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All Contents of this site are Copyright 2012 or before by J R Compton, Editor and Publisher. All Rights Reserved
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Stories + Photographs by J R Compton

My Last Photograph of Margarete Handy - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

My Last Photograph of Margarete Handy   in her living room  in Popcorn, Indiana   1:37 PM, July 28 2012

Maybe I've developed an odd angle of view of friends dying — I've certainly had enough practice. But it's a transition, not a tragedy. I long ago learned the correct way of grieving, and most of it involves first-person singular. What I miss, how I learn to get along without… Our grief is not about the person we are supposedly grieving for, and eventually, we just have to accept it.

I'm pretty sure it's not even a loss for them. Whatever anybody thinks or feels, we might as well expect death. Some fight it. Others accept. Margie fought it with the best medical advice she could get, even though she'd never been to a doctor before in her life. Had all four kids at home. I don't think she believed in doctors till it was way past too late, and I don't think they helped her then, except for the pain.

Hummingbird in Margie's Yard - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission. Margarete Elissa Handy was my oldest (longest term) and best friend in the world. She died at 12:45 AM, September 2, 2012. I'd already been missing her.

She was the one person in the world I could tell anything, and she'd listen, and we'd talk. And she told me her everythings. Our phone conversations were long and winding and wonderful. I can't promise we only told each other truths, but it was as close as it gets. I've known since shortly after she knew, she was dying, and Anna and I made a special stop on our July reunions trip to visit. We spent the day and came back the next morning to give her Alex' gift we'd forgot earlier.

Anna and I photographed her hummingbirds and saw her garden and enjoyed the radio station music booming from the garage. We loved the place for all its funky charm and green all around.

We had lunch in town at a restaurant she remembered. She didn't eat much, and her floppy hat sometimes revealed her balding head from Chemo, but she was upbeat, talkative and fun. Almost the old Margie. She walked from the parking lot to the restaurant and back and we rode around. I'm not sure she'd walked that far in awhile or again. She still thought she could beat it, and if she thought that, I thought so, too.

Margie and I met at Dallas NOTES from the Underground in the early 1970s, and she was instrumental in us changing into HOOKA — the Humanitarian Order of Kosmic Awareness. Which was about, as we often described it, "Rock & Roll, Dope and Fucking in the Street," a line borrowed from my predecessor, Stoney Burns.

We both worked for Dallas NOTES when Stony published it, but we were Hooka after that. And it was a glorious adventure that she essentially paid for. The one time she tried to write a story that I edited, I still remember her wailing, "You destroyed my masterpiece," because I'd moved some words around, so she actually said what she meant to, what she wanted to say. Not that there was much stopping her most of the time.

She was a dreamer, a manifester, and the ad salesperson, and we got along like cats and dogs. I think I fired her six times. But I always rehired her. Couldn't do it without her. She brought the money in to support printing the next issue. And the next. She was amazing, and I was a pain in the butt.

She was the first to ever call me a curmudgeon. From her, I always took it as a compliment.

From Dallas she moved to San Antonio for an ill-fated marriage and four kids, Jenn, Miranda, Brian and Melissa. I visited there often. For most of our lives, neither of us chose mates well. I loved her. She loved me. But we were never in love, although that was long before I learned that didn't mean what most people think — it's a commitment, not a funny feeling. Eventually, she settled in beautiful, hilly, lush, rural Indiana — in a place that was once a town called Popcorn.

Teen Tricolored Heron

Young Tricolored Heron on the Beach at South Padre Island in 2009

The doc called back two weeks after the 48-Hour EEG attempt, as promised, and assured me "it's probably Transient Global Amnesia brought on migraine," but we know migraine part is not true, because when I stopped taking the medicine the VA had supposedly been protecting me from strokes with, I didn't get those nasty headaches anymore — and neither did the thousands of other vets who took that awful stuff — a capsule with aspirin that gives vets headaches. And I've been having this issue since before I started that stupid medicine, and way before I got the damned headaches, which decidedly were not migraines.

Everything I've learned about Transient Global Amnesia, however, rings true to my experience. I have had migraine-like headaches, but they never coincided with anything else but immense pain there for a couple of hours, then pure relief. The diagnosis is correct, but the trigger is still M.I.A.

And one of those big, expensive ram-the-prone-J R-into-a-big-noisy-buzzing-cyclotronish-machine has indicated that I'd never had a stroke, although I certainly might. I'll take the new pills and hope the new side-effects aren't worse than the old ones, but now that I don't get migraineish headaches, I still don't know why I blanked those times, nor why I could not make it happen again by doing the same things that caused the other ones.

Except that I have not again attempted to vacation along the South Texas Coast in the summer, which I'd still love to do, because I want to photograph those gorgeous, colorful birds up close and nearly tame again.

After I told my usual VA doctor I wanted to try a civillian Neurologist first, she got me an appointment with one there who called after he said I was supposed to have an appointment with, even though nobody ever told me about that appointment before it happened — and they are usually spectacularly anal about such things, so now maybe I should let him try again, if I can only find his phone number.

Even if I'm beginning to believe that some occurences are supposed to remain mysteries.

J R with 48-hour EEG - photo by Anna Palmer

J R with 48-hour EEG

I wore this wire and tape and smelly glued

(It only stunk when it was still wet; then the tech dried it with an air-compressor and it didn't stink of nasty chemicals anymore, but it still is nasty chemicals directly attached very near to my brain; and 48 hours later, when the other tech sprayed more nasty chemicals on my head to supposedly dissolve the glue, she let it stream into my eye, which was extremely painful, though she helped lead me running blind to the bathroom to flush it out.)

headgear and carried a small camera-like bag strung with a svelte thin strap that women supposedly like but was never once comfortable all that 48 hours on me hoping I would have one of my memory loss events I've had five of since summer 2009.

The Neurologist I finally got to see last week diagnosed me as possibly having Temporary Global Amnesia (TGA) , because sometimes when I exert myself excessively or get sweaty lugging heavy luggage up a flight of stairs in the sun on a South Texas beach

(It didn't happen with the same exertions in California or Montana.)

I blank — not black — out between 45 minutes and three hours, and I've awakened in a hospital and a couple ambulance rides. I do not remember the event, although many people have assured me that I will. It seems like suddenly I am somewhere else at another time. On my first come-to at a hospital in Harlingen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, I was in the ER talking with Anna and my nephew Christopher. Soon as I realized I wasn't where or when I had last, consciously been, I started talking about "chrono-synclastic infidelium," which was Kurt Vonnegut's term for becoming — like Billy Pilgrim in his novel [later movie], Slaughterhouse Five — unstuck in time.

I'm still unsure what all the symptoms are — actual TGA only happens once — because I don't remember them, but I'm told I keep asking questions like where am I? and what am I doing here? even though they've been answered several times already. Anna has promised not to call any more ambulances, because nobody in any of the hospitals I've been rushed to has yet has found anything wrong but high blood pressure, and I think riding in ambulances without serious drugs causes that.

Actually, I've got a different diagnosis each time I'm run off to another hospital. So I'm wearing this 'hat' — Bernardo and his wife asked today if it were an art piece, and from the back it almost could be, but the tape on my forehead should be colors other than boring and massive medical white. Blood Red might be more vivid.

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

It's the end of the world as we know it.

Eighteen wires connected to 18 electrodes glued to the top of my head gather in a black enclosure sealed with white elastic — "pigtail," the techs called it — and snakes down into the thin-strapped bag to a series of small bound devices that weigh about a pound but are always in the way — especially when I slept, and I can't get rid of it (till tomorrow at 1:30 pm).

That gizmo records electronic impulses. I just checked the yellowing green light to make sure it is still running, and it is. When the very talkative first tech installed all the gear and had the laptop set up in front of me, I tried various ways to get its attentions. I coughed, waved my hands, tried to sneeze, chewed, yawned. I was just getting into it, when she took it away and put it in my bedroom to coordinate my two cameras.

There's a see-in-the-dark camera that watches me sleep in bed and another watching me as I type this in my office. I haven't really checked all the equipment those are connected to — I know there's a laptop on the floor at the foot of my bed — and I don't want to get close enough to trip over or bump them. I do not wish to go through this again.

I tried several times to set off another episode through various exertions including lifting my weights, careful not to injure myself slinging 20-pound dumbbells around. I got myself winded, but refused the possibility of sweating, which might let my electrodes escape their bonds of glue, by turning down the AC and directing my strongest fan directly at me as I worked out.

Later I hauled a fifty-pound suitcase (a few towels and 50 pounds of dumbells) up one long flight of stairs, three times. But it wasn't as hot as it was on the coast, and except for making me tired, didn't do anything I could sense. My results will come back in two weeks. I just hope the devices recorded somethings I didn't notice, else it's all been a waste of time.

Unfortunately I remember all of it, so I probably failed.

What does all this mean? Will my writing get worse? Well, of my five episodes in the last four years, there seems to be a trend toward catching on to the blanking more quickly. The last time I got ambulance, I was on the stairs waiting for them to arrive, not out warm or cold in a motel somewhere. In my most recent event, I was alone and mostly cognizant that it was happening. I called Anna and told her, then just took a nap.

And while I had all those wires attached to my noggin, I tried but failed to set off another event. I realize this all may be wishful thinking, but I think I'm figuring them out quicker and doing the logical thing, resting up. My Neurologist insisted that Alzheimer tends to go the other way and very slowly. In any case, I may learn something about it when the report comes back in a week or so. While religiously adding to my 48-hour log, I learned that I have a lot more, brief headaches than I ever gave myself credit for, and I logged every one over that 48-hour weekend, so maybe somebody can coordinate my reports to some brain wave activity.

A Gathering of Magical Shapes - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Gathering of Magical Shapes

I have a piece in a less-than-wonderful exhibition. It's a good piece, and I like it — I photographed queues of people standing in front of my piece, pointing — I worried they were actually touching the surface, but I think not — and discussing the work. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I was pleased with their interaction.

Its presentation is an experiment. I hate 'hiding' photographs behind highly reflective glass in thick, annoying frames. Painters sometimes hang their work sans frames and certainly without glass. I've only ever seen very old and valuable paintings behind glass — usually in museums, perhaps hermetically sealed against our toxic air and light.

Mine was hardly the only piece interacted with, and I'm sure lots of people disliked my photo and loved other works in the show. It was a mixed-bag exhibition, it usually is. That it was a one-piece-for-each-artist group show guaranteed a well-attended opening reception, and I like that, and I enjoyed interfacing with friends and others there.

But something there is about having a required set of visual themes that tends to stifle the wilder associations one might then incorporate into a little different art. I sussed the quality of the exhibition when I delivered my work, and all that worry about having decent work in a less-than show cascaded through my mind with my many admonitions to pay careful attention to whom younger artists (not that I'm one of those anymore) should show with.

But what the hell. This was the first photo I've exhibited this year. I thought I was not doing that anymore, then I missed it. I thought I might, so I readily accepted the invitation to this. I would again.

I usually chafe at being told what to do. In art and other particulars. But this time I thrived under the unfamiliarity of it. I thought through the project, I experimented with component images, I let its own magic guide me by not controlling every aspect. The whole process of my Sleeping Man is verbally and pictorially explored on my current DallasArtsRevue Member Page.

I know I was not the least critical person in attendance, as I know my tastes are a minority sampling. But I really had so much fun doing the piece, incorporating so many different ways of doing a photograph, including many that I always eschewed, that it was a marvelous experience. And there are probably other pieces there that, if I'd give them perusal without a crowd, I would grow to appreciate.

I've gone back twice now, and find new pieces to enjoy — or abhor — each time. I already know I liked Cuyler Etheredge's Cornelius Dupree, Exonerated of Rape and Robbery After 30 Years in a Texas Prison mixed media. I like it primarily for the emotion of the title, but soon as I saw it — so different from all the unsure works around it, so secure, so solid good, I photographed it (and have asked Anna to put with the DallasArtsRevue Calendar's listing of that show). A standout.

Contents - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.


I adore un-communicative communications. The idiocy of DADA President and freelance PR person Lisa Taylor forgetting to mention the name of the institution in an email promoting that institution is just too delicious. One of my favorites of the genre was Lisa Taylor's email PR for the last Dallas EASL auction (for which she charged the nonprofit charity $500). It was not only ugly and noncommunicative but failed utterly to mention where or when the event was.

A more recent example was last when when I was piling through my Junk mail file full of anti-Obama and anti-Romney treatises and Get Rich Quick schemes, when I discovered an email promoting my old friends at the Creative Arts Center, an institution that is curiously un-named in the email (I figured it out from their e-address). Their big scoop was that they'd got Mary Tomas of Mary Tomas Studio Gallery and somebody who might actually have taste, to jointly jurr CAC's annual student work membership exhibition.

I can always depend upon Marty Tomas Studio Gallery to have nearly nothing of value in her shows, except her own work, which is often in the far back, right corner when it doesn't take over her whole vanity gallery space. I like her huge, wildly romantic cloudscapes. I know it's a perverse appreciation, but I like those massive canvases of wrinkly clouds. But all my years staring up at clouds earns me the liberty to appreciate those sometimes. Other than her own work in her own gallery, I'm really lucky to find anything else worth a second glance. Though sometimes it happens. I've grown to understand those happenstances as pure luck.

I shudder each time a friend suggests I go there to see their work. Can nobody sense the utter lack of taste there? Yeah, it's on Dragon Street, but ... To select Tomas as arbitor of anything quality is absurd. Even if anybody who runs a gallery can expect to be invited to jurr some sad, sick, little show somewhere. Even — especially — the galleries who die inglorious financial deaths, because their owner/arbitor wouldn't know quality art if it stepped on them.

Pink Roses - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pink Roses Coming and Going

One of my knacks is knowing the meanings of words. Not all words, of course, but a great many more than I should by any rights have any knowledge of, although I used to read dictionaries for fun.

So when Charissa Teranov — who is bar none, my all-time favorite ex-Dallas Observer art critic — called me a nihilist after drawing me in thanking me "for what [I] do," aloud in public, I thought the accusation absurd and wondered if I had somehow threatened her. She told me that I probably did not know what that meant. But of course I did. That's an easy one.

She also told me I should read more, which I found amusing. I read all the time. When I drive almost anywhere, audio books read to me. I love Longform essays, which I often download to my Kindle, then delete after I've absorbed them. Yeah, I have a Kindle, and I keep it busy.

My favorite essayist was Jonah Lehrer until he admitted to plaguarizing his own work and others and making up quotes. I still like his work, and I still know a still-popular local journalist who has stolen many press-release prose items, including several of mine, and affixed her signature thereto when they were published. I may need to find a new fave essayist. But then worrying about lying journalists seems strange when we know many of them lie one way or another most of the time.

I like to clude me into my stories as a fail-worthy human being, often including "I think" and "seems like" in my prose, so people realize there's a human being here who believes he is telling the truth as he thinks he knows it, but I sill refer readers to my Art Ennui and Objectivity Indexes page about the objectivity I do not believe exists and my recurring bouts of art ennui, when I just don't care.

It's handy, as a writer, to have the right word materialize in my head when I need it, although sometimes I just get the sensation that I know the word that fits and just how well it fits; I should know that word; what is that word? And leave a stream of large red Xs in its place, and it comes to me later, when there's no stress to find it.

I always did especially well in the vocabulary portions of big all-day tests. It considerably raised my other scores.

I've checked that word a couple times since. I have Wikipedia on speed dial and a bunch of other dictionaries via another quick link.

The first time I looked up nihilist, I found something about not believing in organized religion or political parties, and though I identified with that one, I wondered if I'd got that word wrong all these years. Now I can't find that interpretation. All the others seem intent on the meaning that flashed when Terranova condescended to call me one.

"A viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless." I understand the definition. I do not accept the condition, which I find absurd, although that bit about traditional values does tickle something in me.

I love life and find great joy in it — as well as all those other feelings, and I talk to the Universe often — thank it for special treats — like other people talk to their gods, I suppose. It's all the same, really. In 1988 I published a story about prayer that I still fervently believe.

Perhaps I should Ms. T. to my Metaphysical pages, my bird journal — or the rest of these ThedBlogs, which might lead them to whom I really am.

Oh, she also forbade me to write about this, which prohibition I have of course ignored. Thedding blog is one of the most honest ways I have of getting rid of the cooties.

Later, I found this in Wikipedia while looking for a Nietzsche audio book I could play in the car (Unfortunately the two in English I discovered are read by one of those annoying computer voices that misses all inflection. Later I found a tedious DVD that should have been an audio). I've chopped the Wiki author's text into smaller paragraphs, so I can more easily understand it:

One such reaction to the loss of meaning is what Nietzsche calls 'passive nihilism', which he recognises in the pessimistic philosophy of Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer's doctrine, which Nietzsche also refers to as Western Buddhism, advocates a separating oneself of will and desires in order to reduce suffering.

Nietzsche characterises this ascetic attitude as a "will to nothingness," whereby life turns away from itself, as there is nothing of value to be found in the world. This moving away of all value in the world is characteristic of the nihilist, although in this, the nihilist appears to be inconsistent:

"A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: the pathos of 'in vain' is the nihilists' pathos — at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists."

—Friedrich Nietzsche, KSA 12:9, 
taken from The Will to Power, section 585, translated by Walter Kaufmann

Nietzsche approaches the problem of nihilism as a deeply personal one, stating that this problem of the modern world is one that has "become conscious" in him. Furthermore, he emphasises both the danger of nihilism and the possibilities it offers, as seen in his statement that "I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism's] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength!"

According to Nietzsche, it is only when nihilism is overcome that a culture can have a true foundation upon which to thrive. He wished to hasten its coming only so that he could also hasten its ultimate departure. Heidegger interprets death of God with what he explains as the death of metaphysics. He concludes that metaphysics has reached its potential and that the ultimate fate and downfall of metaphysics was proclaimed with the statement God is dead.

Yeah, and what else is new.

Kitchen Window Landscape - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kitchen Window Landscape

When I was matriculating — and a bunch of other things — at the University of Dallas in the early 1960s, photography was still considered a "Potential Art Form." I was apprehensive about that appellation then, but I'm warming to it now, fifty years later. A potential art form might, sometimes, in very specific circumstances yet to be determined, be good enough to be called actual capital A Art. But not always and not necessarily. Now that everybody and their mother, brother and great aunt have cameras hanging off them in the forms of phones and tablets and MP3 players and even cameras too, a great many of them believe they are making art, when they get an image that vaguely resembles some thing or some body or sun set.

Especially on Facebook. I read people oohing and ahhing about photographs that don't look like any body or any thing I ever saw. Focus so out of, the main objects supposedly in these graphs are often not recognizable. Or they are so boringly normal — of dogs, cats, cows, horses, people, babies, small children, etc. doing nothing in particular, out of focus, badly over or underexposed, I can't even tell what's going on.

I get nervous when somebody tags me into a gelatinous mass of dark matter, as if this is the definitive format for being me. Face so out of focus or lost in visual noise I'm not altogether sure that's me. I liked it better when the only public photograph of me available was this one on the DallasArtsRevue.com Contact Us page.

Not that being able to tell what's going on is requisite for art. Perhaps the opposite is more likely. Always — since about my second year into the 48 or so years I've engaged in photography as a life pursuit, I've done abstractions and semi-abstractions. I suppose that thing above is one of those. I didn't arrange it for this photo. I just found it there and thought it might be pleasing. To me.

I'm not claiming this or any of my original (not copies of somebody else's art, like the next one down certainly is) photographs are either art or great art. The fact that I've been unable to sell more than a couple-hand's smatter of the stuff through my whole life as a photographer attests to that. I think I'm a better photographer than most of what I see anywhere, including on gallery and facebook walls. But we all probably have that affliction.

