Thursday, December 1, 2011


I saw where in my last post that I'd promise to update this more regularly.  That was back in September.  I have my last scheduled show of the year coming up this Saturday at the Piedmont Folk Art Show in Lancaster, SC.  There is a chance I may do another the following weekend.  Check the website for details if I do.

I've been working hard making art and handling the business side of things.  Sometimes I wish I had someone else to do the latter part.  I love making art and going out and doing shows and meeting people, but most of the other I dont care for that much.  Art has become my career choice, but I do it for the fun of it.  I've always said if it ever becomes work, I'll quit.

I'm still having fun though, tons of it.  I hear a lot of people talk about professionalism, marketing strategies, and all the blah blah business words in relation to their art as a business.  I hope that I never get that way.  I just plan on being myself, doing things the way I want to, being good to people and having fun. I've said before if somebody was looking for professionalism, they wouldn't be looking at my art anyway. 

As I wind down my first full year of being a full-time artist, I can say that I'm very pleased with the results.  I've made a lot of new friends, sold a good bit of art, there are a whole lot more people out there who know who SamG is.  People ask me why I do art.  I'll tell you.  I want to leave a legacy.  I want to know that when my time has come to leave this world, that I've made as much of an impact on it as I can.  I'm sitting here looking at a painting that's in my collection.  It's nothing fancy, but it is one that I really like.  It's of an early aircraft carrier and is signed and dated 1933.  All I can find out about the artist is the information on her tombstone.  I don't want my life summed up on a piece of granite.  I jokingly tell people, I don't care much about the fortune, but I do want the fame.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

so what's new.....

I know that I havent been updating this thing much lately.  I saw where the last one was in June.  Things have been going along steadily.  Been having a lot of fun getting out to my shows and meeting new people.  I've been working on some different stuff lately.  Over the next couple of weeks I will be working on quite a bit of smaller pieces to take with me.  The next few months are going to be crazy with the number of shows that I'll be doing. 
One big announcement is that I'll be teaming up with Marvin Bailey Pottery for a limited series of face jugs.  We will probably be doing 6 during the first series to see how it goes.  We will be debuting these at the Piedmont Folk Art show in Lancaster, SC on December 3rd.
About that time of year to start working on Christmas stuff again.  I always do one big Christmas piece every year.  For my blog people, I'll let you in on it.  This year will be a life size wooden santa.  I'll be doing quite a few small pieces too. 
Not a whole lot else to say right now.  Promise I'll be a little more regular to update this thing.

Til then.... Peace, Love, Freedom Chickens..... SamG

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend in the Delta

I had an awesome time this past weekend at the BB King Homecoming in Indianola, MS.  Sold a lot of art and met many wonderful people.  The BB King concert was ok.  He spent an hour trying to coordinate a kids dance contest and did a lot of talking.  He only played like 4 songs.  It was still cool tho to get a chance to see him. 
On the ride up, we spent  2 1/2 hours riding lost down Mississippi dirt roads trying to find the grave of one of my all time favorites, Elmore James.  If you ever decide to try to find it, don't use any online maps.  Call and I'll give you directions.  The maps had us going down dirt roads that people probably hadn't been on in years except to throw out used tires.  I saw so many that I wanted to get one as a souvenir, but Rhonda talked me out of it.  We eventually found it and took some photos.  I sang a verse of "It Hurts Me Too" to myself.  Then we left out in search of Little Zion M. B. Church in Greenwood to visit what people believe is the actual burial place of Robert Johnson. 
That one was easy to find, I found the church address in an online phonebook and entered it into my GPS. 
We got to Little Zion, walked around a bit until we found the marker.  Near the back under a large pecan tree.  According to the accounts of Rosie Eskeridge, his body was laid beneath that pecan tree while her husband dug the grave nearby.  The cemetery had a very dark, ominous feeling.  Very different from the sacred ground feeling that was present at the Elmore James cemetery.  Had a feeling that I was being watched the whole time.  Talked to others on Saturday that said they'd had the same feeling there. 
On Sunday, we decided to ride over and spend some time in Leland, MS.  Leland has been home to many great blues musicians and was also the birthplace of Kermit the Frog.... as Jim Henson spent much of his childhood growing up in Leland.  One of the highlights of the trip for me though was a visit with Pat Thomas.  Pat is the son of bluesman/folk artist James "Son" Thomas.  Like his father, Pat does clay sculpture skulls among other things.  Pat also does a lot of cat drawings.  I didn't get a concert from him.  He had left his guitar at the Blues Museum where he often goes and plays, mostly for tips from what he said.  He's the real deal.  Born and raised in the blues, and has lived his share of them.  Still a very happy soul with as big a grin as you'll find anywhere.  He told me most of his art was up at the museum.  He did manage to come up with about 12 drawings on paper.  He apologized that he didn't have more and went into his kitchen and took down 4 plates.  He drawed cats on three of them.  He has two basic styles of cat.  One he called a regular cat and the other a diamond-eyed cat.  I wound up getting several of each style cat done on anything from paper, to the back of concert posters, to an Easter card that somebody had given him.  I also wound up getting some other drawings from him too and a scorecard from where he and friends had played dominoes. Somebody named "Big Al" won that game.  He hadn't done any clay work in a while as he said he hadn't had any clay.  I hope to get back over there again soon and take him some clay and have him make me a skull or two.

