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Latest update Thursday, 02-Jun-2016 15:55:46 PDT

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This #3    an earlier attempt

ThEdblog 003

Stories + Photographs by J R Compton

crit loose

Clayton Hurt - Monkey Suit

Clayton Hurt - Monkey Suit, 2007
oil on canvas in 500X' juried Xpo 2008
and in my Wallpaper & Repeating Patterns story

Damn! All that lead-up on Pix2, then I forgot to go to the opening. Kept thinking it was Satty night, except schools don't do Saturday nights, only galleries do. Even argued with Anna about it, though she always steers me right. Guess I wanted to go left.

Left out. Damn, damn, damn! Feel stupider even than usual. Damn. Then I just felt sad.

Then, those feelings finally dissipated, and I used the impetus to finish writing the Wallpaper & Other Repeating Patterns story I'd begun last week ago by ordering all the images, at first thinking I could run them without comment. A story with only images is still a dream, but the order and juxtapositions of those images is almost more important the mere words separating them.

Now, finally, I can begin the process of writing about the Pix2 show. Hope to go out to UTD in a couple days, take a bunch of photographs, marry them to what little I know about their selecting critics and creating artists and write something thrilling.

I may even be on a bit of a roll here.

crit goose

I don't write as much or as often about art as I used to. Not sure why. I have been spending a lot of time with my bird pages. These things go in cycles over which I have little control. Very rarely do I have any idea what art — or bird — I will write about next. But I'm pretty sure I will write about the art in Pix2, opening January 18 at UTD See the Calendar for more info.

Indeed, I may be the only local arts writer who will. Most of the others, and me, too, have participated in the show by selecting an artist to show. Pix organizer John Pomara told me Pix1 was not publicly critiqued for that reason, although I do not know who those critics were. I have been writing about art in Dallas longer than anyone else, including retired Dallas Morning News writer Janet Kutner, so you may understand why I felt left out of the reindeer games. I wasn't invited to participate in Pix1 but have been for Pix2.

So I'll write about that show, even if the art does not thrill me, simply because maybe no one else will. Most arts writers, critics, whatever have this strange notion that objectivity will get in their way. And it does. Often. They believe they can not remain professional if they write about their own work or shows in which they participate. I don't believe in objectivity, often write about my own work and shows I'm in or have curated or jurred. That abstruse notion bothers me sometimes. But it's a reason to write about those situations, not a reason to demur from exploring more personal experiences. DallasArtsRevue is different in those regards, because it's written by and for artists.

For a little history on this invitational exhibition, Pix2 has been previously mentioned on this page three times — in comments A, B and C below, and once on ThEdblog page 1.

Guess my ramblings served to remind me what I'm doing here. It helps to find back to old pages that have long since garnered a thousand or more hits. We visited art openings over the second weekend in January, and I'm working up a flurry of photos and comments on art we saw at MFA, Haley-Henman and 500X. Coming soon to a cover near me.


The woman who [just down the page] is video interviewing me as an "interesting person" today called yester to set it up times and places and pointedly asked me not to mention DallasArtsRevue during the interview. Guess she doesn't mind me being interesting but doesn't want me complex. Then she called back to remind me to bring my camera for birding. Duh!

Turned out grand fun for several hours in the gallery, on the bath house's back porch, then on to Sunset Bay [further explication in today's bird journal] where it was raining pelicans.

valley birds

Leading Edge - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Leading Edge of Great Horned Owl Wing — Rigged for Silent Running

now my show is up, I'm onto another major opus, putting together in one, more or less cohesive tract, all my birding pictures from our recent foray into the Lower Rio Grande River Valley. Usually just called "The Valley". My first attempt at such a page, with much smaller pictures and not nearly so many birds is one of my most popular pages, so I suspect this new one with giant, vivid photographs and a growing text, may also attract a fair number of readers.

I worked on it — first place all the photographs in near chronological order, then add some text, go back to attempt to identify all the birds I don't know already, add more pictures, reorder the images, write and rewrite the text — all weekend when we weren't attempting to rescue the "Six-Pack" duck from its ordeal with the plastic rings that hold a six-pack together.

It's still very much a work in progress, but it's available online in more than 100 photographs and all its incompleteness at The Birds of the Rio Grande II.


the opening is over. I slept an hour and a half soon as I walked in the front door. I'm sitting in my office in front of my computer. My back hurts from standing and talking to a lot of nice people tonight.

I was nervous before. Very nervous. Not so much because I feared failure. Too late for that, and these were my best choices. Nicely laid out in the Museum with four more very graphic shots hung in the opening hallway. Worried for the sake of worrying. Fearful, I suppose, that my best wasn't good enough. Over and over tonight I realized that the Amateur Birder's Journal offers more photographs, with more every couple of days, but more importantly, it has contextualizing information and back-up photos. Not just pictures of these fascinating birds. But stories about their behaviors. I rarely only show one shot of each scene or activity there.

Whereas in an exhibition, what is shown is nearly always the best of what is available. As selected by who made them. Several visitors tonight noted that they recognized all these images. Which means they've been paying attention, and often, for quite awhile. One reader told me he had me book marked right next to National Geographic. I glowed when he said that. Others made book suggestions and gave me Texas travel ideas and stories.

Being at my own opening and getting to talk with many of those who found their way back into the nearly blind hallway back into the White Rock Museum was exciting and fun and enthralling and a tremendous ego boost. I got to see friends I hadn't in awhile, sometimes a long while. Although there were many moments when I stared uncomprehending at good friends I had no idea who were. I'm usually aware of faces and clumsy with names. Tonight I was often robbed of even those basic understandings.

Worse, standing there hurt. I kept wishing I had one of Dean Kamen's robot chairs — the type that hold people up at other people's standing height (and can carry them up stairs. So standing on the concrete floor wouldn't hurt so much.

Did I mention that my back still hurts? I've taken the biggest pain pill I still have left from my last hospital stay, and I am slowly dissolving away, have started the hot water drizzling into the tub, will soak until the water temp dips under mine, drip dry in bed and sleep long and full, then tomorrow afternoon go with Anna and Betsy Baker and maybe her sister to try to rescue the duck I photographed for the Journal yesterday.

Goose Box - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Box Six of Birds — showing Goose Ballet in Sunset Bay
My first shot with Christmas gift lens.


have now 21 framed prints, more than enough, never know which is the more-than, and prints left over, but I kept up a "is this better?" mode through the stack and only have left what I probably should. (Enrique took them all.)

All that needs doing now, 28 hours before I turn them in to Enrique at the Bath House is to do a final glass and frame cleaning. Using that same mix of vinegar (didn't have the clear stuff, using brown, don't see any difference, yet) and water, and when that doesn't work, dishwashing soap for frames and strictly vinegar and water for glass.

Thought I'd get away with an exterior-only cleansing of glass on my three 16x20 prints I picked up at BWC today. They may be a bit dark, but not so much as to require a reprint (not that I have time). Be interesting to see how they look in that bright white room. I reprinted the Peacock when it was too small to fill the last 11x14-inch frame I found. When I reprinted it was much lighter. The dark looked okay in the single long room that is the museum. The lighter one should fairly glow. Hoping that happens with my 16x20s, also.

Cleaning glass is a job that continues until the cleaner gives up. There will always be something stuck to the front (easy enough, usually) or the back (requires dismantling the kit, clean both sides till they seem clean, then rebuild without letting any new specks in) and hope. Frames are easier, but if they've been hanging on a wall, dirtier.

Then pack them in boxes interleaved with bubble pack, cover them over against rain, snow or sneezes, cart them off to the Bath House, where we'll "place" the show, so someone there can hang it.

The first box was perfect for 9 frames and bubble wrap. The second, third, fourth and fifth boxes weren't. People been after me for years to get rid of all those unruly boxes, but the sixth box is huge and will hold all the frames. Carting them may be somewhat more difficult.

Amateur Birder's Journal Promo Card - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Next step is to name them (Emailed a .rtf doc of titles, places & dates {This is a journal.}). Can't wait to discover what fun is yet to come. 13 hours to go. Whipped out a very simple business card for the Birder's Journal to leave in the museum, so interested viewers can pick up on the Journal's many other bird pix — and words. Anna's been wanting my design for months, maybe a year.

Thursmorn: gotta clean in and out about five print/frames, then cart them off to the lake, see if they float. Blue's trunk is filled with junk and tires and stuff, so I asked Anna to come over with her pristine Virgo car trunk, which I hope to fill with Box 6 full of everything. Big wide box, may have to bungee it in, but I think it's possible. Will know by around noonish.

Two hours before that, I finished cleaning ins and outs. Can't say I got every nit. There's three in there that must be in the glass. I've scrubbed and blown. Giotto rubber bulbs beat canned air every time. And there's some beautiful-on-the-outside Michael's frames whose idiot backing actually creates black and white nits. Love them big glossy white cheap frames. Someday have to figure how to regut them, so they hang and hold together but don't crud up the photo and glass. Probably need better glass, too.

