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Monday, May 2, 2005
(7:31 pm)

I took my collàge show down this morning. It's always sad taking down a show. Jack, at Pro-Art, suggested that I put the review from Thursday's paper on my site. I have the link to it on Thursday's entry, but it might be a good idea to put it here somewhere, since in six months the link will die because the newspaper then puts it in the archives, for which you have to pay for access. I'll think about it.

I finished another collàge over the weekend. It's on a gallery-wrap canvas (11 X 14 X 1-3/8 inches):

Digital Photo [2005_0430Image0002crop2]
"In Golden Dreams of Ornithopters"

Bad time at the hospital today. They tried to tell me I had to pay 10% of the total to get my MRI done -- $380. For one thing, $3800 is too much for an MRI. For another, I don't have that much money for such things. And for yet another thing, I don't think an MRI is going to help the situation at all anyway. I need to read a couple of doctors the riot act. The medical profession in this country has gotten way too greedy and arrogant. It's time they were slapped down, but I fear they are on the ascendent.


Tuesday, May 3, 2005
(12:57 pm)

We all go crazy, each in our own individual way. Some hear God talking to them, others talk to police scanners like they're privy to the conversation; some push grocery carts loaded with found treasures along the sidewalks,others push grocery carts down aisles, somehow supposing they are going to find food that is both healthy and affordable; some tear up bits of paper and arrange them in complex patterns on the walls, looking for the answer to the secrets of the universe, others tear up medical forms and throw them down on the receptionist's desk in the referring doctor's office.

Quote of the Day: "Don't wait. The time will never be just right." -- Napoleon Hill

Collage on Canvas (5 X 5 X 1-3/8 inches)
"Special Standard Mail"

If your screen resolution is set to 1280 X 1024, the above is just about actual size.


Thursday, May 5, 2005
(5:55 am)

Yes I got up early just to have the 5:55 5/5/5 thing going on. More later.

(5:55 pm)

Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all!

Quote of the Day: "Just make up your mind at the very outset that your work is going to stand for quality... that you are going to stamp a superior quality upon everything that goes out of your hands, that whatever you do shall bear the hall-mark of excellence. " -- Orison Swett Marden (motivational speaker)

I'm working on a sort of 3-D collàge in a shadow box I bought at Big Lots a couple years ago. I've done small ones before, but this one is a little larger (11 X 14). I'm doing some different things this time around. I don't know if it will photograph well, but I'll give it a shot when I'm finished.

Digital Camera Image [2005_0504Image0003crop]
"One good thing about the yard here."

Friday, May 6, 2005
(10:59 am)

Friday, and I'm still stranded. The only thing I have to take photographs of is the hydrangea bush. Having said so. . .

Digital Camera Image [2005_0504Image0003crop]
"My current wallpaper"

If you'd like to have this wonderful photograph for your wallpaper, too, just send $19.95 to the address on your screen. No, that's not right. How about this? Click on one of the two buttons below for the proper screen aspect ratio for your computer, then right click on the picture and save it to your Windows directory (or whatever arcane ritual you Macintosh users perform to capture a web image). You'll have to convert to a .BMP file if you don't use the active desktop. CAUTION: The filesize of these pictures is quite large.

click me           click me

Quote of the Day: "Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

I keep forgetting to take my medications. Ann says it's because I hate having to take pills at all. She's probably right. Wednesday I beat all records. I completely forgot to take any of my pills until bedtime. That's probably not a good idea.


Sunday, May 8, 2005
(10:58 am)

Happy Mothers Day!

There's something about Sunday morning that calms and reassures me; that irons out the wrinkles in my emotional and spiritual being. It's always been this way. I used to enjoy walking about, with no particular destination very early on Sunday morning, when it's quiet and peaceful, thinking about Johnny Cash's old song, "Sunday Morning Comin' Down." I've never been much of a church goer, but still there's something about Sunday morning.

Quote of the Day: "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." -- Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

I finished my latest assemblage piece. I started to call it a collàge, but really, it's not. It's built inside an 11 X 14-inch shadow box and consists of painted wooden strips, a painted Rose-of-Sharon or evergreen shrub root, dice, 30 caliber bullets, black rice paper, gold powder, red embroidery thread, a polished rock, a dried clover blossom, a Chinese stamp, a small laboratory bottle full of seeds, beads on a chain, and an upholstery tack. Sounds intriguing, no? Well, at any rate, I tried photographing it yesterday and the most prominent feature of the photograph was the reflection in the glass of me holding the camera and the windows on the door behind me. Maybe I'll try again later with it outside, arranged so that the glare is at a minimum.

I'd love to be able to build more assemblages like this, perhaps on a grander scale, using boxes I make myself. The problem there is that I don't have the space or the tools to build boxes the way I'd like them made. I suppose in good weather, I could hand-cut the wood and put it together and finish it outside either on the patio or in the yard, but I'd need a shop bench for that, or a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to lay across my saw horses and a new mitre box at the very least, since mine broke the last time I used it. A compound mitre saw would be great, but I'd be loathe to use that outside. Wouldn't a whole woodworking shop be nice? I can smell the sawdust now. . .

