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Monday, June 29, 2009

The Saga of Big Mike Quinlan

History has corrected me. Big Mike does not appear to have been a logger, but ran a sawmill in aptly-named Forest County Wisconsin. The mill, originally located in Menominee, Michigan, was operated by A.C. and James P. Soper, Michael J. Quinlan and Harry E. McGraw.

In the satellite photo you can see Wisconsin Highway 32, which makes a 90-degree turn to the west at Soperton, goes into Wabeno, and continues north from there. To the right is a small highway, County Highway C, and that round black spot is Otter Lake.

According to family legend, Big Mike and his loggers built the log cabins on the lake. McGraws had property on the west side of the lake, and Camp Comfort was built on the south side. Even when I was a child, the old logging road between the cabins was becoming overgrown with white pines, and now I am sure it is obliterated.

Somehow the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), Sault Ste. Marie, and Mackinac Island are involved, as is Muskegon, Michigan. The family must have relocated to Forest County from Muskegon or Menominee.

I will post more as I find out. There are Quinlan family members who have done extensive research on the family tree.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Otter Lake

We spent a few weeks every summer here at Otter Lake. The log cabin was built by my great-grandfather, Big Mike Quinlan, if I remember correctly. He was a logger and this was their main logging camp. It was referred to as Camp Comfort. Nana (my maternal grandmother) inherited it from him and she added more comfort ... an indoor toilet, for instance. She had a pre-fab bunkhouse built behind the cabin, and it was fun to sleep there.

Nana willed the cabin and land to her four children, of whom only three were interested in spending the money to keep it up and to pay the taxes on it. Lou-Lou sold her share to the other three. Then I am not entirely sure who dropped out, I think maybe Uncle Bill, and there were two. However, those two had many children between them. Ten, if memory serves. The property could not be willed to ten children and thence to their heirs, and the costs of upkeep and taxes were high, so finally Mom and Uncle David sold the property.

Our Family, circa 1952

We were awakened in the middle of the night, or so it seemed, and told to come down in our pajamas to have a family picture done by Mr. Gage, who had a new camera.

Anne is grinning, unaccustomed to posing. Mother looks ok, and Dad happy. I am there on the floor in the middle, eating an apple and gazing upward. Robyn is charming, Betsy too young to grasp the situation. Sherry looks comfortable with her beautiful smile.

There is another print of us that night, arranged on the stair landing, but I do not have a copy at the moment. We are all grinning in that one and Robyn did a painting of us with the teeth looking bared and vicious.

Baby Things

When I was a babe, I ate my cereal from a silver porringer shaped like this one, which is, by the way, made of modern, lead-free pewter. The porringer was passed down from baby to baby, as was the baby spoon. It was given to my mother by her family, I presume, along with a lot of silver, china, crystal, porcelain figurines, fine linen tablecloths, mahogany furniture and cranberry glass. A remnant of the glories of turn-of-the-century loggers turned businessmen, in 1950s Wisconsin.

Many evenings we ate our dinner by candlelight that was reflected in all these beautiful objects. Our house always made quite an impression on my friends, who were in awe of the gracious image Mother had created. The Victorian Settee was of carved rosewood and was covered in blue velvet. Never mind that one could never sit in comfort; sitting back was painful, and one was forced to sit bolt upright to avoid sliding off it onto the floor!

The Marble Top Table had an ornately carved base with a large piece protruding downward. I recall squirming underneath the thing; when I visited my parents later I realized there were fewer than six inches clearance under the monstrosity, so I wondered if the memory was true or simply a fantasy.

I envied other children their comfortable, serviceable houses and sturdy, caring mothers. The benefits of being surrounded by beautiful objects, books of great art reproductions, classical music and jazz records was offset by Mother's unpredictability and mixed emotions towards her children.

The Killer Is Loose

Joseph Cotten's acting has been an acquired taste for me. For years I disliked him, then recently I began appreciating his range. He is always recognizable, but the range is subtly there. Touch of Evil, Niagara, The Third Man, Shadow of a Doubt, The Magnificent Ambersons, Citizen Kane. This is an actor whom I have underrated.

"The Killer is Loose" is film noir with a somewhat unsatisfying ending, but which nevertheless builds amazing tension. We think the wife (Rhonda Fleming) is nice, then realize she is an idiot who is a liability for her husband.

