Sunday, July 8, 2007

For Jill

Last week my group of friends and I lost another special person from our ranks. Her name was Jill Capps and she was not only the kindest member of our group, but she was also one of the most compassionate. Jill left behind a seven year old boy, Cameron and a thirteen year old girl, Kara. She was only thirty-three when she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and it took less than five years for this relentless disease to take her life.
Hope has a way of masking the inevitable and each of us are asking the ‘why’ questions and repeating that we “can’t believe she’s gone”. Perhaps it is our age, still young enough to feel some sense of indestructibility, but old enough to know our time is certainly limited. No matter the cause, our combined sense of grief and loss hangs in the air like a chemical spill. Personally, I have told my best friend Michelle, that I love her more often in the past week than our entire twenty-something years together. The death of yet another friend has place another weak spot on our hearts, but it has again strengthened our adoration for those friends who are still alive and the life we can all still have.
Even though we cannot know when our time together will end, we can know that it will indeed end and it is our responsibility to ourselves and each other to enjoy each moment that we are given. Jill was a special woman with a keen sense of humor and a hopeful heart and we, as those lucky enough to have known her, have a responsibility to not only share her brand of kindness with those around us, but also to remain hopeful about our own lives even when faced with tremendous obstacles. Every day is a gift, live it to the fullest.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Reflection's in Bits of Tile

What started out as a simple idea to get involved with the art portion of an annual fundraiser at St. Francis of Assisi catholic school, turned into a special experience that spanned several months’ worth of work and dedication. There were many challenges but an equal amount of rewards as well. The following reflection represents a period of time that began on February 28, 2007 and ended May 19, 2007. It is my hope that I will be able to express my appreciation to the school, the students, and the faculty who supported my ambitious endeavor.

From the beginning, I knew that I was going to face several challenges due to the size and importance of the position I had accepted. Officially, I was the Committee chairperson for the ‘kid’s art’ portion of an annual fundraiser called the Taste of St. Francis. Therein laid my first challenge; to come up with an art project that the entire school could be a part of, and actually participate in. The second challenge was to have a finished product that once completed would have the potential for raising a fair amount of money for the school and their desire to remodel all of the bathrooms in the building. After much consideration, I solved these first two issues with the concept of creating mosaic wall hangings, which we deemed “mosaic paintings”. My idea was to have each individual class put together images that would reflect their personal feelings about their parish and school. I knew that I wanted the result to reflect the love that the students have for their school, as well as the spiritual connection that they are all developing. After having the idea approved by Shannon White, the committee chairperson for the entire event, I proceeded with the next set of challenges.

The next stage involved creating a workable schedule that would allow each student, from each grade (k-8) to work on the pieces without interfering with their normal classroom activities. Then of course, there was the issue of creating a design that would reflect the thoughts and feeling that each grade had about their school. I solved both of these by first communicating with the parish manager, Ed Wirth, to appropriate a location to both execute these pieces and safely store them during the process. Then I arranged with Laura Dant, the art teacher, and Paula Watkins, the principle, to take students, six at a time, on a rotating schedule, to the designated parish location to work on the pieces. I also had Mrs. Dant ask the students to give her words that they felt represented their personal feelings about St. Francis of Assisi. I then gathered these words and used them as a catalyst for the creation of the designs for each of the grades.

Once these previous issues were in place I then recruited several people to assist in the implementation of the designs by working with me to help the students put them together. I created a schedule that covered all blocks of time when I personally could not be there to help due to my class schedule. Materials were the next challenge. I needed to choose a medium that all of the children could safely use while still maintaining a certain quality and integrity in the completed pieces. I considered a variety of papers, canvases, broken dishes and glassware, damaged floor tiles etc. In the end, I choose to forgo all of the previous possibilities in favor of pre-cut stained glass tiles and pre-cut and shaped ceramic tiles. I decided to use ¾-inch plywood as the backing and once cut, I began placing tiles directly into these boards into the simple but meaningful designs that I had created.

For example, the fifth graders had said that they thought of the words “peace”, “nature”, “gentle” and “happy when they thought of St. Francis of Assisi, therefore I created a design that featured a butterfly as the central image.

