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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Two Trash Cans and a Greek Meal

A gorgeous day yesterday so I walked to the restaurant. I'm lying of course; I was saving a dollar. And a most pleasant way to save a dollar it was too. An old man in front of me rummaging in a trash can. Long green coat. Hat and a stick. I remembered what it was like to be hungry. He found what he was looking for, and pulled out the newspaper from the trash can. Then he read it.

It's Not Like This in Greece

I do like Greek food but this restaurant didn't do it any favors. All the starters bar none were perfectly suitable for grouting tiles. I chose Afelia for my main course because it sounds like a girl I'd particularly like to have a Mediterranean romance with. Or a song by The Who. My dessert was like a large lump of Angel Delight which one could play handball with, wrapped up with an opaque wafer thin substance that looked like the last thing it had been wrapped around was a seriously traumatized toe.

A Time to Clap

And the Berlitz Travel Guide was lying about these Greeks. Not laid back at all. They rush you like mad through the meal so that you have the rest of the night to relax clapping your hands to a man who dances on one leg with ten glasses balanced on his head. If you find that relaxing. We clapped a lot. We even clapped the owner for making the clapping possible.

Paint This Scene, Why Don't You?

Too many figures for a painting, I decided. At least, too many for a representational painting. How do you paint cheesey music? There was a couple of nice dishes I thought would fare well mosaiced into a painting so among the clapping and thrashing plates I dropped them and picked up the pieces, while agreeing with the assistant manager that I wouldn't do that again.

Big Hips Working

The assistant manager had a lovely smile. Dour, plump, with big hips. It was her job to sit on a table to prevent it from toppling over as the birthday couple danced away.


Couldn't help but notice that the walls were lacking in artwork. I wonder...

I'll Just Tidy Up Before I Paint

Back at home all the eggshells wouldn't come out of the glass cut dessert dish. I shook and shook it. It hit the floor fairly hard as it smashed, and then the eggshells came out. Got all the bits up without cutting my hand. On with the quest. The kitchen and the living room. Get rid of that plastic bag that's been driving me mad by the refrigerator. Scrunch it up. Put it in the big black bag full of trash and glass. Push it down in. Scream.

Paul Dorrell recommends

Any well-run, well-patronized, well-lighted restaurant will do. Talk to the owner.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hot and Cold with Camille Pissarro

I watched The Moderns with my tongue lolling in a tub of Peach Melba yogurt. A slow
deliberate film it was a bit tedious as an art film, and perhaps pretentious, but we do have a limited selection of movies that fall even remotely in the art bracket. It did make me laugh though, being nicely droll and intentionally silly. But I imagine if you have no particular interest in Paris in the 1920's, and American artists in that context, well it might not be a very good film.

Earlier, licking the knife I was using to play with the cheese under the broiler, I had scalded my tongue.

Camille Pissarro again. Although he was still awful I can't deny that he was good. The three or four large pictures around 1890 were the pick. The earlier stuff is interesting only because it is the earlier stuff. The later stuff has more substance but he manages somehow to make them boring. In a lot of cases I found his studies far superior to his finished works.

I think he probably tried too hard, but it's honestly a bit difficult to tell a hundred odd years later. He would've been pleased with me not being a hasty passer-by anyway.

Yesterday morning a girl sat beside me on the bus. And her legs were absolutely freezing. At least her left one was. Well, not absolutely freezing - it wasn't exactly the temperature of Absolute Zero. I think.

It was sending cold currents up my right side though. I didn't say anything to her, reckoning she had enough problems with a leg that cold. Made me wonder about her heart.

Paul Dorrell warns you to "Never mock a traditionalist unless you can do better, and don't mock them even then."


Saturday, March 26, 2005

Interactions to Paint

I passed three young girls today. Aged ten at most. They were putting on voices.
-Well, I cook his dinner but he's always drunk, she says rolling her eyes and gesticulating with her hand in a hopeless fashion.
Her friend suggests giving him a glass of milk if he's always getting drunk.

I think she was his mother. She pulled him towards her with one hand and smacked him on the back of his neck with the other. He tried to pull away from her but she casually twisted his arm and kicked him on the backside. He tried to kick out at her but she let go of one wrist, grabbed the other one, twisted that arm, and with her free hand she removed the cigarette to exhale, replaced it between her lips, and fiercely slapped him across the head. I carried on walking for I needed to buy eggs.

-Will it be a busy time, Easter, compared to a normal weekend?
-Yes, we have to make eighty arrests this week.
-Have you got their race and nationalities already worked out?
-No, just the crimes.

She was huge, the only female member of the group, and she danced too. Grids of balls strapped to the sides of her calves, she thudded her feet against the floor and thrust her enormous chest around. Then she got people up to dance. I was about sixth. I couldn't say no, she was rather influential with her combined size and smile.

-I tell ya, we're all on the ball today. Are you going to this thing on Saturday night?
-I haven't been invited.
-I'm inviting you now.
-I don't want to go if there's only married couples going.
-Well you can boink him if you like.
-If that's my best prospect I'll give it a miss then. Anybody want some banana cake?
-Yes please.
-"She wears a black dress but I remember still, the ordinary dress when she was dressed to kill". What are you wearing to the party?
-Don't know. I'll decide at seven pm on Saturday night.
-Are you not going 'til seven?
-Don't know. I'll decide then if I'm going.
-What are you wearing?

Paul Dorrell says:

Don't worry if no one taught you how to love when you were a child; it is entirely possible to teach yourself. But other people can teach you better. Let them.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Purple Haze

Perhaps my most demoralizing of days. It seems I have finally stumbled upon the method of measurement to determine the quality of a city as a city. Drove the dozen or so blocks - for there is no public transport and on such a perfect day nobody walks - to the shopping experience called Town Center on the quaintly named 106th Street. It no more resembles a town than an indoor mall does, and among many things it is devoid of, is a center, but it was there I set out to look for socks. Purple socks.
The infinitely expansive parking lots had about six thousand cars in them, yet in all the stores I managed to see only about fourteen people. These stores were all mostly beside each other in arcades to encourage you to walk. So I walked. And I walked. There were five hundred stores selling designer furniture, knick knacks from around the globe, kitchenware of peculiar shapes, women's underwear, and travel items. I struggled to find one single store that sold straighforward clothes. This was not good. Then a department store. These things sell everything. This was good. Money would be no object - I would buy the purple socks.

Their socks were the price I pay for pants when I treat myself. I haven't treated myself that way for at least five years. Thankfully, for my economic well-being, they had no purple socks - at least in the men's section - so I didn't treat myself that way then either. Tried to find the women's socks but every time I ventured near the women's underwear section I found the attention from the sales staff too much. I retreated, at least encouraged that perhaps there might be another store in this major shopping area where I might be able to buy socks.

Not all the stores were joined together. Some of these enormous structures rose up alone from the parking lots. Leaving behind the post-modernist muck that is the architecture of the main group of stores, I walked across parking lots to one of these huge structures where no pavements ventured. As I approached I was sure it wasn't my sock store but I'd come so far and it looked so manly in its architecture that I was going in anyway for my last hooray.

Through the double doors and a snidey man with a smile waited for you barring your entry until you gave the appropriate nicety back to his empty greeting. In this gi-normous barn of testosterone I weaved and grimaced and wondered who would come to such a place. Then I found socks. Bulky and expensive but not purple. So I looked for the women's section. I found them and yes they make purple socks for women. That very shade of purple.

Naturally they're too long and will also be too warm but heck they're purple. And they only sold them in double packs so I ended up with three more socks that I really wanted. I suppose in time I could wear them in pairs.

Clutching them like a trophy I kept on looking for the not so bulky and long women's sock section. I never found it so I made for the pay desk. Before being able to buy the socks I had to divulge my zip code. It threw me. I wanted to fight but wasn't sure on what basis so like a wounded lamb I offerred up my mid-town ghetto zip code and wondered if it was his first one today. A helicopter struck me as a good way to leave such an empty hell, but instead I walked across parking lots and grass verges, on pavements with no beginning and no end and finally arrived at my car, whereupon this fantasy lego city suddenly took on a shape and you were never likely to bump into anyone's shoulders.

Five minutes later I'm back in my office eating free barbeque and forgetting my lunch time like a very bad dream. I reckon it should be a lot easier to buy purple socks in a city. And it would be nice if there were other people out buying socks too.

This was all of course so that I can wear one purple sock for a forthcoming anniversary. We remember people in different ways.

Paul Dorrell advises

As for suburbs, God help you if you live in one


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Paradise Is

Five bands of blue. Each one is perfect. Perfect for me the artist, that is. Perfect accompanied by thin strips of cadmium red and orange. But not perfect when I use alizarin. Where to now, wise man? The green worked with the alizarin. When you had the green. But the blue, especially with the yellows and ochres, well that's paradise.

Hey do you know what paradise is?

It's alive, a fantasy recreated by people and places as we'd like them to be. But do you know what truth is? It's that little boy you're holding and it's that man you fought with this morning, the same one you're going to make love with tonight. That's truth. That's love.

And I love the radio. It's where I go to my lovely when the alizarin doesn't work:

Well there's a small boat made of china
It's going nowhere on a mantlepiece
And if your number is 884 DFL congratulations
If this is your car call in for your one hundred dollars
It's The Better Music Mix
Show the world and all its people
All the wonders love can bring
We'll have another cash total in our next hour
And if you'd like to call from outside the metro area
Dieters are advised to avoid red, orange and yellow plates
They can boost your appetite
Rain throughout the afternoon with southerly winds
Temperatures 44 45 degrees
For a more detailed check call the weather line
Ay ay ay ay
Ay ay ay ay
Should've known better
To lie to one as beautiful as you
George Formby was an apprentice jockey
Stand by the telephones if you'd like to play the game
Lower Piney Road delayed as usual
When you hear that song be the first guy or first girl to get through
And as usual babe I'm the last to know
Because he's been involved in beef matters ever since
I'm a little bit dizzy
I'm a little bit scared
I guess I never felt this much aware
They're jusified and the're ancient and they has a little help from Tammy Wynette
What country invaded the Falkland Islands?
Well, they were involved, I'll give it to you
Lots of congestion in Christchurch area
He has told America that there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America
Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Old golfers never die
They just lose their balls
They were closer now Fernando
And they will play the showcase gig at Tower Records
The delicious and delightful I-knew-her-before-whe-was-a-virgin Doris Day, with Secret Love
Superstars of the seventies
It's a livin' thing
It's a givin' thing
Superstars of the eighties
We're jammin'
Superstars of the nineties
It's just another day in paradise
The music's great, song after song, six o'clock rock
Well done to her, she was caller ten with the Phrase That Pays
So why shop til you drop?
Shop at home - send for a catalogue now
Every time I hear this song
Mississippi roll along
And why would you be calling the winning line today?
I'll tell you why
Because today is Free Video Wednesday
Ok, it is a dreadful story Tom and thanks for telling it to us
Cypress Avenue moderately heavy, it is moving nicely

Paul Dorrell says:

If that intuitive song sings true to you, then no one else's opinion - parents, lovers, critics - should matter.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Nicolas de Staël: A Journey in Paint

Aside from an indulgence in art, part of the human condition that distinguishes us from other animals is our acknowledgement of anniversaries. Something about the anniversary of a death resonates with us far longer than that of a birth, as it has the power to invoke sorrow and loss all over again, or often for the first time. Fifty years ago today the painter Nicolas de Staël locked his studio, climbed onto the terrace of the roof, and threw himself to his death.
Usually before you know how an artist died or sometimes even that an artist is dead, you get to like their works. Then you seek out the artist, and you find out they've been diving in Antibes without any water. Nicolas de Staël has been a painter whose paintings I have loved for over twenty years.

A Representational Journey

Nicolas de Staël's artistic journey was a lyrical one on the edge of abstraction from greys to colors to greys. A hellish journey that accelerated in output, he was possibly born before his time, or at least before a time that would not have told him his paintings were non-representational when they were clearly representational.

A Change of Direction

A chaser of elusive skies he painted them until they were no more. A painter of absences, or more correctly of presences no longer present, he painted gesturally with seeming clarity. Hard irregular lozenge strokes of color built up his compositions, and he possibly peaked when he painted soccer players of France. I hope he believes he peaked because then he returned to more obvious representational works of landscapes. Possibly he just exhausted his search in one direction. In his next direction he continued to paint tenderly, but managed to render the calm between places on the edge of drastic change. Whatever happened to cause him to change, he apparently was desperately searching, and increasingly so at the end.

According to the catalogue raisonné that his widow produced, de Staël painted 1,100 paintings before he ended his life. The Guardian gives us the remarkable story in figures:
355 paintings were produced in the eighteen years between 1933, and 1951. After that the annual rate increased rapidly, peaking with 277 canvases in 1954, until his ten final weeks when he painted 91 canvases before the dive.
It's hard not to think that he was heading somewhere, even if head first.

Any friend of Georges Braque is a friend of mind. Nicolas de Staël, I salute you.

Paul Dorrell knows that:

diving in and undertaking that first show is how you'll learn to prepare for the later, and more important, ones.


Monday, March 21, 2005

The Gherkin in the Background

Being a believer in enhancing the world visually where city planners and society didn't quite get it right, I often spend weekends stuck in the environmental art of the seventies. This weekend however I found myself on the BBC, on 1Xtra to be exact. And I was watching an animation that was the first I've seen to feature London's gorgeous Gherkin. Every city should have one.

Visual Drama

Taggerz is 1Xtra's first animated drama. It follows the lives of a crew of graffiti artists at a point in time where their previous togetherness is falling apart. Or basically a soap, with interesting visuals. Watching it you watch the visuals that are the animation itself, and you also consider the visual impact of graffiti.

Episodic Urban Drama

This week, 1Xtra will is releasing one episode per day. They run about ten minutes long each, and I've watched the first two. Being 1Xtra the music is excellent, and being an urban drama the backgrounds are very watchable - most of them, if not all being seen at night-time only. Visually the main problem I have is the characters.

Serious-silly or Silly-Serious

It's a serious drama so the characters just end up looking silly. I think if you're going to use serious looking characters then you need a preposterous plot, or a very stylized setting, or both. Conversely if you are going the serious route with your subject matter and dialogue, I think it is far more effective to use very stylized characters or over the top silly. Otherwise if you try to render everything relatively straight, and real even, well you end up with an altogether daft package. After all, real life does real life rather well - if animation isn't Animation, well, what's the point? Not that Taggerz is approaching Hyperealism, or even touching Rotoscoping, but it's kinda lacking in taking visual chances.

