Tuesday, October 20, 2020

between now and now

During the pandemic, you must notice the alteration of so many things, but one stands out - how time passes. This story reflects extraordinary passage of time.

One dreary wet Fall day, I was sitting on the fire escape when something very large and black flew by at an incredible speed. It was a bit jarring since it came so close to me. Five minutes later it returned, but as it zipped by it suddenly and incredibly stopped  and there in front of me about 4 feet from my face was the biggest blackest dragonfly I had ever seen with a 7 inch wingspan hovering and staring right at me. 
I yelled out and it flew away.

Later I asked google what a visit by a dragonfly means. I received various links to some pretty out there stuff.  I liked one article that explained the visit meant that you were supposed to pay more attention to the present. Stop living in the past or future. Stay present.

So that article stayed with me for a long time and I actually began to change my life. I began to live more in the now. 
I stopped analyzing so much and moved energy from passive to active mental, physical and emotional. What a rush!

I told the story about the dragonfly visit several times. One day I got a call  from a friend who wondered why there was a mirror on my fire escape? Oh that? I quibbled.
It's a piece of aluminum foil I put up to attract birds. It must have read like a  mirror from a distance.

I then realized that my dragonfly visit had nothing to do with me. Or time. He was drawn to the odd square of light emanating from behind me. The  juxa-position of myself and the mirror created an unexpected glow of light from behind and intrigued the creature.

So the dragonfly visited me regardless - just not the reason I thought.
And his story and telling his story over and over helped change my life for the better and "woke me up" from my stupor of living in a hollow world with no imagination.  I could exist and flourish and draw my strength from my imagination, like I've done my whole life.

It reminded me of when I asked my father how time passed for him at 85 years old. He replied - "it's like one very long day - from birth to old age". Dad died at 98. His life  must have seemed like watching a film in fast forward - everything and everyone, moving and talking at an incomprehensible speed.

And then I had a revelation.  How we choose to spend time is paramount to how we engage in living or not. I want to live my life to the fullest. Contemplation plays a big part in the land of the living - something I find harder and harder to do as I age. I want to be more active physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  This is what I want more of in life - not money, possessions, things, position or fame. Those things are fine, but they are not my ultimate concern nor who I am.

REPOSE oil on panel, by Tom Irizarry 9 x 12 inches, 2019

Monday, July 27, 2020


How hard is it to be a leader in the world today.
I look at all the unrest in the world, the misery, sadness, hatred and greed.
I wonder where are our leaders.
I think surely a great one is at hand. That one will rise from the ashes of our own destruction and be the beacon of light that will guide the way leading us out of all this darkness and selfullness.
What I see is Noone wearing masks. No one on TV News.
Noone on TV period.
No leaders of our churches.

No priests wearing masks saying mass except in other countries.

Did you know you can actually speak through a mask?

No leaders.
Is it so hard to hold Faith.
Can we think of someone else besides ourselves.
Is there noone to look up to besides our own reflections.
Do not stand by ignorance. 

Do not give into self.  

Do not give into falsehood. 

Stand tall. Live today. 

Protect and respect.

Affirm and love. 

Now or never. 

Wear a mask always . 

The plague is around us. It is in us. It is selffullness. 

Value the sanctity of life.

Think of someone besides myself.

The Phoenix will arise in a blaze of glory more brilliant than we can imagine. 

Hope Eternal.

 Hope Eternal (Brooklyn Skie)

Thursday, April 19, 2018


My father was an accomplished watercolorist, and one of the finest draftsmen I have ever met with a natural understanding of color and form. He was an Ad Man in the 60's and created logos entirely by hand. He loved drawing them almost as much as sketching people. I inherited my father's love of drawing. He certainly encouraged it in me when I was very young.

I recently completed a monogram for a commission, even though it had been canceled. I found myself so attached to the design that I decided to fabricate it. Something about it encouraged the identity of silver as a precious metal. Something Precious and Dear,  and something Glowing and Radiating such as is found in silver and good design.

In this piece,  the "script" of the letter accomplishes it's mission of free form flowing lines that interconnect and weave between themselves, telling a story in silver, in design, and beyond.

