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The absolutely best thing about this page is that almost nobody but me ever reads it or sees any use for it.
ThedBlog9 spelled & pronounced "Thed Blog" but in red and black with no spaces.
Intimate Stories + Odd-duck Photographs by J R Compton
This is where I work out my demons. So much easier here,
because nearly nobody reads it, so I can say anything…
White Horse at Super Moon Two
I'm a little happier in life right now, because the story I've been struggling with for about a week now is finally flattening down with words where the words go and they go the right places and more than enough pictures if I got enough words to space them out. That story means something but I'm not sure what yet, but that will come. I'm over the hump, even if this story isn't as wild and crazy as the last two that each have got a little more popular than I ever expected, and I wonder whether I should have just gone with the experimental prosetry a little longer.
Before that second one I wondered aloud to myself if I could do another story like that first one and number two, too, and I didn't really know how either time, except to start it and type it at least as fast as this old man can think, although there's always a little catching up to do. I have a friend who can type 150 words a minute, and I've never even got — with any accuracy at all — to 40, which was minimal to graduate from my high school typing class, which was the bet prep class for lifestyle I ever took, except the second semester of Lyle Novinski's Art History..
I want to go back to the flap-jack black demon writing and still making mostly sense style I got started there for awhile before this one, and I think I probably still can. I careened off on this new, straighter tack for this one on purpose, 'cuz I thought the subject needed it, but now that that last — second — one is gaining so many hits so sudden — I wonder if I shoonta
But joy at me being me has been a little hard to come by lately, so I'm taking it and just walking along the path with it, whistling as I waltz, and humming in tune for a big change. Right now it's dark and early Monday morning, and I need to put some clothes and shoes and camera on and drive me to the lake and hope for something interesting in a bird with colored feathers, standing still for a portrait, then flying past for a blurred impression of beauty.
Not everything's going particularly well these days. My love life if I have the luck to even call it that is in shambles around my door and all over my floor. I have one good friend whom I have thought ill of for too long, and he'll help me clean my house, which also needs it badly.
After birding this early morning, I'll visit the Y, lift weights awhile, then work the machines and end up doing 20 minutes on an ellipse, not quite ready yet to jump in a pool and swim, but it'll be coming to that soon as Kid Camp isn't at the Y every day, and all those chilluns are back in school where they belong. And meanwhile, I need to build me some muscles and some physical stick-to-itiveness enough to swim 30, 40 then fifty minutes 3, then 4 then 5 times a week, building up till I can do it without wearing my old fat self plumb out.
And maybe my old fat self won't then be so fat. Hant figurt out yet how to beat the Old demon, but I'm thinking on it.
I got plans, and I did the Y last week and expect to do it again this and subsequent weeks. And work in that story putting it on the cover of the Dallas Arts Revue as quick as I can before Friday.
It May Not Have a Nose But It's a Face
I'm desperate for it, but I think what i meant by “experimental fiction” is an economy of verbiage. Say it. Say it fast. Then say something else. Use words readers might not expect but know — when they read them — what it means, even if it's a little around the bend, takes thinking. And ties those thoughts together, so we know where it's going before it gets around to being there.
What I learned when I Amazoned it was an historical concept that famous were-beens conjured centuries ago. And plied their craft. Jimmy Joyce, Billy Blake, Tommy Stearns, the DADA guys, G Stein, Breton, Klee, Cage, Mingus, Vlad Nab. I still get lost in David Foster Wallace & Walt Whitman, but William Gibson flies. And when I stumbled over the Kenneth Patchen Award for it, I was on track.
I fell hard at UD just past mid last century for Patchen's painted books from City Lights — even in black & white when he was still kicking, and later lusted for his big, expensive color tomes, way before Basquiat and graffiti. Psi fi does it for me sometimes, but gets lost in worlds you have to wring sense from, though they got ideas jacking out the box. Sometimes that's enough, but to read m you gotta sing along. Too much that calls itself that is just drivel.
Concrete poetry had its uses, but writing upside down in circles blew out the lines. Early Rock got the edges, Nervous Nervous’s “shoot the juice to me Bruce,” etc. were good for decades. Kookie's comb just a few hot months. Rock's long been ripe with a few terse lines we dig in our bones. There are poets who do it naturally, but I can't find any.
August 8 2014
I feel guilty every day, because I enjoyed seeing and thinking about art at The MAC last weekend, but I didn't write about it, or what I saw — and photographed — at Barry Whistler and at Art On Main Street or whatever it's called. I just quickly looked through the pix to make sure I hadn't forgot any of the art places, and it kinda excited me that I had fun pix of all that. So I felt even more guilty I haven't written about all that intriguing art. But I've been taking photographs of birds and journaling them and posting it all on my Amateur Birder's Journal every single day.
Until just now and smatterings of time already this week, I haven't felt guilty about not writing about art, but I do feel guilty about not writing about art often. Just I so far have not done much about that guilt except take note of it, then let it dribble back into nonexistence while I do my own art, which these days is photograph birds.
I was inspired to pay more attention to my own art than everybody else's by Randall Garrett, who for many years has introduced so many amazing new artists who might not have got the time of day from most galleries. Until Randall showed them at Plush. Which no longer exists, because Garrett is instead concentrating on his own art. That took me back. I wasn't sure I approved. Not that I should have any say in what anybody else does. Just that I admired the Randall Garrett gallery-operator tremendously.
Meanwhile, I haven't stopped looking at or thinking about art. It's everywhere I look, whether someone did it on purpose or not. And I still go out of my way to see art in art spaces out there sometimes.
Some of the art I saw last weekend was a history of Garrett's performance art. That mostly video history did not include what may be the only performance art (PA) I ever saw him do in real life. It was, as he has agreed, awful. And it was heavily into self-degradation, and not altogether well done. At all. His subsequent performance art attempts have been remarkably better done and more successful. The self-deg piece lacked focus, really. Turns out, the best PA is generally simple in scope. Certainly the best PA I've seen.
And I think about that art form often and in depth.
Heartening, too, that Randall has got significantly better and more elegant since that awkward beginning.
I hope my own art does that, too.
I love photographing birds, and I seem to be getting significantly better at it. Especially this month when I have, so far, photographed birds every single day. I hope to continuethat string through May 2014, though not necessarily every day of every month, 365 days a year. I always feel free and excited and happy when I'm doing that. Writing and producing DallasArtsRevue.com doesn't always do any of those for me, but if I stay away from it long enough, it has always welcomed me back with open arms.
Meanwhile, I can and will wait.
I've been watching movies about artists and noticing how they work while I'm wondering how I should be working. I don't want to change a lot what I photograph. I just want to get better at it, go deeper than I've gone, am going, and somehow give those images more of something I'm not at all sure what is, where to get it or how to put it in there. I'm in confusion mode now. I love taking pictures of a lot of differing things, scenes, feelings, people. But there must be something I can do to more express myself. Always before, I just do something when it strikes my fancy. I doubt I could if I wanted to change that, and I don't want to.
Two American White Pelicans Hopping Across the Lake to Take Off
I laugh when I read or see someone who has taken on the task of taking one picture a day, because I photograph something every day. I got a new lens for my Micro Four-thirds camera recently, and I've taken a lot of different pictures with it already, and I suppose some of them might be art or something near. It takes me awhile to figure out those things. It used to take a year or more to decide to have a print made when I was shooting film. I rarely use film anymore. I think I remember using it, because it was such a novelty, sometimes this century, but I don't remember on what.
A Gift from Dixon Branch
Now, if I need a print, it's a big deal again.
I used to print 13 x 19-inch prints right here in my office, but I want much
bigger prints than that, and I don't want to buy a big, expensive printer when
I don't print all that many pictures, and I don't like mounting them in frames
or behind glass, so that's more expensive, too. I don't mind that expense every
once-in-a-while, but it's got pretty rare in the last few years, though right
about two years ago, I was getting several of them made.
