Sunday, July 23, 2017

the perception might be that caricature artists know what all the features of the face are and then when they see people, they are intuned to which dimensions stand out as being unusual and they are able to point these idiosyncratic proportions out in their drawing by exaggerating how far --at least several of the more notably prodigal dimensions have been offset by the hand of god or nature,  but the truth is that those dimensions--those proportions themselves become features to the artist over time. a beginning caricature artist will set out with some knowledge of common features and proprtions and then examine faces in much the way that most would think. they effectively classify all of the major features and "exaggerate" the idiosyncracies. the idiosyncracies being aspects of a given face which lie outside of all of the artist's normal facial feature types.  so then if someone's nose is too big to fit the mold so to speak, the artist makes the nose size bigger because thats the one thing that disqualified it from conforming to the set. but eventually when the same deviations keep popping up repeatedly, they become features in and of themselves.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

the caricature artist seeks to find in a thing that which is abnormal. and indeed it is that which is abnormal which distinguishes a thing from among other things, but how can an artist know what is the average thing among things in order to know what parts of the observed thing are abnormalities? 

an answer is that the abnormalities stand out on their own and they require no frame of comparative reference. However if you're in the business of classifying faces, other things might stand out, just as an auto mechanic looking under the hood, likely isn't immediately struck by how it all looks like a bunch of gobblygook. 


one approach breaks the face up into a finite set of features and classifies each feature from a finite group of shapes. with this approach you run the risk of an awful lot of shoe horning, squeazing things to conform to a shape that is very different from them. but of course if the face has been broken down into enough little peices there will result some resemblance to the total thing.

if that first approach is like classification the other approach is like listing. it basically lays out all the interesting stuff. it's more dependent on finding "a good face." which means a face that the artist sees as having some rare or intriguing aspect to it. and this aspect will be, i think, something which lies outside of the scope of a lot of classifation frameworks.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

the old paradigm was that novels and paintings and music were wonders. they were magical. they were spiritual in a way. but the new paradigm is that this is what's possible. this is what you can do. its within your capacity because there's no such thing as magic. mozart is just a guy. but then whats the point of even doing it if it isnt magic. it could be the domain of the magical shifts. or is shifting. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hiccup Cure

Hiccup cure:  Sit up straight, hold your breath and stick your pinky in your bellybutton.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Popular Movies



Hi Blog. How are you. Name's Aaron Philby. Me and Saemee are in Ohio and we've been trying to learn about buying a house. The Weather's been nice on some days and nasty on other days. In short it's very much like Ohio weather, but enough about the weather. Before Ohio we were in Korea and I was spending a lot of time painting and believe it or not, we spent some of one month drawing live caricatures down in JunJu. This kind of stuff.




And this kind of stuff



We worked at Wan Kim's shop out there and let me just say the way he's got his set up and everything, and his way of handling the business is pretty awesome and inspiring, and I knew it would be, just from what I knew of him before we went and drew with his company in Jun Ju.

But Jun Ju, and I know I said this on Facebook already, but who even uses Facebook anymore, Jun Ju is a really really fascinating place to visit in Korea, especially on a nice warm day because you can rent a little motor bike and zoom around and go everywhere you want to go and also, if you're into this sort of thing, you can rent Korean traditional clothes. So just imagine. Let's say you're an ordinary American businessman visiting Korea for some, whatever, investing purposes, I don't know, you can go to Jun Ju, with your middleage self and your conservative glasses and get dressed up as a traditional Korean woman from long ago, before demons began taking over the world, and you can rent a motorbike for 15 bucks. It's priced at 20, but I know you can negotiate, cuz I know your kind. And then you can have the best day of your life zipping around and trying all kinds of peculiar Korean foods and meeting all kinds of interesting people and making everybody's day. Would you do that. For me? I don't know if Steve Forbes comes here, but if he does, I'm talking to you Steve.

 So me and Saemee and Wan Kim and Sergie were out and I snapped a photo when Wan Kim was laughing and I decided to make a great big painting of the whole thing as a thank you to Wan Kim for him letting me and Saemee draw there. I'm happy with it and it took a long time. Hope he likes it. I think he does. 

Also in Korea, after we went back to Seoul, I was doing some of these paintings from screen-capturing stills from movies for a little bit there, and I was posting those up on Instagram. And then I was experimenting with the editing functions on Insta. Trying to see what kinds of looks and feels I could get that weren't just your normal go to thing of--turn up the contrast a little, maybe touch the saturation. But here are some of the paintings out of that that I'm happier with. But I'm showing most of them here more in their original states.

 This is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the original one. Definitely one of my favorite movies.





This is from Pulp Fiction. I really like the idea of giving solidity to something, some image that people connect with. I'm not sure if I'm putting that exactly as I mean to, but well..on to the next.



