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PERSONAL, ART (permalink) 01.19.2012
gettin' my draw on
this year's annual learn is drawing. while i'd be quick to say the ability to sketch/draw is my most coveted skill of them all, if given five moments, i surely could rattle off a string of others i intensely wish i could do in addition. but drawing is certainly way, way, super, way up there. to this day i succinctly remember the kid from my elementary school who could draw anything effortlessly (usually space battle scenes in his case). and i can still perfectly picture the shaded and realistic face of the old man chewing on a cob pipe (most impossible to replicate in my tourist mind!!!) a kid in my high school art class created with the same ease as i'd pen my name to the top of my embarrassing version of that same assignment. and then, quite recently, i randomly stumbled upon an interview with an artist, sarah melling, who eloquently put to words my sentiments and respect for the craft:
"I love the simplicity of using pencils and colored pencils; they're not messy and they're perfectly portable. Pencils are a humble instrument, to be sure, but they have such a long history and are capable of so much. Some of my favorite works of any artist, even the Great Masters, are their pencil sketches."
those three sentences closed the deal for where i'd put my time and attention in 2012. i'm in such rabid agreement with those words i'm peeved i didn't think to say them first. and if envy is truly a sin, i'm in a heap of trouble because i desperately envy anyone who can transform an empty page of paper into to a vivid, living spectacle with something as low-tech as a child's pencil. i've been contemplating the simplicity of this craft so much, the other day i subjected my kids to a fifteen minute treatise on how/why beyonce's single ladies video is so close to perfect, it's hard to imagine a single way to improve upon it. so basic. a fully white room (the blank slate), an artist, two dancers flanking her, thumping song, creative lighting, astonishing choreography, and even more astonishing execution. most importantly, no cgi-like antics. just beautiful, trained, human bodies doing beautiful, trained, human feats. the sophistication of this three minute product, which for sure comes after thousands of hours of training and effort on the parts of all the players, proves so humanly exquisite that, again, seriously contemplating how to improve upon it stands as a near futile exercise.

while i know my drawing skills will never reach the precision and expertise of those i fawn over and daydream about, i do know that one year from now they will be better than they are today. and given enough minutes stolen here and there over the next thirty years, one day i may have a tattered sketchbook containing my own two-dimensional, graphite interpretations of the world around me.

ART (permalink) 07.15.2011
grand re-opening today !!!
this is a saint louis centric post. for any fans, rabid or otherwise, of The Future Antiques (site), be advised they moved. this is the store that specializes in 50's and 60 gear like games, kitchenwares, art decor, and of course old school ice crushers! when i first found them they were on cherokee street which claimed our city's best mexican cuisine. then they moved to south grand where you went if vietnamese food was your thing. as of today they are on chippewa (6514), just down the way from ted drewes custard house. talk about two tasty birds!

and if you don't live in st. lou, perhaps you'd enjoy this past story partly about tfa back when it was still on cherokee.

ART (permalink) 08.11.2010
still keeping my day job but ...
my christmas day rendition of our home on a used etch-a-sketch one of the kids got from santa.

click to enlarge

KIDS, ART (permalink) 05.12.2010
deprived to the point of not being deprived
i came home from work yesterday and asked if the kids wanted to go hit tennis balls. bella had a friend over so declined. anthony only likes hitting things that are not tennis balls with the racket so he was out. alex was at a friend's house but due to come home. i called over and asked if i picked him up if he'd like to hit tennis balls. he said yes so i picked him up and we headed to the courts. on the way there he said he forgot something at the house and we had to go back. almost to the courts, i said we'd stop on the way home.

then we played tennis, which means i fed him balls while i stood at the net and he hit them back. i initially got the kids interested in hitting balls by saying the object of the game was for them to try to hit me. when i reminded alex of this yesterday he said we couldn't play that game. when i asked why he said because if he hit me, he would break my glasses and i would be mad. i like this kid quite a bit. so i fed him balls and he returned them not hitting me once.

then i said we had to wrap up and head home because dinner would be ready soon. he reminded me about stopping at his friend's house. i said i didn't think we'd have time and would have to get them later. he stopped and scolded me, firmly reminding me that i said we would go and i can never break a promise. never! i paused, looked at him and said, ok, but he'd have to be quick because we were late for dinner. and, i told him i wasn't even fully stopping the car. on the way to the house, i asked him what he forgot and he said his ds lites. since alex doesn't own a ds, lite or otherwise, i figured i misheard him but didn't bother asking him to clarify. when we got to the house, alex jumped out, ran in and came running back with a sheaf of papers in hand. when he returned to his seat, i asked what he had. he said his ds lites. upon inspecting the pages, he and his friend had drawn games on the pages as if they had ds lites. all i got to say is nintendo ain't got nothing on hangin' out at a bud's house after school, with a well-worn set of crayons spread between you at the kitchen table while you try to best each other's hand drawn games in the pre-dinnertime hours.

although the scene laid out in the below image looks eerily similar to the climax of the gimp escapade from pulp fiction, and i'm not entirely sure how i should feel about that.

