Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 279. Enlightenment at the Stoplight SOLD

Who knows what it was.  Penelope had sat at this same stoplight hundreds of times.  For whatever reason--the temperature, the song on the radio, or maybe the piece of dust that made her rub her eye, blurring her vision momentarily and then clearing it--she had a revelation.   She could finally see what those three lights were telling her.

The most definite command to "Stop."

Then, the hazy glow of yellow saying, "Caution--slow down."

She felt a shift inside herself.  She gazed upward, her mouth dropped open in realization.  Her life didn't have to go this way anymore.  She didn't have to go this way anymore.

And then, a surge of fire grew within her as she said to herself, "Go."

Acrylic, ink, oil

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 278. Gladys and Her Pink Eye

Devastated by the reaction to her pink eye at the euchre tournament, Gladys picked up her silver tray of English hothouse cucumbers on dark rye bread and limped out of the church's basement door. 

She had not asked for this pink eye which had now prevented her from becoming the euchre champion.  She let out a little sob as she slid into her car and quickly stuffed a cucumber morsel into her mouth.  My, they were good! And now, she had them all to herself.  As she pulled away from the curb, she brightened and suddenly felt like a winner after all.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 277. El Encierro - What A Bull Thinks

My internet connection went down today.  I was typing something and off everything went.  Terror ripped through me--no internet access, not again?!  Ah, we are so spoiled.  So while I called my IP, I grabbed a canvas that I had previously painted metallic red days before.

Why the running of the bulls?  It's not really the time of year for it.  It was the metallic, red color that brought it to mind.  I was just thinking, red equals blood equals people getting gouged by a bull in Spain, plus some beautiful, metallic matador's capote (jacket) floating through the air.  Back in July, I had read about some dude from Ohio who experienced a "rectal perforation" this year--actually several people really got it--23 injuries!  Ouch! Ah, here's the link for more information if you dare:

Maybe I am totally lame.  Yes, I'm sure that's true.  But I'll tell you what, I have COMPLETE respect for the indiscriminate whims of Mother Nature and animals.  I don't try to outsmart them, and I know my capabilities.  I am not a tri-athlete (or any kind of athlete!) nor a "bull-whisperer" so therefore you will never see me risking rear-end, entrail-tearing events such as that stated above and shown below!  Then I thought, can you imagine what the bull thinks?  "You idiots!  And then you'll be mad at me for hurting you."  I think they must be simultaneously angry and weary of it all at the same time!  O.K., so that's where this one started from...all triggered from the metallic, red color, my being on hold for 45 minutes, and my meandering mind. (-;

And here's how the bull thinks: 

"On this day, it's the same thing. The "running of the bulls" occurs in San Fermín and I, because I am a bull, try to kill people.  Don't blame me, it's my nature!  Fools!"

"En este día es todo lo mismo. "El Encierro" occure en San Fermín y yo, porque soy un toro, trato de morir las personas.  No me culpo por eso, es mi naturaleza.  ¡Los tontos!"

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 276. Blueberry Cafe

Each morning he said, "I love blueberries."

She said, "Nobody loves blueberries that much."

He said, "You add sparkle to my day."

She said, "You're just seeing the glitter in the formica."

He said, "This place has the most eclectic style."

She said, "This place has a schizophrenic style, and if it weren't for the same blueberry ingredient in all the dishes, nothing here would be the same."

But she was wrong, because he was the same and she was the same.  
 He, ever yearning for this blueberry-tinged damsel; she, ever yearning for true-blue love from a rich romeo never stopping by this sticky joint.

Acrylic and Ink

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 275. Something Sinister Caught in The Flash

The bloodied weapon still in his right hand, he had to reach awkwardly across his body with his left in order to make the mandatory call.  The job was done.

He was a hood for hire.  He moved stealthily at night, a shadow amongst shadows; even a black cat in the midnight hour was more visible than he.  A whiskey bottle was waiting for him in his room, and never one to dawdle, he moved swiftly to answer its call.