We see Wendell Corey use his flattened affect to great effect, so to speak. His actions are belied by his tone of voice, but slowly we are more and more terrified by him.

Joseph Cotten is the leading man, a cop who takes a desk job to appease his fearful wife, but who knows what is at stake for those in the field. The cops do their best, not always smart about it, but serious. As I say, the ending is flat, but the rest is well done.

yOU aRE gEttINg dRowSY

I went into Second Life because Young Geoffrion and I were in contact and she said she was at Drowsy, where I had never been. As I arrived I realized I still had my playful gorilla/bunny outfit on. Shortly thereafter, Osprey arrived, in her gorilla/alien outfit (we had been silly the afternoon before).

Osprey began doing ballet, I followed suit, and we spoke of shoes and ships and sealing wax, until we had to disperse to our outer lives. Osprey and I matched Drowsy in our fairytale costumes, and our gentle leader was formally attired in her usual 18th-Century costume. Writer of strange tales that she is, she is comfortable with hybrid creatures.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Lonely Life of a Diva

Costumed, coiffed, perfumed, powdered, and prepared, Esmeralda gazes out through the scrims at the mushroom seats, all empty, the echoing theatre her lonely milieu.

Relay For Life benefit shows begin in less than two hours. Esmeralda will enter the spotlight once again. Is Esmeralda, like Lassie, an anonymous animal who takes the name for the moment of her ill-fated glory only? Find out this afternoon! Eleanor Airship Theatre, Phobos (229, 214, 74)!

Frozen Memories

Wisconsin summers are quite hot, though I recall hearing that Milwaukee was "90 degrees in the shade", which astonished me, so I guess Green Bay was not quite that hot.

We had no air conditioning, and few fans. The open window was simply open. Still warm air outside and in. At night the sheets would stick to my skin as I turned over trying to go back to sleep.

In the daytimes, I would walk to The Corner Store, aka Boulanger's, to buy popsicles, which at that time were sold in thin paper wrappers. There were two popsicles inside, joined by a thinner area of popsicle that broke easily into two, the second to be shared or stored for later. The flavors were varied: I recall chocolate, blueberry, banana, orange, cherry, grape, lime, and root beer. I prefered lime. Of course, there were also Creamsicles, which were not pleasing to my palate, but would do in a pinch.

On Sundays we would go to Kaap's and have lunch (German food, very hearty); at the end of the lunch I would order a hot fudge sundae, which at Kaap's was presented royally. The one large scoop of their homemade ice cream (slightly crystalline, very strongly vanilla) was set before me in a footed pewter dish on a small plate. Beside it was placed an individual dark green sauce boat with a white interior, in which was a lake of molten, dark chocolate sauce. It was not of the gooey caramel consistency of some hot fudge, but had a thick, rich heavy, luscious consistency. It was too hot to stay on top of the ice cream, so it ran down immediately into the bowl, taking some of the melted ice cream with it. This did not deter me in the least. I began to carve spoon shapes into that globe, dipping each bite into the sauce below. At the end, there was sauce leftover in the sauceboat, which I drank eagerly, to my mother's dismay.

There was another ice cream company in town, Pleck's. They made the best ice cream I have ever tasted, bar none, and I have had a lot of ice cream! Their vanilla was strong and smooth, not buttery but just the perfect blend of sugar, vanilla and cream. I was horribly disappointed by other ice creams once I left Wisconsin. So low in flavor and richness. Ah well.


At the bottom of the bay of Green Bay lies the city of the same name. It has grown a lot; when I lived there it was around 50,000 people. It became a world port when the
St. Lawrence Seaway opened.
The Fox River was terribly polluted, though now it is less so. The river was an important part of the town, with a big rivalry between the East Side (our side) and the West. West High and East High were enemies on the sports fields. I went to Catholic schools, so I did not participate in that particular rivalry.

We spent some summer weeks at various rental cottages along the Bay, where the water was clear and indeed the Bay was green. We would walk along the blacktop roads on soft and melting tar that I loved. It could be formed into wrinkly shapes while the sun beat on it, yet it did not become truly liquified. After the shaping it would slowly melt back down to become the road again. Tires would adhere to it slightly, and they would make sticky sound as we drove over it.