KIDS, ART (permalink) 04.28.2010
helpful on a low esteem day.
a note i received from one of bella's classmates (i think).

KIDS, ART (permalink) 04.21.2010
from my agent and handler
a 2009 father's day card i found in my desk that somehow didn't get posted here yet. it was made by my daughter, to me, her father, who was adopted, which, as noted, was sad and good.

see larger images

KIDS, ART (permalink) 03.09.2010
rock star
bella turned nine last saturday and had her first party where the invitation did not read, "please do not bring a present". after last year's party, bella respectfully asked marty if we could remove that line from next year's invite. and so it happened.

when it came time to open presents, a big huddle gathered around bella and kids were shoving presents at her with shouts of open mine next and this one's from me and mine's the one with the fancy paper. one after another bella opened the presents and squealed and shrieked with delight at each turn. just looking at her reaction you would think that (a) each parcel contained a boxful of puppies or that (b) bella leads a terribly deprived life and never receives presents (although this was for sure her most decadent day ever).

i sat in a corner of the room and took in bella's wonderfully animated reaction to each gift. truth told, the gifts she was getting were both (a) right up her alley showing bella's friends know her well and (b) pretty dang cool toys. about midway through the production, i saw one of the boy partygoers stepping away from the group and looking dejected. before i could approach him, another mother went to him knelt down to talk with him. when they were done i went to this mother and asked her if everything was ok. she said that the boy was afraid that bella wasn't going to like his present and he was embarrassed. concerned and thinking out loud i said i should try to get to bella to tell her to make sure to treat everyone equally but didn't know how i could do this without making it obvious given the gaggle of children crowding her on the couch. the mother, a good friend of marty's and a big fan of bella's put her hand on my arm, smiled and said it would be ok and that i didn't have to worry and bella would handle it just fine. i looked at this woman and her quiet confidence in my daughter encouraged me to sit back.

i re-took my seat and waited. when this boy's present was finally put before bella she began extracting the card, peeling it open like charlie bucket would a wonka bar. in it was a hand-drawn card the boy made. the picture depicted a horse race which showed a horse and rider about to cross the finish line. written above this horse was YOU - 1ST and then behind this rider was writing pointing to a horse off the page which said ME - 2ND. after bella took in this card you would have thought she had gotten two boxes of puppies. she looked at the boy and gave a shrill cry of happiness and said that she could tell he knew how much she loved horses. he looked down at his fidgeting feet, a small bashful smile covering his face. scarring moment averted.

later in the day, after the guests had gone home, bella and i were walking through our neighborhood. i asked her about that moment and what happened. she said that she saw that he, the boy, looked sad and she thought it might have something to do with his gift so she made sure he knew she appreciated whatever he brought.

not a bad start to nine. i'm just a little dismayed, a friend of the family knew bella would pull it off before i did.

click to enlarge

KIDS, PHOTO, ART (permalink) 02.16.2010
hallmark's days are numbered
if you came by early yesterday you may have not seen the day's post. i made a mistake entering the date and it didn't show up until later in the morning. so if you missed it, you may want to read yesterday's valentines post before reading this one.

regarding yesterday's post, more than one person wondered what marty's card looked like. and more than one person wondered if there was a reason i didn't share hers and was it because it was better than mine or that it was way NOT better than mine or that i'm self-centered or pouty or selfish or i want all the attention to myself and the answer is, yes.

and for those who thought that the thoughtfulness and sentiment contained in my card couldn't be beaten, prepare to stand corrected.

