Friday, December 30, 2011

Family Wanderers

Really quick post here...on my way out the door to some town near Green Bay to hang out with my special lady. How do you do that heart thing? < get the idea.'s a new piece tentatively titled "Family Wanderers" and a detail of the child's face....not nearly finished, but it's off to an interesting start.
This is a piece I've been working on the last two days. At one point it was a super simply painting of some daffodills from about seven years ago...and frankly, it was just boring. It's a piece that didn't have any movement, vibrance or life and really just looked like something I wasn't interested in at the time I did it.
Even by just blocking out the flowers with patches of yellow, I already like it more,.

Mayan Countdown? Experts say "No."

While no one disputes that the Mayan calendar abruptly ends, and that ending has been said to fall on December 21, 2012, apparently the Mayans never made any association with the end of the calendar as "The End of the World." According the experts, it was christian-minded decipherers of the calendar, already familiar with apocalyptic tales of The Bible, that assumed the end of the Mayan long-count calendar meant "The Apocalypse."

Oh...and apparently all those scenarios (pole-flipping, solar flares, planet collisons, Supervolcanoes) don't hold that much water below. Ya know...just in case you were worried.

The Supervolcanoe side...

Best Reader Photos of 2011

One great thing about the end of the year? Lists...well, that is unless you have a fear of lists. I suppose then, that the end of the year is horrifying and the internet is a dungeon of constant fear and unease...Either way...lists galore and I, personally, like a good list. Check out MSNBC's "Best Reader Photos of 2011."

and good luck on that "list-ophobia"

Thursday, December 29, 2011



35 Civilians killed in Attack on "Militants"

A Turkish airstrike, supposedly aimed at militants was a mis-fire, killing 35 Kurdish civilians. A Pro-Kurd party called the attack "a massacre" and "a crime against humanity."  Military officials said that they had seen suspected militants from un-manned drones flying over the area, as well as receiving information that militants had been sent to the area. Kurdish leaders believe the attack was deliberate while officials state that there would have been no reason to assume the presence of civilians in the area, leading to the assumption those seen were militants.

Investigations are in progress...but a horrible story none-the-less...

Werner Herzog Reads "Where's Waldo"

This is just a simply hilarious "project" from Werner Herzog, who usually narrates extremely dramatic, intensive and personal documentaries about a variety of subjects...but not children's books. Check it out...

"At the ski slopes, I find him almost immediately. At the sea, I hunt until I am mad and yet Waldo does not reveal himself to me."

Forgotten Dreams

This piece is based off of a great documentary by Werner Herzog (best narrator ever) "The Cave of Forgotten Dreams" which centers around the oldest cave paintings known to man, located in a cave in France. Much like the piece"Now that I'm Older" I was inspired by the aesthetics of the paintings and, in this case, I actually sought to imitate the subject matter.
The piece has a very subdued palette for the most part, using washes and smears for most of the color splotches, and I think that gives it a much less "finished" feeling. It's almost a quick sketch, meant to be revisited. I also am really drawn to the lack of depth...and least in the perspective sense of depth.  The way that everything lays one a very similar plane..,

As with most of my work, I try to connect everything through the human experience. Either through using old subjects or being inspired by universal ideas, and "bison" are something that seem to have come up a few times over the last year. I think both the simplicity of the form and the iconic status in both environmental and spiritual senses draws me to them...and I believe, at least in the few tries I've given, they help to create some very powerful pieces that succeed in linking the modern and past people together in some form...

here are the other two I can think of off the top of my head...
No Red Sky or Bright Sunrise

The Buffalo Run

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Now That I'm Older: Details

Since the piece is so big and your computer screen oh so small, a lot of the detail gets lost. While it appears extremely intensive, and it was, the pencil largely comes across as tiny hatches or just scribbles. While that's the case for some of the piece, a lot of the imagery are tiny little symbols and pictures, not to mention all the staining, washes and texture that simply can't be seen in the entire image on a computer screen. Take a look at these detail shots to get a better all-around understanding of what you are seeing...

Now That I'm Older

This is my newest piece. It's a big'n and I'm pretty excited about it. It has more drawing than anything I've done in a long long time and is so deep in it's markings and objects. I'm simply LOVEING the aesthetic so much that I won't fix that typo!

In all seriousness though, I'm really happy with how this turned out. This piece was made on top of another. A piece by an unknown artist, largely unfinished, but lending greatly to the depth and much of the background colors. It is meant to resemble the aesthetic of a cave painting...the title referring to the perceived advancement through age or time; the childlike, simple marking contradicting that notion. I suppose it speaks about the idea that we, as humans grow into better, wiser people, and, at least through my experience,  it doesn't work out like you always plan. In many ways, life gets tougher, more congested, more others it becomes free and allows for you to embrace the childish eccentricities you have. In a more general sense, we become less trusting, more introspective. In a wider view, through history we have become more technologically intelligent, but spiritually distant and environmentally, and generally, destructive. We have grown and regressed. This piece tackles this idea. The "scaffolding" almost looking like a tower or building, representing advancement, but the unfinished nature, showing there is much to be done...the background showing through, even overlapping the tower at times, representing that which we have left behind or what we believe to have overcome....Enjoy...

