Sunday, August 31, 2008

BEWARE of new Firefox browser

I'm really sorry I installed it.

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover


What's that about?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg

I've been reading Tom Wolfe's "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", all about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and their bus trip back and forth across the US. I just finished Larry McMurtry's "The Last Picture Show" which was okay but disappointed me.

I started the Kool-Aid book because I read somewhere that the bus stops at Larry McMurtry's house along the way. Unfortunately it was only a one page stop.

Kool-Aid needs skimming, because it's such an extended trip and trippy writing can be pretty boring. Sometimes it's good though.

So why the video? Hey that's Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg. Neal Cassady was the inspiration for Jack Kerouac's main character, Dean Moriarty, in his great novel "On the Road" which I've now been through I think four times since we have the audio version which we play on our drives to Colorado, and I'd already read it before that.

Bear with me-- you've seen my beret and must know I was a junior beatnik in the 50's. This is the first time I've seen real footage of Neal Cassady and could hear his voice. They're at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.

After driving back and forth across the country with Jack Kerouac and inspiring his book, Neal Cassady then drove the Merry Pranksters' bus back and forth across the country more than a decade later. In "Kool-Aid Acid" there's a story about Ken Kesey meeting Jack Kerouac in New York, with Neal Cassady there too, kind of a cultural turning point, and it wasn't a happy meeting, too much jealousy!

Friday, August 29, 2008

50 years later: Sally vs. Sally

8 years old.

50 years later. I know, I know, the first one has more energy and intensity, but now I can spell family, and isn't the baby cute?

But when you look closely at the writing, was I looking into the future and trying to spell email?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dinah's Dream

Dinah gave me this painting. I love it. It was for an assignment at college: you were supposed to do a painting of a really bad dream you've had. That's an elephant chasing her in front of our house, under water. At first I thought about animating it, but I think it's stronger just still. It wasn't for an art class-- rather one of those freshman get in touch classes that I don't understand. I wonder what the elephant represents, other than a large fear. Notice how she gets the joints of the elephant's legs right, even though the painting has such a primitive feeling.

This is a picture of Dinah recolored in Painter. I drew it when she was five. We used to take sketchbooks out onto a rocky point in Colorado and draw together.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This one's for namowal who asked if I ever wanted to animate any of my drawings from childhood. Click on either handle.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What is an artist?

"An artist is a person who can see things that othr other people can't see."

And you thought it was just crazy people who saw those things!

an artist is someone who wears a beret most of the time.

and smokes chalk:

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Friend Flicka

I found a pile of my drawings from my sister's summer art school class, held in our backyard in 1957. This is a picture I drew of my favorite tv show, "My Friend Flicka." It was a Dumont tv.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Web Designer Wall

I don't know where I came upon this fine site, Web Designer Wall, but you can lose hours looking at all the examples of design ideas and web trends. The section on vintage web design is fascinating, and I love the way the Corona Beach site opens-- great preloader and age in the sand.

It used to be easier to find nifty looking sites- this portal makes it much easier.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

woMan on Wire

Went to see a matinee of "Man on Wire" yesterday afternoon in Encino. We shared a popcorn. I expected to snooze- it's a documentary on the man who walked on a wire between the World Trade Center buildings in 1974, an event that I was only dimly aware of. The movie was excellent. At one point my palms got exceedingly sweaty because of my fear of heights.

I bought an expensive book on the software Painter X. It is filled with illustrations and how the artists accomplished them. However, the explanations make me feel like it's 1956 and I'm watching Jon Gnagy on tv. He would have you draw one or two basic shapes, then do this business about just add a little detail, and the picture would be impossibly good. I especially remember his pumpkins.

God he looks so young. I remember he was an old man with a beard. But I was still a single digit.
I just noticed his videos are actually on youtube. Here's one. It's ten minutes. I haven't looked at it yet.

This book I bought made me mad because it was really written many years ago and updated by a technical editor who wasn't very careful. It cost more than $50. The author would refer to brushes that no longer are part of the software. Since I've done technical editing myself I get especially annoyed by this kind of mistake, and this kind of ripoff, which the "For Dummies" series is especially likely to publish. This book is called "Painter X Wow!"