I tweaked this one a little since putting it on Instagram. This is a scene from Ace Ventura Pet Detective when his landlord comes up behind him and Ace just hears his scary voice and replies with "yes, Satan?" I really wanted to make it look like he was saying that just as he said it in the movie. 


And this is from Mary Poppins. Another one of my all time favorite movies. By far. This is little Michael Banks trying to snap his fingers. I know I got him looking weird, but maybe that's why they call it a caricature.



From the beginning of The Princess Bride. Oh I forgot to mention. I got my cool Star Wars, art-supplies box here. These are my live caricature supplies, but there's a lot of mixed media. Not just prismacolors, but it's kind of evolved to be a weird little mish mash, and all these drawings...I guess there are a couple exceptions here and there with maybe a little bit of acrylic paint--but just a little and some crayola color marker color--these movie drawings are done with my live caricature art supplies so I was partially doing this to force myself to become more intimate with those tools you might say.







And this is a scene from the Matrix. 



Here's one with a similar shadowy esthetic from The Graduate. And then the last one I'm gonna show here is another one from Pulp Fiction to close it out. There are a few more that I've done. I don't have time to post them now cuz I'm here doing this at the library and they close in five minutes, but you can check out Carnymercury2 on Instagram if you want to see those, but I got them blended into some other big weird thing I'm working on, but anyhow, I did want to put a lot more in this post but the darned library is closing and I gotta get outta here like the rest of the bums. Have a great Sunday, folks.




 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

carnymercury2

For anybody who's curious about what i got goin on with carnymercury2 on instagram--which use to be my place for just randomly posting all the drawings and paintings i do and have ever done--what i'm trying to do now is kind of an epic collaborative--i feel--conceptually complex type of undertaking. i have several goals colliding together. one thing i want to do is to have my set of pictures treated as a single peice, so i will encourage people to click like on my least liked drawings (forcing the set of images toward an equillibrium in number of likes) by doing free commissions in a sense, in that i will paint or draw the most recent post of the instagrammer who most recently clicked like on my least liked photo. but with these "commissions" the "clients," for lack of a better word will know that the drawing is not only meant to depict their photo but also be a part of the larger peice, and with the knowlege of the forms already in place in the tapestry they will get to decide in what way or to what degree they would like to play off those forms and if and how they would like to respond and add to the images being depicted. i will be challanged by this process to find ways to amalogomate disparate design asthetics and image motifs while staying as true to the submitted images as possible. The possibilities are really exciting and well beyond what i can currently grasp. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

April 25th (Illustrations by Saemee Yoon)


We woke up at the airbnb. It was really early. Maybe 6:30 because we had to take my car to O’Reilly Auto Parts to find out why the check engine light was on. We were staying in the upstairs of someone’s house for 43 bucks. It was a beautiful house and our accommodations were very nice. There was a list of specific instructions about what to do and what not to do. One thing was we were told to keep the cats out of the upstairs, but they were pretty sneaky, and they snuck in whenever they got the chance. At the time of our leaving, one was in the upstairs bedroom so I didn’t close the door tight when we left so he wouldn’t be stuck in there. 
     Saemee and I went downstairs, leaving the key on the bedside stand, but when I realized that the front door of the house doesn’t lock automatically I ran back up to grab the key so that I could lock it from the outside (it was a deadbolt) and then put the key in the little lockbox on the porch from whence I got it, but then when I left I was so preoccupied thinking about this interesting little lockbox and how to shut the key back up into it that I forgot to lock the dang door. I wouldn’t realize this till later when I would, after writing a doting review about our hosts, check the review that was left about us in which, perhaps very frustrated with finding his home unlocked, he also brought up the cats and my parking on the wrong side of the street the night before, which wasn’t illegal, but had blocked a truck that wanted to come through. He had brushed it off at the time in such a charming spirit of easygoingness, but included it in the review, likely do to my cardinal crime of leaving the door unlocked, which I will admit is pretty darn cardinal.

At the O’Reilly the clerk with his machine found that my diagnostic was a PO171 which means it could be the mass airflow sensor, or a vacuum leak or the oxygen sensor or several other things. 
     We drove to Waffle House for breakfast and there, on my phone, I found a local car shop with a five star rating and called them to see how much time and money it would take to get an estimate. I think the place may have been called Ambrosia. The guy was very easy to talk to and he seemed very honest. But from what he said about getting to the bottom of a PO171 code we wouldn’t have enough time to get it checked out before our 12:15 appointment to see the first house of the day.
The food at the wafflehouse was very good especially my cheesy scrambled eggs. Saemee got the hash browns and they were pretty good too, and we shared both. Our coffee mugs had those thick rounded rims and our waitress refilled them twice for us. 
     On my phone I researched the check engine code, and then went outside to talk on the phone with the guy from Ambrosia. So we were at the Waffle House for probably forty or fifty minutes and then we left.
    
