Oct

19

in a wonderful retro move, yellowstone has the original buses that were used some time ago to transport tours round the park. i didn’t ride in one, but shot detail after detail from them– beautiful motor cars, complete with roll-back canvas roofs so the people could stand up and ogle and mug for the camera. their grilles and front windows remind me of some large beast baring it’s fangs– pretty fierce!!
time to get to the geysers, right? i mean, you’ve certainly waited long enough!! “old faithful” was great, and a marvelous show, but not so wonderful for pix– the light was a little lacking– so i am going to press on and go to something a little more dramatic. excuse any run-on sentences i write, i just finished up reading jack kerouac’s “dharma bums” and it’s rubbed off to an extent.
“old faithful” was not our only stop that day, not by a long shot. they have realy built up the lodge there, and my memories of it are a little different from the reality. they have painted the entire structure a dark (i shall not utter the adjective i have always given it) brown color, not too evocative, but the interior quite beautiful and huge. people lounging around on the many chairs inside.
the geysers are many and varied and ever so difficult to photograph in a way that gives one anything like the experience of being there– it’s ATMOSPHERIC– foggy and misty and there are a lot of smells in the air– sulfur being the most prevalent– after all, you are basically in the caldera of the largest volcano on the face of the earth. in some ways it looks desolate and destroyed, but it is really blood and sinew EARTH IN ACTION AND MOTION, with the scab torn off, maybe bleeding a little and messy, but right IN YOUR FACE impressionistic– a world in the midst of creation.
volcanic activity is everywhere, in the form of minerals trickling up to the surface through vents filled with super hot liquids. they spew across the surface of the land like pure pigment squoze directly from the tube, colors vital and almost violent in their appearance, full of texture, steam and menace. i’d be spouting cliché if i were to compare it to conan doyle’s “lost world”, or the many caveman movies coming complete with dinosaurs, but it IS elemental and oh so PREHISTORIC in how it meets not only the eye, but the olfactory and even deep within it resonates like the bell at the end of the world!
copper is also quite prevalent in the mix of elements–this pool, a very famous one, looks exactly the color of my test tube of copper sulphate from my home chemistry set when i was a child. what occurred to me when looking into the depths of this wide maw was that i would have loved to have a thermally protective suit to DIVE the sucker– your ultimate cenote dive, getcher tickets right here folks!!
these photos are but a taste of the whole– time for YOU to buy some tickets and go there yourself.
all too soon it was time to go– a little tired from getting up and “doing dawn” someplace, then moving a little and shooting more pictures. two photogs in one vehicle is CRITICAL MASS– but we had a great time. our plan the first day of travel was to stay in a small town called pinedale, but we stopped so much as we went along that we only made it back to jackson that night. i’m anything but sorry though– the next morning showed us this perfectly SPLENDID mist in the trees, and so we left jackson late instead of early as we had planned. it was like that all the way back to salida as well– always something to catch the eye and imagination!!
this photogenic barn with the grand tetons in the background, f’rinstance– this is an infrared shot, giving it a hint of something different.
we were ever so late getting back to salida, and it could have been later yet, except the light was so poor between minturn and leadville that it did not lend itself to shooting any images. we vowed to do something about THAT when i went back to denver though.
and after a couple more days in salida that’s what we did. there was a time when we were as much as an hour plus ahead of time, but when we entered minturn we were already twenty minutes late. worth it all though, as those aspens were gorgeous– FABU!!
i had the boo’s breakfast burrito with green chili (and an extra side of green chili, just like i used to when living in that area) at the turntable cafe– it had been– well– YUPPIFIED!! hard to recognise inside, but the burrito was just as i remembered it, and a real highlight of my trip.
i won’t say that the rest of my trip was anti-climactic, as it wasn’t, but not really fodder for a blog. it was all over too quickly and i was back home on the island again wondering if it all had really happened. however, all i have to do is to think about yellowstone and the tuning fork in my soul begins to emit a perfect tone.

Oct

19

i can’t believe that it was over a year ago when i last began a blog. this one was called “if it isn’t one thing it’s your mother”, but it barely got off the pad and i just couldn’t bring myself back to it, for whatever reason. it lay fallow til this morning when i deleted it and began this little message in a bottle.

not that i haven’t been busy– far from it. i finished up yet another painting, this one called “natasha”– i did a pen and inker of this piece way back when, but always wanted to paint it. the subject is someone from my distant past, a tantalising gal i once knew, lost in the river of time now. “natasha” is not her name, either– i used to call her by that though, as in “boris and natasha” from rocky and bullwinkle.
this piece came out of me smoothly and quickly, almost effortlessly– as if i had been doing it for a long time, and i suppose you could say that i HAD.
after some time i began another, a little project i had always wanted to do SOMETHING with– scaffolding!! i’ve always loved the way that scaffolding lays shadows down upon a freshly-plastered wall. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR they say, and i cannot disagree– just sketching in those interesting shadows took a couple of weeks or so!! after i got to the actual painting though, things went quite smashingly– i was experimenting with a couple of different brushstrokes, and it gave an amazing look to the canvas. then the diving season got more and more intense, and suddenly i ran into a bit of a reef with it. this photo is months old and i haven’t done a single brushstroke since– but i feel i am finally ready to get back into the piece once again.
so, you’re probably wondering what the hell i was talking about at the beginning, with my summer vacation and all. yeah, i salivated for it over a period of months, and when the day came to go i was ready. of course, the day came earlier than expected– three days before the flight i got both a “check in early” email AND a “your flight has been cancelled” email– “EGAD!!” i cried (well, no– that was NOT the word i used)– and frantically did the sudden reshuffle shuffle to get me out of town a day earlier than before.
spent a couple of days in denver with a friend, getting a great feed of SUSHI and SASHIMI in, making some food of our own, and buying lots of stuff– you have no idea all the crap one CANNOT buy down here in the tropics!!
then it was time to go– first up to salida to visit with a friend– the photo at the top is from a lake we would walk by often, a beautiful still bit of water, in places covered with gorgeous green algal SCUM– very photogenic!!
we then packed up and left for yellowstone park. it was a long day of driving, exacerbated by the fact we are both photographers, and prone to yelling– “STOP THE TRUCK!! I WANNA TAKE A PICTURE!!”. when we finally rolled into jackson wyoming there was not a lot of light left– just enough to snag some pix of these loverly swans a-swimming round. they were real hams and hung about for us.
next morning it was off to the park. i had been here for a short time in the mid-70s and then again sometime in the 90s, and had some pretty strong memories of it. WRONG!! so much of what i remembered was, to be charitable, “off”– and usually my memory is pretty trustable. however, we went out and did “old faithful” on a bit of a grey day (all those fires north of us in wyoming, montana and idaho were spewing a lot of smoke into the atmosphere). it subsequently cleared up a lot as our time went by, whether because of wind or diminution of the fire i have no idea.
y’know, if i were reading this missive i would be running out of steam by now,so i think i am going to write this sucker in two parts. you have just arrived at the end of part 1

Oct

7

lsl2

lsr-2plus a SMORGASBORD of other seahorse options!!

THE GREAT SEAHORSE IS HERE!! many of my designs feature smoothly realised hydrodynamic lines, but this new seahorse sports sumptuous textures a-plenty. realistically carved, with a webby knurled almost faceted surface, this curvaceous creature fairly dances in the air, from the sparkly 10 pt (3mm) diamond eyes to the tip of its’ musical tail. a must for those who value jewellery that always seems to be on the move, glittering. the sculpted bail with heavy rivet gives it plenty of freedom to swing!! and– here’s an idea– the seahorse would make a positively FABU pair of earrings– you have only to ask!!

measurements–

weight– 13 grams 18KY
dimensions– 1 11/16″X 11/16″X 3/8″, or 42mmX19mmX9mm, including bail

lnssand, just as i said, there is MORE seahorse jewellery!! we begin with the basic small seahorse pendant, first shown in a size comparison with the larger NEW DIAMOND AND GOLD GRAND SEAHORSE.

this is a beautifully detailed piece, suitable for pendants or even as a charm for your bracelet, take a look at both sides here.ssl-2

ssr-2

measurements–

weight– 2.5 grams 18KY
dimensions– 15/16″X 11/32″X 3/16″, or 23.5mmX8mmX5mm, including bail

but what collection would be complete without some earrings? lucky for you that i happen to carry some!! these are very similar to the seahorse pendant, except for being flat on the back– meaning they are not 3-D, but more 60% “in the round”– however, should you wish yours to be 3-D, you have only to ask for a price!!aquatic earrings seahorses

the pair shown employs hooks, but they are also available in post, post and nut, or lever back versions.

as an aside, these small seahorse earrings are probably the most “special order friendly” pieces in my collection. i have made a multitude of altered designs using them in multiples, or in combination with other gold elements or gems. i LOVE special orders and creating something new and unique. please get in touch if you’ve an idea of your own!!

measurements– not including findings

weight– 4.5 grams 18KY
dimensions– 3/4″X 11/32″X 3/32″ or 19mmX 8mmX 2.5mm

prices–


size





options




we can ship this piece to you anywhere in the world safely and securely using FedEx. shipping to the continental US is $50. if you live outside the US or in hawaii or alaska please just CONTACT ME for a shipping quote

