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MAR 03 2017

Mar, 2017 I'm just getting my strength back after a bout of double pneumonia. Suffice it to say, I did not enjoy the experience. They say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I say, "What doesn't kill you just doesn't kill you---yet." That being said, February was not a very productive month in any sense of the word. I've also noticed that my eyes seem worse for the experience as well and that is something I could have done without. I require my eyes in so many ways. I have now primed five canvases---all 12 by 16 inches. If I could paint full-time from the here and now, I would paint larger pieces but since I don't see that happening any time soon, smaller will have to do. Some discount smaller pieces but in my experience increased size does not make a small idea bigger and vice versa. I guess I'm not a 'sofa-sized' artist after all. I have recently painted a reincarnation of 'Evolutionary, I presume' but I'm not sure about it yet. I was just going to call it 'Evolutionary' but I've hung it on the wall in the living room and await my final verdict. I have several pieces that I've either mothballed or painted over. I imagine most artists have done the same.

My illness made it impossible for me to attend the February 'For The Love of Art' Show. It marks the first time I've missed an opening since I rejoined Austin Visual Arts Association in September of 2012. It also marks the first time I've had a painting in a show I wasn't quite finished with. I had to deliver it after I started coming down with what was to be diagnosed as double pneumonia and so didn't have the energy necessary to finesse it as I had intended. O well. I can do that, hopefully, when I get it back. I deliver 'Bird Fork II' this weekend for the 'New Works' show that opens on March 10th. I keep telling the folks at AVAA that I do not like Friday openings, especially those that open at 5:30 pm and only last until 7:30 but they do not seem to take my words to heart Many people don't get off work until 5 pm or later and Austin traffic at that time of day is abysmal. I would run that gallery very differently if given the chance and I would try to take the adjective 'predictable' out of the equation as well. ;)

As for the image I'm uploading. This t-shirt has my 'Eye Catching' piece on it. I purchased this and it arrived with great color and quality. I hazard to say that it IS quite eye catching. ;)

DEC 21 2016

So another year is about to hit the dust. Seems like just yesterday we were so hopeful of 2016. It wasn't a bad year overall though I'd never call it stellar. As long as we keep cheating each other, lying, hurting and killing each other, the years of the future will all leave the same bad aftertaste. It's too bad really. We now have an international medium of communication/education in the internet but we use it badly. I guess tolerance comes with understanding and understanding comes with knowledge. We'd rather wallow with the hogs of ignorance than fly with the eagles of freedom. You do recall the saying "Knowledge makes one free?" Ignorance keeps us shackled, my friend and it sorely limits our ability to see things clearly.

I'm working on a couple of new paintings but the muse hasn't been with me lately. I've been more interested in putting my home music studio together so I can make---not beats per se---but music of the kind that lets me express myself in much the same way that visual art lets me express myself uniquely without compromise. I put together a music studio glued together by MIDI and quite a few hardware synths back in the Eighties and had it assembled in such a way that all I had to do was boot my trusty Atari 1040ST, the synths, my wind controller and mixer and I could be occupied for hours. I sold a lot of my equipment in the late 90's, tried putting it together again several years back with lackluster results but now I am on the verge of having it the way it was in the 80's only better.

The trick these days is finding the right software sequencer that plays well with external MIDI equipment like synthesizers, etc. I now have more hardware synths/samplers than I did in the 80's though most of them are of the desktop or rackmount variety. I demoed lots of programs like Ableton, Sonar, Reaper, etc. , but found the best one for my purpose to be Cubase---one of the early MIDI sequencer programs from Steinberg that's been around since MIDI's early days in the 80's. Go figure, eh? Part of my problem several years back was my lack of thorough research in this area and the fact that I was using a keyboard controller when I should have been using my wind controller like I used to. It also helps that companies are putting out hardware synths again---many of them analogue---and so I found a more comfortable fit now than almost a decade back. I'm also adding some newer units like the Korg MS-20 mini, Waldorf Rocket, DA's Mopho and a couple of Roland's Boutique models to my setup. I also purchased a Tascam 2x2 audio interface that seems to be doing the job. With so much external equipment, I've decided to go with a mixer upgrade and am looking for one that will fill the bill. I like to layer the sounds from various synths, so I'd like to have them all plugged in and available---well, most of them anyway. I'm even thinking of dusting off my old Ensoniq Mirage rackmount sampler and seeing if it still boots---you need a floppy to do this and it's a toss-up whether it'll be the floppy drive or the floppy OS disk itself that will have died.