We got in our car and I turned it on. Then I thought to go check under the hood myself on account of what I’d read doing a search about the PO171 code. Somebody had said something about, for vacuum leaks check all the tubes, so I went and opened the hood with the car running. Immediately I heard a hissing sound. Then I found the little stray tube that the sound was coming from. I secured its loose end into the little hole from which it had apparently escaped. Then I got back in the car. The check engine light was still on. I turned the car off. Saemee was on her phone. I got her attention and said “watch this watch this,” directing her to look to where the light hopefully would not appear when I started the engine. I turned the key. The car came alive, and the check engine light remained. 

Saemee and I then drove to find some park that she had found that was near where our first appointment would be. Following the Google Map navigation we ended up rolling down a road that cut through a golf course and dead ended at a country club. We turned around and drove out of there and found another park. It wasn’t glorious, but it was nice. 
     There was a little forest path that we walked through. The trees were still pretty barren since it was still just near the end of April. After we walked through the forest which took all of three minutes we took a stroll around a little path outside the forest by some friendly geese who left the sidewalk and waddled down a hill into the grass when they saw us coming. The sidewalk was speckled with goose poop. Saemee accidentally stepped in some. Later she made a drawing about it. Here it is.



      I tried to scrape what I could off with the tiny sharp end of a long stick attached to a big felled branch that was laying somewhere. I held Saemee’s foot up while she balanced on one leg. Then she switched legs and I did the same to the other shoe. That got some of it off, but there was still some on there. I thought from looking at it that there was a chance what we were scraping at was actually mud and I told Saemee that. Then I leaned in and smelled it and it definitely smelled like poop, and when I reacted it made Saemee laugh. Then we went to the car to get the water tissues. Saemee didn’t want to get in the car with her poopy shoes so I drove the car just a short ways toward the exit where there was a trash can. Saemee walked there. When she got to the trash can she took off her shoe, and I cleaned it. Then she put it back on and took off the other and I cleaned it. Then we drove to the house where we would meet the realtor.

I really wanted to make sure we were a little early, because 1: it’s good to be early to appointments. And there had been two appointments, so far, where we had arrived a few minutes late. And I hate to overly inconvenience these realtor folks because I’m not even sure how serious we are as buyers. We may not even buy a house this year. Supposedly it’s a sellers market which means there’s a lot of buyers and not a lot of houses. Me and Saemee have saved up a nice little chunk, but it’s not a whole whole lot, and I want to use it right. So we’re doing everything we can to educate ourselves about what’s out there. But I think realtors want you to pick one realtor and then have them show you everything.
     And 2: this realtor was kind of scary and we didn’t want to upset her further. She had called me out about my bouncing around between realtors when I asked her over the phone yesterday about possibly rescheduling. She asked if I wanted to reschedule because of other realtors that we were working with, and I admitted that that’s what it was and she gently chastised me explaining to me the way it works according to her. I conceded and canceled the other appointment because she had a few different houses she wanted to show us that we liked the looks of. I also sent her a link to the house whose appointment I canceled for her, but actually I didn’t think that particular meeting had been set in stone yet anyway. Saemee was positive that it was though.

When we arrived at the house we were ten minutes early, but she was already there, sitting in her car out front. We said our hellos. She apologized explaining that she usually likes to already be inside and have the house open and ready to show. She took us inside. This particular type of house was what she called a bungalow. And price-wise it was pretty feasible. Saemee and I looked around. 
Then she took us to the next house which was about ten thousand more and also quite a bit nicer, about the same size, and more furnished. 
At the third house, she struggled and struggled with the lock while Saemee and I took turns holding the screen door and signing to each other about other text messages and appointments coming together so she wouldn’t hear and get offended and “territorial.” This was the word she had used on the phone to describe how realtors tended to be. As I write this, I wonder now if this house which she was ultimately unable to get into was the one for the appointment that I had canceled.

Then we went to a duplex which had people in it. The place looked pretty run down. A little girl of about four came to the screen door. From the sidewalk our realtor called up to her, asking if her mommy was home. Her mom came and told us that the upstairs was unlocked and we all came under the impression that the upstairs was for sale but the downstairs wasn’t. Which seemed weird but also seemed to make sense, given how low the asking price was. We declined to see the upstairs and our realtor was perfectly fine with not going up the stairs and into this building which looked to be in pretty bad shape. 
     The three of us stood talking in the beautiful afternoon sunshine, there on the sidewalk. Talking about house buying and how it all works and what all you gotta do. We were about to part ways when something the girl’s mom said from the front porch made us all realize that indeed the whole house was for sale. So we went in and checked it out and it was in disrepair and full of life and smells, but Saemee and I were very kind and respectful to the tenants and they to us. Some of them were getting ready to go somewhere. There was a guy sitting in a pickup truck in the alley waiting for them. I nodded to him as I passed by and he nodded back.
     Saemee and I went to Kroger next and we actually ran into him again, standing by the checkout. We had come to Kroger in search of a Starbucks to charge the phone and ipad and to use the wifi while we waited for our next appointment at three. The Starbucks ended up being too minimal though.
     Starbucks was on the right side of the store, and on our way there we saw a couple of young men laughing about something, and I didn’t think anything of it, but Saemee later told me that she figured out when we went to the bathrooms (which were over on the left side of the Kroger) that our phone which she had been holding in her back pocket had the flashlight still on from when she had used it to check out the dingy basement of the duplex. And it was after checking out the Starbucks and before going to the bathroom that we passed the man from the pickup who said “hello again.” I didn’t recognize him, but Saemee did. On the way from the bathroom to the exit, this time I gave him a friendly smile and nod, and he responded in kind.

