Dec 18, 2004

Saturday. One week. The November and December holidays are not choice times. It forces me each season to acknowledge I prefer being alone rather than taking part in the socializing many expect as the norm. I feel unconfortably negligent. So I'm always grateful for the horns and bells going off for New Year's. Once more I have survived.

Dec 13, 2004

Stimulated by the snake on Vitrolica's website in the Blogs Illustrated ring, I had to post 2 takes of my own of that...well, "snake in the grass" is an appropriate term. The first post below, Eve, is from a panel series I'd done on Eden; the one beneath is not part of the series, it's later, an impulse one that, as the camping couple rested, just showed up.

I also liked the mouse Vitrolica had eyeing the scene, and I thought, yeah, I've got a mouse to show. Actually more than one, but the one about popped in mind.

Dec 11, 2004

Today's Saturday...yeah...but the date is ... ahh. Two things I miss being a retiree are quitting times and Thank-God-it's-Friday days. Time doesn't blur too much when one is working 9 to 5. (Oh...of course I miss paydays too.)

Working on my website/page. Can anyone imagine maintaining a personal relationship that creates the angst and passion/fustration a computer relation generates? Power of the computer. Power of one and zero. Something and zilch. Yang and yin. (Does Yin ever get jealous that when it comes to Yang, Yin always gets second place. It'd tick me off.)

I'm getting off subject. Which is noting my image posts are slowing down. I'm eager to get back to the drawing/writing part. A break from the tech stuff.'s coming.

Dec 4, 2004

All my Notches posted here so far were created on the computer. The ones I am posting above, however, are scanned in pages from my paper journals. (Exception are the "open journal book" templates on which the scanned images are placed. The templates are the same as used below.) Interesting. I haven't looked at my scanned images much and this is the first time to play around with them. As the dates show the scans are from the early '80's. I did many, many sketch/journal pages during those days. I carried a journal with me all the time. I did a lot of sketching on the spot - a cafe, a bar, the sidewalk. Then there were the ones I did at 4 a.m. maybe, recording a thought, an impulse, a book passage read, or pulling one from my imagination and God knows where. I have many such journals. Most are now in the special collections section of the University library here. I don't know how many I might eventually scan.

Dec 3, 2004

Evolution is not the only thing that can stall one out. Adding/improving a blog site has its own woes. I've looked at 3 or 4 other sites, signed into and experimented with a couple, but I can't get beyond what I'm doing here. I want multiple folders and links, I want to present slideshows, I want to add rings, I want...well.... there's a point I stall out. I'm now looking into a sitebuilder provided by Yahoo/Geocities. Maybe....("But likely not," the artist mumbles. The muse sits, arms folded. She only scowls.)

Nov 29, 2004


Nov 26, 2004

The Holiday. Laid-back. Mostly at my computer. Editing a text, touching up an image, adding it to my site,stumbling around the internet, listening to NPR, browsing thru magazines (Discover, Newsweek, New York Review of books, Atlantic, Harpers.)

(Good add, the artist thought. The magazines would show him as an intellectual. One who went beyond the surface. One who used mind strings to tug the heart. "It should play good, don't you think?" he asked. The muse looked up. Smiled. Shrugged. "Hey. Do what you want. It's a holiday." She continued surfing the TV channels.. She loved "I Love Lucy" Thanksgiving. Maybe she was on one of the cables.)

Nov 25, 2004

Thanksgiving is here. I know. But a TV dinner is okay. I am thankful it is a quiet day. I am not a family man. Even married I was not a family man. (I enjoy moments when I feel part of a family. Last year in Springfield, Mo. with Marlee. With Mary. Their families. I felt included and it was good.)

But my fantasies or more often indulged on the other end of the spectrum. The down-an-outer. Lonely guy on a lonely street, collar turned up to blunt the freezing rain.

The closest realized occurred also in Springfield. 1966. Southwest Missouri Collge. Closed for the holiday. My first fall there. Not yet engaged with any groups or new friends. I am on the sidewalk in empty downtown. A small corner drugstore. Open. I go in. One customer. A middle-aged lady sipping a coffee at the soda fountain counter. She has had a rough night. I take a counter stool. She ignores me. I ignore her. I order a coffee. Light a cigarette. Beside the cash register are the menus. Taped to the register is a hand-written sign: " Today's Special! Turkey Sandwich w/lettice. $1.29." I order one. To go. Spin around to look at the magazine rack nearby. Continue my smoke and coffee as the sandwich is being made. And I think...consciously think - and smile - "Enjoy this. This is one to remember. This is a good day."

Nov 22, 2004

Show biz. Artists are in show biz. We create our work. Then we show it. So..."Knock 'em naked" as Wayne Newton's Vegas crew would say as he stepped on stage.

I like showbiz. I've not done a count but looking over a volume of past work I see it coming up time after time. It's probably my subliminal way of being a performer...easier in my art work than in actually doing. (From 1st grade thru middle age, being simply asked to stand and give my name held terrors.)

Now, as I assume the banner of "ccot" or "codger", it doesn't matter if I stumble or not. If I blush (which I still do occasionally) I can joke about it.

("Knock 'em nakied, Ralph!" )

Nov 21, 2004

Connected. Good, good feeling. I've came a good ways since a week ago today. That Sunday I was fustrated, my muse was fussy, for every keystroke forward I've have to delete two back. A techno I'm not. But thanks, thanks, to people here (the net), whenever I'd feel completely in a corner, a hope of light in the form of a suggestion or explanation would arrive...and I could continue on.

Particulary my appreciation for Blogs Illustrated for welcoming me aboard, and to and for Vit 'n' Madge for helping me navigate those final shaky steps. Oh, man....

