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Monthly Archives: January 2011

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Me.  I’m not a big fan of the snow. It’s pretty and makes everything white and clean and magical for a while’ but it disrupts things, throws my schedules off and it’ cold!

Fresh beignets and hot chocolate are a small comfort.  but we have to do what we can. I just want to be on the record:

I don’t like it.

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I’ve occasionally had to appear in my own movies just introduce a slight human element when no other person was available, and now I’m becoming aware of the possibility of hamming it up.  Fortunately. I haven’t gone there yet.  In any case, here’s the very short video based on yesterdays little photoshoot. With a little bit of my own music, to boot.


As I mentioned yesterday, this was shot with the Nikon D7000 which shoots 1080 p HD video.  I spent an hour shooting to get a minute of video.  Sounds about the right ratio.

At The Park

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I used to spend a lot of time at one of our local parks, called Quiet Waters Park.  It fit into my daily schedule back then, but in recent years I haven’t spent much time there.  Today I went out to practice shooting video with my new camera.  The videos were stunning, if I may say so.  This DSLR really has it “going in.”  So I’m thinking about making it part of my daily or weekly routine to spend time there shooting video and walking in the park.  It was very cold today, I must say, I expect it will be that way for several months; so I guess I’ll have to remember to take my scarf and gloves when I go out.  Here’s a still shot I took from the gazebo which I made my filming base of operations today.

Perhaps I’ll post some video when I get it processed.  In other news, I have my box of supplies all packed up and ready to ship to Australia.  12 lbs 12x12x12 inches and $98 not counting insurance.  Delivered in 3-6 days.  Not bad, I don’t think.

Watercolors Everywhere

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Went to open figure studio tonight after a two month or so hiatus.  Doing watercolors in that environment is a real challenge for me. I learned to do watercolors doing landscapes and figures doing Conte or charcoal.  But I’ve been diving in and coming up with something or another every time.  Here I’ll put up the watercolor in  various stages

So here we have the picture at the end of the first and second twenty minute sessions.  Working into wet paper with a large sized brush in the sky and other background elements and with a medium sized brush in the area of the figure.  Same brush I showed a few days ago.  With each successive stage the layers of color build up and hopefully get more complex without getting muddy.  My way of working with watercolors is not at all unique, but most people don’t work this way.  I just put the colors down and mop them up as I see fit, whereas most folks put the colors on in very carefully thought out layers, letting each layer dry before applying the next.

I like to put a made up landscape in the back of my figures.  In this case I was thinking of Batman on the roof of a building, looking out over the city.  The pose sort of suggested it, but I ended up with just a guy sitting on a roof at sunset.  I like it though.  I spend quite a bit of time working on the background, but it is mostly while the model is taking a break.  I like the idea of making a whole picture.  Not just a figure in front of a blank wall, or even sitting on a stool with a drape on the wall behind him.  And now for the final picture of the night.  TA DA….I like it.

New Laptop

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I’ve spent the last twenty four hours getting my new laptop configured, and I’m submitting this post from it.  Wouldn’t you know I read today that Intel has come out with a new chip that is faster than it’s fastest current chip and cost one third as much.  I think it is based on a carbon molecule that looks something like a chicken-wire fence, but is only one molecule thick.  I’d forgotten how much trouble it is to set up a new computer, but I haven’t had a laptop in three years and I kind of need one.  Outmoded the day I got it, but still nice.  It’s at least as powerful and fast as my two year old desktop pc.  Other than that, I spent some time trying how to make sculpture tools for a class of fifteen out of materials found around the house, home depot or the craft store.  I’m going to check out the hunting and fishing store tomorrow.

Australian open tennis has started on Tennis Channel and ESPN…the only sport I follow.  The time difference dictates that the live tennis is late at night into the early morn and the temptation is to stay up late.  Reminds me of when I watched the entire Americas Cup on TV…staying up till all hours.  For all the hype and reputation of this great race, on TV you can watch for three hours and the whole thing hinges on one boat letting it’s sail flutter too much for a few seconds after rounding a buoy.  It’s not the big things, like in the movies.  It’s the accumulation of little things. So that’s it for today.  Not much I know. So to make up for it here’s a picture the famous Wavey Gravey in the background with your’s truly in the foreground at an arts festival last winter in Kauai, Hawaii.


