Falstaff ‘Riffing

It was magical in that the rain held out every day, aside from minor flare ups, until I was home for the night. I would lay in bed and see the lights of other people’s home’s flicker through the sheets of heavy Parisian rain. The steady rhythmic sound as it hit the zinc tiles made music unnecessary.

I was reading Harold Bloom’s “Falstaff Give Me Life”. A meditation upon the character & literature. Some of his pronouncements (in general) are controversial but he always walks the reader through his thought process. Unlike a lot of essayists of later generations, he does not insist he is correct because it is how he feels but instead presents evidence cited to back up opinion.

Of course personal taste enters into it too. I confess some works of which he is passionate about do nothing for me. The mark of a great thinker and essayist, I am still interested to read what he has to say.

For me, Shakespeare is not the same end-all-be-all. I prefer my Greeks & Romans. It did prompt me to revisit the bard and also the Verdi Opera. (In the book he mentions the opera, making a specific point of  “that Falstaff not being the one written about”.

I got more enjoyment from revisting the bard. I already owned the opera, bought originally solely because Bryn Terfel was in title role. I delved into it again and found I enjoyed it much more than at the time of my original purchase, now listening to it at least once a week.

Falstaff, just under the surface of his merriment can be glimpsed a bent to self sabotage or a fatal purity, to not play the game of politics & ambition but rather stay true to himself via  appetite. Appetite that is not always to be satiated but the attempt to do so being the best way to honor & live life.

It all makes for some great base material of art in any medium. Here are some quick sketches, riffing upon the theme.





The idea of my works giving the effect for the viewer of ease dropping on a scene appeals to me. Even more so when what is being seen is sort of open ended, open to interpretation.

This piece was watercolor done on Canson Multi Media Paper 9×12 (98lb).




I am working on an essay for my next collection which touches about the mid to late 70’s which was sort of classic age of vinyl culturally.

As I worked and had music playing I decided to do something different (for me).

This is 11×14

Sordid details following



Scene from Story

I have always drawn, doodled and painted but just as a way to burn off excess energy. I was originally solely (in professional capacity) an author. As I mulled over a paragraph or scene I would draw or paint.

Not too many years ago I became more serious about my visual work and also started putting real work effort into it.

I feel very fortunate to now have an audience into what I am doing and who are not even necessarily aware that I write.

Part of my daily work schedule is now specifically for visual work. Aside from the allotted time and the nightly woodshedding in my Midori, I do also still draw as I mull over the words.

Occasionally I have a cross pollination, the pen will inspire the brush or vice versa.

This is 5×8 image tied in with an essay I am currently working on.





Smaller works of art might be of ideal size for where it is going to be placed. There is resistance to this though, as on a subconscious level (at least),  some people equate “more” of something with it being better.

It is faulty logic, unless a work’s size is an intentional component, bigger to near on point of domination of a space, is not better. Bang for your buck should never be a cultural consideration.

In the age of consumerism, a sort of forced perception resulting from faulty logic.  Just as physically bigger books with higher page count are automatically deemed harder reads (most of the densest books I have read all have had relatively average page counts, it is ideas and style that create density) it is letting the wrong factors inform opinion.

More and more I lean towards smaller works. They lend themselves to lessening the “I am looking at art” sensation while furthering the “I am feeling something/something from this”.

It could be a generational thing, I am wary of deflated attention spans and lapsed concentration of gallery goers. People having become used to necks bent in worship of i phones or tablet will do a cursory look at larger piece, eyes flitting across the canvas to capture “the point” of it at cost of all the other things going on which contribute to a work’s tension & release.  Smaller works, there is no dead space all the poetry and flavor is enmeshed with “the point”.

I do vary the sizes of my works but with the largest being 11×14, no one will ever call any of them big.

Seattle 5.5×8.5



Lion Alone

I was safely ensconced in my hotel room and ready to work. There was heavy marble topped table on wheels atop of whose curved feet I put my own while painting.

In between, i would walk up the hill for drinks and let strangers make confessions to me as i swirled the cubes in my glass counter clockwise with my left hand.

No one here would call to see when i would be out and about which then delayed the process. Instead I would see on the peripheral, people who surprisingly quickly, had learned where I liked to haunt, waiting.

My first stop would always be the record store. Everyone was always telling me that they were willing to accompany me. While it might have been nice to have company on the way, I had a process. I had learned with Tania that it was not enjoyable for anyone but myself. The record store was too hot, to my surprise after having walked back and forth between several bins, upon leaving I had spent way longer inside than I had realized.

I showed up to the cafes and bars with my brown paper wrapped purchases, ready to build an empty glass cityscape upon the tabletop with whomever had been waiting for me.

I am not anti drama, but I think organic things and beauty have more power. A pleasure for me is the ability to take some thing from my daily existence and then conjure it into my work.

It is not necessary and also has the potential to become a trap if an artist uses their personal lexicon of totems and symbols for every piece. But once in a while, the organics of it make for art which resonates emotion. Not necessarily as upfront dramatic as an artificially induced thing, it is of a more lasting impression to the viewer.


Lion Alone watercolor & paper 5.5×8.5



Lion Alone



New Sketchpad & Paper

Disclaimer: I received no compensation/incentive for writing about this, nor was i given any type of review copies.

Up until a few years ago, I was hung up on finding “the perfect notebook (sketchpad)”. There were a few that were outright belly flops, more effort being put into articulate descriptions which initially caught my attention rather than actual construction.

Others, like my now ever present Midori Passport had a good system but do not exactly have that eventual heirloom feel to them.

I did not seek to start a collection and although I eventually ended up with several drawers of my taborets full of pads, it was not done at a maniacal pace.

Often I am on the road. Several trips I packed more equipment than I would end up using.  Not a happy flyer, I like to pack as light as possible so my shoulders do not hurt, adding to already uncomfortable situation.

When one finds the most efficient or best way to do something, after the fact it seems so obvious that there is the self asked question “Why wasn’t I doing it this way from the start?”.

There is no “perfect” notebook as different situations, what is ideal or required varies. The one constant prerequisite was that it be refillable. Other than that, sometimes I need one which fits in a jacket pocket while at other times something larger or an in between size for a few day jaunt carry on bag.

I now have a preferred one for every situation. When not on the road but merely woodshedding, i mix it up, trading off which I use.

Despite now having my methodology down, I do still occasionally buy more notebooks. There is no rhyme or reason to it. A matter of if something captures my eye.

Using the last nubbin of a pencil which had been a great collaborator, I went to the store only to find they did not have any. Ordering it online, i decided to poke around for the hell of it. A less vapid version of shopping therapy.

My shelves groaned under all my books, I could not add to their number. I kept looking. I came across Le Vent notebooks by complete happanstance. They had two styles one which held 7×5 spiral bound notepad and the other a 8×5 sketchpad.

Staggered by a week or two I ended up getting them both.

Aesthetically, they are very different. The 7×5 looked like a new take on the classic portfolios that Torquato Tasso or Casanova would have kept their papers in. Modernized with two brass snaps to hold it shut in lieu of cumbersome leather straps. The leather was of surprisingly good quality. With leather goods, be it a bag, shoes or notepads there are nice things which daily life leaves its marks on, creating an “Oh No” effect upon initially being noticed. Then there are the leather good which do not mar so much as tell the story of where you have been, taking on a nice patina. These pads fall into the later category.

Unique among this type of thing, it opens and lays flat on the table which makes the act of writing for any length of time much easier. It came with two pads of thick good paper. As long as you size it correctly, any pads will work although the included brand is far from cost prohibitive.

The 8×5 sketchpad looks like a book with a snap buttoned  strap to keep it shut. The leather is a different one from the other pad but of equal quality. The paper it comes with is a flat spined, sewn binding. The paper is heavy and has a vellum like smoothness to it. Again, any pad sized correctly will work.

All the times that I have purchased new notebooks, I use the paper it comes with, the main incentive being merely because it’s there. Rarely is the paper something which I would use regardless, often seeming an afterthought on the part of the company. This is paper which I would continue to use. It handles a little differently the what I usually use but I like to mix things up.

Their Site:


Here are my initial forays with my new notebook: