Monday, November 30, 2009

Wet Fire Hydrants, Dry Wit

There are basically two reasons for a wet fire hydrant. O.K., I suppose a grasshopper could walk up to one and lift his leg. But you all know what I mean. This huge dog can never be accused of hydrant hosing. He is a gentleman and a scholar.

Every time I come to the Tacoma Art Museum, I sit down with LeRoy to compare notes and swap stories. He is a good listener with a dry wit and a wet nose.

Sunday, I had a book signing at this very museum. I heard that some folks were there early waiting for me and gave up. I am really sorry that I missed you. Call me or e-mail, I'm happy to mail you signed and personalized books.

This delightful sculpture is called LeRoy, the Big Pup, created by sculptor, Scott Fife, born in Moscow, Idaho--1949. Medium: archival cardboard, carpenter's glue, drywall screws.

So, if you need a confidant or someone to tell your troubles to; go see LeRoy. Swap your best hydrant stories.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Zen of Messy

This is my studio. I was compelled to "confess" my space after seeing Elizabeth Blake's oh-so-Zen-space on the Chinook whatyacallit.

Whenever I hear about Zen this and Zen that I usually look down at my shoes. "Isn't there a place for me?" I mutter. I mean, do we all have to be so calm? And neat?

What can I say? I like interesting things. I collect...treasures.

For instance, this pile is a collection of actual U.F.O.'s that landed in my studio. That's right, you heard me. And some day they will show up in a book.

And this pic shows one of the models that I often make to "get me into a new world". Consider this: if Buddha was going to write a book about a T-Rex, he might just make a model of one out of papier maché. And he might have piles around his studio, maybe...

When the grand kids come to my studio, I simply do what any Godfather, I mean grandfather, would do. No, I don't make them kiss my ring! But they do have to pay homage to my almost real T-Rex with real teeth. It builds character for them to confront their fears.

One thing they all insist on is "riding" up the antique dentist chair. Up, past the trees, the clouds, the stars and planets. Way up there.

Hey look, some stones. That is pretty Zenny, right?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Do Muses Have Muses?

I don't know about you. Or, for my Quaker friends: I don't know about thee. O.K., for my friends who live in antediluvian homes: I don't know about y'all. But my muse is skittish. Or maybe he's Yiddish. Come to think of it she might be Swedish.

Sigh. Someone said the difference between writers and non-writers is that writers find writing more difficult. Let's see... the difference between artists and non-artists is regular income.

"Hey! No negative self-talk!" I am told. Yeah, yeah. Or for my German friends, Yah,Yah.

Point is one day I was trying to find my muse; driving around town looking for someone to sketch, or something to write about. Sit. Sitting. Arch my back, roll my neck around. I'm ready. Anytime, lay it on me.

Nothing. Slack tide. Zippo. So there I am sitting in my car across from my favorite used book store in Port Townsend (William James Bookstore). As if writerly bravissimo might waft its way into my parched desert brain flats. And from the distance I hear, "chagoing, Chagoing, CHAGOING!!" getting closer and closer.

Down the sidewalk a gorilla on a pogo stick boinged by. I am not kidding. My mouth opened to call out, "Oh, Muse!! Over here, I've been waiting for you..." But then my decent inner civilian butted in, "This can't be real. Gorillas don't ride pogo sticks in this town. Don't you have work to do?"

"But." I said.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Whether the Weather Will Wither Me Mither

I find myself speaking in rhyming couplets that don't rhyme or couple. My thoughts huddle like sheep while the storm slaps the house with rain.

Dollopy, dollopy,
Wap, wop, wap, wop,
Blip blip, drip drip,
Blapitty, splapitty,
Pitter, patter,
Splitter, splatter,
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
No...that doesn't work. At all.
The rain really wrecked the roses,
"It's not one of my favorite things,"
Said the cat, twitching her tail,
And turning her face again to the fire.
Hold fast, Richard,
Winter in the Northwest,
Has only just begun.
(Involuntary shudder).

