“Face it, Ricky, this was inevitable.”
if there is a heaven I declare everybody gets to go although it may not be all singing, all dancing murderers will meet their victims there those who have been waiting for them and not, I think, just the face to face murderers of passion or those with diseased minds who killed innocent strangers but the presidents and kings who ordered murder from their soft palaces the murdered will line up and patiently wait their turns (they have the time) in the cases of Hitler and Stalin, Truman and Caesar, Queen Victoria and Genghis Khan, George Bush, and other mass[...]
The Curse of An Artistic Mindset
I cannot stack wood without taking into consideration the aesthetic elements of the stacking. Colors, sizes, textures; all go into deciding where to place the next log. I do not do this by choice – I cannot not do it. The same goes with loading the dishwasher, mowing the grass, hanging laundry, or putting food on a plate. Having trained my mind to identify interesting patterns on paper or canvas, I identify them everywhere, whether I would or not. When I look at trees or crowds or clouds, I think about lines and colors. (“Ah, some Payne’s Gray mixed with[...]
The Origin of Painting
This romantic, slightly saucy depiction of a Greek maid tracing her departing lover’s silhouette portrays the supposed beginnings of portrait painting. Or portrait tracing, in this case.  The Scottish painter David Allan did several versions of this around 1775. The multiple versions imply popularity- it went Georgian-viral. Two things are notable; the self-referential aspect (a painter painting a painting about painting) and the risqué nature of the artist lass losing her clothes. Before mass reproduction, titilating art had to be handmade, and fine artists were more than happy to fill that need. Of course, before museums, this meant that only “gentlemen” could afford[...]
Dishy book gives a behind-the-scenes look at children’s literature
Do you know the 18th century brother and sister writing duo whose classic is still in print despite her murdering their mother?* How about the Unitarian minister, defrocked for molesting boys in his parish,  who went on to pen a smash series of books about boys who are guided to wealth and respectability by caring older gentlemen?** I just finished reading Wild Things:Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature  by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta where you’ll find these steamy tidbits as well as hundreds more, funny, amazing, and outrageous. Wild Things reminds us that, for all the “fuzzy bunny”[...]
“Mr Turner” and “The Victorian City”
Like a fine wine and a good cheese, may I recommend an interesting movie/book pairing? “Mr Turner”, a biopic about the English painter J.M.W. Turner, is a beauty from start to finish. (You know Turner from the ravishing use of color in his proto-Impressionist seascapes). Mike Leigh, the director, shows how the art of film can dance with the art of painting when in the hands of a master. Timothy Spall gives a hilarious and sympathetic portrait of Turner as a grunting, driven sort of Victorian pigman who touches heaven with his brush ( also his finger, his tongue, and[...]
“The Elvis Tooth” is a novel, set in Black Mountain, North Carolina, in which a tourist is inexplicably sent from 2013 to 1948. He desperately wants to get back as he is due to get married in a few days and he thinks it might be awkward if he didn’t show up. He works his way back and along the way discovers some truths about the past, the present and the value of nostalgia. So, how did I come up wit this idea? Three things drove me to write this book. (All my art is created out of a desire[...]
I saw “American Sniper” last night and thought it was a good, post-modern war movie. It had all the tropes a war movie needs: hero, battles, two dimensional enemies, sacrifice, tender moments, and triumphant resolution. But it also, if you can see them, presents the moments of doubt, pathos, and dehumanizing that my left wing compatriots are so up in arms about it lacking. The Chris Kyle I saw was a simple, straight forward cowboy who wanted to serve his country, and did so doing what he did best- shooting long distances. I saw a decent man, deadened inside by the[...]
Inside the artist’s studio
How is sausage made? What REALLY goes on in an operating room? What do super-models talk about when they’re not pouting? These questions have plagued mankind for generations.  Another, perhaps lesser, subject of conjecture has been the goings on in that cauldron of creativity, the art studio. Here’s the classic image: Just a bunch of folks hanging out with Courbet while he creates a masterpiece. I especially like that there’s a semi-clothed metaphor looking over his shoulder. Nudity is a reoccurring theme: As is the artist’s sartorial selections: Reality, unfortunately, is not so romantic, or even Romantic. Here’s a guy[...]

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