Friday, December 12, 2008

Rusi Returns

A few years ago I made a digital collage based on a character from
a Nang shadow puppet theater. The character is Rusi, an old man you 
might meet in the woods. For better or worse he knows everything
about you. The Nang theme is essentially morality. I return to the Rusi 
theme from time to time in my art. I created this Flash(click here for the show) 
(sorry about the long load) for my final project in my media 
art course at Wesleyan mentioned in the last post. 
I was trying to achieve the same flicker book look of an actual performance.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Falling Leaves

Please click here to view my first foray into Flash! (oops-it takes a few seconds for it to load and become visible) I've been taking a digital media course at Wesleyan this fall. The flash portion of the course has been difficult to say the least. My learning curve has been slow and frustrating, but so satisfying when things come together. Todd Jokl  my instructor has some interesting work to check out at his link.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A modern fairy tail

Yes, I'm back after a brief time out. I haven't been posting for awhile. Plus, I admit
I have much to catch up on the blogs that inspire me. I can't explain it, I just needed
a break. I haven't been totally inactive. I worked on an artist book project that just
hasn't come together. Some art failures I'll blog about some not. I've been working
with narative and I have something to offer. The following is a 12 piece fairy tale. 
Each panel telling a story. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

An Old Work

I've been looking over old photos of my early art and thought
some bloggers would be interested in where I was at my beginning. 
Born in a small town in mid-state New York to a family business
of auto body repair. I worked in the shop from age 12, and learned
welding. Thank God I excelled in school and got a scholarship. I 
started in business but quickly found art. Much to my family's
distress. My work in the shop lead me on a path of large welded
 sculptures. But times change and now my canvas is different.

A very minimal approach - concentrating on structure.  This work 
consists of three one inch thick steel plates holding a concrete 
wedge. This work was part of an exhibit at the Arnot Museum 
in the 70's. Got a $500 dollar prize for best new work, but not
the collection prize. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Karen and I were in Ithaca, N.Y. over Labor Day. I was involved with
developing an upsurd game that has persisted with our college friends
for 30 years. Yes, we even party with our college age children during 
this event. The game is based on croquet played at night. The illuminatin
is provided by lighter fluid. We set the wickets, balls and sometimes
mallets ablaze. At the start Fluxus and Happenings were the thing.
I  dropped Minimal went with the flow and 30  years later I still
 have a work in progress. To most a wild party, to me a work of art.
A big multi-generational get together. I get to meet everyones kids
not just to see pictures. How cool is that!

The t-shirts have become a pet project. I've been providing free t's 
for at least 20 years now. This years model features a rift on a
1890's croquet rule manual. The mister wicket® has a long history
probably explained on my other blog, if I can get help or find time.
Enough summer fun, I'm back on the trail of some art fun. Best
job on the planet as long as we realize the responsibility.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Writing on the Wall

Bittersweet to return home after a nice vacation. I did  miss
my technology; as it turned out we were so far off the grid
I didn't even have cell phone coverage. So updating a blog
via iPhone wasn't going to happen, nor checking email. In 
fact I only got in two painting sessions. Karen loves this; get
Bill to hike, bike, canoe until he drops. I admit to being a 
weekend warrior in the exercise department, but my wife
always thinks I'm still 25, bless her heart. So every muscle 
is sore, but telling me she is right, as usual. So today was
like this: mow lawn, run out of gas, pick up gas, food shop,
do laundry, pick up the dog, return calls and emails, sort
mail, gasp at the bills, and finally sit down and do a quick
30 minute photoshop work to remind myself of myself. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Some Photoshop play. I just upgraded and am trying to learn the 
new features. Just some basic play using some old files and images.
Remaking and recombining and trying some filters. Probably more
angst showing than I'm feeling because we're about to leave for
vacation! Maybe the angst comes from the fact that I don't have
a laptop to take with me. But nine days in Canada with just a 
camera and my sumi-e brushes might be just what I need. I have 
been practicing updating the blog with my iphone but don't 
expect much. Karen thinks I need a break from technology; get
back to roots- draw, paint make sandcastles. She's usually right; 
we'll be celebrating our 32nd anniversary on this trip.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

12-13-14-15 and Cover

Final post on the book. I suppose I have to move on to some 
new works. I realize I never showed the cover. It is a very
thick handmade paper that is heavily embossed with
symbols that at first resemble letters, but.. aren't.