Jun

30

2013 9 i had intended to name this post “girl with sharks”, after the painting i just finished this week after about six months of angst. sometimes being an artist is all about “what’s next?”, and i must admit to being prone to this– sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes a flaw. anyhow, i was looking round for what i was going to attempt, when it suddenly occurred to me that i have as yet to take any official photos of my sculpture, “inner conflict” truth be told, since i finished it three years plus ago i have rarely even looked at it in anything more than a superficial way– my only thought being that after 21 years of toiling on the piece i was absolutely sick of seeing it, and so it got ignored for three. long. years. i knew in a “sortuv way” that it was a little dirty, so the first order of business would be to clean it up so it looked as spiffy as possible when i did the imagery. easy,no? an hour or so of work perhaps and then wait a day for it to dry (marble being a form of calcium carbonate is slightly hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs some water), then slap a coat of wax on it and VOILA’!!– instant sculpture. but– mea culpa!! it was quite filthy really, and i spent a couple hours out there, sweating a river, at the end of which time i realised i must go out there again tomorrow and do a more thorough job on the piece. q-tips will be involved. sigh. my negligence was criminal, and so after i finish this blog it will be off to the spanking machine for me– maybe three times!! more to follow on this subject. err, the subject of the sculpture, that is.

gs8 ok, so on to “girl with sharks”– i have not had all that many commissioned pieces in my career, but i thought it would be somewhat of a challenge to do what this client wanted. basically there is a place somewhere around the bahamas where an enterprising photographer can go out on a boat. once arrived at the destination the water is chummed and when the fish that eat the chum come round the sharks arrive. a model enters the water, creating a photographic opportunity i suppose….. and this photog wanted me to do a painted version of one of his images. i played with the idea somewhat, expanding the image and moving some stuff around, taking the model’s mask and fins and snorkel away. wish i had the earliest images of this piece, but sometime last january some #$@%^&^%***^%$#%#@!! thieves entered my house and absconded with my computer. GODS CURSE ALL THIEVES!!

gs18 BUT!!– suddenly it was the middle of diving season an things got very heavy– i was tired and my tiny brain was so full of nitrogen that i could do little painting. it went on and on, and when at last i got shut of it i was quite lost in the wilderness, couldn’t remember much about my tonal progressions and had no idea how to get back to where i had been. in the end it took a lot of sitting in front of the piece, just looking at it, marinading my brain in the various threads running through the design. real boring stuff, but slowly it seemed to work and so i picked up my brushes again and began working. or not. i was pretty frustrated, i’ll tell you that. but slowly the stints of painting extended themselves and my immersion in the ocean of paint was complete. the ocean came first.

gs24 and then the sharks “happened”– suddenly they had weight and seemed to inhabit their area in a three dimensional sense– even the water had a deeper field of focus. either the light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train, but it didn’t stop me. then, as happens sometime, it seemed to me i had hit a reef– “the girl”.

gs29 i really struggled with her for some time, trying to understand all the volumes and shapes involved– i got to know that damn photo quite intimately, you might say!! and slowly but slowly it began to yield its’ secrets. turns out it wasn’t a dusky brazilian gal, but rather a caucasian blonde– huh!! her bikini wasn’t white, but a pale blue. the more i understood the more it began to happen for us.

gs38 it wasn’t without its’ bumps though– i can remember one four day stretch of sitting and looking at it again, at her, before finally hoisting the brushes again and painting frantically. and so, after everything, it happened.

girl with sharks 2016 acrylic 19.5X26.75 in.jpg now– what’s next?? oh crap, it’s back to cleaning that damn sculpture again. but first, a visit to the spanking machine……

Mar

19

salida, mercadoi had a mostly excellent trip to merida recently, the only fly in the ointment being a nagging bronchial ailment, which i seem to have passed on to a friend who lives there– sorry, buddy!!

one of the best results i had from the trip was a sudden jump-starting of my photographic muse– i had been feeling somewhat stale and jaded in cozumel, the result of wandering too many times down the same streets, seeing mostly the same sights. but merida gave me a fresh look in a much different light as i trod along, happily wandering down this calle and that one, seeking avenues unknown. i found some, but others just seemed a little different. anyhow, suddenly my mind was all abrim with new angles and new ways to look at things.mad possum

this new sensitivity has traveled back to cozumel with me, especially as the bronchial annoyance has faded. i haven’t had a lot of time since i got back, what with diving and such, but this morning i was really in the zone or whatever– i could feel it happening and it filled me with energy. and so it was that i came across an canvas advert along the street, and suddenly i was transported.oops, no, it wasn’t this wild weasel or possum or whatever, but rather this sign…

motel ha

it was the turn of the century, 2000, and i was driving, moving from my old home in colorado to my new one here in mexico. i had had a long day and was looking forward to a little dinner and a kip, but the place i had been thinking of staying in turned out to be not so nice. i figured i would just go to the next town and find a place there, but nothing looked encouraging, and the day wore on, hot and sultry, dusty and gritty. then suddenly i was in veracruz, the road changed from a two laner to six on a side, populated by a mad herd of taxi drivers and it began to pour rain. there was a boulevard between my six lanes and the ones going the other way, and almost no divisions to change direction. alluva sudden a tiny sign appeared out of the downpour, and by the time i had read it– “hotelarea” i had passed the gap. “CURSES!!” i cried, and tried to find a way back to where i had come from. there wasn’t anything– “not a sausage!!”, as john cleese would have said. i was tired and afraid i was going to get into an accident. the only choice i could see was an exit to the airport or else i had to go back onto the toll road, so i chose the airport, thinking like any stupid american that of course there would be a hotel there. WRONG!! now i was sure i was going to get into an accident and end up in a real bad spot.

suddenly i realised that i had to get a grip or i WOULD get into an accident. there was no divider now, so i pulled a sudden U-turn in front of a bunch of police cars and started back to town. after an interminable interval i saw– SALVATION!! a motel– PEPSI MOTEL was the small sign, and so it was with vast relief i turned into the narrow entrance. out of the darkness came a guy, motioning me to follow, and he guided me into a garage, and after i came out he closed the sucker– odd, i thought, but hunger was clawing at my innards, so instead of inquiring i asked about food. well, he said– he could make me a grilled cheese sandwich. GIVE ME TWO!! i almost yelled, and so he did. not gourmet stuff by any means, but it tasted pretty darn good to me.

so there i am in my little room, swilling the last vestiges of tequila from my bottle and picking my teeth, trying to watch monday night football on a screen full of snow. something about the room bothered me, and i couldn’t quite put my finger on what the hell it was. but it occurred to me when i lay back on the bed– THE MIRROR ON THE DRESSER!!– laying on the bed it gave an exact view of what was happening on the mattress, and it came to me like a sudden flash of lightning– i was in THE MOTEL OF ASSIGNATIONS– a fuck motel if you will, a “hot pillow joint”, and the covered garage meant that one could bring whoever there and have their vehicle out of the public eye, shielded from gossips and detectives. i began to laugh, it was pretty funny– not just the location, but also my naivete, that it took me so long to figure things out.

of course, living as i do now, i know that most time when it sez “motel”, this is what it means. still and all, a nice advert i had to admit– a tetch evocative, if i do say so myself. not that I plan on staying there….

Sep

16

m 3m 2a few months ago, some friends of mine brought me a little maquette of marilyn monroe. a local artist had made it for them, but obviously he was not aware of the iconography of the image, and he had subsequently left the country. they asked me if i could do something with it, and so i took the project on.

first i had to take off as much of the garish paint as possible, and i tried to do as much as i could with the dress and the way it billowed up– even though i liked the way the artist had postured the body, the physics of the dress had also escaped him somewhat. this got me into the world of papier mache’ sculpture, which i spent quite a while researching. “it ain’t yer parents’ papier mache’ anymore, dorothy”!! i couldn’t believe how much things had changed, and how much innovation had evolved in the making of this seemingly simple compound.i decided to work with what they called “papier mache’ clay”, which was not clay at all, but rather a combination of cheap toilet paper, white glue, joint compound and mineral oil.

m 6m 4 you basically mix the stuff up together using a basic mixer. my first batch was a little coarse for what i had anticipated, but it did yeoman service on the dress, giving it a nice light cloth-like texture and imparting a sense of movement to it. i filled in some trenches in the breast areas as well.

however, for the face and bum i made a separate smoother mix, filling out her jaw area and forehead (she’d sorta looked like a mongolian mexican marilyn til then) and amplifying her til then somewhat nonexistent glutes. luckily enough the “clay” kept well for a couple of days, and i made several applications, learning a little more about how it worked every time. after all this plastic surgery was completed i gave it about four good coats of flat white paint, to cover up all the rest of the colors, which were distracting in themselves.

m 11m 10 now i had a figure that, in the words of bernini “looks as if it has been dipped in a sack of flour”– somewhat without personality. and so the painting commenced. my first attempt at the skin was just too CORAL!!!– it reminded me of a set of cupboards i had when i last lived in canada. so i toned it down. the dress was a problem, but in the end highlighting it with titanium white and brushing iridescent white into the curves gave it great grace and movement. the hair was not easy– what color IS platinum blonde, anyhow? i messed around with and got something fine.m 24m 25

but by far the most difficult thing to do were the eyes– despite all my modelling work, the topography was not always conducive to portraying them, and many was the time i had to curse and grind my teeth, paint everything out and then go back and try to get it right the next time.. i must have spent two days trying to get it to all work together. and then the next morning i just couldn’t leave it alone– i had to do “one more pass”!!m 30

don’t get me wrong, i don’t think this to be a perfect marilyn, but rather one that has some of the spirit of the iconic image that most of us have grown up with. tom ewell may not have aged well, but marilyn certainly has. interestingly enough, i took the time to watch “the seven year itch” recently, and i was quite amazed at how little footage of marilyn on that subway grate there was. somehow i think the image i have in my mind was a longer video, done to promote the film, or perhaps it was at the film opening. i know i have seen more than i saw in that film!!m 27

THE END p.s.– happy mexican independence day everybody!!