If you go to YouTube and type in 'Redsound Darkstar and Omnichord 200M' you should find my channel, such as it is. It's not very big. I have a couple of slideshow/videos of my artwork and they use some of my vintage 80's material as soundtracks. I've always just given my imagination free reign, not trying to emulate or imitate any particular genre or style and that pertains to my sonic adventures as well as my visual ones. It's not amorphic but it does morph around a lot. :)

Anyway, I still have a tiny optimist in my head who hopes 2017 will be a great year for planet earth and mankind too. Yeah, call me crazy but I can't force myself to kill the little guy totally. Ha! I'm uploading the AVAA's 2016 12BUY12 show's official invitation. It has my Redbirds In Evergreen on it. First time that's happened since I rejoined in 2012.

NOV 06 2016

I've had a bad right hand and wrist for over a month now but I need to start using it again; I'm very tired of pecking words out one-handed. Today I thought I'd fill in some gaps. Typing is a little painful but I'm supposing if I do more or it, the pain will lessen. Hmmm. That's sort of my feeling on ART as well; it too is a little painful but by doing it, the pain seems to lessen. I'll leave that as cryptic as it may sound to some of you. I'll possibly leave as many gaps as I fill.

I don't know where the years go nowadays save that the days, weeks and months pile up behind me like so much refuse. In the old days I filled lots of notebooks full of images and words. Nowadays I'm a little stingier, I think, with what I do with my time. Of course, if you work for a living, there are large chunks of it that isn't yours by default. I now realize that I should never have tried to blend a non-traditional mind with a traditional work ethic. I probably should have gone the Gauguin route and told the traditional minds and world to go blank themselves, but I've never been that selfish, unfortunately--or maybe that brave. Now I realize with so much dead time behind me and so little living time ahead, a little good old-fashioned selfishness might have proven useful.

Some people---well, most people really---think of art as rather useless, something with shape and color but little function. I look at that idea turned inside out; art is what moves the world forward (sorry guys technology comes in a distant second---if that) and gives it its depth and context. Art does not need to be a joy to behold to be worth beholding. Unfortunately, once the process is finished and the piece exists, it takes a little effort on the part of the viewer: they have to really learn how to SEE. I would say at least 90% of the population of planet earth have no idea how to slow down, take a deep breath and let something REALLY in through their eyes (and/or ears.) This is not limited to ART, otherwise, we wouldn't need all these talking heads spouting the obvious to the oblivious.

I always say I need to write more in this blog area, and I suppose I do: like art, writing is therapeutic, cathartic, much more so than orgasm or crying, I think. Sometimes I get so mentally occupied by inanities that I forget there's a part of me beyond the mindless repetition that exists and sits languishing in some unlit corner of my soul. That's why I must periodically slow down, shift mental gears and throw a little light on it, the only part, that's truly worth anything.

I have two blank canvases I'm prepping for the yearly Christmas show. This year I purchased burlap canvases and I'm in the process is blending gesso and texture paste medium to create a hopefully interesting surface on which to work. These very little plots of earth, these 12 inch by 12 inch squares, have become the only area in time and space that will be mine to do as I wish with as much ability as I can muster. When you look at it that way, art can be defined as the quintessential personal freedom, a place where the unadulterated soul can sing in a pure uncensored voice.

MAR 05 2016

At the last gallery reception another artist, very much the traditionalist who does landscapes, harbor scenes, and the like in a neo-impressionist style, asked me where I get my ideas. I paused for what to him probably seemed a long time. I did not want to appear elitist or flippant. A lot of people take me to be a 'smart ass' though I guess that is preferable to the other end of that spectrum. :) When I at last spoke I merely mentioned my modus operandi for coming up with the majority of my imagery: the quickly drawn page of one-minute or less small drawings. I work very much in the same vain as Andre Masson who pioneered automatic drawing in that I initially start putting down lines until something suggests itself on the page. I feel I have almost perfected this technique as I seldom have very many excessive or nonessential lines---when it works. It is interesting to note, I think, that there have been times when I've dredged up very little or very weak images, and others where I created a miniature treasure trove at one sitting. This quick dissolve from unconscious to conscious thought can be a hit-or-miss process and depends, it seems, upon unseen perimeters that have to be properly aligned to work in a useful and creative way.

Just this last week at lunch, I did several interesting drawings using this technique. And the drawings that became two of my most recent paintings also came from the same page of quick sketches. They and others can be seen on the pic I am uploading with this blog entry.

