Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Draw 'til It Hurts

I drew all weekend, so I'm feeling pretty good about that.  And I hate to be a little diaper baby about the whole affair, but now my hand hurts.  I must have had a death grip on that pencil/colored pencil/paintbrush, because it has led to muscle fatigue of the abductor pollicis brevis.  Yeah.  I looked that up.  I'm pretty tough though, so I'll probably be okay.  If not, don't worry, i'll talk about it.

The quality of the work shifted yesterday.  It became very natural, and turned out really well.  I'd show you guys the work, but I'm going to send it out to some literary agents now to see if I can get someone to help me get that crazy book idea of mine published, and I'd rather not publish the work myself just yet.

As a side issue though, I've learned of a possible paintbrush restoration method that may bring crusty brushes back to life.  I'm testing it, and then I'll let you know how it went, but the method is as follows.

  1. Soak the hard brushes in white vinegar for an hour (or since yesterday, in my case.)
  2. Bring the brushes, and vinegar up to a simmer in a sauce pan.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Cool, and wash with soap and water.
I'm doing the heating part tonight.  I'll let you know how that goes.  I'm sure you're waiting with bated breath.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Excuses, Excuses: How E. Bell Gets His Blog On

Seriously?  That's the title I chose?  Ugh.  What is wrong with me.  I think I just like referring to myself in the third person.

Anyway...my blog posts have been intermittent at best lately, so I will now wow you with excuses, dazzle you with reasons, and explain why I think my life is harder than yours!  No.  Just kidding.  I'm not going to do any of those things.  I'm busy.  Whatever.  Who cares?  So are most other people who are worth talking to.  

(Side note:  If you're not busy, you're probably boring.  Just saying.)

But on those days that I forget to blog, or don't want to, or can't, I miss it.  I like to blog.  I like that it puts my mind in order.  I like that it keeps art in the forefront of what's going on in my life.  I like that it forces me to keep a dialogue going. 

Did this post have a point?  I don't know.  I can never remember.  Blogs are good.  

E. Bell out.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Drawings from Sketchbooks: 2 Girls, a Bird, and a Poodle

Things That I Don't Know About This Drawing:

  • Why those girls are so sassy.
  • Why that bird is so bothered/saddened by them.
  • What that poodle is doing.
  • When I drew it.
  • What it means.
  • Why I love that poodle so much.
  • If the big girl is a drag queen or not.
  • If the poodle has to pee/poop or both.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Books That I Love (And You Should Too...)

The Brothers K, by David James Duncan

Family.  Baseball.  Love.  Loss.  Life.  This one has it all including a perfect story and captivating prose. I love this book because I love character development, and after reading this book I felt like I new the Chance family better than some people who I've known for years.  This is a richly layered family epic that comes of age along side of America - through the turbulent second half of the 20th Century.  This is one of the ones that I grieved when it was over.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers

This mostly true tale of the authors early life bears its title somewhat ironically.  He uses it tongue in cheek, but it couldn't be more true.  This is the story of a 19-year-old almost man who loses his parents within 5 weeks of one another and inherits his 9-year old brother.  We join them on the journey to figuring out how to make a life together.  We cringe at the horrible mistakes.  We laugh at the pure joy.  It'll break your heart, but it'll help you patch it up too.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

I think this might have been the first chapter book I ever read.  It was second or third grade.  I like Roald Dahl.  I like the justice that his work possesses.  There is almost always a put upon downtrodden character who is being held down by some outside force.  I love that the characters, in this case Charlie, are true of heart, and that leads them to a life changing reward.  That was where the first movie failed (and actually why Roald Dahl pulled out, and didn't let them make The Great Glass Elevator) - they made Charlie drink the fizzy lifting drink.  He never would have done that.  He's too good.  If only life were really that simple.  Maybe it is.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon

You remember that time in your life, when you were old enough to make your own choices, but still too young to make the right ones.  Yeah.  Those were the days.  This story, in perfectly foot-noted Michael Chabon style, follows two young dreamers and they change the world around them.  For the better.  For the worse.  It also possesses a heavy dose of comic book history which, as a non-comic book guy, I was leery of, but it was a great education on how the 1930s in New York redefined American pop culture.

