A Blues Story

September 30, 2009

One Cig
One Cigarette in the Ashtray

My husband is a fan of the blues. We’d been to hear k.d. lang singing Patsy Cline tunes while I was working on a series of blues paintings. This three part painting was inspired by one of her cigarette songs.¬† Cigarettes and depression seem to go hand in hand in blues tunes.

Following is poem inspired by this painting. Feel free to submit your own.

One Cigarette in the Ashtray

Late at night
I comfort a friend
by love abandoned.

We light two cigarettes.

Drinks and stories shared
in smokey haze

coerce my heart into
a lover’s daze.

two cigarettes in the ashtray
turn to three.

Old love appears
and begs to stay.
I witness metamorphosis
as the heartsick is steered
from sad to gay.

Transformation complete,
a look of thanks
and they’re gone.
I sit alone__
sipping coffee, bittersweet,

one cigarette in the ashtray.

by Nancy Marshall

Or a second version:

One Cigarette in the Ashtray

Late, I comfort one abandoned by love.

Our depressions match hand in glove.

Stories shared in smoky haze

Hearts drift into a lovers’ daze.

But the old love appears, begs to stay,

sits that cigarette in the ashtray.

Metamorphosis witnessed, the lovers agree

to try again for harmony.

A smile, a thanks, a brief goodbye,

I sip my coffee and stare outside.

Jack and Ann

September 29, 2009

Jack and Ann
Jack and Ann

  • Oil on Canvas
  • In the collection of J/AO

Jack Ozegovic and Ann Carlin Ozegovic are artists, activists, thinkers and just plain fun folks. I googled both of them and found I could spend an evening following their trail on the internet, so I linked to the first sites that came up. Jack and Ann gave me a collection of their stuff which I arranged in a still life, adding their photos to the mix.

Kayaking the Kaw

September 20, 2009

The Kansas River, originally called the Kaw River, is the longest prairie based river in the world. It runs for 171 miles from Junction City to Kansas City. The river has advocates in an organization called¬† Friends of the Kaw (FOK). It’s leader and the Kansas Riverkeeper, Laura Calwell, led folks on a 5 mile trip today. She loaned me her kayak and I floated gently down the slow moving, muddy river. Mostly I luxuriated in the ribbon of light that surrounds a boat in water, but I also learned some area history and met some nice folks. It was a heavenly day.

I am one of several artists who have a page on the FOK website on the Life on the Kaw page. You can support FOK by buying prints of my work through their organization. I donate a portion of the price to FOK.


September 12, 2009


This was painted while our daughter-in-law was pregnant with Nomi, whose birth was one of the fastest on record. Another grandchild is due next spring. If time in labor is cut in half, the next birthing will be something like the catholic mother’s in Monte Python “And Now For Something Entirely Different“.

This painting came to mind when I was writing yesterday’s blog on the XY show at the Spencer Museum of Art, which explores what it means to be a man. Man or woman, birthing is an abrupt transitional experience that shapes us. The female figure giving birth represents everywoman; she is connected to the web of life, ancestral forms observe as a baby boy is birthed, diving head first into a new way of being.

Today I attended a viewing of the XY exhibit at the Spencer Museum of Art. It was special because there were lots of interesting women, cucumber martinis, sushi, and most importantly, the exhibit’s curator. He was the only male in the group, full of good humor and very gracious as he led the female entourage through the show pointing out subtle things that only the curator could point out: The Leighton sculpture of an ideal young man stretching was set in front of the Mapplethorpe photos of the exact same sculpture; A 1950s Jewish painting of a physically ravaged man is next to a painting of a 1930s Japanese full figured youth; A 20th century magazine engraving of a men’s department store faces a much earlier engraving of the circumcision of the Christ child. Men are shown clean, polished, pumped, war ravaged, deflated, young, middle aged, and old.

This exhibit is well designed, giving viewers an excellent reference point to discuss sexuality, which is so difficult in our culture. The social, political and cultural forces on male sexuality are shown through a variety of works, some forceful, some poignant, some beautiful, all shedding light on what it means to be a man. Bravo Spencer Museum of Art!

Summer Colors in Paint

September 3, 2009

Naomi Paints Sept2009 001

Painting Sept2009 002
We’re in the final weeks of summer. Begonia pinks and greens inspired this patio painting. Naomi and I make a good team. She’s in charge of color. I’m in charge of supplies. We both lay down the paint.

Donuts and Coffee on the River (Detail)
Donuts and Coffee on the River (Detail)

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 12″ x 12″
  • In a private collection

This landscape has elements that would lend themselves to a serene setting; sunrise, a river running through prairie, a breakfast still life, but the painting isn’t serene. The channeled river with it’s narrow riparian area and the orange sky and fields make one more ill at ease than at ease. But a bite of a donut, a sip of coffee, and we move on into the day.