Category Archives: artwork

What Dreams May Come?

Lately I have been having problems with passing out during low blood-sugar moments in the middle morning, early afternoon, and shortly after supper, usually when I have already had a snack and my sugars haven’t balanced yet. When I pass out, perchance… I dream. Vivid dreams. So, for art day, I will post images I have made based on dreams I have had.

This one has shadows on everything. I exhausted three pens drawing shadows. Yet, there are no shadows on the child-figures. In the dream, they were glowing white ghosts.

Snowboy is one of the main villains in The Bicycle-wheel Genius. But the boy-robot made entirely of snow, ice, and circuitry first appeared in a 1978 dream that happened while I had a fever from the flu.

This dream is a mental-disturber caused again by fever. Here the two gigantic toys play with the little girl. I was not actually in this dream. I was an observer floating above. I think the bear was inspired by a Care-Bear.

This picture has all the elements of the actual dream, the candle, the line of glowing pixies, the sleeping princess, and Prince Charming. But nothing here looks like it did in the dream. The prince and the princess were both young teens that I did not know in real life. The fairies were larger and a lot more obviously nude.

I actually passed out while writing this post. It happened right here, before I could post this dream of living colors. All the colors were in motion in the dream, something I couldn’t really represent here.

I knew when I dreamed this dream that the Bambi-kin in this dream were members of my family, but at the time I dreamt it I had not met my wife yet, let alone had three kids of my own. Yet I knew that it was not my family at the time of the dream because one of my sisters was not there.

This is from a dream I had in college at Iowa City. I made an entire cartoon out of it called Babysitters Hate My House, It is about a babysitter having a horrible time with my two sons as she loses control when they show her the man in the basement that, “Daddy built out of a kit.”

And, finally, this dream featured not only the spirit stag and the medicine man, but the bolt of lightning in the background. The Dakotah people say having a dream with lightning in it makes you a “lightning dreamer”, a magic man, or a shaman. So, I guess that qualifies me to be one.

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Filed under artwork, dreaming, dreams, humor, Paffooney

Other Folks’ Artwork

There are many, many things I appreciate about other people’s artwork. It is not all a matter of envy or a desire to copy what they’ve done, stealing their techniques and insights for myself, though there is some of that. Look at the patterns HergĂ© uses to portray fish and undersea plants. I have shamelessly copied both. But it is more than just pen-and-ink burglary.

I like to be dazzled. I look for things other artists have done that pluck out sweet-sad melodies on the heartstrings of my of my artistically saturated soul. I look for things like the color blue in the art of Maxfield Parrish.

I love the mesmerizing surrealism of Salvador Dali.

I am fascinated by William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s ability to create photo-realistic and creamy-perfect nudes.

Basil Wolverton’s comic grotesqueries leave me stunned but laughing.

The dramatic lighting effects employed by Greg Hildebrandt slay me with beauty. (Though not literally. I am not bleeding and dying from looking at this picture, merely metaphorically cut to the heart.)

I even study closely movie-poster portraits like Bogart and Bergman in this Casablanca classic poster.

I could show you so many more art pieces that I dearly love to look at. But I will end with a very special artist.

This is the work of my daughter, Mina “the Princess” Beyer. Remember that name. She’s better than I am.

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Filed under artwork, commentary, inspiration, oil painting, old art, pen and ink, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Uncategorized

The Never-Naked Nudist

Today I have a low-grade fever. A slight cough. No sign of Covid yet, and I am fully vaccinated. But I have been to Walmart without a mask and get regular flu regularly. And it could also be a sinus infection again due to high pollen counts and neighborhood grass-cutting.

But the truly frustrating thing is that I had planned to go tomorrow to Bluebonnet Nudist Park, give them a copy of my nudist novel, and meet some of the members of that establishment that I didn’t meet in 2017.

The frustrating thing is that this marks the fifth time that I had planned to go back to Bluebonnet for a second visit. And now the plans are canceled yet again by illness.

