from a dad's view


Life ROCKS! watercolor and Pen and Ink

Click on image to zoom
Now I’m not one to stop very often, always moving, working, playing, and as a famous wise man once said “Git-R-Done” kind of guy, but when I stop there’s nothing better than a porch swing or a rocking chair. As I was painting this, although lonely in feeling, you have to wonder how many thoughts are, and were going through his mind while rocking in this chair for years. Front porches are a lost communication tool that needs to be brought back. Kids are missing out on the benefit of getting chewed out for swinging to high on the front porch swing that was meant for a gentle swing (been there done that). To many teenagers have missed out on the gentle swing or glide, outside, while parents are inside (probably peeking out the window) holding hands for the first time, first time kiss, all while swaying in a gentle way, almost seemingly to comfort both young nerves (been there done that). And then there is the wonderful time of holding your baby in your arms while swinging, or the proudest grandparent holding their grand baby remembering back when they held their own on the same swing or rocker (been there done that). Couples finally calling it a day and swinging together as they did when teenagers and discussing future plans, and just relaxing (been there done that). And then as the later years of life set in, to be able to sit in that same swing or rocker that holds so many memories of family, love, and yes even some pain, still brings back a little comfort to life and usually a smile. My Mother-In-Law passed about a year ago and one of the last pictures taken was all the family sitting on the porch swing remembering the wonderful times that we had with both parents, it once again brought the family love and thoughts together in a way that they would love to see. I’m sure there is a mental reason why people and babies have always enjoyed the rocking motion, but I do know that I plan to ROCK my life away and I hope you ROCK ON with me!

6″ x 6″ watercolor with pen and ink sketching

Sisters… who needs them

LilywatercolorClick on image to zoom in

Sisters… who needs them? I do, I do!  My family means so much to me, and my sisters are no exception.  I painted this painting for my sister that helps me so much with my parents and is there when I need her.  Ever since my parents got there divorce when we were really young, all of the siblings have been extremely close and helped each other get thru several very ugly years of divorce. Because of this, we have a special bond that goes beyond most siblings relationships.  To all my siblings far and near, thank you for your love and help thru troubled and wonderful times!

God’s gift was given

A Gift was Given

So many people pray, whether whispered, spoken aloud, or maybe a simple quiet thought. I’m not sure if a prayer was answered or just given to me with-out prayer.  We forget as our life passes by, the prayers that have been given with-out being ask for.  It was almost eighty years ago, long before I was born, I was graced by God without being prayed for. You see my Mother-in-law was born in a small (really small town) in southern Indiana. Along with her twin brother and several other sisters and brothers, they grew up knowing a simple life, but a Christian life. That young girl as pretty as her middle name (Rose) would eventually marry a man who I admired and loved, and still do even today after his death twenty-three years ago. God graced me, and so many others by allowing us to know, their love and become a part of their family. I have been with the family for thirty-three years, and married to their beautiful gift from God for twenty-seven years.

We lost my father-in-law twenty-three years ago, and now my mother-in-law last week. I’ll miss them both forever, but I find comfort in knowing that they are once again together. I realize now that a gift was given, and with that gift families were given even more gifts. Gifts from the Lord will always be there, we just have to accept them and love each and every one of them.

Ryan’s Prayer

Thank you Lord

for the Rose that was gifted,

Its beauty and life,

the reason our hearts, will always be lifted.


A rose that brought love and sunshine

with her loving delicate touch,

a love that will never be forgotten,

and always be missed, so very much.


So bring her into heaven,

and please give her a special place,

place her soul in the heaven’s bouquet,

allowing her and Gene to once again embrace.


The beauty in our heaven

has never been so bright,

two souls joined once again,

making a single, loving, brilliant light.


Allow their light to shine downward

upon us who keep them near to our heart,

for someday will be together again,

eternally never to part.


Lord I ask thee,

for this I pray,

keep them near your heart,

until we’re all together again one day.