Louis CK makes 1M$, gives half away.

It's rare that celebrities, or anyone for that matter, really stick it to the man in anything but a superficial way. It's even rarer that the "man" supports it, helps promote it, and then, even rarer, that the celebrity gives away half of the money he earned on the venture. Well that rare celebrity is comedian Louis CK, who recently opted out of a network deal and sold his new special for 5$ on his website with the simple message "Please do not pirate."

The venture worked...REALLY well. In fact,  CK made $1 million bucks over just a few days. Even more amazing? CK said he'd give 1/4th in bonuses to his staff, and 1/4th to charity. Check it out here...and check out his show on FX...not only is the show awesome, but apparently the real guy is also.

And go to the special here:

Start with the Bison

Finally, I have some new art for all you. It's been a while due to holidays and whatnot...but I have two pieces that I am very interested in for you. This first one is more of a drawing than a painting, done on canvas with pencil, washes, and pastel. The idea stemmed from the documentary "Caves of Forgotten Dreams"which investigates the oldest known cave paintings on the planet. I found the simple yet sophisticated drawings extremely interesting. The implication of movement, the realism of the animals, the detail and preservation...all were astounding and not what you associate with prehistoric paintings, yet all came through these untouched, 32,000+ year old images.
I'd like to add more variation to lines of the buffalo, especially the farthest right one...I like them, but the farthest right animal just seems so contained and static despite the pose. I think some kind of blue-gray wash over the top left would also help describe the setting and give a little more weight to the surroundings. While I like the background color, there it seems to just disappear into nothingness...a very vague area that stands apart from the markings and distracts due to its emptiness....

Tour John Kowalczyk's Studio with EFFJAY

Kick off a great new year of art by touring the Redline studio of John Kowalczyk, featured artist in the new show "I AM A PAINTER" at EFFJAY Studios in Sheboygan. Check out the details below.

and check out John's blog here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Helen Frankenthaler 1928-2011

Helen Frankenthaler, one of the leading artists of the "color field" or "post-painterly abstraction" movement died tuesday at her home after a dealing with a long illness. The artist pioneered the technique of pouring thinned, fluid paint onto raw canvases, creating color fields and is credited with freeing color from the more famous "gestural" applications of abstract artists such as Jackson Pollock and her ex-Husband, Robert Motherwell (<awesome artist).

Check out the article below and some of her artwork.

50 Best Movies of 2011 - by Paste

Well holy cow do I need to catch up on my movie watching from the last year. I know I've been watching a lot of lame history channel documentaries, X-files, and South Park lately, but I didn't realize that I'd apparently missed about 47 of the top 50 movies, and had never even heard of at least 30 of them. I don't credit myself as a movie aficionado or snob at all...but I thought I paid more attention than that...Check em out...hopefully you're doing better than me!

Follow-up on the Voter ID thing...

Here's a very different article with a very different view of the facts about the Voter ID law and why it seems to be supported by the majority of Americans. It's simply astounding how two articles can say such totally different things about one law and it's implications/reasons. This article takes a much less alarming approach, pretty much dispelling the ideas that all these people will be unable or unwilling to make the changes needed to vote, and actually cites examples of where it has improved voter turnout.

Some interesting quotes
The NAACP has asked the United Nations to intervene to block state voter ID laws. It may have an ulterior motive for opposing ballot security measures. An NAACP official was convicted on 10 counts of absentee voter fraud in Tunica County, Miss., in July. 
In Georgia, black voter turnout for the midterm election in 2006 was 42.9 percent. After Georgia passed photo ID, black turnout in the 2010 midterm rose to 50.4 percent. Black turnout also rose in Indiana and Mississippi after photo IDs were required.
"The most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African-American community is the wholesale manufacture of ballots at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt," Mr. Davis said. "Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too mentally impaired to function cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights." - Arthur Davis (Former Democratic African American representative from Alabama.
Of 1.3 million new registrations ACORN turned in in 2008, election officials rejected 400,000.
With how different the articles are, it's hard to really believe either is 100% accurate...but still worth checking the other side of things. Keep reading and be smart for yourselves.

Should Students Be Worried About Voting?

The new Voter ID bill has pissed a lot of people off...and this article from the New York Times basically gets the idea across that students are screwed...and I suppose I just feel it's simply unhelpful at the least, and somewhat misleading at the worst.

