Category Archives: art

Bernice (an addendum)

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The more I have sat here and thought about it, I think my original drawing is the best, especially after I used Enhance and Contrast to simply bring out more of the drawing and make it grey, which is what it was originally (for some strange reason, the sketch was made blue during the scanning process). Nothing was added to it however, and in a lot of ways I like that better. Just pure Russell without Gimp may be better. (of course I still used Gimp a little, but didn’t alter anything.) Keeping that quick and dirty sketchbook quality may be the best look for this project. I’ll see what I think….still very much a work in progress. I like all the tiny strokes that typify my quick sketch approach. That was lost when I took it all into Gimp and added filters etc. It will get better. The more I look at this sketch the more I like it, especially since it is my first step in a very long time.

Bernice

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This was the last version I did. I think I may like it best, because I added a few strokes to give her face more definition, as well as multiple filters to give it a sort of watercolor look. It still looks like a child’s painting, but a ten year old instead of a four year old. It’s a start, and crude as it is, Bernice does have some personality conveyed by this drawing, and that’s the idea, isn’t it?

I think I’ll call her Bernice. She is a very precise and earnest woman. Very serious. My jokes go right past her. She practices yoga diligently. This is the beginning of a character in search of a story. I have yet to draw THE character, the one that captures my heart and comes to life magically before me. But I will get there. She is out there somewhere waiting to be drawn.

Before judging me too harshly, please consider that this is one of the first drawings I have done with serious intent, in many many years, thirty at least. I need to get my skills back. Tonight I began drawing and it was absolutely horrible!!! I would rather have had my fingernails pulled out one by one than go through the agony of trying to draw and having it look like the efforts of a five year old child. But then I just gave up on it and just scribbled, and lo and behold, the very earnest features of Bernice emerged. She is 43 years old and believes in affirmations. She wrote me this one: “Every day in every way I find myself again. All my pleasures can come to pass in time. Give me patience in my endeavors.” You see? I am already giving Bernice her life in words. Now I need to put together a story. Bernice is a peripheral character, one of the main character’s friends. I may use myself or create someone else. I haven’t decided. But, at least I broke through my resistance to drawing. Considering that I sketched this in about ten minutes (I am so impatient!!!) I am rather happy with it, at least it works to some degree. I like the sloppy quality, I do my best work when I bypass my OCD tendency to want to draw very realistically. This is much more expressionistic, and I captured a very serious and earnest quality in Bernice. She is ‘concerned’. It shows in her face. But I can do better. This is just a start. This is the one drawing I felt I could share without embarrassment. This is so much harder than just using images I find on the net, but it is honest. It is completely my creation, and not a copy of a photograph. But, clearly, I need lots of practice. This whole project will be slow in coming together. I’ve got to put my story together. But, it is interesting how, when I became frustrated and gave up, Bernice appeared, and I already have a sense of who she is. The drawing is just a beginning. I need to bring her more fully to life.

I can’t wait to do more!!!, even though it is very hard work. It is hard to describe how I work, I just start scribbling and something begins to emerge. I can’t plan it, or I drive myself crazy. The more I draw, though, the better I will be. My fledgling attempts to write, back when I began my first blog, were equally amateurish. I will get better. I will get a lot better, if I just keep on drawing.

So here are some examples of what I did on Gimp (poor man’s Photoshop) after I scanned my drawing. I got some interesting results. I hope you enjoy, and perhaps my first baby steps in drawing will inspire other bloggers to illustrate their work as well.

This is the original drawing, done freehand on a pad, old school. I knocked it out in about ten minutes, tired and frustrated after an hour of absolutely horrible drawings. This isn’t a good drawing but it is a start. On some level it seems to work. Bernice is born. Hi Bernice!!
I used Gimp to add washes of color. This is really childlike, but it has it’s charm.
I used Enhance to create this very expressionistic version. I like it and I don’t. Just experimenting. I love just messing with the possibilities.
The Oilify feature gives my drawing the look of a watercolor. I sort of like it, but as I post these versions of Bernice I find that I actually like the original drawing the best in a lot of ways, because it looks fresh and spontaneous, because, guess what? it was.

So I learned a lot in a short time. I was surprised at how adept I was in the retouching to the drawing depicted in the final version of Bernice. In just a few seconds I instinctively knew what to do. It is still a poor drawing, but slowly but surely I am getting back in the game, and regaining a long lost talent. As I do more of it, my true abilities will reappear. But what a struggle! but I promise I won’t cut off my ear and send it to ‘you know who’.