Sea Shell by the Sea Shore – Watercolor

Listen… can you hear it, years and years of families making memories. Can’t hear it yet, put the shell a little closer to your ear, and listen closely, now do you hear the kids laughing as they run back and forth, up and down the beach, avoiding the waves edge. Maybe the laughter as the dad throws his kids high in the air and catching them just before they land in the ocean waters or maybe the building of the first sand castle for some small kids and the amazement in their eyes when something so beautiful can be made from something so simple.  Or maybe the teenagers playing games, hoping that they meet someone special to spend their Spring Break with.  Or maybe that retired older couple that spends their days hand in hand walking the beach, remembering all those memories and still making more as they go. Can you hear it, can you hear it now?  If not, maybe it’s because you haven’t experienced it yet, and just don’t know what it sounds like.  Take my advice, and locate the nearest ocean and go, we drive 10-14 hours to get to one, and it’s all worth it!  Sacrifice some unnecessary, material things, and take that special one, family or your kids, and go.  I think you’ll find that it is all worth it in the end.  And while your down there, buy a conch shell, they are only a few dollars, mark the date on the bottom of it, and put your ear close to its opening and listen every once in a while, I think then you hear all the memories that you had made.  Thanks, and make some memories with your family!

My Country Sweetheart

Love is in the air!  Do you remember your first crush on someone? That moment when you first looked at them, and you weren’t sure what was going on with your stomach.  You kind of felt funny inside, sort of a tickling feeling, but a feeling you liked and you knew it was a good feeling.  Now what do you do?  Tell them, avoid them, or go the complete opposite and be mean to them, trying to hide your feelings,  Oh, what the heart can do to a person.  I had several of these in grade school, some were for married women, that’s right even in 2nd grade, I had a crush on a married woman, there was a little age difference, but you can’t let age get in the way of love.  Even before that, I had a crush on a girl in the 1st grade, she wasn’t as mature (she was in the 1st grade), but I knew what I liked.  I even wrote (changed) a song just for her, at that time here was a song that had lyrics “My baby does the Hanky Panky”, I, being the romantic type that I was, rewrote the lyrics to say “My Deanne does the Hanky Panky”, I know, I Know, Wow, who could resist that… she did, and broke my heart.  You heartless women out there!  After that I had several crushes on girls, but the hardest that I ever felt was in High School.  Wow, as soon as this girl strolled into the room, with her arms holding her books against her chest, with arms crossed, her head tilted slightly down in a shy but cute way, and her walk… well I’ll leave that one alone.  Bam Bam Bam, my heart started pounding, warmth shot through my body, what could or should I do? She’ll never go out with me, there’s no way.  And then it happened, she looks up with her Icy blue eyes, and looks at me… oh my God, this is it, and then walked on by and set down.  Damn it! I should have said something, anything, but I didn’t.  I know what your thinking, this is the girl that I wonder about, what would have happened if I would have said something.  Where is she now?  I could have been happier with her possibly.  Nope, non of the above, because I married her!  We dated all through high school, and married when we were 22.  We just had our 25th Anniversary last year, and I’m telling you, my heart still gets that funny feeling when I’m around her, but now its not just puppy love or a crush, it’s respect, admiration, and pride in what she was and what she has become.  Not everyone can say this, a matter of fact very few can say this, but my biggest crush is still my wife.  Happy Valentines Day!  and don’t forget that feeling you had or having, respect it, enjoy it and grow old with it!

Be mine Valentine-nude

Well this isn’t my valentine, I’ve had the same one for thirty years now. This nude is a graphic done with water soluble marker (red) and black ink on hot pressed illustration board.  The red was applied directly in area that I was wanting a solid color and then water on a brush was used to shade out from that.  The trick here is to do small areas at a time or the ink will dry to the point of not being workable.  Multicolors can be used but on this project, for valentines reminder, I preferred just the red and black.  Once the red was applied, I then came back with the black ink and shaded over the red.  I’m hoping to put a short video together soon of this technic, it’s rather easy but hard to explain, so I’m hoping a video will help, and also so you’ll can see just what a hick I really am! Thanks and don’t forget to do something special, for that someone special on Valentines day!

When they were little

My, my, my how time flies, these two little girls of mine are now 16 and twenty years old. Although I’m very proud how both turned out with an amazing intelligence and beauty.  They have both given me a lifetime worth of love and memories.  memories of walking hand in hand with my oldest to the local store to get an ice cream, while waiting for her mom to get off work down the street.  I know this doesn’t sound like much, but the true heartfelt love that we shared in daily stories and learning on that walk, makes for a wonderful memories.  The memory of building their play house and swing by hand just to watch my youngest swing all day, right side up, upside down, twirling in circles, up to the age that most would have stopped.  Sure there are memories of birthday parties, vacations and all the bigger moments of memories, but it was some of the small things that meant so much to me.  It did help that our girls were disciplined early, so by time they were 2 or 3 we could take them anywhere and never had to worry about fits or misbehavior. They learned early that dad would not put up with that.  For you younger couple or those about to have children, may I give you some advice that you might have had or heard before.  Spend as much time with your kids as possible, they do grow up so fast that moments missed are never going to come back.  Walk with your kids and truly listen to them and what they are saying.  Play with them as though you were a child once again.  But most importantly, remember you are their IDOL, that doesn’t last forever, so make sure you enjoy every moment of it.  Also from the very beginning of their lives, you are the main teacher of life and habits for your child.  If you show love easily, they will show love, if you show anger constantly, they will show anger, if your habits are bad (smoking, drinking, abuse of any kind), odds are they will follow in those same foot steps.  Now does this mean your children will be perfect, heck no.  They’re kids, and I have a receding hairline and high blood pressure to prove it.  But by working hard and putting so much love into your children, you have given them the best teaching and opportunity that you could give.  Make sure you give your children just as much time alone with you as you would golf, hunting, t.v. or other past times.  Don’t give your children new games or toys just so they will go away and play, all they will do is pile up in the corner along with the memories that you could have been making with your children.  Well enough preaching and now for some of my memories.

1.  Taking my girls fishing… learning to leave my gear at home because I was to busy getting their hooks out of the trees.  Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

2.  The look in their eyes when first seeing the ocean… both always seeming to have one butt cheek that wouldn’t stay in their swim suites bottoms.  Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

3.  Staying in a cabin with all their cousins and pulling and swinging them around on a quilt and a wood floor trying to force them off… learning how out of shape I was pulling them. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

4.  The wonder and awe they had for everything Disney World could offer… Aerosmith’s rock-n-roll roller coaster ROCKS. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

5.  Watching them come down the steps at Christmas time half a sleep, hair sticking out and their little long gowns on… tearing up now, sniffle sniffle.  Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Don’t miss the chance of memories!

In the shadows – Life drawing (nude)

I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, it shouldn’t because a human body is not only the most complexed form, but is also one of the most beautiful. I’m working on larger paintings at home, but until I finish those I did a quick ink wash of this beautiful form in the shadows. I might finish it with more details, but I’m not sure.

All a Board! – watercolor

This is a watercolor that I did years ago for my stepfather. My stepfather is a wonderful, loving man that took pride in everything he did. Born into a very very poor family, he was forced more or less into being a migrant worker while in grade school. He worked picking cotton out in the fields, when most kids were playing baseball or playing with trucks. They ate anything that crawled or flew, and had very few clothes. He had several jobs growing up up including shining shoes, barber, military and the railroad. His education only extended to the 8th grade but he is one of the most brilliant and intelligent person that I’ve known. He absorbed everything around him in both books and life. He began working on the L&N and CSX railroad in his thirties and retired from it years ago. Even though they are on the train most of the time it is a very hard and dirty job, but every time he got called in whether it was in the afternoon or middle of the night, he would always sharpen his knife to the point of being able to shave hair off your arms, shine his boots to perfection, iron his shirt and jeans. He taught us to respect and have pride in what we have, are jobs and most of all family. He is the one who always pushed me to be the artist I am, when everyone else seen it as a waste of time and I thank him for this.

He suffers from Ahlzeimers for about six years now and things are changing, but he still has a wonderful sense of humor  and still continues to love and hold his stepchildren and grandchildren close to his heart. So my love and my heart will always be with my stepdad, no matter what the future holds for him or myself.

Love Ya dad!