Three hours to go, and I think I'm ready. Wonder what I'm forgetting now? Food? Oh, yeah, breakfast first. Then worry.

Looking at them — which I can't since they're bundled and bubbled up in the big box — I can only see biggish, oversimplified photographs of birds. Mostly in focus, not amazing sharp like they are in the Journal (72 dpi vs. 300, 8 or so inches high vs. 13 or 16 inches. I can get away with sharpness murder online I can't touch in prints). And while whatever birds do, including just standing there getting their pictures taken, is bird behavior, I wonder whether I've caught that instead of just nice portraits. Worry worry.

Last night, I nightmared about the box not holding together to the car and scattering stuff across the yard — maybe Tonight I sleep. After that, I can set about some of …

The full box I dragged easily out of the house, off the porch and across the yard fit easily in Anna's clean trunk. With a little help from Novle across the street who wanted to use my City trash can a couple days. No problem.

We delivered on time. I came back a couple hours later, pulled all the pieces out, leaned them on the walls, ordered them a little, unwilling to do a lot of ordering till Enrique had time to place the show with me. That took maybe a half hour. Both us citing reasons for this or that placement. Aesthetics, blackness or whiteness, density, color, size, which way the piece "leans" or other reasons.

Titles On

Works Waiting with Temporary Titles

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron needs to look down from above, so people can feel his hungry eyes the way its prey looks up out of the water at it, just before they get et up. "Prey's View." This piece really holds attention, that one's more a think-it-through. Here the bird is big and obvious. There, birds are tiny in the trees covered with Cormorant scat that looks like snow on the autumn-colored leaves.

Then it was over. We'd planned it out. Enrique and his helpers would have it hung the next day. He knows more about it than I do, but if he has questions, he'll call. I'll leave the phone turned on.

Meanwhile, for about another half hour I crawled around on the floor matching my list of titles to the pieces, scrawling the beginnings of each title onto a stick-it attached to the piece, so whoever puts up the titles gets them on the right work. Oh, and two pieces had to be reprinted lighter, because they were way too dark in the bright blazing light box of a museum. Easy to do, done now. I'll take a screwdriver over tomorrow and put in the lighter versions.

In today's email, I got a query from a TV producer for Virginia Currents who's going to be in Dallas next week and wants to do an interview and gallery walk-through with me. She says she collects interesting people. "Sure. Sounds like fun." I checked out her site, found the above link to a birder lady in Virginia. Was suitably impressed, had already decided to do it on those first very positive vibes.

Put the box in the back of BlueWent home and crashed for about four hours. The hours I worried myself awake this ayem. Soon my clock will click back to up after midnight, sleep till early afternoon. Lately it's been more accommodating to the normals. Soon I'll be more wild weird self again.

Then I'll have time for

The Projects that have piled up:

√ This year's Solstice Celebration Photo Documentation;

√ An update of my Amateur Birder's Journal that I've neglected while I put this show of photographs from it together;

√ A whole new page of Birding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley over the recent holidays, when we got a bunch of new species

The Clare Family History my mother and aunt are finally finishing for a summer family reunion;

The Fierce show, the carefully-curated next DARts exhibition;

√ The DallasArtsRevue Calendar;

I'd really like to do a video for the WRL Museum to accompany my show and explain who those birds are, but I've not had the time and may not;

√ Watch Bourne Ultamatum twice more;

Clean my project room — some call it a dininig room; a seven-year-old once termed it a "truck stop."

√ Delete the warmth-seeking munchers in the ceiling.


pure, raw, unpolished panic and its concomitant fear, which of course, leads inexorably to more panic. Back from holidays, tried to ignore that I have a show coming up this weekend that I ain't ready for yet. Piddled around Monday. Thankfully didn't have to work. Gallery's closed.

Almost everything printed, thank the Universes. But not framed. Till Mon-night before and after the quietest New Year this neighborhood has known. No guns, no shameless displays of fireworks. Hardly any noise at all, and that stopped almost before it began. Eerie quiet.

Panic-driven and gathering the right tools only because I had to, remembering each as its need made itself known. Large slot screwdriver. Air bulb blower. Water and vinegar to clean glass. My new trimmer I had to figure out. All the instructions for mats, which looks easy, on the CD, but what I needed was prints trimmed, so they'd rattle around in that too-tight frame space and not bloat and distort into waves and wrinkles after a couple weeks. The show will be up through mid-April.

Pick a print from the box and an appropriately shaped (landscape, portrait) frame (or put it on the rewire pile). Put them together however that particular pair needs together-putting. Learning, relearning with each long-unremembered step. First three looked tight on the left so trim less the right. Then abandon printing right and left, so left-right white of print 'mats' the space better, evener.

Wonder for a few moments again, why on earth I got myself into this exhibition mode again. Didn't I learn anything the last dozen or so [my shows-produced resume] times?

For awhile it seemed important to do one or two tonight. Then three or four. Eventually, I did one 11x14 with nasty glass that's still not clean as uh glass. Had to reprint one shot so it'd fit an old mat in a 16x20-inch white frame — white bird (juvenile Little Blue nearly all white like an egret but some few colors in few places we usually don't notice) in a white frame against dark water to emphasize the white white white of it.

Six Super A3s, most with glass. One that looks great without glass without glass. That's eight more or less framed this first all-nighter. 40%. Twenty total. A great start. Learning happening every new frame, new shape, new style, new new new. Carefuller checking tomorrow but great progress, thanks to intermediate panic.

Panic subsid. Till the next new. Online exhibiting is so much easier.

reindeer games

it was, of course, B.S. that I might have chosen another artist for the Pix2 show at UD. Or that I would have contravened the rules. I make too many [Like in the How to Join DARts complexity] of those [the How to send us Ops quickie] not to follow the simple ones that come to me. The more complex ones, however …

Anna and I were thoroughly wowed by Owens' work every time we visited the Continental Gin Building, and she fit the criteria so perfectly it was either put her in this show or do a full interview, so I could seriously promote her work. Kim said she'd do the interview, of course, and I'll probably follow through with one when things calm down. If they ever do. But I'd procrastinated that possibility several months, and if this didn't come along, I might have have procrastinated longer.

Being included with all the other critic reindeer in this game was too delicious to consider passing up, so that was never likely, and I couldn't choose just one DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member, either, and I'd been especially amazed at Kim's big pieces, one of which we got into Pix2.

George Bailey - Fallen Son of Perdition

George Bailey - Fallen Son of Perdition, 2006
acrylic, marker on hardboard - 48 x 48 inches

This one is fierce. And its title is perfect for the woe is I blurb below.


The sponsoring institution of a show [This saga begins on ThEdblog #1] that will exhibit one large or a couple small pieces of art by one up-and-coming artist selected by each of 11 area art writers/critics (including me) sent a copy of their intended publicity (except that it did not include times nor dates, which is what I requested and still need to list this event in the calendar) spelled this publication R e v i e w.

A not uncommon error, unfortunately. In my need for a little different publication name way back in 1979 when I started DallasArtsRevue, I thoroughly and forever confused many who cannot think as far as the obvious (The correct spelling is, after all, at the top of all 1,100+ pages on this site and at the bottom of almost every email I send).

It wasn't the first time. When Jim Jarmusch's little sister, who used to write about art for The Dallas Times Herald, back when this metropolis had two daily newspapers, did a story about us back when we were published on paper, she also misspelled it that way.

Arghhhh! indeed. Long ago, I obtained rights for www.DallasArtsReview.com as well as www.DallasArtsRevue.com for this reason, but it's maddening. Like when someone mispronounces or misspells your (or my) name.

I got so upset, I posted an email to John Pomara, curator, beginning, "damn, damn, damn." Which he responded to saying it upset him. Very like misspelling DallasArtsRevue in a press release that will go to the general public upset me, I suppose. He apologized. I apologized. In that debacle, I did not even notice that they had also misspelled my name. It's J R Compton. Not "J.R." Neither of the corrections made it to the official publicity for the show, which went out today.

The next day they sent out another version that spelled DARts correctly but still got my name wrong.

Each of our picks was supposed to be an artist who has not had significant exhibition or a solo show, and though there are fine lines involved in this consideration, an artist who has had a major solo showing [DARts Feature story from 2002] at one of our premiere art centers and the exhibition was sponsored and generously promoted by no less than The Dallas Morning News and further blessed with a full-color catalog, big pictures and an essay by the director of the News' own art collection, which said artist is in, would hardly seem thereby to be eligible. But that artist, who is superb at his craft, is among the 11, seriously bending the show's intent.

If I'd known I could have got away with ignoring most of the selection guidelines, I might have made my own selection [below] considerably less carefully. I put time and care into my choice. Others either did not or don't know much about their artist. I at least asked Kim Cacmus Owens the pertinent questions.

