Monday, October 29, 2012

Fool in the Rain

This weekend has mostly been a wash due to the "Super Monster Storm" also known as Hurricane Sandy. We lost power a couple of times today. I enjoyed the break from being connected. It was relaxing to sit and listen to the wind and rain and work on a drawing.

Today's drawing came from a great old tome that has been in my library for many years called "History of Far Eastern Art" by Sherman Lee. It's a wonderful, thick book full of photos of amazing art stretching back for centuries. My eye landed on a tiny bronze sculpture from the Indus culture, a "Dancing Girl" from the Mohenjo-daro region. I like her attitude and her weird, cyber-punk left arm. Everything ancient is futuristic again. Sometime many years from now, when I look at this drawing again, I'll think about the rain and the wind and the quiet space that Sandy gave me so I had time to dance with this beauty.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Edgar Allan Poe Vs. The Brain Eating Microbe"

After too many years, I am finally exhibiting some art again. I was invited by James Warwick Jones, the gallery manager at the Charles H. Taylor Arts Center in Hampton, Va to participate in the "Small Works" show. The piece I am submitting is called, "Edgar Allan Poe vs. The Brain Eating Microbe" and is a new version of a drawing I made for the "Monster Drawing Rally" for the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Va. Here's the post for the Poe study I did back then. I loved the concept so much that I wanted to spend a lot of time producing a highly polished version in miniature for the "Small Works" show.  I found the frame at a thrift store, which was an amazing accident that completes the work.

If you are a local or in the area on Hampton, Va on November 2, come on out to the opening reception.


Monday, October 08, 2012

Ibo - West African Mask Drawing

The tools you use to create are important because they help remove the obstacles between the idea and the execution. The right brush or instrument or camera can make all the difference, so when you find that thing that fits your hand, you want only that. For me, it's a proper ink pen. I use a variety of pens and will use whatever is available, but when given the option, I go back to a few tried and true pens. I recently decided to track down a pen that I've always loved, Pilot Better Stick Ballpoint Pen (BP-S). I tried a couple of the chain office supply places, but no joy, but I was able to find them online and ordered a box.
What I love about the BP-S is the soft, thin lines it makes and the fine control of gradient and texture I can achieve. It's a lightweight pen that is easy to grip and they are not so expensive that if you lose or break one that it's a problem. They can get a bit blobby at times, leaving surprise little globs of ink where you might not want them, so I keep a scrap piece of paper nearby to spin the tip on to clear it.

This drawing is of an African mask from the Ibo group of West Africa. I like the realistic facial details and the white paint that's flaking off. I also like the plank coming out of the top of the head. There are small holes drilled through it that make me wonder what was attached.


Saturday, October 06, 2012

Hiking Pleasure House Point...

It was a gorgeous Indian Summer day today and I took full advantage of it with a nice, long hike. My persistence has paid off this year and I am closing in on my mileage goal for 2012 of 750 miles. With three months left to go, I have less then 180 miles left. Today I tried a new route by adding in a new nature trail that has been added to Pleasure House Point, some land that was bought by the city of Virginia Beach and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. For a while there was a contractor trying to "develop it" by cramming 1600 condo units there, but lucky for all of us, wiser heads prevailed for a change and now we have this wonderful natural sanctuary.
There were roads and houses back in there at one time, but for whatever reason, they have gone to seed, but you can still find crumbling asphalt back in the sand trails and see dock pilings along the shore. Walking back through such a peaceful and beautiful wetland, makes me proud to be a contributor to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Hiking from my home, I wound up with a decent 8-mile route today, which you can check out here.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Tater Harvesting Time Y'all!

This weekend I decided to see what bounty my potato growing efforts may have yielded. The above ground plants have died and dried up, so from what I have read, it was time. Eagerly, I dug into the mound of dirt hoping to come across some firm, round forms, but my efforts at first were futile. I pressed on and was rewarded with the handful pictured here. Not much of a meal I admit, but considering that I started with one sprouting tater (here's the post from the spring), I'm pleased enough to get anything. These humble results encourage me to aim higher next year, so I'll plant more and a wider variety of potatoes and take the process more seriously and do stuff like fertilize and such. The Roma tomato plants are still producing fruit so the garden isn't totally done yet. Time to plant some winter crops!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Get Back Satan! - Today's Drawing