Driving to "the cottage" was an adventure, partly because along the way, we would see a scarecrow that was always dressed differently, and partly because we would go to the Frozen Custard Stand. Ice cream was not as it is now. There were many local producers of ice cream in various forms, and though these days, frozen custard might be mistaken for what we now call "soft-serve", it was rich and yellow and dense, unlike the pallid concoction we know now. It truly was egg custard frozen and dispensed into those ordinary waffle cones, which still exist. It was marvelous.

The cottage was a one-story white wooden square house on pilings, with a simple shallow peaked roof, that was at the end of the little loop of blacktop drive off the main road, that led to a small section of cottages. Like most of the cottages it had a screened porch on two sides and was near the bay. There was a sand driveway, and behind the cottage was a wooded area. There were several cottages on the other side of the driveway, clustered together. There friends' families would stay at the same time.
Down the way was "the witch's house", a germanic stone cottage inhabited by Otto Kaap's family*.
*They had a restaurant, in which they sold homemade baked goods and candies, as well as Steiff toys. My experience of those delights gave me an appreciation for European-style bread and good chocolate. Someone was able to purchase the recipes and continues to sell Kaap's candies in Green Bay today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Graveyard Humor

The Loved One is one of my favorite movies (yes, I know I have hundreds of favorites). Besides the fact that it is really funny and a scathing satire of American funereal practices, it is loaded with great performances by really good actors. Jonathan Winters, Robert Morse, John Gielgud, Roddy MacDowall, and who could forget Rod Steiger as Mr. Joyboy? Wonderful!

Snake River Sky

I wWent in there with big brushes and swirled in some sky and cloud stuff. Now the sky is as active as the mountain and trees. The contrast between the quiet flat sky and the moving writhing trees and mountain was unbearable to me.

This is what I mean about changing one part and then having to change everything.

Making Books

I have had this book for eons. I made one box that was very beautiful, with soft sued-like blue-violet paper on the outside and coral on the inside. I made one mistake of paper direction and it was flawed, but I loved it still.

Now I am thinking, perhaps I shall make a book. That was the reason I bought this book in the first place. I have in mind a small, illustrated book for adults (not Adult, but not a children's book, I mean). Whether I shall do it or not, I do not know, but I cannot let this book go. It is nicely illustrated with line drawings and plain areas of color. Nice format, nice typeface. The entire thing is very pleasing to look at.

Kuniyoshi Woodblock Prints

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), a Japanese woodblock printmaker, is someone I had never heard of before his irreverent, funny, sexually comic prints of raccoon dogs and their antics were posted on Pink Tentacle.

He was very prolific and this print of fish near a piling is exquisite in my opinion. Osprey posted one print that appears to be an osprey, too. There are many more wonderful images to explore at The Kuniyoshi Project.

Christmas Past

One Christmas, perhaps I was nine or ten years old, we had very little under our tree. Mother had been in the mental hospital that fall, and all our money had gone for that. We had a gift exchange (not sure if that was at school or at home, memory fails me) and I received a ceramic pixie, in red and green, a delightful little figurine.

Christmas morning, I found one package under the tree, in the shape of a book, to my joy. It was Great Expectations, and I never had a better Christmas. To my heart this is the best of all Dickens' works, but I am highly prejudiced in this matter, as it was my first experience of him. The magical tragical Miss Havisham, The Convict, the temperamental Estella, and of course, Pip himself, enchanted me and absorbed me.

When I am reading fiction that is of this calibre, I hate to have to leave the world it evokes. Now the movie is on Turner Classic Movies, and I am grateful.

Flea Circus Benefit Show Saturday

We are performing two shows tomorrow, Saturday, June 27, 2009, at the Eleanor Airship in Phobos, to benefit Relay For Life in Second Life.

The first performance will be at 2PM SLT (Pacific Daylight Time), and the second at 2:50PM SLT. Tickets may be purchased from ELLiebob Bean inworld.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Growing Collection

Once I stumbled upon Wooden Books, I had to collect them. These are tiny textbooks on all sorts of esoteric and not-so-esoteric subjects. So far, I have:

The Elements of Music

The Golden Section

Sacred Geometry

Sacred Number


The Mayan and other Ancient Calendars


Earth Grids

Ley Lines

A Small Book of Coincidence in the Solar System

Sun, Moon, & Earth

The Alchemist's Kitchen

I plan to purchase more, but these are very intense to read and sometimes it takes me multiple readings of one page to begin to grasp the concepts. Fascinating!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Merry Gentleman

Michael Keaton directed and stars in this movie, which is a sort of haunting story of a hit man and an abused woman and their odd relationship. Well done, very bleak backgrounds, and silences. I expected a harsher development (there are some assassinations), but it was satisfying in a strange way.