I should have done this a few days ago, but things slip past me sometimes that shouldn't. I'd like to thank all those who complimented me on my show at Pro-Art last month: Jack, Victor and Tracey in particular, and Robin, Arthur (Walter), my friend Emily, my son's friend Laura, and all the others who casually or otherwise mentioned how much they liked it. I also want to thank Mrs. Arabia for her purchase of one of the smaller pieces and congratulate her on her excellent taste. (*ego trip over*)


Wednesday, May 11, 2005
(11:09 am)

The prospectus for the West Virginia Juried Exhibition is out. They require a $20.00 entry fee now. Damn! Does it never end? The whole world is a conspiracy to have the poor, the lesser-able, the unrecognized pay for the rich, the more-capable and the well-known. This is the opposite of how it should be. Then, again, in a logical universe, men would ride side-saddle.

Quote of the Day: "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. " -- Ernest Hemingway

I promised myself in my youth that I would not grow bitter as I grew old, but it's harder and harder to keep that self-made promise. I see the world turning 180° from where it should by all rights be going now; my life has not worked out as it should; the creative climate has declined as my dependence on it has increased. I hate my life right now. I had really hoped by now to have some recognition, but I guess that's an unreasonable expectation given that I was never able to get anything into any juried show, and now that they all charge an entry fee, I never will. Damn!

Digital Camera Image (modified) [2005_0411Image0019alt]
"Cherry Pink and. . ."

I hate everything.


Thursday, May 12, 2005
(11:11 am)

I've written a poem for this special occasion. It's not great literature, but it's apropos for the day:
There once was a painter named Lear
Whose poems did seem quite queer
They had five lines, not four
And involved many a whore
A priest, a donkey, and beer.

Happy Birthday Edward Lear, inventor of the Limerick. It's his one hundred and 93rd. Today is also the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, Katharine Hepburn, Yogi Berra, Burt Bacharach, Frank Stella, George Carlin, Ving Rhames, Emilio Estevez, and Stephen Baldwin. Good day to celebrate something. I think I'll have a drink, or nine. . .

Quote of the Day: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -- Howard Thurman. American theologian, clergyman, mystic, and civil rights activist (1900-1981)

I feel some sort of change coming. I don't know if it's just the weather, or a change in me, or the general climate of this city, state, country or planet, or what. I just feel there's a change coming, and when you're in a stagnant state such as I am, a change is probably good.


May, Friday the 13th, 2005
(3:44 pm)

I still hate everything.


Monday, May 16, 2005
(11:49 am)

Last fall I bought three gourds. Over the winter they dried out and reshaped themselves. When I bought them, two I picked for their resemblance to alien space craft. The other because it was long and "warty." Well, now one of them looks like a dried up gourd. The other two struck me as bird-like. Here's what I did with the one that looked to me like a long-necked water bird:

Digital Camera Image [2005_0515Image0002crop]

The other one looks much like a duck or swan. I screwed up when carving the beak and now I can't decide whether to try to use modelling paste and fix it or just let it be a short-bill quacker. . .


Thursday, May 19, 2005
(11:38 am)

It's been said, by whom I don't remember, that "depression is just anger without the enthusiasm." I think that's backwards. I think the continual condition of mankind is one of sadness, melancholy if you will, depression if you must. I see so many people going about their day either pissed off or looking like their dog just died. We live in a society now where the owners work their employees harder and harder for longer hours now that technology has made production easier, and when the employees retire, they're left with nothing to define their lives anymore, and the owners keep scheming to find ways to take back the promise of a retirement income they made in lieu of better conditions while the employee was employed. It truly is a sad state of affairs. No wonder so many people slog through life looking for all the world like there was thorazine in the water instead of flouride.

Quote of the Day: "If the Creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out." -- Arthur Koestler

I need a new mitre box. Mine cracked and broke. You'd think oak would be tougher. I think next one will be the bright yellow plastic one, that is until I can afford to get a compound mitre saw. This all brings me back to the subject of not having proper spaces in which to work. Most of my adult life I've been plagued with a lack of proper space in which to work. Most people don't understand what a difficulty that is for me. When I was growing up, I had a bedroom, a basement area I could call mine, and grudgingly my grandfather let me use his woodworking shop for some of my projects. After he died and my grandmother sold off or parceled out all his power tools and things, I had the workshop area to use as I saw fit as well. I got used to having appropriate space. Since I've grown I, at first, lived in apartments with very little space to work. For long stretches of years I did little in the way of art for that single reason. The impetus was there, but the lack of even a dining room table to work on discouraged me from actually doing anything. During those times I turned my creative energies to other purposes, mostly destructive ones. Later, after I got married and started living in houses again, the issue of space was still there, as most of the places we've lived really didn't have adequate space to set things up like I'd prefer. Never have we lived in a place where a woodworking shop was possible or even appropriate. More's the pity. I'd love to be able to make my own frames and some small items of furniture and the like. **sigh**

The sun was out and the day looked nice, but now that I'm considering going out somewhere, the clouds are rolling in. In case you hadn't guessed, I didn't win Powerball last night. Now, there's a retirement plan!


Friday, May 20, 2005
(1:31 pm)

I spend more time doing nothing in the past four years than I ever have in my life. Most of the time previously, if there was nothing on my plate, I'd draw or paint, read, perhaps organize or just think about things. Now I just sit and either worry about the future, reminisce about the past, or mentally lament the situation I'm in. I want it to be the way it was. I somehow have a large doubt that it ever will be though.

Quote of the Day: "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. But we can't have both." -- Louis Brandeis

This country is headed down a path, that, if not corrected, will lead us irrevocably to a world like that depicted in Orwell's 1984 or Huxley's Brave New World. It's time to stand up to the NeoCon bullshit and tear down the facade of respectability that has been put in front of the greed of wealth. We need to stop allowing the conservatives to spread their lies, poison, and sedition. We need a movement or revolution like that of the 60's -- a ground swell of liberal ideas and values. We need to sweep away the corporate sponsors of the fascist regime. We need to fill the prisons with CEO's and former presidents instead of kids who were forced by economic pressures to sell drugs to make a decent living, falling prey to the culture that such an economic pursuit entails. I hold little hope. I despair of any improvement in my lifetime, perhaps ever. We may be doomed to a two-tiered society like that of Blade Runner. I sit and I try not to think. The price of thought these days is frustration and fear.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005
(7:29 pm)

My fingers are starting to get sore from all the testing. I feel like I'm starving to death even when I cheat. People have said I look like I'm losing weight. I don't see it. I'm still not where I need to be and can't see it in the immediate future. I should have never quit smoking. . .

Quote of the Day: "Things are always different from what they might be." -- Henry James

I waste much time because I don't know where to go with my work. I heard myself echoed in the words of a woman yesterday who recently started painting again. At least she has the gumption to take the stab at it. I just sit here and look at my canvas, paper, panel, materials and despair.

I had potatoes at dinner tonight. My blood glucose an hour later was 133. I know that's less than the 180 or 160 currently recommended, but it's too high for my liking. When it gets that high, I don't feel well.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005
(3:40 pm)

Absolutely! This project is getting boring. I'm sure it's just a phase and I'll eventually return to my usual exhuberant, verbose, witty self, writing interesting and entertaining essays, rants, and polemics. I'll again put up striking photographs, evocative paintings, and thought-provoking collàges. Sooner or later I'll again write poems, ones that stretch the use of language or at least the same sappy, but somewhat clever verses I've posted here in the past. Someday I'll share new recipes, observations, and ideas. But not today. Today I'm fortunate to be able to report that it's mostly sunny and I've been mostly inside all day. My leg hurts. I really wish my lawyers would get this over with so I can find a competent doctor to fix the damn thing.

Quote of the Day: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I've tried making art today, but it's tough going. This time of my life is akin to making my way through a swamp. I'm making progress, but it's slow, hard-met, difficult to see, and messy. When I reach dry land, things will move quicker.


Sunday, May 29, 2005
(11:17 am)

It's hard for me to write or do any other kind of intellectual or creative activity when I feel so. . . stymied! It's as though I've taken the wrong path so many times in a row that I'm in an area of the woods that blocks further travel, and going back is such a long and tortuous route that it's impossible to navigate or so daunting as to present further frustration. In reality, the path is through time only and can be travelled in one direction only— the ultimate one-way street. I'm at one of those junctures where I feel like giving up, throwing my hands in the air, crawling into bed and trying to sleep, not because I need the rest, but to avoid having to breathe another conscious breath.

Quote of the Day: "I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow." -- William Blake (1757-1827) British poet, artist,'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'

I have so many things that I want to collàge and put into Joseph Cornell type assembleges, but I can't keep things straight in my mind anymore— I need to have things spread out in front of me or at least at easy access, and I don't have room to work that way here. As my mind deteriorates and my ability to work diminishes, my desire to work and my passion for art and learning doesn't, which leads to so much frustration and anxiety.

Photography has, for the time being, lost its appeal, much like representational painting did years ago. I can't seem to really find anything in the world that I want to reproduce, and my mental landscape has been razed, burnt to a gray ashen expanse with a few burnt and charred protrusions vaguely resembling trees or branches of some shrub that tried in vain to resist the flames.

The best I can do at the moment is take photographs of my pal Arthur's still life arrangements for his painting class and half-assedly convert them to impressionistic renderings using Corel Photopaint.

Modified Digital Camera Image [2005_0527Image0006]
"Still Life with Hydrangea"

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
(8:24 pm)

I can't believe May is over. Yesterday was my youngest grandgirl's second birthday. Happy Birthday Gretchen! Hannah was four on the eighteenth. Two May babies -- one a Taurus, one a Gemini. They're so alike and so different.

Quote of the Day: "Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it." -- Jules Renard. French writer (1804-1910)

I made a crane and I'm working on a duck and a penguin. I'll let you know how they turn out.


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