Category Archives: photo paffoonies

Living in the World I Once Drew

The Grain Mill

It is normal for the world we live in to inspire us to draw pictures of it. But architects do the opposite. They imagine a world we could live in, and then build it.

David and Me in Cotulla

Sometimes, like in the picture above, I draw real people in imaginary places. Other times I draw imaginary people and put them in real places.

Gyro and Billy on the planet Pan Galactica A

Sometimes I put imaginary people in imaginary places. (I photo-shopped this planet myself.)

Superchicken and Sherry before school

In fiction, I am re-casting my real past as something fictional, so the places I draw with words in descriptions need to be as real as my amber-colored memory can manage.

Valerie and her skateboard in front of the Congregational Church

When I use photos, though, I have to deal with the fact that over time, places change. The church does not look exactly like it did in the 1980s when this drawing is set.

Drawing things I once saw, and by “drawing” I mean “making pictures,” is how I recreate myself to give my own life meaning.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, collage, commentary, humor, illustrations, imagination, Paffooney, photo paffoonies

Making Paper Dolls

Yes, among my most disturbing artistical habits is my obsession with handcrafting paper dolls out of images that were not meant to be paper dolls. And if you look carefully you can see at least three that look like they were taken from one of those cardboard books of antique paper dolls that you used to be able to buy from Dover Press. But, in truth, I took those three (Actually four, but one got knocked on the floor and stepped on in the night) from a digital ad online, blew them up, modified the images with colored pencil and scissors, and then used both the scanner and my printer to turn them into paper dolls put together with scissors, cardboard, and glue.

There are also three in the back row, Annette with mouse ears, the boy on the bicycle, and the fairy-faun thing, which I made with my own original drawings. There’s also cowgirl Annette made from scans from a vintage Cheerios box and a little anthropomorphic puppy-boy thing that was made from a scrapbook piece that my mother cut out of one of my beginning reader books from the 1950s.

These three that were in front in the previous picture were images stolen from a fellow artist on Instagram whose name forgetful me lost in the creation of the paper dolls. I swear I meant to give her proper credit, and I will add her to the comments here when I can find her again on Instagram or Twitter. In the meantime, I contend I am not violating her copyright because I make no money from my blog, and the art project they are a part of will never be sold. When I die, my wife will either give them away or destroy them. She doesn’t tend to value my artwork. The paper dolls especially. The nudist ones especially specially.

I admit that the paper doll thing is only a part of my greater doll-collecting mania. They have taken over the upstairs of the house. And that is a large part of why my wife hates them, although she enjoyed about a decade’s worth of collecting Barbie dolls before our daughter was old enough to dismember and eat so many of them.

But I also have plans to make more. Truly evil plans.

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Living on a Shoe String

There was an old man who lived in a shoe.

He had so many expenses, he didn’t know what to do.

Of course, I am not complaining.

Even though it’s a tennis shoe and not a cowboy boot.

I have got an ice cream truck outside. Sponsored by Hot Wheels.

And now that I have a substitute teaching job, I almost have more money than bills… well, some months… maybe.

But I still can’t afford ice cream. Or insulin.

But my neighbor lives in a house made of eggshell. And he has cancer. But he gets visits from the Partridge Family in their funky school bus. It is better to live on a shoe-string budget than an eggshell budget. But we all have our troubles. Which Aetna will never willingly pay for.

Except for the rich guy who lives on Mel Gibson Hill. He has no troubles.

He has plenty of money.

And he is the reason the rest of us are poor.

Because he pays for politicians to give him tax breaks on all that money that never trickles down the hill.

But life is good in Toonerville Town.

Unless that shoestring comes undone.

And then it takes lots more hard work to tie it up again.

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The Gingerbread Train

I had been promising my daughter for a while that we would build the gingerbread train. I was looking forward to it as an art project. She was impatient to eat it. So, on December 27th, I was finally feeling well enough to do the deed.

So, we prepared the work space on the kitchen table. We laid out the items that we could use for assembly. I made my daughter promise to stop eating elements of the train before we could actually put it together.

I started decorating the Christmas trees that go into the baggage car. My daughter ate several of the sugar-ball decorations.

The baggage car was assembled first. I call it the baggage car because even though it is in the tender position for a steam train if we called it that, that would mean that the engine burned Christmas trees instead of coal. My daughter snuck a few more decorations as we argued about that.