Page 14 contains an ancient page element, a brief colophon and
The missing cut outs turned into dice from page 5. Page 15 
contains a final quote and an image I created from a dust
filter in Photoshop. There is a page 16, which contains the 
last of the embossed prime numbers 73,79,83. 

Page 12 comprises of a revisit to the Cage musical notation, river and 
two quotes. Page 13 reveals the rest of the picture that was hinted
at under the gutter at page 4. 

Friday, July 25, 2008

testing - testing

Trying to post from my iPhone. (Wow Dr. Watson, it really worked) Now I just have
to figure out the pix part. You see, K and I are going on vacation and I'm
afraid to go cold turkey on blogging for ten days. Yes, off to Ontario, Canada and 
Algonquin park at a quiet lodge for awhile to regenerate. Now if I can only figure 
out pictures on this mini marvel. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

pages8,9,10 and 11

Laura's recent post asked a question about how the progression
of the pages were thought out. My approach to this book was
one of accepting chance but also thinking about how the flow 
of the book would resolve. I think about how each page opens
and what the viewer will see. Will it mesh? Will it mesh with 
the overall feeling? Although this is a purely visual book, there
has to be a beginning, middle and end. Resolve.

Pages 8 and 9 form the center of the book. Very sparse, but intentional, 
to focus attention to the power of the randomly selected but powerful
phrases, the stream and transparent nature of the paper.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pages 5,6 and 7

Page 7 is simply mirror/extended version of the John Cage notation.
Plus the little dots that compliment page 5. Yes, this complex in the 
explanation. Plus I realize that if you have to explain too much
you lose half your audience. Well this is not so much a book report
as a joy of creation explanation. 

Thanks to our instructor, Robin and Box Car Press. we had a 
series of images to work with, besides what was available
at Wesleyan. the images on this page are printed from
photopolymer plates that can be set type high using
a precision machined aluminum block. I like the river 
image-it transitions from the topo map nicely. The other
two images need a little explaining. In the gutter (fold area)
is a John Cage musical notation. So bizarre, that all I can do 
is appreciate its graphic nature. I've also got an upside shark
plate that was determined by blind toss.

Page 5 is actually printed onto a portion of a topographic map. An
etching from Wesleyans collection was set up type high and printed
I freehanded a swoop and cut through the paper and put dots on 
page 7 to reference the title, Chance in a Bowl.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

page 4

I do love unveiling this work. On page four if you look closely you will see
that I am using embossing and creating a prime number sequence. The 
spacing of the numbers corresponds to the numbers missing in the
math problem. Also, peaking out of the gutter is a glimpse of a work to 
appear on a later page. I think I am enamored with with this art format
because it is touch, feel and even smell. It's not under glass; instead it's
meant to be enjoyed as an art object that one can hold, handle and enjoy
without the intrusion of a frame and glass. A little like mail art. I've been 
working on version two and three this week and may take the artist way
and throw something else in the mix. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

page 3

Page 3 and still none of "my work" other than I set the type
on page 1. A unique plate by Jean Arp sets the stage for a 
forward by Robin Price .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Page 2

Like so many posts, I try to examine the technique and the why of what 
I'm doing. I think that trying to describe making an artist book is next 
to impossible. You need to have personal contact to make any sense of 
it. This is page two. This is a collaboration of six people. Six people 
who are embracing chance in the creation of these books. 6 decide on
quotes derived from random books; 6 decide on images available at 
Wesleyan (via Robin, our tour guide) and 6 print four folios.  The four 
folios give us 16 possible pages to customize. Now bear in mind we have
 to learn a new measurement system and the upside down of the press.
We need to learn the art of the press. The machine that impresses our 
work. I think each one may have a unique temperament.  I did have the 
pleasure of setting type for the opening and the pleasure of inking and 
running the second page. I promise that the images will appear soon.