As ever, I remain mostly a closet nudist. Me being a nudist now in the twilight years of my life is mostly a joke I tell, only loosely based on reality.

Part of the problem is the fact that I simply waited too long in my life to give in to the urge to be a nudist. I was one from childhood onward, but always too afraid of the unknown to try it openly. Especially after being assaulted at the ripe old age of ten.

My real opportunity came when I had a girlfriend in the 1980’s whose sister lived with her husband and children in a clothing-optional apartment complex in Austin. I met nudists there fully committed to the lifestyle and who encouraged me to join the movement, even after I broke up with that girlfriend. There were limited opportunities to become a nudist then. A park near Houston, a park near San Antonio, a nude beach on Lake Travis (Hippie Hollow,) and clubs in the Austin area that met in members’ homes. I only ever visited those places with clothes on. I never actually tried it. And now that I am old, I regret the opportunities missed.

Now I am old and ill and unable to express my love of nudism and naturism except through art and fiction. Of course, it has always been a very visual-only experience for me. No touching was ever involved. Whatever sexual feelings there were were always sublimated and deeply buried or strictly controlled.

And, as always, I didn’t absolutely need to share these normally private sort of details, but it seems my art and writing make me far more naked to the world than walking around a nudist park ever could.

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Synesthesia (Part One; French Blue Monday)

This link will help you understand Synesthesia

Francois spotlight

Yes, Mondays are blue.  Specifically French blue.  Every day of the week has its own color.  Sunday is golden yellow, Tuesday is a yellow-ochre,  Wednesday is indigo blue and sometimes changes to blue violet, Thursday is burnt orange, and Friday is solid wood brown, and of course Saturday is rich pure red while Mondays are not just any blue… they are French blue.  I learned the names of these colors from being a painter and using oil paints.  I experience these colors every week and they help me maintain the calendar in my stupid old head.  I began to realize when I first heard about the colors of the wind in the Disney movie Pocahontas that there was something to this everyday thing, something different in the way I see the world.  I have in the last few years learned that this condition has a name.  It is called synesthesia.

 

 

It has been suggested to me by more than a few people that I don’t really perceive the world the same way “normal people do”.  When I was growing up, and going to school, I never had trouble remembering to capitalize the first word in a sentence.  I did however, have a great deal of difficulty with capital letters on nouns.  Looking back on that difficulty now, I can say without a doubt that I was having trouble not because I didn’t know the difference between proper nouns and common nouns.  It was because things like the word “dog” or “chair” had to begin with the right color.  Dogs are blue when you are talking about the color of the letters in the word.  But small “d” is blue-green, not true blue.  It doesn’t fit as well as the dark blue capital “D”.  And chairs are orange-red when you write them down, while the small “c” appears light green by itself.

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Sundays are Sun-days, and that’s why they are golden yellow.

I am told that most synesthetes are taken by surprise when they learn that they are seeing things differently than other people do.  I certainly was.  I always got funny looks whenever I described Thursdays as orange, or the month of November as sky blue.  My classmates in 4th grade thought I was nuts… of course, it wasn’t just for the orange Thursdays thing.  I was not a normal kid in any real sense of the word.  I always suspected that if I could look at the world through other people’s eyes, I would probably see the color green as what I called red, or that glowing halo that surrounded things when organ music played in the Methodist church would no longer be there.  But once I learned how synesthesia works I knew it was true.   The visual part of the brain can be scanned to show activity, and lights up on the scanner as if the brain is seeing bright colors when Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is being played while the subject of the scan is actually blindfolded.  I am told that synesthesia is more common in left-handed girls.  My daughter, the Princess, tells me that she also sees color on printed numbers and letters.  She is left handed and also gifted at drawing.  I suspect she inherited the synesthesia from me.

Creativity

Synesthesia probably explains what this nonsense is all about.

