So here he is, my forever thirsty cat, Woody. The Woodster. Woody Magoo…Mr. Monkey Head. The monkey-est of all the monkeys…they don’t come any “monkey-er”. My buddy, my little partner. Anytime I fill a glass with water I have to fight to keep Woody from sticking his head in the glass and lapping it up. He’s done this since he was a kitten and I guess he’ll be doing it when he passes over into the next life. It always struck me funny and it still does, low these 12 years since I first brought him home. And I gotta admit, I love the little guy; we’ve been through a lot together. I almost lost him last year to an intestinal condition that cost me a lot of money but was worth it to keep him around. And as he sits here on my computer table, blocking my screen and purring loudly I thought I’d take a moment to honor him with this silly picture I took of him trying to get to my beverage by any means possible. Yep, I guess he always sees the glass as half full; an attitude everyone should take to heart.
I spent the latter part of last year working on a series of figurative paintings with the inclusion of words or sayings on the canvases. Always a fan of quotes and clever sayings, I haven’t often used them in my paintings or even as inspiration for my pieces, but that idea came to the forefront last year. As an illustrator who works primarily with pen and ink, drawing is an important part of my painting efforts and I often find myself struggling to “draw with paint”; with varying degrees of success. Whether they show it or not, these paintings all started as drawings in my sketch book so there is a strong drawing “skeleton” beneath each painting and it was used to build upon as each piece approached completion. I don’t know that all my efforts were successful, but there were a few “jewels” in the bunch and I’ll show some of them here for anyone that’s interested. As a particular point of interest to me, the painting with the Voltaire quote was given to a local doctor as barter for medical services. (nothing serious, mind you, but the unemployed like me don’t have health insurance) That was a new one on me but a welcome experience. I’ve never had anyone offer to accept artwork for payment but it’s a trend I would love to see continue. I know the doctor, knowing I am unemployed and “strapped” for money, offered to accept art out of the kindness of his heart and I would love to publicize his name but with respect to his privacy, I will not. But in case he were to happen across this blog, I hope he knows his kindness was much appreciated. It would be nice if people valued original art more than they do but of course, that’s not why we make art. As hokey as it may sound, I think most of us are driven to create, and it’s not much more complicated than that. It’s just something we have to do to feel…”right”. OK, enough of that…hope you like the paintings.
Spent my Saturday afternoon with a good friend at the Frist Museum in Nashville, our one and only art museum. And it’s not a bad one if I do say so myself. It doesn’t measure up to the Art Institute of Chicago or the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art or the MoMA in New York but hey, we’re nowhere as big as those guys. I was thrilled of course when the powers that be decided to turn our historic Art Deco downtown post office into an art museum and in spite of fears it might be sub par, it’s been consistently impressive. The transformation from post office to art museum was handled expertly, at least to my untrained eye and while the building was made over as a museum they managed to maintain the art deco aesthetic. The space is definitely an integral part of the experience when you visit the Frist and I always enjoy the historical feel of the building once inside.
With my “partner in art crime” in tow we showed up around two p.m. after a late lunch at a local eatery: “Urban Flats”. Urban Flats is excellent by the way, serving “flat bread wraps”, wine and all the other good stuff on the menu I haven’t gotten to yet. It’s trendy but casual and I recommend it. The show we saw today is called “To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection” and is definitely worth a look. Several “master” works and many lesser known but important artists are included in the show. Marin, Frankenthaler, Dove, Hopper, O’Keefe, and Pollack just to name a few but the stars of the show for me were the Rothko, Diebenkorn and Motherwell. We went in the front of the gallery and to the left which seemed to work out chronologically and would be my suggestion if you venture out to see the show. So if you live in Nashville, Tn., get out and support the arts and check out the show; it’s worth it even if you’re not an “art-head” like me. Below is a link to the show and a couple of pictures. Enjoy!
The thing about freelance work is that you often, if not always have to adjust your images to the client’s will. Just a part of doing business. Luckily, the agency I’ve been working with lately (RDG Group in New York) is creative and open to discussion to achieve the best results. I’ve been working with this agency for a couple of months now and I hope building the foundation for a long and fruitful working relationship. It’s been challenging and a lot of fun. Below is part of the first job I did for them back before Christmas. Check it out.
Last weekend a good friend and I took a short road trip to Murfreesboro Tennessee to see the animals at a local ranch. I don’t know exactly what the purpose of this particular ranch is, but whomever owns the place allows visitors and if you love animals, it’s a pretty good afternoon. The interesting part is they keep rather exotic animals there like zebra, camel, african antelope, buffalo and caribou to name a few. We’ve been twice and both times there seemed to be no humans at the ranch but there’s always a couple of very sweet Newfoundland “watch dogs”. The ranch also has chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks (my favorite) along with peacocks and I think I saw an ostrich. Most of the animals seem rather domesticated although they show little interest other than a cursory glance through the fence rails if they happen to be nearby. The one exception during this last trip was an adorable little deer, not much past the fawn stage, who seemed to take a liking to my friend and I. She came up to the fence and stuck her nose through and nuzzled our hands and was unbelievably sweet. We petted the little guy and after a while we said our goodbyes to “Bambi” and ventured on to another part of the ranch. Much to our surprise when we looked around, she was trotting along behind us! She had a way through the fence and evidently no problem using it. No matter how many times we put her back, within a minute or two, there she would be, coming up behind us. We kept putting her in her fence and then we’d run to the truck only to look around and see her right behind us. Finally it dawned on us how ridiculous it was for us to try and outrun a deer; or most any animal for that matter. The little deer seemed to think it was a game and was quite playful in her pursuit of her new friends. It was really rather funny and we had a good laugh about it. FINALLY we were able to get to the truck and started down the road before she could get to us. I suspect she simply lost interest. A slow ride through the country back to civilization, a tasty Starbucks beverage for the road, and we headed home from a pleasant afternoon in the middle Tennessee countryside. Above are a few pictures from the trip if you’re interested…