Archive for the ‘Life Is A Spell’ Category

First Of The Storm

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

England France football friendly at Wembley Stadium

The only green around here is the Wembley Stadium pitch on our tv. Check the enlargement of this photo for our grey/brown surroundings. The French national team pulled it o gather to take on England in a friendly. The English saluted them before the game and cleaned their clocks in the 90 minutes.

The dental hygienist tried to sell me on bite-wing X-rays today just like the last time. I’ve had so many over the years I try to limit my exposure by turning her down and promising to do it next time. She has a kindergarten teacher-like manner. “Hi Paul! Are you all ready for Thanksgiving?” “Ah, no.” I usually dismiss her and that is probably my mistake.

I was looking my last full mow x-rays on her monitor while she cleaned my teeth. I have all these glaring white teeth in mouth, on the x-rays that is. “Those are all caps and bridges,” she said. “I should have taken better care of my teeth,” I thought aloud. She didn’t miss a beat and said, “Life is one long learning experiment. And our experiences make us who we are.” She added, “I don’t think we ever stop learning.”

Cabbage Head

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Head of cabbage in Rick and Monica's garden

Up here, near Lake Ontario, we have not had an official frost so this seventy degree weather cannot be called Indian Summer. I’m only making that distinction because I stayed quiet when the lady at the voting booth called it such this morning. Somehow it always seems like a nice day when we vote. It probably has something to do with our route to the booths which takes us through the woods in the park, across the creek and up into the neighborhood of small houses between Culver and the park. Why isn’t this the new hipster section of Rochester? That would probably have something to do with number of Tea Party flags flying here. And those little placards in the window that read, “This house is protected by 2nd Amendment.”

The firehouse in Point Pleasant Fire is nestled into the aptly-named neighborhood. And the best part of voting here is getting a peek of the dreamy bar in the next room. Every year I vow to rent the place for a party, one with a band and dancing. We could crawl home through the woods.


Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Halloween shower curtain at Rochester Yacht Club

We considered going to the Halloween Bowie Karaoke event, “Bowieoke,” at Visual Studies tonight, just long enough to have “Golden Years” stuck in my head. Someone plans to to re-enact the 1976 Bowie/Iggy Rochester drug bust and I would to see that.

I was thinking we had to drop off art work for the RoCo Members show this weekend but that’s next weekend. And Peggi had set aside a coupon for Parkleigh, where my sister works, so we planned to stop by there, mainly to visit but also to take advantage of the coupon. Turns out the sale is next weekend. We’re gonna need the extra hour tonight to get our life organized.

We stopped in the new India House restaurant on Èast Ridge Road. They’re in a strip mall across from Medley Center in a place that was Chinese and then Thai and they are apparently too new to have any customers yet. We were the only ones in the place and we were ordering to go. We told the waiter we were in the mood for something hearty. He said, “What is hearty?” We tried “substantial, meaty without meat, not light, beans” and a few others. He recommended a spinach paneer dish and it hit the spot.

On the way home we passed a group of kids in costumes. I had the idea to yell “boo” so I pushed the button to lower the window. We were around the corner before I got it down.

Imaginary Yoga

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

The bar at Cub Room on South Clinton Avenue,  Rochester, New York

I was especially tired in Saturday morning’s yoga class. My ears were still buzzing from Big Ditch’s show the night before and the Three Heads‘ “The Kind” was still swimming around. It was our first class inside the Rochester Yacht Club facilities. The weather, now pretty much around the corner, has put an end to the outdoor adventure in the Port of Rochester. If I had to join a social club it would be this one. I don’t think you need a boat or anything.

Near the end of class, when we had been on our backs with a rolled up towel in lumbar curve for about a half hour, Jeffrey had us pretending to lift our arms. In doing so you become acutely aware of the muscles involved with such a simple act, muscles all over your body working together. Isometrics, I guess, but it stuck me as imaginary yoga. I asked Jeffrey if he could do a whole class of imaginary yoga and he laughed. That could but him out of a job.