click to enlarge

KIDS, PHOTO, ART (permalink) 02.15.2010
everything but a hot stone massage
sunday morning i was brought from sleep at 7:15 with a kiss on my forehead and the words "happy valentines day dad." it was bella. she then whispered, as to not wake up alex who was sleeping next to me, that my breakfast was sitting on the windowsill next to me for when i woke up "for real". she then quietly exited the room. some minutes later i cracked my eyes and lifted my head to peer at the window she referenced. on it rested a tupperware platter with two pieces of freshly made french toast, a puddle of syrup, and a glass of sweet tea with hand-crushed ice.

marty who was sleeping with anthony in our bed down the hall received a similar treatment. on each of our trays was a highly detailed, bella-drawn card. on this valentines day my eight year old daughter woke up before 7am, went downstairs by herself and silently made her mother and father french toast, from scratch, and adorned the platters with hand-drawn cards she secretly made earlier in the week.

there have been multiple occasions bella has left me speechless, but never more so than with this completely unexpected and unforeseen gesture of love and kindness. at multiple points throughout the day, i found myself staring at her, in wonder and curiosity and gratitude. at times like this marty calls her a paradox. i don't know that i ever could justly verbalize my thoughts on bella and the way she approaches life. i just know i'm thankful to have the front row seat that i do to watch her wend her way through it.

click to enlarge

KIDS, ART (permalink) 02.04.2010
you better find something to do or i'll find something for ya!
in case you're in a pinch for something good to do, i thought i'd share bella's LIST OF THINGS TO DO. that #1 wasn't to "make a list of things to do" was a little disappointing to me but she more than made up for it in the long run.

28 and 23 would be my first two picks were i pushed to select.

QUOTES, KIDS, ART (permalink) 09.10.2008

square 1: this is my dad
square 2: and this
square 3: plus this
square 4: but this is my real dad

my dad is the best dad in the world. my dad is a goofy guy. i like when he plays ogre. it is fun. you have to run away from my dad. if you are caught the other people try and save you. he tickles you sometimes and then you are in jail or the other thing is that he just tags you and you're in jail. my dad is awesome and jokes around a lot.

art and copy by bella, my new marketing manager

KIDS, ART (permalink) 10.31.2006

SOCIETY, ART (permalink) 08.24.2006
great advert

ART (permalink) 08.10.2006
early wide feet designs mockup
i'm always pimping the cool stuff made by the kids but have never bragged on my own prowess at the breakfast table with the watercolors. and sorry for any who were already pulling their checkbooks out, the piece is not for sale. it was commissioned for a private collection.

KIDS, ART (permalink) 06.19.2006
bella-tine II

KIDS, ART (permalink) 04.27.2006
if you see stella, tell her i'm also looking for my groove
in case you're wondering where your host has been, he's wondering the same thing. i haven't intended to checkout like i have but just got caught in the wake of change. with a new job comes new routines, new people, new focus, new hours, and quite simply just new, new and some more new. now that i'm going through it i realize i was in great need for some more 'new' in my life. and aside from the neglect this part of my world is seeing, things are going swimmingly, i just haven't yet hit on a steady cadence for my days.

last night while i cooked dinner, bella sat at the counter and sketched me (below). the details are great, from the print on my shirt (which is dead-on) to the korean bulgogi in the skillet (which was so good), to my cable-wrap glasses (which are mightily bent right now) to the smile and wide-eyed gaze (sleep deprived delirium) her eye was quite succinct. unfortunately that keen eye had to also nail my flared and stubby legs. dumb luck that.

KIDS, ART (permalink) 02.15.2005
hallmark ain't got nothing on an authentic bellaTine

will you be mine

ART (permalink) 11.11.2004
a pencil, a ruler and lots of time
before i sold my soul to the corporate devil this is the kind of gift you could expect from me come the holidays or other such anniversary. as i start drafting this season's list of 'things to purchase for christmas' i look at this aged piece of paper hanging on our fridge and fondly recall those leaner, simpler days.

click for larger image

HUMOR, ART (permalink) 05.22.2001
paint by prime number art
I spent last week up in St Paul on a work gig. In the facility I was located they threw gobs of art up on the walls to lessen the Orwellian effects of the cube city these folks work in. Before this trip I've heard tell of those starving artist shows but never thought anyone went let alone purchased the stuff. The majority of the pieces represented here could have been painted by your grandmother or the shut-in next door.

One work in particular caught my eye. I passed it, stopped, took a few steps back and found myself studying it for what could have been three minutes. I later called a colleague over and asked what he thought was going on in this scene. He proclaimed ignorance but was pretty sure they were standing on the cheek of the guy in the Norelco commercials.

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