Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7th...Nancy's Birthday

Happy Birthday Nancy
Nancy went into the hospital on Dec. 7th, 1995 and seven days later she returned to Jesus...December 7th was Nancy's birthday...She told me on a few occasions that she wished God had picked another date for her...Growing up in a small town in Ohio, she was always reminded that Dec. 7th was the day the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor...That always took the fun away from having a happy birthday...
 
We met at a fort in the middle of Missouri named Fort Leonard Wood...It was Sept. 17,1958 and I was about to get discharged from the Army at the end of October...We were at a company picnic on the banks of the Big Piney River...There was lots of folks there...Eating and drinking...I enjoyed drinking beer back then...The picnic entertainment was furnished by Special Services...which composed of a band (5 pieces) ...a Magician...and a female singer...Nancy was the singer! She sang beautifully and I admired her looks...She was all of five feet tall...I invited her to play bingo with me and I tried to make her laugh by imitating the magician by making my cigarette lighter disappear...I also invited her to go out with me that night when the picnic was over...She said she would be waiting for me at the WAC detachment at 7 PM...I went back to the barracks and fell asleep...A friend woke me up at 7:30 and reminded me that I had a date...Oh Boy!
I hadn't met her but a few hours earlier and already I was screwing up...So I called her and asked her to wait for me...I borrowed a friend's car and drove over and picked her up...We went out to a café off post and had some coffee...We talked up a storm...We knew we liked each other...
That following Wednesday I knew I was in love with her...The following Saturday...I asked her to marry me...
On December 31st, 1958 we were married in Columbia, SC at 8:00 AM mass...
An old Irish priest, Monsignor Murphy presided... When it came time for me to say those two words "I do"...I said them...Monsignor Murphy said in a harsh Irish voice,"SPEAK UP MAN!" ...and I did...My brother John and his wife Kathleen and their son Joey and my brother Roger were there...Our folks could not make the wedding but sent us their blessing...
We were married 37 years...We were blessed with four children...Mark...Robert...Sandra and Daniel...and four grandchildren...David...Joshua...Cheyenne and Michael...
 
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kaziah Hancock and Project Compassion...





Back in June of 2010 I posted a story about a wonderful  artist who lives in Utah on her goat farm...She decided one day back then to ease the pain of the families of the soldiers who have fallen in the Iraq and Afganiststan wars...Her plan was to ask for photos of these soldiers and use them to create a portrait in oils which she would give back to the families so they might have some  tangible reference to the beloved children which they could hang on their walls and maybe ...just maybe ...help them heal from the loss of their loved one...
 
Kaziah has asked for help to accomplish these task and has been joined by more artists who have devoted their time and talents to this project which Kaziah has named Project Compassion...These few artists have now painted over2400 oil portraits (as of today)



which they have sent back to the families who have requested them...Wow! ...Is that not great?




 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
These are just few examples of Kaziah and other artists have done...
 
Please click on:http://www.kaziahthedocumentary.moonfruit.com/
 
to see that a documentary has been done and it only cost $14.99 (with free shipping) to see and hear more of this fabulous woman and her wonderful project...
 
You can go directly to Project Compassion by clicking:
 



Pool Room Shot of the day...

Here is a favorite pool room shot of mine...All four players are friends of mine...
 
 

Photo of the Day

Here's a shot I took of the little beaver pond on my road I pass every day...The sun was going down and streaking through the trees...
 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Glackens versus Cruise Waiter...

Here is a photo of Linda and I when we were on a cruise to the Bahamas...I thought it reminded me of a famous painting by William Glackens  who was a member of the Ash Can School of Art ...What do you think?
 
 
 
It was taken by our waiter...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Favorite Photos

Here is one of my favorite photos...I think I took it of a pier one morning at Folly Beach...I love the shadows of the girl and her dog...
 
 

Friday, November 8, 2013

PRT and Me...

 
PRT stands for Parks, Recreation and Tourism...It is a department of the South Carolina government...Every year it puts out a new brochure on the finer points of our state and why people from around the world should come here to visit and enjoy...This brochure is free and can be gotten by visiting their offices or welcome centers or by writing either e-mail or snail mail to them...
Bottom line...It shows our stuff...
 
