A film review for “A Love Song”


The film, “A Love Song”, is quiet, poetic, patient and lovely. When a story sticks, I pay attention. One reason being that this movie is very much like a painting. The images are allowed time to be, so the viewer can connect and develop an understanding of the characters. The landscape accentuates their humanity.

The web says “A Love Song” was made during the pandemic in southwest Colorado by Max Walker-Silverman along with 8 of his film loving friends. Faye (Dale Dickey)  and Lito (Wes Studi) portray aging, competent individuals who know from long experience the impact of choices.

I don’t usually review films, but while studying my painting, Awakenings, the film “A Love Song” was brought to mind. Years ago I studied and taught filmmaking. It’s a medium that requires exceptional storytelling skills as well as the ability to collaborate . A good group of folks did a fine job telling this one.

Today is a good day to think about what we choose to honor

Opinion, Political

“We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  _Martin Luther King Jr.

 I am fortunate to have friends who remind me that silence speaks volumes. It is because of them that I write this about a community where people that I love, lived and continue to live. I was raised in Palmyra, Missouri, a community that honors the Confederacy with a statue of a confederate soldier in front of the county courthouse. 

Many, but not all, Missourians were southern sympathizers during the US Civil War. The states’ rights issue was slavery. The south lost that war and slavery was made illegal. During the Jim Crow era of the last century, organized southerners made a concerted effort to glorify the South. They tried to reframe the ownership of another human as a states’ rights issue. Numerous statues, similar to the one standing in front of the Marion Co. Courthouse of Palmyra, Missouri, were erected. They are being removed as folks consider what they represent. Palmyra was the site of a horrible war crime, the execution of 12 Confederate soldiers because of the killing of a Union sympathizer. The story should be told, but it shouldn’t glorify the cause of taking up arms against the government for the right to own, use and abuse another human being. We should examine the stories that tell our history and ask if they represent who we are. I think it’s time to remove the statue and share the war crimes and other stories through the historical museum. 

In preparation for a painting, “Along the Way”, which was exhibited in 2018 in Hannibal, MO, I learned for the first time about The March of Death. That section of the painting is shown in the top image of this article. In the 1830s the Pottawatomie were forced marched by a private militia from their Indiana home to Kansas in late fall. They passed through Palmyra. Forty children and many adults died en route. It’s one of many stories we should hear. How we tell them and what we glorify, matters.

An Untimely Death

Portraits, scratchboard
Daniel Kent Lehenbauer 1959 – 2021

There were several events of note happening on January 20, 2021. One bringing hope, the other, was pure tragedy. Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States and my brother, Kent, died of COVID-19 pneumonia. I do blame the administration of Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 as a public relations problem, and not the pandemic it is. Policy leaders in 2020 caused too many folks to dismiss the necessity of taking COVID-19 seriously. I heard several people say, “If I get the virus, I don’t think I’ll get very sick.” Even if that was true, s/he was not giving a thought to a more vulnerable person to whom they could carry the virus. Kent must have received a heavy dose of the virus during an event. Having difficulty breathing, he entered the hospital’s ER and had a bed in a hallway for several days before being transferred to the ICU where he spent the final days of his life intubated, fearful and alone. It was not a good way to die.

His dedicated caregivers were overworked and probably exhausted; constantly in danger of catching and spreading the virus themselves due to lack of safety supplies. The CDC as of today, April 20, 2021, reports 545,750 plus Kent’s death, on death certificates listing COVID-19 as the cause or a contributing factor. The vaccine, once herd immunity is reached, will allow us to return to public places. Does the safety of the community play into a person’s refusal to be vaccinated? The last administration did a great deal of harm to reputable organizations that we rely upon during a health crisis. Would folks refusing to be vaccinated also have refused the polio vaccine? How does it benefit media outlets to put out false reports on the pandemic? There are a lot of unanswered questions belonging to this tragedy.