My sister Anne and I had planned to see "Enlighten Up!" but changed our minds in favor of Michael Keaton, whom we both enjoy. We will see that documentary some other time. We were alone in the theatre, which was very comfortable, so it was like having a private screening. Then we had the adventure of the underground parking. We could not find Aqua, but a kind security man in a golf cart picked us up and delivered us to our spots. Is THAT what Blanche meant by the kindness of strangers?

Paint It As It Lies

I did tweak it a bit, adding some orange back in and hardening the tree shapes. The blue-violet sky is a bit darkened as well.

It gave it life again, and movement. This is a familiar process to me, and I guess to other painters. There is a push-pull of process, as well as shapes and colors. Once you change one part, the other areas have to adjust to it. In the middle the painting is neither fish nor fowl (or is it neither calf nor turtle?).

Egg of the Morning, Beautiful Egg ....

Yes that is a misquotation of Lewis Carroll's Mock Turtle*. These ravishingly brown eggs (one has nice dark speckles) in their white container (the egg ppl say that styrofoam is easier to recycle because they can clean it without destroying it), just struck me this morning.

The label says, "hand gathered from organic, humanely raised, pastured chickens". Nice to see on a label, considering the egg farming practices of our times.

"Beautiful soup, so rich and green,

Waiting in a hot tureen!

Who for such dainties would not stoop?

Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau--ootiful Soo--oop! Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!

Soo--oop of the e--e--evening, Beautiful, beautiful Soup"

WHO Is It For?

I present this painting in its current state again because it was criticized last night as having lost some of its vital wild character when the trees were softened and much of the orange underpainting was covered over with (admittedly luscious) paint strokes.

At first, I felt saddened and confused. I made this exciting painting into an ordinary one? Young also said NO do not paint over that red! But I got started and could not stop painting till it looked like this.

The question that arises in me today is, for whom am I painting? This is a question that all artists, in all media, genres and styles, face. The axiom is "paint for yourself; you cannot please everyone, and someone will respond to your work". Another side of that is, REAL artists paint as individualistically and idiosyncratically as they can. Now the thing is, everything has been done, from wild colors to quiet sombre fields of soft color; from ultra-realistic to totally abstract. One of the comments I have heard several times in the critique class is, "we have seen this before". In other words, if it has been done, it cannot ever be done again. This is the impossible conundrum today's artist faces.

Yes, this painting is now tame in comparison to what it was, but I like it. Maybe it needs more orange touches to bring the colors back to life, but I like the soft trees; I like the soft sky; I like the brushwork in the mountain mass. So, if "paint for yourself" is the motto, I am doing that.

The options (the ones I can think of) of the audience to paint for are:

Art History






Commercial value


Of these options, I will choose JOY. This paining has been a joy to work on, and even if I put in more orange, I will take great pleasure in doing so. That is enough reason to do it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rain on Me!

Finally, after weeks of dry hot weather, we had a rainshower. It is still going on. The ambient (exerior) temperature reading in my car went from reading 96F (35.5 C) to 77F (25 C)! The plants and trees are all cheering wildly.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Osprey sent me the link to this odd couple story on YouTube, and I am sending it out to you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Double Feature, No Cartoons

Brute Force, starring Burt Lancaster and a big crowd of excellent supporting actors, portrays the corrosive effects of hopelessness and sadism in prison, and the problem of a weak, well-meaning warden who allows the brutality to occur. There is a prison break of course. As always, Burt is his athletic, intense, and charismatic self. Somehow he always gives it his all, and he comes through.

The Naked City, from 1948, from which the television series was born, I assume. The leading man was Barry Fitzgerald, believe it or not! There is a voiceover narration about the crime and the process of solving it, giving it a documentary feel. Very well done, lots of tension. Barry does a great job as the experienced old bird running the Homicide Division.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The International

I am a fan of Clive Owen to begin with, having seen him in a BBC series on PBS Mystery as a detective who is going blind, so when we saw the trailer for The International, I was interested. This came from Netflix, so it could be paused, which helps in such an intense movie.