Several years ago in the eighties when I had my photographic studio open ...my friend Felix asked me to take some specific shots which he wanted to add to the brochure...Felix was in charge of it then...He knew I was heading to Aiken, SC to photograph the Aiken Horse trials...So he asked me to visit two state parks on my trip which were close to Aiken...Barnwell State park and Aiken State park...He also asked me to visit God's Little Acre which was an artesian well located on an acre of land which was donated to the state by a generous donor to be used by anyone who wished to use the water flowing from it daily...
 
Felix also requested that I find a way to take a shot of horses feeding up on a hill with the sun rising on the left and fences and maybe a barn or pond in the background...I laughed at Felix and said, "You're crazy...how am I going to do that?" He laughed and said, "Ron...I know you can do it cause you are a great photographer." (I guess he kind of buttered me up there, don't you think?)
 
So off I went in my old beat up Volkswagen van with the crease in it where I backed into a telephone pole by accident...I hit God's Little Acre first...I got some good shots there ...There were several people there filling their jugs and children splashing around in the creek the well created...Then I headed to Barnwell State Park...It was empty of people ...I don't think I saw one person there...I didn't even see a rabbit or raccoon...It was desolate...
 
So on I ventured to Aiken State Park...What a difference...Here were people enjoying nature and I had plenty of subjects to photograph...People were sun bathing on blankets and some were fishing off the short pier...people out in the water in paddle boats...Groups were barbequing hot dogs or hamburgers and the smoke filled the air around them and added visual pleasure to my shots...
I was happy here...
 
Next I went to the arena where the Aiken Horse trials were taking place...While I was taking shots of these beautiful  horses and their smartly dress riders I met an old friend of mine who lived right outside Aiken and he owned a horse farm...So I told him why I was there and about  the shot that Felix asked me to take for him...He laughed and told me to get in his jeep and we tooled out to his farm....He took me up on  a hill overlooking his paddocks and he said he would get his man to leave some feed up there and showed me where the sun would rise and then took me back to the trials...Wow! All I had to do was get back there the next morning real early...
 
That night I slept in my old van.. Well I tried to sleep...I had parked in between two of the horse barns that were being used by horses and horses...You can't imagine the sounds I heard that night...Horses pee and fart and whinny and neigh and stomp and fuss all night long...By the time I got up...I headed to the 7-11 for some wake up coffee and a roll...The sun would be up shortly...I raced to the horse farm and got up on the ridge where I was suppose to be...WOW! There they were ...three gorgeous horses eating the feed on the hill...I got out quickly and brought out my tripod which I had already attached my Nikon 35mm camera to with the wide angle lens...I had maybe twenty shots left on the roll in the camera....Here comes the sun...beautiful...The air was clean and the dew hugged the grass and bushes...When I finished shooting the rest of the roll I started to rewind  it so I could put a new roll in... That's when the horses looked up and trotted away...I got my shot!
 
I went back to the trials and shot many pictures of graceful horses and their riders till mid- afternoon...Then I decided to back to Columbia...I said, "Well maybe I should go back to Barnwell State park and see if I could finish up my trip with some good shots there. "...When I arrived there I knew I had wasted my time so I decided to give Felix a shot he would not forget...They had a pond there with a small dock pointing out to middle...I set up my camera on my tripod at waist level and aimed it down the dock.. Then I put it on self-timer and pushed the button...as I did so...I  stood in front of the camera , bent over and dropped my pants...
 
A few days later...I got my slides back and I put them all in Kodak Carrousels...Usually eighty to a tray...I brought them to Felix and told him I had got the shot he wanted and more but the shot I was most proud of...I called, "Moon over Barnwell State Park"  I had hid it about number 50 in the first tray...Later...Felix called me to bless me out...He said he took those trays right into the conference room and set up the projector and screen...He then called in his staff of nine women to watch as he ran the projector He of  course told them to look for my favorite shot...he said when it appeared... the gals whooped and hollered till they were hoarse ...(Mission accomplished!)

 
This is not the original shot ...It has been cropped...the original had three horses in it...This brochure came a couple of years after that one but they still liked the shot...
 
Here are three other shots of mine that they used in this particular brochure...

 
Riverbanks Zoo

 
Country shots


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Karate and me or "I'd rather fight than eat!"

My friend in Vancouver wrote a recent blog about our government shutting down and titled it "Id rather fight than eat!"
I have a little story about myself...It has nothing to do with the our government but about his title, " I'd rather fight than eat!"
Back when I was spending 2 years of my time (1956-58) with the US Army at Fort Leonard Wood, MIssouri...I was part of a class of students learning the fine art of self defense...called Karate... Our sensi,(Teacher), Victor Lemire was a drafted Arizona Highway patrolman...He studied karate with another Arizona officer...Captain Robert Trias who acquired a 9th degree black belt while serving duty in China ... Trias brought Karate to the US and opened up a school called American Karate...

