Coltrane’s drummer, Elvin Jones, is quoted as saying, “Usually the material we played was new to us in the studio. We would only do second takes for technical reasons, not because of the musical content”. And the only time he was given charts was for the “Africa Brass” album that John and Eric Dolphy arranged and scored. So all this amazing music was a first take. And Miles is quoted as saying, “There are no mistakes”. Easy for him to say.
I’ve been listening to “Africa Brass, The Complete Sessions” as I paint and I am completely taken by the alternate take of “Africa”. There are three takes of this song in this package so there must have been some technical problems and I am thankful for that. The bass playing is so strong it comes off as a lead instrument. The horn arrangements are unlike anything in jazz. Of course, Coltrane is superb. And Elvin Jones takes his sweet time developing his solo section. His playing is beautiful. He never loses sight of Coltrane’s melody and only heightens the impact when it returns.
I’m thinking about this first take approach as I make mistake after mistake with my paintings. I have been trying to roll with my mistakes, correct them and use them to develop my painting. I’m seeing how valuable my mistakes are. I know that I have to paint the parts with the melody or theme in mind and not lose sight of it.
In the early eighties when drum solos were way uncool someone slipped a note to our band, Personal Effects, that read, “Let the drummer take a ride”. Even if I could talk a good game, the proof is in the pudding.
Before Christmas I stopped in this women’s clothing store near Starbucks called Avenue. I saw a brown hooded sweatshirt that I thought Peggi would like but they only had one size. It looked like it might fit so I bought it. When she tried it on at Christmas it was to big and we finally got around to returning it.
Peggi saw this sign on the way in that said “for women size 14 plus”. She asked a clerk if they had anything under size 14 and she said, “No”. A large women standing nearby said, “You’re just too teeny, tiny”. As we stood in line to get our money back it couldn’t have been more obvious that this was a plus sized store. We were marveling at the size of the clerks behind the counter and the other customers.
The sweatshirt was only $14 bucks. We walked over to another store called AJ Wright where everything they sell is marked down or discounted and Peggi found a sweater that she liked for $7. On the way home we went by the Dollar Store and Peggi told me she stopped in there before Christmas and someone had just puked so she left. It seems like the whole world is a flea market these days.
Peggi is preparing her insides for inspection. So it was no nuts or fruit with seeds today. We spent some time discussing whether or not that would include apples and pears and figured that they would be OK. She made lentil soup in the Crock Pot and we took that over to her mom’s apartment where we ate in front of 60 Minutes. Roger Clemens told Mike Wallace that he didn’t use steroids. Tomorrow it’s all liquids, the three tablets and the liter of MoviPrep.
Our NetFlix cue has reached the Sergio Leone clump that we stacked up a few months ago. We watched “For A Few Dollars More” last night and I was struck by how intriguing each character looked before they even uttered a word. The director sought a strong visual impact with the introduction of each figure even going overboard with a hunchback on Klaus Kinsky.
Which brings me to selecting faces to paint. I should probably have a “duh” category over to the right because this is so obvious. The more intriguing the source, the more likely the work will be of interest. I have mostly been trying to draw, to capture the essence of a pose and some snapshot of a personality from the source, and in the process I bring my own experience with people, the way I feel their presence, to the characters that I’m trying to draw. Why not help myself by choosing more animated sources, accentuate or even exaggerate the features? Why not give the few people that look at my paintings a break? Why should they have to look at these mundane characters? I prepared myself to be more discriminating in selecting source material instead of just trying to paint every mugshot on the Crimestoppers page. But I’m looking at the most recent version from the Democrat & Chronicle and every one of these photos has potential. Duh.
If you are a painter there is no downtime. This is the way it is. My painting class is in recess for the holidays but we will soon be back in the basement of the Memorial Art Gallery on Tuesday nights. And in the meantime, we paint or think about painting. Thinking about it heightens the moment when you are are standing in front of a blank canvas. “This time it will be different”, for why would you want to repeat yourself? This isn’t rock and roll.
I just posted some photos of paintings by people in my painting class. LorraineBohonos and Alice de Mauriac are two of my favorite painters and it is a joy to watch them paint. I think you will like their paintings.
Rochester’s Eastman Kodak Company announced that they were discontinuing the manufacture of infrared film on December 30th. So now only some digital cameras will be able to take infrared shots. Luckily Duane Sherwood’s camera is one of them. I just spent some quality time with his new show, “Big City“. The human eye cannot see infrared radiation, but the camera lens can and Duane’s photos of buildings in Manhattan bathed in infrared radiation are beautiful.