This wonderful man, Kent, loved by many, is gone in circumstances that could have been avoided. He was one of those guys who paid attention, made you laugh and created fun. He went to the trouble of hiding lots of stuff (including his bowling ball w/ initials) in his friend’s mulch pile; covering his brother-in-law’s name on the coffee mug with masking tape after being chided for drinking from another’s mug; acting as my re-po man when 2 paintings stolen from an Aspen gallery were located in Santa Fe. The stories are many, as were his interests. A regret is that I didn’t do a portrait of Kent during his life. Here I attempt to show not only his handsome face, but his love of life; the open road, biking, water, airplanes, the Sandia Mountains (where his ashes will be scattered) to name a few. The pandemic has provided many lessons, primarily, take nothing for granted. Please get vaccinated. Don’t spread the virus. Perhaps Kent’s untimely death will save others from the same kind of death.

Remembering my brother, Jay

Remembering Family

My brother, John (Jay) Lewis Lehenbauer, died on October 25, 2020, the day after he and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. He seemed to have waited for that hallmark, puckering his lips for a final kiss. I painted this tribute piece for Jay and his lovely wife, Bonita, after my daughter’s wedding a decade ago. Both Bonita and Jay cook. Bonita is famous for her pastries (she made the lemon and chocolate cupcakes for Laura’s wedding as seen in the painting); Jay for his spaghetti and meatballs and barbecue. He was a competitive barbecuer which is a ton of work, but provides hours of telling stories and has a tasty reward.

I wrote the following few memories of Jay, although now, so many more are coming to mind. Adventurous and self-assured but always with the ability to laugh at himself, he’s a treasure I’m going to miss.


John (Jay) Lewis Lehenbauer

My brother was two years younger. I’m sure therapists could speak of predictable sibling rivalry, but all I can recall now is how Jay made me laugh. His humor was revealed in the way he lived as well as his stories with their descriptive details and punch lines delivered with perfect timing.

His advice was similar. Complaining about my flashing “check engine light” once, he handed me a piece of electrician’s tape.

The North KC Auto Auction cafeteria was one of his many business endeavors. I worked for him a couple of times. Jay cooked while the food was served by his loyal elderly staff. I think he gave them a ride to and from the senior center. They loved him and knew what he expected. I was dishing out mashed potatoes. My neighbor Gladys, the gravy lady, said my brother wanted to speak to me in the kitchen, which was steamy and busy. Jay was flipping pork chops, giving instruction, stirring pots…very active. Looking up, he caught my eye and smiling, said, “Feed them. Don’t fatten them.”

Having had the privilege of knowing him in his early years, I’ll share two “Open the Door” stories.

Why the bee was chasing him, I don’t know, but Jay was racing around Grandma and Grandpa Lehenbauer’s farmhouse. Leaping over the sidewalk between the smokehouse and the porch he made at least one full circle of the house yelling “Open the Door” in every open window he passed.

Why the rooster was chasing him, I don’t know, but Jay was racing around Papa Tuley’s and Aunt Lillian’s farmhouse. He yelled “Open the Door” as he raced by the kitchen windows with the rooster 6 paces behind. He was neither stung nor spurred during these experiences.

I did make him cry once when dad was teaching us to fish and I caught Jay’s ear. Ouch!

Thinking back, it occurs to me that Jay rarely complained. And he took the blame for things when he could easily have pointed the finger at me. He was a glass half full guy and made whoever had the pleasure of his company, feel the same way.

I wish we could say, as Mark Twain did, that rumors of his death had been greatly exaggerated. I’d love to see his smile again, but it will live with me in memory. What a lucky sister I am.

Little Blue Dot

Earth from Space
Earth from beyond Saturn

On keeping things in perspective, I’m sharing this piece of wisdom which came to me via a daily newsletter from Mr. Hubbell. I don’t think he would mind if I share his comments along with Carl Sagan’s.

In 1977, the US launched the interplanetary probe, Voyager I. By 1980, Voyager I had passed Saturn and was heading to the outer reaches of our solar system. The great science communicator, Carl Sagan, proposed that NASA/JPL swivel Voyager I to look back at Earth to take one last photo of our home planet. After initial resistance from NASA, Sagan got his wish. Voyager I took one of the most important photographs in human history: A picture of Earth from a vantage 3.7 billion (can that be correct, 3.7 billion?) miles away. The resulting photograph shows Earth as a tiny dot suspended in a sunbeam. (The “sunbeam” is a band of sunlight reflected in the camera lens.) Carl Sagan published a book about the photo, “Pale Blue Dot.” In his introduction, Sagan wrote movingly about seeing Earth from interplanetary space. It is a beautiful reflection on our place in the cosmos.

