A little painting. Or not.

Any major dude will tell you.

I wanted make a picture that was a little different. I set out to make a painting. Instead, I made something like an etching. It’s all one experiment.

Here’s what happened. We had a little rain to go along with our newly cold weather. And, that’s all I’m going to say about that. I had some errands to run. I did what I always do. I let the rain water accumulate on my car’s windshield. I photographed through that. No worries. As many of you know, I drive. I don’t really look at what’s on the monitor. Mostly, it’s just plain dumb luck if I’m successful.

I made a couple of nice rain shots that way. Was I satisfied? You already know the answer to that. If you’ve forgotten, NO!

I layered an older picture with the rain streaks. I made one image that is way too bright and colorful. It wasn’t that kind of day. So, I made this picture and intentionally toned it down. Now I had a picture that feels like yesterday.

That’s it.

Anyway. I’m a little amazed at the news from Washington D.C. . Well, not really the news, but some reactions to it. The guy who shall not be named ranted and rave on Twitter and in real life. His son said that it was boring. Most of the media, even the folks I like, picked up on that theme.

What the hell?

It’s Congressional testimony. It’s words. It’s dry. It’s content rich. The people in the room are not going to attack each other physically, like they do in Italy.

That got me thinking.

We live in an on demand world. There is a constant stream of news and commentary on Twitter, the worst place in the world. Most big box office earnings are cartoon-like movies. Movies about comic books that I read when I was child. Unless there is a lot of sizzle, there is no steak.

I hate to say it, but this is where the digital age has lead us. Make no mistake. I’m not against technology. How much of it do I use myself? I’m mostly worried about how most of the world’s population use it. I once read something about online flame wars. The line that caught my eye was this, we have the equivalent of a $25,000 computer in our hands. We use it to argue with people that we don’t know.

Think about that.

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Flower explosion.

This idea came to me in a dream.

I’m not sure what it means. The dream, or the work. Rather than just stuff it all back inside me head I thought it would be a good idea to explore it.

I made layers. You’ve seen both pictures in the past. Bright yellow flower and red leaves. My exploration involves basic arithmetic. You know. 1 + 1 = 2. I’ve long believed that 1+1 can equal all sorts of numbers if they are the right 1+1. This is especially true in the art world.

By layering pictures, I think I made at least a three. Maybe more.

I’ve tagged this picture, “Boom.” It looks like a firework display to me. It may look like something else to you. Likely, a mess. Never-the-less, all opinions are valid.

Somebody once asked me when I have time to do all this, especially since experiments can end in failure. It’s more or less when I feel inspired. Or, when we are watching something very light on television. Often, I’ll just listen and work on pictures. I’m great with podcasts. And, the radio.

The picture. You can do this too, especially if you use “Snapseed,” which tends to make editing very easy. The key is to find two pictures that work together. I usually work on both independently. I try to build equal light and color values.

When I layer them, I experiment with different ways of layering. After I’ve completed the layers, I adjust them together. I also make sure to trim — not crop — the final picture. Unless you have two pictures with the same shape, there may be bits of one or the other picture hanging out. I crop mostly for shape. On WordPress-based blogs, deeper is better.

That’s it. My first lesson in a long, long time. Sorry about that.


More like fall.

It’s about time.

The rain poured out of the sky. The cold weather arrived. The leaves turned yellow. They began to fall. We finally had golden leaves in the swamp.

I made this picture yesterday afternoon at about 4pm.

There were a lot of leaves already on the ground. Looking up however, was a little marvel. The leaves of fall.

And, I didn’t have to travel to Vermont to find them. I didn’t have to go to New Mexico, either. Nor, did I travel to Virginia. Or, to the Upee — the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s not that I don’t want to travel. But, I travel enough.

There are a few more little trips coming and then it’s 2020. The whole thing starts again. Another trip around the globe.

Anyway.

This is a great Sunday picture. I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I tinkered and made it more like an etching than a photograph. That’s not to say that the very purest picture, almost right out of the camera wasn’t pretty good. After all, how hard can it be to make a picture when nature does all the work?


