March 1, 2000 (Wednesday)
A six year old in Michigan shot and killed a classmate in the classroom in front of the teacher and other classmates? What's wrong with this picture? Has the whole world gone nuts? Or is it just the United States?
Our culture of violence has gotten to the point where no one is safe anywhere at any time.
Every day I see small children without the spark in their eyes that makes them human. I know, even at the young ages of 6, 7, or 8 that there is no hope for them. How did this come about? Where are the morals, the ethics, the hope, the aspirations?
A large segment of the population has abdicated the responsibility for instilling morals in their children. Whether they are drug users or are just unable because of mental illness or circumstances to adequately care for these kids is irrelevant. These kids are killing other kids. These kids will grow up to suck resources away from the rest of society, never making any contribution, except to someone's misery. These kids will have other kids who will perpetuate this criminal sub-culture. The US in the throes of the technological revolution has created a criminal underclass very much like the industrial revolution created in the time of Dickens.
We need to start seriously looking at the causes for this lack of morality and this generalized despair and hopelessness. If these are not corrected, when the machines take over, we're ALL screwed.
March 2, 2000 (Thursday)
Here's one of my latest. I'll dribble more out over the next few days so as not to overdose anyone.
This is based on a fractal design I did a couple years ago. The photo is one of Jaeda DeWalt taken by Doug Lester. I'd like to thank Jaeda for her gracious consent to use her images for my nefarious purposes.
March 3, 2000 (Friday)
Here's another of Jaeda DeWalt's photographs. This one is a self-portrait. I've manipulated the color and texture using Corel PhotoPaint. Click on the image for a link to her page and the original.
March 4, 2000 (Saturday)
Here's an image I've been playing around with for some time now. I've got several versions of it that I like. I think this is probably the best. It has an "H.R. Geiger" feel to it, I think. Or maybe it's some other artist I'm thinking of. Anyway, the original picture came from some long-forgotten newsgroup and this bears very little resemblence to the original now.
March 5, 2000 (Sunday)
I'm having one of those weeks where everything in my life is being called into question, and I don't have any answers. And it's not some latter day Torquemada but my own internal Inquisition causing me to come under the scrutiny of my own judgmental facility. I'm not doing well.
Maybe this is pre-birthday depression running on a new schedule for the new millennium. Whatever it is, it's not a lot of fun.
I think Mick Jagger once said, maybe a line in a movie, "You always get everything you wish for. You just might not get it when you want it." Somebody else, I forget who, said, "Be careful what you wish for." I'm starting to believe them.
March 6, 2000 (Monday)
Well, I've seemingly run up against another brick wall. I've been working with photographs, transforming them into a different kind of art, but I'm not sure where to take it next, if I continue in this direction at all.
An old, dear friend, on looking at some of the things on this page, said, "I like what you're doing here. Is there anyway to make money doing this?" It all boils down to that, doesn't it? I suppose there might possibly be a way to make money with such endeavors, but not much. And then there's the problem of marketing myself. I don't seem to know the first thing about that.
There are too many good commercial artists out there, too many superb draftsmen for me to make much of an impact with any of this stuff commercially. And my fine art efforts are largely going unappreciated, whether due to a lack of talent, vision, or exposure. I'm at the point where I really don't know what to do with my life or my art.
March 7, 2000 (Tuesday)
Things change in our lives. Sometimes the changes come out of nowhere. Spring kinda did that this year. It's still officially Winter, but the forsythia are in their full glory already, and the daffodils are in bloom. The crocuses have come and gone, and the shamrocks are starting to emerge. I'm going to start taking daily walks down by the river, to get in shape, but even more for the beauty of it and for the comtemplative time to myself.
March 8, 2000 (Wednesday)
Here's the latest piece featuring the modeling and photography of Jaeda DeWalt. The piece that is the basis for this has intrigued me for some time now. It is called "Cigarette Break". You know, actually, what I'd intended to put up here today is the third step from the original. Jaeda altered it herself for use in another project. I further altered it, turning her into Jaeda de Milo. I then superimposed Botticelli's Venus from Birth of Venus onto the picture, a sort of wraith-like spirit of beauty and creation. Jaeda saw something I didn't and flipped the image and altered the spirit somewhat. This is the result.
March 9, 2000 (Thursday)
The springlike weather we've had here the last few days will be coming to an end soon. I'll miss it. My spirits haven't been higher in a long time. I hope they don't plummet with the temperatures.
There's nothing like the yellows of spring to inspire a painter. It's no wonder Van Gogh loved Arles and the south. The sun so warm, the yellows bright and varied. Someday, I'd like to go there to look through his eyes once before dying, but I realize it will probably never happen. More's the pity.
March 10, 2000 (Friday)
I think it's time to reorganize and refurbish my whole web site. I'll probably keep the daily diary concept in one form or another. I think I'll make the galleries a little more extensive, maybe do some conceptual stuff. Maybe some of the older pieces will be retired and new ones offered in their place.
Here's an example of a conceptual project. I call it "Jaeada in Jade." Click on each image as it comes up to continue. You'll be returned here when it's done.
March 11, 2000 (Saturday)
For some reason, I have been unable to FTP files to my web site since Thursday. Hopefully, this is not something that will happen frequently.
March 12, 2000 (Sunday)
A while back I was wishing for certain pieces of graphics software. Well, wishes do sometimes come true. The following is not intended to be a masterpiece or anything close to it, but it is my first creation using Fractal Design Painter, and I put it here as reference. I think the trip has started.