Now, I acknowledge the fact that my synesthesia is self-diagnosed and not proven by any of the methods the articles I have read about the condition talked about.  But my personal experiences always seem to fall in line with descriptions of letter/number/color combinations and music/color combinations that I have read about.  And if I do have it, it is not the same as any of my six incurable diseases.  It is not a bad condition to have.  In an artistic sense, it might actually be a good thing.  I could use some good for a change.  Good doesn’t usually come from weirdness… not my weirdness, anyway.  (Oh, and capital “G” is lime green… as is the word Goodness).

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Pants on Fire

Our previous President, the man whose name I will no longer use because it makes him happy to see it in print, has a hollow pumpkin for a head. Hollowed out with no remaining think-o-lating pieces, seeds of ideas, or potential candle lights to shine out of the carved eyes and fanged demon smile. Just empty. Desolate. Possibly a site for spiders to spin their cobweb houses.

And everything I said in that previous paragraph, the distortions, the metaphors, the exaggerations, are all lies.

Spiders would definitely NOT be comfortable spinning webs inside Trumpalump’s head. And I just used his name even though I distorted it. And he did have ideas. Lots and lots of EVIL ideas.

Really, journalists are writing lots and lots of books about it. They are giving him so many journalistic hotfoots, that his pants are bound to catch fire.

And that’s a lie too, unless you grant me the notion that the metaphors are accurate.

The pictures used in this post have nothing at all to do with the topic of the post. I was simply able to go all the way back in my media gallery to March 2014 to show you pictures I have not ben able to show you for a long time.

As the flames continue to lick upward around the seat of the defeated former President’s pants, brought on by an administration’s inability to deal with anything but by lying, we must all deal with the fact that most of what human beings on planet Earth actually believe and act upon are lies.

Yes, we are all necessarily liars. Not just the lying leader of what was, before his presidency, the leading nation of the free world. All of us.

And keep in mind, this article is written by a fiction author and former middle-school teacher, two jobs that necessitate telling lies to others daily.

It is entirely possible that I am even a liar as a fantasy artist. My sister never met the boy in her lap in the first picture. The Aztec girl was not really an Aztec as the background suggests. And if the red dragon is really personifying liars in the picture I call, “The Family Picnic,” that dragon will win the battle and eat the whole family.

Of course, not all lies are malicious.

That’s why it has taken this long for prosecutors and judges to start applying matches to the Trumpinator’s trousers. They have to prove how stupefyingly manipulative and harmful his monstrous lies have been.

The models for the “people” in this picture were both actually naked, but they were on horse, not a chicken. Therefore, this picture too is not a photograph.

Mostly, however, we tell lies for benign reasons. We tell ourselves that science and technology will find a way around extinction of life on Earth through Climate Change. We tell ourselves we will go to Heaven when we die. These lies comfort us in that, well, they might be true. And they give us hope against the bleakness of reality.

And there is truth to be found in the creation of fictitious worlds through books, movies, plays, and poetry. We can rewrite the world and its problems to our liking, possibly creating solutions to those problems along the way.

But basically, we all have to constantly be checking whether the smoke rising from our pants is being ignited by our dishonesty, or by the dire need to change something about our daily diet. Lying is a fact of our humanity. And it can get out of control to extreme levels where it Trumps everything else.

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Birdwalking Made Easy

Birdwalking in an essay is when you drift off topic and begin to meander like a bird from one spot, place, or idea to another, never quite pulling everything together into one whole thing. More like a bird eyeballing the ground as it goes by, hoping against hope that a worm will simply present itself.

The first stop, spot, place in the essay, or idea is a Paffooney, one of those pictures that goes with a story of its own.

This one is a picture of Grandpa Butch Niland from the the story, Horatio T. Dogg, Super-Sleuth. a story that takes place on the farm place next to my maternal grandparents’ farm place. I drew him while in Iowa.

