I can't remember when I drew this. I don't think I was 30 years old yet and still in my "Conan The Barbarian" phase.
Conan is one of those action guys. He charges in with muscles bulging, screaming something heroic, waving his sword over his head, off to save the world. He never makes mistakes.
It was fun to find this drawing in a little box a couple of weeks ago, but something about it suggests the impatience of youth and inexperience.
Crap, I'm not perfect!
I've learned a lot since then, or have I?
Okay - Confession time.
I wrote a blog article this week, and it sucked. It was too long and too dense and too disorganized. It was truly yucky.
I don't know why. It just happens. At the beginning of the week, I thought I had a great idea. I did the research. I put in the work.
I started to feel good. I was getting ready to break out the champagne, kill the fatted calf, I was going to hit the publish button.
Then, I read it over last night, and it had somehow turned ugly.
Sometimes, what you do, regardless of the effort you put in, turns out to be swamp muck, pond scum, that horrible smelly stuff stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
It got to the point where I was going to package it all up in a nice little wrapper and hit publish, and I had to scrap it.
It all made sense when I was mulling it over in my mind. It was hilarious. It was a gem. But written down, it was a horrible hot steaming mess. How could I have ever thought it was so good?
Rather than subject you to that long-winded drivel, I put my scimitar back in its scabbard and decided to write this instead. I chose not to draw more blood; even if the blood was my own.
There's no need to worry; self-flagellation is not in my future.
I'm not going to give myself fifty lashes with a wet noodle, park an anvil on my chest, or walk around wearing a hair shirt. I'm not going to join Opus Dai and start wearing a cilice.
I'm going to suck it up and move on.
I'm going to take it as a chance to recognize that, unlike most people, I'm not perfect. Sometimes things don't go to plan, and I'm always learning a lesson.
When I was in the Marines, yes another Marine story - live with it, after every big exercise there was something called an After Action Report, I found a continuous theme in those reports was how successful we were at everything. Nothing was ever a failure.
We didn't fail to "take the hill," but we learned sixty-seven ways we couldn't take the hill. The result was never the cause. The chopper didn't just fail to show; we discovered the command center request was wrong and worked to correct it, or sometimes the helicopters required better maintenance. Maybe, Maverick forgot to feed Goose his Wheaties in the morning. There was always something positive to learn, and, as always, an unauthorized fly-by.
Every cluster-f>@& is a learning opportunity.
Prescription for Friday:
A heaping big helping of relaxation. There will probably be a little bit of whiskey involved, some wound licking, and a pat on the back.
Yay! I failed!
Shhhh. Don't tell anyone! It'll be our secret.
Then, back to the grindstone.
I want you to have to best possible weekend you can.
I'm glad I can be a part of it.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
I love dogs. I pretty much like most animals. Unfortunately, I don't get along well with cats. I've got allergies. I've got sniffling, eye itching, skin scratching horrible reactions without medication.
I still find cats entertaining, as long as I can view them from a distance.
With that prologue, I find this weeks artist has a way with cats. I love how she paints them.
Yael Maimon is an Israeli artist who is currently working on a series of cat paintings that I love. Her paintings are loose and free, and she captures the cat's personality.
She says, "Cats are now my first circle of close friends. I love them and they give me daily inspiration. Cats are very intelligent creatures, they are simply fascinating animals"
She surely shows her love for cats in her paintings.
Her internet presence is sparse, but there are a few places you can go to check out the cat paintings.
If you're a cat lover, you'll love Yael Maimon.
Enjoy her work.
I love going to the movies.
It's the way I grew up.
In the late 1960s and early 70s, we'd go to The Fox Theater on Broadway in Redwood City. Pre-drivers license, we'd walk down Woodside Road, through Union Cemetery (it still makes my hair stand on end a bit thinking about it), up El Camino Real, then right on Broadway. Redwood City's changed, but the cemetery and the theater are still there.
I remember seeing Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, M*A*S*H, and plenty of other movies the Fox. It was a great place to go on "date." Remember those?
Factoid - President Obama gave a fundraising speech at The Fox in 2012. Our pursuits were less high falutin'. We were escaping parental supervision and getting up to no-good. It wasn't criminal no-good. It wasn't bad-guy no-good, it was more or less useless annoying teenage angsty hi-jinx.
Fast forward to the last six years. On St Thomas, you have to have something to do beyond boats, beaches, snorkeling, tiki bars, and rum. Without appropriate diversions, your liver would run screaming for cover at the closest rehab facility.
