Recent Drawings

Here are some drawings I culled from a recent sketchbook. As you can see, I like to draw in many different styles and sometimes get frustrated not knowing which one to pursue and develop further. Some say that not keeping with a single style is a liability, while others say it’s an asset. Somedays I feel like I’m having an identity crisis, other days, glad to have such diversity. I don’t know what to believe, but I enjoy exploring different styles and hope that each will somehow lend itself to the whole, or perhaps one day meld into a single super-style. Is there one or the other you prefer?

My go-to cartoony characters.
Was developing a one-eyed creature until I realized it looks too much like the Simpson's aliens.
Exaggerated proportions.
A basketball player with slightly more realistic features.
More realistic.
Stylistic villian.
Fun Mr. Flying Head
"Hey! Get back here!!!"

The Saga Continues

It’s been nearly two months since the last blog entry — bad, even by my standards. But I have a really good excuse… really! I now live in Oregon, in a tent, in the wilderness. Well “tent” is a little harsh I suppose. It’s actually a yurt. And actually it’s quite comfortable. It has a nice kitchen, a decent bathroom, and a cozy wood stove that I plan to park my rear near all winter.

What the yurt DOESN’T have is internet access. It was hard at first, not having that constant stream of frothy information on tap. But once the nausea and tremors subsided, I found that it’s actually kinda nice not having internet as an option. Now, instead of turning to the screen with each free moment, I’m more likely to go for a walk, draw, or crack open a book. Of course, not having internet at home has its drawbacks too (being unable to find visual references, or update the blog), but for now it’s working. Time will tell if this is a real lifestyle change. In a moment of weakness I could easily see myself calling up the phone company and begging for a taste of the juice.

So life as been busy finding a home and moving, preparing for winter. It’s also my first time living with a partner, and Allison and I are discovering the joys and challenges of living together. Uncertainty about the future and the fate of my creative quest is often daunting, but I’ve found an encouraging book on that topic and feel good moving forward.

The drawing is coming along, I’m pushing my boundaries and refining my line further. I hope I can share some of it soon.

Photo Journal (with art to come!)

Being on a farm will help you appreciate the natural cycle of life and death. A few weeks ago, with the upmost solemn respect, we slaughtered 13 chickens for meat. For me, having never killed more than an insect, it was a slightly jarring experience, and gruesome for sure. Though I chopped off a few heads myself, something in me rebelled at every step of the process. It certainly made me reconsider being an omnivore. In our society we’re so disconnected from our food production I think many people can live their entire lives without questioning their diet. I wish more people had first hand experience. It would certainly lead to more conscious food choices (not just about meat, but about things like pesticides, animal treatment, genetically modified food, etc…).

John and Deb: Cold-blooded killers

But of course, with death comes life. We recently had 5 adorable chicks hatch. I feel especially happy for the mama hen. You see, most chickens (around here at least) lay their eggs and leave them unattended, off pursuing their own business. A few rare chickens become broody and sit on their eggs trying to get them to hatch. The mama of these chicks would sit on her eggs come hell or high water. For months I’ve had to grab her and lift her up in order to obtain her goods. Well we finally decided to let her sit on them, and her heartfelt desire for children has finally been realized.

She makes a great mama too. She follows them around and teaches them things like how to scratch for food. Very cute!
I think I’ve had poison oak on alternating parts of my body for the last 2 1/2 months straight. So with great delight I’ve been watching my arch-nemesis change color, its leaves slowly becoming impotent. You LOSE, poison oak!

But you sure have a beautiful way of surrendering.
With the growing season winding down, I’ve had time to pursue more pleasurable projects like sculpting artwork with mud plaster and working my stick:

AKA: Making curtain rods
All was going well until I went and stepped on a big, fat, rusty nail. Definitely one of the less enjoyable moments of my life.

Tetanus shots are for wimps.

And while it still hurts, at least I’ve had some down time to recover. I’ve used to opportunity to work on my art, creating a mini-project I’ll be unveiling soon. It should be posted within the next few days, so stop on by again, ya hear!?

Prelude to Cabin Fever

Autumn has arrived in Oregon — with it the rain. After months of continuous sunshine, three consecutive days of cold, dreary showers has come as a shock. Isn’t that how it is with life? You have something good and warm and nourishing, its presence secured, its face so familiar you begin to scorn its loyalty, then *poof* it’s gone before you realized what you had? Perhaps you even begin to wish you had savored it longer, been more present, done something different. There’s not much to be done now, however, so you decide to adapt because it’s better than being bulldozed by sadness.

This weather reminds me of Vancouver. The way low hanging clouds engulf mountains and tendrils of smokey fog reach into valleys to caress their depths before curling again towards the sky. After painfully long periods of grey, I like how the sun will peek out for brief seconds, as if to say “hello” and “I’m still here.” I like walking through wet, dripping forests. I like engorged rivers.

I don’t know where my home is again. Sitting at the window overlooking Hope Mountain, I ponder staying here, huddled up for the winter, reading, writing, drawing, living the gospel of Thoreau: loneliness is good for the soul. Peeking back at Austin, it all seems like vanity and distraction, a repulsive thought for a self-righteous puritan who secretly delights in not having looked in the mirror for days, weeks even.

That reminds me, I should probably trim my nose hair.

Photo Journal: Arizona is Contagious!

I saw this in the calendar section of the Austin Chronicle and thought it sounded fun. There’s nothing like a good old fashioned protest to get the blood pumping.

When I arrived, the forces were gathering. The pro-SB1070 crowd, though colorfully dressed, were meager in number. There were almost as many “counter-protesters”.

When the guardians of freedom, apple pie, and all things American began assaulting the air with country-western music, the counter-protesters knew it was time for business. Up the drive of the Capitol Building they marched.

Slurring racism and demanding justice, they pressed forward…

…undeterred by screaming harpies…

…or kindly old gentlemen shouting “GO HOME WETBACKS!”

Luckily, State Troopers we able to maintain the peace.

Noisy, noisy peace.

The officers didn’t bother with riot gear. It was a warm day and besides, this is Texas.

Amazingly, I didn’t see any signs bearing swastikas! When did protest signs become reasoned?

All in all, it was a good time had by everyone. They say Democracy is messy…

…but it’s still the best we got.

Dan Piraro: Bizarro

Dan Piraro’s work simultaneously inspires and makes me want to chuck all my pens into the garbage. It was comforting to learn that he’s been syndicated (ie: 7 comics a week) for 25 YEARS! That’s a lot of time to work on your craft. The good news, according to Dan: It get’s easier over time.