We usually drive to Ithaca by going through Arthur Dove’s home town, Geneva, at the top of Seneca Lake and then cutting diagonally across to Rod Serling’s summer hometown at the bottom of Cayuga Lake. This time we drove down the east side of Cayuga for a change and stopped in Aurora to check in on the place after reading about it in the Times. Wells College just went coed and a 1962 graduate of that school, who made some money when she sold her American Girl doll and book company to Mattel, has been refurbishing the college and town. It is a pretty little town. We stopped at an art gallery but they were closed for New Year’s Eve.
Our first stop in Ithaca was the bookstore on the Commons. We have been here may times over the years but this will be our last visit. They are moving to NYC and they were having a 50% off sale on everything. I bought Marsden Hartley’s autobiography, a book of Rembrandt drawings, a 1931 book about Daumier (I was so taken by the drawings that I didn’t realize it was in German until I got it home) and a book called a “A Day With Picasso” with photographs by Jean Cocteau. All for about twenty bucks.
We walked around town and bought a few things at a natural foods store and then drove to a bed and breakfast near Taughannock Falls. We had a great meal in the Inn. I had portobello mushrooms and cheese infused pasta and Peggi had duck. We took a jacuzzi and slept in a king size bed. We turned the tv on around midnight and wished we hadn’t after seeing Dick Clark, Carrie Underwood and the Jonas Brothers. The show creeped us out before they dropped the eco-friendly ball.
We set the alarm to get up in time for a continental breakfast and we took a walk in the State Park next door. We hiked up the gorge to the falls which we read are 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls. We drove back through Middlesex (I love that name) and Lodi while skirting the Willard Facility for the Criminally Insane. We stopped by the side of the road to photograph some white deer on the former Seneca Army Depot grounds and talked about stopping for coffee as we drove though town after town with everything closed for the holiday. We finally found a suitable shop open and drank Ethiopian coffee by their fireplace.
When we got near Pittsford, we stopped to say hi to Peggi’s mom and she had the Buffalo Sabres outdoor hockey game on the Bills’ football field on so we watched a few periods of play. We left when it was tied but heard that Buffalo lost in overtime.
We took a walk down to the lake or up to the lake. It’s downhill but it’s due north so I don’t know which is more correct. This same shot would look completely different everyday if I took it that often. The color of the sky, the water and the land are always changing.
My father hired a plumber a few weeks ago and he used a flashlight that he cranked to get going. It’s a wind up LED flashlight that doesn’t require batteries. My father was so impressed with it, he ordered one for each of the kids for Christmas. It will be perfect for taking walks after dark.
Our nephew, Matt, emailed that he had done a tutorial and screencast on his site (theilife.com) of one of the tasks that we gave him while he is staying here over Christmas. He says he is “having trouble finding Mac problems to solve and he would appreciate it if we could send him questions that we or our friends have in the future.” So send us Mac questions and we’ll pass them along to him.
It is possible to enjoy a perfectly good pizza pie without cheese being involved. Jeff Munson and Mary Kay proved this last night at their holiday party in Scottsville. He made at least fifteen pizzas. We sampled one with walnuts and spinach and went crazy for this one with arugula, figs and shrimp. Jeff suggests marinating the shrimp and figs for a couple of hours in olive oil, garlic and vinegar (Chinese Rice and Balsamic). Peggi had a cholesterol problem but got it under control by staying away from butter and cheese. Her doctor doubted that it would be possible to bring her levels down with diet but she did. And her doctor was at the party last night.
We were talking to one of Jeff’s neighbors and he told us that he grew orchids in a climate controlled greenhouse next door. So we took a tour of his place and Bob Mahoney snapped this shot on his new cell phone.
I caught the snowmen before their heads fell off this morning. Five minutes after I took this shot the one on the right was headless. Actually they were already headless. These are their midsections looking like heads.
Our old neighbor, Sparky, played out at Peggi’s mom’s home last night. We were planning on stopping out there but didn’t make it. Jeanne was in town from Nashville and she hooked up with Patty and they both stopped by. Jeanne brought over a bottle of Korbel champagne that had been sitting on her father’s shelf for a few years. It was warm but we popped it open anyway. It was sort of dark and it tasted like vinegar so we didn’t drink it. We made a fire and sat around talking. We hooked our laptop up to the stereo and streamed music from the other room. “Betty Davis Eyes” sounded good. Patty’s family sold the LDR Char Pit when her father in law retired and she told us about her new job at the local guitar cord factory, Whirlwind.
