Tag Archives: art


I want to talk about a living artist for a change.  I know that the artists I have talked about on this goofy blog-that-doesn’t-seem-to-know-what-it-is-really-for, Norman Rockwell, William Bouguereau, Paul Detlafsen, Thomas Kinkade, Fontaine Fox, and Maxfield Parrish, are all quite dead.  But conversely that is a good thing because it means their art has stood the test of time.  But today I want to plug a working artist I find absolutely fascinating.  This is the first artist I ever seized upon as an example of a true master whose chosen medium is primarily digital art.

This is Loish.  You can find her at http://loish.net/ or http://http://loish.deviantart.com/.  Her name is Lois Van Baarle and she is a Dutch citizen by birth.  She has worked as both an animator and a commercial artist/illustrator.  She has lived all over the world in countries like France, Belgium, Germany, and the United States, but currently resides back in her home country, the Netherlands.c18296b715d6f4bb5326967c0aee012c-d7a6fao   What I find so absolutely engaging about her work is the way she can portray ordinary folk, particularly young people and female people, in luminous digital colors (almost as if she is painting with light… and in fact that is actually what she IS doing), and in such a big-eyed, cartooney way (the way you would expect someone who does animation to do it.)  Take a look at all these wondrous creations that I have borrowed from her websites or her Facebook page.

4d4873720b8bbe3a7cc06832a0e14c76-d7k01fh 20_000_by_loish-d5lpy47 31_sf-37 10690067_10154860584950048_1469364398832522904_n 1470000_10154862874670048_3578173885367471245_n 2006__meet_2011_by_loish-d4csf9b 1620908_10154860017350048_1381515276976528718_n 10660212_10154580885860048_7814970677337086502_n

Isn’t that some of the loveliest artwork you’ve ever seen?  I know some may not like it, preferring what is more realistic, gritty, hard-edged, or more cutting edge… but I love foofy art of all sorts… goofy foofy girly art… and this is among the best I have ever seen.

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Homely Art – Part One – Thomas Kinkade

Fantasia  These images can be found at http://thomaskinkade.com/

I honestly have a thing for artists that critics hate and common folk like my parents and grandparents loved.  Norman Rockwell is a bit like that.  He enjoyed commercial success as a magazine illustrator.  That is about as far from avant garde art as you can get.  But what can I say?  I don’t call myself an artist.  I am a cartoonist and all around goofball.  I don’t do serious art.  So the questions surrounding Thomas Kinkade bounce off my tough old non-critical hide like bullets off the orphan of Krypton.  I love his pictures for their gaudy splashes of color, his way with depicting puddles and water of all sorts (splashes of splashes), and his rustic homes and landscapes of another era.  This is a man who does lovely calendar art and jigsaw puzzle art.  He is roundly criticized for factory production of “original” oil paintings which are actually a base he created and made a print of painted over by an “assistant” artist or apprentice.  But I don’t care .  I like it.  And you used to be able to see his originals without going to museums, in art stores at the shopping mall.  He is unfortunately dead now.  For most great artists, that makes their work more valuable and more precious.  Kinkade’s art hangs in so many homes around the country already that his fame has probably already reached its peak.  Look at these works that he did for Hallmark and Disney and various other mass-market retail outlets.  I dare you not to like it.

Cinderella-Wishes-Upon-A-Dream thomas-kinkade-signed-and-numbered-limited-edition-print-and-hand-embellished-canvas-the-night-before-christmas-1 kinkade-2010-bambis-first-year-1st-art-disney-thomas Teacup Cottage kinkade-2012-lg-little-mermaid-disney-art ladyandthetramp thomas-kinkade-hometown-morning-19676


Filed under art criticism, oil painting, Thomas Kinkade

Mixing the Old Gray Matter with Color



(This old picture paffooney won a blue ribbon at the Wright County Fair in 1979.)


I am repeatedly told by people willing to tell me all the many things I am doing totally wrong in social media marketing that I should be creating fresh new content every day for blogs and Facebook.    Ooftah!  I don’t work hard enough as a teacher and a writer already?  I have to imitate George Takei and master the internet just to make headway as a writer?  It makes me wonder why I am actually doing what I am doing.

So why am I doing what I am doing?

First of all, I am an artist.  I have always been one no matter what else was going on in my life.  Arthritis limits my drawing time.  Teacher work-time limits it more.  Still, I like to blog and I like to post Paffoonies.  Now, I know perfectly well you are saying, “What the heck is a Paffooney?”  I also know you are probably using stronger language than “heck”.   A Paffooney is a piece of full-color art that I have created matched with a silly little essay.  It takes a lot of work unless I do like today and re-post old pictures with new flubbergraphy.  (What’s flubbergraphy, you say?  Oh, don’t start!)

Secondly, I do have important things to say.  I have a somewhat rough road as a parent, the thing that led me to write Catch a Falling Star, a YA Sci-fi novel about an intelligent alien invader race that eat their own young.  You can tell it’s a comedy just by that, right?  Just because  my kids always do the opposite of what they should do and never listen to my hard-won wisdom, it doesn’t mean I’m thinking about cooking and eating them.   That would require a whole lot of ketchup, right?

My contest-submission novel, Snow Babies, is about loneliness and loss, about dealing with mental disorders like being bi-polar, and how you help people who are lost in the metaphorical snow.  It is a hilarious comedy about freezing to death and suicidal thoughts.  Dang, I have such humorous themes, huh?

Now, when I have the chance to write my newest novel, The Bicycle-Wheel Genius, it will be about lonely old men befriending young boys, murder, government agents, and time-travel.  It also has a parallel subplot  about a little boy who thinks he is a girl.  Cross-gender angst and goofy stuff like that.  I am making comedy out of suffering, fantasy out of science, and hoo-hah out of oh, no!