I took the day off from work to just catch up on a few things. I haven't hiked any this month so far, which is not good, so I got out for a seven mile hike/run. Got home and did some yard work and then floated in the bay with my sweet girl before she had to got to work. After that, I broke out the little drawing journal and laid down another African mask drawing. This one comes from the Baule tribe (and the subgroup of Yaoure) from the Ivory Coast area.
I chose it because of the horns and facial expression. It is very demonic and shiny. I only have a few pages left in this sketchbook and look forward to moving onto something larger as this one is very small, about four inches by three. Here's a bonus extreme close-up image.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nothing Like a Fresh Tomato From Your Own Garden

It's been a tough summer for our tomato plants. We tried four roma tomato plants this year, planted in big pots because we have sand for a yard. We water and fertilized and the plants grew big and fast. Then the little, yellow flowers came and after that some little baby tomatos. Hooray! But as they got bigger, they got black on the bottoms and rotted. A quick spin through the net educated me to a condition called "blossom rot" that is caused by a lack of calcium.

The remedy is to dissolve some Tums and water the plant, the result being healthy tomatoes. I tried this cure a couple of times and it finally took on one of the plants. Today I got to pick the first good tomato this year. We've also been successfully growing some leaf lettuce and I can't wait to make a garden fresh salad with my very fresh ingredients.


Monday, July 09, 2012

Meet Tlaloc, the God of Rain (and do we need him now more then ever)

It was another one hundred degree plus day, probably the hottest yet. Earlier in the day I got out for a four mile hike. It wasn't more then a half mile from the house when I was soaked in sweat. The sun beat down relentlessly, the heat penetrating through my hat down into my head and soul. It reminded me of the kind of heat I endured the first time I went to Mexico back in the spring of 1988. My friend Colin and I rode buses all the way from Virginia down into Mexico going all the way down and through to Merida. Along the way we went to Palenqué and visited the ruins there.
I saw a lot of this kind of sculpture on the temple walls. On the walk back, I decided to carry some of that heat and memory into a new drawing. Once again I picked an image from a book I have from the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico and started scribbling. It wasn't until I finished the piece and was adding the description that I realized that I had unwittingly drawn "Tlaloc, the god of rain". A strange, accidental cry to the heavens to open up and give us some liquid love.


Friday, July 06, 2012

Toltec Telamon, Tally Me Bananas!

It has been very hot here along the coast of Virginia lately. A perfect time to stay in the AC and do some drawing. I flipped through a big art book on the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and found this cool figure from the Toltec culture in Tula, Hidalgo called a "Telamon". I believe he was a support leg for an alter. What attracted me to this figure was the pose and the eyes. I exaggerated the face, especially the round, goggle-like eyes. He reminds me of something the French artist Mobieus would have drawn. Here's a close-up.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Blue Ridge Bloodfest - My June Pick

And so, after the usual hand wringing, I have made my June selection for my "Shine Some Light" project to fund culture that I believe in. June's selection is a horror film festival that is the brain child of a child, a young man named Ammon Winder all of 12 years of age. Full disclosure, Ammon is the son of some old friends of mine (his Mom, RoseMarie has a great blog called "Random Acts of Poverty"), so he had a head start, but his story would have won me over regardless of his connections. The Blue Ridge Bloodfest is in it's second year and will be held in Charlottesville, Va. on the weekend of August 24-26. I didn't attend last year, but I hope to be there this year. From what I see of last year's program, it looks like Ammon is programming independent filmmakers both short and feature length films. There is both a web site and a Facebook page that you can visit for updates or if you have a horror film, send it in! Currently, the fundraiser has eight days left and nearly $2,000 left to raise. Contributions start at only $10, so I encourage you to get onboard and throw the lad a tenner.


Monday, June 18, 2012

My First Sculpture...

This weekend, Janet and I took on a task that has been hanging over us for a long time. We cleaned out our shed. Besides the usual gardening and yard tools, there is also a lot of boxes filled with who knew what. We had a vague idea of what was in there, but were surprised when we actually started pulling everything out. Among the various treasures, I came across this artifact from my childhood. The first sculpture that I ever did. I believe it's from the third grade, maybe it was the fourth grade, I'm not sure.
So what did I choose for the subject of my first sculpture? Why a giant sea monster attacking a seaside city of course! And I think the creature bares more then a passing resemblance to Jack Black! Click on the photos for a larger view and you be the judge!


