Prints, pastels, and 1990s Pyra really shoulda kept better records

Saturday again. I just got back from dropping another trunkful of stuff I don’t need anymore off at Value Village (and there will be a bunch more) along with renewing my membership at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, which I almost forgot was running out in a couple weeks… on the same day I’m taking a silkscreening workshop there.

Then I decided to see where Moss Street ends up as I’ve always just turned around back to Fort after visiting the gallery. And thus I found myself at Clover Point and walking along the rocky beach (and probably renewing my sunburn, lol…).

Also spotted this giant old mooring ring. Apparently there’s 8 of them left from the mid-1800s.

So that was fun, and I also took some photos for use as background references in future Noah comics, y’know, as a place for Ursula to find bits of driftwood Noah won’t let her bring home (though that cartoon is actually set at Island View Beach 14 miles away.)

Speaking of my characters, I have some news about Nick White. After much delays in getting new episodes made and also much thought and dithering, I’ve decided to give myself permission to put The Nick White Show on hold for now… which is a scary thought because usually projects go on hiatus to eventually die, and I do love those characters and that fictional world… but right now I need the time and space to focus more on visual works without having my desk always clogged with a TNWS set that I’m meaning to film and don’t get around to for months… plus I’ve mused before that eventually Nick might be better as a comic book project.

We’ll see…. have fun in rehab, Nick… til we meet again…

I doubt Zosime will be mourning much.

Well, hopefully I do find time to come back to all the stories I have written for Nick that I haven’t filmed yet, but even if I don’t, he’s served a noble purpose. After all, it’s thanks to Nick and his one-sided rivalry with Bono in the fictional world of the show that I ended up investigating why I used to hate Bono, then when I realized it didn’t have a valid basis, I had to do research for the show (because Nick seemed to me to be the kinda guy who would be obsessed with his rival), which led to me getting into U2 and became a fan of Bono. (I wrote about some of that here.)

And that fandom then led to the eventual development of Noah and that comic.

And then this year that whole Bono Mouse project for shits and giggles, which then begat Ricky B. Rat.

Well, I guess it’s as good a spot as any to mention the 3 best-of posts for the week:

In other art news, I’ve been tweaking this site a bit. I updated my bio to reflect my current focus, and next up is an artist’s statement, editing/updating my portfolio subsite, and updating my CV.

If there’s one thing I hate more than writing bios (and I really hate writing bios), it’s writing resumes. And the dreaded “artist’s CV” is the worst kind of resume… especially for someone like me that’s bounced around a bit.

Like I kinda feel like I should mention college radio chart positions I got as maQLu because it’s recognition for my creative output, but where the fuck would it go? It’s not an award per se, it’s not press coverage… and it kinda feels like padding the CV, but it did happen and I guess it’s accomplishments and you’re supposed to list all your accomplishments…

But… all of them? Um… there’s, like, 95 of them… unless I counted wrong. And they’re all 10 years old or more. (None for Divisive because I was kinda burned out and didn’t get the CD sent out to college radio before I quit CiTR and washed my hands of college radio, otherwise it likely would have been like 120 chart positions.)

I guess just pick the most impressive chart position for each one and say “peaked at number whatever at (insert station here or the national chart when I hit that).

Even so… Do I post every release? Yeah, I guess… there’s 20, plus 8 remixes/compilation tracks.

And you’re supposed to put articles written about you and reviews under “Bibliography” but they’re all about my music and it seems weird to me to list, say, 15 reviews of from 2011 on a CV when I am now a painter/cartoonist…

Sigh… I guess I add ’em to a master version and edit them out for a short version.

The other issue is some of my visual arts shit I don’t remember specifics about now.

In high school, I did a weekend workshop on Japanese woodblock printing with Noboru Sawai at the Richmond Art Gallery. I remember a lot of the workshop but no clue what year it was, other than somewhere between 1993 and 1996.

This is the print I made in that workshop (from a Polaroid I took of a freeze frame of a VHS of Johnny Depp sleeping, presumably some old episode of 21 Jump Street being rerun on TV in the 1990s that I taped).

As you can see, it ain’t dated because why the Hell would I ever need to remember a detail like that 30 years later, right?

Also, while I am still a beginner in printmaking despite all I’ve learned in recent months, even I can tell that I goobered on way too much ink on the block and also probably I pressed too hard when rubbing the baren on the back of the paper, thus pushing it down into the carving and getting splotchy lines… but hey, it ain’t a bad first print.