I am quoting the University's press release:

"... Pomara has gathered art writers and critics from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and asked each to select an up-and-coming young artist who shows promise and merit or an older artist who has not been prominently showcased in area galleries. This exhibition is an opportunity for the public to view artists "under the radar" in the North Texas art scene."

Not really.

Later, while I was photographing birds at White Rock on this very busy and already difficult day, someone bashed in my car's back-door window, rifled through Blue and its glove compartment and left shards of glass all over the back seat. Though what he could find to steal in there is beyond my comprehension, I cancelled all my accounts, filling me with Christmas cheer.

Turned out what was there was the cell phone Anna absolutely insisted I get, so I could contact 911 in an emergency. But that's the only number anybody could call from it. I have a preternatural distaste for cell phones. A deep abiding hatred for them. Only reason it was there was to please my dearest. That worked for one whole day.

Damn, damn, damn!


Still printing for my show — waiting for my prints to come. Thought I had enough but miscounted. Have two of the three big ones nailed down, but probably going to make what I thought would be the third big one smaller instead, since it's not as good. More I liked the idea of it than the reality, saw what I wanted, not what's there. A Common failing.

What goes in the now empty slot is another, a little more in focus, lither hawk, bluer sky. Not as large in the frame. Much of the same slow meticulous dreary scutwork I'd put into the first one now into this. Hope nobody can tell.

Almost, I want people to think I do it all in the original photographing. The right contrast, composition perfect, colors exact and perfect. Most people shoot, print, enjoy, even if exposure is awful, colors awry, heads cropped off. Probably that's what they think I must do. Why they engage me to conversation while I'm working. Other artists work. I just go click, get it printed, put it in a frame and call it art.

fierce page

Now finally there's an organizational page devoted to The Fierce show. With names of DARts Members who've asked, area artists I've asked, to be in it and something of the organizing principles. More is on this and other ThEdblog pages.

As in past DARts shows, that organizing page will be the link where show participants and potential participants — and anybody else who wants or needs to know how a show goes together — can check up on the latest progress, what's needed, who's in it, etc.


people keep asking to use my bird photographs in their stories to be published (but the photographer not paid) or as a visual aid in a lecture (but the photographer not paid) or included in someone else's website (but the photographer not paid). My usual line is that my bird blog (and this) is my chosen charity, and there's cameras and lenses and softwares and mouses and tablets to buy, so my work is not free.

But every time I turn down another opportunity not to make any money with my craft, I feel bad for awhile. Well-meaning (if poor-paying) people seriously believe some guy on the internet should be donating his wonderful photographs so their lecture, powerpoint presentation, article in the local paper, etc. will be professionally illustrated (but the photographer not paid).

Now in the embers of 2007 I wonder whether I'd benefit mediately by going along? Might a policy of sharing prove the pathway to becoming better known as a bird-ographer? Or just better known as another source of something for nothing?

About an hour later I was watching movie previews (Apple's are the best.) and Christopher Plummer tells the kid "Don't worry about getting famous. Get good at your job."

After I published this, feedback was overwhelming: Don't give away your work. Someday you'll be able to sell it.


Great Blue Heron Flying Low - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Flying Low

deadlines are for procrastinating, but today I took a great leap toward my Amateur Birders Journal show in the White Rock Lake Museum inside the Bath House Cultural Center 5-7 Saturday January 5, through April 20. For the last several weeks I've had fewer prints than I needed. Now, suddenly as of today, I have more than enough. I've even begun to reprint the less than perfect prints from before. Although telling a less than perfect from a nearly perfect print has a lot to do with the light source. Under my Ott-lite daylight bulb, the suspiciously darker prints look wonderful. Under the ubiquitous compact fluorescents in my house, they look a little dark sometimes, close to the perfect but maybe not quite. With the only tungsten bulb in the house, it looks good.

So, if there's sunlight tomorrow, and no snow or ice on the roads, I'll visit the museum with a portfolio of pictures and look at them in day and night situ. There's big south facing windows above where the work will hang, so even what looks dark in here should look fine in daylight. It's overhead lighting that concerns me. I have a peacock I've printed dark and dense so its rich colors shine in more than enough light. I don't know the color of the light in the museum, so I'll have to go look. Getting exciting. Now I have to start the trimming and framing process.

that word

i had a pretty good inkle to start with but the story below sucks. Trying to explain things like what excites me about some art that passes me by with other art may be foolish. May be worthwhile to attempt. But this version died beneath my fingers. I tried to write about edginess in art, which is very close to the same thing, with better results [another page]. But not the first time I tried to write it. [Another time another page]. I will probably try again to rationalize and explain what I hope to accomplish with the Fierce show. Keep doing that. I may be getting closer to the right words for it.

For awhile there, I was less in love with the title now, than the logo. Really getting excited about that logo.

There for awhile I was in love with the name, Fierce Art for the July DARts show. Gradually it became obvious how redundant an art show called Fierce Art would be. Mayhaps instead of calling it Art at all, I should just call it Fierce. So that's the latest iteration of the amazing changing art show title. Simple, direct, maybe even memorable.

Then I read the story below again, and found it a worthy foundation to add to.



Fierce Art logo
This is the fourth draft of our July show's logo.
Like software that's not real till they print the T-shirts,
my art shows are never quite real till there's a logo.

there's a strong sense of wow about an artist whose accumulated work has become a body of work — a consistent, cumulatively recognizable, yet always extendible, ongoing collection of attributes in which we can recognize themes and motifs, styles, colors or subject matter.

It becomes fierce when the constituent work is strong and its being of a body of work makes it stronger. Thinking about whom I'd want to invite to show in Fierce Art reminded me how a mature artists' work tends to force and reinforce similar visual and other impressions that feed upon each other.

We get similar gists when we see work by any mature artist (Age is not the prime determiner of maturity, although experience and the wisdom that sometimes comes with it, does help). I started to list DARts Members whose work stands up in this regard, but it would be easier to list those whose work does not, except that would be counter-productive.

The fierceness comes in the strength of multiple pieces — sometimes years' and decade's of work, that often seem, at first — or to the artist, who may be the last to see or recognize it — as projecting off in entirely new directions. It's exciting for more or less objective others to see and place new-found work in that oeuvre.

This primarily visual sense of cohesion is not something artists themselves can plan, create, direct or determine, except by making a lot of art, and letting their unique selves — some call it soul — loose into all of it.

Where "body of work" has become a pejorative term is its use by sellers of art. So that if a buyer likes an artist's work, the seller has the opportunity to keep selling new work to the buyer or appreciator of the old, there being such incremental differences between the two. Gallerists only take work they think they can sell, and it may be easier to sell essentially similar work than all new work.

Building a dependability in potential buyers is seen as a good thing. Breaking away from a style or mode of work can be dangerous to artists who were selling the old stuff. But like a musician tired of playing their hits every time they go on stage and feeling a need to expand, express and explore, artists must change.

Those who never develop a visual continuity suffer because gallerists don't know what to expect, therefore don't know if they can sell all the permutations. It is, however, entirely possible for both body-of-work artists and wild abandoners to make fierce art. Just maybe not consistently.

The more I struggle with the definition, the more I struggle with it. "It's hard to describe, but [I]'ll know it when [I] see it," Anna assures me, calling it "[My] own private fierce."


progress on 3 fronts. I'm printing the 16x20 test strips, so my order to BWC (they can make bigger prints than I can and not at all expensively) will look as I expect. The Rumpled Beak Pelican is spot on. The Hawk Flying Over is still too yellow and its sky's not blue enough but the contrast is right, and I haven't figured out which 1 other image to make that big. I will send them out by Thursnight.

I finally bought the long trimmer Anna told me about, so I can trim the barest edge (1/16 inch off each edge) from my 13x19-inch prints to put them in same-size frames, so they won't warp and wrinkle [If that's the problem.])

And I've invited at least 4 artists to the July show, including 3 members, 1 who was the first to officially inquire and 1 (Art Shirer) whom I invited soon as I'd nailed down the idea, more than a month ago, 1 member whose page we're still working on and 1 invited guest whose work I'd just written positively about, on the AC3 show page.

Member Kathy Robinson-Hays read the blurb on the Artists Opportunities page, said she wanted to be in, and I immediately accepted. {I will also invite her husband, because I've written well of his work here, too.} After New Years, when things calm down (ha!), I'll figure out whom else to formally invite.

And I have just invited Jayme Nourallah [on the ArtConspiracy3 story] who as immediately accepted. Her work fits my category of amazing, strange, oddly fierce. The paintings on her photo website are, too.

