Category Archives: Uncategorized

New favorite: “Mountain Men” by Gerard Curtis Delano

In an obscure history museum in the small town of Craig, Colorado, I came upon the art of Gerard Curtis Delano, who painted western themes in the early 1900’s.  Delano used simple forms and rich colors, almost chromatic, especially when depicting the bright colors in traditional colors of native American colors.  The museum had several prints of his work.  I had never heard of Delano previously, and would have probably not even remembered him, had it not been for what happened next.

As I came around one display, I encountered his work, Mountain Men, depicting two mountain men riding a makeshift raft down a river.  This was an original, 30″ x 36″.   The image I have linked hardly does justice to the rich pastel colors, which make the water so cold and atmosphere so misty.   What really exited me was the action implicit in the scene, and the feeling of being there, achieved by the low angle of view.

No prints were available.  Research shows that it sold in 2013 for $74,750.  Still, it is a new favorite of mine.

Mountain Men by Gerard Curtis Delano

Ornamental Bush Studies

April 21 at 9am. Morning sun.

April 21 at 1 pm. Overcast.

April 23 at 6:30 pm. Evening sun.

Assignment was three paintings of the same object, using brush.

Clowning Around

Brian the Clown

Brian the Clown


Our youth organization planned a carnival for children with special needs. It was a chance to serve children and families and understand better in the process. I was asked to be a clown and make balloon animals.

I pulled an old costume and face paints out of a trunk in the basement, decided on a makeup scheme, and borrowed a wig. I found YouTube videos on how to make balloon animals, and practiced up.

Unfortunately, when I took off the makeup, some of it wouldn’t come off. I checked the water-soluble markers I used to put on the makeup, and discovered that one of them was actually permanent!? I took quite a bit of scrubbing with bleach to get the lines off!

Some lines didn't want to come off.

Some lines didn't want to come off. They were accidently permanent marker.

Meeting Senators and a Quote in the Paper

Brian meets Minnesota Senator Al Franken

Brian meets Minnesota Senator Al Franken


IBM invited two Senators who had helped patent reform legislation to visit the site for a Celebration of Innovation and small media event. I was invited to participate because I am considered a Master Inventor, due to many patents made while working for IBM.

It was very enjoyable to meet Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. The photo above is small talk with Senator Franken as we met and he found my picture on his list of participants.

I and the other inventors and technical leaders met with the senators in a “roundtable” where we each explained our current innovations.

The news media was there, and so were a few seconds of fleeting fame. Video from KIMT 3 shows me 1:01, 0:25 and 0:09. There were also videos on KAAL (2:27 and 1:30) and Rochester Post Bulletin at 1:28.

I was also cited in the Post Bulletin,

“You’ll end up more confident when you come out the back end of the process with a patent that you have something good,” said Brian Cragun, a master inventor for IBM.

Ah yes. Fleeting fame.

Bosc pear study

A bosc pear painted with brush

A bosc pear painted with brush

Aging bosc pear, all alone
Hard to match your mottled tone.

An assignment this week to paint fruit and look for the color and planes. My painter friend Hee June gave me a bosc pear, which seemed easy until I tried to match the unusual skin tones.

The first one is done with a brush. The second is with a knife and with brighter light.

Technical: each 6×8 oil on pumice canvas, brush and knife, respectively. Palette: permanent red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange, ultramarine blue, titanium white.

Bosc pear in bright light

Bosc pear in bright light

Family togetherness via Hangout

First all-family chat on Google+ Hangout

Our first all-family chat on Google+ Hangout.


We had our first whole family chat tonight. Thanks to Google+. The video and audio were pretty good, except for the echo. Kids discovered they could mute each other. So there were “mute wars”.

Little trip to Northern Minnesota

On our yearly anniversary get-away, we decided to go up to Northern Minnesota, near Hackensack. We’ve always chosen trips like this to find things to do. This year, we wanted something more relaxing. We rented a small cabin on a little lake. We took it easy. I did a little painting.

Lovely sunset on Four Point Lake

Lovely sunset on Four Point Lake, near Hackensack, Minnesota

The scenery was outstanding. I loved this purple flowing plant. Painted it. Discovered later it is considered an invasive species.

Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox

Brian and Leanne standing next to the famous statue of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox

We drove to Bemidji to see the statue of Paul Bunyan.

Crossing the Mississippi, just below the headwaters

Crossing the Mississippi, just below the headwaters in Itasca State Park, Minnesota.

We drove to Istasca to see the head waters of the Mississippi. I rolled up my pants and crossed what is here, the 10 foot wide 14 inches deep Mississippi river. This is a quarter mile down river from the headwaters.

At the headwaters of the Mississippi

At the headwaters of the Mississippi, at the edge of Lake Itasca.


Here we are at the actual headwaters.

Chainsaw carving tournament

Chainsaw carving tournament in Hackensack, Minnesota


We saw woodcarving with chainsaws.
Lumberjack demonstration

Lumberjack demonstration with modified souped up chainsaw.


We also saw a demonstration of lumberjack skills. In this photo, they race to cut logs with modified souped-up chain saws.