The basic plot is this: there is an international bank which is buying arms and seeking to buy missile guidance systems. Clive is an Interpol agent, and he and another agent are investigating this situation when something happens .... (erases next bit to prevent spoiling movie).

It is a tale of obsession as much as it is of the vile nature of greed.

Navajo Jewelry

South of Navajo Bridge there is a section of Highway 89 that goes along a red ridge of cliffs on one side and on the other, the chasm of the Colorado River. There is very little that grows there, and it is part of the Navajo Reservation. Along the highway are some rickety shelters in which people sell jewelry and pottery.

We stopped at one of them and I asked if the woman could accept credit but she could not, so I bought the most beautiful beaded necklace and earrings I could afford with the cash I had. Her mother made the jewelry.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Off Moment for Osprey

Osprey Therian, here captured as she looks at the grocery store!

Twitter, Facebook, Cellphones = Revolution ....

Another amazing TED Talk. Clay Shirky points out the global uses of social networking to achieve social justice.

Snake River Painting

This is finished I think. I have to tighten the canvas (spray the back with water and let it dry), sign it and have a slide made.

Last night I attended a critique class, presided over by Francesca Fuchs, at the Glassell School. They thought this painting was finished and I even became convinced it was. Then I began working on a little bit of it and voila! I could not stop until it was this version.

One of the decisions an artist makes is (though it may sound obvious, it is not at all easy), "what is this painting about?" In this case, it is about the mountain itself, its rocky prominence, the softness of the trees and insubstantiality of the clouds reinforcing its muscularity. In the version just before this, I had the trees forming a low frieze across the bottom to push attention upward, but they were too hard-edged and insistent, so I went into that area and softened them considerably.

One of Francesca's comments was that the red edging on the green treetops was irritating to her. Red and green are the most difficult of the complementaries to work with, and both hues were at saturation. The red and orange are mostly hidden now, only affecting the colors on top of them, not peeking through any more. There is a sort of reddish cast to this photo, which distorts how it actually looked in daylight, but you get the idea.

Oddly Enough...

... speaking of Biosphere 2, here is the testimony of a woman who lived inside Biosphere 2 for, as she puts it, two years and 20 minutes! HAH! Was Osprey prescient! Was I channeling this TED talk? Watch and see!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Yep, it's 91F outdoors (33C for you Celsius people) and I am wearing an all-over body suit. This one is from Solumbra, and it has all kinds of vents to cool ya down, and it is loose. When it gets to 98F (??C) it will still feel hot out there, though.

According to the dermatologist, sun damage cannot be reversed* but using sunscreen and sun blocking clothing it can be prevented from getting worse.

*maybe the bumps can be sanded off or peeled -- ouch!

National Parks Artist-in-Residence Programs

One of the delightful things I discovered at the Grand Canyon National Park was that it is one of the national parks with an artist-in-residence program. Each park has different opportunities, and the length of stay differs. The Grand Canyon program lasts three weeks, and the artist is asked to donate a work, be it visual, musical or written, to the park, with all copyrights. I believe they provide living accommodations.

National Parks Service provides information on the programs.

Biosphere 2

Osprey's video
on the future and domed cities triggered a thought about Biosphere 2, which is near Tucson.
Also, on the Discovery Channel's program Mega Engineering, I got a glimpse of the proposed Houston Dome, which I had never heard of before (yes, I am out of touch with the mainstream news). (Sorry about the ads.)
Buckminster Fuller was the first to propose domed cities.

Rental Prius

At Phoenix we rented a Prius, partly to save money on gas and partly for me to see if I liked it, with an eye to buying one for my next car (I ride them till they drop then get a new one). We had three concerns, first, would it be able to perform well in the mountains (it did fine), secondly, would the low clearance be a problem (it was), and finally, would it be roomy enough, as we are both tall (it was a bit cramped, but not terrible).

All in all it was a good car and had fascinating displays of what it was up to under the hood. We averaged over 45 miles per gallon, including the roaring up mountains, which brought the mpg down to about 20 or less temporarily. We both admired the little vehicle, which was royal blue, though you cannot tell the color in this photo.

When we got home, friends told us the new Prius is bigger than the old. Our rental had over 30,000 miles on it, so we assumed it is the old version. That helps the decision making. My Mazda3 is nowhere near ready to be traded in, with only 20,000 miles on it (I usually make them go over 100,000, which for me takes around 9 years).

