Saturday, January 17, 2015

Winter Blues - Or, Painting Neuhausen

Blue is an important color because it can convey a lot of information about things like temperature and spatial relationships. Our eyes read a shift toward blue as an indication of distance, and blue shadows look cooler than their surroundings. That means that a winter landscape, with all its shades of blue, presents a lot of unusual technical challenges, most of which made themselves known as I was working on this painting.

This is a view of Neuhausen during last weekend's brief snowstorm, which was interrupted by moments of bright sunlight.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year

I like to start the new year with a new painting. This isn't finished, but it's as much as I've gotten done on this first day of 2015.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Landscape with fog

These days it's usually foggy and dark as I drive to and from work, which means I spend a lot of time thinking about painting landscapes that are foggy and dark. Here's one I did as soon as I got in the door this evening.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bad First Impression

Someone who calls herself an executive recruiter asked to establish contact with me on one of those professional networking sites I got suckered into joining. Here's her attempt at making a good first impression. Aside from the highlighting I've done, it appears exactly as she posted it. There's nothing added, nothing subtracted:

I initially study the job position for which the recruitment is carried out. Then specifies the job description by considering the different skills and qualities essential for the particular job position. This study also helps them to analyze the candidates during the interview process. Many a times the organizations hiring the third party recruiters provide adequate information about the job description.

As an executive recruiter, i have Excellent communicating skills, both written as well as verbal, Knowledge about personnel recruitment procedures, Expert in providing trainings .Adequate knowledge about labor relations, Providing efficient customer and personal service, Expert knowledge about management principles, Knowledge about using various computer software, Knowledge about human psychology, Expert resume reading skills.

My responsibilities are:
Understanding the actual job profile for which the recruitment has to be done
Studying the job position thoroughly and gathering all the necessary information about the particular job profile
Communicating with the supervisors and subordinates about the skills required to undertake the particular job
Preparing appropriate job description according to the analyzed job profile and requirements
Establishing and maintaining constructive and cooperative working relationships
Undertaking recruitment process by shortlisting candidates according to their resumes and personal interviews
Assessing good as well as bad qualities of the candidates and judging them efficiently
Interacting with the people outside the client organization, but related with that respective organization
Organizing, managing and prioritizing work effectively
Documenting and recording the information
Analyzing the gathered information and making quick and effective decisions
Evaluating the information and determining the compliance with standards

Who knows what will happen when I retire from the Air Force? Maybe I'll have need of an executive recruiter. I doubt it, but the future is wide open, so it's pretty hard to say definitely. One thing I can say with 100% certainty though, is that this particular executive recruiter (even with her "Excellent communicating skills," and "Adequate knowledge about labor relations,") will not be the one I turn to.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Four New Paintings

Here are a couple portraits I've been working on. Each presented its own challenges.

The photo I used as a basis for this portrait was taken in a location that was not very interesting. I moved Sibylle and her horse to the hill above the village, and I'm pleased with the way it worked out.

I often walk Bica at a time when the morning light is low. It hits the top of the trees and leaves the low sides of the hills in shadow.

The vineyards take on unbelievable colors in the fall.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bica's Morning Run

There are plenty of mornings when I don't feel like walking my dog. I'm usually feeling sleepy or thinking about work, or worrying about a host of things that seem more important than letting the dog go outside to relieve herself.

Once we get out the door though, and especially once we get outside the confines of our village, where I can slip off her leash and let her run - then I never fail to be grateful for something that forces me outside into the morning a little earlier than I would be otherwise. Watching her run makes me happy.

That's what this painting is about.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Michael Kiefer, 11 September, 2001

New York, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, Benghazi.  We will not forget.

On 11 September, 2001 I was in Amman, Jordan. I was the senior member of a small American military detachment getting a refresher course in Arabic at the Royal Jordanian Military Language Institute. At the time of the attacks, I was just signing onto my email account at an internet cafe in central Amman. I saw a news banner announcing that two planes had crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center, and I was certain that I was looking at an advertisement for a movie. Within two minutes, my embassy cell phone rang. "Get all your people to the embassy right away." I was told. That's when I knew it was no movie ad. 

As I was scrambling to get my colleagues together, 26 year-old Michael Kiefer was breathing his last in New York City. Michael was one of the 2,996 innocents who lost their lives in Al Qaeda's most successful attack on our nation. Maybe you remember it? In case you've forgotten, let me remind you by telling you about Michael, because Michael Kiefer is a shining example of what our nation lost in that attack.

To say Michael was a fireman does not do justice to the drive and the passion he brought to his work. Some people have a job they do and others have jobs that they are; by all accounts, Michael was one of the latter. From his early years he knew that he wanted to be a fireman. Childhood photos show him wearing a fireman costume, and people tell of how, as a boy, he was so accomplished at mimicking the sound of a siren that he once convinced his school bus driver to pull aside for a firetruck that wasn't there. 

Michael bought a scanner that he used to listen for fire alarms, and would ride his bicycle to watch the firemen work. Sometimes he rode so far from his neighborhood that he was brought back home by police escort. Michael earned perfect scores on his fire academy physical and written entrance exams, and began training in October, 2000. He graduated in December of the same year. He drew one of the busiest assignments, engine Company 280/ladder Company 132 Firehouse of Crown Heights Brooklyn. In achieving his lifelong dream, we could say that Michael Kiefer accomplished more in his short life than will many men who live to see a century, but that would be only half his story.

In addition to being a fireman, Michael was a committed Christian, beloved son to Pat and Bud, and older brother to Kerri and Lauren. He was saving his money to buy a ring for his girlfriend, Jamie Huggler. Son, brother, boyfriend. He was the kind of guy who dedicated himself to a job that would put his life at risk in order to save others. He was just one of 2,996, who died at the World Trade Center,13 years ago today, but in him was a reflection of all the strength, the selflessness, the goodness, that we love about America. On this anniversary of our nation's loss, take a moment to remember Michael. Say a prayer for the peace of mind of those he left behind, and give thanks that our nation can still be the home of men like him.