Sunday, January 31, 2010

Years in the making...

I started this drawing at Burning Man, summer '08 (note figure standing in between big wings; a very cool art installation).
I thickened the lines up sometime in '09.
I JUST finished it with a nice graphite session.
Sometimes if an expression isn't finished, it is good to be OK with putting it away for years even, knowing if it is to come to fruition, it will tell you. CHEERS!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

How to turn a tragic mistake into a masterpiece of a tragic nature...

First, draw a beautiful drawing of these two figure with intertwined faces.
Next, overshadow the face of one of them so they look extremely angry and paleolithic.
Third, feel really sad you ruined a beautiful drawing.
After that, try to scribble out just the eyes and brow for some hip eyes-scribbled out look that's all the rage these days(?).
Fifth, you feel angry, cuz now it looks unsatisfactorily worse than before.
Sixth, give up and scribble the entire figure in a wash of lines.
Finally, you've created a cool drawing dealing with some dark and tragic theme (TBD).

Let this be a lesson to you kidlets out there; don't give up, be vigilant, positive and beautiful fruit will be born.


(For the drawing, I used a Micron .05 pen whilst bathing in some January sun.)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Poetry Excercise 1: Acrostic Poem

Remember making Mother's Day poems with M-O-M written down the page and fitting words matching the letters, such as:

Makes me pancakes.
One of my heros.
Mastered Jenga.

That's an acrostic poem. Sometimes I like to pick names or words and create acrostic poems using only one word per letter).


YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it, is to create an acrostic poem for your name using one word per letter and posting it in the comments. CHEERS!!

And here is MY name acrostic poem (only fair, one supposes):


Thursday, January 28, 2010


THIS ONE! Thanks for everyone's imput; y'all are the best. No, better than best, you're bestest. -R

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Murakami-inspired prosetry...

{ A Shower, A Charm & A Murder } by Ray Swaney

I took three showers today. The first was the social obligation. The next was to dispel a cocktail of anxiety, loneliness and that "je ne sais quoi" known as an existential crisis. I guess you can hardly call something that can be soothed by a hot shower a crisis, but I also don't want to downplay the power of a hot shower. The third is an experiment in meditation of the transcendental type.

Sitting "Indigenous American style" on the slick floor where a brace of non-slip gripping ducks once lived (they have since moved to the walls of the shower, not so sticky as in their prime, hanging on for dear life,) I empty my words with each exhale. They roll down my nudity and the drain. Behind Iids, I see my head as a window. I see thoughts and ideas passing through, but nothing sticks. Is there even a piece of glass there? Am I that transparent?

I always thought of water as a baptism. I picture a wet phoenix (whalebird) rising from this psychic medium. This multiple shower thing has been going on for the last few weeks and let me tell you, I don't feel like a phoenix, but I do feel clean. My mind throws out the idea of having to wash the shit off of a diamond that is me.

After toweling off, I see my middle-distance stare looking like a half-way house into the foggy mirror (in which I always draw a smiling face with four simple lines). I can draw a smiling face on the window which is my head, too. With the wonder of a small boy, I look into my eyes. "Who are you?" "You talkin' to me?" "Who else?" "I don't know." "You don't know who else I would be talking to or you don't know who you are?" "Both of them?" "Fair enough. Just take it easy on yourself, Ray-Ray. The world is not for understanding. Understanding only serves to drive folks crazy."

I'm glad I can talk to myself. The Ray in the mirror seems so much more put together than I, though only 2-dimensional; he doesn't have to live in this world. He can't experience a broken heart. He can't fall, trip or stumble, drunk, into love. Mirrors are biased to whatever you put in front of them. Maybe I am just biased against mirrors, but I'd rather be a broken window. Break the pane. Break the pane. Break the pane.

Draw a simple smile on your flesh like a hot shower (or three). Let the yellow charm of finches sing and the dark murder of crows go unpunished!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


{ The Search For My Dog Lady Who, Struck By A Car, Ran } by Ed Coletti

Every shadowed rock or shrub is Lady.

Every acorn dropped on fallen leaves

Birds in bushes, jackrabbits springing.

The family of three deer swushing through

brush beneath the golf course hill

near where my dog Lady surely died,

make noises similar to those once made

by our own little family of three on a walk in the woods.

I stare from my office window hoping,

half-expecting her bright blackness

to saunter nonchalantly into view.

But she departed doing what she does best,

In a full-burst charge of mindless blazing glory.

We resume and end our search at sundown.

The eastern flame no more.

On our harmonica, I play my final “Taps” for Lady.

Holding onto that last note for as long as I possibly can.

December 22, 2004

- - - - - - - - - -

I like drawing pets more than I thought I would. This drawing was commissioned by my friend Ed of his doggie, Lady. I was VERY pleased with how it turned out. Ed was satisfied as well, so all in all, a successful endeavor.

Hope you enjoy Ed's poem about when he thought he'd lost Lady to the world's clutches; he is a talented dude. Check out his poetry link on the side of my blog! CHEERS!!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Which way looks best?

Which way do you like right-side up best? Help me out. Deciding which way is up in my abstracts is a real joy for me and a great way to hone the eyes...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Drawing people...

Drawing people, I like to do a quick outline and then force (warp) all the inside features to fit. Here is an example of Presidente Obama; note the distorted hand (I LOVE that stuff).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Aiming at ghosts with sure-miss accuracy...

You've given no words aimed towards me
unless they're tied to yr ends (I feel ya lean).
My attraction's hid by yr indifferent's green...

Fascinated by yr face & the space
left for my imagination to behest ya:
empty nights in yr cigarette ember hair sheen
& poetry as a communication with no co-.
We're split so perfectly like logs,
thrown to, you, & I, fro to different Wests

I know you'll drink Sangria with me.
I know our skin is like oil & water.
I fill you up. Your cry is smoke
You empty my cup. I die, poking.