I was in fine fighting shape back then (165 lbs. and 6 feet tall) and I enjoyed learning how to kill or maim another person with my bare hands or feet or elbows or knees in seconds ...I became quite good at this...This class was not a part of my Army duties...It was a volunteer class...There was nine of us...We worked out mostly at night in an old storage shed... which our company commander (Captain Nicholson) allowed us to use...He also wanted to learn this extraordinary art of killing people...So we benefitted from his rank and power...We covered the floor with old hospital mattresses and covered them with a large tarp... He also provided us with Judo Gis (work out clothes) which his wife made for us...Little did we know that we were the first Karate school ever to be allowed to function in the US Army (main land)...We were written up by the fort newspaper back then which made its way to the Army Times...(the year was 1957)...I digress...




One weekend 5 of us decided to load up a friend's 1953 Chevy BelAir go on a 3 day fishing trip to Lake of the Ozarks, which was about 60 miles south of the fort...We drove the back roads down to our rental cabin and when we crossed the state line a stray bullet ricocheted off our front window which was probably shot by a deer hunter...Of course we stopped and looked around (carefully) and decided o keep going... shortly we came upon a honkytonk back in the boondocks and we decided to have a moon pie and beer or two...
We were drinking and laughing when a Harly pulls up outside with a young burly rider and his cute girlfriend in Tshirt and torn, worn jeans...They ventured in and immediately this little honey stated flirting with our group...The more she flirted the more her boyfriend fumed...Finally one of our party , am old staff sargent named Larry went over to the lad at the bar and asked him to calm down...at which time... he jumped in front of us at our table and shouted,"I'd rather fight than eat!"
Larry calmly walked in front to him and said "Son...You're talking to the wrong group if its a fight you want...My friends here would rather eat (and drink) that fight...You see...these boys are not trained to fight...they're trained  to kill...and then we all stood up and smiled at the the young red neck...and Larry said "how about we buy you and your girlfriend a beer and something to eat?
There was a log pause and the young biker grabbed his girlfriend's arm a stalked out the door...And "varoom varoom"... away they rode...
We didn't catch many fish that weekend but came back with some good memories...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This was my diploma...
 
 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mom and Dad 1920 and 1957

My dad has the black sweater on...
 
 
 
Here are some photos of my parents taken thirty years apart and ones of my dad with his steam engine and friends...I'm delighted I can post these on my blog...Dad worked for the railroad for many years...He became an engineer about the time I started grammar school (1942)...He drove an old steam switch engine for the Chicago People's Gas Light and Coke Company...Then he had 17 miles of track inside a very large yard and his engine would move the coke cars wherever they had to go...By the time I entered high school they had switched from steam to diesel powered engines...But then they got rid of their coke cars and sold only natural gas...In huge storage tanks...This created a dilemma for my dad since he was only a year or so from retiring at 65...They asked him if he wanted one of two jobs they could offer him which were ...1. Watching over the boilers or 2. Being a weed picker around the tanks...My dad took the boiler job since he had worked out of doors all of his life and the winters in Chicago were pretty cold...But...He got so bored watching boilers and reading the daily newspaper from front to back he requested the weed picking job..
In high school the guys would occasionally ask one another..."What does your dad do for a living?" I remember one kid say ,"My father doesn't do anything....He's a cop!"...And so my answer was," My father is the highest paid weed picker in the city of Chicago"...My dad got a kick out of that answer and told his friends down at George's bar...
I have thank my ex neighbor (Delores A.) an e-mail friend,who lived directly across the street from me in Chicago for the picture of mom and dad all gussied up at maybe at a  wedding reception...Dee now lives in Florida and found the photo amongst some others recently and sent it to me...
God bless you Dee!
 

Oh yes...don't let me forget...Dee's parents were my God parents...Thanks again Dee...

Monday, July 22, 2013

John McCormick does Millers Beer Ads...