See the Calendar page's story about the DCCCD Faculty show, Saturday Night Fever, to see more oddly fierce art <Hmmm, that might could be the July show's name. Or maybe just Fierce Art.>

Interesting that no other DARts Members have requested inclusion yet. Our better Artists' Opportunities Page used to be members-only, until I realized that members were not visiting the page enough to make it worthwhile to be members-only. At more than 10,000 hits, it's one of our more popular pages. I know some members visit there, but I'm learning that many do not. Luckily, many other artists do. I strongly suggest many of those are not even from around here.

I also found 2 new Cat Who ... books at another library and will finish off 1 tonight.



it suddenly dawned on me tonight (early Monday ayem) that I'm back to writing about art and photographing it happen again. Hardly even recognized the transitions but here I am doing what I worried I might not till after my show. Which, speaking of, I haven't done anything since the print I made Thursnight. And it's back to working freelance tomorrow and birds and birds and birds and lucky I don't have to install till just after New Year's. Wonder if anybody will invite us to a party that last night of this busy year.


even though I put together a page of the photographs of Artists Arting at ArtCon3 quickly tonight and have posted it from the cover and on its own page inside — not really a surprise, that's pretty much what I'd planned to do ever since I got myself and Anna press-passed for the live arting part that happened today (as I type this there's still 23 [that number again] minutes left in Saturday, December 8),

Still, I was seriously underthudded when I realized that the show now at 500X is too good not to say some things about the art in it. Arghhhh! Indeed. I'm still hoping to finish printing all the bird pix for my show coming up way too fast. And a couple other things coming up even faster, like Christmas and maybe a couple more Cat Who books [mentioned below]...

As usual when I am thunderstruck by a show, I took copious photographs. The show, I should mention, is Saturday Night Fever featuring one each piece by 80 different artists from the art faculty and staff at the seven colleges of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). And it's sad that there's only one piece by each artist, but 500x is nearly filled with this show and three by each artist might take an armory or two to show them all. More info about that show on our Arts Calendar.

I was too busy picking my best shots from ArtCon3's paint-in today then making an intelligible page of it to even review the shots I shot of SNF, but there's lots good there, and I'm sure I'll find words and the pictures worth putting on another page for that show real soon now.



Gail Siptak - Rolly Polies, 2007

Gail Siptak - Roly Polies, 2007
oil on panel, 12 x 12 inches
Image provided by the artist.

my bird journal obsession is colliding with my art community obsession, and both are mixing it up to impede my movie-watching, audio book 'reading' and music-listening obsessions, not to even mention chocolate, spinach or TV. Seems like none of all that running around in circles can stop my photography. That straight line point light source through all the chaos is no obsession. This late in the game, it's more inertia (A body at rest tends to stay at rest until kicked out of bed by its mother; a body in motion just keeps on going.), and a body in circular motion may be impelled by Centripetal Force:

"Even if moving around the perimeter... with a constant speed, there is still a change in velocity and subsequently an acceleration ... directed toward the center of the circle.... In accord with Newton's second law of motion, an object which experiences an acceleration must also be experiencing a net force.

The direction of the net force is the same direction as the acceleration.... So for an object moving in a circle, there must be an inward force acting upon it in order to cause its inward acceleration. This is sometimes referred to as the centripetal force requirement. The word centripetal (not to be confused with the F-word centrifugal) means center-seeking. For object's moving in circular motion, there is a net force acting towards the center which causes the object to seek the center."

From The Physics Classroom Tutorial

Which may explain how energetic, even panic-driven flailing in circles centers us. That it's important to put some serious force into our confusions, impelling us to the center.

So if I'm too busy watching Tin Man online, listening to John Grisham's The King of Torts at home and Cereal Killings in my car, listening into rock folk blugrass gospel jazz opera while realizing I'll never get to half the things I thought I'd planned this month, season, year, life — and other gyrations, it all won't hardly matter no how. Learning what to abandon, put on hold, hang on to or run with requires a healthy dose of major confusion.

Nice to know I'm on the right track.



its implementation is clumsy and varied so far, but I'm using this page to experiment with notations for most inter-line links. Separate links, as above, are the same as always. But links in text here now have brief notations to let readers know whether a link will take them to another page, another site or just up or down this page. A tiny navigational possibility I've been thinking about.

Conclusions so far are: That it's needed. That it should be brief as possible. That it needs some special notation.

What I've come up with in the few minutes I've tried it, is to use [bracket] instead of (parenthesis). Often it would suffice to just say "page" when it's to another one of those (though I still wonder if Page should be capitalized). Any color would confuse, the opposite of what I intend.

Bold links are almost always to DARts Supporting Members' pages.

I support the notion that artists give art to places they want to support's auctions and fund-raisers that are not of their usual medium. I have donated photographs, but usually to get to hang one of mine in a place it's unlikely to otherwise, like the Dallas Museum of Art, etc. Not always, but charities I especially like and approve of — like EASL — I'm willing to part with one of my photographs to and for. But the Mac wants Christmas ornaments.

I keep thinking someday I'll get it together to crumple a nice photograph in a ball so bits of it show through and put a little goldish chain on it. But my photo crumples have not yet approximated a ball. I like giving The MAC a little feather magic, and I like that it is anything but my usual medium. As I told the nice lady who received it today, "If I'd known what I was doing, I wouldn't have done this."

Which is not to say I might make another one. If I have enough feathers. Maybe smaller.

I printed one A3 print tonight. Just to feel like I was still making progress. It's the one I put below, thinking it was pretty direct and strange. Then really started liking it here. Hadn't originally planned to use it. But now I will.



J R Compton - Pelician Feather Amulet

J R Compton - Pelican Feather Amulet
pelican feathers, styrofoam, yarn - 14 x 16 inches diameter
a bargain for $25

feel like I finally got some sleep. I'm so tired of printing pictures.. I want to do something, anything but. But I got the last half of my mystery novel audio book, Firestorm by Nevada Barr (glad I pay little attention to author's names; that woulda been a stopper) and I can't listen while I'm writing or thinking, only whilst linear brain free activities like doctoring or printing pictures, getting the colors and tones and details right. Right brain can go along without much aforethought. Left brain can follow the mystery.

But, I got no car, no independence of travel. I walked to the grocery store last night because I was desperate for a thick, juicy spinach salad. And bananas. Two whole blocks away. Should get Blue back today. I hope. (Did.)

Supposed to be working on a tree ornament. Got a basic idea. Needs to be delivered today or morrow. We'll see. Would so much like to show work. Oh, I'll have a piece or two in the bathroom (if they'll let me) at the unnamed DARts show in July. Maybe that'll be enough, but though I don't like The MAC's tame themes, I do like the company there.

I'd thought and wrote that "This page sure does need a picture again." Then realized this [below] would be an expression of me, all translucent and colorful and not just my work, which it is that, too.

amulet making

What i spent the afternoon doon was plucking a pelican. Found it dead [other page] at the lake last week. Looked like it was killed for sport. I plucked a few feathers when I first got it home, didn't quite know what to do with it. Kept it awhile. Today plucked more, cleaning muscle, sinew and meat with bleach, dirt and gore off with a mild soap mix and thorough water rinse. And depositing the smelly carcass in the trash outside. Will push it out tonight late, so the City can deal with it. Yuck.

Meanwhile, the feathers, if I'm quick about it, will go into an ornament for The MAC's Blue Yule. That donation will net me a year's membership and one paltry opportunity to show my work. Mine won't be as ingenious as Anna's, but at least I'll have done it. I missed showing at whatever the hell their last theme member show was.

I've done feather ornaments before. First one was simple but elegant [other page]. It sold before anyone but staff got to see it. A little strange, but better than nobody buying it, which happened later. Another pelican feather. Hardly matters for getting a membership whether it sells, but ego boo plays a part. I blew it off last year and am getting excited about this year's, and I can't wait to see what I do. Guaranteed pelican feathers.

I had one styrofoam ball, a bunch of feathers, that same red yarn and an idea. No glue, so I drove to an all-night grocery and got two. Used one dab of one, smooshed a lot of the other into holes I poked with matchsticks, then filled with feathers. Feathering the ball I realized my previsualization had nothing to do with what was happening before me. During me. My hands did it. My brain was engaged with filling the right holes with the right feathers. Bigger feathers lower down are held by friction. The littler feathers' stick-to-itivity is glue-dependent.

I may yet add longer feathers at the bottom, but I want this glue to set first. It looks ratty or hand-made, certainly assymetrical. I'm beginning to like it as is. It may not need more feathers. Pelican Amulet is the name that suggested itself, but it's a big one. Not sure what kind of tree would hold it. Where it is, it tends to spin for six or seven minutes before holding still.


New South Window - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Anna and I redid my South Window last weekend with stuff I've collected.


zombie. Morning of the living dead. Two-and-a-half hours sleep. Couldn't go back. Remembered I'd shot pix for the Amateur Birder's Journal [on my personal site] yester but hadn't put them into pixels. A breakthrough of sorts. Demented progress. Been obsessing that daily doo-dah for months. Once it officially became a chore, it was too easy to forget.