I usually try to finish these with a lesson...  so here goes..... Don't ever put BB King in charge of coordinating a kid's dance contest.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Remembering a Friend

Was planning on bringing back Thursday Night story time tonight.  I'm going to have to put it off another week or so.
 I got the news earlier tonight that one of my friends Craig Hicks had passed away.  I've known Craig probably 8 years or so.  One of the nicest people I have ever known.  The first time I met him was when he came into my old antique shop down in Thomaston.  We talked for a while, and I found out that he had a store down in Manchester.  It used to be a store.  Kersey's Grocery I think was the name of it.  It didn't have electricity.  The floor had fallen in and on each visit thereafter it would be a little bit worse.  I can hear him now, "Watch the floor, it's a little unlevel."  The roof leaked and parts of the ceiling had started to fall down.  He was there most every Friday, Saturday and Sunday unless it was cold or raining for 26 years.  I spent many Saturday and Sunday afternoons there.  Craig was a junkman.  One of the best there ever was.  I always joked with him about being the luckiest person I knew when it came to finding stuff.  He was very knowledgeable, and would openly share his knowledge anytime you would ask.  When I was in the auction business, he was one of my regular consignors.  We both made a lot of money off of Marie Rogers pottery back in those days.  We would normally talk on the phone about once a week, and I would usually go see him every other week when I was in town. 
When I started painting 3 1/2 years ago, he was my biggest supporter.  Of the 360 or so pieces of art I've done to date, he owns approximately 50 of them.  Craig has been in a nursing home or hospital for the past 9 months.  He had an aneurysm and stroke which left him immobile.  His mind stayed sharp as it ever was.  I saw him last on March 27th when I was coming back from the Doo-Nanny.  I started not to stop.  The truck was loaded down with stuff and bad storms were on their way.  I actually went past it and decided to do a U-turn.  I hadn't been to see him since right before Christmas.  I had my knee surgery and wasn't able to get around good, but had been meaning to get down there.  I'm so glad I made that U-turn.
We talked that day for a little over an hour.  He told me he had sold the rest of the stuff out of his building to a friend of his.  When he got better, he was just going to start over.  He'd always ask me how my art was doing.  Told him that it's really been picking up lately.  Told me that when he was able that he wanted to buy some more.  He never gave up hope. 
He loved roosters and he's probably one of the main reasons that I have painted so many.  This is one I gave him after he went into the nursing home.  It was on the wall at the foot of his bed so he could see it.  He would usually comment on how much he liked it, when I would go see him.  Craig, you will be missed my friend.  Until then.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Some people come along in life that mean more than others.  This is about two such people.  What sets them apart?  They believed in me.  There are others but these two really stick out in my mind.  My second grade teacher Mrs. Kimbrough has always held a special place in my heart.  I tell everybody she was the first person who believed in me.  I have wanted to locate her for many years and tell her thank you and let her know that she made a difference.  Thanks to facebook, I now talk to her on occassion.  I promised her a painting and a trip up to see her sometime in the near future. 
I have a lot of memories of Mrs. Kimbrough.  This one is still talked about to this day.  I've always been somewhat of a free thinker.  One day in the second grade, the thought began to cross my mind to walk home from school.  It was a nice day, and I didn't feel like riding the school bus.  I saved my lunch money so that I'd have money to stop by the store and get a Coke to enjoy on the 6 mile walk.  The bell rang for school to let out and I started walking.  I didn't make it very far, probably a quarter-mile or so, until one of the other second grade teachers Mrs. Caraway saw me and picked me up.  She asked me who my teacher was, so I told her Mrs. Kimbrough.  She took me back to the school and turned me over to Mrs. Kimbrough who told me she would give me a ride home.  Mrs. Kimbrough knew my mom.  My mom volunteered on Tuesdays at the school.  We got to my house, and Mrs. Kimbrough came inside and talked to my parents for a bit.  My dad was just staring at me.  I knew what immenent danger awaited upon Mrs. Kimbrough's departure.  As soon as Mrs. Kimbrough had the van cranked and in reverse.  I took off to my favorite hiding spot in those days, under the bed.  My dad was right on my heels pulling his belt off the whole time.  I shot under the bed and got all the way up in the corner near the wall so he couldn't get me with the belt.  He tried several times then I saw his feet going thru the door.  I'm thinking to myself, that was easy.  Moments later I saw those two feet come back in.  He had gotten the broom.  He started gouging me with the broom until I gave up and came out.  By this time, my mom had intervened and Daddy decided that my brother Stanley was the one who really needed the whipping because he saw me walking up the road and didn't say anything.  I could ramble on for hours about Mrs. Kimbrough.  Anyone who was in her class will tell you, she was the best teacher ever. 
I've recently been humbled by another friend. We've never even met in person up until this point.  That will change tomorrow, and I 'm so looking forward to it.  She believes in me.  I don't know of a better feeling than to know that someone believes in you.  She has gone way out of her way to help me get really rolling with my art as a business.  She is a great artist, and I tell her all the time that I'm going to have her teach me how to paint.  We're planning on doing some collaborative work together in the near future.  Thank you Sandy Hall for all you've done.  It really does mean a lot. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crocodiles and a Cowboy.... A Tale of Young Love

