Thursday, May 28, 2009

3 – 2 – 1 – Launch!

It’s ready! Done! Complete! Finished! 

What am I talking about? My newly remodeled website, that’s what!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of my very own familial web designers/developers, you now can visit to view some of my work, find gallery information, learn how to commission a piece of art and more. I hope you’ll take some time to look it over, and bookmark the site for future visits.

In celebration of the launch, I am giving away (free!) one of my most popular limited edition prints, “Reaching.” (You’ll find a picture of it on the Gallery page of my site.) To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on this blog post. Say hello, tell me about the kind of art you like, compliment my webmasters on their talent - whatever - but be sure to include your name or some other identifying remark. You must post your comment here on the blog, and must leave your comment by Thursday, June 4, 11:59pm CDT to be eligible to win.

Using a random number generator, I will select a winner and make an announcement here on Friday, June 5. The winner will then have three days (through Sunday) to contact me with a mailing address.  (Use the contact form on my website). If I don’t hear from the winner, I’ll fire up the random number generator again and draw another name.

Ready? Set? Comment!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Leaving a comment is simple. Click on the "COMMENTS" link at the end of this post, directly to the right of where it says, "Posted by Dennis Sterner" at such-and-such time. On the right side of the new page that opens, you'll see the "Leave your comment" box.
1) Add your comment.
2) Type in the word verification.
3) Choose an identity. (Unless you have a Google or OpenID account or want to remain anonymous, choose "Name/URL" and type your name. The URL field is optional.)
4) Click on "Publish your comment."

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's A Small World

As we all might say from time to time, it’s a small world.

My wife and daughter and I went to Betty’s Pies for dinner the other night, and I was surprised to see that our server was a woman that I worked with about 15 years ago. (Coincidentally, we had met another time a few years back when she purchased a couple of my Stillwater Bridge prints.) While talking to her, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a couple walk into the restaurant and be seated. I recognized them, too! I had worked with the man about 12 years ago, and again 4 years later. Then, while visiting with the couple, I realized that the man in the adjoining booth was also familiar, and stepped aside to say hello to the husband of a woman that I worked with nearly 30 years ago! When she returned from the restroom, we shared a few words, and then we all went back to our meals. As far as I know, none of them knew each other; only I was a common link. I don’t know if it was that the planets were aligned just right, karma, or merely coincidence, but maybe, if we simply paid attention to the world around us, these kinds of meetings would be commonplace. We live in a small world.

I was deeply interested in genealogy a few years ago, and came upon a name that sounded familiar. It was in a section of my wife’s family, starting two generations back, that I found a link to the name of a woman and her children, who I recognized as a family living in Scandia, a small community just 8 miles from here. We knew these people but didn’t know we were related, and the most interesting part of it was that my youngest son and the woman’s son were very good friends. When they learned they were also “cousins,” they just about flipped out!

Two young men, drinking wine on the rooftop of a hostel in Italy, were making small talk when they somehow got around to the realization that they both were part of my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding a year earlier. Danny, my son’s girlfriend’s brother, played violin; and Nels, my son-in-law’s brother, had been a groomsman and sang and played guitar. Even though they met at the wedding, it was a brief introduction among many, and they didn’t recognize each other on the rooftop until they began to talk and their worlds began to mesh. That amazing meeting on a rooftop in Italy clearly made the world seem very small!

After some discussion with a woman that I work with, I learned that she and my wife were in the same 4H club when they were kids, and if that wasn’t enough, her husband’s sister was a gal that I liked in high school.

My wife and I have laughed about the fact that we both spent time at the same McDonalds back in the late 1960’s, long before we met. The funny thing was that I was there as a high school kid driving my ’55 Chevy, while she was there with her family, having a meal, listening to all the loud cars cruising around the parking lot.

These are just a few examples out of many instances that we have experienced, demonstrating what a small world we live in. If any of you would like to share examples of your own small world stories, please feel free to leave them as a comment. It would be interesting to hear about them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dear Mom

Hi Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day! 

There won’t be a card this year.

I can’t stop in to see you either. 

Sorry, no flowers.

It seems strange.

This is my first Mother’s Day without you.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you could see this email though. 

Some how, some way, these cyber messages we all send to each other must pass through that big server in the sky.

I just want you to know we miss you.

Right to the end, you were an inspiration to us all.

We think about you often.

We love you.

Say hi to Dad!

Love, Dennis


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm hearing voices!

So there I was, happily slapping oil paint on a fresh canvas, minding my own business, when what did I hear but tiny little giggles coming from under my #7 sable paintbrush! I swore I heard little voices shouting, “Thank you. Thank you!” 

I supposed that the tiny oil paint people were pleased they were being mixed up on my pallet, after so many months cooped up in their tubes. 

Oh, how glorious it must be for those paints to see each other again! As I mentioned in my last blog, I haven't been using oils for awhile, and I’m sure they are tired of containment - remaining a pure color, never able to mix together, and no change in viscosity. It must be torture. Paints are made to be used! Beautiful things happen when they are blended and mixed. 

Imagine the rapture of Yellow Ochre and Sap Green when they are blended together to create the color of newly emerged spring grass! What beauty is created when dark Burnt Umber is paired with its sibling, Burnt Sienna, to replicate the color of leftover autumn leaves on an oak tree that has survived another long, cold winter. Pthalo Blue has been patiently waiting for Titanium White to come along and together build a powerful, summer sky.

While the work on my canvas is coming together in an orderly fashion, my pallet is gradually turning into a circus with the blends, drips and smears of so many hues!  It must be delightful, down there on the surface, as the integration takes place. A little bit of linseed oil is all that is needed to loosen up the conversations between the Cobalts and the Ultramarines. (They haven’t even seen the light of day since meeting in a painting of Split Rock Lighthouse a couple of years ago.) Larger than the others, a huge glob of white paint anchors the center, yet it is nearly useless by itself and begs for involvement with every other color on the pallet. The Ceruleans, the Chromiums, the Cadmiums - everyone is clamoring for a relationship!

As the transfer of color takes place, I can almost hear the oil paint squealing with excitement and joy; the short distance from pallet to canvas is a roller coaster of anticipation.

With every stroke of the brush, or swipe of the pallet knife, I’m sure that I am hearing cheers and salutations from the many colors as they are introduced once again to each other. 

“Where have you been?” 

“Good to see you!” 

There are hugs and air kisses. It’s a downright orgy happening at the microscopic level! Acquaintances are renewed, partnerships solidified, relationships consummated and mysteries solved. Everything is right with the world again as my beloved oils are being used.

And then I start to wonder. Am I hallucinating these colorful fantasies because I love my oil paints so dearly? Is my crazy imagination playing tricks on me? Am I going completely and totally BONKERS?

Maybe so.  But if that’s the case, I need to get some earplugs, because the screams coming from my jealous acrylics are deafening!