Archive for the ‘Life Is A Spell’ Category

Take The Long Way Home

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Seasonal shops near square in Olcot, New York

I like how the word “Lake” comes before the name of the lake in Great Lakes naming conventions. I’m guessing this is a Native American custom but then that doesn’t add up when you think about how the Finger Lakes are named.

We crossed into New York State at Niagra’s Fort Lewiston Bridge and took the northern most route, 18, the “Seaway Trail,” back to Rochester. Mostly orchards, cobblestone houses and dairy farms sometimes right on the lake, it is a beautiful drive.

Olcot, an old resort town, park on the square and funky summer cottages, is especially dreamy. We sat at a picnic table overlooking the lake and watched a screen door on a bed and breakfast blow open and then slowly blow closed over and over. Like a mantra.

Righting The Ship

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Woman in Mexican mask at Detroit Institute of the Arts

The fawn in our backyard this morning was no bigger than our cat but its legs were a lot longer. I had to wake Peggi up to catch this sight before it ran away. Just as I did we spotted a fox cross our backyard. I don’t know if they bother the deer but this one just kept moving. We watched as the fawn’s mother came from behind our bedroom and proceeded to groom her offspring. The little thing was trying to nurse while it was getting licked by mom and in about five minutes they were gone. All quite extraordinary.

It had me thinking of the fertility section in Diego Rivera’s mural that we had just visited at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. When we were there it seemed completely incongruous with the manly laborers and machinery but the baby in the womb was the image that stuck with me. Even after watching this woman prance around, taking selfies while wearing a mask.

We just visited a friend, in the hospital at the end of his life, and a scene like the one we witnessed this morning certainly helps right the ship.

Our Lady of Lilacs

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Our Lady of Lilacs in front of house on Bouckart Street in Rochester, New York

We’ve had a rattle under our car for quite a while so I decided to take it in today. I called Lee at B&B on Saint Paul and he said to bring it in. This meant two bike rides, one back home while they looked at the car and one to the place to pick the car up. It was a beautiful day for both. The car needed front and rear sway bar links. Pothole damage.

In between the rides we planted two rows each of spinach, lettuce and beets. Our neighbor is already harvesting his lettuce. He had it in at the end of April. Our little seedlings were in our living room.

I see this bathtub virgin all the time. She is out near the road on Bouckart Street in Irondequoit. It is kind of a secret street, a straight shot form the 7-Eleven on Titus Avenue to Ridge Road, no stop signs. I keep thinking we’ll interrupt a drag race or something when we take it. We take this route to my parents and Peggi takes it to “the club” (LA Fitness). She looked especially good next to the dark lilacs.

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Sixties glass building on Mount Hope Avenue in Rochester, New York

At ninety Kurt Feuerherm is a well seasoned artist. His work is in the permanent collection of MoMA, Albright Knox and the MAG. He was my Fine Arts mentor at SUNY Empire State and he received an award from the college tonight in a ceremony at Cutler Union. They asked some former students to show a few pieces along with Kurt’s work so contributed three of my crime faces. A jazz duo performed and they served drinks and finger.

It was my first alumni event. I usually ignore the junk mail from the school. They may have even taken me off the list. I’ve never shown my degree to anyone, never even had the opportunity to put it on a job application since I mostly worked for myself. I dropped out of school after a year, picked up some credits for Creative Workshop classes, took a couple of fantastic photo classes at the UofR, got some credit for commercial art jobs and then worked with Kurt. In ten years time I cobbled together an art degree.

Kurt helped me a lot. I was doing something close to cartoons with flat color when I first met him. He got me abstracting my subject matter and working at a larger scale. He sent to the library with a list of contemporary artists who were working in a similar vein. He opened my eyes to a bigger picture. He was very helpful and I’d like to thank him.

Torturing Trees

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Bike for sale near heavily pruned tree

I’ve never seen the owners of this house but I’m guessing they are of Italian descent. Italians like to shape, stunt and generally torture trees to get them to look like lollipops or poodles tales. This is just my lopsided observation based on living in Rochester for most of my life. Friends, people on my old paper route, the old Italian neighborhoods, you start connecting the dots. Maybe it is their old world connection with fruit trees, a desire to maximize fruit production in a lot in a small space, like a small city lot.

Philip Guston fell in love with the tall, narrow Cypress trees and round ornamental trees in the parks in Rome while he was there on a teaching stint. It is a beautiful custom. You’ll have to the click the photo above to see the tree behind that little pink bike.

Haplessness

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Six Basketball Players - Oil paintings by Paul Dodd 2015

Someone came up to me during the break last night. I was still seated at my drums when he asked if I was Paul. He told me I painted a picture of him and I knew right away who he was. He was one of the six basketball players that I had hanging at the Little a few months back. He is shown on the left in the detail above. People kept asking if I knew any of those guys and I just shook my head but here was the one that many had speculated was the captain of the six member team.

