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Friday, August 22, 2008

Art Critique

Awesome. The Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator

A no truer facsimile of an art critique has ever been generated.

You know, the older I get, the more I think the whole construct of art as something that can be quantified and deconstructed is just BS.

I just love playing with this thing.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Context is Everything

Hey, addictionary word submitters: Would it kill you to use your word in an example sentence? Or can't you think beyond just the definition of your brainchild? I mean, it's *your* word, FFS, use it! I subscribe to addictionary, and it bugs me to see a fairly decent "werd" w/definition arrive in my inbox...but there's no example, no context. How hard is it to frame your "werd?"

Reminds me of Freshman Art History at CSU when we only had to remember the artist, the name of the work and the year it was produced. No, nothing about the context in which the work was created or the culture of the country and the era. The first test was a total shocker. I think I got a D. It would've been a boon for Rainman and Aspies who get off on that trivia date stuff. This is probably one of the underlying roots of all my anxiety dreams about not studying for tests. I pulled my grade up to an A for the second semester, but only after cramming to remember useless and irrelevant trivia that I soon forgot after the test. That's what fact- and data-based tests do, make you forget after you no longer need the data--unless you have Asperger's and you thrive on that--but for us Neurotypes we want to go beyond: "32. Artist: Max Benkelman; Title: "Sunflowers in Evening with Farmhand"; Country: Germany; Year: 1927; Genre: German Expressionism. In fact, I don't even think in my class we had the Genre or Country. The instructor didn't care that you studied--as well as a freshman could study given the reading material that was given for the course--about German Expressionism, or Max himself and that he soon emigrated from Germany to the United States, Southwestern Nebraska, specifically, where he set up the Sunflower Institute that was sort of like a Van Gogh cult for suicidal artists. No one cared that Max's fixation on Sunflowers was obsessive to the point that he painted nothing else, not even starry nights. No one cared about how colorless Max's paintings became throughout his years until finally his canvasses were nothing but thick black paint. No, there was no context back in Freshman Art History.

(Sound of current and former art and art history students Googling Max Benkelman because they can't remember studying him in class).

I didn't think about it then, but now I realize it was probably so that the TAs could grade the papers easier since there were hundreds of people in these classes. Wouldn't want a TA to have to mull over essay answers and different TAs give different marks for similar responses.

Why not simply give multiple choice, for that matter? That'd make it even easier and the university could forgo employing TAs as test graders altogether and implement the tests with the number 2 pencil where you fill in the circles and have a computer read it?

I never met a TA that didn't feel a sense of entitlement. Grrr.

So, if I say the work was created in 1788 but the work was actually created in 1787, does that make me every bit as wrong as the bozo who said it was created in 1632? Yup, according to the way Art History 101 is graded.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

DREAM with Vandalized Art

Part of the dream was a real mess and I can't even begin to describe it...something with bathtubs and coffee (which they were discussing on the radio...the coffee part, not the tub part). But the part I remember was I was in the CSU art building, walking towards the Drawing wing. It was big like a mall and grey, with lots of confusing twists and turns that don't exist there IRL. I was telling someone I was with, either a real person or someone in my head (imagine, someone in my head...inside a dream...whoah, it's like looking in a wall mirror while holding a hand mirror, and you're looking at the hand mirror in your reflection in the wall mirror) that I like dreaming or being in this art building better than the "Other One" (i.e., UW). I see Dave Yust there...he is carrying around some cut-out wood pieces that were similar in form to Henri Matisse's leaves. We didn't say hi or anything; I don't think he recognized me.

Then I get the the end of the line, which is a great big huge drawing room the size of a gymnasium. They have a bunch of my metal leaf on textural acrylic paint paintings on the wall, and each and every one of them has a red mark on them. It's large, like tags or graffiti but it's very cryptic and scribbled. Sort of like when you see cars that are to be parted out in a junkyard. I have about a dozen paintings there, as if there was an exhibit and all the other exhibitors had come to pick theirs up already.