I'm wowed to see stuff I couldn't even imagine having thought of to do, and I've been amazed at what other artists and photographers sometimes pull off — generally beyond when they just take pictures of something that's already beautiful or interesting or amazing. Copy work is copied work. I do it, so I can show you what I'm talking about. But I like my original art (maybe even Art) photography, and I may have to start showing more of it on walls.

Paul Gauguin - Young Christian Girl - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Paul Gauguin   Young Christian Girl   detail   1894   oil on canvas   25.75 x 25.75 inches
photo © 2012 J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Largely because it has become so incredibly popular — and not just for a Dallas audience — I spend more time updating and polishing and adding new information to my How to Photograph Art page than any other on any of my sites. It's fun. It's my great opportunity to be the teacher I've always thought I should be, without hassling with authority figures and bureaucrats and other idiots. It's one of those things I thought I didn't know nearly enough about to do a whole page of it. Then I did, and I've been growing it for several years.

A vaguely similar page that proceeded it was How to Design & Distribute An Invitational Postcard, but now the internet is a much better place to do your art show inviting, even though most people do it badly — there really should be more pictures involved. I probably should do a page of how to invite people to your art show via the internet. I've also long considered doing a page on how to PRomote & Publicize Your Work. I did an informative page on the subject of How to Start Showing Your Art that covers most of the high points, but it also leaves a lot out, although I'm happy enough with it to concentrate on the photo art page instead.

It already has 158,569+ visits, and I feel compelled to add more info and organize and reorganize it often. I also spend time making it typographically and illustratively more attractive. These are all things I enjoy doing and may even do particularly well.

It's depressing that so few people read my reviews anymore (not necessarily true always), but at least something I've done has gained readership. There are worse legacies to leave.

Spit - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

SPIT   -   Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

It's been years ago now, but it's stuck in my craw, so I'm finally going to write it down here, where nobody but a few close friends and some other people I never met will ever read. They — well, she — asked me to take photographs of the performance. Big place, stage and everything. A real venue. Not art. Opera, if you can believe it. I saw at least one other photographer. I always assume other photographers get paid for these things, and I'm just along for the ride.

They needed documentation. I document.

The thing happened, and I was having fun photographing it all, never having seen this performance thing before, as it unfolded, figuring it out as it went, impromptu-like, switching cameras and choosing lenses and catching action in the right places, and figuring what would be the best now and now and now. Having no inclination what would happen next. Like a wedding on steroids. Pomp and circumstances and strange singing I knew nothing about what was being sung or said. No posing or reruns.

I got good solid shots. They — she's the one who talked to me about it — liked them. Made a book with them on it and in it. Told me, when the book was out — not published by a publisher or anything, just some one- or two- or three-offs. She gave me one once, after it had gone through some drafts. One of those computer books you put pictures and words in on the puter and send it off to the internet, and get back books, booklets, really. Glossy slick, almost professional. It looked good. I would have done it slightly different. But nice.

She told me my photographs were why they did those books. They were so good. My stellar photographs that I was never paid for. Just donated, I guess. That those shots were why making a book of it was important. 

Then, much later, after somebody stole her one-off of the early book at a party where she showed it off. Somebody just took it off with them, like they must have had hundreds of them, right? Wrong.

About then is when the plan was hatched to print up a bunch of them. Luckily I'd published some of them myself, with full copyright notices. And could they have permission to use them? Yes. Of course, all you have to do is put my name adjacent to the photographs of mine that they used. Or, since my photos comprised most of the book, put my name on the cover.

But what about the other photographers who got some pictures in it," she asked. "Put their names on the cover, too," said I. Put them there in little print. Just on the cover. It's a book of photographs. The paid and/or unpaid photographers should get credit on the cover. They wanted to list my name for all of my photographs in small print on the inside back cover, where photo credits for a book of photography with some words to separate them in it, "belong."

I suggested all the photogs of the essentially photographic book belong on the cover. No, she says, that's not what it's about. Meaning it was about their contribution to the performance, not the images that showed their contribution to the performance. God no, not that. 

So I requested my notice adjacent to each photo in the proposed book. I never saw the book. I have no idea how many of my photos are/were in that book. They wanted me to pay $35 to have a copy of that second book. I have no idea where my original copy of the first book is. Or whether my photographs were credited there.

Much later I learned that the second book's designer was upset at me for requiring that each of my unpaid photographs in that to-be-sold-at-cost book have my full copyright notice and credit "immediately adjacent to my photograph" in the book. That, apparently, was a nightmare. I care, but not much. I think a photo book should credit the photographers on the cover, in smaller letters than the vaulted art professionals whose work was shown by those photographs, many of which were outstanding, but there. Might have been easier to design, too.

Some day, maybe I'll come upon my copy of the original book version that she designed. Can you tell it doesn't bother me that much anymore?

We used to be sorta friends. I don't get invited to parties or events anymore. Sometimes I get a smile, maybe a couple words.

Lake Highlands YMCA Pool

Lake Highlands YMCA Pool

I'm swimming again. It's been about a year since I did that. Long time ago, I spent my life in swimming pools. I even slept under the deep end using a face mask pumped with air, and heavy metal grates keeping me down there till someone pinched the air tube.

I'm comfortable in swimming pools. Much more so than exercise machines that harbor other people's sweat-borne contagion.

Last time I swam, I swam almost every day for months and lost forty pounds, gained back ten, then stayed 30 down since. When my weight rises, I exercise more or eat less, then after a day or so, I forget, and my weight stays at 200. I want to drop thirty more, even if I have to do the forty to float back to thirty, at which time I'll weigh 170 pounds.

People won't recognize me, but I'll know me right away. That's what I weighed when I was a lifeguard at the Officers Club pool at an Air Force Base just after high school, when my Dad was in the service, before I was. And what I weighed entering Officer's Training School, though that did not take. They kept me moving, but stupid stuff that was, in no other way (except socialized medicine at the VA thirty years later), rewarding.

The first day this time, I swam 42 minutes, after promising myself to stop at a half hour. It felt good then. The next day I only ate, slept and updated web pages, photographed birds and did a bird journal after, before I slept more and more.

The first few days are most difficult. Body trauma. I skipped Wednesday, when I mostly slept, photographed birds but only vaguely considered art. Today I swam 42 minutes more. I am not so exhausted now, although I napped an hour or two extra this afternoon.

I swim crawl six or so laps each time. That grows, and after a few weeks, I'll swim an hour, unless I'm tired, but now 42 minutes is enough. At a half hour, I slow down, even swim backwards, feet first, hands flapping a lap or two without the fins.

Tomorrow will mark two days in a row — first time this time. Take the weekend off, then work to three or four days a week till summer when I can swim outside in the Lakewood Y's sun-beat pool, only a few minutes away. I like not sharing a lane, because I do not swim in anything resembling a straight line.

Mine's sloppy, but it goes. I use flippers because poet swimmer Dolan said to — makes me work my legs muscles harder. It's more efficient, and I swim faster, but I work harder. Somewhere I have a snorkel, but I haven't used it yet. I face down, away from the sun, breathe through the tube, watching the tile on the bottom, swim back and forth and back and forth.

I don't count laps. I just swim.

Table Leg - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Table Leg

In my G2 Journal I used to go back to shooting a white, plastic chair on my front porch when I had something to say that could not otherwise be illustrated, or I just wanted to. It was an ongoing thing, somewhat creative, though I haven't done it for some months now. This leg came off a table, also on the porch, that I painted the top of white. Not really sure why I did that. Often I wish I hadn't. I like the shiny brown paint/stain/whatever better. Now.

Although the white surface has been helpfully plain for photographs of other things — like a rotting and stinking parrot and some odd insects — that I didn't want to take into my ersatz studio or any other part of my home.

Table Leg Two - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Table Leg

Anyway, the leg came off and has been lying there waiting for me to fetch just the right size wing nut, so I can put it back on the table and not always have to lean it against a wall. So far, that's taken months. Eventually, I'll get around to that chore, but I haven't made it yet. And there is that table leg, looking essentially ordinary or slightly symbolic that I've been meaning to photograph for the longest time.

Today, I photographed it twice, and I like both shots, even if they are not really all that visually exciting. Just I've been thinking about it all this time, and today, the green — and white and purple — all around it, seemed just perfect.

For awhile back there, I felt lost in the wilderness, but now, starting with this simple thing, and the slightly more complex spatial notions more or less evident in the downtown Dallas series, I seem to be waking back up as a photographer. I haven't written about anybody's but my own art lately, but either that will come along, or it won't. I don't know or much care. This is fun again.

Blue Edge - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue Edge   digital photograph   16.2mp   iso 200

Today I reconnoitered downtown searching for angles and alignments that make interesting visuals. I found those and watched the edges of buildings for intriguing details. Today was cloudy there. Bright just east but a buttermilk of choppy clouds over downtown only allowed temporary slivers of direct sunlight onto buildings.

Tomorrow's supposed to be sunny, and I'll take it. Easier parking on a Sunday. Finding a space any other time is a nuisance, although I slotted into illegal parking slots long enough to stick the club out the window at something just to see whether to just shoot 300mm or go the whole 600mm, and besides being 11 ounces lighter, 300 will do just fine. I'll bring a pocketful of quarters, park and walk, park and walk. And start earlier, maybe around 2 pm.

Be nice if it's warmer, too.

It wasn't warmer, and hauling The Club around was real work. But the resulting images are on my DallasArtsRevue Member page.

Underwater Bench - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Underwater Bench

I have this new lens that's several kinds of amazing. It's sharp, may be Nikon's sharpest lens ever. It's bright — meaning its maximum aperture is as wide as another really big chunk of lens I have; that one's a wide zoom; this is not a zoom, not wide. It's long. And it's heavy.

I've been thinking of it as a club, or maybe a Shillelagh, though it's more Japanese than Irish.

I've had 300mm lenses before, still have one other that zooms out to that, and yet another telephoto zoom lens that flies right past 300mm. And I've been using this new one for birds just less than a week now, and I love it. But I want to use it for something besides birds, I'm just not sure what. I can feel what it should be good for. Will be good for, but I haven't connected the opportunity with the reality. Yet.

When I go out with a lens — and I almost never take more than one — I think in that lens' focal length. When I have a telephoto, I think in telephoto; and when I've got a wide angle, I think wide; and when I have a macro, I think very close up. So I look for subjects that fit those parameters.

Very rarely do I wish I had some other lens instead, although with 600mm I sometimes still want to back up some. Usually though, figure I got what I got, and I mostly think about using it for that. Like this bench caught in last week's flood at the lake. The scene was a wide-angle scene. Acres of water where before was grass and trees and nearly none of that H2O stuff. I didn't have a wide angle, so I shot tele. This, not the whole wide wash of water. I would have had to back up to the next county to get it all in.

But this is one of only maybe a half dozen shots of anything but birds and bird-related subjects I've used it for. That feels totally awkward and strange. Almost surreal. I think I need to wander around some unbird places like maybe downtown or something in-close and play with this thing. Using it for what it's great at, is pretty easy. Maybe even facile.

I need to use it for what it's ill-suited for. New. Different. Oddball. I gotta think outside the telephoto. I haven't put it on a tripod, but I need it to be hand-held for this whatever shots I'm being careful not to plan ahead here. I need to let it discover what to use it on, not plan it out.

Engage in some unplanned interactive visual response to yet-unknown stimuli. I can almost feel it, but I don't see it yet, and I want to.

bird in a car grille - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bird Squashed in a Car's Front Grille

I have just been invited to be in an art exhibition at a place I've only barely ever even heard of with no idea with whom I would be shown. Worse, my print, framed, matted and all that silly stuff, would have to be delivered in seven days. That's just rude. The person inviting me wrote about how much fun curating art shows was —

She thought she was going to come over to "my studio" and look through "my prints." But I don't have a studio or a working printer and have not had one for well more than a year. I don't make prints unless I have to, and in general, I'd rather not. I shouldn't repeat yet again that I'd rather show on the WWW — although definitely not on Facebook or any other major site that caters to amateurs who get all googly-eyed about out-of-focus shots that are not even composed.

But compared to the expense, time-soak and challenge of getting a photograph ready for exhibition — well, there's no comparison. I hope by the end of my exhibiting career to have shown in 100 shows, but that's close enough now (98 and counting), I can probably manage without futzing with seven-day wonders, where I'm mostly left wondering "Why bother?"

I have been collaborating with a friend to curate the first of an annual series of curator-specific exhibitions at the Bath House Cultural Center late this summer, and I was startled he wanted to invite artists a full year ahead. I've usually managed to ask a couple months before most of my 14 serious curatorial efforts so far. We didn't manage twelve months, but we gave most artists eleven.

A few years ago, after I had been exhibiting my photographs for nearly fifty years, and I was getting into 3-5 exhibitions a year, I seriously began to ponder the whole idea of exhibiting. I thought I wanted to enter more competitions, but the more I did, the less I enjoyed it. So now I don't. I get my best ego boosts from showing in competitive and invitational exhibitions right here in the Metromess, and of course, on my various sites. I hope more real curators will invite me and my work, but I need more than a week's notice.

When I got that last invitation, my first thought was to list it in my Exhibition Resume that I was "invited, but I declined," but I was not so brave. I told the inviter I was interested before I realized how little time I had to get something selected, work it up, get it printed, get it reprinted again right, get it matted and framed — all at my expense, and deliver the fool thing to North New Nowhere.

I won't list it, and probably the less anybody knows about it, the better.

Monster Window - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lizards, Panthers and Dinosaurs in the Window

But the real reason I quit writing about art there for awhile is because I got my confidence detonated. Then I joined the conspiracy and spread the flames. That took awhile to cool down. Set me to wandering the wilderness wondering whether I still had to write about art, and sure enough I do. Wasn't thrilled about that answer. Birds are easier. I do get involved with them, want to learn the hows and whys and then-whats, but it never gets personal. They're out there, and I'm in here. Mostly safe.

When I get involved with people who can let me down, then they do, I get skittish. My fault, of course. Not that I shouldn't get involved. Just I shouldn't take it so hard when they disappoint. Fail to see the bigger pictures. Out beyond themselves. I've always claimed not to be objective, and that's turned into very subjective. Yesterday I quoted somebody's quote I learned a long time ago about writing.

When we get the most self-specific, write deep into the gritty-nitty details, then spit those out onto the sidewalk everyone can see, we communicate universally. Everybody sees themselves in those very personal details. Can't help but to. It's what ties us together. Just that we each think they're most personal to me, me, me. And are shocked and dismayed when we realize they're everybody.

So there I was cruising along, the boat hit a ripple in the water, maybe as much as a wake, flipped over several times, threw the driver out, slammed me hard against the blue surface, and I sank. Didn't know what hit me for awhile there. Dazed and confused. Walkin' around bumpin' into things. Getting in my own way. Trippin' over my shoelaces. Feeling lost. Had to think about it more than I was willing to till it started fading.

Not that it's gone yet. Still a little out of focus. I've been gathering pieces.

End of most months I go through all my daily folders of digital images and throw away all the ones. I rank every frame I shoot as I figure out which are those I want to use (***), the maybes (**), the very probably trash (*) that I always have to sift through again, because my mind changes after I haven't been at them so close awhile, and by then I've ended up with the spare few gems I've already published (*****). Then sometimes I have to use four asterisks to separate the even-betters from the three-stars.

Then the month or year ends, and I have to go through and trash all the zeros ( ) I never assigned scores to and the ones (*) from all those daily piles. All the rest rarely amount to much more than a hundred shots, usually half or a quarter that.

So I have been discarding the ones and unrateds in this recovery process. For awhile I got caught up thinking friendship was the most important thing, but those change whether I want them to or not. What's really important in the scheme of things as they are, as opposed to the way we think we want them to be, is that we continue to do the things that make us happy or that we are driven to do. A few times both at once.

Call it god or spirit or a calling or we're driven. It has lots of names. I figure mine is why I am here. Probably most people who accomplish anything think that.

Someone who probably thought they were being kind, said in response to something I said very early this year that it was the most positive thing they'd heard from me ever. I suspected they hadn't been paying attention. But we all think we're positive most of the time. Lately, among more than the usual friends I keep close over the holidays I've got feedbacks that what I do is important to this community, and it's what I needed to hear, and what I believe to be true through all that rough water.

So I'll be back at it. I've gathered some photographs from the time of lost bearings. Bumped them over to the new month and year. Gathering images is my first step.

J R's Bears - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R's Bears, Tigger and Eeyore

I like this very short story so much I've already told it to two of my favorite people twice, and now I'm gonna tell it a third time to everybody else. Well, everybody else who reads this, something of a minority.

I got bored at a gala Christmas Sale art opening that was supposed to be a party last night. Except they didn't have any place to sit or any food to eat — just one bowl of sugar cookies and two bowls of air-induced potato substance. They did have drinks, and I suppose that's all a lot of people need or want, but I didn't care for it.

Fairly diverse crowd. A lot of noisy talking I couldn't hear one person away the acoustics were so loud. I got bored 'cause I only knew a few people and nearly talked them to death, so I walked around the block to enjoy the cold night air. When I got back, a guy had stationed himself at the front door, apparently opening it to anyone who walked by in better than rags. When I arrived, he asked, "Have you ever wanted to take a look at art?"

"Never," I said emphatically and walked in the door.

Skunk - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cute Kitty

I keep wondering how much longer I can keep up all these ruses.

I recently told somebody what I do, and he replied "You don't hear much about that," meaning he didn't know anything about the Dallas fine art community, and I said, "Well, I sure do." But we are few and a small and largely invisible community to most people. Where once DallasArtsRevue was the only public source of information for this very insular community — Joan Davidow is back reviewing art on KERA-FM. She's still a little kindergarten teacher-ish, but it's so nice to hear her clear voice on our peculiar mediums, in public — it is now more or less served by a variety of publications and websites and blogs, although the extant local newspaper of record ignores us almost as entirely as does most of the rest of this city. I don't read those other rags, but I bet they do some serious kowtowing to the powers they perceive.

I perceive those same powers, but don't give them much notice, because they're full of shit.

I don't keep up with site statistics for this website, because I never did this for those, but I'm fairly confident they are down. The calendar is, even though it is much better now that I'm not running it anymore. And I just don't seem to have the energy to chase down all the gonna bees and might have been art stars anymore.

Do I want to keep it going? I tell myself I want to keep the site up, but keeping it online is simple — and getting significantly cheaper. Making it bigger and better and broader and all those other comparatives and superlatives, isn't. I'd like the option of writing about art when the spirit moves me, but I'd like to expand my social circles and play more and work less, except on my photography.

How much longer do I need to flog this dead horse? I can't imagine doing or wanting to do it into my dotage (which is ever closer). I need a couple new adventures in this life, although I'm certain I will keep photographing birds. I love that. And I want to photograph everything else, too. Making my own art makes sense — to me, but I am less certain about exhibiting it anywhere but online. My god what a hassle!

But do I want to worry everybody else's art in words and pictures every day for the rest of my life?

I'm just not sure.

Then again, maybe I've just got Art Ennui worse than usual. I'll wait till after Mercury Retrograde (circa January 2 when that shadow finally passes) to decide these things. Procrastination may be the best revenge.

Then I got a letter from a friend that truly bucked up my spirits.

Seeing Red - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Seeing Red

Some indeterminate time ago, back when I used to send Midnight Rambles out to DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members about what I was thinking about doing and asking their feedback, I asked whether I should ever attempt to negatively comment upon their work.

