Saturday, May 31, 2008

Springsteen-Point Blank

Here is an excellent example (somebody did a good job putting this together) of how Springsteen's early music was influenced by Film Noir. The clips are from the Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver. The film itself, an example of Film Noir was influenced by Springsteen's music. I guess turnabout is fair play! I heard Robert DeNiro say he stole the famous line "You talkin' to me.." from Springsteen. He had apprently seen Bruce in concert the night before filming that memorable scene and heard Bruce say those words.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Who Is It?

Who is the man in the picture?

Clue: I cropped the right side of the picture. If you could have seen what I cut out you would know exactly who this is. I'll post the entire picture next week. (sneaky..ain't I?)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy may be one of the scariest books I have ever read. Not in the monster jumping out of the closet kind of scary but more of the this really might could happen scary. McCarthy also wrote the novel No Country for Old Men recently adapted to film and directed by the Coen Brothers.

The Road involves a father and son traveling on the road, (of course) in a post-apocalyptic America, sometime in the not too distant future. The story follows the survival of these two people. The father tries to instill a high regard for human life (think a society filled with cannibalism!) into the boy. "We're one of the good guys...right?" The boy continually asks his father. They live in a burnt-out, ash covered world with no vegetation and no animals. On the run, they're trying to make it to the coast, not sure of what they'll find. They meet up with various characters on the way.

The book, extremely well written uses...sparse but poignant dialogue. It is painfully real at times, funny and extremely sad. The book is not graphic in it's description of some of the brutal things that take place, however it is disturbing nonetheless. I give it 5 stars out of 5. Destined to become a classic!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

President Bush-Channeling George Orwell

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” — President Bush, June 18, 2002.
(was that quote from 1984...? No it came from 2002!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Color Stage 2

I worked on faces.

Taxes Americans Pay

Today, Americans work 185 days to pay taxes and comply with the regulatory costs of government at the federal, state and local levels. In other words, the cost of government consumes 50.4 percent of national income.

This year, Americans will work:
• 84 days to pay for all federal spending
• 43 days to pay all state and local spending
• 37 days to pay the costs of federal regulations
• 23 days to pay the costs of state regulations
(Study taken from Americans for Tax Reform)

D A Carson on the Self Sufficiency of God

"Paul (in Acts 17) actually has the cheek to say that God does not need you. It is not as if God needs you. You see, that is so different than paganism. In paganism the gods and human beings have a kind of reciprocal relationship. The gods have their needs, we have our needs. You scratch their backs, they scratch your back. You give them the right to sacrifice, and they give you the right blessing. They are like suped up human beings with their fears their loves and their lusts and their hates, and then you make them happy and the gods make you happy, you see?

Thus, they have their needs. But God…doesn’t need us. Now it is important to keep saying that in our generation. Because we are so in danger of so psychologizing God that we are in danger of thinking of him as sort of up in heaven as really unhappy unless we get our praise choruses right.

Do you see? Dear old God is really unhappy unless we live holy lives, [God is] miserable, miserable.

Now do not misunderstand, I do not want to make God so withdrawn that he does not care about what happens. Or there is no place for his love or his wrath or his response to us. God is a personal God. But it is not as if God is a being larded with a whole lot of psychological needs, which only we can meet. So that in eternity past, dear old God was really quite lonely up there and decided to do something about it.

It is just not the way the God of the Bible is presented, you see?"
-D A Carson

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Phish- Guelah Papyrus

Listen and be Amazed! (What exactly is a rhinothropic micro-gaze?)

Jumping Youngs-Color Stage 1

I have glazed the first layer of color onto the painting and re-established shadows. At this stage it looks somewhat like an old timey tinted photograph...that's what I'm aiming for. With each subsequent layer the colors will become more and more brilliant and lifelike, (hopefully). Stay tuned!

Koran Shooting by US Soldier

A big item in the news today is a young American soldier stationed in Iraq used a copy of the Koran for target practice. According to the BBC, President Bush said the man will be brought to trial before the U.S. military court, (that means Court Martial). Mr. Bush also issued a personal apology to the Prime Minister of Iraq. Mr. Bush said he was acting as a personal representative (which he is) of the American people by making this apology. Granted this was not the wisest thing for any American to do on foreign soil, after all the soldier represents us too.
My question is Do the American people really hold the Koran to such a high esteem that we're willing for our President to make a personal apology for this action? I am also curious if the President would have made the same kind of apology to Christians if that same soldier had been taking shots at the Bible?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Calvin Quotes

My friend Sophie has some fantabulous funny quotes from her 4 year old son Calvin. Calvin is not only skilled in verbal judo, but is a VERY snappy dresser!