I'm aghast, and don't know what to do. I think I find someone, a professor or someone, and tell them what happened. There's a young woman there who starts taking pictures of each painting with her cellphone, I don't know if it's for evidence or what.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

DREAM: Art School Confidential

I wish these dreams would stop. I had another dream where I STILL HADN'T COMPLETED MY GRADUATE DEGREE. Make it stop. I was looking at course schedules and I still had all these courses to take, courses like math and science and things that are actually more like requirements for a Baccalaureate. (Only 3 credits or one course of an "outside" credit, and 6 credits or 2 courses of Art History were required for my MFA at the UW). I was thinking that since I already had completed a good deal of studio time for many semesters in a row that is required, I could ease off and take my required courses gradually. It's odd, because Stan already has his Masters in these dreams, whereas I'm the one waiting to finish up. IRL Stan got his after I got mine (only 3 years later though) and we shared one year together (which was the best year there for both of us). Anyway, there was some announcement on the news that the campus was closed off and not allowing any people on it, but I tried to go anyway because I had to get things done. I was walking toward it, but it morphed more into CSU, and I was approaching it more from the direction as if I was still living on Peterson, trying to cross the Oval. There were barricades and couldn't get to my destination, which was somewhere around the Clark building or Student Center or beyond. I walk further south, near Pitkin (this totally is CSU and not the UW), and am able to maneuver around and head toward my destination. There is snow on the ground and it is cold (which it usually is in these dreams). I also remember being in an art studio and there is a lecherous professor there who is wearing an extremely short diaphanous skirt. He is trying to seduce a male student. The male student says he has to go, and the prof says "great, why don't we continue this discussion at your place?" He was a gross old thing, short, with a big fat body like some failed drag queen in a comedy. I also remember walking around the art building (this was clearly the 6th or 7th floor of the Inhumanities building at the UW, not the more fun CSU art building which also reappears in my dreams as well) trying to get into lockers to get my art supplies. These lockers were full-height, like lockers in Jr or Sr High School, not the stubby lockers for art supplies only that they have in college. I couldn't remember the combination. I hate it when that happens. You go through every possible locker combination you can remember and nothing works, and the only thing that will save you is waking up from the blasted dream.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I've been sick for almost a week now with a really bad sore throat. I got it from Stan. He's better now, and it progresses every day (today it's not as sore as it was, but my ears feel like they've been stuffed with cotton), so I know it's nothing serious, just some obnoxious virus.

Each day Caligula hisses less at Apollo, but they're far from snuggle lovers. That might take years. Apollo actually gets along with Plato the best, probably because they're both Alphas and they've worked it out (meaning little kitty bites Plato, Plato puts little kitten in his place). Apollo likes to lovebite Lucifer Sam, but the bites are getting less annoying and Lucifer Sam is tolerating him more.

Watched a really enjoyable show last night on Sundance channel called "Nimrod Nation." The Nimrods is the school mascot for Watersmeet, Michigan. It's a documentary that revolves around the high school basketball team, the Nimrods, but it also shows a lot of the small town life and local characters. The setting is very Fargo-esque, and a good thing to watch on a cold night because it makes you feel glad you're in balmier climes. No really, the best line I've heard from any documentary came from "Nimrods" when a teenage girl is complaining about living in the Upper Peninsula and says "I don't like living in Michigan, it's too cold. I want to move to Wisconsin." Stan and I went through Watersmeet a couple times. We spent the night there once in a grungey little hunters' motel/cabin to see the Paulding lights back in 1997. We refused to stay in the casino, the only other lodging in town. That was mid-September and the weather was nice, and the pond by our cabin was idyllic. But this documentary is shot in winter, not as welcoming.

