Category Archives: Art

Today Is

Today Is

It was 90+ outside, so it seemed reasonable to take a walk on the hot sidewalks and streets at 3 in the afternoon, especially since I was still dressed in black. Since I’ve been experimenting with various incarnations of chalk, today I carried a stick of very light lime green on this walk. In the event of heat stroke, I could at least scrawl out a last message as I melted on the sidewalk: “I’m a dumbass” would probably cover it. It’s not poetry, but it’s accurate, much in the same way that Luke Bryan is singing, but it wouldn’t necessarily fall into the category of ‘music.’

I went inside to get an unsweetened tea to drink on my way back. I knelt with my back against the sun and wrote “TODAY” on the sidewalk in front of the store. The very light lime green brilliantly contrasted with the shadow created by my profile against the blistering sun. I noted that the pale green seemed to morph into blue against the shadow.

“Hey, what’cha doing?” a voice asked as I stood up. A 20-something man was the source of the voice. He was, of course, smoking. But definitely not smoking hot or smoldering with a hidden intelligence. Walgreens is the Walmart of the pharmacy world.

“Making art,” I said, keeping my face impassive and stoic.

“It looks like you’re writing with chalk to me,” he said.

“Art is the convergence of the mundane with the sublime, dude.” I laughed. I waited for him to retort in reply, as I’m nothing if not courteous.

I walked away as I put my chalk back into my front pocket, possibly in an attempt to entice people to coyishly inquire if I was happy to see them or if I had a stick of chalk in my pocket. Being curious-minded, I did ponder how many adults in Springdale had chalk in their pocket at that exact moment.

Because of the success of the color of chalk, I wrote a poem, one and two words at a time, stretching for over a mile. Above me, the sun did its best to erase my enthusiasm for the task. It amused me to know that it would be challenging to read the poem back in the order I wrote it.

And though the thing I described as art is transitory and fleeting, I suspect I’ll remember the moment. I hope the smoking young man remembers it too, trying to figure out if he had witnessed something ridiculous or sublime. It’s all in the eye of the beholder; art, love, stolen moments in the hot sun.

If you’re reading this, I’m talking to you.

I hope your today had a chalky moment too.

Love, X

For every divine moment that can be experienced…

A Touch of Color In Springdale

I’m in front of the one of the mural projects on Holcomb Street in Springdale, one of many that the Downtown Springdale Alliance is doing.

It’s been fascinating watching the progress; from initial outline to an increasing number of objects and colors.

It’s exactly like I wish most of the world could look.

For anyone who knows me, they know this is true.

As I walk through the urban landscape, I find more and more things to catch my eye.

Give It Away

“Tomorrow is promised to no one.”
― Clint Eastwood

My 24″ X 30″ custom Clint Eastwood painting found a new home today. Into the hands of a new father, his second child having arrived in the last couple of days.

Previously, he commented on it. I don’t remember whether he loved it, or thought that his dad might. I get my stories mixed up because I worked as an intermediary to get another version of this done for the dad of a friend of mine.

“They say all marriages are made in heaven, but so are thunder and lightning.”
― Clint Eastwood

It is a thing I do. I give away my favorite paintings. Sometimes I replace them. Sometimes, I take a stab at reinterpreting it with a replacement I make myself. The latter is the course I chose after gifting my sixth or seventh Doc Holliday painting. The version I created gave a new wrinkle to my story about the painting. The orange-toned one in the picture of this post is no longer mine, either.

Here’s one of my favorite Eastwood lines, one which probably should be emblazoned across people’s arms:
“Let’s not go and ruin it by thinking too much.”
― Clint Eastwood

Also, other times, I give them away without regard to how much I love the item. Everything is impermanent. Finding a new appreciative eye to enjoy something, even something I’ve not tired of, is a sublime pleasure. I have my memory of it, my story. And that story, once remembered, grows lengthier by my ability to relinquish it to someone else.

