H.o.p. at the Window, 2004 (digital painting)

H.o.p. at the Window – 2004
20 w by 15 in h
Digital Painting based on photo by artist
copyright J Kearns 2006

H.o.p. at the window a couple of years ago. Took me two years to decide whether or not to leave the dirt on the window and how light to go with this.

Well, partly true.

I had wanted to do this painting and had started once and didn’t like it and scratched it, undecided on the two questions above. I recently came across it again and decided it was time to do it.

Heather Luttrell and Virginia Carllile at the Carllile Women Concert (digital painting)

Heather Luttrell and Virginia Carllile at the Carllile Women Concert 5/1/2006
Digital painted portrait with photo by artist for reference
20 in w by 15 in h
#169; copyright J Kearns

It was a painting I was working on and had just finished when the computer went down, based on a photo from the Carllile concert.

So, my computer is getting pretty much back to speed. I’m missing still a large chunk of critical info (really really critical info) but it is still on my old computer thankfully, the one I switched over from in January, hadn’t erased that yet. Won’t be able to transfer that over until sometime next week. And I have more memory coming the beginning of next week. Spent this afternoon working on getting my files that weren’t lost loaded back in. Anyway, it was this afternoon I discovered some files on one of my drives were lost. Almost an entire folder of writing. There may be more missing. But I at least have a copy of that huge chunk of stuff and will next week be able to compare the old computer with this one and make sure I didn’t lose more that was on that particular drive that was bad.

Dean will never read this but thanks Dean! When he got back in town he got on things and helped us right out. Immensely grateful.

Have started trying to catch up a bit.

Marty’s been down at the studio pretty much 18 hours a day since May 1st, was working on the Carllile mixes and the Takana/Junko sessions and now the Millennium Foundation CD. Some of the players on the Millennium Foundation CD thus far are Liz Wright, Marcus Printup, Earl Klugh, and Stevie Wonder committed today to play on a track. The person financing the project is donating every penny of the gross to the Millennium Foundation which is concerned with building infrastrcture in subsaharan communities. Marty says it’s the same org with which Angelina Jolie and Bono are involved. They have nothing to do with this CD project, just IDing the org there.

Anyway, H.o.p. has gone several days at at time without seeing Marty at all so I’ve been that much more attentive. Playing. Playing. Playing this and that. Monopoly (boy does he love Monopoly). Watching movies together. Which is a lot of fun to do with him, to sit and watch adventure movies with H.o.p. at the age of eight. I don’t even like adventure movies but it’s been a blast watching them with H.o.p. He’s had me painting with him, working on his things, will hand me a brush and wants me to do it with him. Has had me working with his sculpting pieces with him. No, not making them, but will hand me a piece of clay and encourage me to make something with him. We don’t eat a lot of sweets and I’d been promising brownies toward the end of the week so tonight we made brownies. And we counted up his allowance money he’d been saving and ordered yet another Godzilla toy. He’s been having a lot of fun this week, after getting over being disgruntled about not seeing his dad much, but was delighted when Marty got in a little earlier tonight and so had a chance to play with him. He pounced right on the opportunity and pulled out his Godzillas and set them up. (“Middle of April,” Marty reminds me, looking over my shoulder. That he’s been down at the studio pretty much solid since then.)

Man, no wonder I’m feeling ready for us all to get on the road and have a vacation, spend some time together doing something fun. In lieu, I perused Disccvery.com and purchased several ancient history DVDs that H.o.p. will probably like and a handheld magnifier for ogling the things nearby close up.

A set of my cacti sprang up a full inch one day this week. Suddenly, boom. And sent up 7 new cacti through the soil the next day. Amazing. I’d looked at that set of cactus when cutting off the grow light the night before this happened and thought to myself they looked like they were almost glowing iridescent green. Then the next day there was a full inch of new growth at the top. Maybe I should take a pic and post it. I’ve no idea what kind of cactus they are. Have a set of I believe the same type up front in a window and they’re not growing much at all though they get daylight.

Little Atom

Little Atom
Approx 25 h by 22 inches w
Digital Painting
Based on a photo
© copyright Jk

Little Atom, Burt Pierard, trained with Tony Prince, The Atomic Clown, and was ten years of age, in 1952, when he became the youngest registered clown in The Circus Clown Club of America.

Note: This portrait came about through my working on the couple of portraits of Tony Prince, the Atomic Clown, and making some inquiries. I eventually got in touch with Burt Pierard who was helpful in answering some questions I had about Tony Prince and his miniature Prince Sisters Circus. And he commissioned a portrait of himself as a young clown. It’s my first straightforward clown portrait and I loved doing it. Burt was able to sketch for me his signature clown make-up to use for a reference.

When I was a kid I didn’t care for clowns. Except my mother had a few cloth doll Pierrots she started making when I was little and never finished, and those fascinated me as a child. But no otherwise I didn’t like clowns except for the European Pierrot. Whenever I saw the European-style Pierrot in a show I was pretty well riveted. Then when I was about 18 I saw Fellini’s clown movie and some time in my 20s I suddenly started liking Jerry Lewis and then in my 30s I finally got hold of Charlie Chaplin movies. And that’s my history of beginning to come to an understanding with clowns.