I recall that works from his Fisherman’s Dream series were in the exhibition, but that was an ongoing series so it doesn’t narrow down the date much, and of course he passed away years ago and most of his career was pre-internet so it’s not like there’s a website with his CV that I could look up workshops he taught. Sigh…

I suppose I could call the RAG to find out if they have a record of the year, lol… that won’t be annoying in the slightest, huh?

But that’s one of the most relevant things on my CV, being that I’m now doing a lot of printmaking and also Noboru did a lot of work related to dreams and fantasy mixed with folklore and I guess in my own way I’ve ended up with similar/parallel themes, even though my work looks nothing like his.

Anyway… I suppose worst case I can just put a date down and if I later find out it’s wrong, fix it. That’s the least of the issues I’ll run into; how to format all the shit I did for/as maQLu is a much bigger issue.

In more date-certain news, this week I began the pastels class that I mentioned a while back. The funny thing is that it’s a Pastels and Nature class, and despite the whole garden thing, I rarely do any sort of floral art outside of the odd bit of observational drawing when sitting somewhere at Butchart Gardens. I used to do some landscape stuff on occasion, especially when I used to make art quilts, but it never felt all that authentic, or at least not beyond authentic that given afternoon or whatever.

Honestly, I think I kinda figured landscape as a subject matter was way more acceptable than rockstars. Or I’d make a random island scene when I was testing materials or didn’t know what else to make in a workshop.

That said, I have an old sketchbook called PAINTING IDEAS and there is stuff in there that was of interest to me that had landscape elements incorporated into more rock n roll sorta themes.

And I do have a few paintings that use chunks of landscape or nature as part of a kinda dreamscape or whatever.

Case in point from 2016… and Mr. Snowbird did indeed love the snow, which was part of the problem.

Snowbird. Mixed media (watercolor, gouache, marker) on paper

Second case in point. Also a painting about Mr. Snowbird from 2016.

Mazatlan (Interference Blues). Acrylic on canvas.

So, I do make art that touches on nature, I just don’t think of myself as doing so, lol…

Anyway, aside from the vine homework that I did that was inspired by my newly blooming clematis vines, I of course had to make a portrait of Ricky B.:

For someone who was claiming to have a sunburned tail last week and requesting a kiss on the tip to make it better, he sure don’t look like he’s seen the sun in ages here… he wouldn’t lie about having a sunburned tail to get some action, would he?

I dig it.

I mean, I still think my favorite renderings of Ricky are the splotchy monotypes as they just seem to fit him so well, but I’m digging the pastel look, and I think I can push the linework and execution so as to get those strong colors but also with the kinda messy lines. We’ll see how it goes.

But back to the nature thing… even though Ricky’s not a nature kinda guy…

I have some nebulous ideas that kinda tie back to those two paintings above and the rough sketches in that old PAINTING IDEAS sketchbook. I need to do a lot of doodling to bring them into focus, but kinda like Noboru had works like Fisherman’s Dream incorporating both dreams of a bountiful harvest with sexual fantasy fulfillment, it’s been on my mind to return to these semi-abstracted and symbolic paintings of dreams and desires but also add in the shit I never had the guts to put in before. Plus some of the best flowers from my garden because why not and hey… probably insert some bullshit justification about lost Eden, Babylonian fertility rites between the king and the high priestess, etc. etc.

Now, bearing in mind the recent Warhol ruling, I will need to be careful as so many of the images of rockstars dancing in my head from when I was a kid that kinda live rent-free in there are based on pin-up photographs, though I suppose they’ve probably been mutated somewhat over time, and for all the gloating the anti-Warhol brigade has been doing this week, the ruling actually has to do with details of licensing for commercial use, not fine art use. And maybe it’s better to use my own characters like Ricky as stand-ins, but then… is that just another form of self-censorship?

Or does it play in with the symbolism like all that “snow” in Snowbird?

We’ll see what comes up. I do also want to start bringing my characters into my paintings more; whether that will be a separate body of work or whether it will be one and the same remains to be seen.

On that note: no red dot yet on Teen Dream #1 at the CVAC gallery show. And maybe that’s for the best if my output is about to pivot. And I think ultimate elements from Teen Dream #1 (like the fishnets and beading, the latter of which I’ve been doing for a while) will end up incorporated in the new works, probably not as extensively, though.

Well, this is getting long, on to the garden.

Temps have been brutal this week, much more so than last week, but it’s cooling for a wee bit now. I think today maxed around 27C, downright cool after the back patio hitting 101F/38C on Sunday or Monday, lol.