Thursday, July 10, 2008


This turn of events, this new exploration will take several posts to
unravel. Like the onion, many layers exist. I've finished my three
week intensive of artists books. I'm encouraged by my toe dipping
into this world. What I learned was not able to measure. To show
something on a wall, under glass, is one thing; to hold and require
the receiver to respond is another. Don't touch when we visit a
museum, but artist books can be touched. They are made to be 
unfolded and unraveled. So to begin telling this art saga I will reveal 
title page - observe the ghost of type and image to come due to the
paper choice.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


So this is our first project - collaborate with someone at random. One sorts
through the image selection of the Wesleyan collection and one sets type.
Words of our own choice. My collaboration with Carol. It took a long time 
to set the jump jumble, but the result was worth it. A nice call and response.
There are six more cards in this series. Plus the cover, which you have a
sense of from my last post. We are making individual covers. Our next project
will be much more complex now that some of us are taking advantage of 
open studio time on these presses. I'm a little sad that you can't feel the paper,
because it has a slight impression, so that there is a tactile feel not available 
to us computer people. Plus the choice of paper, etc. I'm making books!
So busy crazy until at least Friday. Best Love to all who post.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I've been taking an art course. A three week intensive starting 
last Monday. Robin Price is instructing and the course concerns
constructing artist books. We are also working with chance 
operations, think John Cage. Old fashioned letterpress
with plenty of quirks. Midway through the second week. I
have to admit that learning the fundamentals takes a bit, but 
the results are not only a feast for the eyes but a feast for touch.
For those of you coming of late to this blog, I have a master of 
arts but love to continue my learning curve at Wesleyan
University, because of the caliber of visiting professors.
Plus in the world of art why not think of ourselves as
beginners? We get stuck when we are too wrapped up in
our own world. Robin's course is breaking down that thinking
by requiring us to work not only in collaboration but with
chance as well. The pix above is a section of a cover I'm working
on for a series of cards that six of us have collaborated on.  More 
to follow on the unique world of artist books.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I had this great idea after posting on Victoria's Horse Wisdom site.
Follow her example and make a post about my work space. Hers' is
serene, mine chaos. I thought what a great counterpoint. So, of 
course the blogging demon has been screwing with my attempts to 
post. I just hope this is the last time I'm going to reconstruct this
train of thought. My studio-just a computer and a window to
stare out of. A printer, scanner, a slide to digital converter and 
a chair. But, I'm out of control in the picking up after projects
department. Just scroll down and you will see that all is not 
serene with the guy who loves a great zen meditation.

Now, the table is an heirloom.  Made by my great-great
grandfather. Passed down and restored when my son and I 
stripped the original finish which turned very soft in the 
summer humidity and exposed the wonderful chestnut
underneath. But, I confess when I run out of space I
turn to the dining room table. This time to make a quick 
sign for a friend. I can't paint letters to save my life.

My shop is no better-total chaos after two back to back
projects; there is no time to clean and pick up.

A further example of my lack of discipline, the basement.
I haven't picked up my workspace here since getting ready 
for the art fair. This is the area I use for matting and shrink-wrapping.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Falling Monks

Yes there are falling leaves and there are falling Monks.  In Zen tradition
 there are many Monks who fail to understand. I only pick upon 
this due to my commitment to understand the differences in religious 

Friday, June 13, 2008


First off - Thanks to everyone for holding my hand through my own hand wringing
of late.  "Art Contemplations" took a back seat for awhile.  I was wrestling with
some thorny personal preferences.  I should know better.  I've made the decisions
that place me here and now.  I pursued art; gave up on it once and am back for 
a second round.  Trouble is, these rounds last years.  If you have followed this blog
for awhile you must realize my infatuation with Zen koans.  Of late my life 
seems to encompass "The great way is not difficult if you just don't pick and
choose." (Sengcan)  It's difficult to accept where you are, especially if it's 
not where you want to be.  If I look back, I realize I am here.  Everything
leads to this place. Every decision from the time I was able to make decisions.
I link to Horse Wisdom  because whether we are talking horses, art or life; we 
are speaking about a mindful life - full of the unexpected - full of love.
My work today is far removed from this picture.  This is an installation piece
where I created  a maze to follow to the main gallery.   Thank you for curators
who are open to the new. I need to find a few more.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Over the Top