The fourth graders had said the words “love”, “sacrifice”, “Jesus”, and “church” made them think of St. Francis so I created a design that featured a large crucifix at the center and small heart shaped tiles along the border edges. I continued this process until I had a design for each grade (you can see all of the designs by clicking on the Flickr link and viewing my set titled "My Arty Creations").

Then it was on to the next challenge. I had to come up with a way for the children to both be able to recreate the designs that I had made as well as a way for them to safely adhere the tiles in a process that could not be done all at once, due to time restrictions. My solution was to first photograph the design that I had laid out using the tiles they would be using. After I’d taken the photo I then removed the tiles, section by section, and traced the outlines of specific areas directly onto the board they’d be using. This was a painful process, to remove all of the tiles after having spent so much time creating the designs, but it was well worth the results.
As I removed each section, I placed those specific tiles into a specially designated baggie marked with what section it corresponded to on the board. I then placed all pieces into a small plastic bin and put it with the board. I did this with each one of the nine ‘mosaic paintings’ that I made. Now I had to figure out how the students were going to apply the tiles to the board in a safe manner. Having never working in this particular medium, I consulted with Joyce Ogden, an artist and professor at Spalding University, as well as read several mosaic technique books that I checked out of the Louisville Free Public Library. After this research was complete, I decided to use a direct application method. I purchased a water-based tile adhesive and gathered a group of small plastic covered dishes into which I placed small amounts of the adhesive. My plan was to have the students use q-tips to dip into the adhesive and then apply to the back of each individual tile. Once the time came to try this method, it worked wonderfully.

Now that I had the designs, the materials, the method, and all of the approvals in place it was time to get started. I transported all of the materials to the location I had acquired and on Tuesday, April 7th. After a brief and fun explanation, the first students sat down at the table and began working. Each group, from each class was thrilled with the project when they learned what it represented and how they would be putting them together. Working with the students was the highlight of this entire process. Many of them made me laugh and some made me think. I could not be more pleased with the results of their hard work and enthusiasm. These kids were motivated and I am proud to have been able to work with them. In the end, I had each student sign the back of their piece, which really added to the overall idea and feeling of memorabilia.

On May 19th, 2007 the final products were displayed and ready for sale. The silent bidding started at 7:00 p.m. and seemed to be a little slow, but by 9:30 (fifteen minutes before the close of bidding) the bidders were going crazy. At the close, the pieces had brought around $4,100 dollars! But, I was then approached by one of the bidders who did not win the piece they were after, and was asked to create one more and he would pay 850.00 dollars for it. Of course, I agreed, and arranged to do one more piece with the kindergarteners, which was finished on May 29th. All combined these ten pieces brought in nearly $5,000 for the school. This was a very rewarding and positive experience and I now have a special connection with the students who are already talking about next years art pieces. I guess we will have to wait and see if I can manage to do this again, but if the time allows I wouldn’t miss it. (*_*)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The 'Medium' Wars

My response to a recent Flickr thread which can be read in its entirety here:

I've just finished reading through this thread and only have a few minutes to respond, but I wouldn’t call Ross the "oil painters God" although watching him turn out "happy little trees" and "happy clouds" was entertaining to say the least.

Now, Merrell, I have to point out that you are seeking to be accepted as an artist who paints exclusively with acrylics. You want acrylics to get the respect that they deserve. You want everyone to recognize the qualities that acrylics posses. You want acrylics; acrylics want you; everyone praise the power of acrylics! Great! But might I suggest that your argument would be much stronger if you eliminate the insults to other mediums while combining examples of brilliant acrylic works, plenty of them exist.

I've used both, in fact started with acrylics. For me, and I mean no disrespect here, oils carried an inherent sort of "ability" clause. In the beginning, I was afraid of oils. Painting with oils seemed to be out of my realm of knowledge and confidence. I was personally more comfortable with acrylics. As I grew and explored other mediums, including watercolors, I found oils to be fantastic and the best medium for me. I'm sure the majority of the members of this group are already familiar with both the benefits and the drawbacks that each medium carries. Choosing which works best for you is part of becoming an artist. And insulting the medium an artist chooses tends to exemplify a lack of knowledge and a lack of the "sweetest, open minded, generous..." qualities that you claim to possess. Your personal choice of medium in no way eliminates the validity of another.

One final thing. You mentioned that oil is: "a great medium for very indecisive, fickle and indeterminate people who need all the time in the world to decide how a paint blend should look. Great for people with poor architecturing skills or who have problems with commitment." Again, your brief period of time exploring what a medium can accomplish shines through in this quote. The long dry time of oils allows the artist an opportunity to create blends, subtle variations in light, unique lines and brushwork, as well as a myriad of other benefits that acrylics lack. Oils never look chalky, and require no additional layers to eliminate the "dry" look. Your belief that "Oil has simply been replaced by a far superior product." has no basis in reality other than in your own mind. Artists who paint in Oil are just as plentiful as artists who paint in acrylic, and in fact, the scale probably tips in the direction of Oil not acrylic. Either way it does not matter. The medium is inconsequential if the artist is producing work that they are proud of.

Also, before you claim that Oil paints create a "lifeless, dull, impassionate greasy look" I would suggest you do a few of your so called "ridiculous amount of color studies" with a tube or two of oil paint and then tell us how dull the paint appears.

And by the way when an artist who is painting with oils reaches a stopping point on a particular canvas they don't need to "find ways to occupy their time while the paint dries" they simply move to another canvas. Personally, I have three canvases going right now and move back and forth between them so as to not have to leave the "zone" once I am in it. I feel confident that am not alone in this practice. I've had up to five pieces going at once and never find myself thinking, "damn this oil I have to wait." It's NEVER happened.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Art is nothing but benjamin's?

Once again the Art and Artists group on Flickr has been garnering some great topics. This paticular group is always ready for a great debate. Today I've started a new topic based on a comment from another member who stated that "Art is nothing more than Money" and here is my response.

As the rantingsmith pointed out in the modern art thread, this comment is indeed a broad generalization. However, more than that it is an inaccurate generalization. All art is NOT producing vast sums of money, in fact most art produces very little to no money. When you consider that there are hundreds of thousands of artists worldwide creating pieces that never see the inside of a gallery you have to wonder why are they creating these pieces? Why are they wasting their time and sticking with these non-lucrative artistic endeavors? Maybe it’s because art is MUCH MORE than money.

When we focus on the monetary aspects of both art that has been produced in the past, and work currently being marketed, we loose our ability to see clearly. Personally, I could give a blankity blank, who or what medium critics and galleries deem as important or valuable. If I like it, then I like it, if not who cares. And if I had millions of dollars in the bank, and I saw a piece that I liked, the price tag would be of little importance to me.You also said that the defining parameter between "Professional Artist" and “Amateur” is "Are you being paid?" Who cares about this label? Not only is it inconsequential, but it’s not always the case. I happen to know many very talented and serious artists who are not getting paid. Does this mean that they are amateurs? Hardly. Professional, mediocre, amateur, none of these are significant, unless of course you have a narrow view about what it is that art and artists really are. An artist creates, regardless of whether or not you like it, whether or not they make any money from it, or if they are recognized as a quote Professional.

I also want to touch on the extraordinary prices that some, if not most, of the artwork from the past brings. Work from the past needs it’s own category of consideration. When we see the money these pieces bring at high dollar auctions we need to recognize that it isn’t just the artwork itself that garners these bids. I say this because these pieces have a special intrinsic value due to their age, their historical context, their condition (especially pieces made before 1900), and of their subject, medium, etc. I’ve worked in the antiques business for more than thirteen years and let me tell yah, you develop an appreciation for early works of art, it is unavoidable.

Consider this: If I paint a basket of strawberries spilling out onto a simple wooden table it might be attractive but it won’t be nearly as well received as the c.1850’s oil painting depicting a basket of strawberries spilling onto the table. The value is intrinsic. Is that some horrible conspiracy? I think not. I think it’s as simple as having an appreciation for antiquity and its inherent connection to supply and demand.