First Print of Valentine's Orchid from Anna
Am I a writer or a photographer? That's a good one.
When I am taking photographs, I often narrate what I would write if I had a computer right, but when I get the pix home and actually am writing, I forget those words. I deal with the pictures, make them good as I can, then I write something of my original feelings and sensations that the pictures remind me of.
When I am writing, I rarely think about taking pictures, unless I'm writing about me taking pictures. Or somebody else.
Overall, I'd rather be taking pictures.
But then I'd want some text between them. When I'm really getting into taking pictures, nothing is better, although I usually do photography in set segments of time. Never the same segments or time total. It's not like I wake up early — ha! — and write or just write in the evenings or anything like that. But when I photograph, I usually don't go on doing photography for hours and hours and hours. Except when I'm doing a Family Reunion or My Father's 100th Birthday or a long party or event.
Photography is for always, but I don't always spend a lot of time doing it.
When I'm really getting into writing, I write till I'm exhausted, and then I write or edit or rewrite a little more. After I've been writing for hours and hours, I fall asleep easily.
It's pretty rare I photograph myself to sleep. But writing me to sleep is easy, and I do it often.
I think about words when I'm resting but only rarely when I'm sleeping or almost sleeping, and I don't spend a lot of time planning photographs. I just do it. And I almost never plan what I'm going to write, although I have notions and feelings about some of what should be said.
When I'm photographing birds it's one camera and that one lens. When I'm photographing art or stuff I find wherever I am, I am on semi-automatic pilot, because my hands know the camera almost better than I do. Kinda the same thing with birds, just a different, bigger camera and lens.
There's things about my art camera I wish were in my birds camera, but not much about my bird camera I wish was in my art camera. My art camera is small with just a couple lenses I use often. My bird camera is big with almost always just one lens, although it has a doubler I use in sunlight.
I photograph wherever the visions are. I write in this messy room at this aging and ailing computer every time I write. When I last had a portable computer, I never used it to write.
I can write with a pen or pencil, but I often can't read my writing later. And I can't write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. When I type that fast I make lots of mistakes. I could never spell good, and now I make more spelling errors than ever.
But all that goes away with rewriting and editing. I spend a lot of time editing and rewriting.
I've got pretty fast at post-producing photographs. I do all the little actions in almost the same way almost every time. Every time I write a story, it's different. Usually, the best way to get started writing is to make a web page and put the pictures in place with captions or space for them down the middle. Then I write between the pictures.
That's always how I do The Amateur Birder's Journal. And that's how I usually do any art review I write. I used to think I had to put words between all the pictures in big photo-essay stories like Dad's Birthday or family reunions, but eventually I figured out that the pictures were what was important.
Sometimes it's important to identify the person or the artwork in the picture, and it's always important to have some photographs at least every once-in-a-while down a story.
First and foremost I am a photographer, but if I just did that all the time, I'd probably get bored. I'd certainly get bored if all I could ever do was write.
I'm writing again after not writing again for too long already. It feels strange to be able to express myself in words — as well as to not be able to again yet quite so easily as before. It's easy to stop writing. Simplicity itself, but when I stop writing, I tend to stop other things, too that it's a chore to start again. Writing is always work, but fun work, but intense and time-consuming and distracting and pile-driving all connected. It mixes my juices, stirs my coffee, sends me off on wild goose chases for words that aren't even as close as the tip of my tongue. I have a half dozen dictionaries on speed dial and use them to look up each other in the often forlorn hopes I'll remember the third one that's slipped a just a little farther round the bend.
My mother does Word Jumbles in the morning paper, and I struggle with this crazy game. I'm not at all convinced my forgetting is as valuable as my remembering or which of the two will keep me up in my mind long enough to win this game. I tell myself when I make photographs, I remember who I am, but I wonder whether it's really more when I write than when I photograph.
I have the theory
that when someone doesn't know who they are,
they can only RE-act,
They cannot act,
because there's no one in there to start.
We find out who we are by doing what makes us happy.
We find ourselves by losing ourselves in being.
We do not discover who we are by following someone else's rules, real or perceived.
We only learn who we really are by doing what makes us happy, moment to moment.
Those moments gathered make a life.
Stovetop Chimney-heater That Keeps Changing
Doug (now Douglas) Baker, whom I knew in the early 1970s, when I was already an old man of thirty-something, complimented me on my photography after I'd posted my and Anna's pix of my father's recent 100th birthday party. In reply I said:
"Yeah, it's nice when something I've been doing for a little more than fifty years — the one creative thing that keeps me going, and that when I lose my way, always brings me back — works, keeps working, and even gets incrementally better. Thanks."
Douglas founded Dallas NOTES [From the Underground] that I was publisher of after the late Stony Burns, who was that after Doug Baker. The underground newspaper that taught me how to help create a sense of community, for which DallasArtsRevue, when it was published in ink on paper from 1979 through 1997, used to do for the Dallas arts community. And which DallasArtsRevue.com still does.
Although it, like me, seems to be slowing down
lately. I remember when guys who were 60 seemed ancient, and now that I'm almost
70, I can feel some things slowing down and others quickening. It's another,
odd, in between age. All of which acquires substantially more aim and accuracy
just after my father's latest birthday.
American Coots Up the Lagoon Well After Dark
I just let it sit there awhile, while I tended to my other life as a guy who fiddles with his computer and avoids big deals as much as he can, including all that rot about Christmas, when Jesus was born in April, and the early Catholics who thought they owned Jesus and could toy about with his birthday, just ripped off other holidays that a lot of people were already celebrating. And now Solstice is Christmas, and even my precious local pagan Solstice Celebrations I used to so diligently photo-document have been turned into ecumenical events that are just NOT anything real that I recognize, although I dearly appreciate the cards I get and the few invitations, standing or otherwise.
Mostly I've been in escape from the Art World mode. I didn't think anyone was reading all those stories I wrote in my mad dash of art-story-writing the last few weeks, although maybe a couple hundred have and maybe a couple hundred more will, but I don't know if I really care.
been experimenting with my photography, mostly of birds, which I believe may
be where I will settle when the art dust does. Then that was not-rocked
by a not-terribly important or interesting or well-written story in
Morning News that
seriously misquoted me and I think made me look
particularly stupid, and I wondered
I had hoped the story would increase traffic to my birder's journal which I am driven to do, to learn, to reach out and try impossible things, and then my lens doubler turns gummy again, making pictures that use it to reach far out look like they might be in focus, but are not, not, not, not. And I'd already sent it to Nikon and they couldn't find anything wrong with it, but did they take any pictures with it? or look at those pictures. Could not possibly have. It looks clear to my addled sight, too — like looking through somebody else's glasses. But it only takes pictures that aren't in focus.
Then part of that story says that the best pictures of birds in flight (what bird photogs call BIF) are those with the eyes and beak in focus, when I know, deep down inside, that the best pictures of birds doing anything they want, like the best photographs of anything anywhere anytime else, are pictures that communicate, and I know a lot of mine don't do that. But some few, special ones do, and I never know when that will happen, it just does, and silly rules don't help. I'd have to cut my bird pages way down if I subscribed to my own definitions of quality. One pic a day? Those pages would fly into browsers!
Like an artist who needs to paint, but whose pictures don't work, really. They don't say what I want them to say, they don't do what I want them to do, because by now, getting them in focus isn't all there is or what I need from them.
blue beige shadow purple brown
So I keep taking more. Tonight I went to the lake after dark, because I wanted to know where the birds I watch almost every day, go at night. And that was a blessing for a little while, even if they weren't mostly, in any kind of decent focus. Hand-held at some impossibly high iso. Just happy for a glimpse of invisible birds "out there."
