Archive for the ‘art’ Tag

08/03/2021 Dream Chasing . . .   Leave a comment

I love to dream and I’m not sure exactly why. It started when I was kid of about eight laying in the grass in my backyard. It was a sunny day and my eyes were closed and I could almost see through my eyelids. I saw crazy swirls and colors that totally captivated me. A few weeks later I was trying to sketch a tree in the yard and I discovered that trees were really boring. I then decided to try and sketch some of those patterns and swirls I saw. It was exciting for a young kid to make that discovery and I actually completed a sketch of them. I tried on a number of occasions to explain what had happened but it was impossible. My mother, a part-time artist herself, politely listened, then just shook her head, and we never talked about it again. Lets jump ahead ten years.

Now I’m eighteen and enjoying my first year of college. It was a school known for it’s excellent art programs and I was finally in my element. All of my friends and acquaintances were artists of a sort and it was a atmosphere in which we were all beginning to thrive. As with any art program you have a certain amount of freedom but are somewhat restricted to what is acceptable for good grades. The wilder and crazier your creations made it more difficult it to get the grades needed to appease the teaching staff. When I tried to do paintings or drawings of bowls of fruit, I wanted to scream out loud. So effing boring. If I wanted a good representation of a bowl of fruit I’d take a picture. My best pieces where those that came to me during what I called my times of half-sleep. Half-sleep is those minutes between REM sleep cycles and the beginnings of wakefulness. It freed my mind and imagination and supplied me with a steady stream of ideas and offbeat perspectives. From that point on I consistently tried to remember and sketch those ideas as I received them each morning.

Jump ahead 50 years. My half-sleep time has now become an important resource which I still use today. Just before I awoke this morning I was half awake and dreaming about this subject and how to best write about it. I woke up and forgot to jot down my notes (always a mistake) and lost the idea immediately. Fortunately as I was relaxing later in the afternoon I began to recall what I’d been dreaming and here we are.

LUCKY ME

06-19-2016 Journal – Weekly Update!   Leave a comment

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Summer is finally here but it’s been a little disappointing so far.  It’s the middle of June and the nights remain chilly which is doing nothing to help my pepper plants in our garden.  Very disappointing but not totally unexpected, it is Maine after all.

This week I’ve been consumed by these designs that I’ve been creating.  Each day I become more adept at using the computer software to color my sketches.  It’s an interesting process but it’s very detailed and time consuming.  I sat for almost three hours yesterday totally focused on what I was doing and when I finally finished and stood up I was suffering from eye strain and legs that went a bit wobbly. Even with all of that the results were much better than I expected.  The work will continue today and I’m actually looking forward to getting back into it.

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Most people just don’t get it. They see my time spent doing these designs as wasted but they couldn’t be more wrong.  The hours spent in these tasks are the highlights of my day.  The focus needed to complete them is something I’ve grown to need over the years and I’ve looked forward to it since I was a young child.  It’s the best addiction I’ve ever had and I hope I never lose it.

I’m hoping to breakaway for a while this week if the sunny weather continues. I could use some quiet times in the woods taking a few photographs of my favorite subjects . . . dragonflies.  They should be swarming near the swamps in large numbers by now and I plan to make the most of it. Here are two shots taken in 2011 when there were huge numbers of them in the area.

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I’ll be disappointed if I can’t get a few pictures but these cool nights may delay their arrival just a bit. I may be forced to return to the swamp a few more times before I have any success at all. Thankfully I live close enough which makes things so much easier.

ENJOY YOUR DAY

06-17-2016 Journal– Art & Criticism!   Leave a comment

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It’s another day in paradise here in Maine as I drag my butt out of bed this morning. Time to leap to my feet, put on my shorts, and go jogging for a few miles.  If you believe that then there’s something really wrong.  The only jogging I’ll do is with my car. I’ll be spending my time today sitting in front of this computer and working on my series of designs that have consumed me for a month.

Yes, I consider myself an artist even though a few others might dispute that.  What others think has never really been something I concern myself with and I doubt I ever will.  If you’re around long enough you learn early on that everyone is an effing critic.  I love critics and on occasion I’m one myself.  It’s the anonymous and cowardly ones that irritate me.

I’ve been reading a strange book of “Poisonous Quotations” and that anonymous guy sure has a lot to say in that tome.  Here are a few samples of his anonymous work.

“Modern art is like trying to follow the plot in alphabet soup.”

“Modern art is when you buy a picture to cover a hole in the wall and then decide the hole looks better.”

“A modern artist is one who throws paint on a canvas, wipes it off with a cloth, and sells the cloth.”

“One reassuring thing about modern art is that things can’t possibly be as bad as they are painted.”

Those four quotation are cowardly since the authors were afraid to identify themselves.  I don’t mind criticism if the individual will stand up in front of the artist and offer his opinions directly.  Here are a few well known people who also have an apparent distaste for art but aren’t afraid to say so publicly. 