I'd avoided it, but had thought about maybe doing some sometime maybe. But first I felt fealty to those who were helping me support myself with this pile of pixels. Mostly, those who replied, said, do what you need to do, J R. Say it if it needs saying.

I remember long-time member and dear friend Marty Ray reminding us all that "J R is just some guy who expresses opinions." Therefore not someone worth fearing. I always liked that about Marty. She can see through a lot of noise and quickly understand the needle of signal hidden inside haystacks.

I'm a careful opinionater. I work at having and expressing judgments. I attempt to be precise about stating them, and I try like the dickens not to go back and rewrite them out once I've put them in.

Many so-called critics describe art and actions in the guise of reviewing them, ever afraid of expressing personal opinions. Many get caught in the vice of objectivity, which I know does not exist.

When I wrote for Art Papers and the New Arts Examiner, their editors translated my careful opinions into formal-speak so opaque I had no idea what the words they were putting into my mouth meant. (Houston's ArtScene magazine never did that.).

That same sort of ugly reshaping happened on the single occasion I will ever have written for Grass Fire. I sweated blood to précis and précis the précis out of a story they liked, that I'd already rushed to publication in DallasArtsRevue about the Texas Biennial the following week. They told me to rewrite it smaller and without the photographs, then deliver it a week later, which I did.

When they published it under my name, I didn't recognize it. The opinions they indicated I had written by posting my byline on their massively rewritten story were neither mine nor comprehensible to me. And they changed my opinions.

[I was so careful to put that experience out of my memory, I've lost track of which bi that was, and I did not keep a link to "my" story there. But I wrote TX BI stories in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2009. I hoped I didn't disappoint Dallas artists in the 2011 show, but I was so fed up with the BI granting Ass Liars exclusive coverage I didn't bother seeing it.]

From the begriming when I published this rag in printer's ink on paper, I claimed it and me to be "fiercely independent." I hated then, as now, to have to 'clean up' my opinions to please somebody who wasn't thinking my thoughts in my trains of it.

Sends me into a destructive rage. Then it usually takes awhile to figure out why I'm so upset, and what I can do about it. Right about then, I remember my precious opinions, the storm clouds clear, and I'm back to being my bellicose old self, in this odd business whose trade is asserting opinions, regardless who does or doesn't like them.

They are not anybody else's. I know that. They are mine, and they are the reason I am here doing this thing called DallasArtsRevue.

Magic Windows - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Magic Windows

Generally, I write a story, post it on its designated page, then start rewriting it. And rewriting. And re-rewriting, often for the first week. Rarely, much more after that, unless it's long or really complicated, although I may have at it again if I stumble over it later. Usually, I simplify, delete still more excess verbiage, use better and fewer words.

Sometimes I rewrite major portions or even change opinions. But only the ones that really need changing. If I had forever, I'd change everything, sooner or later. But by then I'd probably have a whole new audience, most of whom would have no idea what I was writing about. That'd be an issue.

Whole medium-sized books have been written about how important it is to plan ahead or use I, II, III, etc. frameworks and outlines and organized stuff like that, but I just start writing. I've done enough newspaper work that Who, What, When, Why, Where and sometimes How is built in nearly down to my DNA, certainly etched on my brain. I have screwed with outlining and pre-organizing, but I always go back to just writing. Then usually minorly, but sometimes massively rewriting.

That may have something to do with how I think.

While it is not true that anybody can write a simple declarative sentence, I can improve on most of them. In college I rewrote a fourteen-page story to fit in a small column on a newspaper page, and the guy who wrote all those words liked it. Usually, if you use some of their words, they will. That story also endeared me to the guys (Yeah, it was usually guys back then.) who operated that publication, but within a year and a half, I was the co-editor. Nearly nobody trusted me with the full responsibility, which is probably why this is not a nonprofit publication now. I pay for it, it's mine. Having members helps.

I have since rewritten much longer stories into much smaller spaces. I do that often with my own work.

Now, if this seems like obsession, you are correct. If it weren't, I'd never get anything written well.

Then, after writing this, I wrote a story, and after posting it and getting more than a hundred hits (usually takes several days, but not always), I changed my mind about the basic-most concepts in the story, and rewrote almost everything about it. Next time I had a chance to post a story before I was quite finished with it, I did not. I rewrote and re-rewrote several subsequent stories on my computer before posting them. And I'm glad I did. I do, however, tend to go back and cut word use, correct grammar, spelling and statements of fact.

J R Playing in a mud puddle with The Slider - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Some Guy Playing in a Mud Puddle   Photo by Anna Palmer

I write. And when I write, it seems to come in a flurry. Last time, and it's usually not the same, any time, it was a metaphysical essay, an actual review of an actual show (though not a great one) and a run-down of some of the art Anna and I saw at the Fair. (All on Art Here Lately.)

After I've written, I figure I can do anything I want the rest of the week. Then the next week comes along, and I feel guilty again if I don't write again. I never feel altogether legit if I haven't written something publishable in the last week or so.

So, of course, there are weeks I feel I am wandering alone in the desert looking for something to write about. There's a picture of me with a big camera and lens dangling down my front off in Montana somewhere that I captioned, "J R looking for something to photograph." It's almost a constant that I'd be looking for something to do either write about or photograph or both.

Writing for the Bird Journal almost never counts in this tally. That just gushes out to fill the spaces between the photos I choose to share. Anna and I came back from the Fort Worth Solid Wastes Drying Beds (I'm careful to call it something different almost every time I mention it, because different people call it different things, and each usually insists upon their interpretation. I believe what I just called it is in big block letters on the entrance gate to the place.) with lots of pictures, but darned few birds. We felt cheated by the forces that be, but I got some great shots, so who knows.

I'll try to find something besides another bird pic to head up this entry.

coot skittering - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coot Skittering

I'm so angry and upset I want to take this site offline and flush it down the toilet — which provides an amazing rush of whatever it is I need to feel right about at the moment, and a long, painful series of actions that take way too much time and anguish. Actually, I'd rather just threaten to do it. Maybe throw something else across the kitchen. If I threw it in here, nobody'd ever know.

Or shoot myself, except that would probably hurt. A dear friend has defriended themself because of something I said here. I should be used to that by now. Everybody wants me to tell the truths about other people's business, but when it impacts on them, I should keep my big mouth shut. Look the other way, go photograph birds or something, which all this week I would way rather have done and did at least every day anyway.

I'm still upset, but the site's still online, all nearly 500 web pages of it, and I'm calming the f down.


Wedding in the Dark - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Married in the Dark

I don't understand. People, artists purportedly, keep sending me Facebook notices that I should attend their art openings. I click on everything in sight. Ah, there's a picture of the artist. But not pictures of the art. How am I supposed to decide whether I want to see this person's art if I can't see any of it?

And yet, there's a whole long list of replies from other people, some of whom I recognize names and maybe even faces, all saying sorry they can't make it but next time, next time. Yet none of them talk about the art, either. It's like I'm supposed to decide whether I like somebody's art without ever seeing any.

No links. No web page full of the stuff. I'm just supposed to know? Without any evidence? That's not very likely. I used to go to everything, but most of everything sucks. There's really no sense in looking at more sucky art. If anything, we already got way too much sucky art. More of it's not going to make me want to go to the next bunch.

With color postcards, I often decided, okay, maybe this one's got some talent. Or, yetch. Not a prayer with this hulk. Show me a website full of images of somebody's art, and I can figure out if I want to see more.

Of course, if the artist is not from Dallas or doesn't mention that they are from around here, I won't bother. This is, after all, DALLASartsRevue.

Don't show me anything or any chance of seeing anything before I decide?

Forget it.

Chameleon On Orange Door - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Chameleon On Orange Door   —   September 15, 2011   corrected

I'm still hoping to grow up to be a real boy. Somewhere when I was a kid — we moved around enough that I had attended 18 different schools by the time I got to college; Dad was in the Air Force — my favorite radio show was about Spunky, who was not, but desperately wanted to be a real boy. "I doodle-lee-doodlly-do," he'd usually punctuate his fervent wish with. I guess there's still the odd chance for it, but sometimes I'm just a madman.

I just got off emailing back and forth with an idiot who wanted to use some of my bird photos for their blog on some flowers & bird site. I said he/she could use it free if they gave me a link to my bird site "immediately adjacent to the photograph as used." It agreed, then didn't do it, and after he'd already published it, she (I don't really know if it was male or female) wondered if that was okay. No, it was not okay, and they eventually removed my photo.

It said it was only getting $10 to write the blog, which is pretty cheap, but the story was lame and undetailed and smarmy stupid, so maybe it was as good as they should expect. I probably should have let them use the photo for the dumb link at the bottom of the blog, which ended with the writer wondering "if anybody had ever seen the swallows return to Capistrano."

It said my journal was beautiful and you could find it here, which is lame linking, but it might have netted a visitor or two more than I've been getting on my Amateur Birder's Journal lately.

It would help if I went at it photographing birds every day like I did most of the first six years of doing the birrrrd jrrrrrr, but I'm really getting tired of doing anything the same same every day. I've been trying to write text to go with recent pictures I probably should have attached to Art Here Lately way last Sunday. The pictures are nice, just the words ain't comin', and when they do, they turn out wrong. And I feel guilty about that, even if I've been talking more and more lately about retiring from this particular chain gang.

In the middle of the credit link imbroglio I noticed the lizard walking down the orange door (in the pink frame) on the other side of my office. First thing I did soon as I saw the little varmint was to shoo out the cat — I don't think Yo is quick enough to catch an actual half-hand-sized Polychrotidae, but the cat is already orange, so who knows — then set about photographing it properly. Which effort took an inordinately long time to accomplish.

Said lizard stood stock still for at least five minutes while I tried shooting it handheld, on a tripod and finally on a tripod with a brilliant spotlight, which is why its shadow goes up instead of down in its portrait above. I was mostly human during all that, and remarkably responsible and adult, but during and especially after the rout with the idiot bloggadier, I was patently not. And I hate it when I do that.

Especially when I could have used a couple new hitters on the birrrrd jurrrrnlllll — or a few more moments of sanity.

That cleared out my head, I finished the Art Here Lately story and posted it and rewrote it and reposted it and rerewrote it, etc. (my usual procedure) as if stupidity leads to intelligence and after awhile it's all okay, but maybe next time I start exploding, I can slow down on the anger a bit and drive on the shoulder awhile.

It's such a joy to park my words here and know nearly nobody anywhere 'll be reading them.

Toylike Bridge in Addison - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Toy Bridge in Addison

Oh, man, that was so much fun. Yesterday I got the opportunity to edit, instead of write, a lead story. A cover story. I haven't done a bird journal entry in a week, because since I'm staying here this summer (staycation) instead of going off to some foreign place and seeing foreign birds or not seeing any birds there at all but just being somewhere else. I'm bored silly with the same birds over and over, and I'm sure I could find some other birds at the lake, but oh, man, am I bored with that.

And I haven't written about art lately, because as fun as that becomes once I get into it, it's holy hell depressing to start writing about art, although I probably should give me some ops to do that, too. But mostly I haven't writ about art, because I want to do something else.

Yesterday, I got to get a story from somebody else — he owed me a story because he usurped my photo of him for an avatar on fb without even asking — somebody whose writing always fascinates me. I don't always know what he's saying exactly, and I finally got to run a glossary of his abstruse references in one of his stories, at the bottom of that story. But it's a story by somebody other than me, and that was just utterly wonderful.

I've always been very very careful editing his stories. It'd help if I knew exactly what he was saying, like I usually know pretty much exactly what anybody else is saying when they write stories for this publication. But for a change — not that just having a Michael Helsem story wasn't change enough — I actually got to edit it.

He wrote about "the city" meaning its government, and I changed that city to the more proper City. My only change. I took his visual suggestion of a lead-in paragraph in larger type (even if he didn't mean it to be that), it looks great. Floating quotes that don't drop from any intra-story suggestion, the whole lot. I went with somebody else's words, design and execution, and I executed them.

Then I got to run around the city (not the City or The City) photographing bridges. The big white stringy one for the forty-leventh time. This time very different from all those others. Just going out on photo assignment and avoiding almost all caption-writing duties, just taking pictures for a cover story for the DallasArtsRevue was fabulous fun. Too bad I gotta run this silly contraption, it'd be so much wonderful fun just to work here.

Sure wish I could find somebody else to write for this rag. I'll pay them more than they deserve. Then I could have the fun of wrangling images — every story needs an image — for the story. What I used to do for the Dallas Times Herald (Watch Out World, The Dallas Times Herald will report you.) when I worked as a Staff Photographer there, and there was one one of those. What I started doing for the late Stoney Burns when I first worked at Dallas NOTES (Watch Out Dallas Times Herald, Dallas NOTES will scoop you.)

I still think of myself as an editor first, even if I don't get to edit much anymore. And only that one word on Michael Helsem stories, which are rarer than hen's teeth, although I bet there's a hen out there somewhere with teeth.

Five Daisies - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Five Daisies

It was on this, or one of these ThedBlog pages that I promised that this year I'd enter competitive exhibitions. Then I did not, though I still like the idea. Just the execution of it is full of impossibilities. I need a body of work to work. I gotta stop doing all sorts of pictures and concentrate on one thin limb of my tree. Or flower.

Last time I got into an art competition — Hecho en Dallas, I did dead flowers. I like following live flowers into death and document them all the way to decay. This procedure seems to involve my collection of cigar boxes, and with densely colored backgrounds, with dead flower petal extensions beyond the box's edges. Or that's what I'd done with the two in Hecho.

Until today — very early this morning, almost four ayem as I type this — I didn't think I was in the mood and hadn't been for several months — to photograph flowers again. Bought five of them at Whole Foods today. $5.99, I think. Already a little wrinkly, several steps nearer the grave. Held up primarily by those thick green plastic tubes.

Still, they are sitting over there intriguing me. So crystalline yellow against my office's dark green walls and door. Especially that right most Gerber Daisy in the photograph above. Once I recognized it among the dozen and a half or so images of a few or all of the bright yellow flowers, I wanted to rephotograph it, but the dark shadow that rendered it into such depth went missing when I tried it solo.

Was a booger to get nearly all the blossoms in the bunch in some semblance of sharpness — I had to ignore the rules of diffraction and set the aperture so small that I clearly should not have been using it but I wanted to and so I did, and I always thought either the one on the top or, more likely, the one on the far left, was the star of my little show. But it's not. Very definitely it the one on the right, in shadow and bowed away, facing down into the dark green corner.

And I'm not nearly convinced this is the best of the shots I marked with three asterisks in Bridge, but I'm liking it enough to toy with it in my mind. I can't wait for them to die to keep on photographing them well past their petty little deaths.


Powder - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Starry Starry Day

What I do when I'm not writing new stories — although I am writing a new story today and yesterday and probably tomorrow and the next day, because it is not an easy story to write — is update elderly pages. I wish I could more easily make those old, small images larger. When this publication first came to the Internet, modems were separate from computers and very slow. Small images were necessary, so pages would load before readers lost interest. Text was always pretty fast but images back then came in slow — the bigger, the slower. But at least I can clean up the type and correct some obvious errors and fix the hit counters so they work with the latest webhost.

I write and think a lot about hit counters. More than is probably sane or logical to most people, since most websites no longer use them. They use instead statistical analysis that tell a great deal more than the lowly hit-counters can about who comes to these pages, where they go, how long they spend here, when they come, what page they start at, what page they leave from and where they go from there.

Never why. Why may be deduced, but guessing why is always guessing. If they spend less than 20 or so seconds the best guess is they came here by mistake and they were looking for something else. When I did the Creative Art Center's website, the vast majority of people who visited that site were actually looking a place with exactly the same name Back East somewhere. That was easy enough to deduce once I knew where they lived or surfed from. I bet that's still true for CAC visitors, although some people do learn.

I only look at those statistics about this or my other sites maybe once or twice a year, because it tends to foster a sense that I should change this site to better reflect what the great unwashed come here looking for, when in fact, I don't care what they want. I'm writing and designing and photographing and whatever else I end up doing here for me.

It all started when I wanted to write about something — anything — where I could combine my writing and photographing. That simple. What I wanted. I did it to a slight degree when I worked for other people's newspapers. Then it got a little more interesting when I began writing about art for the underground newspapers I was publishing in the early 1970s. There, finally, I could combine stories and photographs. Let each element fortify the other.

In armadilla, a paper-covered comic-like book about armadillos, I visited artists who drew armadillos, and enjoyed visiting with them so much, I vowed the next issue of that (There wasn't one.) would be about artitsts, the other armadillos of the world.

Gradually, slowly, I learned more about art, which I'd been reading and watching and learning about since I was a kid, when my mother bought us Brush-Stroke Prints of famous paintings. I can still see Picasso's Pierrot and his Lady of Majorca hanging in the hall. Those are etched in my mind.

Sounds ego-maniacal, doesn't it? Well, it should, because it is. This is my baby. If it weren't, I would never have spent this long (32 years and counting, including DallasArtsRevue's on-paper years before it was online) publishing this thing.

I do tilt it toward what I understand are the concerns and interests of Dallas artists in general, but most of what I know about that is because I am a Dallas artist and I talk with a lot of other Dallas artists. I know many Dallas artists are more concerned with what's going on in New York or LA or Berlin, but I am not. Unlike the management of say, The Dallas Observer, I live here. I make art here; I show art here; and on rare occasions, I even sometimes sell art here.

For all its dogged Dallas-centric attitudes, DallasArtsRevue is about artists who happen to live right here. Starting with me. So if something piques my interest, I go for it, even if it sometimes makes writing about it difficult.

Two Chairs - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Chairs

I've started a "Free Advice" folder in my email program. Suddenly seems like everybody wants to know how much their old Bart Forbes or P D Breeding prints are worth. As if I'd know. I could find out, but it would take unpaid time I'd rather use photographing birds or art or figuring out if I really want to enter Art in the Metroplex competition again and with which photographs. Or just staring off into space.

I get a steady supply of 'How much is this worth" questions. Mostly 'not much' is the best answer. Like gold the prices change by the minute. But everybody has dreams of unearthing a Pollack at a garage sale, and just deciphering artists' signatures is a major clue. But I have the uncanny ability to look at something and a name pops in my mind — if I've known that style before. I love being able to pick Brad Holland's out of old CA's or Graphics.

It first happened in Lyle Novinsky's second-semester Art History class at U of Dallas in the early 1960s. Art majors were failing that class in droves and bitterly complaining how hard it was, but because of my peculiar talent, I aced it. It was easy, and my entry into this art world. I'm not as good as I used to be with world-famous artists, because I've been concentrating on Dallas art for the last thirty years.

Many Christmases ago, I and my dear friend, the late Dallas painter Carol Wilder, both of us graduates of UD — she a grad, I an undergrad decades previous — trumped the ID-that-artist competition at a party of serious artists, because we knew de Chirico soon as the image flashed. I don't know where it came from, or how I nurtured that strange talent then — maybe because as a kid I collected stamps, but now I feed it lots of images.

Knowing how much a chunk of art is worth is basically a matter of tracking down somebody selling that work and seeing how much they're getting. Then of course, dividing that in half, because everybody needs a profit. It helps if the subject matter appeals to more people. It does not seem to matter much, in most circumstances, if it is any good.

Grille - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.


I'm back to thinking seriously about about art. And writing.

Thought I was getting away. On vacation. Relax and not think about it. But laxing out brought me back. Not writing about art but showing process by selection and presentation. Wrap it different. Less populist, more leading than trailing edges.