 

Scratchboard art is a thing of the past...Not anymore ...it's coming back strong...In 1954 when I was apprenticing at a large art and photography studio (Kling Studios) in the city where I grew up, Chicago ... I met an illustrator by the name of John McCormick...He had some Scotch blood in him and he grew up  in Australia...He had a gift that made him famous...He knew the art of scratchboard...and he knew it well...
There were other famous artists working there...Ralph Ballantine ...H. Charles McBarron Jr...to name a few....My job was as a gopher...(go for this...go for that)...I also matted and framed art work ...Back then the studio provided a still photographer for the artists so he could photograph various models in the poses which the artists has laid out before they finished their final illustrations...The apprentices (there were three of us) were ready models to be used by the artists ..Once I posed as a Roman centurion fast asleep while guarding Christ's tomb...the artist was illustrating a bible...I also posed as a WW I soldier on a scouting trip down in Panama...The in-house photographer was quite  character...He would always ask us if we knew any young girls who were aspiring to  become fashion  models to send them to him so he could work up a portfolio for them...This was how he would make extra money...

But let's get back to John McCormick...He would allow the apprentices to come into his small studio to watch him as he worked...I had never seen anything like this before and so I would spend as much time as he would allow to watch him bring his art to life...The ads you see here are for Miller High Life Beer...They respected John's work so much they even gave him a byline..Look at these ads closely and you will see why...



Check out the leather of his shoe...and the softness of his cap...


Check out all the textures of the various elements in the picture...

John had a fine sense of humor and would keep a bottle of whiskey in the bottom drawer of his short file cabinet... Back then it was common for the owner  of the studio to lead potential clients around to see the various artists while they were working.in their small studios ..Once ever so often ...when John heard them come to his open door which was to his back...he would pause as if he didn't hear them and then reach down to get a swig from that bottle...I think it might have disturbed Mr. Kling at first, but then I think once he knew John was teasing them and he would lead them to John's studio on purpose...

 I spent two summers working at that studio and I was fortunate to know this fine man and great artist...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Picture of the Day...Capital Dome...



This was a grab shot I took driving over the railroad tracks in downtown Columbia some months ago...
I'm surprised at the composition of the picture 
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Friday, June 7, 2013

The Hummingbirds are back...


 I have always enjoyed my hummingbird feeder...It welcomes those little guys back to my deck every year..

 

This is the female...She's a little more hungry than her spouse...



Saturday, June 1, 2013

LA VITA'E BELLA a poem by Uncle Ron

                                                                        LA VITA'E BELLA
                 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL...

                                        IT CAN MAKE YOU LAUGH

               IT CAN MAKE YOU CRY ...

                                         IT CAN MAKE YOU LUST...

               IT CAN MAKE YOU SIGH.



                                  LIFE KNOWS NO BONDS AS IT GOES ROUND AND ROUND...

           THE FIRST DAY YOU'RE HAPPY...

                                            YOU'VE MET SOMEONE NEW...

                      THE SECOND DAY YOU'RE LAUGHING ...AND SHE'S LAUGHING TOO...

   THE THIRD DAY YOU'VE TRIPPED ON SOME UNKNOWN WIRE....

                              HER LAUGHTER IS STILL AS SHE PUTS OUT THE FIRE...

OH WHERE ARE THE MATCHES?   WHERE IS THE WOOD?

                         "SPEAK TO HER GOD...    I'VE BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD!"



BUT HER LAUGHTER IS GONE...THE ASHES ARE COLD...

                             HIS EYES THAT ONCE SPARKLED...  HAVE NOW GROWN SO OLD.

                IS THERE NO GOD?   IS THERE NO HOPE?

IS THERE NOT SOMEONE ...   WHO CAN HELP OUT THIS DOPE?



                    THE LONE RANGER IS DEAD... AND TONTO...AND SILVER...

SMOKE THE BEAR MIGHT BUT HE CANNOT PLAY WITH MATCHES...

                          SO WHAT IS HE TO DO?        THIS ILL FATED FELLOW?

A CLOWN WITH A BEARD AND A BRAIN FULL OF JELLO?

                          HE COULD SEND HER A FLOWER...  A VERY LARGE ROSE...

A FLOWER SO RED...IT RESEMBLES HIS NOSE.

                                        

                                                                                       ~Uncle Ron~






Sunday, May 26, 2013

Is she Amanda Palmer?

Dear Friends 
I shot this video on my cell phone in October of 2012 at the SC State Fair in Columbia, SC...The young lady posing as a statue did a wonderful job...I recently came across a video of Amanda Palmer called "the art of asking"...I was struck by her beauty and the fact that she said her day job was posing as a statue...Amanda is an internationally know artist and song writer...One of her newest songs which she performs brilliantly is called "Bed Story" It is about two people who are in love and they slowly change toward each other as they grow older...