So the answer to the question of origin would properly be, I suppose, the psyche of yours-truly. But I don't believe you can create meaningful art without engaging the analytical side of the brain to some degree and I most certainly do NOT believe in 'concept for concept's sake.' Have we truly become so trivial and tissue thin?

Can you find the original drawing for what became 'Hat Trick' in the photo?

FEB 21 2016

This time last year I had just had my first procedure and was not to recuperate from it when I had my second. It was months, indeed, it was almost the end of 2015 before I felt like my strength and stamina had returned. I did not, you may note, say 'fully' returned.

I've really been trying to make up for lost time this year and so have been working on something every day so far in 2016. My reasoning is that at my age, I do not have the luxury of excess time. If I knew and felt this way thirty plus years ago, my life's direction may have been much more streamlined than it has been. But that is water under the proverbial bridge at this point. No one has excess time, truly. That is one of the true follies inherent in humanity's nature: to think otherwise.

Just after the first of the year, I ordered some stretcher bars from Jerry's Artarama that were something like 70% off. I enjoyed stretching the canvas for 'Dual Vision 2' last year. 16 by 32 inches worked perfectly for that piece and it's not a size you find pre-stretched anywhere. SO I do intend to do some custom sizes later in the year. It's just that the ready-made 12 by 16 inch canvases have been fulfilling my need for awhile now and I just bought some more. Though I do like long narrow pieces on occasion.

Though the current show lasts until the end of the first week of March, I've already the next show lurking at the back of my consciousness: the Figurative Show. I already have several pieces done that would work, but I may try to add another piece or two to the selection possibilities. As I don't do traditional figurative, it's always interesting to see what, if anything, will be chosen. Last year it was 'Propped Up" from 2014. We'll see what the ex-UT art professor thinks of my entries in April, I guess.

I tell myself to write more often but I don't seem to do it. It's not that I dislike writing per se, but I feel like I am communicating via my pieces in ways that make my blog somewhat superfluous. If you enjoy my blog, why not email me or, if an AW alumnus, leave a remark? That way I might become more inspired to write. You never know. :)

NOV 14 2015

I've not been writing much here. I started something recently but upon a re-read thought it too acidic for public consumption. What the public wants are ten-second soundbytes or visual cotton candy/wallpaper and not what I have to say, apparently. In fact, people seem to read more into what I don't than what I do these days. Be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that we live in wishy-washy hyper-sensitive times in which we mouth a praise for individuality on the one hand and slap it down with the other. No where is this more evident than in our schools. I'm beginning to think the pharmaceutical companies are merely pushers of conformity. We are bringing up the means of our eventual destruction. In fact, if you look around sans rose-colored glasses, you see that America's downfall is pretty much a done deal---and we did it ourselves. Rot usually does begin somewhere internal and unseen. Look at the headlines, the idolizing of celebrities (merely because they ARE celebrities) and the proliferation of heads looking down, eyes focused on a brightly lit rectangle as though it were a window into self-worth.

Ah, I've already fallen into a vein akin to the acidic prose of my last discarded missive. Well, so be it. It's on my mind and I think it's worth writing and THINKING about. In that entry I was talking about how so much of the art I see these days is derivative, uninspired or conceptually wanting and therefore thinner than tissue paper, indeed thinner than our skin. Oh, yes, we are a thin-skinned lot by and large. There's so much anger and fear just below the surface of mankind or we wouldn't be so quick to judge, hate and/or kill our fellow beings. It's unfortunate that in an era of almost instantaneous worldwide communication that we do not grasp that opportunity with both hands to make understanding of other cultures and races paramount. With understanding comes a sense of kinship.

Most of us carry a computer in our purse or hip pocket hundreds of times more powerful than the one that took man to the moon but we merely graze on the vapid consumer-driven Internet like mindless cattle. Our textual communiques, if intercepted by other sentient beings, would give the impression of a race that only just fell from the trees. Maybe that's not so very far from the truth?

In my work I try to be hopeful even in my encrypted and less-obvious pieces. I grew up in the 50's and 60's when it was OK to speak your mind without this continual fear of societal condemnation. George Orwell's omnipresent screen of propaganda is now carried along willingly. I think he would be surprised and appalled. Now I think about it, it seems we are living in a hybrid film combining elements 1984 and The Invasion of The Body Snatchers. But that's just my take on what I see on a daily basis. It could be I'm just too old and out of touch. You may look around and feel you are living in a technological paradise. If you do, could you please let me borrow your glasses, whatever shade they may be? :)

I'm uploading a pic of some work hanging just inside my front door. Please try to imagine this all over my little house and on every available square foot. :)

SEP 21 2015

The 38th Annual AVAA Membership Show held its reception last Saturday, September 9th. It was well attended, though I felt like it wasn't quite as crowded (it's a pretty small space) as it has been in previous years. Please know that I joined, or should I say, rejoined AVAA in September of 2012 on the actual day of that year's reception. So technically, this is only my fourth reception since getting back in touch and the third in which I displayed work.