I'm glad to report I've avoided cirrhosis and rehab. I credit the Caribbean Movie Theater.
Our island movie theater was near the grocery store, Cost-You-Less, which, if you live there, you know, it costs you more. The theater there had first run movies cheap on Tuesday nights, and because I like cheap, it became an entertainment staple. I loved our little Tuesday night at the movies.
Since Irma ripped the guts out of that plaza, I don't think Cost-You-Less or the theater have reopened. They hadn't when we were last there. I need to put my liver on suicide watch when we go back.
Which brings me up to here and now, Monday we went to the movies.
The big screen! The bright lights! That's entertainment!
We saw "A Star Is Born" with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I was impressed with both their performances. I thought it might end up being a cheesy knockoff of the 1976 Barbara Streisand / Chris Kristofferson flick, but it wasn't.
I was surprised in Surprise!
I enjoyed it, though I think Bradley Cooper may have been channeling his inner Kristofferson.
Lady Gaga was unrecognizable. I thought Gaga would be a horrible actress. I was pleasantly surprised that she did an excellent job. I liked the look of this movie Gaga much better than her flashy blonde singer Gaga.
At one point in the film, her manager wants her character to go blonde, and she says no, “I am who I am." Then, a few scenes later her hair is unreal bright orange. Well, I guess, at least it's not blonde.
I'm sure there are plenty of critics who will rip the movie apart. Me, I liked it. I could relate. You know the aging, famous, drunk artist. It so hit home. Sniff sniff.
I didn't realize there were three other versions of A Star Is Born. I only knew the 1976 version, and, of course, the one I just saw. There are also one from 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Fredrick March, and one with Judy Garland and James Mason from 1954.
I haven't seen the pre '76 versions. I'll have to look them up.
You might want to skip the saccharin love-fest interviews on YouTube. But if, like me, you can't help yourself, put on your cringe vest and click here. Nine out of ten dentists say sweet videos like this can rot your teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth afterward. Just warning.
I still like the big screen. It's a different experience entirely. So, until I can afford a thirty-foot screen in my living room, or afford a house big enough to house said thirty-foot screen, I'll be seein' ya at the movies ... hopefully good ones.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Bill Inman is an oil painting artist. He grew up in places like California, Montana, and Alaska, but calls Muncie, Indiana home now.
His subjects lean toward nature, mostly plants and landscapes. His paintings are punched up with bright colors in natural surroundings.
Inman is also a teacher with plenty of videos on YouTube. His style starts very loose and as the painting develops the brush strokes become more and more controlled until the picture he's painting comes into focus. It's kind of like looking through a camera, and the lens starts focusing more and more.
His laid-back teaching style suits me. I enjoy watching him develop paintings. You can pick up an awful lot just by watching somebody.
Bill says, "it's not about learning how to draw a line correctly, it's about learning how to see shapes." From that perspective, the seeing is more important than the drawing.
Here's a video that kind of illustrates his style of painting. It's only about four minutes. Some of his videos go in-depth and last much longer. This one is a good overview. You can get a good feeling of his style from it.
You can discover Bill's art many places on the internet, including the following:
Bill also sells his art classes at www.masteroilpainting.com/
I love the desert and the desert mountains. I guess if you lived in Phoenix all your life you get used to seeing all this. Every time I look at the mountains, especially at sunrise and sunset around the White Tank Mountains here, I am awestruck. I can't believe how impressive they are.
This big blue rock we live on is a beautiful and resilient place. It can bounce back from just about anything. Remember Cuyahoga River fire of 1969 It's much better now - or is it?
We've come a long way since I was growing up with ecological awareness, and taking action, but, unfortunately, we continue to damage our world. As more and more sapiens crowd our planet, the problem isn't going away. It's getting worse.
I watched the BBC feature documentary "Drowning in Plastic" last week. It is tragic. The conveniences we've produced by the introduction of plastics have had horrible consequences.
The rubbish we dump in the sea affects every body of water on the planet. Even in the most remote places. If we continue to do this, I fear what the world will turn into; perhaps even in our generation.
Brilliant minds are working on the problem, but, really, this needs to be solved by everybody everywhere. I don't have solutions. I wish I did. I'm glad where we live, we can recycle plastic, but it doesn't even scratch the surface of the problem. It's scary.
