Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gift idea

Here's something I completely forgot to add to my gift wish list! A weed whacker! Mine is broken!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Blog

I have considered the idea for quite a while, and now I've finally done it.  I have started a second blog for my artwork:

I'll still post to this blog, and I'll still post art stuff on this blog.  However, I've noticed ever-increasing traffic on this site relating to my art activities, and I think for both professional and personal reasons it's better for my artwork to have a blog just for itself.  This blog never really was an art blog, it's just a blog about me, and it often has my artwork.

There will be a lot of cross-over, but for professional reasons it's past time that I had a dedicated art blog.

Art, Books, Cooking

I just finished a new house portrait, this time in walnut ink; but photos will be unavailable to post for quite a while.  So that's what I've been working on.
I have another house drawing to get to work on, and this one needs to be done in the next two or three weeks.  This will be black and white, which usually seems to go a little bit faster.
I settled on The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver as my next book.  I'm about fifty pages in and enjoying it so far.
Today, Erin's class is having their "Taste of Kentucky" celebration, and Erin volunteered to bring an entrĂ©e.   She wanted to make burgoo.  Why?  I don't know. Maybe because it's a funny name.
We had never made burgoo before, but we sure made it last night.  All recipes for burgoo are big.  I picked out a recipe that didn't seem too difficult and didn't contain any ingredients that I thought were particularly repellent, and bought supplies at the store last night.
The recipe didn't say how many servings it made, and I'm a bad judge of quantity, but I should have been a little more prepared for the volume. I knew it would be a lot…but by the end of the evening, we had filled our three largest pots and had them all simmering on the stove.  (The biggest hint that I missed: the recipe called for four large onions.  What kind of recipe calls for four large onions?  If people just ate onions, then four large onions would be twelve servings in and of themselves.  And onions go a long way.  So "four large onions" should have been a tip-off that this was going to overflow a single pot.  I mean, I knew there was a pretty good chance that I'd have to branch out to a second pot.  I thought it was likely, in fact.  But three?  Sheesh.
Erin did a lot of work.  I had her peel the tomatoes after I briefly boiled them to loosen their skins.  She also cut up the matchstick carrots into smaller bits, peeled onions, and diced potatoes with a sharp knife until I got so nervous watching her that I made her stop.  And, of course, she dumped ingredients in and stirred.
Late last night I decided that it was done enough to sample, and ended up eating three small bowls.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

and another

 Add to my book list below the following: Leaving the Atocha Station, by Ben Lerner.  Just heard a review on the radio, sounds very interesting.


I need get back into reading again.  For about a year, ending last spring, I was doing fairly well.  I read a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, and really enjoyed it.  However, over the past six months I've really only been reading on the internet and in magazines.
There are a lot of books I want to read, but the process of getting into a book is difficult for me due to distractions. And by distractions, I mean, other priorities.  Whenever I think of starting a book, I always feel like there are more important things for me to be doing.
I feel that less with non-fiction, because with non-fiction, I can at least use the excuse that it's educational.  Therefore, it's easier for me to pick up books on art, history, or science.
Non-fiction, to me, is primarily entertainment; and while I acknowledge that it's just about the most deeply absorbing entertainment there is, it's also a magnificent time investment.  That means when I'm in bed thinking of reading, I'm likely to decide instead to just watch TV for 15 minutes until I fall asleep, or skim a magazine article, or just sleep.  Or watch part of one of the backlog of movies I've wanted to watch.
Now that daylight is short and temperatures are dropping, I think I'll invest more time in reading. Wish me luck in that.  Here's a random list of some of the things I've been wanting to read:
The Poisonwood Bible by whatserface
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Huckleberry Finn (re-read)
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
History books about the Greeks, Romans, and the Mediterranean area generally; I have a couple to read
Bible and New Testament research such as Who Wrote the Gospels
That cute little biography of Squire Boone that I bought at the Squire Boone Caverns gift shop
Moby Dick
Non-fiction books on Israel and Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan
…just to name a few.  There are lots more.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Two pictures


Next painting subject

I have two more house portrait commissions in the works, so if it's cold or rainy this coming weekend, I guess that's what I'll try to focus on.  Commissions should take precedence, right?
I also want to get in some more painting.  I'm happy with how that last one turned out, and I'm itching for more.
However, I don't know what the subject will be.  Here's how my internal debate runs: I want to work outside, but the weather this weekend might not be so great.  I want to work larger, but that requires perhaps a little more time, and makes finding room to finish up at home a little more difficult.  I also have an idea I've been thinking about for a couple of years, but it would be working from a photograph (and so can be done indoors) and would be more detailed, and so require more planning and more sessions to complete.  I can save that one for when it's definitely too cold to work outside.  But I like working outside because ventilation is an issue in the house, besides the fact that there's not a lot of elbow room.  The trees outside are interesting right now, and they would be kind of nice to work with.  But I haven't settled on a subject, so I'll probably need to do some driving and looking around to figure out what I'll do. This could waste a whole day. I also want to mess around with other subjects. I'd like to paint a giraffe or some other animals, which I can do from my own photo references. I want to paint some buildings.  I want to work on a small canvas because it's quicker and more portable, and I want to work on a large canvas because it's more versatile and dramatic and, if successful, satisfying.  I want to work on something that someone might want to buy, but most of the subjects to which I'm most attracted are things that most people wouldn't consider great subjects to hang in their houses.
So… I don't know.  Regardless, I stretched a canvas this weekend.  I'm not sure what size, something around 24 x 36.  I also cradled and primed a panel to paint on.  It's around the same size.  Those are larger than the several canvases I already had prepared, which are all kind of small.
I also have some very irregular sized pieces of panel that I'd like to prime and paint.  I'd have to think hard about how to use them, because they are long and skinny (around 8 x 24 inches). 
Besides all that, I also have another pen-and-ink drawing idea to work on for myself, and to be later turned into prints for sale.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

