October 29, 2009

The Land That Time Forgot

Flying over Wyoming always makes me think of 'The Land That Time Forgot'.

Wyoming makes me think of dinosaurs and how many millions of years must have passed to form the landscape. The vastness of the empty bare landscape seems to tell the story of the passing of eons.

The view from 33,000 ft. is always sublime. It makes me want to try to paint it on canvas. The subtle colors and amazing shapes of the arid lands are always so beautiful.

I'm always intrigued by the few signs of people in the Wyoming landscape... tiny roads and houses out in the middle of nowhere. I always wonder who lives there and what it might be like.

October 28, 2009

My Trip to Denver

Well for an old stick in the mud like me, any trip out is exciting. So my recent jetting to Denver was lots of fun. Denver is where I grew up, so it's very much like a salmon returning home.

I especially enjoy looking out any airplane window. I'm one of those flyers who spends the entire trip glued to the window, since I'm fascinated with every little detail.

My favorite views out the airplane window are the empty landscapes of the West, where I always imagine how wonderful it would be to be way out there, 100 miles from anything, without anything to get in the way of anything.

The Denver Art Museum is fabulous... (photos) I think it's lots more impressive than the Seattle Art Museum. Also the Denver Zoo and the Denver Science Museum are totally world class... head & shoulders above their Seattle counterparts.

October 18, 2009

Barns, pumpkins & gold

It's that time of year again down on pumpkin acres.

The same maple that has been here 100 years is turning gold.

Golden leaves - tinged with rust.

Some new friends in the neighborhood.

Pumpkins, chair and hay.

The clouds cling to the mountainsides all day long.

And Old MacDonald is still on his tractor.

October 16, 2009

The Original 'Balloon Boy' - Cromwell Dixon

Of course Cromwell Dixon was the world's first 'Balloon Boy'. I find the sensationalism of today's modern story about the phantom Balloon Boy very interesting.

Having written the true story about a boy of 13 who built and flew his own balloon powered airship, I imagine the real life events of 1907 had some of the same aire of sensationalism.

There are some interesting opinions online:

Mleswan tweeted, "Oh sweet irony. The kid's name is FALCON?!?! Oh that's classic."

Neoncow said: "I don't care what they say. A father who builds a flying saucer hot air balloon with his son is a good father."

Mossyskeleton: "I wonder if his dad is going to ground him when he gets back."

I imagine that there was much stern criticism of Mrs. Dixon for allowing her son to go flying off into the clouds. But how could she stop him when he had spent years working day and night to achieve such a thing? In fact Cromwell Dixon safely made hundreds of balloon ascensions over the years without ever getting hurt.

It was only those new fangled machine aeroplanes that eventually got him into trouble.
I wonder if the mother of the Wright Brothers had similar reservations about her foolhardy boys out playing with crazy kites.

In any event,
my book, titled Cromwell Dixon’s Sky-Cycle is the amazing true story of America’s forgotten ‘Boy Aeronaut’, who actually built and flew his own flying bicycle over the skyscrapers of Columbus, Ohio in 1907.

It’s a true story of adventure, determination, courage and perseverance. 1907 was an amazing age of new invention in America. For the first time in history people were flying and even building flying machines in their own backyards.

This book is a real ‘boy’s book’, filled with illustrations of amazing home-made inventions built in Cromwell Dixon’s workshop that capture the inventive spirit of the times.

The reviews have been very uplifting... it's a shame that it's not being carried by the major chain bookstores.

From Kirkus Review: A fine tribute to teenage inventors everywhere “Dare to dream” is the clear message here.

From School Library Journal:
This lively account is filled with informative and fascinating images. Young inventors as well as aviation aficionados will be intrigued. This fictionalized account is also a great example of the importance of determination, derring-do, and imagination.–Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

October 14, 2009

Photoshop Personals

You: You were born with an intimate knowledge of the Curves tool and you know how to push them in all the right places.

You're sensible about color choices, yet daring enough to know when to toss in the odd high-key contrast. You know how to pull a Fill gradient to perfection... but you also know when to stop. Textures are your specialty. Tweaked to perfection... you know you've always been digital at heart, even though you'll always adore your natural media and real brushes.

Me: I'm really a natural media kind of guy at heart, a bit of a Lone Wolf. But now, like the rest of the planet I'm into Digital. I guess I like running with the pack. I'm usually slow about working in Channels... and always keep my Paths discreetly ordered. But I mean well and usually Merge my Comps just right when it matters. New Cloned textures are what I live for... and the ease of ordering Layers floats my boat.

Together we'll take long walks on the cyber-beach, glowing in the warm illumination of our flat-screens. We'll load our Palettes to a whole new screen. Sunset toned washes will roll over us in waves of reckless abandon as we indulge in new creative freedoms. We'll fine tune our Quick-Masks to perfection, undoing any misunderstandings instantly.

And if we do make a mistake, we both know the History tool and Undo will always be there for us... so we'll never have to say we're sorry. Together our Wacom and Bamboo pens might drift into the twilight... cords and nibs intertwined.

Together we'll click our Magic Wand tools to achieve the ideal selection.

October 1, 2009

A new book...

I thought I'd blog a bit about a new book that's just come out with Kane Press... 'Daisy Diaz Shakes Up Camp', by Lisa Harrader... with pictures by moi. It's a summery summer camp book... painted with watercolors, the old fashioned way.

This was a challenging project... and I was trying for a new style of painting. Given that premise, I guess the artist is probably the last person to ask about the verdict of such an attempt. I thought it was interesting... and I had tried to break up the painterly spaces with blank areas... interspersed with areas of color.

It's always a challenge to figure out a way to emphasize aspects of a group scene... without over-painting everything. But such is art... not an easy thing and always a work in progress.