I have this horrible reocurring dream that is always the same theme: I haven't graduated from either under-grad or graduate school, I haven't scheduled my final show yet, or taken an outside credit, or even figured out which semester I'm going to graduate. I had one of those dreams last night. And at the end I'm always thinking, "maybe I can put off graduating another semester, it doesn't really matter anyway." Ugh. I'm so glad that part of my life is over and completed. I don't know why I keep having these dreams.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Non-Ornamental Illness

This weekend was a rollercoaster of emotions. I sold a painting...a large one, which really helps since this past month or two has been dead dead dead for the online sales. The family who bought it saw it at Sundance Cinema a few months ago. Sundance, by the way, called me back for a return showing a few weeks ago since the people/gallery/organization they had scheduled pulled out at the last minute because they thought Sundance's exposure would "dilute" their "image"--ok, whatever...I'm really glad I showed there, not just because it resulted in a sale of a large piece, but just because it's good exposure. At first I thought the people who pulled out were maybe some kind of snooty artschool conceptual theory types, but when I found their gallery online, I was really amazed that they had the nerve to pull out of a classy venue like Sundance. Well, their loss is my gain.

Anyway, I'm digressing. I was feeling a bit melancholy missing Letha and how her magenta rainbows will never embrace our wall again. And then Stan found a new lump on Lucifer Sam. This one is on his back.

The rest of the night I spent puking and endlessly voiding myself. I stayed up all night in a delirium, like a bad drunken reaction or a horrible flu. I simply cannot take another episode of these pet disasters. I hate to play favorites, but Lucifer Sam is my favorite pet. And this happening to him again is too much for me.

I suspect I have a panic disorder. But all the triggers are known, they don't happen out of the blue. Recently, it has been pet health issues, like when I thought the little kitten was horribly ill because he had diarrhea and vomited...all it was was too much running and a change of food. But the lump...a couple months after his other cancer...this is just too much.

I couldn't eat anything yesterday, but towards the middle of the day I had Stan get me some donuts. That was the only thing I had a taste for. Why donuts? Who knows. These situations give me weird cravings, usually for food I normally don't eat. We seldom ever eat donuts. We probably average one donut a year. Except this year sort of blew that average because of yesterday.

We take Lucifer Sam in today to get checked. I am so fearful.

I get these attacks when something is messing with my life, either with pet health issues, or when people mess with me interpersonally. This last one with the Pug was the worst yet. Stan said I looked really weak and pale. I looked up panic disorder online, but it seems those are more spontaneous in occurrence. This is not spontaneous or an unknown trigger. I know exactly what causes it. I'd be just fine if there was no lump on my Pug. I'd have been just fine in the past if people weren't being assholes. I'm not talking run-of-the-mill difficult customers, I'm talking people who have it in for you through no fault of your own, because they're mentally unstable or petty or bullies, or whatever, and they act like 10-year-olds even though they're adults.

Last night I had an embarrassing dream that I was making love to Johnny Depp. His hair was too short, though, pity. I kept wondering in the dream "what does he want with ME?"

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

DREAM: Ugly Apartment with Snooty Gallery Attachment

I was with my parents and Stan (I think). They were trying to find a place to rent--an apartment. They/we drove to a large 3-4 story apartment complex with a whole bunch of playground equipment on the outside of the building, like scaffolding or waterpark equipment. Despite all that hideousness, the apartment building looked very nice from the outside; not so nice on the inside. My parents went into the unit that was for lease, but I was later in coming in, so I had to call out "Mom!" in front of a whole bunch of doors before she responded. I went into the door and it was just awful inside. The walls were mid-century lime green-painted cinder bricks, the windows were up high like basement windows although this was a first-floor unit. Although I didn't go into them, the 3 bedrooms all came off of the long, dark, main room. No hallway, no area of separation, no privacy. I have no idea why, but I was going to live with them (horror of horrors), possibly with Stan there as well. Just give me the razor blades now. Anyway, I wandered around toward the back of the main room and found an open doorway that led directly into another room that was a very nice, classy furniture store/art gallery. There was also an open stairway that led upstairs, but I didn't go there. I walked into the store room and saw that it was a functioning business during business hours. Why it was attached to this apartment was a mystery. There was some art on the wall that resembled my own, some like the way I painted maybe around 20 years ago with abstract figures, and then some others that looked like the way I paint now, except not as beautiful and colorful, and more like the tar paintings in the Wim Winders movie, Million Dollar Hotel (apologies to Stan for using a movie reference in here that he hasn't seen...I watched it one day on IFC or Sundance when he was at work...sorry). I went back into the apartment and saw the realtor agent/landlady there who was or looked like a teacher of mine from high school (creative writing and drama). I asked her if the furniture store/gallery was actually part of this apartment, and she said no. I told her about the paintings and how they resembled mine, and that although I don't like the apartment, I would rent there if this place also showed my art. She thought it was a great idea, and that we should talk to the people there to see if that would be ok. I followed here there and I was expecting her to do the talking because I hate doing stuff like that. But no, she just waited for me to talk (thanks a lot). I explained my situation to a couple of people there, and one woman started shaking her head "no" before I even finished what I was saying. They seemed like pretentious assholes from the UW, a gallery full of shit-painting friends. As I wandered around the place some more, there was a studio area where some of the artists were still working on pieces. Some of the paintings were hung upside down so the paint would form stalagtites (as if that were possible).

