Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson’s great novel for young readers, sprang from a single sheet drawing he made while spending an afternoon with his stepson Lloyd in the summer of 1881. They were living in Scotland at the time, and a summer rain had confined Lloyd to the house. He spent that time in […]
How can we know what something or some location looked like 200 or 300 years ago? If some master painter depicted someone or something and it hung in a museum, gallery, or collection, that would be one means. Usually, these works were done in oil and took much time and training to complete. Consequently, they […]
Louisa May Alcott, The Times of London, Dostoyevsky, and a few presidents here and there: newsletter, June 1, 2018
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,086) on June 1, 2018 America’s Memorial Day weekend had us looking back for many good reasons this week. Those memories were mixed with some rain here in East Tennessee that has the garden growing like crazy. Beans, potatoes, okra, peas, and buckwheat. Thanks […]
Farewell, Philip Roth; Mencken on the language; how we got Sherlock, and more: newsletter, May 25, 2018
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,081) on May 25, 2018 Thanks to all who wrote or commented on Facebook about the dulcimer that I made and showed off in last week’s newsletter. I am going to start on another one before long. Sadly, for the second week in a […]
The man who wanted every book; the quintessential English detective; and the first American crime novel; and morenewsletter May 18, 2018
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,644) on May 18, 2018 A summer head cold attacked me this week, making life miserable for a few days, but I tried not to let it slow me down too much. The major woodworking project that I mentioned last week was completed and […]
Martin Luther, Isaac Asimov, and the value of libraries; 50-plus true-crime books; and more; newsletter, April 27, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,067) on Friday, April 20, 2018. Finally, the crimson clover has started to bloom (about a month late, due mostly to cold weather). Agriculturally, that’s the big event in our lives this week. The bees have started to work the clover, and now, maybe, the […]
These drawings come from a watercolor class that I am taking at the local community college (Pellissippi State) this semester. They were executed in about an hour and a half. The main point of these drawings was for me to learn something about “hot press” paper. In watercolor there are three kinds of paper: […]
Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;/ . It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;/ . It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,/ For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
Buildings and structures are among my favorite subjects when I paint with watercolors. Part of the reason for that has to be that when I was learning watercolors, I was teaching at the University of Alabama (where I spent 25 years of my career). That campus has to be one of the prettiest in the […]
New biography of Agatha Christie; loving alliteration; remembering the Sabbath; newsletter March 16, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,088) on Friday, March 16, 2018. Hi, [FIRST NAME GOES HERE] Lots of readers have reacted to lots of different things in previous newsletters, and I include many of those reactions in this week’s missive. I have said this many times: I love hearing from you on […]
Shakespeare’s appearance, Eleanor’s mastery, and Cronkite’s broadcast – plus a new book giveaway: newsletter, March 2, 2018
One of the seminal events in America’s long involvement in Vietnam occurred 50 years ago this past week. CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite — often called “the most trusted man in America” — narrated a prime-time documentary that called into question the American government’s rosy predictions about the war’s progress. Cronkite did not come out against the war. […]
A name for this newsletter; more on Shakespeare; the lost eloquence of the sports page: newsletter, Feb. 23, 2018
Vince’s first novel is titled Paperboy, and it’s the story of a boy growing up in Memphis who has a stutter. Vince himself is a stutterer, and the story rings true on every page. The novel was a Newberry Honor Award winner, and the Washington Post said: “[Vawter’s] characterization of Little Man feels deeply authentic, with . . . […]
I tried to construct a portrait that was fairly close to realistic and without too much distortion for my birthday tribute to Mr. Lincoln. But the body, of course, is very much in the caricature mode.
Leonardo’s journals; eyewitness to the biggest event of the first century; football art and the First Amendment; newsletter Feb. 9, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,317) on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Hi, This has been The Week of Interesting Things for me. Most of my weeks could take that moniker, but this one seemed especially full. I try to put a lot of interesting things I find into the newsletter, but I […]
Painting a subject more than one, especially within a short span of time, is not my usual thing. But this was different. I wanted to test out three color approaches, and I wanted to do it with a landscape that would not be too difficult to render. So here’s the result:
Moore discovered a gold mine for his artwork in 1979 when he produced “The Goal Line Stand,” a photo-realistic oil painting of the moments when Alabama prevented Penn State from scoring in the Sugar Bowl.
Another painting giveaway; Amazon gift cards; Pliny the Younger, Rome’s great eyewitness reporter; newsletter, Feb. 2, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,222) on Friday, February 2, 2018. Hi, I watched a super moon, a blood moon, and a lunar eclipse this week. Not as spectacular as the solar eclipse we saw last summer but still pretty phenomenal. Nature has its moments — many of them, in fact, if we would […]
The first real-life private eye; Neil Sheehan; more crimes against English; newsletter, Jan. 26, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email (4,302) list on Friday, January 26, 2018. Hi, Unseasonably warm weather in East Tennessee last weekend allowed us to check on the beehives, and I am happy to report that both of my hives have bees! This is good news. The biggest challenge a beekeeper has […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,379) on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Hi, Winter has settled in in a big way in my part of the world. Plenty of time for indoor activities, the most important of which is reading. But that’s not the only one. Some writing and some painting […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,500) on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Special note: If you have unsubscribed to this list previously, I apologize for this email. I had some problems with the list over the past couple of weeks — due mainly to my incompetence — and some unsubscribers may have […]
Two poems by Robert Louis Stevenson
In this week’s newsletter
Read about the new book Ole Bert: Sage of the Smokies that Jim has just edited and produced for the Blount County Public Library.
Point Spread on Amazon
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