I did get that tarp area with the dead grass planted up the other week, of course I forgot to take a pic. Towards the back I put a baby lilac that’s been languishing in its 4″ can for a few weeks, surrounded with a trip of dwarf cypresses that will be yellowish green puffs when mature (2’x2′), then a few lithodoras, a few lavendars, a few wintergreens, 3 creeping thymes, a lone iris (but the adjacent flowerbed has 3 other irises in similar colors) and a dozen cosmos and 6 snapdragons for annual color.

I also threw a bunch of foxglove seeds and the like in there.

I don’t have much faith in the lavenders or 2 of the creeping thyme, as they looked mostly dead, but we’ll see. If they croak, they croak. Two of the lithodoras also looked worse for wear, but then I have a few I planted elsewhere that looked well and truly dead last summer and this spring they’ve come back and flowered on tiny bits of new growth, so those things are pretty resilient.

This is probably where all the bulbs in big pots on my patio will get planted, and I might well do so this week even though they still have some foliage on them just so I don’t forget. (‘Ice Follies’ and ‘Tete a Tete” daffodils, a bunch of random tulips, and loads of grape hyacinths).

I still have a bunch of hellebores that need planting in a shady spot, so that will be later this week.

That leaves the veggie beds. Really I could have planted them up last month after the last frost date, but I’ve been known to plant in July (like last year) and still get decent harvests throughout August through October, so whatever. Most of Canada is only just planting their veggie gardens this weekend anyway.

I had 4 asparagus plants in 1 gallon pots I got on clearance last fall for $5 each that finally got planted this afternoon. All are healthy with new shoots, though it will take a few seasons before I get big fat asparagus shoots out of them instead of green pencils. Those went in in a spaced out zig zag pattern and in between I seeded kale, mustard greens, spinach, and lettuce.

I also planted my corn bed; the seed was old so we’ll see what I get. I need to remember this year to feed the corn more so I get better ears out of it.

I also had some corpses in the “lazy woman’s winter herb garden”… I don’t think I blogged about that as it was planted last August when I was being lazy with the blogs, but basically I gathered up a bunch of large blue ceramic planters I had kicking around, bunched them in 2 clumps on either side of the laundry room door where there’s a raised concrete stoop and filled them with herbs so in the winter I wouldn’t have to venture too far out into the rain and snow to get fresh herbs for cooking.

And I did actually make good use out of it. Funny thing: every one of the 6 rosemaries I had in pots on the patio (4 in black pots along the edge of the covered patio, 2 in pots flanking the laundry room door) died earlier this year, even though they did survive most of the winter. There is another herb garden the previous owner put in a raised bed at the end of the covered patio because I guess she had a similar idea, but the rosemary got over-pruned last year and also croaked… I will have to replace that one. Every one of the 4 lavenders I had in pots by the laundry room door died, too.

Anyway, what made it was most of the thyme, all of the oregano, both mints, and the parsley, though that one does look kinda sad.

So, in the black pots under the edge of the covered patio, I’ve put dill. I had put 3 starter pots of dill, 1 per pot, but 2 of them perished in last week’s brutal heat, so I seeded those pots and we’ll see what comes up.

The remaining pots have been seeded with chervil, cilantro, parsley, and basil.

Onto the flower pics:

‘Princess Louise’ poppies
‘Allegro’ poppies
‘Royal Wedding’ poppy
I’ve planted a bunch of 4″ lupins in my garden as well as scattered many packs of lupin seeds. This is the only one to actually get established.
‘Angel Face’ rose – not the first rose to bloom in my garden, that was ‘Bill Reid’ last week, but the first of the bigger roses. The rest are budding up, though.
Camassia. Dunno if these are really naturalizing as advertised, but then they’re in beds with a lot of competition.
Hey! The golden locust is blooming this year! Nice!
One of the more vigorous lithodoras planted last year.
I forget the name of this dwarf lilac, but the smell is great and in past years it actually did a partial rebloom in August/September. Not as much as now, of course, but even a bit is great.
‘Nora Barlow’ columbine
I forget which clematis this is, but the blooms are as big as my hand.
Last but not least, an unknown tree peony. All I know is it was in bloom when I bought it and that’s why I picked this one, but the picture on the tag on the container showed something pale pink, so it’s was definitely mislabelled. It’s now about 3′ tall, can’t wait til it maxes out at 6’x6′ and is covered in these blooms, even if it’s only for a week or two.