Friday, March 1, 2002
My birthday yesterday turned out better than I expected. I got a couple of nice gifts and many well wishes. Thanks again to everyone. Being old sucks, but it sure beats the alternative. . . I guess. . . Nah, let's not get into philosophical/theological discussions today. The weather's too nice.
Saturday, March 2, 2002
I may have mentioned the monthly poetry group I attend. Last month there was a group of young people from the local Job Corps in attendence. I thought this young lady had a great profile. I think her name is Rachel.
I had a nice long chat yesterday with Robin Hammer, a fellow local artist. Since we both moved from Arlington Court in 1996 we don't get to touch base often enough. I had intended on going to the art supply store, then to Wal-Mart, but the art supply store was as far as I got.
Monday, March 4, 2002
Here's a little modification I did to one of my recent photographs.
Tuesday, March 5, 2002
The longer this reactionary-conservative "revolution" goes on, the meaner it gets. Companies are absorbed by other companies, narrowing competition, all the while, the gurus of capitalism touting the benefits to the "consumer" of "healthy competition." Companies go out of business (e.g., Montgomery Ward) because they're not profitable enough!!!
The "public" utility companies, and in these I include telephone and cable, close offices where people who have to rush at the last minute pay their bills and then the utilities charge a service fee if you pay at one of their "convenient" locations such as grocery stores and drug stores. And some of these locations charge processing fees of their own, which is to some degree understandable. At least one of the utility companies won't accept personal checks at these locations either, but they will if you pay by mail. They seem to not want to have the risk that is the only moral justification for capitalism. It really gets to me sometimes.
Here in Charleston, we pay one of the highest rates for water service in the nation. And now, from what I gather from the insert in the latest (over-)bill, if you don't make the payment on time, they'll require a deposit. This strikes at the people who have the most trouble making ends meet and places a further burden on them. It's unconscionable!
In my latest spate of painting, I've painted a few more rocks. Here's one I finished and scanned in last night:
Wednesday, March 6, 2002
Thursday, March 7, 2002
The Federal government cut $90 Million in funds for social services to this state. It was money that went to homless shelters, battered women shelters, and runaway teen shelters, plus other basic programs. What's going to happen now? They're already talking about cutting police. So what we'll have are more desparate people on the streets, tending toward crime just to survive and fewer law enforcement personnel to deal with them. Here is a recipe for chaos. But we HAVE to provide more billions to business to stimulate the ecomony. President Bush, stimulate this!
Michael Moore's new book is selling like hotcakes. I don't have permission to reprint any of his periodic mailings, but I have asked. I've just not received a reply. I'll put his entire recent e-mail up for all to read, and if there is any objection from his direction, I'll take it down. Fair enough?
This is a combination of the results of two explorations of the Mandelbrot set (with embellishments).
Friday, March 8, 2002
Here's another direct scan of a painted rock. I did this one several years ago.
"Rock Ness Monster"
Saturday, March 9, 2002
Spring is slinking in. It's in the 70's today, a light breeze. Lovely weather. It's overcast however, and we're expecting rain this evening. The crocuses are blooming and the forsythia is starting to spread its yellow along the slender branches. I've seen a daffodil or three poke their heads out to have a look too. These adventurous flowers and shrubs may be foolhardy. It's only going to be in the lower 30's tomorrow.
Since I've begun on the path of displaying my painted rocks, here's another, most likely my favorite.
This was scanned directly, but given the depth of the piece and the dark colors, it didn't come out as well as I'd hoped.
Sunday, March 10, 2002
I've been working with Prismacolor® pencils for several years now. I put off trying them for a long time, unsure of their validity as a fine art medium. Now I'm to the point where I don't really care. I just like what I can do with them. I've put a few of the pieces I've done in Prismacolor up in these pages.
Part of the birthday gift certificate I got went toward the 120 pencil set of Prismacolor® pencils. Here's the first piece done with them:
"Art Is Dead, Long Live Money"
Monday, March 11, 2002
This is another of the recent painted rocks. This one was done within the last year, but I'm not real certain as to exactly when. This is one of the few pieces that contains more than one rock. I apologize for the scan. The rock in the hindmost position kind of faded into the blackness. My attempts to digitally illuminate it and maintain the color balance between the two parts didn't get very far. At least with this, I think you can get the general idea.
"Banded Alien Trophy"
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Today makes five years since I gave up smoking. I never thought I could do it, but somehow I did. What's the prize?
Here's another in the ongoing series of painted and otherwise modified rocks. This one is part of a three-piece set. This is the only one small enough and light enough to put on the scanner. This one is about the size of a large egg.
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Would whoever it is that's supposed to "discover" me and overnight catapult the value of my work into the five and six figure per piece range please hurry up and do so? It's not that I'm greedy or worship money or anything like that. I'd just like to be able to follow whatever artistic whim might strike me. New cameras, large canvases, workspace, access to expertise so I can improve my abilities (chops they call 'em in Nashville) would be a real boon to me. I like to think that what I'd do with such resources would go far toward my oeuvre, my legacy, and the future use and enjoyment of what I do with the small bit of life I have left.
