Where I Am January 26 2023

In case anyone wonders where I’ve been, it’s been a difficult year. My mother, aged 97 just passed away this January 5, 2023, and I’ve been her caregiver for the last 8 years. It started with a stroke and then 3 more, they were all “recoverable”. This last year after receiving covid vaccinations, she developed dementia, and that put a new spin on things. Studio time fell away, save for hours between midnight and 4 AM from time to time, when she’d be sleeping. But I had to do some work, to keep balance, to keep a perspective. She fell and broke her femur a few months ago and was healing up well, walking again and scheduled to come home on the 28th of December 2022, from post-surgical rehabilitation (she’d had a titanium rod implanted and had to undergo physical therapy). But on the 23rd she suffered what the medical professionals called a “devastating stroke”. It took out her left arm, her ability to swallow. and to speak. In the hospital they took me aside to tell me she would not recover from this stroke. They saw some slight improvement so they kept her for a week, but at the end of that week, told me there was nothing more medically they could do, and that her care plan would be changed to “comfort care”. She came home and I spent every hour by her side, she lived for another week, hospice coming in and out, and I’ve written everything in a journal, which I hope to continue to do through the process of grieving, adjusting, and starting over. As soon as I can I will start posting new ideas and works again.


Mid-late June is a time of the season I’m called/enthralled with nature, representational as it is, as the best way, for me, to express creative ideas

Earth Angel Roses have a scent like baby powder and lemon

Strawberries fresh picked

The Digital Painting Skill Set

I’m convinced that digital painting has it’s own set of rules, especially regarding construction/deconstruction and the specifics of the “medium”. Air quotes for a few different reasons: 1a Beside the point, there’s nothing medium about mediums, they’re always large or small, in practicality, and looming-wise.
1b. Application of color whatever medium, rules.
2. Digital painting requires facility with specialized tools, an understanding of how to bend the rules, and needs to employ color calibration visually on-screen and for print foundation:).
3. Complex selection isn’t something that can be done on a canvas, excepting perhaps collage.
4. Visual acuity is a requirement even more than typical and re-orienting hand skills is a basic.


Mandalas have been an important theme spanning a lifetime, starting in the early 70’s at the Boston Museum School. I showed Mandalas I’d meticulously painted during my final review board prior to graduation at the Boston Museum School. I’d begun working with them in my second semester studying Asian Arts, history, ideas with Joan Lebold Cohen. Aside, I was very fortunate to have had the artist, who later became art dealer, Pat Hearn, on my review board that time. I remember she’d wide-eyed expressed that she didn’t know I was also a painter, having known my work in video, film, sound, performance, which was a focus in the last 4 semesters especially. I suppose if I’d gone to New York in the 80’s I’d have been a known entity of the Boston School, I knew them all and worked with most, and for reasons I can’t explain adequately here, I stayed in MA to live on Cape Cod.

      365 animated gifs, some of which you xan see here, were created as a challenge, my new year’s resolution of 2019: I will do a mandala-a-day for a full year and post them daily on twitter. It was a most expansive challenge to be able to accomplish given my overloaded schedule, having taken on the role of a caregiver these last few years. and also needing to focus on music, technology and design. I started with single images, digital drawings, and in a few weeks evolved into animated gifs, which after time I became more facile with doing. You can find all of them, scroll down a bit, at  tweets/tipotato

Digital Work

what does digital photography do for my art? it is a new unique way of “painting”- What makes it unique is the painterly attention to the image that I can get using a low resolution 3.5 mp. First the photo itself must have the composition, framed as a painting is – any image will tell a story, it is told with relativity, balance, focus. Then the subtle and interesting aspects of the image are developed using handwork, complex selection – elements will be hand-drawn to emphasize a line, shape, contrasting planes, etc. With a painterly approach the final piece is complete in “emotional” likeness, and potentially reflects a new reality.


Often, with understanding art, the less said, the more direct the experience. I notice that there is an almost sterile environment in the websites of most serious creative people. As if the curriculum vitae and the work itself says enough, there is no attempt to explain, enhance or break down. Such communication left sparse allows the viewer/participant to explore on their own terms. And formally trained artists already “get” it, no words required.

But, I have an issue with that. Why? Because there are segments of society, such as health insurances, tax information, protocols for paperwork, etc. that I don’t understand save for base level acquaintance. And when I search for information, it astounds me that more often than not, the information sources have a high-level assumption that I already know what they are talking about. I have to keep insisting that I’m really stupid about these things in order to gain a satisfactory answer to a simple question.

And it came to my attention in 2005-06, when as an “artist-in-residence” with a local program, given a public space to work and show, that many of my visitors were as clueless about art as I was about things like taxes, probably because of the finance cuts over the last decades to art edu in public schools. I found myself more and more having to talk about art in ways that people with no background education could understand.

And so, if I communicate over-the-top in terms of modern approaches to showing art in a website, it is because I no longer can assume that my visitors understand the basics I take for granted.