He told me he saw the article in the paper, the one where I said I painted these guys from a 1957 high school yearbook I found because the team looked so hapless. He said he was only a sophomore when that picture was taken. Two of the six are dead, the guys in the middle of both rows. One went on to work for the Green Bay Packers and this guy said he was the quarterback for the UofR. And the guy with one eye closed was not winking, he wasn’t injured on the court with an elbow or anything. His eye just didn’t work.

These guys all graduated over fifty years ago and I never imagined I would meet any of them. It was kind of strange. I hope I don’t run into any of the wanted guys I’ve painted.

Nothin’ But Blue Skies

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Trees in bloom along Lake Ontario

Can’t figure out why there were so many people in the park and on the beach today. Is school out already or is it some sort of holiday? We rode our bikes along the beach and stopped at Johnson Pond to see if we could see any of the turtles that my father saw down here. He sent us a photo with twenty fairly good sized turtles sunning themselves on a log. We found ten or so on a log along the lake side of the pond. I only have a three times zoom on my camera so my shots are not as dramatic. Spring usually means rain but it has been nothing but blue sky around here for weeks.

Park Is Tripping

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Magnolias in full bloom in Durand Eastman Park 2015

B-Day Part 2

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Painting behind bar at Carpani's Restaurant in Rochester, New York

The Lake Ontario Parkway ends at Lake Road in Rochester. We crossed it and the river on the Colonel O’Rorke Bridge and pulled into the Stutson Street Plaza. Can’t go here without thinking about the time we took mescaline and watched a matinee of 2001 in the old Stutson Street Theater. And then I start thinking of the summer job I had with Brad Fox cleaning this parking lot in the middle of the night.

But tonight we were here for a birthday dinner at Carpani’s, formerly Cipriani’s. We split an order of Sautéed Calamari with Calumet olives, red onion, pepperoncinis, chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic and oil and a dish called “Pasta Alla Zia Teresa” with mushrooms, broccoli and olio sauce. Both were very good. If I was still keeping track of these things Carpani’s would have a place of honor.

We got lost in this painting during dinner and made it home for two more episodes of “Bloodline”. 65. Done that.

Oldsome

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Small lake with ice in Spring, Rochester, New York

There is often a point in the evening when associations get loose and sometimes even free. On Friday night Louise was sitting across from us wearing her brown Luna t-shirt and talking about the end-of-the-working-week sensation. I said something contrary like, “it’s really just another night” and I think she said, “that’s oldsome.” (like a seasoned “awesome”) I may have heard this wrong but I thought it was brilliant. I feel like I am in that sweet spot, just daffy enough to have a sense of well being, not able to clearly hear as well as I used to and easily astonished but not so easily shaken. Oldsome!

Rebirth

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Low Rider on East Ridge Road in Rochester, New York

Our yellow Winter Aconite flowers are more bountiful than ever his year. They were stuck under the snow and about a month late but they are wide open today. They don’t last long like that. They prefer the old weather and is in the sixties today. The low riders and motorcycles are out. Our neighbor’s main water line is still frozen so it’s probably too early to turn on the water to the outdoor faucets. They went out of town for a bit and their water line froze. They have a garden hose connected to the house next door. I threw the last of the snow on our patio out into the yard and got the lawn chairs out of the garage. I’m ready for horseshoes.

In Between

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Willow tree on Hoffman Road in Spring snow

We spotted out first Red Wing Blackbirds today hearing their distinctive call before we zeroed in on them. And I found my first golf ball as we cut through the park The X-Country ski email says they are still getting fresh powder at Harriet Hollister and the conditions are excellent. I love this feeling of suspension that we sometimes get between the the two seasons. Much better than the abrupt transformation to flip flops and shorts.

I got a kick out of the Easter Sunday soft news piece about the Talpiot Tombs discovered outside of Jerusalem in the eighties. Assumed to have belonged to a wealthy Jewish family they were inscribed with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, common names at the turn of the century. The widely disputed findings are being pointed to the “Jesus family plot” but hold on. Would this be proof that he didn’t rise from the dead?

Passion Play Redux

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

"Passion Play" 1998 by Paul Dodd, notebook assemblages for stations of the cross

Years ago, on this day, my parents tried to get us to sit in silence on a day off from school between the hours of noon and three. These were the hours Christ hung on the cross and this was the culmination of Lent. This year we helped my father file his taxes via TurboTax while my mother watched “Guys & Dolls.”

