I just received an email from Amazon Local offering me a "Care Wash". I thought, what a great idea! I find I am caring way too much these days about things I can do absolutely nothing about, and it weighs heavily on my huge brain. How nice would it be to have all those cares washed away? Well, when I called the number, it turned out to be for some goddamn auto detailing place, which the guy who answered the phone explained to me with a somewhat disrespectful tone, and a bit of unwarranted snickering. He was clearly unaware that he was speaking to an Artist, "one of the finest artists of his generation", as Artforum claimed, or would have if they had ever met me. Well, long story short, I'm starting out this Friday a sadder but wiser man. I mean, if you can't trust Amazon, who can you trust?
Researching a recent project involved digging through the vast archives of the Wally Torta Library in Independence, Missouri--no, I'm sorry, in a cardboard box in my basement. I got it confused with the Harry Truman Library, as who wouldn't? Anyway, it was instructive to compare the things I drew back in 2006 to what I'm doing now. Instructive and depressing. One day these will be part of a photo essay in a Time-Life book showing the deterioration of the human brain as it ages and takes on the chemical composition of Roquefort cheese. The fact that I'm not even aware that Time-Life books no longer exist proves my point.
Back then my eye was caught by more than bored people sitting in coffee shops. And I was actually more adept at watercolor than I am now. What happened to my adeptitude? Where did my adeptivity go to? Maybe the same place as the navy boxer shorts with the little roosters on them. I can't find them either.
I worked downtown, and spent most of my lunch hours out sketching. There was a lot of interesting construction going on that year. Interesting as long as it was construction, that is. When they were done, we realized they were just more yawn-inducing Norfolk buildings.
When I did draw people, I was less constrained by verisimilitude. The way I drew was very dependent on what kind of mood I was in. The milk of human kindness is weak in this one.
Back then, my coffee shop of choice was Fairgrounds. Cafe Stella was still just a gleam in Stella's eye, which Mariusz always mistook for something else, which we won't go into here.
Nobody likes a whiner. But dammit, I wish I still drew like this.
I did a lot of self-portraits back then, in hopes that I would gain some insight into my soul. I guess what I discovered was that there wasn't a whole lot in there. It was like making a last sweep through the house on moving-out day. There was a ballpoint pen...seven pennies...an Amazon box with bubble wrap in it...a toilet paper tube...a pair of reading glasses missing one lens...an empty file folder labeled "important documents"...an empty "Wedding Crashers" DVD box...a lime-green post-it note saying "save this"....and that's about it.
This post is intended to make me feel better after that last train wreck. I like these fine works of art a lot more than those shameful figure drawings. Above is a Christmas card I sent out several years ago to select friends. Below is a drawing of my favorite watch. Enjoy!
I post these in the spirit of...well, no spirit. No spirit whatsoever. Enforced humility, perhaps. These defy the laws of anatomy, of physics, and probably several local ordinances as well. So what happens next is I go straight to Shucks and spare myself the despair. It's back to intruding on clothed people going about their business for me.
I know, I'm stalling, waiting for the muse to speak to me. I have a fickle muse. Ficklemuse, that sounds like a kind of German Christmas cookie, doesn't it? Shit. Okay, I give up. I'm well aware this hasn't been my best blog post ever. You're not telling me anything I don't know.
I post this not as a fine example of drawing, but as a fine example of posing. Within the space of 10 minutes, Rocky provided us with a great series of inventive, challenging, risky poses.
It's always an interesting experience to have someone you already know as a friend model for you. There's always an initial OMG moment, but within seconds she just becomes a model in the model space. Funny how that works. And then during breaks, she's herself again.
I didn't capture her likeness very well--some of the others nailed it. I'm no longer among the top echelon of Norfolk Drawing Group. We have so many more talented members now. But I defy anyone to beat me in the category of overweight art-show goers.