Click here to see quotes from Calvin. Donna Reed Experiment

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 10

This is the FINAL stage of the grisaille (greyscale) picture. I have had two people tell me that I should leave this painting the way it is and not add color. Mr. Bill Martin over at Wet Canvas says this is your clue to let you know you've achieved the affect you want in a grisaille. It is the tonal map.
My next task will be to gradually glaze thin layers of color over what you see here. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 9

Here a little...there a little and before you know it we'll have color.

Herb Alpert-This Guy's in Love With You

Don't laugh! You know you love it! (shhhh...I won't tell anybody you like this song)

P.S. This guy's in love with his wife...Laura

Prince Caspian- Who's Going?

How many of you are going to see Prince Caspian this weekend? It looks good! Please weigh-in and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 8

I have brought the value/tone up all over and I have added more definition to their clothes and background. I have also softened features on faces and added details. I will soon start glazing colors and I think we'll see these fellows spring to life!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bed Bugs- An Epidemic of Bloodsuckers!

I continue to hear of more and more cases of bed bugs going around. It might be a good idea to lift the sheets on your bed and check the edges of your mattress, (see photo). I hear once you get them, they are EXTREMELY hard to get rid of! Seriously, this is not just a cute saying...Don't let the beg bugs bite! Why? Because they don't just bite, they suck your blood too! (see photo)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 7

Happy, happy, joy, joy! I am at a point where I'm happy with the faces. The boy on the right has caused me much grief, but I think I finally caught his features somewhat realisticly. The mind fills in the parts that are missing.

I still have much work to do on the grisaille or grayscale before I can begin to add color. My focus now will turn to bringing up the tone/value of their clothes and establishing shadows.

I would like to thank Mr. Bill Martin for his teaching over on Wet Canvas. His work there has helped me considerably to understand how classic paintings were painted. Thank you sir! If you want to see a beautiful painting and how it's done, click here!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Vermeer, Rockwell Doodles

Sketching, doodling with a ball point pen on a piece of paper between phone calls. These are pictures I had on my PC wallpaper.

I am troubled that the painting of the Jumping Boys is not going like I had planned. I broke out my value tonal chart last night and I found that the overall value of the painting is WAY too dark! I am basically going to have to cover the entire surface with paint again to bring up these values to match my grayscale photograph. I want to paint it right, so it is something I must do. Oh well, as my friend Lizi said, "all paintings have their own unique challenges."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 6

I worked on faces, faces and FACES and a little work on the background. I till feel as though I have much to do before I can began adding color. I'm telling you, soon as I put just a little color in this, it's going to spring to life!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Jumping Young-Grisaille Stage 5

I worked on the third figure today. Although I feel as though I made progress on his pants and shirt, I struggled with the face. For some reason, his face has been the hardest and I'm not sure why. The benefit of oil paints is you can keep working with it until it looks right.

Flowers- Potential Paintings

I hope to paint a picture of a flower for my next project. I snapped a photo of a few out in the yard today after church. I am reminded that God is not only a God of truth and goodness but also a God of beauty and He must delight in His creation!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 4

I continue to have fun painting one figure at a time. I will need to paint another greyscale or grisaille layer over these individual figures before I move on to apply color. The grisaille is foundational to the entire picture. It establishes the overall tone of the painting. Tonal values are THE things that allow us to view the world in three dimensions. The grisaiile be my tonal/value map and I want it as acurate as possible before I begin to apply the glazes.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Long Live the Phantom-Danny Federici

Bruce Springsteen spoke these words at his friend's funeral on April 21st in Red Bank, NJ. They had played music together for over 40 years! For more info go to Bruce's official website. Bruce Springsteen


Let me start with the stories.

Back in the days of miracles, the frontier days when "Mad Dog" Lopez and his temper struck fear into the band, small club owners, innocent civilians and all women, children and small animals.

Back in the days when you could still sign your life away on the hood of a parked car in New York City.

Back shortly after a young red-headed accordionist struck gold on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour and he and his mama were sent to Switzerland to show them how it's really done.
Back before beach bums were featured on the cover of Time magazine.