Then I got caught up in eating reception food that was quite odd. I commented to Stan that this whole thing was like the movie "After Hours". (In fact, come to think of it, some of the art seemed like the art in that movie, except it was painting, not sculptures) One of the reception foods was a hard-boiled egg that was the size of a mango. I took my egg over to a high table with barstools that was difficult to eat at, especially because sitting next to me was this very heavy-set ruddy-complected bare-armed biker man with tiny orange freckles all over his body. Then my egg, which had paprika sprinkled on it started to resemble the man's freckles. It was gross. I looked over at some plants by a window and there was a cat or something chasing a chameleon around a large tropical. Not an anole, but a true chameleon...with the weird eyes and hands.

The whole dream left me with a pissed-off feeling about the art world and why I hate it. It's no better than Bush administration cronyism.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Color Wheels

I got a web mailer today from ebay telling of all the great new features they are adding for stores. I decided to check out an article about using color in store design, and felt quite disgusted/amused (I used to be disgusted, now I'm just amused?) by this color wheel (Scroll down to the very bottom of the page).
Now maybe most people won't notice anything wrong, but if they're trying to enlighten people about design and color, then at least have someone write the article who is knowledgeable about it!
Look at that colorwheel! It's dreadful! There's no difference between green and yellow-green, nor is there a difference between purple and reddish-purple. The violet-blue is way too dark, but there's hardly any hue-shift between it and the blue, just a more deeper tone. It's like someone mixed this up using those horrible tempera paints from grammar school. Remember those? I remember in 7th grade art we were given tempera paints and there was no green. I had to make green with a hansa yellow and an ultramarine blue, and any artist knows that you cannot make green with ultramarine, you need to use pthalo blue, and even then the green isn't the best. My green was a pukey olive and it bugged me to death, but no one gave a damn except me, not even the apathetic teacher.
So I just had to make my own wheel (to the left). Notice how my colors flow into eachother more as they cycle around the wheel. I whipped it out in minutes, and had ebay put a little more thought into this, they could've whipped one out in minutes too if they would've had the foresight to actually have an artist design the page or at least consult one for this tutorial. Geesh.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Fistful of Pastels or For a Few Pastels More or Fine Art Drifter

The Good: Although I wasn't anticipating finding anything at Artist and Display other than some Pearl-Ex dry pigments, I found the holy grail: SENNELIER OIL PASTELS INTERFERENCE COLORS! They looked like they had been there a long time, beating around, mingling with other pastels, getting dingy, tested, used up. They weren't the cleanest, newest looking pastels, but they were what I wanted, and I was desperate. I didn't exactly buy them out, but I bought at least three of the ones I could find, some 4 each, maybe even more of some colors. Let's just say if you plan on buying Blue and Green Interference Sennelier Oil Pastels at Milwaukee's Artist and Display, you're out of luck now. There might be some Reds left.

The Bad: Some store called Art Supply Products or something similar. Found it through a Google Search, complete with address, Google map put us in the middle of suburbia. Tried to call them. Got an answer phone. Guy probably runs it out of his basement. Oh well. Yet another miss: Sax Arts and Crafts used to be a good store when it was close to downtown in the lower level of an old building. Now they've moved out to suburbia in an office building, are closed Saturdays and of course Sundays with 8-4:30 hours during the week. Boo Hiss.