I keep remembering a woman in a photo club I attended once and gave a wonderfully-appreciated talk about birds I had photographed. She wanted me to judge their next competition, because the powers that were, kept rejecting her pictures because bird wings or feathers were out of focus, and then I was asked to judge a show there, a few weeks later, but some officious sons of Bs there deeply needed to prejudge the work, before I ever got to see them, and I said I wouldn't judge for them unless I got to see all the entries, and they refused, because of their petty issues with other people's photography that didn't match their own highfalutin' notions of photographic perfection, so I didn't judge that show, and have not judged any show since, and may never judge any show again — although judging shows can be wonderful fun and educational for the judge.
Maybe more inspirational to us who know a little thing or two about it than for the entrants, who all of us, only ever want our picture to shine and win a prize, preferably money.
And I keep entering pictures into shows, always insisting I enter my most recent decent work, assuming I'm on some curving-upward arc, even though nobody even asks me to show my work anywhere anymore, partly because I so eschewed doing that for about a year at least a year ago, when I realized that most shows sucked. And I'd always throw myself into whatever work, jumping through whatever idiot hoops they required, then just being altogether so disappointed in the whole mess.
I don't know what I am going to do, but I get my hopes dashed so often, and I know every serious artist does, goes through periods of this, sometimes struggle their whole lives, and often never get recognized or shown or
Well, then there's good old Van Gogh cuttin' off parts of his body.
Dallas Rainstorm on a Windshield in a Stopped
and Resting Slider, because I
Couldn't See to Drive (with fingers to focus on, because the rain would not.)
very early this morning, while I was attempting to go to sleep, I heard on The People's Pharmacy (on KERA-FM) an author of a book called Grain Brain, which I immediately ordered the audio CD version of, about brain nutrition. One of the things he discussed was what sure sounded like my Recurring Transient Global Amnesia that described my forgetting who I was or where or why trick, and he said it was a known side-effect of statin drugs, which I was taking at the time, even though I'd told my idiot VA doctor, who never mentioned that she was the cause of all that tarnation there trying to discover what the heck (at least five different brain and other bodily scans, beeping, buzzing and countless consults with doctors you'd think would know these things), but nobody but nobody at the VA ever told me that or anything, really.
God forbid they lighten my mind by telling me that the reason I got those episodes where I'd wake up or come to asking, "Where am I and why am I here?" was because they'd given me pills that did me in, even though I hated those stupid pills, because they also made my muscles, especially the ones that hold a camera up, hurt like the dickens. I haven't had one since very early summer, then they stopped. (We'll see about that.) They usually only happen when it's hot, and we're near the ocean.
So now, finally, I know that those jackasses caused my Transient Ischemic whatevers, and those went away when I no longer took the stupid statins. And nobody would own up to it, least of all my blankety-blank VA doctor, who prescribed the pills repeatedly even after I'd shown the signs.
One of the big, scary scan tests I took indicated that I had never had a stroke, which nobody there believed, which is what all the medders I got rushed to in ambulances (before I instructed my dear ones not to call no ambulances just because I didn't know who I was at the moment — it always goes away, more quickly lately, then not at all, so I'm not taking no more statins.) told me I'd had, but as usual, they were just guessing in the wrong 50% side of being right.
What a relief. But sad I hadda hear it off the radio instead of from an M.D.
Small Cardboard Gift Box of Traffic-broken Pieces of Auto Warning Light Lenses as Sculpture
A short email to myself seems to sum up my luck lately. I sent it to see if my email was working. I didn't say much, because I was essentially attempting to talk with myself, which I do often, usually with about as much success as this time. Instead of just getting the email, I got a notice from MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.com, whom I do not know personally but seem to get a lot of email from. It said, and I quote,
"Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address," and the following address was mine. Included was about a page of plain-text gobbledygook. So some entity felt need to tell me my email to myself could not be delivered to the address it sent the notice to, disproving the lead line saying it couldn't be delivered. Because it was.
I think I must live for nonsensical non-communications like that. It's gotta be why I'm still here.
When I looked for an image to illustrate this vague notion of non-entity, I didn't find any of the images I know I stored in the ThEdBlog folder/directory, I only found this small piece of what might be described as sculpture that I put together and placed near my front door. Far as I know, only one person has so-far noticed its existence, and they didn't say anything positive about it.
Today, I learned that all the artists who had shown their work at North Lake College now have pieces on an Art Wall there. Except I have shown work in North Lake College, and I wasn't even notified, let alone invited.
There's a competitive exhibition coming up at Slant in Valley View Mall (See our Art Opportunities page.) asking for artists who think inside the box. I'd already begun considering which of my Dead Flowers in Pretty Wood Boxes series to show there, when this one would be so much easier. It's the box my carved-wood, Male Wood Duck feather pin from that wildlife refuge that nobody but the people who work there can pronounce, including some dufus on NPR who has got even more people to mispronounce it, came in, complete with the foam-like plastic that holds up these pieces of amber and red translucent plastic. The intricately-carved feather floated on the white square plastic cloud that neatly fills the small box.
I'm not sure whether to include the string.
The Turn-Around Clunk on display on the tank of my toilet (but now it's in my living room)
Writing about every bit of art I see is becoming less important as I grow older. I'm nearing the ripe young age of 69 soon, although compared with the ages of both my parents — he's 99, and she's 92, I really am young.
I still love photographing birds. It's just the part about getting up early that is difficult. But I still do it. And because of that, I am getting up well before noon almost every day of my sweet, young life. Interesting how that works. It may be that I stay up late into the night, because it's cooler then. In Viet Nam in the waning months of 1968 (Yes, during Tet.) all three of the members of my squadron there kept those kind of hours before we realized whatever we did, the guys back in the USA would send it back, so we quit doing anything, and then I had to change my wake - sleep cycle to match that of a Secret Film Courier, but I digress.
I always digress.
So I feel changes coming on.
The last several years the Ra-ra Dada Autumn Gallery so-called Walk has held no sway with me. I couldn't care less about DADA since their president stole my How to Photograph Art story and reprinted it against my direct denial of her permission to do that. I sent her a bill for a thousand dollars, and she said she'd pay for it out of the Edith Baker Scholarship Fund, which I had no appetite for.
So yet another gallery walk nobody could ever walk to, seems like a big waste of time.
I want to keep writing about art. And so I probably shall.
I guess I needed to put this down in pixels, so I'd know what I was thinking.
I think I'll go out to Rita Barnard's The Small Gallery at Valley View Mall. That sounds like the best thing a gallery could do — get involved with members of the Dallas Art Community, even though most of the so-called "art" at Valley View is dreadful, I have a certain faith in the art and artists at Bent or Slant or whatever that one's called.
And The Small Gallery.
I'm up again in the middle of the night 3:52 as I type this, my fingers slightly sticking to the saran-wrap over my keyboard to keep me from dumping liquids into it. I've been corresponding with a DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member, who has just typed a fascinating string of words I want to publish somewhere soon, probably on their member page.
I'd been itching from a bunch of bug bites I acquired one of the few times I've gone out into nature without dousing thoroughly with 90% DEET, so I asked the Internet what I should do about my craving itching, and the only ingredient on their list I had readily at hand was peppermint toothpaste, which has quelled my nearly two dozen itch sites within a few seconds of direct application.
I'd been dunking myself into my very large (House was built in the very early 20th Century; bathtub probably added in the late 40s or early 50s when tubs were big.) tub full of very hot water (Hot water 'kills' the histamines in our skin, which is what makes us itch. The first application of very hot water, (often applied directly to the itch site via my shower attachment, like in the pix above) usually lasts about twelve hours. Succeeding applications last less and less long, till it's only a few hours till I itch again.
I love the taste of Pepsodent toothpaste, and I have been adding to my stock when I saw more of it, which is less and less often, never dreaming it had more appropriate uses. It probably contains sugar — or some stupid sweetener, or I wouldn't like it.
Lately, I've been hitting the sack early, around midnight, so I can get up early enough to visit the lake while there are still birds looking for breakfast. It's cooler then, too. But I always spray DEET on me, so while I was doing this early ayem research on biting bug bites, I looked up DEET, too, and it's a little scary, which is why Anna avoids the stuff, I suppose, but then biting bugs don't bug her as badly as they do me.
