Monthly Archives: May 2016


I have a friend I have never met in person. I do not even know how she pronounces her first name, which is Clottee. I have been pronouncing it “Cloh TAY” in my head. I will ask her next time we chat on Facebook.

Clottee has been posting extraordinary historical tidbits about slavery. The History textbooks in the schools I went to wouldn’t touch this stuff. So, following her posts, I’ve learned a lot about the routine cruelty of certain white folks and the fathom less imposed misery of certain black folks. The movie 12 YEARS A SLAVE, and the recently-revived TV series ROOTS, gave white-bread me a hint, but Clottee’s series yields a holographic panorama.

Her most recent entry profiles a remarkable woman, and reading about her I was compelled to do the above card. It was also a way to express gratitude to Clottee for her hard and diligent work.

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there are baubles in the attic

riots in the fields a split in the council

unthriving sounds of caribou

ever-evanescent skyscape

People talk about signs of the Apocalypse. I’m not going to wax too apocalyptic here, but I am compelled to mention that I’ve ¬†witnessed more fights breaking out on our light rail in this calendar year than I’d seen in the previous five. Not a good sign.


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Here’s my second try at Martin, who during lulls will join me at the podium and share his mordant observations about fashion disasters. Again I got carried away with the oil pastels, and this is a seriously flawed portrait. But because of this one, the next one will be better.

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Explanation, if needed, on request.


debt toll

dealers and wheelers suck merlot

eaters and bleaters can’t say no

beggars and peggers know full well

there will be HELL to pay–then a knell

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So Veronica doubles down on her faith in my artistry by giving me a SECOND set of oil pastels, this one made by Grumbacher, a fine and venerated brand. (Grumbacher and Liquitex were the only brands of acrylics I ever bought as an art student.) She says, “If one of your things ever ends up in the Louvre, maybe you’ll give me some credit . . . ?”

I will give her credit in advance. One fine day at least one of my oil pastels will hang in the Louvre, and I will owe it all to her.

But it won’t be this one, though there is some energy here, and a good choice made of dark paper. This one is overdone–I didn’t know when to stop–and still unbearably clumsy.

Smart Pooch

Such a pup

Makes us so

Avid to go

Romp, etc

Thru Truth

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The oil pastel adventure continues. Today’s lesson was Using a Limited Palette. I also changed my stroke strategy to include ittybittycircle strokes.

A few decades ago it was the vogue to call an in depth profile on a topic of interest a “white paper.” This is an address on environmental concerns, so it’s Green.


Given: A Metabolism needs its ATP

Rituals involve a substance-smoke or wine or tea

Eagle feathers, balls on tethers, Nana’s chicken soup

E-mail, retail, CRUISIN’ in a two-tone bitchen coupe

Now we need to prove we’ve got the stuff to LOOP the looper

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This second exercise did not take long, I having learned from the first that simpler is better. I’m also learning that it’s not necessary to grind the pastel into the paper as if it were spackle into a wall. And going from the inside out seems to be better than outside-in.

THANK YOU!!! for your kindly attention.

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Here’s a couple of hours of work, and a couple of baby steps toward the hundred-mile goal of Oil Pastel mastery. I remember sensei Darlene Goto’s words on a blackboard, more than forty years ago: ART IS WORK!! It is if you’re serious about it.

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Something tells me that my path to proficiency with oil pastels will involve coloring-book-style exercises at first, so I’m unrustifying my pen and ink skills to prepare for making coloring book cards. This is the first such. Words just naturally snuck in and took over . . .

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I am really proud that this one exists. First, I had cards but no pencil or pen. I went out of my comfort zone and asked a fellow train waiting person if she had a pen or pencil. The sweet, thinnish, abuelitaesque lady handed over a pen, refusing payment. (Before we got on the train I wrote THANK YOU and my signature, so at least she has a Thank You card.)

On the ride to work I first did JONES on the left side, KELLY on the other. Then I wrote and then drew as fast as I could scribble, with no photo source nor other reference material-just me, the card, and a ballpoint pen I’d just met.


Just a nod 2 2 exceptional folk

O for a punch/line–pray tell us the joke

Nothing so doing-got nothing 2 sell

Effortless focus has set for a spell

Spirit then rises swellingly–GRACE & GRACE live (d) tellingly