Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brief visits into my mind

What is a vignette (vĭn-yĕt)?

It’s not typically a word we hear used in everyday conversation. I first learned of it close to 40 years ago when I was the art director for a large screen printing company in Maplewood. That was in the heyday of muscle cars, sporting colorful graphics. Many of these were printed for the automobile industry by my company. We did work for the Roadrunner, Super Bee, Firebird, Camaro Z28 and others. We produced the “laser stripe” in various colors for the Ford Torino GT and Ranchero, a vignette pattern also known in the printing industry as a graduated halftone. The stripe was a lighter color in front, graduating to a darker color as it flowed toward the rear. I remember it was one of our toughest jobs to print.

I use vignettes, or graduated patterns, in my paintings: in sky, or in mountains and water. I have always been challenged by them, working to keep the soft, seamless flow from light to dark, from warm to cold, and from soft to hard.

Other definitions of vignette are a brief, usually descriptive sketch; a short scene or incident; to describe briefly. I think those apply here, thus, the title of my blog, comprised of short stories describing my thoughts—brief visits into my mind where you may get a glimpse of the feelings that go into my art.

Until later,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


So here I am, sitting at a computer writing my first blog. It wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t even know what a blog was. Oh sure, I had heard the term “BLOG,” but to me it was some new kind of cybertechnoelectronicsomethin’. I was an artist. I was a painter. I didn’t need to learn internet jargon or computer lingo, and what in the world would I want with a blog, whatever it was?

Writing has always piqued my interest, and now-and-then I’ve come up with an engaging storyline. I have had ideas for murder mysteries, fantasy novels, family stories and children’s books, which of course I would illustrate. I often thought I would like to tell stories in some form. How hard could writing a book be? I loved to read. I figured I would write a book some day, as soon as I had the time. Of course, if I had that much time I would rather paint.

Then, a couple of years ago, I signed up for a Community Ed class for wannabe writers called, “So You Want to Write a Book.” It was an informal gathering of around 14 people, of all ages, who enjoyed writing and had stories to tell. Over the course of 6 weeks or so, we wrote short stories as homework and sometimes shared them the following week. There was a tremendous amount of encouragement and constructive criticism and I was intrigued to see parallels between writing and art. I learned that one of the characteristics of a successful writer is that they always feel the need to write, the compulsion to write, and are not content without doing so. I cannot say I am incomplete if I am not writing but that’s the way I often feel about art – there’s something lacking if I’m not doing art in some form. When the series ended, we were all sad to see our time together come to a close. We exchanged names and addresses and emails. Perhaps some have stayed in touch and continued their camaraderie, but I felt I needed to focus on my art.

My head is filled with plans for paintings and drawings, so many that I may never have enough time to finish them all! I intend to try though. And I still have stories to tell and ideas to share, and now that I know what a blog is, I think it may be the perfect outlet. I hope you will come here often to see what I have to say and what new pieces of art I am currently involved with. I will love to hear from you with comments on either.

Until later,