Most of the samples in this book have that Jon Gnagy something's missing feeling, except,


Our own LINDA DAVICK is in the book-- I had no idea, just turned a page and all my anger melted away: Friend, Good. Linda says it's from a long time ago. Still a great looking illustration. And a clear explanation of how to get the effect.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Whinsey goes after Rielle Hunter

In order to keep my mind off my sadness, I've been following the equestrian Olympics obsessively, including forums where it's all chewed over. In the process, I learned about Lisa Druck aka Rielle Hunter, the slime-bo John Edwards had the affair with.

Her past in the horse world is beyond sordid. You can read about it in this espn article, but you may not want to as it will make you sick. In brief summary her father James Druck was an attorney and horse owner in Florida . He taught a lowlife groom, nicknamed "the Sandman" how to electrocute horses in order to get insurance money, (and from the very insurance company that Druck worked for.) When his daughter Lisa's $150,000 horse was for sale, and was only getting offers of $125,000, he arranged for the horse's murder. Some articles imply she was in on it, others that she wasn't. It was part of a huge horse scandal that somehow I didn't hear about in late 80's early 90's.

I was a John Edwards supporter (dope). During the debates last year I thought, "I wish he didn't flutter his eyelids so much. It makes him look dishonest." Guess I was on to something. In the picture above he's saying "I feel blessed" but there was no room to add it. I find that to be a particularly obnoxious saying and perfect match for those fluttering eyelids.

One of the gold medal team riders at this year's Olympics is the SON of a man convicted of horse murders during that same period. This is also fact, not rumor. And the athlete still claims his father is his trainer. This has set fires off in the horse forum world.

(at least if I'm angry I'm not feeling sad.)

Don't worry, the Druck is on Whinsey's radar.

Monday, August 18, 2008

R.I.P. Pepper

I lost my beautiful chesnut horse today to complications from the snake bite. He was 25. If there were funerals for horses I'd have them play "Spirit in the Sky". Too emotional to write more about it now.

from an early horse show, around 1997.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hey Fay

Travel is stressful enough, and add leaving an old and ill horse, a dog at the kennel, and visiting two separate very old family members (93 each), and oh did I mention where we're landing Monday night. Naples Florida.

Monday update- We cancelled our flight after talking to family in Florida. Evacuation plans were underway at their retirement village, and food service switched to sandwiches only. They said stay home.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Demon Squirrels

Last night three posts went up on my blog with the youtube video from "Squirrel Nut Zippers." This was at 9:33. I was asleep at 9:33. Weird, huh?

I'd posted a link to the video about two weeks ago. I'd never heard of the band, but it seems I'm the only one passing through this blogoland who hadn't.

Come to think of it, two nights ago there was so much activity on the roof of our house that we almost went out with flashlights to figure out what it was. It was heavy, scurrying, slamming down. Must have been squirrels with sabers. And now they're in my computer-- good thing I'm leaving town on Monday. I think they came in on TALL SHIPS!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

so what is this?

that's smog swirling around her.

or maybe it's a wicked thought.
got the Olympics on my mind, and snakes, and travel, and hot humid weather in L.A, and snakes.

This is not an illustration for anything, so make your own story.

haven't opened a book since I've been back from Colorado. Tomorrow the show jumping part of the Olympics begins. The online coverage of the equine events has been excellent. You can watch it streaming with only one commercial at the start.

I learned a lot about snakes today. The vet says the one that got Pepper was a big snake. I have a nephew who has such a problem with the concept of snakes that you have to refer to them as legless creatures. We had a plaster snake in the garden which I had to hide when he was here.

I'm having trouble getting the intensity of color I like in Painter.

but there's always Photoshop:

or let's get downright spooky:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What a snake bite looks like, day 2

Not pretty. The gray stuff is some sort of silver lotion. He was putting weight on the foot today, and his leg was too fuzzy to be able to see where the puncture marks were.

What's also troubling for Pepper now is that he's suddenly lost a lot of weight-- I think his teeth are worn out, poor guy. They're going to start feeding him pellets and soft foods to get his weight back up. Most of the horses at this ranch are fat and shiny-- it's not what they're feeding, but his trouble chewing it. He loved the peppermints stray g gave me to feed him, and also the three bananas. Poor old Pepper.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pepper was bit by a snake!

I got a call this morning from the stable manager saying my old horse Pepper was in great discomfort with a hugely swollen leg. She arranged to get the vet out asap. I stayed home and worried, diagnosed via the internet. We were guessing it was a lymph gland disease which is horrible in horses and chronic too.

But the vet noticed flies a jaw span apart on his leg, where there was blood, then spotted fang marks.

He says the venom wasn't released but bacteria was, so he'll be on antibiotics for two weeks. I'm going to see him in the morning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One more, that's it

If I paint this stupid drawing any more times I'll feel like I'm working in a factory in China or like Kurt Wallendar's father in the Henning Mankell detective novels, where he always painted the same landscape.

But thought I'd post it anyway to show how the watercolor paper effect can indeed fall into place.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Painter improvement

I've been trying to learn the program Painter without buying a book, and it hasn't been easy. I especially was trying to get a watercolor look that didn't seem digital and wasn't spraying the color all over like a stain on a white shirt.

Namowal has mastered the technique over at her blog, but she's using Painter 8 and this is Painter X. Don't you love all those stupid X editions of things? Like the paintbox is rated x?

Anyway, today I found the pen I need, it's called "New Simple Water" under the digital watercolor category. If you set the paper to French watercolor, you can actually get the look I have on the pink rug or the blue chair.

I still couldn't resist throwing the woodcut filter on the thing:

You can compare this to the ones I was doing a couple of days ago.

And guess what-- they're all based on this photo! Most people never show their sources, but I'm just fooling around wid da sofware. I don't usually base stuff on photos, but I wanted something a little realistic to get my mind thinking about small apartments.

oh and then there was this from last time when I hated it so much I just hit it with the distortion brush.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Who's on Deck?

Had a great time today with stray g and pat, who spotted the pirate flag in the background. it had red eyes.

All the coolest people come from the South, I'm convinced. I should have stayed there-- (went to high school in North Carolina) but now I'm so San Fernando Valley.

But sometime, stray g, I need to tell you and Linda about the horrible experience I had in the 70s visiting a fellow postcard collector and serious nut/nurse in Tennessee. She'll probably read this and start posting. It made me scared of you both for a long time. Not scared anymore!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

When you can't paint worth a darn

Light the heck out of it. It's a night scene, after all.

I decided I'd start with the background this time and wouldn't let myself get off easy as I usually do. The result- a mood of continual grr. Know what that's like?

I'm sure in time I'll figure out this program, Painter, well enough that I can do a drawing I like and color it in so it looks like a water color. But so far I haven't been happy. It starts with the digital line quality, which I don't like, and goes from there.

If you sometimes like the effect it's still not okay for animation, because you're going to have to create the background again from different angles.

This is what happens when you don't work very often.

Usually I resort to the woodcut filter to hide what isn't working, but then Linda gives me a hard time.

I know these don't look so great, but so many of you are artists, and I figure you know what this is like, when you just can't get what you want out of a program, and you know it's not just the program's fault. The holdout is that if you stick with it long enough, you're sure to make some progress.

Ghost of Stephen Foster

Darn, this video doesn't allow embedding. So click here I suppose.
Some nice backgrounds and animation, obviously inspired by Max Fleischer's early 30's cartoons, directed by two fellows who direct Simpsons. I'd never heard of the band.

I've been struggling with creating background art and focussed most on that. The envy, the skill.

Favorite original bit is the fish bowl stomachs.