And, then it happened.

A little rain to clear the skies.

A lot of sunlight to make the color explode off the page.

That’s what I saw as the day turned to dusk and beyond. The original picture didn’t quite do it, so I experimented. Then, I experimented some more. Then, I tinkered. I took it up a few notches. Then, I took it to notches unknown.

I added this. I added that. I did the reverse and subtracted some stuff. I got to a place where I actually liked the strangeness of the picture. So I went further. Beyond notches unknown. I was about to put a frame around it. Then, I thought, “nah.”

So, her it ’tis. A kind of art. Or, the work of a sick mind.

Speaking of sick minds. Remember, our falling down Hard Rock Hotel construction? It’s getting worse. The two giant cranes are shifting each day. In a true New Orleans moment, a fairly large tropical storm is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. It won’t hit us head on, but we’ll get wind and rain. Water makes the cranes heavier and the parts more lubricated. Wind, well… you know what wind does.

So.

The rocket surgeons who came from all over the country have come to a conclusion. The cranes must come down before the storm arrives so that they fall down in a controlled manner.

So.

The cranes are going to be blown up. Yes, You read that right. Blown up. Small charges will be placed at crucial places along the two cranes infrastructure and…

BLAMMO.

In theory, they should fall straight down. Even so, there will be some horrific damage to the street. The street that has the main source of electrical power to the French Quarter and two major gas lines that run very near to the building itself.

What could go wrong?

Why do I have a really bad feeling about this?

The City of Yes.


Something that I found.

I found it. Can I keep it?

I know this guy. He is an old school junk man. He drives around looking for stuff that is mostly made of metal. He sells some for scrap. He sells some stuff to repair men who restore old things that can be sold inexpensively.

His business is fairly active. He piles up his finds until he has a full truck and trailer. Then, off he goes to sell it. He has a wife and child. He supports all three of them doing this work. When the weather is cool, his work isn’t bad. But, those summer months. Whew.

He also counts on people like me, who go for walks, or walk their dogs. We tell him what we saw. I can’t speak for others, but I don’t want anything for that. If I see something I tell him.

That’s his story.

I may follow him around one day and tell his story in pictures. But, for now, I just photograph some of the stuff he collects. This picture was created from what looked and felt like aluminum sheets that may have been left over from a big project. Remnants.

The picture on its own is just fine. It’s sort of bluish-silver because I made it in shadows, You know me. I can never leave well enough alone. I tinkered with the color. I tinkered with sharpness. I layered another picture over it. I wasn’t sure that would work. But, it did.

This is a wall sized picture. I see it as an 8×10. That’s 8×10 feet. Could you imagine this on a wall in a large-sized room? The only art in it? Hmmm… we need some new art around this place.


Something in a dream.

A dream? Or, a nightmare?

Is it real? Or, something created out of nothing?

I had a sort of half awake dream a couple of nights ago. I had a little trouble falling asleep. When I finally did, I had a kind of dream almost immediately.  Or, I thought that I did.

There was someone standing next to the bed. He was dressed in old fashioned house painters clothes. White pants. White t-shirt. He may not have been a painter. That was just my impression of him.

He was just there, next to the nightstand. All I could see was his body. His head was behind the lamp. His feet were out of my line of sight. It was so real that I reached out to touch him. I couldn’t. Either my hand went through him or he backed up, out of my way. I decided to look down at his legs. There was just a sort of mist. When I looked up again, he was gone.

I have no idea if I was dreaming in deep REM state, or if I was half awake and seeing things. Eventually, I fell back asleep. Or, dreamed that I did. That was it for the dreams.

I have no idea what it means. There are different definitions of what dreams mean. I believe in the one that says a dream is an answer to a question that hasn’t been formed yet.

If the guy was really a house painter, what is the question?

Or.

