Tag Archives: artwork

Who Am I?

space cowboy23

“Who am I?” the Walrus said,

“I have to know before I’m dead.

And if the Cosmos will not say,

I’ll ask again another day.”

“You are a simple Disney clone,”

Said Cosmos when we were alone.

“You draw and color with your brain,

And tell some stories despite the strain.”

class Miss Mcover

“You taught a while in the Monkey House,

And learned that students like to grouse,

But in the end will love your class

And will give you medals made of brass.”

Alandiel

“And your poems are filled with Angel words,

Both quite profound and yet absurd,

Because your mind soars far away

On winds of wild romantic play.”

“I guess that I can live with that,”

Said Walrus as he grew quite fat.

“And Mickey is the name I write

To sign my pictures in the light.

And that is all I have to say

To write myself in the crazy way.”

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, poetry, Uncategorized

Nerd Class

Skoolgurlz

Back in the 1980’s I was given the gift of teaching the Chapter I program students in English.  This was done because Mrs. Soulwhipple was not only a veteran English teacher, but also the superintendent’s wife.  She was the one gifted with all the star kids, the A & B students, the ones that would be identified as the proper kids to put into our nascent Gifted and Talented Program.  That meant that I would get all the kids that were C, D, & F in most of their classes, the losers, the Special Edwards, the learning disabled, the hyper rocketeers of classroom comedy, and the trouble makers.  And I was given this gift because, not only was I not a principal’s or superintendent’s wife, but I actually learned how to do it and became good at it.  How did I do that, you might ask?  I cheated.  I snooped into the Gifted and Talented teacher training, learned how to differentiate instruction for the super-nerd brain, and then used the stolen information to write curriculum and design activities for all my little deadheads (and they didn’t even know who the Grateful Dead were, so that’s obviously not what I meant).    I treated the little buggers like they were all GT students.  Voila!  If you tell a kid they are talented, smart, and worthy of accelerated instruction… the little fools believe it, and that is what they become.Aeroquest ninjas

Even the goofy teacher is capable of believing the opposite of what is obvious and starts treating them like super-nerds because he actually believes it.  I soon had kids that couldn’t read, but were proud of their abstract problem-solving skills.  I had kids that could enhance the learning of others with their drawing skills, their singing ability, and their sense of what is right and what is wrong.  I had them doing things that made them not only better students for me, but in all their classes.  And I did not keep the methods to my madness a secret, either.  I got so good at coercing other teachers to try new ideas and methods that I got roped into presenting some of the in-service training that all Texas teachers are required by law to do.  And unlike so many other boring sessions we all sat through, I presented things I was doing in the actual classroom that other teachers could also use with success.  The other teachers tried my activities and sometimes made them work better than I did.

Teacher

Yes, I know this all sounds like bragging.  And I guess it probably is.  But it worked.  My kids kept getting better on the standardized tests and the State tests that Texas education loves so much.  And Mrs. Soulwhipple was still the superintendent’s wife, but she did not stay a teacher forever.  She eventually went to a new school district with her husband.  And guess who they started thinking of when the question of who would be the next teacher for the nerd classes was considered.  That’s right, little ol’ Reluctant Rabbit… that goofy man who drew pictures on the board and made kids read like a reading-fiend… me.

So, a new era began in Cotulla.  In addition to still getting to teach all the deadheads (because they weren’t going to trust those precious children to anyone else, naturally), I began teaching at least one edition of Mr. B’s famous Nerd Class every school year.  We actually assigned long novels and great pieces of literature for the kids to read and discuss and study in depth.  Novels like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt were read.  We began talking about “big ideas”, “connections to the wider world”, and how “things always change”.  We began taking on ideas like making our world better and how to help our community.  Kids began to think they were learning things that were important.  We did special units on Exploring Our Solar System, The World of Mark Twain, Finding the Titanic, and The Tragedy of Native American History.  And we spent as much as a third of the year on each.  I am myself cursed with a high IQ and a very disturbing amount of intelligence.  I am the deepest living stockpile of useless facts and trivia that most of my students would ever meet in their lifetimes.  And even I was challenged by some of the learning we took on.  That’s the kind of thing that makes a teaching career fun.  It kept me teaching and meeting new students and new challenges long after my health issues made it a little less than sensible to keep going.  And if I manage to tell you a few Nerd Class stories in the near future, then at least you stand a chance of knowing a little bit about what-the-heck I am talking about.  So be prepared for the worst.  I am retired now, and have plenty of time for long-winded stories about being a teacher.