The images of plastic pollution floating on rivers and stream and in the ocean are appalling. There aren't enough regulations in the world to stem the plastic tide. The resulting pollution beggars all description.
Sometimes when I'm out for a walk, I try to count how many steps I can take without encountering some piece of trash. Sometimes there are stretches where I see a bit of garbage every two to three steps and sometimes I can get almost 20-30 steps before running into a bit of rubbish.
If we continue the way we are, we will likely choke every living thing on this planet with plastic. In the end, we have to realize that we, us sapiens roaming the earth, will be the architects of our destruction. We are building our graveyard one stone at a time. The planet may recover from all this, but the pity is it might take a billion years.
Survival of our species is not mandatory for the earth to survive, but if we want to survive as a species, we all need to all do our part. THoughts must become actions.
People, in general, are so careless. It's just the way we are. We want the conveniences and we hardly ever think of the consequences. It's time we got our head around this and did something.
Pick up a piece of trash on the road if you see it on the way. I will do my best, and I hope you do too. We've all got to think about what we can do to turn this tide of plastic.
Picking up a piece of trash or recycling a plastic bottle may seem like nothing but our only real hope is if everybody gets on board.
Remember what Gandhi said. "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." Everything starts with people the good and the bad. Be the good that happens to the world.
We cannot give up.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
You never know what will draw you to an artist. Most of the artists that I've featured have been what the art world calls representational artists. To me, that means that you can recognize the images in artwork they produce. It represents a person, a rock, a plant, a landscape...
Claire Desjardins is not a "representational artist," her work is purely abstract.
She says, "my paintings make people happy, and that's a nice thing to make people happy."
I'm not always a fan of abstract art but this artist produces work that I like. Claire's work expresses her passion and the expertise. Claire calls the process that she uses "intuitive". I think that means she "goes with the flow". She discovers what the paint does in the process and reacts to how that turns out. It's something you can feel.
I like the colorful nature of Claire's paintings, and it doesn't hurt she's from Montreal! Claire lives about an hour north of Montreal in the most sublime setting. This little video will give you an idea where she lives and how she works.
Making money as an artist is an art all in itself. The way artists sell is changing all the time, and you have to keep up with the times. Claire sells her art online in multiple physical places like art shows and galleries. I like how she embraces social media in what I feel is an authentic way.
It's not all about selling your physical artwork though; there are other ways to profit from your artwork. Claire has partnered with the likes of Urban Outfitters' URBN - Anthropologie, and Microsoft Surface. She is now in the process of launching her first clothing line. The bright colors and abstract shapes make her clothes light up.
She will soon be showing her work at "The Other Art Fair" in Brooklyn, New York November 8th-11th. If you're in the neighborhood, you could stop by to see her live and in person.
I am delighted to introduce you to Claire Desjardins work.
I hope you take the time to visit her on the web. You can find her at:
I love art. I love good art.
I see a lot of what I think is excellent art and I look at stuff that I don't understand either. I am often lost for words.
Talking about art can be frustrating, and if you're around people who know a lot about art, you could feel a bit intimidated.
Art people are strange people.
Critics are even stranger. They have studied the subject and seem to have a language all their own. Most of the time I don't understand them.
Actually, I find some criticism of art downright horse-pucky. It feels like slimy, self-serving, creepy drivel you want to scrape off the bottom of your shoe.
I hate thinking I'm not, "In the know." I don't want to feel out of the loop and art critics kinda make me feel that way.
Now, you too can talk like a critic.
If you get stuck for words to describe artwork, I've found the perfect website for you. I think it's been around for a while. It looks like it was coded in the 1990s. It's hilarious though. It will give you the right words to say to critique any piece of art.
Never feel like an art outsider again!
You can look a few phrases up and keep 'em for when you need 'em most.
It's called "The Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator." It generates an automatic critical response to any piece of artwork. The output is called a "Critical Response to the Art Product" or CRAP for short.
All you have to do is enter a five digit number, and the generator does everything else for you.
For example, if you enter - 62733
Here's your CRAP response:
"Umm... the disjunctive perturbation of the gesture endangers the devious simplicity of the remarkable handling of light."
If you enter - 07098
Your CRAP evaluation is:
"I'm troubled by how the aura of the biomorphic forms threatens to penetrate the substructure of critical thinking."
Enter - 12345
Yes, you guessed it, more CRAP:
"With regard to the issue of content, the disjunctive perturbation of the spatial relationships brings within the realm of discourse the distinctive formal juxtapositions."
