Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Political Cartoon: Democrat Double-speak

What is Democracy?

Is voting a mere formality?

Does anyone sincerely value the democratic voice of the people?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Angry Sneer" Palm Frond Mask, Acrylic

Latest mask. An interesting story behind this one:
I had a plan to paint a dog on this frond. I really need to make more dog masks. People really love their dogs, and I'm sure I can sell many masks portraying popular breeds. But when I looked at the blank canvas of this Queen Palm frond base, I couldn't help myself from seeing the angry spirit here captured. It was inherent in the folds and markings of the wood: the squinty eyes, pig-nose, and side-breaking mouth. This is my usual method for creating these masks: I find the face already hidden within it. But this time, I really wanted to make a dog mask! But the spirit of the wood was there, glowering at me. Could I really just cover him up with a happy German Shepherd that had nothing to do with this particular frond's shape and form? Well, no, obviously, I couldn't. There are thousands of frond bases falling off thousands of Queen Palm trees in the OC area. But only this one frond contained this wood spirit. I'm not sure how saleable this mask will be, but here he is, angry sneer and all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New Palm Frond Masks: Red Stone, Long Face. Updated!

Update: Finished this one.

Red Stone Face
Acrylic on Palm Frond
Feb 2017

Original Post:

I've been working on my palm frond masks lately.

Red Stone Face
Acrylic on Palm Frond
Feb 2017
I've cleaned up a new batch of downed frond bases. That involves trimming off the excess fringes, messy and breakable edges of the fronds, with saw, razor and shears. Then sanding the remaining rough edge as smooth as possible-- this part is tricky because the wood is porous with thick fibers, so sanding the edge more and more just ends up revealing more and more rough fiber ends.

I left them, concave side up outside in the pouring once-in-a-lifetime torrential California rain, and they got pretty clean, like being power-washed. Some sanding remains to be done on the surfaces, which often shed a wispy filmy skin which kind hinders the painting process.

Then the design goes on. I have a plan to do more quicker ones, say under an hour of painting, as well as a few more intricately designed ones taking much longer.

Long Face
Acrylic on Palm Frond
Jan 2017

Here pictured are an example of each type. The red mask was inspired by a vision, of a red stone face, not surprisingly. I have a bit more work to do on that one.

The wood textured mask was more or less doodled onto the frond in black acrylic paint, diluted with water. It has eye holes which I had drilled previously.  Painting the face on it took me considerably less than an hour. More like 5-10 minutes.

You need a mask! I have your mask! Hit me up! Let's make a deal, I will work with your budget. What kind of mask do you want? I'm your man for palm frond masks. I can draw or paint Your Face on a palm frond, and it will actually look like you! Or your loved one, your pet, or your favorite person or animal or image!

BFF!  Best Fronds Forever!

Support the Arts!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New Palm Frond Masks: Boston Terrier, Three Monkeys

My two latest palm frond masks are gifts to my brother's family.
The Boston Terrier pictured below is Bella, the Ari family dog. At age 16, blind and feeble, she is on her last leg. Here she is in healthier times, immortalized on the frond of a Queen Palm.
I searched in my collection of blank fronds (about 100 of them) for the one that had the closest shape to the characteristic stubby snout of the Boston Terrier. The fronds usually have bends and curves in them, suggesting noses, jowls, etc. This one was pretty close. Just a little upturn I could use for the dog's muzzle.  The angled shots below better show the shape of the frond.

Bella the Boston Terrier
Acrylic on queen palm frond
November 2016
a gift to the Ari's 

 And the mask below I made as a gift for one set of my brother's in-laws, who have hosted my folks and I for the last few thanksgivings. They are big collectors of art, and one recurring theme in their collection is the three monkeys of folk art: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. This was my interpretation of the classic meme, which I call Hear, See, Speak ALL.

Three Monkeys, or Hear, See, Speak ALL
Acrylic on queen palm frond
November 2016
A gift for the Vorzimers.

Three Monkeys
Three Monkeys

This video gives a feel for the 3D structure of the frond. Unfortunately, it's turned sideways, and I can't seem to fix that.
You'll just have to turn your head or your monitor slightly.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Burning Man 2016: Photos and Stories, Part 3 (of 3) The Best of them ALL!!!

The temple was fairly glorious this year, in the style of a pagoda, designed by master temple builder, David Best, who always infuses his creations with a mix of eastern and western symbols and architecture, but always leaning towards the East. This year's was no exception, with its central spire hanging down, nearly grazing the spire jutting up from the stupa, the central altar, table or platform. As usual, Burning Man's participants fill the walls with writings, drawings, art, photos, small to large shrines, and every manner of mishmosh to signify their deep feelings to be released. All of it that's made to burn, is burned up in the final Temple fire on Sunday night.

