Thursday, December 28, 2006

Funky astral dreams...

It's Thursday morning, Dec. 28, 2006. I woke extremely early, even for myself, this morning at 4:55 AM. It was the result of one of those bad dream experiences where, in the dream itself, I manage to tell myself, wake up...WAKE UP!! Is that lucid dreaming? I don't know. The dream started out well enough, though it was very surreal as all astral plane dream visitations tend to be (one day, I'll explain my theory about dream travel on the astral plane).
I was in someone's apartment somewhere. It reminded me of the many apartments that I and many of my friends lived in when in college with a neo-hippie/punk shabby-chic look to it.

I didn't live there in the dream but I was staying there for some reason. There were many other people walking about the place doing their own thing. I along with a few other people whom I can't place right now, were trying to catch a little kitten that was running about the place. It had this somewhat disturbing humanoid face and it could speak guttural sounding simple words.

Suddenly, there was a friend of mine whom I haven't seen in about 20 years standing there. His name was Andy Fraser (real name) and of course, he looked the same as he did 20 years ago. It was quite nice to see him as I have no idea where he is today assuming that he still walks amongst the living. We chatted a bit and the next thing I knew, some of the other folks in the place began having a discussion about what bus stop would drop them in a certain place. As dreams go, the next thing I knew I was on this bus.

I knew instinctively that I was still in the neighborhood and decided that I would get off at the next stop and simply walk back to the apartment. I wasn't in any particular city that I could name, but the streets were very colorful, warm, fun looking and inviting. I remember feeling very content standing on this bus. It was lit with colorful lights and there were no windows as it was summery outside. It may have actually been a trolley. I remember thinking that as son as I exited at the next stop that I would take a casual stroll back to the place where I was staying and perhaps have a cup of coffee in a little cafe along the way.

However, someone on this bus started playing some sort of mini-television of sorts and there was some broadcast that took everyone's attention, including mine. I can't remember what it was, but I, along with the others, became completely entranced by it and, of course, I ended up driving far beyond the stop I wanted. In fact, I was so taken with the broadcast, that I suddenly realized that I had no idea whatsoever where I was and I began to feel a bit panicky as the wonderful cityscape that I had been in was now replaced with a very industrial, dark, semi-abandoned and threatening feeling part of town.

I quickly got off at the next stop, and of course, at this point I was the only person exiting the bus. I could however, see some very colorful taxis not too far away in the distance and I remember thinking that I could simply catch one back to where I was staying. However, when I walked in that direction, there was a large chain linked fence that kept me from heading towards the cabs which became more and more infrequent. Suddenly, a large station wagon like taxi pulled up, but it was in total disrepair. It was filthy and it looked as if it would break down at any second with steam coming out from under the hood and it was making terrible sounds- a true jalopy. There were several people inside, but they looked lost, disoriented and frightened. The driver asked me if I would like a ride, but I politely reclined thinking that I would just find a way around the fence and reach the colorful taxis.

He drove on and I began to follow the fence into the darkness as the sun was setting at this point. I finally found the end of the fence which opened into this alleyway of sorts. It was like any alleyway that you would find on the set of a bad horror flick of course - dark, wet, intimidating. Suddenly a young fellow of small stature dressed in black came out of nowhere and began to walk very close to my left side. I felt my guard go up immediately and intensely.

As he passed me I felt his hand slide into by back left pocket (I keep my wallet in my right). I grabbed his hand and yelled something threatening at him and he sulked away. It was just at that moment though, that I saw another fellow appear behind me out of the corner of my eye. This fellow was dressed in white and his clothing had a gold like glow to them. At that same second, out if the corner of my other eye, I saw the thug that had just tried to pick pocket me, pick up a very large baseball bat

and walk in my direction. I glanced at the fellow in white and he was eyeing the thug defiantly. That was when I made myself wake up. Wow. I turned on the light and checked the time on my cell phone which was charging next to my bed - 4: 55 AM - shook the cobwebs out of my head, came downstairs and drank a gallon of coffee.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In Memoriam...