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This old derelict is pretty much the same as the scooter that saw me through college.  Somewhere along the line I upgraded to a bigger better model, but this is the one I drove forty miles in the freezing rain every morning to get to my 7 AM Freshman philosophy class.  I picked this particular one up from a guy who had a basement full of scooter in various states of restoration, and this one was just too hopeless to bother with.  I got it mainly for it’s sculptural qualities, and as a memento of days long gone by.  I like to think that if I had kept the older one, it would be in better condition than this one; but it just isn’t so.  In fact my girlfriend got run off the road by an old lady in a Cadillac and might have been killed, but luckily she was uninjured.  The scooter was a dead loss though.  I put those scooters behind me and moved on to the wonderful world of Volkswagen vans until one day I saw an exhibit of Italian design in the Guggenheim museum in New York.  Thus began an obsession that lasted for a few years as I sought out the perfect scooter.  I tracked down a P200 which was far more powerful and fancy than anything available back in my day.

Very nicely painted to resemble a wasp which is what the word Vespa means in Italian, it ran like a dream, had plenty of power and had oil injection so I didn’t have to hand mix the oil in with the gas.  I drove it around for a couple of years, and slowly accepted that it really wasn’t a very appropriate mode of transportation for me. And the cars scared the pants off of me sometimes when they nearly crashed into me, so I sold it without too much regret.  I picked up the red one a few years later, just to mark that place in my life where a scooter would go.  And to satisfy my strange love of what to me are very beautiful lines.  The Vespa was a scooter that brought the Italian working class up after WWII.  The ability to change the tires easily, the skirts that kept mud and rain off the driver and the capacity to carry small amounts of cargo made it the perfect commuter vehicle for men and women alike.


What’s it All About

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Now that I’ve been writing this blog for a couple of weeks, I’m beginning to wonder why I wanted to do this.  The question has nothing to do with the fact that the number of people viewing the blog has dropped rather than increased.  There is a fundamental problem, I find, with blogging:  Finding the right balance between intimacy and boredom.  Too much intimacy and I’m hanging my personal laundry out to dry on the front porch.  Not enough and no one, including myself, will care at all.  Another issue I’m struggling with is how to balance pictures with words. I really like to include pictures and I think current, hot-off-the-presses pictures would be best, but I don’t always have good recent photos. So I’m thinking I’ll quit making that distinction and include photos from days gone by on a regular basis.

My original thought was to make this an artists blog, which is to say the general theme of my postings would relate to my life as an artist.  Here’s where I get back to that intimacy issue.  Not all of my issues as an artist are about the physical process.  In fact most of the issues are about my emotional and spiritual state of being.  Inspiration (as a general rule)  doesn’t seem to be something that comes in from a big cloud in the sky like a lightning bolt.  For me it is usually a small thought that has a certain appeal and which usually grows out of some other pursuit. As I mull it over I begin to see possibilities for a project and once I get an idea of how to pursue the project I grab hold and finish it.  I’m probably not alone in this: This time of working on a new project is pretty much what I live for as an artist.  To be completely engaged in a project which I believe in completely.  Without such a project on hand, work is sort of like a daily grind.  So the goal is to establish a work habit of daily work that is not so crushing as to suck the life out of you while staying busy enough to stimulate the possibility of “inspiration.”  So, irrelevantly,  here are a couple of pictures, with comment.

Lanikea Turtle

Turtle at Lanikea

The green sea turtle was highly endangered back in the seventies in Hawaii and they were put on some sort of protected list.  When I lived there back in the Eighties, I rarely saw them and only when I was out windsurfing.  On one of my return trips back in 1980 the turtles were so plentiful, you could see dozens of them on any given day.  I even came within touching distance of several while skin diving.  Called Honu in Hawai’ian, which I believe means “little brother,” they’re return seems to mirror the return of Hawaiian Culture.  This little guy (about two  to three feet long, I guess) was in the shore break eating seaweed off the rocks.