I'm talking about back when the E Street Band was a communist organization! My pal, quiet, shy Dan Federici, was a one-man creator of some of the hairiest circumstances of our 40 year career... And that wasn't easy to do. He had "Mad Dog" Lopez to compete with.... Danny just outlasted him.

Maybe it was the "police riot" in Middletown, New Jersey. A show we were doing to raise bail money for "Mad Log" Lopez who was in jail in Richmond, Virginia, for having an altercation with police officers who we'd aggravated by playing too long. Danny allegedly knocked over our huge Marshall stacks on some of Middletown's finest who had rushed the stage because we broke the law by...playing too long.

As I stood there watching, several police oficers crawled out from underneath the speaker cabinets and rushed away to seek medical attention. Another nice young officer stood in front of me onstage waving his nightstick, poking and calling me nasty names. I looked over to see Danny with a beefy police officer pulling on one arm while Flo Federici, his first wife, pulled on the other, assisting her man in resisting arrest.

A kid leapt from the audience onto the stage, momentarily distracting the beefy officer with the insults of the day. Forever thereafter, "Phantom" Dan Federici slipped into the crowd and disappeared.

A warrant out for his arrest and one month on the lam later, he still hadn't been brought to justice. We hid him in various places but now we had a problem. We had a show coming at Monmouth College. We needed the money and we had to do the gig. We tried a replacement but it didn't work out. So Danny, to all of our admiration, stepped up and said he'd risk his freedom, take the chance and play.

Show night. 2,000 screaming fans in the Monmouth College gym. We had it worked out so Danny would not appear onstage until the moment we started playing. We figured the police who were there to arrest him wouldn't do so onstage during the show and risk starting another riot.
Let me set the scene for you. Danny is hiding, hunkered down in the backseat of a car in the parking lot. At five minutes to eight, our scheduled start time, I go out to whisk him in. I tap on the window.

"Danny, come on, it's time."

I hear back, "I'm not going."

Me: "What do you mean you're not going?"

Danny: "The cops are on the roof of the gym. I've seen them and they're going to nail me the minute I step out of this car."

As I open the door, I realize that Danny has been smoking a little something and had grown rather paranoid. I said, "Dan, there are no cops on the roof."

He says, "Yes, I saw them, I tell you. I'm not coming in."

So I used a procedure I'd call on often over the next forty years in dealing with my old pal's concerns. I threatened him...and cajoled. Finally, out he came. Across the parking lot and into the gym we swept for a rapturous concert during which we laughted like thieves at our excellent dodge of the local cops.

At the end of the evening, during the last song, I pulled the entire crowd up onto the stage and Danny slipped into the audience and out the front door. Once again, "Phantom" Dan had made his exit. (I still get the occasional card from the old Chief of Police of Middletown wishing us well. Our histories are forever intertwined.) And that, my friends, was only the beginning.

There was the time Danny quit the band during a rough period at Max's Kansas City, explaining to me that he was leaving to fix televisions. I asked him to think about that and come back later.
Or Danny, in the band rental car, bouncing off several parked cars after a night of entertainment, smashing out the windshield with his head but saved from severe injury by the huge hard cowboy hat he bought in Texas on our last Western swing.

Or Danny, leaving a large marijuana plant on the front seat of his car in a tow away zone. The car was promptly towed. He said, "Bruce, I'm going to go down and report that it was stolen." I said, "I'm not sure that's a good idea."

Down he went and straight into the slammer without passing go.

Or Danny, the only member of the E Street Band to be physically thrown out of the Stone Pony. Considering all the money we made them, that wasn't easy to do.

Or Danny receiving and surviving a "cautionary assault" from an enraged but restrained "Big Man" Clarence Clemons while they were living together and Danny finally drove the "Big Man" over the big top.

Or Danny assisting me in removing my foot from his stereo speaker after being the only band member ever to drive me into a violent rage.

And through it all, Danny played his beautiful, soulful B3 organ for me and our love grew. And continued to grow. Life is funny like that. He was my homeboy, and great, and for that you make considerations... And he was much more tolerant of my failures than I was of his.
When Danny wasn't causing chaos, he was a sweet, talented, unassuming, unpretentious good-hearted guy who simply had an unchecked ability to make good fortune and things in general go fabulously wrong.

