Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CCLXI: Rest In Peace

He's the man with the banjo and the 12-string guitar.
And he's singing us the songs that tell us who we are.
When you look in his eyes you know that somebody's in there.
Yeah, he knows where we're going and where we been
And how the fog is gettin' thicker where the future should begin.
When you look at his life you know that he's really been there.

Still, what is the name that they're calling that man?
What is the name that they're calling that man?
You know, it's always the "Old Folkie"
They say he's always bleedin'
But whenever somebody's needing him,
He's the one who cares.
It's always the "Old Folkie"
Whenever somethin's burning,
Or a lesson needs some learning,
Or a tide that needs some turning,
To a better world somewhere,
Yeah, the "Old Folkie's" there.

Yeah, for forty years now he's been pushin' on.
Carrying the dream 'cause Woody's long gone.
He's the last voice singing that "Bound for Glory" song.
And if you never seen him you might take a look
He's the man who put the meaning in the music book.
Yeah, the world may be tired but Pete's still going strong.

Still, what is the name that they're calling that man?
What is the name that they're calling that man?
You know, it's always the "Old Folkie"
They say he's always bleedin'
But whenever somebody's needing him,
He's the one who cares
It's always the "Old Folkie:'
Whenever somethin's burning,
Or a lesson needs some learning,
Or a tide that needs some turning,
To a better world somewhere, Yeah, the "Old Folkie's" there.

What is the name that they're calling that man?
What is the name that they're calling that man?
You know, it's always the "Old Folkie"
Singing for some hopeless cause.
Shouting at the mountain top
The wind is his only applause.
It's always the "Old Folkie"
We don't know what we're missing
'Cause nobody ever listens,
'Cept the lovers as they're kissin' 
Oh, he's singing for them somewhere. 
Yeah, the "Old Folkie's" there. The "Old Folkie's" there.

Harry Chapin, Old Folkie

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Unwisely Roughing in the Snow

I have to say there is nothing like roughing a carving in the snow with a chainsaw that is about two feet too long for the purpose to remind you that you are made of meat, and not particularly robust meat at that.

No blood.

I promised my brother I wouldn't tip carve with his 36 inch Stihl (he was worried I would get blood on his saw). I may have bent that promise a bit, but I have to say awkward as the thing is, its nice to work with something that actually cuts compared to my under-powered electric Craftsman.

Sorry, I didn't mean it.

I was working on an ongoing project that now has a bit more urgency behind it since I have a prospective venue. It's related to the piece Transformation Mask, which was my first major sculptural project when I took up woodcarving back in 2004. This is similar, but more ambitious, a full helmet style wearable mask.

All the components at least roughed.

Noi eravamo quello che voi siete, e quello che noi siamo voi sarete.


Thursday, January 23, 2014


Driving me crazy how Blogger is auto adjusting the levels or something, wrongly, on dark pictures lately...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Open Call for Art: #occupycommonground

Openings, the NY artist's collective I'm a member of has released the open call for this year's fall show in the historic church of St Paul the Apostle. It's an amazing space, always a great, well attended show (about a thousand people at the 2013 opening) and two great curators. You have a month to get your proposal together.


Deadline for submissions: February 22, 2014. Midnight EST

Openings is a collective of visual artists who believe that the connections between creativity and transcendence foster critical conversations that have the potential to unite individuals across cultural divides (www.openingsny.com). Each year the group presents an exhibition addressing a particular theme. The theme for the 2014 exhibition is #occupycommonground, a group art exhibition taking place in Fall 2014.

With this year’s theme, #occupycommonground, Openings is asking you to reflect on the artistic, social, and political implications of common ground, particularly what we perceive to be the paradox of social media. Intended to create immediate connections across a globalized world, social media also breeds isolation and disillusionment. How do digital platforms mediate your relationships with others and with your art practices? Are you an analog person living in an increasingly digital world? Are technology and analog thinking at odds? If not through social media, how do you create common ground in this digital age? Your response addresses the timely question: “Where is our common ground?”

Artists are asked to submit a detailed proposal for artwork in any medium which explores their interpretation of this theme, addressed either personally, publicly, politically, aesthetically, conceptually, or spiritually. Artwork will be exhibited within the unique space of the interior of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on Columbus Avenue at W 60th Street in New York City.

Submission Guidelines:
Artists are asked to submit the following materials:

• Detailed Visual Proposal for #occupycommonground, which includes clear and descriptive text/drawings/sketches/schematics of a proposed artwork for the exhibition or images of finished artwork that you are proposing to show. Artists are encouraged to visit the exhibition space within the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in advance of sending their proposal.
• Proposal Statement of 250 words or less (only in .doc or .docx format) describing the proposed artwork and how it addresses the theme
• Contact Information: name, address, email, telephone, website URL (only in .doc or .docx format).
• 10 separate jpeg images of recent work (no greater than 800 pixels or 11 inches at 72 dpi). Each file must be labeled with title, medium, dimensions and artist’s name.
• Current CV (only in .doc or .docx format).
• Artist Statement of 250 words or less (only in .doc or .docx format).