In this beginning of the beginning of a new series yet to be named or plotted out, I am proud to say I am indebted only to myself and Gimp. There were no outside sources. It is very fitting that this is the 300th post on this blog. It is a positive culmination of my creative surge over this past year.

I seek out those distant places where…

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I seek out those distant places where the air feels differently against my skin

I thought I might have seen you there

Lying naked in the sand grinning from ear to ear

Perhaps it was someone very like you

Speaking a different language

Wearing sandals instead of sensible shoes

I seek out those elegant faces with expressions that defy explanation

I imagine their thoughts hold a beauty unfamiliar

They smell of honey and ginger

I seek out the far corners where the dust settles

covering the discarded pamphlets

given out by a silly devil

I could walk through this strange but lovely land

searching for something wonderful

or weird and oddly disconcerting

I could search forever

Lose my direction and my sense

Yet someplace far away

 Is where I long to be

but I discovered one day that no matter how far away I go

I always end up here

a dark dank ancient portal much maligned

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a dark dank ancient portal much maligned

draws me near

i approach with some trepidation

for this is both sacred and profane

this opening into the unspoken words

the unwritten unacknowledged truth

woman lies upon the earth askew

arms akimbo and legs raised high

ready to receive the sacrament

and given centuries of abuse

until she lies here broken and ruined

her temple crumbling

her thoughts seem distant and confused

a dark dank ancient portal much maligned

must be redeemed

we must set forth into this blood stained sea

and restore it’s dignity and purity

for this is our source

this is our home

It’s TOO MUCH

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I can’t attend to all the life that surges ahead

All the desperation and everything that is said

It’s TOO MUCH for one little fellow to deal

I want to

I’d love to jump into the fire

And ride that wind

But I’m just one man

The world is moving at a dizzying speed

Toward the middle of the middle of the furthest extreme

I can feel it

I can see it

In between the sentences lies a seed

I work through my own little piece

In my own awkward fashion

While the universe goes crazy in some kind of topsy-turvy upside down reverse-action

it’s TOO MUCH for anyone to handle

it’s TOO MUCH

The Face of God

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The face of God

May scare you

It may not be what you expect

It could contain everything you have ever seen

Or it may be a white screen

Every awkward pause

Each dumb remark

Stands naked before this face of God

No smile no wise wrinkles

A monster after all

Or could the face of God be a mirror?

Giving us back what we have given

Warts and all

Could you stand to look upon this face?

Would you be worried?

Filled with shame?

Waiting for that first word?

The Face of God may never be seen

Only imagined in our dreams

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there

A reflection of our fondest hopes

and fears

We need a miracle (and a miracle can occur!)

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It is clear to me that we are lost

We are mesmerized by events within a false world of our own making

When this fact is fully grasped it can lead to insanity and horror

But if you can allow yourself to trust your true self (without really knowing or understanding the nature of that self)

You can retain your sanity and find your bearings

We need a miracle (and a miracle can occur!)

We are more powerful than we can possibly know

This is (of course) both good and bad news

I believe that consciousness is a miracle

I believe we were intended to be like robots

And we took a step outside our programming

When that wasn’t supposed to be possible

We metaprogrammed our programming to a remarkable extent

But there is much more work to be done

We are still like robots in too many ways

The nature of things, reality itself is elastic

We can set the course of the entire universe

If we so wish

It is possible we have enemies in our midst

Hard to know if this is true or just a part of the plan

The plan devised by our creators

For it is abundantly clear that we are being deceived

misdirected and fucked over from day one

But it is wise to not jump to conclusions about who or what is responsible

We need to live in the questions

rather than the answers

If we wish to be free

Miracles can happen

We are the evidence

Today we need to stop playing the same old movie

Because we know how that one ends

And set a new course

It’s up to you and me

We need a miracle (and a miracle can occur!)

This is a sort of poem, sort of sermon, delivered from someplace that isn’t a place, and received in my weak little brain. I thought I should pass it on.

Additionally I am very proud of my Gimp creation here. This is a nice collage from various sources, featuring my muse, Stock Photo Woman. This wonderful collage may get used on the next installment of that series, I haven’t decided, but it works nicely here. So what do you say? Let’s have a miracle every day!!