It was encouraging that the first part came together without looking too incredibly terrible.

My daughter decorated a majority of the engine and only ate a few more of the decorations while doing it. This was no small thing given how much she loves to eat gumdrops.

It ended up looking vaguely like the picture on the box. We had a great deal of fun making it. And the last time I checked, portions of it still were uneaten… something I am confident won’t be the case for much longer.

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The Encounter

Life, like a good Dungeons and Dragons game, is basically controlled by rolling the dice of random encounters.  Even if there is a great over-arching plan for this reality in the brain of the Great Dungeon Master in the Sky, it is constantly altered by the roll of celestial dice and ultimate random chance.

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Thusly, I managed a D & D encounter in the middle of the night last night.

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I generally have a sleeping skill of only +1.  That means, that if sleeping is a simple skill, I can add my +1 to the roll and only have to get a 6 or higher on a twenty-sided dice.  At 3:10 a.m. I rolled a 3.  I had to get up and wander bleary-eyed to the bathroom, a -2 for terrain effects to successfully to make it to the bathroom and pee through a prostate that is swollen to the size of a grapefruit, most often a difficult task, requiring a 15 on a twenty-sided dice.  I got lucky.  I rolled a 19.  Then, on the way back to bed, the dog rolled a natural 20 on her get-the-master’s-attention roll and let me know she had to go to the bathroom too.

I have to tell you at this point, that since I am trying to be more of a nudist, I seriously considered taking her out naked (by which I mean me, not her).  Dressing up in the middle of the night can be daunting.  And no one was going to see in the dark of the park at 3:15 a.m.  But I thought it probably wasn’t a good idea to go adventuring without armor in the darkness, so I at least put on shoes and a magic +4 bathrobe.

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So, we went out to let the dog poop in the park, a thing she can do profusely on a roll of 3 or higher.  We got it accomplished with little fuss.  Oh, there was some complaining and growling, but the dog managed to ignore me when I did it.  Then we had to find our way safely back to the house, and bed…. but we had a random encounter roll that didn’t go in our favor.  I am always on the lookout in the dark for aliens or black-eyed children or even the onset of the zombie apocalypse.  But what I got was the monster from under the bridge.

One of the denizens of the city suburbs that most enjoys the nightlife in the city and thrives even though it isn’t human is the horrorific creature known as a raccoon.  She’s a sow that I have seen a number of times before at night.  She lives under the bridge in the park and often has three or four cubs trailing behind her in the spring.  And she has nothing but contempt for humans with dogs.  She immediately launched into her fear-based hiss attack.  And coming from a possibly seven-foot tall monster sitting atop the pool fence and hissing in the night, it seized the initiative with a very effective attack.  She rolled an 18.  The attack succeeded.

I tried the ever-popular pee-your-pants defense, but failed, rolling a 2.  The reservoir was previously emptied, and I wasn’t wearing pants.  The dog bolted for the kitchen door and dragged me with her.  Her magic bark attack wasn’t even tried.  We were in the house before my heart skipped its third beat.

Surviving the encounter in this way is probably good for the heart.  It beat really hard for a bit and got thoroughly exercised.  But I went back to bed and reflected on the fact that random encounters like that are entirely dependent on the roll of the dice.

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Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, horror movie, monsters, Paffooney, photo paffoonies

Skyscapes of the Cloudy Mind

I admit it.  Even though I collect pictures of sunrises to glory in the fact that I still have another day of life in this world, I rarely snap a picture of the cloudless sunrise.  It is very possible that this has something to do with what ultimately gives life value and makes it worthwhile to live one more day.

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If there is no pattern, no color-changes, no contrast, no variation… then why bother?  And this doesn’t only apply to living your life.  It applies to taking pictures of the sky too.  Solid blue or solid yellow are about as interesting as a minimalist painting.  (Have you ever seen the big beige squares and red squares that fill entire walls of the Dallas Art Museum?  Like a picture of a polar bear in a fierce blizzard or an extreme close-up of the side of a tomato.)

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Yes, sunshine and happiness are all well and good… but you don’t get a satisfactory skyscape without some clouds in it.  In fact, rain clouds provide the most fascinating patterns and colors.  What would the picture be without a little drama splashed here and there to make a center of interest or a counterpoint to the happy ending?  They say that variety is the spice of life.  And when they say that they probably mean cayenne pepper rather parsley or oregano.  If that’s not what they mean, then why the hell did we bring food into the discussion?