“Abstract art is the product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.”  Al Capp

‘One sees a square lady with three breasts and a guitar up her crotch.”  Noel Coward

“Art is a jealous mistress.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”  Paul Gauguin

“Art for art’s sake makes no more sense than gin for gin’s sake.” W. Somerset Maugham

“I’m glad the old masters are all dead, and I only wish they had died sooner.”  Mark Twain

Lets hear from someone once very well known in the political world. Like any politician he takes forth-three words to say two . . . “It stinks.”

“I can truthfully say that the painter has observed the Ten Commandments. Because he hath not made to himself the likeness of anything in heaven above, or that which is on earth beneath, or that which is in the water under the earth.”  Abraham Lincoln

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And last but not least here is someone who answered his critics directly and clearly. My second favorite favorite artist of all time right behind Salvador Dali as seen above.

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“Everyone wants to understand painting. Why don’t they try to understand the singing of the birds? People love the night, a flower, everything which surrounds them without trying to understand them. But painting – that they must understand.”  Pablo Picasso

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WELL STATED PABLO

06-15-2016 Journal – Fine Art & Good Luck!   2 comments

It’s been a hectic week for me. I’ve been working steadily for almost two months on sketches that have made me a little crazy. I’ve finished twelve so far with more coming. These are black & white lined sketches that are digitized as I complete them. I then use my computer software to add the colors of my choice.  Here is a 2X2 inch section of the first one I completed. I’m posting it for my sister so can see and understand just what the hell I’m doing. Here it is Deb.

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It’s not much of an explanation but it’s the best I can do for now. I’ve titled this one “Confusion” and rightly so.

Now on to other things.  I had a really close call yesterday and I’m not sure why I’m not in a hospital today.  My guardian angel must have been working overtime.  I was cutting my grass on a fairly new Toro riding mower. Our property is somewhat hilly in spots and I always take a great deal of care when cutting there.  I guess no matter how careful you are accidents can still occur.

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I was listening to my Ipod as I cut the grass and possibly was a little distracted by the music.  I somehow missed seeing a large rock partially buried in the ground and hidden by high grass. I struck that boulder with the blade going at it highest speed. The blade hit the rock, bent itself into a question mark shape, dug into the ground, and flipped the mower completely over. I was airborne for ten feet and thankfully landed on my fat ass and not on my thick skull.

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I was dazed and confused to say the least. Minor damages to the mower and to me but some serious damage to the yard.  If I hadn’t been thrown off it could easily have landed on me and broken ever bone in my body.

As I rolled out of bed this morning I was bruised and sore in many places but nothing serious. Thanks to Toro for building a machine whose safeguards kicked in and shut down the engine as it tipped over.  Needless to say I’m glad to in one piece today.

WHO SAID GARDENING AND YARD WORK ISN’T DANGEROUS

NOT ME THAT’S FOR SURE!!

04-22-2016 Journal – Creativity!   Leave a comment

I spent the first two hours of my day today in bed drinking coffee and watching a dozen or so TED speeches. If your not familiar with TED I’d recommend it to you whole heartedly. It’s a series of speeches from experts around the world on  a diverse collection of topics. The anagram of TED stands for, “Technology, Education, & Design”.

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‘It sure isn’t the Sistine Chapel!’’

My main topics for today concerned Creativity and the Arts.  Listening to people from Bali who design green homes from bamboo or others from Europe who specialize in the creation of designs and art is exciting. It’s nice to know that Creativity is alive and well on this planet and not getting lost in the technological hustle and bustle of our societies.

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I’ve always been a proponent and supporter of anyone or anything that creates something.  The best times of my life are those spent where I’m relaxed, alone with my thoughts, and putting paper to pencil. Either writing, drawing, painting, or sculpting, it’s all good.  With that in mind I thought I’d share a quick look at my lair. It’s my oasis filled with my things and represents my life in one small room.  

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For twenty years I saved every little doodad, birthday card, and memento from places I’ve been and people I’ve known.  Then I began making a series of collages or “life panels” of those years. It started out as two  small panels but grew  to more than nine with some of them measuring 4’X4’. 

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‘This is what I call a workspace.’

I never had a sufficient amount of wall space and I had them in storage for twenty years. I moved them from place to place until I finally settled down here in Maine.  I still didn’t have the wall space for them and finally decided to make them the ceiling of my so-called man-cave.

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Now I can sit at my desk surrounded by things that make me happy. I can lean back in my chair and look up at the ceiling and see the people, places, and things that I’ve experienced in my life.  The photos in this posting are a quick peek into the craziness of that  space that I’ve had the pleasure of creating.

EVERYONE NEEDS A HAPPY PLACE

01-17-2016 Journal – My Creative Process!   Leave a comment

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It appears that yesterday’s sleet and snow storm has finally abated. It created quite a mess with an early morning ice shower that virtually shut down the surrounding area. It was bad enough that my better-half wasn’t able to get to work. Of course, you know what that means, right!  A whole day of quality time with me.

For me it was a day of writing, movies, sketching, and reading.  Doing those activities allows me to escape all the dreariness of the day and to get lost in my own head for a few hours. That kind of total focus is a real gift and I’ve always appreciated having the ability. I can actually shut everything out completely which can be a real blessing most of the time.  Sometimes not so much.

