Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Cy Coben and Mel Foree wrote a song called Nobody's Child which was recorded in 1949 by Hank Snow. Last night I heard the 1990 version of this song by the Travelling Wilbury's, the supergroup of George Harrison and friends -- Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. Roy Orbison was still a Wilbury but preparing to leave for another destination at the time.
The song became the opening track on an album titled Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal. Romanian Angel Appeal was an effort to raise awareness, and money, for the needy children of Romania.
Yesterday when I heard the song on KUMD, it reminded me of the outreach started by our friends Silviu and Tirzah Pop whom I wrote about last summer. The needs in Romania have not gone away, even if they are not in the news like all the global economic turmoil. While earthquakes and tsunamis cause massive destruction and media coverage, the ongoing needs in places like Romania are all but forgotten. It was this ongoing need that prompted Silviu and Tirzah Pop to create Romanian Hope Springs International.
As I was slowly passing, an orphans home today
I stopped for just a little while to watch the children play
A lone boy standin', and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry
I'm nobody's child, I'm nobody's child
Just like a flower I'm growin' wild
No mama's arms to hold me no daddy's smile
Nobody wants me, I'm nobody's child
In every town and village
There are places just like this
With rows and rows of children
And babies in their cribs
They've long since stopped their cryin'
As no-one ever hears
And no-one there to notice them or take away their fears
Nobody's child, they're nobody's child
Just like a flower they're growin wild
No mama's arms to hold them, no daddy's smile
Nobody wants them they're nobody's child
Nobody's child, they're nobody's child
Just like a flower they're growin wild
No mama's arms to hold them, no daddy's smile
Nobody wants them they're nobody's child
Nobody wants them they're nobody's child
It just so happens that this weekend I received an invitation to Silviu & Tirzah's next fundraiser for orphaned children in Northeast Romania.
We are going to have a traditional Romanian meal Including home made bread and other goodies that my be a new cultural experience. The meal and entertainment will be $20.
The event will take place at East Ridge Community Church on July -10 Time 5-7 pm.
Location: 3727 West Arrowhead Road, Duluth MN 55811
Silviu is himself an artist, singer and excellent cook. Yum. It is my understanding that there will be a silent auction that includes art by potters and painters. All proceeds will go to help meet the needs of the children.
For more information about Romanian Hope Springs International visit http://www.romanianhopesprings.org/
Trivia: George Harrison's first recording of Nobody's Child was with Tony Sheridan and the Beatles in 1961.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Afghanistan: 996 deaths
Viet Nam: 58,209 deaths
World War II: 405,399 deaths
All these facts serve as a good reminder as to why we have remembrances like Memorial Day. Casualty numbers cannot be equated with inventory of goods and services. One man's spilt blood leaves many hearts wounded, for each of us has been knit into the fabric of society through family and friendships. An untimely death rips a hole in that fabric, with only scars to remind us of what once was and might have been.
This morning my inbox contained an email from our historian friend from Italy, Mario, with a link to a YouTube video about Anzio, one of the major battlefields of World War II. My father-in-law. Bud Wagner, wrote about Anzio in his war memoir, And There Shall Be Wars.
As I considered these things I re-read Chapter 22 from Bud's book, which included a letter describing a portion of the hell which was the invasion at Anzio and the fate of some who were there.
My brother, Billy C. Rhoads -- Army Service Number 16001304, was in Company C, 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion and was killed in action off the coast of Anzio on 26 January, 1944. My family has been searching for many years in an attempt to find someone in his unit who knew him or perhaps served with him. If possible, will you please help?
Bill joined the Army in 1940 in Freeport, Illinois, although his home town was Albia, Iowa. He took training at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and remained there after being assigned to the 60th Field Artillery, 9th Division. He was with the 9th when they arrived at Casablanca, North Africa in November, 1942 and still with the 9th until Sicily was taken in August, 1943. The 9th went to England for R and R and to train for the Normanday Invasion. Bill was transferred to the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion in September, 1943 and was involved with the fighting at Maori, Chuinzi Pass, Fala, Venefro, etc. with the Rangers. The 83rd were pulled off the line in early January, 1944 and sent to Pozzouli to conduct amphibious training for the assault from the sea on Anzio.
On 22 January, Companies A & B of the 83rd, plus the 1st, 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions landed unopposed at Anzio. The Germans were totally taken by surprise. LST 422, after unloading at Anzio, made an uneventful trip back to Naples and, during the night of 25 January, 1944, after being loaded to capacity with tanks, jeeps, half-tracks, ambulances, trucks and various other vehicles, plus tons of ammunition, including the write phosphorous shells for the 4.2 mortars and hundreds of barrels of gasoline, the LST proceeded toward Anzio. The personnel aboard consisted of Companies C, D and Headquarters of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion and the 68th Field Artillery.