In 1998 I filled a notebook with bits and pieces of news clippings, sketches and nearly disjointed thoughts on a modern day retelling of the Passion Play set in my city neighborhood, all in preparation for paintings of the fourteen stations of the cross. I created large assembleges in Photoshop and printed the series at Scale 2 on St. Paul Street. I still haven’t done the paintings, there are so many approaches. I’m still sort of collecting references and each Good Friday I look at the paper for a Christian related story. The Ted Kaczynski in full-on crucifixion mode picture was on the front page of the old Times Union. In today’s paper there was a story about the Somali rebels going door to door in Kenya sparing Muslims and killing Christians. I entered the prints in the Finger Lakes Show and won the Harris Popular Award. They are kind of fun to look back on.

The original files for my Passion Play prints are so old they wouldn’t display properly. I had to take them into Photoshop, copy the layer and paste it into a new document and then save them out as tiff. Formats do not stay the same.

Homegrown Hotdogs

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Tree in icy snow on Hoffman Road in Rochester New York

I emailed Martin to see if we could bring some hummus to his party. The message went as “bring some humans” but he figured it out and responded, I emailed Kathy Farrell about picking up my paintings. I said “I guess pickup is at nine” and that message went through as “Iglesias pick up at nine” Kathy didn’t miss a beat and confirmed the time. Peggi was reading about the local food fair at Harts and I thought I heard her say one of the vendors was offering “homegrown hotdogs.”

After birthday parties on Friday and Saturday night for friends that turned 60, 50 and 65 (all milestones of a sort), I had the hardest time putting down the “T” Magazine Design Issue this morning. I started with it and must have spent two hours with it. The front cover read “The Revival of Everything,” a glorious concept. We’ll pass the issue on to Olga when we’re done with it. She broke her leg this winter, cross-country skiing, and she has another four weeks of immobility. We been saving anything “style” related and passing it on to her. She is going to love the piece on the Gerald and Betty Ford house.

Peggi and I took my show down at the Little on Saturday just in time for Richard Margolis to walk in with some big photos for behind the piano. When the car was loaded with piles of paintings we walked next door for the Hart’s Grocery “Vender Market.” We strolled from outpost to outpost in the store sampling local sweet potato chips, Ouzon licorice pop, Schutts cider and fried cakes, Hedonist chocolate, Native American roasted corn flour cookies, spiced olive oil dippings, Escabeche carrots, Rohrbach Brown Ale, fish oil, Daicon radish kimchi and Coffee Conection coffee.

Yellow Marker

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Winter Aconite in backyard, 2015

I was kind of jealous, seeing that picture in the paper of the Winter Aconite blooming on the front yard of the Eastman House. I have been looking for the ones we have in our yard but they are still under the snow. Just a few years back they were out on February 20th. I like thinking about them isolated by the snow, ready to pop with just a little sun. They are official Spring marker. Sure, the geese are squawking overhead, the witch hazel is out, the pussy willows are in bloom but the winter is not over until the yellow Winter Aconite pop. And I found this one out back today, a full month later than in 2012.

Imaginary Emoticon

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Don't Tread On Me Flag on Saint Patrick's Day in Rochester, NY

My niece is big on the emoticons. They all look the same to me. Noisy. I would rather read into text messages or read between the lines but most of the time I just take them at face value. These flags are a lot like emoticons. I’m big on imaginary emoticons.

Touchstones

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

1840 white house on Stoney Clover Road in Pittsford New York

We pushed it yesterday and skied down one side of Lake Eastman then across the lake on the ice and back on the other side and then crossed back over again just because we could. Consequently I was late for a doctor’s appointment, an appointment that was scheduled at the same time as JD McPherson’s free show at Record Archive. We headed over there anyway gambling that maybe the show started on rock ‘n roll time but no such luck. Danny Deutsch, who was promoting the show was walking out as we approached the door. Guess “they played their asses off.” We had never heard them but we liked Spevak’s interview with the guy in the Thursday’s paper.

It was nice sunny day so we headed out to Pittsford, just south of Rochester, to track down a short list of Don Hershey homes for Peggi’s website. According to Don’s notebooks there are either three or four Hersheys on Stoney Clover. Stoney Clover Lane is off Stone Road which is off of Clover. I was riding shotgun and shooting photos. We are pretty good at spotting them. Low slung ranches with his mid-century modern touchstones like glass brick, corner windows and most importantly, houses that are ideally situated on their piece of property.

My first photo caught a young woman standing in the window of big, brick, monastery-like house. She came out and told us it was “a little unnerving” to have someone take photos of their house. The houses out here are huge and the lots are all at least an acre. I took the photo above of one that looked like the White House or a southern plantation in snow. I just assumed it was a MacMansion but we looked it up when we got home and discovered it was built in 1840.

