Tuesday, January 26, 2010


...Just in case you were wondering, that's how many garlic prints I ended up with. Seven numbered prints, plus two good artist proofs. That's not many, but it could be worse.
Here's another number: 150.  That's how many minutes it took me to get to work this morning. Usually it takes 15. However, a little snow and no salt on the roads leads to some pretty slow driving. This was the worst driving I've seen in a long time. Cars on Hurstbourne were at a standstill (I suppose because of an accident farther ahead) so I ended up creeping slowly in a more circuitous path to work. Thank goodness I now have a car stereo system.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Here I am, awake way too late again. I'll post this and get to bed ASAP.

I was up late last night working on a drawing of a street in Snitzelburg and watching the movie "Encounters at the End of the World." The movie was pretty good. It's a Werner Herzog documentary about Antartica and some of the people who end up working there. More than anything else, it's a meditation on eccentricities, extremes, and human limitations.

I also started reading a book that Kim surprised me with: Last Train from Hiroshima, by Charles Pelligrino. It's an in-depth account of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, mostly told from the survivors' points-of-view, but also mixing in lots of science. I'm not very far into it, but I'm finding it riveting.

The author mentions that one of his reasons for writing is the faint hope that such books will decrease the chance of a nuclear weapon ever being used again. I was struck by the pessimism, but I guess there's a lot of truth in that; one of the only thing that keeps humanity's future from seeming practically infinite is our ability and possible willingness to destroy ourselves, but with this hypothetically huge expanse of time before us, it seems likely that at some point there will be another nuke in another city.

Eh, I wrote more but I just deleted it. I don't think it made sense or really had a point.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mystery Photo

Ten points to the first person who can correctly state what this is a photo of.
Or have I already put this photo on my blog?


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Polymer clay cane

For a few years now I've been wanting to get out our small stockpile of polymer clay and mess around with it. Kim really got interested in it seven or eight years ago and bought some good supplies, but neither of us has done anything with it in about five years.

There had been a few things holding me back. One was its lack of importance on my list of artistic priorities. At times that I could get out the clay I instead decided to paint or draw.

A second was its inanity--I very rarely see anthing done with polymer clay that doesn't look like a cheap little decoration. Things I've seen that don't look like cheap little decorations have been jewelry. I've seen some really cool stuff, beautifully done and finely crafted. However, I don't have much interest in jewelry. Therefore, I really didn't have any good ideas for what I would try to create with the clay. I really like the finely detailed millefiore patters and other designs, and I like the manner in which they are created. But I had no goal.

I still don't, but last week I got out the clay just to horse around with it anyway. I decided to make a cane, a process in which one creates a 2D design but makes it looooong- imagine a loaf of bread that has a pattern on the "heel" which runs all the way through to the "heel" on the opposite side. Then the loaf is stretched out, making it long and thin. Then it's sliced, giving one discs with the design.

Here are the results. The red clay in the eyes was harder, so it didn't stretch as well, resulting in the skulls at the ends of the ropes lacking red.

This was mostly an experiment, using clay scraps. I was anxious to see the end results so I didn't build up the outside as well as I should have. There's also not as much contrast in the design as I'd like. However, I think it came out pretty well for a first try.

Now, what to do with these? string them into a necklace? Use them for checkers? I suppose they'd make fun game counters or chips. They'll probably just sit around.

Friday, January 15, 2010


My hair seems to have reached some kind of social situation commentary critical mass. It grows and grows at the same rate for a few months, then suddenly it's long enough that people I work with start commenting on it (about eight comments this week).  For example: "Your hair's getting pretty long, there," and "Looks like it's about time for a haircut, Mark," and "Your hair's really growing out—it looks good, I like it that length."


Saturday, January 09, 2010

"Garlic Lovers" again

I bought some oil based black ink for finishing these prints, and I'm finding it much easier to work with than the water based ink. I'm still having problems, but I'm getting a little better at finessing the printmaking. So far, with the oil, I've finished five good ones and ruined another four or five. That's bad, but I'm learning and I strive to take it all with equanimity. The ones that came out all right, I like.

Winter fun

We spent a little time ice skating today. This was the girls' first time. I don't have much skill on skates, barely able to stay on my feet, but I went out to try to help them around. I didn't know what to expect from them, but I didn't want to take one out and leave one behind, so I took them both. Fortunately, Dad hurried off to get some skates and he soon joined us. (Thanks, Dad!)

Here we are yesterday enjoying the snow:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Acrylic painting

My first painting of 2010! This is also my first painting in acrylics in a loooong time. With the exception of the mural/paintings in my daughter’s bedrooms, this is the first real acrylic painting in perhaps 20 years.

I started this in early November, I think. I wanted to mess around with acrylics because I wanted to have a medium that I could use on my lunch breaks with a relatively short (compared to oil paint) set-up/take down time, and no messy solvents, on days that I wanted to work outside.

This painting is 13 x 19 inches on primed paper. I think it’s moderately successful. I like the colors and the paint application; I’m not as happy with the composition. It would be better if it were a scene with more dark areas or contrasts. As it is, there is a certain “busy-ness” that runs top to bottom that doesn’t allow the eye to rest, and the values are monotonous (there are darks and lights, but they’re all sort of stippled together.) However, I like the shapes and the colors.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy *hic* New Year!

We spent New Year's Eve with some friends; it was a great visit and we all had a good time. Perhaps some more than others...