Nana (pronounced NAH-na)

Nana, our maternal grandmother, lived on Monroe Street the earliest I remember, in a long narrow Victorian house that was split into an upper and lower duplex. The upstairs apartment was occupied by a burly cheerful nurse who had auburn hair (or maybe I am making that up). The house was painted blue grey with white trim and was on a corner.

Auntie Ed lived on that same street, but in her own house. She had never married. On Sundays she and Nana would come to our house for Sunday dinner sometimes.

Nana loved sugar ... she even sugared her "orange drink", a concoction that was delivered by the milkman, manufactured from orange juice, water and sugar. It was delicious, but not nearly sweet enough for Nana, apparently. She would sugar her apple pie! She also loved her mashed potatoes.

After that Monroe duplex, I believe Nana moved into an apartment over near Astor Park, in a dim place I barely recall. She had a different exchange from us! She went from having a HEmlock number to having an EDison number (oh what an exotic exchange!). After that, she moved to a very large square (and very unattractive) house on Monroe, but closer to our house.

Finally she moved to Jackson Street, just a block away from our house. Once again, she was in a narrow tall Victorian, white this time. She grew tomatoes along the picket fence. She had her Mogen David and Maryknoll magazines on her round table, and a portrait of some unidentified woman on the wall, who looked vaguely like Aunt Lou-Lou.

Although with us she was very gentle and kind, Nana was a force to be reckoned with. I heard the stories of how she never spoke to this one or that one, ever since they ....

She was round and soft, like a potato roll, with twinkling blue eyes. Her hair had been very long, and she wore it in a coronet of braid around the crown of her head. Then some year or other, she had it cut off and wore her hair in a soft white halo around her head. She wore silk dresses that all blur into one in my memory, mid-calf length, belted loosely, with those old lady shoes ... Enna Jetticks, I think they were called, black laced-up oxfords with thick high heels. When she sat she crossed her ankles, and we could see how swollen they always were.

At our house she would request a "Pink Lady", which was a pretty soft pink drink with gin in it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

John Wesley Powell

Wallage Stegner is one of the writers I deeply respect. I have read only his fiction in the past, but while we were at The Grand Canyon, I bought this book about John Wesley Powell, titled Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West.

Spending time looking at this vast and forbidding rocky chasm it was hard to imagine deciding to run the river without any idea what would be involved, but that is just what Powell and his group of volunteer explorers did, in the 1870s.

Even now, the tributary creeks have flash floods, which dump boulders into the Colorado proper and create new rapids. Around many bends they found white water, losing their supplies and being dumped into the river themselves.

Apparently Powell became an influence on the creation of land-use policies for the Colorado Plateau, on which are many of the Western National Parks today. He learned many Native American languages and was respectful to the peoples of the area. He understood, as many did not at that time, that these peoples were very individual in their cultures.

Self-Diagnosed Sun Rash

A red rash appeared while we were on vacation, only in sun-touched areas of my skin. I looked it up on internet dermatological sites and it appears to be a form of sun rash.

It is not new for me, but was more intense than what I had in the past. Apparently some fair-skinned individuals are prone to this.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Marley & Me

Marley & Me was not the greatest movie ever made, just a simple story of an energetic untrained dog in the hands of inexperienced owners, but it touched me because no matter what the dog does, it gives more than it takes. I give it a Four Hankies rating.

I Walked With a Zombie

Another Val Lewton production, directed by Jacques Tourneur. Again, the mysterious powers of the human mind are highlighted, without sensational decaying flesh or the hunger for living human flesh.

The black people of this Caribbean island are presented reasonably, with references to their slave ancestors who had been brought to the island in chains. Voodoo is shown as a force for either good or evil.

It is a remarkable film, made in 1943.

Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green

I have had this book for several years now, and finally took the time to read it more or less thoroughly, and found myself using a new combination of pigments. The author, Michael Wilcox, emphasizes several aspects of color usage by artists.

The standard color wheel cannot work for color mixing, as there are no pigments that are "pure" red, blue or yellow. We have blue violet, red violet, red orange, orange yellow, green yellow, and green blue ... so he suggests six pigments that are light-fast and permanent. There are varying names for the paints, so he gives the pigment names.

This is a technical reference book; I am finding the suggestions very helpful. I am re-working old paintings that I had considered failures, and finding that I really enjoy the new color schemes. A lot of his color suggestions involve using complementaries, which create lovely colors, from neutrals to variations of the original colors, when mixed in varying proportions.