The Germans, after the preliminary appearance of enemy troops on the 22nd, and in anticipation of an assault by sea, dropped floating mines into the water from airplanes. At 0520 in the dark morning hours of 26 January, with dense fog, twenty foot high waves, a mixture of snow and freezing rain, and the water in the Tyrrhenian Sea too cold for human endurance, LST 422 hit a mine resulting in a gaping hole in the bottom and the right side. The intense explosion immediately caused a raging fire which caused the steel to become extremely hot and ammunition to explode. Some men were blown overboard by the initial explosion. Most of them were in the lower level of the ship where it was much warmer than on the main deck. The ship became a raging inferno and the men had to abandon it or be consumed.
Relative to information from survivors of the LST 422 tragedy, the number of men in the frigid water of the sea was unbelieveable. Some were obviously dead, some injured and others were struggling to stay afloat in anticipation of being rescued. At 0540, 20 minutes following the LST explosion, LCI 32 (Landing Craft-Infantry) was ordered to pick up survivors. It also struck a mine and sank in less than five munutes with the loss of most of its crew and infantrymen it was hauling. The brass then put out the order to discontinue all rescue operations for fear of jeopardizing more men and ships. Those men in the water were left to the unrelenting and merciless doom of the sea. With the weight of equipment, the immense fatigue, and hypothermia of the icy water, many of the men, including my brother, ultimately drowned. His body was found floating at approximately 10:00 a.m. the same morning of 26 January, 1944. His body was brought aboard a boat long enough for identification (dog tags) then he was returned to the sea.
Unit Journal - aboard LST 422
26 January, 1944
68th Coast Artillery: 20 Enlisted men, 1 Officer
37 recovered dead and buried at sea.
362 never recovered or identified.
506 - Total
The Unit Journal lists two men, Privates Lawless and Kuykendall of Company B as killed in action on LST 422 26 January, 1944.
Iowa City, IA
P.S. If you have any knowledge of Pvt. Wiley Wheeler I would greatly appreciate knowing about it. Wiley was in Company D, 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion and was never recovered following LST 422 hitting a mine off the coast of Anzio on 26 January, 1944. I'd be most appreciative for any information!
Friday, May 28, 2010
14th Annual Battle of the Jugbands
Produced by Icehouse Studio, Coho Handcream for Men and De Elliot Bros., the Battle is this Sunday May 30th from 1:00 - 8:00 p.m. The Battle of the Jugbands is held in Duluth each Memorial Weekend Sunday. In years past, eight to ten regional bands have shown up, celebrating seven hours of old time down-home, string band roots music. It is also a competition as they vie for the Coveted Yid-wegian Krumkake Iron. As you might imagine, some of it is quite over-the-top. Unique homemade instruments are shown and played, audience participation encouraged. Check it out at the Amazing Grace Cafe, downstairs in the DeWitt-Seitz Building, Canal Park. For a foretaste, check out these scenes from last year.
Pre-Show Jugband Escape
Tomorrow night, de Elliot Bros. will be performing at Amazing Grace from 7:00 to 10:00 in a pre-battle performance. If you like good music, and can't make it Sunday for the annual hoopla, then stop in Saturday evening. Maybe you'll even want to participate. I believe the stage is open.
The only acceptable excuse for not joining us at Amazing Grace is because you went up to Dylan Days, which officially began yesterday in Hibbing, MN, Bob Dylan's hometown. Poetry readings, a writing contest, all kinds of music, bus tours and other distractions make for a great destination, if you're even remotely a Dylan fan or music lover. Get the whole story and weekend schedule here at http://www.dylandays.com/
For me, Memorial Day Weekend used to mean only one thing: I was not going to church that Sunday because I was going to watch all the pre-race interviews and opening ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500. My Indy 500 weekend always begins when I pick up Friday's USA Today in order to obtain the special Indy 500 racing coverage, with starting grid, profiles of the drivers and the latest dope on all the backstage gossip. This year's stories include a first time four women drivers, though the way the Penske team is racing, these ladies will have to get seriously lucky to have even the remotest chance. (Ana, Simona and Danica are my sentimental favorites.) So, if you have an ear for music but like the action in Indy, do what I often do... check out the Battle of the Jugbands at Amazing Grace, then slip across the street to Grandma's Sports Garden for a brew and a bit o' big screen TV. See if you can catch Danica Patrick in her neon green Go Daddy machine. Prediction: Will Power will set the pace.... and will drink the milk in the winner's circle. And for the record, the average lap speed these days for drivers in the front row is over 227 miles per hour.