Sagan wrote:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot (for human existence and the lives of so many species), the only home we’ve ever known.

Artist in Residency in Nebraska

Artist in Residence, Land Use, Miscellaneous, National Park

Homestead Poster Image

Well, that was fun. Home from 2 weeks as Artist in Residence at Homestead National Monument of America .  It allowed me to experience the site and see what kind of work evolved. You can view the initial work HERE. I’ll post the an oil painting in spring of 2020.

The park’s press release:

Artists Selected for Homestead National Monument of America’s

2019 Artist-in-Residence Program

Homestead National Monument of America is excited to announce the artists chosen for the 2019 Artist-in-Residence program. This is Homestead’s eleventh year offering artists the opportunity to live at the monument and create works of art inspired by the Homestead story and its environment.  Homestead is just one of many National Park Service sites that host resident artists to help connect visitors with the park’s meanings using a variety of art forms. Plan to visit the monument this spring through fall to interact with this year’s Artists-in-Residence while they work and create.

This year nine talented artists have been selected to live and work at the monument. They are:

  • Theresa Hottel, writer from New York, New York, March 5-18
  • Cara Calvert-Thomas, painter from Corona, California, April 26- May 9
  • Jeffrey Lockwood, writer from Laramie, Wyoming, May 14- May 27
  • Benjamin Justis, composer from Lawrence, Kansas, May 30- June 12
  • Heather Heckel, painter from Massapequa, New York, July 16- July 29
  • Vickie MacMillan, barn quilt painter from Olympia, Washington, August 15-August 28
  • Nancy Marshall, painter from Lawrence, Kansas, September 12- September 25
  • Marjorie Savage, writer from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, September 26- October 9
  • Benjamin Bohnsack, woodblock printer from Marquette, Michigan, October 11-October 31

“The Artist-in-Residence program is extremely valuable.  It gives park visitors an opportunity to not just see Homestead and its story themselves, but see it through the eyes of the artist, which can be very moving and powerful,” stated monument’s Superintendent Mark Engler.

Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2019. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM), Facebook (HomesteadNM), and Instagram (HomesteadNPS).

Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska and 45 miles south of Lincoln. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit http://www.nps.gov/home/.

Remembering Jack and Ann


Jack and Ann

There a lovely synchronicity when two lovers leave their mortal coils nearly together. Jack Ozegovic died on a December Saturday and Ann Carlin Ozegovic died the following Monday. Both were wicked smart, active, inquisitive, funny, social, opinionated but good listeners and wonderful artists. Their home was welcoming and their frequent gatherings were salons where you met interesting folks, discussed ideas amidst gorgeous art with a spread of delicious food on the table. Jack and Ann had an amazing cadre of friends who, at the end, stepped up to help them keep the faith that health would return, and once that was no longer possible, those same friends supported Jack and Ann on their journey out.

No longer will we see Ann out exercising, registering voters, singing in the choir or Jack calling to say they’re celebrating Tito’s birthday or to announce a meeting of his Men’s Intellectual Improvement Group. Many of us will miss them dearly.

I painted this oil of Jack and Ann Carlin Ozegovic about 20 years ago.

Exhibit, Summer 2018

Miscellaneous, Show Announcements


Designed by Laura Zimney

My work was shown in the summer of 2018 Hannibal, Missouri’s Hannibal Arts Council exhibit space. My co-exhibitors were delightful St. Louis artists, Ben Bradshaw, ceramist, and Bryan Payne, doodler and found object seeker. Their careers will be worth following.

Show announcement above designed by Laura Zimney. The Hannibal Arts Council designed the show announcement below. Thanks to the sponsors.

Hannibal show, rivers treasure e-flyer, summer 2018