Aug

23

or “TMOAAP”, as i have come to refer to it, is moving along. glacially at times, with not a little tension, but i continue to make progress.asp 9 since this was not my first foray into aspen paintings or even aspen drawings, i decided that i wanted to do it with some different techniques– the last thing i wanted to do was to repeat what i had done before, but rather to break some new ground. the original drawing and painting were both squares, and the last painting a horizontal work, so the first thing i decided was that i wanted to do a vertical piece, featuring the long aspen trunks and the way they picked up the hints of violet in the later afternoon light up by edwards colorado. it was great to have some different photos to work with, to bring it all back to me, and composition went fairly well. sketching it all in was, as usual, nothing easy for me, but i got it done and began putting pigment down on the canvas.asp 25
and at first i was using my normal manner, moving around the painting, employing the tonal progressions in all areas of the piece one after the other, trying to get them all to relate to one another. my earliest layers of pigment were put down in a basic pointillist style, little flecks of color slowly bumping up against one another, first filling up the space and then overlappingasp 45

and violet– violet everywhere, in the greens and blues and greys– mixed in with the pigment or even painted atop other layers. this is where my brush stroking began to change as well. i had experimented with this particular stoke a while back in my taqueria movil painting, but here i decided to use it everywhere i could. i compare it with “automatic writing”, as i am trying to disconnect with my conscious brain a little bit and allow the other more mysterious part take over a bit. it really got me going, and at times i began to experience that wonderful omnipotent feeling that comes when you are in total control without actually consciously controlling anything. not sure that makes sense, but it is how i felt.asp 70

of course, with all this “controlled lack of control” i finally surfaced to realise that i had run the sucker right off the rails. what the hell was i doing?? why were the bright grasses painted with such yellowy yellows?? had i totally ruined everything???

well, no– not really. time to get a hold of myself and FOCUS again, a little less willy-nilly this time. slowly at first and then faster and faster and feeling that marvelous ENERGY all over again. i think i crashed and burned maybe a half-dozen times on this piece, living and dying, ecstasy and suicide. one moment i would be so sure– “YESSIRREE, THIS IS TOTALLY WHY I AM AN ARTIST!!”, but much of the time– gosh!!asp 79 the trees came to life, the trunks violet pillars and the upper leaves green flames.

then the soldiers came. i put in these regimented flowers everywhere and then wondered why i didn’t like my painting any more. sigh. overpaint them and hope for the best. but i shouldn’t have worried so much, as every time i suffered a setback the painting would come back stronger and stronger. i was feeling a little looney around the edges, totally obsessed, people asking for jewellery orders that i had left lay fallow on my bench five months before. i couldn’t be bothered. nothing else mattered.asp 99

RELEASE THE HOUNDS!! i would mutter to myself after every defeat– take your brain out of gear and let it go. and that’s what happened. slowly but slowly it came on and on, and you could tell how it went by the look on my face. finally though it was down to the short stokes, wondering if i would ever get there.asp 111

then came the day i tried to introduce the flowers again. i had thought long and hard about it, and had this “GREAT IDEA!!”– complementary colors. yellow flowers in the violet areas, red in the green and orange in the blue. i tellya, it wasn’t my best idea ever. i hated it. more thinking, an entire afternoon spent looking at it and wondering what it was that i had to do. unfortunately, i was interrupted by some diving, but i was back at it soon enough, and my new idea worked just fine.asp 117

and so it seems to be done. maybe. i signed it a few days ago, but have worked on it several times since. little subtle stuff, but every time it made things better this could be it, but i suppose you will have to wait for my next blog to find it out.

Mar

14

natasha 2012 acrylic 35inX56inwell, “natasha” is all done, and i left the signature where it was– i was satisfied with how it looked. this would be the official pic here.

then came a long patch of other stuff– i have been diving quite a bit these last couple of months, with my “sharkbaiter” group, a bunch of people who come down every year and dive around this part of the year– carnaval. we have a lot of fun, they’re all good divers and so easy to guide. we have dinner together and socialise at times too. the group morphed from just a couple to about six or seven on occasion.

when i had a moment or two i would work on my huge ongoing “negatives” project. this time i was taking selected negatives and cleaning them with a solution and then re-scanning them, and pushing them once again through my photoshop program.aspens 9 i had a lot of success with this procedure, and having more experience with the neg scanner helped me a lot too. in the end i had just a few that i shall have to re-scan AGAIN, trying for better results, but before that i need some help with the finer points of my photoshop program– mostly to take out the odd dust spot or whatever that has remained upon the surface of the celluloid. my computer techie put a couple of helper downloads on my computer, but not having a human close by to help with some points made it absolutely frustrating. looking forward to getting some good help, and i am not talking psychiatrists here!!cupola 1 this one is a composite that i like, although i judge it not to be of any use, unless i was to really “muscle” it in photoshop– but that isn’t much my desire here, much as i might do such things in the future. first thing is to produce my little “internet book” of my older photo images.

i am also back to shooting analog film again, having picked up some infrared film online– expen$ive stuff, but what the hell, it is my obsession. not sure of my results, i haven’t yet developed any of the two plus rolls i have shot, but i am excited to see how it all is coming out.

meanwhile, i have discovered alluva sudden that i am in somewhat of an artistic funk– i am not well-motivated, and there are pieces of jewellery i have not gotten to, despite having the time to do them. i was starting to get worried.

part of it is that i have had someone in my house, painting the interior, and the place fairly REEKS of fresh paint (yeah i know, what did i think it would smell like?), plus the painter is clattering around and the house is kinduv in an odd state. just the same, every silver lining has its’ cloud– err, rather, the painting (which is bringing my little hovel back to being a home again, and hurray for that!!) process has had a fringe benefit. when we moved a piece of furniture around i found a box of slides. i thought it was slides i had already looked at, but yesterday morning when i opened the box i realised it was all the images from a shoot i did many a year ago at an aspen grove. the few images i had of this subject have been fodder for a pen and ink drawing and two paintings–aspen grove 2013 acrylic 42.5X32.5 this one would be the latest. i have had pending requests for more of these pieces, but i was plumb out of inspiration on this subject, but finding these slides has gotten me going on it again. i am going to produce a large piece here, the bull goose loony “aspens” painting. i remember the shoot i had in the grove, how i had noticed that at certain times the trees, which were mostly grey and green in color, would turn shades of violet and purple, and i was looking for this that day. i shot over a period of time, and so i will have some different point from which to start a new painting. looking forward to it.

Nov

18

nat 15even “the gorgon”– someone expressed the opinion that this painting reminded her of this mythical person. i can see the resemblance, really, especially as the curls in the hair began to attain a somewhat serpentine movement and volume. plus, the subject of this piece could certainly turn me to stone with just a look. i do not say this in a negative sense, certainly not all the time. she was quite a sparkling and mesmerising gem i thought, at least I was hypnotised– hell, that was how i got into the mess in the first place!!nat 20stop me in my tracks indeed– some of the passes i did while working on this piece were as long or longer than any i had ever done before. especially the darker blues in the hair, at one time i realised my feet were in some agony, product of not wearing my sandals, and for once i actually stopped for a couple of minutes and put them on again. i hate stopping in mid-pass, but it improved my brushwork immensely.nat 27slowly but slowly the complementary colors began to recede into the paint itself, becoming much less apparent, but affecting the texure and feel of the way i was applying the paint. i worked on balancing the color values as one area abutted another. the blue that forms the frontier of her nose needed some work, and then the green of the background i made to look rough and unfinished. the brushwork here looks pretty random, but in reality it is some of the most deliberate in the entire painting.nat 30i’ve had paintings i had to coax before, some i have had to drag out by the scruff of their necks, and others have resisted whatever efforts i have made, but this baby literally GUSHED out of me–i guess i was ready to address the matter, as it must have percolated through my system for more than a few years now– funny how things are sometimes like that.nat 34and so now it is sortuv finished– it may even BE finished, i shall be looking at it for a few days and trying to decide if there is anything left i can do with it. but i have signed it, after many an hour of thought (as i knew quite early in the process it would be an issue with me), in the lower left corner. i don’t see how i had an option, as i disliked the thought of it clouding up any of the hair, and the spaces in the lower right without hair would have been darkened as well. still lookin’ and still thinkin’ about it, but i think it is there to stay. i shall be shooting official pictures of the piece in a while, but i shall leave that for a future blog. hope you like “natasha” as much as i do.

Oct

25

or as siggy freud might have pondered– “is this just a cigar or what??”– but more on that later.taqueria mo'vil 2014 acrylic 56X28, 1.42X.71m
here’s a picture of my finished painting, which i like a great deal. had an official unveiling to good reviews. BUT!!– being a typical artist, it was on to “the next thing”, as, when something is done i somewhat lose interest in it. some people are adrenaline junkies, i get my kicks by driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to make my new project work.

tshirt revisedthe first thing i did was to design my t-shirt, something i have wanted to do for quite some time. i originally did a t-shirt design for the anita boat, but it never went over well, and looking back at my old drawings i can see why– the image was nice, however it had not much elan, pizzazz, “pop”, whatever you call it. my new one has some movement and a subtle violence, a threatening element i like quite a bit. the printer did a great job as well– i picked up the finished product about an hour ago, and the printer dude managed to make it look like i have hand-drawn the image on all the t-shirts. now i gotta sell ’em!! any offers out there? $15.

ok, let’s get back to siggy. years ago i had a “relationship”. it didn’t go all that well, and it affected me for many a year. in the late 90s i wanted to give it some sort of a concrete form, that i might rid myself of all the negative energy, and so i did a pen and ink drawing of how i felt about it (back then i worked a lot with pen and ink– dip nib pen, and pointillism, just to drive myself round the bend). this is how i ended up with “natasha”–natasha not her real name, more of a pet name i might call her at times. all good and well. the drawing almost sold on a number of occasions, but never quite, affording me the opportunity to see it over the years, and i have always thought that it would be an interesting subject to paint. and so this became the time. it also makes me wonder if it means anything– am i revisiting my old pain, or is it just another piece of my work?nat 2

the honest answer is, i suppose “a little bit of both”– i had to let myself drift back to that time in my life, experience some of the feelings i felt, in order to really give the design a vision. however, i found that it is nowhere near as tender a spot as it once was– i think i’m ok with it. and this gives me the freedom to do something with it, to expand it and make it something somewhat new. the sketch above won’t give you much of an idea, it is like most of my sketches, and doesn’t photograph particularly well. i always muse on how i should invest in some stock from the liquitex company, as i use so much of their titanium white when i sketch. nat 6

this is a current shot, taken just this afternoon, and it is still early in the development. most of the paint on the canvas is of my “complementary colors”, most of which won’t be seen in the final stages, just a “flavor”, but i have done a little bit on the hair and lips, the background. i have been telling people that, at this stage, it is looking like a zombie girrrl with animated eyes. don’t worry, it will get better.

time to go to work again, but just had something to say this afternoon…

Sep

25

would most likely call what i am feeling “post-partum depression”, and indeed i am somewhat depressed this afternoon. some of it can be blamed on the weather– it has been doom and gloom for a few days on the island, thunder-boomers everywhere, the early hours dark enough to be night, punctuated by the sharp pocketa-pocketa of approaching rain and then the gargoyles of heaven sluice down a heavy pounding– hard to just call it “rain”, as the streets are quickly alive with gushing tendons of water. it all happens as quickly as this run-on sentence you just read.taco 84“down in the black gang” is how i have described my feelings the last couple of weeks– i have felt like one of those guys shovelling coal into the flaming maw of a ship’s boiler, oily skin covered with a thick layer the color of jet. the weather has been hot and dense and slippery with sweat, making the wearing of clothes uncomfortable and itchy. after my morning walkabout, sometimes dancing between the raindrops to avoid  becoming drenched, i have been mostly trapped inside my house, painting. painting painting painting painting painting painting painting. that or staring at the painting. glaring at the painting. then back to it for a while and then looking at it once again, trying to assess just how much good i was doing. taco 88but somewhere in there the magic slowly slid in– it began when i figured out just how the shadow from the awning above the triciclo fell on the  ground, and suddenly i was right down into it again, after so damn long– i was once more confident, and the inner query of “what do i do next?” no longer elicited a cold shiver, but rather i knew what it had to be. that patch of dirt i had finally realised couldn’t be green but brown turned out to include both colors. the faces of the figures in the shadows and light suddenly sprang out, they just had to be that way– and there!! and there!! and– there!! i worked so fast i painted the woman in the foreground’s right arm as sliding behind the triciclo, and as i hurriedly changed it back i found even more depth in the way her body curled and formed the posture. i had thought the tree finished, but i ended up putting in three different colors on the trunk and then two more on the flowers and another couple on the leaves. more color in the grass– a pale whitish green– and the shadow the tree threw down upon it as well.taco 93and then, just like one of those flat earth society ships that reaches the end of the map i fell off– the piece had been signed and, for all intents and purposes, finished. after this i noodled around with it some, but since yesterday in the late morning there has been nothing forthcoming. i think i am done. hence my little “down mood” today– well, that and the draggy weather of course. i have yet to take the actual finished shots of the piece, will wait for a few days and especially a little better ambient light, so i can capture it a little bit better.

 

and then it is on to the next thing i suppose– i have several projects i want to pursue. gotta shoot the pix for the new tiny drumfish design and do the posts, but that will come in time. i have a special order for a clownfish that i have not done, really preparing myself for it. and then there is a grotesque– i spoke of gargoyles up above, and just read a book that involved carving them, or rather, grotesques– apparently it is called a gargoyle only if it is used to conduct and spew water, but i have a hankering to do some stone cutting again, a big yearning. first, i suppose, i need some stone…….

Sep

5

WON’T TAKE IT!!”– or perhaps better written as “we seem to have hit a reef!!”. it was some time ago that last i wrote a blog, and it is just about time, don’t you think? now, where was i?…..taco 63oh yeah, “taco 63”– “taco” being my shorthand for the name of this painting, which would actually be “taqueria movil”– “mobile taqueria”.

now, part of the reason i haven’t written in some time is that i was plain busy, diving. diving diving diving diving diving– you get the picture. so much nitrogen in the bloodstream and brain that it sortuv co-opted my thinking for quite some time. but the worst of it is that it really removed me from my painting, all those tonal progressions, and slowly the piece began to get less and less familiar and difficult to connect with– i lost track of where i was going with it in a mental sense–you can take that however you want!!

when i finally started to get a wee snisket of time for myself, i had some jewellery orders and the like, but really i had become frightened of what seemed to me to be an opaqueness in my thinking about the piece. so i began to break it up into smaller parts and try to work on it that way.taco 67i painted the guy in the foreground, beginning with his shirt and then continuing on with the other member of the foreground, the woman. it was slow going, i had to pick my way along, unsure of where i was headed at times, but getting some good stuff here and there. i started and stopped, started and stopped, and really i DID have a lot of orders with the jewellery to do, so in the meantime i brought my new pieces there to fruition– first the 3-D trunkfish and then my big manta ray pendant these are both excellent pieces and i feel very good about the work i did on them, bringing them to a finished state.grand manta ray3D trunkie reverse 1

 

and now, WATCH OUT FOLKS!!– as soon as i can figure out a away to photograph them, i shall be producing pages and posts on my brand new TINY DRUMFISH DESIGN– it truly IS tiny, and a whole saga in the making as well– a tale of toil and terror and a lot of sore fingertips!!

but that’s a whole separate barrel of monkeys– today i wish to write about my painting and how i am continuing to work on it, despite all the struggling and seeming painting in the dark you might say. i puddled around with the piece, and slowly there was a tiny bit of light at the end of the tunnel, it would seem. i began to see the things that i DIDN’T like about the work, first the dirt area where most of the background figures sit or stand (do you see the dark silhouette of someone behind the woman in the foreground? it’s become a habit of mine to put such a figure into some of my paintings.taco 79but the ground was not a brown i decided– it had to be more green and grey and fit in with the grassy area, and this worked too. now i am starting to add the light areas in the dirt, once more having to experiment and see how it goes, adding and subtracting the shadows all over the place, really in search of arriving where i once was– with a full idea of what is going on in the painting. keep your fingers crossed for me, please–this could be one of my very best if i can only find myself again.morning glory 2013 acrylic 23X60My beautiful picture

and now for some fond farewells– my friends manny and sharon were down to dive this last week, but also to pick up a sculpture they wanted– “water” has been with me for a quarter century plus now, and it is like a good friend who moves away. i know she is going to a great home though, and i plan on visiting her in the not too distant future.

and then in a surprise move, my friends brian and tina, also down to dive, told me they wanted my most recent painting– “morning glory”– i had to hustle around to create a packing tube for it, and was once more a little sad to see it go– i have been enjoying the way the light plays over it during the day, but these people are not too far away, and i think they will see me on their doorstep before too long as well.

i thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support and praise– i am humbled by it all.