Now, suddenly, after itching the daylights out of me for nearly a week, I am itch-free, and I'm not quite sure what to do. Oh, that's right. I could actually sleep. Fascinating notion.
The Tub's Not Broken; It's a Solstice Marker,
and at summer Solstice
the white between the globs of tape fills with light, all Indiana Jones
Turns out my great pedal malady that Doctor Ick failed to mention the name of, was — is — Diabetic Neuropathy, not some dreaded unnamed and unknown or unknowable disease at all. If Ick would have bothered to just tell me its name, I would have known what to do about it. Lowering my blood sugars has been a constant downhill battle for many years, but oddly enough, each time I get my blood work workups every six months or so, it goes down. So I'm heading — and footing — in the right direction, just going too slow, but I'm the only one who can do anything about it. Etc.
It's almost as if as soon as I figured out what it was, the disease dissipated itself nearly out of existence. I can walk now. The pain is not completely gone, but it's a lot better than it was. The trick, it seems, is to remember that even if the pain is briefly intense, it doesn't mean parts of me are going to buckle under and toss me into whatever solid is near or below.
Immediately what I can do is not eat stuff I know is bad for me. Over the longer run, that's much more difficult, but over shorter runs — or hobbles, as of lately — that is eminently doable. Worth it in every way. I'll still be tempted, but I can pass on stuff that would raise my sugars, and directly thereby lower my pain levels. I'll still crave sweets. I likely always will, but to stop the pain, and be able to walk, even up and down stairs, it's probably worth it.
Better enough I can go swimming again soon. That makes me very happy, because as much as I procrastinate it — months, even years sometimes, I love swimming.
I love the swimming of swimming, the immediate rush of oh-so-cold water at first plunge (No-diving is a shame.), the actual swimming back and forth at slow and at speed, the energy of it, the variations of modal progressions, the never counting laps anymore — just watching the clock, the last couple laps I often complete swimming backwards, feet first. And the long, hot shower after. All delicious in mind and body, even when I could barely walk. Worth all the trouble.
Something delicious to look forward to, and something
that will actually change the shape of my me, which desperately needs doing.
A Window Somewhere
When I swim three times a week, I feel like I'm doing something about my obesity and my diabetes. Except for my foot, after swimming, I feel wonderful. Able to lift locomotives and leap tall buildings. It also makes my right foot feel so much pain I cannot walk. Seems almost like a fair trade-off, so, because I have an appointment at the Diabetes Clinic at the VA Hospital tomorrow, I'm not swimming today, because every time I swim, I can barely walk the next day.
Took me awhile to figure out the connection, but it finally got through. I love swimming. I feel so wonderful after swimming that, if I could, I'd swim every day. Except for that part about enduring excruciating pain every time my right foot touches earth. Or the part about it being so painful just to get out of the pool, that sometimes I think I won't be able to next time, and that is getting worse, not better.
The rest of the time, sometimes I can walk like a more or less normal human being, and sometimes I cannot. Despite all the pain, I look forward to a time when I can swim every week day. Last time I finally got to that point, I lost forty pounds in about six months. I hope to lose sixty pounds this time, and I know I can do it, if only my foot didn't hurt so incredibly much.
In life, there are all these little trade-offs. I understand, he says with the lilt of a Jewish Mother, even if mine is still fully committed a Catholic Mother, though not a single one of us kids still is. And we pretty much all decided our own fates long before the Pope and everybody else in power over there, decided it was okay for horny priests to diddle the children, all of which I find abhorrent, but there's a lot about Catholicism I find that way.
The lilt is different. But I've never been a fan
of pain, or what those two religions have in common, guilt. At least I'm better
at guilt than I am at pain. I keep hoping that swimming like a fiend —
mostly on my back — with big, curved flippers that are really too small
for my feet — will make me healthy as well as less obese. Hope. Hope. Hope.
Self-Portrait with Camera, Paver and Feather
I've just been interviewed by Quin Mathews about The Contemporary for their supposed 35th Anniversary, and it just feels weird. He's interviewed me before, and I always get the feeling Quin is pushing me towards saying something provocative, but I don't know what he wants me to say, and he won't tell. So I just answer best I can, sometimes catching myself actually gesturing and smiling for the camera. I really wasn't feeling very provocative.
As usual, I recorded the interview on my Clip, but I don't want to listen to that, at least not now. I wore my exquisite, R A Malnory painted, carved-wood Wood Duck feather, pin [combining my great loves of art and birds, I figured out later] I got at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge last weekend, and wore my muted greenish plaid button-up shirt I hoped wouldn't moiré. I'd considered wearing a pocket T-shirt (since those are more me), but decided a real shirt would be more serious. Of course, I didn't tuck it in.
Odd sensation, this wondering what I said on videotape. I much prefer controlling what I say in text that I often change even after I've posted a story to the Internet. Not knowing and not being able to correct what I said, just feels weird.
At the Contemp, I waited in a bright, otherwise empty, rugless and artless meeting room. I'd got a comfy, cushioned, office chair brought in, so I didn't have to sit straight-backed while waiting for my 2:30 interview appointment, which had run about an hour late already, as I expected. While I sat reading, women in impossible high heels clunked up and down the long hallway past the opened door on those echoing concrete floors. Looked painful.
The appointment before me was Patricia Meadows, who had apparently been apprised of the delay, so she came in after I'd arrived, twenty minutes early. I put my Kindle down when I saw her, and she and I talked about high-heels (my lead) and tattoos (her lead) and lots else. I didn't record that conversation but will remember it, because it was so pleasant and genuine, and because without Patricia Meadows, The Contemp would not exist.
We were both a little nervous, and the off-topic conversation helped. I'd been re-reading a scintillating interview with William Faulkner by The Paris Review before she arrived and returned to it when it was her turn before the camera. I had assumed they'd run late and hoped to see art they had up, but their big walls were empty, so I was glad I'd brought my essay-filled Kindle and an old National Geographic.
Just before my interview Contemp Director Peter Doroshenko came in and introduced himself, saying "we" were 35 years old, and I semi-automatically corrected, "36," because they always lop off that controversial first year. I'd been rethinking the history of where I was sitting among those thousands of cubic feet of blank space.
He waved that off, calling it a minor detail, but I have come to believe they just got confused, because there was a big story in an early newsletter about celebrating — the headline said first anniversary — but the text said the anniversary of their first building (the first one on Swiss Avenue), which they found a year in, after none at first, then a tiny office at 500X.
The various names D-Art grew into and out of over the decades skipped celebrating that first year ever since, although I'm no longer convinced it was because that was the year it was still under the founding directorship of Mary Ward, who dreamed the dream of an art center for Dallas artists big enough to make a presentation to the then Artists Coalition of Texas, which I'd got to know, because they published several issues of DallasArtsRevue on paper.
Just as well, because ACT had dreams of becoming statewide, so they turned (and I let them) DARts into TARts, which still rankles. I took it back and unchanged the name. Except those months, this has always been a sole proprietorship — no board of directors to tell me what to cover, say or do. And of course, little or no profit. See A Short History of DallasArtsRevue for more info.
ACT quickly became D-Art, bestowing its nonprofit status on the new organization, and when it later blinked out of financial existence for a couple years, DARE (Dallas Artists Research & Exhibitions) established itself as an art center for Dallas, went broke itself under the weight of air-conditioning a huge new building and turned their nonprofit status over to the owners of the building that became The MAC.
In my eventual interview, Quin kept prompting me about Joan Davidow, who had found that building, but I drew a blank. It'd been so many years since I was involved in that long-term, but never-quite corrected, controversy of historical revisionism, I just didn't care anymore, and I completely failed being drawn back into it.