 

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Filed under Uncategorized, Paffooney, humor, teaching

I Go Pogo!

I gave you fair warning.  Pogo has been coming to Mickey’s Catch a Falling Star Blog for a while now.  So, if you intended to avoid it, TOO BAD!  You are here now in Okefenokee Swamp with Pogo and the gang, and subject to Mickey’s blog post about Walt Kelly and his creations.

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Walt Kelly began his cartoon hall-of-fame career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios.  If you watch the credits in Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo, you will see Walt listed as an animator and Disney artist.  In fact, he had almost as much influence on the Disney graphic style as Disney had on him.  He resigned in 1941 to work at Dell Comics where he did projects like the Our Gang comics that you see Mickey smirking at here, the Uncle Wiggly comics, Raggedy Ann and Andy comics, and his very own creations like Pogo, which would go on to a life of its own in syndicated comics.  He did not return to work at Disney, but always credited Disney with giving him the cartoon education he would need to reach the stratosphere.

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ask.metafilter.com

ask.metafilter.com

Walt Kelly's Earth Day comic

Walt Kelly’s Earth Day comic

Pogo is an alternate universe that is uniquely Walt Kelly’s own.  It expresses a wry philosophy and satirical overview of our society that is desperately needed in this time of destructive conservative politics and deniers of science and good sense.

maxriffner.com

maxriffner.com

Pogo himself is an every-man character that we are supposed to identify with the most.  He is not the driver of plots and doings in the swamp, rather the victim and unfortunate experiencer of those unexpectable things. Life in Okefenokee is a long series of random events to make life mostly miserable but always interesting if approached with the right amount of Pogo-ism.

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And Pogo was always filled with cute and cuddly as well as ridiculous.

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As a boy, I depended on the comic section of the Sunday paper to make sense of the world for me.  If I turned out slightly skewed and warped in certain ways, it is owing to the education I myself was given by Pogo, Lil Abner, Dagwood Bumstead, and all the other wizards from the Sunday funnies.  There was, of course, probably no bigger influence on my art than the influence of Walt Kelly.

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So what more can I say about Walt Kelly?  I haven’t yet reached the daily goal of 500 words.  And yet, the best way to conclude is to let Walt speak for himself through the beautiful art of Pogo.

Pogo and Mamzelle

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Filed under cartoon review, cartoons, humor, Paffooney

Things You Probably Ought to Know about Mickey

As Mickey’s go, the one who is writing this is a moderately interesting example of the breed.  Still, there are things you probably ought to be made aware of.  A sort of precautionary thing…

First of all, this particular Mickey is an Iowegian.  That means he comes from Iowa, the State where the tall corn grows.  It is a prime reason why his jokes are corny and his ears have been popped (oh, and he does actually have two, unlike the picture Paffooney where only one is showing).  His fur is not actually purple.  If anything now, it is mostly silver-gray.  But the Paffooney is a magical portrait, and purple is the color of magic.  He has a goofy, and sometimes fatal grin.  You may not be able to prove that he has ever actually grinned someone to death, but it is likely he could always dig somebody up.

