Bob Baker, “East of Bloomington, Ireland Grove Road” (2017)

21 Jan

fullsizerender20Bob Baker, East of Bloomington, Ireland Grove Road (2017)

I love the stark Midwestern landscape around Bloomington, Illinois.  It induces contemplation. A couple friends of mine, commenting on the reference photo for this, aptly said it looks like a scene from North By Northwest (the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Cary Grant):

north-by-northwest-2Cary Grant in North By Northwest (1959)

Bob Baker, “Near the Ohio River, Evansville” (2017)

15 Jan


fullsizerender18Bob Baker, Near the Ohio River, Evansville (2017)

This is from near the Angel Mounds boat ramp in Evansville this past summer. There were fields of yellow flowers in bloom all over the river bottoms and I got a few photos on my iPhone with the idea of painting them later.  Right afterward I made my way to Pizza King for a stromboli and my day was complete!

Bob Baker, “Near Lake Bloomington, Illinois” (2017)

7 Jan

15895423_10207817260891754_332811295084797543_n Bob Baker, Near Lake Bloomington, Illinois (2017)

As promised I’m trying to be more disciplined about painting in 2017.  As some of you know I work down in Bloomington, Illinois during the week these days.  It’s very pretty down there — great spot to do landscapes.  I was out fishing after work this past July and was gob-smacked by the late afternoon light coming across this field west of Lake Bloomington.  Intense yellows and reds and lots of violet.  I got a couple quick photos on my iPhone and made a mental note to go back and paint it, which I finally did.  There will be more!  Happy Saturday.

Bob Baker, “Mercury Bar, Detroit” (2017)

1 Jan


fullsizerender14Bob Baker, Mercury Bar, Detroit (2017)

Happy New Year!  I’ve been away for awhile but now I’m back.  Here’s my first painting of 2017.  Mercury Bar in downtown Detroit is a cool bar in a cool location with great food.  Had to give it a shot.

Bob Baker, “218-220 N. Center St., Bloomington, Illinois” (2016)

3 Jul

IMG_4658Bob Baker, 218-220 N. Center St., Bloomington, Illinois (2016)

Hello!  Finally got back to my painting.  Here’s my latest.  According to my research 218-220 N. Center St. was for years the J.C. Penney Building and was designed by architect Arthur L. Pillsbury.  I was walking down the street in the late afternoon-early evening last week and the sun was hitting it just right.  I had to take a shot at painting it.

Bob Baker, “Farm House, Waupaca County, Wisconsin” (2015)

17 Oct

farmhouse3Bob Baker, Farm House, Waupaca County, Wisconsin (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s today’s painting.  We’ve been driving past this house for years and I finally decided to paint it.  It’s all by itself out there on the road and has a real moody feel to it.  Can you picture a couple of people tossing a frisbee in front of this place?  Me either.

Bob Baker, “Weller’s Store, Rural, Wisconsin” (2015)

16 Oct

CBob Baker, Weller’s Store, Rural, Wisconsin (2015)

Note: click on image to enlarge

After a brief hiatus I’m back to painting, and here’s my latest.  Rural is a real blast from the past. It’s an unincorporated town in Waupaca County, Wisconsin and the Crystal River runs right through it.  Weller’s Store is right across the road from the river and you can hear the water when you’re standing out front.  It’s the sort of cool, offbeat place that’s vanishing fast.  Have a good weekend!

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.







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