Tag Archives: artwork

Homely Art – Part Two – Paul Detlefsen

Detlefsen-Swimming_Hole

Back in about 1968 my Grandma Beyer was seriously scandalized by an artist named Paul Detlefsen.  Detlefsen did a lot of covers for the “Ideals Magazine” that Grandma always had on her coffee tables.  He scandalized her by putting a painting on the cover that showed a young boy taking his pants off, the rear view only, so he could go skinny dipping with a group of naked boys.  Truthfully the picture shown above is by Detelfsen, but it is not the one that offended her.  I have discovered that this painter of old-timey things like blacksmith shops and one-room school houses has painted at least four different versions of “the Old Swimmin’ Hole”.  And Grandma was easily scandalized when we were kids.  She was a very conservative woman who loved Ronald Reagan and his politics most severely and thought that Richard Nixon was a leftist radical.  She didn’t like for people to be naked, except for bath time, and maybe not even then.  She is one of the main reasons, along with this painter whom she adored, that I came to learn later in life that “naked is funny”.horseandbuggydays-print  http://www.freeplaypost.com/PaulDetlefsen_VintageArtPrint_A.htm

Grandma Beyer also seriously loved puzzles, and besides “Ideals” covers, Paul Detlefsen did a beaucoup of jigsaw puzzles. (Beaucoup means a lot in Texican, I tend to think in Iowegian and talk in Texican and completely forget about the need to translate for those people who don’t know those two foreign tongues)   One of the puzzles we spent hours working on was “Horse and Buggy Days” that I pictured here.  They were the kind of puzzle paintings where every boy was Tom Sawyer and every girl was Becky Thatcher.  And there were a lot of them.  Here is another;

detlefsen

http://www.bigredtoybox.com/cgi-bin/toynfo.pl?detlefsenindex

Grandma had this in puzzle form also.  We put the puzzle together, glued it to tag board, and framed it.  It has hung on the wall in a Grandparent’s house, first Grandma Beyer’s and then Grandma Aldrich’s, since the early 1970’s.  My own parents now live in Grandma Aldrich’s house, and that puzzle-painting may be hanging in an upstairs bedroom to this very day.  Detlefsen is not known as a great artist.  He was a humble painter who painted backdrops for films for over 20 years.  In the 1950’s he switched gears and started doing lithographs that were turned into calendars, jigsaw puzzles, laminated table mats, playing cards, and reproductions you could buy in the Ben Franklin Dime Store in Belmond, Iowa and hang on your back porch at home.  I believe I saw his paintings in all these forms in one place or another.  According to Wikipedia (I know, research, right?) “In 1969, UPI estimated that his artwork had been seen by 80 per cent of all Americans.”  That is pretty dang good for a humble painter, better numbers than Pablo Picasso ever saw.  Let me share a few more of his works, and see if you recognize any of these;

db_Paul_Detlefsen_Covered_Bridge1 b01e8afaadde Artist Paul Detlefsen PaulDetlefsen_VintageArtPrint_B11 il_fullxfull.285794883

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Filed under art criticism, art my Grandpa loved, artwork, homely art, oil painting

Inside Toonerville

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The Toonerville Post Office and Bert Buchanan’s Toy Store.

Toonerville is not only a wonderful cartoon place created by Fontaine Fox in the 1930’s, but the name of the town that inhabited my HO Train Layout when I lived in South Texas and had the Trolley actually running nearly on time.  The train layout has not been restored to working condition for over a decade now.  The buildings which I mostly built from kits or bought as plaster or ceramic sculptures and repainted have been sitting on bookshelves in all that time.  I still have delusions of rebuilding the train set in the garage, but it is becoming increasingly less and less likely as time goes on and my working parts continue to stiffen up and stop working.  So, what will I do with Toonerville?

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Wilma Wortle waits on the station platform for her train at the Toonerville Train station. I built this kit in the 1970’s, hence the accumulations of dust bunnies.