Sure, it points out the problems with voter ID that are very real and will bar many people from voting if they approach the polls in their current situation, however, it completely fails to report the many options you have as a student, low-income family member, or any other "disenfranchised" group the article claims the law hurts.  I get it...the law is completely inconvenient for many people. It requires action on the part of the voter to ensure their right instead of having the right automatically. It sucks. It's not really fair and it causes a lot of problems that probably don't make the thing worth the benefits in the first place.

But the one thing it doesn't do is tell you all the options you have to pre-emptively avoid the very issues it points out. Sure...telling people the problem is one thing, but this article makes it seem unavoidable. "All students are screwed no matter what", and that simply isn't the case. If you take some proactive action, you can find out how you can make sure you vote in the right place on time.

I guess my problem isn't what he's's how he's saying it combined with what's not said. The article is "ALERT! DANGER! GOP HATES YOU AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT" when it could have easily been "Voter ID is not fair, but here's how you can protect your rights."

One of those, I think, is a much better way to report news...and one of them is aimed at creating enemies, sparking arguments, and creating grudges. There are a lot of things going wrong in politics, but throwing up your hands in horror is not the right approach to getting through it. Despite the article being true, it only seeks to enhance the divide between parties and I think that's bad.

Read, educate yourself, and find out how you can take care of your rights instead of just yelling and screaming that they are being taken away.

Here's some pages that address those problems

And contact your representatives with other questions. You're not helpless and don't let people make you believe you are. Take accountability for yourself and that which is required of you and you'll be OK. You may not think it's fair that you need to take responsibility for having the right documentation, but if you really care about your right to vote, you have the ability ensure that you'll have it. Be informed. You're not screwed, you just have to actually look ahead

Games of the Year

Sometimes I wish I was more of a gamer...then most of the time I don't at all and am thankful I'm not. That said, video games are still a ton of fun and it's always worth it to check out the great new stuff coming out these days. I tend to stick to the more simple games,  (Mariokart Wii was a winner over Xmas for me) but have always been interested in seeing the major blockbusting, two-week playing time, life-sucking, multiplayer games that most everyone else seems to like...With all the revolutions in graphics, gimmicks, detial and possibilities, it's hard not to be interested...
Check out Yahoo's picks for Games of the Year. From blockbusters like Skyrim to free downloads, check out the winners of all the categories.

Barbara Hepworth Statue Stolen

A statue from one of Britain's most important sculptors was stolen from its display in a public park in London.

Police believe that it is likely the theft is related to a string of growing car, cable and metal thefts in the city as prices for the metals has grown greatly recently. The bronze statue was insured at 500,000 pounds, far more than the price the piece would get for the scrapped bronze...

Barbara Hepworth is considered one of Britain's most important modern sculptors.

more about Barbara

Brees Breaks Record, but Will it Hold?

I'm not touching on some steroids conspiracy or tainted records, more the forgotten fact that Tom Brady is on the tail of Drew Brees' freshly broken passing yardage record...and he even has a chance to take it. With one week left, Drew Brees passed the quarter century long record of 5,084 passing yards by Dan Marino on a touchdown late in the fourth quarter of last night's game, helping the Saints to a win and home-playoff birth, and most notably, a virtually guaranteed place in Canton. Though the game wasn't his best of the year with two interceptions, he managed to get what he needed...but not much more than that.

In fact, with not much left to play for, the Saints QB is only 109 yards ahead of the Pats Tom Brady. The Pats are still battling for homefield throughout the playoffs, a pretty big deal when, or if, December weather rolls into New England. Add into that equation the fact that Brady is facing the Bills defense, who held him to no less than 387 yards the first time around. reality, Brady playing through much of the game could very likely happen. Brees sitting for most of the game could as well....and if Brady ends up with 109 yards more than a sitting Brees, the record goes to everyone's favorite Patriot...well you get the point.

The question now becomes, what do the Saints do? They went for the record last night despite having a 22 pt lead with 2 minutes to go, which made me think for a second that maybe Brees would take it easy next week...But then, if they would risk the player in week 16, why would they simply let him give up the record a week later? Carolina's defense isn't what you'd call "scary" and the pass-rush was anything but a rush last night for the most part, leaving Brees upright and un-injured. Will they risk it again in a completely meaningless game?