Geek Love by Kathleen Duncan

This sad, dark, twisted little love story has nothing to do with nerdy kids who fall in love.  The "geek" referred to in this title is a carnival performer who bites the heads off of live chickens. and this is the story of a freak show promoter and the geek he falls in love with, and the family that follows.  Bizarre and horrific, yet completely lovely and endearing, this story explores the length that familes will go to - to protect each other, to help each other, and to get what they want.

SummerlandSummerland by Michael Chabon

There are only a handful of things on Earth that will reduce me to tears.  The final scene of It's A Wonderful Life is one, and the last three pages of this book are another.  This is one of those underdog overcomes the obsticale stories, and I love it completely.  Ethan Feld is not a good baseball player, but he is drawn into an adventure in which he must overcome his own limitations, not for himself, but for everyone else.  It gets me every single time.

Salem's Lot by Steven King

Suspense is fun, and in this early work by the maestro of horror we get plenty of supsense.  You know how I hate to get all hipster, but our buddy Stephen King was writing vampires long before vampires were cool.  And in this case, they're actually blood thirsty and animalistic, representing so much about lust and desire.  There's not a single heart-sick emo teenager to be found.  What can be found are real chills.  And a sneaking suspicion that some of the people you know might actually be creatures of the night.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

This one is raw and honest, and like most of John Irving's books, pretty zany.  The friendship of John and Owen is something of an example to all of us.  At first it seems off balance and even charitable, but we learn that little Owen with his "wrecked" voice and small stature is more equipped to handle the world than John in a lot of ways.  At it's core, this novel is a testament to the power of faith, and all of the complicated intricacies that accompany a life.  

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

So much could (and has) been said about this book.  This masterpiece.  This amazing bit of 20th century.  I will say that this book is a deal-breaker.  If you can't love this story of right and wrong, then I can't love you.  Sorry.  I just can't.  Ms. Lee's writing is astonishing in its simplicity, and this story possesses a truth that doesn't change or fade with the passing of time.  But that's not what gets me.  The way she captures the soul of small town America is what seals the deal for me.  I think I live on the same street as Scout.  And I like that.

Honorable Mentions: I'd be remiss not to mention the following books, which held my attention and stuck with me long after I was done reading them.

Under the Dome by Stephen King
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Corrections by Johnathan Franzen

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Things I Shouldn't Love As Much As I Do

Since I addressed some of the things that I am forgetting to invest in yesterday, today I thought it might be fun to reveal some of the things that I've invested in that are most probably a total waste of time.  Don't worry.  I'll be sure to include plenty of thinly veiled justification so that I can go right ahead and keep loving these time wasting useless endeavors.

Things I Shouldn't Love As Much As I Do:

  1. Zombies:  I know.  It's all the rage right now.  The un-dead have become a part of the pop culture zeitgeist.  And I'm one of them.  I love zombies.  The pseudo-hipster in me would want it pointed out that I loved zombies way before it entered the mainstream.  I have lots of nerdy, creative friends and they have brainwashed me thoroughly.  I mean...I put Night of the Living Dead ON STAGE.  Seriously.  What is wrong with me?  
  2. Star Wars: I know George's $4 Billion universe is flawed.  I know his directing has the subtlety of a bull-dozer with the subtitle "BULLDOZING."  I know.  But I love the galaxy far away.  I think I'd put a lightsaber at the top of my "fictitious things I wish I had."  A Harry Potter-Style wand would be up there too.  (See Below.)  
  3. Women Who Are Mean (To Me): I can't help it.  I'm a glutton for punishment, and  I like it when girls make me work for their affections.  I like being held at arms length.  I like being tortured.  I'm a moron like that.
  4. Harry Potter:  I'm a grown-ass man and I love Harry Potter (Books not Movies!)  It's all because I like a story that I can live inside of for a while.  I like the ability to transport to that place.  I also love the UK, so that doesn't help either.  
  5. My Jeep: It's only a vehicle.  I know that.  NO I DON'T!  As I typed that I cringed at the deceit.  My Jeep is open-air freedom.  It's travel.  It's adventure.  It's love.
  6. Christmas Trees:  It's actually not normal.  I like Christmas a normal amount, but Christmas Trees...I love.  A lot.  I love the lights.  The colors.  When I was a baby, I would stare at colored lights for long periods of time.  When I was small, 2 or 3-years old, I toddled away from my mother in a department store.  She found me, carrying on a conversation with a talking Christmas Tree.  I call the weekend after Thanksgiving "Tree Weekend."  
I'm not okay.  Please send help.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Things I Should Maybe Care About...That I Don't

