Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Buy Art!!"

Sometimes, when I think I have extra time (not that I ever do, really) and I find an appropriate image online, I'll put together my own, personal "Buy Art!!" memes that I post on Facebook. My FB Friends, especially the artist ones, seem to enjoy seeing these.

Here are the memes I've made so far:

Hope you liked 'em!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Many Resurrections of Godzilla

Sheesh...Jesus Christ was resurrected only once. Godzilla had many more reincarnations than that!

(Normally, I write about artwork and, especially, paintings, including my own. But Godzilla has certain artistic qualities that I like).

Godzilla's star in Hollywood's Walk of Fame
Specifically, the original Godzilla (its Japanese name was Gojira, a combination of the Japanese words for "gorilla" and "whale"). The movie was an allegory for the dangers of atomic power, filmed in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I suspect confronting this fictional monster must have had a tremendous impact on the Japanese psyche at the time, and destroying this force would have been seen as a victory, a way of overcoming the horrific power that destroyed the two cities.

The original movie had its human side, too -- the love triangle between the pretty gal (always wore a scarf in her hair), the scientist (with the eye patch) and another fellow -- I forgot what he did for a living. The woman chose the latter man, and the scientist committed a form of Hara-Kiri minus the cutting. (I never knew if he did this out of remorse for killing Gojira, losing his lady love, or some of both).

I was also impressed with the skillful use of editing to include actor Raymond Burr in the American version. Every scene in which he appeared, along with any Japanese actors, was added later, although -- in my opinion -- his presence didn't detract from the story. The footage when he appeared with the girl was also "faked" -- you never saw their faces at the same time. When you saw Burr's face, you saw only the back of her head, scarf on head. She was a stand-in, not the actor who starred in Gojira. Then, when the camera focused on her, Burr wasn't seen, and her English lines likely were probably unrelated to the Japanese lines she was actually reciting. I doubt many Americans could lip-read Japanese and never knew the difference.

(By the way, we never see the creature eating. What does one feed a humongous critter like that? )

Well, now there's a new version of Godzilla on the movie screens. I likely won't go to see it, because I already know I'd be disappointed if I did. The original Godzilla was more than simply a story about a huge dinosaur wreaking mass destruction of a city. It had powerful psychological overtones that the newer movie (or the one from 2000) probably lacks. (Of course, the Godzilla vs ___???___ movies, the Saturday morning cartoons et al were downright silly versions). I suspect it's just another action flick with dazzling special effects. Technically proficient, but not what I'd call "artistic" in terms of its emotional impact.

And ultimately, I hope we never again have to resurrect Gojira/Godzilla or anything else by detonating another nuclear weapon over any city or its people.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Spiders and Snakes

I'll be the first to admit: I don't like spiders! I'm a total arachnophobe -- and it doesn't bother me to say that. I hate their webs -- the kind one can walk into -- even more!! Thankfully, we don't get those species here in the desert.

I remember seeing a floral painting by a Dutch artist at the Getty Center in Los Angeles -- beautifully-rendered flower arrangement ... with a small web in the upper corner of the image with a spider on the web, and another hanging by a thread nearby. The spiders and web ruined the painting, as far as I'm concerned! If it were for sale and I had the money, I wouldn't buy that painting.

As you might guess, I've never painted any spiders in my works, and I never will.

By that same token, I've never painted any snakes either. Now, I'm NOT a snake-o-phobe. I rather like them, although I often feel badly for their victims. But I don't respond to the sight of a snake as I do a spider.

However, some people hate snakes the way I hate spiders. In fact, "spiders and snakes" is a phrase that places the critters together. Both are pretty creepy in people's minds.

But that's why I don't paint snakes. I would not want to ruin the viewing experience (especially for a potential customer) by placing a snake in the image area.

Nineteenth-century artist Thomas Moran (my #1 artist hero) created a large work showing the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In it, if you look carefully enough, is a small rattlesnake. Perhaps Moran was trying to tell us of both the beauty AND the dangers of the Wild West. (I never saw any spiders in the composition -- I assume TM didn't put any into the painting. Good decision, Tom!)

Thomas Moran,snake,Grand Canyon

Well, maybe someday I'll do something like that. I know there are people who like snakes, even rattlesnakes (providing the rattlers don't get too close). I'm curious to know if such a painting would sell readily to snake lovers! And it would be a piece that I'd love to hang on my wall in case the painting didn't sell.

There would be any spiders in the artwork, however.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

On Waves of Sand

My newest painting -- On Waves of Sand, 20" x 24" / 51cm x 61cm.

Palm Springs,San Jacinto,California,southwest,desert,landscape,wind,sand dunes,Coachella Valley

 I wanted to show the beauty of the Coachella Valley sand dunes and the brief flash of color that occurs in the springtime -- IF the conditions are right. Mt. San Jacinto rises in the background, and the town of Palm Springs sits to the left and behind the mountain.

This is a wind-prone place, and dunes once covered the entire Valley. Sadly, development has cut the dunes to less than 1/5 of the area they used to occupy. Some of what's left is protected, but the fate of the endangered Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata) remains to be seen. These little guys (one is present in the painting) need the blowing sand and lots of space to survive in these harsh environments.

Sometimes the winds become severe windstorms, and enormous clouds of sand and dust rise in the distance. While admittedly a little hard on Valley residents, this is what happens in sand dune country. It's part of what makes this region as beautiful as it is. In a desert sort of way, I guess!