Thursday, April 29, 2010

lunch time detecting

I metal detected very briefly at lunch today—about 20 minutes.  This time I stopped at a park on the way back from getting my allergy shots.  I found a quarter, two dimes, two nickels, and four or five pennies.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

lunchtime detecting


I detected for a little while at lunch again today.  I was headed for a spot I'd found that had produced a few little interesting things before, but it was being mowed by groundskeepers, so I headed to a quiet spot, way out of the way.


I hoped it might be an interesting place, because it is just across the fence from that old military academy.  I looked along that fence line for a while, expecting to find nothing, and finding exactly that in spades.  I found a Coke can, an old tiny bit of iron fence, and a metal disk that isn't a coin (I'll wash it off, but it looks featureless and aluminum).


Despite the lack of anything remotely resembling treasure, I had fun, as it was a beautiful day to be out.  I was under some sort of trees that bore fragrant white flowers, and the ground was full of violets, and it was neither too not nor too cold.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Friday at the Oaks

Thanks to our generous friends Candy and Will, who are giving us some tickets they can't use, Kim and I are going to the Oaks on Friday with Jenny and Spencer.  We still have to figure out some logistics (What will we wear? Who will baby sit?), but we're looking forward to a fun day.


I am currently taking bets on the success of my bets.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Report


A couple of nights ago I finished reading Watchmen, by Alan Moore and David Gibbons. I'd had a number of friends recommend it, but not being a graphic novel type of guy, generally, I'd never got around to reading it.


Last year I saw the movie, and though it wasn't great, it was interesting and enjoyable. Then last week when I was at the library I happened across the book, so I checked it out.


It really is a good book, and very interesting.  More than anything else, I was captured by the cleverness of it; the layering of words and pictures, the creative juxtaposition of images, and the thoughtful development of parallels within the story telling allowed for a lot of fun, involving reading.


Thursday, April 15, 2010


Here's a painting tip I recently picked up: Don't keep your painting in the dark if you want it to dry.


I already knew that oil paint dries by oxidation, so that exposure to circulating air speeded drying time.  I also knew that keeping the painting in a relatively warm place increased the hardening of the paint.


What I just learned, though, is that exposure to light (especially to ultraviolet light) speeded the process, too.


UV light is harmful to paintings overall, but a little sunlight won't hurt it when it's curing.


I had been keeping my car painting in the dark garage between painting sessions, but today I decided to take it out and put it in the back of the car for the day.  Maybe it will be dry enough for me to work on some more tonight.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bearing the Aesthetic Candle of Truth


I spent a long time thinking that artists shouldn't be allowed to title their own artwork, but now I have to file that notion under "misguided" along with the idea that poets shouldn't be allowed to read aloud their poems.  The truth is, in my opinion, that most people shouldn't be allowed to title any artwork, and most people shouldn't read poems out loud in public.


The poem thing came from the handful of people in my creative writing classes years ago who tried to read their works for class but it all just came out sounding wrong.  It was too formal and halting, with unnecessary pauses at the end of lines in poems, and a deadly montone.  Bleh.


My belief regarding artwork comes from cornball titles such as (and I'm just making these up to give you the idea) "The Lone Sentinel" for a painting of a lighthouse, or "Old Faithful" for a drawing of a rusty old wrench, or "A Little Slice of Heaven" for a painting of a flower garden.  I usually want the painting to speak for itself.  If the title is going to be evocative, I want it to avoid cliché and tell me something I didn't expect.  Otherwise, I just want it for identification purposes.


That's what I use titles for, identification.  Uh-oh, I just realized that my block print of garlic is titled "Garlic Lovers."  Well, heck, sometimes it's hard to resist being cute.  But at least it's not a chronic affliction for me.  At least I was shooting for a double meaning.


Don't give me a hard time about this.  I know some who read this will want to do so.  I don't favor taking away people's rights to title their own artworks.  I'm just brandishing my right to say a huge percentage of titles are aesthetic poison.  I find "The Lone Sentinel" much less interesting than "Montauk Point Lighthouse, March."