The Cub Room on South Clinton is surely modeled on the Mad Men craze for cocktails and meat. Rat Pack photos line the walls above the booths and there is an air of glamour days gone by in the unofficial dress code. It is the city’s version of the Yacht Club. We ordered the only vegetarian dish on the menu, Crispy Chickpea Cake with roasted vegetables surrounded by a Romescu sauce. And we split an order of Grilled Octopus with Beluga lentils, grilled chicory, smoked paprika and Sherry vinegar. The octopus, like the cocktail club culture, was a bit overdone.

The Beav

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Beaver damage on the east side of Eastman Lake in Rochester, New York

Away from Lake Ontario, further south but at higher elevations, the Fall colors are peaking or past. Up near the lake we are still coming on. We walked around the east side of Eastman Lake and then back along the western side of Durand Lake today. The paths were partially underwater along both lakes, unusual for this time of year. We suspected beaver action and sure enough we found it about halfway down.

We Bowling

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Buffalo Bills inflatables on lawn in Rochester, New York

The Buffalo Bills play their NFL game in Wembley Stadium this weekend. And here I’ve been holding out for the English version of football to come this way. We just bought season tickets to Western New York Flash for next year.

I walked with my mom this afternoon. She was too tired to do a lap of the building so walked up and down the halls of her apartment building. There was a real ruckus going on in the big room so we ducked in to see what was going on. A group of woman were playing Wii bowling and we stayed around long enough to watch one of the residents pick off a mean split.

I usually put my iPad in my bike basket but about halfway home I looked down and it wasn’t there. I couldn’t imagine it falling out. I called my mom when I got home asked if she saw my iPad near her chair. She never took to computers and she doesn’t really know what an iPad is so I found myself saying things like, “It’s black and thin and and it has glass on it.” My mom has a little problem with her hearing and lately with her vision so our conversation went something like a Burns and Allen routine. I drove back over there and by the time I got there she had found it.

Rick came over this evening for a few games of horseshoes. We always play best of three and it usually takes the three to determine a winner. Rick’s two and my one. I feel as though I could win more often if I could concentrate on what I’m doing. In a few more years we’ll be sitting in chairs, playing Wii Bowling.

No Small Feet

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Old gas station in Johnsburg, Adirondack Mountains, New York

Arthur Dove’s father ran a brick making plant in nearby Geneva, NY. There were as many as ten brickyards in the Rochester area at one time. Henrietta’s town historian invited my father to give a talk on bricks. Specifically, the Brighton Brick yard, which used to sit on Monroe Avenue near 12 corners.

Peggi and I helped by proofing his slides. Peggi caught a measurement labeled with “(inches) rather than ‘(feet) and of course we had to tell my father about the scene in “Spinal Tap” where Nigel does a sketches for some Stonehenge props. I exported my father’s Keynote presentation to his first generation iPad and I sat with the iPad and projector, advancing the slides at my father’s pace. I went the wrong way a few times but we worked pretty good as a team. This was not the first time and my father is getting really good at this. His slides contain the pertinent information, not too much, and he is able to talk to the slides in a comfortable way bring the graphics to life.

Yesterday’s 2PM presentation was held at the Senior Citizens Center on Calkins Road. Last time I was out this way we saw Captain Beefheart with Frank Zappa at the Dome Arena. It was not a good period for either. The Henrietta officials started the presentation with the Pledge of Allegiance, which caught me completely off guard. I should know the words to that damn thing by now. And it was followed by an announced but unexplained “moment of silence.” The florescent lights were washing out the opening slide so I asked the town historian if she could turn them off and she obliged. They gave my father a wireless mic and when he turned it on it screeched with painful feedback. The speakers for the PA were immediately overhead, built into the ceiling, a no-win situation. I asked them to turn the PA down and my father proceeded to use the mic as a pointer so the only time we really heard it was when he touched the screen with it to point something out. “Thump, thump, thump.”

