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
If you want to buy or sell art online Saatchi has one of the biggest names there are. Saatchi is a big name in the art world, and you can visit their 70,000 sq.ft. gallery on Kings Road in London.
You can choose to display and or sell your work on their website too. It seems to be a great way to get noticed.
Artists from more than 100 countries sell their work at Saatchi Art Online. The site gets over 12 millions views a month.
One of the most impressive things is they organize and take on the responsibility of shipping items to your customers. The artist is responsible for paying for the shipping materials, but the buyer covers the shipping cost. Saatchi will send a shipping package, and you include the artwork and a certificate of authenticity.
That is intriguing because I spend so much time in different places. As long as I have a person who can receive the shipping package and send it out, it can get delivered.
I've struggled with how to get the artwork shipped. That problem has been hovering around in the back of my mind for quite a while.
I plan on building a Saatchi Art Online profile. I'll let you know when I get it together. Who knows, one of you may be one of the first to buy an original Attenborough at Saatchi Art Online!
The painting I included today was a result of a bit of experimentation. I felt stuck so I started dabbing paint on a canvas and then started making a few connections. I think turned out to be an interesting pattern. Sometimes you need to experiment.
Being young is all about experimentation, but sometimes, when you're young, you do stupid things. Lots of those things are fun, or you probably wouldn't do them.
Stupid thing, I loved to jump off the roof on my house when I was a teenager. I loved the feeling of falling, and I liked that fact that my body didn't break when I landed. I'm glad I didn't live in a two story house. That could have been a problem.
With the ice hockey, football, baseball, and the whole Marine Corps frivolity I participated in when I was younger it's incredible I'm still in one piece.
I used to love to run until my body became a collection of aches and pains to teach a lesson. This sixty-year-old corpus is much more delicate than it was at sixteen. Probably a result of the running and jumping and other silly things.
When I stopped running, pounds started piling on. The more I weighed, the more all my parts began creaking and cracking. The more it hurts, the less I walked.
I had to turn it around somehow, and I started to ride a stationary bike. That allowed me to build muscles in my legs without the pounding that happens when you walk or run.
It doesn't bother me so much to walk anymore, and I am grateful for that. I suppose my knees have declared a moratorium on the pain.
A couple of weeks ago we were in the Derbyshire Dales. There are plenty of footpaths and hiking trails there. I was feeling a bit froggy, and I jumped from one rock to another.
You'd think it wouldn't be a big deal. I certainly didn't. It wasn't a big jump. Frogs jump further. I think I've even jumped farther if somebody sneaked up behind me.
It was about a two-foot drop. When I landed, I felt a jolt of lightning from my ankles through my knees up into my back and straight through to the base of my skull.
Landing from a jump of about two feet as a 240-pound creaky sucker is different than it was from my former spry 175-pound self.
I kept a stern face on and promised that it didn't hurt at all. God forbid I should admit I did something stupid. I knew the ache would go away in a little bit anyway, and it did.
The stuff that you do when you're young catches up with you when you pile on a few years. I have to live with the aches and pains caused by a misspent youth. And, I guess I'm not over making stupid choices quite yet.
More on the decisions we make at a later date. For now, I will look before I leap next time and give my old, frail body time to catch up.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
There are a lot of artists who teach online, and I love artists who teach online. I think the artist I bring to you today is one of the best.
Anna Mason is one of those artists I watch paint all day. Her ability to create realistic paintings using watercolors amazes me.
In most of her videos on YouTube, she will walk you through how to paint realistically with watercolors. Sure, she sells online classes, and other tutorials, but her free videos are insightful to watch as well.
Anna is a self-taught artist that lives and works in England. She says she teaches you to paint watercolors with WOW. Well, I believe her.
On her website, she provides a video that explains how she teaches and there are plenty of examples on YouTube for you to look at as well.
Anna has a presence all over the internet and I would encourage you to see her artwork and watch her videos. I hope you find them as entertaining and informative as I do.
I ran across Daily Paintworks the other day, maybe about two weeks ago. I'm surprised I didn't see it earlier. It is a very well organized site and easy to navigate.
It's a great place to find new original art. I spent hours looking over the content of the site for a couple of reasons.
First, I just like looking at art. Secondly, this site provides the ability for artists to create fully functioning websites using their technology.
You don't have to be a member to buy art there. When you buy a painting, it is directly between you and the artist. I like that.
Daily Paintworks is a small family run business.
I'm sure I'll be doing a bit more digging around this site to see how it can align with what I want to do.