Bob Baker, “Dominican University, View From the Cloister” (2015)

18 Jul

dominican-portico5Bob Baker, Dominican University, View From the Cloister (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my painting from today, depicting the view from the cloister at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.  It’s a very pretty campus in a beautiful suburb of Chicago.  Nice place, nice people!  Happy Saturday.

Bob Baker, “Jackson Harbor, Chicago” (2015)

29 Jun

jacksonzBob Baker, Jackson Harbor, Chicago (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my painting from today.  Jackson Harbor is, to my eye, the prettiest in Chicago.  My brother and I used to keep our sailboat down there back in the day. Very cool spot.

Michael McGregor has published “Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax” — Read It!

3 Jun



As some of you will recall, back in 2012 I published on this blog a series of three oil paintings depicting the tiny Greek island of Patmos.  I was inspired to do the paintings by Michael McGregor’s short biographical piece on minimalist poet Robert Lax entitled A Gyroscope on the Island of Love which appeared in the Summer 2011 edition of Image quarterly.  Lax lived on Patmos and wrote his best poetry there.

Mr. McGregor has now published the long version of Lax’s biography, the book-length Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax.  See  Highly recommended!  Mr. McGregor has also set up a website devoted to Lax.  See

Lax, you may recall, achieved early note as the Columbia University friend of Thomas Merton, who went on to become the most famous Trappist monk in modern history.  The friendship between Merton and Lax is recounted in Merton’s autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain. In one of Seven Storey‘s most famous scenes Lax asks Merton what he wants to be and Merton says he wants to be a good Catholic.  “No,” Lax replies, “what you should say is that you want to be a saint.”

After Merton entered the monastery Lax left a promising New York publishing career (he was a friend of Jack Kerouac), dropped out and moved to Patmos where he lived among the poor fishermen and devoted the remainder of his life to poetry.  His long poem The Circus of the Sun is ranked among the greatest of the twentieth century and is discussed in the same sentence as T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland.







Bob Baker, “Kingston Mines, Chicago” (2015)

31 May

kingston6Bob Baker, Kingston Mines, Chicago (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my latest — continuing the blues theme, Kingston Mines.  I don’t even want to admit when it was I saw Koko Taylor perform there, but it was one of the great musical nights of my then-young life.

The strong red-orange creates possibilities in the color complementarity department.  The almost-overpowering red-orange pulls up all the neighboring blues.  Perfect for a blues bar when you stop to think about it.

Bob Baker, “Chicago B.L.U.E.S.” (2015)

25 May

bluesBBob Baker, Chicago B.L.U.E.S. (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my latest.  Sorry I’ve been a bit absent lately I’ve been busy at work!

This is one of my favorite Chicago blues bars — great music and very paintable too.  We were out to dinner at Gejas a couple months ago with friends and I dragged them over to Halsted to capture some photos.  I’m planning to do Kingston Mines as well, also a favorite.

Bob Baker, “Western Springs Train Station” (2015)

18 Apr

train-station-ws1Bob Baker, Western Springs Train Station (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my latest painting — an interior shot of the train station in Western Springs, Illinois.

Bob Baker, “View East on Adams Near Clark, Chicago” (2015)

16 Feb

adams2Bob Baker, View East on Adams Near Clark, Chicago (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my latest, continuing a series of Chicago cityscapes.  If you look closely you can see the Berghoff beckoning in the distance: “Eat wurst . . . drink lager . . . maybe some potato pancakes on the side . . . “

Bob Baker, “El Platform, Adams and Wabash, Chicago” (2015) and “The Berghoff, Chicago” (2015)

15 Feb

EL3Bob Baker, El Platform, Adams and Wabash, Chicago (2015)

berghoff5Bob Baker, The Berghoff, Chicago (2015)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

Here are my two latest — I’m experimenting with cityscapes.  Lately I happened across some dazzling street scenes in Chicago and knew I had to jot them down.  I hope you like!

Bob Baker, “Maine Sunset” (2015)

1 Feb

IMG_3717Bob Baker, Maine Sunset (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Hi everyone, here’s my first painting of the new year — a sunset near Portland, Maine.

Sunsets hail from everywhere and share many of the same traits.  To get the local mood across it’s important, I’ve found, to get a few landscape details down so that, for example, Portland, Maine is distinguishable from Gnaw Bone, Indiana.   And, of course, similar though they may be each sunset has its own specific DNA — unique as a snowflake.

2014 in review

30 Dec

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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