On the New Year

On this New Year's Eve a miracle can occur.

Tonight we ring out the old and ring in the new. And more--much more--can change than simply the dates on the calendar. You can resolve this night to change your entire life...or any aspect of your self and your experience that you choose.

And should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? No. Keep old friends near, and old loves dear. For they will help you make those changes in your life that will produce miracles, if you let them. Happy, happy New Year!

This is Auld Lang Syne as performed by Scottish folk group The Cast. The lyrics to the song are actually a poem written by Robert Burns in the late 1780s, according to Wikipedia, but they (as well as most of the melody) may be more familiar to you as the song people tend to sing just after New Years. This version has no such holiday connotations about it but I think it just sounds nice.


Let There Be Peace On Earth. . .

. . . and Health Care For All

Christmas 2009

The reason so much of humanity commemorates this day is that so much of humanity seeks to give and receive love.

During this holy time, know that all times are holy, that every religion holds truth, that each tradition is sacred, and that it is in the simple sharing of love that we make our beliefs come alive, and our dreams come true.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Evidently Joe Lieberman Wants a Pony

Check out this funny sock puppet video of Senator Joe Lieberman holding health care hostage for his list of personal demands.

From MoveOn.org

Keith Olberman's Special Comment on Health Care

OK, so you're happily painting and I am glued to the television on the subject of health care. I admit that a lot of my creative energy is going into this right now. It's sort of like trying to not to see/hear a train wreck if you happen to be standing there.

So herewith, a ten-minute catch-up in case you missed it:

Part 1

Part 2

What is wrong with my fellow Americans? Are we totally brain washed into believing that the Govt's role is not to provide health, education and social security to it's people? Will it always be "every man for himself" against corporate greed run amok? Rich vs Poor?

The Republican Party of "NO" understands that obstructionist tactics work when the voting audience is ignorant, gullible, or otherwise easily misled (which sadly, is a fairly apt definition of the US voting public). They deviate from the core discussion, introducing irrelevant topics (death panels, illegal immigrants, abortion issues), and divert attention from the core of the discussion. It is also FEAR MONGERING.

The following is childish I suppose, but somehow it felt satisfying that any respect for Joe Lieberman went out the same window that he tossed the public option and the Medicare buy-in compromise that was to replace it.

If you're frustrated and want to do something, try this: Tell "Susan G. Komen for the cure" to remove Hadassah Lieberman.

Donations to find a cure for cancer should not be used to pay the salary of Hadassah Lieberman, former employee of the pharmaceutical and insurance lobbying complex and wife of Senator Joe Lieberman, who is pledging to kill health care reform while millions go untreated.

I irks the heck out of me to think that my donations to this charity have paid Hadassah to channel money to Joe....and I thought I was helping to fight breast cancer. Grrrrr.

Want to do something else? Pick up the phone and give these guys a piece of your mind:

House and Senate
(202) 224-3121

The White House
(202) 456-1111

It's not over yet.....I'm convinced that we can still make a difference. If we do lose this battle with the Insurance Companies, all of the Republicans and a couple of Blue Dog Democrats - won't you sleep better at night if you had made that call? We only lose when we stop the fight.

Breaking News: Senate Unveils CompromiseCare

New Details of Healthcare Plan Revealed:

WASHINGTON (The Blue Dog Report) - The United States Senate today unveiled details of its health care plan, tentatively called CompromiseCare:

Under CompromiseCare, people with no coverage will be allowed to keep their current plan.

Medicare will be extended to 55-year-olds as soon as they turn 65.

You will have access to cheap Canadian drugs - if you live in Canada.

States whose names contain vowels will be allowed to opt out of the plan.

You get to choose whichever doctor you cannot afford to see.

You will not have to be pre-certified to qualify for cremation.

A patient will be considered "pre-existing" if he or she currently still exists.

You'll be free to choose between medications and/or heating fuel.

Patients can access quality health care if they can prove their name is "Joe Lieberman," are Republican Congress Persons, or have accepted favors from one or more Insurance Lobbyists.

You will have access to natural remedies - such as death.

We are entitled to our own opinions; we are not entitled to our own facts

I listen to c-span while I'm working in the studio. This is the kind of stuff c-span junkies live for.

I want health care for all and I'm watching this like a hawk. I do not like what is happening in this country right now.

The divide between the rich and poor is growing rapidly. People are sinking into poverty and there is a distinct lack of compassion and civil discourse. Republicans and a handful of "blue dog democrats" are fighting every kind of reform with lies and disinformation. They count on people who don't have the time or inclination to search out the truth - simply ignore it and "hate all politicians."

Wake up guys - if you continue to reelect these lying fools, it's going to get worse for all of us as the "middle class" begins that long slow sad slide into poverty.

Most artists aren't rich. We get along but its getting harder. How many paintings does it take to pay a hospital bill? How many paintings does it take to pay health insurance rates that go up each year as our painting sales decrease. Most people don't have the spare cash to buy art in these troubled times.

R.I.P Affordable Public Option

It appears that the Blue Dog Democrats have sold out to the insurance companies. And of course - ALL of the Republicans in both the House and Senate.

I think I got a good likeness in this collective portrait of Blanche Lincoln. Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.

Rembrandt Painting Sold at $33,210,855.00

A Rembrandt painting unseen in public for nearly 40 years sold for a record $33.2 million at auction in London on Tuesday, the highest ever paid at auction for the 17th century artist.

Christie's said that "Portrait of a man, half-length, with his arms akimbo", painted in 1658, fetched the 4th highest-price paid at auction for any old masters painting.