I PPed (post production) yester pix before setting off for the fixit. Anna met me there. We broke fast at Barbec's, then sortied down the hill over Sunset Bay, and I — full of early energy — walked down and got boring pix for the day's J.

Soon as I was in my front door, my system shut quickly from good-to-go to gone. Woke at 2:30 when the fixit said it'd be tomorrow (he always fixes Anna's in one day; makes me wait another). Warmed Over Death finished today's PP, posted the page, wrote this and set about organizing this show thing. Might hafta Blick new frames, and when Blue's back, check out a razor trimmer that'll let me slice off sixteenths of an inch top and sides, so these prints won't warp in their same-size frames.

Even under glass these last few years, my prints have all distorted and rippled after a few weeks. These will sit (stand?) in a variously weather controlled room for three months. I'm sure they don't AC at night. I've experimented with no glass. I hate glass in front of photographs, because it's hard to see details in a hail of reflections. Impossible to photograph, making photos difficult to show or critique here.

Mats are a solution. Of sorts. If the print's smaller than the frame, a mat flattens them. But they're more expensive than the prints, easily screwed up, takes time and travel and nobody can tell they're there. I even forget, and I know exactly how cheap I am. Or innovative. White frames accentuate work. Mats require inevitably smaller photographs. Lotta wasted real estate in mats. When I can, I like to print the pic to the edges (full-bleed) or trim them, so no white shows. Mat or print proscinium white usually clashes with frame white, which in turn's okay to clash with the wall. White on white on white.

So many frames around the image. I'm waiting to afford the next printer size up. My ancient but well working Epson 2000p prints up to 13 inches wide. My most common print size is A3 (13x19). Could do up to 44 inches if I used rolls. Hate to frame that. Next step is 17 inches, a quantum leap. For decades, my nominal size was 11x14 in 16x20 frames (thin black frames around fat white mats around 9x13.5-inch prints. 13 was up from that. 17 will seem amazing the first couple years till I get 24-inch or larger lust.

I bought some watercolor paper thinking it'd be nice to print nearly SuperA3 then pushpin them to my wall. Probably too informal for a museum or gallery setting, although back about 40 years it tres exciting in the NY gallery scene.

Trouble is ink's gone from my two chunks (black and 3 colors at 23 or 27 bucks each) to 8 or 9 or more colors. Enhanced magenta, etc. That stuff's expensive. Three each black and color will last me months till I have to print for a show, then they're gone in flashes.

Scrounging behind an old mirror, I found three more SuperA3 white frames. Wnough not to Blick.

Long day. Kept thinking it was Wednesday. Slow going printing. But going. Quit early Weddy ayem. About two. Sure I have enough frames now. No need for letter sheet prints. Just 11x14s and A3s.

next day

Goose Ballet - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Goose Dancing After Sunset

feel great. Got at least half my pix printed in one all-night sitting. Probably have enough ink to finish the job. Getting pickier after finishing the best first half choices and printing most of the bigger images.

First, I took all the valuables out of my car, a jacket, a pair of shades. Then when I opened Blue's hood to check the battery (only thing I know how to do in there, except add oil), saw the cable loose. Into the house, I pulled what seemed about the right wrench size (never got the right size first time before), tightened the cable bolt and the hold-it-in-place bolt, tried the ignition again, and it worked smooth as silk. Woo who.

& night

tonight printing was different. I struggled with one image about four hours. What I saw on the screen was totally unlike what came out of my ancient but archival printer. Scary different. Eventually, I got it printed. I'm struggling to avoid cute, although people tend to like cute. Cute like a mama bird feeding her young or a baby Mockingbird demanding food it ain't getting.

Tonight's particularly difficult image was art not cute, and in its final form looks great. Publishing images online I can get away with almost anything, even focus to the unth With just 72 dpi a lot can be changed without anyone noticing. In a Super A3 print, however, minor flaws become major. Almost the opposite of onlining photos.

I went through nine last night sans difficulty. The first tonight was a booger. I didn't get anywhere with the second. I didn't think I'd need Letter Sheet size paper, since I'd only planned to do A3s and 16x20s. So I don't have any but need some. Some bluries that looked good enough on the web 7 OR 8-inches tall are under-integrated at 13.

Then I decided to (but did not) watch a movie, thus officially giving up for the time, decided (op cit) to try one more time with another print, "Goose Dancing AFter Sunset" and it turned out almost right. Maybe right enough. A little yellowish and a lot pinkish, but then those were the operative colors when the sun's just down and the gooses are dancing about it.

Not gonna tempt the fates, however, tryin' for more. Besides, I gotta take my car in to fix the window roller upper and downer errr-lye in the mawnin', probably have to face breakfast and maybe even the lake when I'm usually asleep, all groggy and without since it's already 2:37 ayem, and I usually don't get to sleep till 5 but want more than two hours sleep.

O BTW, the image below is not among the printed, though it'd be easy and is still on the Big Maybe List. Mayhaps I should try It. The very very best images were easy to decide upon. The almost nearly as good, however, are difficult to discern among.



Jabajaba - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

some of What Pelicans Do With Their Beaks — See more

sometimes I'm the editor of an art magazine and sometimes I'm just an artist. Yesterday and today I've been making art of images I've shot over the last year. I add images to The Amateur Birder's Journal four out of five week day work days, and sometimes oftener. My little show — about 20 photographs total — opens at the very appropriate White Rock Lake Museum in the Bath House Cultural Center January 5.

So it's about time I started printing pics for it. I'd got one rather difficult image printed when I could have gone off to see the wizard (Tin Man) on Anna's cable, but luckily (at that moment, not so much the rest of this week), my car wouldn't start, so I applied my remaining luck to printing photographs, figuring out first how many of what sized frames I have.

Gradually, I'm matching images to frames in appropriate size frames. I may have to buy more, but I'd like to avoid that. Not that I'm poor, just cheap. I thought I had more but only have 11 13x19-inch (A3 size, European, I assume), 3 white (white because color prints in them stand out when the frame color melts into the wall, or that's my theory.) 16x20-inchers with semi-confrontational images for the hallway/lounge area between the galleries (and museum) and the theater and 6 black 16x20s I probably won't use all of, because they have odd-sized mats that are goofy small, although I can only print up to 13x19 on my semi-archival printer, which is usually larger than the apertures of the mats in the 16x20 frames.

Likely a total of about 20 prints, although that was guessed for a few 16x20s and the rest 13x19s, and I've already found some white 11x14-inch frames perfect for birds I don't want to grain-up by printing too large.

I'd been thinking of doing some video. As if doing some video would be something I could just toss together. But I cannot throw video very far. I might still have time to learn how to congeal still shots into an iDVD show. One obvious series would be what American White Pelicans often do with their beaks — some serious stretching going on there. Plus they do remarkable synchronized swimming in the pursuit of fishes. Be nice to show and tell some interesting avian activities on the museum's large vid screen.

Turns out printing has gone wicked fast today and late yester after Blue didn't start. I was hoping for at least one print done. Instead I done 9 of 58 possible selections into my total of 20. Thought I should chronicle this process before I keeled over, slept some, dealt with the car-car, took more birdpix amorrow, then went at printing the rest. Maybe even finish the printing — except the 3 16x20s I'll net to BWC tomorrow, go fetch a couple days later.

Might have to white spray some of my elder (go back 20 years or more) 16x20 black frames. Might even have to print up something I'll shoot tween now and late late December. I love recent work. So far on my list, all but two shot this year, and those have never been exhibited. No golden oldies here. I'm always yammering DARts Members for recent work, so I pretty much have to and always want to, anyway. Be specially nice to have something in the show I'd shot the week before.


art critic

thingy on the fence - art by xxxx - photo Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rebecca Romanek Johnson - unknown title or date - wire, rust
on the 15th Annual White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour

been wanting to be an active art critic again. Went on The Cedars Tour last weekend primarily to find some art I wanted to write about. And I did. Just haven't written that one yet.

Meanwhile, Anna and I finally finished up on our report of this year's White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour today. One more identification of an artist, and we're through with it, and it's your turn. I posted it Sunday night, so it's at http://www.DallasArtsRevue.com/ArtSpaces/Tours/WRLAST/wrl07/wrlast07.shtml. See you there then.

The tape we carefully recorded after each visit was largely blank, so we had to remember. We did remember, and today we brought up memories and ideas and opinions we'd thought lost in the shuffle. After putting the pieces together, I suddenly recognized that one of the pieces were paragraphs that should be colored gray.

Gray text on this site usually means editorial opinions, or a byline — individuated, either way. The more of that here, the more DallasArtsRevue shows itself to be a human endeavor. Not manufactured in the grain without offending anyone or any group. Just bang-on opinionated like only one human being (or several) who don't mind slinging opinions in the face of whatever can be, against some grains.

