Well, it has been a year. A strange-yet-beautiful, tearful-yet-joyful, amazing-grace kind of year.
How do you mark that time? In stories that bear witness to the hard things as well as the sweet moments? With lines indicating growth? In snapshots of little girls becoming sisters or ecstatic family gatherings?
I think I’ve been more eloquent in the past. Today I’m just thankful and blessed. I’m not the best dad, but I’ve worked hard at it. And I think being a dad to two amazingly epic daughters has made me better – more – than I thought I could be. In all of this I’ve gotten to see my wife gloriously work divinely-appointed magic as a planner-of-life, kisser-of-wet-cheeks, and encourager-of-all.
How do I mark this time? I think I’ll go left-of-center:
Click on the image to see these up close.
These are four pieces of “Chinese money” that my daughters have payed with a LOT in the last year. They are, obviously, not real currency. Instead, they are three wet-wipes that came from various hotel rooms or restaurants we visited while in China. And that one covered in duct tape? That’s a strawberry Nutri-grain bar in there; it’s seen better days.
There’s something about their play money that’s joyous and fun. We’ve worked to keep the memory of our time in China alive, as well as the anticipation that we’ll return again soon. Little indicators of that hope are all over our lives, even seemingly-insignificant ones like these playthings.
So here’s hoping for many, many more years to think back on what has been and look forward to what will be. What a good year to be a family of four.
PS: We’re celebrating over at the Etsy shop with super-discounted artworks – maybe you’ll find something you like?
Went to Nebraska last week. Lincoln, Grand Island, and Sherman SRA.
Dave and Kate got married.
Norby got a ponytail.
We hung out with joy.
Dave rode minibikes.
We lived it up: ate, drank, talked, played, saw satellites and shooting stars, fished and much else…
Glory in Color Drawing 2
Marcus, the Assistant, casts chroma
Null’s large drawing in anamorphic distortion
The array of shadows in Color Drawing 1
And another view…
The box, electric.
Did I mention that I love teaching Color Drawing? Epic, every semester. Stay tuned for good shots of current students’ works.
“Your love should never be offered…”
Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.
Should never be offered to the mouth of a stranger,
Only to someone who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.
Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.
Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.
There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far too deep for that
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.
Even after all this time the sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me”
There is no pleasure without a tincture of bitterness.
Thanks go to Catherine Armbrust for bringing this to my attention, and Paulo Coelho for posting it here.
My daughter draws. See for yourself:
Working hard on the Magna-doodle.
A tableau with a foot and the finished work…
The facility of a Twombly!
Her mother interprets the ineffable script.
The work table is itself a work of art…
A swift, sure hand speeds over an uncertain surface: glory!
One of my favorite songs, from one of my all-time favorite albums (Blacklisted) and one of my all-time favorite artists (Neko Case), is called Ghost Writing. Click here to listen to the track – I suggest a late night and low light and the tension of strange memories to enhance the listening.
One of the song’s enduring aspects is the short, whispered sentence that precedes the opening bars of music. I had listened to the track dozens of times before I heard it, and now it’s something that I love to bend in close to hear – especially when traveling late at night on empty roads, or ensconced in my dark studio trying to suss out glory from paint. Below is the section in question, pulled out and enhanced. What do you think is going on here? I’d love if people left comments suggesting possibilities….
Ghost Writing Intro Whisper (mp3 format)
A palette I used over 4 or 5 years. Click to enlarge.
Every semester I have to make more posts about how awesome my Color Drawing classes are.
Above: Marissa Valentino’s amazing Colored Pencil drawing of a head from our group project.
Students assembling one of our large group drawings.
Hannah and Vincent hard at work on a final figure work for the course.
Emily Armstrong’s 44 by 30 inch figure drawing in progress on the easel. You can see our parachute stage setup there behind. We love that parachute!
Above and below: A selection of drawings from the second half of the semester we pulled out for a group crit – some in progress, others complete. Overall a great effort by my students this year!
India Watts working on her Matisse master study.
The final group project installed in one of the stairwells at the University of Missouri.
Recently I visited Fort Worth to experience the retrospective of Richard Diebenkorn‘s Ocean Park paintings. I have spent the last two weeks trying to process what I saw and what I think about what I saw. I’ve loved Diebenkorn’s work since my first encounter with it. I had to wait nearly 15 years to get the chance to really see the work in context. I’m in the midst of writing my reflections; they’ll appear over at Neoteric Art sometime in the next month or so. For now, check out some pictures of me and Marcus taking in the majesty of Ocean Park.
Marcus sketching from Ocean Park #30.
Marcus scrutinzing Ocean Park #135 – that’s the corner of Ocean Park #93 above his pencil.
Me taking in the glory of Ocean Park #40 from across the gallery.
Here I am considering Ocean Park #79.
And jump here and here to see some pages from my notebook written/scribbled during my time in the exhibition.
If you can’t make it to the venues the show will travel to over the next year, be sure to see this nice photo essay from the current iteration of the show.
“A constant comfort of that place – apart from the foliage, springing paths, and multitude other charms – was my mug. Handcrafted and ergonomic, it felt then as it does now: a real weight in the hand – substantial, truthful. It declares by its heft the worth of what it holds. It is heat, a vessel security blanket, a confirmation of time. And of course I carry the time with me physically even now as I use the mug emblazoned with the O and the X (hugs and kisses from the past to the future) almost every day. It reminds me of 2am munchie runs and awesome weekend breakfasts, of wind swept evenings and overcast middays. Its circle pleases me and my mouth conforms to it easily – a submission to delights.” – from A Mnemonic of Longing, an unpublished essay, 2002-2009.
On nights like these – remembering Ox-Bow and my mug of that time – I think also of drinking port with Lex up the slope behind the Inn. One late afternoon, both of us moving toward that state of mellow so frequently found that summer, we debated art and ideas. I had my prized Odd Nerdrum book with me and, in a sequence of events not without mystery and malevolence, the tome found itself flipped off the deck and down the hillside. I keep the book broken away from its cover to this day in remembrance of my time with Alex.
Photo: My second Ox-Bow mug today. I got this mug at the same time as the one I speak about in the text above, but that first mug – my primary mug, the one that I had used every day for two years – was stolen from my workplace in 2003. Now I keep the second mug as a commemoration and never drink from it. Both mugs were made by Becky Wehmer, long time Ox-Bow-luminary and an artist/educator at Waterstreet Glassworks.