Monday, January 30, 2017

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER O ....James Aponovich A Year In Painting



As our planet makes its journey around a star we call the Sun, I make my own journey in painting. Each week I present some aspect of our shared life experiences through the medium of paint on canvas.

" Old men ought to be explorers."
-T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets



James Aponovich
Study: 'O'
Pencil on paper

His name is Robert Oksner and he is my friend, or to be exact, my buddy. More than a few years separate us but he and I would enjoy a good laugh  and in particular a good meal. We did not dine, we ate. Robert was not afraid of food.

In the early days he was an Ad Man on Madison Avenue, as he would say a "Jingle Guy". He was one of the original Mad-Men even though he never drank or smoked. After that he worked with Jim Henson and Frank Oz as a writer for Sesame Street. He looks like a muppet!

One day when we were visiting Robert and Judith in New York, I found  some of his old scripts. One was called,"Why Oscar The Grouch Hates the Letter H".
"Holy smoke," I thought, I remember watching that very show with our daughter Ana when she was a little girl! And I hated it! No matter, I had to paint him.

James Aponovich
Portrait of O  (detail)
Oil on canvas
Robert loved coming to the studio for sittings. In fact, he loved going just about 
 anywhere ( as long as lunch was on the agenda). He was 89 years old, or so, when I began this portrait. I wanted him talking to us, gesturing, holding his crimson 'talking stick'. Above him swirl all his life dreams disguised as orchids. In back of him is blood red, the first color.

Usually, I don't let people see their portraits until everything is complete. But after I finished his face I let him see it. He looked and yelled:
"Holy ship!  That's me! That's me there! 
That's more me than me!,
It's freaking me out!"

James Aponovich 
Portrait of O
Oil on canvas, 34" x 24"

Maybe I 'captured' him. I hope so because Robert Oksner died earlier this month, four days short of his 91st Birthday.

Farewell friend
I will miss you.

Copyright 2017
James Aponovich
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Thursday, January 26, 2017


The Heartfelts live in the loving community of Heartdale Falls.

But every now and then, no matter how nice a place is

needs to 
get away.

The holidays are over, guests are gone and The Hearfelts  fall back into the old routine.
Hello-Hoodie Girl noticed Red Polka Dot Girl crying, so she brings 
Daddy B.B. into the kitchen to see for himself.
Lil' Candydrop Girl is screaming, Bonz is barking, and pots are out of control on the stove.

Maybe it's time
for a break.

Next day Daddy B.B. shows up with a post holiday gift of a trip to anywhere for two!

But where?

After looking at brochures and the globe plus a whole lot of thinking...
they decide on the land of romance...


But what about the kids and the dog?

Hello-Hoodie Girl and Pink Polka Dot Girl are cousins and they offer to babysit
Lil' Candydrop Girl and Hootie The Sports Guy and even Bonz the dog!
It will be fun to hang out together!

Have a great trip!

The trip begins at Heartdale Falls International Airport. Next stop...

But problems often pop up when
you least expect.

To be continued............

Copyright 2017
B. Buntline

Sunday, January 22, 2017

THE MUSE { Aponovich: A Year In Painting}



As our planet makes its journey around a star we call the Sun, I make my own journey in painting. Each week I present some aspect of our shared life experiences through the medium of paint on canvas

"Old men ought to be explorers"
-T.S. Eliot. The Four Quartets



James Aponovich
Oil n canvas,  8" x  9"

Not exactly what you'd expect as a Muse, no wings, no wand, and not even any inspiration dust...
just Peter, but hey, you gotta take it where you find it.
The background story is I used to see this guy stacking vegetables  at our local organic market and I thought, " Boy, Rembrandt would have painted this guy!" Well, I'm no Rembrandt, but Peter is now my model. During the next year you will see him in many different roles, living long gives some people depth, often painfully.


A painter paints on an invisible skin. As the brush hits the surface, reality ceases and the painter reaches into depth. The viewer is on one side  and the painting is on the other, the point in between is where the magic happens.

James Aponovich
Study for The Soup Kitchen
Oil on canvas, 12" x 12"

Copyright 2017 James Aponovich


Friday, January 20, 2017

Dreaming Italy......ICONIC PANICALE

Once again the news from Italy is of earthquakes near Amatrice and a devastating avalanche on Mount Gran Sasso. Our hearts go out to all the victims of both disasters. Many thanks to the rescue workers.