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Abstractlettes Go Out Into the Real World

Feelin' Groovy

Here are a few more samples of my art which I am exhibiting this weekend in Poulsbo, Washington, at the Knowles Studio. Drop by if you want an Art-in-the-Woods getaway.

Wonderful friends and visitors,
meet Cherubio (right). Cherubio,
meet some cool people. Where? They're right out there.
Just look...

This next one I call Escabeche, because I have a lot of fond memories of time spent in Mexico.

And my favorite quick meal is soft corn tortillas heated in an iron skillet, with "whatever" folded inside. Preferably fish (pescado blanco), cheeze, sprouts, tomato, avocado,
with squeeze of lime, and something hot like cauliflower and carrots
pickeled in olive oil and serrano peppers. Or, for
clear-your-head hot sauce: my son, Jesse
makes a Habanero sauce that's a nice, slow, good burn.

I call this one Albert.

Go For It (on the left) almost got away from me. I used Sumi ink on a surface with an unwitting resist. The ink would'nt do what it was told. I tossed it in with the other art on probation.

Every month or two, I would pull it out and glare at it. And then, one day I focused on the negative space and all at once it brought out the calligraphic "flaire that was there".

I am Dreaming of You. Quiet. Comfy.
I enjoy a snug gathering
of color and shape.

Most of these are quite small and inexpensive and hence I sell a lot of them. But they are, never-the-less, labors of love. And as I have mentioned in earlier posts, it is healing for me to paint them. I like what Tara commented on the last post, "play without any representational outcome required".

Dazzle Day

Thursday, November 5, 2009

If You Paint It They Will Come

Fox Trot

Who will come? The Little People. The Big People. The Fairies. The Ideas. That's right, often I don't know what I'm painting, until it's done. We were taking ballroom dance classes when I painted Fox Trot, and it reminded me of the dance and people on the dance floor.

Going With The Flow

When I paint abstracts, they are just that. I play with paint, or experiment, or try hard to capture an idea or mood. And sometimes it's simply screwing around. But the paintings go back into the pile unless they come alive. They are "exquisite corpses" which I come back and back to, tweaking, dab here, stroke there.

Mt. Doom Meet Frodo

I was thinking lava, when painting this. I had been on the Big Island of Hawaii. But this small painting sat on the pile for years, until I saw the ring shape. Then I foodled around with it and Voila! Frodo is taking the ring of power to destroy it in the Cracks of Doom.

In Other Words

I paint, therefore I am. I breathe, therefore I am. I eat Susi's pumpkin waffles, therefore I am happy. Yum! Mma Ramotswe frequently cooks and eats pumpkin. (From McCall Smith's delightful The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency).

Why Yes

This last one I called, Tomorrow Becoming Today. Which it has.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Segue From Halloween to...

There are two kinds of geniuses: smart ones and dumb ones. But this is true elsewhere. Good cop, bad cop. Teachers who inspire, those who hate their jobs (and children). Fun pirates, avoid-at-all-cost-pirates. Mice can go either way, but really, how bad can a mouse be?

The ink drawing above is from Writers in the Kitchen, compiled by Tricia Gardella (smart genius) published by Boyds Mills Press. Inside are stories and recipes from children's book authors and illustrators. Ed Young, for example, shares a recipe for "Rawfish Gruel". Brian Selznick unveils "Thanksgiving Surprise, from my mother, who can't cook". My contribution was concocted when I was nine:

"Cat's Eyeballs in Blood with Gold Nuggets"

The following recipe requires ingredients to be obtained if at all possible
from Spanish pirate ships:

one can tomato soup
one cup (more of less) of KIX cereal
one cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese

The longer the KIX bob around, the slimier they get.

My brother had a redwood plaque with this message burned into it: "If yore so dang smart why ain't you rich?" When I was nine, I assumed I was a genius, and a super hero. Now I know that I am a brilliant simpleton, or a dumb genius.