So often, I find myself wanting the story more than the thing itself. Stories can be repeated, shared, and recalled without risk of loss. Those items? Fire, flood, famine, theft, and dust can render them useless. My biography, especially the portion regarding my youth, is particularly suited to remind people that calamity is always on speed dial.

The didactic takeaway is that all of us are impermanent, too.

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”
― Clint Eastwood

With horror, life made me remember this fundamental lesson anew. It was one I swore I would never again forget. (Which proves our minds are hard-wired toward the easier path of pushing such relentless truths to the background.)

“Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.” – Clint Eastwood

https://xteri.me/2016/04/01/clint-eastwood-painting-by-sky-lite-art/

Security Camera Theater

Yesterday, I exited through the back door of my house to collect the trash blown loose from my villainous neighbors. I went house left to the front.

Note: I am using the term “house left” just like actors would when reading or hearing “stage left.” It’s a handy trick to distinguish which side of the house you’re talking about, mostly when gossiping about your neighbors. If you don’t gossip or speculate about your neighbors, chances are you’re not one of my people.

My Latinx neighbor was outside with another gentleman. A ladder was near the front of the garage. I peered up to see that they were installing security cameras. The neighbor tends to work at nights, leaving his wife nervously at home. I used to tease him that his encompassing fence managed to conceal potential intruders rather than thwart them. Additionally, when working, his lights often pointed annoyingly in my face or a random direction.

Now that I know he has installed cameras, I can’t get the idea out of my head of doing weird puppet or stick figure shows above the fenceline so that the rear-facing camera on the right side of his house will capture my imagination come to life. I laughed earlier this afternoon when I realized that I was Googling creative and bizarre characters to buy for just such an endeavor. The internet being what it is, there are a lot of websites for this sort of zaniness.

Now that it’s starting to take form, the urge to bring the idea to fruition is almost insurmountably overwhelming me.

The idea of my neighbor’s face reviewing his camera footage to discover that someone has staged a stick or puppet show above his fenceline brings me joy.

Goodbye, Dear Rug

20200620_081009

I have some unusual habits. For instance, I’m not a fan of a rug outside of the shower. Few people have good ones and others tend to smell odd. I’d rather clean the floor. Since the only product I use in the shower is a bar of soap, I don’t have the usual array of issues most people have in their bathrooms.

A few years ago, however, I spent a good deal of time making a personalized rug with dozens of pictures of people I know on it. It did cost a bit, but I wanted something personal and colorful. Once it arrived, I couldn’t bring myself to place it outside the shower, so I put in front of my bathroom sink.

A couple of people seemed unhappy that their faces were on a rug.  I promptly ignored them. If they couldn’t see the honor in having their faces emblazoned on a bathroom rug, I had nothing to say to them.

After years of faithful service, the rug has succumbed to hazy, indistinct detail. For that reason, I’m going to discard it.

I considered leaving it someplace, perhaps on a neighbor’s porch. It would be a great story if said neighbor recognized someone featured on the rug.

*

20200620_081029
I modified the famous bathroom scene from “Dumb and Dumber.” It’s on a 16X20 wood panel I had custom made. People are surprised when they use my bathroom and discover that it’s real. (See below for shower curtain explanation on the right…)

*

20200620_080957
This is my infamous Jesus/ Zach Galifianakis wood panel outside my bathroom. People often notice that something isn’t quite right about it but struggle to figure out exactly what.

*

shower curtain 01122016 (3)

The above picture is the one I designed to be my shower curtain. It’s huge. I paid a bit for it to get it correctly sized. I still wonder what the tech who made it wondered as it was fabricated. I forget how odd it looks to be people who’ve never seen it. As with most of my other decorations, a lot of people think I’m joking about how I have things decorated.

*

20200620_100306

The above chalkboard is outside my bathroom. As you can see, it currently holds a drawing of my cat Güino my wife made. I added a Trump fart to the cat. That seems to be the only relevant news lately.

