"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Goethe

Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh, Can't You See, There's a Bird on Me!

I couldn't resist that title--it is one of my all-time favorite Sesame Street songs.  (Another one is I'm mad, oh I'm angry, very, very angry.  I'm sure this dates me with current Sesame Street watchers.)  I submitted this painting to A Day Not Wasted.  Some things I like about it, and some things I don't, but it is finished.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Here are some more paintings I have been working on.  Let me know which ones you like, and which ones you do NOT like.  It is not always easy to tell what works when you are playing in paint.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Art in KC

Last Thursday I took myself to Kansas City for an "art day."  I started at the home of Thomas Hart Benton, an American artist with a distinctive style.  He bought this house in the 1930s with his wife, Rita, and died there in 1975--in his studio.  His wife died 11 weeks later, and everything was left untouched in the studio and house.
For me it was the Kansas City version of visiting the Albrecht Durer house in Nuernberg.  It is where the work of painting happened.

An interesting thing I learned about Benton while I was there is that he was a participating artist in the Lithograph-of-the-Month-Club.  What?!  You could buy lithographs like you buy books?!  Benton believed that art ought to be available to the public for a reasonable price.  I like that.

"Island Hay" by Thomas Hart Benton

 Next I went to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art to do a little research for some paintings I've been working on.  I've been playing with color, shape and line to see what happens.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

October Baby

I happened to see a news story about this film, and it peaked my interest.  The story centers around a girl who is an abortion survivor.  I  had no idea there were survivors.  They are obviously an unmentioned group of children, but they have a story to tell--just the kind of dramatic story that filmmakers search to uncover, but Hollywood has left this untouched.  Luckily, independent filmmakers took it on and did a fine job with it.  There are some second rate elements to the movie--some of the side characters are clumsily written and clumsily delivered, some of the "secrets" used to tell the story and cause conflict between Hannah and her father (John Schneider) do not seem logical--but I was riveted to the main storyline.  It was beyond  my experience.  I could relate to an adoption story even though I am not adopted, but I found myself thinking, "I have no idea what it would be like to be her."  Rachel Hendrix (Hannah) and Jason Burkey (Jason) give authentic performances, so it is easy to follow them along their journey.  The most compelling performance is given by Jasmine Guy as Nurse Mary.  She just sits in a chair and tells what she remembers, and it is so real.  I'm there.  The film obviously has a point of view, but it does not preach.  It tells a story.  And in the end it becomes a story for everyone.  It is not a story of condemnation, but of goodness. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Hunger Games

I decided to go see The Hunger Games.  Jeff read the book and wanted to see it.  I checked with Meredith who said she thought the movie limited rather than sensationalized the human hunt, and since by the time I finished the book I felt like I was reading a movie script based on a video game, I decide to see what they did with it.  I thought the movie improved on the book.  I liked the casting in general, but I thought Woody Harrelson did an excellent job as Haymitch.  Rather than being mostly vulgar and undependable as in the book, he added a human element.  Cutting between the games and the game makers rather than having Katniss surmise what they are doing from the ground was much more effective in adding layers to the conflict between those in control and those who are their victims.  Lastly, the thing I liked least about the book--the tributes returning as attack animals (it was not only sensationalistic and unrealistic but also disturbing without justification)--was handled much more reasonably.  I'm not sorry I went, but this is still definitely PG-13.  Don't take the kiddies.

One annoying thing about the movie is the camera work.  They opted for videography instead of cinematography.  I guess they were going for the amateur news footage look, but, hey, I can't tell what is going on in Syria when I see that amateur footage on TV--I don't want someone to try to tell me a story with it.  Your eye never had time to settle on one thing.  Thank goodness there were times when they gave it a rest.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


 I just felt the urge to do a space painting this week because I love what the Hubble telescope has shown us of the universe--and beyond.  It has expanded  my wonder in the beauty of creation beyond what I can see.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tour Guide

Yesterday Jeff and I were tour guides for the Kansas City Temple Open House.  What an exhilarating experience.  Of course, that meant I got to take people inside to see the mural, and I just love being in that room.  This temple also has several other pieces of original work that I would have loved to linger at, but we were on a 90 seconds per stop time schedule so that we could keep people coming through (Thousands are scheduled to come--they had to add an additional week of tours!)  Everyone seemed to come with genuine, friendly curiosity, and they were fun to talk to.  One of my favorite comments was by a man who asked Jeff, "You mean you are all volunteers?!?"  It seemed so normal to me for everyone to show up for their assignment, but then I realized how amazing it must be to see hundreds of people in their Sunday best there to help people park, find their place in line, pick up trash, open the door, keep the cookies coming, guide tours, provide security and so much more.  And there are 3 or 4 shifts a day of that.  I guess we are amazing.  I also loved seeing the member families that came dressed in their Sunday best to come together to the Temple.  One little girl who was about 4 years old ran up to me and whispered in my ear, "I'm going to get married in the temple someday."  She made my day.