Bold colors and grand gestures are so inviting, aren't they? They are to me anyway.
I'm going to throw a one named person at you today. Let me suggest you explore the artwork of Voka.
Voka's work is often bigger, bolder, and more colorful than life. He creates his artworks with very saturated colors and bold marks. His paintings jump off the canvas (or at least off the screen). His studio and gallery are in the eastern Austrian Alps in a place called Puchberg am Schneeberg.
He is a favorite amongst wealthy investors and cultivates a bit of a celebrity following. He looks bigger than life. When you're in awe of someone's work you're liable to put them up on a pedestal. I don't necessarily think that's a good thing, but it does help him cultivate a pretty decent following.
I don't want to do that. I'm not a pedestal kind of guy. I love the way he uses color expressively and makes paintings on a grand scale. I do like his style.
Master Your Velleity
I'd like to share one of my favorite words.
I have 65,000 thoughts banging round at any one time and now I know why a most of them don't get done.
Like, sometimes I think it would be nice to win the lottery. No, I'd love to win the lottery, but I seldom, if ever, buy a ticket.
I'm pretty sure you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. I've never heard of that happening. Have you?
I'd love to write a symphony, but alas, I can't be bothered to learn the music or practice.
It's velleity pure and simple.
Velleity is a wish or an inclination that's not quite strong enough to lead to action.
There go my lottery winnings.
Put another way, velleity is the lowest degree of volition, a slight wish or tendency.
I like my mother's definition best though. My mother loved words. She loved colorful words. Colorful words for a colorful lady. She would say:
Velleity is wanting something so much you're not willing to get off your a$$ to get it.
I think the Romans may have made it up first. It's a Latin thing.
As for me, I first heard the word velleity in an Ogden Nash poem.
Let's hear what Ogden Nash has to say about the topic! Oh, glorious velleity!
Like Mr. Nash, the word gives me great satisfaction.
This week, I conquered my battle with velleity. I got out the pens, then the paper, and I drew this little drawing of my brother's family dog. Her name is Tally. She's a wonderful pup. The kind you could spend a lot of time around.
One must master their own velleity.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
My Little Friend Jasper
This is a portrait of Jasper. I drew (or dotted) this portrait of my pal over the last week or so. Jasper and I are very good friends
We get along so well, he and I.
That’s probably because Jasper is a stoic. As a stoic, he never makes too much of a fuss, and he enjoys his alone time. He tolerates people but doesn't need a human for anything more than food and water. The boy's happy in his own skin as long as he can sniff around the refrigerator from time to time.
We both struggle with our weight. I think he's doing better on his regimen than I am. He's got an edge. There's no beer or potato chips in his life. A bit of an advantage, I'd say.
When I first met Jasper his belly was slightly closer to the ground than it is now. I don't think there was a pancake's worth of distance between that Tibetan belly and the hardwood floor (one of those thin English pancakes).
Both of us like our treats when they come, and both of us scoff them down way too quickly.
The other day, while eating some tortilla chips with a little bit of hummus, Jasper patiently stood in front of me. His big ole puppy dog eyes pleading without really pleading. Every once in a while his little doggie tongue ran across his little doggie upper lip. He looked like one of Pavlov's troopers.
As each chip went past my lips you could see his upper lip flap and hear a tiny puff of air like he was trying to blow a hair from in front of his eye. He was either disgusted at my eating or disgusted he didn't get any. I think it's the latter.
"It's for your own good", I tell him.
He says, "It's hard work being lovable."
Still, he didn't beg, but he didn't go away.
Persistence is one of his very strong suits. This Little Lord Fauntleroy does not give up easily.
We've been happy to have him stay with us many times. He's not much like his older brother Scout. Scout's a ball chasing, tail wagging, run-till-you-drop dog rocket. Jasper is the waddle till the next treat type of pup.
I love Jasper. I call him "Little Chunk" because, though he's dropped some tonnage, he still more resembles a plump chipolata than a svelte wiener.
The little fella is short, squat and chunky, just the way I like my Tibetan Spaniels. I rather think he'd like that description.
Well there Little Chunk, if you're reading this, I hope you're not offended. We love you very much and wish you plenty of small wooden swords from the seaside or at least a nice chewy bone to pass the time.
I'll bet Scout is really happy to have you around too even though he weasels in on every bit of affection that comes your way. I know. Yes, I know. You have ways to get back at him. I've seen it with my own eyes.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
As any experienced fixer-upper of things will tell you, "You need to use the right tool for the right job". You can almost always do a better job with the right tool.
Wouldn't you agree?
What if waiting for the right tool keeps you from doing the job at all?
If you think new tools will solve all your problem, you might want to think again. When I start waiting for the right brush, canvas or paint to come along, I could just kick myself.
