Saturday, February 28, 2009

Smile..You're on Candid Canvas (Mystery Artist 4)

When I say "Mystery", I really mean it, cause this time it's even a mystery to me. I have no idea if I got in the ballpark with this let me know. The thumbnail I had to work with should have had a title..."Photo of the artist in a dark forest on a moonless night". Also, my scanner bellied up and I had to shoot a photo of this, so the quality isn't up to par (how's that for an excuse?). At any rate, my apologies to the artist. Please don't send a hitman after me.

Note...I have had all kinds of problems with Blogger. First the verification code wouldn't allow comments. So I shot it. Now even Joe the Plumber can comment. Next, I've gotten 34,618 E-Mails from anxious visitors saying they couldn't connect. They get a message like "Windows can't open this blog. Operation aborted". So I deleted my music gadget hoping that'll work. I contacted Naturally, I can't get no satisfaction. Went to Blogger Buzz...the "buzz" is the sound of the "helpful" employees and blogger gurus snoring their fannies off. With Google's money seems like they could at least do as good as Pogo Games. OK. Spleen vented. Patience, James.

Next. Windows to the Words debuts TODAY. Visit. Comment. Participate. If you don't I'll hold my breath till I turn chartreuse. Well, maybe not...but I will cry.

NOW, SERIOUS. Seriously...really serious.
I have a few friends in Australia who keep me posted. I heard from them and am devastated...heartbroken. Go to Watch the video and see what was lost. It will break YOUR heart. It is so encouraging that he has the spirit to even think of rebuilding. I look at my little problems and feel so small. I'm looking into trying to get an E-bay auction together of donated artworks to help this cause...more on that later.

Have a great weekend. Your buddy in the rainforest.....James

Friday, February 27, 2009

SNEAK PREVIEW!!! Windows to the Words

These are the 3 photos of children I will post on The Windows to the Words project on March 1. Are they cute or what?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meet the Beetles

not at all sure if I know how to put all these pictures onto one blog, so the only thing I can do is just try. Aside from that, I'm not really sure that I should, but, what the heck. Around the end of the summer last year, I got interested in beetles. So I committed myself (I heard that chuckle) I committed myself to do two dozen beetle 8 x 10's in a framework of one month. So I got some quarter round, a good miter box and saw and a roll of canvas and made thirty blanks. I selected 24 subjects, drew em out, blocked in the basic colors, and then set to detailing and finishing one a day, minus Sundays. It happened. And the above is the result.

Beetles are so intriguing. One out of every 5 living things on the planet is a beetle. There are more species of beetles than there are species of plants...well over 400,000 different....each of which, I think, have been crawling around my studio at one time or another. The scientific name is Coleoptera, and you can explore more by clicking the following: The Beetle Ring or Coleoptera.

I could go on for pages about beetles, but I won't because I'd probably go to sleep doing it, or you'd go somewhere else from sheer boredom. So I'll leave you with a time you go to step on a beetle, remember that they really, really outnumber you. And that beetle could be some other beetle's Momma. And they also make a yucky sound when
you do step on em.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

3 Sunday Notes ....... 2 Cute PICS

I will seldom spotlight an artist's blogsite simply because there are so many wonderful artists in our community and I'd hate to run the risk of slighting anyone. But I did say seldom. About 2 weeks ago, I ran across Pencil Sanity Maria's talent is outstanding....her inspiring story is marvelous. I urge you to visit her.

|I started reading when I was 2 months old. By the time I was 3 months old, I could read "Strained Prunes" on the Gerb
er baby food bottle and know it was time to go into crying fits. Since then, I have read 143, 798 books. I've read everything from War and Peace to Debbie Does China. The cream at the top of my reading experiences consists of works like Michener's "The Source", Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" and Dekker's "Circle Trilogy". When "The Shack" came to Costa Rica in paperback a few months ago, it was $25. Being the cheapskate that I am, I had only one option....I called my sister, Margaret, in Texas and told HER to buy it and send it to me. Loving person with a heart of gold that she is, she did. THE SHACK is the most moving, compelling, book I have ever read. It is one that I will reread...over and over...and wear out a highlighter or two on. If everyone in the world would read "The Shack" with an open mind and an open heart, then world tension would decrease 87% and inner tension would almost disappear. I recommend it immensely.

As much as I enjoy and admire puppies and kitties and all the paintings derived from those two subjects....I have a soft spot in my heart almost as big as the soft spot in my head for CHILDREN. Adebanji's rendition of DSFDF's Victorian challenge was awesome. And Dominique Eichi's "The Look" blog of Feb. 20 is absolutely fantastic. On March First I will post pictures of 3 children on Windows to the Words. I am inviting all artists to pick a child and paint or draw that child and send it in. I am often overwhelmed at the talent that flows from the DSFDF project. With the basic qualities of LOVE, INNOCENCE and WONDER inherent in children as the basis for artwork, I can't wait to see what may flow from this Children WTTW project. So PLEASE go to the guidelines...join in...and spread the word.

I'll leave ya with a couple of cute Pics.....have a great weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Windows to the Words Submission

This is my submission to the Windows to the Words Practice project. It's based on writing subject 3...The Mind of a Criminal (Lonely Cell).

