Friday, May 19, 2017

FIRE IN THE SKY (a new series)

FIRE IN THE SKY a new series.  Many of the places I have lived have particularly dramatic sunsets and sunrises. When I lived in Key West in the early 70's the entire island would meet down at Old Mallory Square to watch the sunset, play music, and watch the dolphins who came to watch us. The sunsets there were unforgettable.  New Mexico and Arizona are also famous, rightly so, for the spectacular pyrotechnic lightshows that mark the end of the day there. I've spent many years in both places and been awed by hundreds of such nightly displays. Whenever I travel through Tucson, I camp out in the hills outside of town. I often spend those evenings watching a glorious sunset as a backdrop to the saguaro cactus and the lights of Tucson below. Hawaii is another place I called home for many years, where rainbow filled days transform into gorgeous sunsets and sometimes, Moonbows.                                      Big Sur,  is another locale with impossibly beautiful sunsets. During the last supermoon eclipse, my neighbors who live on Clear Ridge, gathered at the top of the ridge to drink wine and watch the eclipse. The top of the ridge is just up behind my microhouse, so it was just a short hike up the hill to join the festivities. From the top, one has a 360 degree panoramic view of the Big Sur coast. It was absolutely ablaze on that night. The color changes and special effects seemed to go on for hours. It isn't really possible to set up an easel and paint it, it changes constantly anyway. Photos don't really quite capture the hugeness of it I just turn on the "record" button in my head and watch...hoping to retain some of what I'm watching. When I get back to the easel I call back some of those impressions and attempt to bring them to life. It's a lot to work with and the challenge of capturing some of that magic on my easel is a never-ending journey. These 8"x10" paintings on canvas are the first of a new series which are my impressions of some of the dramatic skies I have witnessed.  These original paintings are available for $60 each plus shipping.  Please message me at or on my Facebook page if you are interested. Thank you for following my work.

Monday, May 1, 2017


DESERT HIGHWAY 5"x7" oil on panel. SOLD

Driving east on highway 10, I was still basking in the afterglow of my camp out in the chuckwalla mountains.  I relaxed, played some guitar, soaked up the sun and got quite a bit of painting done as well.  I worked on some of my miniatures, inspired by the rock formations, the desert vistas and the warm earth colors...

EVENING LIGHT 5"x7" oil on panel $30 plus shipping

My next stop; El Dorado Hot Springs,  a regular stop off of mine whenever I am traveling highway 10.  I discovered the place by pure serendipity several years ago.  I had been traveling through the heat of the desert summer and I was hot and dry and a cold beer sounded really good. I took an exit that advertised a gas station and a country style cafe.  It seemed promising.  The cafe wasn't open but I noticed a small wooden sign that said "Hot Springs" with an arrow so I decided a shower and a warm soak sounded like a decent substitute for a cold beer...a short way down the road I found a cool and funky place that featured a variety of tubs and pools, rooms and microhouses that could be rented as well as campsites.  It is a great place to relax and refresh after a long drive through the desert. 

RED EARTH 5"x7" oil on panel $30 plus shipping

While I was camping in the chuckwalla mountains I got in touch with a long-time friend who, as it happened, was heading west on highway 10 as I was heading east, so we agreed to meet at the hot springs and share a campsite.  We had a great visit, shared some food and beers and next morning, fully refreshed, I went continued east and he went west.  My next destination was Tucson to visit my sister.  She had just bought a house there and I arrived in time to help move boxes and furniture.  We had a great time catching up, and I was able to get some more painting done.

DRIFTING AWAY 5"x7" oil on panel $30 plus shipping

From Tucson I headed south toward the quirky little copper mining town of Bisbee.  I lived in Bisbee briefly, several years ago, loved the place and have wanted to return ever since.  So Bisbee here I come...

(The little paintings pictured were done on my trip from the coast to the desert.  They are painted on artist grade gessoed Masonite.  They come with a miniature display easel.  They are available unless marked sold.)

Saturday, April 29, 2017









 As you remember last time...our hero, (that would be me...) had made his escape from the Armageddon-like devastation in Big Sur and was pointing his trusty minivan, Pacifico toward the arizona desert.  After a few brief stops and an overnight stay at a rest area, I reached the Chuckwalla Mountains near the strange little town of Desert Center.  I pulled off on a very sandy dirt road and drove until I found a beautiful, quiet place to camp out.

After a long nap in the warm, dry desert, I stepped outside, pulled out the guitar and played a little blues to nobody but the surrounding rocks ,  and to a very large ( judging by the footprints) cat of some type that I felt sure was napping somewhere in the shade nearby.  Hope he likes the blues... 






     I camped out there for a few days, relaxing from the drive and doing some reorganizing in the van.  On the way out I decided to check out Desert Center.  I usually stop in at the little cafe there, (which is the only thing there that's still in operation, other than the post office.)  I've always been kind of fascinated by the place.  The last remnants of what was once a fairly thriving town.  The cafe was closed this time with a note on the door saying building maintenance was going on, but I had my doubts...I saw no sign of any work being done and the note on the door looked old and faded...sad if it's the end of the line for the was all that was left.  I walked around and took some photos, then headed off toward the Arizona boarder.



 Next stop:  El Dorado Hot Springs....

Friday, April 28, 2017

GOLDEN MORNING by Barry Allen Howard

GOLDEN MORNING by Barry Allen Howard
I haven't written a blog post in quite awhile due to technical difficulties.  Long story and not that interesting so I won't bore you with it.  Anyway, after much work and head-scratching and a moderate amount of swearing, I think I may now be back in Blogger-World!   At least I hope so...if you are reading this then it worked!      So a long overdue update;   Last time I posted my blog I was living in a Microhouse I had built about 18 years ago.  
      I lived there on top of a ridge with a magnificent view of the Big Sur coast and painted my pictures of Big Sur and helped take care of my friend's llamas, alpacas and goats.  I stayed for almost a year and a half and began to miss the freedom of living in my van, so.....from there I moved back into Pacifico, (my beloved minivan) and lived along the cliffs.  My friend Jim let me park below his house on an unused fire road with access to a little shack/bathhouse that I converted to a little painting studio. It was a lovely spot where I could hear the waves at night and the coyotes in the morning.  I would drive down to the cliffs in the mornings, set up my French easel, and sell my paintings out of my micro-van-gallery to the passing tourists.   Life was good...and then came the fire that swept slowly buy surely through Big Sur, filling the air with smoke and ash and driving the tourists away.  It lasted for two months and a thick fog came with it that lasted for 4 or 5 months, and no tourists stopped to admire the view because there wasn't one.  My fortunes were diminishing.  Then came the rains... Lots and lots of rain!  The cliffs became saturated, my studio started growing mold and then came the mudslides.  Highway one began to fall away in places and the cliffs slid down onto the highway in numerous places, closing off all traffic to the south.  Then to the north the bridge started to sag and it was closed, cutting off all access from the north.  Big Sur became an island.  The highway was empty, phone service went out, the power went out, and many of the locals lost their water supply.  There was no way to get rid of trash, people couldn't get propane, gas at the local station began to run low and along the highway it looked like the aftermath of natural disaster.  Tourists staying at the local inns had to be helicoptered out.  There was very little food available.  Deetjen's, ( a much loved historic inn) suffered major damage with redwood trees destroying several buildings and a mudslide that buried several cars.        Eventually the road crews were able to open a lane to the south for a few hours so locals who wanted to get out could make their escape.  I was out of business in Big Sur for the foreseeable future so I headed out and pointed Pacifico toward the desert.  (To be continued).....