You can do a site search for "Mary Ward," "Joan Davidow," "DARE," "The MAC," or "D-Art," if you really need more information about who founded what and why and when, but I'm so fatigued with all that nonsense now, I'm not even linking the pages — they're all where they've always been. I think I've only ever deleted one page from this site, which I regard as Dallas Art History, not just art criticism.
Eventually, I'll probably get a video copy of all the 35th Anniversary interviews, and if I get het up about how somebody edited me or something, I'll check back with my mp3. Then again, sometimes I just say the darnedest things. 281/5
back brush hanger
Been awhile since I did one of these Home Still Lifes. You know the phrase about setting your chickens free? I was surfing for Bruce Nauman painting, because a friend said that Bruce Nauman made his activities interesting, and since we were talking about painting. But what I found was Julian Schnabel showing his work and explaining to some young artists, and after being fascinated awhile, I stopped it short and took my little camera into the bathroom where I'd been thinking of and actually starting to photograph lately.
Schnabel had told them that it was important to
do what you wanted to do whatever that was, so I did. My other browser might
remember the JS link,
but I was too intent on exploring a personal space. That's where the hanger above
came from. I like the interplay of white and two blues, a faint federal and a
greenish aqua. The shadows are important. And not just the bar and hanger's.
I liked the vignetting from the shower curtain. Just liked the feel.
Was a bunch of them. I suppose it helped that I was very low glucose. My doctor, when he was looking at my mysteriously inflamed foot, told me I had had terrible glucose maintenance. I told him I'd improved significantly to truly mediocre. So I was ding-y stoned and feeling closer to the bone than usual.
Seemed a good time to explore some shapes that
are very familiar yet I hardly ever look at or see. Stuff if I were a clean lean
sort that would be too clean to be interesting, but they're not, of course.
green cup gorilla tape bathroom window
It may not look like it, but I used a tripod for all these shots. It was often very uneven, crooked, wrong angle, etc. Part of that was I was doing it single handed, because the camera was barely on it, and I didn't want it to drop. I like that camera. It's not a whiz bang as the Nikon but it thinks like I do and makes things like white balance in an aqua, yellow and pink bathroom even possible.
A couple of times I attempted to rid my scenes of grime, but that was a fool's game. It's always there. I just don't see it unless I'm aiming a camera at it, and I don't do that often enough.
I got about eight that I like enough to put here,
and every time this text block nearly touches that silly duck shot below, I wonder
why on earth I ever used that. It surely tells you nearly nothing about who I
am and what I am up to. Usually about here, hardly ever higher than that except
I haven't been writing about art lately. There's a show I probably should write about, but I just can't, won't. And I told my bird journal readers that I was taking off till about the 20th of September, because I thought I was, but I missed it sorely, and have been dabbling back into that odd realm.
Then I managed to inflame my foot enough I couldn't walk on it for awhile except with the ortho boot I got when I broke it, even though there was no noticeable initial incident. Of pain or anything else. I remember vividly when I broke that ped a few years ago. That's still very real to me. This isn't. It came out of nowhere, and I don't know where it's going or why. And neither does my doctor.
That's enough for tonight. I'm hoping to get some sleep and wake early enough to do some birding in the morning when birds are known to gather instead of in the middle afternoon when I usually manage to make it to the lake and birds are far and few between. And there's a couple other things I've been wanting to photograph that I've put off and put off and put off.
A Bunch of Ill-informed Ducks Out Standing in their Field
I am informed this afternoon that I was invited to be in a show at the Latino Culture Center, which news is very odd, because I was never informed of the invitation, and my friend Jeanne Sturdevant, who was also apparently invited but not to her knowledge, says when she contacted the LCC director today, she was told it was too late to enter anything.
Pretty strange way to run a railroad. Railroaded into a show I was never told about in any way, and railroaded out of it when we were finally notified by a personal post on Facebook (which I rarely visit) by someone who was notified and will be in the show. I think I should list it on my resume, however.
I keep thinking the whole thing is some sort of
time warp, and all this happened long ago, but I'm just finding out about it.
Great Egret with Great Egret Back
After some emotional upheaval lately, I attempted to refriend my best friend from high school fifty years ago. I recognized almost immediately that his politics and religion and mine were polar opposites — and I told him that. But I get along very well with others of that ilk — including my parents, so I thought it might be worth some time and communication.
I tried relating person to person, but he insisted on sending me one Rad Right or Bible-beating religious rant after another, telling me only the barest personal information about himself. He used to be married and now he has some kids, and he was busy trying to start a business. He kept saying he was going to tell me more about himself, but he never got around to it.
Every day I got two or three rad right rants, some of which he later said he didn't even believe, and I never did learn what kind of business he was working on. It wasn't helpful that he kept sending me or sending me links to really cheesy or cute bunny rabbit and other animal pages, or miles of cute, uncredited photographs, although that may be the new business he was trying to start. I don't know.
I started writing him a letter telling about my life since 1982 — a wrapup of what I've done and been since high school, and that page is now on on this site. Though it is woefully incomplete, leaving giant gaps in my life and times, I've been adding to it and editing it often.
That — and the fact that though I have many "friends,"
I have darned few I can just go off with and talk, not necessarily about me.
I'm really tired of me, right now — may be enough reason to have tried
to connect, even if it failed.
Circling and Head-bobbing Male Northern Shovelers Engage in Ritual
I have withdrawn into Bird Photo mode. It's something I can do, that I want to do, that I'm good at, and that I am perceptibly getting better at. There's an arc toward my goal of becoming very good at it. Often I work at it every day. Lately I have. Sometimes it seem like nothing else really is worth doing.
Sometimes I need a break from it, and I break from it. Couple days later, I go back. Most of my Amateur Birder's Journal readers read it later, because they don't care which species are available in the area right now. They're in it for the color or nature or beauty or something like that. Some tune in just to see what's happening at the lake lately. Some of those live near, some live far.
For a long time after the story in The Dallas Morning News, I got about a thousand hits per monthly page. Now it's usually up to about four hundred and something when I start the next month, which I am about to do. Probably tomorrow. Through various links on the internet and emailed links from I never know whom, many past month's worths have got as many as several thousand hits. Some many thousands. The hit counters at the bottoms of each page only count some hits, but it's usually what I go on.
I'm not doing it for hits. I started doing it to help me change my writing style and to get better at writing. Then when I could see my bird photos getting better, I added that to the list. It also gets me out of my house, walking, sweating, etc..
But that suite of pages. People call it a website, but it's just a part of another one. I pay attention to readers who write or talk to me about it, but those pages are for me. To help me become a better bird photographer. I've been at it for about six years. I didn't know any of this when I started. I just started. And built upon what I learned.
I would never have guessed seven or more years ago that I would do this. I always want to be a better photographer, but birds?
Looking at the arc, I can tell it will take me at least ten years, maybe twenty. Maybe it will become my life's work. I'll probably die before anyone learns what my life's work really was. There is that other site, too. But at the moment, the week, maybe the month, that's as far away as it can get.
I photographed birds this afternoon, and I plan to photograph birds tomorrow morning. Probably the next day, too.
Past Present Future
So far, I have two followers on Twitter, and I know half of them. What's amazing about that number is that I have on ever twitted twice, and only twice have I been informed that I "have a new follower on Twitter." I did join the Twit Site with a notion of someday figuring out what that's all about, but I didn't get that far, because everything I can think of to tell anybody goes in one of my blogs or art stories in DallasArtsRevue or my bird journal. I thought it might help me to say more in fewer words, because that hardly ever obtains. I still should twit more. These were my first twits:
not convinced knowing what's going on is really what's going on. I think all
news junkies are being hoodwinked left, right and sideways. I think what we think
is happening isn't. I'd like to believe in the truth, but I don't believe there
is any truth out there being told.
If the new pope doesn't make it honorable to love everybody including gay people, he won't be any better than the other popes and sons of popes gone before.