Open House at The Historic Armory
In the event that you're not a racing fan, but you are a Dylan fan, but you can't make it to Hibbing for Dylan Days, Sunday there will be an open house at the Armory from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. during the 500 and the Battle of the Jugbands. Not sure how I will fit it all in, but I'll give it my best shot.
"Meantime life goes on all around you." ~ Dylan
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The 2006 film Goya's Ghosts directed by Milos Forman becomes a vehicle for illuminating the context of Goya's life, thereby lifting the curtain so that we see how these two styles and seemingly discordant subject themes could exist in the same man. Stellan Skarsgard plays Goya, an artist who paints royalty and simultaneously makes pamphlets undermining Papal authority. The Spanish Inquisition is still in full swing. The French Revolution is being played out to the North, followed by Napoleon and his megalomania.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I missed the party last night. I was busy out in my studio finishing the first of two or three compositions I'm devising for the Bob Dylan Way Manhole Art Contest. I did get a few more details. You can submit more than one design. Also, these will be regular manhole covers, one color, embossed, not mini-murals. These are practical manhole covers, to be cast in iron.
Speaking of Dylan, this morning I remembered the first time I saw one of his albums. Ed Hilliker, whom I rode school bus with in junior high school, had The Freelwheelin' Bob Dylan with that iconic image of young Dylan walking through the streets of New York, head tilted forward against the wind, with a smiling woman in a green coat tightly clutching his arm. The liner notes were by Nat Hentoff, who followed the music scene and wrote for the Village Voice. Hentoff's fame stemmed from his intimate portraits of obscure jazz greats who were producing incredible sounds during the fertile fifties and sixties, before jazz filtered into the masses.
Hentoff's Liner Notes begin like this...
Of all the precipitously emergent singers of folk songs in the continuing renascence of that self-assertive tradition, none has equaled Bob Dylan singularity of impact. As Harry Jackson, a cowboy singer and a painter, has exclaimed: "He's so goddamned real it's unbelievable!" The irrepressible reality of Bob Dylan is a compound of spontaneity, candor, slicing wit and an uncommonly perceptive eye and ear for the way many of us constrict our capacity for living while a few of us don't.
Not yet twenty-two at the time of this album's release, Dylan is growing at a swift, experience-hungry rate. In these performances, there is already a marked change from his first album ("Bob Dylan," Columbia CL 1779/CS 8579), and there will surely be many further dimensions of Dylan to come. What makes this collection particularly arresting is that it consists in large part of Dylan's own compositions The resurgence of topical folk songs has become a pervasive part of the folk movement among city singers, but few of the young bards so far have demonstrated a knowledge of the difference between well-intentioned pamphleteering and the creation of a valid musical experience. Dylan has. As the highly critical editors of "Little Sandy Review" have noted, "...right now, he is certainly our finest contemporary folk song writer. Nobody else really even comes close."
The highlighted observation above proved to be dead on as far a prescience goes. Who would have thunk it? Dylan has appeared in more forms than a Hindu god.
This memorable album cover actually becomes a scene in the eternally recurring happy dream gone awry of Tom Cruise in the film Vanilla Sky. What's interesting to me is that the song which Cameron Crowe chooses to play while these Dylan-in-love copycat images are being displayed is not from Freewheelin', but rather is the song Fourth Time Around from Blonde On Blonde. Fourth Time Around implies "over and over again." Very interesting, and it's about something good gone bad.
Well, we're taking Dylan back to the streets again here in Duluth with a few new manhole covers for Bob Dylan Way. Deadline is just around the corner.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don’t work
’Cause the vandals took the handles
~ Subterranean Homesick Blues
The news is on the street. Yes, it's for real. There will be new manhole covers cast for Bob Dylan Way, and the deadline is just around the corner. Here's the story, extracted from this week's blog post at Perfect Day Duluth.
Bob Dylan Way Manhole Contest
By Jeff K. on May 21, 2010 in Art
Common Language is sponsoring a competition for artists interested in designing Bob Dylan-themed cast-iron manhole covers for Bob Dylan Way in Duluth, Minnesota. The manhole covers will be cast at the 9th North Shore Iron Pour, which will be held this summer in Duluth.