But beyond all of that, he also had a mountain of the right stuff. He had the heart and soul of an engineer. He learned to fly. He was always up on the latest technology and would explain it to you patiently and in enormous detail. He was always "souping" something up, his car, his stereo, his B3. When Patti joined the band, he was the most welcoming, thoughtful, kindest friend to the first woman entering our "boys club."

He loved his kids, always bragging about Jason, Harley, and Madison, and he loved his wife Maya for the new things she brought into his life.

And then there was his artistry. He was the most intuitive player I've ever seen. His style was slippery and fluid, drawn to the spaces the other musicians in the E Street Band left. He wasn't an assertive player, he was a complementary player. A true accompanist. He naturally supplied the glue that bound the band's sound together. In doing so, he created for himself a very specific style. When you hear Dan Federici, you don't hear a blanket of sound, you hear a riff, packed with energy, flying above everything else for a few moments and then gone back in the track. "Phantom" Dan Federici. Now you hear him, now you don't.

Offstage, Danny couldn't recite a lyric or a chord progression for one of my songs. Onstage, his ears opened up. He listened, he felt, he played, finding the perfect hole and placement for a chord or a flurry of notes. This style created a tremendous feeling of spontaneity in our ensemble playing.

In the studio, if I wanted to loosen up the track we were recording, I'd put Danny on it and not tell him what to play. I'd just set him loose. He brought with him the sound of the carnival, the amusements, the boardwalk, the beach, the geography of our youth and the heart and soul of the birthplace of the E Street Band.

Then we grew up. Very slowly. We stood together through a lot of trials and tribulations.

Danny's response to a mistake onstage, hard times, catastrophic events was usually a shrug and a smile. Sort of an "I am but one man in a raging sea, but I'm still afloat. And we're all still here."
I watched Danny fight and conquer some tough addictions. I watched him struggle to put his life together and in the last decade when the band reunited, thrive on sitting in his seat behind that big B3, filled with life and, yes, a new maturity, passion for his job, his family and his home in the brother and sisterhood of our band.

Finally, I watched him fight his cancer without complaint and with great courage and spirit. When I asked him how things looked, he just said, "what are you going to do? I'm looking forward to tomorrow." Danny, the sunny side up fatalist. He never gave up right to the end.
A few weeks back we ended up onstage in Indianapolis for what would be the last time. Before we went on I asked him what he wanted to play and he said, "Sandy." He wanted to strap on the accordion and revisit the boardwalk of our youth during the summer nights when we'd walk along the boards with all the time in the world.

So what if we just smashed into three parked cars, it's a beautiful night! So what if we're on the lam from the entire Middletown police department, let's go take a swim! He wanted to play once more the song that is of course about the end of something wonderful and the beginning of something unknown and new.

Let's go back to the days of miracles. Pete Townshend said, "a rock and roll band is a crazy thing. You meet some people when you're a kid and unlike any other occupation in the whole world, you're stuck with them your whole life no matter who they are or what crazy things they do."
If we didn't play together, the E Street Band at this point would probably not know one another. We wouldn't be in this room together. But we do... We do play together. And every night at 8 p.m., we walk out on stage together and that, my friends, is a place where miracles occur...old and new miracles. And those you are with, in the presence of miracles, you never forget. Life does not separate you. Death does not separate you. Those you are with who create miracles for you, like Danny did for me every night, you are honored to be amongst.

Of course we all grow up and we know "it's only rock and roll"...but it's not. After a lifetime of watching a man perform his miracle for you, night after night, it feels an awful lot like love.
So today, making another one of his mysterious exits, we say farewell to Danny, "Phantom" Dan, Federici. Father, husband, my brother, my friend, my mystery, my thorn, my rose, my keyboard player, my miracle man and lifelong member in good standing of the house rockin', pants droppin', earth shockin', hard rockin', booty shakin', love makin', heart breakin', soul cryin'... and, yes, death defyin' legendary E Street Band.

Bruce Springsteen

Timothy Keller- On Leadership in the Church

"Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus' costly grace. The number one leaders in every church ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don't need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn't based on their performance." -Timothy Keller, Pastor-Redeemer Church NYC

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 3

I worked exclusively on the first boy. I really struggled getting the hands to look realistic. They have been a challenge.

The only medium I have used at this point has been pure turpentine mixed with the oil paint. The paint is so lean I can't seem to cover the imprimatura. You can still see it peeking through on his cheeks and forehead.