What If

If the characters looked like those in Homestar Runner, Piki and Poko, Chi Chian, And Yet I Blame Hollywood, Marcus Peblo, Dick Spader, or Monkey Ninjas, we'd be laughing. Better yet if Ruairi Robinson got his hand on the scripts and turned out stuff looking like The House on Dame Street. Robinson's Fifty Percent Grey was nominated for an Oscar but his earlier House on Dame Street is the greater entertainment, and visually delicious in that almost gothic Tim Burton fashion. Mantis, Dronez, Inculta, or even Rocket Pants, all point to directions that might have made Taggerz more striking. Do love that Gherkin though.

My Main Problem

Anyway forgetting the overly serious look - give or take the Captain Pugwash effect - my biggest beef is the decision to create the animation they did not using Flash - which would be perfect for what they have come up with. One only has to compare with the latest episodes the Ninjai gang have come up with, or anything on Cartoon Monsoon. It's hard to beat vector-based scalabiliity for full screen entertainment, as I used to say to my mother as she'd sit down to another episode of Dynasty.


Anyway how could anybody not like an animated show with the main characters called Radikal, Spin, Khan, Solar, and Elizabeth? Me, I'm engrossed, visuals aside.

Well, Could You Do Better Then?

However, as if to head off any smarty pants visual whiners like myself, the BBC has provided the opportunity for you to create you own episodes. They know we've got our own ideas so they've made Animation Maker available to get creative. You can use it to produce one-minute movies that can be saved to the site, with the best ones being published online. Which all kind of shuts me up really, or sends me back to the seventies.

Marking Territory

I met a man walking two blocks from my house yesterday. He pointed at some graffiti and asked me if this area was now a gang territory.
-Do you want to be in my gang? I asked him.

Paul Dorrell says:

The formal surroundings that most museum works now hang in don't change the conditions of their creation, they just change the background, and the background is often deceiving.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Green Green Grass of Home

-So do you like the shirt I bought you?
-Yeah. You were lucky, it's a nice shade of blue.
-It's green.
-Well, it's a nice shade of green then.

Horizontal marks, however abstract, get converted into landscapes by the viewer. What would be converted into grass in the painting I'm currently working on is green; perhaps that's why. It doesn't matter that the sky is yellow, nor the road going across the foreground, red. Landscapes. Barnett Newman didn't have this problem because his stripes were vertical. And Josef Albers squared things off. Thing is, the green area used to be blue.

So what next? Turn on the radio for some background as I ponder where to take the painting:

Drivetime with Tom Brown
Sixteen minutes after five o'clock
Kicking us off, Fleetwood Mac
Oh no, here I go, again, Wah oh Diane
Cos love is like a grain of sand

Driving you home
The Triangle is heavy
The Loop is very heavy, starting to tailback
Thanks to MCA cabs
Story about striker John Aldridge
My wife was attacked in the restroom
I saw woman leaving covered in blood
I went over to complain
Next thing my nose is broken
Bad weekend for the striker
Thanks to the Evening Post
Here's Dire Straits
If you're driving home watch that heavy fuel
Five twenty-five on Wednesday evening
Good news if you're bald
Twelfth Street heavy and a little on the slow side
I am a lineman for the county
Superstars of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties
Lights still stuck on red at Scotts on Birchwood Road
Tickets still available for the gig tonight
Traffic provided by the city's only tire makers
Tonight on the Chris Barry phone-in catch the Northside rapist
Finally on Telekom Community Diary
Star Trek meeting in Seven Oaks hotel in Westfield
Waiting for a star to fall
Carry your heart into my arms

At the moment it's 47 degrees
Classic Rock 'n' Roll on 98FM
Well bless my soul what's wrong with me?
Story from the Evening Post, and this is a serious one by the way
On a lighter note it's amazing the trouble one single mouse can cause
Still you're comin' back,
You're runnin' back,
You're comin' back for more
So put me on a highway and show me a sign

85% of families don't have enough cover to protect their income
Back in a moment with Duran Duran
My name is Luka
Both of you now have keys that could open the door to one of those fabulous BMWs
How am I supposed to live without you?
Making another one-thousand dollar cash call
Not to worry
My heart is low
As only a woman's heart can be

We'll be back with our final check on the traffic
Rehab radio lotto, the real winner in the Midwest
The afternoon drive
And the Red Cow Triangle heading towards Nace
Standby for jukebox gems
Need a taxi?
On the hour news update
Has admitted responsibility
Will come to New York
Blasting targets in Southern and Northern Iraq
Naked and battered in foothills of the mountains
Two trains should not have been on the bridge at the same time
Aldridge goes for surgery on a stomach strain
The number one sports drink
Keep listening for that Weekend Away Triple Play
A top eight breaker
That's when my love comes tumbling down
Of a certain year
And you've got your troubles
And I've got mine

The fourth and final one from this week's brand new session, here's the Mahogany Men
As only a woman's heart can know
Can you dig it?
Oh yeah

Sinead O'Connor helping out Jah Wabble
I'm not numbed out any more
Now I am the key to the door

Don't forget tomorrow means Wrangler Concert
And I'll tell myself I'm over you
Cos I'm the king of wishful thinking

Better music, and more of it
There is a need for a religious press in the country
It's gonna blow, it's gonna break
This is more than I can take

Have you got your three answers there for me?
Phil Collins, Michael Stipes and Madonna
Baby don't waste your time
I know what's on your mind

My focus will be on human rights in the light of the gospel
And Hotel California from the Eagles, which is the Win At Work song

I painted the green band back to blue again.

Paul Dorrell says:

Inside every snob is a frightened person who is still trying to learn the song of life, except all they have is the words, not yet the music.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Saint and Sin: Alba Time

She's about to be everywhere. On a day when much of the world is raising something because of a man with a large staff, we appreciate the relative calm of the month before the madness.

As we stare into our green beers and green rivers (or projectile vomit one into the other), it is the cinema of the green screen that will be holding our attention only too shortly.

Despite the pedigree of Rodriguez, and the novelty of Frank Miller co-directing his own stories, such is the visual power of the notion of a strip-tease, it is somebody else who is destined for rather a lot of attention.

Here's Jessica

With three major cinematic releases in a short period we shall witness the former influential Hispanic for 2001's visual journey from comic book stripper to invisibility. But before we ponder the sumptuousness of black and white static images rendered into cinema, let's have a little look at how she lived the artist's life the month before Jessica jumped ginormously:

Feb 16 - Sin City official website launched
Feb 17 - The Fantastic Four's Eurotrip
Feb 21 - Jessica Alba: I'm Finished With Actors, Sleeping Around

Feb 22 - Animated Fantastic Four comes home in July
Feb 22 - Jessica Alba Is A Whore
Feb 22 - Jessica Alba Says She's Done Sleeping Around In Hollywood

Feb 23 - THE Word on 'wife-beater'
Feb 23 - Doctor Doom Calls Fantastic Four Footage Unbelievable
Feb 25 - An Unfashionable Word Gains Fashionable Acceptance

Mar 1 - Beyonce inspired Jessica

Mar 2 - Alba's nude awakening
Mar 3 - Ex-Whore Jessica Alba Is Coming! Have Mercy!