Another irrefutable fact about this Mickey, unlike many many Mickeys, is that he used to actually be a public school teacher.  He taught the little buggers for thirty-one years, plus two years as a substitute teacher.  He did twenty-four of those years in middle school… twenty-three of those in one school in South Texas.  His mostly Hispanic students managed to teach him every bad word in Spanglish… err, Texican… err, Tex-Mex… or is it Taco Bell?  Anyway, they taught him every bad word except for the word for cooties… you know, piojos.  He learned that word from an old girl friend.

A despicable thing about him… (you know despicable, right?  It’s that word that Sylvester the cat always uses) is that he actually likes kids.  That’s just not normal for someone who teaches them.  Teachers are supposed to hate kids, aren’t they?  But he never did.  It is true that he yelled at them sometimes, but he never did that because he hated them.  He did that only for fun.  And he actually apologized to kids sometimes when they got into behavioral trouble, because he said it was the teacher’s fault if kids are bad, and, besides, the kids are so surprised by that, that they forget all about the behavior and can be flammoozled into acting good.

The last and most wicked thing you need to know about Mickey is that he cartoons up a storm sometimes.  He loves to draw everything that is wacky and weird.  He has more goofball colored pencil tricks than a Charles Shultz and a Dr. Seuss rolled together in a sticky lump with a George Herriman stuck on top in place of a cherry.  He steals ideas and techniques from other artists and steals jokes from comedians, undertakers, and random juvenile delinquents.  He also puts together lists of wacky oddball details that don’t quite fit together and weaves it into purple paisley prose (somewhere in this whole messy blog thing he has also defined purple paisley prose and how to make it… in case you were curious.)

So there you have it.  The Truth about Mickey.  The sordid, simpering, solitary facts about Mickey.  The straight poop.  (wait a minnit!  How did poop get there?  Not again!  I thought I had cured that!)

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Maxfield Parrish Pictures

Much of what I draw is inspired by Maxfield Parrish, the commercial artist who created stunningly beautiful work for advertisers in the 1920’s and 30’s, and went on to paint murals and masterworks until the 1960’s.  He is noted for his luminous colors, especially Parrish Blue, and can’t be categorized under any existing movement or style of art.  No one is like Maxfield Parrish.  And I don’t try to be either, but I do acknowledge the debt I owe to him.  You should be able to see it in these posts, some of mine, and some of his.

Mine; (In the Land of Maxfield Parrish)

MaxP

His; (Daybreak)

Daybreak_by_Parrish_(1922)

Mine; (Wings of Imagination)

Wings of Imagination

His; (Egypt)

Egypt

Believe me, I know who wins this contest.  I am not ashamed to come in second.  I will never be as great as he was.  But I try, and that is worth something.  It makes me happy, at any rate.

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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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Comic Book Heroes – A is for Aquaman

Today’s Paffooney is a tribute to a childhood hero, Aquaman.   I drew the picture from a comic book inspiration source coming from DC Comics in the 1960’s.  Aquaman is a B-level superhero with not nearly so many fans as the big three, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.   He was, however, my second favorite after Spiderman.  He was more important to me than the Avengers.  And this was strange, because I only had the chance to read the sacred comic books in the old barbershop in uptown Rowan.  I only remember about two different issues that I was able to read during the long wait for a haircut.  (Haircuts on Saturday took forever, because all the bald and crew-cut farmers would take forever getting their hair cut.  And they hardly had any hair!   I think the barber cut each hair individually.)

Aquaman and Aqualad would journey together in an incredible undersea world of sea monsters, giant fish, scuba divers, villains like Black Manta, and Mera, a real hot underwater babe.  Topo the octopus could play comic relief by playing musical instruments or getting drunk on old lost kegs of pirate rum.  I became a part of the adventure.  I’m not sure whether I imagined myself more as Aquaman himself, or Aqualad.  Aqualand was dressed all in red and blue, my favorite colors.  I liked his blue swim-trunks.  I myself could never wear swim trunks without a fatal case of embarrassment over my knobby knees and hairy legs.    I admired Aqualad’s smooth and muscled boy-legs, though not without some shame and embarrassment.  Some suggest that the relationship between Aquaman and Aqualad was a homo-erotic thing just like Batman and Robin.   But, hey… NO IT WASN’T!  It was a hero and sidekick that mirrored the complex relationship between a father and son.  My father and I could never talk at any deeper level than Aquaman talked to Aqualad.   Yet my father had super-powers for solving my problems and helping me do things and make things.  Yes, I think I loved Aquaman because he reminded me of my own father in his quiet competence.