The audience here was really into it. Peggi and I were as well. The guy sitting next to me was taking notes and scrambling o keep up. Ingeniously, my father used a handful of existing photos and early illustrations to pick up scale and measurements of the equipment involved in the brick making process. He used Google’s 3D illustration program,”Sketch-Up,” to create drawings of the buildings, kilns, machinery, molds, transportation systems, rail tracks and even the housing for the workers. And he employed his fanciful side to illustrate with his paintings what these plants must have looked like. He overlaid his to-scale drawings on old maps recreated the past for us. No small feat!

A Few Dings

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

House on Prince Street in Rochester, New York

Geri’s son, Sam, called to see if we had upgraded to OSX El Capitan. He was doing so as we talked. I might wait a few days and see how the reviews go. We had a few hiccups with the last update. We plan to visit Sam in Elmira this weekend so we’ll hear all about it.

We helped close up the street pool this morning, piled up the chairs, took the ladder out and put the diving board in the pump house. Peggi is in charge of the chemicals this year and she found the PH was a little low so we stopped down to our neighbor’s place to ask him how we should address this. He’s is a chemist so the answer took about a half hour to get to.

I’m not sure exactly what happened at the end of the gig last night. Either someone tripped on the cord for the Zoom recorder, maybe the upright bass knocked the recorder, but it and the stand it was mounted on fell toward Bob’s brand new guitar and it has a few dings in it.

Ossia has their first program of the new year tonight. They’re free at Kilbourn Hall. This one finishes with a Steve Reich piece. We are going to have to hustle home to catch the NWSL final between Kansas City (Heather O’Reilly‘s team) and Seattle. And there is another 20th Anniversary OJ show on tonight.

U. S. A.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Marshall Street Bar with Western New York Flash for USA Women's match vs. Australia

Brad Fox used to call this place the “Glass Bunion” back in the disco days. Officially the “Glass Onion,” I believe it was done in by a cocaine overdose. It’s called Marshall Street Bar now and the WNY Flash gathered there last night to watch the US national team in their first game of the 2015 World Cup, this one against Australia. The US may be favored but after watching the Germans run circles around Ivory Coast in their opener I’d put my money on then. I’m not a betting man though.

The women’s professional league is small and we are so lucky to have a team based here. Many of the US team players have either played for the Flash (Abby, Morgan, Lloyd and Leroux) or come through here to play against the Flash so it was blast to watch them win last night.

They were probably paid by FIFA to attend the broadcast because most of the team (seen sitting in the first row above) was there. They could have seen the game better on tv. Most of them seemed more interested in their phones than the game and who could blame them at their age. Our friend, Kerry, won one of the raffles and got most of their autograghs. I was headed to the bathroom when I spotted the Flash’s Lynn Williams by herself. I told her I watched her in the practice rounds and I thought she was the best shooter on the team. That’s where I should have stopped but I went on to say I thought she should be more aggressive on the field. She thanked me but I will keep my mouth shut next time. I can see how her phone would be more important than being on the national team.

It is the season to binge on soccer. The Champions Cup final with the dream threesome of Messi, Neymar and Suarez up front for Barcelona when they met Italy’s Juventus this weekend really got our blood flowing.

Garage Sailing

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Hank Ballard & The Midnighters photo sent to 4D Advertising when we were doing an album cover for them

My grandparents used to covert their garage into a porch in the summer. The car sat out in the driveway when we arrived for a visit and we’d sit around and talk in their garage. As I remember they even had a rug on the floor. As we rode our bikes down Panaview Drive to the hospital yesterday I notice a few houses with screens rolled up above their overhead garage doors, a couple of them right across the street from one another, ready to convert. This is how I’d like to spend my summer. Sitting on the porch as the world goes by.

Panaview changes its name to Norlane as you cross Bouckhart and there was a sign on that corner that read “Garage Sale Now.” We followed it down Norlane and it turned out to be the house with the pink bike strapped to a tortured tree. Our street is having a garage sale this weekend so we stopped in to check out the competition. I asked how much the pink bike was and the woman said $20. They had a box of Ukrainian records and some pictures from the old country and the sign in front of their house had “garage” misspelled. I photographed it for my sign site.