Let me tell you a little story.
I was jonesing after a new set of golf clubs. I thought my problems with golf could be boiled down to the 30-year-old set of second-hand clubs I was playing with.
I thought a new set of clubs and it would fix everything. The handicap would plummet. I'd be a scratch golfer in no time.
The day came and my clubs were delivered. I loaded sticks and headed to the range.
My game would be born again!
I put the first ball down and pulled out my handy-dandy pitching wedge. The pitching wedge was always a go-to club for me. I never missed with a wedge.
I took a couple of practice swings.
I thought, "Damn, this will be good!"
I moved up to the ball. I used every mantra I knew to bless the shot.
The club went back. It felt so good.
Then the turn. This is where it all happens.
The turn was smooth and steady, inside-out, left arm straight, eye on the ball. Perfect.
Now, push, swing, follow through!
It all happened so quickly. My club made incredible contact.
I left a beautiful divot. It was an impressive divot. It was a professional divot. You would have loved my divot.
The ball, however, went 10 yards on the ground before it came to rest just past the tee box.
I learned a valuable lesson that day.
No matter how brand-spanking-new your equipment is it can only make you incrementally better.
New technology will help you hit the ball farther
- but not that much farther.
New technology will help you hit the ball a little straighter
- but not that much straighter.
What will make you better? Take lessons and practice.
Now I concentrate on practice.
I don't wait for miracles. If you're waiting for the right brush or pencil, don't.
Pick up your pencil and draw. Botch it up a thousand times. Persevere.
Remember, "A poor workman blames his tools."
I once saw a guy draw with an Oreo cookie and it was pretty darn good.
Make a mark people will remember.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Be Kind Please
I wish we could all be more kind to each other. We all need to be a bit more patient and understanding but sometimes it's just harder than hammering a 9-inch nail into concrete with a teaspoon.
As some of you might know, I try to maintain a rather stoic outlook on life. I try not to let things bother me. It's not that I don't care, I just choose not to get all riled up. I know what I'm like when I'm angry, and I don't like him very much.
Traffic seems to bring out the worst in people. It drives me a bit buggy. Sometimes, other drivers just rub me the wrong way. The fact that ninety percent of drivers think they are better than the average driver does not surprise me at all. We all can't be above average, can we? I must run into the 10 percent more often than other folks.
Last week, we had two occasions to climb on to the M25. This can, at times, rattle even the most zen seeking and peace-loving among us.
Sunday was a perfect day to go out and enjoy the seaside. We decided to take a longish ride from Stevenage to Whitstable. For those of you who don't know Whitstable, it is a seaside town on the east coast of England. It sits at the entrance to the Thames Estuary. I have to tell you, overall, I loved our little excursion to, as my daughter used to call it, the big water.
We crossed the River Thames at Dartford Crossing. Traffic at Dartford Crossing is heavy at the best of times. This dystopian combination of junctions, mergers, two tunnels, and a bridge is a fustercluck if ever I saw one. The traffic at Dartford Crossing can be a nightmare, and it was a touch like that on our northward crossing under the river.
Tuesday, we had the occasion to share a meal with some good friends in Chorleywood just before the England/Colombia match. Chorleywood is a village just off junction 17 on the M25. We left home at 5 pm to be there at 6 pm. We should have given it a bit more time, but I was true to form, and running a bit late. I hate to admit it, but I'm usually the one who makes us late.
I will tell you, rush hour is not the time to drive in or around London. Having said that, somehow we opted, you guessed it, to mount the M25 in rush hour. The entire journey wasn't too bad, just parts. It certainly wasn't like the mind-numbing, zen-crushing, soul-destroying traffic in and around Los Angeles. However, merging on to the M25 from the A1(M) was like squeezing out a kidney stone the size of a bowling ball. (I would have used a childbirth analogy here but, being a guy, I have no frame of reference.) It was painful, raised my blood pressure and seemed neverending. I wouldn't recommend it.
I know, given the tinderbox state the world, traffic on the M25 is only a nit in the fabric of life but even nits, compiled one on top of the other, can be endlessly irritating.
I guess it's not so much the traffic that's at issue, it is how people treat each other zipping around from within the confines of their little glass, fiberglass, and metal boxes. Just because your car has zoom-zoom doesn't mean you always have to zoom-zoom.
Three things I hate about traffic jams:
Sometimes it's best, for your own well being, to sit back and let it all wash over you. Nothing is so pressing that you have to put your own life or somebody else's at risk.
I leave you with this. The best thing you can do in a traffic jam is to:
Lastly, crank up Led Zeppelin as loud as you can to drown out the second-hand hip-hop coming out of the car next to you.
Seriously, be sane, be safe, and be kind. Love each other and make the world a better place, not a worse place.
Until next week, I wish you peace.