So how did it go you ask?  Was it worthwhile?  I'm not  sure.
The set up went well and I had a location that was near the entrance.
I was next to one of our towns treasures - Elizabeth Sennentt. (sorry no web presence)  Gorgeous works in oil and watercolor - a local legend and a very gratuitous 
woman.  I didn't sell a single piece.  Yet, I have this nice third place ribbon and
a check for $50.  I had so many people pass asking how these images were 
produced and after explaining - there was still - is that possible look.   Why
should I be afraid?  I've spent eight years learning Photoshop, plus I still 
continue my sumi-e and other traditional techniques.  We went from the 
60's yesterday to over 90 and humid today.  K and I are melted. Time for
some extreme iced wine.

This is my set up.  Praise be to having worked as a framer for so many years.  If I
 had to pay someone to frame all this stuff I'd be in deep crap.  I've been framing,
cutting mats, shrink wrapping and generally not sleeping for the last couple of weeks.  I'm not 
sure if this will pay off, but todays experience was positive.  Even people I'm 
friends with were amazed with the depth of my work (frankly some were unaware
of what I'm up to)  Yieks - I'm so bad at marketing.  The big bright side was my
friend Teri  coming over last night to share some wine and distract K and I for an hour.

  • The piece that caught the judge's eye was my work 'Meltdown' : I don't 
  • think I've published this on my blog to date.  I use elements of this 
  • piece as my logo in the blog world.  The piece derives from a difficult
  • period in my art life.  Art life - what is that?  Thats the point where
  •  art can't possibly pay bills and all the nay sayers are pointing fingers
  • at your decisions.  It was a period in NYC that Karen and I lost three
  • great artist friends within a year.  Leukemia, heroin overdose and a 
  • highway fatality.  Yes, NYC seems the art capitol of the world, but we
  • had to retreat - too much pain.  My piece 'Meltdown' remains a 
  • reflection on these emotions.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I can't wait until next Saturday - My Art Fair debut.  I've been scrambling.  I thought I had a fair number of works framed, but of course I needed twice to make a display.  Then I thought people may not be interested in framed work. So I started to just mat and shrink wrap. I thought the worst years of my life were spent at Brewster Gallery in NYC as the framer, but now I'm cutting my own mats and building my own frames.  So, you never know.  Despite my initial reservations, this seems to be a good exercise. Yet I have one mental obstacle.  Help me think this though.  It concerns limited editions.  On the one hand these types of shows demand limited editions if you are in the "graphics" media - yet digital imagery is new enough to wonder if an artist should limit his/her best efforts to an edition of 100 or whatever.  Plus - you will see elements of my art repeating in works in years to come.  The way I work is to compile a digital library of sky, textures, plants, people, writing and everything I can imagine.  I combine these, and if you compare the works you will see similar elements reappear.  So any comments on the idea of limited edition prints?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May Madness

Oh dear! Oh dear!  I shall be too late!  Yes, I'm feeling a little like 
the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.  So much to do
and so little time.  I realized this morning that a whole week
has passed since I last blogged. (forgive me father for I have 
sinned?)  Oh well, by the end of this month I'll probably resemble
the other rabbit in Alice's story, the March Hare or sometimes 
referred to as the Mad March Hare from the tea party.  I'm 
not quite sure why March is mad, to me things seem particularly
unreal every May.  Probably because our gardens need so much
attention plus the various groups we volunteer for all seem to
love May for some endeavor or another.  Plus throw in a job, well
at least I know I'm not alone.   In any event, the image I'm
presenting is another of my 'Reflection' series.  I keep adding
to this group if I'm lucky enough to first remember to keep the
camera handy, then have the good fortune to stumble across the
 right light and reflection.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thank You

My last post had some great comments by some people doing 
great art.  Art that I respect, otherwise I wouldn't return to their blogs.
I think that now that I have gone ahead and signed up for a few shows,
I'll just let it play out for what it is.  I've have to lay out some cash
for tent and display system but I'll try to live up to Sarahs expectation
that I'll do a good job - Get some contacts, sell a few, perhaps uplift
my marketing brain. Already, I'm printing, matting, cutting frames,
creating a new biography. This might be a journey that reminds me
why I hate art fairs.  For now I'll go with it this summer and see if 
it leads to a more promising land.  I'm posting an older work created
four years ago.  The strange thing about this is that I have used digital
pieces of this work to create others

