Just check out this dog. Okay, I'm a sucker for a dog painting. Dogs grab my attention.
Life is good, even when it's hard.
It was a hard week.
Dad passed away on Saturday, October 20th.
It's funny how something so difficult can bring folks together.
He was ten days shy of 90 years old. I'm sure not all of them were great years, but overall, I would say, he had a good life.
Dad was always concerned we do things "the right way." He was so encouraging and supportive. Many of us had fathers like that and some, sad to say, did not.
Our parents make us what we are.
My friend Malik has an interesting perspective. He says, "when someone close to you passes away, that person becomes a part of you ... and who you become from that point forward. Think about it; you are a new person, aren't you?"
I like that. It's comforting.
Anything I can say about dad would not do justice to the kind of man he was. He led a simple life that he loved. In the end, I know he had his good friends, his golf, and his loving family. He was a contented soul.
Now the race, for him, is done, and he has laid down to rest.
Rest well dad. I will miss him terribly.
Thanks to all of you who make life good, even when it's not so good.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Joe Cornelius calls himself Mural Joe. He specializes in painting murals. It took me a bit to find his real name when I started looking.
Joe started out as a house painter but got interested in the process of creating large scale paintings. He uses regular old latex house paint to make his art. There's no special this or special that for him. Straight forward Sherwin Williams please (Sherman Williams features Joe on their website). He paints using three primary colors red, blue, yellow and white, and he mixes everything he needs right on the wall.
Because latex house paint dries quickly he has developed a knack for working quickly.
Joe works hard on his technique and easily explains everything in his YouTube Videos.
I always look forward to new videos from him online.
Check out one of his videos.
If you want to look him up, he lives on the internet in these places.
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: