Arts in the Family: A Family of Artists Just Trying to Make a Living in the Wilds of Texas


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mellow Day Today

A really peaceful photo of Pammy sipping coffee while watching the world go by on a train run to who knows where. It's one of my favorite pictures of her.

Today was an easy going day. We made a conscious decision not to try to "work" at all. We did run a couple of little errands but that was it. Around mid afternoon we spent a little while at the library then we took the kids to the movies to see "Cats and Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore". It was a funny, silly movie and we loved every minute of it. Afterwards, we played a few video games then we went home. The house was a mess. My art assignment lay untouched and life went on. Obla dee, obla da.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I'd like to introduce you to the comic strip "Funhouse" created by Christy McDonald, Pammy and I that was all about clowns. Shown are four samples of the strip followed by a brief description of it's creation. The one above is my favorite.

I hadn't remembered this but we were also going to translate them into Spanish. That job went to Ms. McDonald because her Spanish was better than mine.

This is a cornier one I take full credit for it's existence... but I still like it.

I think Christy had her Spanish/English dictionary handy for this one.

In 1991, our dear friend, Christy McDonald, suggested that she, Pam and I collaborate on a comic strip about clowns. The three of us would split the writing chores while I drew and lettered the strip. It was a great idea and a lot of fun to draw. I had been clowning only a short while at the time and thought it was a good way to work on my gag -writing skills.

At the time I didn't realize how bold an idea it was but we had just decided, without calling it that, to self -publish...sort of... maybe more like self -syndicate.
All the strips you saw in the papers then and now were there because of the comic strip syndicates ( representatives of sorts for comic strip creators). Their job is to get the strips into the papers for a fee. The more papers a strip appears in the more money it makes.

We essentially decided to be our own syndicate. The trouble was that requires a good deal of time to dedicate to trying to sell and publicize our strip to different publications and that was time we needed to make a living so the venture didn't go very far. We do have some good memories of our efforts as well as a couple of dozen strips.

Given the growth of the internet, though, and all the webcomics out there such an endeavor is most certainly more feasible today though no less daunting a task. Hmm... I pause to think....

Pammy's Clown College Memories

Pammy with her parents, Karl and Rosemary (two of the best people I know), at the Final Exam performance for the class of '89.

Pammy's mom, a circus clowns' best friend and to showfolk in general having had more than a few guests sleep on her couch.

Pammy, standing in front of the stage, shows off her "agent suit".

Two shots of the stage showing the podium in place for the graduation ceremony. The scenery in back has doors and windows through which the students ran dove, jumped and bumped through during the course of the show.

Pammy and her Clown College rooommate Christy McDonald.

Christy and Pammy, two peas in a pod, hamming it up. And might I say that there is nothing more appealing than two lovely young ladies dressed in their finest evening wear.

Uh... Yowza!!! Hubba, Hubba Hubba. Awwoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy 106th !!!

"Nuevo Mundo". 18"x24". Acrylic on Masonite. This painting keeps changing. It's one of the few I like to tinker with to see what develops till I finally sell it.

This is the 106th post on our little ol' blog in the strange new world of the internet. Strange and new to us, anyway. Wow, what a wild ride it's been. Si, es verdad. Why choose the 107th as the milepost? Elementary, Watson. Because we forgot to do it for the 100th. So, cheers everybody! Here's to another 106 more entries. Huzzah!!

P.S. The number for the entries apparently includes the ones that are drafts. Who knew?! So, technically it is one hundred but I don't feel like celebrating anymore. A.R.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rolling with the Punches

Watercolor and ink on illustration board.

It's almost the end of the month and it's gonna be a photo finish folks! Bills! Rent! Fear! Loathing! O.k. Perhaps I exaggerate for dramatic effect but life has a way of throwing a sucker punch or two your way. Nonetheless, we must forge ahead! I'm still working on that art assignment, which is good because work is good...still... I wish this town had a better performing arts community where you could actually make a living at it.

Pammy and I are working on some new material and hopefully we'll have a place to present it and we're trying to plan ahead to the New Year because it's essential to have a plan A and B and sometimes even a C in our line of work. God, I wish I had a taco!! Just feeling a wee bit stressed today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ringling Cotton Tail

I miss the circus a little more than usual today and I might be inclined to post more circus photos later today, so there! This is a neat photo from Pammy's first tour on "Big Bertha". Pammy is standing on the right side in a polka dot dress. Every Easter the Ringling clowns were invited to the White House to do a show and help with the Easter Egg Roll. Pammy has told me some pretty good stories, one related their attempts to get the Secret Service guys to crack a smile... and they did. Power to the Clownies!!

Oompa Loompa Pammy

The photo above is of Pammy in her finale costume for the 131st edition of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. She's turned slightly so you don't get the full effect of the costume but it was a large, poofy, round costume that made Pammy feel like an Oompa Loompa. My finale costume wasn't even close to funny. She loved going out there for finale and wobble around in that outfit. It was beautifully made but heavy and hot so it was a good thing she didn't have to wear it for the whole show.

She was usually the last person to exit the arena floor giving the audience one last bit of clowning before she disappeared behind the curtain with the rest of the cast. Then we'd run like crazy back to our respective alleys to get out of costume and makeup as quickly as we could in order to make it to the first bus back to the train if possible. We didn't usually make it but it was fun trying. We're so coocoo.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Who You Gonna Call?

Above is a portrait of John Belushi I drew a few years ago. I'm not posting this for the anniversary of his death or birthday because I don't know the exact date for either. Last week Bill Murray was on the Letterman Show and it got me to look up Bill Murray footage on Youtube. That inevitably leads to Saturday Night Live clips which often include John Belushi.

I loved all the original SNL cast but Belushi was, I believe, the most versatile of all of them playing characters like The Samuri, The Hulk, the Godfather, Elizabeth Taylor, Joe Cocker, Marlon Brando as "The Wild One" and a whole host of others. His samuri character. a loving impression of Toshiro Mifuni, was the best because he did it all with a few grunts and screams but did the rest of it all with the beautiful pantomimic skills of his face and body.

Well, anyway, in the process of checking out some fine sketch comedy on Youtube I ran across a few interviews with Bill Murray and director Ivan Reitman (not too sure of the spelling and don't really care, I guess) confirming that Ghostbusters 3 is in production and will probably be released next summer.

Back when the first Ghostbusters movie was originally released, I read that Dan Akroyd had, of course, intended to have Belushi be one of the Ghostbusters. I've always wondered what that would have been like. Slimer is supposed to be a tribute to Belushi so I guess in a way he did get to play a part in the film.

I Come Not To Bury Caesar but to Blog Him

Poster for Julius Caesar. Mountain View's Theatre Department usually made some nice posters for all their productions.

Jennifer Stell and Julie Harrison sharing a hug in the dressing room.

The cast chillin' backstage before curtain.

Left to Right: Julie Harrison, David F. Kendall (Brutus), Jennifer Stell (Octavius' servant),unknown.
Seated: unknown.

That's Pammy with fellow conservatory student Julie Harrison who played the part of Portia.

These are a few photos and a poster for Pammy's last year(1998) at the Performing Artists' Musical Theatre Conservatory at Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas. The production is Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" in which Pammy played the part of Calpurnia, Caesar's wife.

Local director, Keith Oncale, directed the production and rumor has it he now resides in New York City directing plays for the Company Theatre. Cool.
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