Hello paint brush, I’ve missed you

Tom Jr. gave me a most unexpected Father’s Day gift this year – some paint brushes, two, very small canvases and a drawing pad.

It’s his direct challenge to me to begin creating art again and tap into a pseudo painting talent of mine that has been on hiatus for almost 16 years. The painting shown here is called ‘Grey Day’. It’s 36″ x 48″ – a nice, big canvas. That’s much more my painting style. At least, that was my painting style as this is the second-to-last one I completed before Catherine was born.

Catherine will turn 16 in July. So yes, it’s been a while.

It’s not so much that kids and sports and endless activities got in the way. I’ve always told everyone that we literally ran out of room in our house for me to paint. What used to be my painting room was converted into a downstairs bedroom. From there, it became my office where I now sit here and type – though I haven’t been doing too much of that recently, either. In reality, part of the problem was that my paintings were getting tighter and tighter.

On the flip side, I really enjoyed doing paintings like this one …

This was one of my spill paintings. I would airbrush the canvas – in this case, a light purple. Then I went in with a palette knife and attacked the canvas, glopping on a variety of colors in random strokes, putting the acrylic on thick. I’d let dry overnight and then come back with some oil-based house paint that I would literally spill onto the canvas and then hold it up a bit and let it drip. Repeat process until it felt right.

Those were fun.

Now, I have these two tiny blank canvases.

They are calling my name. I didn’t hear them at first – I’ve been too busy doing other summer-related activities. But tonight, Catherine had a rain-out in softball. I haven’t posted a blog for several days because I truly have been out almost every single evening and when I haven’t been, I’ve been too tired from the day’s activities.

But tonight, in just a few sentences, I’m done with words.

I’m going to pick up the drawing pad and see what comes out.

I may not begin the painting tonight.

But the process has begun.

Where it goes remains to be seen.

Art Attack.

It’s time to renew.

Hole in one >/= Communication Arts finalist

I’ve always wanted to get a hole-in-one. And I’ve always wanted to get into the Communication Arts Advertising Annual.

This weekend, I achieved one of those objectives by puring a 5-iron into the wind on the 178-yard par 3 2nd hole at Crystal Springs Quarry. The ball landed on the green about 6 feet in front of the pin, took one bounce and disappeared.

I was playing with Paul Adams and Craig Workman, two long-time friends and golf buddies. We don’t get out that often but when we do it’s always been an adventure.

When I hit the shot, I kind of thought it went in the hole. But my distance vision isn’t what it used to be so I wasn’t sure. Paul and Craig also thought it went in. But they still had their shots to hit.

Paul’s went wayward to the left, into some tall grass. Craig’s went near the green but was short. Paul went in search of his ball, managed to find it and sent his next shot short of the green.

We were just getting out of the golf cart as Craig made his way onto the green. First thing he said was, “Well, you’re gonna’ need your divot fixer.” Then he approached the hole and said, “But you won’t need your putter.”

It was official. After playing golf since the age of 8, I had my first hole in one. We screamed loud enough that the group behind us knew what happened, took a few photos and then it was time to move on to the next hole.

We had 16 more holes to play.

It was all kind of surreal. My tee shot after the hole in one was perfect. My next shot, not so much. But I bogeyed the hole and the round continued. I still couldn’t quite believe it.

I always wondered what I would feel like if I got a hole in one. The answer – not that much different than before I got one. I kept on playing and maybe the daze I was in was good for my game. I shot a 74 on the day, easily the best round of golf I’ve had since my late 20s.

Normally, I shoot somewhere in the 80s. But not on June 7, 2014.

So now I’ve had the hole in one. But I’ve never had the CA finalist.

Through the years, I’ve only been involved with a handful of entries that we thought had a legitimate shot at CA’s Ad Annual competition and only twice have agencies where I’ve worked actually entered.

There’s a simple saying, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” But you’ve also got to be doing extremely strong work to get into the annual. It takes a brilliant idea, flawlessly executed.

It’s definitely something to shoot for and we keep on giving it our best shot, every day.

You never know when magic might happen.

That’s the fun of the game.


The joy of the “A-ha” moment

Sometimes, you get an assignment and you’re stumped. What are you going to do?

I’ve had the honor of creating the Ad Club Fall Golf Classic invites for about the past eight years or so. Every year, the assignment is the same – invite the St. Louis ad community to play in the Ad Club Fall Golf Classic.

I’ve had great fun with these invites and have worked with some great art directors to create them. For the past five years, I’ve worked with Kristin Genovese – she currently works at Brown and I’m at McCarthy so we don’t get to see each other or work together very often.

Each year, I think we manage to come up with something that freshens the message of “please play in our tournament”.

This year, the Fall Golf Classic is returning to the St. Louis side of the river. For many years, it’s been played at either Gateway National or, more recently, Far Oaks.

Now it’s returning to St. Louis at a classic location for the Classic – Forest Park Golf Course. So the challenge was to creatively say that.

I’m a huge fan of playing golf in Forest Park – I’ve been playing there since high school, going back to the days when the course had a par 5 that spanned the width of Art Hill. On occasion, I managed to knock a wayward drive up by the statue of King Louie. I’ve always loved that statue, and it’s certainly the most recognizable landmark in Forest Park.

So I was thinking how can I showcase that the Fall Golf Classic is moving back to St. Louis – and that it was being played in Forest Park – when the answer became instantly obvious – switch out Louie’s sword with a golf club.


Then, right on the heels of that thought came another – “Come Play A Round In The Park”. It’s exactly what we want people to do. It’s simple. It’s got that little twist to it where it just feels right. Is it trite? I don’t know. But I liked it. And generally, I’ve found that if I like the line, odds are good that somebody else might like it, too.

So I spoke to Kristin and we kicked it around a bit on the phone and then she worked her magic to create the layout you see here.

If you’re at all involved in the St. Louis ad community, I encourage you to take a half-day on September 30 and come play a round in the park. It’s a fun day. Take a client. Invite someone who’s been working extra hard to enjoy a rare Tuesday afternoon away from the office. It’s for a good cause as all proceeds go to HavenHouse St. Louis.

And who knows, it might just inspire an “A-ha” moment of your own.