Monday, September 28, 2015



That word pretty much sums everything up for the past few months. For those people that have been waiting
for their custom crab shell orders to be completed, rest assured that I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth.
Your orders will be completed very soon. "Fallen" may well be the second word that best describes the predicament that I have found myself in. What is that old saying?.........."the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Yep......that's it.

Actually, there has been a series of events this past summer.............beginning with the passing of my little buddy Chico. Chico, our chihuahua gave us eleven loving years of companionship. Always knowing that day would eventually come, it still hurt the family so very bad. Bad enough that I cannot write more about it at this time.

I had been gradually feeling bad for a few months and found myself struggling to keep going, I knew that something was coming upon me and yet I fought it off and kept on plugging away.....determined to get through two major events in grandson's graduation from high school and my wife Supernurse completing her Doctorate for which we were to celebrate with a large party for her.  I was in bad shape and I hung in there.......barely.........I refused to mess up and spoil the festivities. It was a very big deal for our family. Well, I managed to get through it and the night of the party, I went home and proceeded to begin having another heart attack. Went to the hospital and had yet another stent implanted. As far as the heart is concerned I am far so good.........time will tell. 

So I wasted no time getting back in the groove and painted away on crab shells. I was back on track.

Another curve was thrown my way when my uncle, who is 87 yrs old, called and informed me that he could not walk. We got him to the hospital and was found to be dehydrated and depeleted of potassium, After two days in the hospital, he was back at home feeling better but in need of more of my attention and assistance.
Well enough. No problem. Family takes care of family, right? A week later, I took him to his follow up appointment with his doctor........and to the bank, and to get a haircut. So far, so good.

When we returned to his house we could not get the front door to unlock......the key would not work.
Instead of busting the door open we decided to go around to the back of the house and try the back door.
As luck would have it, we could not get the gate to his yard to was rusted. I decided to get myself over the cement block wall that surrounds the I entered the neighbor's yard.....went up onto the porch........and got onto the top of the 5 1/2 foot wall. What began as a good idea.......a solution to thr problem.......turned out to be a HUGE mistake.

I jumped down from the top of the wall and landed hard.............."CRACK!!!!!!"
I could not get up from the ground. To make a long story short........went to the hospital.............diagnosis: shattered right heel, broken coccyx and broken sacrum. In other words, a world of hurt.

The result of my good intentions is that for the past two months I have been unable to walk......cannot put any weight on my foot.........and I have been unable to be in a sitting position. All of this has made it impossible to paint crab shells not to mention a whole host of normal activities. The pain has been excruciating, At this point, I am recovering well.......I suppose. This week I have been able to sit on my butt for short periods with only discomfort. I still cannot stand up without assistance. 
I see the orthopedist again next week.......more x-rays. 

This week I have every intention of beginning to paint shells again...........albeit a little at a time. Christmas is coming and I do not want to disappoint anyone.

Bear with me folks.

P.S    one of my sons has been tending to my tables at the Northpoint Plaza flea market. Stop by and see what shells are left.........hehehe........but there's always more.......soon.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Day In The Life Of A Crab Shell Artist

It boggles my mind that I get asked the same questions over and over on a daily basis at the flea market.
Most people have been very nice and offer up some great comments and praise in regards to my efforts of painting crab shells. It is very nice to hear kind words and praise. On the other does get a bit irritating to get the same, often silly, and ridiculous questions and comments from some people. Over the past four years I have learned to stay focused on my mission and not get too distracted. Most of the pictures of my crab shell artwork here on the blog are of the finished product along with some gratuitous selfies.......hehehe and never of me as I work.

As it happens, on a recent Monday at Hunter's Sale Barn in Cecil County, MD., a guy enters my booth with a very nice camera with an insanely huge telephoto lens. He asked if he could take some pictures of the shells.........and I was okay with that as I get asked that frequently. We talked for a while........chitter chatter....and he then asked if he could take my picture as I was painting a shell.  Now this was something I haven't been able to do I agreed to let him snap some pictures of me. The one stipulation being that he would email me some of the pictures. The photo shown above is one that he emailed me.
I really like the speaks volumes..........what is that saying?........"a thousand words"?

I am at peace while I paint and apparently it shows. I go into a zone........where it is just me shown in the picture, I make effort to address some questions via small plastic frames placed here and there on the tables in front of me. Personally, I have never seen "fake" crab shells........but for some reason the are alot of folks that ask if the shells are "real". Sadly, I can say, without a doubt, that there are people that never read any signs.........and even with these signs placed between me and the people, they still ask the questions. Go figure!

So here are some of the questions and comments I get often..........too often........and sometimes from the same people week to week!:

Are these real crab shells?
Is that real paint?
How long does it take you to paint one?
Can you do tattoos?
Did you have to eat all of them?
You paint these yourself?
"These are ashtrays"
Are you the guy in Hampden?

"How do you make them so shiny?
Are you an artist?
Did you have to catch all of them?
Where can I get the stickers?
"Sorry, I didn't see the price.....I have an earache."
Can you eat them?
"Sorry, I didn't see the sign.......I had to drive all night."
Where do you get them from?
"Look Harry......he's really painting the painted shells right now!"