It's Wednesday morning, Dec. 27, 2006. I stayed away from the blog for a few days whilst doing the ho ho ho thing. My last entry that I made to my blog was on the morning of December 23. Later that afternoon, I was informed about the death of my friend Jim Connaughton.

It wasn't entirely unexpected as we had known that he had suffered a massive heart attack a few days earlier while he was vacationing in London. Complications from the attack caused him to slip into a comma, and for the sake of skipping over quite a bit of medical terminology, it is easier to simply say that he didn't recover. While still in a coma however, arrangements were made which enabled him to return back to the beach before his death. That is something that he would have wanted. Jim' birthday (I believe his 66th) would have been on New Year's Eve. I believe that there will be a celebration of sorts to honor his memory, what would have been his birthday, and to ring in the new year.

Jim loved to entertain and to be entertained. He lived lavishly and lived well. I remember on his birthday two years ago during a conversation between us where he told me that he felt that he was living on "borrowed time". There was a tremendous history of heart disease in his family and he had outlived all of his immediate male relatives with the exception of a younger brother. He seemed quite acceptant of that knowledge, even content. He certainly lived life with gusto, following his heart, and making the most of each moment. He was one of the most generous and giving persons that I have ever met and was always the gentleman. He simply liked "nice" people. It seemed to be his own personal litmus test. If a person was nice, he or she would soon become a friend. Fortunately, Jim had many nice people in his life and many, many, friends. He was particularly gracious with his close friends of which I was honored to be one. He was a good man, a loved man, and he will be missed.
Here's to you Jim.

In Memoriam...
Dr. James Connaughton
December 31, 1940 – December 23, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The morning of the night before the night before Christmas

It's about 6:30 AM. About 15 minutes ago I opened the back door to drop an empty can into my recycling bin and was hit by what felt like a warm rain scented breeze. After checking on my trusty MacBook Pro weather widget, I found that it is indeed 61 degrees here in NJ at 6:30 AM on the morning of December 23. Hmmm...

Two nights ago I was in my studio when I heard a cacophony of sirens moving down my street. It was loud enough that it made me go to the porch to see how much of my town was engulfed in flames. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the sight if Santa riding on top of a immensely bright fire truck. The truck had been completely covered in red and white lights. There were several smaller trucks leading the pack and an even smaller truck behind blasting Christmas music all about Santa coming to town and all of that jazz.

I happened to catch a few seconds of it with my cellphone (which explains the funky quality). It was actually a very fun thing to witness and the kids on the block went wild. It seems that they do this each night, weather permitting, the week before Christmas - driving up and down each street in town. I'm telling you a night it's like a little unexpected parade, and I must admit, it made me feel like an excited kid again myself for a few seconds which is something that all "adults" need every now and then, no?

One of the things on my to do list for the day is to bake Christmas cookies. This, of course, will occur after my power walk.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy B-Day First Lady Lady

It's Friday morning, Dec. 22, 2006. Today happens to be the 94th birthday of Claudia Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson, and yes, she is still alive.

Surely, she must be the only person still left living in this ultra-famous photograph.

Of course I don't know that to be a fact. This photo has always fascinated me. Physically, the composition is wonderful. Look at the way that it fans out both chromatically and structurally from the lower left corner beginning with the 3/4 face and upper shoulder stance of the fellow squeezed into the space to the starkly contrasted figures of the fellow in the tuxedo and Lady Bird all centering around Johnson's raised hand. His hand forms the visual center of the work and it helps to create this amazing triangle that is so compostionally well structred that you can almost see the lines of the shape. Starting with LBJ's head and upraised hand, follow the visual line that moves from there across Lady Bird's head to the head of the man in the tux (the eye will naturally move this way across the image). Then follow the gaze of the man in the tux (who's head demarks the far end of the triangle) to the form of Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes of the Northern District of Texas (we can only see the back of her head and the polka dots of her top). The line then moves from her head down to LBJ's other hand (which is resting on the bible) and then up his forearm to his elbow where it almost perfectly matches and meets the collar of Jackie's suit, thus completing the triangle. I find that triangular composition is very important in the creation of strong work regardless of what you're creating visually. I use it constantly in my work, even in the close cropped large scale faces that I paint. It can be made just as easily with shades of color and light as it can be with actually physical composition of subjects. This is true even in abstract and sculptural work. The human eye loves the triangle. The next time that you are looking at a well made work of art, or are creating your own, look for the triangles in the composition. It will enlighten you and change the way you think about composing your work.