Artists selected will be given free instruction at the North Shore Iron Pour seminar and an honorarium of $300. They will see their work installed on Bob Dylan Way.
Artists may submit designs in either digital or printed format. Printed designs may be no larger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Do not send original artwork. Printed designs for Bob Dylan-themed manhole covers should be sent to Common Language c/o Jeffrey Kalstrom, 114 Laurie Street, Duluth, MN 55803. Digital designs should be sent to email@example.com. The postmarked deadline for submission is June 11, 2010. The selection will be made by the Duluth Public Arts Commission. Artists selected will be informed by June 18, 2010.
This activity is funded by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota state legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, and an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature.
Common Language c/o
114 Laurie Street
Duluth, MN 55803
It could be fun having one's Bob Dylan art permanently installed as a manhole cover here in the Northland. My ultimate aim will be to produce something both street legal and worthy of Jack Frost. Even though it would be more prestigious to produce art for a Dylan album cover, a manhole cover works for me.
You can check out my blog entry from 2008 for more information about Bob Dylan Way.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
It made me curious, too, about both the range of comics themselves and the artists who create them. To learn more I spoke with Tim Broman, of Duluth's Collector's Connection.
Ennyman: I am somewhat surprised at the sophistication of the comic book scene sometimes. Do you know roughly how big the comic industry is off hand?
TB: In the USA, there are roughly 1,500 Comic-book specialty shops. I suspect that annual sales for new comic books tops out at roughly 500 Million Dollars. That might be a little high, and includes sales generated at non-comic book shops.
That number is dwarfed by the Japanese Comic Market, which is more like $1.5 Billion (as of 2007). The number also does not include sales of what are called Graphic Novels, which are how comic books get reprinted and sold in stores like Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon.com.
That number is probably higher than the sales of comic, themselves.
Comics are sold all over the world, with Japan and the US in the lead. More money is made in Video Game licensing than in the sale of Comics. One hot video title can all but eclipse the sale of all new comics in the US in any given year. Plus, Clothing, Toys, New Movies, and anything that can be licensed makes the actual sale of the Comic Books seem rather puny.
Enny: Is there a typical demographic for the comic books you sell?
TB: Typical customer is Male. Age 15-35. Younger folks normally get their comic books from grocery stores, Wal-Marts and such. When they get older, they hunt us down. I’ve been in this business for over 20 years, and now the children of the children that I used to wait on are becoming regular customers.
Enny: What do your typical buyers look like and what are the hottest selling titles, themes?
TB: Wow - what a loaded question. The cheap and easy answer is to check any episode of THE SIMPSONS or THE BIG BANG THEORY.
But the real answer is tougher to get. The average comic-book customer is, in my opinion, a little smarter than average, and a lot shyer than average. They like to read, and read lots more than just the comics. Most are also readers of fiction, and enjoy books. Economically, they’re all over the place. I have 2 lawyers, 3 entrepreneurs, a Dentist, a News Reporter, a Banker, and an Accountant. I also have a couple of pizza delivery guys, and a human slug on public assistance (it’s his “dream come true”, according to those who know him better than I.)
Hottest selling titles are almost always, in order:
Wolverine, X-Men, Amazing Spider Man, Batman, the Avengers, Superman, Star Wars, and Spawn.
Hottest Themes currently involve Zombies, like you mentioned. Trends tend to come and go.
The current trend is still making titles into Movies. A few years ago, it was Alternative Covers.
The comic industry has consistently sought out the goose that lays the golden egg, and worked
it to death. Then it goes to find another.
Enny: I assume you have an interest in the comic culture. Who are your favorite comic book artists and why?
TB: Honestly, the senior partner hired me because I had retail experience, not so much due to my passion in comics. He needed someone to trust, and I needed a job. I did collect comics when I was younger, but dumped them when I was about 14. None of my friends were still reading them, so out they went. Two bucks for a grocery bag full at a local rummage sale And I was glad be out of them. I did keep all my wrestling magazines.....which now are worth about as much as they were back then.
But, to answer your question, my current favorite Artist is Terry Moore. I also like Will Eisner, but for different reasons. Terry does a comic book called Strangers In Paradise. Two girls...one straight, one not.....one on the lamb from her past, which keeps dogging her.......lots of twists and turns. Well written, and distinctive art. Currently, Terry Moore is doing a new story called Echo. A young female photographer is caught up in a Military Experiment gone awry. The fragments of the Experiment have bonded onto her skin, causing untold mayhem. Stay tuned.....