I was told on Thanksgiving that I am polite in person. I am, semi-automatically. But I quickly shed that when I get into writing about art. Writing art criticism. Like I did in little gray paragraphs scattered among the black graphs today. A trudging weight has lifted off me. Maybe I'll be able to breath again.

Maybe my sleep cycle will return to something manageable too, but I don't expect miracles. For that, I have to keep writing it. Luckily I have more art I can crit. There is, after all, an endless supply.


cynical optimist

just finished the next step in Pix2 [ThEdblog #1]. I picked a painting by Kim Cadmus Owens today and [perhaps too] quickly typed up a short paragraph about why I like her work. I'd been thinking about it, of course, but I didn't stop to think about it a long time before I sent the photo of it with the paragraph to curator John Pomara at UTD. I always worry that places I send even short paragraphs to will change my words.

Because they — Art Papers, New Art Examiner and that wheel-named thingy in Houston that was the most egregious of all, signing my name to their idiot, rewritten opinions after they insisted I rewrite my extensive coverage of the 2005 Texas Biennial significantly shorter to become their coverage, except they put my name over their added words, Arghhhh! — always have, no matter the promises.

So if it's here, at least some people will read it in its original form. Although maybe I've become paranoid about writing for any but DallasArtsRevue, and UTD won't rewrite it. The show is jurred by area art critics, so maybe changing any of our words will be verbotten. I hope so. But then I always hope and cringe simultaneously. I used to have a business card that called me, in big bold letters, a cynical optimist. Still am.

[I suddenly realized when linking various things
to my eventual story about Pix2 that I'd published
the image of Kim Cadmus Owens' painting way too
many times in the ThEds, so I removed it from here.]

First time I saw her giant urban depth-scapes upstairs at the Continental Gin, I was awed by her sense of space and in-place abstraction. What is it? giving quickly way to not knowing or much caring. Ever a balance of palpable reality and integrated disintegration, her controlled explosions are gentled by oceans of connecting texture, a sense of human scale and super-real buzzwords I didn't notice till much later.



once I realized what I'd been doing and made it public (well, sorta public, here, at least — the first ThEdblog is very popular), it wasn't long till we visited an out-of-town gallery with national notoriety. See our re-Visiting Pilot Point story. A couple days later, I began my new series of Visiting Art Spaces I'd Never Been To Before, which is debuted on The DallasArtsRevue Cover. Two stories in three days may be a new record, but I'm sad to see my ennui go.

We'd got friendly.



Equiva Post - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

i'm bored with art. Again. Think I finally understand why. Took serious thinking. Re-thinking. Not easy to recognize our own patterns, but after awhile the plaid of contrasting textures becomes obvious even to the first person singular who tramped them out.

Once or twice a year I get what I call art ennui and stop writing about it. Can't. I start with some spark and trail off in the middle. Took awhile to realize what was wrong, and that if I stopped for awhile — weeks, a month or so, it came back. Still worry someday it won't, but it always has. Needed respite.

Not sure what I did before, but for the last year and some, I've escaped into the Amateur Birder's Journal. Lately I've been disinclined to do that, but do anyway. So obsessive I shoot too many birds, want to include too many pictures. So compulsive I just have to. Journal text grows shorter. I still love being out in the sun and taking photos, sometimes processing them. It's still exciting to capture new and different pix of new and different birds.

New and different art escaped me till I realized I'd been looking at the same artists and the same art in the same spaces. Over and over. Expecting new art or new ideas from the same old input.

We've visited the same open studios, same tours and gone back and back to the same few galleries so often we know what art to expect in the bathrooms. Each new artist who invites us to their opening seems to actually expect we'd go there and do that. I was thinking how absurd that notion was when I realized what I'd been doing.

Psychosis is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So what to do? Stop going to Craighead-Green, The Contemp, The Bath House, PanAm, HoJo's, even Barry Whistler and The MAC. Spend the time discovering all those others I've ignored, places we won't know what to expect. How delicious.  nov 3 07



the biggest challenge this early in the ongoing calendar toward our next big show [below] in July 2008 is to name the DallasArtsRevue and invited guests exhibition at 14th Street Gallery in Plano. So far, the only titles that have presented themselves have been stupid and/or trite. If any artist out there sends me an innovative, intelligent and useful title for that show, I'll put one of their art works, my choice, in the show. The test for usability will be if I actually use it.

Right now, I'm leaning toward 70/30 [below], although that may be a kind of insider artist's joke. Before that was Exile on 14th Street, which is outright trite. More recently came Time & Place, and that one seems to set a theme, although almost any artwork would be appropriate to it.


Norman Kary -

Norman Kary - Somewhere in the Sands of Time
collage and objects - 11 x 9 x 4 inches - $1250

Spacemen and globes are continuing visual staples of Kary's work.


for the first time in the half decade through our recent drought, the paper-shell pecan tree I planted in the solar south center of my front yard in the early 90s to eventually shade my house through summer noons, is producing nuts again. Delicious, easy-open middle-sized pecans. I counted 43 in today's pick. There's more higher, but I got all I could reach from standing in the driveway, then on Blue's trunk in this late evening's sinking sun, behind all the other big pecan trees in this hilltop neighborhood. Yum.

(Well, mostly yum. About 3/4s of the nuts were darkly misshapen or curled up and dead when I open them.)



salad dressing in stores is expensive, high-calorie and fattening, so thinking to save some and to have something unique on my nightly spinach, onion, tomato, pressed garlic and whatever salad, I've begun mixing my own. Started with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, later added a big of peanut oil, because they say it tastes better. Early ingredients include curry powder, ground ginger, tumeric, parsley, (thought about sage, but...), rosemary, thyme, mustard, a dab of the pomegranite juice that's brought my cholesterol down to absolutely perfect normal according to my doctor, though none of the chocolate that's leveled my blood pressure to also doctor-approved slightly below normal. Garlic, chopped, squoze, dried in an old spice bottle and wet from the fridge, mustard, some crystalized ginger I keep for stomach ills and snacks, a dollop of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray goop, half a pack of Splenda, onion powder, sweet paprika, cayenne, black peper and cinamon. So far. Didn't think about it till after tonight's salad, but it smells wonderul. Can't wait to try it.

Did. It's a little thick out the little hole in the dressing bottle that I popped out with a needle-nosed pier, kinda clumpy on the salad. But delicious.


norm art

Norman Kary - God

Norman Kary - God (Dream Series) (detail), 2007
hydrocal, branch, objects - 22 x 6 x 6 inches - $1800

"God" is a familiar title for Norman Kary. I remember a beautiful blue sky Xerox in a plex box also called "God." This god is more scary than most. Found object artists are judged by the quality of the objects they find. This is one strange find. A wind-up crank protruding from its grisly clown body. With golden wings. Very very strange.

in a couple galleries early the week after openings at Craighead Green and PanAmericanProjects, I photographed DARts Member Norman Kary show at CG (and former DARts Member Anila Agha) and Paul Manes at PAP. Born in Beaumont, Texas, Manes spent the last 25 years in NYC, so he won't get a whole page here. Norm is a friend and Supporting Member, and his page has not been updated in awhile, so I took my newish art cam hoping to add to his page.

If you read the Members Index, you'll find some interesting discrepancies in end dates. For extremes I like Norm and Donna Ball. Norm writes for DARts, usually about shows at the local museum, so I cut him slack. We've also interviewed him at length, and he and buddy Art Shirer four-handedly hung the last DARts exhibition a year ago last Halloween in the space that has since become the new MFA Gallery we recently attended the grand reopening of on Tyler Street.

Norman Kary Angel (detail)

Norman Kary - White Angel (detail of unidentified work)

My favorite new Norm piece is the albino angel hoisting a die atop a piece I didn't photograph the whole of, and didn't catch its name. Another, multilevel presentation in bright colors — especially red — and intriguing shapes also captured my attention. There's also nudges into future directions that aren't fully filled out yet.

Manes' big landscapes reminded of Neil Welliver, SMU's big-time-art-guy-from-out-of-town in the 80s, though Neil's were greener and more nebulous up close. His big, bowl shape paintings were reflected that weekend in matching miniature subtle color drawings at Dunn and Brown Contemporary's Christian Schumann opening on a rare visit there. Just it's in the wrong part of town and opening night parking is elusive, though we found the same slot we got last time, just a short walk down that same street.