Sunday, May 11, 2008


This always happens when I become my worst enemy.  Sleepless
in Connecticut.  I've always hated art fairs but I've decided to do
several this summer.  I've been to a number of them and want to
shove my finger down my throat. The work seems all the same,
boats and flowers and beach scenes.  All very nice, but not the 
kind of art that inspires me.  But the artists do seem to be selling
some work.  I really need to be selling more.  Exact same problem when
I lived in NYC for ten years after grad school.  I'm an artist but don't 
have a clue on how to really market what I produce.  I'm probably
on another fools mission  Damn, I really need to make the transition
from woodworker back to artist. Plus find some success, humor and grace.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rock Art

One of the art fascinations I have concerns rock art; whether petroglyphs
 pictographs, assemblages etc.  The idea of the artist working rock to
record, evoke magic or express is a powerful stimulation.  Mostly
we don't know the why of the creation; in many instances the artist 
and his/her culture has faded.  We are left with a mystery and speculation.
I decided to create my own petroglyph after taking some photos of rock
formations overlooking the Connecticut river.  I combined one of those 
images with a photo of old machinery that I reduced to line drawings.
I hope there is some magic in deciphering the image.  I printed this on
13x19 Canon Photo Pro paper.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Sometimes, I throw self portraiture into the mix.  What is it like to put your work 
on display?  Artists open up and lay down plenty of emotions that many people
bottle up.  I think our audience likes to distance themselves and perhaps prefers 
to view this on a canvas as a way of expressing themselves when they display
 our works.  My photo here is something I shot when contemplating a Zen koan. I still 
haven't thought of a way to bring this image to a final concept.  Any suggestions? 
"Master Xiangyan said, suppose someone is up in a tree, holding on to the branches
by his teeth, his hands without a grip on a limb, his feet without a toehold on the 
trunk.  Someone under the tree asks about the meaning of Zen.  If he does not 
answer, he is avoiding the question; but but if he answers, he loses his life.  At 
just such a time , how would you reply?"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pots and Kettles

The great thing about a few days vacation is the opportunity 
to collect some new photos.  Our trip to Block Island provided
that chance.  The picture I worked on today started as a nice 
little shot taken on one of the beaches.  We found this little
beach called Pots and Kettles.  Over in Photoshop I played
with various filters, blending modes and the unsharp mask.
For the last several months the theme of my digital work is 
to create an 'hyper real' look to my photographs.  Hopefully
it takes a second look to to realize there is something
'odd' to the photo.  

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sorcerer's Apprentice

Four days of vacation are great.  Karen and I haven't been on a 
vacation since last May, when my mom took a bad fall.  Many
changes; way too much medical responsibility; way too much
involvement into her care, wishes etc.  Hint to the wise,
talk early to your children and keep talking.  We finally had 
the space to go and do something for us!  Great beaches, hiking 
nature trails, an afternoon nap; laps in  the pool until the 
grandma squad interrupted us with the daily "walk across " and 
asked us to join in.  Oh well - we swim laps and they bound back and 
forth.  Just giggle and leave: We're never going to be that old - are we?
Enough of that - my post is a photo taken not to long ago of some 
brushes with a mystery setting of tea candles - of course some 
drama provided by Photoshop.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Visual Influence

 Blogging has become a very interesting part of my life since
I started this year.  I have met many online artists that inspire me
to create something each day.  I have to admit that before 
blogging I was in the habit of waiting for inspiration to
hit.  I realize now that slogging through bad days and
nights of the rubbish I produce is a healthy process.  
I was browsing my hard drive for photo's today; trying
to find a thread to begin a digital work.  I was stunned to find 
a screen shot from a video I made back in the summer of
03.  For this one scene I had used marker on a variety of 
flower petal to write on.  In my hand is the word visual and
in the for ground is influence.  Think four years later and
I have run into a very creative person, Sarah Elizabeth, who has 
 a wonderful site, full of creative thinking, that has the 
name Visual Influence. Karen and I are off for four days of
vacation on Block Island, so no posts until Sunday.