Category Archives: artwork

Unicorn Doodle… um, Doodlecorn?

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I like to doodle and draw as I watch TV.  This I did while watching the Iowa State Championship Games for high school girls’ softball.  I  guess I had unicorns on the brain.

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Filed under artwork, doodle, Paffooney

Painting on the Rocks

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The Rowan Public Library has a storm sewer drain near the parking area on the west side of the building.   How do you prevent cars from parking on top of it and risking significant damage to two different things?  The librarian’s solution?  Make a rock garden around it so that only extremely stupid people would still consider parking there.  And what better summer activity than to invite kids and senior citizens to come in and paint the rocks for decoration’s sake.

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The goofy spotted frog and the Star Wars rebel flying goose are the rocks that I chose to paint.  You can see that I had more fun than I did artistic epiphanies.  But that is the thing about art.  Bob Ross says that it can bring good things to your heart.  And it does even more so when you share it with kids and other people.

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So I had a relatively good time just painting rocks for fun and cracking simple, stupid jokes to make little kids laugh.

Mom had fun painting flowers and smiling suns on a rock next to her good friend Annie and Annie’s great grandson.  You see them in this picture taken by the little boy’s grandmother.

And my daughter really got invested in the zen experience of putting paint on rocks.  She took the longest of anybody to finish her second rock.  And, of course, her little dragon-obsessed creation was easily the best one of the day.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, coloring, commentary, family, goofiness, homely art, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Gingerbread Dragon

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Despite what it looks like, this is NOT a bowl full of dog poop.  It is actually gingerbread dough in the process of being mixed.  I had already folded in the one large egg, and already stirred it almost to readiness for the kneading process.

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You see, my daughter and I have been staying at home in Texas while my wife and son are off on a trip I couldn’t manage for health reasons.  So, since the Princess and I have some bonding time, we decided to have a gingerbread cookie contest that we ended up putting off too long last December.

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We decided to make just two cookies.  I suggested unicorns, she wanted to do a dragon.  So we each took half of the dough and started sculpting.  We didn’t make the cookies mobile once cooked.  The plan was to make them, decorate them, photograph them, and eat them.

The Dragon is the Princess’s entry and the unicorn mine in the fantasy critter cookie contest.  In the previous pictures they are in raw dough form.  In the next set of pictures they are cooked cookies.

The en-fattened cooked cookies didn’t look quite as fine as our original sculpted conceptions.  We were hoping to improve their artistic merits by decorating them.  I had frosting left over from the gingerbread house we did in December.

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The chocolate frosting, though, had congealed in a strange, barely spreadable manner.  To deal with this, had to warm it and melt it slightly to get it to spread.  The Princess chose to forego using chocolate frosting.  Like an idiot, I forged ahead with the tasty goo.

Unfortunately, the warm chocolate had a tendency to melt all the other decorative frosting.

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So, I tried my best to be artsy creative and rescue the look of my unicorn cookie.  I failed.  I turned it into a fire-tailed ugly dog with a bleeding white stick stuck in its forehead.

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The Princess was, however, much more successful.

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And fortunately, both cookies were delicious when it came time to clean up our respective messes.

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Filed under artwork, daughters, goofiness, humor, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Clown Business

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This is a 4-minute free-hand doodle in pen and ink on white drawing paper. I drew it fast. I actually put less planning and thought into creating it than the clown president has put into tariffs and trade wars.

I confess to rarely doing things without a plan and considerable preparation. It is as much a teacher thing as it is an artist thing.  But it is not really a clown thing.  Clown things tend to be spontaneous, unrehearsed, improvised, and free-flowing.

I think, though, that my doodle, though done fast and directly from the idea machine to paper, shows how my constant preparing and work on careful planning leads to certain features of talent and skill showing through.

I believe I have revealed before that as a writer and an artist I am a formalist.  I believe in the rules and proper forms.  I know the proper forms and the rules very well.  And therefore, I feel qualified to break the rules whenever necessary.

And clowns must break the rules.  You have push outside the borders.  You have to twist things at unnatural angles.  You have to turn things upside down.   You have to portray a clown with only the face and hands.