 

Apr

12

reggae wall, reggae hearti put this image up on my photobucket site and my friend glen asked me for a translation of what it said, his translation via computer being a little inaccurate. i dashed off a quick reply and received from him for my troubles a quote from the belle epoch french novelist mentioned in the title of this piece, something like “do not strive to have your presence noted, but rather that your absence be felt”, and what a great quote to put onto this person’s wall painting. apropos to the memory of mr marley as well. reggaewall 1i believe that the same artist did this wall, although the caption is not nearly as high-falutin’– if i read it right, it says something like “reggae is carried in the soul, the self– rasta isn’t a syle, it is a culture, it’s what you think and not what it looks like”– still poetical though, i think. i shot these images not much looking at the script, and so i gained from having it called to my attention. what i am saying is– thanks glen, thanks for opening my eyes!!taco 54

and my eyes need opening– three months of constant diving have sortuv kicked my arse– the nitrogen builds up and suffocates the thinking to a certain extent, you have less energy to pursue things with the higher thought functions– like painting, for instance. it has suffered a little with the inattention. i would have a day off here and there, but chose to do jewellery most of the time, it not requiring me to really focus past a certain point. i had stuff to do, and mostly it was just work as usual.

then i did have a little space, and i took it and went to merida for a change of pace. it was a very good idea, getting my head straight again and eating some great food, sucking down more than a couple of gin and tonics and watching movies, not to mention that i was able to walkabout in this great town. one of my favorite things to do has always been to walk down to the zocalo– central plaza– in the darkness, to listen to the thousands of birds that roost in the trees overnight, a truly wild mix of sounds all clamoring for attention. i wish i could add in the little video of it that i shot, but apparently it exceeds the limit for this site– RATS!!taco 63

but when i came back again i had a little time in which to get some work done, and i have pushed things forward somewhat– it’s definitely taking on SOMETHING, and i am feeling that i may have a great piece on my hands, if i can only bring the rest of it out.

and then the diving closed over my head once more, another long spate of tanks and nitrogen. i am finally finding myself in a place where i can work again, but the painting seems very far away. i am having to feel my way back into it, fighting to keep my patience and positivity. this last image you see is not quite a current one, i have been working on the two figures in the foreground of late, getting some interesting stuff, but not quite “in the zone” yet. keep your fingers crossed for me, won’t you?

Jan

31

painted wall 1or perhaps “ramblin’ man” would have been as apropos as this to begin. i like to walk, and i see a lot of what is happening on the island, a lot of the day to day changes in what is happening here– even though you may not think it, living here, things DO change. i take my camera along wherever i go, to document all this stuff. perhaps not the most interesting stuff in the universe at times, and so there is a real “weeding-out process” that goes along with shooting so many images, but still i get some gems. now, this one i begin my blog with isn’t “the money shot”– that one i will put up onto my photobucket site, and you can check it out by going to my wall and clicking on the appropriate post, but this one still has some charm. i shot this one originally when it only had the two bookend “lizards’, but the shot got lost due to a glitch with the memory card in the camera. i passed by the other day to find the artist had finished up the entire piece, and it was pretty impressive.taco 41

which brings me, in an odd sort of way, back to my painting. have patience, please, as this may take a couple of minutes to find the point.
i got to a point with the painting and then jammed up a little bit, couldn’t think of how to approach what i wanted to do, but suddenly the clouds lifted and back to work i went, putting in the first layering of the leaves on the flamboya’n tree and also the trees in the background, got to work on the people who inhabit the foreground, painting in the triciclo– tricycle– and it began to have a little form and shape. however, i was having real problems (in my mind) with the color of the grassy area surrounding the tree and people, thinking i had made a big mistake in choosing it. worries worries worries– it’s always like this with a painting, but i was thinking i might have to do something radical with it sooner or later.taco 45

BUT!!– i finally felt good enough with what was happening to begin putting in the shadow areas, and suddenly the color of the grassy area began to truly “POP”!!– filling me with a sense of relief. still some stuff to be done with it, but not a bad color at all. i was sending this image around to people, and i began to get questions about the guy in the foreground– the first one was if he was holding up some binoculars (this person was an avid bird watcher, and so mayhap her concept was a little subjective), but then another friend asked if he was finishing off a bowl of posole (hominy soup)? perhaps a little closer to the mark, but the reality of it is that he is just about to mount his motorbike and is putting on his helmet as he speaks with the woman– these people are center stage in this little drama, and i am happy that people who see what i have done so far are responding to my arrangement.taco 47

the thing is, good or bad, they make no posole here– it is a basic taco/salbute/panucho menu and really kind of middle of the road as far as quality– clean, but not much pizazz, if you know what i mean, and the salsas are not too exciting– but it is the setting that always interested me in an artistic way. now, the things that made this interesting in a photographic sense– a monstrous overarching power line complex– don’t really work in a painting sense, so in the beginning of this work i had to redesign it and change the proportions.

however, i recently discovered a little place over on calle 4 and avenida 55 bis that has wonderful panuchos, made the old-fashioned way– with the beans in between the layers of the tortilla, which has been split for this purpose– and their salsa is excellent– truly picosa (real hot!!) and tasty. so when i left this place to go to the dive shop and start my work for the day (licking my chops like a satisfied cat!!), i ran once again into this painted wall, only this time it was a finished piece, and so i got my new shots of it. please feel free to go to my wall and check out “the money shot”– your time will NOT be wasted!!

hope i didn’t take too long to get back to my point

Dec

20

a blog coming on”, as i remarked to a friend in an email just this morning– and i can!! it’s been fulminating in my mind for a few days now, and so i begin.floto 13

we’re approaching the end of the year here, and besides christmas this is also the time to begin thinking about carnava’l– or mardi gras, as others like to term it. one has to begin thinking about it even earlier, if one wants to put a float into the parade– there is so much work that goes into one, and before that comes the design stage. i walked over to the “works” yard yesterday morning– they do a lot of the construction on these floats out there– molding of pieces and such– and when all is over the floats return to the yard for deconstruction. they do keep little bits and pieces of some floats, i imagine in case they want to use them in the future, and their storage area is chock-a-block with these all but forgotten details.floto 7 seemingly good fodder for photos, but there are actually too many details most of the time for good composition. i will have to walk out there regularly for the next few months and see just what is happening.taco 9

something is happening with my painting as well– i finished up the initial application of complementary colors and began stage two– the underpainting, i like to call it– the base coat upon which i do the actual painting i am thinking about. this stage is about messing around with colors to give the third stage some pizazz, and also it’s about some experimentation on what i want to do later. this photo was taken a few days ago.taco 21

and this is the most current photo, taken yesterday morning, but things have moved on since then– however, you can see the progression. unfortunately, as i am thinking about it, this does not give much information on what this painting is really about. what this painting is really going to be about is the two figures in the foreground– the motorcyclist and the woman in the apron– and the leaves and flowers of the flamboyan tree stretching over all their heads, indeed almost from one side of the painting to the other. however, i have to finish up the sky and a lot of the detailing in the back and midground of the piece before i actually apply that paint. it is making me nervous, as i have never done a painting in this way before– or perhaps it is just a little hyper-awareness of what is going on. i know that the new brushstroke i have been using is going much more freely now, and i am relaxing to what i am doing.

nervously relaxed, that is.

Dec

9

stepping away from the safe cocoon of being inert, taking the first step onto the tightrope, beginning to draw back the already taut bowstring where my comfort zone was– it can certainly be daunting. frightening, even. i have done this so many times, but the stage fright inherent in really beginning a new piece just makes me crazy. i procrastinate, do anything BUT get down to it, find ways to avoid it– until it gets to be so big in my mind that i have to get off the schneid just to keep from exploding. such was the case this morning.My beautiful picture

but enough of that for now– i feel more like talking about some photos, the photos i have been digitising and then photoshopping. a rum bunch at times, with a lot of mediocrity, especially in the early stages of my career (i have been moving through my trove more or less chronologically). it bugged me at first, as i couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the hell i was trying to do most of the time. it finally hit me that my purpose had been, unknowingly, to teach myself all about composition, at least in photos. suddenly it all seemed to be so clear– i was taking a vast amount of photos, but getting very little in the way of usable stuff. add to that the fact i was trying to get the perfect combination of shutter speed and aperture, and you might notice i would take almost a whole roll of celluloid on one frame, done in somewhat different ways. sometimes i was successful, but sometimes i just plain failed. still, slowly but slowly, i learned and the number of frames per idea began to lessen. i began veering away from straight B&W photos, and moving more and more into infrared B&W, as i found the way it portrayed an image fascinating. basically it reads the reflected heat inherent in any scene, rather than the light– thusly a clear sky shows as a hard blue black, as it reflects no light, whereas clouds become quite magical.My beautiful picture

everything seems to be more made of a wondrous gas instead of a solidified material– it appears to shimmer and buzz with an inner energy.My beautiful picture

which, of course, made it even more of a bummer when kodak decided to discontinue making this great film. there are infrared films from other companies, but none of them bring to the table quite what this one did.My beautiful picture

thank goodness for “save draft” and taking a little extra time– this morning i began by expurgating a little diatribe on the faults of my negative reader, the one that has since crapped out and left me looking for a new one. it was trite and boring– at least, that’s what i thought when i re-read the sucker a half hour ago.taco 1

and so, back to the painting– yes, i took a long time to get to work on it. i had distractions, like a month of diving and other stuff, but fear was the deciding factor. “i still have about a week’s sketching to do on it” was my well-worn excuse, but i suddenly realised i had done the sketching and was merely on tiptoe, trying to sneak around my feelings. what i am showing here is the first layer of complementary color– the underpainting, as i have done many a time before. not much of these colors will remain when all is said and done. also,stategy is involved– this time i plan on painting pretty much the whole sky as a single thing, and then applying the leaves and blossoms of the flamboyan tree on top of it– likewise some of the walls to the righttaco 3

a little further on here. most of this piece will be shades of green and blue, with some reds. where there is blue the complement is orange, and with green it is red. the sky has three different complementary colors, something new for me as well. kinda looks hideous at the moment, no? one of many ugly phases these paintings goes through. however, one thing is sure–i have gotten it underway now, and have no idea where exactly it will end. it is enough that, for now, i have begun.