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Loew’s Theater has been awaiting the start of The African Queen for more than twenty years.

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Main Street Toonerville at 2:25 in the afternoon. Or is it three? The courthouse clock is often slow.

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Grandma Wortle who controls all the money in the family likes to park her car near the eggplant house when she visit’s Al’s General Store.

But I may yet have found a way to put Toonerville back together through computer-assisted artsy craftsy endeavors.

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A two-shot of Bill Freen’s house and Slappy Coogan’s place on the photo set to start production.

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Bill Freen’s house lit up with newfangled electricical. (and I do believe that is the way Bill spells it all good and proper.)

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Bill Freen’s house cut out in the paint program.

So I can make composite pictures of Toonerville with realistic photo-shopped backgrounds.  Now, I know only goofy old artsy fartsy geeks like me get excited about doofy little things like this, but my flabber is completely gasted with the possibilities.

bill freen

Bill Freen’s house at sunset… (but I don’t get why there’s snow on the roof when the grass is so green?)

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Filed under art editing, artwork, autobiography, farm boy, foolishness, humor, illustrations, photo paffoonies, Toonerville

Imaginary People

Millis 2

It pretty much goes without saying that, since I am an author of fiction, determined to be a storyteller, I spend most of my time talking to people who exist only inside my goofy old head.  Sure, most of the imaginary people I create to keep me company are at least loosely based on real people that I either once knew, or still know.  You can tell that about Millis, the rabbit-man, pictured here on the right, can’t you?  Sure.  I had a New Zealand White pet rabbit that I raised as a 4-H project.  His name was Ember-eyes… because, well, yeah… red eyes.  It just happens that my goofy old memory transformed him into an evolution-enhanced science experiment in my unpublished novel, The Bicycle-Wheel Genius.  But he was a real person once… ’cause rabbits are people too, right?

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Anita Jones, a character from my unpublished novel, Superchicken, is based on a real person too.  I admit, there was a girl in my class from grades K through 6 that I secretly adored and would’ve done anything to be near, though every significant event I remember from my life that involved an encounter with her, involved red-faced embarrassment for me.  That’s why I remember her as having auburn-colored hair.  Charley Brown’s Little Red-Haired Girl… duh!  I would’ve died sooner than tell her how I really felt, even now, but by making her into one of a multitude of imaginary people who inhabit my life, I can be so close to her that sometimes I am actually inside her mind.  There’s a sort of creepy voyeurism-squared sort of thing.

dorin 003

Dorin Dobbs, the main human character of my published novel, Catch a Falling Star, is an imaginary character based mostly on my eldest son, though, in fact, I started writing that novel five years before he was born.  Like most of the imaginary people in my life, I talk to Dorin repeatedly even when the real Dorin is half a world away in the Marine Corps.  And even though the Dorin I am talking to is not the real Dorin, he is still constantly using language that is extra-salty far beyond his years, and is often defiant of my fatherly wisdom, and always argues for the exact opposite of any opinion I express.  That’s just how it is to be the father of an imaginary son.

Realistically, I have to admit that even the flesh-and-blood people in my life are imaginary.  No one ever actually inhabits another person’s head except through the magic of imagination.  Even though I am talking to you at this moment, you are only an imaginary person to me.  I don’t even know your name as I write this.  And I am the same to you.  You may have read my writing enough to think you know something about me… but you really only know the Mickey in your mind that I have worked at putting there with my words.  And I really have no idea what that imaginary Mickey you have in your head is like.  He is probably really the opposite of who I think I am.

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I am, after all, married to this girl panda, Mandy Panda from the Pandalore Islands, and my three children are all Halfasian part-panda-people.  Yes, this is the imaginary person who is my real-life wife.  The secret is, we only ever know the imaginary people we have in our goofy little heads.  We don’t know the real person behind anyone in our lives, because it is simply not possible to really know how anybody else thinks or feels, even if they write out their lengthy treatise about how all people are imaginary people.  That stuff is just too goofy-dippy to be real.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, characters, goofiness, humor, imagination, Paffooney, rabbit people, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Islands of Identity

Island Girl2z

Who am I?