Here are the pigments to purchase. For anyone including a beginner, these colors will provide good combinations. The names of the paints are different according to each manufacturer, so the pigment name is the thing to look for. These are very lightfast, mix well, and will produce the finest mixtures possible. The basic selection of pigments he recommends is:

Red (Orange) - Cadmium Red Light PR 108 (pigment name)

Red (Violet) - Quinacridone Violet PV 19

Yellow (Orange) - Cadmium Yellow Light PY 35

Yellow (Green) - Hansa Yellow Light PY 3

Blue (Green) - Cerulean Blue PB 36:1 or PB 35

Blue (Violet) - Ultramarine Blue PB 29

For example, to make greens, mix cool blue and cool yellow, and if it is "too" green, add a touch of warm red to make a green that works in nature. Violets: mix Blue Violet and Red Violet. Oranges, mix Yellow Orange and Red Orange. Vary the proportions on the palette, add some white or black, and you will have a range of these secondary colors. Browns and greys are made by mixing complementary colors: Blue Violet plus Yellow Orange, Red Orange plus Blue Green, Yellow Green plus Red Violet; as always, varying the proportions will create variations, so that there is not a static mixture on the canvas or paper.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Leopard Man

I love Val Lewton's B movies. Today I saw The Leopard Man, supposedly a horror flick, which never shows any violence but is very spooky anyhow. He does a lot with lighting, and what is not shown is even more frightening than what is.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sedona, Arizona

This beautiful small town has quite a few resorts and spas, and is reputed to be at an energy vortex of some sort. I had a really good massage there, which I needed desperately; the food was excellent, and we attended an astronomy show in the evening which was very well done. We even viewed Saturn with its rings and moons!

The next day we drove up through Oak Canyon toward the Grand Canyon, seeing lots of beautiful and lush areas with swimming and hiking abounding.

Grand Canyon

It is difficult to find words to express my feelings in viewing it without resorting to cliches. It is one of the most overwhelming experiences of nature I have ever experienced. The canyon seems to go on forever (217 miles of canyon of the Colorado are named "Grand"). To think that people have lived, and now live down inside the canyon is amazing.

The Havasupai do live there now, and maintain a paradisiacal area of waterfalls and lush greenery, which visitors can access via helicopter.

Temples in the Chasm

The top white layer of stone (sandstone, I believe) in the Grand Canyon is harder than the shale and it remains on the top of the crumbling red rocks below it, leaving formations reminiscent of temples built by humankind. This is a view from Roosevelt Point, one of the most spectacular formations in the park.

Zion National Park

If a person enters from the Eastern side of Zion National Park (in Utah), there is a spectactular drive into the park area, with mesas and switchbacks.

The view in the photo is from Zion Lodge, where we stayed. There is a shuttle bus with local information conveyed by the drivers or by a recording.

We saw wild turkeys roosting in trees and a great blue heron fishing in the Virgin River (which created the canyon) during our shuttle bus drive.

There are hikes in varying degrees of difficulty from the canyon upwards.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon, Utah, is at 8800 feet of elevation, and set up along one road; one drives to the end and then on the return drive, there are turnouts for varying views of these "hoodoo" formations from above. Geologically, these layers have disappeared from the Grand Canyon area, one of the geological mysteries still unsolved in the Colorado Plateau area.

Navajo Bridge

Navajo Bridge was the only bridge across Marble Canyon (south of Page, Arizona) for many years. Now it is a footbridge, and a favorite roosting spot for newly released condors.

We heard about the condors at the Grand Canyon and sought out the bridge to see if we could spot condors. There was a juvenile sitting on the struts under the bridge, and while we were there, an adult condor soared above us. We think it was A6, but it was very difficult to see the tag.

The Colorado is deep green because the dams hold the silt which normally would be carried downstream. They have instituted a practice of releasing water periodically from Glen Canyon Dam, which partially restores the fertility of the lower canyon, and prevents silt from extreme buildup behind the dam.


This experimental building site (north of Phoenix, Arizona) is in progress, as it has been for many years. People come from all over the world to work here, and the concept represents one solution to the clearly dysfunctional cities of our time.

Soleri would build cities that would be condensed, with all human activities accessible via elevators, walking and other means of non-automobile transit.