Oct

7

My beautiful picture— cuz that’s what i have been doing of late. before i made my recent trip up to colorado i ordered in a negative reader– something i can put all my old analog slides and negs into and digitise the images, making it possible for me to reproduce older images, and if i find enough stuff i may even bite the bullet and buy myself a good printer, make some real copies of shots– both new and old. maybe this will even serve as an inspiration to me, to take the 6 rolls of exposed infrared film currently residing in my fridge and develop them. nothing is easy though, as chemicals are getting difficult to get hold of. hmmmm.sunset, canyonlands parkso many plans and so few rances.

anyhow, it took me a while to begin the process, as i had plenty of other stuff on my plate to keep me busy. not diving, nossirree bob– it is the lowest of the low here, and only occasional tanks to be done, but even so…. more on this later. but finally i pulled the gizmo out of the cupboard i had placed it in and tried to figure out how it worked. fairly easy instructions. one of the first things i realised is that the viewer is slightly out of line, meaning i slice off a thin strip of every photo. this means i have to flip the negative around (not physically, there are buttons to do that in a virtual sense) sometimes, and at others it just sucks. oh well. if i still lived up in the land of the big PX i could just send this sucker back to the good folks at wolverine– name brand– and perhaps they could send me a new one, but we all know that’s not possible here in mexico without a lot of hassle, so we just do what we can. there may yet be ANOTHER negative reader in my future sometime though. this slight misalignment also means i cannot read up the light change values in the adjustment area, and so have to keep these light values remembered. easy enough most times, but i do get distracted, and then i have to turn it off and begin all over again.My beautiful pictureand sometimes it works out so well– i found my old negs and slides of a bunch of my old pen and ink drawings– from the early 80s til maybe 2002-3 i worked a great deal in this medium. unfortunately, most of these negs and slides are really degraded– all the greens have been sucked out and it leaves mostly a red mass. but sometimes i can tweedle around with the knobs and bring something to life once again.

it took a dog’s age to work through all the color negs, and what was surprising, along with all those old memories suddenly jump started was– the missing ones. i am boggled at how many photo negatives, whole rolls i guess, are just not there. maybe some day i shall stumble across them, maybe not. keeping my fingers crossed. now the huge slough of B&W images is before me, like a huge quagmire threatening to suck me down and drown me. patience, patience i advise myself– slowlee slowlee catchee monkee they say.trunkfish double design

but meanwhile back at the ranch– there were some tech divers on a boat i was working on, and one of them commissioned me to create a piece of jewellery for his wife. he liked my trunkfish, but wanted two of them, kissing. so i made a little drawing and cut a cookie cutter shape of the piece for him to approve.trunkfish design 2 - Copy

i cut master waxes for him to approve, making minor changes in the appearance of the work, improving from the original i think, and proposed putting in a quarter carat diamond to give the kiss a little cachet, along with the smaller diamonds i would put in the eyes. not only did it look pretty decent in wax form, but i could see that, with a little finagling, i could use the waxes to make a 3-D trunkfish for future inventory.

and then i cast the piecetrunkfish double cast 2.jpg (2)

next step was to bring the separate pieces to a point where i could make molds of them for future use, and also to provide my client with a little taste of what his design might look like, primitive though it may still be. then i did the molding up.trunkfish double mockup.jpg (2)

a few days later i was able to cut the molds apart, retrieve the pieces, and go on to put everything together. this turned into a very technical piece of work, a lot of separate soldering operations, much stress and sweat. i had to plan everything out to the last detail– what grade of solder, which order, when to use yellow ochre (a paste that inhibits the solder’s melting) and when to just plain gird my loins and GO FOR IT!! but the gods were with me, and it ended up looking pretty snazzy i think.trunkfish double w diamonds, polished

i do believe i am going to put it into inventory, along with the 3-D version. the pendant has made it north of the border now, and if all goes well it will be delivered to the client around 10:30– happy anniversary, you two!!

Sep

15

seemingly spiralling away into infinity before me, or perhaps more apropos, the vortex in a toilet bowl. at least, that’s about what it seemed to me. early the morning after the wedding i began separating the wheat from the chaff– winnowing down some 550 images, and ending up with a mere– MERE!!– few less than 300. now, not all of these were studly highlight reel material, but a lot of them had some interesting points as say, casual shots, or just shots of interest. for the most part i had chosen my field of shooting well, whether during the ceremony or afterwards, choosing an old wooden fence where the light was somewhat indirect, showing people as they actually were, rather than looking like picasso figures. after all, i had no light setup or anything, so i needed to be sharp and get it right from the get go. some shots looked like a casting call at the local theaterwedding 141— hey, what can i say, i liked it!! but the money shot wasn’t too shabby, either.wedding 143 on and on it went, choosing this one and discarding that one until it was finally over– but that was just the easy part!! now i needed to photoshop the whole lot of ’em, sitting at the kitchen table in the coolth of the morning.a tropical weenie, i, unused to being in colorado climes again, huddling in his leather jacket (my mexican blood as thin as a political promise), click clicking through one photo after another. for hours. and hours.flower (2)again i was rescued, this time by my good friend padgett, a fellow artist and muse. she got me to get out of the house and take walks round the town, we saw all the sights– restaurants and the post office, many a gallery– this really IS a lovely little town– and met many a resident, plus all the animals on our various routes– she knew everyone’s pets. it got me out of my rut and breathing fresh air, so that i could go back in and do it all over again– thanks so very much, padgett!!flower soon enough i would be back at the photos again, but i always had some time to decompress, and i even scratched another itch– caesar salad and crab legs, a long-dormant memory, all great stuff. i toiled in the photoshop salt mines two long days before it was all over. i went and delivered the discs to lanice and sonny, meeting up with charlie as well one last time– it’s gonna have to do me for a while!!– i miss all my friends already, and sharply. my time in salida was dribbling away, and then it was the last morning.salida lake view 1 (2) a friend was driving through en route to denver, but padgett and i had time for one last walk, round a beautiful lake in the early morning light. there were ducks and geese and beautiful clouds and a river bank filled with fallen trees, beautiful in their randomness. soon much of this area will be totally changed, the “progress” of yet another housing tract totally eradicating anything created by nature, substituting human control on everything, so it was special and poignant. as are you, padgett.

soon enough my friend brett came and picked me up and it was off to denver we went. gorgeous light and an easy drive, past a lot of mountains i had once climbed– mt princeton, yale etc– old memories and beautiful visions. we had some lunch in denver and then explored huge freezer areas in a chef’s supply place, she bought a bunch of fish and checked out a job while i wandered round a shopping area– somehow i cannot manage NOT to buy yet more music and film products!!– before she deposited me once again at my friend diana’s house. thanks muchly, brett!!

too tired to make the supper i had anticipated, we went out and had some good food– the name of the restaurant escapes me– plus the first couple great martinis in a few years– it had been QUITE SOME TIME between martinis, i assure you!!– and back to her house to catch an old B&W movie before hitting the trail for dreamland. in the morning she dropped me off at my great friends dodie and doc’s place.denver skyline 4

thanks so much, diana– you’re a great friend!!

dodie and i went to the denver art museum, where we saw some great stuff– the old amerindian weavings i remember distinctly, unfortunately no photos allowed. but i did have a chance to see some of lance kirkpatrick’s stuff, as well as an old western painter– something partridge something was his name– but wonderful work.partridge 4 his subject matter was taken from the estes park area, and quite prolific in the amount of works painted. dodie and i caught up on old times and ate some lunch in the square nearby before doing a little more museum-ing and then we headed home and waited for doc, chowing down on some thai noodles– and then off to bed, my last night in colorado. thanks for everything, you two!!

it was a longish day of travel, deplaning for an hour and a half when they found an electronic glitch aboard the airplane, then a long bus ride to playa del carmen, the ferry ride slow and laborious, but when my island hove to above the horizon it brought a smile to my face. home at last!!