I also want to reiterate a point I made in a previous thread about making money off the work you produce. Maybe I’ll be a bit more blunt this time. Anyone who pretends to not harbor a desire, or fantasy, or dream, no matter how fleeting or inconsequential, to someday make money or to be recognized as a talented or desirable artist is a liar. Sorry folks. Let me clarify that I don’t mean to imply that all artists are only working only FOR money, because that is an obvious inaccurate statement. What I am saying though, is that we all want our work to be appreciated as much as we ourselves appreciate it. If we are fortunate enough to actually make money off of our work then GREAT! What the hell’s wrong with that. Damn I hate the all-virtuous, loner, pay no attention to me, fa├žade that so many people adopt. If this idea of introversion were accurate than the pools of flickrs art groups would be completely empty.

I also know this to be true because I spent a good nine or so years claiming that I didn’t care what people thought about my work because I was only doing it for myself. Granted there is a certain degree of truth to this statement, in that it is not my goal to please others with the work I produce, but it is equally true that my former subconscious fear of rejection was a powerful tool that prevented me from bringing my work out into the open. Once I did and I received positive responses which landed me representation with an important gallery, I recognized the power that our fears, conscious or not, have over us. I’m making money from my work, not much, I surely won’t buy an island or anything, but damn it feels good to know that someone I don’t know personally, pulled out their checkbook and bought a piece of my interpretation of life. Pardon me if I don’t see the negative attachment to this concept.

Every artist, even the ones making money are trying to express something, or at the very least relieve some creative aspect of their personality. If you pour yourself into your work, heart, body, soul, blood, tears, and so on, and you become recognized for this then that is just another aspect of your work, and I say Congratulations!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Roots of Friendship

Tony, Me, Tripp

It may seem disrespectful to suggest that laughter and smiling faces could be considered proper etiquette when mourning the loss of anyone significant in your life. After all, how many funerals, or memorial services are joyous occasions, obviously not many. The overwhelming grief and shock that often surrounds the loss of a loved one can be very powerful, but the memories of those who are left to remember are extremely powerful as well. I’ve recently discovered that a smile can be more than a therapeutic device for coping, it too can be instrumental in connecting with those who are also mourning, but are still living. I’m not suggesting that tears should be avoided, only that laughter should not be, especially when the one being mourned was the source of so much laughter.

After recently losing a friend -- a friend who was always looking for a laugh, or a way to make you laugh, it became obvious how important and rewarding it is to remember that loved one with smile. Life has a funny way of bringing people into your world and then sending them off in other directions, often becoming nothing more than a page in a book that was read and forgotten. But through the loss of this friend I’ve been reminded that any good book is worth re-reading and some are so special that they are never forgotten. Everyone who knew Tripp has a story (or 10) about him. He was the branch on our unique tree of friends that would sprout leaves of toothpaste or Stove Top stuffing to get a laugh. His brand of humor will be sorely missed but always remembered. This special group of friends that I have been fortunate enough to know are no cheap dime-store paperback novels. I know now, more than ever, that when I pick up one of these books it will be as good as the last time I read it, maybe even better. I regret not spending more time with Tripp recently.

My friend, whom we affectionately called “Tripp” was part of a group of extraordinary people who, even though they each lead very separate and distinctive lives are invisibly connected in a way that I feel very blessed to be a part of. At a party that was arranged in his memory, this large group came back together, and for a moment were cradled in the comfort of familiarity. Perhaps it is just that our own sense of vulnerability taps us on the shoulder at such a time and reminds us of our own impending fates and automatically makes us feel the need to reconnect. Whatever it is, I’m grateful for it. Today I feel more connected than ever to the people that I have been fortunate enough to know in my life. Closer even, then when we were like books jammed together on well stocked library shelves. Even though today I sit separated, like a coffee table book from these people, I know they are still there, ready to offer support that keeps us all standing straight. What a gift, what a precious and irreplaceable gift to be part of such a group, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for them and for my accidental connection to them. Michelle, Tony, Joel, Darryl, Jason, Susan, Beth, Chris, Melanie, Crystal, Joe, Kevin, Theresa, John, Mike, Doug, and on and on. For the first time in my life I realize that time is inconsequential when it comes to history. Time is only a circumstance, history, once recorded, cannot be erased regardless of the infinite power that time possesses. I love each and every one of you and when the time comes I will smile through my tears when I remember what a joy it was to know you, just as I've done with Tripp, and I hope that you will do the same for me.