Saturday, June 09, 2012

I got a solid 7 mile hike in today. I came across this sign along Shore Dr and had to grab a snap. I find it funny how popular zombies have become in our culture now. Images of zombies attacking and eating people has become mainstream. Back when the original Romero "Dawn of the Dead" came out in 1977, it got an X rating because of the extreme violence. Now we see worse on "The Walking Dead". OK HW

Sunday, June 03, 2012

My May Pick for the "Shine Some Light" Project

Phil Tippett's "MAD GOD" on Kickstarter
I am encouraged by the response to my first month of the "Shine Some Light" project to find and fund worthy creative projects. I have had some wonderful interactions with some truly creative folks and it will make it difficult to make a choice. Please note that I am a tad behind, making my May pick in June, but better late then never. So how to choose? While thinking on how I will sort through the options, I came across a new Twitter friend's blog post on just that subject. Camilla Castree writes quite lucidly about why she is willing to put her hard earned money behind a project. This bit here hit a chord with me;

Its not the perks, although that’s a great bonus – in some cases an incredibly generous bonus – but the feeling of making a difference with the PEOPLE you ADMIRE and who have PASSION about their project.

Passion. That is what attracts me as well, as it helps me keep my own creative juices fired up. Please take a moment and read her entire posting, especially if you have ever considered throwing in on a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project. >> Camilla Castree's blog post, "Why I back a project"

Here is the list of people whom responded. These are folks that followed my simple criteria for being considered.

  1. Follow me on Twitter. >>Weaverwerx on Twitter
  2. Send me a link to their Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project.
Here is a list of who responded;

  1. Once A Week Film Fest - web site (IndieGoGo - project closed)
  2. "String Theory" a documentary on Levi Weaver (IndieGoGo - ends 6/4/12)
  3. Silver Beech Studios - Ipad Accessory (Kickstarter page not launched yet)
  4. "Fat Kid Rules the World" film (Kickstarter - ends 6/16/12)
  5. Tom Lancaster - "Nothing is Certain"- (Kickstarter project closed - new one for July pending)
And that was it. Out of those, only two of the projects are currently available, "String Theory" and "Fat Kid...". So for the month of May, my backing goes to..........

Now I did say I would pledge $25 a month, but there is no $25 option, so I will be going in for $35!

Levi Weaver is currently touring and will actually be playing in my town Monday night at a joint called H20! I am looking forward to meeting him and hearing his music.

Finally, I included the photo from Phil Tippett's Kickstarter project "Mad God" because I also backed it in May. Phil Tippett is an animator and special effects genius behind tons of classic Sci-Fi movies, including "The Empire Strikes Back", "Robo Cop" and "Starship Troopers". I didn't make his project my official May pick as he isn't participating in this project.

Be sure to spread the word amongst your pals to send me their project links for June!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Three years ago today, John took the train for the coast...

John Paul Verhulst was my friend and he has been dead and gone now for three years. He was only forty-five when he passed. Some of us know that it was some kind of miracle he made it as far as he did as John had a special talent for stepping on the Devil's tail. John was a rock star in search of an audience (and band for that matter). He loved his rock'n'roll music and listened to nearly everything, but above all others, there was his beloved Rolling Stones and The Doors. Whenever I randomly hear either of those bands on the radio now, I always have to nod and say, "Hello John". He listened to nearly everything, searching out the new stuff before anyone else. John was the first punk rocker in our group, inflicting the Sex Pistols on our virgin ears. Blasting The Cramps and Nina Hagen and after a viewing "The Hunger", Bauhaus, he was always on a quest to find new sounds. His intellectual curiosities were not limited to music, John was a student of history, particularly World War II, but could speak on nearly any time or place in history. He was always reading at any time of the day or night. I recall coming home at 2 am (we were roommates for a time) finding him standing in the kitchen stirring a pot of chili, punk rock shaking the walls (you did not want to be his neighbor) while reading a dog-eared copy of William L. Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". He'd look up and flash what we all called his "Shit-Eating Grin" and he was King of the World at the moment and it was good. John was the smartest, most handsome and most worldly among us misfits. When he walked into the room, people damn well knew it. He would take lemons and make a rocket launcher out of them. He had a tendency to behave badly when confronted by authority figures. And the whole time flashing that smile.  John had the air of someone that would fall into it one day. He had too many advantages to fail. While the rest of us mortals scrambled to get through the days, John floated above it all. When gravity finally did take hold, it was vindictive and cruel and John came to Earth hard. "The Lifestyle" took it's toll in a hundred ways and left John savaged and weak. The doctors gave him six months and his "Fuck You" was to go on another three years. By the time all this terrible shit had come down, John and I had long since drifted apart. Years before, I knew that I had to let that life go and there was no room for a half measure. You were either on the train or you weren't. I had other places to go. Before the shadow came, a mutual friend called me out-of-the-blue one day and arranged for us all to get together. We had a few beers and some lunch and sat together one last time, though we didn't know it at the time and snapped a few photos to remember the moment. After that, John and I talked on the phone from time-to-time and made plans to get together again, but something always broke those plans and I never saw him again. Now, it's hard to believe that he's gone. John was a wild, complicated mutant of a man and I am proud to have known him. We were close as brothers for a time and he tattooed my soul and for that I will always remember him. I am listening to The Rolling Stones, "Exile on Main Street" and the Keith Richards' song "Happy" just came on. Hello John. Richards was his a role model and spiritual uncle for John, so quite fitting to hear that now. So, on this third, sad anniversary of my friend's departure from this world, I ask you to raise a glass for John. He was an original human being and left his mark on this old swinging sphere and he will be missed....

