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


Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Roundup

I've been working throughout the week to spruce up the props for the Doc Ed shows including History of a Rockstar: The Edwards Aquifer. I made a popup book to show the progression of the population growth over the aquifer but I always thought it needed something else. Then I thought of it! I had a eureka moment. I decided to build a base on which to set the book and the base would quite naturally be a cut-away of the Edwards Aquifer.

I made it from a piece of white pine that I carved with a palm gouge and dremel tool. It took a while to carve out all the grooves and shapes in there but I've always enjoyed carving and was glad to carve a wooden prop for the show. The wood will make it very durable since it will be used often. The chances of it getting dinged will be reduced significantly because it's solid wood rather than styrofoam.

The water is made from soft foam air drying clay like the kind I'm using to make the nautilus shell for the same show. I'm almost done with that prop too.

I then painted it with my handy dandy acrylic paints starting with opaque layers of color then finishing it with washes for a translucent effect. It looks pretty good and I think it will help drive the message home about how population growth directly affects the Edwards Aquifer. Pat on the back for me. Yay!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


We just got the latest issue of the Puppetry Journal in the mail. I forget that I receive an issue of the publication since it's quarterly but it showed up at the right time since Pammy and I are working on some new puppet show ideas. The goal is two have at least two story shows up and running to sell to the schools and libraries.

If you are into puppets like we are check out their website here . Check it out. It's loads of fun for everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Playing the Part

Click on the image to magnify.

I was looking through some old newspaper clippings of the murals Alex Rubio and designed and painted back in the late 80's and early 90's when I came across this one about the Viet Nam War Museum that was located in the Alamo Plaza right about where the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum is today. Apparently the museum directors were falsely claiming themselves to be Viet Nam War vets.

The fellow pictured above, Gaylord Stevens, was the director Alex and I had the most direct contact with. He was friendly and talkative as I recall. I remember one time while I was working on a section of the mural we were painting on the stairwell walls, he stopped to look and comment on one of the portraits of the soldiers I'd painted. He remained quiet for a while as I continued to paint then pointed to his hand and some tiny scars on his knuckles that he said were made by shrapnel. I didn't have any reason to doubt him. What did I know? But he had to keep up the act around vets who stopped by the museum and those that volunteered there. Talk about method acting!

That museum, as far I know, is longer around. I wonder what ever happened to him?

Clown College Memories- 1992/93 Clown College Audition Notice

1992 Poster announcing the auditions for the 1992 and 1993 sessions of the RBBBC Clown College

It took four auditions in three years to make it in to that wonderful place. The first audition was truly dreadful so I focused all my energies to improve my clowning skills
"For the Career of a Lifetime". And it certainly was and continues to be.

I found this little gem looking through an envelope filled with newspaper clippings
about the Clowning Around exhibit which opened on June 16,1995. The clippings were sent to me by the good folks at the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut which put on the exhibit. I was exhibiting a couple of clown drawings I'd done that same year while on the road with the Ringling Red Unit. I'm not sure why I put the poster in there but I'm glad I found it.

Click on the image for a better view.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Circus Memories- Christopher Hudert 2001

Christopher showing how to manipulate a marionette.

One of the best parts of touring, aside from performing of course, are the people you see that perhaps you don't get to visit with too often. In 2001, when Pammy and I last toured with the circus we were able to spend some time at Christopher Hudert's puppet studio.

He has an extensive and impressive list of accomplishments as a performer. Here's a teeny sampling of his career. He began performing on stage as a child but I'll start with a page out of his adult career. Christopher Hudert is a graduate of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Clown College Class of 1982 and toured for 9 years with the circus. He was the Boss Clown for the Ringling Red Unit in 1989 when Pammy joined the show in Rosemont, Illinois. He is a sculptor, puppeteer, clown, set builder and puppet builder too and a pretty good teacher as well. That's also a modest list of his skills.

He is co-owner of Applause Unlimited, a variety arts company that offers puppet shows among other things and is based out of Richmond, Virginia where we crossed paths with him. He was very generous with his time and knowledge and even let us try out some of his wonderful marionettes during our tour of his workshop. He works with a wide variety of puppets presenting classic tales for audiences of all ages touring in the states and the world. Pretty cool!

Pammy joins in on the fun.

Puppet storage.

Christopher presenting his ever popular Travelin' Jack and Company Show.

If you want to learn more about Applause Unlimited click here.
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