Tuesday, July 28, 2009

live bat enclosed...

I have been under a bit of a deadline with the gallery that currently represents my work. As such, I have been trying to complete a small series of "Park" drawings. A number of which have recently been posted. This past saturday my plan was to load my gear and get out early, so as to have ample time to complete the 5th in a series of five drawings. Well, the prior evening, my plan took a rather swift and dramatic turn. Around 10:30pm, while working at the computer I noticed that in the shadows of the landing was a fluttering dark shape. I was focused on the matter at hand, but my instincts reacted, as I have seen and felt this before....not another moment passed and as I glanced over to take notice, I dropped to the floor as a bat was moving through my bedroom on a direct path towards me....well as direct as a bat ever seems to fly. I say that I have seen and felt this before, because it seems we have a bit of an annual bat colony in our "belfry". The first I encountered was in 2000. Our roof was being torn off and replaced. It was the early fall. In the late afternoon I was outside walking amidst the debris and I noticed a small creature in bad shape. He must have been startled awake during the tear off of that section and ended up badly injured, now three stories below and exposed to the world.
Since that time I have had to capture and remove over a dozen bats. Usually a couple each season loose their way on their departure run and end up trapped in the house. And as much as I admire and even love the little devil's, they just can't stay. The first one I mentioned surley died....he was just to beat up from the demo work that likely awoke him. Several years later one died while we were out east on our annual run to the ocean in Maine. It took a few days to track the faint smell of death down, but eventually I located his final resting spot. There have been a couple that have been dinged up by my cats..one of which is coincindentally named "batman".

Sadly, I had to kill one bat this past winter. Though I always go to great lengths to put them back in the wild alive and well. So, on this most recent occasion after much consternation, I decided to contain him in the sun porch and just sleep on it. They move much slower in the daylight and seem less so that they might actually be a vampire. In the morning, after coffee....I got the nerve up to capture my winged friend. When I found his resting place he was none to happy, and made a point of showing me all his teeth. I must admit that they seemed larger and more plentiful, than any creature his size should have. He was tucked into a blanket that was sandwiched between the wall and the day bed. I carefully cleared the room of stuff that I would likely trip over, should the capture go horribly wrong. And then went to gather my miscellaneous bat capture gear. I had an old mailing tube, so I decided to fashion a receptecle for the little fellow. You see, the reason I decided to sleep on it was because he was acting rather strange and aggressive the prior evening. We have had one survivor from a rabid bat bite in Wisconsin...I figure the odds of another survival follwing a similar incident are not so good. So it became evident at some point that he might need to be not only captured, but also be tested. And to get him tested he needed to be transported to the Humane Society, so I made the carrier pictured above. With a bit of care, a dose of patience and the aid of my nets, one attatched to a painter's extension pole, I eventually coaxed him into the tube, sealed him up and made sure he had air. To arrive at my drawing site, I knew that I would be heading In the direction of my local Humane Society. And so, this particular bat is the rare creature to have gone for a ride on a bicycle. I eventually managed to complete that fifth drawing on site in the V.A. Grounds.

a view of my grass floor studio from above

a bicyclejazz short animation. Also posted on YouTube for slightly better viewing quality

V.A. Grounds 4

V.A. Grounds 4: detail

Friday, July 24, 2009

...In the field 2

Despite the threat of rain I ventured back to Washington Park for the third drawing in a series that seems to be developing around an area of brush, tall grasses and wild flowers. It is a bit like an organised and mediated prairie restoration, but I think it exists because it costs the county capital to maintain a fully manicured space. Whatever the case may be I am sure glad it exists.

about an hour into settling on a view I needed to head for cover. the shower was light and brief and I was able to continue and find some resolution...this one was a struggle.

Washington Park 3

Washington Park 3: detail I

Washington Park 3: detail II

...In the field 2

...this is the second in an ongoing series of bicyclejazz shorts. Also posted on YouTube and viewed at a higher quality

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

...In the field

I have been working on some new drawings. I thought I might list some of the specifics and then let the work speak for itself. In this posting, below, is the first of my short films, "In the field". It precedes the work that came from that days effort. All of the pieces are drawn on Rives BFK. The painterly quality of the material is a direct result of using Sennilier oil sticks. They are the closest thing to painting as I ever get, while still "drawing". They are all small pieces, 9.5 x 4 inches, in a letterbox format. they are all singular session pieces. Though, they do get night picked a bit in the studio...

Washington Park 1

Washington Park 1: detail

Washington Park 2

Washington Park 2: detail

...In the field

The first in what will be an ongoing series of bicyclejazz short films. It can be viewed on YouTube at a higher quality

V.A. Grounds 3

V.A. Grounds 3: detail

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

when I grow up...

In life, very few people end up pursuing their childhood " what'dya wanna be when you grow up?". It's hard to become that fireman or police woman. And it just may not have the same shine it held in our mind's eye, as one grows toward maturity...to say nothing of the odds of becoming an Astronaut...or President. 
I am part of, what I suspect is a minority. I have arrived at a place I vaguely imagined and even romanticized as a young boy. I became an Artist. A painter to be exact. Ever since the first grade, when I won a ribbon for my 'stunning' portrait of Dracula I never really looked back or veered too far off course....I may not have become specifically an animator or comic book illustrator, but I have and continue to pursue my craft in depth and with certitude.
Today I had a moment of serendipity. In a part of the outlying area to my fair city, an area I am not in often, I ran into the man who may be in large measure responsible for my having gone on to pursue drawing and painting. There were many who encouraged my interest in art as a young man, but this man taught me how to see. He taught me how to use my eyes and how to think about what I see. He was the first to open my awareness to the fact that the result of two-dimensional work of art is always inherently abstract. And that no matter how illusory, naturalistic or "real" an image appears, it is first a series of decisions about color, value and shape. Adorned and articulated by some arrangement of marks and material on the surface of a substrate. This man's name is Roger Gifford, and to him I owe a great deal of gratitude.

Mid-summer note:

At this point in the summer of 2009 I have been to Maine and back with my family, with a few stops along the way and a bit of riding in new places. I have missed out on some rides I had planned on . Weather has played a role, but getting my health under control became paramount. Living with a 5, 4 & 2 year old leaves my antibodies on high alert. This past winter I was overrun. Though, I am happy to report that in recent weeks I have come full circle and manged a wonderful solo bicycle/camping adventure and have begun some new drawings from the field. I hope to touch on all these topics, and others in the coming weeks...