Why do I do the things that I do?

No man is an island.  John Donne the English poet stated that.  And Ernest Hemingway quoted it… and wove it into his stories as a major theme… and proceeded to try to disprove it.  We need other people.  I married an island girl from the island of Luzon in the Philippines.  She may have actually needed me too, though she will never admit it.

Gilligans Island

When I was a young junior high school teacher in the early eighties, they called me Mr. Gilligan.  My classroom was known as Gilligan’s Island.  This came about because a goofball student in the very first class on the very first day said, “You look like Gilligan’s Island!”  By which he meant I reminded him of Bob Denver, the actor that played Gilligan.  But as he said it, he was actually accusing me of being an island.  And no man is an island.  Thank you, Fabian, you were sorta dumb, but I loved you for it.

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You see, being Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island was not a bad thing to be.  It was who I was as a teacher.  Nerdy, awkward, telling stories about when I was young, and my doofy friends like Skinny Mulligan.  Being a teacher gave me an identity.  And Gilligan was stranded on the Island with two beautiful single women, Mary Ann and Ginger.  Not a bad thing to be.  And I loved teaching and telling stories to kids who would later be the doofy students in new stories.

But we go through life searching for who we are and why we are here.  Now that I am retired, and no longer a teacher… who am I now?  We never really find the answer.  Answers change over time.  And so do I.

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Filed under artwork, being alone, feeling sorry for myself, finding love, humor, insight, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Something Creative Goes Here

Not Alone

Sometimes the creative brain gets a little too hot and needs time to cool.  That means I need a meaningless filler post to maintain my every-day posting.  So, I give you a picture of Mike Murphy carrying his girlfriend, Blueberry Bates’ books home from the bus stop on a country road in Iowa.  And, of course, they happen to meet an alien named George Jetson, whose father named him after a character on his favorite Earther TV show from the 60’s.  It is a strange thing to have your brain over-heat from too many creative neurons firing at the same time.  But it can lead to notions of intergalactic peace and cultural exchange… or racist comments like, “Tellerons have heads that look like giant boogers!”  But I should be able think more rationally tomorrow.  I hope that turns out to be a good thing.

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Little Red-Haired Girl (A Poem and Paffooney)

 

Little Red-Haired Girl

 

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

That little red-haired girl, so cute, so nice

You only looked and looked from afar

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

You could’ve held her hand

You could’ve walked her home from school

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

She never got your Valentine

At least, you forgot to sign your name

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

No hope of marriage now, nor children for old age

Happily ever after has now long gone

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

Now every love poem is a sad poem

And the world is blue and down

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

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Architecture for Clowns

Try not to be upset with me for drawing a naked lady. You see, she is not really a lady, she is a caryatid, a stone pillar for holding up a building.  Besides, I have been recently very ill, and drawing naked ladies makes me happy, even though it is a sin and means I will probably burn in hell.  I am a hopeless sinner in this regard.  I got kicked off Pinterest for liking an oil painting of a naked lady.  I think it was a painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau.  How could I be so terrible?  You should check out my post about his sinful, horrible paintings so you can see how terrible I am for yourself. (Bouguereau)  carytidOf course, This post is not about naked ladies at all, so why am I fuming and ranting and telling all my darkest secrets about that?

