Archive for the ‘Art’ Category


Thursday, June 24th, 2010


This was suppose to be mermaid…yadayadayada. But then I got to looking at it, and it works better as an angel in the sky,

I’ll kiln these layers tonight and see what I think tomorrow. It might actually be a fairy in there. I’m really not sure. (Don’t tell anybody!)

Art process…

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

So how does art happen for me? Glad you asked because sometimes it just never works and you see someone who did it exactly the way you were thinking and I just couldn’t connect the dots. My street scene I played with a couple of years ago is a typical example…


I started with a simple line drawing on the computer. This is just start to imagine purpose and perspective. Sometimes I do it with a pen on a 4×6 card, sometimes, like here, I just do it as a doodle in MS Paint. I think I did this one sitting in a bar in Waikiki to begin with on my mini or the phone.  The idea was to have an urban jungle with a park and a lone tree. I was thinking of this drinking a beer outside of a giant shopping mall on the beach and there was all of this stuff in a narrow street and one really old palm tree.

Now, remember, I do this next step a hundred plus times with the basic sketch. The idea isn’t to create art, but to get this whole picture.

Now, I finish all my stuff free-hand on canvess, so this was just thinking about it in a super sketchy way.


 This is the color and balance stage. This is using the computer and carrying it around with me and finding balance and colors. Like I said. I might do this 200 times with MS Paint. In this version I was playing with the tree concept. I think I did this on an airplane. Kind of not bad drawing of a tree for not having a real mouse. But the point here is to figure out colors…in this particular case, I pretty much cribbed it into something that I no longer have a record of because I gave it to someone.


But this Richard Morhous print called “Commute” is damn close to what I was thinking, just much edgier and darker. His is a New York scene, mine was more Mayberry R.F.D. But I include it because P was even struck by house close it was to the final version of what I did from the above sketches. It’s a great piece of art.


And then there are some of my computer sketches that just never work. Quick doodles waiting for an airplane or something, when I did this. It started out with a combination of being in an airport and reading a Peanuts cartoon about the Red Baron in the newspaper. The idea was to make the world going left and him trying to go right. Those are suppose to be crosshairs.The idea was to eventually put a second plane coming at it, which was obviously shooting down from much higher, to break up the blue. Lots of fiddling and nothing to show for it. But I might revisit this one because I have always liked the fact the perspective makes me want to turn my head; it might be interesting freehand; it might not even need the other plane.

The point being that all my big canvesses start out as microdoodles and playing with color. The big problem this summer has been following through on them. But that time is almost up. There is some stored up energy and pieces I need to commit to soon. It’s back to real work time. I figure I have about two weeks before art vacation is over.

It just kind of grew on me…

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


As I’ve said, I like cheap art when it is very interesting to me, generally because it’s the only art I can afford. I mean, have you ever seen what they ask for some of this crap? Honestly, as an artist, it boggles my mind.

I have also never bought art online, sight unseen. But I bought this piece of pretty cheap art. It was a couple bucks higher than normal, but let me explain (I mean, you’re talking to the king of finding the $10 print).

This is by our friend Irwin Rosenhouse. Who I don’t think should be cheap art, but his stuff is even when he’s dead. It’s called “Bicycle Rider.”

At first I was just intrigued because I think it’s a real silk silkscreen c.1960s based on the label on the back and the crudeness of it. That was interesting because that could be about 20 years older than anything we have really in our small collection of his stuff.

And then I didn’t like the fact it was mat-stained on the edges and it really did look primitive. And who buys art online? I mean shipping and the hassle. It even had a couple of little watermarks in the back. It just wasn’t passing my sniff test because is was crude looking from a dealer in the midwest that I had never heard of before. And then my phone rang.

But I was talking with someone on the phone and the image was still on my screen (as seen in the photo) and I was thinking, “You know, it’s kind of just like everything else I would buy. I know the artist. I’m pretty sure of the timeframe. It’s cheap so I can afford it.”

And then I went back to talking on the phone. But when I was talking, I was looking at it different.

“It’s a legitimate piece of 1960s Lower East Side art. It should be crude.”

More yapping on the phone.

“And the bike is a wreck and the rider is struggling forward to ride it. All while wearing a yellow jersey like a winner.”

Yapping on the phone.

“And the use of white space is profound as the rider comes out of something and goes into nothing.”

I pulled the trigger. I made a lowball offer. It was accepted. Before my phone call was over it was paid for and is being shipped tomorrow.

So here is a piece that’s worth less on the market than the reprinted posters at some museums or a dinner out, but I like it. In my brain, I can sell to anyone why I like it. I like, for instance, left heavier than right and top heavier than bottom with the yellows balanced over a diagonal line from top left to bottom right. I mean I can get geeky with it why it’s very cool to me.

Art doesn’t have to be expensive to get you tickled, even giddy, about it. I am really excited to own this. That’s my point. Art is fun. Heck, I’ve framed album covers of bands I’ve never listened to much because the art was good on a $2 record. (see Exhibit B).


Hence why I roam garage sales and stuff, or little antique stores, or Goodwill, and every once in a while you see something. It might happen only a couple of times a year. But you look at something and just say, “I like that.” Which is the other fun thing about art. If you like it, who the hell cares what anyone else thinks. It’s not like you’re going to have to sell it once it’s on your wall.

My final example about why art is cool. The last photo is of a giant color by numbers painting we bought at Goodwill for $5. It oozes a rainy night in anywhere-square Europe. There is almost nothing about it except it is vague and pleasing because everytime I look at it, I think about every trip to Europe I’ve ever had or my time living there. But I could sell it to you like it was a masterpiece if I wanted to…because it is in my own head.

That’s the fun of art.


Art talk

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

There’s a reason photography is on my mind…not that I’m good at it, but I am interested in playing with it more seriously.

By all accounts, I’m good at composition. I can really quickly get balances of light, color and heavy vs. white. I have had that eye my whole life. I can frame something really fast and, even if I can’t draw it or paint it for lack of talent, I know what the frame should be to make it just “look right.”

And I’ve been struggling with this with my art. I keep wanting to draw it. To color it. But that might not be the way I am going. It might be photography and just doing it that way, printing it after getting it right and matted, and that might work.

Here’s the God’s truth…I know I can look at something and see art that is pretty cool. I just keep figuring out the hook for that God-given ability. Sometimes I think it’s painting. Sometimes it’s writing. Sometimes it’s sketches…blah blah blah. And that’s why I feel like I got stuck. I can’t find my hook

But I want to try and explain this whole thing, and I might sound like an idiot doing it, but who cares…

I see the world in a balance. It’s contrast, yin and yang. Color and light, etc. I could compose something interesting that involved a pencil, a pen and a beer can (ok, I might be making that up), but the point is that I can see the art in it. But I am not a good artist. I can just make things make sense in the blance of the whole canvess and then call it art.

I even look at newspaper design the same way. I can tell you layout. I don’t see the headlines. I see balance. Man, this is a hard one to explain.

But I want to play with that using photography. My writing is burned out and my art is just labor. I want to play with the idea of composition.

Look at the phone photo below of Big A…it’s pretty weak, I know, but I was really trying to capture the mirror. Now, if I named it, “Born to Run” look at it again. That’s the crazy part is that all I wanted was her hair blowing and the road in the mirror. It’s sounds dumb, but that’s the framing to me. I want to play with that because I am not very good at it, and I’ve never really tried it. I kind of know what I can do with the art and the writing, and frankly, I’m not very good at that, either because I don’t sell it well.

I ramble.

Hey, she likes it; Mikey likes it!

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

I finally finished one of my more theoritically complex contraptions on canvess…and P liked it. I hit the over on the 50-50 chance of that based on her opinions of my other stuff. It wasn’t what it started out being, but when I gave a three-sentence explanation, it made sense, she said. But she even liked it before the explanation. Huh. That’s been a while.

