To Followers and New Guests...

To Followers and New Guests...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Blog, Therefore I Am

I seem to have too many ideas for one head. My right brain and left brain seem to have very different agendas, and I am oddly caught in the middle. The inner geek , despite lack of confidence and experience, has the challenge of mastering the fine points of website building. Well, yeah, I could hire someone. But how would I find someone who would understand the other part of this endeavor. That would be design, and they’d have to answer to the right side of my brain. I keep looking at the computer screen like it’s a canvas or a sketch pad. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing. But while I know what to do with a brush or pens or crayons et al, all I have to work with is these funny little buttons on a keyboard. I have spent this entire summer exploring what is truly within the realm of my possibilities. Some of it has been surprisingly easy; other ventures have left me vexed beyond my capacities. All of it has eaten away at my time and energy. Much of it has caused neglect to other priorities. You should see what’s piled up on my kitchen table. Um, no, you probably should not.
But there has been progress, and I have produced evidence to prove it. And I have also learned something besides the building of websites. Blogging is more than a journal. It has a therapeutic value in that it can help sift through the chaos, clarify some of the thoughts. I’m not sure if that is a left brain accomplishment, or an actual collaboration between both the right and left hemispheres. I am wondering if any other artists /bloggers have noticed this effect. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what YOU think!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ya Mon!

The week has gone by so fast! But not as fast as world record setting pace of Usain Bolt of Jamaica! I was rooting for him when he competed in the Beijing Olympics last year too. Just as I have also rooted for the Jamaican Bobsled team. This will come as no surprise to the people who know me as a ‘Jamerican’.
Yes, I do love Wisconsin and the United States of America. These represent my home; they are my roots. Jamaica, W.I. (West Indies) is representative of my wings. Not only have I had wonderful vacations there, I discovered part of my soul there. Maybe it was the Caribbean ocean waves in that beautiful aqua blue. Maybe it was the warmth of the sun, or the cool of the tradewinds. Maybe it was the exotic wonder of a tropical place with waterfalls and vividly colored birds. Maybe it was the rum. Or maybe it was the people. There in this third world country, many true hardships do prevail. But the people remain hard working and hopeful for a better day. I do admire these island folk. They are always ready to laugh, to sing and to dance. There is sweetness to them, even the grumpiest of taxi drivers. Their Faith, whether Christian or Rastafarian is their compass. When expressed in their music it is as uplifting as it is infectious.
There will be threads of these reflections in future posts. I wasn’t really sure when I was going to start working it in, but celebrating Jamaica’s accomplishments in the World championships seemed as good a time as any.
The week has been busy in other ways. My biggest accomplishment was installing WI-FI all by myself. Who knew I would ever be able to celebrate my own geekiness? I did not know I even possessed an inner geek! It makes for endless possibilities. (Well maybe not in Track and field; I walk faster than I can run) The other big excitement is discovering that Hallmark has an ongoing competition for greeting cards. Apparently this has been going on for at least a year already; I can’t imagine how I could not know. And I cannot wait till they announce the next version. I have been in training for this all my life. I will keep posting about this adventure as it evolves. Stay tuned...

Friday, August 14, 2009

To Quote or Not To Quote

There is a lot going on right now. I had a quote all picked out from my collection attributed to someone named John Gardner: 'Art has no laws, but it has a lot of complicated suggestions'. It was a really fitting description of all the different styles tried out in this blog. It also fit all the many different forms of art I am drawn to (no pun intended)
In order to share some of my discoveries, we've decided that we should join the 21st century and get WiFi for our household. We have to figure out what works best for the left brain/right brain salad on our plates.
All of this happening this weekend. We celebrate the 40th (!?) anniversary of Woodstock, the release of 'Ponyo', a beautiful anime film from Disney and Studio Ghibli (Hayao Miyazaki, Japan), and locally, Irish Fest, a tribute to all things Celtic in art, song, dance and toasts. I once believed myself to be of Irish descent, because my grandmother made a stop there in her European travels. Once the notion set in, I felt quite at home. It even helped inspire several entries to the early Irish Fest Poster Contests. I never won, but I made the top ten each time I entered. I was very flattered to be even considered with those other fine entries. It helped me to believe in myself as an artist, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Yes, art does indeed have a lot of complicated suggestions, but when I tried to verify the quote and author, I can find no record of the quote anywhere. There is an author named John Gardner, but he apparently never shared this little inkling. If anyone has heard of this quote or its author, do let me know.
I would be remiss, if I did not include in these artistic celebrations, the life's work of Les Paul. His contribution of the electric guitar has quickened the heartbeat of musicians and audiences worldwide. We may not have had Woodstock without him. He lived a good life for 94 years; if I may paraphrase the Irish toast: He made it to Heaven a good half hour 'fore the devil knew he passed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Night Lights-Part 2

