Why blog now?

Why blog? An excellent question. It seems to me on the surface to be such a vanity enterprise. My instinct is to resist it. However, “in the parlance of our times” this appears to be a common channel in which to share one’s thoughts and insights about the world around them. Now maybe it is a tad bit narcissistic to think my opinions have any sway or importance to share in the broader public. Nevertheless, as a sociologist I buy into the adage of C. Wright Mills that “sociology holds great promise” in helping one understand one’s place in the world.   So, as a spin on Mills’ coining the phrase the “sociological imagination” I offer up what I title my “sociological ruminations.” My intent is to share my view on social events through the perspective of a sociologist. That is why I am choosing to blog. I am a sociologist and I think sociological insight is greatly needed during this period in social history where once again societies are undergoing considerable social change.  I also paint by the way.  I believe blogging outwardly will encourage me to keep a journal on my artistic pursuits.


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“Redondo” 48×24 inches Acrylic on Canvas (2018)

Feeling blue overall, but just came back from Southern California.  I have been battling a sinus infection for 4 weeks now.  It is just about over.  That trip gave me a bit of inspiration for this painting.   Fighting to stay upbeat, soon the trees will green.


I recently returned from a trip to California, the South Bay region of Los Angeles.  I spent the first nine years of my life here, and would return every summer to stay with my Father until I was sixteen.  I have continued to return sporadically over the years. With the exception of one cousin, all my remaining family connections there have died or moved elsewhere.  Nevertheless, I remain drawn to the area.

I spent my adolescence and undergraduate years living in Oklahoma.  My brother still lives there and a few friends remain as well, but I have never been drawn to return like I have with the South Bay region.  I have now live in Missouri or as some call it “Misery.”  I have now lived here longer than any of the five other states I have squatted in during my life.  I came to Missouri, St. Louis specifically for an academic appointment.  While here I married my longtime girlfriend, bought the first house I ever lived in, and most importantly witnessed the birth of my one and only daughter.

She started school here about three years ago and my relationship to Missouri has transitioned to one of a reluctant feeling of home.  Regardless, l still long to return to California.  There has always been this longing.  My relatives that lived there, who grew up there think I am crazy for ever wanting to return.  My students who are from there graduate and never return.  I wish I could shake this desire, this longing.  I am always sad when I leave there, as I have been all this week in cloudy cold dreary St. Louis.

When people ask me where I am from, I never truly know how to answer that question.  As noted above, I have lived in five different states over my lifetime.  California and Oklahoma were where I spent my formative years.  They are such disparate places, but each has had a unique contribution in making me who I am today.  Virginia and Kansas were just stopping points leading up to where I am today.  Still, if I had the means I would return  to South Bay in a heartbeat.

If it weren’t for my brother and friends I would never return to visit Oklahoma.  I cherish my experiences in Oklahoma, but when it comes down to its geography and politics I tend to stay away.  And, maybe that is why California is burned into my soul, it’s geography, politics, and let’s not forget climate.  When I eventually leave this earth, I want to be returned to the ocean, that beautiful blue Pacifc.  Until then, I am going to continue to seek a return.

Maybe this photography from my recent visit can explain what I mean.

Abstract Art: Untitled #5 “12×36” Acrylic on Gallery Canvas. (2018)

I originally finished this a few weeks ago.  It was greens and browns, but it never grew on me.  It was awkward trying to set the composition horizontally.  I attempted anew, now with my standbys of blues.  I have actually been feeling a bit on the blue side of late.  Winters always kick my ass.  I wasn’t made for the Midwest.  This blue was optimism that the winter is almost done.  The divider lines of blacks and greys represents a continued fight against the gloom of winter’s remains.

I realize one image shows the painting not fitting the wall.  It isn’t hanging that way permanently.  It’s just for perspective.

Abstract Art: Untitled #4 (2018) 36×24 inches, Acrylic on Plastic


I recently posted about two frames that found their way to me.  This is the second one.   They were sturdy but well worn frames.  I had to use the clear plastic sheet on the earlier painting because the painted cardboard was slightly too small.  This time I got the idea to try and paint the plastic cover.  I thought there might be some interesting effects to be had.

I painted the cardboard behind it as well to give depth to the painting in places the acrylics are scratched off the plastic.  It really shows in person better.

Abstract Art: Untitled #3 of 2018, 36×24 inches Acrylic on Cardboard (sold)


This has a nice backstory to its creation.  Last week after a committee meeting, a colleague noted that the business offices were ditching a bunch of frames.  He asked if I thought I could use them.  I underestimated its dimensions in relation to some existing art I had.  Internally there is a cardboard piece that sits between the backing and the intended piece of art.  I took that piece and painted on top of it.  Those grooves you see are the paper giving way to the weight and moisture of the acrylic paint.

There was a wee problem in that the cardboard was ever so slightly smaller than the inner lip of the frame.  A piece of glass or clear plastic serves to hold it in beautifully.  Presently, I am using the original plastic piece, which can present some glare problems and has a few scratches after serving many years in a heavily trafficked university hallway.  Actually, I think it fits the spirit of the art, a reproduced proletarian piece over an original piece of capitalist promotion 😉

Abstract Art: Untitled #2 (2016) 40×30 inches Acrylic on Canvas.

The weather has come crashing on us a today after teasing us with 50s a day ago.   So we started a fire and I am staring at this painting that I did back in 2016.  I’d like to repost what was the original story I had journaled about its making.  Plus, I took this picture of it to relate the inspiration for this post.

I hope you enjoy.  A link to more of my work: here
This is a painting that came to me really fast which in some respects is a great thing but in other respects it’s a bad thing. See, I don’t buy my canvases in bulk I buy them piecemeal so when I finish these really fast, I’m kind a lost with what can I paint on next.

The reason why this painting came to me so fast is tied to the fact that I wanted to mimic the color choices I used In “Untitled #1 2016” which preceded this. I stepped out of my box with my typical color choices. Normally I gravitate to blues so the use of these earthier tones was different and it just jumped out to me. So, as you can see I tried replicate those colors again in this painting. I also tried to replicate the horizontal lines from the previous painting but when I did so it just did not speak to me. So, using a painting scraper I proceeded to smear the lines away and it created this completely blurred more randomized effect which I fell in love with. It spoke to me immediately and that is how this painting came to be. I guess the earth tone colors are speaking to me because we are in the depths of winter here in St. Louis everything is brown and dead hopefully green is around the corner

Abstract Art: “#1 for 2018” Acrylic on Canvas, 48×48 inches

This was the first canvas I completed for 2018.  The blank canvas was a birthday gift marketing my first year beyond a half century old.  My wife was my first supporter and worked to get me my first public gallery showing about five years ago.

Look closely and you will see a bluish streak across the middle. This has been a theme in a number of recent paintings.  This represents a sense of balance in my life.  This does not mean overt happiness but instead a balance of peace with a lingering longing for understanding something else.

Abstract Art: Last Painting of 2017-Continued #Abstract

This was my final painting for 2017. I posted a few weeks ago but I was never comfortable with the white vertical line in the paining. Something about it threw me off. It looked like it was just incomplete. So, I experimented with some way to make it look more blended which was to my intentions and repainted the left top quadrant of the paining. I am reposting it here. I am more comfortable with it, plus the adjustment does not detract from the finished piece.

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