Ifn Books + Marks

November 29, 2006

This is some mighty fine promo material:  Ifn Books + Marks

I’m finishing up a new painting that depicts a band busking on the corner of 6th and Congress in Austin. Here’s an image of the work in progress:

This morning while still lying in bed, I had a moment of clarity in which I realized that the title of the piece needs to be Live Music Capital of the World, rather than the working title of 6th and Congress. At that point, I decided it would be fun to clip words from magazines and newspapers to spell out the title of the painting on the painting. When I got to the studio and fired up my computer, I found this posting on Austinist. Coincidence? I think not.

Wildlife in the Pecan Grove

November 26, 2006

Yesterday morning, I was awakened just after 5 AM by two barred owls hooting it up immediately outside Laluna, my Airstream trailer. They sounded almost like they were laughing together (not to put too fine an anthropomorphic point on it). A better way to describe their sound would be that of a couple chimpanzees, gleeful about some newly discovered food supply. Barred owls have many different vocalizations, so it’s hard to know what they were doing exactly. M and I spotted a pair in Pecan Grove last winter, so maybe it’s the same couple going through mating rituals. Once one becomes accustomed to their primary call — Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all? — you begin to recognize their other calls just by the resonance of their voices. They have amazing lungs…

Favicon.ico for your website

November 25, 2006

This is a cool, free service to generate a favicon for your website from a jpeg you provide:  FavIcon from Pics  (A favicon is the tiny, 16×16 icon that appears next to the web address in the browser address window.)


[This is a short story I wrote in 1995.]

BLACK COFFEE

You press the lighted button beside the brown paneled door and listen closely for the faint ring beyond, knowing that sometimes these silly things don’t work and you end up standing at the door expectantly while nobody inside has any idea that you’re there. Sure enough, you aren’t able to hear the chime until you press a second time, a little more firmly. You are relieved that your signal is answered promptly, since the gloomy skies are just beginning to give way to drops of rain. Never mind the fact that it is a comfortable 58 degrees, warm even for Austin in January; rain is wet, and there is no pleasure in being wet when it is an unplanned event. Read the rest of this entry »

He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown

November 21, 2006

I rushed home from the studio last evening to watch the annual screening of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC. Peanuts shows are a part of my personal tradition, and I always try to set aside time to watch them when they air. Sure, I could simply buy the videos and watch them when I want, but there’s something about the cult of television and the seasonal tradition that on-demand video can’t replicate.

The Thanksgiving special is not at the top of my list of Peanuts specials, but still it’s fun to watch. My favorite part is the scene at the dinner table after Charlie Brown has walked away, dejected from being scolded by Peppermint Patty for preparing such a sorry excuse for dinner (popcorn, toast, jelly beans). “What blockhead would cook a meal like this for Thanksgiving!?” she shouts. Marcie gives Peppermint Patty pause when she points out that Patty was not invited to dinner by Charles, but in fact invited herself and all her friends. Realizing that she’d been too hard on Chuck, Patty asks Marcie to go find him and patch things up for her. Marcie tries to squirm out of the task. During this exchange, Marcie turns around to look into the “camera” a couple times, as if to soliloquize, “Can you believe she’s asking me to do this?” but finally concedes and agrees to talk with Charlie. The scene is classic Peanuts. Subtle, but hilarious.

Last evening, the Thanksgiving episode from 1973 was followed by the premier of He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown, a project that Schulz was working on prior to his death. The story and presentation didn’t quite seem to capture the sensibilities of Schulz’ previous work, but it was an entertaining program nonetheless and even caused me to laugh out loud a couple times, something the old shows rarely do any more. Initially I was disturbed that, for the first time in the 50-plus year history of Peanuts, Charlie Brown actually wins at something. Such a story line seems so out of character, so un-Schulzesque. Even though the program has the same producers as the old episodes, I thought that surely they had taken liberties with the script that Schulz never would have taken. But apparently this project was in-progress before Schulz passed away in 2000, and so we can assume the story line is true to the way Schulz wanted it.

Wow, Charlie Brown a winner. The mind reels.

For more about all the Peanuts episodes, visit this link, and for an interview of Charles Schulz, check out Charles Schulz, ‘The Complete Peanuts’ Fresh Air from WHYY, May 21, 2004.

East Austin Studio Tour

November 20, 2006

I took in the E.A.S.T. (East Austin Studio Tour) this past Saturday and was impressed by much of what I saw. It was a lovely day for a bike ride, which is the best way to see E.A.S.T. As always, the boys at Okay Mountain had an intriquing mix of work, this time by their in-house artists (they dubbed the show “Staff Infection”…cute). Art Palace had some intriguing pieces in their exhibition, though I’d prefer to see a theme show there…I found this group show to be spotty. I arrived at Bolm Studios late, unfortunately, and many of the studios were shutting down, so I missed seeing some of the work I’d hoped to see. Shady Tree Studios was a disappointment. There was a wide variety of work exhibited — and much of it was quite good — but the overall feel and presentation of the space was amateurish feeling. Maybe that’s not a fair assessment, but they have such a slick website and have garnered such positive press, that I guess my expectations were too high.

At the Bread Factory on Tillery Avenue, Hank Waddell‘s work at Artillery Gallery was in fine form, as usual. Waddell has a great sense of humor that comes through in his sculpture, and yet the result is still “serious” artwork. His recent explorations of natural “found” wood painted with automotive-grade metal-flake paint creates a mind-bending juxtaposition of nature vs. technology. The new Fired Cubes pieces are the latest in that exploration, with small painted wooden cubes poking through raw sheetmetal. The effect is remarkable. Also at Artillery Gallery were new works by Shawn R. Camp. His linear “canvases” — long, narrow, and deep constructions hanging vertically on the wall — are like slices or cross-sections of his regular large-scale works. Each of these linear pieces has Camp’s thick impasto layering on the front face — which is only 1/2″ or so wide — but the sides are simple, whitewashed canvas or wood. The effect is a pleasant one

Another Bread Factory artist, Channe Felton, exhibited a newly completed large-scale painting of Clifford Antone playing a Gibson ES-335 guitar, supposedly his favorite. It’s a lovely piece, and was obviously a work of love for Felton.

Jacqueline May, also at Bread Factory, exhibited several of her braille-themed pieces, some of them 2d mixed media and others as installations. She showed this series at Dougherty Art Center a couple months ago and I found it intriguing, both aesthetically and for the fact that she invited viewers to touch her work, particularly vision-impaired guests. My favorite piece of hers this weekend was the installation of lit, glowing beads, suspended by nearly invisible poly line in such a fashion as to create, in 3 dimensions, the braille representation of “love” and “tears.” Brilliant.

My final stop at the Bread Factory was at Iona Books, to grab one of Mychal’s to-die-for cookies and talk with Edy for a few minutes, a great way to top off an afternoon biking around east Austin’s art community.