I am posting at this hour because of Perseid meteor showers. Not because I really intended to stay up to see them, but rather I got carried away in the photo department of my computer. I knew I had a photo of the night sky taken last December. The moon was closer to the earth than it would be again for 100 years (at least I think that was how the celestial event was described). Alas, none were even remotely useable. So I dug up the the old piece of starry wishes in paint. It isn't meteor showers, but it's close. I really loved the Google logo from yesterday. It has elements that I want to include in the new website design for Since I am up at this hour, and there are people who are never are, I am going to include some links from Nat Geo and also from the UK Guardian site that had some really great pix. You can tell me what you think during 'normal' waking hours!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


'Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.' Gilbert K. Chesterton

I was just going to post something
'quotable' and ended up adding an art-quote-of-the-day widget (bottom right). I can't help but wonder if there is a widget factory somewhere out there in cyberspace. I know it is operating 24/7...but has anybody working there ever slept?
PS....note the time stamp...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is That YOU, Patrick?

It’s the first post of August 2009. It’s not that I don’t want to post something every day; it’s that I am going for quality over quantity. Sometimes less is more. I also wanted to make sure I’d done my research. I was able to watch ‘Square Roots: Spongebob Squarepants the Documentary’ (I found it on YouTube in 4 parts). I also found the Cavna interview with the show’s creator, Steve Hillenburg. This year marks the show’s 10th anniversary. Michael Cavna’s blog called “Comic Riffs” appears in the Washington Post. He is very well versed in animation and comics, from the historical perspective to the “now”. One thing I learned is that Spongebob’s creator is in fact a real life marine biologist. All of this research gives great credibility to the activity of watching Spongebob videos for vast quantities of time. It’s a bubble bath for the brain.
I had never really allowed myself this spongy kind of indulgence before. To be sure, I enjoy animation from the hand painted cels of Fantasia to the CGI frames of Pixar. I read the Sunday funnies (my first inspiration to draw) and have favorite manga (graphic novels) and anime from Japan. Oddly I am not drawn (no pun intended) to prime time TV like “The Simpsons”; I would be more inclined to catch an episode of “Courage the Cowardly Dog”. But because my kids have families of their own now, they are no longer making “in-house” demands on my TV schedules. I was simply unaware of the therapeutic benefits awaiting me on Nickelodeon.
I do believe in the notion that one of the greatest aids to Adult Education is children-even if they have become ‘grown-ups’. I continue to broaden my horizons with their discoveries. So when my daughter tells me she has Spongebob scrubs, my curiosity is peaked. When my grand-daughter informs me she is going as Spongebob for Halloween, I’m even more interested. The photo included here is from 2008. With their mutual love of the yellow rectangle, my daughter created the costume, and my grand-daughter ‘animated’ it. They were (are) a multi talented team bringing smiles to doorbells near and far. I know they started to get requests for bowling parties and bar mitzvahs. I do not know how that is working out for them.
Let’s return to ‘bubble bath for the brain’ reference for a moment, I have another observation. Bubbles are fun; I don’t think I’ll get much argument there. Spas have been around, in one form or another, for centuries, as have the claims of health benefits from them. So one could surmise that bubble baths for the brain are good for you. My theory is that once the brain’s needs for bubble baths are met, they work better. Better brains are more curious, creative and able to grasp scientific and math concepts more easily. Once refreshed, brains are also better at social skills like caring. This causes brains to look for the source of the renewal, and so discover we have Spongebob to thank. Brains from earlier ages found the same heart and optimism in Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Bullwinkle, et al. Those characters paved the way for the cultural icons of today.
It is not the impending full moon that compels me to think these zany things. It is one of my missions as an artist, to try and understand what pleases the human psyche and why. I’m just not going to try and explain any of this to Patrick. As I said before, sometimes less is more.

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