Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happiness wrapped in camouflage

I was in Walmart the other day doing some shopping trying to restock a few necessities, and also checking out to see if they had any art supplies that might be worth buying.  The did have a little section on some art supplies, but I'm going to have to go by a "real" art/hobby store for some more paint.  Lately I've been trying to finish up a painting or two for the Gallery 110 show.  My art tends to lean toward contemporary, and I'm rather self-taught, so it's a bit of a struggle for me at time, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose.

At any rate as I entered the store they had a bunch of promo tubs filled with various items up near front, and I was looking at some hair gel, which I usually don't use, more or less just checking out what they had.  A guy walks over and I notice him out of my peripheral vision only, but continue my looking.  However, I hear an exclamation--"Holy cow!  Geez!"   I glance up and the bearded guy again say, "Cool!"  Then engages me in his enthusiasm.  He says, "They keep making new stuff--check it out, Duck Dynasty."    He points out that he'd found some one dollar band aids for scrapes and cuts, and it had the Duck boys faces on the cover of the package, and the band aids came in a camouflage-type colored pattern.   Now Duck Dynasty, doesn't blow my skirt up, but hey, you gotta find happiness in the small things in life, right?   I just gave him the thumbs up sign, and said, "Cool, camouflage."  And sauntered off into the wilds of Walmart shopping. 

So anyway, I've been engrossed with a little bit of painting.  I've been working on this silly landscape that's sort of colorful, yet, I can't get it exactly how I think it ought to be in my mind's eye.  Sort of frustrating, but that's how art goes for me at times, and I assume it's that way for every artist.  Though I assume everyone is different so some may suffer indifference more so than others.  At any rate, I'll work on it some more today, and push it into a few other directions and see what happens, but at some point I think I'm just going to have to let it go, and that'll be one of the paintings I'll turn in to the gallery.  It's amazing as the first painting I did, which is the head of a monster, more or less, happened so easily--you just never know, or I don't.

I saw the recent movie, 12 Years A Slave, last weekend, and it was pretty good.  I had my doubts at the beginning of the picture as it seemed the film started out rather odd to me.  It opens in the northern part of the United States, where blacks were free, but the main character and his family were shown in such a rosy light, which I get the contrast, but I found it a bit too rosy.  Perhaps my idea of how things were back then is distorted, but I would have thought that even though blacks had their freedom back then, there was still a lot of prejudice lurking around the edges.  That said though, the movie picks up once Solomon Northup is captured and sent off to the south to be a slave.  It's not a cheerful picture, but I assumed that going into it.  It gets pretty brutal at times, and you feel Solomon's hopelessness in his ordeal.  Overall all though, I thought it was a good film. 

On the lighter side of things, I rented a Doctor Who episode, The Brain of Morbius.  It was a fun episode, really a sort of Whovian take on the Frankenstein monster.  The twist is that the main villain (the mad scientist) is trying to create a body to house the brain of the war criminal from Gallifrey, but he needs a suitable head.  When the doctor (Tom Baker) and Sara show up, he decides the doctor's head would make a nice fit.  There's another side plot, as is usual for a lot of Dr. Who episodes, where some of the locals, the Sisterhood of Karn fit in the story.  Somehow they feel that the doctor and other Gallifreyans are evil and a threat to their way of life so they want to kill the timelord as well.  It was a fun episode.

Well, I don't feel like I mention music enough on this blog.  I'm a big music fan, and love progressive music, along with other styles.  I think I first encountered progressive music when I bought  King Crimson's album, In The Court of the Crimson King.  It's still an album and band I listen quite a lot.  The opening cut to the album, 21st Century Schizoid Man sort of sets the stage or rather bombast the listener with a whirlwind of sounds.  It's a pretty aggressive cut, but after that the song, I Talk To The Wind, soothes and balms your mind after the blistering opener, as does most of the rest of the album. When I first bought the album I enjoyed a lot of the songs due to the mellotron used quite effectively on the cuts.  It reminded me of the Moody Blues in some ways as it had this sort of orchestral feel to it, and also had this odd Sci-fi/fantasy imagery as well.  If you've not heard it, I recommend it highly, just give it some time to seep in if you find it's not your cup of tea right away.  By the way, here's a Youtube link to hear the entire album if curious. 

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's debut albums shares a similar feel to it, but whereas the Crimson album is a bit more guitar oriented due to Robert Fripp's influence, ELP are more keyboard based due to Keith Emerson's influence.  It starts out with an almost dirge-like opener on the first track, The Barbarian, and it's not until the next track, Take A Pebble, that it captures my interest.  Also while the Crimson album might lean a bit towards a jazz territory, ELP are a bit closer to classical.  I'm not a huge fan of ELP as they get a bit too erratic for my taste overall, but I still enjoy their first album at times.  Here's a Youtube link to hear the album. 

Genesis Live is an album I also still listen to today.  I think the first album I picked up by them is Selling England by the Pound, which is another great album.  So you can hardly go wrong with either.  I love the majestic sound on their Live album though and they really captured the live experience. The initial start to Watcher of the Skies with that mellotron wash, and then the crowd noise raised the hairs on the back of my neck then and still works today. Again, there's flourishes of mellotron on it along with other keyboards provided by Tony Banks.   In fact I might say that I enjoy all their earlier work up to the Wind and Wurthering album.  After that their albums get a bit spotty, where I like this song, but maybe not some other songs--they also got a lot more commercial in their later years, which some of their diehard fans don't care for as much.  But as I've listened to some of their more modern albums over the years, I can enjoy them as well on some level too.  Check out the full album on YT here.  Over on Youtube you can hear some of their other great works like: Trepass, Foxtrot, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, or whatever you like. 

Think I'll end here for now.  This is a bit of my camouflage. 


At 1:00 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

GB Shaw (an autodidact) commented that all learning is self-learning. Formal classes basically give helpful hints of what to learn -- judging by many a graduate, the hints are not always taken.

Let us know what goes to the gallery.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Will do Richard, I'll post the paintings maybe by the end of the week or so. I have one more to do, and I thought I pretty much knew what I was going to do, but I've changed my minds several times. So odd how the thinking process goes on this stuff, but I've enjoyed the journey.

At 7:29 AM, Blogger mikecombs said...

The Sisterhood of Karn figured into one of the 50th anniversary shorts; the one where Paul McGann regenerated into the War Doctor.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Mike--I'm so far behind in my Dr. Who watching. I want to see the new 50th Anniversary episodes, and looking forward to it whenever they are released on disc. I usually just rent them from NF. I don't have the BBC or really any extra cable add-ons except just the regular package. Good to know that Dr. Who is still drawing from the well. Heck, I'm still trying to catch up with ST: Next Gen :)


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