Mar 3 - Activision capture the Fantastic Four
Mar 3 - Movie Babe of the Day: Jessica Alba

Mar 4 - Fantastic film inspires line of toys made just Four fun
Mar 4 - Jessica Alba Reverses Course, Resurrects Career!
Mar 4 - Alba wants no-strings sex

Mar 5 - Why Can't a Black Actress Play the Girlfriend?
Mar 7 - Jessica Alba assless chaps
Mar 7 - Sin City in the Works
Mar 7 - Jessica Alba is fun

Mar 8 - Fantastic Four Movie Stands Alone
Mar 9 - Sin City goodness
Mar 10 - Sin City Site Has Been Updated, Check Out The Comic Comparisons!

Mar 14 - The Orphanage Finishes off That Yellow Bastard
Mar 14 - Jessica Alba's Striptease In Sin City!
Mar 16 - Jessica Alba Galore

Paul Dorrell reckons

if you live in a small town distant from any major city, it will be much harder for you to break out in the arts than otherwise


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Employment of an Artist

The landlord decided we could not hold onto the house so we would immediately seek another tenant and/or put it on the market for sale. This did not make me happy. Either way, last weekend it was all over. I had lost the house and I would be traveling home in a few weeks. So I picked up a paintbrush.

Painting and Passion

And I painted twelve solid hours through the night, and then I passionately explained I had no intention of leaving the house or the city.

Selling Your soul

Suitably fired I did the interview of my life and sold my soul to pull off something I thought would work. I made many proposals and not all of them legal but it worked. This prospective employer made an offer to my erstwhile sponsors.

Desperate Measures for Desperate Times

It was a ridiculous offer. He wasn't even sure if he meant it, so I gave him 24 hours to be sure if he meant it, either straightforwardly or not. (Not straightforwardly involved me working until the fall without pay - to keep things moderately legal). He concurred. 24 hours later he hadn't decided. I steered 3-way negotiations until the sponsors met all demands. The deal was done. They even took me out for a burger to make up for the $25,000 they have cost me. They said sorry. The burger tasted good.

How To Make Money Out of Somebody Else

Days later my prospective employer had second thoughts. Being a small business he wasn't sure how he could make any money out of me immediately. Valid concerns but five weeks after the initial interview, which he solicited, perhaps late in the day for such thoughts. Made a note to self that if ever in a position to hire anybody, never to do so without first thinking if there is any purpose to doing so.

Deciding Whether To Employ an Artist

I wasn't sleeping much. The contract was at his attorney's and he would tell me the next day when he thought some more. The phone didn't ring the next day. I didn't paint the next day. Ominous. Unable to face any galleries I went to a party none the wiser. Good party.

When is an Artist not an Artist?

A day later he called. Unless his attorney finds something extremely bizarre that they can't iron out he is ready to sign with my sponsors on the agreed terms. It is looking like I shall go to the ball after all. I will however be wearing a dirty dress. To achieve this state of affairs I waived both the originally tendered part-time position and working from home option – both offered to facilitate my painting. I waived employment benefits. I offered to pay legal fees. I offered up my relocation allowance. I agreed to not do the supposed artistic work I was originally solicited for. As I was selling out, I went ahead and committed to the new firm long term.

Soul Sold

It means six years. Not to give up the job and paint - the whole point of coming to this city.

Free Will

So now I get congratulated. I feel dirty. Confused. As happy as any man who had a gun to his head but the trigger wasn't pulled. Only it wasn't pulled because I promised to do some things I really don't want to do. And I really didn't ever want to do them. I think I even gave up the right to complain. On top of all this it would seem I also happen to like a girl and worse still she probably likes me. Painting is suffering all 'round.

Sign Here

The week ahead will confirm or deny the signatures on all the respective contracts. And very soon I will be very well off and very unhappy. But if I didn't care about painting I would probably be delirious. So a guarded welcome is grudgingly acknowledged for the current state of affairs.

The road Ahead is Paved with Broken Tiles and Money

For now I have a mosaic table to plan as well as a couple of commissions to paint.

Paul Dorrell gives guidance:

The object is to avoid taking a job you hate. You should also take a job that, if it doesn't complement your passions, should at least leave the art side of your brain undisturbed, so that each day as you work, your talent is working also, subconsciously building up to the hour when you get off work, go gome, and do the stuff that counts.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Need to Paint

My house is not the least impressive in the neighborhood. Come the good weather and I might paint it since I have the paint. It came with the house. White basically. A part of me wants to paint a large orange square on the outside of my
house. And a smaller purple one. Might get a citation from the city though.

Some paintings are up on my brightly painted walls. House becomes a home. Fridge is bare. Fridge is big. Fridge is expensive to fill.

Life is quite similar for me as it was in the months before I left home. Episodic. Uncertain. Expensive. Phone calls today included arranging my own show. Hard to talk with a headache. Need eggs to make the headaches go away. Pile of eggshells outside my front door. Gives a lived in appearance to my house.

The grass is cut. And so is the bush. The grackles arrived early yesterday to polka dot the green-ness. I felt sorry for the early worms.

People have given me beds. I don't need any more. People have given me mugs. Can I ever hope to use thirty-five? Maybe if I get sick and don't wash the dishes for a week. I could probably then tell the time by the mug I was using. My own mugs are in storage in field in another state.

When I make the next payment on the house I will have no money. A lawyer yesterday asked me how I spend my days. Given that it had taken him a wk to return my call I told him I spend half my day waiting for calls, and then I count my money. I told him it doesn't take very long.

I stopped by a gallery yesterday. This is a different world. None of the paintings were like mine. Not even the abstract ones. Became self-conscious of the green and red paint unwashed from my hands.

A friend knocks on my door. I want to paint and not spend money on beer. He will horribly generously offer to pay so how then do I turn him down?
-Do you want to come out tonight?
-I can’t; I’ve no money and no pants.

Paul Dorrell reminds us that "nobody needs your work; when you're unknown, no one wants it"


Friday, March 11, 2005

The Coupons for Artistic Happiness

Is it right to live your life, the life of an artist, according to one book, one philosophy? Probably not, but what has being right got to do with good art? Just how right was Mr. Pollock when he put his foot down on the accelerator? And Mr. van Gogh, that business with the ear - right or wrong? Right or left?
Wanting to broaden my horizons - you'll recall I've already raised them - I have decided to follow many philosphies as I go about my life in art. Many philosophies by many authors. But luckily in a single package and delivered to your door without any effort on your part. Thank you to the coupon people for they give me self-help banners I can lick and live by after sticking to my mirror.

For the rest of my life I shall Make Every Day A Good Hair Day. Which is good because I can only go From Old To Brand Sparkly New… In About A Day.

I shall find 3 Ways To Love knowing that When She Breathes Easier, So Do You… for although she is a carpet cleaner All Carpet Cleaners Are Not Alike. Good, because, the last one didn't breathe so easy, and I couldn't find any ways to love her.

There will be things I want done but only One Call Gets The Things You Want Done…DONE and I have a feeling that person you're calling is The Best Kept Secret At The Airport, though maybe not a secret any more.

I will entrap the local plumber in fecal odors and then complain saying hey you're the one who said My Plumber Will Smell Good And Show Up On Time Or I’ll Pay You. And then after receiving the money I shall Go Ahead… Smile!

Springtime is… rejuvenate time so I'm cleaning out my artistic blocks and starting over with No Contracts. No Risk. Free Installation.

I've decided one should always Make Your Home Look Like New and maybe that will Put The Spring Back Into Your Parking. If not, then know that Relief Is Just A Phone Call Away.

