Saturday, December 29, 2012

Here's to a New Year of Art

Graffiti that is gang tagging isn't art, it's just a signature. Graffiti that makes you smile or blink or look again isn't graffiti, it's Street Art. Sometimes Street Art is legitimate (as in permission granted) or sometimes it is not. Whatever. These images flashing by will make you think twice about art being just something you see in a museum.

Many years from now will these images be what people look at and say "This style of art was practiced in the early part of the century"?

Great website, great work:

Have a safe and Happy New Year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings

This year is the 12th holiday season that U.S. service members are serving in Afghanistan.

Wishing Peace and Goodwill to everyone, everywhere.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Going Down a Sad, Sad Road

In recent years, U.S. gun manufacturers have enjoyed fast-growing sales amid an easing of various state and federal restrictions.  Making guns can be very profitable, with some leading manufacturers recording operating profit margins of 20% recently...

Sales at gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger in the third quarter were up 46% from a year earlier, to $118.1 million...

Smith & Wesson...said sales in the second quarter jumped 48% from a year earlier, to a record $136.6 million.

Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tweet, Tweet

OK, I'm off on another tangent here.  I can't be satisfied doing ceramics so I move to wood. But then I move back to ceramics. And back to wood. And then ceramics again, until Susan tells me if I don't focus on something, I'll risk be mediocre in a lot of things. Sort of the quality versus quantity problem -- which I'll decide to decide on another day.

For some strange reason I'm into making birds again. The last time I did some was about 3 years ago. I thought the two above came out OK, the one below could have done with a little fine-tuning.  They are raku fired.


Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is the chunk of wood I started with.

This is the middle phase of working on it.

More pictures to come ... as soon as I take them.  The piece is finished except for the final last tweak that will make it more than just a piece of wood.  That tweak has not yet been figured out.

Bananas? Susan taught me this trick that she learned from her grandfather.  When you have a banana and it is just the right ripeness but you aren't ready to eat it, put it in the refrigerator. It will turn really brown after a few days. But, surprise, surprise! When you peel it it will still be almost perfect (shown below, just a little bit of brown starting in the middle, from a banana that spent amost 5 days in the refrigerator).

We often tell people this trick and they usually don't believe us. People! Here is the proof:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Guys

Oliver 1 and Oliver 2.

Susan made me the quilt they are on.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Time for Thanksgiving

Did you stuff a turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner? Or do you just feel stuffed now that you ate your turkey dinner?

Please remember the people who make sure you have the freedom to have that turkey dinner. They'd probably prefer to be sitting down to dinner with you instead of being in a mess hall.  You'd probably prefer that for them too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Boxed In

The wood for this box (above) came from the trash pile.  Remember my favorite motto:
Trash is the failure of imagination

Not too exciting here but I am learning now to make things square and even. Sort of. The openings in these boxes are about 6-8" so I need to be sure I make some ceramic pieces that fit in appropriately.

Speaking of appropriate, while riding my bike early one morning in the neighborhood I spotted this garage door.  Way cool.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A New Direction for Me

Not new direction here, just some more Pod People talking to each other. They are finished and are waiting to be bisque fired and then glazed and fired again.

Not new direction here either. Tall pots that will be raku fired.

New direction! Wood sculpture! It's a long story for another time but the point is I found this piece of wood at a cemetery and I'm taking a sculpture class ....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oskar, Tarmo and Pinetop

These Little Dudes (and a few others) went to Austin Art Garage recently and I sort of miss them. Once I looked at all of them I realized the Dudes with little ears looked better than I remembered so I need to re-think that. 

Speaking of Dudes, Amy's Ice Cream here in Austin has a special flavor called "The Dude" and it is flavored with Tito's Homemade Vodka.  Don't know about The Dude? The Dude Abides in The Big Lebowski.

After eating a big bowl of "The Dude", I retire to my studio and Susan puts this sign on the front door:


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remember: Veterans Day, November 11, 2012

U.S. 10th Mountain Division, Afghanistan

I've had enough.
We've had enough.
They've had enough.

As a veteran of the Viet Nam War I think I've earned the right to say we are beginning to lose our collective sanity as a country the longer we leave troops in Afghanistan.

U.S. Army soldiers carry a critically wounded  American soldier
on a stretcher to an awaiting MEDEVAC helicopter near
Kandahar, Afghanistan 
(Photo: GETTY)


Female soldiers from Fort Campbell deploying to Afghanistan
will field test the first Army body armor that is shorter and
better tailored specifically to fit women’s physiques.

Definitely enough.

Previously, I let eloquent poets and soldiers speak for me. Their words still resonate, as do the images:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Dudes are Back!