My Monitor in Early Morning Sunlight
I have a facebook page I never go to. My presence there seems superfluous. I would love to talk with some of those people in a real stand-around-talking situation in an art opening kind of openness, but writing in public to people I barely know just seems absurd, I don't even want to think about it.
Yet, every day, facebook sends me a list of people I do not know, asking me if I know them. I've heard of some of them, and I've even had brief encounters with a few, but I never know these people, and I wonder what I could possibly have in common with them, except the most obvious traits. We're both more or less human and live in the same city. Maybe we've all abandoned our facebook pages. That's an envious place to be…
This guy writes a column I was once, many years ago, publicized and promoted in. Should I thank him for thinking I was an interesting-enough person that long ago that he wrote a column about me? I thanked him then, and we saw no spark to set off a friendship. I clicked his link last week and never heard back. He's probably put facebook in his junk folder, too. I'm like 1/365th of a year for him five years back. 1/1825th of a something. We both write words for publication. Is there any other connection? Am I being nervy just to answer one of idiot facebook's notions of self-promotion?
That person makes art I never understood or appreciated. If I know they're having a show, I don't go.
It's so rude of facebook to assume friendships where none exists for probably good, decent, intelligent reasons. They keep sending their lists. I could, I suppose, put their invasive, self-important, rude emails in my Junk folder where they belong. At first I thought then I'd never hear about … and I realized that's what I want. I want to not ever hear from them. So now it's rescued from the trash to be placed ever so carefully in my Junk Mail folder, I've heard this other person's name in a conversation about artists. Not great artists or innovative unusual amazing artists, just artists. This person exists.
And some stupid corporate entity led by a autist thinks we should be friends, because if we happened to communicate, we might bring up some salient fact facebook could make money on. Eh?
I want to cancel my facebook page, because I never go there. It all just seems embarrassingly stupid, yet I avoid closing my account again. I closed it once a couple years ago, and I suffered no consequences whatsoever.
Nobody noticed or cared.
Tree of Life from my Home Still Lifes Series
I tried to rejoin Angie's List this afternoon, but they wouldn't let me, because last time I was a member, I quit after I learned they did not have listings for any house-levelers in Dallas — even though they advertised in Dallas saying they had lots of them. And that's what I needed, and since then I'd deleted my User Name and password. They gave me a reference number today and said they'd get back to me. A couple hours later, before they got back to me, I got a email from PayPal suggesting I use them to "Save 40% at Angie's List just for PayPal Shoppers, one of which I am not.
So Angie hasn't got back to me to let me join, but they've already sold my email address to another company. Fascinating, considering I'm looking for a safe and personal source of information about contractors I have no idea whether they list here.
What I'm seeking is an honest fence-builder and an honest garage-door installer. The three potential contractors I've so-far contacted have both not shown up when they told me they would and they have not shown up at all. The fence guy I thought I was going to do business with wants half the money up front, just so I can get into their busy schedule.
When I got my new roof after last summer's "Hundred-Year Hailstorm," I was counseled — over and over — not to pay upfront for services not-yet rendered. Because then the contractors had no incentive to finish — or even start — the work. Neither of the two roofers I talked with the longest asked for money ahead of time. I liked one contractor better than the other, but the other guy had the services and especially the materials (special type of roofing)
I thought, with any luck, I'd learn something about fencers and termite-killers from Angie's list. Now I'm not at all sure I should trust them.
Sun Sign Sunshine from my Home Still Lifes Series
Sometimes I have to repeat myself: When I look at art so I can review it, I only choose work that I really like or that makes me angry. Work that doesn't do either of those, I mostly ignore. When I ignored somebody's work, I'm not saying it's not good or that it is bad. I'm just saying it didn't thrill me or piss me off, and I felt no need to write about it or express any opinions.
When I choose to write about work, I'm not claiming that it is good art. Just that it is worth me exploring in words. I like to also show my readers the art, so they can make up their own minds. The website's name is revue, not review. I'd rather show lots of different sorts of art than only write about the best of it — as if I'd know which art is the best.
But I have to pay special attention to art that angers me. The anger is a tip-off to me that something's going on that I don't yet understand. I often learn to greatly appreciate art that initially just pisses me off. So I pay special attention to that.
Sometimes it takes me awhile to learn to appreciate some artists' work or some types of art. Sometimes I never do appreciate some art, even art that other people really like.
If I'm writing about art, on a web page or in an email, I am
expressing a personal opinion. There is no difference between a critique and
me giving my personal opinion, just as there is no such thing as objectivity.
We are all subjective in our opinions. They come from us. I am usually careful
about what I say. There is no right or wrong with art. It just is.
I see a great deal more art than I ever write about.
I am who I am, because — unlike most people, I am very often willing to express my opinions. If I didn't, I wouldn't bother with writing about art, and I wouldn't publish websites, and I would not have published all the publications I've been involved with over the last couple centuries.
There's a lot of art that I am happy to mostly ignore. It's difficult for me to say bad things about art, so unless it's egregious, I just ignore it.
To paraphrase my friend Marty Ray, I'm just this guy who expresses opinions, not some great objective arbiter of art quality.
Front Porch Rug V from my Home Still Lifes Series
Some of the things I say are other peoples' words. I hear my father in me when I find myself in one of those three-hand situations with only two available, and something is slipping beyond reach or control. "Nip-nip-nip-nip," rapidly and nasally.
Joanie always used to say "Horse Pucky," I still do.
Jim D'Avignon, my best friend in college, and the Best Man at Joanie's and my wedding, used to chime in with her to remind me that "It's all your fault, J R." I believed that far too many years, and I still catch me whispering it in unguarded moments, and worst of all, saying it to other innocent people.
About twice a year I wonder what happened to Bobby Sengali.
We were roommates in college, and I've heard he died in Vietnam and that he did
not. Once, when we were marching back from the girls' dorm — then on the
opposite end of the U of Dallas campus from the boys' (and when they were still
called boys' and girls'), we timed our steps all the way back chiming "fuck,
shit; fuck, shit; fuck shit." Something I sometimes still hear myself saying
when slogging through rain or mud.
Another roommate, Jim Fougerousse, once commented that "There's nuthin' so disgusting as a used pissour." That anthem still sings in my mind, usually in long lines after movies.
"Boy Howdy" was Monki's favorite unsubtly understated exclamation. His real name was Robert P Bays, Jr., and I still hear me saying 'Boy Howdy' in many awed circumstances.
The late Stoney Burns, who published Dallas
NOTES from the Underground before I did had a wonderfully sibilant way of
saying "Phew!" that
still sizzles in my ears when I repeat that exhalation.
Wilbert Verhelst — image scanned without
permission from The White Rock Lake Weekly.
This image was submitted to them by Bill's Widow and our close friend, Susan Lecky.
An Open Letter to The Editor of The White Rock Lake Weekly
I always have to take a deep breath when I deal with commercial journalists. Giving one permission to, and I quote from my letter to your reporter, "use quotes from my copyrighted Wilbert Verhelst obituary in quote marks, if and only if you state that those words were written by J R Compton and are from the DallasArtsRevue calendar.
She mentions our calendar in her un-bylined obituary, but used many more of my words and ideas than she bothered to attribute. Which is to say, she represented my words and concepts as her own and those of The White Rock Lake Weekly. Which is to say, she — by writing it — and you — by publishing it — committed plagiarism.
Not that it was any big surprise. That's why I need oxygen to deal with word, phrase and idea thieves.
So she used some of my quotes without attribution. Of course. As if she knew Wilbert Verhelst was often called "Ver," even though she'd never heard of him till last week — and that he authored the textbook, Sculpture Tools, Materials and Techniques. Doesn't everybody know those things?
And your reporter called me a "close friend and colleague."
I was a friend of Wilbert Verhelst, not a colleague as in the dictionary definition.