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My better-half just asked me what I’d be doing today.  How can I explain that to her?  I guess I’ll give it a try so here goes . . . .

Honey, I’m in the process of creating a painting of sorts and the first step for me is to create it first in my head before even picking up a brush or touching a canvas.  I can visualize the entire project as it will appear when completed and then I can begin to slowly dismantle it.  I break the images into layers of color and perspective to determine the order in which they must be addressed.  It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.

This process takes a different length of time depending on the complexity of the subject matter.  I enjoy completing these things in my head almost as much as actually doing them on canvas or paper.  It sounds a little strange but I don’t know any other way to get the results I want. 

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There are times when you think I’m ignoring or being rude to you but I’m really not. I’m so far into visualizing a project I just can’t take any time out to really listen to you. I’m afraid of losing my momentary focus and be forced to start from scratch once again. This is the way I’ve been doing creative things since I was old enough to remember and don’t see it changing any time soon.

With all of that being said, that’s what I’ll being doing for a few hours today. I have the completed image in my head, the color blocking determined, and I’m only days away from actually starting the necessary pencil sketching.  I’m going to try something new this time that is definitely outside my comfort zone and it’s will be a cross between Salvatore Dali with just a hint of Pablo Picasso.  It’s going to be way outside my comfort level and will be fun to see what the final result will be.

There you go darling . . . that’s some of what I’ll be doing today as I sit quietly next to you in the living room. Don’t take it as a personal slight, I’m not ignoring you . . . it’s just me being mentally creative. 

Who loves you baby?

09-13-2015 Journal–Rainy Day Projects!   Leave a comment

With the season change looming and with a few days of rain expected, it’s time to get back to work on some of my side projects. One in particular needs immediate attention because I’m running out of time to have it done by November 14th.  It’s a weird but special gift for my better-half the beer connoisseur.  On top of being a beer expert she’s also a collector of sorts. Over the last twenty-five years she’s religiously saved bottle caps from every type of beer she’s ever tasted.  We ended up with a garbage bag filled with hundreds of beer memories (bottle caps) but had no idea what to do with them. 

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It’s funny how things fall together at times. Just as I was cutting our ties with the Dish Network by removing their equipment from the side of our house, I had a revelation.  I took the dish and all of it’s component parts, reconstructed them into a sort of interesting but weird side table.

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As I was working on the table I looked over to the corner of the workshop and saw the bag of bottle caps.  It was then I decided to use the colorful and interesting bottle caps to create a mosaic top for my Dish Network Memorial Table. What better gift for a beer connoisseur than a one-of-a-kind table for her to sit her beer on.

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I used a floor-leveler compound to flatten out the dish interior a little and then got to work on the mosaic top. The wide range of bottle cap colors surprised me a bit but made the job much easier.

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Two coats of high gloss paint will make it pretty and mounting it  on a wooded base will keep it sturdy enough for everyday use.  Then it’s adhesive, bottle cap placement, and a decorative grout.  I’ll post my future progress  (if I have any) and hopefully this thing will be finished in time for the birthday celebration.

04-30-2013   Leave a comment

I had a hour of free time today so I decided to take a trip down memory lane.  My better-half has gotten it into her head to do a little redecorating of the house.  She’s started using one of my own favorite terms against me, "think outside the box."  I’ve been trying for years to convince her to leave her comfort zone and use her creative abilities and now I’m afraid I may have created a monster.

For years I’ve gone through creative periods myself and produced art works that are considered unusual by some and well "outside the box" to others.  Many of those pieces were discarded as I moved from place to place over the years and I regret that. Fortunately, many others I did save and have been moving them around with me for decades.

After I moved into this house I laid claim to a very small and unused room where I now store many of these pieces. My better-half has requested that I look through the room for anything interesting she could use in her redecorating efforts.  I began today by slowing pulling out each piece to determine condition and suitability. It was like a really weird trip down memory lane.  As I looked at each piece the exact memories of when it was made come rushing back. I was able to remember people and places I thought I’d forgotten. I was very surprised just how quickly and vividly those memories came rushing back.  I guess it’s my own version of a poor man’s time travel machine. It appears to be true that the brain keeps all of our experiences stored away in it’s attic awaiting retrieval.

One of my most involved projects took me years to complete.  It was a series of twenty collages varying in size from a few inches to four feet in length.  These collages contain tidbits of my life that I began saving when I enlisted in the Army.  They contain bits and pieces of my life collected over many years with photos of old friends, , family, love letters, newspaper articles, mementos, and just about anything else you can think of.   The entire project  was called " My Life Panels".

I spent almost all of my time yesterday just sitting and reading these panels, seeing forgotten old friends, and remembering details of my rather interesting life.  I’ll have to continue this process at a later time because today I’ve become totally distracted. It might be easier and go a little quicker if I have my better-half involved. She’s always had the ability to keep me from becoming too sidetracked.

I can look back now and thank myself for a job well done.  I truthfully never expected the day to come when I’d be using the panels in this way.  I think I did good.

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