But instead of lingering on the story of how I drew that picture based on the face of Jazz musician Duke Ellington and the personality of my Mom’s cousin and her literal nearest living relative… He lives alone now on a farm not a quarter of a mile south of my Mom’s house… I added this picture of a little lap dog and his nudist girl in front of a giant chocolate cookie in the shape of a heart which I added red and pink frosting to just today.

Why the heck did I do that, you ask?

Because I am making plans to use my AANR membership sometime in the near future to go to a nudist park and meet some other nudists that I have never yet met before.

And of course I had to add a black-and-white version of my anime portrait of an anime-loving nerd just because I saw it among pictures I could upload when I was sorting through drawings to use for a birdwalking post.

And then there’s this picture I found of the Wizard Pippin, two of his many apprentices, and his son Prinz Flute. I will admit to drawing that one a long time ago. It is not a photograph. But you may notice that Flute is a lot younger in this picture than the more recent ones he posed for.

And there’s my recently re-scanned portrait of Dr. Wilton Dogwiggle, Chemist, and his new invention, Happiness-Plus Potion. I promise that it is not merely warmed-up dog pee, although I understand that Wilton loves that odor. At least, that’s what he promised me when he had me smell-test it. It didn’t smell like pee, but it didn’t make me very happy either.

I will end this birdwalk with a photo to the nearest thing this old bird could find to a worm. I bought myself a toy for the first time since the middle of 2019. It is a Marvin the Martian PVC doll from the movie Space Jam with LeBron James. I couldn’t resist.

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Random Art, the Art of Picking at Random

Angry Duck Eyes –

Anatidaephobia (pronounced anna-tidy-phobia) is a pervasive and irrational fear that you are being watched by a duck. A person with this rare phobia fears that somehow, somewhere a duck is watching their every move.

I know, that’s pretty random, right?

But that’s how this Art Day post works. I had no idea what the first picture would be until I searched for it. This post began not with an idea, but a title; Random Art, the Art of Picking at Random.

Most of my art posts are exactly that. Pictures picked at random simply by going back through my media gallery and picking them. I usually pick up a theme along the way, sensing how the pictures are connected and deciding what that reveals about the artist and how that should be put into words.

I am aware that by relying on my library of already-used images, I am bound to be putting up something that you may have seen before. But I do have a large supply of already-downloaded pictures, and I find that I deeply love seeing some of these over and over again. However, they are all original artworks done by me. (Yes, I know I didn’t make any of the Pez dispensers or anything in the above photo. But I made the arrangement and took the photo. That makes it as much my art as Campbell Soup cans can be Andy Warhol’s work.) And I have seen them far more often than you have, and I haven’t tired of them.

Many of these pictures are actually self portraits. And that’s because an artist can only come up with whatever is actually inside him at the time.

I am not myself in this picture, but it is never-the-less very much about me and who I am inside.

You might be able to spot the connections between this picture and the last one if you are observant of small details.

Boz, the Bard, Diz, and Poe

This picture seems awfully random until you start to see them as Mr. Dickens, Mr. Shakespeare, Mr. Disney, and Mr. Poe.

So, there it is, Random Art for Saturday Art Day. Picked totally at random. And yet, at the end it seems somehow organized. That is a sort of small miracle, and probably proof that God exists… at least in some random way.

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The Ultra-Mad Madness of Don Martin

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Born in 1931 and lasting in this crazy, mixed-up world until the year 2000, Don Martin was a mixy, crazed-up cartoonist for Mad Magazine who would come to be billed as “Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.”    His greatest work was done during his Mad years, from 1956 (the year I was born… not a coincidence, I firmly believe) until his retirement in 1988.  And I learned a lot from him by reading his trippy toons in Mad from my childhood until my early teacher-hood.

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His style is uniquely recognizable and easily identifiable.  Nobody cartoons a Foon-man like Don Martin.