Table of Teabowls

At the Raku Festival which is held every year in Hawaii, all the artists contribute teabowl which are sold to visitors and guests for $5.  The guest glaze their own bowl and artist/volunteers fire them .  Each artist is requested to volunteer to assist in the community firing.  So a guest could conceivably get a pot for $5 which had been made and fired by a very fine artist.  This picture shows most of the bowls contributed for one festival.  I love making teabowls and am fascinated by the tea ceremony for which they are made.

Can’t Help It.

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I’ve posted this video on youTube and Facebook.  I just can’t resist the urge to put it on the blog, too.  I spent a long time recording this song using Garage Band a couple of years ago.  My daughter, Carlea, and area musician Tina Ward helped with some wonderful back up vocals.  All in all I’ve been happy with the audio, but when I decided to post it to the web I felt like it needed some video. So yesterday I spent some hours recording all the takes it took to make this video.  It was shot with the Nikon D7000 in 1080o HD video and I’m really very impressed with how good a video camera it is, considering that it is a digital SLR designed mainly for still photography.  With this out of the way, it is time to get back to my sculpture project.


I have a mold made and I need to let it dry and cure for about a week before I can prepare it for use.  In the meantime, I’ll clean up and start in again from scratch on another small face…this time paying a bit more attention to the correct proportions.. Just for fun.  Had oatmeal for breakfast again, played tennis.  Later off to the dentist for a cleaning and then take daughter Carlea for a driving test.  Fingers crossed all around.

Better Late Than Never

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A couple of inches of snow put a crimp in a lot of plans today.  I just stayed in and fooled around on various projects…one of which is to familiarize myself the workings of my DSLR as a movie camera.  There’s a whole trend for filmmakers to use Digital SLRS to shoot movies these days, but it has it’s own set of challenges.  I also got a mold made of a simple clay face.  Something to practice on while I work on a more elegant example.  The plaster mold came out pretty good.  It set in the right amount of time and the original came away with very little damage to the artwork.  I did an over lay with a template of “ideal”  dimensions and could easily see the shortcomings of my proportions…which somehow weren’t all that obvious in real life.  Perhaps it’s just the angle of view…but the poor little fellow seems to be lacking in places to put his brains.  …Well off to bed for me.  Maybe I’ll get on time tomorrow. 

On Going

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Here’s the status of my “planes of the face” project.  I was getting a healthy start until my day took a turn.  (Of course days always seem to turn out differently than planned, unless the plans are really good.)  It’s an interesting exercise:  There are some clear and obvious choices in defining these planes, but some choices are somewhat arbitrary.  On of the tricks is noticing how the planes fit together.  Stay tuned.  I’ll be following up on this again today.  Last night I started in on reading a Microsoft manual on the Powerpoint program. The manual is oriented to beginners (which I am) and business persons (which I an not…really).  One small rule…the rule of 6 x 6…I found interesting and helpful.  It states that slides of text should have no more than six bullet points and each bullet point should have no more than six words.  So I made a few pages of text and that rule seems not only helpful, but sort of natural for the context.

I’ve been reading a lot of movie scripts lately.  I read Quentin Tarentino’s True Romance last night and was quite shocked to find the ending completely different from the movie.  The movie was directed by Tony Scott, who also directed Man on Fire with Denzel Washington, Spy Game with Robert Redford, and The Taking of Pelham 123…also with Denzel Washington.  I’ve always really loved the movie True Romance and now I want to know who changed the ending:  Tarentino or Scott?  I’m really disturbed that there are two endings, and this fact is pretty interesting to me.  I’m usually comfortable with ambiguity.  Anyway, next on my reading list is Memento.  A movie which is always mentioned in books about making movies, though it didn’t make a lot of money. I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I ever payed any attention to Guy Pierce.

In case you missed it here is an embed of my latest movie project:  The three minute block buster….[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZxliOvqAzs]

And it’s predecessor: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXZi5cmM1Fo]