I now know and will always remember that No Matter What You Need, You’ll Find It In A Single Convenient Package. All Bundled Up With A Smile! Though I am left wondering if the convenient package being bundled up is an airport working plumber with a fecal odor. It would account for the smile.

I believe in a greater power who is always going to say We Get To The ROOT Of Your Problem, so I shall grimace as I accept that I have a problem at all, until I am told We Want To See You Smile!

I shall act Olympian and know that Better, Faster And Less Expensive Is Always Better and possibly a good way to Give Your Child A Great Start On Learning. Of course one first might need a great start on having that child, but if I have faith I know that the powers that be proclaim We Build It. We Install It. We Stand Behind It. So we're talking about a big child.

Anyway I am an artist and I will henceforth cast away my black clothes of happiness for Life Is Short. Live It In Color is the way of the artist.

But then again there's always that love thing I keep wanting, and I know I want it Fresh. Hot. Now.

Paul Dorrell Believes:

However I must remember that Paul Dorrell, not unsurprisingly considering the competition, believes For many, there are no rules or guidelines in the silence of the studio...


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Something About A Microwave

Having satisfactorily finished my medication and probably my career, I have taken to enjoying the small life I have built here. After sitting on my bed watching the lightning all night I jump up early, say seven or maybe eight. This is not early for the Midwest. I strut around my house, a small ball bouncing off my limbs, whilst I wait for the pan to warm.

Then I sit down on my couch waiting for the eggs to fry, with the radio loudly playing on my knee as I look out the window at the trees across the road and the squirrels doing their stuff. Sometimes I put the radio on in a different room to the one I'm in so I can wonder if there's somebody else in my house. I mean, who
is making all that noise?

This Land Is My Land

I answer my groovy cordless phone and talk seductively on my wicker rocking
chair. Then I walk out onto my porch proudly surveying my land whilst
earnestly conversing away. Typically then I might sit on the porch, eggs in
hand and let my legs dangle over the growingly impressive egg shell pile. I
am hoping to create an egg shell border around my porch. Cheaper than buying
mulch. Much.

Keeping Up Appearances

I spot a neighbour calling a missing dog and fearful of an introduction I retreat back in to my couch and let the radio throb in my lap like a memory. Anti-social I might be but my lawn looks better than theirs. It's an important a part of the culture of suburbia. Hanging baskets, painted window shutters, some large flower pots, a mini trellis perhaps, a rockery over there, a touch of crazy paving here, a bamboo garden would be nice.

Visa for the Harvesting of Vegetables

I could do so much. Melon seeds and those for sunflowers will be planted next month. And probably the carrots and turnips too. Gotta get into red peppers. So easy to grow here I believe. And yellow. Not sure about purple but want to grow them simply because it's funny saying purple peppers. Say it again if you don't believe me. Would probably require legal permission to come back and pick them though. Wonder if the authorities consider harvesting of vegetables as a good reason to return.

Amazing Weekend

After the rather unpleasant or more correctly put, disappointing, week I went ahead and had an amazing weekend.

From a Shade Problem to the Shady Hours

From lunch time Friday I went AWOL with a couple of friends for the day. A drive to relive a brief moment of my cross-country bus trip, a couple of bars, some great food, kids in the playground, beer in the shade (I get leaflets in my mailbox asking me if I have a shade problem in my garden), and then it's the early hours.

Repeat Procedure, Add Kids, Eggs, and Art

Repeat process on Saturday only multiply kids. Stop off at Spanish couple's house to drop off beer and stay for countless hours. Big family, big porch. Great family, great porch. Lot of beer. Art on the walls. Fantastic food. Yet another decadent salad, and the outrage of eating so far beyond hunger. Even eggs after the sun went down. I like eggs. And the kids only tumbled down the concrete steps twice.

For Love Nor Money

Bedtime you might think, for I did. But what the heck a late drink in my local to introduce myself. Met a girl who left her husband because she wasn't ever attracted to him to the extent that they ever just climbed up there on the washing machine and went for it. I said something about a microwave. She said all she wanted now was a lot of me-time. And a lot of money. Faced with such selflessness I told her my legal woes. She said she'd marry me to make me legal. She said she'd do it for a lot of money. I said something about a microwave.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

After five hours sleep I leapt up and cut the grass before the thunderstorms and before the neighbors. God their gardens are starting to look shoddy. Forgetting that my mother won't have got the letter I haven't yet mailed where it outlines the sad series of predicaments I'm facing, I phoned and tried to convince her it wasn't all bad and that in fact I was having a great time. She told me I wasn't supposed to be having a great time; I was supposed to be working. I told her well it wasn't that great a time, but I had been lent a microwave.

Your Car, sir

And then I get a half-hour long-distance call. I'm told by a friend from a band that in time a painting of mine on a CD cover of theirs will make me rich. Do people download CD covers? It was great to talk to someone from home whilst admiring my lawn from my porch. As I press the off button my ride arrives and becomes the first to consume beer in my home.

Art on the Walls

And so to another house, with another huge family, and another huge porch. More art on the walls. And I stopped counting the kids. Sun and beer and quality conversation. This family are so nice they are like the Waltons. Granted Mary Ellen wasn't going out with the doctor any longer, illegitimate kids sprouted up refreshingly (Erin and Jim Bob at least), and Mr and Mrs Walton don't sleep in the same house any more. But in essence that little piece of suburbia is clearly Walton Mountain. Theme music was a bit different though.

All good Weekends Come To An end

On to a bar that won't take my money, to talk of art and jobs, and I have to remind myself that this is not a love song. I mean that this is not a vacation. Technically speaking a weekend should end there in the early hours of Sunday night/Monday morning but I still seemed to be enjoying myself.

Dance And You Shall See The Light

I danced all day Monday in between phonecalls about my future. News was bleak so I kept dancing. And then I had an epiphany. One even better than the one about the arrangement of the wires for plugging the phone in. It was to do with painting and careers. Or doing one and not the other. And things came into focus.

Don't Tell People You Have Seen The Light

So before the final legal consultation I told my friend. I could tell he was
worried about the implications for his mortgage that I was paying
, and for his other mortgage that he was paying. So I tried to explain that I wasn't unhappy and told him about the dancing. I could tell he was still worried.

The End Of the World?

Spoke with top attorney in a top firm, and for free. A friend of a sister of a friend of a friend - this is a friendly place. The news wasn't great but unsolicited he did say it wasn't the end of the world. Outside the sky darkened and the world ended.

Assimilation Through Litigation

The attorney was clear on how I could sue my erstwhile employers, and/or get them into huge trouble with the authorities. I said I wanted to focus on myself and my immediate monetary problems. I never mentioned a microwave. At this stage of my life I am too well versed in employment law. The meeting with this $300 an hour man crystallized everything.

On the Run

So all I have to do from here on in is survive. It's more complicated than that but not a whole lot. Starting to identify more and more with Geronimo. On the run from the American authorities whilst trying to live a free and peaceful life. I too
am likely to pop in and out of international borders and am already considering the benefits of killing white people.

Time To Make Income

In short, I can afford to live (but not eat or drink) until the end of the summer. If I make no income before then I'll be returning to 1986. Apart from a fuller head of hair and my obvious good looks it doesn't hold much attraction. I shall fight to stay longer. I shall kill white people.