Will Eisner is the neatest artist I’ve ever met in this business. He’s gone now, but he was a consistent presence in the history of the Comic Book business since the 1940's. His most popular work was a title called THE SPIRIT, which was just made into a movie a year or two ago. While I never cared for the Spirit, I do like his New York-based stories. Most are somewhat gloomy, but they are filled with the culture, and tell interesting stories of life in NYC in the 40's, 50's and 60's.
Enny: What percentage of the people who buy comics buy them to read and how many buy them as collectors?
TB: Nowadays, almost all buy to read. Those who buy to collect got slaughtered several years ago, before the economy went nuts.
Enny: Are old comic collections going up in value and will that trend continue?
TB: Overall, yes. There will always be a market for hot titles in better-than-average condition.
In the last 60 days, there have been 3 comic books that sold at Auction for over a Million Dollars each. Those are the first three to ever get that high a price. Currently, the reselling market is tough. That is due to high unemployment, and will change as the economy improves.... whenever that is.
Enny: You also have baseball cards and other kinds of cards. What is the current status of baseball card valuations? Warm, hot, cold?
TB: Until unemployment rates drop, I have to call the Card Market only Warm, at best.
Again, high quality stuff always sells. But the current market in ALL collectibles is still more Sellers than Buyers. Now is a good time to pick up bargains. But unless your stuff is top-notch, it’s a rough time to get anything near full value on your collectibles.
Enny: Do you see baseball cards ever coming back to a craze again?
TB: Nope. Maybe one player at a time, like Steve Strasburg (hot pitcher for the Washington Nationals). But not so much the industry.
Cards and Comics (and all collectibles) will always have an investment-based component to them.... it’s the nature of the beast. But, personally, I feel that these have to be hobbies first and foremost. A hobby is something that you do. Something that relaxes you. Like Toy Trains, or Fishing, or even Whittling. It should be fun, more than profitable. When I buy items, I buy them because I think that they’re “neat” (wow, do I feel old saying that). The last comics I bought were some graphic novels at Goodwill. They were fun to read, but there’s no long-term value to them. The last trading card I bought was a Wahoo McDaniels Rookie Card, because I remember him from local pro wrestling back in the 1970's and 80's. It cost me $12.00.
Some new item will take up the mantle of being Hot and Trendy, but just like Beanie Babies, and Pokemon Cards, it will be mostly due to hype. They get hot quick, because we all join in almost as one. Then they die out, because we each decide - on our own - that it’s no longer worth it.
There’s an old book on the subject of mass hysteria It’s called Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. It’s written by Charles McKay, and deals with historical trends such as Ponzi Schemes, and the Dutch Tulip Obsession of the 1600's. It’s a dry read, but parts of the book are very interesting.
I was impressed with how articulate Tim was on this topic. He also forwarded links to the History of Comic Books and an overview of what's Hot today.
Friday, May 21, 2010
If you are a Dylan fan, and you are anywhere in the neighborhood (that is, north of Twin Cities) you owe it toyourself to check it out sometime. For more info about this annual celebration of a native son, visit http://www.dylandays.com/
Thursday, May 20, 2010
She replied that Dusseldorf indeed has a great art tradition, and her husband co-wrote a book about one of the most important galleries there (Galerie Schmela), but that today the art market is saturated and it is hard for artists to get traction. "We see it happening to friends of ours. They are dreaming of selling their artwork in the U.S."
This reply led me to think about the arts in general. Why are there so many artists? And do we have too many artists?
John Naisbett's 1982 bestseller Megatrends offered a notion which might explain the high tide of creative output we see in the civilized world today. (I won't call it a tsunami, because that implies a destruction which I can't associate with this output in the arts.) If you recall the book, you will remember his mode of developing forecasts of what's happening came from massive clipping and analysis of local newspapers. I have to believe that this is all done via the Internet now with data harvesting tools like Mozenda.
Anyways, the famous insight he had was called High Tech/High Touch. "The two biggest markets in the United States are consumer technology and escape from consumer technology." In other words, the more we get inundated with technology, the more you have a need to immerse in something that is not technology. Music, art, film, hiking, gardening....
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Last fall I wrote about a new book that had compiled all the letters of Vincent Van Gogh. It was a monumental work. Even more monumental, however, is the online version of this epic effort in which you can do searches for words and themes, find exactly how many time Mr. Van Gogh wrote about the pain in his head or his heartache for the suffering of his friends. At the end of that blog entry I had a link to a Wikipedia page that had compiled in one place a lifetime of Van Gogh self-portraits. My hope was that the faces would be studied, because each really does tell a story.