What I also find fascinating about this image is that it was, as far as I know and have read, a complete case of right place right time. Tragic yes, but visualy stunning.

The expressions are also wonderfully captured. Jackie is still wearing the blood stained pink suit that she had been wearing when JFK was murdered. "Let them see what they have done" she was quoted as having said after suggestions that she change outfits. Of course, this all occurred before I was born, though I still find it fascinating. And Lady Bird is still alive and celebrating her 94th. Fabulous.

And speaking of that which is fascinating and of Jackie O, the documentary Grey Gardens will simply knock you on your ass. It will haunt you with a combination of comedy, tragedy, and poignancy for many years to come.

I have already watched it 3 times and will probably do so again as it seems different each time I view it. It is utterly fascinating and now I must do all that I can to become a STAUNCH character as well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's The Holiday Season...

It's Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006. Just a quick note here to show off my new favorite treasure. This lovely wooden box with a glorious copper inlaid top.

This was a Christmas gift from my wonderful friends Karen and Michael. Both are extremely talented artists and genuinely fantastic folks. Karen designed and made the inlay to this box herself. She is also the artist who designed my necklace which I wear non-stop. Of course, the box was filled with other treats, including 200 tea lights! I go through them at a whirl wind speed. Synchronistically enough, just about 30 minutes before they came over last night and I had realized that I had only 4 tea lights left in the house and made a mental note that I had to get more and soon. So, you see, there is validity to visualization. Materializing is easy. Ask and ye shall receive.

Speaking of receiving, the "Grey Gardens" documentary arrived today from!

I will spend my evening going through it carefully and I'm sure I'll post my impressions of it here.

My sweet kitty girls, though sleeping most of the time, wanted me to wish all of you Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

It's Self-Portrait Tuesday. Like most other folks that I know, I have many things to do today including a bit of shopping, plus, there is a fellow coming by between 1 and 3 to measure the bathroom floor which we are having re-tiled. The tile that was there when we bought the house just isn't working. End of story.
Holly - I hope you had a great birthday! View this as an exciting new chapter of your life of which you are writing, so make sure it's a great read!
Kathryn - Good luck with the move! I have always loved your adventurous spirit!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Back from NYC

It's Monday morning, Dec. 17, 2006. I want to start off this entry first and foremost by wishing my sister a very Happy Birthday indeed. I spoke with her yesterday afternoon, and she informed me that this was one of those birthdays that she will choose to ignore, which made me chuckle a bit, as she is still younger than I.

George and I returned from NYC late Saturday morning. God, I love NYC. Though I have been several times, this was my first time to be there during the holiday season. There is just so much to see, everywhere. Randi loved the painting and we had a wonderful time at the little holiday cocktail/unveiling party. I have a litany of things to do today so I won't spend much time here with details of my visit though I do want to strongly suggest that you go to see this amazing show which George and I had the pleasure of seeing last Thursday evening. It's called Grey Gardens and it will truly knock you off your feet. You can learn more about the true, amazing, and sad story of Big and little Edie of Grey Gardens that inspired the musical by clicking here:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New York is where I'ld rather stay..

Tee Hee.

Howdy folks, I'm off to NYC for a few days. I'm stepping away from the blog while visiting so I won't be posting until later in the week. Now, go enjoy this holiday season for a few days.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

Here's a particular artsy Self-Portrait for S.P.T. that I took with the built in camera on my MacBook Pro. I have a zillion things to do today as I leave for NYC tomorrow. One of the things that I'll be doing in NYC is delivering the portrait to my friend Randi Rhodes.