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So, I am thinking, there have to be clouds.  (Notice, I said “clouds”, not “clowns”, because… according to the song, there “ought to be clowns”, not “have to be clowns”.)

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It is true that clouds can mean sadness… that the rain is coming, that your vision is obscured, that something has come between you and God’s eye.  But without clouds, the sky would be plain and boring.  Better to burn bright and explode in a short amount of time than to linger over a plain pale blue.

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Picture Making

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My Mother’s Dolls

Tom Sawyer without the straw hat, as created by Lois Beyer

Tom Sawyer without the straw hat, as created by Lois Beyer

You may already know about my doll-collecting mania.  You may have already called the mental health people to come take care of the problem, and they just haven’t arrived at my door yet with the white coat that has the extra long sleeves.  But you may not know that my mother is a doll-maker and has something to do with my doll-collecting hoarding disorder.

In the early 1990’s my mother and I put our money together and bought a kiln while we were visiting my sister’s family out in California.  It wasn’t the most expensive model, but it wasn’t the cheapest, either.  We both had enough experience with ceramics that we didn’t want to buy a burning box that was merely going to blow our porcelain projects to kingdom come.  Mother had doll-making friends in Texas who taught her about firing greenware and glazing and porcelain paint and all the other arcane stuff you have to know to make expensive hand-made dolls.  Now, honestly, at the start we could’ve made some money at it selling to seriously ill doll collectors and other kooks, but we were not willing to part with our early art, and by the time we were ready to do more than just have an expensive hobby, everyone who would’ve paid money for the product was making their own.  So dreams of commercial success were supplanted by the hobbyist’s mania that made more and more charming little things to occasionally display at the county fair.

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The two dolls I have left to share on my blog from that era were both crafted by my mother.  She lovingly fired the porcelain body parts, painted the faces by hand, and created the wardrobe on her Singer sewing machine.  I made some dolls too, but never with the wondrous craft and care that made my mother’s dolls beyond compare.

Tom Sawyer was originally a boy doll who was supposed to be able to hold a model train in his hands.  My mother had the pattern for the little engineer’s uniform and hat that she would use on another doll instead.  He is named after the Tom Sawyer clothing pattern that my mother bought and sewed together to dress him in.  He has a cloth and stuffing body underneath his clothes together with porcelain head, hands, and bare feet.

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The other doll I have left to brag unctuously about is a doll named Nicole after the niece my wife and I have whom this doll bares a striking resemblance to.  She displays a beautiful little girl’s sun dress with quilted accent colors that my mother sewed from scratch with the help of a pattern she was truly fond of and used more than once.

These dolls were gifts to my wife and I, presented shortly after my mother bought out my share of the kiln when she retired and moved back to the frosty land of the Iowegians.  I haven’t kept them as thoroughly dusted and cobweb-free as they deserve because I have been a somewhat lazy and slovenly son… but I do love them almost as much as (and sometimes more depending on recent behavior) my own children.  (After all, porcelain kids rarely make a mess, overspend allowances, or hog the television too much.)

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As If It Weren’t Enough…

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THE WISDOM OF THE LITTLE FOOL

A fool can’t really sum up all of life in a sentence.

But a fool tries.

A fool can’t really say something in immortal words.

Because a fool dies.

A fool can’t really do the job of the wise.

But never-the-less, the fool applies.

But a fool can write a really dumb poem,

And let it sit to draw some flies.

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Dolly Pics

I like taking pictures of my doll collection. Those pictures are then qualified for Art Day posting. So, here are random pictures of dolls, most of which are from the doll shelf in my bedroom.

Not all of my dolls are on the doll shelf.

Chilly Willy here is a carnival prize that was probably won in a basketball-toss game at Six Flags and purchased by me for five dollars in a garage sale. He is technically not a doll. He is a stuffed animal.

So, let’s get back to dolls.

More stuffed animals, as well as ponies and paper dolls to add to this immense doll collection.
Creepy Captain Action lurks behind mint=in-box Emma Watson as Belle while he looks for his lost hat. But Bo Peep and Wonder Woman are keeping an eye on him.
I had to stop here as the caveman Minion had to go and start a fight with Peter Rabbit. Leave it to a mindless Minion… “Oobah Dee?” “Sorry, boss.”

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