 

 

 

Etch A Surprise

final

 

Noted Etch-A-Sketch artist Beth (a notorious yet talented cousin) conspired with my other favorite cousin Lynette, aka ‘Operative Cheetah.’ Beth, using Lynette’s meticulous input, created and designed a permanent Etch-A-Sketch of one of my favorite places in the world: the plank porch at my grandparents’ house on the hill in Rich, a tiny place located in Monroe County. She then installed it in a shadow box stolen from the attic of a noted philanthropist who curated at the Smithsonian. Somehow, despite the current apocalypse, it arrived at my house without damage.

For those who didn’t know that Etch-A-Sketch artists exist – or that they can be rendered permanent by those with the knowledge to do so. Beth’s Etch A Sketch Facebook Page

can before trash

Although unintentional, Beth provided my cat Güino with an immediate resting place. He pawed and clawed until he separated the 14 meters of wrap and created a nesting spot for himself.

cat after trash

This picture is of Güino later, after I pushed trash in around him to determine how long his planned residency in the box might be.

20200323_130604

This was one of the apologetic notes written on the packing box: “I only had gift tape and this is the apocalypse.”

side view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custom Diamond Painting

20190614_111703-vert.jpg

I inadvertently ordered a custom diamond painting that is 40 X 60 cm, which is either about 16 X 20 inches or 0.0020202 X 0.00252525 furlongs, depending on how weirdly you enjoy your specifications. Dawn completed several ‘out-of-the-box’ ones, so I thought I’d surprise her with one I designed.

I should have used a cutout template, as the picture I submitted contained a mass of colors and details that I didn’t take into account. I’m sure Dawn passed out for a second when she first discovered the number of colors and noted the thousands of diamond squares required. I tried counting the squares but kept getting lost at 8,234.

Months later, she’s finished with the herculean artwork. She passed many hours at the kitchen table, hunched over with an applicator pen and a magnifying glass. If you’re searching for a hobby which will either delight or terrorize, this one is for you.

The picture is based on one I created. Dawn’s image was at an event in Fayetteville, while I am wearing one of the most handsome ensembles from the Handmaid’s Tale Collection. We already own a similar wood-panel version of the picture. It’s available for sale for $120,000 if there’s a potential lunatic buyer out there.

After Dawn finished the painting, we made our first attempt at sealing the canvas, using DecoArt triple-glaze to enclose it. Luckily, it worked fantastically, even with me doing the application. Note to those who once enjoyed eating Elmer’s glue: this stuff does not have any appetizing elements in it.

I bought a great frame from Hobby Lobotomy and placed it on the wall of honor near our bar and fairy door. (We rarely see our pixie/fairy named Crowder anymore.)

One picture is of the finished painting on the kitchen table. The other is of it hanging on the living room wall. You’ll note that I overcame my otherwise professional perfectionism and used a picture that reflects the picture window at the front of the house. At my age, it’s risky wasting precious time getting the camera just right.

 

.

.

.

Note: there is a huge difference in comfort between diamond paintings using square vs. round tiles.

My wife prefers round, for a variety of reasons.

DecoArt TG01-36 Triple Thick Gloss Glaze, 8-ounce Triple Thick Gloss Glaze is what we used to seal the canvas. 8 ounces is more than enough to do a 16 X 20″ painting. You can use it on other things, too, if you’re interested.

I personally think it’s acceptable to leave many of the colors unfilled. I’m hoping my wife will do a diamond painting with the main parts finished and allow me to hand paint the gaps with either white or corresponding colors. I can imagine several creative alternatives to an intentionally finished diamond painting.

 

A Photo Puzzle Gift and Evening of Espionage

1

My wife Dawn & I have decided that our nascent career in spookery and espionage has already faltered. Just attempting to quickly and efficiently exit the vehicle in an attempt to switch places was almost enough to do us in, never mind the furtive ‘chase’ across multiple lawns or the horrific sight of me as I ‘ran’ to escape being caught ringing a friend’s doorbell and fleeing.