So many people spend their lives trying to become something, some figment of perfection within their mind and they sever the ties to their past, as if the past were a blemish on the map depicting their new destination. What a monumental mistake it is to live your life planting new seeds while abandoning the old ones. A great novel can’t be printed on the product of a sapling, it must come from a well established tree that has grown and withstood storms of every making, only then can a book worth reading be written. I am so glad to be a character in the story of our lives and I look forward to reading each page, regardless of the unknown trials that lie ahead.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Picking on Pollock

I've been spending some time conversing within the group pages on Flickr and have posted a new topic concerning Jackson Pollock which has spurred another wonderful debate. The question I posted is below, along with the painting that prompted the post and my response to the current positions. I'd love to know your thoughts on the subject.

In the “How do we know if art is good" thread the following Jackson Pollock painting was posted along with the question “can you tell me what this is communicating” and the comment ‘tell me honestly that you get this painting’ was also offered. Well, being that I’ve seen this same subject come up in several other threads I’ve decided to open discussion on this subject and was wondering if I am alone in getting this and other similar types of non-representational works. So, the question is: Do you get it? If so why, if not why, I’d love to know.

All right, I’m going to stay away from the above discussion concerning galleries, their owners, and the richer segment of the population, although I do see a ‘Bergeresque’ discussion in the future, perhaps a new thread, but for now I’d like to comment on the magnificent “McDonald’s” floor pictured above. If Mickey D’s floors actually looked like this, then I’d probably be spending a whole lot more time chompin’ on French fries, and not because I’ve been mystified, fooled, or manipulated in to believing that the floor is the work of an important artist, but because I find the floor to be mezmerizing and artistic to the power of 140 or so.

Pollock’s #5 from 1948 is spectacular for many reasons which I will be glad to share with those who can’t seem to get past the "punk rock attitude" or the ‘anybody can paint like that’ mentality. ("Bob") mentioned that he wanted to see "humanity" in art, well these drip paintings have an extremely deep human connection that has nothing to do with "immature random violence" or "utter greed and tastelessness of the fat cats who have bought and sold it." Allow me to explain.

I’ll begin by pointing out the simple complexity, and complex simplicity, inherent in his drip paintings. Like a meandering labyrinth of action, these monumentally large canvases invite the viewer to experience a straightforward and almost transparent view of the world. Like life, a simple action can be responsible for a complex situation, just as complicated situations often find resolve from the simplest actions. How many of us can relate to this idea?

This dichotomy represents precisely what was happening in Pollock's life when he painted these. Which, as Paulsydney brilliantly points out, is vital to understanding his work, “Pollock belongs in the pantheon of fine arts where a little extra knowledge of the man, his thoughts and methods, and context of the artistic world of the day are important to overall appreciation of his works.” Well said.

It wasn’t until after Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock’s wife and emotional foundation, convinced him to leave the city and to stop drinking, that he was able to clear his mind enough to paint. This somewhat simple lifestyle alteration allowed him to escape years of mental instability and blurred objectives, severe alcoholism and self-persecution, an overwhelming desire to be known and respected, alongside an ever-constant fear of success. To finally find an uncomplicated and comfortable environment to express himself was paramount to his “breaking the ice” as De Kooning said of the drip paintings.

Simply stop, and all of the tortuous, convoluted, entangled problems will resolve themselves. Some might say that my thoughts represent a somewhat poetic interpretation and not one based on concrete foundations. Nevertheless, I think the paralells are quite clear; on occasion, a poetic interpretation is one that assists when we really have a desire to “see” something, especially these paintings.