Which of course, means fun, fun, and more fun.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Carols and Craigs

It's Monday morning, Dec. 11, 2006. I spent the weekend at the beach, but will be heading back to my Philadelphia area home later this morning. The majority of my weekend, at least during the day, was spent caroling. This wasn't the type of Christmas caroling that one takes part it with a group of friends during the evening where you walk from house to house and are offered cocoa and cookies (though I'm not sure if that happens any longer). But, it is actually a small group of singers organized by my friend Suzette. I am one of the singers. I, along with Suzette, sing melody. There are also two other women and one other man consisting of tenor, alto and bass. For the last two years, the town hires us to dress in early-victorian era costume, walk about downtown in the shopping district and sing traditional Christmas carols from the early to mid 1800's. It's an odd thing to do, but we do get paid for the work. While the temperature was still brisk and seasonal on Saturday (particularly the closer we came to the shore), it was quite warm on Sunday. I think the temperature almost hit 60. When you're walking about singing in the afternoon sun dressed in a heavy long woolen coat with a cape and top hat, that becomes very, very, warm indeed. They have already booked us for next year.

If you are a James Bond fan and have yet to see the latest in the series, "Casino Royal", I highly suggest it. I have been a James Bond fan since I was a child (the first James Bond film, "Dr. No", was released 3 years before I was born). I think that this may be one of the best JB films I have ever seen. It is much more gritty then traditional Bond films, which I enjoyed. And Daniel Craig,

in my opinion, offers the best James Bond portrayal since the incomparable and legendary Sean Connery. Not to mention hat his on screen charisma makes the screen melt. Dame Judi Dench also plays a larger role in this film as "M", than in her previous Bond films (beginning in 1995).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Studio Day

It's Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006. I'm having a busy studio day. I spent most of yesterday rejoicing in the arrival of my new ukulele. More on that to come. Here I am, right now, as a matter of fact, in my studio...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

It's Tuesday. As a matter of fact, its Self-Portrait Tuesday. I haven't participated in SPT in a long time, but since I want to make today a good studio day, and can't spend a lot of time here today, here tis:

You can see behind me on either side Xmas decorations, basically the tree and the lighted garland going up the stairs. I Love holiday lights. More later...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ooo-ka-le-le, Not YOU-ka-le-le

As a professional visual artist, I found the folowing story about DaVinci's fingerprint to be of great interest...

Last night, on a total whim, I purchased this on Ebay...

It's a ukulele. I have always had a crush on the little things, and when well, or even decently made, they can produce a sweet, harmonious laid back sound that reminds me or lazy summers and front porch swings, or even to be more in the season, warming fireplace hearths, soft twinkling lights, and lilting christmas carols.
I have discovered that they have had a recent resurgence in popularity as of late.
I intend to learn how to play it one way or the other. Though I have only dabbled around with musical instruments in my past, I come from a family with strong musical ability on both sides, so I don't think it will be much of a problem to learn, and certainly easier to move about than a piano! Now, watch this amazing ukulele performance...

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Last night, George and I went to the movie theatre to see "Bobby". The critic Mathew Turner of describes the film as such "written and directed by Emilio Estevez, Bobby is a multi-character drama that takes place in the Ambassador Hotel on the eve of Senator Robert Kennedy's assassination. The ballroom of the hotel is due to be used as Kennedy's venue for a press conference following that day's California Primary and the film follows 22 different characters (including hotel staff, campaign workers and hotel guests) as they prepare for the big night".

He also names it one of the "best films of the year". While I wouldn't go that far, it was certainly enjoyable. George had already seen the film at the beach and he gladly welcomed the opportunity to watch it a second time with me. The cast is phenomenal and all star featuring Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Helen Hunt, Ashton Kutcher, Martin Sheen, William H. Macy, Lindsey Lohan and much more. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Sharon Stone isn't nominated for an Oscar. Her performance as "Miriam" the hotel's hair stylist was truly amazing. The film is getting mixed reviews, though I find that those who have panned the film, have overlooked the nuances of the film, it's message, and performances.