Been feeling unmoored lately. The gravitational force of whatever I imagined is holding me to solid ground is weakening beneath me. The great Photoshop Jockey in the sky has reduced my opacity to 50%. Moving that slider with his fiery finger, and having slid, moves on. Is this how it’s going to be? There’s a sense of wonder at the core, but the edges are curling into brittle self-pity. Am I drifting into “bottoms of my trousers rolled” country? Exposing my pathetic ankles (which the dominatrix valiantly tried to strengthen, to no avail)? I must dig into my desk-drawer detritus and find an old hallucinogen and demand answers! Until then, I’ll see how uncontrollable sobbing works. Yeah, I know, #firstworldproblems. #fuckyou.
This is a drawing that will forever remain unfinished. I lost track of the photo that was supplied me, and even who did the supplying. My suspicion is that this is a phenomenon I had better get used to, as my synapses wink out like dying stars, causing me to
The past is the past. We hurtle through the eternal present. There is a certain amount of continuity, but not nearly as much as we think there is. The physical content of our bodies is totally replaced every…well, some figure that would astound you; I’m too lazy to look it up. Well, I was. That moment’s over. All typing should be done in the past tense: by the time the words appear onscreen, the moment’s passed. I was tiping this. Now I was typing this. I mean THEN I was typing this. Actually the present is even faster than my thoughts, such as they are. Were. I’m gaving myself a headache. I think I will have stopped now/then.
This is a lot more interesting than the photos that were hastily taped to the walls: apparently a shower of ions or whatever, probably from sunspots, caused everyone’s hair to head instantaneously gravity-wise, like a dry cloudburst. It was spooky. See, if I was a Republican, I probably would have guessed that God inflicted this straight-hair plague upon us because of gay marriage, but I look for the scientific explanation first.
Tonight instead of sitting on the porch looking at Facebook on my iPhone I decided to just sit on the porch and watch my street. The first thing I noticed was that several of the cars that were parked head to tail along the street left, one by one. I would hear an electro-metallic chizzle, then a silver car would quietly glide away. An electro-metallic chizzle, then a beige car would glide away. An electro-metallic chizzle, then another silver car would back up a few feet, then quietly glide away. Maybe their drivers had just had enough. The next thing I noticed was the ambient noise of the insects. Building like a wave, then receding. And the whole time you couldn't see a thing. All that invisible noise! It made me think. The next thing I noticed was the voices drifting over from the patio of the pizza place across the street. The women's voices carried the best. And I could see parts of people through the tree limbs as they came out to smoke or talk on their cell phones. Moving pieces of legs and shirts and stuff like a mosaic or whatnot. Then I noticed that all the branches in all the trees were moving constantly, as if they were living things, which I guess they are technically. Then I noticed that things were harder to see, which meant it was getting darker, even though the sky still seemed pretty light. The trees were getting more solid. And the cars pulling away put their lights on. And then I decided to go inside. Okay, I cheated a little bit. I did have my iPhone out and I typed all this while I was noticing it. That still counts, doesn't it?
Without light, night is nothing. You can see how thirsty the night is for light. A walk around the block at 11 pm is measured by light spills poured out on the ground. Some say Abe Lincoln lay in the mud and read by spilled light, but I don't believe it. The internet is rich with things not to believe. It's ruining belief with created things. Something is very very wrong with my synapses. But I know the cure.
No, no no, that's just click bait. No baby bumps today, just reportage on the blossoming of CSDG with the addition of Bernard, Devon, Natalie, and Jen and kids, joining Kathy, Kristena, Jacob and Emily. Sadly, Kristena will soon be abandoning us for--of all places--Nashville. So we need a replacement. Another sweet, kind, talented person would be nice. But a rude, loud, hopelessly untalented person would be fine too.
It's getting ready to rain. The liquor is bought. Large cars are angling in the small parking lot, in a hurry to get home with the liquor. Later, in another parking lot, the rain falls on the shopping cart full of paper bags full of food. The rain is brought inside. The sky is no longer worth looking at, let alone being photographed. Fuck that sky and its promises.
