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


Saturday, September 25, 2010

With a Little Help from my Friends

I don't have too much to add today that would differ from yesterday's post except to say I'm grateful for the friends we have. As I've gotten older I've become a bit cynical about humanity in general but thankfully for my friends that cynicism does not consume me as it otherwise might. Thank you my friends for reminding me that where there is kindness and love there is hope.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Roundup

Francesco, Pammy and I along with some of the Brazilian kids from the Ringling 2001 tour about to explore New York City for the first time.

Hello to all. Hola amigos! It's Friday. Time to review the past week's happenings. Doc Ed averted being in the splash zone of a De Zavala elementary student's flu induced purging.

Puppy X ate my avocado plant that I'd been growing for the last year and a half. If you should know anything about avocados it's that the plant takes years to grow till it bears any fruit. When I found the mangled remains of my I was more than little upset but I kept my cool. Fonzie would be proud of me.

I'm busy working on the set pieces for Hansel and Gretel in the garage. I've got a lovely heat rash on my chest from working in there minus a/c. Aren't you glad I shared? No worries, though. I've poured a mountain of Gold Bond Powder on the afflicted area leaving a snowy trail as I walk.

It's around 9:30 in the evening as I write this. Pammy and I were watching "The Last Waltz", a great documentary directed by Martin Scorcese of The Band's final concert. The last time I saw it was around twenty years ago. It got me to thinking about time and how much has happened in our lives and how much has yet to happen. Why, since we last toured with the circus we've become the parents of two wonderful children. That alone sends my mind into a tailspin. I'm somebody's dad! Whoah!!

Ten years ago Pammy and I were sitting on the rooftop of my parent's house watching the New Year's fireworks. We were thinking about what the new year would bring. That year was eventful. As we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century I wonder what the new year will be like for us...the four of us. If the last last twenty years are any indication of what awaits us around the bend it should be interesting. I'm going to watch the Simpsons now. See you manana, banana.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Laredo Today

Back in the early nineties, while I was still living in San Antonio, I decided I wanted to try my hand at editorial cartoons. The trouble was is that the newspaper that I would be drawing it for was in Laredo. This was back before emails and scanning. I could either mail them or I could drive them down there.

The other problem was that the editor wanted, understandably so, cartoons covering local politics which I knew nothing about. Still I gave it my best and I think I did some good work. Above are a few examples. The middle one is the original because I don't think I have a clipping of it. It may simply be in storage somewhere. I did manage to find a rough sketch for the "mad scientist" cartoon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tina Gromova

Tina Gromova and I keeping the kids entertained at the North Park Mall in Dallas, Texas.

Working at Le Theatre de Marionette was fun. They not only did their puppet plays at their theatre space in the mall but would do shows throughout the mall in during the course of the year. Once a year we would also find ourselves putting on a black light puppet at the Texas State Fair in Dallas for three weeks.

I also got to work with some very talented people. One such person was Tina Gromova, who had recently immigrated from Russia. She was very versatile being a singer, dancer, actress and of course puppeteer. I learned so much from her and was grateful for the time I worked alongside her. Despite the language barrier Pammy and I became the best of friends with her. Tina was also a skilled seamstress and made Pammy's clown costume for our 2001 tour with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. She still lives in Dallas performing in variety shows for Dick Monday: former Ringling clown, Director of RBBB Clown College, very talented fellow and all around nice guy.

Tina could easily have fit in the circus world. She was a hard worker, ambitious, talented and adventurous. She was a one woman show. You don't run across people like her every day, especially outside of the circus so we feel fortunate to have met her.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Prehistoric Art

That's another bit of art from the unpublished Dinosaur George book. All the art for the book was done in ink which I really love as a medium and hope to do more of in the future.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Week So Far

This week started off early in the day for me and my whole family. I had an 8a.m. Doc Ed show that turned out not to start till 9a.m. but at least I wasn't late like I thought I was. I was at De Zavala Elementary along with my fellow educational presenter Sarah. We had four separate groups of fifth grader's to do our respective shows for that morning. We each did two and I started it off. There were twenty or so fifth graders sitting on the floor of the science room where we were.

Just a couple of minutes into my first presentation a boy sitting in the second row made what sounded like a sneeze which he appeared to try to suppress with both hands. As it turns out the sneeze was instead projectile vomiting which landed squarely on the back of the girl directly in front of him. There was some peripheral splattering to a couple of kids sitting to his left and right resulting from his attempt at covering his mouth. The world stood still for a moment then I realized had been usurped by a pre-tween's virus inspired faux pas.

Within seconds a wide perimeter formed around the boy who still sat there aghast at what had happened and the large primordial puddle inches from where he sat "criss- cross, apple sauce". The girl who had sat in front of him had already left for the restroom and after a bit of coaxing he left too. We were now left to deal with the puddle. My instinct as a performer told me to continue. The show must go on. Still, there was that puddle between me and my audience. My parental instincts shifted into gear so I made a vain attempt at cleaning up the mess like I had done so many times for my own kids but only went as far as squirting dishwashing liquid on the puddle. I had realized there were trained professionals in the building who could tend to it in an efficient and detached manner. Seconds after the custodian arrived he removed the puddle so quickly I can't recall how he did it.

Doc Ed went on with the show. I hope the boy did too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rainy Sunday

"Chadder Box the Clown". Pen, brush and ink on paper. 8 1/2"x11".

This weekend has been a rainy one. The rain hasn't been hard but it's been pouring steadily most of the day. Given the soggy weather most of the day's activities were limited to the indoors although we managed to take our easily excitable dog, Sally, for a walk, took the kids to audition for the "Nutcracker" ballet (They made it!) and will end the day with some drawing. Whew!

Pictured above is artwork for Chad Miller's business card and coloring page for his clown work as "Chadder Box". I didn't know why he wanted to reproduce the drawing on his card but it ended up looking o.k. Go figure.

I got the official "okey dokey" from the Southwest Texas branch of the Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Society to be on their email group. I got to check out some links they had to some writer's blogs so the learning process has begun. The next step is to make it to their next meeting. I'm very excited. This calls for a Little Debbie snack cake. Yummy! Got to go for now. I'm getting ready to start my next Lord of the Rings illustration. Buenas noches.

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