Serendipity = Happy Accidents … 1st iTunes Podcast & Last Week of “Shadow & Color”

You never know who you will meet during an exhibition, an open studio tour, at the taco truck, or in a class.

One of my artist students, Meredith Adler, recently launched a podcast, and it has been wonderful to be part of the launch.

I heard she needed a logo for her website and iTunes so I did some rough sketches and sent them off to my design partner and friend from Chouinard, John Otto. With lighting speed, John created something unique.

The podcast experience, which was a first for me, was illuminating. Meredith came by with two associates, and the four of us sat around with two of us hooked up to mics. It was fun and you know what I say, “If it’s not fun or funny, I don’t do it!” I was able to do a lot of exaggerating because I’ve forgotten so many details.

It was fun to sketch the LOCAL HEARTED logo, and it reminds me of how much I enjoy collaborating on that process. John Otto is one terrific designer.

Do check out Meredith’s LOCAL HEARTED podcast launch. She put a lot of diligent effort into creating a high-quality product. She even included a link to the website of my friend and business partner, Murray Garrett. This is a quote from his website, “Garrett worked with and personally interacted with celebrities in the worlds of show business, sports, politics, the arts and sciences…a list of which would even turn fellow Brooklynite Larry King green with envy.”

A note about the LOCAL HEARTED podcast: you can subscribe to it through the iTunes Podcasts app.

I mentioned earlier that Meredith is an artist. She works in Oil Pastel with Gouache. You can see her work at her blog, Paint Like Nobody’s Watching.

Here is a special reminder to local friends who enjoy the Arboretum. This is the last week of the “Shadows and Color” exhibit. It is in the Education Center. I’ve spent quite a few Saturdays there, and met all kinds of people. This past Saturday, a young admirer told me my work was “not bad.” Guess I’ll keep at it. So it’s on to the next project. I am doing some white-on-white work.

Click here to read an article in The Laurel about the exhibit at the Arboretum, then put it on your calendar for this weekend! Maybe I’ll see you there on Saturday. Here is a photo of one of the $300 11x 14 sculptures in the exhibit. It’s called “Found at Washita.”

Found at Washita, 11 x 14, $300

Found at Washita, 11 x 14, $300

Serendipity: “Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.”

…thanks for visiting me.



It was 1939, I was five years old, attending the Phoebe Hearst Free Kindergarten, in Lead, South Dakota. I remember the teacher telling us to sing a song to the class, each in turn. For some reason I remember the inside of that large room where we were sitting in a circle on the floor. I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I have that event secure in my memory.

My classmates sang children’s songs like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and other such ditties. My repertoire was different, even unique. My mother was a barroom piano player. She said she played ragtime but that was above her pay grade. She played drive piano style, by ear, in every bar, club and rowdy country dance hall in the Black Hills and seemed to know every song ever written. If someone requested a song and she played it, they gave her a dollar. If she couldn’t play it, she gave them the dollar, and she gave away very few dollars.

She practiced playing every day, and I knew most of the damn songs myself. So when it came my turn to sing, I had three songs in mind. “Ragtime Cowboy Joe,” “When They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree”, and “The Irish Washwoman.” I chose “Ragtime Cowboy Joe.”

Ragtime Cowboy Joe

Ragtime Cowboy Joe

I know the lyrics the way I sang them, and they’re damn close to correct. Here are the words as I knew them at five years old and remember them now. I sang them loud and rowdy in my mother’s robust style, and with broad gestures.

Ragtime cowboy, Ragtime cowboy, Ragtime cowboy Joe.
He always sings as he swings into the saddle,
on a horse, pretty good horse, a syncopated gaiter,
and there is nothing sweeter than the roar of his repeater.

How they run when they hear that fella’s gun
because the western folks all know,
he’s a rootin’ tootin’ sonofagun
from Arizona,
Ragtime Cowboy,
talk about your cowboy,
Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

I didn’t hesitate a moment but went right into “When They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree.”

The Old Pine Tree

The Old Pine Tree

They cut down the old pine tree
and hauled it away to the mill,
to build a coffin of pine
for that sweet heart of mine,
when they cut down the old pine tree.

But she’s not alone in her grave at night,
for that’s where my heart will always be.
Though we drifted apart
’til they cut down my heart,
when they cut down the old pine tree.

I was going into The Irish Washwoman, but the teacher stopped me. That was a good idea because I only knew mother’s bawdy version. She sent a note home saying that children should not be singing those types of songs in kindergarten or anywhere else.

Do you ever have a tune in your head that just won’t go away? I have a dozen or more from those times that I can’t get rid of. My mother brainwashed me by endlessly playing them on that old, upright, Gulbransen piano. Here’s an image and a song for you:

P. D. Hogan's Saddle

P. D. Hogan’s Saddle

Thanks for visiting me…


P.S. Last week, this interview appeared on the NC Arboretum blog: Meet the Colorman. My exhibition will be up until September 18th, so if you haven’t seen it yet be sure to get there soon; it has been selling well.