Sep

6

rehearsal 34the morning of the wedding. i woke up in a tent, smelling of woodsmoke. first time camping in some years– i was a little cold, but sweaty for some reason. slowly that sun came out and we all got up and started a fire and had some coffee and warmed up a little bit. beautiful setting, and i wish i could put a different photo of that site here, but they are all enormous files and this program seems to crap out at around 12 MB– still and all, chris and sam at the table talking. the rest of us down by the fire, but soon enough we all had to pile into the cars and head back to the ranch to get the day started. i shot pix of the gardens, the hops plants, cabbages etc, the light great and powerful, and as people began to arrive i shot casuals of everyone wandering around and chatting. mostly dressed in “mufti” as of yet. many of these shots turned out splendidlywedding 7 as i experimented with finding where the light was going to be come afternoon and “show time”. the time passed, and finally i decided it was time to look round for the bride– she was up in the hills someplace, getting dressed. i caught a ride with the lady who was going to marry the couple, and we bumbled around wrestling with the directions we had been given, but by hook or by crook we finally made it to the house.wedding 33 the view was on high, one of those great coloradan views, and inside the house the mood was informal and upbeat as lanice had her hair done. everyone upbeat and semi-excited, and READY TO GET THIS BLOODY SHOW ON THE ROAD!! finally, lanice slid into the bedroom to don her trouseau and i shot images of the people in the house.wedding 36

and then the door to the cocoon opened and out stepped a very beautiful butterfly, pretty enough to make me catch my breath. things began happening quickly after that– house cleaned up and sealed and all of us into vehicles and travelling back down the hill for the wedding. a final stop to find a calm moment, all of us together and praying for the wonderful.

and it happened. what had seemed clumsy and ragged and bumpy the day before smoothed out and went just the way it should have. what a wonderful event, with everyone there and feeling the energy. the light poured down like honey and we all could feel the love in the air– to disagree with larry niven– “sometimes the magic DOESN’T go away, it comes and it stays right where you want it.

after the event i was busy busy busy with shooting all the formal– and informal– shots that are a prerequisite to things like this, the new couple patient and happy. how many times can one put a sincere smile upon one’s face? i think we stretched the limit. however, it wasn’t always serious.wedding 219

meanwhile a bunch of people i hadn’t seen in a decade or so had shown up– many of them from my time in the distant past at the golden bear– and were buzzing around, and even though i was a tetch busy i was happy indeed– i am so blessed to have so very many good friends, and the opportunity to be able to reconnect at this time.brendan 11

after this it was party time

Aug

26

flowersor “from here to there and back again” to plagiarise a famous author. i guess i should also adend that with the note that this is really “take 2”– i got about 600 words into the first attempt before i just gave it up, unhappy with my results. i pray there is no need for a “take 3”!!

anyhow, this is the saga of my trip to colorado a couple or three weeks ago. my almost daughter lanice was getting married, and she and my great friend charlie flew me up there to shoot the fete– talk about a great turn of events!! i hadn’t seen either of them in about ten years, and it was WAY TOO LONG A TIME!!

this blog is also about friends, specifically mine, and how lucky i feel to have them in my life. i am blessed indeed to have so many friends.

i flew into denver and was picked up at the airport by diana, another great friend, and after dropping my stuff off at her place we first caught the light rail line,light rail,denvera relaxed ride to the sushi den, where we gorged our ecstatic faces on sashimi and sushi, i washing mine down with cold sake and she with warm. it had been a long time since i had eaten something so mouthwatering and i enjoyed every minute, the conversation included, and we trundled out of there a tad tipsy but replete.

next morning and chris, the son of lanice’s aunt bonnie, picked me up and we took the scenic ride up into the hills and mountains, en route to salida. now, salida had never really been a destination to me, it was merely a place i might have passed by or through on my way from vail to santa fe or albuturkey. it was always small and dumpy, but in the last little while it has turned into somewhat of an artist mecca– it is all over this town, people being creative and not caring who knows it. i saw a lot of interesting stuff while i was there– not all of it i liked, but at least it wasn’t middle of the road and bland.

and so we arrived at lanice and sonny’s spread, a beautiful piece of property. i got out of the car, now the “photographer of the moment”, only to be glommed onto by a dude sporting almost shaved sides and blond dreads. he said– “you guys look like light hangers– get to work!!”. so much for fame. and so we worked for a while, putting stuff up and helping out. finally it was all over though, and i could walk round the place. behind the house, they were growing hops, enormous cabbages and the like. the sun was finally shining and it was at that moment i finally saw lanice, coming up the walk with sonny.rehearsal 13sortuva kerouac moment really, but strange in that i wasn’t the one dressed a la vagabond. what a wonderful woman she had grown up to be!! and a poignant moment indeed. sonny was calm and full of good energy, and there was a big ball of what i can only call love between them. after the usual tears and such chris and i got into his car and went in search of charlie and bonnie, who were over to the camp ground. little did i know it, but i would be out there that night.charlie n me 3

charlie, father of lanice, came to me in the distant past, the magical time i lived in new mexico, and santa fe in particular, those halcyon days in the early 70s before the current glut of population hit it. busy beyond belief during the summer, but almost empty and deserted in the winter, and my days there have a golden glow to them. maybe i should write a blog about those wondrous days– food for thought, anyhow. bonnie was also one of the charismatic characters populating the little adobe town at that time– she was the one barging in when i had my first kiss with the woman i was later to marry… anyhow, those blue eyes in that photo belong to charlie the brown ones to me. i’d include a shot of bonnie here, but none of them do her justice.

and so it was back to the homestead for charlie and myself, bonnie and chris continuing on to the campsite. suddenly there were more people there, and i spent my time stalking lanice and sonny, shooting casuals as they discussed “the plan” with the woman who was going to marry them. her name slips my mind at the moment.rehearsal 16but finally the behemoth got off it’s butt and the official rehearsal began. it was a little bumpy there, and i really wondered how well the whole thing was going to come off when it came time for the real shebang to begin. the day had turned a little gloomy and people were not at their most able– no budding nureyevs to lighten everybody’s feet, but after a while we all got through it just fine and it was time for dinner.

i think i am going to close this one out for now, and continue with another episode on another day, as this is getting pretty verbose already– no sense having my audience face down and snoring in their spaghetti, right? if you’ve made it this far, i thank you kindly– it only gets more exciting from here!!

Jul

8

intervalelection day here on the island of cozumel– i tried to write this blog yesterday, but i bored myself with the prose, so here i go again!!

i had wanted to begin this piece with a great shot of the malecon i took yesterday morning, but the file is too big, so i am trying to set the mood with this older pic instead. it was a beautiful morning as i plodded my way out to puerto de abrigo, where i did some photography of some light poleslight poles, puerto de abrigolaying in a stack there– it’s always amazing what one comes across in the oddest of locations.

walking back in the soft light of the still early hours i found groups of locals all getting together, putting food and drink into coolers– election time is much more a social event here than it is in other places– people vote en masse as it were, and make a morning or half day of it.

when i got back home i took almost no time at all to get down to the work i had planned– shooting proper photos of the new painting in the nice soft ambient indirect light of the early morn. up til now this piece had a working title of “flowers”– nothing special, i know– but several people had told me that these flowers were morning glories, and when i looked them up online they did seem to be the same flower, so in the end i am calling this piece “morning glory”, and i just hope that nobody comes out of left field to inform me that after all this i have been wrong!!morning glory 2013 acrylic 23X60

i would have been finished this piece a little earlier, but i had about a week of very welcome work last week– two small groups, first the family dubb (mom d-dubb, dad p-dubb, son j-dubb and after a while myself, honorary r-dubb). we had an excellent week of tankage, the only fly in our collective ointment the flu that worked its’ way through the multi-family gathering they were part of, laying j-dubb low and even bringing down d-dubb for one day. she was quite the trooper though, and came back fast despite not feeling totally 100%– I SALUTE YOU, D-DUBB!! and a tip of the do-rag to boot!!

the other divers were two brothers, also from texas, and it was super gratifying to see their skills improve day to day, extending their bottom times and having a general gas– you two guys were all right!! the diving was excellent and we saw a lot of fish. they went off to isla mujeres towards the end to see the whale sharks, and i hope it was all that we made it out to be.whale shark

so the week finally came to an end, i finished things up and shot the pix– now what?? well, i am returning to my jewellery studio now, toiling away in the airless confines of same. i cut some waxes to cast, and put others together into the flask, and my plan is to do the casting tomorrow. then there will be yet more hot and sweaty work to be done before i get to go out and dive this weekend.

busy bee, me

Jun

26

flowers 36i crawl on my belly like a reptile…. i sometimes wonder what people would think if they could see me at work on my stuff– when i work on my sculpture, of course, i sometimes drool– at least, if my concentration is sharp enough. but this week of painting has been intense, and i have sudden flashes of reality– me standing above myself looking down– at this creature who is making odd sounds and mumbling incoherently, barking, whining and growling like some cerberus released from the pit.flowers 45i open my mouth to hear a variety of sounds, mostly whistling, shrieking on occasion, popping my lips to the rhythm of some long forgotten drum track, imitations of actors from old movies, channeling anything and everything like a hammy medium high on a whole box of pot brownies– what was that stuff, and can i get any more? then suddenly the pass of paint i am putting down is over and i collapse onto a chair, a perfect puppet laid low by cut strings. i’m still mumbling though, and what i am saying comes as a complete surprise to me, the listener. shades of “fear and loathing in las vegas”…flowers 54anyhow, this last pic is not quite a current one, it is just the most current one i have put through my photo editor– there are more in the camera, but i just got a burst of energy telling me to write while the poker is hot, to mix a few metaphors. like i said, it was an intense day of painting, and i think i shall have a little more time tomorrow morning to paint as well, but will have to pick up tanks for an afternoon checkout dive with some clients– then it looks as if i may well have a full week of diving to do, so i shall get a little rest before howling and snorting sounds issue from my windows again…. see you then