Kinda had to wait around the house today for UPS to drop off our new MacBook. Hope Apple doesn’t go and blow our Christmas by announcing some sort of ultra thin, ultra cool laptop at the MacWorld in SF. Bob Martin (Margaret Explosion’s guitar player and Mac guru) says it might be a Flash drive machine without a cd-dvd burner because people aren’t really burning stuff to disc anymore. I hadn’t noticed that but it’s certainly true in our case where we just buy more cheap drives for backup. UPS got here at 3:30 and just left it at our door so I guess we didn’t have to be here to sign after all. I’m going to wait for Peggi to get home before I open the box.
I might ride my bike up to Starbucks and pick up a New York Times. We tried not to work today and didn’t answer the work phone. I cleaned out the one gutter that we have on our house and raked a few wet leaves. I started going through the photos that have been piling up on my camera since Halloween. Here is one from a video installation at the Getty in LA. It was a white room with white chairs scattered about and monitors mounted to the ceiling with exotic interior shots on them. It didn’t look that exciting to me so I turned around and started to walk out and the guard said. “Sit down in one of the chairs”. I did and I looked up and there I was in this scene.
Our snowmen’s heads have both fallen off in the rain but their sculpted bodies are looking good. We put our rain gear on to walk in the woods. When the temperature goes above freezing things can get ugly but down by the creek the woods were misty and beautiful. It was a good day to contemplate the lyrics to “The Willows” from Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel, ”Always Coming Home”.
Peggi brought her mom over here on Christmas for some champagne and then we planned to head over to my parents’ house where the whole family gathers for sandwiches and some gift-giving. I have some of my dark crime faces hanging by the door and on the way out of the house I heard my mother-in-law say, “I must tell Paul, I wish someday he would get some good looking people up there.”
Peggi gave our niece the baby blanket that she has been crocheting for Lucas and then took it back so she could finish it at the party. Lucas’ brother, Dylan, was running around in his new Superman pajamas. Peggi finished the blanket.
We built up $500 worth of points in our Visa Rewards program and we ordered a MacBook through Best Buy. It was back ordered so we didn’t get it by Christmas. It is in now with a tracking number but it still seems to sitting at the Best Buy warehouse. We will probably use our old laptop for a jukebox. We tracked Peggi’s LL Bean order at Fed Ex and watched it leave Maine on a truck, get sorted at the Rochester Fed Ex facility and then leave for Memphis only to turn around and fly back to Rochester. It arrived the day before Christmas. I like Fed Ex’s tracking interface better than UPS’. Our nephew is staying with us and we geeked all day. We installed Leopard on a sub 867 G4 and transfered our mail package to that computer. We’re putting our G3 out to pasture.
Margaret Explosion plays tonight and a bunch of my family will be there.
Peggi opened the box that came from LL Bean and tried on her new boots and flannel-lined jeans. They look good. We took a walk up in Spring Valley and she wore her new jeans with the cuffs rolled up. Saw some turkeys and a few deer, one that sort of looked like “dog deer” but wasn’t. We had picked out some books for ourselves a few weeks ago and Peggi wrapped them and put them under the tree. I had forgotten what they were until we opened them. I got a picture book on German Expressionism and “Miles, Ornette & Cecil”. I dove into the part about Ornette.
Our nephew, who is staying with his family downtown at the Hyatt, emailed us some photos that he took in Rochester yesterday. They stopped by the North Pole. He is staying over with us tonight and tomorrow we plan to migrate our email application and all our email to a newer old computer. And he is going help us get our pc cleaned up and moving a little quicker. And then we plan to put Leopard on two G4s that supposedly can’t handle OS 10.5. I guess you put the dvd in a laptop and boot the G4’s in target mode and install over the network.
Today, I am going to learn how to draw an ampersand.
We knocked off a quote for a website for a dance troupe in Detroit this morning. We had promised it last week but we never got to it. Peggi put the turkey in the oven and then headed out to pick up her mom. I watched for the little pecker to pop out. It’s a free range turkey that never ate meat. The label says it has 70% less fat. I don’t think of turkey as having much fat to begin with. We bought it at Palermo’s Italian Market on Culver.
Duane stopped by and helped me shoot a new batch of paintings. He works for Lowel Light in Brooklyn and he set up four Tota lights, balanced the white point and set up a manual exposure with his Sony Cybershot V3. They came out pretty good but it will take me a bit to crop them and adjust the levels. When work was done we kicked back with a dvd of a 2002 live performance of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. I have an 8-track of that thing out in the garage that I want to put on eBay some day. Peggi walked in with her mom. My brother and his family are in town from New Jersey and they are headed over here for dinner. My parents will be here too, so with Duane that will be eleven. We put the extra leaf in the table.
