For some reason, I find my art is better, when I have some angst in my life.
And this past winter, I had a bit of angst.
Not that I wanted it. It just turned out this way.
But at least it helped my productivity.
Can you find (?) :
A Beatnik Bandit (google it) . A shitting unicorn. A squid. A femur. A bearded clam. A brick. A brick shithouse. DNA. A mug of crud. A dancing pickle. A type-T thermocouple. A nuke. Many stars. A tennis ball. A dumbass retriever-dawg. “e” twice. And also pi. A speckled trout. A Big Mac. The letter F. And U. And C. And K. Grapefruit. A saguaro cactus. A curious dog. A donut with icing. Another (non bearded) clam. Nil. A log. Bacon (of course). An annoyed rattlesnake. A dangerous horse. Saturn. A Swagelok male connector. Pacman and one ghost. An atom. A conical section. A tesseract. A rude monkey. Planck’s Constant. Bananas. A wise owl. A snarky Etch-a-Sketch. A Mercury-Redstone Rocket. A coat hanger. Dairy Queen. A small sword to stab with. Pyramid Power. A barrel of monkeys, sans monkeys. A grumpy Viking. The Grapes of Wrath. And a blender.
This goes back to my Grade 1 Religion Class when I attended Regina Caeli Elementary School in Montreal. (Circa 1970-71).
“I became a Child of God on August 9th…”
…and thus the indoctrination begins.
I think here we were supposed to draw the gifts God gave us…
So why did I draw myself spraying the bugs?
I have no idea.
“Draw something God made for us to enjoy”.
Let me see…from left to right, there’s a kiddie pool, a fort made of blankets and lawn chairs, the neighbors cat, and me and a bike.
With the exception of the cat, these are all material possessions.
Obviously I missed the whole point, here.
Note that Mrs. McGuire gave me a “C”, which stood for “Correct”.
That was the default grade she gave: meaning your work was adequate, but not great.
But I did get rewarded with the mandatory religious stamp.
(If only I could be like that haloed boy…*sigh*).
“Show Adam and Even when they were happy with God”
Because I got the trifecta: The standard “C” for Correct.
The bonus religious stamp of the angel:
And…the coveted “E” for “Excellent”.
When you got an “E”, you know you did well.
Mrs. McGuire didn’t just hand those E’s to anybody, you know.
You had to EARN them.
But Religion Class wasn’t all fun and drawings. 80% of my book was filled with text. Apparently we did a lot of reading along and underlining.
(All part of the indoctrination process, naturally…)
“Draw yourself with other people. We are children of God”.
Looking at this, I don’t think I was really interested in drawing myself with other people.
I just wanted to draw a green Volkswagen, which was my favorite car at the time.
“Draw yourself helping at home”.
Not my best work. But obviously I was very enthralled with the vibrant pink color from my new felt pen set.
I recognize my baby brother in the crib. But aside from that , this was a pretty shitty drawing, even for a kid. The walls to the left and right are just scribbled in.
Even Mrs. McGuire noticed. I got a “V. G.” beside the “C”.
Meaning “Very Good”. Which was one step below “Correct”.
“Draw Noah and his family on the ark”.
It looks like I actually put a lot of thought into this one. I got Noah’s family looking out the windows, with a few animals, including (third from the left) what appears to be an ALLIGATOR!
And if that’s the case, then I think this drawing is AWESOME!
Funny thing is, I actually remember drawing this. And remembering the story about how Noah set out three doves to look for land. Apparently the first two drowned and never came back. But the third one came back with an olive branch or something, and that’s who Noah found Mount Ararat.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I chose to draw one of the drowning birds. On the roof, right next to the nonchalant giraffe.
Pretty harsh, when you think about it.
But hey…this was the Old Testament.
What would I have said to Jesus?
“Thank you Jesus for the food. It was good”.
Which, obviously, was the right thing to say.
Because it got “Excellent”.
“Draw Jesus with three of his Apostles”.
But it did earn an “Excellent”. And not just as an “E”, but with the whole word written out.
This was rare compliment from Mrs. McGuire.
I was really starting to get the hang of this.
“Draw Jesus and his Apostles in the boat”
See? I got too cocky, and here I only got a “Correct”.
Probably because I screwed up the names of the apostles, and tried to erase the lettering and got it all smudged.
I have to admit, Mrs. McGuire was consistent and fair in her marking.
And you gotta respect that.
“Draw some people Jesus wants you to love”
Yeahhh….and I don’t think I really wanted to draw that. Obviously, I preferred to draw myself building a snow fort instead.
Hence, the lesser grade of “C” instead of the coveted “E”
You couldn’t fool ol’ Mrs. McG.
“Pray to the Holy Spirit. Write your prayer here”
I’m not a theological expert. But I don’t think you’re supposed to thank Jesus for going to heaven. You’re probably supposed to thank him for dying for your sins instead.
But what do you want?
I was only in Grade 1.
“Draw yourself being a child of God”.
Wow. Look at the size of that SUN.
Anyway, I think this was supposed to be me playing with my sister.
Because from a seven-year-old point of view, the ultimate sacrifice to God is being nice to your pesky younger siblings.
Apparently, so is cleaning your room for Jesus.
Though I am intrigued as to why I suddenly regressed back to drawing stick-figure people.