I am amid a challenging opportunity. What I am eager to do and write about, but I can't mention names or details. I should write, with the notion of publishing after. Though this is me writing about it before.

I'm used to blabbing all the facts, as it happens. Like blogs do. More how I think. Like The New Journalism that so intrigued me I got into this world of. First-person and singular.

Possibly this is not as huge as I feel it could be. I'd begun, settled into a time frame, then my deadline extended. Time warped like a coil of clay rolled longer. Substance the same. Extended maybe thinner. I left it to whom gave the chance. I want it slipped it into past, but it needs its own time, and I am not the keeper. "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman." Harlan Ellison's classic title haunts me.

Wish I could say what, but who will help happen it is not set. What we will do, is. Whom is up to me and them, but the first one I asked, turned it down politely fast. Neither surprising nor unexpected, I chose out of my league. I want to work better and different. Rather learn, than lead. It is collab. Gotta make it how I wouldn't think to. My resume needs exceeding.

Am I vague enough yet?

So then I asked my friend Terry Hays if he would join me as a collaborating curator for Curate. Collaborate at the Bath House Cultural Center in September 2012, inaugurating the series of annual exhibitions. As Bath House Visual Artist / Curator Enrique Fernandez Cervantes explained, "We ask one curator to participate in the project, and that curator gets to choose his/her counterpart. Normally, like you [me], curators have knowledge and admiration of other curators' work, and they seek opportunities to work together with those curators."

Enrique asked me, possibly because I had volunteered to curate any show at the Bath House that needed a curator, and possibly because I had curated several exhibitions at the Bath House and other places [See my curatorial resume]. And I asked someone who was clearly out of my league, and she turned me down, because she was already enormously busy.

Terry Hays is a person whose wealth and breadth of art knowledge has been so attractive to me that I almost always spend time with him at openings and other art galleries. I always learn from him. I trust his taste, like his own art, and he is one of the few people who read this blog.

I do not know him as a curator, however. I know and like him as a friend who is willing to talk art with me. I know of no shows he has curated, although there's certainly a lot about him I do not know. From what I do know, I had already decided to ask him to co-curate with me when I stumbled on his RO2 Art resume online.

I knew he was smart, but I didn't know he was that smart. Next time I saw him, I invited him to join me on the project, and he accepted immediately. I think we are both intrigued by the possibilities.

Lid - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.


Brilliant. Used to be when Times Warner (yuck!) lost me my internet, I could use my AT&T (double-yuck) phone to call and find out WTF. Now that I have all three services (internet, phone and TV — TV still works) with the same road dummers, I can't even call out. Which was why I turned to Dimes Wormer. Arghhh. Guess I need a cell phone after all. Can't get away from it. Don't like 'em; don't want one. Don't even believe in them. Jeez, do I really want to communicate this badly? Some say I already do, and it's probably true.

Took awhile. Slept a lot. Contiguously. Watched TV. Listened to Blues. Now I'm ready for some fun. Where's that?

Wall, Light, Chair, Frame, Switch

Wall, Light, Chair, Frame, Image, Umbrella, Switch

I'd decided I didn't need to have my own color printer when my last one died after more than ten years of faithful service. That I hardly ever had my work in exhibitions, and on those few, rare occasions, I could afford to get professional prints made. Then I decided to not show for a year (2010), and mostly did not. Then I decided to show this year and go at it with a fervor, which I also mostly did not, but just when I decided (that word) to let it all hang, I suddenly got involved in several shows in a row and what I thought would be two simultaneously.

I'd got disappointed with Xpert Imaging — close, friendly and interactive, but I thought something was missing — and only later realized it was me, not them — and jumped to old, less faithful, BWC and was very happy with them for a couple weeks, till I started closely inspecting the prints they made, how they charged me for things they didn't do or did wrong, and then got caught up in a disheartening episode of their over-promising and under-delivering on a deadline my inclusion in a show depended upon.

I think I can do better. In fact, I am sure I can do better, if I had my own printer. More importantly, I tend to follow my own instructions. Xpert always did. BWC lapsed today, entirely blowing a deadline that kept me out of a show I really wanted to be in, although I'm already in another show BWC made adequate prints for, but the quality of any service provider's prints are more my fault than anybody's.

When I bought my Epson 2000p in 1999, those 13 x 19-inch prints seemed huge, But they got smaller. Last time I was in the Art in the Metroplex show (my eighth time in) two years ago, the juror told me my Bull with Cattle Egrets image needed to be bigger to have more impact. 13 x 19 (a.k.a. Super A3) wasn't hacking it. I thought it was about time all my exhibition prints grew up. But there was that little issue of which camera I used to make the original image files that would eventually show up in exhibition.

My beloved little Panasonic Lumix G2 (See My G2 Journal.) makes image files that are smaller and thereby have less resolution than the fifty-percent-larger sensor on my big Nikons render. But I am looking over this monitor at a 24 x 16 inches print shot with a Canon S90 enthusiast's Point & Shoot, whose sensor is 12% the size of the Nikon and 19% of the one on my G2. And the print I'm seeing — that was juried into Hecho en Dallas a few months ago, is beautiful, although I always hoped it would be sharper, show more of the natural textures of those dead flowers.

Lately I've been looking forward to my images being 20 x 30 inches, more than twice the size of my piddling little (but still precious) 13 x 19 prints (of which I have a great many more than anybody has ever seen). I remember one local photographer (who got famous, then moved away) rapidly transitioning from 16 x 20 prints to images that were eight feet tall. That did seem excessive, and required very large format (and expensive) cameras and a whole other way of shooting. I like little cameras that I can have with me.

I lived with a max size of 13 x 19 for a decade. Wonder how long 20 x 30 would hold me?

A printer that can print 24 inches wide (by whatever length, paper off a roll, cut to size) is expensive. And big. Big enough to need its own room, maybe its own address. Big enough to take over my life.

In the 1970s I wanted my own printing press — just a little offset press like you used to see in small, independent print shops — till I learned the only way to pay for one was to keep it busy all the time. I didn't want to be in the printing business, I just wanted to print my occasional publications. My first LaserWriter a few years later did that a lot cheaper and quicker for a lot less messy, but not in color. Now that I'm out of the on-paper publication business with my on-line entities, all that is easier — and cheaper.

But making color prints is still very expensive. The first drawback of a print that prints that big is that they are themselves gargantuan. A decent one doesn't cost a helluva lot more than my 2000p did more than a decade ago, but it is hugely larger.

After much consideration and reconsideration of various large-scale photo printers, I suspect what I need to do is settle in with a service provider who is close and careful and whom I can work with. I believe that should be Xpert Imaging in Deep Elm. They usually let me preview my images on their hi-res monitors and do some quick image editing — tonal range, color saturation (everything but sharpness, which I really have to learn and image-manipulation, which I may already know too much about) — while I watch and direct. It never takes more than a couple minutes. BWC never even let me see their computers. I'm wondering if they are Macs. Theirs seems to be a linear world.

Meanwhile, I can watch the progress of Epson and all those other ink-sprayer makers. Maybe I could live with a 17 x 25. 17-inch printers aren't a lot less expensive than 24" printers, but they fit easily on a table top or desk in a room with other things. I do long for control (always!), and everything depends on how busy I will be exhibiting my work. This week may have been the busiest I've got all year.

Harried, and fraught with big and little lessons.

 Pickupsticks Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pickupstix Bridge

I've said it before. Probably keep repeating till I believe. And follow through. The need is to be led. But "Don't follow leaders. Watch the parkin' meters." Now I carry quarters and keys.

I want to be at Medicine Wheel in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains again. I found it by accident years ago wandering around lost, when a deer bound across the road in front of my truck, jumped over a fence and disappeared. In a tree-free zone. Mystical experience? Wondering what happened, I noticed a small sign on the side of the road. Next tourist trap information I stopped — for pictures for journals — learned more but not much. Went there. As far as i could drive, then walked the 1.5 miles up, briskly. Where Indians, chiefs, Medicine people, went to think and dream the future. It was peaceful. I meditated for a couple hours, took pictures of the fence around the wheel and other meditators, then walked back down.

Love the Vortexes, have, and will sit again the easy access ones. No sense hiring a copter to a magic place. There's one off the road to the airport over Sedona. Grand Canyon's North Rim was deeply memorable. Wouldn't mind going back. Or photo the Condors from the south. Stand over there looking down into Casa Rinconada. Gotta go back to Chaco Canyon.

Truck camped across Yellowstone once upon a time. I want to go there more, camp out and stay in the big lodges. Loved the grand one at Many Glacier. But I can and have done without rooms. Like in National Forests, where it's free, few restrictions and natural noisy at night. I've found roads nobody's been for years. Some pretty scary near Ouray.

I need to see eagles, sleep alone in the forest and wonder what's making all that racket through the night. I want to be safe in wild places, but a little dangerous, too.

I wasn't sure where to put this following blob of image and text, but I didn't want it on the cover anymore, so now it's here. Maybe eventually I'll find someplace else for it:

 We finished dessert - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Anna's and my thoroughly and mutually emptied
Cheese Cake Martini dish from McKinney Texas' Cafe Malaga

DallasArtsRevue is still on Vacation until we adjust to our new digs on a new server with a new (old) web host. Until at least Tuesday June 7, if not Wednesday June 8, for good measure, DallasArtsRevue was switching away from the dreaded current web host (which I call Wet Hose, because they allowed their servers to get hosed down when they hired some bumbling fools to do something else, but the fools instead turned on the fire sprinklers over the servers and dozens or millions — depending upon whose hype we believe — of websites went offline for 3-4 days, awhile back. Then they blinked on and off for awhile more, and then again later. Etc.

I stayed with Wet Hose till my prepaid two-year-contract was up. Now that that's finally over, we're going back to DreamHost whose counters worked through the whole ordeal with Wet Hose.

WetHose was originally recommended to me (not personally; I don't know the guy.) by Kevin Kelly, former editor of The Whole Earth Catalog (of which I was a major fan), founding editor of Wired and owner of Cool Tools, an online Whole Earth Catalog-like entity that I check almost every day, even if it sometimes recommends web hosts that are clearly substandard. I believed him, and I was wrong to.

I did communicate with him about this, but he was, in no way helpful, although he did reply. I recently bought his latest book, but I couldn't get through the bullshit that was his premise.

DreamHost, our previous dreaded webhost, whose hit counters, unlike WetHose's, whose counters counted up awhile then either stopped dead in their tracks or disappeared or started over from zero, when I over and over and over again called their attention to it. At least I can deal with DreamHost. They respond. And are polite. And their responses are quick. Even if it's obvious they're reading from scripts by guys (I'm sure they're all guys.) who've since changed the things they're telling me how to do. Wrong.

The main reason I am "going back" to DreamHost, is that my personal site, jRCompton.com has been and continues to be hosted by them, largely without any of the issues I visit upon whomever is DARts' current webhose. Everything works with JRCompton.com. Just fine. And it has for years.

Now, I can host http://www.DallasArtsRevue.com on that same account, so both sites cost the same as one, except that I still have to pay registration for all the domain names. My personal site's domain registration is free as long as I park it with DreamHost. DallasArtsRevue's is paid up through sometime later this century — (for those who worry that just because I will be by then — if not already — a doddering old fool, I will still be committed (that word) to doing this.

It's not free. Nothing's ever free.

Also pre-paid-off is the pointer address from the usual misspelling of DallasArtsRevue.

Dallas Arts Revue

Even though it's printed in big red letters on the top of every DallasArtsRevue.com page — all 423+ of them at the latest count, almost nobody but dedicated DARts-ers and dear friends ever manages to spell DARts correctly. When the Dallas Dimes Terrible did a story about it when they still existed and this rag was new and smaller and in ink on paper, they misspelled it both in the text and in the headline. So even when you misspell DallasArtsRevue, you get DallasArtsRevue.com

DARts is spelled DARts. Dallas Arts Revue plus lowercase t s. That's what the Artists Coalition of Texas used to call it around the office when they published it briefly before they violated our contract by mixing it up with me about editorial content. They became D-Art, several other names over the years and now, The Contemporary. But I digress … DARts has been around since December 1979, thus Dallas' oldest art magazine. I think. I called it that on the top of several pages, for awhile, till I settled on Dallas' oldest art magazine - promoting Dallas art & artists since 1979.

But now that seems wordy and excessive. I think I've simply said promoting Dallas art & artists since 1979 on a couple pages. Like much else on this site, that motto is up in the air. I suspect there are already several (!) dozens of differing mottos on various DARts pages.

And yeah, yeah, I understand that in contemporary weberating [webR8ing], there's no need for individual page hit counters, because there are site statistics that the web person can read. But Supporting Members with member pages want to know if anybody's visiting their pages, and with Wet Hose, nobody — me, you, readers, curators, anybody — ever knew, because Wet Hose's counters kept zeroing out.

And on those few occasions when they actually did work, you could just keep hitting command or control (Mac or PC) r, and you could jack up the hit counts till Wet Hose's bleeping counters blinked off again. With DreamHost counters, you will not be able to do that. They keep working. The problem is I now have to go through every one of the 423+ DARts pages and see which hit counter that one has.

And when I'm there, I'll want to update the page'slogo, motto and link fest at the top.

Luckily, DreamHost counters actually work and actually count actual hits. Enough to get a good idea if anybody is visiting your member page or mine. And when I checked just now, I notice that WetHose's counters have again reverted to nothingness (nonquiditunialnessless). Or else the site has already blinked over to the new host. [It did. That was the quickest transition I've ever experienced, and I have experienced far too many web host changeovers.

There's a way to check that, but I'm on vacation …

So we switched back to DreamHost (another misnomer, of course, but we won't go into that again for awhile), whose hit counters still work on the DARts pages they're still on or them that I added after the several too many and rapidly succeeding Wet Hose counter debacles.

Both hosts claim 99% online time, which means they're perfectly willing to be offline for 3.65 or 3.66 days of the year (depending if it's leap year), which was not copacetic to this micro-managing editor, but didn't seem to bother said web hosts any whatsoever.

And I don't want to have to be updating pages (usually 2 or three to seven or 8 a day) on both servers, so I'm declaring a semi-legal holiday for yours truly.

The green equal sign on the bottom of this page is where Wet Hose's hit counter used to be. Now, finally, I am begriming to appreciate it's ever-present nothingness.

Happy Trails,
; j r

Who's Really Polluting Our Vision by Greg Metz - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Greg Metz   Who's Really Polluting Our Vision   circa 1990   33 x 48 inches   and couch

What's a vacation? a DARts Member asks this editor.

Stopping doing one thing to allow other, unplanned occurrences. If it were all planned, it'd just be aversion, which a lot of it is anyway, but by letting Willy & Nilly take over, for brief periods of days, maybe a week or month or so, new experiences sneak in, and when I'm lucky, teach me something. Maybe teach us all something.

People keep sending me links to stuff they know I'll get riled about and feel obliged to set them straight about something, and get all het up. So much of what people who weren't there accept as correct history is so wrong so much of the time.

I used to tilt at such windmills so often it got to be my part-time occupation, but till swimming deletes another twenty, thirty pounds of me this year as I did last year, getting all het up could easily lead to a stroke or heart attack. My old friend Stoney Burns died of one of those last week.

So I'm taking his lesson to heart.

I avoid reading other critics, because I tend to absorb other people's opinions, which kinda ruins the diversity of human opinion. If I can't be my own critic, it's not worth all the trouble.

That task was immensely easier back when most art critics talked formalistic gibberish and wrote like monkeys with augmented verbal skills, unconnected to creating original thought patterns or logic. Now that nearly everybody talks and writes about art in frontwards, subject - verb - object sentences, it may be less easy to be original.

Art is better when it comes from who the artist is. The more individualistic we are, the more universal our utterances, including art, are or are perceived. Same thing for art criticism. I think I can only figure out who first-person singular is by being that guy, and acting from that principle, but I forget who I am when I do too much of one thing — write, identify birds, scream out in frustration …

Photography has always been my friend I can turn to in times of darkness and mis self identification. It comes back in the simple act of seeing, composing and capturing images. It takes awhile sometimes to figure how necessary it is for me to make photographs. Other times it's obvious, intuitive.

But I think I can do it, if I can stay disconnected from the journalistic end of the art world I think I know and sometimes even understand and, for awhile at least, concentrate on the end of that world (This end) that concerns myself with making my own.

It's a plan. 

William "Gabby" Gaberino - Am. Mum - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

William "Gabby" Gaberino   Am. Mum.   (detail)   circa 1972   disintegration damage since then
oil, Elmer's Glue, stained shirt on canvas   J R Compton Collection

Apparently there was some sort of gathering about Stoney Burns at The Stoneleigh P (perfect place) last night or last weekend or sometime since he died. Nobody invited me, but Alex says several people asked about me. I would have liked to attend, maybe even drink my annual Black Russian, talk to all the people who think they were there back then.

I remember waiting for the movie to start at the Festival theater, me sitting next to some guy who went on and on about what a great friend of J R Compton's he was. I asked him several leading questions, and he answered them obliviously. Eventually, I got up and moved away. Over the years, I've spoken with, heard from and about many people who think they were there back then. Thought they were important to the Underground Newspaper business in Dallas, Texas in the late 1970s and early 1970s. Most of them weren't, but it's always interesting.

I probably would have got more than my fill of that at the shindig nobody invited me to. A Stoney Burns Memorial issue of Buddy Magazine (that Stoney published after leaving Dallas NOTES from the Underground to me after announcing that I would be the new editor and publisher. Then later, he got pissed at the inevitable new direction, sold stock in the nonprofit corporation to the White Panthers of Fort Worth, who tried to take over.

Big fight ensued. We decided we didn't own the paper, we were the paper, and we continued to publish it while Stoney and others published first the Lone Star Dispatch (LSD, get it?) then an alternate Dallas NOTES, then a couple other titles I'd have to access my archives to figure out now.

We became Hooka (the Humanitarian Order of Kosmic Awareness, organized as a church dedicated to the overthrow of the United States of America) and continued publishing for several very successful years.

The Stoney Memorial issue of Buddy was left on my porch, but I rarely ever read Buddy when he was alive. It mostly didn't interest me. I read enough of the history in it to know that if I read the rest, I'd have got all pissed off about the historic revisionism.

I used to define myself by what I knew about that era, that apparently nobody else did, in letters to various editors, because what they usually said or wrote was simply not true. It still happens. I could do with a lot less of that in my life now.

But I would really liked to have seen and talked with the few who really were there back then. That would have been a special treat. And I could probably have put up with all the historic wannabes.

Then I remembered something I wrote in 1971 shortly after Stoney turned NOTES over to me. Gabby (who painted the decayed paining above) added the last two lines.

The Stoney Poem

He knew the end was coming
but he didn’t raise his hands
He saw the sun was setting
on the edges of his land.

But all he said was
Sorry friend, I’ve got this
one-man band of gypsies
in my head
and they’re all a leavin’ me.”
He said, “Old friend,
They’re all a leavin’ me.”

Hey Mr. Lonely,
Mr. Underground Press himself

 Hula Girls - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hula Girls — I've always been happy about this image of my mother dancing the hula at her 90th birthday.

Once again I am disappointed by my print in an exhibition. My fault entirely. Everything else about it is fine. It looks great from a little distance and small. Up close at full size, though, its flaw is obvious. I moved the component image of my hand in PP (post production, many just say Photoshopping) in the print that now hangs in the Loteria show. That's so disappointing I seriously considered buying another printer.