By the way, I just Googled "Montauk Point Lighthouse" to see if there was one, and there is.  I figured there had to be.  It's very pretty.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Modified Hauck's

This is the same drawing I put up a while back, but I modified the borders. I made them all even because I thought it would really look better. In order to do that, I had to repair the ink drop that fell into the sky; this I did with a little white acrylic paint.

MGA Roadster oil painting work in progress

I wanted to wait until I was done before I started putting up pictures on my blog, but I haven't had any art to post in a long time, so I thought I'd put up what I've done so far. Here are four stages of the painting. The last one was taken this afternoon. I worked a little more on it this evening, mostly on the pavement. The biggest remaining challenge is going to be evening out the reflections in the body of the car. I need to make it a little more uniform, and downplay a lot of the contrasts. I'm pleased with how it is progressing.

Avalanche on Mars

This is from NASA's orbiting HiRISE camera. I saw it mentioned on The Bad Astronomer's blog. Such cool stuff!

I edit this to add: This photo is of a 2,000 foot cliff, seen from almost directly above. The white at the top of the cliff, at left, is ice--frozen carbon dioxide. The camera took the picture just as there was a rock slide down the cliff, stirring up a big plume of dust. This camera has captured other slides as they happened or shortly after. I think it's really neat to see such clear photos of geological processes happening on other planets.

Coughing, painting, sky watching

It's sort of a yucky day.  I've had a cold, and the night before last I was up half the night coughing. Then last night I was up until 1:45 painting, but I probably wouldn't have been able to sleep had I gone to bed earlier because I was still coughing. I finally went to bed, and couldn't get to sleep for an hour because of the coughing, and because my mind was preoccupied (I think sometimes cold medicine does that to me).  Then I woke up again around 3:45 because the smoke detector battery was going dead, making the detector beep.  I was awake for a while after that.  Then I got up when my alarm went off at 5:45.  And I still have my cough.


On the good side, though, I feel that I'm making great progress with the car painting.


At 6:08 this morning I went out back to watch the International Space Station go over. It's a fairly regular thing, but I thought it would be nice to go out and wave.  It was very bright.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010



I finally managed to get a lot of seeds in the ground last night- fennel, spinach, peas, and green onions.  I still need to plant the mustard spinach that Judy shared with us, and I suppose I could go ahead and plant some corn; there's still a danger of a freeze, but the current extended forecast looks pretty good.


Thursday, April 01, 2010





I was up late painting a picture of a car. It is coming along well, I think. This is a commission. I normally would not do a painting of a car.


I have way more ideas than I have time to work on. I'm sure this is a problem that lots a people would like to have. However, it makes it hard to decide what to do next. That is sort of being decided for me, though, as I have one more commission in the wings and a prospective landmark-drawing business opportunity coming up.


Last night I had a great idea for a series of lino block prints. It would be fun to do five or six images of Adam and Eve. I have images in my head of Adam and Eve playing poker with a unicorn and a monkey; Adam chasing the snake with a hoe; that sort of thing. Eh, maybe not.


I have lots of very old oil paints that are artist-grade, and which came from a yard sale or something fifteen years ago. Some of the tubes of paint are obviously much older than that.  The paint seems to be in decent shape, but the tubes are terrible. They are falling apart, the caps are stuck on, the labels are unreadable and crumbling, and sticky linseed oil coats them. I need to find some containers to put them in, I think. Baby food jars seem too big. I might have some small plastic containers, but I don't know how suitable the plastic is for storing oils. I doubt there would be a problem, but I'd have to mull it over a bit longer.





The girls have planted flower seeds. Some of this is supposed to be a secret kept from their mother, so if you are Kim, forget you read this (that's a joke. Kim already knows, and just pretends she doesn't).


Today I bought some more seeds: fennel, green onions, spinach, peas, and two types of sweet corn.


Helga gave us some bee balm and two other types of perennial, the names of which I forgot. I also can't remember what she said they look like, so there'll be all kinds of garden surprises.





No news to report for months and months.