Now IF the 49ers lose to the Rams, the Saints can get the #2 seed there is technically something on the line, but given the state of the Rams, I think Waukesha High could probably sew up that game. The Saints have never been the team to play scared so I'm betting Brees plays at least a half....more if Brees gets to make the decision (with how he said he got emotional before last nights game, I'm thinking the record means quite a bit), and especially more if the Rams are int he game... but it will be interesting to see. With Brady being easily able to put up 350 and being much more in control of their destiny, they pats are sure to play the entire game tough...will the saints risk the coveted record for safety? may all be a moot point. With two QBs set to break the record this year, three possible, I can only imagine the number of contenders will grow each year and that passing records, at least bulk numbers, will all begin to fall with a bit of regularity. It's still a great record to you have to give it up to Brees. He's a class-act guy and you couldn't hope for a better player to break the record. I just wouldn't be surprised to see it broken a few more times during his career, if not in this year as well.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best of '11: Semi-finals

There's a lot of "best of" categories I could go through and I'll probably end up getting bored enough to do a few...but a big one I want to do is my favorite pieces of mine from the last year. I think I'm going to try to narrow it down to three...and knowing my indecisiveness, that is going to be nearly impossible...

So here are the knee-jerk reaction favs (in no particular order) of 2011 from the collection of my house. Enjoy.


New Jonsi Music Video's a new song too. It's on the "We Bought a Zoo" OST and deserves a good listen from ya'll
I can't get the actual website to work so you'll have to go there and click the video on the first post...really cool.

Im a Dumb

It's official...Im dumb 80% of the time. I worked on a few things last night and forgot the unfortunately I don't have anything to share with you in terms of paintings. The newest piece that I started is 36x60 and, so far, has a similar start to "The Tower."
So it's significantly bigger than this guy which I think is great. I really like this piece, but the scale of it made it difficult  to be as detailed as I initially hoped. There just wasn't enough control of the medium to keep both the texture and smallest detail, causing me to restrain the amount of marks I made. I still think it came out well, I just think that the much larger format is going to end up being a big boost to the intricacies and the interesting "hidden" aspects of the piece that simply would have been to small in the above piece to be of any consequence...

Work of Art Season 2

Check out Mary-Louise Shumacher's review of the finale of season 2 of "Work of Art"

Green Bay Packers: The New "America's Team"

Check it out. After a recent poll and 23 years of hearing how the Cowboys were "America's Team," they've finally been de-throned by none other than our Green Bay Packers. In fact, Dallas got the LEAST favorite team with 22% of the negative votes. This comes in a year where GB won the super bowl, Aaron Rodgers is the front-runner in the MVP race, GB is on top of the NFL, and they, until last week, were looking for an undefeated season. OH! and I finally got my first article of Packer clothing last night! ( i know, I'm 23 years late on that). all deserve it.

Shroud of Turin Made By UV Light

If you haven't heard of the Shroud of Turin and like a good mysterious history tale, you should definitely take a look. It is the purported shroud that Jesus was wrapped in and carries a "print" of the man's face and body. It;s largely believed to be a medieval fake due to a carbon dating project done in the 80s, but recent findings have casted doubt upon that. For one, some believe that the area tested, a damaged edge, was at one point repaired and re-weaved to make it less obvious. They say the medieval date picked up by the test is simply the newer fibers that were interwoven with the originals.

Now, scientists say that the only way the image could have been imprinted on the cloth was by a UV laser. Through testing, they've found no pigment, brushwork, or source for the image, not to mention that the image is a negative, something that would be odd to see before photography.,,

Anyways...check it out. Lots of cool and interesting theories and ideas.
Wikipedia page:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lucky Strike

O man...This guy's back from the dead. I think it's been sitting behind the couch for the last six months gathering dust and I pretty much forgot about it. It was one of my favs at the time I did it. I really liked the simplicity in the image. The "shadows" in step with each other...the abstractness of the space...the cigarette burning...It all seemed to come together in a piece that really is powerful in person...
Looking at it now, there's a few things I'd like to change. I'm not sure about the red...a linen color would be very striking to me and I'd like there to be a little bit of a border...or maybe just some extra free-space on the sides. I like the image, it just seems a little jammed in the space. Or maybe it's fine as is...I that it's on the wall again, it's got my attention...

Plus check out that quilt...way to go Mom Fleming

EU Proposes Largest Ever Cultural Funding Program.

The European Union plans to launch the largest ever cultural funding program, dedicating 1.8 Billion between 2014 and 2020. With the EU facing huge financial problems, the program has faced mixed reviews across the board.

Take a look.'s-largest-ever-cultural-funding-programme/25318

Would the US ever enact of something like this? Although the knee-jerk reaction would be "NO, never." remember that just sixty years ago, there was a Federal Arts Project which found work for out of work artists around the country...including then unknowns like Jackson Pollock. I think the real question is Could something like this actually help the economy?" Because, if not, the answer is definitely a no. Interesting though...

More Details

Here's a few more details from "The Burning River." The more I see the piece, the more depth there is to it. The more I search, the more I find. It's really become a very interesting piece for me and surprisingly so, based on the fact that I wasn't too huge a fan when I finished the thing. I just think it's one that isn't overly "wild," as some of my pieces tend to be toward the end, but still has that detailed, fragmented, multi-dimensional look that pulls you in from a distance.