But I have way plenty ways to use up time and energy than making my own prints and buying a big, expensive printer to do that. I just have to be more careful next time I move part of an image — or plan ahead, so I don't have to move it. Much more careful. Got nice placement, though. One of the first things people see when they round the corner into the gallery portion of the Bath House Cultural Center. It wasn't out in the lobby, but it was nice where it was.

A friend told me she didn't know I did that sort of photography, which is one of the reason why I did it. It sounded like fun. It was fun. I only screwed it up when I changed it from its original horizontal orientation (my photography is mostly horizontal) to vertical. It woulda been great in its original format. At 20 x 16, the image was too big to not notice I had cut my hand out and stuck it back in lower (to make the composition look right). It wouldn't have fit vertically.

I got my two dead flower pieces back from Hecho en Dallas (Thanks, Enrique, again.) and have not even looked at them. That was telling. Told me I needed to put them up someplace I'd see them every day. Now they're leaned up where I see when I look over my monitor, and I'm impressed at the quality from a compact camera (my Canon s90).

In one of the boxes I moved to give them temporary exhibition space is dead petals from another bunch of tulips I need to take time to photo. Maybe bring in a little table for a some table-top photography. That might settle me down some.

I've been rushing to finish South Texas bird shots from last week. Along the coast for birds and in San Antonio for my mother's 90th birthday party. I already sent her one of her hula dancing. Soon as I saw the pic, I knew she'd love it, so I sent her it, and she does like it.

Me, too. Everything's in focus. She looks great. And she's obviously having a lot of fun. Best of several worlds. When we were stationed at Hickam Field next to Honolulu 61 years ago, she learned Hula from the natives and taught classes at every base we were at since, so she knows what she's doing. The whole hula thing was a big surprise, although she obviously knew the theme was Hawaii.

Now I only have to work up about 100 more of my shots and a bunch from Anna. Then winnow that number down to less than a hundred for the web page. So there's still plenty to do.

Plus all the other stuff that keeps accumulating. Good thing I'm on vacation from thinking and writing about art.

Slinky Composition - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Home Still Lifes:  Slinky Composition with Shadows

Didn't really want to go to openings on a Saturday night. Kept reminding myself I was on vacation from other people's art. But it did sound like fun, to ignore the art, which, it turned out, was so much the same from gallery to gallery to gallery that it was easy to neglect. Instead, I concentrated on talking to new and old friends, plenty of whom showed up in dribs and drabs enough to keep me talking and listening and listening all evening.

I caught up with them, learned about mutual friends — found out my old friend and former Dallasite Gary Monroe, one of whose first, halting abstracts I have in my collection — he used to leave pieces of them in galleries, so he could say he'd had work in galleries and museums — has had a review in Art in America, is doing large, fictional quasi historic realism, married and presumably living happily, after finally, twenty-some-odd years ago, leaving Dallas, which was not so kind to him in his fledgling art years — and just talked.

At The MAC, I was told insistently that I had to see the shows, so I spent about two point five minutes looking at everything but the project room, which I just forgot and when I remembered, didn't bother going back. And I kept thinking," but Cris Worley already did this stuff, why would anybody do it all again?, then came back in time to finish conversing.

Okay, I saw it. I don't remember much about it, then I tried not to for awhile at the other places that evening, eventually looked at most of the stuff among the flashing and dashing lights, then found it even easier to ignore and concentrate on talking with dear and new friends. Normally, I would have skipped all that, thinking only about the silly art. Missing the best part of people gathering.

The only thing I remember at the latest Ro2 was Gabriel Dawe's string-wrapped figures hanging in a big closet downtown, where parking is never easy. I still admire Dawe's colorful sense of adventure, and it was nice to see he's still doing colored string, but it didn't take him forever to string this up and down in great complex slow rainbows. Which I love, but what a bother, especially for a show that might be open once. I have great pix, but I'll wait on those.

Then the next gallery and I was back talking with friends, several I haven't seen in months, some in years, a couple a lot oftener but still nice. Probably the best time I've had at an art opening in too long a time. I'm liking this vacation staying home. I've begun to feel around in it, wiggling in and widening the space to fit my whims. Go the flow. Art's a great backdrop for meeting, greeting and getting down with people I consider friends, many of whom are artists, too.

I've known that forever, nice to put it back into practice.

Flag and Cross - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Easter Bunny Time!

I had the startling notion this evening of putting photographs on my Facebook page without the ulterior motive of promoting some page on DallasArtsRevue.com or my personal site. No doubt pretty normal for most Fbers. Although I am about to read a book (Guy Kawasaki's Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions about promoting what I love on Fb and Twitter and something else I vaguely forget.

I know I haven't got this publicity thing right yet, so the book may be handy in my quest to promote DallasArtsRevue.com. Never really did a lot of promo of it. Started out by handing out business cards and explaining that DallasArtsRevue.com didn't really need a "www." Was interviewed on Stan Mathews show on WRR, but never bought ads or much of anything. We did a less-than-adequate flyer at one DallasArtsRevue show once and left more business cards out. The shows themselves seemed enough promo for awhile.

From conversation with a friend on a recent gallery tour, I've changed the tag line under our logo at the top of every DallasArtsRevue page I encounter. From whatever it used to be, to what it is now. Dallas' Oldest Art Magazine, Promoting Dallas Artists Since 1979, or some mild permutation of that phrase. It keeps changing as I retype it.

Tonight, we talked to Randall Garrett, who runs Plush gallery in Dallas. Plush shows startling new art unlikely to be seen at any other art space in Dallas. He's going on vacation this summer, closing the gallery and going back to New Mexico, a place I also love. Maybe every artist in Dallas has secret dreams of summering in New Mexico. There's a long tradition of that happening from here.

The rest of the year is bearable, but summers are just too hot in Dollars, Taxes. Plus, NM has some of the cleanest air in the USA. And a lot of it is beautiful. Mountains — real mountains and skies and beautiful places and fun art.

I like Randall's plan. I don't like to be gone from my elderly home very long, but I like to sneak away sometimes. Closing down shop for the summer is making more and more sense the longer I consider it. Have been thinking of only posting quick reviews on the calendar, letting it continue to run, if only because it is often the best and most useful page on this site, and run Venezuela. Gone fishing. AWOL.

13 Suicide Lane - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Where I usually turn in times of confusion, whether I know what I'm up to or not, is photography. Hardly matters of what. I now have plenty to people this page for a awhile. Only seems fair. But at least I won't have to do odd little figures on my top shelf with my longest telephoto from across the room.

This morning was birds. Between photo bouts I'm reading Raymond Chandler, who keeps getting beat up by one bad guy or six cops. Vaguely I know the feeling. Not physically, psychically lost. A little Weltschmetz with a lot of confusion. Then a leveling, like a raging river with no place to go settles into a pond.

Clicking pictures all the way. This morning's birds will show in the journal tomorrow. I'm ahead of myself in birds. Getting better with my new camera. Nice birds in flight, finally. Elegant wings. Plenty shooting around the house. Some even of places I've not done before. Things, directions, plans, who knows what all else.

Kitchen Window in the Last Sliver of Sun - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

In the Last Sliver of Sun

I guess I should enter competitions. Home Still Lives.

13 Suicide Lane is what is says in the lower middle of that parking lot in Deep Elm I slid by in The Slider yesterday. Didn't know it till I saw it here. No idea where I was going, or once I got there, how to get back. Eventually I recognized the existence of LBJ where I'd never quite been before. It brought me back here.

A few more prizes will turn out of value. Getting printed. Entering shows.

Just before the sun finally let go my windows, I photographed them. Too ordinary to photograph before.

 Feather Glass -Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Feather Glass

Two pertinent emails last week. One wanted to buy a big one of my recent photos, but couldn't decide which, and I couldn't figure which he was talking about. Someone else said they liked my color photographs of ordinary objects. I liked that simplicity, wondered which objects, suggested this page in my thank-you, but I did not hear back, so I don't know again.

That spurred me to more ordinaries. I'd finally done my sox. The Wizard and the Owl [both links to other pages] aren't any more ordinary than the guy and his duck. The Manila envelope keeping the room's air in seemed logical but kept a sneaky distinction about it. The tulips, sink, rope, etc. [down this page] fit.

Chasing that last sliver of sun around my windows netted more ordinary events I treasure — and a sense of who I might be. Next.

Guy and a Duck - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Guy and a Duck

I am dismayed and perplexed. Fewer people are reading what I write in DallasArtsRevue. I'm not sure what to do about this dip in my writing's effectiveness. Maybe it's been dropping for months. I have fans for photographing art and fans for my photography as art. But why write what few will read, except that I don't seem to be able to stop? What else can I do?

DallasArtsRevue is costing more and earning less. Maybe I need a less expensive hobby. Soon as the pool at my local Y opens again, I'll spend worrying time swimming laps. That'll soak up energy. And give back more. That reminds me it's a place I use to meditate, and I haven't been, so I need to work up more alpha. The one other place I did that, has been usurped and that pulls me under.

Not exactly that my writing's popularity is all that buoys me. I have a life and there are other things I write and do. My How to Photograph Art continues to soar as this sites' most read page, netting 73,500 hits, as of today. So just some of my writing's less popular. And that's only DallasArtsRevue's most popular page. My personal site, JRCompton.com's most popular page is my winter version of The Birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and it's registered about two thousand more hits than How to Photograph Art. Other bird pages are doing nearly as well.

I don't know if birding is more popular than art. I suspect the former is becoming more popular while the latter is just plugging along. I use sometimes sharp opinions about art and just go blathering on about birds, first-person involved. In both, I'm sure most people just look at the pictures.

Sometime after I wrote the above, I got entangled in reading, then editing and rewriting my 2005 Summer Essays about arting and how that happens or could. It seemed to help. Earlier I rode around and got really lost and took several strange photographs that may eventually show up on this or another ThEdBlog page.

Tukla Thai Napkin - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Tukla-Thai Napkin Photographed There

In the end I decided not to review Hecho en Dallas simply because I am in it, and even my thoroughly relaxed state of unobjectivity could not deal with the flurry of passions involved therein. Some of it is a very good show indeed. There was one piece I really looked forward to seeing what I wrote about it. It was where used to be the alcove of honor for that show — under the high skylight, but that glass is nearly covered now with a flapping tarp, so the daylight that once filtered down that shaft no longer illuminates work beneath it with a beautiful bounced and softened light.

That piece I did allow myself the chance to write about was Mexican Folk Art that I do not understand and by the guy pictured on one of these pages in a large, odd Mexican Folk hat. I liked the piece very much, and would have enjoyed writing about it. Unfortunately, right next to it was one of three pieces in the show that were horrid. And catercorner across the space once lighted from far above was the best piece. It is a photograph neither I nor any of the artists with whom I spoke about it, could tell what was pictured. A nose, an elbow? Something.

So now you have a glimmer of what I might have said, I'll hold my tongue in a rare show of, oh something approximating objectivity, except we all know it does not exist. Besides, my ambidextrial carpal tunnel has returned, and stressful typing, like a review, has become too painful.

Can Man - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Can Man from G 2 J

There are times when I can actually make a semblance of sense about some art, perhaps better when the word flow is at its most florid, then the meaning settles in, while the words still fly. Not always, of course, but often enough to base a career of sorts upon, though more a chosen livelihood than a financial one. Much of the time, however, I don't even care that much about art, except in my life when I pass it on the walls or hanging from the ceiling or in my way room to room in my or somebody else's home.

Where art can perform its several functions, because I am not concentrating so on what to say about it, I can just enjoy it. Let it seep in without me having to decipher anything. Such joy when I can let that happen.

But trying to write about art is useless. Being moved to write about something is it. I can the latter; I just don't the former. When I look for the stuff, I'm usually doing so either under duress or mindlessly haphazard. I can run through the art in a gallery, even a big one, in a matter of minutes, and not many of those, to decide whether I'd even want to bother this time.

I could go weeks without other people's art, but on vacation I don't care much about it, although we may hazard a specialty of the area gallery. Indians in Montana. Old, dead cowboys in Colorado. Quasi spiritual claptrap in Santa Fe. All of New Orleans. But that's fun. Business is in Dallas-only art

I'm thinking about this again, because I'm avoiding writing about Hecho en Dallas, which I loved the misspelling on Fb as "echo in Dallas," which, if you've seen the show, makes sense.


Tulip Buds - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tulip Buds

Learning is an odd notion. I wrote before the last entry that I was learning to grab art thoughts and write them while the iron was hot, in the glowing stream of consciousness while I was still thinking heavy and hot about it. Then my latest Art Here Lately (so latest that it's not there yet) story is still in the works. May be for awhile. I didn't feel like writing all night. Had then and still have a few notions that require deeper thinking about.

I'm not ready to release those notions, neither. Sometimes it's nice to hang onto the ideas that eventually bubble up about art. Sometimes I wait so long more openings happen, and I feel like I should add samplings from those, too. And I should. And I procrastinate that. Meanwhile wondering when I get to forget about writing about art all the time time time. I'm well past retirement age, when do I get to retire?

My most trusted suggester suggests I need to stay in it awhile longer. Sometimes all I want to do is photograph birds. Sometimes all I want to do is read stories and novels and poetry and whatever else is on my Kindle at the moment. I doubt I'll catch up with my last year's movies reviewed record of 174. I'm blogging about learning about my new camera, even though almost nobody else reads what I write there. I don't really care about readers except with art and birds. Luckily.

Two Pianos with Percussion - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Pianos with Percussion

Wow! wow. I am startled and amazed. The second competitive exhibition I've entered this year after hanging back all last year from entering anything, and I got two pieces in the 8th Annual Hecho en Dallas Juried Exhibition, and I'm in very good company. I'm impressed. I also entered one of those and other images in the 500X Expo 2011, and all those were declined. But that show turned out to be an outstanding exhibition, which I reviewed in Art Here Lately [link now; link later].

I like to enter recent work, and both these photographs were done this year — one shot and produced the day before the entry deadline. The other on February 6. Neither has anything to do with the image above.

This site's Arts Calendar lists all the artists. I'm one of four who got two of our three entries accepted. No one got all three in. Apparently the jurors were stuck with very pale images on a poorly working digital projector. I had worried that my prints would match my entries. Not much a problem knowing the dismal viewing conditions the jurors had to deal with, but I'm still in shock I got in. It feels very good.

I'd got in several competitive shows in this area with my bird pix before last year, but what will be in H O (I always think of model railroads when they say Hecho en Dallas.) are two very personal pieces that are a cross between my longterm and ongoing Home Still Lifes series and my ongoing fascination with dying and dead flowers, and I'm not really willing to say anything more about them, but some of you may have already seen at least one of them around here (not this page) somewhere. I won't say where, but my entry that was declined in Hecho is on this page [below].


Winter Reeds - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Winter Reeds

I am learning again that if I don't write down / type up the first head-long rush of feelings and opinion from a night or day of art, they get lost in the miasmas, and I cannot re-access them with all the in-focus right-color pictures in the Universe. If I get home and write like a madman on a mission, who it is in me who relates to these things gets it vented in real time on into the night, and it just feels right.

I probably shouldn't talk to people at openings. I probably shouldn't go to openings, am generally happier when I don't. But there's where I often find friends and strangers. Although stranger friends is difficult to imagine, I learn from all of them. Something. Many things. Not planned. Just happens. I love talking and listening and talking some more.

A night of openings puts them all together in a timeline that's kind to my way of working, watching, even seeing, giving me a string of events to control, contrast and compare, especially when I can set it down fast, and let all those sensations fly free.

After an all-night writing binge and enough sleep finally, of course I think better of some remarks, go back, rewrite the truly tawdry ones after the page was posted at the long, tired end of last night already, and the inevitable early-birders have already taken in the story.

Those readers get a different view, maybe closer to the truth, but less kind. Then I imagine them going back to see if I really said that and finding my words changed. Assuming anyone ever goes back to read something.

I do, of course, over and over, over the next week or until I finally get bored with that one and am on to the next. Part, probably of why I have so many blogs running. This one for first-person singular visions of me doing this site. This one for birds — I feel guilty if I don't do three good bunches of bird photos every week.

My Kindle Blog about me learning that amazing simple machine and expanding my reading to pixels all over the place. My Canon S90 Journal learning that camera that is dwindling into uselessness. Oh, gosh. Seems like I had one more hidden under some flap somewhere. Maybe it's hiding with my even smaller camera or my headphones ...

Most difficult of all, is to resist the urge to go back to try to find something, anything I can say something nice about around a show I've just royally dissed. The trick in rewriting without re-seeing is to go for fewer words as well as shorter paragraphs, so people will actually read it. Mamby-pamby never works.

Rewrite the thing every time I get a chance. Spell check the story and all my revisions. I'm a terrible typer and worse a speller. I know way too many words, but I can't spell most of them. Rid the prepositional phrases. Say it direct. Lose any instance of passive voice ever. Move adjectives around and lose adverbs entirely. Rethink long and winding sentences. Chop up tall paragraphs. Show pictures, so I don't have to explain everything.

Subjects and verbs are not so all-fired important as many people think. If it reads fast enough, they'll fill that stuff in.


Southeast View with Snow and Car - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Southeast View with Snow and Car

About to go starkers. Love to jump in my car and go photo some more birds, but I know just how dangerous the roads are, because I tried that trip already a couple days ago, and I was in terror of idiots in big trucks who just roared by in any lane that suited their fancy. Saw a big UPS track jammed sideways into one of the side streets in my neighborhood at the nearest biggish road.

I keep reading and reading and reading and, like just about everybody else on the planet, taking pictures in the snow, but I need to go to a store or see some art or photo some birds or run free. Instead, I stay here staying warm but mildly pissed.

So I called my oldest best friend in Indiana, and we talked LD for three hours. Nice to talk with somebody no holds barred from time to time, but I still want to go driving around, even if there's nothing out there I really really need.

But I tried anyway. I got in the renta car, and was gonna try driving around the block but worried about getting it to climb back up the driveway, then watched my least favorite neighbor try gunning his car to get it to go up his even less angled driveway, and I'd already been telling myself I shouldn't go out there, I shouldn't be doing this, so I settled for walking around the house and taking pictures even more pix of the house in snow, and decided to stay put here in prison one more day.

Larry Laughing - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Larry Laughs

Was feeling all superior last night that I heated with gas, and that would never run out, now it is. The blue flames in my ancient space heaters keep dwindling. I thought yester that if I lost electricity, I could live without it. In daylight, which at 7:37 ayem now, is finally beginning to glow in the east. I'm up because I overcompensated on my diabetes medicine yester. Or I ate too little — an odd sensation for me, even if I did lose 40 pounds last year. I should be swimming, but the pools are closed in this mid-winter sudden cold spell.

Blood sugar flies and dives with little reason nor rhyme. Mine when it's low, wakes me. High sleeps me. Eventually when I'm up and want sleep I'll remember blood sugar and test. Three points under the lowest I should ever have. A level that woulda freaked me three months ago. Now I just ate breakfast, intend to go back to bed, then started writing this.

Last night the TV told me the gas company is pissed we're using too much gas, so they're lowering pressure. And I either missed (all my plug-in clocks are the wrong time) or didn't notice the lectric company's rolling blackouts yester. Sleeping probably, the weather or barometric pressue seems ideal for it. Up too early now, but plan to enjoy more of the elusive stuff later.

I braved it yester to go out and find birds and actually did it — often in regular weather I can't, but today will stay inside and bundled up. Read more on my Christmas Kindle, write about art or something — I know I'm behind. Mayhaps just settle for this. Dabble more on Facebook, which I'd eschewed, closed down more than a month ago, but am really settling into my community there lately. Ice storm syndrome maybe. A little tough on some old friends, joyed with the interaction with others.