Crack Skull Bob cannot do Lydia Davis. Crack Skull Bob cannot even do Crack Skull Bob. But what else is there to do? I hear footsteps.
B. Kliban has always been one of my favorite cartoonists, and I was reminded the other day of his fine book, "whack Your Porcupine". I used to have all his books, but like almost all of my possessions from more than ten years ago, they've all disappeared down a black hole. If there is a God, He seems to be Hell-bent on obliterating my history, but that's another story. Okay, Kliban. I went to Amazon, repository of every material thing anyone could possibly want, looking for a replacement copy of Whack Your Porcupine. And was shocked to find that it was $80! I guess I'm glad that he's valued so highly, but $80! And why are his books out of print anyway? So anyway, here are a few of his cartoons from that book:
This is clearly the yard of a person who doesn’t like the way foliage grows naturally. Makes you wonder what her you-know-what looks like, doesn’t it? No? Oops, sorry. Yeah, I know there’s a long history of nature-shaping, and sure, stuff need to be trimmed to co-exist with us in our traffic-congested fume-choked garbage-strewn concrete and asphalt world, but for me the pleasure of seeing a bit of natural effusion is missing from a tree like this one. What I like about the presence of nature in our sterile grid of urbanity is the way it grows by its own rules, and fuck us. It sprouts from cracks, it runs up telephone poles, it brings down power lines, it heaves up sidewalks from underneath, and it infuriates lawn Nazis. It’s like Anonymous without the pompous pronouncements and Guy Fawkes masks. And it will probably return in force once we have succeeded in our long-term societal erotic asphyxiation.
From the archives, a series of illustrated anagrams. The funny thing is, I can't remember the original word(s) that these were anagrams of. So they're now just free-floating anagrams, kind of like the space junk you read about, out there in space, just bobbing around untethered. I'm proud to have made my small contribution to the word junk floating around in the great void. The end.
I’m just coming out of an extended blue period. Or going into one, I forget. At any rate, blues, don’t you dampen my door. Parking-garage scenarios I can handle, the wide scatter and whatnot. Doorways, though, are more like sphincters or permeable membranes. I’m in the vicinity now. I understand the situation. But it’s not the right one. I’d charge right through the door, if I knew which side of it I’m on. Alternatively, I can dick with old drawings from earlier times, when things were either better or worse. Case in point.
I was down in the catacombs chasing away the nutria when I came across these rare, never-before-seen--well, I-forget-when-before-seen--watercolor drawings from figure drawing group, and I was so stunned I sat on the nutria. But my loss is your gain!
Feast your eyes on these babies while I try to rescue that pesky testicle. These sketches bear witness to a time when I would actually attend drawing sessions, armed only with the bare necessities, a pad and a brush, and barely hesitated as I proceeded to bare my soul on paper, exposing my ego to the possibility of stark failure, dealing a blow to my naked ambition. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.
No, this is not about Kate's fucking baby bump diary. I'm just trying to punch up my numbers with the distaff demographic. God knows my numbers could use punching up. They're not just low, they've become negative. Women who have never heard of my blog have vowed never to visit it, should they be informed of its existence.
So no baby bumps today. What I'm doing today is recycling some old bits from 2006, on the assumption that all my readers from back in the early days have grown old and died, or have finally been apprehended by the authorities and are growing old in a maximum security venue without Internet access, or have their faces planted in a bowl of mushy peas while Ellen blares from the day room tv.
In 2006, I was still working in an office, in a room without windows. I was still a few years away from meeting the people who punted me out of my doldrums. My blog and its drawings were my only escape. I was like a Mennonite woman who, in the midst of the plainest of lives, exuded flamboyant quilts. And that’s the only way I’m like a Mennonite woman, I hasten to add. My output has lost some of that flamboyance these days, but it’s a small price to pay. I think.