Miss you brother,


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Growth...

We've been having an unusually rainy and chilly spring, which has helped our humble garden get off to a good start. Last year I tried my hand at growing potatoes in a bag and after spending ten dollars on gardening soil and pea gravel, I wound up with exactly zero potatoes. The bag disintegrated and I left the soil in a pile. Fast forward to this year when I find a few sprouting potatoes under the sink and decide to throw them in that same pile and see what would happen. Despite the lack of effort, the little buggers are making me proud! I might be eating some homegrown taters yet!

This year's garden consists of the taters, a few tomato plants, basil, rosemary, oregano and a leaf lettuce mix grown from seed. It's a modest showing for sure, nothing that will sustain us if the grid goes down, but it's something. Watching those growing plants makes me happy, gives me hope and veg from your own garden always tastes the best.

In other growth news, this blog was included in the AltDaily Blog Roll, a fine honor and welcomed connection to one of the alternative culture voices in this area.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Image for May 20, 2012 - Once You're Wet, You're Wet...

I am a little behind in my hiking right now. Last weekend I was in Mississippi visiting my Dad and so did no walking. Weekend's are prime time for me to stack-up some big miles. Typically I'll accumulate anywhere from ten to eighteen miles from Friday to Sunday, so losing last weekend has put me slightly behind. No matter, this last week I have been hitting it hard to close the gap. Yesterday I managed a seven miler and committed to the same today. I woke to gray skies. A light, misty rain settled over the Sunday morning, for me, perfect hiking weather. Less than perfect weather calms things down. People stay indoors. The causal joggers, the knuckleheads with the super loud stereos in their cars, the families on bicycle blocking the path are all home on their sofas watching whatever those people watch. The secret to hiking in the rain is understanding that once you get wet, you are wet, so get over it. I've hiked in some fierce storms in Scotland and Ireland and enjoyed the extra challenge. The whipping winds and pelting rain puts a lot of energy in the air that creates a sense of urgency. Once the clouds finally do part and the sun returns, it alls seems sweeter.


Friday, May 18, 2012

I'd Buy That for a Dollar!

I stopped off at the Dollar Store tonight on my way home from work and stumbled on this little gem, a green plastic tiki mug! It's been a while since I've come across a tiki mug that I don't have already. There was a variety of colors, but I settled on just one, a green one because it is my favorite color. I figure I can also use it next St. Patrick's Day!


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Shining Some Light...

A couple of posts back I talked about a Kickstarter project my friend Barbara Nesbitt has launched to raise funds to record an album. She's about halfway to her goal and has a little over three weeks to go, so if you want to be part of helping bring some great music to the world, check out her project and consider throwing something in.