There was a Tim Hortons near the Kroger, and we drove over there and went in. We were able to charge our phone because there were outlets near the tables, but the wifi was pretty bad. We ordered an icecap and shared it. I called mom to talk to her about Saemee and I staying at her and my stepdad’s house for a short period of time. We’ve been staying at my brother’s but he recently learned that there are restrictions at is trailer park on extra people staying for more than a few days. Eventually Saemee got too cold in the Tim Hortons and left while I got ready to leave. I don’t remember what I was doing. Maybe Instagram.
From there we went to our three o’clock appointment which was a duplex. We’ve thought about duplexes because they could mean long term income if we can keep rent coming in. This one looked to be in a fairly nice area, but I did hear some loud sound followed by some man shouting something over near the busier road a couple houses down.
     I was excited to meet this realtor because on the phone I was struck by how friendly and especially how organized the guy seemed. Let’s say his name was Ed. Let’s say Ed Jones. Well Saemee and I waited around by the front door till it was 5 minutes after the appointment time and Ed Jones wasn’t here yet. Or maybe Ed wouldn’t come. Maybe it was his partner, Sally, that would come.
     On the realtor sign in the front lawn, one side said Sally Jones and the other said Bill Bakeman, but both sides had identical photos of the same man and woman. My thinking was that since I had spoken to Ed Jones on the phone and here was the name Sally Jones on this sign that this photo was very likely of the married realtor couple, Ed and Sally Jones. When Sally Jones finally showed up, and she was no more than seven minutes late, I asked her if her husband was Ed Jones, but there had been some misunderstanding and it turns out there is no Ed Jones. There is only Sally Jones and Bill Bakeman, and they are not married. 

Sally Jones was very cool and metropolitan, perhaps a little hyper, possibly on Adderall -- at the very least coffee.
     The duplex was an upstairs downstairs duplex with a tenant currently living on the bottom floor, and he was at work and had insisted that the realtor not come while he was home.  The place was pretty nice, especially for the price, except a closet door knob came off when Sally Jones tried to open it. It was one of those crystal door knobs. The house was built in the twenties. 
     After we left there we went to get food at a restaurant that had vegetarian pho. There was no one at the restaurant since it was only 3:30 or so. The pho was delicious. And it was here at the restaurant that I posted the airbnb review and learned that I’d left the house unlocked. I sent him a message apologizing.

The total bill for the pho was around eleven dollars. When we went to pay, Saemee gave me two twenties and told me “just ask for fifteen back” which scrambled my mind a little bit, because I was thinking if the pho was eleven and I’m giving them twenty and I get fifteen back, I’m only paying five dollars when the bill is eleven. But it was actually two twenties. That’s what threw me off. There’s something so symmetrical about two twenties that it still just seems like twenty. Saemee got a little frustrated with me for being stupid.

After this we headed to the library because our next appointment was at six and we had time. We parked in the underground garage. It ended up costing a dollar which I later paid at the validation machine.
     At the library we found a computer nook where we could plug the phone to charge into some out-of-service but fully turned on computers whose sole purpose had been for job searches. Saemee went to the bathroom and I browsed a bookshelf of automotive reference books while keeping in view our computer nook where our bags and belongings were. 
     After Saemee came back I headed out to explore the bookshelves. I brought back to our nook, first, for Saemee, though I knew she wouldn’t read it, a mildly interesting-looking Korean book that I found after briefly perusing the foreign books section. Next I went and got some books on learning Korean, and then I went searching to find a book with beautiful houses that Saemee and I might look at together, but to no avail. 
     What I did find were some real estate books, and I began in a book on financing. It held my interest. I learned a little about what are called “notes.” Then I had to poop pretty bad, but when I found the bathroom there were three stalls, all in use by old homeless men I think. I decided I ought to try to think about holding it because I might have to for a while. I asked the girl at the front desk, though, if there was another bathroom, and she said “there’s one on the third floor.” I went up there but it was locked. I went back to our nook and read but eventually ended up back at that first bathroom but this time the stalls were all empty. This was a pretty nice library, at least in terms of book selections, but the bathroom was pretty rough. I wiped the toilet down real good and then sat down, noticing as I did so some tiny portion of matter I missed on the inside ridge, but I didn’t get any on me luckily. While I was in there an old homeless man came in and took the stall to the left of me.

