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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Future Boy

Future Boy saves the world.
Future Boy is very smart.

Regular Boy gets eaten.
He can't even save himself.


The perdy pictures

Shawnee made these pages for a project I'm working on. I don't think they are legible at this size, but you can look at the perdy pictures.

There's more where these came from.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Going Old School

I went "Old school" and painted these flowers today.

Pretty basic.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Paintress gretchen slideshow

Here's a self-promotional slideshow I made for a project I'm working on....

I'll be giving away free ponies to those that actually watch the whole thing.


This poor creature has no name. Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

View from a leaf

Today I painted this crazy plant.
I don't know what kind of plant it is, but maybe you do. It's blooming like mad so I thought I'd better paint it.

I was thinking about creating a place that your brain could escape to, just for a moment.
You could hide behind a leaf and live there for a little while.
Maybe watch the sunset.
Something like that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jesus finds a rainbow in the oil spill

This is a different painting than the one I did yesterday, but similar in theme.
Why I'm painting these I really don't know.

Lots of posts today. Make sure to read about Art Mummy, The Fruit Queen, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner!

Art Mummy

I painted this one today too. This one comes with a poem of sorts, that's not necessarily related....

It's what's outside the lines that I find interesting.
I want to get away and explore what lies
right over there.
What is it?
Sometimes you can see it from the corner of your eye.
Don't look or it will go away again.
It's a memory that you can only catch in snippets.
I'm going in now...

The Fruit Queen

This is the Fruit Queen.

She lives on Pluto.

She likes to see Hydra rise over the methane gas in the early evening.

She is tired of watching the fruit go by.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Today we are going to take a very brief look at artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (May 6 1880 – June 15 1938)

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a German Expressionist painter. He was one of the founders of the artists group Die Brücke or "The Bridge".

Kirchner's "Die Brücke"

From what I can tell, Die Brücke focused much of their attention on "Free Love".
There seems to have been a lot of nude group life-drawing sessions that devolved into orgies.
Believe it or not, between all the sex and partying... Expressionism started here!

Kircher's studio 1915 Berlin

Kirchner joined the army during WW1, but suffered a nervous breakdown, so he split the scene.
He then spent a lot of time in sanatoriums in Switzerland.
His mental and physical health, by the way, was never particularly good.
He didn't really loose his hand though, he was just being dramatic.

Kirchner loved to par-tay...a lot! He big into smoking, drinking and women.
This self-portrait is called "The Drinker". He doesn't look like he feels so hot in this painting.

He looks like he's feeling pretty good in this portrait though.....

Kirchner loved the "ladies of the night".
He painted endless portraits of prostitutes on the streets of Berlin.

As he got older, he was more into painting landscapes than women.
He spent a lot of time painting on the German island of Feharn. I don't know if these were painted there, but I like them.

In 1933, he was labeled a "Degenerate" by the Nazis.
In 1937, over 600 of his paintings were confiscated from museums and destroyed.
From 1936 onward Kirchner was increasingly disturbed by news of the Nazis' attack on modern art. Before the Nazis' could get to them, he started destroying his own work at home. Some say he took his pistol and shot at his paintings.
On June 15, 1938, he committed suicide by shooting himself.

And so ends today's art history lesson. I've got to go paint and think about the life of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jesus thinks twice before walking on the water

Here's a new painting I started today...

It's called "Jesus thinks twice before walking on the water".


Sunday, June 20, 2010

The St. Pierre School of Sports is for sale

The St. Pierre School of Sports, a Martha's Vineyard Island institution, has closed it's doors after 70 years.

Started in 1939 by J. Raoul St. Pierre ( or as we were instructed to call him, "Sir") and his wife Dorothy, St. Pierre's School of Sports has been an Island tradition for generations of kids.

My family's history with the school begins in 1950, when my father, Gene Baer, became a councilor there. The camp was in a different location at the time, it was at a massive beach compound that included a mansion and a pine-paneled lodge.
"Sir", a Harvard educated trial lawyer, was brilliant at creating a vision of old school New England charm and selling this vision to others.
His "pine-paneled Lodge" was a really just a garage, complete with grease pit. This impressive property was rented. He threw cocktail parties on the beach for parents and councilors alike. He was a regular "Thurston Howell III".

In 1959, St. Pierre somehow managed to buy the old Marine hospital for just one dollar.
This is where the camp has been located ever since.
Sir ran the "School" (camp) with a blue blood flair and a military style.
Time was often military time, "canteen" rations
( candy) was given on Fridays at 15:00 hours.
The main focus of the School has always been archery, sailing, fencing and sports.
Sir was said to be excellent at all of these.

The St. Pierres never changed a thing about the hospital, that's part of what made it so intriguing.
They kept all the original Marine hospital signs up for the rooms.
The "X-ray Room" was the dining hall.
The "Operating Room" was the St. Pierre's bedroom.
Here again they didn't alter a single detail except to pull out the operating light (leaving the hanging electrical cords) and move a bed directly underneath.
A gun always lay on the night stand. More than once Sir shot at neighbor kids messing around on the grounds at night.