In the States there is a change of power today. On this day, James and I have deep concerns for the future of our country and the world. I feel it is a dark day for our nation. 
My need  to focus on something beyond the events of the day turned my mind to Italy, and Panicale to be more specific. 

This morning I began going through images in and around Panicale. I began to calm down looking at pictures of this place that feels like our "other" home, and to where we will soon return.
  I love the home where we live in New Hampshire, but on this day an escape to the sweet and beautiful Umbria was what I needed.

Bar Gallo

This is a story told more in pictures than words....I am sure that there are too many images, but this is my way of getting through the day, and I feel lost for words. These, to me, are some of the iconic images of Panicale that come to mind when my physical self is here in the States yet my brain wanders around the  hill town, and sometimes at night when I cannot sleep, I take a "mental walk" to the top of this beautiful place......I call this dreaming Panicale.

The Campanile at the peak of the town.

This was taken during a foggy morning walk last spring, talk about dreamy.

A subject of several drawing.

An annual  visit to see the painting by Perugino of St. Sebastian the church of St. Sebastiani.

Meeting up with friends at Bar Gallo. Process anyone?

....or perhaps a Spritz!

 Or wine.....At Masolino's Ristorante, this is called "James wine"!
Bruna cooks great pasta....and everything else for that matter!

A surprise birthday party for James at the home of our friends Katia and Massimo.

Marconi Bottega is one of the markets we shop at everyday in Panicale.

 Spring brings Wisteria.

A favorite corner.

Ingredients for lunch. Eggs from Ruth, asparagus from Katia and local olive oil. The best!

James, Bar Gallo

The clouds over the lake can be monumental at times.

A look at the Medieval arches that can be seen throughout Panicale. There is also evidence of the Etruscans here.

I cannot tell you how many artichokes James and I eat while they are in season here. I can tell you that it is way, way beyond what you can count on our four  hands.

The result of a day out drawing.

Here we are, all smiles.

When the roses begin to bloom it is just the best time to be here.

Another look from Panicale across the plain to Lake Trasimeno and the mountains beyond.

Panicale is alive with color and texture, not to mention wonderful aromas as the fragrance of a ragu wafts through an open window.

Food, wine and friends. A lunch at Sticky Farm made for a perfect afternoon.

 Spring arrives with fields of emerald green and bright red poppies.....

Time painting. Artichokes, Lake Trasimeno, by James Aponovich
This recalls both our passion for artichokes and a view from Panicale to Lake Trasimeno and the mountains in the background.

 Time drawing. A ruin, drawn by James Aponovich

Pots of flowers in our yard.
James and I always make a trip, make that several trips, to the local nursery to fill pots with flowers and herbs. Can't wait to do this again.

Another drawing from a little balcony.

James' Panicale "Studio"

The piazza Umberto I

Off to the races with friends ....Siena for the Mille Miglia!

And to Sardinia to taste the local food and wine.

 And back in Panicale at the Pink Palace.....

And a dinner party!

 Thanks for joining me in dreamland for awhile.

Cin-cin !
ci vediamo presto!

Tante Auguri!
Here is to kindness, peace and hope.
I think we are gonna need it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

ROMAN SUN { A Year In Painting }



As our planet makes its journey around a star we call the Sun, I make my own journey in paintings, each week I present some aspect of our shared life experience through a medium of paint on canvas.

"Old men ought to be explorers"
-T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets




Everyone should have a city that speaks personally to them. For many it's Paris, while others are enthralled by New York. For me it's Rome. Although the Catholic thing does get to me at times, I still find Rome endlessly exiting and yet comforting.

"You are either a Roman or Florentine, You cannot possibly be both."
- Barbara Rossow

All cities in Italy have an abundance of tour groups, Venice and Florence come to mind and Rome has its own share ( especially in a Jubilee year). But Rome benefits from being larger so it affords many back streets to escape to.


But as you escape you just may find yourself in front of the house Raphael lived in or a church where Borromini is buried. It is not uncommon to be walking down an unfamiliar street and find a Roman era ruin or a column still standing yet incorporated into a wall. It's amazing, Rome is very old with many layers.



One day, when I was at the American Academy, Beth and I visited the gardens of the Villa Aurelia on the Gianicolo Hill overlooking the city. We came across a square opening in the wall that separates the garden from the street. Someone had placed a terra-cotta vase in it. Out came the sketchbooks.


It seems that I am always rushed to finish a painting, deadlines, shows, etc.
Not this time.

James Aponovich
Sunflowers Over Rome
Oil on canvas, 32" x 28"

Copyright 2017 James Aponovich

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