Jun

11

flowers 18 i’m listening to some live queen this afternoon, and suddenly realised that, after finishing up painting for the day, i still had a little jam left in the old brain cells, meaning i could jot a few lines down here. i still have to walk over to the casa de cambio and exchange a few dollars here, paying for the more mundane matters of living, and so most likely i shall begin today and finish another, but here goes–rain reflection 2

damn!! but it rained for days there, and i was trapped inside my house like some two-legged rat. it dumped til the streets ran like rabid rivers and then it dumped some more, accompanied at times by thunder like a large truck rolling down stone stairs. i couldn’t take my usual walkabout in the mornings and so got somewhat cabin crazy, but it did give me impetus to work on my painting and other projects. i finished up another drumfish pendant, as they just keep selling, and then also made another ring, set with 5 nice diamonds– a special order.

but all the time i kept working on the painting, moving it along– all the tonal progressions becoming obvious, one after the other, and i felt myself to be truly in the zoneflowers 27you can see how much improved it was from the first pic at the top of the page, but this one i took just this afternoon, so it is current. my being “in the zone” took a good hit the past couple of days, as i was having trouble getting the colors right inside the blossoms of the flowers, but today it became just a snap– turned out the color i was fumbling around for was the one i thought it was all along, but would just never trust to be the right one. this is typical of me at times, but thank goodness i figured out my psychosis and had the cure. this brings the painting to the end of what i call phase two, meaning it is really just the canvas i plan on painting the actual painting onto– it’s been a lot of work, but i am happy with the results. i was thinking that the flower petals were pretty much done, but i deluded myself on that– there is a lot to be done, it just has to be done lightly, like holly go-!! really what i want to do is to introduce the depth into the piece– right now it is functioning on maybe two depths, according to the basic blocking colors, but i want there to be countless depths in some places, and new ones to discover.venezuela 4

meanwhile, the clouds left and the sun came out and the spider ran up the water spout or whatever– suddenly we are back to humidity and stickiness and some of the largest mosquitoes i have ever seen down here (not as enormous as the ones up in northern alberta, of course)– at least these ones aren’t carriers of dengue fever.

now we have this venezuelan sailing vessel in town, complete with cadet crew, who are enjoying leave on the island. seem like nice people– i was impressed and happy that the ship is coed– all these young people learning the ins and outs of command and working together– it must be somewhat of a wonder when it is out there with the sails filled with wind. life without a net too, as i have heard that it bears no propeller to use when the wind is not in the right quarter. the locals have been enjoying the free tours of the ship, and if i wasn’t messing so much with this painting i might go as well.

golly, i guess that is all. time for me to head on over to the casa de cambio, so i guess i might just as well publish this thing and leave– til the next time!!

Jun

2

been trying to come up with a snappy title for this new blog, but nothing much has really come to mind– “what a long strange trip it’s been” was already taken, and anything else sounded hokey or overly dramatic. SO– instead, you get this little preamble. am i blue

thing is, i wanted so much to write, and there were a great number of things to write about, however my site just refused to publish to my facebook account, and so outside of a small number of people who actually looked for it, my blog wasn’t getting read. it took some doing, but it turned out that all the recent changes in FB had cancelled some form of a “ticket” to my site, and i had to call in the artillery. my ace wizard jo lynn finally pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, and now things seem to be functioning just fine again– i hope!! this is the first official blog since things were put to right, so we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?shades of sergio leone

“twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
did gyre and gymble in ye wabe”

was another possible title– in february, my sharkbaiter people came through town, and we went to the north and did a wonderful dive with the eagle rays, while this line from “jabberwocky” ran through my head– it really seemed to describe their motions in the water. of course, that was before we went there again, only to experience some hellacious downcurrents, but ’nuff said about that one!!aspen grove 2013 acrylic 42.5X32.5

i also thought “aspen grove” might make a good title, as it was well underway for the last blog, but things got intense indeed with it, this tightrope line i walk while doing my work, wobbling back and forth between ecstasy and full crash dive depression– “aspen grove” seems pretty mellow, and so does the painting i suppose, but still my site was refusing to publish, and i put that title away as well. my good friends tina and brian flew me up to their home town to bring them the canvas, where it is now ensconsed in their marvelous condo– they all treated me like a king up there, and i thank you here for that– you too, manny and sharon!! the painting looks wonderful on that wall.flowers 1

now i am busy on my new painting, “flowers”– that’s just a working title, i can scarce believe that it will end up being called that, as it is pretty mundane and unimaginative. here you have the bare bones sketch, many hours that took me, my lack of facility in drawing forcing me to be patient and just keep on keeping on.flowers 9

now it is looking like this– further along, not quite ugly, not quite anything as of yet– BUT!!– i do have a good feeling about it, even in this moment– i feel like these tiny flowers will turn into something magical, the background multi-levelled and deep, textural and daubed with light. stick around, there will be more sometime soon

Feb

3

2013 6is what many people were thinking that the mayan calendar running out meant– much like so many proposed that the year 2000 would signify the crashing of most computers. as for me, i subscribed to neither of these views– BUT!!– i felt compelled to try to finish up my sculpture before the end of that time arrived, “just in case”. silly me, figuring i could force things with art– i kept working and working, and then there were only a couple of days’ work left, and plenty of time. then, as always, life got involved– i hit into a most welcome period of diving work, which was much needed to keep the s.s. rance afloat. a patch of poor weather arrived, keeping me inside and i also had some jewellery work that just had to be done. finally there were only a couple of days left in the year, and i had jackhammers going across the street– so much dust in the air there was just no way i was going to apply wax to the piece. and so, despite all i had said to friends, i ended up finishing this 21 year saga on january 2 of 2013. don’t ask me if i am going to change the date on the piece, because i am just not gonna do it!!2013 3 it was just a day like so many others, but the sun was out and there wasn’t a lot of wind. i washed the piece off in the morning, to get the dust off it, and when it had warmed in the sun, i went out and applied a coat of wax, then wiped it down with a soft cloth to even the wax out, and finally hand-polished it with a piece of borg lining. i know many borgs had to lose their lives to furnish me with this polishing cloth, but it has polished a lot of sculptures, big and small. i always apologise to the spirit of the lost borgs though.2013 1

and just like that– pfffft!!– it was done. but nobody seemed to notice. the school across the street still had the teachers blaring out the names of the children whose parents had shown up to give them rides home, there were still cars driving by and the eternal motorbikes as well. make that “infernal” motorbikes, as they are truly annoying. but i was alone atop an island of marble, the only one with my special knowledge– my sculpture was finished.

of course, i went into an immediate emotional nosedive, a sortuv post-partum depression if you will, and felt lousy and unmotivated, useless. in the end i had to drag myself out of the pit and get back into my life though.2013 7< 2013 4

i planned and held a small unveiling party for a few people, and that seemed to help. i shot these photos i am using here on the day of the unveiling– i shall have to shoot some better ones (at least, ones without the distracting details around the piece) when i can buy one or two large black sheets to hang behind the sculpture, and use some lights to give better detail as well. i may even need some extra sheets for round the bottom of the base, which, when the sculpture is “officially” exhibited will be somewhat “buried” in black sand– this will take out the quarrying holes from the view, and focus attention upon the sculpture itself.

finally, to really “pull myself up by my bootstraps”, as it were, i took the smudgy and much-lined and revised canvas that i had been doodling with for some time. it’s the bare bones of a view of some aspen trees. waaaay back in the 90s i did a small pen and inker of an aspen grove on the property of a good friend. in 2007 i decided to do a painted version of the same. these were both square works, and the painted version can be found in a blog i did some time ago– think it is entitled “gallery” or some such, i forget. anyhow, this was a great piece of work, and it was purchased well before it was even finished. several people have evinced interest in it, but some good friends from texas asked if i would do them an alternate version of the painting, and i agreed.

i put a little time into the sketching of the piece, but i was working away on the sculpture at the time, and so i never really focused on getting anything done with it. aspens 1

however, now with the sculpture finished and me with time on my hands, i could concentrate upon putting some pigment down. i had been planning what i would do– what i call my “tonal progressions”, but until i put the paint onto the canvas i had no way of knowing how they would all interact. at first i was sortuv trying to redo the piece that i had painted so long ago, but this was not only annoying, it turned out to be quite impossible!!aspens 18

this turned out to be a boon indeed, as i felt myself freed from constraints. unfortunately, as always, the piece went through a series of ugly stages before it finally began to exhibit some sort of uniqueness, some bit of life. as i worked more and more on it, the progressions became easier at times, and there have been days of intense painting, working til the light fails and my back aches with standing 6 inches away from a piece of canvas. however, the results have been excellent, and the painting is really beginning to come along now. lots of work left, but take a good look at this photo– more still to come, but it looks all right i think!!aspens 26 it’s now a week or so down the line– i had planned to visit with my techie and get some glitches taken out of the system, my blogs still are not publishing to facebook for some unexplained reason, but i think it is time to just put it out there and do what i can to alert people that there is a blog waiting to be read. i am elbow-deep in diving right now, and so don’t have a lot of time for painting in the next few days, but i wanted to put another photo of the painting up just the same– it isn’t quite current, i have done some more work on it, and i may be able to shoehorn in a short session this morning, but take a look as things progress!!aspens 29