Yesterday night I was the crumpot inside. The grump. Distributed the link to my first Fb (I don't even know the name for it — buncha pictures's). Only ever before promoted DARts or my Bird Journal or something there. Those oddly abstract (not from reality so much as from people) images as personal as I was able to put together. Then.

Thinking through it last night interspersing sleep, I realized no people in those pictures. The serious photographer, I avoid snapshots, but conversely love to look at them, happy to rifle through piles of them faster than I view a gallery show, seconds maybe, might be a merry minute. I get something from that. Even on Fb. I have people pictures but rarely think of them as art worth showing.

One of yester's joys was looking at an album (that's the Fb name I'd spaced) by a friend. Out the window shots of her DARTS Rail ride to work on the Red Line. I'd done similar clickity-click along the rail when it was new in the early 90s. Love her interspersing elements of her work with the real ride (think that's what she's up to. Maybe she actually did go through a meteor shower), then back out to reality as we know it.

A brave view to keep clicking along one of those long rides. Some of the ugliest back views of our growing city but somehow beautiful. Love the flowers on the walls and stripped buildings. Inspires me somehow to do my people pix, another odd journey.

 Burn - photo by Anna Palmer

Me and A 20-year-old Cat Named Burn    photo by Anna Palmer

Slide Room is still grinding away. "Transferring data from submit.slideroom.com..." No idea what it's doing. Or why. Am curious but since there's no way to discover what it's still doing, I'll just let it. Near the top left of the Submission window, it says "Deadline: 1 day 1 hr," meaning I am hugely ahead of time.

I didn't click the green "Submit>" button, but I have heeded its warning: "NOTE: After clicking [Submit], edits will no longer be possible," till I was near certain I had done everything. Except to keep everything neat, I changed a file name after (I hope. I think. I probably should not have, but I don't remember what I called it before that.) I transferred those files to the site page headed "500X Expo 2011 | Juror: Marty Walker, Owner, Marty Walker Gallery."

I have questions but no way to find SlideRoom's answers now. On a previous page, it offerred to answer my questions, but not having started this idiot process, I didn't have any, then.

Several minutes later, and it still says "Transferring data from submit.slideroom.com..." in small print at the bottom left of the window, so I'm still wondering if it all went wherever it was supposed to. I have my doubts. The task, "Add Media" is check marked. I have just paid.

After waiting interminably. I clicked the green Submit button again, and it bumped up a page congratulating me for submitting my entries and promising an email receipt confirming my submission and another one notifying me that my entrants were accepted via email by 8 pm on February 2," if that is so.

The other interminable waiting begins.

Shortly thereafter, an email tells me [my] submission has been successfully sent to 500x Gallery on 1/27/2011" and giving me my confirmation #. They hope "SlideRoom was a great experience for [me]." It wasn't, but it was better than the last time. And that was was better than the time before. This trip still took hours. If they charged by the hour they'd be richer than Microsoft.

Continued from somewhere below.

Burn is the business Plush Gallery is ensconced in's live-in Mascot.

Goggles - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.


Feels like I haven't done anything but birds since the start of this new decade, but just yesterday I got an intelligent (always love those) letter from an artist who needed to turn me around about an opinion I expressed in Art Here Lately. His letter was smart, so I put it on the Feedback page, then I realized it's a new year, so I needed a new Feedback page, which meant getting last year's in order.

In order meant tracking down all the links in those letters to link back to pages that had moved on or changed names. Almost nothing on this site ever goes away. By 'moved on,' I mean that it had changed names, and many of the links no longer linked to the pages they used to link to, because those stories were on pages that changed names or locations.

The two sections most of the links to and fromed were Art Here Lately, which stays as ArtHereLately.html, so it can be linked to wherever I link it from, like the cover, the calendar, or wherever, then when it gets too big, I make that page into ArtHereLately-001 to -010 (except I forgot the leading zero on ArtHereLately-09.html), and change the links on the Feedback page to link to the newly-named pages.

The last few months of last year, I started linking Feedback story links with two links, one to the generic ArtHereLately.html and directly adjacent to those links, one that linked to the page I thought it would be called, worded like ThisLinkNow but ThisLinkLater, so I could just nix the one to the generic page and have the one to likely the right actual page, however I ended up naming it.

All very confusing and time-consuming. I went through that 2010 Feedback page at least four times, one link after another, carefully down the page, till I finally posted it on the site the last time when every link went exactly where I wanted it to (I hope). Took several hours. Actually taught me a couple things, at least one I can now use.

Along the way I realized I should name Feedback pages, hitherto named numerically from the first one, instead by the last digits of the year of feedback it was. I hope I can remember that next year at about this same time. We'll see.

I do this sort of crazy-making updating often. There's probably a much more expensive better way to do it, but by hand and by mind is the only I have learned. Post each newly updated page online, check some more links in my browser, find another error, correct that in my page-making software, load it, check links, etc. Till I'm half mad and the rest crazy.

This page works a lot like the Art Here Lately pages do, since this is now in its eighth iteration.

Then listen to some music, watch a movie (and review that), read a book (and review having done that and what else I learned in my new Kindle Blig). That's not a typo. I call it Blig, because I didn't want to have to hassle with another blog. If it's a blig, I can ramble (and boy, can I ramble. I used to send Midnight Rambles to members, then members told me I should share them with everybody, so I did, apparently leaving some members out of the loop.

One member, after I'd told them about art openings we'd attended last weekend, asked how I found out about those openings. I told them about the DallasArtsRevue Arts Calendar, and they were surprised. But not as startled as I was that a DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member did not know that we put together a rather amazing calendar page of art shows, events, lectures, community events and such.

But how could a member not know about the calendar? Maybe I should ramble at them again, then add that missive to my Ramble Index (ignore the one new. Everything there is ancient old by now).

Anyway, when avoiding writing about yet more art, I tend to get lost in my own pages, and often update them, which generally involves other pages that need updating, which, (with either 400 as I now believe there really are, or 1,200, which always seemed an absurd number, yet that's what my web-site-making software used to insist I had — I still don't know what it was counting) keeps me plenty busy doing unobvious things and driving myself slowly nuts.

And there's always the birds. My bird suite of pages used to catch a thousand or more hits a month. Lately, I've been lucky to get 600, sometimes fewer even than that (so I also updated the index to my Amateur Birders Journal today — and that page works like my other series of pages. The current journal is always named index.html, then after that month, I copy it and rename the copy by that month and year, and keep the index page as the latest monthly journal, so all my links on my sites and other sites, keep working). If I keep bird pics coming every couple of days, I get more hits. More hits feeds my excitement, and leads to more pix and more entries in that journal. It cycles into and out of itself.

Sometimes when I don't write reviews for awhile, it's directly attributable to the fact that nobody is (or what I perceive as not nearly enough people are) reading what I wrote last. Sometimes it's because I'm bored with art. Sometimes it's because I'm spending all my time on birds. It doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with my objectivity or lack of it, but I still have an Objectivity index, too. Except maybe it really does.

Lately, it might be because I am back to reading again, now that I can make book text as large as I want to on the Kindle, which is its own minor miracle, Anna got me for Christmas. Before that, the small print — as it so often does in real life — tooketh away — that joy. It doesn't save time. It might help make me more literate, and it's more entertaining than most of TV.

It's fabulous fun to read and read and read. So I do. I'm in the active middle of five books right now (and only one old movie), and I just downloaded a couple more books I've been wanting to delve into for years.

Eating Skunk - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black Vultures Eating Skunk (more of the Vulture vs. Skunk story)

For a full year I did not exhibit any art — although I did, reluctantly, show some history. That dereliction was a welcome change that I hope to bend all the way back this year. I plan to enter a bunch of online competitions, and here comes EXPO 2011 at 500X (See our Ops page.) with a January 28 deadline. Soon.

Thought I would enter birds, since they have been my specialty, and ThEdBloggian pictures (like from this page). Only a vague idea idea which, since I have deliberately not thought about it till this new year. I generally prefer showing recent work. I shot this Black Vulture eating skunk yesterday (from when I began writing this).

Now, suddenly thinking anew, I am more inclined to do ThEdBlog pix than birds, if only because I have more interesting ThEdBloggies than Birdses lately, whether that's because my Rocket Launcher (longer tele zoom) is in the shop or what.

Thedbloggies are personal and a little strange and something I've been engaging in seriously for about seven years. Used to call them Home Still Lifes. I imagine Tom and Frances engaging in deep intellectual discussions about shape around their house when they're not at work on it. That kind of thinking behind often spontaneous photographs.

I have the camera, I get a notion to photo something, I do. I look at it and think, if that sucker'd been shot with a tripod, all the lines would be sharper, in focus, the colors might be better, etc. So, sometimes I do that. Other times I just shoot, because it's in the moment, and just then the lighting (like the gridded sink) is almost perfect, and I shoot, chimp the image, shoot again, probably only a couple more times till I get the exposure pretty good and the angle. Work it up, make a little one for this page, write something I can use it to less or more illustrate, then go on about my life.

And look at it here while I go back and clean up the text, reword, get rid of adverbs and prepositional phrases, streamline sentences, pare words. Stomp out passive voice. Keep it all first-person active. Reveal more of me.

I can't help watching the pictures when I wander through this page — often. I've been scrolling down, thinking about my images, and since I want to show new work, it's likely going to be this, my most personal, yet still thought-through work. A series that just grew, and I've been aiming.

Manilla Grid - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Manilla Grid

Maybe I make theorems to go along. Notions like Colorful Things in Personal Space. I write with verbs, but I don't think with them. Often Gridded Things. The subtle light/dark grid in the Manila Grid, the shadow of the don't-slip-in-the-bathtub rubber mat hanging near the window, over the sink.

The too-careful placement of objects in the 3D Art for the Living Room, which deserves a better, less generic title. I just turned off my RadioLab podcast. I'm in Deep Thought now. Beyond 42. I might add pieces I've found since to the 3D Art for the Living Room. I love Piccadilly all by itself. I didn't compose that for a photo; I composed it for me. My life.

The photo didn't come till I saw it there later and needed to photo it. So it's real, not art. That's probably another organizing principle. Real, Not Art. Even if the resulting photograph, or the one that comes after that aspires toward art later.

Now I'm seeing flowers as too pretty, but I'm not sure. I've got a curling-up Stargazer on my desk. Were two branches, probably from different plants. The first is withered, dark, past dead. But I don't want to have to deal with it so soon after The Great Tulip Demise. The second branch still has life in it.

I didn't want to watch another set of flowers die. Didn't want the responsibility. But I accepted the gift of it and did my best to keep them alive. Add water. Leave the light on. Real, not art.

But flowers are meant to be art. I don't believe art made from flowers — not literally like Pavlina does, but their images. Unlike too-serious college-taught artists sometimes do, I don't think making serious art of them is alien or scorn-worthy. I like flower art, am partial to them.

Just I find flowers more interesting when they die. Than just being there. Than pretty. Shape, colors, textures. All that stuff so much more interesting then. More intense. Maybe deeply associated with why I want to photograph details of my surroundings. And why I don't mind if my foregrounds get a little funky.

Tweezer Tulip - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tweezer Tulip

A fresh flower in the house, and I'm obsessed rendering its hue and shape and texture and whatever else drives through that impossible bloom. As in the past, I'll follow it day by day for a week or ten days. Maybe less. Sometimes longer. Then stumble upon it in a favored bowl or notice it out the corner of an eye and take it up for photographing again as it dishevels.

Trying to determine what symbolism lies in the front of my eyes, pink and orange on green glass, held by a tweezer cross the River Faux. I broke two other stems of the original nine. Not sure how. I knew just how fragile they were when this one popped. Those others snapped clean just under the buds. Sitting in the dark now in my living room. Keep thinking I should get the whole family together.

About six inches of this one's fuse keeps osmosing wet up into the color. Least that's what I remember from high school biology. Maybe the same class where I established my name as J R. Mr. Talbot's. No memory which school, what city, state, zip that was. Just that I've been me, J R, since that school and another student, named A I. Teacher asked him how to spell it. Teachers miss the point easily sometimes, when they're in bureaucrat mode.

Can't tell if this posed and prepared photo is dark. Noir dark. I know it's close to perfect exposure. Do the stabby little points make it more sinister or bleak? Was grim as I shot it. Engaging in one's arts lifts the clouds.

I tried it with the little tele zoom, my graying Nikkor 55mm Macro, then the 50mm f/1.8. That keen little lens stole this image from reality. Life as we know it. Colors set to vivid. ISO low as it will go — L 1.0 (100) — 1.6 seconds @ f/11 –1.33 EV. On a tripod. In my office with the small sheet of mat board A brought me after he accidentally deleted the white styro board I'd been using as a photo reflector. And ceiling light. With the DX sensor, probably could make a huge print.

Before that the s90 and for a long time before that, soaking its vivid force with my eyes and mind. Just staring.

The green vase looks like something I bought in the Nostalgia department of the big Salvation Army at Harry Hines & Inwood. Never more than five bucks. Simple, clean design to hold water, maybe a flower or so. Tweezers have been around for decades, not pincer-point tight enough to pull any slivers out, but enough secure to stabilize a tulip whose stem broke when I moved the mat board for a better shot and more reflection.

After this, I finally started the Art Here Lately story I'd procrastinated. I figure two, three more days. Then get it online before the shows close.

More tulips on my member page.

Filled With Holes - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Filled With Holes

I was getting tired of writing about art. Thinking maybe I could get away with just a bunch of pictures with something quick under them. I didn't think or feel I could go in deep, but sometimes I have to pour a bunch of pictures on a page to get the juice flowing. Sometimes that works. More often than not, but that still leaves all the not times. Maybe this is one of those.

Then, out of the blue, or white — you know, like the cloud parts of a sky — in comes a really nice, short, succinct well-thought through story. Drops onto me from on high somewhere. Eagles, not so much starlings or ducks here. Hawks or maybe even ravens. Great Blue Herons. I love those guys. Aloof, blending in off behind a far-off pond. Only see them when they move. When they're still, like they are for hours, they are invisible.

Norman Kary seems to have the job here of writing about museum shows. I get so mad at museums I usually don't go, unless it's with a similarly predisposed, not-ever-quite-satisfied-with-the-world-as-we-know-it friend. Last time I was in the Modern it was like that. Lotta direct put-downs leading deep into intelligent and historic crit. Fascinating that other human beings know that stuff and can put it together, feed-back and bounce off.

Would that someday I could write like that. Norm's story tells interesting facts and opinions, and when I asked the Modern for pictures, they gave nice ones I don't know who all has already used. Very nice ones. Ideal is for me to go, grok, and choose some faves. But I didn't want to drive all the way to Forp Woof for the privilege. Nice pix, got quick, went with the flow.

Nice when that happens. Now I can rethink, forget and start over with my pile of pictures already on that page. Some of the artists on my page and I go way back. Gotta get that deep a understanding into it, without going on and on. Say it quick, get on with it. Like writing this. Stream of conscious, maybe tapping into the unconscious like I sometimes can. Like this and this and this.

I amaze myself when I do that. But I can't do that trying to do that. I can only do that by setting my chickens free first. There's a rooster loose in my neighborhood. I've seen him on my porch a couple times. Tried to take its picture. Keep packing a cam. Will get him. Be the perfect image for this upgush instead of Holy Sink Bath Room.

Thank you, Norman, for filling in the gap. Perfect timing. Good, solid story. If I knew anything about Vernon Fisher more than his stuff is amazing, maybe I should have written that story but I wasn't even thinking in a westernly direction.

Sometimes I need to write these things so I can find out what I'm thinking. Or failing to think. Maybe now I can forget what needs forgetting.

Not think, write.

Another Use for Art - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Use for Art

After 25 or thirty years of faithful service, my clothes dryer stopped heating last week. With a large pile of wet clothes, towels and sheets needing drying, I sought out prongy things in my house where Yo couldn't get to them (He eats stuff made of cotton. And I love cotton clothes and everything. Nails over transoms, doorknobs, French Door apertures with glass missing, tripods and ... Art.

I had soggy stuff folded over and hangered from James Michael Starr's [Well, I always call it Box Spider, but Jim called it The Council of Wurms, although I still don't understand why I think I am hereby changing its title. At least I'm not calling it The Towel and T-shirt dryer.] and Metz & Metz' U.S. Peace Initiative.

I got a fan going oscillating and blowing on soggy matter all round the room. Turned out it was much more efficient in much less time than running the dryer. I have thought I might abandon buying yet another energy-waster and just hang my wash on art and everything in my living room.

Which I had long ago promised would be finished by now. My showplace for three-dimensional art is lost in stasit out there somewhere. The Metz' piece hasn't been hung, and I have yet to figure out where all those little things go. And other issues.

Lisa Taylor - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.
Dirt Squirrel

I've realized slowly but repeatedly that I can either write about dirt squirrels (a marvelously derogatory term Richard donated) or about art. I feel offended when dirt squirrels steal from me or from my nonprofit friends, and something mighty in me wants the tables turned, so everyone knows and may eventually do something about the hubrists who take monetary and other advantages of those who are trying to help.

But when my blood boils, its pressure rises. I can't let go, sleep or think straight. I sure as hell cannot write well or fairly. And what's important becomes as as illusive as it is elusive. I keep retreating awhile, then fronting back into engaging the turd rodents in the good fight recommended by Sam Clemmons in his great quote on our Contact Us page. Then — inevitably — I find me swirling the same cesspit the filth flammers inhabit.

Till I'm either medically or morally bankrupt, and can't do anything accomplish-worthy or calm, cool and gathered — if not entirely collected. I understand too well both sides, but cannot keep engaging. I value me too much to keep at dissing the squirrelish scoundrels.

Damn it.

UD Spider - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

UD Spider Hanging By A Thread

Tonight after photographing art and art and art all evening and all but participating in performance art the night, I had the freaked-out experience of losing every shot I shot all afternoon and evening and night. Gone. Nothing I know of or remember happened to make them go. They were just gone. I remembered clicking back through many of them on the camera, between stops. Then when I copied them over to my computer, they weren't there anymore. They weren't on my camera. They weren't anywhere.

Just gone. Into thick, cold air.

Luckily, unlike when I blank out in real life, and inadvertently or stupidly destroy reality, I have salvage software for my camera cards and computer. Took about an hour of anxiety, to find out if it could, but it sucked back to visual reality every image from the last several days: Enrique Cervantes and Gordon Young's superb show at UD, Jim Bowman and associates blowing glass at The Cedars tour earlier this evening, art at the Art Ranch, out of focus partying at the new concrete park on our way through downtown to Conduit to see James Michael Starr and Roberto Mungia and Ellen George's shows there, then on to Craighead Green, Plush, Marty Walker, then over the river to Oak Cliff to see Ian F. Thomas and Shreepad Joglekar's amazing and superb Ergonomics of Futility performance art at 411 Tyler, another temporary space utilized by RO2 much as a nearby address had been used by us a few years previous.

More pix and words as I put them together again on some of these same pages near you.

Tom Moody - The Twins - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tom Moody   The Twins  oil on canvas   22 x 26 inches

I got a bunch of paintings up the day after we finally got my bookcase in my office reorganized. I've been staring over my monitor at that all but blank wall for half a year now, maybe longer. The only thing on it all that time was a small drawing by Frank X. Tollbert, Jr. A quick felt-tip (looks like) line drawing of one Pegasus hoof print on the ground next to a geyser.

I think it may be in my collection somewhere. I need to update those pages, have needed to for half a decade now.