It was bought by an anonymous client bidding via telephone, Christie's said. The top price at auction for any old master picture is $77 million for "The Massacre of the Innocents" by Peter Paul Rubens set at Sotheby's in London in 2002.


"Weltschmerz" is a German word that describes a prevailing mood of melancholy and pessimism associated with the poets of the Romantic Era. It arose from their refusal or inability to adjust to those realities of the world that they saw as destructive.

John Steinbeck wrote about this feeling in "The Winter of Our Discontent."

Well, some of you readers have noticed that I am currently tied up in knots about our current political situation. I trust that this weltschmerz will eventually pass.

Meanwhile I feel the pain as choreographed crazies of the wing-nut media erupt on cue every time a politician opens his mouth to suggest that everyone ought to have access to healthcare.

I think Atlas carrying the weight of the world is a good visual metaphor for "weltschmerz."

The dialogue and delivery is over-wrought and under-thought.

I can hardly believe that so many of my fellow citizens feel that it is more important to spend money we don’t have to keep foreigners dead than to keep Americans alive.

It' feels as if I'm living in the macabre world of Bruegel.

Or worse - the really scary world of Hieronymus Bosch.

This is tough subject matter to paint. How depressed and frightened was this poor artist?

I'm thinking that making "pretty" art is like putting wallpaper on a building as it falls down...if you get my drift.

These are "interesting times" and Weltschmerz describes my current mood.

Give me some time to try to mourn the loss of hope for a better world, use my energies to keep my paintings from being too depressing. And then I'll get back to teaching.

Don't confuse me with facts - my mind is made up?


President Obama has made the decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in order to "go after the guys who attacked us on 9/11."

Go to war for "peace?" I don't think so.

Architect Richard Gage speaks about the truth and lies of 9/11 and the "impossible" freefall speeds at which those towers came down.

"Nothing good is ever created by deception. Not even the smallest untruth, not even the most well-intended "white lie," will produce benefit in the long run. So tell your truth as soon as you know it."
- Quote from Neale Donald Walsch

Professor Niels Harrit of Copenhagen University in Denmark, who is an expert in nano-chemistry, says that they found such large quantities of nano-thermite in the dust from the WTC, that he believes it must have been brought into the WTC site by the tons.

Professor Steven Jones who also played a major role in this ground-breaking research, refers to this startling new evidence as “the loaded gun.”

So how come the "Official 9/11 Commission" did not look into the possible use of explosives?
Because they didn't want us to know about that.

Maybe it was an inside job?

And how come Bush and Rumsfeld refused to allow our army to capture Osama Bin Laden?
Because OBL didn't do it - despite the "official story" even the FBI says that there is no evidence on this man. And besides they don't make high tech nano-thermite in caves in Afghanistan.

So did jet fuel (which is kerosene) "melt" the steel in those towers?
No. Jet fuel can not melt steel.

Can a hundred story plus building "pancake" in freefall?
No. You don't need more than 9th grade physics to understand this.

If you want a full length DVD on this subject with a whole lot of information (trust me, you've only seen a small piece of it here), contact me via email below and I'll lend you my copies:

BLUEPRINT FOR 9/11 TRUTH: The Architecture of Destruction
ZERO: an investigation into 9/11

These films made it impossible for me to accept the "official" version of the "911" tragedy any longer. It organizes the wealth of available material in such a way as leave no room for doubt.

SeeNewEvidence at gmail dot com

Perspective as a Tool to Fool

Street Art can a lot of fun.

This kind of art requires much skill in perspective.

I think that the human figure is especially difficult to draw in extreme perspective.

Another important part of this art is to stand in the exact right spot in order to take the picture that enhances the illusion.

Perspective must be very accurate in order to create a successful illusion.

Perspective must be learned - and unless you're a genius (I'm not) - it is tough to reinvent.

I'd suggest a good book on this subject before you tackle a grand Street Art illusion.

I am sorry that I do not have the names of the various artists who made these paintings and took these photographs.

Some Street Artists use chalk.

And others use paint.

Street Art can be used in advertising.

It can be startling...a shark attack in the middle of a city?

Or carry a clever message.

Here is a video about how this particular piece was painted:


Family, Turkey, Talk, Fun and Puns

On this Thanksgiving Day; Family, Turkey, a Weekly Address from the President, and some truly awful puns.

Sometimes our family Thanksgiving dinners get a little punny. Here' are some of the ones we served up that were less fattening than the gravy:

A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron," The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?", they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Groan. Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheaper Than Plastic Surgery

Photographs tend to clump values at both ends of the scale and wrinkles stand out and appear exaggerated.

When you're painting someone with wrinkles - know that they always look worse in a photograph than in person.

This is the same photo after I took out some of those dratted wrinkles via Photoshop. Per usual, I've exaggerated to make the point.

So here are two examples and you can see how to tone down those wrinkles step by step.

It will help to make your reference photos more flattering- and still be accurate.

I work in "Layers" in Photoshop.

I create two duplicate layers of the original photo.

I turn off the "eye" on the top layer and highlight the second layer.

I select Gaussian Blur filter.

In order to demonstrate this I have exaggerated the filter.

Next I make the top layer visible and highlight it.

I'll then select the eraser tool to wipe out all the wrinkles - being careful to leave specific and detailed features - eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc.

Then move to the middle layer and adjust the opacity.

Again, I have exaggerated here to make a point - but you want to make it "believable."

When you like the result, flatten the image.

Here's another example:


And after!