Was he something else? Just because he was dressed in white pants and a t-shirt doesn’t mean that he was a painter. Maybe he was a milkman. Or, a donut delivery guy. You had to grow up in Southern California to understand that. Once there was a company called Helms Bakery. They sent their trucks far and wide to bring donuts to your door.

Anyway.

The picture. It’s layered. It started with a building structure. I added all sorts of layers to it. It feels a little bit like Halloween because the lamp in the window turned into a spooky red ghost.


The end of time.

Until the end of time.

That’s art. Once you make it, the art lasts. It will out live you and me. I suppose that’s one reason to make pictures. To make paintings. To make music. Or, to make just about anything else that you can think of.

It’s a legacy.

I suppose that’s one reason to keep pushing. To keep plugging away. To experiment. To grow.

At least it is for me.

Oh sure, I can make pictures for clients and friends. I can do the expected because that’s what I’m expected to do. That pays the bills. Feeds everyone. Puts better kibbles in the dogs’ bowls. Note: They don’t eat kibbles. They eat homemade dog food. Food that is better than some humans eat. That’s sort of weird, but they are all healthy. That matters.

Anyway.

The picture. The original picture was pretty cool on its own. I just had to experiment. I had to tinker. And, play. I tell you, I want to be a painter. But…


Sky fire.

Like magic.

That’s what it was. That’s how the sky lit up. It fooled me. Usually to have the sky catch fire, there must rain followed by light clouds. The sunlight hangs among the remaining clouds, its rays bouncing off of them and exploding in the sky.

Not this time.

There hasn’t been rain in over a month. Some of the northeastern parishes are already declaring a drought. I’ve been talking about the heat almost daily on Storyteller. No rain combined with heat means pretty boring sunsets.

Not last night.

Admittedly, I’ve enhanced the color among other things, but the light and color has to start from somewhere. There were even god rays which usually only come in a cloudy sky. They were so low and weak on the horizon line that I couldn’t get to a place to photograph them.

Something’s happening here.

And, it’s still hot.

I took whoever wanted to go for a walk out at around 8am. They’re smart dogs. They don’t like the heat anymore than their humans do. I passed one of my neighbors who said that it was much cooler today. I looked at him like he was crazy. 8am. 86 degrees. Of course it was cooler than 95 degrees. It was 8am. Sheesh.

They say.

A cold front should move in on Sunday night. On Monday we should have more normal weather for this time of year. This will be followed by a colder front which according to the weather people will drop the high temperatures down in the 70s and the lows in the middle 50s. You know what one of the Eagles sang… “that bubbled headed bleached blond who comes on at six.”

That’s how I feel. I don’t trust them. I wish I had a job like theirs. Get their brand of news wrong 90% of the time and be called a regional legend.

And so it goes.


In through the out door.

The calendar flipped.

It’s October. Still hot. Still humid. Still staying inside too much because of it.

When I do go out I find strange stuff. I found something that I wanted to use a component background. The round shapes in this picture are made of sunlight passing through a frame and illuminating the darkness.

The minute that I processed it, I knew I had a picture to layer into it. So I used it. The image came together so quickly that I knew I was on the right track. That’s how it works. At least it does for me. I suspect it does for most people. Artists are all really just vessels. Our work isn’t really ours. It belongs to something bigger than us. To the cosmos? To a power higher than us? To nature?

I don’t really know.

Before you think that I’ve lost my mind, I’m not the only one to say this. Musicians like Dylan, Jones, and Young say it too. There are days when they write two, three or four songs without even trying. They don’t know how they did it. And, the songs are great.

On more thing about this way of working. It doesn’t happen often. Many days are a struggle. There are dry days. There are days when I swear that I’m blind. There are days when I can’t see a picture to save my soul. And, there are days when I can’t write on Storyteller.

But, not today.

The picture just came. The words just came. Thanks, whoever you are that gave them to me.

Do you really want to know more about the picture? Make pictures. Every day. Everywhere. You’ll build enough of an archive that you can layer images when you want to. Maybe inspiration will come to you. Or, not.

Who knows?