Well, our street sale turned out to have only two takers. Rick and Monica, across the street, are starting to downsize and we’re still trying to get rid of Peggi’s mom’s stuff. And of course we have a bunch crap so we plan to open our doors Saturday at 9AM.

But first I had to clean out our garage. I started by recycling a box of used padded envelopes. Some photos fell out of one, mostly Polaroids of the King All Stars, Fred Wesley, Hank Ballard, Cal Green, Country Kellum, Bobby Byrd, Pee Wee Ellis, Bubba Brooks, Bootsy Collins, Vicki Anderson, St. Clair Pinckney, Bill Doggett and Clyde Stubblefield. All single person close-ups. We did the album, cd and cassette package for After Hours Records and I think we used these inside.

There was a 35mm print in there too, the one above. Hank Ballard‘s girlfriend sent it to us I can’t remember if we did a separate record cover for him or what but I remember taking the picture out of the envelope and how it reeked of stale cigarette smoke. I have no idea why he is hanging onto an umbrella.


Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Fritz (Fred) Lipp "Out There" Watercolor 2009

We gathered today in our usual painting room at the Creative Workshop of the MAG. Most of us are long-time students of Fred Lipp’s and our week revolves around Tuesday’s class. A good percentage of the day class were there and our night class had a respectable showing but our teacher wasn’t there. He’s quite sick and we were meeting for two reasons: to discuss a tribute show in his honor and secondly, to determine how to carry on. I specifically did not say “carry on without him” because the gifts he gave us are ours to use.

As the group dispersed a few us were standing around taking about Fred’s teaching method. Bill Keyser was telling my father how he would have a list of things he was about to do and Fred would come by and say, “Forget about your plan. Look at your painting right now.” This in fact may be Fred’s most important point. Always stay open to what is on the page right now. “Painting is not a destination. It is an adventure.” Step back and look at the work. “Always address the worst first.” When the “worsts” are gone, your painting may be done.

I’ve searched my past posts and collected some of the lessons I am still learning from him. I find these truisms apply to most disciplines, certainly music.

The class was not about Fred’s work. In fact he rarely showed. The first thing I saw by him was a sculpture/installation in a Finger Lakes show, ripped open pieces of re-tread tires spewing at you from the corner of the gallery. It was sensational and it went on to the statewide exhibit in Albany. His class is called “Advanced Painting” and students work in collage, watercolor, acrylic, oil, drawing or sculpture. His methods are the same for all mediums.

There are no assignments. He rotates around the room addressing individual students as they work and pretty much says the same thing to each. He does not want you to talk first when he gets to you. “Don’t talk it. Show me.”

His stock of grey paper is his primary teaching tool. With this neutral grey he would cover parts of your work to show you what currently works. He’ll sometimes cover three fourths of your painting and tell you, “There’s your painting.

Many of Fred’s students say “he taught me how to see.” More importantly, I think he teaches us to trust our eyes. We already know how to see but we don’t trust it. If you have doubts about something in your painting that would be your eye talking. “If the question comes up, the answer is yes.”

Fred can be brutal. In many sessions the first class was the last we would see of a new student. He was brutal because he was honest and painters who did not want to learn left.

We visited Fred in the hospital last week and I asked him if any of his students had brought their paintings up to his room. He got a good laugh out of that one. A painting was never done until Fred pronounced it “done.” And it was just as often sooner rather than later than you expected.

Learning is a lifelong process. I’ve pulled these thoughts from my posts over the years. This link will take you to a page with all the posts on Fred.

There is no replacing Fred Lipp. He is one of a kind. He has been a mentor in every sense of the word and I am not alone. He packed the lecture hall at the MAG last summer with his presentation on spacial constructs, a comparison of three paintings from the MAG’s collection by Hans Hoffmann, Josef Albers and John Koch.

His daughter wrote that Fred is “the essence of art.” His ideals will live forever.

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.


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.