"Light and Brick" by Casey Gwinn
Even before there was a Kickstarter or the internet, I have supported other artist's projects. The mad ones, the creative ones are my tribe and by my code, we have to help each other out, show up for the opening, the concert, the reading, hold the mic boom or light, make sandwiches, roll around in the dirt after midnight to get THE SHOT, whatever it takes and I've done all that and more. Art is never made in a vacuum, even if that artist is alone, there are always unseen hands moving in the air behind their head, phantom tongues wagging in their ear, some lifting up and others tearing down. I hope to add a pat on the back or some helpful praise and comments to see that work gets done. Artists, and I use that label in an all encompassing way to include writers, film makers, poets, musicians; you know who you are, also need money. Art is made in this world and of this world and money is the air we breath, the electricity that keeps things going. Web sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have been creating opportunities for artists to fund their projects and connect with a community of likeminded people. We are all patrons now. The tide can rise for us all and there's plenty of room on the boat.

With all of that in mind, I've hit on the idea to commit to investing $25 a month in a new creative project through the end of 2012. So, if you have something going on and would like to get my support, all I ask is you follow me on Twitter (@weaverwerx) and send me a link to your project. I am registered with both Kickstarter and InideGoGo and will only consider projects listed on there. I will make my decision by the end of every month and reserve the right to make my choice at anytime during the month. If I do choose your project, not only will you get my money, but I'll also help to spread the word by blogging and tweeting about it. I am ready to shine my light on your efforts, so send me what you got!

Special thanks' to my good friend Casey Gwinn for use of his photo. He has a wonderful photo blog called COGfoto, please check it out!


Monday, April 30, 2012

African Mask Drawing - Basonge, Zaire

I made some time today to do some drawing. It's been too long since I sat down and disconnected from the electronics and fell into an image. Losing myself in making marks and playing games with shadow and light. I've been thinking about African masks lately. They hold a mystery and power that stirs deep waters in my soul. They are one of my favorite things to draw. I have several books of African masks that I idly flip through for inspiration. My "model" came from a book called Masks of Black Africa (African Art Art of Illustration) that has a fantastic selection of masks from all over Africa to browse. I choose this mask because it's mix of silly and scary. The mouth is the silly bit for me. This is simple black ballpoint pen on paper.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Some Times They're Playing Possum and Sometimes They're Just Dead

Found this little guy in the yard. At first I couldn't  tell if he was really dead, knocked out or pretending to be dead. I went up to the house and got the camera and he was still there, so I gave him a nudge and he was stiff and cold. I didn't see any evidence of violence (after decades of watching CSI this and that, I've developed my cop-mind), no teeth marks or blood, so what happened? He is tiny, about five inches long without the tail, so a youngin' not long out of the nest. Barely got started in life and was cut down. Sometimes nature is cruel, actually indifferent, we project the cruel part, and will take who or whatever makes a mistake. Another reminder to live each day as if it was our last. "Freshen your mind with death" as the Bushido says.

Whenever I find a dead animal, I always enjoy the opportunity to closely examine an animal that when alive, I might only get a glimpse of as it scurries off to escape me. I love the the curl of his tail and the tiny hand-like paws. The fur is beautiful too, the delicate white hairs floating above the gray fur. I took my photos, then got out the shovel and gave this baby a proper burial.


Monday, April 16, 2012

We are all in this together...

These are fine, weird and interesting times that we live in. Anyone reading this is well aware of the unstoppable earthquake of change that is rolling through seemingly everything all courtesy of this here intertubes that is carrying these words. Not long ago if you were an artist or writer or musician or filmmaker, you had to grind away for many years honing your craft hoping for the day when you might be able to get your efforts in front of the right eyes. Eyes in the head of someone "connected", a gatekeeper that would bring the manna down from heaven in the form of a recording, publishing, exhibition, production contract that would whisk you away from the hard-living reality of Ramen and Natty-lite. Well, those days are gone with record, publishing and movie companies all reeling from the tsunami of all this interconnectedness. What is happening now is that the middle man is getting cut out for better and worse. The worse is with the gatekeepers of cultural taste falling to shadow, we are no longer protected from the massive mountains of steaming shite that lie in wait to steal our time and attention away. The better is artists can now sell directly to their fans and cut out all those many layers of corporate dependents siphoning off all the real profits until the artist is left with only crumbs. Part of this new paradigm is fans getting the ability to "invest" in an artist's project before hand often for the price of a CD or DVD, in small payments often as low as one dollar, art funded by the crowd or "crowdsourcing", as it is called. I've been throwing my money behind some projects via the fine web site Kickstarter that is designed to help artists raise money for their projects. Any kind of art you can think of, any kind of project you can conceive can be found on their. So far, I have supported seven projects, everything from a horror film (Hardcore Indie) to a couple of video games (Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns) and my latest, my old friend Barbara Nesbitt's Album project. If you like alt country, then you you love her stuff. I love her voice and heartfelt, authenticate lyrics. She has a good way to go to be fully funded, so give some of her songs a listen and consider helping her bring this album to life. Because you know, we are all in this together. We got to help each other out and we can do it.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Image for March 19, 2012 - Monday Sunset