Another more concrete observation rests within being able to follow every movement of the artist. This fixed action creates a unique experience between the artist and viewer, and on top of that Pollock was able to achieve this relationship in a considerably unique fashion unlike any other non-repwork before. He successfully developed a relationship with the viewer without any traditional methods, other than a pleasing finished product and a few conventional compositional elements. There is an obvious balance to the composition (it is not random), a depth and three dimensionality to the lines created, the drags and drips communicate the action of the paintings evolution, a rare treat for the viewer. Not to even mention the sheer size of his canvases! Not only do they allow the viewer to practically immerse themselves in a tangle of color and motion all while standing perfectly still, but they also relay a message of clarity among turmoil, and this, my friends, was and still is monumental.

Friday, January 12, 2007

An Artists Rant

Recently I came across a rather heated and sarcastic debate about art on a discussion board. The question was, “Is this Art” and the photo that followed was of two rather large hearts (literally) encapsulated in two large specimen jars. The vast majority of respondents said "no" this is not art. The debate went all the way to considering the value, or lack there of, of non-representational art. I’d like to share my response to this argument and ask what you think, thanks.

I’ll begin by commenting on the initial photograph and question, which by the way was a brilliant way to evoke such a debate. I say this not only because of the subject of the photograph but also because of the lack of a contextual description. This lack of information in itself causes us to attempt definitions for art. It seems that the majority of responses are leaning toward the “this is not art” position. Maybe it is, maybe it is not. Perhaps this is simply a photograph taken at some anonymous school or abandoned laboratory where these two classroom specimens were left behind and when the new tenants purchased the property they took a shot of these jars sitting on a table.

Nevertheless, let us assume, if only for arguments sake, that this was a created installation at some notable gallery in New York. If this were the case, I would automatically try to attach some sort of meaning to the piece, especially if an artist statement about the piece was absent. What would my reaction be? Eeeewwww, disgusting, just as most people; even those who would pretend to be contemplating the importance of the piece without being affected by the gross-out factor. However, once I move past this initial response, which by the way made me stop and look, a vital component to any piece of art, I might see something other than what is in front of me. Like what, you say? Perhaps the installation is an attempt to express the artists despair over a horrible love affair gone wrong. Two hearts, forever dead, floating through their confined little world, never to be alive again, eternally separated. Even the world outside of the jars is dilapidated and cold, just as one who has suffered great loss might see it. Does my understanding of love and loss, and the fact this artist rendering caused me to see how powerful this loss can be, automatically create a value to the installation? Let me clarify that I’m not advocating an all encompassing value for shock pieces or other similar work because I do believe that there is plenty of crap out their, such as enema art (pun intended). I am however a believer in the connection between the artist, the art, and the viewer, even if the connection is not purposely sought after by the artist.

Now, I know that I’ve taken up quite a bit of space here and I surely don’t want to bore anyone but I have to comment on Daz Cox’s thoughts about non-representational art. The comment that says that this type of art is for the people who can’t draw is a little narrow, sorry. Learning to draw is purely technique, granted there are those who develop their technique into a notable style and create fantastic pieces, but it is still purely technique. Once you learn the importance of elements such as the vanishing point, chiaroscuro, stippling, cross-hatching, etc., and you develop the ability to use these devices effectively then you too can be an artist! Don’t get me wrong, once again I’m not implying that there is no artistic value in the ability to draw, on the contrary, there are magnificent examples everywhere. What I am saying though, is that this ability is no more valuable than ability to create a moving piece of non-representation art. Sorry, but Pollock’s work was, and still is fantastic. It was mentioned that an assembly line could be created that would reproduce his “drip paintings” and, along with some serious sarcasm, they would then become “unique…pieces”. I beg to differ, for two reasons. First, although an assembly line could be programmed to create drip paintings they would be anything but unique in that after the first was completed, then all of the rest would be identical. Wait! You say, you could reprogram and make slight adjustments to make each piece unique. Yes, each piece would need to be carefully and meticulously gone over so as not to copy the same movement as the previous one…which leads me to my second thought on the subject, who’s doing the programming to ensure this uniqueness? An artist? No assembly line ever created (not yet at least) has the ability to ascertain the composition, the palette, or the movement itself, that takes vision, the vision of someone who wants to create. To say that non-representational art has no real value is to lack understanding. What can possibly be more difficult to create something from nothing? To take nothing but an emotion, or a desire to create a unique texture, or whatever the artist chooses, without any real-world representation and create something that produces a curiosity as to method, or a feeling of pleasure, is exponentially interesting, difficult, and valuable. A friend once said to me a similar argument as yours. She said, “Anybody can do that kind of art.” I said, “Oh, yeah? Let’s see.” I gave her a piece of canvas, some paint, and challenged her to create a piece and this is what she made:

Nuff said…for now. Thanks for letting me rant.