I knew him; I liked him; I talked about art and sculpture with him. I've been to his house and even eaten dinner there, but I don't think I qualify as "close," except when compared with the reporter, who did not bother to report that www.DallasArtsRevue.com researched, found, got permission to use and published Ver's poem he called "Death," but you called instead "Reflections, Poems by Wilbert Verhelst," the title of the book from whence the poem came, and which you badly mangled by printing it in all bold letters with dreadful, run-on lines, not at all as Bill wrote it.
Then you claimed there'd be a memorial service "in late January," intimating that it would be public — why else publish anything about it? Again your publication didn't bother to check the information or talk to his widow.
Very irresponsible journalism.
J R Compton
I sent a longer version to the editor of The White Rock Lake Weekly via Facebook and to her direct email. I seriously doubt anyone but the editor and maybe some staff will ever see that letter, so I'm publishing it here.
Christine Bisetto The Ties wire 2012
500X Gallery likes my photographs of work by their members so much, some of their members steal them from this site and use them without credit. The photograph of Christine Bisetto's The Ties, above that I used on Art Here Lately #15 fully credits the artist and her gallery and even the price on her piece,(I only ever rarely throw away published stories, since I think it's history) but she do not return the favor by crediting the photographer, nor the publication it was stolen from to use on the email version of their first announcement of that gallery's latest show.
Like all images on all websites where original art or photographs appear, this carefully-made photograph that the artist acknowledged was much better than any of her own images of the piece was fully copyrighted to the photographer and publisher of this website just by being there, but also by published notice on the page and on the index page of this site. And it's not the first time 500X Gallery artists have used my images to further their careers without giving me fair credit or payment.
I try to avoid putting my name and copyright notice on photographs of original artists' work, but when they go out of their way to screw me, I return the favor.
I wrote the text above, yes in anger, then Christine Bisetto apologized, and I gave her permission to use it if, and only if, I got credit for the photograph immediately adjacent to the image. But she probably didn't know that 500X is one of those idiot galleries that's never happy with just one iteration of an informative email. No they gotta spam us with several as the actual opening day/night approaches.
So whoever's running 500X' PR used it again six days later, and she probably had not told them she'd stolen it, nor that I'd complained, so they just ran it with the second dose of spam. Of course, no credit was given. Of course.
I couldn't see how I could be fair to the collective idiots, so I decided not to write anything about their shows for awhile. Maybe never, even though I was looking forward to reviewing their latest juried show. Some of my best critical writing ever has been about X shows, including A Heavy Graphic Arts Sensibility and Of Wallpaper and Other Repeating Patterns. There's at least one more, but I can't find it using this site's Google Site Search that Goo updates so often even i use it to find stuff on this always growing site.
The next day, they sent one (to me) copy of that same PR statement with several photographs by other people, but crediting my photo on the top, "Photo credit J R Compton." No DallasArtsRevue. Like they just could not bring themselves to cite this website/publication from which the image they used previously without permission. Which credit is distinctly not what any photo they use of mine should say, so I should probably find art anywhere else for awhile.
I know other people who put together public calendars and lists, and they did not receive the corrected / attributed photograph caption. Those AHs only sent it to me. That was truly rude.
I didn't even look through the big steel opening to 500X last night during all those openings, most of which we skipped, so skipping 500 didn't seem much of a miss. Last time I trekked into the X, my two friends stayed in the car, so it's probably only me who misses the place and its wild variety of usually local art. I miss it today enough to change these words around again to make me not look like AH I have been about this, and Anna and I plan to check it out in broad daylight without having to dodge multitudinous opening attenders.
I really do like Bisetto's work.
My Last Portrait of Yo — Wednesday Evening December 19 2012. He died the next day.
Tomorrow's the end of the world, and today my cat died. Was slowly but painlessly killed by a veterinarian, though I thought Yo was in the confused state from the numbing shot waaay too long. We had each other for 13 years, which was almost enough. Humans don't own cats, and though there's something to be said about them owning us, really we just rent each other for awhile. Yo's and my time together was up at just short of three o'clock this afternoon.
I took him to the vet this morning to find out what was wrong. Very wrong. Seemed to be in excruciating pain whenever I picked him up just like I've always picked him up. He was lethargic and wasn't eating. Not his cardboard crunchies, not peanut butter or spinach, both of which he loved, raw eggs or even my home-made chicken soup, which he came to investigate soon as I cooked it. And he did not want to sit on my lap like he's sat several times every day of every year we were together.
The vet said he had two major metastasized tumors, and maybe a couple others that were more difficult to track down. Not sure there was anything I could have done about that, but he may have been the perfect cat for me. Not altogether pleasant all of the time. Or even most of it. One of the last things Yo did was to lacerate my left thumb for touching his tail, which was not usually a point of contention. It bled profusely and still hurts, reminding me of that rapscallion.
His Mom never had a chance to teach him to cover it up, and he was deathly afraid of brooms, so I often imagine the banshee who brought him and his two orange kitten brothers to the vet where my niece Joyce worked in San Antonio, "to get them euthanised," chasing them around with one. That vet was not in the euthanising business. And I've ever since wondered what it would have been like having three orange cats who could practice biting each other instead of me.
He cried pitifully on our long ride back to Dallas from his San Antonio home town, him quiet only when I played my Jimmy Rogers, "the singing brakeman" tapes, so I named him Yodel, since shortened to Yo. Perfect cat for me, probably. I used to put him in a coat pocket when I visited the lake, but he didn't trust being in cars.
When he was still very young and small, I got down on my hands and knees, and held his paws to gently scatter litter in the right direction in an attempt to teach him to cover it up after he'd done his business each time. He got the general idea, scattered it in some direction every time he scat, but never on what he'd deposited.
Pix of the Yo at four years of age.
It took years to calm him down — probably a great life lesson for us both. I figured if I could love that little scamp, I could love anybody.
I've seriously watched several painters work. It has taught me much about painting. Like that it's not so much a challenge to get what they want onto the surface, but rather to know when what they are doing is good, or good enough, and when to stop, at least for awhile. All the painters I've watched were not famous or particularly successful, except in movies. Watching Gerhard Richter paint partially inspired me to make a series of photographs that followed this one.
When I watch painters, they keep painting and changing long after I would have stopped, and they keep changing what we both see, but we see it differently. I don't know what they want, even if they explain, and I never try to tell them what I think, because that's not important. Even later, when I do say or write an opinion about a finished piece, I want it to, but it shouldn't matter, although I've had painters tell me my words helped.
I always wonder what that could possibly mean.
Warning Pylons with Headlight Light
Most art shows and tours bore me. I've grown indifferent to most gallery shows, except when they show interest artists or friends. I prefer to explore places I've either never or rarely been. I'm trying to expand what I write about, including beyond art and birds, and I may be clumsy about choosing for awhile, but it's definitely an interesting direction. I caught myself going through motions at an art open house and an annual charity extravaganza recently. Even though I'm pretty good by now at those notions, I could almost do them in my sleep. I might yet make of them something interesting. I do want to see shows that involve a lot of people on the on chance that I'll find someone new's art worth telling.
I'll always have favorites, but I tire of proclaiming those.
I wouldn't mind being remembered as the guy who … if that appellation includes promoted Dallas artists or wrote eloquently sometimes. But at this stage it'd be a thrill if could garner high hit counts for something besides birds and How Tos, although I have more of both of those topics in me, and it's got to get out. I'm seeing these changes as expansions rather than redirections.
The Elder Sisters Clare - at the 2012 Clare Family Reunion in Tennessee
I recently had someone dear to me take me to task for daring to photograph them and someone else I appreciate dearly, not facing the camera, but facing each other as if they were talking. They were talking. And, this person pointedly pointed out to me that they were not smiling. Gasp! How dare I photograph people not smiling and staring at the camera. Instead, my photo, which is one of my favorites, shows the two of them speaking seriously, which happens sometimes, including this moment
I was having trouble believing someone I know and like and am related to, actually believed that all subjects in a photograph should always look happy, even if they weren't, and they should always always always face the camera directly. No obtuse angles.