Of course you can see a definite difference in quality between clowns.  The Cheeto-head who runs our country does not exhibit practiced skill when he free-hands it and tweets his comedy on Twitter.  He creates mainly chaos.  Robin Williams, on the other hand, rapid fires incredible lines off the top of his head.  But he can do that because he has practiced brewing gallons of funny foam up in his insane brain and grabbing off the amazing lines that fizz out of his brain and tosses them out to create comedy.

Chaos is easy to create.  Comedy, especially thoughtful comedy, is hard.

So, I will continue to do clown stuff.  And I will continue to doodle.  But I will also continue to plan and practice, because clown stuff is seriously important, and has to be done correctly.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, clowns, doodle, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

True Treasures Take Time

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I now have six good books and one embarrassing one published.  They represent stories I have been crafting, revising, telling, and retelling for over 40 years.  They represent things that happened to me in real life and people I have known and loved in real life that have all been transformed in the wizard’s crucible and witch’s cauldrons of my bizarre imagination.  They contain some of my best magic spells and some of my most worthwhile wordsmithing, by which I mean writing in ways that give the spellchecker fits.

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I tried to tell you this story about telling stories yesterday, but my computer glitched and burped and spontaneously deleted more than half of what I wrote just as I was finishing it to publish it.  So the complex part I had planned to  explain this Paffooney was lost and the resulting tantrum I threw kept me from remembering and rewriting.

But it was fortunate that I delayed the repair of this post until today.  Because last night my daughter finished her end-of-the-year art project for school, and the snafu-demons have inadvertently given me the opportunity to include it here.

It is a soft sculpture dragon made of felt and hand-sewn.  She didn’t tell me what his name is, or even that it is a him, but one can imagine that it must be something like Rumple-Tum Sneezer,  or something equally awkwardly foolish like that.  One can imagine it because one has a slightly off-kilter and Disney-demented imagination.  But the whole project took a boatload of time, and you can see she crafted it with great care and skill.

Treasure takes time to create.  We who attempt to create it in the red-hot forges of our stupid little creative heads put all the skill we have acquired over time into it.  And the endeavor renders something of value almost every time.  Time… time… time… Treasure takes time.  And now I need to hurry and publish this before the computer tries to fart it all away again.

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Filed under artwork, Celebration, commentary, daughters, humor, imagination, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Another Talislanta Gallery

Blood Brothers

Kastur and Pawlucks

 

Harun the Charmer and the Cryptomancers of Clan Omean.

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These images were made in the early 90’s as I played an RPG game called Talislanta.  It was a sword and sorcery D&D-like game with no elves, dwarves, or other ordinary D&D creatures.  The blue guys are a race called Mirin who live in the coldest places.  The green guys are Cymrillians and Tanasians, a magic-using race.  There really weren’t even humans among the many weird races of Talislanta.  And drawing these things was gloriously liberating in a fantasy-art sort of way.

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Cover Design

I am the first to admit, I don’t know diddly-sqwoot about effective cover design.  But now, with self-publishing as the only option left to me, I am learning things about publishing that I only ever scratched the surface of in my few college forays into publication design and layouts.  I had some experience publishing junior high yearbooks, (and losing money on something that most teachers lose money on).  And I have gotten a lot of serious criticism from sources that matter to me, like my daughter, the Princess.

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With the novel I have been working on with Kindle Publishing on Amazon in view, I came up with this.  I like it.  But it will not cut the mustard with the Princess.  (She uses a knife on mustard, but lately has given up on eating mustard all together).  So I had to work the idea out further.

I tried this;

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The design is a little better.  But Rowan has become so ratty and run down that I hesitate to use the background which is not much like the Rowan of 1974 when the novel was set.  So I decided to focus on character instead.

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Still needs work, right?  You can no longer see the post office sign in the background.  Sherry is still a small head growing out of Superchicken’s neck.  And Milt Morgan is a good addition, but the purple paisley shirt looks terrible.  And besides, this will not fit the whole cover of the Kindle paperback.

It will end up looking something like this;

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Or not.  Because I am still learning how to do it right, and I still have many more mistakes to make.  But as I finish editing and formatting, the time will come soon to see the proof in the pudding.  (And you better hope I don’t put uncut mustard in the pudding.  That would taste terrible.)

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Filed under art editing, artwork, humor, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing