Why Fund Arts? (also on my Patreon page)

Our illustrious leader has sent a budget to congress with the idea that we can no longer fund a program without concrete evidence of its effectiveness.  Putting aside the reality that many of the programs he plans to cut impact large segments of our population, while requiring less money per person than if the resources were not pulled together by the government, there is the fact that the results of these programs can not easily be distilled down to profit/loss statements.  Also, put aside that the so-called savings will be offset by increased military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy.  Well one of the programs to be cut is the Endowment for the Arts.

I find it laughable that the President and the people he has surrounded himself with are so clueless as to the amount the arts affect the world around them and us.  Do you have an Iphone, twitter account, or television?  Well all of these are influenced by the arts.  The screens on your Iphone and the layout of Twitter were all designed by graphic artists who may have gotten support or been influenced by someone whom got support from the Endowment for the Arts.  Graphic Artists design how our cars, computers, and appliances look.  They give your favorite websites the style that catches your eyes.

Musicians make the music for your TV shows and Movies, making them more entertaining and life more enjoyable.  They play the songs writers create or create them themselves.  The commercials our economy depends upon feature music from all walks of life to connect with customers on an emotional level, including ads for political candidates.  Writers come up with the stories that become the movies we can’t wait to see.  They also write the commercials that help businesses survive, as well as the manuals that help their customers use their products.  Writers even come up with the lines in political ads.

Wow, there sure seems to be a strong case here for the benefits of the arts.  Without all the things creative people do for business, our economy would be much weaker than it is.  Hell, the Iphone’s ability to stream live music and television is a major selling point and they seem to constantly be trying to improve those abilities.  What would be the point of that without the arts?  The days of the public being wowed by watching a train arrive at a station, one of the first examples of motion pictures, are long gone.  Providing content solely by what we observe is in the past; now the public demands more and you can’t get that without art.   So, does funding the arts have an impact?  Hell yeah, if you aren’t stupid or greedy.

My God, it’s full of Stars (from my Patreon page)

Tonight I find myself contemplating stars, Star Wars stars to be more specific.  Each Science Fiction movie and television show has found their own way to depict the star filled expanse of outer space through which their iconic vehicles wander.  From Star Trek’s orbs of light streaming by to Babylon 5’s enveloping nebulae, views of outer space have been varied and beautiful.  For my Carrie Fisher tribute I decided to try to capture the kind of starry backdrop seen in the movies.  I re-watched my favorite, “The Empire Strikes Back”, yesterday to study the star fields.

Unlike the skies I have done so far, there are no obvious depictions of galaxies or nebula mixed into the star fields, yet there are areas of soft fuzzy light such as you see from a mass of stars together.  As I looked closer, I could see a layer of very diffuse stars in clumps behind much sharper stars, which created the glow.  In addition, I noticed relatively  dark areas creating splotches of darkness throughout the pattern.  Now, the trick is to try to recreate this effect decently in the painting.  You will have to let me know how I do.

New $5 Reward (from my Patreon account)

For this week’s $5 reward I uploaded a copy of some fox kits I started working on in watercolor but did not finish.  I keep using the wrong paper for working watercolor because I do not like the feel of the paper that should be used.  Sigh.  Anyway, the image is not too bad and shows some potential.  In addition, I uploaded a copy of the Y-Wing image above.  For the most part it is the finished version of the ones I will use in the Carrie Fisher tribute I have been working on.  I may tweak it a little more but not a lot.

The reason I did not post yesterday was because I have not been working on my art much lately and chose to paint instead.  I let life get in the way.  I had hoped to have this on the final background before I posted it again, but I did not get that far.  However, I can say that I am ready to set up the final canvas and to begin placing the separate components (Carrie Fisher, Y-Wings, Planet).  Hopefully soon I will be sharing the complete picture.

The City of Dreaming Books (from my Patreon page)

Today’s post is not about my writing or artwork, but the material I have fed into my brain over the years, which influences my imagination and creativity.  So, today, I give you a book review of a very quirky yet deep book call “The City of Dreaming Books” by Walter Moers.  I found this book on Amazon by accident and the title alone drew me in.

The story is about a Dinosaur searching for the author of a manuscript that he feels is the best example of writing he has ever read.  Yes, I said dinosaur.  The book is populated by all kinds of creatures including sentient, intellectual dinosaurs that read and critic books.  Humans also make an appearance; however, that does not come until later in the story.  At this point you may be thinking that this is a children’s book or at best young adult but I would like to mention that it is 456 pages long.  While the setting and characters may lead you to believe that you are about to read such a book, the story itself is very adult and the ending is deeply profound and emotional.  The main characters search will take him to the title city where his innocence will be removed through manipulation and betrayal, as well as, the learning of a profound evil.

Walter Moer’s writing is elegant, rich, and visual.  There may even be some metaphor involved about the publishing industry as the main character uncovers the truth about the writer he is seeking.  In addition, the book is illustrates throughout.  So, do not let the blurb or the cover trick you into missing out on a unique and engaging read.

Teasing April’s Story (from my Patreon page)

Well, it is time to start teasing next month’s story, which is appropriate given that it will be April Fools.  The story will be a challenge for my readers since it is actually based on a historical event, but not in a straight forward manner.  I entered an earlier version of this story in one of the monthly flash fiction contests at SFFWorld.com and stumped most of the readers as to the event I was describing.  So by signing up for $1 a month at my Patreon page, you can see if you are quicker to figure out the event depicted in “Trinity”.   Two hints I will give you are that it is not about religion and the title is part of the story.

Adjectives and Painting (from my Patreon page)

Yes, I said that.  Just a wild thought, but some techniques used to accentuate areas in a painting could be considered like adjectives in writing.  For instance, using a very dark hued palate for a painting to depict a somber, sad, or evil image is similar to using adjectives like black, stark, or malignant.   On the opposite end, a bright-colored palate for a happier subject can resonate as lively, sunny, or cheery. 

Using a painters knife to cut in thick, defined texture to rocky areas is a visual means (one I have not mastered) of showing rough, angular, and solid stone.  Airbrush painting is a popular method of achieving soft, smooth effects in paintings such as silky, glassy, and gentle are for writing.  Basically, artistic techniques are visual means of enhancing the meaning of a subject much similar to using adjectives to enhance the meaning of literature.