Too many of us take our freedom for granted...unless it's taken from us. I wanted this cell occupant to look like he had lost his freedom. I think I succeeded, but, unfortunately, it also looks like he's lost his girlfriend, his job, his bank account, his car...and his lunch. When I started this, I decided that I would work from my imagination and not use any reference photos or drawings. The result? It looks like I worked from my imagination and didn't use any reference photos or drawings. It looks amateurish, but I tried something new, and maybe next time I'll improve.

Windows to the Words is getting a slow start, but that's OK...I have plenty of patience. Submissions: Art....4 Writing....1 Photos.....ZIP.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mystery Artist 3....and Her Loyal Protector

This one would be real easy if I had just gotten it to look like who it's supposed to look like. But I'm just beginning this portrait thing. And this is just a practice. With a bit of luck, lots of prayer and umpteen jillion art lessons, I may make it yet.

Glee is a word I don't use often. Matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I did use it. But as I was studying this young lady's little thumbnail profile, I thought to myself..."Now this is a gleeful person." Truth is, she reeks glee. And the first poet ever to use the phrase "rosy cheeks" surely had her in mind. I got to the point in her portrait that I had to settle for less than satisfied. I may go back and work with it at some point. For now it looks somewhat like her, but I didn't catch her exuberance. If I had, then I would be exuberant.

This delightful young artist is a cutey from Texas
(my alma stater). That means she deserves a loyal protector, and as such, I have appointed the world famous, one and only.....BATDOG!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Under the Weather

It's been raining cats and dogs here and I think I CATched something cause I feel like a dog....been painting slow and blogging slow. But, since it's been raining cats and dogs paintings, too, when I ran across this pic...I had to share it. This is one of those photos that's probably best as a photo, cause if you painted it, no one would believe it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mystery Artist 2

Here is my second attempt at doing an artist that frequents this little Blogger community of ours. I do this for practice,really, but it's kinda fun. One day, when I grow up, I do want to be a portrait artist....may be a long time waiting. This one should be easy. Easy only if it looks like who it's supposed to look like. Working from a low resolution profile picture is difficult, but not as much a problem as never meeting the person in person. There can be a little nuance or quirk in a person's personality and manner that reveals itself in a close encounter. That little "spark" can be absent from a photo, and thus, missing from the portrait.

There are a few risks in doing what I'm doing by painting a fellow artist, then displaying it in public. First of all, obviously, you can make an utter and complete fool out of yourself. I'm good at doing that, so that doesn't bother me too much. The big risk is insulting the subject. That I worry about. It would bother me no end to receive an E-Mail from an artist saying " insufferable fool! I don't want my name associated with that atrocious image of garbage you consider a portrait. Make amends or I'll sic the Mafia". Now that would really make me feel glum.

Don't Think It Works

This is the first of a series I'm doing on the fruits of Latin America..."From Tree to Table". Pictured is a Zapote or Mamey (pouteria sapota) and they are delicious...tasting kinda like sweet potato pie with a punch. After I had laid out the piece, I got this weird inspiration to paint a frame on the canvas that would incorporate the kajillions of beautiful rocks we have here. When I got it to the stage I have pictured above, I took a good look at it and wondered if it just isn't "too much" or gaudy. I've done that before...take a simple painting and embellish it with unnecessary stuff. Wound up with a good excuse for beating my head against the wall. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


A while back I developed an attitude that there are no "bad experiences"....only "learning opportunities". My trip to Panama this time really pushed the envelope on that attitude. I won't go into the details here...I am doing that on my blog "The View From the Volcano". I invite you to check in. I did take some nice photos, though, met some fascinating people, and, hopefully, made a few friends. Two of those delightful people are JuJu and Rodrigo who are surf pros. JuJu is a remarkably beautiful young lady, and Rodrigo, is well, a surf pro. They have a very interesting blogspot Surf Panama 2009 with some great pictures...neat to check out.

I stayed at Hotel Bastimentos...a hostel for serious folks. Rooms are $8 to $40. I stayed in the $8 room because I'm a starving artist and a cheapskate. They have 3 kitchens and wireless Internet, so everything (most everything) I need, they have. The hostel is old-timey wood architecture going up the side of the mountain in about 6 levels with umpteen decks and balconies. My room at the very top looks out over the water on one side and into the jungle on the other. I saw parrots, toucans, oropendulas and 15 million hummingbirds. It rained most of the time I was there, so I didn't really get any great photos. The only day that it was bright and sunny was Monday, and I went out without my camera, naturally. My son says I take better pictures when I leave my camera at home. On the rainy morning I left, I took a picture of the front of the place. It turned out terrible, but I posted it anyway. I was trying to show the Tiki columns from the set of Survivor a while back. I did get some nice photos of some stumps. I'm gonna do some stump paintings. Sounds exciting, huh?

Anyway, glad to get back to CR, but I'm also ready to go back to Bocas del Toro, too. For now, I'm back to my paints, working on some mystery artists.


NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ______________________ ???
I was hoping to get in from Panama early enough to post the Cartoon Tuesday on Tuesday. I got in early enough, but I was too pooped to participate. So I'm posting it today, Wednesday. The cartoon shows a Basic Training Seminar for the National Organization of _________________________??????? What I hope you all will do is provide the name of the organization in your comments.

As most of you know, I'm a serious artist who likes to have fun. I used to cartoon a bit, because it's kind of a neat break from the routine. So on "Cartoon Tuesdays", join in, and give your funny bone a little workout.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Panama Bound (and Gagged?)

Well, I'm off to Bocas Del Toro for a few days to bug the Panamanians (I also make faces at the tourists). I say gagged because I may not be posting for a few days. Now quit don't have to look so happy and relieved. And..don't get your hopes up...they have an Internet Cafe in Bocas if I can learn how to use it. Maybe I can get that sweet little senorita that runs it to show me.... :-P

Anyway, I did want to touch base on a few things. Windows to the Words can be such a nice adventure. I never want anyone to consider it MY project, but YOUR project. I invite and plead for y'all to visit it and tell your friends. I have tried to make it simple to understand...from the Home Page to navigating to the 3 associated pages. But I can give instructions on how to eat a banana, and they have to call in a team from MIT to explain it. Akiko and Margaret have submitted the first paintings to the Artwork page...and both are stunning. No photos or writing (except for mine...Tears in the Rain). Incidentally, I have had several E-Mails commenting on Tears in the Rain. YES....I did write it...OK? It has been a coon's age since I did any serious writing. You can check it out as Subject 2 on the WTTW Home page.

Cya for now. I'll be thinking of some of you snowbound artists going out and doing your "plein airs" under the icicles while I'm watching the waves break at Red Frog beach. Keep Strokin! Your buddy in the Rainforest......James

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Art Blog Award

I picked up my E-Mail this morning and found that Akiko Watanabe (who, incidentally posted an exquisite piece on WTTW/Artwork) had blessed me with an Art Blog Award. I turned tickled pink and did handstands. I am to list seven things I love. Now, after tending to the injuries caused by the handstands, here is my list of 7 THINGS THAT I LOVE.......
(1) I love my Creator. I am a Christian and He is my Father, My Friend and my Guidance to live my life and love my life.
(2) I love my family and I love people....including a few ornery sons of a booger.
(3) I love to love and be loved.
(4) I love my dogs...Pokey and Taco Belle
(5) I love the wonders of nature...from beautiful sunrises/sunsets to hummingbirds visiting flowers, to the symphony of raindrops in the forest to this big spider crawling up my....WHOOOOA!
(6) I love music...Moody Blues, Enigma, Yanni, Coldplay, Tangerine Dream and so much More. But Rap?...only when I'm constipated.
(7) I love the gifts of whatever talents I have, whether it's art or writing or cooking or drinking coffee.
That's seven, but if I could name more, the list would be endless.

I'm not sure if and how I should pass this award along, but when I find out, I'll post it right cheer.
And I found out to pass this award on to 7 other outstanding blog/artist/people and inform them that they should post a blog listing the 7 favorite things they love and then pass the award along to 7 of their blog favorites. The envelope please. They are.......
Dominique Eichi
Carole Baker
Carrie Jacobson
Nancy Medina
Nicole Caulfield

Teresa Houston
Jo Castillo

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tuning Into Reality

Painting wildlife, I strive for realism. One day I may obtain it. Meanwhile, I admire artists like Carel Brest Van Kempen ...among others. I just finished the collared anteater traipsing across the river basin. The alligator with the butterfly attached I painted from a photo I ripped off some wildlife magazine (it's in my collection). The alligator probably doesn't know the butterfly is there and the butterfly probably thinks he's sitting on a log, and that's probably the best thing. The beetle painting is from a series of 24 beetles I did on 8x10 just for the fun of it. When I experiment with new methods and subjects, I find myself still "working tight" and have big difficulties loosening up. I so admire the looseness and open and free style of other artists, and I would love to have more versatility in my bag of tricks, so I'm working on it.
But realism and surrealism are my passion. My favorites among the artists that have gone on to galleries beyond this existence are Maxfield Parrish, Alphonse Mucha and Salvador Dali. I visited Salvador Dali's Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida the first time I took the kids to Disneyworld. They were pretty young then, and didn't want to go to "AN ARRRRT MOOOOSEUM" . Couldn't hardly drag em away...had to have "Liquid Watches" t-shirts. Each piece was a wonder to behold. We spent 30 minutes on the shaded block painting of Abraham Lincoln. My son Mark. at the time, 12, backed up and walked up a dozen times checking it out. And the supersized "Discovery of America" is a breath-taking 14 feet tall. Today there are so many incredible artists it would be hard to choose a favorite. But I will. My favorite is Nelson Shanks and I linked his site with his name if ya want to click and check out marvelous work. Lemme know what ya think. And check into WTTW. Later.......

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saturday Funny Picture

There's been a lot of pet portraits popping up, so when I ran across this photo of a farmer and his pet (must be serious, they're even holding hand/hoof) I had to post it for this week's funny picture. He may have the right idea....a pet AND a pillow. Have a super weekend.