Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bird Kid

I had this one dream when I was around 7 or 8 or so. I think I had just watched the first Superman and had a dream that I ran down our driveway and just jumped right toward the hedge. When reality failed to yield the same results my dream had (namely, the silent soaring over the hedge and the park across the street and the town... sigh) I traded the dream for the memory. I consciously did it back as a kid and now whenever anybody ever asks if I have ever flown over a hedge, I tell them yes. 


My boy surely has inherited much of my creative tendencies, including fantasy and imagination that verge on loco. At least in the eyes of some regimented folk.

I am pretty sure, though, that if we could all get so jazzed about birds or anemones or imagining flying, things might be a little more beautiful. 
Until then, I just hope my boy can stay creative and keep playing and experimenting and learning and imagining and not get ground down to dull by society and its need to homogenize. 


...and,

He is starting Kindergarten in a week.

Enter







Some beach cliffs are sand. 
Do not climb those. 
You may be buried much too early.
Notice the fresh green vegetation on the newly fallen mounds at the foot of the cliff.
That was just a little while ago.
That could be you.
Some beach cliffs are glacial loess (compacted dust remaining after the glacier goes away).
Those are pretty solid.
And they make awesome pirate caves.
The 50 foot hanging vines also help with the awesomeness.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Post Fail

Sorry if this is already huge and out there and trendy and all that but it is really funny and will suck at least a few hours out of your life.




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

a lickle love for Peter


Amidst the buzz of the I and I - Bob Marley book (with all the love and respect due naturally to the King of Reggae), I want to take off my cap for a bit to the powerful poet Peter Tosh. No love lost, no respect forgotten. All love, brother Peter. All love and thanksgiving for your words and music.

Everyone is crying out for peace 
None is crying out for JUSTICE
Said everyone is crying out for Peace
No one is crying out for JUSTICE

But there will be no peace
until man gets

EQUAL RIGHTS
AND 
JUSTICE!



Wow. Amazing graphitimation video!

Writers Against Racism, my kind of W.A.R.


Writers Against Racism is Amy Bowllan's series in the School Library Journal blog.
Check out my post in this series HERE.



Amy Bowllan began her career as a Television Investigative Producer and Reporter for WCBS-TV NY and KNXV in Phoenix, AZ. She also snagged two Emmy awards for Broadcast Journalism and several Associated Press awards. She now is the Director of Diversity and Educational Technology at The Hewitt School in NYC and is responsible for integrating technological resources into staff and students day to day programs.
To Contact Amy please send emails to amy.bowllan@reedbusiness.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

Skeleton

Starting a bunch of new pieces this week. Want to see one that was just started last night? Ok. No problem. Here ya go. It is a big chunk of some weird woven looking plywood laminate, maybe 4 feet by 5 feet or so...

Place your bets now as to whether it will end up cool or looking like crap.

Winner receives the painting! (for a slight shipping fee of $1600.00)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review Thursday


Just kidding. I dont know why I put Thursday. I most certainly will not be doing book reviews every Thursday.... or will I? hmmmm


Anyways, Bird.
Bird by Zetta Elliot, illustrated by Shadra Strickland. 

This is an amazing book. As I read it to my boy, we were both drawn in to the world of the main character, nicknamed Bird by his late Grandfather. I was surprised by the heavy vibe that was cast shortly into the book. The reality of what the boy and especially his brother were facing was terribly sad. It was not avoided like it is in most media outlets. Ignored or given way too much attention, to the point of glorifying it. 

The illustrations are light. Which is perfect. I mean, don't get me wrong, there is depth and emotion plenty. But the style in which Shadra Strickland created the artwork is full of air and that  balances the heavy weight of the text. Bird's drawings being used as backgrounds in places is a beautiful touch.

These are the kinds of books that I love so very much. Real. Beautiful. Sad. Life. 

Good work, ladies! Amazing book.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Sons


Tale of Two Sons (with all respect to the sons not featured in this post)

Son One:
This is Clay. 
He is old. Too old to be cuddled up by his dad anymore, for one. Too old to even be seen in public with his dad, two. But, as 17 as he is, he is still a sweetie pie. I took him to a Sounders game a few weeks ago and we had fun making fun of the many amusing aspects of US pro soccer. Now, don't get me wrong. I am a lifelong soccer fan. In any form. Hell, I'd watch dog soccer on ESPN 8, "The Ocho." And, had I some expendable income and a house in the city, I would be at all the games possibly even painted up. No doubt. 
But I figured I would share some of the hilarious tidbits Clay pointed out. 

1. Why, when after speaking to your bro in a perfectly "american" accent, do you suddenly chant in a brittish accent? And why, when we have all heard your apple pie vocabulary do you pull out the "Rubbish!" when shouting at the ref? WTF? Really? Really? You cheer in BRITTISH?Do you take out the rubbish and the recycling? 
  "Yeah, brah, totally. That babe was smokin. Right on, we should get some beers after th....  Oi! Oi, Ref! Oi, mate! You're off your Cobbler's Awls, you Wanker.  Take that whistle and stick it up yer Khyber! Just RUBBISH! RUBBISH!...... sorry, brah, anyway. Yeah, we should get some beers after the game and pick up some tail."

2. Just because a thousand people sing a song does not make it a good song. Think Brittany Spears, for example. Not bagging on these ├╝ber fans or anything, but..... well, yeah I am. Your songs suck. "Sounders till Oi Doi?" (brittish accent, catch it? eh? eh?) Really, till you die? Or do you mean until the team is sold to Oklahoma City?
Those songs sound awesome in other countries. They are cool and catchy and nobody understands a damned word, but when the guy right behind you is singing them to death with his horse-ass voice cracking and spiking, it is just ugly and wrong. No offense Drew Carey. Don't sit on me or anything. I think you are rad. Just maybe pass out harmonicas or kazoos or something.  