Submissions that do not follow requested formats will be rejected.


This call for entries is open to any visual artist over the age of 18. All submissions must be received via email to occupyexhibition@gmail.com. There is no fee for submitting a proposal; however, we will request a fee of $60 once you have been accepted into the exhibition. This fee will go towards the cost of promotion, hanging, publicity, and opening reception. Artists will be selected by a jury of current Openings members and invited guest jurors from the field. In addition, selected artists are required to sign an exhibition contract and to comply with the terms therein. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. All selected artists will be asked to schedule a studio/work space visit with one or more of the exhibition’s curators as a way to show/discuss works-in-progress as they relate to the theme of the exhibition. The suggested studio visit will also be used as an opportunity to record photo/video material for the purposes of generating PR for the show. Artists or their representatives must be present for both the delivery and installation of artwork, as well as the de-installation and removal of artwork on the dates specified below. Openings and the Church of St. Paul the Apostle will not accept or store works delivered in advance of the installation day and cannot store artworks after the de-installation date. Openings reserves the right to refuse to exhibit artworks that differ substantially from submitted proposals. It is strongly recommended that you visit the church to get an idea of the space (if you can) or to visit our Facebook page to view installation shots of last year’s exhibition to get some sense of how our exhibitions are installed. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.719861258027339.1073741831.111890398824431&type=3
(Please note: nothing can be hung from the ceiling)

Event Schedule:

February 22, 2014: Completed submissions due via email.
March 10, 2014: Notification of selected artists by email.
March 26, 2014: Artist meeting, exhibition space
May 7, 2014: Artist progress / issues / PR update via
June 7, 2014: Begin studio visits with selected artists.
August 14, 2014: Deadline to submit work-in-progress
September 10, 2014: Delivery/Installation of exhibition at
Church of St. Paul the Apostle.
September 11, 2014: Exhibition opens to the public.
September 18, 2014: Opening Reception.
October 2, 2014: Artist walk-through.
October 23, 2014: De-installation of exhibition.

Please send all submissions via email to occupyexhibition@gmail.com.

Any questions pertaining to Openings or the exhibition can be directed to occupyexhibition@gmail.com.

The deadline for submissions is Midnight (EST), Saturday, February 22, 2014.



Saturday, January 18, 2014


The avoiding grim quotes New Year's resolution was never going to last...

To wait for one who never comes,
To be in bed and not to sleep,
To serve well and not to please,
To have a horse that will not go,
To be sick and lack the cure,
To be a prisoner without hope,
To lose the way when you would journey,
To stand at a door that none will open,
To have a friend who would betray you,
These are the ten pains of death.

Giovanni Florio, Second Fruits quoted in Gavin Maxwell  The Ten Pains of Death

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Work in Progress: Winter, Day 4

Spent some time on other things today, but made some progress on this piece. Starting to get enough of the vibe of the piece, that I want to attach the title I've had in mind...


Saturday, January 11, 2014


Put a couple hours in on the new carving. Starting to look like a person, always a good sign.   I've worked in plenty of wood this green, but never in a section that's only about 45 degrees of a larger log like this. I'm hopeful keeping it outside and wrapped in plastic that it will dry slow enough that can manage without any cracking... we shall see.


Thursday, January 9, 2014


Berries. Remember not to eat them when you are bitter.  Her, Christa Parravani

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Am I the only one who is deeply distressed by the continuity errors in the blood dripping down his face? Was that intentional?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Royal Experiment

Several lifetimes ago I did a fairly elaborate series of illustrations for the Christina Rossetti poem A Royal Princess. They were formatted as a 'children's book' of two page spreads, inspired by Trina Schart Hyman's wonderful retellings of fairy tales.  There are a lot of very good reasons why a children's book of a poem about a depressive princess and a peasant revolt is unlikely to take the world by storm. Among them I had an enormous amount of difficulty photographically reproducing the tonal range of the watercolors. Even a shot at large format commercial scans seemed to blow out the highlights (likely their fault of course). Recently I went back and as an experiment tone mapped a series of 4 or 5 bracketed exposure shots. Not perfect but its closer than I've managed before. I don't know if the dynamic range is genuinely more than you can get in a single exposure or if its a side effect of the tone mapping?


My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering
weed-winding bank.

O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew-
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch, her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will made no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene, a rural scene,
Sweet especial rural scene. 

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Binsey Poplars (Felled 1879)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Carving for the New Year

Tried to start the year right by putting some time in roughing a new carving. It's going to be a male nude, moderately large scale ~18in.  Though I've used pieces in a couple other little projects this is the first large scale piece I've started with wood from the red oak that took out my van during Sandy. Being quite a big chunk after a year the wood is still basically dead wet on the interior.  My money says that since the wood is going to be greatly reduced pretty quickly, and I'm keeping it loosely bagged cracking will be under control. As always it's an experiment...