I dunno..maybe it was some kind of “minimalist” artistic phase I was gong through.
Here’s one of story of the Prodigal Son.
On the left, I drew the rich son leaving home and setting out in the wold with his big bag of cash with the dollar sign on it.
(Because the dollar was standard currency back in biblical times).
On the right, we see the son returning home, tattered and poor, falling at his farther’s feet.
Though they both look like bums…both equally tattered and poor.
“Draw yourself saying Thank you to Jesus”
Oooh…LOOK! This is probably the FIRST CARTOON BUBBLE I ever drew! (Even though I ran out of room and had to add to it).
Mrs. McGuire liked it too…I got an “E” And also (look in the top right), a colored stamp of the three Wise Men.
I also recognize one of the items in the background.
That’s an old Fisher-Price Clock I used to have when I was three. I still held on to it back then.
It boggles my mind, how I remember this.
Don’t ask me how, but I do.
Of coures, at the end of some of the chapters, there were “take home” questions which we had go over with our parents. My Mom and Dad would quiz me, and they’d have to sign off that they covered the material with me, and then Mrs. McGuire would co-sign it.
This information probably all went on my Permanent Record. .
This was all taken very seriously. To ensure we kids grew up to be good little Catholics.
And it worked. Because just 7 years later, I became an Altar Boy
(But that’s another story).
See this stupid paper-maché mask? I made it in Grade 7 Art Class in 1977.
I stopped caring for the Stupid Mask sometimes in the early 80’s. As I got older, I tried to throw it out multiple times but it kept coming back.
(Thanks, Friar’s Mom).
I won’t bother you with the history…(you can read about it here). But suffice to say, over the few decades, I just could not get RID of this thing.
The Stupid Mask would NOT DIE.
It continued to plague me, and I thought I would never be able to move forward with my life.
Fast forward, December 2013.
Friar’s Mom was cleaning up the clutter in her house, and I guess she finally decided she wanted the Stupid Mask out of her house too.
So she wrapped it up, and gave it to my Screaming Nephew for Christmas.
Her thinking: maybe he can amuse himself by burning it in a bonfire, or something.
Now, imagine yourself as an 11 year old boy, who likes PlayStation DS and MineCraft and Lego, and all the other things 11-year-old boys do.
And Grandma gives you a lame-ass musty paper-maché art project that Uncle Friar did almost four decades ago. That even Uncle Friar doesn’t like any more.
Now..how excited would you be?
The answer is: NOT VERY MUCH.
So I offered to hold the Stupid Mask while the Screaming Nephew gave it a karate punch.
Which he gleefully did.
And he continued to destroy it.
And I was glad.
The Stupid Mask did get it’s 15 minutes of fame, though.
It provided the Screaming Nephew some mild amusement, when we put the “scary teeth” in front of our faces.
But, eventually, the Stupid Mask had outlived it’s usefulness, and now is no more.
And I say….GOOD !!!
Because now I finally have closure.
(I was in Florida)
(I am not able to…)
“Yeh Pu Kapab…”
(He is no longer able to…)
“Nuh Nuh Non.”
“Euh, lah, euh.,.”
(The fact is, there..)
“Bainh, Lah, lah…”
(Well, um, there..)
“Ah, Bainh, La, Euh…”
(Oh, well, then, there…)
(Hmm. Yes, but…)
“Ee bouge pu…”
(He is no longer moving…)
(And then, there…)
(And then, ummmmm)
(He is hiding…)
(He is waiting)
Sometimes I like to play with the macro lens on my camera and take close-up shots of my garden.
There’s no magic here. I don’t use a tripod or anything.
I just bring the lens up close and point and click. Technology does the rest.
Here’s a zinnia.
I had to go out on the lake to get this lily pad.
This was a hard photo to take. It was a real bitch trying to position the canoe with one hand on the the paddle, while trying to keep the camera inches away with the other.
The great thing about digital photos, is that with Photoshop you can zoom in and enlarge the picture even more.
Here are some forget-me-nots, which are only a few millimeters in diameter.
Dandelions are especially amazing. They are now one of my favorite flowers.
If you zoom in, you see all kinds of curley-cues, which I never even knew existed until this year.
To give you an idea of how small these are, here’s an ant crawling through them.
You can see the individual grains of pollen on his back.
(Not bad for a hand-held camera).
I think this is a wild strawberry blossom. I took this one in June near Wawa, Ontario.
Here are some pink wild flowers. No idea what they are.
Zoomed up, it looks like some tiny yellow bears poking their head out of a cave.
Here’s a daisy from my back yard.
Zooming in shows a hexagonal matrix of pods (or whatever you call them) arranged in spiral patterns.
It’s all very mathematical. Flowers like to follow Fibonacci sequence.
I once wrote a blog post about it here.
And of course, I had berries.
It was a good crop this year. For a few weeks, I’d get a bowl like this every 2 days.
Once in a while, I also managed to get some insects.
If they’re occuppied with the flower, I could get quite close without disturbing them.
This bee could care less if I was there…she just wanted the pollen.
I found this fly in October while hiking in Algonquin Park.
The weather was cold, so he has kind of dopey and slow. Which is probalby the reason I was able to bring the camera so close.
Kind of creepy.
If my Grandma was alive and she saw this, she’d have a freaking heart attack.
Anyway, I’m just glad I’m hundreds of times larger than he is.