Love is many splendored thing, or so they say.  The truth is I've never been real good at it.   This story begins with me and one of my best friends, Travis Hill.  He had hair back then and did not look like the 5 time winner of the Charlie Brown Look-A-Like Contest that he is now.  Travis and I were doing some part-time work after school and on weekends doing yard work.  It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we decided to grab some lunch while we were between jobs.  He happened to notice two girls that he knew from school walking down the sidewalk.  We stopped and talked and gave them a ride home.  Plans were made for a double-date the next weekend.
The weekend came around and Travis and I went to pickup our dates.  I was driving a white Ford Escort back in those days.  Dinner and a movie were the plans.  We go to pickup my girl first.  She was a very attractive girl, a little on the skinny side and very shy.  Still the kind of girl you like to be seen with.  Our first stop was the movie theater,  Crocodile Dundee II had just came out.  I'm sure the movie was kind of awkward with her being shy, and me being well, awkward.  When the movie was over, we proceeded to what was at the time one of the biggest eating establishments in Griffin.  You guessed it, we went to Shoney's.  Dinner was fun, there was a lot of laughing and acting crazy, but with me and Travis, that's pretty much the norm.  The date was over, Travis' girl had to be home by midnight, so we dropped her off first.  My date lived on the way home anyway so we had already decided to drop her off later.
I have always considered my self much more suave' than I really am.  I walked my lovely date to the door and gave her the usual "had a nice time, hope to see you again" blah blah blah.  This time I really did want to see her again, though.   The front door was on a small porch and had a wrought iron rail around it.  I decided to sit on top of the rail with her in front of me and continue to pour every line of bull crap I could give her.  It's late, I'm getting ready to leave, and I decided to lean in and try to get a kiss.  She had a different idea and reached in and goosed me on the side.  I am a very ticklish person.  I always have been.  Anyway, back to the story, she tickled me and I flinched.   Now get the visual.  I am perched on top of a wrought iron rail with my feet on the bottom rail on a porch that was about 4 steps up.  My lovely date is standing directly in front of me just between my knees.  Directly behind me is a large, rather neatly manicured holly bush.   I lean in for the kiss, she retaliates with a tickle.  I then proceed to flip backwards off of the porch into the holly bush.  It seemed like the bush just swallowed me whole.  The pain was unimaginable.  By the time I manage to fight my way out of the holly bush, I'm standing there bleeding and crying but still trying to be as cool as ever.  She is on the porch trying her best to hold back a giggle.  I look at my car and it looks like it's having coniptions.  Travis is laughing so hard the whole car was shaking.  I tell the girl that I will give her a call tomorrow.  When I dropped Travis off 15 minutes later, he hadn't said a word, he was still laughing even as I backed out of his driveway.
There were several other incidents during our brief relationship, like the time she wouldn't get out of the car to help me catch a dog.  Our last date is something I will never forget.  I go to pick her up at her house and arrive as her parents are leaving to go celebrate their wedding anniversary.  I go in and my lovely lady is sitting in the living room on an ottoman.  It was one of those over-sized ottomans that a couple people could sit on. I sit down next to her and we start talking, when i notice she has tears in her eyes.  We sit there and talk, not about too much because I never did figure out what she was crying about.  I just stared into her eyes as we talked.  Anyways, I finally after about 2 months of trying got my first kiss from her.  I still remember it well.  She still ranks up there as one of the best kissers I've ever seen.  An hour had passed and kissing led to some other things, and was about to most likely lead to some most serious things.
I was beginning to think that I was going to get lucky, but my luck was soon to change.   The front door swings open and it was her parents.  Her dad was normally a likeable fellow.  This time however he was not.  It seems he had gotten drunk and been kicked out of the local Moose Lodge.  I remind you, he had only been gone an hour and it was their wedding anniversary.  He was a gunsmith and a gun collector.  I was a goofy kid who just happened to be dating his beautiful daughter.  Details become very fuzzy at this point.  The  only real memory I have is of a lot off angry cursing aimed in my direction and the yielding of the largest, shiniest, most spectacularly intimidating cowboy gun that I have ever seen.  I figure he brought it out for his anniversary.  Dirty Harry would have been proud to have owned this thing!  I realize that it is time for me to immediately get the hell on.  She figures it best for her to stay.  I tried calling her a couple of times after that but nothing.  It was for the best though.  I can't imagine what kind of shotgun he may have had in case their needed to be a wedding.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Favorite Foreigners and Fried Green Tomatos