Monday, January 8, 2007

The First Time

Today, while photographing my “studio” for my Flickr photo pages, I came across the first real painting that I’d ever done. Now, I say real only because of the medium and not because of some intrinsically valuable attribute of the piece – this truly was the first time I used a brush for something other than my teeth or hair. For years, I’d spent time drawing and sketching, crafting and creating, but had never really made the leap to paint. But there it was, at the bottom of a giant wooden drawer, hiding underneath years of drawings and miscellaneous pieces of my life. I pulled it out and decided to upload a shot of this page from my past. I look at it now and realize how depressed I must have been when I chose the palette and began the composition. This simple piece of canvas board not only provided me with a new experience that would transform my future goals as an artist, but it also allowed me to relieve myself of the melancholy I was experiencing. Almost fifteen years later and I can still see the girl who stood in front of an easel bought at a yard sale, taking her first steps toward recognition. There are those out there in the world who devalue the importance of art and its vital role in the lives of both those who execute it and those who relate to it. For me, this one little twenty-four inch painting was more therapeutic and educational than anything previous. Personal growth benefits more than the person growing and the rewards are universal.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Just For Fun

Ode to the Envelope

Vanilla manila with
glue on its flap;
filled to the folds
with loads of crap.

Crisp and clean
a cellophane window;
listings of charges
from those that I owe.

White and bright with
rectangular shape;
penmanship in ink
scrawled like a landscape.

Each once moistened with
vapor or lick.
Stamped by machine
or with one that will stick.

No matter the type with
which it is intended.
Each ripped to shreds
its short life soon ended.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Facing the task

In keeping with my New Years resolution to complete each task that I start, or have started, I began the arduous task of choosing the first incomplete task to complete. Now I remember why I hadn’t completed them in the first place, there are too many! I thought I’d try first to sift through my notebooks and misc. paper to find what writing task I’d like to start on. Let me clarify that this overwhelming pile has nothing to do with the uncompleted pieces on my PC. No, these are the pieces that I’ve yet to incompletely complete transferring. So, what did I do, I took a picture of the pile and moved on to another project, not exactly the start I was hoping for.

Monday, January 1, 2007



Caught up with stuff,
controlling our lives
efforts to obtain more
becoming a bore.

Time spent
nothing really purchased.
Piles from the store gather
dust and rust.

Time to pay the bills,
get more stuff.
Time becoming expensive
for unnecessary fluff.

The only true commodity
being spent on superficiality,
desperately avoiding mass
commonality; but failing.

Selling your time
to breathe and relax.
For symbols and leather
and paltry knickknacks.

Costly this oversight,
this tangible error,
though gems are rare,
your time is rarer.

Keep the diamonds, keep the gold
I give up this pursuit,
it’s making me old.

Been on a Break

Well, after taking a bit of a break to contemplate the coming year, I have today deceided that 2007 will be the year that I complete every task that I start. Considering that I have an indescribably huge collection of incompleted projects, ideas, and thoughts, this is a resolution that will require monumental dedication and focus. However, I believe that if I can successfully complete all extra-curricular things that I start, I may end up with some fantastic revelation or at the very least a direction to guide my creative side. We shall see.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Tonight I am starting a little piece entitled "From the Mind of David." David is, among many other things, full of little tidbits of wisdom and hilarity. I'd like to share some of his unique observations which will sometimes make you think and other times make you laugh. Enjoy.

From The Mind of David #1

"It's life Jim......just not as we know it."

Stay tuned....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Quickie


Another day passes
Laugh, cry, sleep.

Tomorrow starts fresh
Wake, laugh, weep.