I watched part of "Vincent & Theo" the other night. Robert Altman is one of my favorite directors. I believe he understands art and artists. This is rare among directors, at least in my limited experience with them. I empathize so much with Van Gogh. I sometimes get depressed and feel like my life will parallel his in the respect that I'll die penniless and unrecognized. The really sad part of that is that my work will probably end up in yard sales and in thrift shops or landfills, and what I did will have mattered not one whit. Vincent at least had the assurance of confidence in the fact that what he was doing mattered. I only have the fluctuating self-doubt.
In times like these I refer to the quote that I always carry with me:
Quote of the Day: "If you hear a voice within saying,'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint, boy, and that voice will be silenced. . . One must undertake [work] with confidence, with a certain amount of assurance that one is doing a reasonable thing. . ." -- Vincent Van Gogh
One more photograph, maybe a couple, of the trip in the snow to Babcock State Park before I put away such things for the spring. . .
"Is That A Bear? Oh, no, it's Ann!"
The painted rock I posted the scan of yesterday elicited a comment from a friend. She said it looks like "an alien easter egg that the egyptians found." Isn't that a great description?
There was a big demonstration here yesterday by coal truck drivers who say they can't make a living hauling the legal loads permitted by law. Who's fault is this? Good editorial in the paper this morning about this situation, too, by the way. The railroads shut down spur lines in response to illegal trucking of coal, making trucks the only way to transport the stuff. The owners of the trucks kept buying bigger and bigger trucks and operating them illegally.
This is only part of the basic problem. Taxis double park out in front of my house all day and all night. There are no available parking spaces because the taxi company doesn't provide adequate parking for their vehicles and their employees/contractor's cars. Just yesterday, a woman in a Lexis pulled in, blocking the alley that I use to access my driveway, and another woman pulled up in stalled traffic, blocking the intersection, so that when the light changed, traffic was at a standstill in two directions. People drive aggressively, ignore speed limits, and generally ignore whatever laws they think they can get away with. Tax evasion is almost a duty if you make a decent income. And everyone gets jacked out of shape when a girl wants to start an anarchy club in a high school! What's wrong with this picture?
Thursday, March 14, 2002
Quote of the Day: ""In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt" -- Margaret Atwood
Michael Moore's new book, Stupid White Men. . . is now number one on the New York Times best seller list. It's also number one on the best seller list in England, where, coincidentally, the book isn't even available yet. This tends to lend support to what I've maintained for a long time now: Liberals/Progressives read. Conservatives/Reactionaries watch the Fox News Channel.
Friday, March 15, 2002
'Tis the Ides of March. Sorry about that, Julius.
It looks like rain today. The weather's been wonderful the past few days. It's too bad my mood hasn't matched the weather. I think I'm preparing myself to move. Yes, we're moving. I'm not sure exactly where yet, but there are a couple of prospects. Moving requires a lot of effort physically, but I think it takes a mental/emotional toll as well. As happy as I will be to be out of this house, I dread the actual process of moving. It's not so much the physical labor involved that I don't look forward to, but more the disarray, chaos, and total absorption of my time and thought that will have to go into it for an interminable period of time.
At some point I'm fairly certain that this project will go on a short hiatus while the computer and connection to the Internet get moved. I'll try to be as accurate as I can in estimating this time frame so that no one loses interest because nothing is updated for several days.
Thank you for your support.
Saturday, March 16, 2002
Sunday, March 17, 2002
I'm starting to pack up my studio things. We still don't have word on whether or when the house we're hoping to move to will be available. The walls are starting to look a little bare. The light is brighter for having more white area to reflect from. Bright as it is, it's a little depressing. I spent a large part of today, sorting my mat board, art papers and pads and other flats by size and packaging them up. Naturally, I overlooked a couple of watercolor tablets. That's okay though. I don't want to pack everything away and not have anything to work on. It's going to be hard enough as it is not being able to access the tools and materials I want while we pack, move, unpack, and redistribute everything.
Tuesday, March 20, 2002
Thursday, March 21, 2002
"The Superstring Theory Explanation of the Color of Liz Taylor's Eyes"
Friday, March 22, 2002
Stream of consciousness:
With my world in flux and chaos I find it difficult to do art, or even read anything other than some piece of fluff from a magazine or some innocuous fiction. I'm having trouble concentrating. It's gotten to the point where I can hardly watch the news channels on television. Everywhere bloodshed and violence. George W. keeps rattling on about evil, using his trite westernisms to describe people in other parts of the world. I see W. as far more evil and damaging to the U. S. culture (?) than anyone beyond its borders. Then there's the death penalty to be considered, and abortion, and zero tolerance in schools where kids get kicked out for a year for a pair of fingernail clippers. When I was in school probably 80% of the boys carried pen knives, some even carried buck knives on their belts and nothing was thought of it. People don't kill people, postal workers do. Three strikes and you're out. No rational consideration whether redemption is possible, just lock 'em up! We are become a nation of paranoia and rules, without ethics, without a commonality that binds us together. No, I think I'll leave the television off.