So, now I have made the complete mistake of telling you all my goofy plans as a writer.  Unrealistic and impossible fictionary goals from a foo-bah who really believes that stories can change the world and ideas can save humanity from itself.  If you have an ounce of sense, you will forget every last word of mine you have ever read and swear to delete me from the internet at every possible opportunity.  But I am counting on you not having any sense.


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The Rest of the Possible Paffooney Gallery



“In the Land of Maxfield Parrish”


“By Command of the Sea Witch”



“The Alchemist in his Frozen Keep”



“Mike Murphy and Blueberry Bates”



“Prinz Flute, Fliegen Zum Der Zauberburg”



“The Sword Fight at Mouse Castle”

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A Gallery of Possible Paffoonies

A Gallery of Possible Paffoonies

These are some old colored-pencil drawings that represent some of my best art.

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November 3, 2013 · 8:25 pm

From My Stuffed Animal Collection : Wizard Bear

From My Stuffed Animal Collection : Wizard Bear

Here’s the magical mystical wizard bear, casting his spell with curly bear hair.

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October 17, 2013 · 2:41 am

Star Dancing with Lizard People



the picture above : Davalon and Farbick near Mars (by Leah Cim Reyeb)

I am constantly bubbling over with ridiculous ideas and dreams.  After writing the book Catch a Falling Star, I was asked by an editor what happens next to some of the characters.  The Morrell family, changed into children, travel into space with the Tellerons aboard Xiar’s Base Ship.  Harmony Castille, the elderly church lady who falls in love with the Telleron Commander Biznap marries him and travels with the aliens too.  The task; find a new home world and start a mixed civilization.  Since the aliens have no inherent religion or morality, it falls to the humans on board to make Christian values the norm for the Telleron frog people.  That is a challenge old church ladies can’t resist, but also can’t manage without help.

So what can I do with this story?  Where can it go?  I am trying to build my work in fiction around certain rules or boundaries that will give it the consistency and power that I need to achieve with my work.  Well, the biggest rule is that all my stories have to fit like puzzle pieces into the entire picture, an imaginary history of the universe centered on the little town where I grew up.  Space empires in the future, time travelers popping in and out freely, and imaginary breakthroughs in physics, astrophysics, and various sciences cannot be allowed to interfere with the unified history of the future of the galaxy.  I know how silly this sounds, but silly rules inform the under-structure of all reality.  How else can you explain things like the politics of Texas?  Further, I adhere to other silly rules.  It must be science fiction or fantasy.  It must also be humor.  And the most important characters are always children.

So what will this book I am planning be like?  Well, first of all, there must be strong elements of science fiction.  Of course, silly me, my heroes are on a starship looking for a new home-world.  You can’t get too much more science-fictiony than that.  But I have been overwhelmed with internet researches of late into the looniest of the internet conspiracy theories.  Besides my obsessions with who killed JFK and what really happened on 9/11, I have also found cartoon characters like Alex Jones (the conspiracy world’s version of Elmer Fudd on PCP and prodded to ridiculous levels of vitriolic-aggressive anger management failures) speaking about lizard men from outer space who have taken to controlling our government by shape-changing and masquerading as Hilary Clinton.  Whew!  Humor is a breeze!  All I have to do is set my lost space-colony down on the hostile, warlike world of the space lizards, the world of Galtorr Prime.  The science fiction is then firmly grounded in the pseudo-science of paranoid madmen.  And, joyfully, further research into the lizard people trying to take over earth will be justified by the creation of this book.  Who knows?  I may actually uncover their secrets in real life!

The humor, as I already indicated, is built in.  Warlike lizards who want only to conquer and destroy!  And don’t forget, this will be set on their war-torn home world.  The satire is set.  I will be writing political satire about Republicans and Democrats.  Hot dang!  And I can depict crazy folk who would gleefully destroy their own government and their own environment in order to spite their worst enemies, who are thankfully not us, but themselves.  I can continue to describe the battle between good and evil in my book in the same religious terms I have always tried to use.  It is not good against evil as much as it is Love against Heartlessness.   All good comedy, from Mark Twain, to Charles Dickens, to Terry Pratchett, to Douglas Adams, is precisely about that.  (Of course it will mean more of the run-on sentences, multi-adjectival descriptions, and infantile allusions and metaphors that I always use in my signature purple-paisley prose.)

And finally, I have the characters already fairly well set.  Davalon, the boy Telleron explorer, his nestmate/sister Tanith, their friend and mentor Farbick, Davalon’s adopted child-parents Alden and Gracie Morell, and the crew of Xiar the Slightly Irregular’s whole wacky starship are already living and arguing in my head.  Of course, the moldy underwear and dirty dishes in my head are not a particularly good thing.  When will fictional characters ever learn to clean up after themselves?  Only time will tell.

So there you have it, an entire book idea that came into being in the last week and a half.  It will be interesting to chronicle the progression and creation of it.  Will it actually get written?  Will it take twenty-two years the way Catch a Falling Star did?   Will it be worth doing more with than merely writing it and then burning it to save future generations from reading it and burdening themselves with the corrosive insanity it will most likely cause?  Well, please, don’t bet any actual money on it.  Imaginary or funny-money will be good enough.  



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Colored Pencil Gallery

I admit to being a colored-pencil maniac.  They are like oil colors.  You lay down the dark hues first and overlay the lighter colors on top.  I need to learn how to photograph them more effectively, but here are some of my best.


The Girl with the Red Bird (1993)


In the Land of Maxfield Parrish


The Boy with the Bugle (1994)


That Night in Saqquara I Was Taken By Surprise (1992)


The Wings of Imagination



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