Several friends, artistic and largely supportive, made appearances and I was grateful for that. I enjoyed the musical duo, Pod People, who played ballads dating back as far as Gershwin's Summertime, though I don't think many of their selections were 21st Century--or much past the Seventies of the last one, really. ;)

I managed to stay the whole reception, though I retreated to the chairs out front near the music on a couple of occasions. A friend from work shot a couple of pics of me w/ my artwork. I'm uploading the one he sent me via email.

SEP 02 2015

I attempted to 'do the blog' yesterday, but it just sat there after I clicked SUBMIT and I lost some pretty good thoughts. I don't like wasted effort, so I'm going to attempt clicking it again. IF it works, I'll flesh this out; if not, then you won't see this anyway.

Ha! This one uploaded. And I didn't check if it had until now, Sunday, the 6th. Go figure, as they say. I guess I'm obligated to write a few words now. The pic I uploaded is the quick w/c sketch of 'Dual Vision' that I did before attempting the painting on canvas. I sometimes think the quickies are preferable, but maybe it's just because I feel a bit weary of the idea by the time I finish (or have given up on) the painting.

I received notification via email Thursday that 'Other Side of This' has been chosen for the 38th annual Membership Show. Membership being the members of AVAA or Austin Visual Arts Association, Austin, TX. I was a bit surprised that it was selected as it's usually my less 'out there' pieces that are chosen. Anyway, I'd also submitted 'Triplespeak' which I had erroneously calculated would be the obvious choice for selection. Another 'Go figure,' I guess.

I'm working on a rather minimal piece tentatively titled, 'Figure @ 2 o'clock.' We'll see how that one turns out or if, like some, it merely gets painted over. No waxing philosophical on this one, I'm afraid. Merely stating a few facts. :)

MAY 31 2015

I'm finally beginning to feel like my old self. Well, my old self with enough energy to feel like doing much of anything that isn't deemed a necessity. I've been dragging around pretty slowly this last month or so. I've told folks that I hope they hold off the 'zombie apocalypse' until I can move faster. Of course, now I think about it, there was a point where they might have mistaken me for one of their own. ;)

I've had a canvas on the easel for a while now. It's coming along but slowly. I have to say that I've been tempted to do it as a paper piece since I can usually finish those at a faster rate. I did upload a small drawing recently, but it's not exactly making a big AW splash, it seems. I've actually drawn a good dozen or so things over the last week or two, some just black gel ink and some with color. My drawings are usually the bastard brother to the painting anyway---or they just stay the little bastards.

The piece on the easel is from a line drawing and for now I like the line drawing better than what's on the easel. But like I am want to say, " I'm still working on it."

I think I'll scan and upload the line drawing for this blog entry. It might give a little insight. Its title is 'Birdbrain Nirvana.'

FEB 13 2015

Tonight's the reception for AVAA's 'For The LOVE of Art' show at Austin ArtSpace Gallery. It's been a little over a week since I had a medical procedure and I'm still recuperating. But that said, I do intend to make an appearance at the show this evening. I don't know if I can stay the full reception, but I'm feeling pretty good, so we'll see.

I haven't painted a stroke for around 10 days, which indicates a bit of a hiatus for yours-truly. I DO have a couple of sketches I want to play with and I also have a blank stretched canvas on the easel, so maybe this weekend I'll begin again.

I've also been toying with the idea of starting in acrylics and finishing in oil, but so far that has only been something swirling around in my head the last few days.

Addendum: I've just returned from the show. It was well attended, though I do see a lot of the same faces, with some variation, from show to show. I stayed until 7:12 pm. The reception is from 6 to 8, so I did OK. If anyone other than V had reached out and chatted, I might have stayed longer. As it was, I had little incentive.

A person's artwork tells a lot about the artist. Just viewing the pieces in the show, one can glean quite a bit of data. Maybe there's little need for additional communication? I did take another artist's lead and leave several of my business cards near my artwork: Woody's Blind Date. There's a pic of it in the 2014 sub-gallery, BTW.