"Big Rock - Beargrass Creek" reproductions

 I had prints run of my pen and ink drawing of Big Rock in Cherokee Park, and now I can offer them for sale!  The image is 10.5 inches x 17.5 inches, on 12 x 18 inch paper.  $18 each.  I'm very happy with how the reproductions came out.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Floyds Fork landscape, done

Here's the painting I started at the park in Middletown; I put a few finishing touches on it on Halloween afternoon.  I'm pretty happy with it.  It's 16 x 20 inches, on canvas.
I've got to finish getting all Halloween references out of my system.  Here's another:  One of my very favorite things that I experienced this past Halloween was during the parade in St. Matthews on Monday evening.  Right at the end, at the parade destination, I heard a small brass band of high school students (I'm not sure what school, but I suspect Waggener) perform a strikingly slow, somewhat off-note rendition of Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from the Peer Gynt Suites.  It was simultaneously cute and sinister, awful and stirring.
And another: I got a real kick out of Jill running excitedly from house to house, skipping and whistling in her Frankenstein's monster outfit, and yelling out to me, "Let me know if you see any candy on the ground that someone dropped! And if I don't hear you, just pick it up and put it in my basket!"

Science is a scam!!!!!!

Costume Contest link

Paul's Zombie Claus is 4th in the slide show, and I'm a little farther along.

More Halloween

 On Halloween evening we went to Len's neighborhood for the Halloween parade and some trick-or-treating.  Here is a photo of Jill and me walking in the parade (actually, trying to intercept the parade at it's destination, since we got there a little late).  Then we went to my parents' for a little while.  We got home late, and I lit the jack-o-lantern on our porch, even though it was well past trick-or-treating time in our neighborhood.
This little pumpkin from our garden glowed right through his skin.

4th Street Live! Halloween Costume Contest (part 4)

The purple people eater was my favorite costume of the night.  You can see the woman's head and arm hanging outside of the costume, giving the appearance that the beast has her in its clutches.  The costume was huge.  I asked her if there was another person in there with her, and she said no, but the back of the costume was built onto a cart to support its weight so she could just roll around with it.  Regardless, this is another costume wasn't particularly mobile.  She didn't move around much.
I asked her if she made it herself, and she said her mom did most of the sewing.  It looked like a lot of work.  I don't know what the "fur" fabric was built on top of.
I think she should have won a prize, but I don't think she would have made it up onto the stage.
The other picture shows two of the many people who asked me to be in a picture with them.
There were quite a few costumes that were great, but I didn't get photos of.  There was a group that came as the Sherman Minton Bridge, there were two great looking silver-skinned aliens with silver basketball heads, some overly-tall techno-demons, Colonel Sanders with fangs, a guy in a Tron suit, quite a few very well made up witches, a woman who could place herself into a life-size cardboard Barbie doll box, and lots more.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

4th Street Live! Halloween Costume Contest (part 3)

 There were a few costumes that were as big or bigger than mine.  The contest's grand prize winner was a giant werewolf, which was a guy on quadruped stilts.  The movements were creepy, and he was enormous.  There was also a winged demon who was almost as tall as me.  He was in the center of our tall-guy group photo, but he walked off (and can be seen in the photo at far left) before Paul could get the photo.  He looked quite creepy, and could spead out his wings very wide when he wanted.
Then there was the lady in the peacock costume.  She had a long, very colorful train behind her, which rendered her a little immobile.  Paul talked with her and learned that she never had sewn before she made her costume.  Her feathers were spread out wide, and her mask was painted plaster.  She looked great.

4th Street Live! Halloween Costume Contest (part 2)

More costume contest photos.  One shows some "steampunk"-inspired outfits. They guy with the pipe told me he was "steampunk Han Solo."
Also, Beetlejuice and the striped worm.  The lady in the worm outfit made her costume out of paper mache. I was impressed. If you look closely at the worm's throat, you can see the lady's eye peeking out. 

4th Street Live! Halloween Costume Contest (part 1)

 On Saturday night I went downtown to the 4th Street Live! costume contest.  Paul, who was dressed as Zombie Claus, went with me. I regret that I don't have any good pictures of him, but I bet I can get him to forward me a photo of himself.
Going in, I thought I had a decent chance at a cash prize, but I wasn't even a finalist.  There were perhaps a couple of thousand people down there, with a large percentage of them in costume; and of that percentage in costume, a significant fraction of them were what I would call "really done up."  I only got photos of a few of the good ones, and I'm thankful to Paul for his assistance in snapping photos.  He was great as my spotter all around, letting me know if I was getting to bump into someone.
These first photos show Frankenstein's monster, who looked pretty decent, and two guys dressed as the extraterrestrial hunters from the "Predator" movies. They looked very good, and were finalists in the "Best Couple or Group" category.