Shortly after returning to our nook we realized it was time to get going. We exited the library, took the elevator downstairs, walked past this little cafe, and then out into the parking lot. We got in our car and I started it up. After a moment I noticed it. Low and behold the check engine light had disappeared. I pointed it out to Saemee and she was very happy to see it too. I was very proud.

I began driving to the parking garage exit but then realized I forgot to get my ticket validated so I ran inside and did that then we were on our way, heading to our next and final appointment. It was at six o’clock. We rolled into the neighborhood which looked like a nice neighborhood as far as the quality of the houses and sidewalks, but immediately when we got there I saw a car whiz down the little street pretty fast so I made a mental note of it.
     The realtor was cool. He seemed intelligent and even-mannered. He could be my favorite so far. And we’ve met a lot. Not just today, but also a couple yesterday here in Toledo and a few down in Findlay before that. I really liked this place pretty well, and what’s more it was a triplex. The building was pretty old though. On the way back to Findlay Saemee said that she doesn’t want to buy a house that’s so old. I said “okay.” I think it was on the way home or perhaps before that last appointment, I called my brother Jon and talked about staying with him another night and he said it was fine and tonight they were having Bible study and I was welcome to come in at the halfway point since that was about when we’d be arriving. In the car Saemee seemed pretty exhausted. She said she was just exhausted in her brain. This was before she mentioned not wanting to get the triplex because of how old it was.

When we came in to Findlay I drove down Shinkle Street till we came to Rawson Park. And there was supposedly a house around here that had been listed as for sale, but we didn’t see it, but the reason I really came here was to go to the park with Saemee because it was a beautiful day that would soon be over. 
     I took our badminton rackets out from where they’d been sitting unused for about a year there in the back window and the yet unopened canister of birdies we had recently bought at Walmart. I opened it up and took out a birdie. With the two rackets in one hand and the birdie in the other we went walking. We went down a grassy field and we began trying to smack the birdie around on the little paved drive that leads to the baseball diamond. Then I said “let’s go play on the grass.” We crossed over to the nice flat grassy field where I and my family had spent time playing games before and where, further out, there was a park bench where me and my high school girlfriend of long ago had had a picnic or two. Today there was a young couple over past the picnic tables playing around and being in love.
     Saemee and I smacked the birdie.  If a volley is where one person serves it and then the other person hits it we were stuck at one volley for a while, but we once we got our rhythm going we managed to get up around ten volleys. One of the rackets had a very small hole in it but it didn't create an issue, and we did that there in the thick green grass of a gorgeous day, till my arms and legs felt like jello which was probably twenty minutes since I’m 34 and not fit, but it felt great.
     After that, we put the rackets in the car and then went and sat on the picnic bench that’s up by the little basketball hoop where an older kid was shooting around by himself. Saemee started taking some selfies of us. And then she handed the phone to me to take a few, and I tried to capture us with the sun flaring in from behind the trees. While in motion the images felt like a scene from out of The Tree of Life. I can’t speak for the still photos themselves because I haven’t looked at them yet.
When I was taking selfies I must have been not doing it correctly or something. I must have been taking that dreaded low angle shot that all women dread, but Saemee ducked out of the shot, but then I heard a little kid coming up behind us trying to get in on the action. I took a picture with him
 

and then he went off with his friends. Me and Saemee took some more of just us. Then we went to leave, and as we headed to the car some kid shouted “she wants to take a picture with you.” I said “does she have a camera.” They said “yeah.” I started walking over and Saemee came in behind. I said “can my wife get in the picture too,” and they said “yeah.” And we all took a picture together. Then me and Saemee walked to the car. I asked “Do you wanna get some icecream?” And she said “sure.” So we drove to the Archies that’s on the way to my brother’s house.

It seemed like it might be closing soon because it was about eight, but the day was beautiful and still very much alive, and it seemed like the perfect time when anyone in Findlay might want to go to Archies. We arrived. They would still be open for another hour yet. There were a few cars in line at the drive-through and there were a few people at the benches eating ice cream. We thought about what to get. Then we decided to get a single cone. I ordered one dipped in crunch. The girl who served me was very polite but all business. Our crunch cone was delicious. When we left there were cars lined up for the drive-through out into the road.
     I pulled onto main street. I went left, and though I’ve lived in Findlay most of my life I still wasn’t 100% sure that I was headed the right direction to go to center street, which is a primary road in my town that runs out East toward the big stores and where Jon lives. But as I continued I concluded that I had gone the wrong way so I turned around but later realized that I had it right the first time. I didn’t check Saemee’s face to see if she was becoming annoyed when I began turning the car around again. She started to ask me questions about which street we were headed to in order to plug it into the Google map which I found hilarious and ridiculous, but I knew she was serious. 
     When we arrived at my brother’s house there were two other cars parked there. When we opened the door and walked into the little trailer Bible study was still underway. I went to the bathroom and pooped again. Saemee sat in the dining room adjacent the living room where the Bible study was happening. Then I came back from the bathroom and sat with Saemee and listened to their discussion. It was about Mormons and Catholics and cannon. Then they concluded with Jon saying a prayer. After that one guy left, and a little while later the other guy. Jonathan and I joked around with him a little as he stood at the door before he went.

