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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Death of Dia de los Muertos

Two years ago, on October 27th, I had my first date with Jessica. We had planned on going to the Blanton art museum, on the University of Texas campus. But the Fates had other plans: there was a football game going on, and we could not get anywhere near the musuem. Our plans of a simple, quick meeting dashed, we ended up at an old miniature golf course, then onto the Tavern for burgers. Eventually, we ended up downtown on 5th and Congress, near the Mexic-Arte art gallery. Oh, how magical life can be when you least expect it. Little did we realize, but the Dia de los Muertos festival was going on. It was a small event back then, hidden in a little corner of downtown, where the tall banks and investment firms of Austin tower overhead, as silent sentinels of corporate America. They watched from above, waiting... It was an amazing evening, pure magic. The Dead Players played their music... old world Mexico as the procession moved about us... painted faces of the dead, paper mache skulls... a celebration of those who came before us, and all of us that will follow. It is not morbid at all: it is a celebration of life. Our simple 2 hour date turned into a 7 hour dream that was blessed and wonderful. Move forward now, two years, and Jessica and I went to the Dia de los Muertos last night. What was once a small, perfectly 'Austin-like' event, completely focused on the Dia de los Muertos, is now a typical street fair, with corporate sponsors, vendors, food, and a stage with a myriad of entertainment not related to the dead. We spent 15 minutes there before leaving. The memories of what once was are still with us, but the reality of what now is has left the Dia de los Muertos on 5th and Congress dead forever. Rest, my sweet love: my festival of the dead... your passing is a sadness, and you lived too short a life, killed by the same skyscrappers who once looked over you from above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pushed to the Point

Over the years, I have written many things. Some professionally, others for my own need to put thought on paper. I have always labeled myself as a 'writer' more than anything, but have yet to actually take the step into becoming a novelist. It has bothered me over the years, incessantly. One of the reasons has been that even though I have written professionally (e.g. HBO Original Movies scripts), to sit down and attempt a novel is daunting at best for most people, myself included. Where to begin? What to write about? How do you even start organizing ideas? And another thing: writing a TV script and creating a 300 page novel is very different. Yet the desire to do so has eaten at me for years. This past spring, the desire became so great, I started really researching how to accomplish my life's goal of becoming a published literary author. It burned so badly inside of me, I could ignore the call no more. That is when I found an amazing website that laid out a technique call 'The Snowflake' method. It changed everything. Through this method, I have finally begun. I am currently on Step 7 of the process, and it is exhilarating. I will describe my story more in the coming months, but basically it is autobiographical. Enough verbose floundering for now. Enjoy this picture I took of Jessica. I call it 'Counting Shells'.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Art to the Beholder

I am learning that photography has a lot to do with perspective just the same as illustration, both visually as well as philosophically. Composition is everything with the former, and taste, the latter. I have seen enough photos to understand that things like 'the rule of thirds' and color balance, etc. can mean the difference between something that is appealing and something that just doesn't sit right in your mind. The same can be said with taste, like music. I will never understand how anyone can listen to country music for more than 5 minutes before they wouldn't want to set an icepick to eardrums. Yet, people love it. That is what makes art so amazing, isn't it? Here we all are with a common thread of DNA, and so different in all other ways. Well anyway, this image taken of my mantle that is visually appealing to me for a reason I cannot explain... it just 'feels' balanced in composition and color. Maybe you disagree, but then again, there is no accounting for taste ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

National Seashore

The National Seashore. 55 miles of beach with no crowds, no one in sight. We went 30 miles in (4x4 access only) and on the first day not a soul to be seen. Fishermen come by on occassion usually, but not this day. Weather was perfect, feeling like Hawaii. The gentle sound of the sea, and the warm air coming off the ocean. Water temperature here is about 80 degrees in May/June, then warmer in August/July. So few know about this treasure. When you really want to have miles of beach to yourself, it's the only place I have ever been to where you can find it in the U.S., including Hawaii. This image is the second morning as the sun rose on the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Art for work-sake