There is no doubt that when it comes to art, her and Big A are my biggest supporters and MOST GIGANTIC HARSH CRITICS. But the funny thing is, that even nearly 30 years apart in age, they make some damn good points on everything I do on canvess. They are brutally good at seeing things that even I don’t see. Or not seeing it.


Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

My artistic funk continues when I killed a canvess tonight and there is really no way to fix it. Not only that, it was a very simple idea, and I pulled a boner on it by not playing nice with my tools. I was using a shaker pen and I shook and the top came off and basically went everyplace. It was a stupid brain fart because I started going too fast to meet a deadline. Shit happens. You just put it on a shelf until you can figure out what to do with it once the shock wears off. There’s a weird part of me that thinks the mess kind of works, the more I made a mess of it.

The problem that bugs me: I liked where it was going — before. This was good stuff, well thought out, and off to a good start.

But notice I say that sometimes about my writing. I know where it is going, I like it, and then I just fall off a cliff to the point I erase entire sections. But the nice thing about writing, you you really can’t mess it up. A canvess, when throughly screwed up, is like an e-mail you realize was bad after you hit send and you can’t take it back. Some artists would disagree. You can re-gipso or whatver it’s called, a canvess. To me, me in particular, I don’t play that way. I want to free-hand everything. It’s a freaking doodle, criminey.

I can’t show you the other piece I have been working on lately. But it’s pretty complicated with theory. The art is simple, but you have to understand history, and icons, for it to make sense.  It’s only 5×8, but I think you have to look at it for a long time to get all that…the rest is just pleasant to look at.

Don’t let them fool you…

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Writing even a shitty movie script is hard. I don’t mean the writing part, but giving simple action stuff and making it go from how the movie is playing in your head to how it should look on screen in as few words possible. The good thing is that I have no delusions…I’m just writing a simple spec script that has nothing fancy to it. It’s like writing a Monopoly game program in 1984 MS-BASIC…the stuff is all there, but if you type “run” it won’t look very good but it has a function to it.

This has led to what my approach is going to be when I get serious after donkey basketball (NEXT WEEKEND!!). I am just going to take all my notes and go. The stuff I don’t know how to write in “script format” I am just gong to describe for now. It’s going to be dialogue, scenes, places, and then some notes about what it’s all suppose to look like. I’ve got this thing figured out to be very visual with good dialogue. The only tricky thing is that it kind of ends up as a three-act drama with four real acts, but 2-3-4 are all intertwined…and I still have to unravel that better…hence my, “Get it all down and worry about details later” approach.

But I have always heard about how first time scriptwriters that make it big or established actors that write, just explain it as sitting down and doing it. That’s just utter nonsense, I’m convinced. Crazy talk. It’s pretty hard work.

My practice script I wrote as I was learning how to format was a Three’s Company episode where Jack really accidently kills Crissy with a knife while she volunteers to work at his restaurant. Like, really kills her. I did it in feature film format, even thought it would have only been about 45 minutes, I bet. Cracked me up. And then I accidently erased over it. Biiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggg lesson there, even though I might have spent six hours total on it. Anyway, it was pretty funny and I learned a lot from various books and things as I did it about how at least make it “look” like a script and describe actions, while using some bad dialogue, “Jack: I think when I fell I Tripperdher instantly.” (You had to have seen the whole sick writing…I was in a whacky mood and I wanted to flip on something I have seen a lot of, so it made sense at the time.)

It’s going to be fun if I can do it. That and the art stuff. Giddyup.

I’ll take Crayola for $1000, Alex

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I probabaly know as much, if not more, about crayons, like, technical dipshit stuff, than any other nearly-40 person around. Just map it out…I have colored 12 square feet with 104 crayons. On convess!!!!!

God this was hard. And it really didn’t turn out how I wanted.