Episodic life
Cumulative plot
Gelatin flesh
Eventual rot.

Cliffhanger conclusion
Spirit set free.

Discover joy
And the purpose of me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another from NON-Sense

NONSense #3

Precradle the family of richonington heights
so blinded by fubonious rhythms.
Choose to ignore and jugilitae fear.
Erase the obvious and insert yilliot grack.
Waste another vratoli on superficial prios
chase the horizon and land with rimolant friends
who never show honicle in front of nanolites.

A Small One

No Sense

The light of the moon, and the darkness.
The heat from the sun, and the lack of it.
The sound of the rain, and the quiet it creates.
The taste of cool water, and the blandness.
The scent of lonliness, and the pungency.
The touch from those hands, and the obsession.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Silence and Sanctuary

The big ole’ farmhouse is empty, devoid of intruders. Absent are the giggling children, the whining children, the rambunctious sounds of play. It’s almost completely silent, truly a rare, blissful moment that must be recorded. The television in the nearby room sits blankly, its screen reflecting only the windows across the way. The invasion of stimuli quelled with the push of a button. There is no radio, or radio announcers, and no music, just undisrupted repose, the exquisite rarity of the moment, memorably extraordinary.
In the adjoining room, wide wooden planks of a seemingly ancient ceiling fan spin slowly above a large oval oak dining room table. The cool, hard surface of the table contains scratches and even a few gouges from Thanksgivings and birthdays, quiet memories of other blissful times. A circular chrome tray sits at its center reflecting the turn of the fan above, which provides a cool and relaxing gentle breeze.
The serene air being pushed by the fan blades wafts across the room, delicately nudging the ivory colored sheer panels that cover the tall painted windows, so peaceful and quiet a motion. At the center of this room, at the center of this house, sits a woman who is the center of it all. Abstract oil paintings hang upon the surrounding walls waiting to be understood, to be noticed, not unlike the woman herself. One painted with rich colors of orange, yellow and white mixed together like a melting dreamsicle. Another with vibrant greens and splashed on cherry reds looks nothing like the holiday they represent. She sits, with her pen in hand, in a wobbly oak chair that has sat dozens before her. The undulating air causes the leaf of notebook paper she scribbles across to slightly lift at its corner in a waving motion with each rotation of the fan.
“Hello” it seems to say to the verdi-green metal floor lamp across the way, “We don’t need you yet.”
Light still filters its way between the metal slats of the white mini-blinds. A rhythmic, but barely audible sound comes from the pen as she pushes it along the page. This amicable loneliness is quite unlike the hectic, scheduled, and infinitely busy loneliness she is accustomed too.
Turning her head towards the wide, but short mahogany bookshelf, she considers the books that wait to be read. Resting undisturbed, the dust gathers along the edges and across the tips of the spines. Those with embossed letters of gold, now dulled by the veil of light grey particles, beg the loudest to be pulled from their confines and re-discovered. This possibility is quickly erased by the meddlesome sound of squeaking breaks outside. She flinches with each slam of the car doors. Voices and jingling keys prompt her to close the notebook and stand-up, where her reflection in the glided framed mirror over the painted white mantle sees her recognizing that the moment is gone.

Some Serious Nonsense from Noplace

NONSense #4

Deep red logothos of preclaton grine
Swim in the yelpernacks hibantial quine.
Kreatol, hobonotist, and welingrope fear
the sadinotist balock with opio tranear.
Frantilio flee and Ropinical nack
I weep for the hopiniton frally drak.
Is the course that the ipily takes.
How clear it becomes to ernikel a nacke!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A bit more alliteration

Wrigglers & Warblers

Worms of the
Worry, about
Wheels, water and Walleye.
Wonder? Do they? About
Wrens threatening with pecks?
Without weapons
Warbling warlocks of detection
Whittle the sanctuary of soil.
While the worms
Wriggle beneath in instinctive escape.
Wanderlust wasted on fear.
Wayworn and waxy.
Wooing freedom through
Weazen underground wilderness.
Weeds root deep,
Walnut and willows deeper, yet Winged wolverines usually win