iPad Art, also Portrait and Poem: In Memoriam Howard M Spiro, MD

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The first three pieces here were done with my finger using the app, Art Set, on an iPad 2. I had never used any digital means to do art before, and in fact had just started drawing a few months before. So when I did the window curtains drawing, it was really among my earliest drawings anyway. The “hand with pencil” was just for fun, because I had nothing else in front of me to draw, and I used my right hand to draw my left, I think, though I could have reversed it. Not sure, as I was doing either one in those days. Now I tend to strictly draw with my right hand and write with my left hand… Anyhow, I must have drawn my feet in flip flops last summer, since it is more sophisticated than the other two and I don’t think I would have been able to do that sort of thing until last year.

The pencil sketch, which I took from a movie of Athol Fugard’s play “Boesman and Lena” (staring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett), I drew off the television, stopping and starting it until I couldn’t bear to not know what was going to happen any longer, and gave up and simply watched the movie…It was a terrific if also very dark play. I watched it twice in a row, one night and then again the next night. Then I even went so far as to look for the text of it, which is apparently difficult to find…I did get a study guide though, which may have the text embedded in it. At any rate I hope so.  Anyhow, I had planned to do other studies from that movie but I got so engrossed in the actual play, that I failed to stop the action long enough to do so. I guess that speaks volumes for how good a playwright Fugard is (was?). In fact, I watched yet another of his plays/movies and even sent for a third, “Tsotsi,” that was unavailable any other way the following night. “Master Harold and the Boys” was incredibly difficult, yes painful, to watch,  and should not have been easy anyway, not for anyone with a light skin in this country and any conscience. We are ALL implicated, we are ALL guilty…

Finally, the picture, at the bottom, is of my father. Oddly, my first title of this post (edited out) called him “my dad”; I usually refer to him as my father, but always, always, always called him Daddy..When I did this portrait  a couple of days ago, it scared me: the eyes began to move and the mouth made sounds, as if he were trying to tell me something, and I was afraid, so terribly afraid he wanted to say that he didn’t want to be “there,” wherever he is…I was so scared in fact that I left the painting room and said I wouldn’t listen to him. But then my cat, Eemie, who died not too long after he did, also came around. Literally, or as literal as a dead cat can be. Visual and audible! I dunno how that can be, because she was NOT a ghost, but a real cat, really Eemie..which only adds to my consternation. Finally I decided to take a teensy bit of Zyprexa to stave off any potential disaster. This is a bad time of year for me, 5-6 months along after “the last time” and after last summer I know I have nowhere I can trust to turn to, no place that is safe for me (Natchaug Hospital is too dangerous, and they wouldn’t even take me back if I needed it, if I even agreed to go should I need to).  I frankly dunno that such a tiny dose of Zyprexa makes any difference, but I had to do something…

Oh, I have a lot to say about Natchaug still, but that would take another post, and a lot of thinking. I just might post it as another open letter to Natchaug’s CMO…Because she is the one to whom I wish to speak, and who really needs to hear what I have to say. But we will see. In the meantime, I want finally to post the poem that I wrote for my father after he died. A lot of people have asked me for it. I read it at the memorial service at the Unitarian Church in Hamden, CT.  Alas, I see that it won’t paste in single spaced lines nor will it preserve the proper large blank spacing where it belongs, so you should know that it ought to look a bit different on the page than it does. The only other words of explanation you might want are these: when Martha, my younger sister, read her own eulogy, her major metaphor was water and the ocean and waves, because our father, was so very fond of swimming, especially the breast stroke, or a weird kind of what seemed to me a modified-dogpaddle-cum-crawl, his head more out of the water than in. We were shocked to discover that water and swimming were the governing metaphors in my poem as well.

(You might not need this information, but in case you do,  Tir Na N’Og is a mythical Irish “Land of Youth.” Island of the Seven Moons is meant to stand for much the same thing…)

This is for you, Dad.

BUOYANT

The dead cross the river, swimming.

Past drowning now,

some crawl,

some leisurely sidestroke,

some float on their backs,

toes pointing toward the sky.

Who knows what lies ahead:

Tír na nÓg, Valhalla,

Island of the Seven Moons?

No one can say for sure

if there’s any shore, far or near.

Some have cracked their teeth

on bitterness, believing

that to die is to lose all.

Others say there is only light

shining on the best of what used to be.

We dream, we dream and wake,

we wake and hope our dreams

mean something,

that the dead know more

than just the river

and that they must swim.

Daddy, keep your head up,

kick your feet, push the water

away.

MORE than just my Review of CREATIVE MARK Squirrel LE Brushes and Set

Originally submitted at Jerry’s Artarama Art Supplies

A limited edition series of CREATIVE MARK  fine blue squirrel hair brushes! For centuries, natural blue squirrel hair has been one of the most cherished hairs for making high quality artists’ paint brushes. This traditional hair is extremely soft and highly absorbent, and offers several advantages over modern…

Horrible, worthless brushes….

By PamWagg Artist from Hartford, CT on 1/6/2013
1out of 5

Pros: Fails To Glide, Rough, Stiff, Fails To Hold A Point

Cons: Poor Quality

Best Uses: Maybe Not Even For Glue, Maybe For Glue

Describe Yourself: Artist

Primary use: Personal

Was this a gift?: No

As an artist I need good brushes for all my work, and I invest in them, so when I saw these, I thought it would be a good thing to try them out. Unfortunately they were definitely nothing like the packaging asserts. Not at all. All I can tell you is that you have to say NOT to every single promise, including believing that these are even made of natural blue squirrel hair. NOT “soft and absorbent, hold lots of color.” NOT “handmade” NOT “round shape with fine point”. The tips are waxed into a pointed shape and you have to literally break off the coating to use them at all, but then you have a brush without any shape whatsoever, never mind a fine point. The brushes are quite literally worse than the cheapest department store brand. DO NOT BUY THEM. You will be wasting your time and anything else you expend on them. Jerry’s sells VERY good brushes, but these are not they.

I rest my case…

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Tags: Unusable, After one use, Picture of Product

proof that these are Creative Mark brushes

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Tags: Picture of Product

I wrote this review at Jerry’s site, but I wanted to add since I did write it, that the packaging pretends that these brushes are, and I quote, “entirely handmade”  — the brush head is “hand-shaped and tied” and yadda yadda yadda.. But how can this be? Do they really expect us to believe that the metal ferrules were individually metal-worked? And the wooden  lacquered handles, that is, painted with shiny paint, were individually painted and for that matter carved by hand? NOT! NOT! NOT! I do not for one second believe any of it and it bugs me that they think that they can get away with it. These brushes were NOT entirely hand-made, that is just plain masculine cow flops! I wouldn’t even give a hoot about the lies, if the brushes were decent but the idea that they could call this set worth  nearly $70 or so, for 6 brushes, and then pretend to drastically mark it down for a once in a lifetime CHristmas sale just burns me. They are and always were crap. And they knew it. They know it now. I don’t get it. Why are people so dishonest. Wouldn’t they rather put out a decent product for a decent price and have some pride in what they make? People would buy it, then, and not complain.

But no, they would rather CHEAT people, once, but a lot of people. Once. Than have a limited number of repeat customers who were loyal to a good and trustworthy manufacturer. Oh, I will get off my soapbox but this sort of thing just disgusts me.