26 January 2018

In Which I Sell A Design. As In, Get Paid For It.

So, some time ago, during the last year of this time of extreme dexterity, I thought that the chances of being Presidented over by one less-than-impressive Republican vs another less-than-impressive Republican meant that maybe D.F. Jones had the right idea all along, and I created a graphic.

This graphic:

Doesn't it just kind of speak to ya?

Last week, I was contacted by a representative of an organization in Seattle called Living Computers: Museum + Labs. They're doing a showing of Colossus: The Forbin Project for First Thursday and they wanted to do a limited run of stickers as giveaways to people who came. And after they checked all the stuffs to make sure everything was on the level, we came to an agreement.

There is money resting in my PayPal wallet as a payment for the use of the design for the sticker giveaway. They are also looking into using it for other things, and I will keep the errant reader posted on that.

But it's nice not only to get paid for something, but to interact with a group that understands that, if you want to use something, the first thing you do is ask. From what I'm hearing out there, that's getting rarer and rarer. So these are indeed sterling people.

If you go see Colossus at the museum in SoDo you might not meet me, but you'll meet my work. It'll be fashionable, too. Who knows where those stickers will show up?

Yeah. I'm happy here. Thanks, Living Computers!  

20 January 2018

Folsom Dam, Near Sacramento CA, December 2017

A person of much ilk to our household visits his mom, who lives in an area outside Sacramento called Carmichael, every so often. During the great drought of 2013-2015, Folsom Lake, located about twenty-five miles northwest of the center of California's capital city, became something of a poster-child for the catastrophe. A flood-control reservoir built in a great, shallow, saucer-shaped valley, unlike the mountain reservoirs we Oregonians are so familiar with, its shoreline fluctuates with great alacrity to the most modest changes in pool depth, and it was less than half-full in 2015 when the most famous pictures of a nearly-dry lake were released, before the rains came back.

While our friend was visiting his mom in December, they drove past the dam itself. Bless him, he takes note of what fascinates me, and came back with pics.

Photo courtesy Our Eddie

Wikipedia has this to say about the dimensions of Folsom Dam ... it:
is a concrete gravity dam on the American River of Northern California in the United States, about 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Sacramento. The dam is 340 ft (100 m) high and 1,400 ft (430 m) long, flanked by earthen wing dams. It was completed in 1955, officially opening the following year.

Photo courtesy Our Eddie
In the current climate, the pool is about forty per cent of depth, water released by those who are in authority to do so in anticipation of whether there will be spring runoff from the mountains to the east of Sac'to. There's currently an argument about that, which will be settled if there is an expected access of spring runoff, and will create another argument if there isn't.

They also don't let you drive across the top of the dam any more, I'm told. Pity that.

We live in peculiar times.

Thanks to Our Eddie for the photos, which I now have in my stock library. Since I have not the time, money, nor resources to travel to places I want to go, I enjoy the hell out of the photos I do get from the people who were there. If you want to share them with me so I can blog about them, feel free to contact me.

16 January 2018

Patron Saints of Art: The Current Pantheon

The lapel of my rather-battered jacket tells a story, or at least I try to have it entertain all comers.

Right now, it's got merely five autos-da-fe. They are, as follows:

Saint Thomas Pynchon. The quitessential Great American Novelist, wrote towering books mapping the angst and banality of male American life of the 2nd half of the 20th century into a odd world that exists on the edge of reality but can still be plainly seen. It's in your face but it isn't really there; it's the glimpse of reality you get in the flash of a atomic explosion that dazzles your eyes then fades away.

Saint Patrick McGoohan. Individuality as freedom and prison all at the same time: six degrees of freedom is also six degrees of imprisonment. And we all have our reasons for wanting to break free, and maybe you believe them or maybe you don't. It takes a Village, as they say.

Saint Andrew Warhola. You might be the brightest star in the firmament, son, but your time will be oh, so, fleeting. You will then be absorbed into the MCP of pop culture, program ... but only if you do it right.

San Salvador Dali. He not only did art, he was art. Last, year, to settle a paternity case by someone claiming to be an heir, his body was exhumed. His mustache was as perfect as it was when he was interred. He not only has immortality through his art, he has immortality as his art. If he were alive, he would definitely approved.