For the campers to sleep on, they kept all the original Marine soldier's bunk beds. Even the mattresses, with vintage blood stains, remain authentic.
The attic of St.Pierre's is full of old marine relics such as ancient nurses uniforms encrusted in blood.
The cellar contains the operating table, dentist chair, and a locked cell room full of shot- up beer cans that Sir used as as target in his indoor shooting range.

In the 1970's, my father helped run the camp once again.
Because of this, my brother Chris and I were given "scholarships" for many years.
I don't think the St. Pierre's ever made much money in all 70 years of running this camp.
They simply relied on Sir's ingenuity and Dorothy and Barb's hard work to keep their door open. They gave scholarships freely. My father says that whenever he would try to give St. Pierre money, Sir would say "Oh come on, Gene, we're old friends".

In this photo you see in the upper left-hand corner, "Sir" St. Pierre, Dorothy St. Pierre, and their daughter, Barb (in yellow). Barb also liked to be called "Babs", "Tassels" or "Bubbles".

Barb was fun. She taught us a thing or two that we probably never should have known at that age, but this was all part of the experience! Barb eventually ran the camp for many, many years.

Dorothy or "Dee" was a sweetheart. She worked the hardest of anyone. She was the heart of the school, she made all us kids feel loved and at home. "Fine, fine, perfect, perfect" was the credo Dee lived by.

Here I am at around age 12 ( on the left). Note the cabins in the background.
Those are the old nurses cabins. They were falling apart and we weren't supposed to go there, but of-course we did.
In the grounds below to the right, (not shown) was the old incinerator, where they reportedly burned the bodies of some of the Marines in the days when it was a hospital.

Every afternoon, we went sailing on "M 15" and "M 16" ( Sweet Sixteen).
The boats were ancient. My father recollects that these boats were old even when he first sailed them in 1950. Imagine teenagers sailing these rickety boats full of younger kids all the way from Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket.
My father says that Sir "believed in kids".
He simply believed kids could do this, and he was right.

Emily and Gracie are the daughters of Barb. Like their mother before them, they grew up to eventually run the camp themselves.

The St. Pierre's could have sold the old Marine hospital years ago and made a bundle, but they didn't. Three generations ran this camp instead.
On an island where property value is at a premium, and taxes are through the roof, this is no small feat. How they managed to keep the doors open for so many years, I guess we'll never know.

Now that St. Pierre's is up for sale, and will soon become some rich person's summer trophy home, I guess it is truly a thing of the past.
It belongs to a time when there was no fear of lawsuits. A time when parents would send their kids away for the entire summer with no sunscreen, bug repellant, or money.
A time when kids were set free to explore the world... to sail the seas, to fence with friends, to swim a mile every day, to jump off tall piers, to swim at midnight, to test their limits.
When Sir sat on the porch of his kingdom every afternoon, this was his payment time.
He was king of all that he surveyed, he was lord of the manor, he was "Sir".
Many, many thanks to the St. Pierre family for enriching and shaping our lives and the lives of generations of kids on Martha's Vineyard.
We will always cherish the memory of "The St. Pierre School of Sports".

Post script: Great news! St. Pierre's is now the Martha's Vineyard Museum!
There couldn't be a happier ending to this story!
The memory of the St. Pierre family and the generations of children their lives touched,
will live on in this wonderful museum!

Photo credits: Jacqueline Baer, Mark Lovewell, and Andrea Roth Sanna

Saturday, June 19, 2010


What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Gabby Giffords?

That's right, My Little Pony.
Isn't that weird how our minds think alike?

I saw Gabby yesterday and I gave her a Border Bedazzlers shirt.
I didn't really even explain it, she just said...
"Everyone needs a little bling on the border".
Isn't that weird how our minds think alike?

Uncanny, really.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Business cards

My new Business cards.....

Thanks, Shawnee!

Who I'd like to meet

One of the top people I'd like to meet in my lifetime is Siouxsie Sioux.
Her music drives me crazy, in a good way.
Her brilliant song writing blows my mind.
Her ability to paint a picture though music is what I love most.
Like many English artists, she isn't good with video though.
I don't know what thats about, but it seems to be a common English trait.
I steer clear from her videos, most of the time. If you can find a live video, this is the best.

Of her personal life, little is known about Siouxsie.
I think she is a very private person.
This suits me just fine, as I'd rather make up what her life is like anyway.
I imagine her wandering around her enormous English garden that surrounds her ancient castle, making up songs in her head.
I imagine her closing the door to her castle turret and disappearing for days on end. Plates of fruit are left at her locked door by her maid. Three days later, she emerges exhausted with a handful of new songs.
I could go on and on about what Siouxsie does with her time, but it all would be my own invention.
I just love her music.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trying to see

Day two of painting this rather large portrait .
(4' by 6')

I'm trying to loosen up my strokes,

I'm trying to really see, but I'm not there yet.

Someday, I hope.

In other news....
Hillary Vs. Janimal.
Need I say more?