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And I had a Captain Action Aquaman costume, a Christmas present and wonderful treasure.  I played with it so much that only the broken trident, mask, and swim fins remain.  The rest was all broken and unraveled and disintegrated from being played with.  The Aquaman in my Captain Action collection has replacement parts in it to make it more complete.  Yes, I spent time and money putting that toy back together so that I might play with it yet again.

So why is the super-powered King of the Sea so important to me?  After all, his super powers are to breath underwater and telepathically talk to fish.  I think, reading back over this stupid little essay, that the most important theme is the father-son thing.    I never owned a single Aquaman comic book as a kid, but I watched him on Saturday morning TV.  He was one of the Superfriends.  And my father had been in the Navy on Aircraft Carriers.  Yes, Aquaman is my favorite because Aquaman is secretly my father.

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Paffoonies Still Working

This is actually a writer’s literary site meant to promote novels, and one day possibly earn money from writing instead of simply filling my closets with prose and old manuscripts (along with the wife’s many, many shoes).  But since I am also an amateur artist of the irradiated subspecies known as “cartoonist”, I also have many visuals to share.  I think in pictures as often as I think in words.  So one of the features of this blog is that I tag artwork with a made-up word I coined myself.  It allows the curious (or those immune to nightmares) to get an almost instant idea of how afflicted I am with cartoon-ism.

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Yes, I tested it out.  If you do a picture search on Google using the words “Beyer Paffooney” you get a free gallery of my artwork, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  You might even find my picture of Clint Eastwood… but beware, he shoots first if you try to “make his day”.  If you are brave… or foolish enough to try it, it should come up something like this;

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So, there you have it.  A cheap and easy 200-word post from a bad idea that’s still out there working.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, cartoony Paffooney, goofiness, Paffooney, Paffooney cartoony, Paffooney Posts

Sculpture Anatomy

Here is a collage that represents one of my hoarding-disorder collecting diseases enabled by the internet.  The rules for this collection are basically;

  1. Only photographs.
  2. Only human bodies, or people parts.
  3. Only artistically created people parts made of non-people stuff.
  4. Naked is not only allowed, but preferred.539637_414849215220540_1199730384_n
  5. 988544_991166777562976_6597368353492715309_n

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    1. This is a porcelain doll, not a real girl… just so you know I didn’t break any rules.
  7. david_1

    The point is, art is a depiction of us.  No matter how you create it, what it visually portrays is a reflection, like the one in the bathroom mirror every morning.  Beautiful, grotesque, sexy, repulsive, adorable, or disturbing… it is who we are.  The point is also, it allows me to point, click, and save and create a collection that I don’t have to hide from my wife.  Because, well, you know… it’s art.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, collage, humor, nudes, old art

Silly Tyger!

I think I posted this picture once before and told you it was inspired by William Blake’s poem The Tyger!  That is still true.  I wasn’t telling a lie, at least, I don’t believe I was.  So the poem goes like this;

The Tyger

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

 
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies. 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain, 
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 
When the stars threw down their spears 
And water’d heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright, 
In the forests of the night: 
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Tyger
 
The idea is that the Tyger represents some unknowable evil that we must fear and respect because it is beyond our understanding.  But the kid in the picture seems to be unafraid.  Was that a mistake?  Or was I really thinking this?
CalvinHobbes  Apologies to Bill Watterson for stealing his cartoon for this post.  I needed a more dangerous-looking Tyger than the one I had.
 

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