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“Ballyhooing a Funeral” (painting)
(1998)
Acrylic on masonite
Size: 24” x 22”

On a longer-than-usual layover in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, I ran out of reading material and grabbed a local paper. It was full of news of the death of Harry Caray. I was probably the only person in the airport who hadn’t heard of Harry, but his story fascinated me. Before I left the airport, I had bought every paper I could find to read more about him.

The painting developed from Harry’s own words and deeds – for example, the tradition Harry started, the 7th inning stretch to the tune of “Take Me out to the Ballgame.” The flags around the edge denote each of the teams Harry announced for.

Harry was colorful enough not to need much help from an artist. And I suspect he would enjoy a painting celebrating his own “crossing the (last) line” riding his “holy cow.”

 


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“Leatherstocking Tales: 2003” (painting)
2004
Acrylic on masonite
Size: 30” x 24”

The Leatherstocking Golf Course is set on the shores of Otsego Lake and nestled between the Otesaga Hotel, the Fenimore Museum and the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The weekend isn’t complete without working our way up and down the hills on all 18 holes. My golf partners and I have favorite stops on the course, like the Herder’s cottage for snacks. We also have equally favorite things not to do during a game (although we do these things in spite of ourselves), like a wild drive to the fields from the 4th fairway or a drop into the lake by the 16th or 18th hole.

I like painting the golf course; despite its long-term presence, it’s constantly changing. 2003 was the year of the giant red shoe on the Fenimore Museum lawn to advertise the “shoe show.” Already this year, changes include new sand traps and the controversial but risk-avoiding removal of water coolers.

 


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“The Gods of Golf” (painting)
2003
Acrylic on masonite
Size: 36” x 24”

Sometimes the golf course is a spiritual place, and as we play, we often declare that the Gods of Golf are either with us (for example, in the event of a good bounce) or not (such as in the case of a bad lie). So I decided to tell a story about playing with my friends using a traditional, religious motif, an altar’s tryptic. In the center “panel,” my golf partners and I stand at the 12th tee box on Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown, New York, with Wendy having just hit what she dreams of: a hole in one…or at least a change at birdie. Above us, the angels are helping. Below us, the devils do their best to keep our scores above average.

The god on the left is Harry Darling, a lovely man whom we met years ago and who liked to play with us. He is offering his much-appreciated wisdom about playing golf with grace and fun. Today he’s enjoying the game with the angels. Our goddess on the right is Virginia DeCeasar, my yoga instructor, still very much active and keeping me limber enough to swing the club stroke after stroke after stroke and serene enough to still enjoy it.

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“The March on Maris” (painting)
2001
Acrylic on masonite
Size: 24” x 12”

In the summer of 2000, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York devoted its main lobby to a day-by-day watch of the progress of McGuire, Sousa and Griffey, Jr. as they worked at beating Roger Maris’ home run record. As few exhibits have done, this one drew me in regularly. I just wanted to “stop by” and see whether the one baseball record that I recall being set in my youth would be broken.

This was a particularly busy Saturday morning when I brought the two biggest sports fans I know, retired sisters Emma Miller and Lee DiNizo, to see the exhibit. And talk about a small world: Someone I had worked with years before and hadn’t seen in ages was at the Hall of Fame that day. We’re all in the painting.

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