Rene and Julie Zankl are two of my favorite people in the world.  I met Julie years ago, she was my internet spades partner going back to the mid 1990's.  They live in Calgary, AB Canada.  I've been to Calgary to visit them twice.  I'd live there if it weren't so darn cold.  I remember talking to Julie when she was in labor with her youngest son.  I also remember talking to her when my mom died.  Truly been good friends, even though many miles are between us.  I jokingly refer to them as my "Favorite Foreigners."
However, this story occurs on their one and only visit to Georgia.  They are the most gracious of hosts and always have a full itenerary scheduled for my visits.  Even when I call them the day before and tell them, "I'm coming up there tomorrow."  I had no clue what to do to entertain them in boring little Meansville, GA.  I had told them about the "World's Largest Peanut" down close to Plains.  Once they saw the pictures on the internet, they felt no need to go see it in person.  I did introduce them to Waffle House which made breakfast planning very simple.  This was back in the days when you could still smoke in restaurants.  Rene asked if he could smoke in there, I told him that you were kind of expected to.   I did have to stop him from trying to order his eggs boiled though.
One day we decided to go riding down toward Macon so I could show them some of the cool houses and figure we would hit a couple of places on the way back.  My best friend, John Wilson, tagged along with us that day.  I had decided that it was my duty to introduce them to some of the finer southern foods.  They had already tasted grits.  I smuggled a bag across the border on my first visit.  I decided it was time for them to taste some Fried Green Tomatoes, so we pulled off the interstate and headed for Juliette.  If you're not familiar with Juliette, GA, it is the town that was used in the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes."  So where better to feed someone fried green tomatoes that at the WhistleStop Cafe.  It was miserably hot that day and humid.  The weather had been unseasonably nice for August in GA during the previous part of their stay.  So I was glad that they got to experience another Georgia tradition of uncontrolable sweating.  Next time I'll take them a little further south and introduce them to gnats!
Now we are getting to the part of the story that some consider legend.  It was nice and cool inside the Whistle Stop.  A refreshing break from the miserable August heat outside. I (believe it or not) had to go to the bathroom.  Unlike previous stories there was no government cheese involved.  I opened the door to the bathroom and thought I was in the kitchen.  It was an add-on bathroom with a tin roof and was not serviced by the air conditioning just outside the door.  I have never been so hot in my whole life.  I did the business that I was there for as quickly as possible which still seemed like a half an hour.  I walk out and I am sweating profusely.  The whole restaurant was staring at me.  I sat down at the table and began to explain everything.  When I was done telling about the tin roof, no A/C and whatever else I could think of to complain about, I began to chuckle.  When they curiously asked what was so funny, I told them "I fudged the bowl."
We briefly looked at the idea of trying to market shirts and thought of doing a tour where we'd go around fudging bowls at other famous landmarks.  Maybe when I retire.
Next time you're riding through middle Georgia, swing by and see the Famous Whistle Stop Cafe.  Eat some Fried Green Tomatos.  But if it's above 80 degree's stop and use the bathroom somewhere before you get there.  But I will always fondly remember (since I am frequently reminded) the day that "I FUDGED THE BOWL AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE!"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Tale of Horses and Government Cheese: The Camp Joy Experience