George was much more taken with film, but he actually remembers being a 9 year old in 1968 and can relate to what was happening in the country at that time, even if only through the eyes of a child. I, on the other time, was only 3 years old. The only thing I remember from that year is seriously wounding my knee in a freak-accident fall onto a very large broken coca-cola bottle. Nevertheless, the film resonates that time period quiet well and also does a fine job of segueing it's message with validity into the events of today, which, synchronistically, are similar are several levels. If you have an interest in that time period, or the Kennedy's ( though Robert Kennedy is more of a background character than anything else - convincingly weaved into the film via several cameos and voice overs through actual film footage) then I think you will enjoy the work. Again, watch and see Sharon Stone get nominated for a best supporting actress award for her amazing performance.

If you visit and put 1968 into it's search engine, you'll get several intriguing results. Such as these:

I don't know any of these people, but the memories that I have from the late 60's are also those of a child, a very young child at that, so naturally, of course, things are remembered differently from those who were older at the time. Though, I do remember people dressing like those in the photos above.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I scream, you scream, we all scream for...

How odd. Here it is the first day of December, 2006 and I have my windows open. That's because it happens to be a balmy 66 degrees outside at 8:00 AM. A high of 71 is expected for today. Where do I live where I have my windows open on a December morn you may ask... why New Jersey, of course. Go figure.

Are you familiar with the Internet Movie Archive? Formed in 1996, The IMA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. They have an outstanding collection of films of every kind ranging from classic film, to historic visual documentation, ephemiral films, news reels, vintage cartoons, public service films of all kinds and more. For example, this classic commercial from 1969 titled "VD is for Everbody" (you can opt to stream it by selecting one of the links on the left side of the page). This ran for a few years and I remember as a very young child my siblings and I singing the very catchy jingle around the house having no clue whatsoever as to it's meaning. You'll be pleased that you visited.

I found this story fascinating: Ancient Astronomical Device Thrills Scholars

And now, because it is Friday, here is some totally tasteless Holiday Humor. I guess.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's a nice day for a white...xmas tree

Today has become the last day of November, 2006. Again, another week has slipped by my keyboard without a posting. Well, in the spirit of staying in the "now", I'm simply going to focus on the entry that I am writing this very second - the words that you are reading, right now. And of course, like every other event in your life, it is happening now simply because it is impossible for it to happen at any other time. You will never be able to read this entry "later" or "then", since it will always be now when you reach that spot. Obviously, I'm still enthralled with the book that I am now re-reading, "The Power Of Now".

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Birthday to rocker Billy Idol. He was born on this day in 1955. From all accounts, he is still an amazing performer. If you search for his image online you will also notice that has kept all of his bad boy sexiness intact, in fact, I think his body actually looks better now than it did 25 years ago.

One of the other things that took up some time over the last couple of days was the decorating of the house for the holidays. In particular, the tree, which fell apart as I was bringing it up from the basement. It's artificial and white, ( we purchased it last year ) but I love the snowy and crisp look that it has. It makes me think of trees from the North Pole or Narnia. This year, I went for white, non-blinking lights and choose only orb ornaments with a high gloss finish to them in shades of red, silver, gold and dark green. So, here tis...

I've had the old tarnished silver star on top for several years now. I found it in the Pottery Barn in Georgetown in the 1990's and have used it every holiday since. I suppose it's one of those things that have become ritualistically tradition, at least until it changes, in the "now", which of course, is the only time that it could change. Tee Hee.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

T-Day Memory

In the house that I grew up in, the night before Thanksgiving was the night that my mother would bake pies for the next day’s feast. Each year there were usually other family members that would either join us for dinner or would come by afterwards for dessert, coffee and or after dinner cocktails. So, it seemed to me that there were enough pies made to stock a pastry shop. She would usually bake about 3 pumpkin pies, 2 apple and one mincemeat. The mincemeat pie was definitely not one that either my siblings or myself were interested in.

One Thanksgiving morning when we were still very young, my mother made a special deal with us, if we would stay out of the kitchen the entire day, we could each have a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream as a special Thanksgiving Day breakfast treat – but – it would be the only day of the year when we could have pie for breakfast, we could only have one piece each and we had to stay out if the kitchen all day.

Her idea worked like magic. The thought of having pumpkin pie for breakfast with whipped cream while watching the never-ending Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was too much to deny. We had the pie, watched the parade and stayed out of the kitchen. We ended up repeating the same Thanksgiving Day ritual for years. In fact, even though those days are light years away now, guess what I’m having for breakfast this morning? Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving back...

