I use Kessler's Whiskey almost exclusively in my painting, due to my late father's love of the drink, which eventually did him in as well as the disintegration of the family itself.

My wonderful sister found this old World War II-era Kessler's ad. I did a little research and found out this ad would have been published in the early 1940s in Popular Mechanics, Double Action Detective Stories, Popular Science, The Ring, Real Western and other male-audience focused magazines.

I was interviewed about why I paint with whiskey, and the whole idea of what is creativity, by local videographer and musician with the band Little Lebowski Urban Achievers, Jesse Hendrickson, of The Taylor Street Sessions, a music and arts venue in Northeast Minneapolis.


The interview took place a few weeks ago and I posted it on my website today. Please take a look and tell me what you think, if you would like to. The actual interview starts at about the third minute, but the previous material is damn cool.

I used about a cup of whiskey to paint Intentions. With so much liquid, the paintings took about three days to dry. The whiskey adds a diaphanous quality and a fine brightness to the depth and thinness of the colors.

This painting is taken from one of the many clipped photos in which my dad was cut out after he left the family in 1961. My dad was a beer and whiskey man; the alcohol didn't help the marriage much. My grandfather (Pop) was not a drinker, but like my dad, worked in the steel mills of Pittsburgh. I presume the writing on the photo was by my mother.

48 x 24, Kessler's Whiskey, charcoal, and pencil. Gallery canvas.


My dad was a Kessler's drinker. He drank shots and beers almost everyday of his working life. A steelworker in Pittsburgh, the bars gave you Kessler's Whiskey, unless you asked for something else.

Alcoholism presumably wrecked the family, and eventually killed him. He left after 20 years of marriage in 1960 when I was six. He never contacted the family again.


I found my father 14 years later, when I was in the Marine Corps. But that is another story.


My step-father and mother cut my dad out of all family photos, so I had no idea what my dad looked like. He was never spoken of either. Recently a number of old photos have shown up, many cut or torn in half. I have painted a few of those photos, but then my oldest brother found the only surviving picture of my dad, from 1940, when Dad was 21. 


My dad had a problem with Kessler's Whiskey. I boiled some Kessler's down (to thicken it) and painted this portrait of my dad, taken from the small grainy 1940 photograph.

Found this excellent frame at a thrift store and replaced the the old frame on the painting Cold Wind, which I did a few years ago. I love old elaborate frames, but they are hard to come by anymore. 

An art collector in Ypsilanti, Michigan and a wonderful dear friend of many decades, has purchased 19 Birds for her husband. This painting was a lot of fun to paint, as I just kept adding more and more birds, until it felt done. Acrylic with lots of heavy gel and textures, it is 36 x 36 on a gallery canvas. I am so happy it is going to a loving home.