Three Paintings

Summer busyness has reduced the frequency of blog updates, but I’m still drawing! There is a backlog of art to post, so I’ll start with these.

beachcomber

forest_monster

goddess_worship

When sitting to draw with no purpose in mind, I just start doodling. When a scribble intrigues me, I’ll work it up to a more finished form. These were each finished in a single drawing session, averaging two hours. I’m guessing each reflects my mood during their creation.

Blame Venus.

UGGGGGGHHHH!

I feel like there’s something there, but I don’t know what it is. This strange energy. It resembles frustration, yearning, a touch of self pity. Humph. I don’t know what it wants.

It wants something though, always wants something. What more can it want? I’m living healthy in a good place. I’m following my calling, hot on its tracks. If I had a hundred thousand dollars, cash, stuffed under my mattress and in hidden in tube socks, I wouldn’t be living any differently. So what do you want???

Some form of self expression? Don’t give me that artist crap.

Then what is this formless burning desire? It has no object, it only wants. It wants to shatter into a billion pieces and dust the landscape. It wants to impregnate the unwilling and clone itself endlessly. It wants to stare at the sun and renounce its name. It wants loving fingers run through its hair; it wants you to leave in the morning. It wants more metaphors, and of a better quality.

Life. Fucking life. Fucking goddamn motherfuckin’ wonderful life.

My Dad

Spoke with my Dad tonight. There’s not many people who understand me like my Dad. My Dad and I are similar in many ways. We’re both artists, dreamers, modern day philosophers. But we’re in very different places. My Dad, nearing 60, lives in Los Angeles. Feels trapped by it. Trapped by the concerns of eking out a living on the edge of retirement. My Dad fixes and installs pool equipment. It’s not a glamourous job, but it pays well. There’s lots of work for a pool guy living in Los Angeles. Of course, nobody dreams of being a pool guy.

He used to dream of being a rock star. He grew up inspired by Bob Dylan, was among the first to attend U2 shows. He plays guitar like a craftsman and used to have a band. In the first house I lived, he built a soundproof room and had strange men come over, with names like Rocco and Jim. The walls would vibrate me to sleep, and the next day I’d wake Dad at noon. They had records. They had fans. They had a dream.

Somewhere along the line, my Dad moved to Colorado and became a mortgage-broker. Torn in eighteen different directions, music emerged a dusty, washed-out road. Now he deals in pool machinery and has carpal-tunnel from adjusting nuts and bolts. Playing guitar pains him now, and not just in his hands.

My dad is so proud of me. When I tell him I’m exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to be doing… I feel like I’m bragging. But he’s happy for me, though he says he’s jealous of people who align with their destiny, “vibrate with their own frequency”. I tell him that science tells us that time is not linear. He confesses that sometimes I’m the only thing that keeps him going.

We talk about women. He asks if my ex-lover inspired me to creativity. I say no. That love, for me, is a constricting experience. He says that love is an inspiration to him, so I stop and reconsider. My dad listens as I tell him I think I could be happy alone, forever. He says it takes a very rare and special woman to allow her man the space to be alone.

I wish my Dad wasn’t so hard on himself. I wish he wouldn’t measure his life in terms of artistic success. My Dad’s been a blessing to me, and I hope he can find peace in the absence of achievement. I wish these things for myself too, but only half-heartedly. My Dad and I are similar in many ways.

Unexpected Journey

This poem won first place in a local poetry contest. I’ve got to admit: it’s kinda nice being a big fish in a small pond. You can hear the performance here.

Unexpected Journey

Remember when we were the ancients?
Combing the gnarled landscape nude?

Texas.
November.
Late autumn rains has washed rocks clean,
swollen rivers to overflowing.
Clothed on the sidelines we watched it gush,
pound,
push,
it’s way past river banks
into lands not allowed.

We too yearned for freedom,
so in our youth we stripped.
Leaving the safety of our shells
we washed
ourselves
away.
Unafraid
of angry torrents
and watersnakes.

With hospitality afforded to long awaited guests,
the river swept us,
gently,
under her dark forested canopy,
pre-historic playground,
jungle-gym.

We emerged from dark water Neanderthal,
yet somehow more beautiful, more pure,
feet heavy with mud,
fragments of leaves and twigs
caught between your crevices.
Me: stick-like Praying Mantis
You: fleshy Goddess
for these brief, wonderful moments
having lost your self-consciousness.
Perfection there is all around us
and you, at its center
flawless.

What would I have done
had I known
the exquisite rarity of such things?
Would I have changed my behavior?
Screamed at the top of my lungs
for time to stop
kill me now
end this dream?

and you…
had you known
death was coming for your mother
and we would part ways soon thereafter,
PAIN! Pain! Pain.
Would you have clenched these memories tighter?
… or washed it all away?

What do you do with old sketchbooks?

So I’m giving up my house of 4 years in Austin, thus being forced to go though my belongings and whittle away unnecessary items. As it turns out, I’ve gone through a lot of sketchbooks over the past 5 years, most filled with pretty awful drawings. Part of me wants to burn them, part of me wants to keep them around for nostalgia’s sake, and a teeny-tiny part wants to keep them in hopes they become worth something someday. It seems like a pretty big burden to haul them around your entire life. What to do?

So I ask my artist friends: What have you done with your old sketchbooks? Please post!

Valet Days

This is a valet ticket stub, the kind you grab when you park your car. For years I’ve handed these to customers in exchange for cash. I’ve driven thousands of cars for hundreds of miles, all within the same 3 block radius. I’ve been thanked, ignored, and pitied – ’tis the life of a valet.

I had other options for employment, yet I took this job for the freedom it afforded. Flexible hours and ample down time made it the perfect job for a growing person in search of himself and his art. I’ve made many ‘a buck, read many ‘a book, and done plenty of drawing at that beat up valet stand. And recently I found these old ticket stubs with drawings of cars on the back.

 

Looking at these distorted, rubbery vehicles, I cringe at their amateurish quality. Yet they also fill my heart with nostalgia and thankfulness. This job provided exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. Which isn’t to say it was difficult to quit!! I couldn’t wait to get outta there!!! It has served its purpose, but now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!