This post is about architecture, about giving structure to things, about holding things together and holding things up.  Is it clever that I drew this picture of an ornate pillar and placed it in this post so it looks like it is standing on later paragraphs and holding up the introduction?  I find weird surrealist things like that help me write stuff that makes a few people laugh.  It helps me because I can focus on nonsensical side-stuff like that (mixed up with obscure puns and alliterations like “pillar” and “placed” that, when cooked together with goofy rhythms in over-long sentences end up sounding funnier than they really are), and then I can say stuff that is actually funny because I don’t realize how wrong, or weird, or silly some of these words I am futzing it all up with truly are.  (And I am amazed that the Pinterest police haven’t come and kicked me off WordPress for using a word like “futzing”, even though they don’t know what it means.  Heck, even the spell-checker didn’t object to the word!)

But someone like me who is trying to be funny needs structure more than anyone else you can think of.  Why?  Because the sad-clown-crying-on-the-inside is so very true.  The dark dips of depression… pain, illness, and more pain… family stress from others in my family who also suffer…  That’s what makes the laughing so very necessary.  You need the lighter stuff to fill up the room (somewhat like a really big fart) because you depend on the sheer buoyancy of it to lift the entire house up and keep it from sinking to the very center of the earth.  (And the stink of it can also help keep you awake when otherwise you might never get out of bed again)… (But please don’t light any matches around my house.)

So, in conclusion, this stuff I write does have basic structures, basic rules.  It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It has a theme, a point that needs to be made,  And then it needs to end with some kind of a kicker line or punch line… because when that finally hits me square in the face (like a pie thrown by a pie-whacker clown), it helps me remember… I am still alive, and I can still laugh about it.

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, surrealism

People All Have Worth

2nd Doctor  I know that you are probably immediately listing all the reasons that my title is totally wacky monkey-thinking in your head.  And if you want to lay into me in the comments, you are more than welcome.  But the reality is that teachers have to develop the mindset that all kids can learn and all people have value… no matter what.  That can be hard to accept when you factor in how corrupted, warped, and badly-taught so many people have turned out to be.  It honestly seems, sometimes, that when faced with the facts of how people act… being violent, or greedy, self-centered, thoughtless, un-caring, and willfully stupid… that they really don’t even have value to others if you kill them, let them rot, and try to use them as fertilizer.  The plants you fertilize with that stuff will come up deformed.

But the Doctor I have pictured here, the Second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton always seemed to find Earth people delightful.  Alien people too, for that matter, unless they were soulless mobile hate receptacles in robotic trash cans like the Daleks, or mindless machines powered by stolen human brains like the Cybermen.  There is, indeed, music in every soul, even if some of it is a little bit discordant and awkward.  And people are not born evil.  The classic study done on Brazilian street kids showed that even with no resources to share and living empty, hopeless lives, the children helped one another, comforted one another, and refused to exploit one another.  As a teacher you get to know every type that there is.  And there are stupid kids (deprived of essential resources necessary to learning), and evil kids (lashing out at others for the pain inflicted upon them), and needy kids (who can never get enough of anything you might offer and always demand more, MORE, MORE!)  Sometimes they drive you insane and make you want to resign and leave the country to go count penguins in Antarctica.  But the Doctor is right.  No matter what has been done to them, if you get to know them, and treat them as individual people rather than as problems… they are delightful!  Andrew

So let me show you a few old drawings of people.

Cute people like Andrew here.

Or possibly stupid and goofy people who never get things right.

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Or long-dead people who made their contributions long ago, and sacrificed everything to make our lives different… if not better.DSCN4448

Supe n Sherry_nOr young people who live and learn and hopefully love…

And try really hard at whatever they do… whether they have talent or not.

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And hope and dream and play and laugh…

And sometimes hate… (but hopefully not too much)…

And can probably tell that I really like to draw people…

Because God made them all for a reason…

even if we will never find out what that reason is.

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Filed under art my Grandpa loved, humor, Paffooney, philosophy

Faery Tails

Faery Tails

Not all my Paffoonies are completely sane. The never-ending struggle of darkness and light can color things funny in a world of swiftly swirling imaginings. Lyrical joy opposed to malignant menace, devouring worlds in the palm of my hand.

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February 5, 2022 · 4:48 pm

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 breathe 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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