3. Taking pictures of your 17 yr old son in a crowd of a bajillion people will certainly end in photos like this:
Ooooh. Is that not good?

Pretty friggin nice stadium though. 
oh, sweet love dearest, what's wrong? honey punkin pie? are you ok? you need anything, tiger bear cuddle bug? sweet bear? 
Yeah, that didn't work too well. So instead here is a lovely butt shot of the dude in front of us.  
Yeah, Clay is one hell of a guy. His humor is more precise and cunning than anybody I have ever met.  Even if he is embarrassed to hug his dad on camera in front of screaming britt-merican fans. God love him!



Son Two:

This is T. This is T one photo before he broke my camera. (Do you like the face paint?) (if so, see bottom of post...)
Not broke like I can fix it for a few bucks, broke. Broke like trash can bound, broke. 
He has done lots of photography over the years, to be sure. But tonight he was getting all these cool shots and trying them several times until he got his favorite. I could see his compositions starting to  get some thought. Pretty fun to watch. Pretty fun until I heard him start to go animal wild, jumping around to get these amazing action shots. Pretty fun until I heard the thump and the following silence. 
Well, instead of focusing on the negative. here are some of the last shots the faithful camera took before it was decapitated by a five year old. 

I think he was trying to document some of the art in the house. 

An amazing and enormous painting covering our entire play room wall. This is one that no doubt spurned much consternation in my family. My dad painted this for me when I was five years old and always told me I could have it when I got my own house. Well, more than three decades as the Watson family centerpiece and guess who has to be a little bitch about it and come collect the art? Yup. Well, I love it in my house. It is spectacular! And I could NEVER afford a piece like this. Just have to say that since the vortex it left on my parents' wall has been truly terrifying. Anyway... I digress. Almost constantly. Like this one time.....
Mom.

This parting shot of T is a telling one. This kid is really clever. You know those puzzles where there is only one correct way to arrange the squares so all the tails and heads of the dinosaurs (or trucks or trains or whatever) line up? Those puzzles that usually take me an hour of trying fruitlessly and a few seconds of chopping up into small pieces? T got one for a birthday present, opened it and in less than the time it takes to boil water for tea had it finished. I am talking under three minutes and he called, "I'm doooooone. What's next?" I was impressed. 

And then I chopped up his puzzle. 

(ok put the phone down. I didn't chop up his puzzle. Jeez.)




OK, can't really go off on two sons without including more. Son 3 below in the midst of a surprisingly regular occurrence with Son 2. Seems face paint isn't just for face paint anymore. (permanent markers work so well. The color is just astounding. d'oh) 
Yeah, this smile is gonna get him far.

Mercy! 

My math is bad. Artist. This is the real Son 2 with the actual Son 4. 
J Man is the second while F man, being the youngest is the anchor in this relay. 
J is so awesome with his younger bros. Good man, J.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Printable Coloring Page for the kiddos


Here is a little freebie I did for First Federal, who are making coloring pages for the upcoming Uptown Street Fair in my wee town. My dad liked it so I figured I would post it so kids who didn't make it to the street fair could color it too.


To print, right click on picture and "open in new window." That will give you the full size image. Then print. 

Cha cha cha.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Success and Failure.

We roll with it. Artists I mean. And musicians. And all of us who subject ourselves to the fickle and unpredictable world of this type of gig. 

First, I want to give maga props to my amazing wifey and the lovely ladies of JCS who helped me bring this Book Release Party to fruition. Hard working, kind people to be sure! And Selecta Raiford burned the house down. Good mix, good licks. Nice work, DJ. 
I had a blast. Lots of people came through. Sold books. Sold art. The people enjoyed the music and the food and the vibes. Success. 
The next weekend, I was all set for another success. A reggae fest in Seattle. Kiddin me? Of course I am gonna sell some MARLEY books here! Then again...

I might also sell..... zero copies. 
Yes, ZERO. 

That's the way the cookie crumbles, though. Years ago I would probably have been pissed as hell, but now I just laugh. Honest to goodness laugh. How could I ever have predicted that? You cant. It is what it is. Always and evermore a big crap shoot. And we artists or writers or musicians or whatever, are just at the other end of the dice, praying, wishing, hoping, doing everything we can to will this thing to happen. Even though we know we can do nothing to affect the most important variable: LUCK. 

Well, this coming weekend is another big festival. I put down money for a booth and am hoping to cover at least the cost of the booth and maybe beer money. But, that said, I have no freakin clue what will happen and I suppose I am fine with that. 
I feel like I should be nervous but I have learned one important thing over these years of feeble income. It is not I who make things happen. I do the work. I put myself in the spot. I try and smile. Then it is out of my hands. 

And no matter what the outcome......

Jah provides the bread. 

AID?

I was looking at the drawings of children affected by the war and atrocities in Sudan and came upon this drawing and amazingly simple quote. It needs to be asked to those wealthy individuals whose corporations provide weapons to this region for profit. You have probably all seen recent documentaries or films on the subject of weapons trade and how both sides of a conflict are backed by the same company, simply to ensure years of sales for the already filthy rich. Filthy is a really good adjective in this case, huh? All I know is that there will be justice, even if it is not realized during this lifetime.  



One young artist named Aisha said: 

"It is very kind to send us food, but this is Africa and we are used to being hungry. What I ask is that you please take the guns away from the people who are killing us."