I realize that most of the photographs taken by most of the people who have cameras are most often posed. And that most of those persons with cameras insist that everybody "smile." But surely my aunt has seen historic photographs where, say, a Vietnamese girl running down a road away from a Napalm attack, who had her clothes burned off her body, did not stop, stand still for the photographer and paste a big, goofy smile on her face.
I wonder how many other people have got it into their heads that the stand-and-smile mode of photography is the real one. Guess there's another reason for me to go on living.
Drooping Red Yellow Flower
I've been following this flower since the day I bought it. Uh-oh, another one of those. It's already lost several of its petals due to me not paying enough attention to what I was doing in those few, brief seconds. Oops. They are in a round-ended triangular box. Kinda along in there, Bigger than usual box. But the flower, though droopish is still gorgeous.
I've been very busy lately. Up around noon, always feel like I need more sleep, work all day cleaning my house. Usually till 3 or 4 ayem. I've been putting off cleaning it for awhile. Already it's not an entirely perfect house. Gonna get a new roof thanks to all those Texas grapefruit-sized hailstones that fell on it a few months back. Inside it's been shambling downhill years. Cracks visible in walls and ceilings like it's on a long slow crawling journey twisting and writhing along.
There's scut in the corners I can't reach with the vac, paint worn thin all around, mean stains on some floors. I've always joked it was a redo. It still in It ain't perfect, and like everybody else it will never be. But I've got a lot of paintings up now. Walls with themes most mortals will never ken. Not hardly no careful museum exhibition, my favorite art, mostly other people's, some mine, nearly thrown onto the walls.
I did most of that myself. In the wee hours this week. Seemed so slow. I didn't really place or plan it. Just did it. Space over balance. It is unbalanced, but it is up. And it has taken years, but I did all the work these last few days. I've vacuumed and swept and scrubbed, but mostly I've hung art. That goes slower when I do it alone. I've got used to others helping, and I keep thinking it woulda been prettier and faster if I'd got help, but I've got myself into it, and we're all over up on those walls.
I've also been writing a story and photographing a flower. When I sneak time from cleaning to photo birds, it's usually the same 7, then 8, 9, now 10 pelicans in Sunset Bay. Never know if they're scouts or dawdlers. They came down on the blue norther last week. We hope they stay. But my cleaning continues.
I'm happy about a bunch of things.
The ThedBlog Index of all Theds Blog
Thed Blog #8 [from the top] - An obituary for my friend Margie | My 48-hour EEG results | The Sleeping Man, a photograph in a show | uncommunicative communications | My knack for words | Photography as a Potential Art Form | Me whining about nobody reading my reviews (but they do) and me compensating by writing How to Photograph Art | a story that had got stuck in my craw until I wrote it out | I am swimming again (and, in fact, I am again in September 2012 | Something about a white chair | Reconnoitering downtown | Thinking in a lens' focal length | Somebody wanting a studio visit for a show I didn't want to be in | detonating confidence or some such | telling stories | how much longer can I keep up all these ruses? | some indeterminate story under a pile of apples and a plum, peppers and a pear | writing a story | the flurry of writing | calming the f down | invitations to art shows by artists who won't show me any of their art | something confusing under a chameleon on the orange door in my office that is turning orange | Other People's Stories | entering competitions — I think I say I was gonna, but I haven't, but maybe it's about something else. I don't know. I suppose I'd have to read it to find out what it is about | writing about something, anything | How much is art worth? | Am I being vague enough yet? | me whining about AT&T, Times Wormer and other "communications" entities | started off with printers, then wound through cameras | On Traveling Alone and Free | more whining about webhosts | The DallasArtsRevue logo | What is a vacation? | Stoney Burns | my mother's 90th birthday | blah-blah-blah art stuff | Self-Promo | Clicking pictures all the way. | Me being dismayed and perplexed (again) | Me in the unusual status of holding my tongue | There are times when I can actually make a semblance of sense about some art | Me not being ready to release those notions | some success | I'm learning again that if I don't write down the first head-long rush of feelings and opinion from a night or day of art, they get lost in the miasmas | winter | feeling all superior and other odd journeys | transferring data | little reminders | what I didn't do for a year | fresh flowers | process | drying clothes without a clothes dryer | inevitabilities | losing pictures and my mind | putting my office back together again | slowing and stopping | Life As I Know It | a party | on photographic composition | I knew it when I did it, and I did it anyway. | An plagiarizer who wanted to steal money from a nonprofit fund to pay her debt | cleaning up the ACC | visual memories in my new office | rearranging idiot histories | The real trick with websites is to keep updating pages. | Why anyone would want my advice is baffling. | I just re-registered www.DallasArtsRevue.com for twenty more years | my new office | the empty space that was and will be my new office | The Sky Is Falling! | Blood on the Bathroom Floor | no telling what this one is about. Surely I don't have to read it again, right? | Ooo! Yum! Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill Cockroaches | My new right foot | Right now, the whole world is slurring around me. | Copyright and Copy Wrongs | too many juggler thingies in the air at once | Starting a new thed blog
ThEdBlog #7 - Henderson Art Project winners strung down Henderson Avenue in East Dallas from Ross Avenue to Central Expressway | Hecho en Dallas at the Latino Culture Center | Sarah Williams - Outskirts and others at 500X | Corazon at the Bath House, Dallas' only Community Art Center where budding and pro artists alike can show their work — until the City in its infinite stupidity closes them down, because all they have money for is more concrete, not the arts or anything that might serve the community | Modern Ruin at an new bank building that was never a bank building but for three and a half days was a very interesting exhibition of rather strange art by some of Dallas' best artists | The Dallas Art Fair downtown with art from everywhere and here, too | And the grand opening of The Dallas Contemporary with art by an LA artist who put airplane wrecks in their hangar-like space
ThEdblog #6 - Concludes with a list of the most popular pages on DallasArtsRevue in July 2009, and a couple other statistics | on being famous | trying to get how to submit information to this site to people who submit information to our calendar | my neighbors | "friends" who want to use my photographs in their photography book, but they don't want to credit my photos | how Ken's and my story, Witness to an Apparition got collaborated | images that stick in my mind | the difficulties of entering digital-entry competitive exhibitions | On confusing ThEdblogs with Art Here Latelys | what's worth seeing in Art in America | idiot Facebook | my bird photography as art | hit counters | sometimes I'm certain I am an artist — other times I wonder | scaring myself with my art | choosing your art to show | engagement book vs. artists | stealing DARts page for self-aggrandizement | explaining about critiques and not critiquing | the Missing page | hit counters | the calendar | site stats |
ThEdblog #5 - Starts with a disorienting blank (gray) image, which stands for the half terabyte of data, images, letters and everything else I lost that week, and other stories, including: Not the DO's art critic (I blogged while they blithered) and my unDO stories — as un Dallas Observer
ThEdblog #4 - It's almost not fair | plagiarizing art | se finis | Kim Cadmus Owens | Pix2 at UTD,
ThEdblog #3 - Crit Loose | strange interview| Valley Birds | up | denoue | panic | reindeer games | damn | prince | Fierce | pro | prints | that word | fierce | numbers | dawn | arghhh | fri | locating links | making the Pelican Feather Amulet for The MAC's ornament sale | who knows what else
The Second ThEd - the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association's tour just before the DADA art tour. If I'd had an Art Here Lately page then, this page would have been there, but it's here instead.
Curate | Revisionism | Offline | Hecho | Talk
II | ViDemise
| In us | nearly all the mastheads this site has employed for identification
and navigation over this century | art movies
| illustrations | CSS | Public
Speaking | In The News | Wild | A
Gathering of Dallas Artists | Join | Dorks | 3
Concepts | Pix2 | Spam | iNTRO
an earlier attempt
I used to illustrate these abstruse and personal issues with images by anybody I had art by. Now I restrict the imagery to my own photographs with some of Anna's who's usually there. Seems more personal that way.
since Sept 12 2012