My studio room, about 120 square feet instead of about about 720 total, is beginning to be functional and to test it out I worked on some Dudes. These three Dudes went over to Austin Art Garage this week-end, just in time for ACL (Austin City Limits), which totally snarls up our traffic but makes music lovers happy.

The snarls are a rehearsal for Austin's first-time Formula One race coming up in November. We had no idea what Formula One was but we watched the movie Senna and had a little bit more appreciation for people who drive noisy cars around in a circle. Our city leaders, in all their infinite wisdom, have estimated over 100,000 people will attend. They have will 18,000 parking spaces available at the track and shuttle buses to take 70,000 people in. You do the math on that one.

Go here to see some of Eva Funderburgh's terrific work (below) and here to see her brother, Dan Funderburgh. They are the niece and nephew of some of our new neighbors here who brought them to our attention.

Susan speaks: Computer is still totally messed up, won't talk to any USB ports no matter what fixes I apply.  Lots of  Blue Death screens also.  A new computer is being researched, hoping for a bargain price if it doesn't have the newest version (late this month) of Windows on it.  The theory is to buy cheap now and save up for a Mac. I was a programmer in another life and cut my teeth on DOS so I'm not too eager to switch to a Mac. We'll see. I'm thinking an iPad for Don for Christmas, as long as he promises to do better at looking at people's blogs.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Texan in New York City, Finale

This is sort of jumping around but we did see this weird thing in Columbus Circle. Sometimes art is all about "Made you look!" and other times it is something that totally changes your perception of your environment. Seeing The Gates in Central Park a few years back changed how we see Central Park when we walk through it.  Now we'll  always look at the Columbus statue here at the Circle, something we actually never noticed before. 
Yes, that's a little room they made around the statue.  Susan hates heights but she gamely went up with me anyway.

When we take a trip people often ask us what we are going to do and our answer usually is "Museums!" The next question is often "Which one?" Not just one, but as many as we can. Susan has a grid she prints out and goes to museum websites to fill it in about 2 weeks before we go. It isn't a firm schedule but it keeps us focused on what is out there. When you are walking all day in an unfamiliar city it's easy to have a brain fart and forget something you meant to see. 

The really cool part about the list is looking at it on the way home and talking about the stuff we didn't plan on seeing but wandered into anyway and found to be really interesting, like the Quay exhibit at the MOMA or this Discovering Columbus deal. Every morning, no matter where we are, Susan makes me find her the local newspaper and that's how she learned about Columbus and how to get tickets to get in.

Where do we stay in New York City? Most often our choice is Hilton Garden Inn on 8th Avenue near Times Square.  The staff is great, especially Charles "Steel Drum".

On the plane ride home I did my final Zentangle.

This art is going to have to hold you for awhile. Susan has been fighting computer battles for several weeks now, including a major crash last week and the expensive hiring of a guru to give it CPR. It is limping along but driving her nuts because she can't upload anything to it because of something in drivers and USB, which is not like driving a bus, and stuff I know absolutely nothing about. Sometimes it just sits there doing nothing while she types and mouses and then she looks up at the screen and says really bad things to it.  Probably it hears her and deliberately acts up. A new computer will be ordered soon and then she will spend hours on end screaming at it while she tries to make it do stuff (good stuff, not bad) like this old one does. Then, finally, peace will be restored to my life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NYC, Part 3: Matt Greco and Mattiusi Iyaituk

Seeing Matt Greco's tools at the Museum of Arts and Design made me realize I needed to get more serious about my clay work.  He was working on a pot and was very patient and helpful in giving me ideas and suggestions about how to improve my work.  It's always good to talk to an artist who isn't afraid to tell you how he actually creates his work. The picture below is of the piece he was working on at the Museum, the picture below is of one of his completed pieces and below that are two of his photographs, photography being another one of his skills.

In addition to having open studios where you can visit with the artists in residence, the Museum always has an interesting collection of works on display. This piece by Mattiusi Iyaituk caught my eye because of the use of the antler and the amusing faces.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Texan in New York City, Part 2

We don't slow down. Tomas Saraceno's On the Roof: Cloud City at The Metropolitan gave us a chance to show both of us, for a change, in a photo.

I'm going to start saying I have a "studiolo" now that I've seen the Gubbio Studiolo. This tiny room with all its wood-inlay is worth searching for if you are at The Met.

Andy Warhol isn't necessarily one of our favorites but he sure inspired a lot of other artists, whether they admit it or not.

Another surprise discovery was the very small Japanese Rinpa art exhibit.

And finally, lunch. Pricey, but worth it when it means sitting down for a while.

Then there was the exhibit of Chinese scrolls, the Chinese garden, the photography, the library on the first floor, the Temple of Dendur, the Faberge eggs ....
Why would anyone wonder how we can spend all day at a museum?