art design

On the Level of Craftsmanship in Pahrump, Nevada

I framed up this now yellowing pencil drawing the other day. It was drawn for me by a 21 year old woman named Keri Patrick. It’s based on a drawing by Canadian Glen Loates, one of the most famous animal illustrators of all time. (external link)

Yes, that left shoulder looks tortured but, again, she was 21 and self-taught. My grandfather was an artist and he liked the way she had shaded. Said that was very difficult.

So, I look at what she did at that age, what my Grandfather produced, and what I am accomplishing after only five months. I expect too much from local artists. I want them to do better, to be better, to expect more from themselves. But they don’t. And I am sad.

She never titled the work. I’d name it after her. “Everything I Have Ever Wanted but Could Never Have.”


Pushing Pixels – Image Large Enough to Print

Click for full size image. Download by right clicking. Should print out well.

Oops. Image problem. Correcting soon.

This is my version of a GF promotion poster. Goldfield is all about exploring, from the arts to the outdoors. Physical and mental. Exploring is the key element tying creativity and off-roading around the creosote.

This passage from Little Gidding reminds me of a lot that Goldfield has to offer. In his spiritual journey and exploring, Eliot went from a half-hearted atheist to an agnostic to something like a Catholic mystic.

Little Gidding was his last great poem. He was big on talking about the Pentecost and you can easily get the Garden of Eden references. He’s painting an expressionistic word picture here and not presenting you with a clear photograph. Deliberately.

That’s not meant to frustrate people but to allow people to form their own opinions, just as a great deal of musicians do. I think, for example, that it is still argued over whether the Beach Boy’s song, “I Get Around” was about cruising from one burger joint to the other, or about chasing skirt. Maybe both. You decide.

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The Lost Highway Sung by Hank Williams

Authoritative voices have a presence we all recognize. When someone is an expert on a subject, a real expert, people quiet down and listen. If someone with less experience or knowledge repeated the words of an authority, their voice just wouldn’t ring true and no one in the room would turn round to listen.

Hank Williams had such a voice. It’s too high and tinny and without any bass. Still, it is overwhelmingly powerful, not as Pavarotti could punch out a song, but powerful in authority and believability. You can’t duplicate this unless you’ve lived a life. Lived a life hard.

As I’ve written before (internal link), twentieth century American music began and ended with Hank Williams. Apologies to Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley.

I Saw the Light is America’s Amazing Grace. Your Cold, Cold Heart is the best song ever written about unrequited love. It is possibly the _best_ song ever written about love. He was the most painfully honest song writer who ever penned a verse.

He sang Gospel as a true believer. He set millions to joyous dancing with a voice and lyrics relatable to everyone. He expressed sorrows we all feel but can’t articulate or won’t admit.

He also wallowed in self-pity and endlessly resented and loved his wife whom he married twice. He let drugs and drink kill him at 29.

Here, Hank brings to life a tough song written by Leon Payne.

Thank you, Hank. And Rest In Peace.

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Goldfield Days Coming Up

August 5, 6, and 7th. I’ll be showing at a place called The Stop on the North side of town. ┬áThat building fills in the models below. Green screen video booth for free. Real people from rural America. And real fun!

And the following 25 year old answering machine tape from Amy speaks to all people of all times with a universal message: “We gotta have fun!”

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Pushing Pixels 24 or Something — The New Corvettes

Still working on this one. This is a screen shot so low resolution. Click to enlarge. A tip of the hat to Steve McQueen who owned a Stingray, as well as Mustangs and anything else that went fast, and to the Cars for their great album art.

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Remembering Michael Duffet. (Again.)

Some bot at is asking people to go back to guest books they have signed in the past. Perhaps add a little more. So I did.

Michael was a challenging man; he did let you escape back into the bliss of ignorance once telling you the truth. “You haven’t read that book, Thomas? Oh, dear. You must, you absolutely must.” “That haiku is is pleasant but you don’t have a reference to a season. It’s not just a matter of getting the right syllable count, you must have a seasonal reference. Read the great masters of Haiku.”

Today’s Writing at Legacy

Michael is still dearly missed by everyone who know him; I’ve written below on how much he impressed me, by extension, everyone else must have been. Michael would have pointed out that fallacy in logic (post hoc ergo propter hoc) but I stand by it. You’d never forget your house burning down, your wedding, the birth of a child, the loss of same. So, too, with Michael. You could never forget him and there is no recovery with time. A loss great and felt continually.

Past Writing at Legacy

I was living in Isleton while Michael was the editor of the Rio Vista Herald and Isleton Journal, a cut and paste weekly newspaper. I reached out to Michael when I moved to Isleton because it seemed there were no other writers in the area.

I was totally overwhelmed by his education, Cambridge, and by the depth of his reading. He was kind and warm and explained things well. His newspaper office desk was littered with texts in Japanese and Arabic.

He said he had spent five years with the Bedouins in what I will call Arabia, before heading east through India and on to Japan. The stories all seemed legendary and at all times thoroughly believable. He said he once met the Beatles and I am sure he did.

My condolences to his family, students, and friends. He was a good man.

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Fear Follows Like a Shadow

This is really odd. The green screen trade in still or static photography is well developed and has been steadily growing over the last ten years. Weddings, conventions, special events, all of them have been incorporating green screen booths as possibilities in their plans. It makes money. Video could make money. A lot of money.