However, it was of the most unfortunate of circumstances on that cloudless night, that a naive photography student, Bernard Rexal, was experimenting with slow-sync flash.  Bernard had recently gotten a C- on a project for using only a frontal flash which captured his subject--Gabriella, a knockout co-ed forced into being his partner--but left her enveloped in a sea of stark, black background.  She scoffed at his results.  Not this time around, sister.  He had done his research and was trying out a "front-curtain" technique.  The flash should fire at the start of the shot when the shutter opened to illuminate his subject, a simple fire hydrant.  Next, the shutter was supposed to remain open for the remainder of the shot--long enough to capture everything in the background.  He would be redeemed! 

Disastrously, Bernard's technique caught the face of grim death.  A searing gaze burned through the night in the direction of his click and flash.  "He with no name" felt fury boil within himself.  Who was this Poindexter?  Rage flooded within him as the coming taste of alcohol moved further away.  He snarled into the phone, "I have one more job to do."

He  shoved the phone back into his overcoat pocket and turned purposefully.  Bernard saw him and felt his fury.  Blood drained from his face as the world started spinning.  Could this really be happening?  Lamentably, this was no surrealistic dream; his life was at stake.  Bernie had one chance of survival within him.  Never had he thought he would be thanking the bullies who had taunted him all his life, chasing him home from school.  His cultivated speed from all those years was his only hope for continued life...and the A+ that he would get from this photo...and the look of approval in gorgeous Gabriella's green eyes.  Run, legs, run!

Acrylic and vine charcoal

(Credit to for helping in the explanation of a "front-curtain" shot.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 273. So Weary.SOLD

I'm so tired.  Sometimes this project is just kicking my arse.

Here's how I feel--"Sister Morphine" (one of the best songs ever made)--the slow chords...Mick's plaintive voice at the beginning.  Keep with it--sorry, that I feel compelled to constantly be some rock 'n' roll educator.  Why?  I don't know; maybe because I just read some survey that 80% of kids don't know who the Beatles are or that they thought only old people listen to the Stones.  Such a travesty.

Pay special attention and listen at 2:41/2:42 as Charlie Watts' drum kicks in and Keith's guitar right after.  Maybe I'm waking up.  ha!  Nope.  Back to weariness.  Peace out.  I have to go to bed...exhausted.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 272. Interactive Portrait

In the spirit of the world's obsession with reality t.v., I invite you to participate in figuring out what is occurring in this painting.  Is our subject:

1)  Finding it hard to wake up?
2)  Performing a form of interpretive, modern dance?
3)  Shielding her eyes at her uneven make-up application?
4)  Looking at the mustard stain on the back of her strapless gown?
5)  Realizing that her new deodorant is sorely amiss?

 Aha! ha! ha!  I could create a story for each, but I'll let you do that, dear, interactive reader.  

Maybe this will help.  Here's the music I was listening to while I drew and painted:

1) Jack White:  "Love Interruption" in honor of that 22-year-old/Pittsburgh Apple employee/fabulously wonderful nerdy-glass wearing/last singer on "The Voice" tonight.  Loved him!  What!  Yes, it's true--I was watching reality t.v.  And you know what?  I just want to be outside at this concert, smelling someone's exhaled cigarette smoke, or some kind of smoke, on the cold air.  (-;

Roskilde 2012

And this:

2) Amy Winehouse:  "Valerie"  Live

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 271. It Was A Spirograph Summer

Well, peeps, I'm typing this at 1:02 p.m., and according to "The Old Farmer's Almanac" that means it's STILL summer until 3:44 p.m. CST.  And what a beautiful summer it has been.  There were a few scorchers (unlike last year when it was ALL a scorcher) and a humdinger of humidity last Thurdsay night (ugh), but overall, this was a summer snatched from my childhood.  Beautiful breezes, upper 70s °F (25 °C) and low to middle 80s °F (30 °C), frequent low humidity (unheard of in IL)--it was paradise!

