Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Paint Night

August 13, 2016

What you can do in a one-night paint class when a good instructor demonstrates how to do it step by step. Cheating? Maybe. I’m okay with it. In the spirit of historically prosaic titles for great works of fine art, I call it “Red Fox and Birches”.

Red Fox and Birches

Miss that plane

March 31, 2016

beforesunset2

And if thou gaze long into a blank canvas…

November 8, 2015

“If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes.  To be good – many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm – and that’s a lie….  That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity.  Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.

You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything.  The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares – and who has once broken the spell of “you can’t.”

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.

But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that.  He steps in and does something, and hangs on to that…”

~Vincent van Gogh

Travel Writer

August 25, 2015
     "Take some more coffee," I said.
     "Good.  Coffee is good for you.  It's the caffeine in it.  Caffeine, 
we are here.  Caffeine puts a man on her horse and a woman in 
his grave.  You know what's the trouble with you?  You're an 
expatriate.  One of the worst type.  Haven't you heard that?  Nobody 
that ever left their own country ever wrote anything worth 
printing.  Not even in the newspapers."
     He drank the coffee.
     "You're an expatriate.  You've lost touch with the soil.  You get 
precious.  Fake European standards have ruined you.  You drink 
yourself to death.  You become obsessed by sex.  You spend all your 
time talking, not working.  You are an expatriate, see?  You hang 
around cafes."
     "It sounds like a swell life," I said.

~Ernest Hemingway, from The Sun Also Rises

Apparently there’s this whole WORLD out there…

May 25, 2014

Check out the National Geographic Photo Contest 2013.  Awesome.

dolphin

The Bill Watterson Interview (Comics Journal, 1989)

April 22, 2014

If you loved Calvin & Hobbes half as much as I, you might enjoy this rare interview with its creator, Bill Watterson, from 1989.

And if you’re an aspiring artist of any stripe, this excerpt from the opening of the interview might be helpful.  Compared to other roads to success, Watterson’s was fairly short.  Yet even he, and his beloved comic strip, had to pass through (at least a little) failure and rejection before finding success.

From the interview:

“Upon graduation in 1980, he became the political cartoonist for The Cincinnati Post, an experience he remembers as relentlessly depressing but mercifully short. Unable to fulfill his editor’s fuzzy notion of what an editorial cartoon should be, Watterson was fired before the end of his first year. For the next five years, Watterson submitted comic strip ideas to the syndicates. Six were developed; six were rejected. United Features Syndicate was the most encouraging, and Watterson’s seventh development contract, this one with UFS, resulted in Calvin and Hobbes. Ironically, UFS declined to distribute it, saying they didn’t think it would sell. Universal Press Syndicate snatched it up and launched it on November 1985.”

Thanks for not giving up, Mr. Watterson.

c&h

The Eagleman Stag

March 3, 2014

Rather than watch the Oscars yesterday, I went to the theatre and watched all the animated short films nominated for Best Animated Short.  (I highly recommend this substitution, though I suppose it’s not an either-or type of thing.)

They were good, no doubt, though my favorite in recent memory is still The Eagleman Stag by Mikey Please.  Gorgeous, surreal animation, along with a meditation on the nature of our perception of time that is provocative if a bit unsettling.  If you’ve got 8 minutes and 55 seconds….

“Safe and warm here in the fire of each other”

January 10, 2014

the-city-is-2

From Robert Montgomery’s current work, hopefully coming to a city near you (and me).  More here.

“I donn think you KNOW me.”

November 25, 2013

This is awesome.  “Two Chips” by Adam Patch.

Love is a Metaphor: Doll on a Music Box

August 27, 2013

I recently re-watched the old children’s movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968).  Though it is, as I’ve said, primarily a movie for children (my little niece liked it), there is one wonderful, beautifully rich scene that is haunting me.  I’ve embedded it below.  There are many details and metaphors here that run deeper than the surface of the scene (which itself is fun).  I have theories and thoughts (shocker), but rather than pronounce them, I’d thought I’d just ask the questions that prompted them.

  1. What keeps the dancer turning on her music box?  If she yearns so much for love, why not step off the box and go out into the world?
  2. Is she really yearning for love, or is love just a metaphor for life, for feeling alive?
  3. Why does the marionette stop and look at himself in the mirror, interrupting his song and his courtship of the dancer?
  4. Is it not sad and funny that she never responds to his entreaties, but that when he stops and gets lost in his own reflection, she gives him a shove?
  5. If she truly yearns for love, why at the end does she pull her hand away when he tries to kiss it?

What do you see,
You people gazing at me?
You see a doll on a music box that’s wound by a key
How can you tell?
I’m under a spell
I’m waiting for love’s first kiss
You cannot see
How much I long to be free
Turning around on this music box that’s wound by a key
Yearning
Yearning
While I’m
Turning around and around


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