When I was 12 years old, my Sunday School class at church presented us with the idea of going to Summer Church Camp.  I'd never been to camp and was cautiously excited about the opportunity, but all my friends were going.  I was a naive child.  I am positive it was the first time that I'd been away from home for a week, other than to go spend the week with my aunt and uncle while my brother was playing baseball. 
I had no idea what to expect.  We had been to visit my grandmother, who so politely would always give us a whole block of government cheese.  I began pondering what I would do about having to go to the bathroom.  I knew if you went poop at school that everybody would make fun of you.  I began to scheme.  The day before we were set to leave for camp, I consumed a whole block of government cheese.  I figured I was set for the week, and would be safe from any such mockery as would be dished out by other constipated 12 year olds.
Camp Joy proved to be little more than a Gestapo Camp with an emphasis on Jesus.  When it came time to eat you had to sing for your food.  When it was time to swim you would have your butt in the pool.  When it was time to ride horses, then by God, you would be on horseback.  We arrived on Sunday afternoon and the first full day I was there I fell down the big hill going up to the cabins.   I skinned my knee and had to go see the nurse (take note because this becomes a recurring theme). 
On the second day, during a mandatory participation softball game, I rounded third headed for home and got into a nest of yellow jackets.  I was stung repeatedly and had to go see the nurse.  However, it was the third day of Camp Joy that changed my life forever.  It came time for horseback riding.  I had very little experience with horses but had ridden them the two previous days and was getting fairly content with the idea.  While they were still saddling us all up, my horse turned to the right and started biting the horse next to me on the ear.  I thought nothing of it.  Once we started up the trail, my horse reared up and tried to jump on the other horse.  I've already told you that I was naive as a child.  I didn't know what was going on, I thought they were fighting!  Good thing I was on the male horse because the other kid had it way worse than I did.  It was my first sexual experience.  So they got the two horses separated, the other kid is banged up pretty bad from having a horse come down on top of him and I'm over there crying worse than he was.   The end result was they sent us both to the nurse, him for his injuries.  I was sent so they wouldn't have to hear me bawling.
By this time, I had developed a good relationship with the nurse.  I was unaware that it would reach a far greater level.  They woke us up at 5am and made us sing for some Froot Loops.  After I was done eating on Thursday morning, I decided to lay my head down on the table.  I was awakened by a gentle hand on my shoulder.  Looking up, I saw it was my friend the nurse.  I will never forget the words that came out her mouth.  "Have you had a bowel movement this week?"  Here again, being the naive kid that I was, I said, "No."  I had made preparations for such and was proud of the fact that my grandmother lived in government housing was able to supply us with a big block of government cheese for such an occasion.  She told me to come see her.  I'm still a dumb kid at this point so I go.  She gives a dose of Milk of Magnesia and tellls that if I don't go poop to come back and see her after supper.  