The Ugly: I thought when Boerner Gardens got a makeover earlier this milennium, it was a nice improvement...newer restrooms and a nice cafe/cafeteria where one could get a yummy bite before setting off to see the gardens. Since we'd driven all around the greater Milwaukee area in search of art supplies before going to the gardens today, I knew I would need that snack because we were both famished. But the girls at the front desk said it's been gone for two years. No, now if you want to eat at the gardens, you have to be part of a catered wedding party. I could go on about the benefits of Public Spaces and Services and Social Programs and the benefit to Humanity and the evils of privatization and the privatizing of once former Public areas and services and the evils of increasing user fees and lowering of taxes (that is only noticeable if you're wealthy anyway) that fund organizations and parks and recreation, but Stan's already heard my rant over a late lunch today, and, well, you probably get my drift and where I stand politically anyway.

We decided not to see the gardens. Their fee was high, there was no place to eat, so we went to a restaurant instead before heading back home. We almost ran over a wedding party on our way out. The outside gardens at Olbrich here in Madison are still free. The Arboretum is still free. The Rotary Gardens in Janesville is free. I don't want to pay large prices only to get sideswiped by a bunch of pompous giggling women in froofy wedding garb who think they have the right of way. I find it really cool that there's no room in the Tucson Botanical Gardens for wedding parties (and they had a wonderfully delicious little cafe there), although I do get a perverse pleasure of imagining someone's over-the-top wedding dress getting caught on cactus spines.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

A Little Press

Here's an article in the Wisconsin State Journal about the Sundance 608 Cinema. There's a small picture on the right, click it to see it larger. On the left hand side are people in front of my paintings. There were only room for three of mine, unfortunately, being that these works are fairly large.

I also found a link to another photo of the Cinema which shows my work here which is a little larger than the previous link. (Please note that although the Flicker gallery is by DrStarbuck, this is no relation to Stan.) I also do not know any of the people in the photos.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Out of Stock

Hoo boy, am I depressed. For the last few days I have literally been searching the entire world (online) and Madison (in person), and planned to search Milwaukee this weekend, for Sennelier Iridescent (Interference) oil pastels. Nothing, except for one online seller through Amazon. It was the only place I found that had them in stock, so I decided to get 3 of each of the 6 colors, you know, to stock up. I was happy to have located them because I feared they were not being made anymore. I was able to get just the regular "iridescent" (metallic) pastel set through Sennelier, but it did not include the interference colors. It did, however, include a catalog with a complete list of all their colors, interference nowhere to be found.

So I placed the order through Amazon last night, but they refunded it just a few minutes ago, due to them being out of stock. They didn't realize they still had the inventory listed online.

I want to cry.

I guess it's time to figure out how to make my own pastels. I have plenty of raw interference pigment--or powder, thanks to Daniel Smith or Pearl Ex or even the very-difficult-to-order-from Sepp Leaf (because they have a thing for Fax Machines and do not do the online thing...polar opposite of me). Interference Powder is abundant. Interference Paint is abundant too. But the only ones who made Interference pastels, Sennelier, has discontinued them. They had a corner on the market...or was the market so insignificant? Did I put them out of business when I stopped buying them (when I went through a hiatus of using pastels)? Doubtful. It's just depressing. I found an online recipe for pastel-making at, but it's for soft pastels, not oil. I could give it a try. No one that I've heard of has ever made Interference soft pastels, including Sennelier.

I am so bummed about this.

Sennelier, why did you do this?


DREAM: Grad School Art Show with CornCobs

I dreamt I was still in graduate school, or at least I was at the dreaded InHumanities Building in the 7th Floor Gallery. I was in an exhibition with other grad students, but I felt a bit funny about it because I felt out of it (like, 'cause I graduated already 14 years ago?). My paintings were similar to the way I painted 20 years ago, very figurative. Some of them felt unfinished, incomplete, yet I hung them anyway. There was a woman there who had created a large painting (maybe 5x6 feet) comprised of dried corncobs. It was very interesting--unique media, unique idea, good execution. I liked it, but being organic like that it wouldn't have much of a shelf-life, especially if she stored it in a barn.

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