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Category: Arts and Aesthetics

All things creative. All things beautiful, profound, and moving.

Silliness, art, and eggs

Do you ever put off — and work up a big dread for — something that turns out to be simple, even pleasant? I’ve been doing that for the last 10 days with my venture into egg-tempera painting. Not venturing. I had an excuse, if that counts for anything. The powdered pigments arrived the day The Wandering Monk and I started on the last (knock wood) really grueling project. I wanted to wait to give full attention to paint making. I did mix up rabbit-skin glue and French chalk and prepared a gesso board, a process that took a few…


And now a word from Downton Abbey

I gather from the lack of response when I mentioned the show that few around here are devotees of Downton Abbey, the great Masterpiece series that ran for six big-hit years before its creators decided gracefully to bow out. In a way I’m not surprised at the lack of a Living Freedom Downton Abbey Rah Rah Fan Club. Outwardly Downton has nothing to do with freedom. It’s also a kitchen-and-drawing-room drama, offputting for you, my largely male readership. So I’m not saying everyone should just rush right out and binge-stream Downton Abbey until they’ve gained 50 pounds from all the…


Oy, such a day

The Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project, Phase II, commenced yesterday. Somehow I wasn’t expecting The Wandering Monk to need to tear off all the siding off the east wall on that part of the house. Good thing he did, though, as it was the classic good news/bad news case. The siding came off completely intact and both it and the upper walls were in fine shape. A pleasant surprise. The lower walls suffered rot, of course (no surprise at all). And we found termites. But we found them in a place it would have been surprising not to find…


Thoughts, thanks, and arts

Blessed benefactors Joel posted today about the awesomeness of his readers. Now, I don’t know who his latest benefactor is, but I know that Joel and I share many readers — and benefactors. Like Joel, I can’t begin to number all the great people and their gifts. Honda generator, anyone? Funds toward re-roofing Ye Olde Wreck? Icon-painting class? Sometimes it’s $5 via the donation button. Other times, whoppingly more. Sometimes it’s “mere” moral support (there is nothing mere about moral support) or needed advice on tools or techniques. But it is all from good hearts and bright minds. Like Joel,…


Brandy (aka that black dog I keep mentioning)

Well, there she is, that black dog I’ve been going on about. Brandy. I’ve wanted to draw or paint a dog resting on colorful cushions. I have photos of Ava and the late, lamented Robbie to work from, but the project always daunted me. Then a friend took me up on a longstanding offer to do a portrait of his dog (in thanks for many favors over the years) and when he sent pix, among all the poses of her standing and sitting and roaming his yard, there was this: Not only complicated cushions, but (ulp!) a black dog. As…


On black dogs and blacker political reality

The black dog I finished the black-dog art yesterday. Well, not finished. I’ll be putzing with it for the next week, darkening this color and refining that line. But I got through it. Now it’s just polishing. It was the hardest piece I’ve ever done. Took about as long to do as the icon from last month’s monastery workshop. But the icon was basically a sophisticated version of paint-by-numbers. The black dog was … whew. Flying by seat of pants. Plus I had to get myself out of a couple of self-caused scrapes. Until the last I was on edge:…


The joys of goofing off

I sometimes do nothing useful. I rarely ever goof off. The perils of being self-employed and working at home. With nothing to distinguish on-duty hours from off-duty, work becomes a preoccupation even (and sometimes especially) when I’m not doing it. Thursday I mentioned a project I had been Not Doing but thinking about. A lot. It’s a portrait of a black dog. I don’t know of anything harder to portray than black fur, especially when using an inherently matte and thin medium like colored pencil. Thursday afternoon and Friday, I finally sat down to do it. As so often happens,…


Friday links

  • Was “bad training” responsible for Jeronimo Yanez murdering Philando Castile? this article by David Kopel is good, as always. But “bad training” doesn’t excuse the “reasonably scared cop” rule.
  • Now here’s a cop who would surely be drummed out of any militarized U.S. police force. Good thing he works in Thailand.
  • The harm of unpaid internships (especially for “creatives,” whose work tends to be undervalued both by potential employers and ourselves).… 18 Comments
  • It’s those little things

    My cover gets blown The other day I was depositing the house-loan money in my local bank with a teller I didn’t recognize, a vacation sub who travels from branch-to-branch. We got to chatting, then when I went to leave, she said, “May I ask you something?” “Sure.” “Are you a writer?” I keep my professional life and my town life separate and try to avoid letting locals know what I do. If somebody must know I tell them I’m a totally obscure blogger who does “political and lifestyle” content. Then I change the subject. “Um … yeah. Why do…


    Painting an icon

    I promised (or for those of you uninterested in art, perhaps I threatened) to make a post on the details of painting a religious icon. So here goes. If you want to skip the longish intro, there are lots of pictures and short descriptions of the process below. In the beginning For those coming in late, I spent the first full week of June at an Eastern Catholic monastery, courtesy of a friend who dared my non-religious self to do it and courtesy of that friend and others who generously funded the expedition. Though I didn’t experience the leap of…