I guess “Sleeping Spike” is my favorite painting. Spike is pictured in the center of the work snoozing away as a nude girl sits on his left hip. Spike was my English bulldog. I got him as a gift from my first wife not long before we split up. After she left, my brother, David, moved in (to help offset the house payment). I had bought a house in Florence, Alabama, getting a loan using my Veterans Administration benefit. Spike grew up as the neighborhood dog. He was a free roamer. He was okay with living with two bachelors, but that didn’t last very long. David got married and moved out. I sold the house and Spike went to live with David until I got settled, which took much longer than originally expected. I ended up moving to Birmingham, Alabama, a two hour drive to the south and became very happy with my status as a very eligible bachelor. Spike spent a happy life with David and family. He died an old dog and was buried on a lot David had bought behind a new house he had built in Killen, Alabama.
The nude girl in the painting is factious. I just liked nude girls, so I added one to this work. She is a symbol of life and youth. The cow skull represents death and the life jacket represents hope. In the bottom right of the painting is the white figure of Houston “Huse” Bishop lifted from a photo we made of him sitting on his front porch smoking a Raleigh cigarette. He was a roll model to my brother and I, who lived in Leoma, Tennessee, where we grew up. We didn’t think anything about knocking on Huse’s door at ten o’clock at night. He would get up, say “Let me get my false teeth in”, then open the door. We would sit around his heater and talk about hunting and fishing. He was a good guy, a grandfather figure, who we enjoyed being around. He died at the age of 79 not so long after I got back from Vietnam. There were not a handful of people at his funeral. My brother was a pallbearer and I was one of the few sitting in the pews at the Leoma Baptist Church. The preacher, Henry Yeager, said of Huston Bishop, “He didn’t have many friends, but they are all here.” This painting is about honoring an old man from a little town in Tennessee.
The blue jeans are a symbol of changing times as they float by and the rug is a foundation lying over a barren plain. Spike would sleep on that rug and twitch and growl in his sleep. I would wonder what he was dreaming about. He never met Houston Bishop, but if he had I am sure he would have liked the old guy. Houston Bishop had a way with dogs.
This is a 10 1/2 X 18 1/2 (27 X 47 CM) oil on plywood painted in 1980
This painting was done while I lived in St. Pete Beach, Florida. I frequently did walks on the beach and picked up shells, driftwood and other natural items then used them in my art. The painting “An Ariel View of Florida” is about one such trip. Clothing, sheets and a beach towel are spread out on the beach. Many shells and other items have been gathered and piled up. As often happens, the tide inches its way in and reaches the pile. Inside the heap of collectibles, a map of Florida is formed along with a host of faces and figures.
“An Ariel View of Florida” is about looking down and seeing what your mind forms, which is exactly the same as looking at the clouds and making out objects. The shadow of a shell in this painting becomes Lake Okeechobee, some sea grass and seeds become a nude. As the eye wonders over this painting little items pop out and it’s like, “Oh, I see it now.”
This is a 30 X 36 (76 X 91 CM) oil on canvas 1980's
Behind the green.
The shells are figures, faces, animals, etc.
The shells become faces in this section.
This was painted when I lived on Valley Avenue in Birmingham, Alabama. At the time that was the part of town for a bachelor to live. I built the coffee table and the books are all paperback novels. I was fond of Edgar Rice Burrows works. In 2012, I was disappointed when the movie, “John Carter of Mars,” was a commercial flop. I liked the movie; however the actor that played Dejah Thoris didn’t really look like she needed to be saved. The movie was made 100 years after the first book came out.
Besides the red and orange towel lying on the table there is also a yellow piece of paper. I cannot make out what is written on this paper. I still have the painting, which is hanging on the wall. I bought this painting from an antique dealer in Sheffield, Alabama, for $75 with the intention of use the frame on one of my pieces of art. I never had the heart to remove the old, somewhat damaged, painting that it held so it is wrapped up and stored in the back.
The big black pillow lying against the wall acted as furniture. I guess that is why there are not more objects in this painting as I had very little furniture. It was the 70’s and one didn’t waste money on furniture, with maybe the exception of the king sized waterbed I purchased when I moved into this apartment.
This is a 10 X 14 (25 X 36 CM) oil on canvas 1978