Because it was so beautiful out, I let Ebert's quivering nose guide us around and around and around in a local park, not caring that we were lingering forever in approxiamately the same 20 foot circle.  I thought, it's as if I'm in a perpetual spirograph with him following the scent of squirrels and rabbits and birds that had frolicked here before him.  It was o.k., though.  I stared up at the deep blue sky, felt the breezes on my skin, smelled the fresh-cut grass, and let the earth's green seep into me as my feet followed an oval path of infinity.

I was so fascinated by Spirograph in my youth!  All those endless patterns and swirls you could make, all as varied as someone's fingerprints.  Do you remember it?

Did you ever have a Spirograph

Lordie, here's some Kenner Spirograph commercials from the '70's--they're just so GROOVY I couldn't decide which one to include--so here's two.  Hilarious!  O.K. now back out to this beautiful weather.  I hope you had a wonderful summer, and I wish you an equally fabulous fall. (-:



I also loved Lite-Brite, Monopoly, Life, Rummy and Operation growing up, but that's another story. (-;

P.S.  It's rare that I sketch things out anymore.  I usually just start painting on the canvas, but for this one, I wasn't quite sure how to go about it.  I actually first thought of this back in June (June 14th to be exact--on the first heavenly spirograph day), but put off doing until the last possible moment of summer for some reason.  Here it is.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 270. Oh No, Daddy-O! She Knew Her Physics.

Oh no, Daddy-O!  No one was going to win this blue-raspberry Bubblelicious-blowing contest, except Wilhelmina Wonderwild.  She had been practicing her bubble-blowing technique for the past year.  Why, she had even gotten her hair cut with über-back layers in an effort to maximize her potential blowing energy by giving greater mass to the back of her head.

Oh, yes, indeedy!  She wasn't just another pretty face!  She knew her physics (not to mention the fact that she had raced pinewood derby cars).

She was ready.  Let the bubble blowing begin.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 269. The Eyes Have It

Um, I don't know what's going on here, but I can tell you, it's a lot!

I had a lot of fun playing around with this.  I'm going to dub it, "The Eyes Have It." (-;

9" x 12" 
Acrylic and India ink

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 268. Tropical Bird (SOLD)

I had this flower hanging out on my table forever, and I was just playing around with it.  I wanted to give it a home on a painting so there you go--simple as that. 

Tropical Bird

Here it is in different lighting and before I added a bit of eye highlight:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 267. Excrutiating Week of Calculating (No Longer Available)

My poor hand after a particularly excruciating week of calculating, culminating in the deformed extremity in front of you.

Let me tell you, I'm lubed up on ibuprofen while I draw this, and why did I decide to draw something requiring me to clutch my pen so tightly with my inflamed, carpal-tunneled wrist and hand?

Masochism, thy name is I.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 266. Is It Really Only Tuesday?

Is it really only Tuesday?  

Oh well!  On the plus side, peeps, starting here, I only have 100 paintings/drawings to go...C'est un miracle! ¡Es un milagro! It's a miracle!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 265. Who Saw That Plot Change Coming?

Late at night, congratulating himself on his superior deductive skills by figuring out who the culprit was, Leonard was given a swift kick in the patootie of smugness when the author switched things up and delivered an ending worthy of its place on the The New York Times® Best Sellers list.

"Oh my goodness," he squealed to his armchair, "who saw that plot change coming?"

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 263. The Mistake Was Three-Fold

The mistake was three-fold.

1)  She should have never gone out with this rapid talker in the first place.

2)  She should have stepped back when he was in her personal space.

3)  She shouldn't have used a new lip plumper for this date.

One step backwards or a less bee-stung-replicating potion application would have saved her from this guy's spittle landing on her bottom lip.  Not going out with him would have spared her ears, but that was another issue entirely.