Saint Jake Richmond. Tells the story of an outsider not of their own doing, does the hard work, every day, work of the hands head and heart. He's not the only web comicker I admire, but he is Portland's.

Last night, when going to werk, I got Olivia a drink at the Chevron station, she was parched and wasn't going to carry me much farther. The pump jock asked me about my buttons and I told him about my current patron saints and told him about The Prisoner and reading Pynchon and he thought that he might try some of that out.

"Are you a teacher," he asked?

"No," I said, "I just like smart shit."

And so it goes.

15 January 2018

Wy'east: Dark Sunshine

Another day of working overtime. Clouds moving in, there's a dusky darkness to the midmorning sky. I didn't think The Mountain would be out, but she was, and the dark cast to the light ... probably the same quality that the Grimm crew loved ... could not be ignored.

The iciness of the peak communicated very well this day. Behind me, a storm approached from the west.

The wind is always brisker Out 122nd Way, and it was hard keeping Olivia's door open without snapping shut on a leg or some other extremity.

But this was done.

13 January 2018

Drawings from the Andrew Loomis Self-Didactic School of Cartooning

One of the glories of Andrew Loomis's drawing books is they have cute little caricature heads that you can just sit down and draw in a few minutes, which is ideal if you want to just draw something today and don't have either the time, patience, or discipline to do it (or some proportional combination of the three factors).

I've demonstrated this in another post. But in order to actually just open a sketchbook and make marks, which is the habit I'm trying to instil right now, I'm choosing a little sketchy cartoon head and drawing it down.

The above is the second one I did. Below is the first. Drawings in graphite on shattered and deferred dreams.

I have a little bit of drawing aptitude, but, seriously, Loomis asks the aspiring artist to draw a rough circle, smoosh some lumps on it, embolden the lines that matter, et voila!, you really do have a cartoon head.

Right now, it's just old bald white guys with mustaches and smoking cigars and pipes, but I'm looking to expand from there.

But it's really not difficult. If you have no experience or developed aptitude, it just takes me a little shorter than it'd take you. The one thing one really has to get over is the feeling that if you aren't following exact instructions, it's not valid, also, the misguided idea that you have to finish with an accomplished drawing. Those aren't finished, polished, or particularly accomplished, but the are drawings and they do communicate. And they're in my sketchbook, which is where I get to make mistakes.

My wife already knows this lesson. She's working on developing a little character for single-panel gags she'd like to do. She's got sheets covered with this little guy and the more she does, the more she does more. And she's having kick-ass fun with it, and, of the two of us, I'm the one who's acknowledged as the aspiring artist. She just kicks out the jams and does it.

If there's not a lesson to be had in there, I don't know where us dithering artists-in-process can find one that's worth anything.

We are our own worst enemies, sometimes.

09 January 2018

Throwback Pictures: Silverton, Oregon 2009

Back in the winter of 2009 me and The Wife™passed through my old birthplace of Silverton. Just this last weekend I imported a bunch of photos dating from when I started playing with a digital camera, the legendary ViviCam 3705 ... the Plastic Fantastic ... and I stumbled on some of those wonderful pics.

Here are two of them. I'll post some now and again.

The view here is on the corner of North Water St and Oak St, on the doorstep of the legendary Palace Theater, where I saw 2001 and Planet of the Apes and Westworld and so many other beloved films when they first came out. Not one of those businesses that were current when I was but a neat thing are there now except for that insurance business down the street there, a block, on the corner of East Man and South Water.

Still, it doesn't look too different from when I was a kid. At least, not if you don't look too closely.

This is exactly one block east of the last shot, and looking kinda the same direction. That is the 100 block of North 1st Street, and Oak Street is still in our foreground. At one time there was Norma Branstetter's flower shop (which is now over where Park Street t's into North Water) then it was a beauty shop. Could be anything now, I suppose. The charcoal-blue building on the far right was a furniture store when I was young. Doggonned if I know what it is now, though.

But it still looks more or less the same. There's at timelessness to Silverton which endures despite its modern arrival at Quirky Little Oregon Town-ville.

07 January 2018

Playing With The Panic Sign At SW 11th and Burnside

I think I've written about the Panic Sign ... the logo of the software developer Panic here in Portland, at the top corner of the building at the southwest corner of SW 11th Avenue and W Burnside St here in Portland ... before, but since I got a nifty little low-price, high-capability tablet computer for Christmas, which I'm enjoying with great gusto, I've made playing with the Panic Sign a bit more of a sacrament during weekly Book Church.