While I scampered away to avoid detection, I imagined a neighbor calling the police and excitedly telling them, “There’s an old man wobbling through the middle of my yard. I think he might have done something he shouldn’t have, like have an extra serving at supper.”

By the way, we know our careers in sneakery are additionally suspect because it would have never occurred to us to attempt such a surprise under the cover of darkness.

I had spent an inordinate amount of time devising the perfect 1008-piece customized puzzle iteration, using a couple of hundred distinct pictures, and it arrived unexpectedly today. The finished puzzle is 20″ x 26″. It seemed like a moral imperative for us to drive over and surprise our unsuspecting friends with it. I think we had more fun devising our plan than actually being able to say “mission accomplished.”

Portrait Puzzles does astonishingly great work if you find yourself in need of a really, really complicated and personalized puzzle. They’ll customize the tin the puzzle arrives in, too, if you think that it’s advisable that the people intending to assemble the puzzle might need to know what the finished picture might look like.The one I had made will probably cause either partial blindness or intense bouts of spontaneous vomiting. It’s pretty complicated, is my point. At my age, though, getting to the point is more of a goal than a requirement.

Despite my strong desire to remove one piece from the puzzle in the gift tin, I resisted. I think I might have killed someone doing this a few years. How was I supposed to know her chronic OCD would flare up if she spent 22 hours assembling a puzzle only to find that it was missing one critical piece?

The friends getting the puzzle are two of the nicest people one could ever hope to meet. I didn’t get to know them until fairly recently, in part due to their wise aversion to hanging out with people like me. I lived a little of their lives with them, though, all these years later, as they trusted me to digitize thousands of pictures of their lives. It was an honor and I hope they get a little bit of the magic of the lives back as they relive it, piece by piece. I hope they have enough sense to go lie down for a moment if they begin to hallucinate from the effort.

To the residents who live over by Pin Oak, I apologize if you were unlucky enough to peer out your window while I was up to my usual shenanigans in your neck of the woods. I think I lost a shoe in one of your yards. You can keep it, though, to remind yourself that not everyone should run through wet grass or attempt to commit acts of sneakery in broad daylight.

Love, X

 

test draft.png

Another Beautiful Wood Panel from Snapfish

20180424_153537.jpg

My latest 11×14 wood panel/picture, which Snapfish custom-made for me. Just in time for Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” this picture will remind me of not only the perils of an authoritarian government but also the dangers of letting me have photo editing tools at my disposal. I must admit that I totally rock the dystopian red outfit, though.

When asked how my wife Dawn sees the future with me in it, she replies, “…with eyes closed.”

 

#handmaidstale  @handmaidsonhulu

The Perfect Art For the Discerning Bathroom

20180329_131103

 

Using the excuse of our impending anniversary, I ordered another amazing addition to our decorative theme, most often referred to as “What has he done now?.”

This one is 16X20, on a thick wood panel. I revamped all the picture’s elements, mainly to enhance the colors.

As always, I would like to know what the person who made this for me was thinking when he or she fabricated it.

This artwork is going to look huge hanging in the bathroom. Y-U-G-E, even.

I’m sure it is going to be inspirational for everyone who visits me.

My wife Dawn seemed amused by this one.

I’d like to take a moment to point out that you should try to hide your coveting of this beautiful piece of art.

P.S. I’m not sure which role is for me in the movie “Dumb and Dumber.” I’m leaning towards Dumber. On the other hand, I’m the genius who wisely decided to get one of these lovely reminders of life’s zaniness. The colors in my bathroom are a hint of what I’d like the entire world to look like, one huge and chaotic splash of paint and color.

 

20180329_135329

This is the artwork once mounted on the bathroom wall. In the background, you can see the beautiful shower curtain, also decorated, as it hangs in reverence toward the artwork.