I got out for a walk after work with my old friend Colin. Our friendship goes back over thirty years. There was a stretch of many years where we lost touch, but we reconnected a few years back and I marvel at how we've managed to find a new level as friends. This does not always happen. Sometimes the drift sets in and there's no pulling it back. Friendships are tricky and mysterious things. It's hard to guess which ones will last and which ones will fade away.  There's no sense in worrying about it, better to appreciate the moment and hope you get more of them in the future. Friendships are like a sunset. Brief, beautiful and easy to take for granted. As I get older I realize how lucky I've been to have had so many sweet friends.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

We're All Just Meat Flying Through the Air

Air travel isn't what it used to be. There was a time that people would get dressed for a plane trip. A time when the airlines treated their passengers with respect and actually cared about customer comfort. For the most part, those days are long gone. There's a restaurant here in my new home for the day, Newark Airport, called Gallagher's that specializes in steaks. They show off the uncut slabs, proof of the quality. It just looks creepy to me and also struck me as an apt metaphor modern air travel. OK HW

Airport Layover Art

Janet's making good use of the long layover by making some art. OK HW
Waiting for a flight that will take us back to Ireland. Right now we are in sunny Newark, NJ for the day. Originally we were to fly out of Norfolk around 1:30 pm, but that got cancelled and we wound up on the 6 am flight instead. I' ve already managed a 2 mile hike around the terminal. OK HW

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hillbilly Pimpgrass

My friend Chad of Hill Billy Highway fame, has put together a music/comedy act for the tour of that book. Recently he contacted me about creating a poster based on the old Western "WANTED" notices and here's the result. Note: the blank space at the bottom is intentional left for show info.

Oh yeah, Happy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Image for February 12, 2012 - SNOW!

Last night we had our first snow for this winter and for 2012. It didn't last long, but the front that brought the snow also brought the cold, so when we got up this morning, some snow was still there. This winter has been very mild so far, with too many days in the 50s and 60s, hell even some days in 70s in January, so this blast of "real" winter is most welcome by me at least. I like the snow and the cold. It transforms any environment, bringing clarity and stillness (the cold keeps the lightweights shivering in their snuggies inside) and sets the stage for perfect hiking. The groundhog saw his shadow recently, signaling six more weeks of winter. Maybe he was right this year.


Friday, February 10, 2012

African Mask Sketch - Bafo

I finally got back into my drawing groove tonight in no small part because of "Hugo", Marty Scorsese's love letter to George Méliés, Paris and creativity. Part of the subtext of the story concerns embracing our true nature, that a person is only full functional when the know their purpose and are exercising it. For myself, I feel the most fulfilled when I am creating things with my hands. It often seems difficult to find my way through The Noise of our modern, electronic age back to the well. It requires more and more effort to turn off this laptop and the TV and sit quietly with pen and paper or clay or whatever and just create. Tonight I got there and I am grateful. 

This is another drawing in a series I have been doing of African Masks. This one was drawn out of a book called African Art by Dennis Duerden. This is a Bafo Mask from the Cameroons. I choose it because it's scary and I like the shape. The pen I was using did not co-operate, so I may draw it again sometime in pencil so I can explore the texture as deeply as I want to.

Do yourself a favor, try and catch "Hugo" in 3-D on the big screen before it's gone.


Monday, February 06, 2012

February 5, 2012 - Hike Day

My Seven Mile Neighborhood Walk

It was a lovely gray, soggy day today that reminded me of Scottish weather, in other words, a perfect day for a hike. I've been tearing up my hiking goals so far this year. I need to average 62.5 miles a month to make my year long goal of 750 miles. I finished January with 80 miles. The 7 miles today, added to my other February miles, brings me to 98 miles total for the year so far. Cool temperatures are more agreeable to me for hiking, so I'm working hard to get ahead now, so I can be a little lazy when the heat of summer comes. Here's a link to a plot of this hike:

Gmaps is a handy, free tool for getting an accurate idea of how far you've gone.