After they were gone I talked with my brother about the structure of the protestant church. And we were just chatting and relaxing there thinking about going to sleep.
      It was about 9:20 when Dad called Jon’s phone wanting to talk to me. He said he knows we’ve been getting to sleep early, but he asked if we could go pick him up some groceries from Walmart. He said his feet have gout. I told him sure. He described each item he needed in detail and I repeated it into our phone with Saemee holding it as it turned my spoken words into written gibberish. After we’d gotten it all down and I made sure I could decipher it Dad thanked me and told me he could reimburse us on Friday.  
We left the house and drove to the nearby Walmart silently. We went in and Saemee went to the produce department to grab a couple things that she needed and I headed out to the shelves to try and find Dad’s items. It was only a few things anyway and I found the first couple items, and then Saemee came with her tomatoes and cilantro and helped me find the rest.
     At the checkout I said to the man there “How’s your day goin?” and somewhat curtly he replied “fine, and yours,” and I said “fine.” He scanned items and bagged them. Saemee tried to tell me to tell him to keep her items in a separate bag and I told her “no that’s fine. We can sort it out ourself anyway, very easy.” 

After we had finished and were walking toward the exit I told Saemee “thank you for coming to Walmart with me.” And then she got mad about me not wanting to tell the guy to put it in separate bags or about me trying to keep her from telling the guy or maybe a combination of many things. We fought a little bit, but I didn’t lose my temper, but after that I didn’t talk though.
     We had to drive back downtown because that’s where dad lives. When we arrived Saemee stayed in the car while I crossed the street and jogged up the narrow flight of wooden stairs. Dad came to the door shortly after I knocked with a bright smile and thanked me. he told me he’d pay me Friday, but I told him it was our treat. Then I hugged him and said goodbye and left.

Silently we drove back to Jon’s. As soon as we got home I went and got in the shower. Toward the end of my shower, as has happened before in the past on occasion, I realized that I forgot to bring a towel. It was only my brother’s stinky old body-smelling towel hanging there, but after I turned the water off Saemee came in the bathroom and handed me our clean blue towel. I took it and she left. A moment later she came with some clothes and put them on the floor for me.
     I dried off, got dressed, then went and sat in Jon’s big comfy easy chair and started writing this. At the beginning of the story when I was talking about the deadbolt Saemee told me I need to do my nose thing. She’s referring to a saline wash that I use to keep my sinuses regular. I didn’t say anything though. I just kept writing. A couple pages in, my brother came and asked if I could turn the lamp off. I said “yes” and he turned it off for me and I sat in the dark for a moment. Then I came to the back room here and kept writing. At the point in the story when I was wiping the poop off Saemee’s shoe, she came in and asked what I was doing. She seemed like she wasn’t angry anymore. 
     Before, when I was over in the front room sitting in my brother’s chair under the lamp, writing, she was on the couch under a blanket on the iphone, and she probably assumed I was trying to logically elucidate why I was right and she was wrong. When she came to the back room and asked about what I was writing she probably still kind of had this notion, but I told her I was just writing about what happened in our day. She’s not terrific at reading English, but she watched over my shoulder a bit while I wrote and she probably recognized the word “poop” at least. Then she went back to the other room and likely went to bed and I’d say that was at least an hour and a half ago. Now I’m going to go to bed.






May 15 

     Many weeks have passed. The days have been windy and rainy for the most part. Not until the day before yesterday did it look anything like spring. And today looked quite a bit like summer. We went out to River Bend, me and Saemee. We tried to hit the birdie around to not much avail. There wasn't much wind at all, but there was an enormous hole in my racket and every time I swung it sounded like I was thrashing grain. And sometimes I'd manage to give the birdie a good whack only to find it lodged in my racket.

     River Bend is where we went. It's a little bit outside of town. It's quiet and pretty. It has hiking trails and a little lake to fish in. Saemee and I went on a hiking trail but a lot of it was too muddy.
     But that's what we went and did before our hair bleaching fiasco. Our plan has been to dye her hair pink for the longest time. And we want to do it ourselves. Mostly because it's cheaper. But she bleached her hair once at a friend's house probably eight months ago, but the roots have grown out black and we haven't cracked open the hair dye yet. 