The googly eyes are always popped in surprise.  The tongue is often out and twirling.  Knees and elbows always have amazingly knobbly knobs.  Feet have an extra hinge in them that God never thought of when he had Adam on the drawing board.

And then there is the way that Martin uses sound effects.  Yes, cartoons in print don’t make literal sounds, but the incredible series of squeedonks and doinks that Martin uses create a cacophony of craziness in the mind’s ear.

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And there is a certain musicality in the rhyming of the character names he uses.  Fester Bestertester was a common foil for slapstick mayhem, and Fonebone would later stand revealed by his full name, Freenbeen I. Fonebone.

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And, of course, one of his most amazingly adventurous ne’er-do-well slapstick characters was the immeasurable Captain Klutz!

Here, there, and everywhere… on the outside he wears his underwear… it’s the incredible, insteadable, and completely not edible… Captain Klutz!

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If you cannot tell it from this tribute, I deeply love the comic genius who was Don Martin, Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.  Like me he was obsessed with nudists and drawing anatomy.  Like me he was not above making up words with ridiculous-sounding syllables.  And like me he was also a purple-furred gorilla in a human suit… wait!  No, he wasn’t, but he did invent Gorilla-Suit Day, where people in gorilla suits might randomly attack you as you go about your daily life, or gorillas in people suits, or… keep your eye on the banana in the following cartoon.

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So, even though I told you about Bruce Timm and Wally Wood and other toon artists long before I got around to telling you about Don Martin, that doesn’t mean I love them more.  Don Martin is wacky after my own heart, and the reason I spent so much time immersed in Mad Magazine back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, cartoon review, cartoons, comic book heroes, goofiness, humor, illustrations

New Scans of Old Art

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Thinking About Thinking with a Thought-free Thinker

Yes, today is another in a long, tepid series of Art-Day posts, but it is also about metacognitive thinking. Specifically thinking about thinking using pictures to think with. (Maybe that title should say, “Free-Thought Thinker” rather than, “Thought-Free.”)

To start with, what does a person actually see when they close their eyes? My brain does not color everything on the inside of my eyelids black. Even in the dark of night with no nightlight so that nothing shines through my eyelids, my brain interprets the dark as shapes, patterns, and colors. Hence the inspiration for this picture.

But my brain is never satisfied with raw shapes, colors, and patterns. It has to interpret ideas into them. The mass of yellow and black resolves into a butterfly, or a sunflower, or an etude by J.S. Bach. The pink mass becomes a blond girl playing the music in my head…. a girl from piano-lesson days in the early 70’s. But naked. The way I always thought about her while sitting and waiting for my piano lesson and listening to hers. How else does a boy think about a pretty girl when he is fourteen?

And as the items in the picture take shape, they do also begin to tell a story. Who is this Dr. Seabreez? Is he a shaman of the Republic of Lakotah People? Is he a white man? Seabreez is not a Native American name. The naked boy by the tent flap has a crutch, and there is a mouse silhouetted nearby. Does that make him a medical doctor? A veterinarian? A professor of Native-American Studies? The mind begins to piece together a script.

But here we see that Dr. Seabreez has set up a new practice in Japan. Again the boy near the door has a crutch and there is a silhouetted mouse near him. But now the other boy has horns on his forehead. Why horns? And pointed ears? Is he a Doctor of Magic and Wizardry? Demonology perhaps? And what is an anthropomorphized panda doing in Japan? That’s clearly a Japanese castle in the distance. The collar Kanji is definitely Japanese in character.

And now there are horns again. Three of them by my count. And another naked character. But a Grecian background. The mind is here making connections between the pictures, noticing patterns. Appreciating colors. And turning every detail over in the mind’s eye, evaluating and analyzing.

Art, especially on Saturdays, totally engages the mind. That is one of the reasons we keep art around to look at again and again. It is the purpose of art to make us see something. And not just once, superfluously. We must see it in depth, looking beyond the surface.

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