It's visible from the Coffee Room in Powell's Burnside, which has big windows opening onto the NE corner of the intersection. All you have to do is load the URL http://sign.panic.com, choose one color from the top row to fill the top/left side of the logo, one color from the bottom row to fill the bottom/right side, and touch the Change The Sign! button below to commit the change. When you do it from a table in the Coffee Room, you can see the change as close to instantly as makes no difference.

The colors in the interface are actually a little less vivid than those out on the sign, but you get the idea near enough.

The text on the page saith thus:
Founded in Portland in 1997, it took Panic 15 years to get a sign. We want it to be Portland’s sign, too. Come down to SW 11th & Burnside at night, and go on, change our colors!
It really is just that simple. We can relate. We too love Portland enough that we want to leave our mark on it in some way, in a good way (despite how problematical that seems to be becoming, Hail Eris). And since I have so much fun doing it, we are hereby declaring it an official sacrament of #BookChurchPDX. And anyone anywhere can do it, you just have to be down at SW 11th and West Burnside to see he (I'd suggest a webcam for this, Panic, how about it? As for us, Here we sit and load our page; we can do no other.

03 January 2018

Adobe Sunrise, 122nd and Stark

It was at SE 122nd and Stark where I caught this, the undersides of clouds looking like red sandstone cliffs.

A wider angle showing off the deepness of the sky. The row of cars in the foreground are the new cars on the lot at Ron Tonkin Toyota.

The skies have almost been disturbingly exquisite lately. 

And a closeup. There are photos I've always thought of as 'album cover' photos; the kind you might find on a musical group's album as the cover design. This would be one of those. Naturalistic, but zoomed in enough that the loss of the greater context confers a level of abstraction upon it.

The texture of the clouds is, of course, entrancing. I can't stop looking.

Wy'east, Red Sunrise, January 1st

The atmosphere in these photos seems to take its cue from the chaotic nature of society. Unless it doesn't; nature is, while not unaffected by what we do, indifferent to what's exactly going on. But with a sky like this, it's sometimes fancifully believable to follow that the turmoil we project out introduces chaos into our environment.

The reality is undoubtedly most prosaic.

Maybe it's the time of year but the rising sun has been doing this trick where it's very red near the horizon and reflecting against the underside of the clouds, giving the impression of a solid ceiling.

The solid feeling of spatial definition gives me the oddest feeling of calm.

The real show here was the luminous area off to Wy'east's right, where the sun was going to come up. It's on its way back north now, and will be behind the mountain again by mid-February.

The attraction in the above framing is the streamer of cloud that straggles off to the left of Wy'east. It seems to start in front of the foothills and winds behind them, being blocked off on the left of frame by the shoulder of Larch Mountain there.

02 January 2018

At Last, The 2018 SJKPDX Portland Photo Calendar!

I took a year's hiatus on this while other things concerned and tried to consume me. Well, this will be an art year, and what a better way to start than by re-debuting an idea that The Wife™ and many friends blandishments pushed me to in 2015.

The Portland 2018 calendar is a collection of 13 (one page has two images) photographs from my multi-year collection of snapping things in the areas around town what I live in. This is what home looks like to me, and they are chosen and curated with the same loving eye and passion that just existing in Portland does for me.

I truly love my hometown. I've never felt right anywhere else, and I hope the love I have for Portland, and the cosmic fortune I feel in being able to call myself native Oregonian, shows in my street-level perspectives.

Also! Two of the photos were taken of the Cascadian Eclipse of 2017, down in Woodburn. So you can see what I saw in a singular event of a lifetime.

The price is $12.99 before you get to shipping, and if you'll wonder why you should buy a 2018 Calendar 1 month into the new year, then understand that you also get January 2019, because I believe if you're paying for a calendar you should at least get 12 honest-to-goodness months out of it!

If you love Portland (or love the idea of touring Portland), my calendar will give you a fresh scenic take ... not the same re-used photos over and over again, like so many other scenic Portland calendars you'll see. Unique as its photographer, it's the Portland calendar for your wall.

Buy, and buy often!