I can't believe this young lady that I video taped at the SC State Fair last October can be her...but it 
sure looks like her...PS...This a horrible video...I don't know what happened to it...

video

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Robert...

Hey Robert...May 28th is your birthday...
I hope it's a good day for you...
and I hope you will give me a call and let me know how you are doing...





Friday, April 12, 2013

Arnold Palmer Portrait...

Since this is the week of the Masters I thought would tell a little story on myself....
 
Back in 1967 when I was only 31 years old I painted an oil portrait of our favorite pro golfer, Arnold Palmer... My wife Nancy and I were part of Arnie's Army...We followed him from tee to tee and ooooed and aaaahed whenever he came on the screen...Our TV screen...And one day that year I decided to paint a portrait of him and I did...I was working as an illustrator for the S.C. Educational TV at the time...I used the photograph above as my model and it took me only a day or so to finish it....It was a probably 18 x 28 inches in size...After showing it to my friends at work...My friend Jim (an avid golfer)  said he would drive me to August on the first day of the Master's Tournament to see me give it to him...I put it in an inexpensive frame and packaged it up in a cardboard box...Jim had convertible and we put it in his back seat and after work, tooled over to Augusta on Thursday afternoon...the first day of the tournament...
 
Back then they didn't have the security at the course they have today...We found a parking spot and went wondering into this beautiful park with azaleas blooming and Live Oaks flying their Spanish moss...We found the Press tent and went in...
 
A gentleman approached and asked if he could help us...We asked him if we could meet Arnold Palmer...He kind of chuckled and said that Arnie had already left the club and asked us why we wanted to meet him...I explained that I had painted a portrait of him and wanted to present it to him...He said,"I tell you what...just bring it back here and give it to my secretary over there and I will see that he gets it tomorrow morning when he comes back to the club." He gave us his name which I don't remember but we believed him and went back tot the car and got the portrait...When we returned he was nowhere in sight and neither was his secretary...but...There walked in a very distinguished gentleman in a green coat ...We explained to him why we were there and to our surprise he warmly said to us that Arnie was a personal friend of his and if we give him the portrait he would put it in his locker and see that he personally got it...
 
So on the way back home I said to Jim, "What if he opens up the package and likes the portrait and keeps it and Arnie never sees it?" (I was a little naïve back then)
 
Jim answered me and said not to worry that he was coming back to the tournament on Sunday and he would ask Arnie when he was on the practice putting green if he got it...And that's what he did...
 
He said to Arnie," Did you get the oil portrait we left for you?"
Arnie said,"I sure did...did you do it?" 
And Jim said,"No I didn't...My friend Ron Chapiesky did!"
Arnie said," well a friend gave it to me!"...
And Jim asked,"A friend?"...
Arnie said," yes a friend...The president of the First National Bank of New York City"... 
 
 
  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Felix Calhoun Walker II's Obituary

My best friend Felix Calhoun Walker II, 77, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013. He is preceded in death by his parents, Felix Calhoun Walker and Neil Parker Walker, and his daughter Stephane Frances Walker. He is survived by his sisters, Mary Claire Johnson and Virginia Anne Bolles; his three children, Kimberly Walker King, Felix Calhoun Walker III, and Marian Walker Kemp; his 10 grandchildren; one great-grandson; and his dearest friend Ron Chapiesky "Uncle Ron". (the children added this)
Felix Calhoun Walker affectionately known to his family as DAP was a modest man who lived to see his grandchildren grow and become loving and caring members of society. He never bragged on himself though he was a very accomplished writer and cartoonist. During the years he worked for the S. C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, he helped design the first significant brochure used by that state. It is still talked about to this day. An avid reader of the New Yorker Magazine he loved combing the
daily newspaper when he was not cooking up some tasty low country stews, chicken per-loos, or fried rainbow trout for his family. He loved animals but especially cats and they loved him. He saw to it that his grandchildren knew their lessons and he bragged on their accomplishments in school or on the playing field. He loved to laugh and tell jokes and he never met a stranger. He will be missed but never forgotten.
There will not be a wake or funeral, for his wishes were to be cremated and his ashes will be spread in South Carolina. Those wishing to send flowers should instead send donations to a charity of their choice in his name.