Monte Alban has a big window inside with a view of the Classy Chassy Carwash on the right.
We did a little last minute shopping and stopped at Monte Alban for dinner. It’s a pretty restaurantetipico for Irondequoit, NY. Our friends Alice and Julio took us here a while back for fajitas. The tv is usually on, tuned to Univision or Telemundo with the sound off and they play Mexican music. It’s located on Ridge Road behind this historical marker. The sign reads, “Our Irondequoit. Melon was first developed here on the Sutton Farm. Its seed was first sold 1899. Very famous for its taste. Wiped out by blight in 1940’s”. There were tent cards on the tables inside offering “Melon Margaritas”. It may have just been a coincidence. I don’t think anyone has noticed this sign out here. We visited the original Monte Alban outside of Oaxaca in Mexico. It’s a beautiful, deserted Mayan city. It may have been wiped out by a blight as well.
Peggi is on row 86 of baby blanket with two days to go before Christmas.
We were at a party at Richard Edic’s last night and I was talking to Sheryl about about Neil Young. The conversation strayed into the joys of winter and she was telling me how much she liked the coziness of it all. I like the winter too. I can’t get anything done in the summer.
We took a walk in the woods today and came across an area where there was a concentration of deer footprints and ground with no snow. There was a pretty big tuft of deer hair (or is it fur?) and blood spots mixed in with the snow. It looked like a fight scene. Maybe it was rough sex. On our way back we saw a buck with a rack wandering by himself and he appeared to be limping. We built a couple of snowmen in the front yard and Peggi headed out to make pecan pies with her mom. She is going to stop by Wegmans and pick up some of those whole wheat pie shells that don’t have any trans fat in them. I’m headed down to the basement to paint.
La Moustache is a killer movie based on a really simple premise. This guy shaves his mustache and no one notices or they pretend not to notice. He is not too sure. No one is too sure and the movie doesn’t let you know what is really going on. It gets really crazy and then everything works out. The lead character’s wife tells him. “Don’t worry, it’s just like when you get too high. Keep in mind that you always come down.”
Antonio lives in East Rochester and he found 4D Advertising in the phone book a few years back. We did the cover design for the sheet music of a piece that he had written for his late wife. We later heard this song performed at a piano recital in Kilbourn Hall. It was beautiful. We moved from the city and he tracked us down at our new location. He marveled at the change of scenery and we discussed art work for his newest project, a composition called “La Vita Bella”. When he came back to approve the art he brought along this picture. He said it reminded him of our place and he thought we ought to have it.
As I was loading equipment into the Little Theatre for the Margaret Explosion gig last night, someone said “killer hat, dude”. I bought it online at the hookywooky shop. I just said pick out something you think I will like. I just checked and their site is misbehaving today. Maybe they are all sold out.
Bob Marcotte’s weekly local history column in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle was perfectly timed for Christmas. He recapped the story of an Episcopal minister who caused a nationwide stir by challenging Christ’s birth to a virgin mother as well as his highly touted resurrection. This quote from Rev. Algernon Crapsey’s speech one hundred years ago was reproduced by nearly every paper in the US with editorial comment.
“In the light of scientific research, the founder of Christianity no longer stands apart from the common destiny of man in life and death, but he is in all things physical like as we are, born as we are born, dying as we die, and both in life and death in the keeping of that same Divine Power, that Heavenly fatherhood, which delivers us from the womb and carries us down to the grave. When we come to know Jesus in his historical relations, we see that miracle is not a help, it is a hindrance, to an intelligent comprehension of his person, His character and his mission. We are not alarmed, we are relieved when scientific history proves to us that the fact of his miraculous birth was unknown to himself, unknown to his mother, and unknown to the whole Christian community of the first generation.”
As dead as print is, we still get “Print” magazine and in the February 2008 issue there is article on the AiG Museum (Answers In Genesis) in Kentucky. The place is designed to look like a history museum/theme park and “Print” critiqued the wacky displays of early man (no more than 6000 years like it says in the book) frolicking with dinosaurs (even though their time spans were separated by millions of years) and the typography choices for their “educational” signage. The author waited a half hour in line with busloads of people from Florida to pay the $20 admission.
Ignorance is bliss and a lot of people are following their bliss. I read that 56% of Americans don’t believe in evolution and that figure is up 10% in the last 10 years. That figure makes me doubt evolution.