Like many others, we'd been mightily impressed with Schumann's earlier extensive doodle work that'd set two coasts on fire, but this trip through his childhood stomping grounds seemed mired in transition through messy abstraction, though we both liked the much smaller interfitting shapes that immediately reminded of Manes' bowls.


s5 is

might've mentioned somewhere I bought a new digicam to replace my seven-year-old Sony, which still works but not dependably or consistently; the LCD shows overall yellow and does not show what I just shot, when it works at all. So, after a long time researching, I bought a Canon S5 IS, whose image quality (IQ) is slightly worse than its predecessor the S3 IS (4 sounds like death in Japanese, so they skip it.). The 5 has a bigger and better (brighter, much higher resolution), tilt-and-swing LCD, so I can see what I'm photographing when it's pointed up or down or we're in a corner. Hasn't failed me yet; the Sony only twisted vertically, and I got used to that much versatility, which even dSLRs don't offer. That's the main feature I couldn't do without. A 12:1 zoom vs. the Sony's 5:1 helped big-time.

Norman Kary - The World Stage (top detail) - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Norman Kary - The World Stage (top detail), 2007
wooden box, collage, objects
23 x 12 x 7 inches - $2200

The rest of this piece, below, befitting its totem-like, thinking in and outside the box construction is more spatial and special. I don't know about this shoe, but what's the the chambers below makes visual sense.

Like many recent (through 2008) P&Ss (essentially, my Sony was a prosumer Point & Shoot — amazing 7 years ago; has-been now), my new Canon's tiny sensor is stressed to produce 8 megapixels from a 4 or 5-megapixel chip, and the result is annoying digital noise at ISO ("film" speeds) higher than 100 (although I can deal with that with my dFine Photoshop filter). The Nikon shoots gorgeous images at up to ISO 320 (800 with dFine), and the Nikon's shots at ISO 1200 are better than either the Sony or Canon's at 200. At this stage in P&S history, more than 5 megapixels is usually hype accompanied by seriously reduced IQ (image quality).

Norman Kary - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Norman Kary - The World Stage (middle detail), 2007

My big, heavy Nikon D200 dSLR is utterly wonderful for most tasks, especially birding, with its long VR zoom, but the wide-angle Nikon zoom I bought for human activities and art doesn't have IS (image stabilization — Nikon calls it VR — vibration reduction), so the S5 comes in handy in poorly lit art spaces where I really need my I to be S when I haven't taken my High-Stress B Complex tab lately. Like any good P&S, the much cheaper Canon also has video. A particularly good iteration of video, with IS, a silent, 2-speed 12:1 zoom and stereo audio. I'm looking forward to becoming reacquainted with video and video editing.


Norman Kary - The World Stage - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Norman Kary - The World Stage (bottom detail), 2007

Three totemed chambers so different. All red. The Clown King, his dark dog and Sergeant Pepper crowd — Is that Peter Sellers in the ring frame left? Up  the thin red hook through the floor to support the world on a thread, and not much else. A darking die, ladder and rings. Arching to top with a a bronze shoe.

I missed terribly not getting to see what the camera was seeing before I shot it. The D200 shows results on its big LCD on the back, but not through the eye-level viewfinder I prefer to look through, and that LCD's difficult to see in bright light. I've shot hundreds of images at the wrong color temperature (a camera set to tungsten light renders everything blue in sunlight; or red inside when it's set to Daylight.

The D200 can be set to RAW, whose files are three times larger but aren't dependent on color temp, and contain more information for better images, but the S5 cannot and does most of its color correction (CC) and exposure automatically. When it doesn't, I see the error immediately, before I shoot in the electronic viewfinder (EVF) and after, because it's set to review every shot for 2-seconds, rendering the camera useless for birds (Nikon does 5 shots per second; Canon maybe 1 with review turned off) but good for shooting fish in a barrel — or art in a gallery.

Also like my once trusty Sony F707, it has an easy white balance (point it at a white gallery wall where the light color changes every couple of feet, push the button, click one more thing somewhere, and the color for that shot will be near perfect). So, theoretically, at least, the Canon with built-on lens is a great little 20-ounce cam for openings, parties and studio visits. I've been using it as a "studio camera" at Joel Cooner Gallery, where I work part-time doing photography and the website, in galleries and on family trips.

The Nikon body alone wieghs just under two pounds. Each of the lenses I own weigh an additions two pounds, rendering it four times as heavy as the nice little (not pocketable) Canon.

I should note that this camera, though comparatively good for my use, is by no means the best camera out there. Or for you. In several ways, it is decidedly mediocre. Your mileage may vary. Mine cost about $350.

I'm still learning it, am still learning the D200 after nearly two years, and was still learning new stuff about the Sony after six years, but the Canon acquitted itself amazingly well on the recent White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour (about which I'm still writing). All the images from Charlie just below, up through all the Norman Karys on this page were shot using it. Almost all the photographs on my Amateur Birder's Journal bird blog, however, are shot using my Nikon, which is faster in every way.


cat who

Charles Robert Redford - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Charles Robert Redford — Owned by Artist Nancy Ferro from
our eventual '07 White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour story.

i've become addicted to Lilian Jackson Braun's "The Cat Who..." series of charming characterizations and gradual murder mysteries solved by the end, at which time I don't usually care. It's the people and their interactions and even her recurring cat characters I appreciate. The cat's detecting may be coincidence, but it is they who solve the crimes. Just they don't communicate well, and what they know isn't understood till the end. These are free audio books from the library. I've gone through five in the last three weeks, each comprising 4 our 5 cassettes, so they're quick "reads." I did a little sleuthing on the net and discovered there's at least 17 more, so my addiction is pretty safe.

The first Cat Who book I remember was Robert Heinlein's The Can Who Walked Through Walls, in a whole other category, it being now-classic science fiction. My best friend in college caught me up with the SF master's work in the early 60s, and I followed Mr. H's work till his dotage when he quit writing humanely human stories, instead compressing his once colorful style to quick declarative sentences that didn't let us in on the depth of characterization or complexity of plots that'd made his writing famous and fabulous.

I'm more recently watching my own, long-time favorite sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card fall off the same edge. Sad to see their former glorious depth fade. I read all of Mark Twain when I was 12 and have gone through other catalogs over years. Many fellow readers have recommended this or that SF writer, but I've not yet found anyone as good as Young Heinlein or or Early Card. Though I'm sure I will. William Gibson comes to mind. His Neuromancer and Pattern Recognition were fascinating and amazing.


fish show

a fishing supply business wanted someone to do an "art show" by the tenth of next month. I suggested an outrageous fee to throw them off, but when they asked what I would do for that amount, I begged off. My plates were pretty full right just then, and I'm already behind on a couple large projects. Meanwhile, I posted the opportunity on the Art Ops page, and somebody put one together. Glad I didn't have to, but I coulda used the money. Wonder if whoever did it got paid any.


cal pix

just late last night caught completely up with all the invitations for my Calendar page. Today's mail, of course, brings nine more. And the email, when it finally began to work again after failing all morning and early afternoon, dumps six more. I'd just got rid of all the old news on that page, now I gotta add a bunch more and wonder which new news to delete.

Nice pictures on the postcards and in the emails, so I can update the look of that page, too.

Gotta gotta gotta find more, pertinent pix for this page. [Then, within minutes of that plea, these arrived, and Jeane McIntosh's pic further down came to light. Might find some more.]

Sonia King - Spinoff (detail)

Sonia King - Spinoff, 2007
chalcedony, malachite, amazonite, pearls, ceramic,
glass, turquoise, smalti, paua shell, beach glass, pebbles,
abalone, crystals, gold, labadorite - 18 x24 inches

DARts' longest term continuously active member Sonia King sent this and some other images moments after I asked the Universe for more pertinent pics for this page. When I get them on her page, it will be the first image update for her member page in nearly six years. Very nice. Wonder what else I should ask for?

70/30 14th

still have not divined an organizing principle or title for the show I'll curate at 14th Street Gallery in Plano sometime next year. I'll supposedly find out when exactly by tomorrow (early October [[finally found out in early November, but July is plenty far off.]]). I am leaning toward a very carefully curated DallasArtsRevue Membership Show with rooms of "exciting new and established talent," non-members who've been well reviewed or written about in the pages of DallasArtsRevue.

Since it will be in a commercial gallery used to (we assume) selling art, and not one of our traditional (by now) one- or two-night stands [See the histories of DARts' Tranquilla and Polk shows.] but a whole three-week run, it'll be pretty special.

Of special note is the gallery split, usually 40/60, but for this show, Gaby (gallery director) says, "For something like this, I'll do 30/70." Which is more than fair.


e mail

it's Mercury Retrograde, even if you don't believe in astrology. And it always hits me fiercely. With this site's new cable modem connection (January this year, finally) came an automatic email address. One I have not till today used, because the old address is still scattered across this site. I just corrected all instances of the old address in text — as opposed to in Source Code (html) throughout the site. Only about 20 instances, and those pages are online now.

My next search was in source code. "250 items found in 1161 documents," says my Dreamweaver search utility. Nice to know a specific total number of pages on this site. Daunting to know I have to manually change 250 instances. I could just Search & Replace (formerly known as Search & Destroy) to substitute the new e address for the old one.