So here I am still being a stupid kid, I go back to see her.  She tells me to take my pants off and lay on my side on the table with my back facing her.   I really didn't know what went on there until later years.  She had given me a suppository.  I was given instructions to let my counselor (we called him Coach) know that I'd been given some medicine and no matter what to let me go to the bathroom.  During the middle of a chapel service about an hour later, I felt it.  I jumped up and hollered "COACH!"  He jumped up and said "Go Man Go"  Speed records were set that day I'm sure.
Anyway, the suppository did it's job and all my preparations had gone to waste.  I got picked on for having to take a poop the rest of the evening and the next day.  I wound up getting baptized again because I lost a bet.  There were really no good memories to take away.
There are two lessons that I did learn that week.  Stay away from horses.  Nothing will stop you up like government cheese.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Well folks, it's been a little over a week since I had my partial knee replacement.  The pain has been pretty tough.  I'm not used to being cooped up.  It's been frustrating, yet nice and relaxing at the same time.  I've been able to do a little bit of painting since my surgery.  I've finished 3 or 4 pieces, nothing outstanding tho.  I'm getting more comfortable sitting in a chair so productivity will be increasing very soon, I hope.  I made my move to the new house in Concord, GA.  Was up until about 2am the night before my surgery still moving stuff in.  I like it here.  I haven't been here long, but it's already getting that "Home" feeling that I've been looking for.  I've always wanted a screened in front porch, now I have one.  I'm renting for now but maybe that will change in the near future.  Thanks to everyone who has had me in their prayers.  They are very much appreciated.  I hope to be back up to full speed +++ (which many of you know, still ain't that fast).  Still looking forward to see what the future holds.  I made a commitment to myself to reach for my dreams during this upcoming year.  Thanks everyone for your continued support!!!!

Peace, Love, and Freedom Chickens......


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Same old Auld Lang Syne

Twenty days into the New Year and more of the same old, same old.  Getting ready to move again.  Will be calling Concord, GA home very soon.  Hopefully for a long time.  I'm ready to get somewhere and feel settled.  Nothing has felt like home, just a house where i sleep and keep my stuff.  I've been really needing that Home feeling lately. 

Go in the morning to meet with an orthopedic surgeon about my knee.  Both knees are bad, but my right knee is considerably worse.  It's been scoped twice already, last time he said I needed a kneecap replacement.  Just have to wait and see what he says tomorrow.  I always joked and said that I was going to have as much fun with this kneecap as I could.  The Mother's Finest concert Saturday night may be it's "Last Hurrah!" 

As far as my art is concerned, I've been brainstorming some new ideas.  I've got an idea for a Beatles tribute on an old bass drum that i've got to make happen.  Looking forward to Doo-Nanny in March.