Young Actress with Roses (digital painting)

Young Actress with Roses
14 by 28 inches
digital painting 2005

Our power went off last night. Off and on. Off and on. Off and on. We were all just getting to sleep and I heard this wild distant sound and the power went off. Then the power came back on. Then there was again this weird distant sound and the power went off and that was that, off and on, all night long. As this happened, I lay there and half asleep I had one of those half-asleep thoughts where is this what the universe sounds like, shutting down for you, when you die. Zonk, bop, and off it goes. All kinds of whacky unbidden thoughts lately. Yesterday Marty got up and said he had found himself, upon waking, meditating on what a space alien would think of Christmas if it walked into a Christmas party, not knowing anything about Christmas, a stream of thought that prompted him finally to think, “Get out of my brain!” and cut off the proceedings because it was a ridiculously meticulous meditation. About the same time I had found myself thinking, “Whatever in the world brings the thought of Dorothy Stratten to my brain?” Because there she was suddenly, a woefully 1980’s blonde Galaxina sitting on her space ship robot’s throne. I never think about Dorothy Stratten and had no reason to be thinking about her. I’ve seen Galaxina a couple of times and thought it was a fun film but the last time I watched it would have been at least ten years ago.

Not that strange unbidden thoughts don’t happen every few minutes but yesterday our brains were apparently more confused than usual by them.

So the power goes off and Marty cut off this and that around the apartment and we still got up this morning to a burned out aquarium pump, and it was no cheap pump. Damn! And then the new LCD monitor, the one that took me forever to calibrate, which I’m still questioning whether it will work for me, wouldn’t come on. Said it was in power save mode and for me please to move my mouse and I did but still it wouldn’t come on so I rebooted and it came on finally. The video card is messed up because the monitor now looks like hell. The new machine, back last night from being tweeked, sits in the corner and maybe today we will or I will be able to finish transfering everything over and get it set up. It may have to be today as the last time two times the power died (it dies frequently here) it took 30 to 40 minutes to get H.o.p.’s computer back on. We have a battery back-up/surge protector on mine. We should get one for H.o.p. too.

Our mail around here sucketh. Relatives mailed cards to H.o.p. at the time of his birthday, December 2nd, and they didn’t get here until yesterday. Nearly two weeks. And that included a card mailed for him in town on December 2nd. A lot of mail we’ve been waiting on for a couple of weeks didn’t get here until yesterday. But some cute cards for H.o.p., celebratory. He had great fun opening them.

We are still figuring out Christmas here. UPS knocked on the window yesterday and apologized for waking me up though I wasn’t asleep. All my life people apologize for waking me up, in sight and on the phone. I must look and sound perpetually sleepy at first auditory and visual glance and it has been extremely annoying, for decades, to have everyone say they’re sorry for waking me up, including my mother-in-law who can say that even if I’ve just stepped out of the car. In the box was a popcorn maker from a relative. I never think of Christmas until the last minute but that and the cards had me looking around Amazon, anywhere, this AM, trying to figure out Christmas gifts. H.o.p. was all excited about the popcorn maker, never having seen one, a microwave popcorn boy. It’s an on top of the stove type. He puzzled over it for the rest of the afternoon. He made dinosaurs out of the styro-popcorn-pellets. “Math, math!” I kept saying now that he’s getting over his cold. “Math! Math!” I said. He replied, “How did the world get here?” and I wanted to hit him over the head as I’ve told him that story a dozen times, what anyone believes they know about it, and he’s seen film on it numerous times at Fernbank. (Which reminds me, there’s a film on the Nile at Fernbanik’s IMAX I promised him we’d see.) I wasn’t up for talking about the beginnings of the world yesterday for some reason. Just wasn’t in me.

He’s still coughing. I’m dribbling kleenex again. Marty said he felt awful yesterday.

As for the header, it is a portrait of my young actress niece. I call that some sense of presence to be eleven and pull off that expression and pose. When I was photographing her for the portrait when she received the roses, she was herself but when she was back on stage during the strike and saw me taking shots she went into the pose. (And, Bibi, if you’re reading this, isn’t she gorgeous?)

That’s what I’ve been working on since Sunday. Hell was painting in every single one of those flocked things on the dress. But this portrait needed all those little flocked dots. For one thing it needed to be a record of her and her roses and the dress her mother made for her for the play. Also, just too stark without the flockings. Needed some activity. Spent hours on a background that you can hardly see, just painting and repainting and paint over, layer on layer on layer, to get some good depth to it. Simple black wouldn’t do. Not with that light-colored dress and shawl. Simple black background and she became all black eyes and nothing else. May have worked with just a facial portrait but not this.

To me she looks remarkably like this portrait Antonello da Messina did, a Sicilian painter, renaissance years. It’s always funny what stares out at you from the canvas. With my niece it was her father and then the man in the Messina portrait, the same mouth. And the shape of the eyes.

You say, “Why didn’t you take the roses out of the cellophane in the painting?”

Because I like the way the wrappings push the eye up to her face.