Oh well...........there are more..........but I will save those for another day.........

To view more pictures of my work, browse through the archives of posts. The archives are in the column on the right hand side of this page.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shame on Baltimore

For many years now, there has been the repetitive mantra "that's not the real Baltimore" in regards to any reviews or discussions about the very popular HBO television series "The Wire" and "Homicide" and even "The Corner". The reality's worse than is portrayed on those shows. The powers that be.....well.....they have a way of offering up obfuscation and misdirection to keep any focus away from the reality. 

I felt the need to write about this today after recent events here in Baltimore...........rioting......"protesting"......chaos......looting........and now the National Guard being deployed. I have watched the tv reports......mostly the national news stations.......and payed attention to the tv camera shots.....the background imagery when a reporter goes live on camera.........and you will not see images like the one shown in the above photo. The photo above shows some of the Fulton Avenue neighborhood which is the very same neighborhood considered ground zero this past week. There is no pride shown here. The picture above shows what it looks like on a "normal" day. I recommend that if you truly want to see what neighborhoods such as west Baltimore looks like, get on your Google Maps application and get the street view and virtually drive through these streets. See it for yourself.....with no editing or carefully selected camera angles. This is Baltimore.

Is all of Baltimore so terrible?...........of course not. But a huge chunk of it is. And this chunk has not been decreasing over the past 30 or 40 fact, it has been spreading from the west side to the east side. That's the reality. Likewise, aside from how things look, there's the crime and safety issues along for the ride. The solutions are not simple, the solutions require tough actions. Ever hear of the phrase "suffer for good"? The kind of suffering now in Baltimore is NOT good in any way shape or form. Misdirected anger, senseless destruction of businesses and me believe that a ridiculous proportion of the population have no good sense or focus. 

I realize that most of the problems cannot be fixed by legislation or money. I am sure that both can contribute to the cause........but.......the biggest fix would be if people would stop making excuses and targeting their anger on things and people that have nothing to do with the problems in this city. So where is the blame? Who is responsible?

It makes no sense to me that this recent chaos all started simply because a man named Freddie Gray ends up dead while in the custody of the police. Nonsense. How is it that there is no large scale nothing about the daily murders in these neighborhoods throughout the city. Oh......its okay as long as it wasn't the police that shot someone.........yeah, right. So this is not about just that Freddie Gray died one day in Baltimore.........nobody has asked how many murders occurred that outrage.
 Its hard to wrap your head around this bullcrap.

While watching the news reports, politician after politician came before the cameras.......some that represent that very district and born and raised in that neighborhood. As if all of a sudden, out of the blue, there is a problem............some even claiming to explain their presence there to get things back to "normal"........imagine that!    "NORMAL"!!!!!!........just like the normal as shown in the photo above!

The politicians........hmmmmm........these career politicians.......elected and re-elected year after year........."representing the people from their districts" .......their communities...........seems to me that they need to own up to being part of the problem.......what good have they done? They are all players in the much as the gangs and drug dealers. The politicians need to be the enemies of the bad not the enemies of the good. Throw these bums out! What have they done for Baltimore? This?

Back to the "pride" thing. People that live is these neighborhoods would obviously have difficulty having any pride in anything. Look at the picture. There is an old saying......."I may have holes in my pants, but they are at least clean holes." That would be a good start...... a place to begin...........get these neighborhoods cleaned up. And for those that intend to dirty it up.......well........fine them heavily........make people accountable.

Shame on these politicians.....shame on the Mayor and the city council........shame on Elijah Cummings......shame on Carl Stokes........shame on the President and the senators of Maryland.
Shame on the pastors of the communities........shame on the media...........shame on the "protestors".

Can this be fixed?.........yes it can.
I could go on and on about this. I love Baltimore and I hate to see this.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Painted Crab Shell (Update)

Frozen?............Damn its cold! I just got back from a trip to Tennessee, which went very well, and returned home to an assortment of chaos, mayhem, and aggravation. All in all, things could be worse........let's hope not. Heating issues, minor health issues, ice, a dead refrigerator......of all things.......and an assortment of discombobulation..............let's put it this way..............I just need to step back, take a few breaths, and get my shit in order. I could use Spring right now.

Before I took the trip to Tennessee, getting some decent crab shells was a bit of a problem as it always has been in recent years during January and February. Couple that with a decent barrage of customers during the Christmas shopping season and I find myself with a depleted stock of painted crab shells. No.......its not like I don't have anything to's just that I really need to get cranking and paint the more popular ones that people have come to expect that I will have. That....of course......takes time.........and crab shells.

The good news is that I just got a good bunch of shells this week and have anticipation of getting more this weekend. Ahhhhhhh.......progress. But since things are a bit awry, as described above, a wrench is thrown into any possibillity of setting up at the flea market this weekend...........oh.........and to add insult to injury, another blast of snow on Saturday. 

So, If you want to purchase or order a painted crab shell, come see me at the Northpoint Plaza Flea Market next Saturday February 28th or Sunday, March 1st.

For those who had requested some shells prior to my vacation, you can pick up your shells next weekend or thereafter. Thanks for your patience.