Live opening has a 20's/Renaissance Fair feeling to my eye.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Take advice from da SPHINX

This real estate office was on Fairfax , in case you're familiar with L.A. streets. Love the pyramid sign. Guess these guys, (in 1920), are getting the right advice from da Sphinx on what to buy and where. Love that screen door in the Sphinx's neck. Think this was built by a D.W. Griffith art director who switched over to real estate?

Monday, August 04, 2008

okay, get a life girl.

Since I've been back in L.A. I can't seem to get in the rhythm of things, though I have a lot to do. I just keep dawdling, teasing the Los Angeles Library photo search to find new and odd images to look at. This photo was taken by Ansel Adams!! The info about it is here.

Maybe I need a new look-- The new me? Or maybe not. I cracked a coconut yesterday for a special recipe-- maybe I should have held onto the shells.

I've got some story ideas for these girls, but not the impetus to get started. They look landlocked too.

I don't know if you can read the small print here but the third button is an ozone button. So you have the option of fragrance or ozone.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ever feel like this?

Another group of weird shots from the Los Angeles Library. I love the image in the mirror.

Not sure if this is the same gal?

Adorably creepy!

This is a picture of a suspected spy hole at a nursery during World War 2. I think I might have suspected the cactus on the left.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Someone's Big Day

Hey! Don't throw that key away! It looks important!

I was going to go to the library to check out Tom Wolfe's "Kool Aid Acid Test", which I don't think I ever read. He writes about the bus stopping at Larry McMurtry's home along the way.

But you don't have to go to the library anymore to see if they have the book-- just check on line. They didn't, but in the process I came upon an amazing feature of the Los Angeles library-- they have a collection of old photos which you can go through by typing any word you want.

Go here and press "Browse the Photo Collection." I spent so many hours just on these photos, and I can imagine there are many more weird and strange. They give a lot of info on where and when and why the photos were taken.

I typed Northridge and Chatsworth, since that's where I live. These are some of the photos.

This is a photo of a strange cult that existed in Chatsworth. Note the speaker's tiptoes and all the bare feet. A suicide bomb ended this cult of mostly women.

This is a picture of a man cutting meat, part of a series on suburban living in Granada Hills. There was also a picture of his wife sitting alone at the same table, eating the meat.

This is (was) film director Joseph von Sternberg's art deco palace designed by Richard Neutra, then demolished to make way for a housing development. Von Sternberg's the man who made Marlene Dietrich a star. I've heard about this house for a long time but don't think I'd seen a picture before. It was in Northridge! It looks like a modern high school to me. I expected something more glamorous.

In this shot you can see there was a moat-- I always like moats.

I just remembered Tom Wolfe once sat next to me, at Smith. He came to do a talk, and I was seated on the side front row. He was wearing a white suit even back then. He was pretty funny.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Crab Comes Home

14 hours in the car, and then there we are in Northridge. Not so bad. Just very hot and the house seems dark.

Our 15 year old frog Pixie looked truly happy to be back. I heard this weird tapping right before I went to bed and it was Pixie knocking around in her tank in the kitchen. Scared me for a minute till I figured it out. In Colorado she practiced hiding in the mud.

Dinah and Cameron came by with photos and wonderful stories of camping in Costa Rica. A crab like this one appeared in their hotel room and threatened them. I used to have crab phobia, but not anymore. Joys of growing older-- weird phobias fall away like scabs. They said these crabs were all over the beach. You'd think the beach was full of rocks and then the rocks would be moving... hmm, maybe I'm not over that phobia after all.

I drove out through the deep smog to see my old horse Pepper. He was looking pretty well, skinnier, but moving okay and eager to eat the carrots, bananas and peppermints I brought. He and his bud never leave more than a foot between them. Since he's wearing a fly mask over his eyes I don't get the emotional feel of him as much, but I petted him and admired him, and most of all brought good treats. He's in a very nice retirement home for horses.

The person who stayed in our house for two months was GREAT-- it looked better than when we live here, and all the fish and birds looked content. When I think of all the weird people who emailed me after I placed an ad, I was so lucky that I had sense about this.

oh and the crab is me. stupid illo, but I hate to post on the blog without a picture.