I hate working from my memory or fantasy brain cells. I don't even like to work from a photograph. I can get a good likeness, and a much better result working from a living, breathing human being. My lack of models might have something to do with why most of my art is non-representational.
March 13, 2000 (Monday)
It's been a down day today. It's Monday, what did I expect? Anyway, my work with Painter produced the following result:
Oh, I'm having fun now! I hope you're not bored with all this.
March 14, 2000 (Tuesday)
I guess it's a sign that something doesn't mean that much to you anymore when you forget its anniversary. Two days ago was the third anniversary of my last cigarette. Three years ago, I quit smoking. Just now it's becoming second nature to me to not reach for a pack of Marlboros during times of stress or when I'm concentrating on something. The ability to think and concentrate is something I missed. It was so tied into my smoking addiction, that when I stopped smoking, I stopped being able to do those fundamental things as well. It's been a long road back, but I think I'm getting there. I feel like I am, anyway.
Sorry about the file sizes. They seem to be getting bigger. I guess that's a function of the complexity of the piece. The above was done using a combination of Adobe Photoshop 5 LE and Corel PhotoPaint 8. Now, back to Painter!
March 15, 2000 (Wednesday)
Another day of learning about graphics programs. Both of the following were done with Fractal Design Painter.
And now for something completely different:
March 16, 2000 (Thursday)
For those of you who noticed, this is late getting here. Please accept my apologies. It was a long evening yesterday, but a good one. I simply forgot.
Here's something to make up for it:
March 17, 2000 (Friday)
The more I look at that picture I posted yesterday, the more things I see wrong with it. I may work on it some more and put it up again. I'll leave that one there for comparison, though.
You'll pardon me if I give you the bird?
March 18, 2000 (Saturday)
"Goin' to Montana soon. Gonna be a dental floss tycoon." I sure miss Frank Zappa, horribly foreshortened cornflakes and all.
March 19, 2000 (Sunday)
If you've any interest in Country Music or Bluegrass, you may not have heard of Johnny Staats yet, but you will. His CD, on Warner's Giant label was released last Tuesday. It was originally scheduled to be released next month, but the demand was so great. . .
There is an article in the Sunday Gazette-Mail today about him. He's an interesting, down-home character as well as a virtuoso musician. I first heard him play live, twice in one day, and let me tell you that was a treat. It was in May, 1996 at the Vandalia Gathering, where he took first place in both mandolin and flat pick guitar competitions. I heard him in the Guitar contest. He beat out long-time champ Robert Shaffer. Next I saw him perform on Mandolin at Mountain Stage. It blew me away.
Here's where it gets a little fuzzy. . . I'm not sure if it was the same day or later at the Multicultural festival that I saw him again, but I remember it was on a stage on the "hump" on the state capitol campus. This time, he played with his band, and he did "Escape from Taiwan." The rest of the group were competent musicians, but Johnny shone like the sun. He's an incredibly gifted musician, and he may well change music forever. He claims to want to create a new genre (although he doesn't call it that), and he very well may do it.
He's been interviewed and followed around by everyone from People Magazine to the New York Times, and tonight CNN is going to have a truck at his concert at the Cultural Center. Personally, I think they've made a big mistake. I don't think it's nearly a big enough venue. They should have used the Capitol Theater, or even better, the Municipal Auditorium. I think they may have overflow problems.
If you'd like to hear Mr. Staats at his best, you can download his tune "Mandolin Meltdown" at Giant Records website. Be prepared, it's a big download (over 6 MB) and it's an executable file, presumably to prevent you from burning it onto CD or a memory stick to plug into an MP3 player. It also requires that Macromedia's Shockwave™ be installed, so if you don't have a current version of that, it'll take another few minutes to ferret out how to get that and to download and install it. If you have problems, go to Macromedia's SUPPORT page and look at the FAQ about Install on demand. It provides pretty good help (and another 250K download!) getting things squared away.
I was going to say that even with all that it's worth the effort. Now I find that, even with Shockwave installed and working, that I still can't play the damn thing. I keep getting this error message about an .INI file -- why do these companies do things like this? When Real Media and Windows Media work so well, and effortlessly, why do some companies use Shockwave or Quicktime to play their clips. It makes no sense. It pisses me off, having to spend all this time downloading things and still not be able to get them to work. What pisses me off even more is I don't know who to yell at. Anyway, if anyone can get this to work, let me know what I'm (presumably) doing wrong. If you can't, let me know too,so I can rail against Giant Records about their stupid choice of vehicles and against Macromedia for requiring an .INI file just to listen to a silly song on their player.
In the meantime, you can visit Johnny's own Website and listen to him on Real Audio. It may not be a whole song, but there is more variety and at least it works. That is, if your Internet connection is fast enough.
March 20, 2000 (Monday)
As I've been putting more art into my diary pages, I've been optimizing the graphics files so that they take the minimum time to load. Today, I realized that a lot of the graphics I have already on my pages are not optimized. So I spent most of the morning reducing file sizes and uploading the optimized picture files back up here. Things seem to load much faster now. There are still a lot of rather large .GIF files, but as I get to it, I'll replace them with optimized .JPG's to decrease load time and disk space usage.
March 21, 2000 (Tuesday)
Here's a little something. I'd like to hear people's take on this particular piece. I call it "Four Sisters." I'm going to start putting names on all the art I put up here. I've had several people ask me to do that.
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