My Own Melons

For most of the weeks I have been here I have been sick, and the other times preoccupied. I have painted little. After this weekend I begin. Many potential projects in this land of opportunity. And a weekend in a cabin in the mountains in two months. The months ahead shall not be easy - legally I cannot work for anyone until the fall at the earliest, and then subsequent only to being declared a cleansed person. But I knew that coming here and am prepared to give it a go. I mean imagine watching your own melons grow (so to speak).

From here on I shall be painting, looking for money, and approaching a routine of some undefined description.

Or I shall fall in love.

Paul Dorrell informs you that

You can take legal action after the fact-although the only person likely to benefit from that will be the lawyer.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Crossing Lines

Crossing into the European Union from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia I paint flags in my head that nobody agrees with.

Crossing from New York into New Jersey I leave something behind and I age every time.

Crossing over the City Line I remark how very dark it is in this city, and how odd considering how much richer this city is in comparison with surrounding cities. Of course it isn’t very dark in this city at all, it’s simply a case of my headlight not working, as the police officer explains to me.

Crossing over the County Line I notice how the radio in my car plays Journey pomping out Don’t Stop Believing every single time, but only when crossing the line in a southward direction.

Crossing the State Line I like to pause, if only for a second, so those that have spent their lives drawing lines on maps have not done so in vain.

Crossing into Hungary from Slovenia I am armed solely with a vocabulary of a single word, the Slovene word for Beer. So I skip food and drink. The only other words I use in that border town are the words of Unchained Melody as I join my new Hungarian friends who sing it all night for some reason. Of course we never actually finish the song because every time I attempt the line I’ve hungered for your touch it provokes from the Magyars chants of Hun-gary, Hun-gary, Hun-gary. Sadly we part as less than friends upon realization that I am not paying for the entire night’s worth of everybody’s beers, in any language.

Crossing into Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland I look for Bono in camouflage.

Crossing the Danube some distance from Belgrade I remember Stormin’ Norman joking as he shows footage of bombing bridges in Iraq the first time the Coalition was Willing.

Crossing into Turkey from Greece, passing the sky-blue and white railings and then the red and white railings, of the bridge over the Evros/Meric river, I’m reminded of school and how we used to draw a line on our shared desk for two, forbidding crossings, punishing transgressions with gleeful smacks of a ruler, and happily scowling at each other from our side of the line.

Crossing the Transcontinental Divide in the heat of Arizona I take out a beer and pour it on the ground just to see where it will go.

Crossing into Italy from France I feel cheated that nobody wants to see my passport or even know who I am. Do they not know who I am? I might be cheap but the passport is not.

Crossing into Manhattan from the Bronx I tell myself I must remember to go to the zoo some day.

Crossing the Mersey from Liverpool to the Wirral I really wish they wouldn’t ruin such a great architectural riverfront by playing that song.

Crossing into Rhode Island from Massachusetts I wish I could get to name stuff on maps.

Crossing the Mississippi River at Helena the signs prompt me to look up at the sky for the radars that can tell if I’m speeding, and I wonder if they can tell that I’m crashing because I’m looking up.

Crossing into Kosovo from Serbia I fear I will be hit in the head by a dropping food parcel.

Crossing the Mason-Dixie Line I listen but never hear any music.

Crossing into Scotland from England I wonder if I’ll ever go back.

Crossing the Missouri River at Council Bluffs I wish there wasn’t a bridge.

Crossing from East Germany into West Germany after The Wall, I wonder where I am.

Crossing into Canada from Alaska I think there is no parallel.

Paul Dorrell cautions that

you should never cross a major river without once stopping and standing at water’s edge, trying to behold all that has passed there, and all that is yet to.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Without an Explanation, Can it be Art?

If you take away the accompanying narrative, is it still art? Well, it’s not a pipe.

Some people walk their name in maps. That is, they take a street atlas, mark out their name, and then walk the route as mapped by the letters of their name. Are the marked maps art? Even without the explanation? And before or after the actual walking? Even without the walk, the performance?

I’ve painted maps. Not on maps, but actually painted them from scratch. From memory, and they were emotional. But is the narrative of the emotion involved necessary for the map to be more than a map? Well, by mapping standards they were actually less than maps for they weren’t very accurate. But as lyrical abstractions of an area defined by journeys, they were spot on. Put that in your pipe Jasper Johns.

Is a line drawn by a sequence of events, like the movements of a train, or the random occurrence of a certain color car, actually art – or is it just a graph of something that most other people would not think to graph, or care to look at?

If someone wants to call it art then it pretty much is. It might not be any good, and it might not be worth looking at, but if it is and you don’t know why it came to be – then it’s home and dry on the art front.

Do we need to know why Turner painted storms, or the mechanics of how he experienced storms, for us to consider his painting of storms art? So, while you may prefer a Turner to my line drawings representing Robin movements in my local park, both stand without narrative and are enjoyable to look at, or not. The explanatory narrative should never be more than an “Oh yeah” or “That’s interesting” or “Why on earth” factor. I can like metal gates without knowing that they are actually maps of European city centers.

For the longest time I’ve been interested in mapping movement in sport. Potentially beautiful, the patterns of play are representational without the trickery of perspective and pigment-rendered light. Territorial sports like American Football and Rugby are howver too simplistic when their movements are drawn. Perfect for ESPN and online real time representation of how the sporting event itself is going, they lack much depth as art. Association Football however, is perfect. Ranging from rather ugly to perfect beauty, soccer also has the advantage of being played by so many different peoples.

Strap a GPS to each player and one to the ball. Then map the movements of one team and the ball, and the other team and the ball. Each game a diptych of passion, skill, and national traits. And the truth will out. Note the short ball movements of the Brazilian world champions on top of the huge diagonals of the player movements. Contrast that with the more elongated diamonds of Argentine patterns. The lines mapped out for Germany are so much squarer. Each game produces a drawing of lines that is meaningless to anybody not knowing the meaning, but does that make the drawing not enjoyable to look at?

Rinus Michels died last week. In the seventies he introduced the concept of Total Football to the world. Since the game is only kicking a lump of leather around a field, every player should be able to play anywhere rather than be specialized. So they did. A striker could casually drift into a left back position and play there for a bit before sliding over to the right of midfield. Everybody fluidly and constantly takes different roles on the team. This of course plays havoc with your GPS line drawing of the game. Instead of the ball, when it is in Zone X, always being kicked by player A, with all of his strengths and flaws, in Total Football players A through K kick it. And what is the problem with this? Well have you ever had a scarf knitted by several different people?

It doesn’t matter if they are using the same size knitting needles; their hands are different, their movements are different, their tension is different. You end up with a disjointed, uneven, inconsistently stitched scarf.

However that was the astonishing thing that Michels accomplished with Cruyff, Neeskens, and the boys. They were all so darned talented that the line drawings I did of their performances were consistent. And with that perfect pattern they were the most beautiful line drawings I ever drew. What Rinus Michels actually did was invent Total Knitting.

Paul Dorrell asks

if the artist's form of neurosis is more interesting than that of the average human. And he answers it with a yes, if it produces good work, and sometimes even if it produces bad


Friday, March 04, 2005

This Land Belongs To You And Me

Fouqueiria Splendens and Yucca Elata. Ocotillos and Soaptree Yuccas. Swimming around my brain. Shadows and forms. Their patterns of growth and foliage. Maybe a brilliant splash of a flower spike. Or two. Thing is, I wanted to paint grass. And grasses. Okay, and possibly some milo. But the desert never lets go.