Art Decade

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

Carnegie Building on Goodman Street in Rochester, New York

Our painting class was canceled on Tuesday because of the weather. It was somewhere between snow and rain so the roads were iced over. We were disappointed but a make-up class will be tacked on to the schedule. We already missed another session the night after this building on the old UofR campus burned down. It was being rehabbed and going condo like every other hundred year old building in the city. Our class in the basement of the Cutler Union building is directly downwind of this building so we were literally smoked out.

We ran into Jim and Gail Thomas at an art opening tonight and they were telling us about the time they were living in Medina and the winter came to a quick end and the snow melted so fast that water came rolling down the street and filled their basement. We are headed toward 50 next week so this conversation course was only natural.

We heard Bowie’s “Art Decade” on the way home. What ever happened to him? He had good thing going with Eno in that “Low/Heroes” period.

If God Was A Man

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

"I Am Legend" New York licence plates on car at the art store in Henrietta

I was happy to see Janet Williams studying my basketball players at last night’s opening. I remember talking to her about the first batch of paintings that I did of these guys. I love Janet’s paintings and couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say about this batch. Her husband, Ted, showed up as we were talking and pulled out a picture of his high school basketball team. He wanted me to find him in the picture. Unlike the six member Mynderse Academy team that I painted Ted’s Brighton High School team had almost twenty players on it. Without thinking I said, “Wow, I’ll bet you never played.” Ted told me they put him in once and and he ran a layup and slammed the ball against the backstop so hard it bounced all the way to the other end of the court. The sports reporter, Bob Mathews, and former County Executive, Bob King, were both on his team. I found Ted in the photo right away. He looked just like one of his sons.

Kathy Krupp brought me a little laminated photo that she found on the ground over by the UofR. About one inch by one inch, a close cropped photo of a man’s head, like something you would see on an id. Bob Martin thought I was one of the ones pictured in the basketball series. Brian Peterson wanted to know all about my source material, the Crimestopper page, now online as a pdf. Most people wanted to talk about who these people were, which one was the homeless girl, that sort of thing. Fred Lipp was there even though he had seen everyone of these pieces in class. If I didn’t do them in class I at least ran them by the master before officially considering them “done.” I would rather talk about the paintings and did so for quite a while with Steve Caswell. He was making a connection between the way I paint and way I play drums. That was a springboard for the whole minimalism as maximalism thing. The importance of each element, what to leave out.

Richard Margolis asked me if he could ask me a business question. I said “no” without missing a beat and he asked anyway. Ken Franks asked me what I thought of the band name, “Sun Rags.” Pete Monicelli, who is on the board at BOA Editions, read us a poem that he wrote in response to a recent book that BOA published, something about if god was a woman. I was thinking a better title would be “If God Was A Man.” There were quite a few artists there but a lot of current and former art teachers there last night. I mean like ten that I can think of now.

I would have been happy to keep the art buzz going all night but a little after 8 Bob started making noise with his guitar. The band did have an engagement last night so with Martha O’Conner’s help we moved the hors d’oeuvres table against the wall and band began playing. Martin Edic came up to me while I was playing and said, “I want you to know. I really love your show.”

A better title for this entry would be “Leftover Vegetables and Hummus.”

Outage

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Ski path through Commons

I moved my painting upstairs to our big south-facing window in order to capture the last few moments of sunlight. Then, as the sun went down, I moved toward the sink to wash my brushes, instinctively trying each light switch I passed. That impulse is almost hard-wired. I was thinking about our friends, Pete and Shelley, living up in the woods with a permanent power outage.

The phone was out too, not because there was any problem with the phone lines, our phones all depend on electricity. And there probably wasn’t any problem with our cable internet connectIon, just that the modem requires electricity. Of course, if we had a cell phone we’d call Rochester Gas & Electric. Ah, but I did purchase a twenty dollar, one gig data plan for my iPad so I went to RG&E’s site and clicked on the “outage” tab. I entered our customer id and and submitted my report. The response read, “There are no power outages reported in your area.”

It was only 5 degrees out. We’re also taking care of our neighbor’s house and I was beginning to panic. We built a fire and I submitted my report again. This time the response read, “We are aware of an electricity outage in your area affecting 917 customer(s). The estimated restoration time is Thursday, February 19 at 7:00 PM.”

You have to wonder about a message like this. The power goes out unexpectantly due to an accident or something and yet they can give you a time for when it will be back up and running? But we put our faith in the power company and went to a movie, the documentary shot in Canadaigua, outside Rochester, where the national Veteran’s Suicide Hotline has received a million calls from current and former soldiers considering or threatening suicide. The neighborhood was all lit up on our return.