The wall now has all-time favorite paintings. I probably should have planned where everything would go, but I just started putting them up where they fitted, and now there's a gap in the middle of five paintings where would fit my Gerald Burns paining of me writing a Dallas Arts Kazoo when I used to do that on KNON FM, many years ago. Last century.

Except the Tollbert is in the way. I think it will be happy on the small wall adjacent. Doesn't have far to go. The myth is that everywhere Pegasus puts down its foot, a spring springs up. Word is there is, or was, a spring in the basement of the building with the twin neon Pegasi downtown.

I'd talked with late Bob Trammell and Frank, and Frank whipped out this drawing on the back of a portion of a poster for one of Bob's Dallas New Arts Festivals. Then either I framed it, which seems unlikely. Or I got it framed. It will like its new home, I'm sure. I am already enjoying having work by Tom Moody, Richard Ray, Ann Huey, Carroll Svenson-Roberts and Gregory Horndeski staring back at me as I type this.

Then there's a pair of shaped cactus and downtown paintings by Pam Nelson before she became Pamela Nelson that might fit in one of the crannies. So nice to have finally reactivated my paintings. I've missed them.

Crepe Myrtle on My Old Car - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Crepe Myrtle Blossoms on My Old Car

Wore myself out on the EASL Heist story. Doing serious R&R this week, maybe into next, but not staring off into space, neither. Got too many projects already in the works, and I've been photographing birds almost every day. And learning my new car (even though the old one never quite gave out) and figuring a bunch of other stuff out, also.

Busy. Doing stuff I love till I don't anymore. Working on a little website for someone. Thinking a couple other stories through. Updating pages.

We visited Morton Rachovsky last month and were fascinated by what he does and took lots of pictures of his work. Another story I need to figure out, then write — is about Alison Starr, who's got a groove going after doing remarkably well in several other directions/mediums. She's working a furrow into that elusive path we all strive for. Getting good, and settling into a series that's proving popular, and I need to figure out what she's doing that is working so well. Eventually both those stories will be easy, and the words will flow. Now, not.

Meanwhile, I keep trying to push money on people who've written here before, but I'm not getting takers, even though I am not talking cheap. Used to be writers wanted money, and I didn't have any — this site didn't. But for a while, at least, it can afford better writers than me, but nobody wants to take my money. Strange world.

Tonight, my internet connection that's been slowing for months, finally stopped. It's difficult to tell the difference between when Roadrunner is just slow and all the way dead. I probably need a new ISP, but I flat don't trust AT&T. Anybody out there have experience with a honest, decent, local High Speed Internet provider who's not trying to take over the world?


3D Stuff for the Front Room - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

3D Art for the Living Room — L to R: Nancy Ferro - hand,
Bruce Stiglich - birds, and stick figures by Kathy, Lauren and sibling Pomara.

I admit it. In my accelerating years I'm beginning to understand need to hang onto things past. If I could have figured out how to use the latest software and keep using Mac OS 9, I would have. Instead I am reluctantly up to OS 10.4.11 and recently bought a iPod Touch, but my Gen 4 Touch won't work with my computer running Mac OS 10.4.11, although nobody bothered to tell me that before I bought the sucker. I've got till the end of the month to send it back.

I desperately wanted it. I even imagined me playing games on it, and I don't play games. Well, not that kind of games. Everybody plays mind games. I used to think I was good at those, too but then I didn't want to anymore, so I avoid it and end up playing games about that. Anyway, I am momentarily stuck with what I wanted, even though soon as I turn it on, it insists on connecting with an operating system that won't work on my computer.

Frustration. Days of hours spent on four-deep research to learn I don't want to upgrade to Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6.2). So I have to send my precious but yet immaculately unused iTouch back.

If I could, I'd go back to OS 9-something. I understood how it thinks, what it does when it doesn't get what it wants and how to make it think it does even when no way it could. I could tweak its innards, and I had a CD full of utilities that fixed nearly any OS 9 issue. People called me guru. It was absorbing and fun. I had status and a job, because everybody else always had problems with 9.

I put off OS X for nearly ten years. Now I'm inching toward the latest v — three steps forward and two steps back — I'm so far behind I may never catch up, and I'm learning to enjoy that sensation.

Pickadilly - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.


On my birthday I cleaned my house. Not all of it, of course, but enough of it to show the Universe I wanted a clean house. Really I want somebody else to do it, but good help is hard to find. I had hoped to have a party this year, but parts of my house lack electricity. Not enough plugs to run what I want running, not nearly enough for what several people think I need.

And I have fat cables to pipe the stuff from rooms with three-prong plugs to rooms where I don't. I didn't want anyone to trip over that fat orange wire strung across two rooms. Not that either room is all the way clean. Just started.

When they're clean and when the dining room — which has changed from a refuse center where the cat peed repetitively on some piece of chair-ish furniture, and we had to throw it out — to a nice den. I didn't at first know the name for a room like that. If it had a TV and radio and music, it'd be a rec room. I remember those from my childhood. But it doesn't, so it isn't.

Now Yo, my cat, won't come past his bowl most of the time. Doesn't like the den as much as he loved the dining room. Doesn't like the office as much as he did before we changed the dining room into a den and got rid of his stench. Even though we didn't change the office much in all that change. Cats hate change.

I miss him sitting in my lap and me petting him. Now he only talks to me when his bowl nears empty.

I like my new den / photo studio, have my lights back up, even though the gray backdrop that never shaped itself into a real sweep, is gone. We changed the whole room, and now it needs more changing, but it's comfy in there, and books I actually want to read are stacking up on what used to be the living room coffee table, in there now.

I read in there, and lately I've been finding more books I'd lost in the miasmas, and now that most of them are back in my office, albeit in no order whatsoever, not even mostly on the bookcases where they belong. Another reason to postpone a lot of people coming into my home suddenly.

And then that let-down feeling when they all leave, after five or six wonderful hours of great conversation and people who didn't know each other meeting and talking and finding common ground while I play strange musics and food of several alien notions.

But all that has to wait till I get my electricity. And after that some other excuse.

Sinew - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.


I wonder if even the sculptor would recognize these spider tendons in a sculpture that determined the dimensionality of the art in my living room. Progress there has continued in fits and starts for more than a year now. Thought it would be done by now. But reality is elastic, time rigid.

One of my friends who reads this asked if I spent a lot of time photographing things around my house. Yes, of course. Like me, it's almost always there. When it's not, I'm generally not available. They usually don't let me have a camera when I'm locked up in a hospital somewhere. Or I'd be dangerous.

I always feel a little dangerous with a camera. Shoot what attracts my attention however fleeting. This small connection bright in sunlight speeding across my living room stopped here long enough to do both. Catch my attention and get photographed. It's actually in focus, or the part of it I was trying for is.

But that iffy hardly matters. Here, at least, it's the composition. The dark, light and old wood floor stripes, balanced by the simple minute-hand of a stopped John Snygg sculpture in the upper corner, it's a composition.

Infinite String Infinite Shadow - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Infinite String   Infinite Shadow

I knew it when I did it, and I did it anyway. By then I didn't care anymore that the story wasn't finished, as in polished and the errant words removed, so it flowed right and reached into the better conclusions, and it's still not altogether there, but it's been up a couple days now, and I'm still writing and rewriting and reorganizing it. BYIC.

Used to do that when I printed toner on paper, too. Change every couple copies here or there where my prose that looked fine a couple days before suddenly looked just wrong. So I changed this or that or the other while I was printing up 150 or so of them before I mailed them or carted them off for hand-delivery, because gas was cheaper than postage.

Usually I strain over each new story. Eventually get somebody with intelligence to read it and see if it makes any sense at all. Seems like it doesn't from this end sometimes. And I still go back and change things months or years later, when I happen upon them when Google sends me to one of my own pages when I'm looking for something nearly forgot.

I'm talking here about the latest Art Here Lately, what an obvious phrase to call recent art with an emphasis on this locale. I remember Jeanne Sturdevant being amazed I'd called it that. Reportage once called Eat Art (as in the Great Art for a Great City, second and finally successful bond proposal for the then new museum) then some other things, then this.

I didn't put the string together. Found it just like that in Conduit's extended parking lot at last weekend's openings. Seemed perfect for some future ThEdBlog.

Window Dressing - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Window Dressing

DADA (Dallas Art Dealers Association) wanted to reprint my very popular online How to Photograph Art page to hand out at their How to Photograph Art panel the morning of their next big Art Drive. I declined, since online I can — and do — constantly update the story and images, which are integral to the instruction. The images are all in color and thus expensive to reproduce offline — and so easy, for them, to dispense with or print badly or as monochrome.

I don't trust anyone to present my information in another medium. That page is doing very well online, which is the perfect medium for it, and I get accolades from professors and photographers all around the country.

Of course, I was not invited to be on the DADA panel, and they did not offer to pay me for my words or photographs they wanted to use to add to their own honor and glory.

Then later, a friend told me that DADA Director Lisa Taylor, who asked my permission and whom I denied said permission, told them she had got permission, and she used it. Directly contrary to my wishes and copyright. She wanted it, and she took it, permission or not. Odd behavior for the director of the largest area association of art dealers.

I billed her a thousand dollars, which Lisa Taylor told me Lisa Taylor would pay. But she would only pay it out of the Edith Baker Scholarship Fund. That seemed pretty creepy to me, but Lisa Taylor is a liar and a thief, who doesn't mind spending money collected to help art students attend college. Just as long as she doesn't have to pay for her own puproseful mistakes. I spoke with other DADA officials. They backed Lisa Taylor up, said it had all been a mistake.

I think so, too.

An altogether different and serious moral dilemma — about permissions to photograph and disseminate images — is brewing on one of my other blogs, JR's S90 Journal.

Bowl of Rocks - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Exquisite ceramic bowl you can't see most of by Alison Starr full of rocks and things

I've just completed my first project on my new big office desk. On the phone with my mother, I mentioned if I ever could get it clean, I could do a long-procrastinated job on it. The job involved dragging out an ancient box of negatives from the Jurassic Era — the Mid-1970s. I needed horizontal space for several piles of contact sheets, a pile of tiny prints I made back then, and an attempt to copy them myself.

Or so I thought. Well, I attempted. My set-up for copying slides and/or negatives relied on me manually focusing black & white negatives, which I almost accomplished. Not good enough though, as I learned when I attempted to process them. I emailed Xpert Imaging, learned their website hadn't been updated since 2003, linked to BWC, drove over there to beat traffic (did not) without my wallet, left the negatives I'd carefully chosen during my First Desk Project, and promised to call in my card number. Did.

So I managed to clear off enough space for a quick-term project by wanting to bad enough after not clearing it off for a couple months of not wanting to bad enough. My first new big office desk project. I'm so proud.

Sun-striped Tree - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sun-striped Tree

I spent all afternoon today cleaning up our once wildly popular Aesthetic Crisis Center. Of course that was a long time ago. Up to six or seven years ago, when the Internet was a strange new place of wonders and amazings. A lot has changed since then. Many of the links that worked once then settled into obscurity and forgottenness didn't work. A lot of them didn't work for years and years. Some of those now work but to new, other pages of much less interest here.

I got rid of several of those errant links that this morning went to porn sites or other sites that had nothing to do with the text we so lovingly and excitedly added over the years since the inception of the Aesthetic Crisis Center. Some of what once seemed amazing, now just looks like junk. Most of those links are gone, too.

What's left is a motley crew of fascinating, animated, interactive, goofy, political, art- and other- related internet websites. 202 websites.

Thing with Wire and SP Chair - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Thing with Wire and S-P Chair

My office is much more together now, yet still pretty far apart. Bookcases are beginning to fill, though in hardly any order. There's new piles of junk on both my computer and my thinking and reading desks. I've cleared maybe four square feet of open space on the bigger desk. Enough to read more pages of The Girl Who Played with Fire, but not enough to give me peace doing that or anything else in here.

There's only a few spare square inches on the desk I type at. But that's not unusual. The bigger one has been and will soon again be wider open. Just that what is resting there now defies organization so has no immediate destination. There's lots of open floor space and only a few stacks of mostly emptying and one or two piles of full boxes in here.

It is not yet obvious where all the books that I am keeping and am not losing into deep dark storage will find themselves for the next few years. This afternoon I installed Mary Iron Eye's silk-screened 1994 postcard of The Gathering back into the same pushpin hole between the windows where it had been since before she died. And Alex leaned Ken Shaddock's 2008 The Alchymical Byrd digital photomontage over my photograph of the Book Store Tape Rental / Private Viewing Rooms upper, staircase-accessible red door.

There's probably some subtle message in his re placement, but it continues to escape me, although I will hang the former, and maybe the latter, too. I do want different art over there than was there before all this change. The Ram Das poster — or perhaps my 5 x 7-inch photo of him here — will go there, too.

Three of TJ Mabrey's mystery symbols are already on the one wall space in this office that I did not have covered over with sheet rock. The clicking electric clock is now in the big middle of that raw, deep brown shiplapped wall. Tiny bugs flit around me and every other thing in the whole room, so I'll have to either set out wine glasses of cheap sweet wine for them to buzz into, get drunk on and drown or light some candles for when the room goes dark, so they can immolate themselves.

Frank X. Tollbert's black line drawing of a Pegasus hoof print spouting a small fountain, which image later became the color painting on one of Bob Trammell's Dallas New Arts Festival posters, is leaning against the wall facing me on the bookcase that overflows with books sans notions of organization.

There is progress, but there is little of the peaceful variety that blends to temporal invisibility. In every direction, visual chaos reigns. It is on the far side of the middle of the beginning of the end, but the end of the end cannot come too soon.

Cherry Pits - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cherry Pits   s90

I'd have to admit that I never read the whole article I commented upon today, but I read enough to know I did not wish to read the whole bleeping thing. It was about my friend and fellow writer and publisher and full-time poet Bob Trammell, who died in 2006 of what the story in the Dallas Morning News described as "cholangiocarcinoma, vulgarly known as cancer of the bile duct ... [and] anxiety over money."

The story, by Dallasite and one of the former presidents of Bob's board of directors and author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara," whom he also probably did not know that well, all but calls Bob a saint. One of two comments when I added mine, was from another who also described himself as a friend, and said he thought Bob — only he called him Robert Trammell, would have liked the article.

I doubt it. Bob rarely liked anything the usual press said about poetry in Dallas. I'm certain he'd disagree with several characterizations.

One of my lots in life is to rearrange idiot histories to describe what really happened. Historians, whom are any of us who get published, tend to wax prosaic, especially if the subject is dead, although they usually cannot utter — or scribe — the d word.

I like that the writer quoted profusely from Bob's poetry, although I didn't want to read it today any more than I usually did then, but he goes overboard in describing Bob as a virtuous man, then manages to leave out the most salient factor in Bob's life.

I got into writing and publishing by responding to published stories in Crawdaddy and Ramparts and other magazines of the day, and continued later in The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Observer, so I always feel at home responding to the press' sillier notions. To wit:

Might be a little early to canonize Robert Trammell. The Bob Trammell I knew and worked with and for and published and saw read poetry many times was not usually the gentle soul you describe.

If there was another C.O.D., it was probably alcoholism, not poverty, although they dance together.

A mutual friend calls him "an obstreperous drunk." My outstanding memory of Bob was him and Dallas writer-poet Roxy Gordon standing just behind the audience, talking and drinking loud like compassionless louts while whomever followed them read poetry.

Bob himself always shook nervously and sweated profusely when he read his work in public. I liked a lot of what he wrote and even published some in DallasArtsRevue* — and an irregular column in which he wrote about his many friends who were artists. But not many considered him that great a poet.

The only real truths he sought were in his poetry. If you're looking for a saint, check out Bob's good friend Gerald Burns, who actually won a big grant — after Bob urged him to enter — and spent it touring Europe.

The only things I've changed from my original post was placing a period after the phrase, "his many friends who were artists," where I began a new sentence, because I don't know what most of his friends thought of his poetry — although I know what others think and thought.

I should also have added "party with" in my first paragraph. I liked Bob's parties and felt privileged to be invited. He had great and wonderfully creative friends, from many strata, and I doubt he thought much about poverty. It just is.

Here, I deleted" in "the words of" before "his poetry" in the last paragraph," for being wordy. Writers and poets keep changing lines.

Only three changes from that publication to this is remarkable, because when I do letters to editors, I usually get so het up, I make more mistakes and regret them. Maybe I'm finally growing up.

I think Bob and everybody else lodged in public history deserves the unvarnished truth. Although his surely would not have been the first name to come to my mind for a story headlined, "Robert Trammell pushed against the values of mainstream Dallas," which is weak and sad.

He did, but that's hardly a good way to sum him up. He organized art shows and festivals of art shows, he organized and participated in poetry readings and included many other poets in his reindeer games. Overall, a good guy doing good things, but he was always number one, as he should be.

* When this was published on paper.


Bell - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Light-Pull Bell   s90

The real trick with websites is to keep updating pages. That's what wins high google scores. It helps if what you say your site contains actually contains that. And other tricks of the trade. But I still like thinking if I put energy in, readers will want to share it. If you provide a semblance of accurate information, add new ones and update them early and often, your links go higher up on the Goog's search pages.

I learned that from a book about how the internet is supposedly making us all dumber, What The Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. I don't fully subscribe to his theory, but it's nice to know about such things. I feel need to read books on the evolving philosophies and zeitgeist of the Internet often as I can find good ones. There's plenty junk.

One of what Carr thinks makes us stupider is that few of us ever finish long pages of text, even if it's scattered with alluring images, if there are links in that text. He says, we see one of those, we click, and we never come back to finish a sentence, paragraph or thought.

Lately, I've become fascinated by Longform Writing online. I found William Langeiesche's A Sea Story from The Atlantic utterly fascinating — a real page scroller. (Supposedly, Noah Webster named that magazine, saying it was "just a notion," but that fact is not in its Wikipedia listing, so it may not be true. I don't mind sometimes if the facts aren't true.) I suspect it happens more often than we will ever know.

My elderly 13-inch Low D TV is still in the closet, and I've been about a month now without it. I wonder if I can last through the new fall programming.

Meanwhile, I keep going back to the net for more great faction — and hoping for fiction, too. It's fascinating. And I still have time to update up to a dozen pages of this thing on days like today when my car's battery wouldn't start, and I have to sit here until my new battery-charger charges my slightly less-than-new battery, and I can drive off somewhere.

Red Plastic Trash Can Full of Sunlight - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red Translucent Plastic Trash Can Full of Sunlight   s90

Women friends mostly, and family, keep asking for advice, then when I wrap my mind around their issues and render it careful and deep, they get pissed. Must be a trend — there is a full, full moon tonight. Why anybody would want my advice is baffling.

Yeah, I know who I am and what I'm good for — short list, and keep busy doing that — writing, photographing and figuring things out. I've been through some stuff — nine close friends committed suicide in the 70s and 80s. Another couple are still dangling on the edge. Took 20 years but I let dope go its own way — and that was 22 years ago, don't care for booze, mistrust addictions and other crutches — even if I keep some around in case I fall. Have engaged in a lot of Recovery. Lost forty pounds this year. Need to lose forty more. Will.

I'm pleasant some of the time, though I tend to be direct and appreciate desiccated humor. I can be a good listener but not always, and I love deep conversation with old and new friends, but we don't have to agree. I appreciate contradictions and consensus. But save us all the time and energy, if you don't want my advice, don't ask.