Kelly and Rocco, KR
Sterling Silver
60 mm x 60 mm

Friday, April 22, 2016

Changing one's Desires

I went to the doctor today and we were discussing diet.  He used a phrase that stuck in my head all day. He said, "so that's good, you desired something more healthy to eat - you changed your desires." As he repeated the phrase it just echoed more and more in my head..."changed your desires"... an interesting thought beyond culinary choices, as-well-as an excellent metaphor for life choices, aesthetic choices, and art making choices...

For the purpose of this blog I will address it in terms of art making choices.

I think the urge to create art works that are derivative comes from the desire to re-create the energy from the object that originally draws our attention. Ancient small iron sculptures of discus throwers comes to mind and the incredible tactile quality of their skin, their shape, and their motion. The temptation is to replicate the small statue of a tight compact athletic shape to try to capture a similar satisfaction that fills the desire of proportion and surface.

There is a way to "use" the experience of viewing the athlete and to translate it's perfect energy into one's thoughts and formation of a work of completely different content, yet no less intensity. This is what we call  making good art. Thoughtful, well crafted, and created to stand it's ground and speak it's own voice.  That's a far cry from a seductive work, but never-the-less may require a "changing of one's desires".

Greek Diskus Thrower, bronze

Delicate Breathing, oil on canvas, 6' x 8'

Friday, October 23, 2015

Titanite or Sphene Gem

Watching cable tonight, the gem network was selling a number of stones called "sphenes".
Gotta say - the multifaceted cut was highly specialized by a  featured gemologist, but the stone was quite costly at 250.00/carat. Still one marveled at the extreme faceting, and sheen of multiple colors - red, green, yellow fire over a lovely bright amber base.

The refraction of light of gems has captured my attention for many years, first brought to my attention by the painters Van Eyke brothers Hubert and Jan. No one has surpassed the Van Eykes with their crystal clear miracle varnish that hasn't clouded their original oil medium in over 600 years. I recently obtained a copy of the new Van Eyke, Up Close, which depicts many of their paintings in close up photography. You can share my excitement of these visual masterpieces of  by viewing the Ghent Altarpeice,digitally up close:


What is noteworthy is what is NOT there in paint...to the effortless transition glazes. The imprimatura is critical in creating the middle tone and carefully used by the artist from depicting fabrics to gems, where the fall of light is critical to the surface and texture.

Understanding the imprimatura in painting is helpful to understanding design in jewelry making.
By using the paint in an incidental manner- rather than focusing on it, but rather to achieve something else such as the depiction of light, is like using metal to achieve something else - to create a feeling or concept that speaks beyond the material itself. One loses sight of metal and at the same time is captivated and mesmerized by it's crystaline metamorphorsis into an object of desire or emotion or beauty.

Soon you will see examples of  my painting and metalsmithing that should be interesting to view side by side. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

blinded by the light - chatoyancy

There appears in nature, certain stones that resemble a cat's eye. Light reflects through parallel bands of fibrous material. This phenomenon is known as chatoyancy.

Not all stones are useful for making paint, however, I sometimes find myself drawn to certain minerals for other reasons that initially may seem remote, but then  their relevance becomes apparent.

Such is the case with a stone called "Cat's Eye".
Here is a picture of it:

I have purchased this stone for my father and myself. One of it's greatest characteristics is it's ability to protect. Recently I became interested in another version of Cat's Eye, called Hawk's Eye. Hawk's Eye is red and in addition to the same guarding property of Cat's Eye, it is "very grounding". I carry Hawk's Eye with me daily, both for it's stability enhancing effect in a rough work world, and for the reminder of it's incredibly brilliant example of chatoyancy...

I enjoy staring at these stones daily. They are extremely soothing to the eyes. 

One day i was passing a wire sculpture on campus. The sculpture was capturing the light that was so pleasing and relaxing to my eyes. The late morning light was reflecting on parallel "bands" of wires and creating chatoyancy!
That is how I interpreted it loosely. But I was amazed that a similar effect was created with entirely different materials.