such as me. My grandmother ascribed her father’s fierceness to his harsh childhood. Orphaned early, his adopted family treated him as little more than a servant. One day, my grandmother’s oft-repeated story went, her…

Who needs culture anyway?

One of the biggest shocks of my life and one of my biggest disappointments occurred when I went to France for the first time in 1993. France! home of great artists–David, Delacroix, the angelic Ingres, Manet, Monet, and many others. Writers? Balzac, of course. The master. I made a pilgrimage to his home which is…

White Christmas

It started snowing Thursday afternoon and didn’t stop until Christmas evening. Six-inches of snow with knee-high drifts, as you can see in this photo taken from our dining room on Christmas morning. Every year we resolve to restrict the number of gifts to a manageable number, and every year we fail horribly, as you can…

Adventure

I want adventure. When I started, art was an adventure. When I confronted a landscape, a figure, or whatever, it was an adventure of discovery. I saw it for the first time. Each time I started a painting, I had that experience. Guess what? I still do! You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.…