I made it out to the Temple on Friday, after spending some time at the Man and surrounding Guilds.  I'd heard that the Temple this year was made from mostly (like 80%?) recycled wood, mostly from shipping palettes. The use of repurposed wood was a condition of the temple builder's son contributing to the construction.

Inside, I found my spot, which called to me with its offer of space and comfort. Sitting, I meditated for awhile, eyes open, just taking in the breathtaking beauty around me. The structure was amazing, and all around me were the beautiful members of my community of souls, all deep in their rituals: meditating, crying, leaving their remembrances. Without having any particular focus for my feelings, I just let the tears pour out me as they naturally would, my mind more or less a blank, just reacting to what I was seeing and experiencing. The deep and dramatic emotions released in this place just resonate around the cathedral ceiling, swirling around all occupants, a palpable force. It's hard to be in here and not be affected by it, not be swept along in the current of outpouring emotional energy.

After a time, having gotten my release, I was ready to move on.

As I wander outside, checking out the other structures on the temple's "grounds", a mighty vortex is whipped up in the distance.

The Lighthouse.
Of all the large art installations on playa this year, this was the grand-daddy, the big prize-winner, if there were such a thing. Massive, extensive, gorgeous, and no doubt one of the happenin' spots on the playa this year. I didn't go up inside it, as I eschew lines at Burning Man (unless it's for food). But, I got some good shots of the outside, and some of the art inside the towers. I also missed the burning of this structure, but I hear it was spectacular.

But speaking of burns, I did manage to catch the tail-end of the Temple Burn, and the subsequent swarming around the bonfire which is annual tradition. It's always a scene at the Man and Temple burns, with everyone doing their thing around, and in relation to, this absolutely huge and intensely hot fire.  One guy was using a space blanket over his face to get close enough to the fire to roast marshmallows, which went into s'mores which he was passing out.  Drummers and other musicians practiced their art. Dancers danced. All, pretty much, were wearing their finest playa outfits, except the many who had shucked theirs off, to cavort nude around the fire.

I became one of these, feeling as free and safe as I have ever felt with no clothes on. The raging fire was cleansing; I could use it to get as hot as I could possibly stand to get, and then cool myself off by stepping out of the circle, into the desert wind.  I knew the trick of keeping low to avoid the most intense heat of the fire. I laid down and scooted as close as I could get. This was a spectacle for some people. Those who did not know better must have thought I was broiling in the intense heat which they could hardly approach. But near the ground, it was cool, and the heat rose off the fire, for the most part missing my prone body.

I also did my manic dance around a smaller portion of the fire, building up from a slow interpretive dance, to my Happy Dance of Ultimate Joy(TM), and of course, as always, and without fail, my chicken dance, or "cock dance", if you will: flapping the wings, bobbing the head, and perhaps a crow or two.  A little while after my dance, a friendly gent approached me and told me that his lady had experienced emotional release from watching me dance. She had come to the temple burn with a recent tragedy to mourn and try to get release from.  As it was, she didn't get it, and was not feeling any better, even somewhat worse, until her boyfriend pointed out to her my carefree happy-dance. This made her laugh, broke the tension, and picked up her mood.  She seemed light-hearted in talking to me. They were both gushing with gratitude for my expression, giving me the endearing title of "chicken-man". I told them that's why I do it: primarily to express my own joy, but also to connect with the joy of others, which may be buried deep within.

My picture of the nudity is fairly discrete, I believe.

And then it was over. When the party ends, it really ends. Everyone gets the heck out of town.

The Teepee and tower to the left in the picture are the Tuna Guys, where I enjoyed a bite of undercooked tuna and a swig of Whiskey, Monday night, post-burn. One of the hold-out camps. 

My kinfolk getting the gear up on the roof for the trip home. Uncle Mike holding up Gerflash, while Nostrildamus facilitates.

At least it's now a straight path to the restrooms.

Inside the Porto, an exhortation taken from the bible, to not throw trash and other detritus in there.

Sticker of the Tuna Guys theme camp.

Zendo is a great organization, spearheading much needed harm-reduction efforts based on common sense, at Burning Man and other festivals.

Home, unloaded, and looking a bit weathered. Mostly dusty, but omigod, was I glad to be home!

After the first round of cleanup. Still much recovering to do, but feeling pretty slick.