      But now would be a pretty good time to do so because in a few weeks we'll be out drawing at the San Diego fair, and that particular fair company has no issue with unnatural colors, like some of the later fairs in the season do.
     But she and I bleached the roots today which is no easy task if you've never done it before. So now she's got some little black patches interwoven here and there because of me and we'll touch those up in a few days when her scalp is more leathery and resilient. But this is the point we came to after a few hours of marital stress and aggravation. And so now I know why I'd been putting it off. And any time on some spontaneous occasion in the past when I'd said let's dye your hair tonight she'd said no, and maybe she had done the same to me, and today I called her bluff to finally put an end to the matter. But really it's not as cynical as all that. And if I suspected it would mean preserving peace in our relationship I would disengage myself from all matters concerning her fashion, and I just may do that one day if it comes to it, but for now we are happily all too tangled up in each others' doings.

     It was just recently Mothers' Day. And it was Saemee's idea to go searching for a cheap vase and then spray paint it like some crafty thing she saw in a magazine. And so it was the day before yesterday which was the day before Mothers' Day that we went out early in the morning to look for a nice cheap vase at Walmart, but on the way we saw a sign for a garage sale and we followed it. And this was Saemee's very first garage sale in her whole life. And it was just the perfect Saturday for garage sailing. 
     I use to go on Saturdays with my grandma sometimes. I'd been wanting to go with Saemee, and now we had good reason since we had something to look for.



     The first garage sale was in a gorgeous neighborhood, but the pickings were pretty slim. Saemee did find a nice frame though, with a picture in it, and it was three dollars. And I thought momentarily but very seriously about buying The Sound and the Fury in paperback for fifty cents out of a box full of other high school reading requirements. But I decided against it. I do want very much to read a William Faulkner novel some time, and really pay attention. In art school I had to read As I Lay Dying, but I'm almost certain I didn't read much of it. If I remember any section it was some bit about someone laying dying, but that could have been another book.

     We left that garage sale and set the Google Map for Walmart, but then saw another sign for another garage sale and followed it into an even nicer neighborhood.  I mentioned offhand to Saemee while I was driving that the nicer neighborhoods' garage sales have nicer things for even cheaper prices. It seemed true and indeed it turned out to be.
     We pulled our car into this little roundabout and I parked as best I could parallel to a rounded curb, so tangent actually––well, but not touching of course.

     This turned out to be the mother load, as they say. Here we had two garage sales happening right beside each other. At the first one we found a lovely vase of the perfect size, a nice big round frame, and a couple of framed little Grandma Moses type paintings. I only bought one of them. The lady tried to talk me into both, but I had no need. But this little painting was perfect for the wall of my mom and step-dad's new home. And my plan was to paint a teeny tiny version of each of their faces on the little old-timey characters pictured therein.
      When we checked out the other garage sale we didn't really need anything at this point but still wanted to look. And at this garage sale there was an older woman who was more proactive in assisting us. So there was the middle aged married couple manning their register near the entrance of the garage, and then there was this older woman who was probably the mother of one of them, eager to help us find something to buy. And before I'd even expressed interest in anything she said something like "we can negotiate the prices too if need be." I smiled and said "ok." I felt a sense of regret for not negotiating at the other garage sales. At the other garage sales we'd already spent a total of six bucks or so, and so now we were here browsing this one, pretty much just because. And this old lady was trying to sell me a big old lamp that we had no conceivable use for in our home which is a Toyota. But we continued to nose around through a spacious garage sale in the classiest neighborhood in Findlay. I in my sweatpants and wearing a bright read shirt which said "beast" in bold black letters.

     Finally I found a great round sturdy mug with the face of the vintage Campbell's soup boy on it. It was in perfect shape. Jonathan, my brother, only had one mug at his house. So I looked at the mug and held it up. It was priced for a dollar. and I said "can you do fifty?" Grandma was a little reluctant. And I imagine I may have committed insult in  purchasing only this mug and nothing besides, and not for the sturdy dollar at which it was priced but at half off, and having these good folks fiddle with dirty coins, but Grandma said "ok."
     When mom rung me up and gave me my change for a five she accidentally gave me back $3.50. I pointed it out and she gave me the other dollar and Grandma was standing there doing the math in her head as me and Saemee went and looked around a little more and then left.





After that, we finally made it to Walmart and we got some textured spray paint, and then later, on a little cement patch out behind Jon's trailor we sprayed the vase. And after it was all the way dry, I used Saemee's nail polish remover to scrub down to the glass trough the paint with a q-tip and make a heart and a little Mothers' Day message.




June

That was our Springtime in Findlay. I got to spend a lot of time with my brother and learning about buying houses and investing. It was a lot of fun for me, but I think Saemee was pretty bored a lot of the time, but we're out in San Diego now. We're here to draw caricatures with The California Boys caricature company at the Delmar Fair. So we get to be with all my closest friends out here, and they're Saemee's friends too, and we all draw together and enjoy making each other laugh.







Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lawrence Welk

     If you get away from caricatures of life. And think realistically about how actual people are. And think about some person in a routine. Which is most people. Let's imagine a middle-aged woman with frizzy hair. Let's imagine she's married. Let's say the relationship's not perfect. There are low points where she wonders if she can keep on keeping on. And there are high points where she feels immeasureably loved and blessed. She's got a job and it's not an awful job, but she's no mover and shaker. Let's imagine something like those guys on The Office TV show but a little less, you know, pathetic is a good word. And of course much much more realistic because that's what I'm talking about in fact. Reality. One hundred percent. I'm not pointing to any archetypes and it strikes me now as I'm writing that most of the time writing uses archetypes and I'm trying to do the opposite here.
      Now, me, I'm not much of a creature of routine. Or if I have that capasity in me I’ve nurtured the opposite. Pursuing art in college and afterward was about chasing impulse with this knowledge that my ability to draw is some verification of the usefulness of my impulses. And I think all the artists I know have a similar relationship with impulsiveness, and of course you have to be able to manage it too. But if an artist will grant to himself that it’s better that he always be creating, and if he can grant that his drawing is an act of creation, then when he feels that desire to draw after having set out to clean or when he might have planned to go to bed, he ought to draw. In this way, for me, being an artist has led to me being somewhat non routine, in some ways for better and in some ways for worse.
     But it has put me out of touch somewhat with those types of people, but many people I grew up with and respect were people of routine. I'm not talking about Hobbits where routine is romanticized, but I'm even further from pointing toward the beginning part of Fight Club where routine is absolutely abysmal. These are the archetypes that pop in my head that portray people in a routine. I think about going over to my grandma and grandpa's house, and they're watching Wheel of Fortune. And the same dumb commercials keep coming on. Imagine you see the same face day after day. You hit the mute button during the commercials, but you can't make the pictures go away. Or imagine you got the old TV with the rabbit ears, no cable. The only channel that comes in really clear is PBS. Lawrence Welk comes on every Saturday night. And there's not much else to do but watch it. 



      
      It's not bad, but there're all these old people and it's all reruns from the late seventies, and Lawrence Welk is pretty dopey lookin' and he always says "wonderful wonderful" in that familiar unappealing voice. I'm sort of coming in backwardly with a desire to illustrate the need for caricature. I want to really really boil it down to the need. People get caricatures at the amusement parks and they come into it lightheartedly and we somehow come to this idea that it's a frivolous thing, and that's probably to keep our heads in a place where we don't forget that ultimately the humanity and the interaction is of primary importance, but deep down, deep deep down somewhere there is a need that is a need like the need for food, clothing, shelter, love, belonging. And this is where I feel like I might lose you, and that's why I led with the opening bit.
     These little monotonies have some impact. Even if you don't let them get to you and you keep your sanity. Every time you see Lawrence Welk's face on the big box on a Saturday night. And he's got that haircut that he's got and that nose and those crooked teeth. But there he is, and he'll be there again next week at the same time. Deep down within things there's a need for caricatures. Of course nowadays so many people are caught up in all the distractions of the information age, but there are still those stable sorts who keep a tight routine and these sorts of folks will always be around. And these are the sorts of folks who really really dig a good caricature, and if you imagine an archetype rather than a real person, an archetype can appreciate a caricature or even really really enjoy a caricature, but it takes a real person to need one.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My angle on art is that it's a visual thing. it's about visual communication, but I believe it's more than that cuz I'm using written communication to say that, and written communication being visual communication's competitor, I think we can count on it selling visual communication short as much as it can get away with it when you put all the linguistics together. Now if I do manage to communicate my true idea in spite of committing treason against the act of writing in doing so, than it almost seems like my idea can't hold water. But if I don't convince you then I urge you to be wary because it could be because I'm right.

Even the words "visual communication" sound so dull and academic and artless. The point is to get an idea across. And there, "idea" feels so malnourished and sexually depressed. Meanwhile, if I say art, it's almost worse, as I trudge forward through this linguistic sabotage built in from the beginning. "art" is self congratulatory and lazy and greedy and hedonistic.

But the reality that I know because it's the reality that I've experienced is just the opposite. And it's words that frame visual communication in this way and give it a bad name. But it is art that must be beautiful and must communicate. Words are not beautiful for a number of reasons if you need to be convinced. Letters are the most cold and dead of cold dead symbols, and we put them together to make words, also cold and dead, that we put together to make figures of speech, cold and dead, and these are combined to make philosophies, maybe the least cold and dead of all that's cold and dead, but I expect as soon as these have lost their power they will become cold and dead and take the second tier once occupied by figures of speech, and the whole system will be reclassified. Meanwhile the realm of art where from idolatry birthed written characters is alive and well. Be not fooled.

The way we now view television is the way we once viewed movies is the way we once viewed books. It's all candy. Be not fooled. Open your eyes literally, and see beauty and create beauty. There's no better way to live.