That may sound silly…but in the end, I don’t like it. I mean, I like it, it’s just was not what I was expecting to happen. But I stuck to my rule for the project and didn’t touch any crayons other than the box of 120 I bought off the shelf. I have 16 left.

To picture it…take a crayon and color a piece of course sand paper the size of a 4×6 card and you’ll see what I mean.  Then repeat that abouyt 100 times.

But I am rather proud of myself, too. I concepted this out, sketched it a little, fiddled with designs and color ideas in a notepad, and then I just did it. It’s not a seminal piece, but I worked my ass of to get it this far.

And it’s done.

I feel like I should call it “Election on Sesame Street” or something.

It’s over. I came and saw the giant canvess and I got beat up trying to use it.

Anyone want to play donkey basketball on the 22nd?

But it’s other third that’s hard

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

I am a solid 2/3 done covering this giant damn canvess and I give up for tonight. Five hours at it just has me not trusting I am making good decisions.

The weird thing as I sit and look at it…not bad. The right numbers are popping with the right affects. The hard part is the bottom third. Not so much doing it, but I keep sketching color schemes just looking at what is left in my crayon box. I have 34 of my original 96 crayons left; I have 43 spaces left. I know that 13 spaces are going to be light earthtones and seven are gong to be hard colors. It’s that tweener area that I don’t have a clue about.

But my crayon strokes are just the way I wanted them. Man does that sound geeky. But try it sometime and try doing anything on this stupid canvess and you will know what I mean.

Looking at it, I have two solid mistakes. One is on purpose, just because it’s another one of my odd little art things, the other was a Homer Simpson. So I have the pressure of only screwing it up one more time in the next 48 hours to meet my goal of three or less.

The other thing I decided, as I ramble in the middle of the night, I am not giving this away to anyone for anything. This sucker might have some serious (well, a little) coin value as a kid’s bedroom print. I can’t wait to get it done, scanned, and play with the contrast and colors on a computer.

I’m sooooooooooooooo cynical. Here I am being Mr. Pure with the fact my art is off-the-shelf stuff, and then thinking about color corrections and a giclee print. Maybe I have sold out (not sold anything, just sold out).

But I am sitting here looking at it, and it’s growing on me. Both because I have a lot of work left on it, and because I would have decorated Big A’s room with it at one point. Numbers are cool.

See…this is called winding down from thinking too much about it tonight.

Anyone hear what Dixville Notch did tonight?

Just a brain break…

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008


I finished one whole section of my numbers canvess and I decided, I wonder how Dixville Notch voted?

Is that one sick political junkie. It will mean NOTHING by the time you read this.

Anyway…you learn a lot about your standard box of 64 when you try to use them as an art medium. This is going to be a very rare piece because there is no way in hell I’ll ever try this it this size again. I’m one and out on anything this big. I actually like the product so far (picture looks funky bad because I just took it with my phone and no good light), but it took more than six hours or work to just get as far as I have holding crayons and I am about half done. I bet I have 40 hours into the whole damn thing. (Vent.)

Want to hear: Freaking things smear like hell because the heat of your hand melts it, you have to be super organized with your shades on a test canvess, and and they (on the good side) mix like water colors in a way.

I also realized I lost my disipline on this particular piece. I strayed from some of the hard-wired rules in my head more than I wanted to with how I used oranges, reds and yellows. It over done in the picture, but the balance is funky.

Live and learn.

I am home free on this one because I know how the lines divide things up, blah blah blah…

From now on I am going back to little stuff.  I’m glad I’m trying to do it, though. It’s just that I can do one of those in a couple of days while I watch TV.

There is a small part of me that wants to stop with all the yellows and oranges in the sunshine. Seriously, the whole idea was based on it being like a stained glass window, so why not just use something like the silver crayon and pop the colors like leaded glass? (The idea is that numbers are holy. Get it?)

Actually, now I am going to have to think about it. I might have found the illusive use of the freakin’ white crayon. What if I colored all the white white and then colored over the top? Hmmmm.