 10" x 10" x 1 3/4"

This is actually based on an event that happened to me, unfortunately.  Someone was at my counter at work and they were talking on and on and suddenly, I could feel it happen.  A piece of their spit on my lower lip.  UGH!!!  I wiped it away vigorously, let me tell you.  I just brought the post-it home from work on Friday (yesterday) and was going to post it here, but now I can't find it.  If I do, I'll add it, peeps.


P.S., here's a similar scenario that took place between Jamie Foxx and Al Pacino in "Any Given Sunday."  I wouldn't have minded if the exchange had been with A.P.!  Ha!  (-;

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 262. Find Your Happiness, Joggler!

Did anyone see this feature on CBS News Sunday Morning about Jack Hirschowitz, a psychiatrist and joggler--a juggling jogger?  It originally aired 11/11/12, but I recently saw it again when CBS re-ran it.  I had thought, Oh yeah, this has got to become a painting!  And, since I'm in a "New York state of mind," here we go.

You've got to love this man!  He's so happy doing something that brings him joy.  He's even joggled through the NYC Marathon several times.  I'll let you watch the clip below--it tells it all. (-:  Hope you find your own joggling bliss on this beautiful day.  Enjoy it Midwest--the heatwave is over!

Here's my version of a joggler--a young Jack Hirschowitz, if you will, although the 67/68-year-old actually looks pretty ageless. (-:

Hmm.  I chopped off his little running shoe a bit on the one above, but this one below is a little crooked.  Eh, whatev, no time to "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" now...I must be off...hope you get the joggler idea. (-;  See the clip below.

CBS News Sunday Morning about Jack Hirschowitz:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 261. I Couldn't Quite Bring Myself to Do It.

I know it's a day after 9/11.  I know that everyone went through the grieving of that event yesterday, and now will try to put the pain and memories aside for another year, but I couldn't quite bring myself to paint something for the day.  That's not completely right.  I also didn't know what I wanted to paint either.

I can remember, 12 years ago, walking up the stairs to my office, and a co-worker saying a plane had flown into the World Trade Center.  And then awhile later, a second one had hit.  And we knew.  We knew at that moment that the first plane hadn't been an accident.  We were under attack.  And then someone shouted, "They're hitting the Pentagon now!"  And I can still remember going up to the women's bathroom and sitting in the stall, and writing in my journal.  Writing what was happening, and writing, "Please, God, Please."  I was scared.  We all were scared--terrified, really.

And I can remember flipping around all the news stations, but landing on low-voiced, somehow comforting Shepard Smith, day after day after day on the news...I could never pull myself away, eyes and ears glued for more details. Just like everyone else, I watched those images, over and over again.

And I can remember this.  I can remember a paramedic saying to a reporter that the media was really doing a disservice to the American public, by NOT showing the gruesome carnage.  He said, "People need to see the reality of this situation."  He felt they needed to see the bodies, and the detached limbs--to see and feel the horrific-"ness" of the scene--to experience what they were witnessing and not be anesthetized by clever editing and distance.

And I remember this horrible detail--how rescue workers said, initially you could hear all these cell phones going off--ringing underground.  And as hours went by the ringing became less frequent and fainter, and fainter still, until there was silence.  I imagined people, alive, trapped underground--not dying in the towers, put trapped under so much concrete, air slipping away into twisted metal above them.

I remember someone from France saying, "We are all Americans today."  See, I cry now, just typing it.

And I can tell you, on my bookshelves, I have two books on personal accounts of that day, a story of a woman seeing just a foot in the street.  I have the Time and Newsweek magazine issues, and Life Magazine's commemorative issues.  I have the NY Times' 10th anniversary coverage pull-out, and I have the Vogue magazine article on the woman who had 90% of her body burned by a fireball when the elevators opened up and enveloped her.  She got out, she was lying on the grass outside, but when she looked at her skin, she thought, something is wrong.  It was snow white and completely smooth, waxy.  She fought back.  She thought of her children and she survived.  I think of my Maira Kalman's children's book, "Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey" the story of the defunct fireboat that came to the city's rescue on that unimaginable day.

I have watched all the t.v. shows.  I can remember sobbing; sobbing so much after an all-day viewing of the events, that it felt like I was watching the entire thing happen for the first time, my head so full of snot and tears, and a pounding headache.  I remember going to Starbucks and sitting with 2 people on the 5th anniversary, and one saying to the other, "I'm sick and tired of this 9/11 stuff," and the other person replied, "As well you should be."  Really?  I sat there stunned.  I felt like I didn't even know these people. I can never forget.  I CAN understand not wanting to feel the pain of it.  I can never be "sick" of it.  Sick from it, yes.

I'm not sure if anyone has waded through all this writing.  It's a lot of memories, and I haven't even written a half of them.


And so tonight, always on a walk with Ebert, I was approaching the corner where our post office sits.  And I looked up and there was the American flag, twisted, at half-staff, and limp against the silver pole.  No air was stirring, not a whit.  I stood staring, and the tears welled up inside of me.  It looked like the flag was crying, slumped in grief.  It, too, remembering the day's significance.

We walked more, and I ended the night by walking again past that post office.  This time around, though, there was the faintest of breezes.  And those breezes lifted the bottom edge of the flag and it began to move.  And I felt, America, you are still alive.  Please, continue to fly.

I drew this in a child-like manner to try to capture the vulnerability, the helplessness we felt and feel on this day.

Day 260. Pistachio Croissant Love & One Hot Frozen Story

"It" was going to happen.

They had met at a college party the night before.  Someone had complained about the décor in their recycled apartment, and Stefan had said, "that's nothing, my kitchen colors are pistachio."

A beautiful girl in a mini-dress, holding a plastic cup of warm beer said, "Pistachio is my favorite color."

Their eyes met.

"In fact," she continued, "it's also my favorite flavor."  More twinkling eye signals were darted his way.

It was as if the skies had parted and the moonlight was shining down just on him.  His mother had brought him a box of frozen pistachio croissants from Williams-Sonoma last weekend.  They had had two, but she told him to keep the rest.  His fortune was too bizarre to be true. 

He moved closer to his conquest.  Her name was Victoria.  His eyes widened; Victoria would soon be his victory.  He couldn't help that he thought this way.  He was only 22-years-old with raging hormones, and this chic was h-o-t, hot!  She told him that he looked like Johnny Iuzzini, with his Elvis-like sideburns.  He didn't know who she was talking about.  He lied, and told her that he was told that all the time.

"Are you a famous pastry chef like him, too?"

Oh, a pastry chef!  This whole situation was kismet!

"Why yes, as a matter of fact, I can make you some delicious homemade, pistachio croissants if you want."  He looked at her meaningfully and said, "Come to my apartment and see for yourself.  You won't regret it."

She paused for a moment.  "I can't tonight."  Without missing a beat he invited her to come the next night.  This time, she agreed.

Stefan was in a flurry of activity the next day.  He cleaned his apartment from top to bottom.  He made sure his roommates were kicked out and had promised not to return that night.  He read up on Johnny Iuzzini--he had barely made it out of that lie intact.  He would be ready for any conversation on pâtisserie and viennoiserie should it come up!

Victoria finally arrived, the dance of seduction continued into the evening, until she slyly asked, "How about those pistachio croissants?"

"Coming right up,"  he laughed.

He went into the kitchen to put the gems of delight into the oven and...HORROR!!!!  He had forgotten to take them out of the freezer to let them rise for 8 hours!  He had put them on their cookie sheet, but must have become distracted thinking of his evening to come, and had put them BACK in the freezer.  Oh, no!  He desperately grabbed one and tried to warm it in his hand.  Solid as a rock!  Here he had the egg on the counter, ready to mix up an egg wash to give those babies a golden brown Parisian glaze, and it wasn't going to happen.