But I don't want to face this task ever again. And way too many web bots already find my email address (luckily, I use Apple's Macintosh Mail program, and it auto deletes the vast majority of spam). So I want to stamp out email addresses on web pages (making spam bots' jobs more difficult and less likely), and always have one and only one obvious location for my email address.

As I've been retyping today, "our latest email address will always be on the Contact Us page" linked at the top of almost every one of DallasArtsRevue's current 1161 pages.

After changing a few pages — 249, 248, 247 — I realize I can replace the old e address with either a blank (rendering that e link inoperable, perhaps maddening) or with a unique set of symbols I can do a site global Search & Destroy on later, when I figure out the best way to do that.

Next interesting discovery during this source code search, is that there were seven (7) instances of the old e in the Contact Us page's own source code. Arghhhh!

A little more due diligence and html mashing (I know enough about it to fix fairly obvious errors and eventually sometimes figure out syntax and rid idiot Dreamweaver pages that automatically insert <center> when I press <tab>, a certifiable nuisance, no matter how I set that stupid program's preferences) netted the knowledge I could replace an email address with a reference to a web page.

Ah, semiperfect. Except I still have to find all those pages in my site folders and load them up. Except Dreamweaver doesn't actually save new pages till I click on them in those folders, and I don't know which ones they are. And might never know. Thus the Mercury Retrograde.

With MRx there are no answers, only further complexity.

hat MRx completed its cyle in mid November 07, finally.


Jeane McIntosh -

Jeane McIntosh - Confusion Factor, August 2007
oil on canvas - 36 x 48 x 2 inches

Jeane's page is DARts' most recent new page. I just got it up a couple days ago. So I'm back to illustrating Theds with Member art.


remember Pix2 [ThEdblog#1] the show that started this blog? Well, I finally invited the first artist on my initial list, and she (Kim Cadmus Owens) will be in the show early next year at UTD, probably shwoing one large, instead of several smaller, image. I also learned that Kim teaches at my still (despite all sorts of shenanigans there over the years — like throwing out the ex-President there of, and his wife, my major teacher there — who then started the Dallas Institute for the Humanities and Culture (or some silly name I can never remember) at my) beloved alma mater, The University of Dallas (probably always to be confused with the University of Texas at Dallas in Plano) in Irving.


Leg Reflection - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Legs Reflected in the Pond Behind the Top of the Lower Steps
from The September 21 2007 Amateur Birder's Journal

"The purpose of any pre-screening is to eliminate ones that are obviously out of focus,
no subject, in general poor quality in most every way. Usually this is only a few.

haven't heard from the Heard [ThEdblog #2] in a long enough time I believe my connection with them is no longer vital. A relief. They've developed a perfectly cockamamie competitive scheme that works well for them, and hardly needs me in there trying to make it more realistic or fair for those who enter in the mistaken belief that named judges judge their work, not club vigilantes who delete nonconformist work before it can be judged by the judges.



thedblogs have been completely reorganized after being thoroughly confused. With any luck — and serious application of intelligence, this will always (again) be the first page and the one with the most accurate index of pages (above)

undated drawing by Gerald Burns
undated drawing by Gerald Burns

start yer own

heard recently that some people whose names you would recognize spoke in public (not to the public) about starting their own Dallas art website or buying mine. This was a while ago, and none have spoken to me about it. Some won't even respond when I talk to them, so it's not like any communications ever started. Interesting for a group bent on starting a communication entity.

Idle chatter to make them feel even more valuable to this community, I suppose. Neither have any of them volunteered to help write for this.

The news started me thinking again how DARts could continue past me. For a 63 year old guy, this is not idle ideation. Many of my most creative friends are already dead. (I miss you dearly, Georgia and Joe and Gerald and Ken. [separate page each]) The concept of this publication outliving me is an intriguing one, but it is heartening that by then, I won't much care. I'm not sure it's my problem.

Gerald Burns - The Power of the Press

I've often considered — usually only for a few seconds — having a Board of Directors. But my experience being a director of boards (Allen Street Gallery, DARE, EGAD!) has not endeared me to the notion of having those around to tell me what to do. Which is why this is not a nonprofit organization (except experientially).

Members of Boards tend to be or become idiots or worse. Mob mentality takes over and normally intelligent people become rubber-stamping boobs or hubristic fools. Like the Contemp's board announcing their new building [other page] without mentioning who's made it worth keeping their jobs, Contemp director Joan Davidow [our interview].

Like the DARE board unanimously voting a fellow board-member off, because he had never attended a board meeting. Then the next meeting all but unanimously voting him back on because they felt bad. I was the only to vote against reinstatement, then quit in disgust. The oft-voted-about board member still never attended a single board meeting and died not long later.

As it is, DallasArtsRevue doesn't even have an intern, who at nearly no pay, would earn as much as I do.

DARts continues to not be for sale, because it isn't a thing. It doesn't belong to, it is the community of people who make it happen.


jur n cure

Knuckle-dragging Black-crowned Night Heron - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Knuckle-dragging Black-crowned Night Heron Slows Landing Speed    08 06 07

i told you [ThEd#1] that 14th Street Gallery wants me to curate a show. Now I learn they will pay me $400 to do it, but it won't be till sometime (July) in 2008. Certainly not a month's labor. That should have been my first question, "How much?" If it were nothing, it would have been a DallasArtsRevue Member Show for sure. No sense going through the work gathering really really amazing interesting work from many Dallas artists, if I ain't getting paid. No wonder two other people turned it down.

[Not to say DallasArtsRevue Members's work won't be really really amazing interesting work.]

With the "pittance" I called it when I asked the gallery for all its particulars — what it can and cannot show and what is its agreement with the artists it shows, however, I can spend a little time gathering work.

DallasArtsRevue Members are plenty diverse and certainly make art of quality. And having a group show in a space accustomed to selling art — and one we don't have to clean and paint and redecorate — could have been spectacular. With now the wrinkle of a little money paid the curator, I owe a tad more work to it than just everybody in a pre-established group.

But who?

Meanwhile, The last space we did all that to [separate story] is where Mighty Fine Arts gallery has moved down the street / hill to. We should hit up Steve Cruz for a DARts show there (again). I still have a big can of paint I know will match his new walls...

Webbed Dragonfly - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Webbed Dragonfly - 08 25 07 — previously unpublished

Anyway, so now I'm being asked to jur a show by the Heard Photography Club [ThEd#1] I am, they say, the first of three photogs they're asking to judge their show. Nobody's mentioned the jurying word I like to shorten, and I'm still in the asking questions mode. They don't have the other two jurors either, and I haven't agreed. Yet.

Mainly, I want an opportunity to honor photographers whose work doesn't exactly fit the established categories or lies outside traditional wildlife ography. Like a lot of mine wouldn't / does. I'm miffed their standard operating procedure is to have two club members prescreen entries, so we beleaguered judges don't have to go through them all. They expect something like 600 entries.

They say the pre-screeners will eliminate "ones that are obviously out of focus, no subject, in general poor quality in most every way," and claim, "Usually this is only a few." I figure it's not worth it if they only eliminate a few. Worse, I'm afraid they'll screen on silly pretenses less sophisticated clubs tend to fall back on.

I strongly believe that if I'm a judge, and my name's on it, I should see everything submitted. So far, I've got no direct response to this concern.

Remember the woman who talked about points taken off her entered photo for the wing-tips of a flying bird photograph that were unsharp, because they were flapping so fast? Certainly, a lot of mine are like that, so I'd likely not take points off for stupid stuff like that. I'm more interested in capturing reality but am open to a lot of possibilities I haven't seen yet. And I want that policy officially approved, so I won't later be told to lump it.

The club says they'll send me the entry form when it's printed. I doubt that will answer my other question. Can each judge pick some pieces that don't follow all the silly rules but are amazing, intriguing or otherwise unusual photographs? I.e., can we three judges not have to agree on everything?

I've asked and asked, and I've got no answer, so I suspect they're afraid to say "no." If they do, I won't be afraid to say, "No, thank you."

But. Juring a show with 600+ pieces sounds like gangbusters fun. I'd love doing it. If only we can get some special honorable mentions and a bunch of really good and a few mind-twisting strange entries. Soon as I know, I'll post the entry requirements on the amazing Artists Opportunities page.


Goose Splash - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Goose Dive Splash

more to come as it bubbles up. The whole ThEdBlog numbering sequence is screwed, because I wanted FWADA pre-DADA [other page] in this informal, very personal category not on its own page somewhere lost in DARts. I'm less sure why now, but by planting it here, I felt looser about — and thereby had so much more fun writing — it. But it's sure clutzified the pagination, because this page (#2 is still being written after what will become (page number 3 when the current index [first] page becomes not the index. And this most recently added bloggadocio is not and will not be on the highest numbered page.

; j r


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