Apr 29, 2009

Apr 27, 2009

Cabaret. Berlin '20s. Hollywood's Golden Age. '30's. '40's. '50's. Magic images. Mystery fantasies. The age of wars. The wars of love. The desire of dreams. Dreams of nightmares. Days of the locust. The naked and the dead. Living from here to eternity. In the moment. Swing rocking around the clock. Doris lying to Rock. Sal Paradise hitting the road. Elvis assuring it's alright, momma. Freud understands. Kinsey reports.And Rock lies to everybody. I am 15. 16. 17. 18. I draw. I am smitten. I am an artist.

Apr 23, 2009

If it works, it works. If it doesn't work, it works. If it makes sense, it makes sense. If it doesn't make sense, it makes sense. It is why artists do art. And love doing art.

Apr 22, 2009

I was about 15 when the first issue of Playboy was published. I was playing penny poker with 3 school friends, and one had sneaked it out of the shop where he was working part-time. Marilyn Monroe. Naked! We thought Vargus poster girls and WW2 bomber nose art was as extreme as it could get. But "Wow!" here was a whole new world!
We all could not wait to grow up! And the Playboy Rabbit would be our escort of envy into the world of groove and cool.

Apr 20, 2009

Apr 16, 2009

...The Muses. Thankfully my angels. Escorting me through the highs and lows of an artist's life. They have long been my companions and I constantly create and re-create them in their myriad personalities and forms. Even in their "fussy" modes they are the role models I adore. ("Is he trying to butter us up?" the 1st muse said. "Ah, that's just Ralph," the 2nd Muse said, a slight smirk to her reply.)

My favorite. Swing. Piano jazz. Cabaret. A singer center stage. Blues. Lost love. Memory. Hope. Always hope. And a smile to light the stage when the concert ends.

Hollywood. "The Day of the Locust" by Nathaniel West" is the book to read about Hollywood. A skid row away from Sunset Blvd. Shattered dreams of imagined glory. If there is any art that topped comic books in shaping my image of life, of self, of what I too must become, it was the movies. I attended shows almost nightly growing up (pre-TV) in my small Ozark hometown. The Uptown Theater. The Stone Theater. Cost was 14 to 15 cents for under 12 and 30 to 35 cents for adults. Tuesday night was "pal night" when two tickets were sold for the price of one. The Uptown was a block away. The Stone was about 3 blocks away. I first wanted to grow up and be a cowboy. Then, mid-teens, a cool Humphrey Bogart style was what I wanted to grow into. Mean streets. Back bars. Broken neon. Trash littered alleys. Home. Hollywood. "The Day of the Locust" took me there. I still re-read the book. Shattered dreams remain alive.

Apr 15, 2009

-------------- As times flow, lists grow.

Apr 14, 2009

Ladies night out at the bar. The first lady to the left is somewhat apprehensive. "What have I gotten myself into..." she wonders. The second lady, the red-head, knows exactly where she is. "And don't you even think about it!" her expression says. The third is slightly hopeful something nice may happen...but fairly doubtful. The young lady to the right is the innocent. She is curious. Not open. But not turned off either. I like them all.

Apr 13, 2009

"Yes...posted the 13th. But at least it is not Friday." the artist reminds. Thankfully.

Playing with "paint". Moving lines. One of my early (and few) forays into "painting" using an art program. Came out okay. Curious, I added "texture" t0 the image. Liked it. I imagine this enlarged to 6'x4' and printed out on canvas! I would hang it on my wall. ("Dream on," the Muse said.)

Another "painting". Eve. Eden. Contemplative. The apple waits. Patient.

...but patience only lasts so long. Eve sighs. Straightens. Reaches. History begins.

Visiting at Jan and Mary and Christine, Jan's mother, was there. We had a good talk. She is of my own parents' generation and I enjoyed our connection. Later I was "sketching" and building on whatever images evolved on my computer screen. This figure, reminded me of that evening, of my own mother, and I penned in (moused in?) the fireplace, the comforting flames...home. I call it "the mom."

The sleep of innocence. She is nude. Somewhat provocatively exposed. With a few twists of brush and color the atmosphere could change. But now asleep. At rest. At peace. No fear. I like the vision the Muse has given here.

Evita loves New Mexico. I love Evita. She was created on my Amiga at the end of the '80s when I lived there. It was a creative time. I had quit a career in the journalism trade, sold my home, paid my mortgage, took what savings I had, and begin a new period of art. The new world of computer graphics added to the thrill. "Evita" is a example of moving from what I had done with pens and color markers to rolling a mouse across a pad and watching the pixels pop across the computer screen. A journey I still trip on. Evita. She's my girl.

Apr 10, 2009

Returning here to Fayetteville after a 2-year foray into New Mexicao, happy but broke, I scrounged enough money to pay a week's room rent, and took the first job I could find - as a janitor-custodian at our local University. The job gave me access to a web server. A new foray - onto the Internet - was underway.

It was definitely a speed trip into the West of the Wild. The words following "The speed bump..." above take their own trip. They can be followed as two columns - down the first column and then over to the second - or, following the "arrow" sign, read as one-column from top to bottom. Playing with words. With the Muse along for the ride!

And the thoughts do come. Infinite. Triggered by the thoughts of literally millions of others. All at light speed. Everything. Info overload. From the Greek translation of the Holy Bible to the latest soil analysis radioed back by the Mars Rover. Are daily pedicures written into CEO's contracts? Has President Obama sneezed in public this week? The answers are there. All condensed to ones and zero! Magic Land.

The Muse is curious? I'm curious. Maybe "frantic" is more accurate. Whatever information (images or text) is entered onto the Net, other choices are endless. What will work? What will crash? It remains a hell of a ride. An on-going adventure.

How not "fess up" to anything done on the internet? It is hardly a choice. Which I accept. I grew up in a small town. People knew what other people did. Even "global" a village is that: a village. Where, as I now write, I live.

So ... One. Two. Three. The holy trio. The muses agree. Dancing on. But with foresight. Read their post below.

"Thank you, thank you, ladies." the artist said.

Aside from new ways of drawing (using the mouse) and coloring, the computer opens a door into a completely new realm of design and layout and presentation, a world - even after several years of stumbling forward - I have yet to fully appreciate and understand. Many artists from my generation are repulsed at entering this door at all. It is the history of art. Many cling to the learned (the world of the "Masters")and only a few barge forward - awkward as it is - into the new.

Don is an artist I bonded with during our college days at the Univ. of Ark. About a 10-year difference in age but what the calender divided our common interest in art - making art, talking art - writing art - living art pulled us into lasting friendship. Thanks to Don I also became good friends with his wife Shanti and family. Home in Texas, he and Shanti are now living in Mass. But back to Texas they intend to go. The photo here was taken by Don's son, Josh, in Lockhart - a small town triangulated between Austin and San Marcus. And the comment about building a web page? I am getting there.

Our Gang - photo

Our Gang. A few here. Frou, myself, Jan, and Jack. All survivors of the '60s. Artists, architects, video shooters, dancers, writers, junkies, musicians, poets, downbeats clinging on, upbeats heading down - a mix. It is the attraction of living in a college town. Many formed our bonds from those days. The Ozarks hills welcomes all.

The image above was scanned from one of my old journals from the early '80s when I was intently involved in drawing and writing whatever came to the moment. Some made sense. Some didn't. It didn't matter. The important thing was to get it down. I did volume after volume. And, thankfully this time, my efforts were not abandoned. I kept doing them for some years and I have now turned many of them over to Special Collections at the Mullins Library at the University of Arkansas. Hopefully there they will remain intact.