In my current 'day job' profession, I am fortunate enough to be able to do at least some design and writing. Though the writing is for marketing purposes, and therefore not completely enjoyable or creative, the design aspect of my position allows me to maintain my skills as a graphic artist and designer. The projects may not be the most beautiful works, but they still create challenges of their own in design. Especially when those who ultimately review and approve the designs are not exactly 'artistically tuned'. We do employ freelance designers on occasion, but I often find their work falling short of the 'vision' I originally conceptualized in the collateral. Having done a major amount of freelance work myself, I find it often easier to just get my hands dirty and do the project alone. But my true love is working creatively for nothing other than the joy of making something that looks interesting. This is such an image created from a photo.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Art and the Purist

A digression: I was speaking with an old friend a few weeks back after some 15 years since last I had seem him. During our reminiscence and catching up, I found out he has also taken up photography as a pursuit. We discussed whether altering a photo in Photoshop maintains the integrity of the art of photography. He has taken the path of the purist; if the photo is not to his liking through the lens, and only in its native form, he discards the photo and works for that perfection of the image by using the camera only. I completely respect that approach to photography and realize that many will argue that it is the true form of the art. Ansel Adams didn't have Adobe Suite CS4, and achieved the mastery by trusting the camera and darkroom alone. I, on the other hand, view the art of photography in a different light. My perspective is that the camera is the tool that creates my canvas, and Photoshop is the brush on that medium. My argument is that the old-school darkroom was in fact a primitive version of the computer, and Photoshop an advanced form of filters and lighting gels that were employed by those who did not have access to such technology. Regardless of whose side of the fence you reside, we can at least agree that photography is a wonderful medium for those of us who cannot paint, sculpt or draw too well, but have the insatiable desire to create. These images here are a couple of my first attempts to paint in photography of my own.

Friday, April 17, 2009

True photographer

Gary's image of the desert
When I owned that Canon AE1, it eventually acquired a light-leak somewhere in the body after a former 'friend' borrowed it and then treated it rather poorly. At the time I hadn't been taking any images that I'd consider art at all: just family photos and the like. So I went to my brother (the REAL photographer), handed over the camera and asked him what should I do about the leak? He returned it 3 days later and I asked him if he had fixed it for me. He said Yep, and promptly handed me a large roll of black camera tape. lol! So for the next several years, I would cover every seal on the body of that camera with tape. It wasn't a very convenient way to load and unload film, to say the least. Still, I managed. All the time I was fumbling with my tape-bound 35mm mess, I was very envious of by brothers' images and cameras. He really is a talented photographer and you can view some of his posted photos at . He has what I call 'The Eye' and I really love his landscapes in the deserts of Southern Utah where he is renovating a turn-of-the-century hotel in Green River, near Moab. You can see the Midland and some of his photography by following the link. This particular image I have included here is one of his that I find amazing. It really does justice to the color of the rock and beauty found in the desert near his home. More stories of my photography journey coming soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Art through the Looking Glass

Photography is an art I have always wished to pursue, but for many reasons, had always eluded my grasp. I had taken a class in high school many years ago, learning the traditional dark room techniques and old-school film process, but never having the funds nor the time to dedicate to the art following those early years left me on the outside looking in. At one point, I decided to pursue my secret desire of the art a bit more and bought a Canon AE1 at the recommendation of my brother (a REAL professional photographer) and played around with it a bit. But in the pre-digital age, with kids to raise, jobs to pursue... it just wasn't feasible for me to give it the time I really wished that I could. I have always been a computer geek though, since the mid 80's with my first Commodore 64, so having the knowledge and skills for the evolving digital age is something I did pursue. Leap forward 20+ years and I finally have the time and means to indulge my hidden fantasy of being an amateur photographer. With some extra cash I managed to hoard I recently purchased a Canon EOS Rebel XSi. I love it. Finally, I am able to express my art through a visual medium that has eluded me all these years. More to come as I travel this path of freedom in art through the lens.


The Road to Xanadu