Monday, January 30, 2012

Glads in winter

 I have glads coming up, and not just barely poking out; this one is about eight inches tall. I noticed it when I was playing soccer in the back yard with the girls over the weekend.  It looks like the only ones coming up are ones that were in a bare patch of soil; I actually can't remember there being glads there last year, but I know there were some the year before last.  This is a spot in which I tried to dig up all the bulbs two autumns ago, and I don't know if I planted bulbs there since.  So these are either ones that I missed when I was digging (and which where dormant until now), or I planted them there last spring or summer and they never grew until now.  I really don't remember.  Anyway, I piled leaves around the glads to give them some shelter from the cold.
I did some garden work for the first time in months: cut down the dead fennel, tore up old tomatoe vines, raked out some dead vegetation, poured some old compost into the garden, cut down the asters.  It was a pretty day yesterday, but windy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Still more old student work

I don't have any new artwork to put up.  I have just been commissioned to do a pen-and-ink drawing of some people using an Ottawa dragsaw (I had no idea what that was until I was commissioned to draw it.)  I'm working on another local landmark drawing.  I'm still working on the oil painting I started on Shippingport Island back in October.  And I'm slated to begin some mural work over at Candy and Will's house.  So I have a lot to do, but nothing finished to take pictures of.
Here's another really old student drawing.  This is a painting of a model from one of our classes, back around 1992.  I thought it was coming along OK, but I was very unhappy with the face, so I wiped it off to repaint it.  Our time for the day ran out, and we put up our work for discussion.  I explained that I was still working on the face, but my instructor, Ying Kit Chan, said, "Are you sure? It's kind of interesting like that."  That's why I never finished.  I was frustrated and my professor gave me an excuse to stop.
The painting of the buildings was done outside on campus at U of L.  This was done with large flat areas of bright color, which contrasts with my very painterly paintings of the same time period.  This one ended up with Ed and Loraine, and they might still have it somewhere.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jan. 17 Tornado

 I lifted this off of John Belski's blog; it's a map of the path of the EF-1 tornado that came through the area yesterday.  I just thought it was interesting.  This passed along the edge of my neighborhood.  The map shows it ending before it reached Brian's neighborhood, but his street had a fair amount of damage anyway.  There was nothing damaged around our house at all, just a few twigs down, but all along Brownsboro Road and Highway 22 it made a mess.
At work, pretty much everyone in the building was in the lower level for 20 minutes waiting for the storm to pass.  That's the first time I've ever seen so many people from my building at once.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Very very very very very

I got this rock last Fathers Day.  It was found by my youngest daughter on the playground.  In the couple of weeks before Fathers Day, she told me she had a present for me.  I pressed her for hints as to what it was, and she finally told me it was a "Very very very very very very blank blank."
What a surprise! A very very very very very very orange rock!
The funniest part is, she didn't even paint it. She found it this way.  Such a treasure!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Three (old) self portraits

Here are three more of my paintings from 20 years ago. (And by the way, I do acknowledge that it’s especially narcissistic to post pictures of my old student work on my blog. However, I just haven’t had anything else worth posting.)

The first painting is probably my first self-portrait in oil. Again, the raw meat look. Pretty harsh lighting.

The second is titled “El REY del MARk.” I don’t remember what inspired it. Aaron McQueen had it for quite a few years; he might still, unless Michelle very sensibly convinced  him to throw it out.

The last one is actually life-size, and was never finished. The thing that I’m proudest of is that I manufactured the stretchers for it myself, and assembled it with corner nails and braces. It’s pretty heavy-duty. I tore off and threw away the painting itself 15 or more years ago, but I still have the assembled stretchers in my garage; someday, I’ll paint something huge on it!

Thursday, January 05, 2012


 Here's a small section of old map compared with a recent satellite image.  It looks like in 1912 there was a building next to a pond in what is now a vacant field.  The field is now reported to be caught up in lawsuit between a bank and a developer; it was slated to be condominiums until the recession hit.  It's been untouched for years.  Sounds like a good place to go detecting to me.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

…and still more old paintings…

These two paintings are early favorites.  The painting of the chairs was done on paper, and it's one of the very first paintings I did in college, so it's probably 1991.  I was quite proud of it at the time, and I still find a lot to admire about it.  The biggest problem is my handling of the background shadow.  Regarding composition and paint application, I'm still pleased with it and sort of wish I still had it.  I dumpsterized it when I was moving to Wyoming.
The tree painting, dated 1991, is a counterpart to the tree painting that is currently hanging in Chris and Helga's house; they were painted at the same time.  I think this was first. I was also very proud of this one.  My boss at St. Matthews Blueprint bought it from me. I wonder if he still has it?

More old paintings

Here is some more of my student work from 20 years ago.  The "raw meat" effect is interesting.
The highlight of the painting of Suzanne, the woman in black, is the cigarette ashes on the table.  Unfortunately, you can't see them in this picture.  They looked realistic and had little shadows.  I remember this as being a pretty large painting, about 36 x 48 inches, but it's been a long time and I don't have a written record of the dimensions.
The painting of Erika, who looks raw and angry in the flower dress, was also large.  I think she looked angry because I painted her looking raw and angry, and with football player shoulders.  I think the paint was an inch thick.

Food order


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Two Saws

Here's some 20-year-old art.
For this blog post, I owe thanks to Chris Gilbert times two.  First of all, on one night back in the early Nineties, he very generously set up his camera in the photo lab at U of L and spent a few hours with me shooting slides of my artwork.  He was a photography student; I was not.
Second, he recently loaned me his slide scanner so that Kim and I could make digital scans of some old slides we had sitting around.  Kim scanned some old family pictures before Christmas.  Yesterday, I dug out my old painting slides and scanned them.  So thanks again, Chris!
These are slides from back when I was a student at U of L, and I think they all date to 1994 and earlier.
The pseudo-folk art I created as a joke; "The Great Louisville Earthquake" is a painting on a circular saw blade and given to my friend Mike.
The other is a portrait of the same Mike, holding a saw.  Note that I used the same saw to cut partly through the hardboard panel on which it's painted.  That's what the brown line is descending from top center.  I like how Mike appears to have just cut the panel upon which he's painted, and is inspecting his handiwork.
It's also interesting to me to look at these to see the quality of my work.  I still have room for vast improvement, but it's hard for me to understand how I could have painted in such a clumsy way as this.  It's so imprecise and insensitive.  At the same time, I admire the way I really attacked the subject.  I popped the paint on there and forced it all to hold together despite my lack of finesse.

New Year update

Happy New Year!  We celebrated New Year's Eve by staying up too late and eating too much food at the Gilbert's.  The place was awash in merriment, cookies, chips, and pleasant company.  I lost at Scrabble, took our sleepy daughters home, and slept late the next day.
New Year's Day we mostly hung out in our pajamas and played games.  In the afternoon I finally put on some work clothes, took down the outside decorations, and crawled beneath the house to close up the ventilation for the winter (normally I'd do it earlier, but it's been so mild I was able to delay.)
I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, yesterday.  I thought it was excellent.  I would have finished it sooner, but I had to put it down for a while because it was getting to me.  I suppose that's because it's well-written, but I'm worried I'm just getting more emotional as I age and soon I'll be crying while reading The Guide to U.S. Coins or watching reruns of "Parks & Recreation."
I've started Game of Thrones.  I've never heard a bad review, and the series is very popular; so far, I find it enjoyable but not great.  I'm only a little way into it, though, and I gather the main attraction is the complexity of the characters and the story, not necessarily the style of prose, which I find acceptable but not compelling.