All this training is good for keeping in shape, but I need to get a hiking trip on my calendar soon.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012


"Star Wars" is a huge part of my cultural mythology as it is for any self-respecting movie nerd. I saw it for the first time in May of 1977, the weekend it was released. I had been reading about it in the pages of Starlog magazine for months, so could not wait for it to come out. I remember riding my bike down to the State movie theater in downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin on that warm Saturday to catch a matinee showing. As the lights went down in the theater, I glanced around at the scattering of the dozen or so other folks, all of us completely oblivious to the mind-blowing we were about to experience. Once that Imperial Star-cruiser rumbled down and across the screen, I knew, even as an eleven year old, that I was watching something very special. In the next week, I caught "Star Wars" another three times, but now the lines were around the block and it was playing in two of the three theaters in downtown. As the years rolled on, I could not wait for the next installment to come out. George Lucas had tapped into a universe that carried me out of my awkward teen-aged years to a place of high adventure and well, if you are reading this, then I don't need to explain it.

Star Wars: Uncut Trailer from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Fast forward to now. After episodes one through three. After the digitally massaged reissues. After the magic and soul was sand blasted by the machine that now is LucasArts. "Star Wars" has become that old friend you occasionally run into who used to be your tightest bro, but somewhere through the years, you've drifted apart and now it's just uncomfortable to see them still wearing that Flock of Seagulls t-shirt and smoking clove cigs. Yeah, there were some good times, but it's hard to get over the sting of when they dumped you and started hanging around their new bud, Jar-Jar.

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

"Star Wars: Uncut" made all that pain go away. Casey Pugh's concept was simple; let's remake "Star Wars" fifteen seconds at a time and everybody is invited. There was no criteria for how to remake it, other then "keep it real" and the hundreds of film makers that participated did just that. The range of creativity is astounding. The love and passion that every contributor conveys with their clips did what I would not have believed possible, they brought the magic back! God bless everyone of those furry little freaks, they gave me that feeling again. "Star Wars" is a product, a commodity, Lucas won't let us forget that. What this film does is remind us that no matter how tight the copyright laws and anti-piracy efforts, if a piece of art crosses over and enters the soul of a culture, then it belongs to us all. We own it now. It is our "Moby Dick", "Huckleberry Finn", our "Romeo and Juliet". This crazy patchwork retelling of Luke Skywalker's coming of age story brings the love back home again. If you love the original like I do, then pop some popcorn and fire up the Vimeo and be prepared to have your mind blown once again.


Friday, January 20, 2012

From the Kan-Ken Archive - U-HAUL!

Here's another promo post card from the Kan-Ken Studios archive circa 1993. The featured piece is called "U-Haul" and was based on a doodle I did one day at lunch. I was feeling particularly German Expressionist that day.
The card was an invite for a one-man show I had at the "On the Hill" Arts Center in Yorktown, Va. That was a good time indeed.

Here's a color of shot of the original work that resides in my friend FOUST's collection up in Richmond, Va. One of things I liked about this piece was the idea came to me in a subconscious way, so I wasn't attaching any overt meaning to it as I created it. Only later, after I had lived with the piece for a while did the message surface. It speaks to a deep sense of insecurity and anxiety about having a home, hence the lightening striking the house. The numbers along the left were part of the original scrap of paper I was doodling on; a count of boxes of books as I fulfilled my duty as a shipping clerk at Waldenbooks. I guess being surrounded by all those boxes brought back that feeling of moving, which we did a lot when I was growing up, something I never enjoyed.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Image for January 15, 2012 - A Mysterious Visitor

We had an interesting visitor in our front yard this morning. It wasn't the first time we have seen a big, bird of prey hanging out in the yard. It seems we opened a free buffet for such predators when we hung up a bird feeder. Occasionally I'll find a  swirling collection of random feathers under the feeder and wonder what drama went down.
My wife once saw a hawk take down a young Blue Jay; ripped the unaware lad right off the bird feeder and then he became someone's lunch. Maybe we have our suspect. I've posted these images on the Virginia Society of Ornithology's Facebook page, so I'm hoping to get a positive identification, which I'll share on here when/if I find out.

I spent a long time study this beauty through binoculars. Nature sometimes gives us a rare gift of a momentary encounter with something wild and today I didn't waste it.