She appeared in the doorway and said in a low purr, "I'll be ready for you after our dessert."  He glanced over at her sexy stance in his doorway.  He'd have to throw them in the oven as is.  When they didn't rise, he'd have to blame it on faulty yeast.  He usually didn't lie so much, but his pistachio fate had gotten him this far, only to cruelly betray him.  A lie it would be.  Besides, he boasted to himself, he'd be better in the bedroom than in this kitchen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 259. The Weight and The Pressure

As my friend Cindy says:  "Gawl-dang-gah-bah."

Or as the Rolling Stones sing in "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, but I Like It":

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya'
Would you think the boy is strange?
If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on stage
Would it be enough...

O.k., I just erased my entire blog post.  I'll recap by saying, I had one "like" on yesterday's painting which I actually loved and thought was one of my best--I did see I had another this a.m.  Sometimes you feel like you can never do enough and others can never do too little.  I know, I know, you're never supposed to compare.  You're supposed to always be strong.  I guess I'm just not feeling super-sonic today.  Here's my honest, disheartened reaction.

 8" x 10" x 1"

Hmm.  Guess I'll leave this.  This is how I was feeling

From Day 59:  "Two Tears in a Bucket, Mother F*&* It."

Rolling Stones:  "It's Only Rock and Roll..."

I'm so tired.

Here's something to counteract the dejection.  It's for me, but hopefully you like it, too.
George Harrison ("Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth")

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 258. Marion Dougherty Upon First Seeing Al Pacino

HBO recently showed a wonderful documentary called "Casting By" which featured the importance and influence of casting directors on the film industry.  The grand dame of these crucial role players was Marion Dougherty.  It is a testament to this woman's incredible gut instincts, who in a very real way, shaped many of the greatest films ever to come out of Hollywood.  Someone who rarely got her due--no single card credit in a movie's acknowledgements of talent nor honorary Oscar for her influence by the Academy of Motion Pictures as spearheaded and petitioned by Clint Eastwood and other stars in 1991.  However, hopefully this documentary, full of wonderful film clips, interviews with our greatest film stars, and other prominent casting directors, will help rectify the lack of credit Dougherty received in the past.

At one point, Marion talks about my favorite star, Al Pacino, who she went to see off-broadway in 1968 in "The Indian Wants the Bronx."  She said, "that he was so good, that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up."  She added that that had only happened to her 3 or 4 times in her entire life.  Ah, Al Pacino.  I will champion your acting brilliance to my death!

Here's how I imagine Marion Dougherty seeing Al Pacino back in the late '60's--electrified, by his sizzling performance! (-:

Here's a little film clip of the documentary:

Here's the NY Times article on many of the casting directors in the film:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 257. Just a Happy Fellow

Just a happy fellow. (-:  
Hope you, like me, had a wonderful, summertime Sunday!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day 256. Tengo Hambre de Una Paleta

Mmm, frosty fruit-filled paleta, come to me! 
(Tengo hambre para una paleta--I'm hungry for a paleta.)

Make your own delicious paletas (Mexica fruit popcicles) with the "Sweet Life" blog link below.  Don't wait too long or else your ravenous hunger for them may make you look the painting above!: 
Paletas de Piña y Arándano (Pineapple and Blueberry)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day 255. Vernon Played His Saxophone SOLD

Vernon played his saxophone,
Sometimes for just he himself alone, 
A sound so smooth and sinuous,
It was almost too beautiful to share with the rest of us.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 254. Van Gogh & Picasso Go to Williams-Sonoma

No, the above title is not the beginning line of a joke.  That darn Project Runway--I had to watch it, and draw while I watched it. Tonight is my late night at work followed by a Friday early morning rise so I had to work while I could.  Here's some sketches of these great artists, two of my very favorite (I tried to draw them in their own artistic style) on a Williams-Sonoma bag.  Below is the olive oil that had come in it.  It was on sale, because it was soon to expire, but it's still mighty delicious.

Thanks, Williams-Sonoma, for the art paper supply. (-;

 Olive oil was the instrument of my drawing paper delivery.