And have a great day.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So, without further adieu.... Pam Holnback.
Ennyman: You taught art for a lifelong career. How did you become an art teacher?
Pam H: When I started college I was an art major. During a required freshman speech class, I was always giving the speeches on art related subjects. The speech teacher told the class that I'd make a great teacher, and my mind said, Yes, I would love that. I switched my major to Art Education and never looked back.
E: What grade levels did you teach, elementary, mid-school or high school?
PH: Through my career I taught K - 12. The last 13 years were in middle school. I taught at a wonderful, supportive school. I loved the energy of those kids and the fact that they came to art everyday for one semester. I incorporated many of my lessons with their Social Studies curriculum.
E: Did you ever wish you were teaching college art students?
PH: No, my personality, interests, and aspirations were always with challenging, inspiring, and teaching kids.
E: Have you always lived in Colorado? I see you derive a lot of inspiration from the natural beauty that surrounds there...
PH: Thank you. I came to Colorado as a college freshman, and except for 6 years that I lived overseas, I've been here ever since. Colorado is a great fit for me. I love the out-of-doors, the mountains, the vast skies, the sun. It's all here and I incorporate it into my paintings. When our kids were small and I had little time for painting, our family was always enjoying the out -of-doors. It's why people live in this state.
E: What are your biggest influences and why?
PH: One of my biggest personal influences was my mother. She was a little ahead of her time. My sisters and I were raised to believe that anyone could do anything they wanted if they put their mind to it. She traveled and worked after college, and then married. I followed in her footsteps. One of the biggest influences on my paintings is my environment. I paint what's around me and what I love.
E: Oils can take so long to dry. What do you like about oil painting, and why do you paint on panels?
PH: I started painting w/ oils because the artist that I wanted to study with was an oil painter. I like using them because they're forgiving, and I love how well you can mix colors. I've never really painted with any other medium. I use small panels for my daily paintings. I use stretched canvas for my bigger pieces.
E: Are you selling your work, and if so how and where?
PH: My work is all for sale. I've sold some through the Internet, some in shows, and now have some pieces in a local venue.
E: I believe all children have a natural inborn creativity. Any suggestions for art teachers on how to be a source of motivation to develop that instead of becoming the wet blanket that squelches their creative dreams?
PH: I believe that whether you're an art teacher, or teacher of any subject, that children respond to a positive, fair, consistent, motivating environment. This will help students of all ages, all subject, all levels.
E: Any favorite painters of your own?
Monday, May 17, 2010
Spielberg? Redford? How can you top that?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
While painting I was pondering how Lincoln is somewhat of an iconic image, and how Warholesque this repetition of a theme might be, Warhol's themes being cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's Soup.
Here's a question for any artists who follow this blog: What kinds of things go through your mind while you're painting? Do you have a notepad to scribble notes, thoughts, ideas, insights?
Last night I was thinking about how there is something of a carelessness in much of my work and I was analyzing the root of it. I create something and then move on, instead of taking time to really "finish" the piece. The attention to detail is sometimes and it's disappointing to look back at certain pieces. The real artist will sand the edges of his or her panels and make them smooth before painting, instead of rushing into it and afterwords noticing that the sawblade cut was a bit rough.
Sometimes the emotion of creation produces really interesting effects. The next day you wonder if the painting should be left "as is" because it so perfectly captures a moment in time, or if the work should be completed using both left and right brain.
And what about pieces that you create that you just have mixed feelings about afterwards. Last night I pulled my 2 x 3 foot JFK painting out of the back room and smeared over it with the foundation for a new Lincoln image. I like where the new piece is going. Many of my paintings have layers like that... with patches and portions peeking through.
Before heading out to the studio I was reviewing a couple art blogs and found an interesting page about how to price your art. I'm preparing for a show at Beaner's Central in July and have come head on to the problem we all wrestle with. For years I made it easy for myself by simply giving things away to people who liked them. But, it's hard to build a retirement income by giving everything away, and it's also hard to convince galleries to display your work if they are not getting a cut. ("Sure, you can have 90% and I will take 10%... let's see, 90% of zero is... uhm, zero.")
Anyways, here are seven ways to figure out how to price your work. If you're like me though, the article doesn't settle the question. It does offer a few pricing models, however, that you might not have thought of.
Today is Saturday... make it special and do something you love.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Somehow Adele learned of the mention here and left a comment here. What happened next is contained here in the email below which I received yesterday.