Blogs Illustrated. I use the word "connection" often re: my art. That feeling one artist has when he/she encounters another artist who shares a similar direction to explore, wonder, and create. Blogs Illustrated jumped out. My first site searches for art journals, "outside" artists, and then to blogs and oneward was a fun one, a revalatory one (so much interesting explorations going one) and many I will explore more and again - but Blogs Illustrated...I thought "...yeah."



Nov 18, 2004

Enchanted 1

I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1987 and 88. Mid-century in age. A good creative time. It was in New Mexico that I found the courage to call myself an artist. Not "starving artist" as a defensive quip. But artist. Direct. And pleased with self. New Mexico. Good place. Good people. I made good friends.

Enchanted 2

Nov 17, 2004

"Art". Why define it? Let it rest!" The artist pictured leaning back in his chair and throwing his pencil down...watching it hit on its eraser end and bounce onto the floor. "Hmm... not bad," he thought. He typed it in.

Nov 16, 2004

I created templates for my "journal pages" x years ago. I exhibited the early ones for a time at a site named (under "studios" then "Ralph Ivy") I have since added textures to the templates and edited some of the "pages". I have Brown-binder "journals". Red ones. Green ones. Textured papers. Plain papers. The images appear in no particular order or sequence.

Nov 15, 2004

As Notches has evolved over the years, I have found certain sub-topics to rise to the fore. Both to my interest and my pleasure. Here are a few:

Lives that make Life Worth Living -- Homage to the Great American West -- The Verities of Love -- Tales of the Lost Hat -- A Walk on the Wild Side with the Audobon Society -- States of the USA -- and Connie's Cafe.

As I just noted to a fellow artist/friend, I'veeen exploring other art journal blog sites these past couple of days. Whew...enuff to get both envy and adrendline rushing. Envy because I see so many ways of presenting a web/log page and fustration because my techno skills hover around the "pre-novice" level. Adrendline because all motivates, edges me on to learn more, do more.

The ego crys out: "Ralph! How are you gonna compete with 10 thousand others? All waving banners and you, you, are wanting your's to be held the highest and the first one read!"

Oh, well...(Ah, wail...) if artists didn't stumble over their own egos, there'd be no cutting off of ears and moaning in cornfields. "Live with it," the Muse says.

Nov 14, 2004

Edit and re-edit. A boom-bam-boom. The only way I write is in these staccato bursts, sense and nonsense, two jumps forward and two jumps back, a boot-scoot shuffle, not knowing if I am into a rhythm or merely polishing the floor.


is better than
particularly when cigs
are in short supply
and the bait
to buy a dollar
requires little more
than lip gloss.
So Sarah figured,
fingering her ring
as she entered the pawnshop.
Eddie waited. "I'd wink too,"
he thought.


Nov 13, 2004

"Hal, where are you when I need you?" the artist moans. He leans back from his computer, stretches, exhales, and lights a cigarette. "I mean 2001 was over 3 years ago." He blows a plume of smoke onto the computer screen."

"Maybe it's case sensitive," the muse says. "Maybe it should be HAL. I mean..."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," the artist interupts. He's heard it before. She knows no more about computers than he knows. The only difference is she doesn't seem to care. "Well...." He hits the delete key. He'll try again.


Nov 12, 2004

of the interior mind,
and cough-spent,
a balanced star
on the high wire,
I wait,
for the gulf to open
and the dive to begin.


The taxidermist...the stickler...the falcon with facts for talons...I know them. I have been them. The calculator...manipulator...the nervous scooter across the linoleum floor. I know them. Solar-powered and wind-blown, pepper quick and stone cold. I have been them all.

It is why I write what I write. It is why I draw what I draw.

The pic below is the title page of my electronic Notches. It was created with Deluxe Paint, a fairly simple (by today's standards) paint program. Now I use Paint Shop Pro (5) for most of my work. I use the mouse to draw.

And what do I draw? What do I write? I have yet to find out what all I draw. What all I write.

So...I write as I write below - then, in Notches - it might be placed in a comic balloon and be words spoken by a homesick crocodile. Or used as a "cheer" by a Southwest Texas high school cheerleading team. And, in truth, have nothing to do with either at all.


Why do you take it
into the night,
this shattered axis
of your unredemptive heart?

I wonder.
And, not knowing,
I tip-toe forward,
casting sullen glances
at my past.



I just stopped to re-insert Cabaret into the VCR. I rented it last Saturday for a week; it and All That Jazz, both staged and directed by Bob Fosse, are two favorite musicals (An American In Paris would also be there). Today is the 3rd time I've played it since bringing it home.

And having said that, my mind is atwirl with a multitude of thoughts, associations and tales I want to tell, and lies and truths I want to put down. In words or images or combinations (more likely) of the two.

My first seeing of All That Jazz and my date that night, my reading the Fosse biography in Austin, my attempt to trace down Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stores (on which Cabaret was based) at the local library, my getting interested in modern dance by going to a local dance class and sketching during my first nervous months of getting off booze X years ago...well.

It is part of my problem. I don't have a singular vision, I have multitudes of visions (many mundane 'tis true) and I want 'em all down. Saying "here, here, here is a live lived. Mine.)


or ten times
or even ten times
ten times six
is not a number
I would sacrifice
to good intentions
even on an off day.

Even lucky seven
times eleven
divided by the Holy
Trinity of Three
(if I include myself - which I do)
might be a bust
and not just in Vegas
where snake-eyes
is as low as it gets
even on a sure thing.


"You used "even", four times just now," the muse said.

"Well, your using it now makes five - which is an odd number," the artist said. His voice had a slight tinge of smugness. He felt good..


Now is the time...Man, man, man, if I could only get by is the time...I would be....well, past "now is the time".