If you have a couple of those phrases in your pocket, you'll never be short of words in any snooty, artsy atmosphere.
Give it a whirl. You're bound to have hours of fun. Well, at least a couple of minutes of fun.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
If you think you might have some obstacles to overcome in the pursuit of your artistic endeavors, wait 'til you hear about this weeks artist.
Not only is John Bramblitt is a painter and an author, but John Bramblitt is also blind. He lost the last of his sight in 2001 as a result of complications with epilepsy and Lyme's disease. But that hasn't stopped him.
John says he can feel the colors. The textures of the paint are different. Cerulean Blue is creamy and luscious. Titanium white is almost the consistency of toothpaste. He describes the paints by their tactile qualities.
I really have no idea how he does it but he does. I think what he does is good.
There's a certain amount of chaos in life.
You can make plans, but results are never guaranteed. Much of what happens is outside of our control.
Like I've heard before, "$#!T Happens."
We all know about Mr. Newton and his third law:
"for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
Sometimes you try to do something good, and that equal and opposite reaction sneaks up and bites you.
One of those equal but opposites fell in my lap last week.
I took Tammie (the ex) to get a medical procedure to open the arteries to her kidneys. It was meant to make things better. After this simple surgery, the light was at the end of the tunnel. This surgery was another step in a long path, but there was light at the end of this tunnel. Blue skies and following winds were supposed to be in store. Happy days.
Then came the unexpected. The stent doctor unintentionally ruptured the Illiac Artery. If you don't know that artery, it's okay, and I didn't know what it was it either. It's one of the big ones somewhere in the pelvis.
You can lose a lot of blood in a hurry if something happens to that artery. In this case, a blood pressure reading (or lack thereof) of 60:40 set alarm bells ringing. Eventually, the pressure became unreadable.
The cavalry appeared out of nowhere. I think I saw horses and muskets, and even heard a bugle or two. All of a sudden there was a trauma expert, blood transfusion expert, an anesthetist, a vascular surgeon, three nurses, a partridge in a pear tree, and a hundred commands flew around the room. Bells, whistles, and horns were sounding all over the place.
If you believe Henry Fonda in "It's A Wonderful Life," a lot of angels got their wings that day.
After the CT scan, a somber explanation of the gravity of the situation, and the proposed procedure, by the vascular surgeon, Tammie was spirited away down the hallowed halls of medicine for SuperGlue and stitches.
I try to make the best decision possible with the facts I have in front of me. However, in this case, I'm happy there were competent people there to take the reigns. Apparently, in life-threatening situations no permission is necessary. All I could say was, "Go. Do. Now."
The cavalry said, "Charge!"
I called children, siblings, and friends, explaining the situation. Then, the long wait began. Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, round and round go the hands of the clock.
Hours later, the surgery was over. The surgeon had performed her magic, and the recovery began. Lots of waiting. Losing all your blood like that wears your body down quickly even if you do get an immediate transfusion and your very-own team of superheroes.
I cannot overstate how impressed I am with the crew assembled to save Tammie's life. They were professional and responsive. I'm confident everything they did everything needed.
Glad to say Tammie is on her way home from the hospital. We'll get her organized. Friends, kids, and siblings were all in this last weekend. Tammie had ample support.
I'm thrilled she is recovering, and she's now at home. Lots of friends and family are willing to help, so I'm confident she'll continue to improve.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Cesar Santos has been called a "Modern Day Master." He uses modern and classical painting techniques to create interesting modern images that make you think. I think his work is quirky - which I like.
There are throwbacks in his artwork to renaissance masters like Michelangelo and surreal painters like Salvador Dali. If you look at his art, there are many layers and symbols contained in it. It's a mixture of modern and classic.
Santos was born in Santa Clara, Cuba in 1982. He graduated from Miami Dade College and continued his education in Europe where he honed his "Old Master" chops. You can find him featured in American Artist, Miami Dade Forum, American Art Collector, Artist Daily, and many other publications.
He is also an enthusiastic and animated presenter who can riff about art at the drop of a hat. I like watching his art videos on YouTube. You can easily access his videos on his website as well. In this video, he talks about his show in Los Angeles called "Syncretism."
Syncretism: "The amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought."
You can find his work and his videos on the internet at the following places.
Instagram Facebook Website Twitter YouTube