Ed - I did go on Adele's site and have passed along this email to her from me. I thought she might enjoy knowing how much her book has gone on to inspire others...artists and young students. It was such a long "story" behind (and beyond) the influence of her book just on me....there just wasn't enough room on the blog. Thank you again for taking the time to make connections between artists, through your blog, and "passing on" your enthusiasm and love for art and the artist!
Have a great week!
From: davilla Harding
To: adele earnshaw
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:49 AM
Subject: Thanks for comments to blog
Hi Adele - I wanted to thank you for your kind feedback to my blog interview with Ed Newman. As a career elementary school teacher, I always treasured the moments when I knew or found out how much something I said or taught had affected one of my students. And although I could not put all of the information in the blog, your book (and philosophy of Paint the Things You Love) basically changed the way I painted...as I mentioned in the blog. I would like to pass on a little more information to you as to how your book has further affected me and others - as I mentioned in the blog, I have tried to "pass it on"!
Personal Experience - The first thing I painted after reading your book was a portrait of a sepia photograph my father had taken of me when we lived in Athens, Greece. He had just passed away a few months earlier, and so the photo took on an even more signifigance. It has received a couple of recognitions/awards, and I do believe it is the because I began to paint the things I love!
"Passing It On" to Others - A lady came to our watercolor group about 1 1/2 years ago. She had a tremendous desire to paint, but often left, crying in frustration over what she "could not do." I had her read your introduction. She continued to come with her DESIRE, EFFORT, TENACITY, TIME and ATTITUDE. Because of her determination, today she paints happily away without the deep frustration of "I want to so badly, but just can't." In fact, our latest workshop was painting a very complex modern cityscape. Hers was very good...and we all applauded and marveled at her wonderful progress.
The World of Children - Although I have retired from the classroom, I still serve as an educational consultant for a local school district helping the 4th grade students with composition writing (which is tested by our state's standardized TAKS test). I used your book as one of the foundation points of effective writing. I showed them your book and told them about how profoundly it had changed my painting, and then showed them the painting Waiting. I suggested that whenever they write to the writing topic, they should be sure to write about something they love (or feel very strongly about) and make the reader of their composition "feel" what they feel/felt during that experience. I gently patted my heart, and had them do it also, and said, "You should feel your heart thumping with excitement/emotion over whatever it is you are trying to put on paper, just as I did when I painted this portrait of me. I included a photo above to show me at the class demonstration. I wore a red heart to symbolize, and remind students of, this writing strategy...sorry the quality of the photo is not that sharp. (I "tongue in cheek" told them on the day of the state TAKS test, I would be sitting at my lake home - 20 minutes away - and I wanted to hear all of their hearts beating with excitement to get every word on the paper). The scores have not come back from the TAKS test, yet, but I am positive they will do well!
I hope you don't mind my going into so much detail, but I think you might enjoy hearing how much, and in how many ways, your words have helped others! Thank you for sharing your inspiration with all of us and helping each of us to become better artists in our own way.
This remind me of a couple of my own experiences online involving books, Internet connections and affirmations. Thank you, Davilla, for sharing this....
If interested, here's where you can find your own copy of Adele's book Painting the Things You Love. Have a great day.
Top right: Waiting, by Davilla
Thursday, May 13, 2010
~Simon & Garfunkel, Feelin' Groovy
In February our friend Mario from Italy sent me a link to a blog entry about the Slow City movement. I finally slowed down enough to look into it. And it's pretty interesting.
Actually, the Slow City movement is an attempt to get whole cities to participate in the Slow movement. You may be familiar with some of the siblings in this family of attitudes: Slow Travel, Slow Food, Slow Books, Slow Living.
Personally there is a lot of attraction to these attitudes. I know that when Susie and I travel, we like Slow Travel. Art galleries, museums, nice restaurants all take time, and that's what a vacation is in our book. My brother and his wife take the reverse course, Power Vacation where they seem dedicated to taking in as many experiences as possible. "While we're here we might as well cram in the Bahrumba Cliff Hike and do the Bungees over on the next peak." More power to 'em.
I like reading, but slow reading is certainly the best way to savor a page of quality prose. It's like fine wine versus Ripple. People drinking Ripple aren't doing it for the flavor, it's about how fast you can get slammed. The same with reading. It should not be about how many books you can read in a year so you can win a contest. Reading for pleasure includes pauses to roll images and ideas around in the mind, to chew and digest... and like a cow chewing its cud, resume chewing.
According to the Slow City Manifesto, no city larger than 50,000 can be part of this movement. Minneapolis is out. Philadelphia is out. Even our little corner of the world, Duluth, is out. This doesn't mean we can't individually pursue Slow Living.