It has recently come to my attention that there are things that a lot of people care about that I don't.  It's not that hired to get me fired up, but these things leave me without a strong opinion one way or the other.  I just...don't care.

Below is a list, which is not comprehensive by any means, but it covers some of these topics.  How does this information fit this blog you ask?  How does it "come from my studio?"  Oh.  You didn't?  You forgot that this blog is about art and art making?  

Yeah.  Me too.

Things I Should Maybe Care About...That I Don't

  1. Wearing Pants: In rather relaxed, weekend mode.  I don't care if I put on pants.  I don't mean at all. I'm not some sicky sick sick-o, who walks around with it all hanging out.  I mean I don't care if I put "real" pants on.  I'm happy staying in cut-off sweats all the time.  Fashion be damned.
  2. Advanced Degrees: Ph.D.; M.B.A.; M.F.A....Pfffft.  I know I should get one, or more.  I know of the prestige and accomplishment that comes from higher learning.  I know the glory of suede elbow patches.  But I still don't care if I get on or not.  I have to, if I want to grow my career, but I still don't care.  Weird isn't it.
  3. Torture: Enhanced Interrogation, water-boarding, etc.  Yeah.  It's bad.  I know it's bad.  But I don't care if America uses it on people.  If you are a human rights loving liberal (like me), then you probably gasped.  I know.  It's bad that I don't care.  I want to care.  I want to think it's bad even.  But I don't.  Expecting people who deal with violent terrorists to refrain from torture, is like expecting people farmers to smell better.  It's a tough game.  And it's messy.  But it goes with the territory.  Besides, most people only hate it because George Bush was involved.
  4. Most of the Things I See on Facebook: I want to care about the people in my life.  I want to want to see the weird things they do to their babies.  Or just how cute their dogs were being when they cuddled into the laundry.  I want to care.  I want to actively share in their lives, and share in that process.  But not really.
  5. Gun Control:  I know.  I know.  Hot button issue.  I should rephrase this.  It's not that I don't care about guns, gun ownership, etc.  It's that I don't care what the average person thinks about it.  There aren't right answers to this.  People are making their position something that defines them.  They are gun people or they aren't.  Well that's crazy.  Everyone is going to need to find their way to the middle on this one - otherwise politicians are still going to pander to the opinion of the majority of their constituents and try to pass laws that mask the issue.  Until people come together, we won't be keeping anyone safer.
  6. Folding Laundry:  I love getting the laundry done, but I hate folding it.  So it sits in baskets.  It just sits there.  Baskets get shifted.  Baskets get shuffled.  I even bought more baskets.  
  7. Your Relationship With Your God: Spirituality has always been a pretty private thing to me, and though I know that a good Christian believes in fellowship, I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean painting yourself with sunshine to look better than your neighbors.  
  8. Celebrity Behavior: Nope.  Don't care at all.  Fuck you Kimye.  I care about you as much as you care about me.  Which is not at all.  So let's call this one even and walk away while we still have our dignity.
  9. Movies (and now TVs) Being in 3-D:  Am I the only one who just finds 3-D movies confusing?  Why do we want stuff to come at us again?  
Yeah.  I don't care.