Figures in the Grass

In among my grasses I had figures planned. Vague figures. The paintings of Rabindranath Tagore were in my head - which seems so unfair for I doubt my poems are in his head. True he's now dead, and I don't write poetry - but that's not the point. If Tagore were alive, and I were to punish the world with poetry, his head would be free, and I would be here looking at grass and imagining figures he painted.


The native grasses define so much of the land. And they do it so quietly. A dignified presence that in places has the power of an ocean. I belong to this grass. I am inspired by it. I will paint this movement. I will paint every blessed blade.

Forgetting the Desert

So I walk into the back yard to clear my head of desert vegetation. It is the heart of the nation I am painting, and the heart of the nation needs me. There is a broken piece of packing styrofoam on the path to the shed. It is from my computer purchased over a year ago. I do need to get a grip on which day the trash man comes. I think it's a Tuesday. The trash man could be a woman.

Effects of the Sun

The styrofoam packing is upside down, in so much as packing material can be upside down. The sun of course is its brilliant self. In the overpowering sunshine there are stark shadows on the styrofoam. The protective ridge sticks out and forms a perfect Latin cross. It is as if painted by Georgia O’Keefe. Which of course takes me back to the land of the desert. And she is dead so painting the styrofoam is now also my job.


Look at the grass Verne, look at the grass. There isn't any. The landlord doused the yard with weedkiller last summer and what little grass survived was eaten by the neighbor's dog. He vomits in my yard also. Yellow. Makes up for the lack of flowers. There is one weed that survived the big weed kill. It rises up five feet and branches out unmistakeably like an Ocotillo.

Paul Dorrell advises:

Don't rely too much on inspiration

Fossett's Flight Recorded in Headlines

Feb 1 - Fossett ready for non-stop tour
Feb 4 - Weather grounds flight for world record
Feb 8 - Jet stream delays launch of solo, non-stop trip around the world

Feb 20 - All eyes on Salina as historic flight nears takeoff
Feb 22 - Fossett's attempt at world-record flight delayed again
Feb 26 - Record-Setting Round-the-World Flight Could Start Monday
Feb 27 - Record-Setting Flight Attempt Set for Tomorrow

Feb 28 - Fossett prepares to break last great aviation record
Feb 28 - Friendly skies await start of aviator's global adventure
feb 28 - Record-breaking flight attempt set for afternoon takeoff
Feb 28 - Fossett takeoff delayed

Feb 28 - Fossett jet ready to take wing
Feb 28 - GlobalFlyer pilot plans early evening take-off
Feb 28 - Globe-girdling plane cleared for takeoff
Feb 28 - Fossett Finally Flies

Feb 28 - Fossett Takes Off for Around the World Flight Attempt
Feb 28 - Successful Take-Off for the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer
Feb 28 - Journey begins
Feb 28 - Jittery Fossett begins record attempt

Feb 28 - Fossett tries solo, non-stop world flight
Feb 28 - Daredevil Fossett won't stop in shot at seven flight records
Feb 28 - GlobalFlyer's destination: history
Feb 28 - Non-stop circumnavigatory flight begins

Mar 1 - One big ego soars to new heights
Mar 1 - Fossett On His Way in Attempt To Circumnavigate Globe
Mar 1 - Salina dubbed Mission Control

Mar 1 - GlobalFlyer off to a good start in non-stop, round-the-world flight
Mar 1 - Around The World, No Rest Stops

Mar 1 - Adventurer Optimistic About Round-the-World Flight
Mar 1 - Fossett reports smooth flying on circumnavigation
Mar 1 - Millionaire reporting no problems in attempt at first nonstop, solo flight around the world

Mar 1 - Fossett's round-the-world flight hit by GPS failure
Mar 1 - Fossett gets a scare
Mar 1 - Navigation Blip Hits Round-the-World Flyer

Mar 2 - Flying Blind
Mar 2 - Record flight attempt overcomes equipment problem

Mar 2 - Pilot fine starting solo round-the-world bid
Mar 2 - Fossett Flying High Over the Atlantic
Mar 2 - Millionaire Fossett 1/4 of the way to flight record

Mar 2 - Control: It's on course, or even ahead
Mar 2 - Chicago millionaire's flight 'going very well'
Mar 2 - Fossett reached North Africa in his around-the-globe trip

Mar 2 - Experimental Jet Soars Over Libya
Mar 2 - Globe-spanning plane passes over Africa
Mar 2 - All going well as flyer races around world

Mar 2 - Fossett to fly over Bahrain in record bid
Mar 2 - Record-seeking pilot soars across North Africa and the Middle East
Mar 2 - Fossett over Middle East in round-the-world bid

Mar 2 - GlobalFlyer approaches Pakistan in round-the-world flight
Mar 2 - GlobalFlyer nears Karachi in historic non-stop flight
Mar 2 - Fossett’s aviation bid runs into rough weather

Mar 2 - Fossett soars eastward over Asia on round-the-world bid
Mar 2 - Halfway mark near in record flight attempt
Mar 2 - Calcutta on world solo flight radar

Mar 2 - Fossett reaches half-way point on round-the-world flight attempt
Mar 2 - Millionaire adventurer still on track for 1st solo, non-stop round-the-world flight
Mar 2 - Pilot soars over Asia

Mar 2 - Fossett alert over India, on second sleepless day of round-the-world flight attempt
Mar 2 - Faulty fuel gauge may foil flight
Mar 2 - Halfway horror: Fossett low on fuel

Mar 2 - Fossett over China after passing half-way point on round-the-world flight attempt
Mar 2 - GlobalFlyer Has 15 Percent Less Fuel Than Expected
Mar 2 - Fuel loss crushes Fossett's global expedition
Mar 2 - Fossett's Journey Could End in Hawaii

Mar 2 - Adventurer faces fuel crisis in solo flight
Mar 2 - Fossett's dream of solo jet record fading
Mar 2 - To Hawaii, then decide

Mar 3 - Globe-circling pilot risks long ocean crossing
Mar 3 - Fossett Flight in Jeopardy
Mar 3 - Mystery fuel loss threatens Fossett's solo record flight
Mar 3 – ‘Missing’ fuel may scupper Fossett flight

Mar 3 - Fossett to push on to at least Hawaii in GlobalFlyer
Mar 3 - Fossett decides to keep flying -- for now
Mar 3 - Millionaire pilot Fossett not landing in Hawaii
Mar 3 - At 21:30CST (03:30UTC) Steve Fossett relayed by satellite phone to Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer Mission Control Director Kevin Stass "let’s go for it"

Mar 3 - Fossett, team decided to cross Pacific despite fuel problems
Mar 3 - The Right Stuff
Mar 3 - Fuel Problem Won't Stop Fossett

Mar 3 - Fossett on target for the record books
Mar 3 - Exhaustion sets in as Fossett enters final stretch of non-stop round-the-world flight
Mar 3 - Global Solo Flight Nears US West Coast

Mar 3 - Power Naps
Mar 3 - Solo Flyer Fossett Almost Home
Mar 3 - Aviator Fossett completes trans-Pacific leg and nears home

Mar 3 - Fossett Crosses Into US as Tailwinds Propel Him Toward Record
Mar 3 - Fossett Back over US Soil
Mar 3 - Fossett Passes over LA

Mar 3 - Fossett Just Hours from the Record Books
Mar 3 - Fossett Pushes the Boundaries to the Limit
Mar 3 - GlobalFlyer expected in Salina, Kan., this afternoon