I am still not happy with the calibration on this monitor. Today I realize it is a tad contrasty. Seems to be. This is going to drive me nuts. Am right now running VGA and will switch over to DVI cord on the new machine and it was looking contrasty on that as well. Can’t afford one of those expensive calibration meters.

And of course most people don’t even have their monitors calibrated so what they’re seeing on the screen begs the trash can.

Can’t right now check my calibration against a print as my printer is cheap and for some reason now had begun printing all reds and nothing but. But my former monitor was spot on, I know that, though at the end it was getting just a touch darker.

Driving me nuts, I say. Nuts. Bang my head against the wall despairing nuts.

Portrait of Donna

Pastel, hand tint and digital painting over black and white photo
13 by 12 inches

Donna (don’t recollect her last name) had the largest eyes. Very pretty, unusual looking girl with these huge eyes. Another person I have no idea what happened to.

Will you look at those eyes? I had done a larger portrait and then decided to cut it down to her face alone.

I was thinking of Hammer Films when I did this.

We’re watching “Space Ghost” here. Judy Tenuta is flirting with Space Ghost, who is blushing. “Look, he’s blushing!” says H.o.p., who is fascinated by the fact some people blush. He does not, much to his chagrin. Because he thinks it’s a pretty neat human trick. And now here’s Timothy Leary, “The Most Dangerous Man Alive” no longer. H.o.p. skips Timothy Leary and rewinds it to watch Judy Tenuta again. And again.

Believe it or not, the Halloween candy is all gone. H.o.p. didn’t get much straight out chocolate in his haul. Fine chocolate (real good expensive chocolate) and M&Ms are about all the candy he will eat. Don’t get the idea he isn’t a sweets freak though because if there’s good chocolate around he would eat it all day. Same with M&Ms. His haul was largely composed of things like KitKats and Baby Ruths and Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops, which he opened, took one lick or nibble and discarded. There are a few bags of sweet and sour candies left that he’s holding on to, knowing that his cousins like them and he hopes to some day like them as well. In the meanwhile, I guess he keeps them out of a sense of solidarity. But I only bring all this up to say I guess it’s time to take down the fake spider webs. The carved pumpkin we deposited in the trash on Halloween as after only a couple of days it was already full of white fuzzy mold (never seen mold grow so fast, it was about an inch in length if not longer). The 5 foot green Halloween skeleton is hanging from H.o.p.’s door and I think that is going to be on permanent display.

I used to work with a woman who every day, at 3, had a KitKat. Before long I was having a KitKat every day at 3 too, just out of some peculiar sense of solidarity. I don’t even care for KitKats that much. Had only had one before and haven’t had a Kit Kat since.

Man, I love Space Ghost. Every so often H.o.p. pulls out the Space Ghost and we go on a Space Ghost spree. One of my favorite episodes is “Banjo”.

“Okay… I’m all alone… Banjo? Oh, Banjo! My, how you’ve grown! (To the tune of Flipper) I’m Banjo! Banjo! Faster than light-ning!…Ow! You could have taken my hand off! Bad Banjo!”

We’ve been watching today the one in which Kirk the Storyteller and Carl the Cartoonist recreate the Banjo episode. Funny, funny stuff. The part of Banjo the Sea Monkey is played by people in a Chinese Dragon costume.

Still no politics here. As long as Bush’s poll ratings are crashing and the Dems aren’t scrambling to impeach him, I’ll probably have nothing much to say about politics. I just don’t have much to say after New Orleans. I don’t even have anything to say about not having anything to say.

I read about the madness on other people’s blogs.

Finally, a portrait for Mike Miller that he’ll likely never see (repost)

[clear]Mike Miller
Pastel, hand tint and digital painting on black and white photo

Whoops, I messed up and replaced this post with another. Anyway, restating the story, Mike Miller was my humanities prof in College and briefly a friend of ours as he soon moved. I’ve no idea what happened to him. Right before he left, I took some pics of him that didn’t turn out well but I hung onto a couple thinking I’d one day do a portrait.

Michelle with white curtains


Michelle, at She Captures Me, posts pics and sometimes pics of herself. Such as this one.

I did portraits many years ago but then didn’t do any at all for years and years. Computer changed that. Michelle has some nice pics that show her smiling but the above one struck me in particular, though it’s probably not very representative. I grabbed it and used it as a reference for painting a digital portrait and asked Michelle if I could post it here. Above is what I came up with.

Interesting and involving working on most anyone’s face. Michelle is attractive, but what makes for involving or interesting has nothing to do with the usual standards of attrractiveness. Indeed, most everyone to me, anymore, seems to have an exceptional face. In this case, I in particular enjoyed working on Michelle’s eyes.

Digital art – Artist friend of husband and his daughter

Peter and Daughter
View On White

Really interesting individual (again, a friend of my husband’s at the recent party) and his stunning daughter who is looking a trifle bored here. Considerable difficulty guessing at skin tones as I had one photo for reference and the flash had washed out his face so much it was only bright white, nothing but, and his daughter, sitting more distant than this, was in dark brown shadows. But I did remember he was lighter than her and she seemed to have more brown tones. A multi-talented individual, he does beautiful landscapes.