Come with me on the teeter-totter.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Abstract and surreal poetry is the wombat's pajamas...

{ Droll Contender } by Big Sway

The lights go out in the Rubber Factory
Knowledge of fledgling suns
Ohio's dirty

Losing you
Addict pains
Leaving, you are on time- 10 A.M.
Gun-fire, semi-automatic
Poems sprawled out like an armed shop lifting spree
The razor-edged son of music and poetry

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Faces, faces, faces!!!

"We all have a face that we hide away forever,
And we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.
Some are satin, some are steel, some are silk and some are leather.
They're the faces of the stranger and we love to try them on.” -Billy Joel

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Abstracts for Sebastopol!

I've been pounding out some sweet abstracts (& faces; see next post) to sell out at HOP MONK Tavern THURSDAY night with MICHELLE Brown (who's been a knitting dervish).

I foresee some beer monies and monies to invest in a proper website.
I was thinking - any better suggestions?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New style discovered!

I happened onto this new style of abstract pen work. I love how the forms fold into each other. I am creating a bunch of $10-$20 drawings to sell at Sebastopol's Hop Monk Tavern this Thursday. Well, time to draw some more!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Media exploration...

There are no rules in art, so wander with your media. Push a crayon around in a different way. Paint with a twig. This drawing was just a ballpoint pen and it's amazing the different marks you can create with it. Don't settle into conformity or a rut of what you know; you'll often find something you like to add to your repertoire. Most importantly, don't let anything make you feel like you've made a mistake. Mistakes are opportunities turned upside-down.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


One way I enjoy starting a drawing is to lay down a thicket of line and see what pops out; what images in the line correlate to those constantly grasping from my mind. My dear friend Dan from Michigan days' nieces introduced me to what it's technical name actually is; scribble-scrabble. From the scribble-scrabble, mind's rubble's rabble-roused by a learned pattern into a clear image. This image is a case in point; a pointy-headed case; a crescent king plodding through the modern world's weak, synthetic sodding.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A quick guide to non-representational abstract art

"Much of the art of earliest peoples: signs and marks on pottery, textiles and inscriptions and paintings on rock were simple, geometric and linear forms which might reveal a symbolic or decorative purpose. It is at this level of visual meaning that abstract art communicates. One can enjoy the beauty of Chinese or Islamic calligraphy without being able to read it.

In 1913 the poet Guillaume Appollinaire named the work of Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Orphism. He defined it as, the art of painting new structures out of elements that have not been borrowed from the visual sphere, but had been created entirely by the is a pure art.

Some approaches towards abstract art drew connections to music. Music provides an example of an art form which uses the abstract elements of sound and divisions of time. Wassily Kandinsky, himself a musician, was inspired by the possibility of marks and associative color resounding in the soul. The idea had been put forward by Charles Baudelaire, that all our senses respond to various stimuli but the senses are connected at a deeper aesthetic level.

Closely related to this, is the idea that art has The spiritual dimension and can transcend 'every-day' experience, reaching a spiritual plane. The Theosophical Society popularised the ancient wisdom of the sacred books of India, China in the early years of the century. It was in this context that Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Hilma af Klint and other artists working towards an 'objectless state' became interested in the occult as a way of creating an 'inner' object. The universal and timeless shapes found in Geometry: the circle, square and triangle become the spacial elements in abstract art; they are, like color, fundamental systems underlying visible reality."

--Collected Wikipedia words which say what I would say, but more smoothly and with less effort on my part. I can say without ego, that I am a quite lazy man (in those worlds outside of the arts).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

{ Jazz Affection }

told me about jazz down dark alleys

the angelic fingering
of the cleft muse

a lord in snare
an earl of bass kick
goes the metronome
skipping the clock over for the black of midnight

we, doll, call freedom
and ride gouache lyrical
bird morning passed over Greece
under (even) the sun settling debts

the air pushed through gold silk and soul
the denim of the man in day to day trafficking
of holy tasks all top-heavy or under lit

submariner Chicago goes the thermostat

that sound!
warmer than Sandburg's love of dismal corners
lamplighters and the key note jive jumpers
claiming dance
(exclamation heater) space
jam out of minds past skin and nerves
frost bite on clarinet
to fireball sax

jazz in limbo
going lower (oh, how low)
fatly fingering fat copper wiring
choir in steel
rhyming human soul
where all bear the mark of oppression
and laugh in faces (out of)

where hearts bleed cement
and love supreme resides
deep down, dropped
riffs in my alphabet soup

the shuffle of papers
cat calls go ignored
still bills, debt and owe
toe-tapping the deficit

deification of jungle benefits
swinging from cobwebs

eyes close like smoke
and open like fog over the bay
and the muse, it (the music)
keeps on

weeps on in sleepyheads dreaming awake

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Self-portrait of an artist as a portrait...

I don't know why I am starting a blog. So much of my mind is motion without effort or insight.

As an artist, I see myself as a filter for something beyond (AND possibly within). I don't try to communicate when I create (though I won't deny communication could be the original mover); I just do. My "windows to the soul" tells my hand what a piece needs.

Around 13 months ago, I quit my job to focus on art. I didn't really have a good reason; work was alright and my coworkers were great. One day, it just came to me; "I need to put in my notice". I've often cited Kandinsky as being involved; his work makes me drunk like a waking dream.

When you have a great talent, it's a gift you have to share; it is bigger than the artist. It is even bigger than the audience. What you do is everything, so do something you love. If you do what you don't love, do it to the best of your ability. Good things happen to those who do things well.

Much love!