Mokah's Parking Lot - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mokah's Handicapped Parking — I still have    s90
a permit, but I don't park there anymore

Those who worry about inanities should know I just re-registered www.DallasArtsRevue.com for 20 more years, good through April 2031, cheap bargain that long. My current deal with the current webhost, West Host, whom I call WetHose because they hired somebody stupid enough to turn the fire sprinklers on over their servers — including mine, and have been offline more than the dreaded DreamHost, whom I got rid of to join Wet Hose.

Because I maintain account with DreamHost, many of the hit counters on DARts pages still work. In fact, they work better than WetHose's, which semi-automatically reset of themselves way too often.

Almost every web host's prices keep falling, and for my next boffo (or buffoon) trick, I hope to try out FatCow, if only because they used to advertise in Macintosh magazines, and I liked seeing them there. I chose Wet Hose because Kevin Kelly, whose Cool Tools is one of the few sites I visit every day, wrote that it was great.

Kevin founded Wired magazine, and his CT is a contemporary Whole Earth Catalog (which he edited after Stewart Brand) for tools of our lives. I assumed he knew what he was talking about WetHose, but he didn't.

So we're registered for twenty more years, but it doesn't mean we'll be online all that time. If I ever find a really good webhost, though, it's possible.

Cordovans - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brown Shoes   s90

My new office is begun, but it's not how I expected. My plans would not have worked, against electric power, AC and other physical exigencies. My plans were dreams, but this reality is working well. So far. Computer and various peripherals just where they need to be, though I fought the notion.

At the Benefit Store I found a small computer desk that's the color I hoped to find a two-pedestal desk in, but now it's covered in wires and connections, keyboard, mouse, monitor, hard drive, speakers, ad nauseam.

I bought it thinking I'd unscrew the exquisitely simple keyboard drawer, but it dint want to be removed, and told me, repeatedly. Never even got out the screwdriver. Kept thinking what a great place to put my pyooter ... But why did I buy that lovely desk with all those drawers? I suppose I will find out.

Meanwhile, I like both desks. All $105 worth of them combined. The pedestal one is nicked enough to see — now that I've got it home — that it is veneer — both are — but I don't care. They look like wood, and I love the flavor of whorls, burls and grain.

Keying on my keyboard and mousing with my mouse on that smooth roll-out keyboard, and I did not have to cut the board or reattach the glide guides to the new desk.

I'm mechanical enough to know I could get both chunks into my office — not that it was easy. Lot of huffing and puffing, even used my car jack to lift one end of the big desk to get a grip to right it after sliding on my little sister's donated blanket that was "the wrong color" — a concept I never understood — in through my office door under its forgotten protrusions. Just. Fraction of an inch short of too wide.

Pyooter speakers are up, bass booming, playing Mozart's Piano Quartet in G minor K478: Ill. Rondo. Think I'll start that one again. Great sound.

I haven't connected all the connections yet, or installed books, stereo, etc., but I did find the Fire Wire, so I can slurp up new images — and I need to photo some more birds.

Neon Quarter Round - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Neon Quarter Rounds   s90

Loved it empty. Kept it thus about a week. Then I dragged in the pyooter, did some birds, appreciated the quiet — no stereo yet, finally got KERA-FM online, keeping the window open. Kept the big Swedish bookcase here all that time. Today emptied maybe ten boxes of books.

They're in discrete stacks now. Art. Lit. Consumers Reports back to the last century. Graphic Arts; self-help is the tallest pile (they're all going); history, feng shui. Birds have moved to where once were Orson Scott Card, Lewis Shiner and Spider Robinson. Not sure where they'll go next, but they're being replaced by the few soft books I still have ware for.

Maybe rest in boxes a decade till I need them again. I'm leaning toward a Kindle, but an iTouch would read them to me as well as I them. Not sure I'll need paper books anymore than paper much else, besides the occasional page to send back to Canon with the their latest disintegrating camera.

Tentatively placed the neon red quarter-rounds José kept accidentally getting yellow or white paint on, repainted them twice after his indiscretions before he goes back to Mexico for a coupla months. He did not seem to like the idea, did not want to involve in radical interior dec, then left the place a sty, why I wanted it changed after years in dishevelment. Took a couple days to clean it back empty.

This pyooter's in the wrong place facing the wall — not the door. The medium oak desk I had my heart set on is no longer available at Office Whatever, so I'm scouring resale, junk and benefit stores, with two more tomorrow. Might settle for a put-together (yuck) one of that same high wood grain color. Wanted a bi-pedestal with lots of drawers, but another file cabinet may keep stuff more organized. Not sure where that goes yet, but I know where it faces.

So the perimeter's took and getting tooker. Books piling filling my empty.

Except for a big battle-scarred trash can, my major red shop vac, two towers of CDs, couple boxes full of wires (yet no Old to New FireWire cable so I can steam load Nikon images without burning through batteries) and that noxious stewpot of over-concentrated Murphy Oil Soap and water concoction for when I find another skirmish on my luscious wood floor, this place still has at least the lilt of empty.

The Sky Is Falling - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Sky Is Falling   s90

Thought I would and could and should stay off the pyooter for a whole week, but I didn't get that far. Reading a book about how the internet is dumbing us all down and couldn't go the three more days to make a week without my net fix, broke the iMac and nearly none of its usual accessories out of luke warm storage, stuck them on a feeble and elderly wood desk that's barely in five pieces now and set up temporary ops to answer email, change the cover of the DallasArtsRevue and add some old bird pix to the brrrd jrrrnll.

The reason for the sudden office reno is above. The roof hadn't leaked in more than five years, but when it did it created a subtle weakness over there over where the bookcase was till we moved it and everything else in here out there or back over yonder, so José could clean up, re-sheetrock, paint and put in my neon-orange quarter-round to keep the flying cockroaches from buzz-bombing me next spring.

While we're at it, might as well replace the desk, throw or give away about half the books, rearrange everything else and add even more colors to the yellow with strips and stripes of green, blue, orange, white, lavender, purple, pink, red and wood grains.

Then the desk I had my eye on at Office Max wasn't in stock anymore, so I'm seeking a clean, medium oak veneered (at least) executive desk with actual drawers. Need to check out the big Salvation Army store, some used and new furniture and consignment stores, and will probably still hafta use some of the book clunks we dragge out of here last week.

Seems like I do this every ten years. No big melodrama trauma this time. But change nevertheless. And a good one this time, I do believe.

Turns out the 2x4 cross brace didn't stop anything from falling, and now there's a nice flat ceiling over the whole room.


 Blood on the Bathroom Floor - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blood on the Bathroom Floor   s90

I limped into that room from the kitchen where I watched with interest that suddenly turned to surprise then leaned into horror, as the bottle containing my two varieties of insulin fell to the floor — and shattered. Neither insulin bottle broke, only the short jar I used to keep them with their injectors in. The shattering left tiny and large shards of glass all around and under where I was standing in my bare feet with the refrigerator door open and that pesky light staring at me.

I felt a bit of stab in my right foot, looked down at a pooling of red stuff, looked around for something to wipe it with, and without moving anything any whatsoever, planned where my next footfall would be leading out of the kitchen, through the dining room and into the bathroom. Found a mostly open pathway and limped (prior injury) to follow it, leaving a spot of blood at every right foot placement.

By the time I got to the bathroom, I was gushing a fair amount. See above. I looked for my tube of Neosporin clone, found none, wiped the offending area with some paper towel, washed it quickly with soap, dried it with more paper towels and found a band-aid, which immediately staunched the flow.

Then I took the towel back along my obvious track to the kitchen, smearing the blood into the wood, hoping it would help the color, found the vacuum, plugged it in in the dining room and rolled it rumbling into the kitchen and cleaned every square inch of visible and invisible shatter.

Gold & Purple Wedding - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gold and Purple Wedding on Winfrey Mound   780

Been another while. That's good. No sense inundating us with temporal understandings. A self-contrarian concept, at best. Anna called, saying she and Susan would attend some emergency funding deal for or about the City. She just wanted to touch base. She knew I wouldn't want to attend.

She probably surmised that such shenanigans regarding the vagaries of City government were well beyond my pain threshold and would overload my Bullshit Detectors. Furthermore, I do not believe City or any other government can properly fund art, even if they wanted to. Never have. Always mess it up somehow. Even if they could afford it. Politics makes bad art. They and their chosen bureaucrats and committee persons choose poorly and reward lamely. Art and Politics successfully touch edges sometimes, but melding is unlikely and depends more upon the stars and happenstance than logic-driven energy.

I.e., a big waste of my time, though not necessarily of others with longer fuses.

Meanwhile, speaking of slosh, I have been working diligently on the actual fact and presentation of The Great Art Camera Shootout, in which that usually much-ignored backwater portion of my brain/mind/soul has been making graphs, tests, comparisons and conclusions about which of my cameras and lenses are best for shooting art. I been philosophizing for weeks and months, now I'm physically comparing. And learning.

This endeavor is an offshoot (if you will, considering it's a shootout) of my burgeoning Cameras & Lenses page (officially titled Cameras & Lenses Useful for Photographing Art, except, of course, they are useful for a great many more subjects than just that. And that page is an earlier offshoot of my remarkably popular (so, naturally, I put a lot more energy into it), How to Photograph Art page.

I am having great fun doing these pages, all the more especially, because they are not specifically about art, which subject I am happily — joyously — all but ignoring these halcyon days as I recover from my various physical maladies — broken foot/ankle; stroke-not-stroke; Blood Pressure; Diabetes; Overweightiosity.

Oh, I still photograph the stuff now and again. And I still think about it sometimes. But mostly I do not. And for the now of it, that makes me very happy.

Strawberry Hill Cockroaches - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill Cockroaches   s90

Best possible use for Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine. Science tells us cockroaches that live with us like the same foods we do, or the'd go next door. I take a sip now and again, but even for a big fan of cheap and sweet, it's less-than. Nope, what it's useful for is catching cockroaches, who crawl down into the jar in the dark back of a shelf for their sip, stay for more, then can't crawl up the glass to get out. Or don't want to.

Meanwhile, more join the party, and they all stay. Eventually, I discover the writhing pile of them, long antennae twitching slowly. I empty them into a baggie, seal it, clean the jar, refill it — maybe a couple inches — and put it back in the cupboard where I don't have to look at it for another couple months.

Works even better — and is far less disgusting for littler bugs and moths in wine glasses. It's easier on the humans than poisons that kill us, too.

Butterfly Plastic Pumpkin - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Butterfly Plastic Pumpkin Laughing Inside Out   s90

Feels like I'm trying out a new foot. It is the same old foot, complete with two fractures in the same old Little Toe extension, but since that same old foot has been in an Ortho Boot since February 3 (Yes, I slept with it on many of those nights, too.). I still treat it gingerly. I'm very careful. I have not yet run on it, although a couple times yesterday I caught myself walking on it like a normal foot. My normal foot.

Yesterday morning while waiting for the City's Weatherization people to come by as promised (They never showed up, and they did not bother to tell me that, even though the appointment had been set for more than a week, and they had reminded me of it three times.) I remember trying to walk normally with it, even though I didn't feel normal with it. Healing is a slow process.

Walking from my car in the Handicapped Parking (complete with official temporary tag good till August) slot to the Bath House Cultural Center last Saturday for Anna in a show there, I was cowardly careful up and down curbs and across that expanse. Like an old man, which of course, I am. So very careful. Wincing at any motion that did not feel right. And few did.

Now, two days later, I am a walker again. It still hurts. Not as painful as my fractured ribs that my new camera gave me, more like a normal (keep using that word, probably because it is that which I seek) headache or something. I walk from room to room, out to get the mail. Drive to the grocery. All with just my foot, not that humongous Big Black Ortho Blot.

I'm like my new foot. Maybe another couple weeks, months, years, it'll be same as it ever was. ...

Next day, I could barely walk. Slowed. Put the boot back on. Ortho forever. With it I feel no pain. Use it intermittently. Walk, don't run.

Near the Ziggy Roll - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Near the Ziggy Roll   s90

Turns out the rib pain I've had since rolling out of my chair (pretty much the whole story) onto the camera around my neck Sunday afternoon April 25, is three fractured ribs and now, because it hurts to breathe, a severely shrunken left lung that I am gradually pumping back up. My doctor tells me to breathe deeply, which I love to do but have been avoiding because of the pain. She also says that I can take more pain pills, even though they mess with what's left of my mind.

Anna says I slur even more than before. Right now the whole world is slurring around me, and I'm dropped out mostly. I was supposed to shoot work for a new member but can't even find the door, and it hurts too much till the pill kicks in my ribs again.

Today's photo is from very near where I tumbled, though I shot it a couple days before the Ziggy pet while looking for birds. There's more flowers in there than show here, and more birds, too.

My Niece - photograph copyright Joyce Compton Culbertson

An aged and discolored photo of my niece Joyce, who sent it
to me many years ago that I still have up on my office wall

Something I've crusaded for all my professional life is fair compensation and credit for artists and photographers. Especially for photographers, since I am one. Two artist friends have recently discovered sites online that were using those artists' art and those artists' names to sell products that they had not got permission for. Together we sent notices, and now both have dropped the stolen images, and the other is still in limbo.

Today I am doing a lengthy, it turns out, Google Image Search for my name, and I have already found several fraudulent uses. Why is the late Andy Hanson's photograph of me (stolen from the DallasArtsRevue Contact Us page and copyrighted by the publisher of DallasArtsRevue.com, who is me) stacked among all those other names on this page — as if I were somehow affiliated with them, whoever they are. Some nice people there. Did they give permission to have their pictures used or do they just not care?

Or with a poem in Spanish on this page under "Las palomas de mi patio" (The doves of my patio)? Or this shot of two egrets having sex at The Spillway stolen from this page. Or here, where it states that my photo belongs to 500X Gallery, which seems very odd indeed, because it is my photo, just photographed there and not for them. Under the photo it says it was taken from Texas Arts Revue, which was edited by me and published by Artists Coalition of Texas (which became D-Art and The Contemp). Use of that photo seems to be part of Randall Garrett's photostream. I would very probably have given him permission to use my copyrighted photograph, if he'd asked, but I don't remember it.

Or this Spanish blog, where someone has stolen two of my images of Tom Orr & Frances Bagley's sets and costumes for the opera, Nabucco. Credit but no link. Bad faith theft of my copyrighted material for their use. Rude! Can public radio steal any photo they can find online for their own use, even if they give credit? And I sent Treehugger.com a bill for the unauthorized use of my copyrighted photograph, although if they'd asked first, I might have donated it.

Google provides a page, titled Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that explains and begins — if you click "infringement notification" — the process of removing copyrighted material from web pages found via Google Image Search begins. Of course, you have to provide all the information their forms require: URL of the stolen artwork; your email address; include the following statement: "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted material described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.".

Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed." Sign the paper. Send the written communication to Google at the address provided:

Google, Inc.
Attn: Google Legal Support, Blogger DMCA Complaints
1600 Amphitheater Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043.

Anna sent me this link to How to Build a Copyright Notice, precisely stipulating what a Copyright Notice on your artwork (or an image of it) should say. Oddly enough, it is what most of mine already comprise. For the link adverse: It should include in this order: [The word Copyright] [the year date] [Your full name] and add [All Rights Reserved.] That last does a great deal more than just protect your work in Bolivia and Honduras. It seems to remind image thieves that they shouldn't mess with this one.

Bob Coffee - Pop the Whip - Photograph Copyright by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bob Coffee   Pop the Whip   photo by J R Compton

Here, someone else has written about art I wrote about on this site and used a badly reproduced, very low quality black & white version of this photograph of it on what's left of the TSOS (whatever that is) page. Without permission. Without even a link to my site or the page they stole it from. Very rude. On Google Image it shows up with my name on the photo underneath this one. All their contact links report "Page Not Found." Seems only fair they've abandoned their site.

How difficult could it have possibly been for "Scrio" to find three images on my Contact Us page for this page that also includes that same Andy Hanson shot that the Elitist Cornflation stole? I consider that postcard a treasured part of my collection.

Or Gail Sachson's dreadful snapshots of my and other artists' work for last year's MAC Member show. I gave permission for her to use my photo of that image, not her awful one. And a story that mentions, quotes and misquotes me in Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine — but doesn't, thank goodness, use or abuse any of my pix. Or Pixdaus, which has stolen an image of two egrets supposedly having sex [They took it down the next day.], even though it warns uploaders not to post copyrighted material. Guess they haven't read the Copyright laws this century.

I'll end with some positive notes: Sheila Cunningham blogs about a show I produced, shows the invitation (small but still legible) and links the pertinent page on DallasArtsRevue.com. Brava. I think that qualifies as fair use. The rest of these clearly do not. So very nice to see my glow-eyed coyote again — on UnFair Park.com, used with permission.


Table Scape - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

North of Acapulco

I know I've become a serial blogger. I get bored with one of these fool things, and then on some lame excuse or nother I go off and start another one. It hardly even matters that nobody hits it, I keep writing. And writing. This entry is here, because I hadn't made any other entry here for about a couple weeks, which wasn't so uncommon when I started it, but then through the fat middle of it, began to be a little maniacal and probably too often entered into.

So I laxed back a bit and decided, as I usually do, to stay back back there calmed out and subtle till I came up with another good thedblog pic, which is generally what guides these entries. Even if I used it on that other new journal first. Hey, nobody reads that one, so who's to know?

These various blogs serve differing purposes for me. This one feeds me back what I've kept from telling myself or letting me find out. Secrets from the secret-buster. Deep-down truths I don't want to know. And cute stories that go round and round till they come back upon a reality that I've known for years but never quite knew that I knew until I told myself in one of these.

My horrorscope is telling me I've kept too many juggler thingies in the air too long and stop adding new ones. I keep telling anybody who won't listen or agree that I gotta stop shooting up this DallasArtsRevue habit. Went to a art tour -ish sort of thing this weekend, saw some interesting art in farther-out categories that I still don't quite know what to think of, but liked it enough that I'm roiling it on the back burners till I know what to say.

I guess I'll always want to say things about art. Like I'll likely keep learning more about photographing birds. And writing. I remembered today that I started that bird thing to teach me how to write better, then forgot along the way some time or how, now have to reopen my mind about it again.


Terri's Drawing of My House - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Terri Thoman's Drawing Hanging on my Office Wall

It is fitting to start a new ThEdBlog under new circumstances. I am on vacation from DallasArtsRevue and formal art criticism, but I keep looking at and photographing art, because doing it makes me happy, gives me something to do. It helps that I do it pretty well, and that I ocassionally have something intelligent to say, even some of the artists I say things about thank me. But for the moment, I am more than willing to show without telling so much.

Mine is not a vacation where I go someplace amazing for ten days and come back broke and tired, but a mind vacation, where I do fun new stuff and take pictures along the way and post them on my S90 Journal of learning a new camera or Art Here Lately or the AHL before that or somewhere, maybe even here. I'm too addicted to showing photos online to stop. But sometimes I write about art, too.

But I am unwilling to keep wracking my poor brain into saying intelligent things about every piece of art I think is worth photographing. Lots of art, once you see the photo of it, doesn't really need that much explaining. Lots of us get it. The trick is seeing the art. Too many times that means going somewhere, leaving our carbon footprints all over the earth, sometimes paying to see stuff we can't really afford.

If you want to know what's going on in my head and life and photography, probably a better bet until I get bored with it and come back here is my newish S90 Journal about me learning how to use my new camera. Although I must tell you how exciting it is to arduously produce a page online every single day, that has so far netted 29 hits. Only one of which is mine, because that webhost will not count mine past that.

Even my seriously less popular now birding site is at least twenty times more visited than that.


The ThEdblog Index of all Theds Blog is on the bottom of the lates ThEdblog page.





 since Spet 5 2012