Monthly Archives: February 2016

A page from my sketchbook

I started drawing in  sketchbook back in 1972, and now am working on the 37th and a halfth sketchbook. I say, halfth, because there are a couple that were started and not finished. One is a bound collection of stuff that I printed  fifteen or twenty years ago, and another is a kind-of scrapbook, but the rest are blank books I’ve filled with sketches, drawings, notes and observations.

Most of the books I’ve made myself because the blank books available back then did not have the best paper for drawing, especially ink. The ink would bleed through, so, I bought good drawing paper at the art store and learned how to make my own books. It’s not rocket science and kind of fun to make a nice, leather bound book with the right paper.

But I digress: This is a page from my latest sketchbook. I’m into “steampunk.” It’s just a new term for gritty fantasy sic/fi, like “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe” or “Bladerunner.” Remember, I worked on that movie and helped build the flying car, but I digress. I’ll post a page now and then. Give me some feedback.

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Epiphany

Did you ever find that half inch wrench you haven’t seen for a year or that sixth steak knife that has been missing since Thanksgiving? Did you ever come to know something at age forty-five that you suddenly realize most everyone else learned in third grade? It’s like when you had the chicken pox and had to stay home for a week while everyone else learned inter-social relationships while you were gone. No, not you, but you know someone. Me too.

The God of the Old Testament was an angry, lightning bolt tossing, city destroying, flood ravaging kind of guy, but the New Testament God is forgive thy neighbor and do onto others. In today’s society, there are a lot of angry people who want to destroy things and hurt people, and a lot of people that want to build a better society based on morals and principles. It’s like good God, bad God, or, bad God, good God.

It’s like a bunch of truckers and NFL offensive linemen up against the Girl Scouts or members of Del Webb’s cooking club. Even if you don’t know who Del Webb is, you get it. Five motorcycle gang members does not equal five choir boys. One group has power, presence, influence and dominance that the other does not possess. Can you pick which is which?

So, hey! Can you get to the epiphany already?

Okay, okay. That week in third grade when I was faking a tummy ache, the whole rest of the class learned the value of kindness. I always knew that, on some level; that level off over there behind the cloud and the veil. So after I was released from rehab . . . no, that never happened, but just a few words someone said, made me see a deeper appreciation and the value and power of kindness.

In hindsight, what they taught that week in third grade was not picked up on by all those in attendance. Those that were goofing off in the back of the class either became bikers, loggers, used car salesmen or prisoners. Had I been in class, I would have been in the back with all the free-thinkers, goofing off and exploring my creativity.

Just a recent comment someone made was like the last piece of this giant life-puzzle, like lifting the last veil that revealed the great value of the smallest kind act. I knew that. We all know that on some level but we tend to leave it there in the back of our mind where it gets dark. We don’t think these thoughts because, well, never mind.

So?

Try being nice to someone besides your wife and your boss. Try being sincerely nice to your wife/husband and everyone else. Stop being the self-appointed traffic monitor on the freeway or a political referee that yells at your television. Turn on some classical music and kick back. Find a way to be kind to others, either through thought or action, and fell the effects, results, rewards or just good feeling of making someone else’s day a little better. There is no down side.

 

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Good FriendsChallenge

I have lots of friends, but I have a few special friends whom I hold dear. I love each of them for different reasons, but they have all given me something that I cherish and would be the lesser for not having known each of them, including a couple ex-wives. Not all of them, but a couple.

In a recent conversation with one of my top five, I was inspired, not by what was said, but by my rumination of our conversation to challenge myself, just as I did with the neon in the “Kiggins” watercolor I recently posted.

It’s easy to be self-centered when you live alone. That’s why I have a cat, so I talk to him instead of talking to myself. His name is Filbert. It sounds like I’m starting to ramble but I’ll pull it all together right now.

I’ve never given to charities because not all, if any of your money reaches those who need it, but I want to give back in thanks for all that I do have, somehow. Filbert suggested that I try to do one good deed a day. What a brilliant cat! He’s Abyssinian, and they say they’re the smartest, and they are four thousand years old. I thought he was only five! I always want to help people, but how often do I? Holding the door for the person right behind you hardly counts. My new challenge is to do one good deed a day.

Pay it forward. I like it. I’ve been paid forward and I’ve carried on. That’s great, but this is a little different. I am now looking for someone to help. So, I’m getting outside of “me” and thinking of someone else, and “Bingo!” The rewards are instantaneous.

So, (he finally gets to the point) my challenge to you, the half dozen or so that may read this far, is to promise yourself to do one small thing that helps someone else every day. I’m talking about strangers here. We do this all day long for family. Do one kind thing for a stranger every day. That person feels good, you feel good, win/win.

For the four or five people who may have read this far, please give me some feedback and, if you do this, some daily progress or updates. Bonus points for helping children, the homeless or veterans. Adopting a pet is cool but you can’t do that every day. The two or three of you left, let’s get creative and go help some people. Let’s hear your stories. I’ll share mine.

The photo below is of a watercolor I painted of my lifelong friend, Rod, who continues to inspire me to paint. Rod

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“Now Showing”

I’m 67 years old and been going to the Kiggins Theater since I was about 5. Back then, parents would drop their kids off for the Saturday matinee, then go home and have there hours of uninterrupted, well, never mind.

First came the newsreel: black and white film clips of events from around the world, followed by a Warner Brothers cartoon, then a half hour serial, like the Lone Ranger or Buck Rogers, and finally, the feature film, all for twenty-five cents. With a box of Junior Mints, a Coke and a bucket of popcorn, it was still less than a dollar. After the show, the parents would be waiting for their sugared-up snowflakes, then take them home and let them run and play outside the rest of the day, unsupervised.

You could do that back then. Most everyone had an uncle who was a little strange but kidnaping and child molesting was all but unheard of, except for the Lindberg’s, but I digress.

This is a watercolor I started two years ago and struggled with until I gave up, not being able to convincingly poetry the neon, but a recent insight allowed me to finally complete the painting. What do you think?

My camera got the colors just right but left the edges kind of shadowy. I tried to use the dodge tool in Photoshop but it looks a little spotty. The painting will soon hang in the Aurora Gallery, directly across the street from the theater.

Kiggins painting

“Now Showing” Kiggins Theater

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Page 37, The Quadrant Guardian’s Handbook

I painted this about nineteen years ago but is still one of my favorite watercolors. During a one man show about ten years ago, one young man stared at this painting for three hours, uninterrupted, then begged me to tell him what it means. It’s called Fantasy Art for a reason.

The detail is beyond my camera, so I had a local company, J2 blueprints do a high resolution scan so I can make prints. Please check it out. Zoom in to see the detail. Prints will soon be available at http://www.Saatchi.com.

 

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Filed under Cartoon, Fantasy, Painting and drawing, Watercolors