The trademark or emblem of the movement is an orange snail with a crown made of modern buildings. That could be interesting. (I once wrote an article that began with the opening line, "Which is slower, a snail, a glacier, or a piece of legislation through congress?")
Life at a snail's pace might be a good thing, though right now I'm kinda busy and don't have a lot of time to think about it.
For sure when we slow down we experience our surroundings more. The marshlands, the trees, the fields and outcroppings of rock in our rural areas make a far greater impact when you walk through them than when you fly past them on the highway. Last Sunday for Mother's Day we went to Carlton Bike Rental and took a lazy ride up the trail to Jay Cooke State Park. There are 63 miles of bike trail starting from this location, and I've been told they will be connecting yet more trail to it from the headwaters of the Mississippi, so it's easy to see why they're staking a claim that Minnesota Starts Here.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Something I have been doing a lot of the past year is seeing what other people are doing in the arts, both by visiting art galleries locally and online. As I skim through websites and online art galleries I am always surprised at how many ways in which creative people can express themselves.
So it is that last week I stumbled upon Davilla Harding, a watercolorist currently residing in East Texas. Her painting Sunset Among the Ruins led me to want to interview her for Ennyman's Territory.
Ennyman: You grew up in a military home and lived in a variety of countries and cultures. How did this experience influence you?
Davilla Harding: During his military career, my father was stationed throughout the world: Greece, France, Germany, and Japan. Whether standing at the base of the columns of the Parthenon, observing the masterpieces of art in the Louvre, or walking the beautiful landscapes/gardens of Japan, I was always in awe and wonder at the beauty that was created by the artists of the world. This wonder and appreciation has only grown through time, and now especially, since I have begun to paint. The other great influence of this time period was my mother (a fine arts major in college), who was a collector of fine art and antiques. She filled our home with beautiful artworks/antiques from both Europe and the Orient.
E: When did you first take an interest in making pictures? How did you end up favoring watercolors?
I never took formal art lessons as an adult, because I pursued my career as a teacher. When I retired in 2007, I looked around to see what I might do to continue to be creative and productive. I went to our local watercolor art group with the thought that maybe this might be something. On that day – the moment I saw the watercolor flow on the paper and the beauty of light and colors that was expressed with it and through it, I “fell in love”. My passion and love for watercolors has only increased as the months/years have passed.”
E: I take it you have travelled some based on your paintings like Sunset Among the Ruins. (right) What other places have you painted? Do you have any travel destinations pulling you toward the future?
DH: Most of the paintings I have done of places in foreign countries have been based on family photos or memories.
My immediate travel destination will be to go soon to Maui, Hawaii where my daughter lives. I want to capture the intense and brilliant light and colors that I have seen nowhere else in my travels. Then I want to return to Europe and capture my own images, as seen through my vision as an evolving artist.
E: You mention being self-taught. And also having an opportunity to see museums around the world. Who have your influences been to inspire what you do?
DH: My favorite artist from the old masters has to be the paintings of Johannes Vermeer. I was always entranced by the “light” of/in his paintings, and of course, the story that was told in his portraits of middle class life.
Other favorites include Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Georgia O’Keefe – to name only a few.
E: When I was young I never had the patience for watercolors. What advice would you give to people, young or old, who want to work in this medium?
A. Early on, I bought the book Painting the Things You Love by Adele Earnshaw. Because I had come so late to the process of painting, she said something in her “Introduction” that inspired me tremendously. I have since passed it on to other beginning artists:
“Artists of lesser talent (than the Masters) become successful because they have three necessary ingredients: DESIRE, EFFORT, and TENACITY.” To this equation she adds DISCIPLINE, TIME and ATTITUDE. So I have taken that formula, included my PASSION for watercolors, and embarked on what I hope is an evolving career.
B. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who encourage, promote, and take joy in what you are trying to create and/or become. So often they can see in you, what you might not yet be able to. That has been my experience with the support and encouragement I have received from my family and watercolor group.
E: What art magazines have you found most useful for you?
Painting with Your Artist’s Brain by Carl Purcell
Painting Spectacular Light Effects by Paul Jackson
Seven Keys to Great Painting by Jane Hofsteter
Painting the Things You Love by Adele Earnshaw
When I do read from magazines, I have shared those collected by my watercolor group. I have listed just a few below:
The Artist’s Magazine
The American Artist: Watercolor
E: When will the book you are illustrating be published?
DH: The projected date is late summer or early fall.
To see more of Davilla's watercolors, visit Artworks By Davilla.