But the video green screen trade is in such infancy that I am now the expert, with conventional film producers running away from all of my emails and telephone calls asking if they would like to collaborate. I am, to use an ugly term, on the bleeding edge of this technology. The unspoken response seems to be: We don’t know this, we don’t know you, and we’re the experts. If we don’t know this, if we don’t know you, then it is worthless because we know everything and everyone of value in our trade. You are, and all of your strange ideas, worthless by extension.

What’s happening? With film, and like the still photography trade, most camera people have been using software to adjust things like white balance and exposure and color correction. They have not, for the most part, used software to bring out special effects or an artistic side to their work. They remain squarely within the traditional role of editing in film and stills. No matter how many years in the trade.

Which is fine if you want everything the same with no chance of developing any new ways of making money or gaining creative insights. And God no, never ask an outsider a question or ask for advice. Remain always the acolyte of the trade, as Adobe wants you to be.

Adobe has always kept their software so expensive and so difficult to use that anyone needing assistance in the graphic arts must go to someone paying their outrageous subscription fees every month. Like these professionals who won’t respond to my polite emails and calls. I pay these fees because I’m interested in different media and in film but very, very few hobbyists can afford to be an amateur graphic artist. I am discouraged that Adobe discourages the trade to young people coming along with their prices, can a young artist afford to learn this field?

Interestingly, the green screen trade in Hollywood has been around for over forty years. It’s just a process of adding and overlaying film tracks, much the way one does with adding and overlaying layers in Photoshop. Just watch the old Patty Duke Show or Counterpart on Amazon for something new.

There’s no CGI or A/I involved here or mainframe computers in the cloud. No. For the video below, just me, a ten year old computer, a consumer grade camcorder, software that costs less than a hundred bucks. And I’m old, 64, shouldn’t you youngsters be showing me this?

People run away from this like I represent everything they have run away their whole lives from: the shock of the new, creativity, the effort it will make a single mouse click or to watch two minutes of video that fascinates but repels because it represents something different and hence represents learning, that scourge of scourges, an acidic anathema; yeah it looks fun but I won’t take a chance on fun if its something I’d have to think about for two seconds. Besides, that rerun of Gilligan’s Island just came on.

Begone Ye; and don’t come back unless you bring something relatable to our dead mind and spirit. Like a Sony Walkman, a rotary phone or a six pack of Tab. As Hunter Thompson would say, “We don’t need your kind in Kentucky!”


Cat Materializing Caught on Camera

It’s well known that cats at night can materialize out of the ether whenever they want. This behavior is rarely caught as they will confiscate cameras or memory cards, just as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny do. The other night I caught my cat, John Charles Fremont the Explorer, materializing out of the Catosphere into my living room. He failed to notice my game cam, hence, I am still alive, although I am not sure for how much longer if he discovers this post.


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Bob Dylan and T.S. Eliot

Dylan read Eliot for the most part not at school. Voluntarily, the best way to go. As I understand it, Dylan read lightly and not deeply, as he did with the Bible. It reminds me of Bono with U2, his Bibilical references sound more out of Bartlett’s Quotations than from the actual text. Whatever.

With both writers there is a fascination with word play and imagery and symbols. You don’t necessarily have to go too deep with Eliot to enjoy many of his references. And, in many cases, Eliot is so brilliant that he can sometimes put an incredibly complex thought into a sentence you can grasp without grasping your Spark notes. Look at the metal sculpture of classic Ferraris or the sculpture of the Greeks. Even if you can’t sculpt, you can appreciate the form. Similarly, as writers, we can appreciate great allusions and turns of phrases by themselves if need be.

As for me, I like the Book of Revelation in the New Testament for its imagery, where the writer is trying to describe how Heaven looks as a physical place, using every kind of language to describe a location in the next world which is more probably a glimmering, somewhat opaque thought of God. In writing on such an impossible subject, the writer does invoke a sense of majesty which is undoubtedly the best one can hope for.

I think the New Jerusalem Bible, first edition, is the best version to have. Hard to find, look for it. Only the first edition! It was a product of Vatican II in the 1960s, with the authors determined to continue the poetic writing style of the King James with the scholarship derived since that was written, especially the findings produced after the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered shortly after World War II.

I have many posts on Eliot at this site. Prufrock and the Wasteland are two favorites. Search and ye shall find.

Great poetry often leaves questions, cryptic remarks meant for each reader to divine their own answers. Commentators suggest Eliot may have been referring to the holy fire on the Day of the Pentecost, when the Lord fulfilled and enabled the early Christian church. Perhaps.

These are just a few lines from “Little Gidding,” the last part of his larger “Four Quartets.”

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Full text here: (external link)

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How Do I Create a Winning Poster?

First, you need the right victim. Whoops, I meant the right subject. Which could be the victim. In this case, a bunch of screen grabs from Barbarella. This is the bird attack scene and color correcting was a nightmare. I know, I know, this woman does not look like Jane Fonda. I can’t explain that but I did go all soft and poster like on the focus.

And now you have to work the problem. What else could be done? Does your design have to photo based? Work the problem!

Maybe some extra exposure is all you need and the right border. This works for me!