Mar 3 - Steve Fossett closes in on flight record
Mar 3 - Millionaire soars near finish line
Mar 3 - Fossett in Home Stretch of Global Flight

Mar 3 - Pilot closes in on quest for 1st solo flight around globe
Mar 3 - Fossett heads back into record books
Mar 3 - Millionaire pilot closing in on nonstop solo flight record

Mar 3 - Millionaire set to land safely, breaking flight record
Mar 3 - Fossett at the finish line
Mar 3 - Fossett conquers last frontier
Mar 3 - Fossett's flight

Mar 3 - 65 hrs: One man, one world, one plane
Mar 3 - Fossett Breaks Nonstop Solo Flight Record
Mar 3 - Fossett finishes round-the-world solo flight

Mar 3 - Millionaire pilot completes record-setting nonstop solo flight
Mar 3 - Around the world in three days as Fossett claims solo flight record
Mar 3 - Around-the-World Flight a Success

Mar 3 - Steve Fossett Ends Phenomenal 3-Day, No-Refueling Record Solo Flight Around The World
Mar 3 - Fossett Flies into History
Mar 3 - The Flyer has landed

Mar 3 - Fossett Lands Triumphant
Mar 3 - A smooth landing for solo flight
Mar 3 - Fossett Lands in Kansas, Completes Trip Around World

Mar 3 - Touchdown! Steve Fossett Flies Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer into History
Mar 3 - Solitary Round-the-World Flight Concludes With Smooth Landing
Mar 3 - Burt Rutan, a master of aerospace design and development

Mar 3 - Fossett touchdown creates flying history
Mar 3 - Fossett's flight recognized as aviation milestone
Mar 3 - One ego, maybe?
Mar 3 - Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer Successfully Completes Round-the-World Record Attempt

Mar 3 - CORRECTED: Adventurer Fossett Completes Global Solo Flight
Mar 3 - Global Flyer creates World Record after safely landing at Salina!
Mar 4 - Adventurer’s flight of fancy earns Fossett place in history
Mar 4 - Fossett becomes 1st man to fly solo nonstop round the world

Mar 4 - Champagne welcome for world-flyer
Mar 4 - Round the world in 67 hours
Mar 4 - The Aviator: Fossett flies into record books with solo, non-stop flight

Mar 4 - Solo flyer Fossett is also an Ironman
Mar 4 - Solo Fossett is brave-iator
Mar 4 - NASA Technology Supports Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer

Mar 4 - Fossett's fortune and fame based on taking risks
Mar 4 - GLOBALFLYER: Aviation history has been made!
Mar 4 - High-flyer who took on world and won

Mar 4 - Around the world. In 67 hours. On one tankful
Mar 4 - Those Who Reached for the Sky and Won
Mar 4 - Man flies around the world in Kern County airplane

Paul Dorrell advises: “Get ready, the journey is long.”


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Jordan Headlines

On the threshold of greatness in the former Grand Prix d'Eurovision de la Chanson – or the UK qualifier Song Contest – is Jordan. Her name is little Katie Price. One month of Jordan's life in headlines.

Feb 4 - Jordan's Euro dream
Feb 4 - Jordan hopes to fly Eurovision flag for UK
Feb 4 - Eurovision or bust for Jordan

Feb 5 - Jordan hopes for Eurovision glory
Feb 13 - Jordan hopes to make it to the Eurovision Song Contest:
Feb 15 - Jordan: No Boobs For Votes
Feb 15 - Jordan Won't Use Body For Eurovision

Feb 16 - Null points not an option for Jordan
Feb 17 - Andre returns to 'crazy' North Wales
Feb 17 - Jordan Prepares for Eurovision Battle
Feb 18 - Organic Boob Jobs

Feb 23 - Glamour Girl In Song Debut
Feb 23 - Jordan Favourite For UK Eurovision
Feb 24 - Jordan's on a TV promise

Feb 26 - Jordan 'five months pregnant'
Feb 26 - Jordan: I'm a celebrity mother-to-be
Feb 26 - Peter Andre To Become A Dad
Feb 26 - 7.45 AM I'M NOT PREGNANT 3.00 PM ER.. YES, I AM

Feb 28 - Jordan expecting Andre's baby
Feb 28 - I'm big on revenge, I'm a Gemini

Mar 1 - British model Jordan is preggers
Mar 2 - Jordan took nine pregnancy tests
Mar 3 - Jordan Says She Was Shocked by Pregnancy
Mar 3 - Eurovision Javine shows rival Jordan who's the breast

Paul Dorrell asks you to

Just remember, the song of life is partly one of adversity.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It Would Not Have Happened in a Library

The sketch lacked details. Due to the cold I'd economized in drawing, but now I needed a train. Flex the fingers. Whistle blows. This should only take a moment.

An image search for trains quickly take me to examples of graffiti. A site advises to not paint trains because of the danger of sparks in tunnels, silently moving trains and cars being bumped. It lists three experienced graffiti artists killed while painting trains. But if you do paint them, it adds, be sure to use the foot bridges.

It's an enormous site with all kinds of graffiti from all over the world, yet it leaves me wondering why so much is so similar. Rather than the application of paint to varying surfaces, it seems to be the formulaic exercise of a very limited range of styles. Maybe I need to look more.

Graffiti leads me to stumble across an artist called Conor Harrington. He strikes me as like David Salle, but better. I go looking for Salle to remind me, finding him at the Gagosian.

At Gagosian.com I spot Howard Hodgkin's name. Just a couple of his paintings there so I keep searching. Tiring of the limitations of image-searching, I return to the mainstream and find myself at the BBC listening to an short interview. My favorite respsonse is when Howard is clearly insulted by the possible suggestion that any marks of paint he may make might be on impulse. He being a professional artist is deemed explanation enough for why nothing he paints is ever impulsive.

Artnet satisfies my now raised curiosity for a quick fix of Hodgkin's paintings, but it leaves me remembering how I used to paint model airplanes. It's particularly the Messerschmitt Me 110 I'm remembering. Yes I know, we were supposed to buy the Allied models and paint those good guys but there was always lots of Me 110s available, and they had bigger wings for painting. I liked to paint the entire underneath in a bright red with rough black spots, because we all know that the sky when you look up is often bright red with black spots. Try it some time by looking into the sun. See? Chances are you missed a flock of Messerschmitts flying past.

So the first time I stood in a gallery looking at a Howard Hodgkin I was staring at my childhood and a very painterly World War II. Not the most effective camouflage but then camouflage is about disruption and confusion in plain view rather than necessarily blending in seamlessly to a background which might not stay constant anyway. If done effectively, the edges, the form, of what is being camouflaged, is blurred or indistinct. Razzle Dazzle.

So I go back a World War. Dazzle Patterns. Ship Camouflage. During World War I, German u-boats threatened supply lines to Allied forces in Europe. Dazzle camouflage broke up the visual shape of the ships, confusing those aiming torpedoes as to direction and speed of the vessel. Derived originally from Cubism, Picasso was an early influence. Oddly it was evident that the British and the French employed patterns that foretold Op Art whereas America was more inclined to designs that foretold Color Field painting. I, born so many years after my time, merely foretold Howard Hodgkin, albeit with hindsight.

Perhaps I don't need that detail to paint a train after all.

Paul Dorrell counsels you to "take in all you can of the past and present, and the future too if it speaks to you."