Monday, March 25, 2002
Take a look around you. Are the streets in your city or town in dire need of repair? Do the bridges need painting? Is anything being done to help the homeless? the needy? the common spaces we all share? In Charleston, the streets are in terrible condition. Washington Street, East near the Capitol has had so many utility incursions that it's an asphalt crazy-quilt, each patch at a different level. Lee Street, East near Brooks has potholes that won't be patched. The street crews patch them and a day later they're worse than ever. I noticed the other day that the Interstate bridge across Kanawha River at Pennsylvania Avenue is starting to show signs of rust through the blue paint.
I see more and more people wandering the streets at all hours, and it's not like anything in Charleston is open all night anymore. The paths leading under the bridges that cross Elk River are well worn. The YWCA's programs to help teen runaways and battered women are in danger of their funding being cut.
What a society this has become. We allow a pretender to usurp the throne then gleefully assent when he throws $600 bones to us, while allowing Enron to bilk billions from the economy, while waging a nondescript war in order to keep the populace incited to a patriotic fervor. Social programs are cut. Defense is built up. Taxes are cut, the deficit heads once again to the stratosphere. Business uber alles!
How do you convince millions of people that something is wrong when it's this obvious and they still don't see it?
"Impact is Not a Verb (detail)"
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
If anyone has tried to send me an e-mail since late Sunday, be advised that I did not receive it. My web hosting service's e-mail server seems to be having some serious problems. I have no idea when the service will be back up, but I'll post a notice here. In the meantime, should you wish to reach me, please use the email@example.com address or my firstname.lastname@example.org address. Thank you for your patience and your support.
We are on that roller coaster ride called spring. The temperature was 74 yesterday. Today it's only going to be in the 50's. Tomorrow night (maybe tonight, given my faulty memory for such things) the low will dip to 25 or so.
Bumpersticker: "I used to take things with a grain of salt. Now that they tell me salt is bad for my blood pressure, I take things with 10 milligrams of Valium."
Well, my e-mail seems to be working again. All the mail that was received yesterday was probably eaten by the hard drive when the old server died. All that poor unsuspecting junk mail! "I pink, therefore I Spam."
Back on March 2, I posted a photo I took at the monthly poetry group meeting I attend regularly. I liked her profile. However I wasn't too keen on the background. Given the close quarters I wasn't able to blur it out quite as much as I'd have liked. So, I took another photograph, masked her off, clipped her out and voilą!
"Profile Against the Wind"
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Well, I'd planned on putting a couple of interesting and useful things up here today, but time got away from me. I've been packing things and running errands all day. It looks like this weekend may be the big move. I'll keep you posted. At some point there will be a lapse in the entries here. I don't know exactly when or for how long, but I'll try to keep it to a minimum.
I picked up a neat thing today at Pro-Art & Framing Center here in Charleston. It's a Strathmore Field Watercolor notebook. It consists of sheets of 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper alternating with sheets of 60 lb. sketch paper. That's a great idea for field sketches in watercolor and pencil. It's great for me to play around with watercolor pencils, crayons, and oil pastels.
Friday, March 29, 2002
Quote of the Day: "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar." -- Julius Caesar
To whom it may concern: I will probably be inaccessable for the next few days. If you have my cell phone number, that would be the best way to reach me. E-mail may or may not be checked on a timely basis. I will probably not update this page until after the first of the month (damn! I had a great April Fool gag planned, too. . . maybe next year!).
We'll be moving starting either today or tomorrow and I don't know when everything will be accessible again, nor when the utilities will get transferred to the new house. I hate moving!
Saturday, March 30, 2002
It looks like we get the keys to the new house tomorrow. We should be able to start moving things. Almost everything is packed up now. The utilities will be on Monday, and will probably be off here shortly thereafter. The cable won't get connected until Thursday, so between tomorrow sometime and Thursday whenever the cable guy shows up, I could well be offline. Moving is such a pain in the ass. There will be much cleaning to be done in both places before it's all over. I'm already worn out. I hate to think what it will be like come next Friday. And then there's the month or more of total disarray before things settle where they want to go.
Quote of the Day: "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away" -- Antoine de Saint Exupery
I saw a bumper sticker. "If the Arabs and the Jews can get along in Beverly Hills, why can't they do it in the middle east?" Get with the modern world, people! Enough of tribal behavior. It's time to join a fraternity, like W.
Sunday, March 31, 2002
Well, at the last minute, the move is off. We were handed a lease that we couldn't sign. Parts of it were illegal, parts of it absurd, parts mean-spirited and condescending, and the rent went up from the amount quoted in the discussion by $100 a month. She also wanted a deposit, which was not in the offing before. I'd have loved to have had the house, but not if I can't hang a single painting on the walls, not if I'm expected to not put signs in the yard if I decide to support a political candidate. I'm not about to be told what I can and can't do by someone just because I rent property they own. I'm surprised the lease didn't specify what kind of toilet paper I should wipe my ass with. I'm livid!
Quote of the Day: "I did not decide to become a painter,any more than I decided to breathe. " -- George Braque
I'm not too fond of 2002. So far it's been one stressful situation after another. I've had hope dangled before me only to have it yanked away, vile laughter receding in the distance. I suppose it's too much to expect that I should be allowed to have an easy time of anything.