I was forwarded this email yesterday from the curator of the gallery that shows my work in Richmond and Charlotte. In the spirit of the holiday, I want to not only express thankfulness for my ability, but to “give” back by offering my thoughts to aspiring artists.

“Mr. Chasen,
I would like to thank you once again for your help and patience this weekend. The girls were absolutely spellbound by the outstanding collection you feature at the gallery.

The following are some of the questions that the girls had for Michael Sprouse:
1) Please provide any biographical information you see fit (birth date and location, education, inspirations, etc.)
2) Are your paintings based on real people?
3) Why do you choose to paint the faces of only women?
4) How long have you been an artist?
5) How many different works have you composed?
6) How long on average does it take you to complete a painting?
Any additional information you would like to provide would be appreciated.

I have an additional request, as well. Do you have digital images of Aspirant and Recital that you might be able to pass on via email? I took decent black and whites of them this weekend, but thought you might have something better.

Thank you kindly for all of your help. Please pass on our collective appreciation of Mr. Sprouse's work to him.
Jason Strong”

So, I figured that for today’s post I would answer these questions and see where it goes. I have been the subject of many individual student’s art projects, but this is my first time that I have been the subject for an entire class. It’s an honor for me to think that I or my work somehow serve as an inspiration to young artists.

Here goes:

1) Please provide any biographical information you see fit (birth date and location, education, inspirations, etc.)

I was born in Somerset, Massachusetts in May of 1965 though my family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1969. I was raised in Bowling Green and lived there until 1989 when I began traveling to different parts of the south eventually ending up in Washington, DC in 1990. Though I did attend Western Kentucky University at different times in the early 1980’s, I never officially finished. I mention this only because somehow along the way, different Press publications list me as having graduated from WKU with an BFA. That is not the case, I actually have never had a painting class in my life, though I did take several drawing classes, which I highly recommend for any beginning artist. I have several artistic inspirations, not only through visual art of course, but also film, music and photography. Some of the fine artists that have inspired me are Amedeo Modigliani, Chuck Close, Edward Hopper, Kate Kollwitz, Jackson Pollock, John Singer Sargent, though there are always more that I could add to this list. I am totally captivated by the lives and works of the late photographers Robert Capa and Diane Arbus as well as the films of Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, and Federico Fellini. When I paint I listen to a wide variety of music, though a large percentage of that music is early American and French Jazz and Jazz vocals. The one important fact is that I can’t paint without music in the background. It is without a doubt an integral part of my creative process.

2) Are your paintings based on real people?

Though I have painted real people by the way of commissions, by far the majority of my works are based on vintage photographs that I find in flea markets and yard sales, or that are just given to me by those who know that I appreciate them. I go through hundreds of photos until I find the one that seems to call out to me. I then create an artistic portrait of that person. It’s a very emotional and spiritual process and though I have never met these subjects and they have been physically dead for many years, some kind of connection does form between my work, my process and the “energy” of the subject. I still find the process fascinating. Imagine if you could go back in time to the moment when a photograph of one of my subjects was taken and then say to them, “you know, one hundred years from now, a painting of your face from this photograph will be hanging in an art collection somewhere”. There is a cycle that forms, though I’m still trying to work it out in my own mind. Exercises like this and answering questions like yours really help me to do that.

3) Why do you choose to paint the faces of only women?

Though the majority of my works are of women, I have painted several portraits of men as well. For some reason, they don’t seem as popular as the images of women. There seem to be definite societal ideas at work in this. I think that society has been taught historically over the years that women are more artistically approachable as subjects in art then men. We are taught that they are have an easier ability to express and sense emotion. I believe that the core essence of art is about expressing emotion in one way or the other. There have been times when I have painted portraits of men, and because they were such close-ups of the face, people have assumed that they were women. You may also find it interpreting that I began my career as an abstract painter and I still am a big fan of well done abstracted work. In fact, I my last two works were abstracts.

4) How long have you been an artist?

I feel that I was born to be an artist. I remember when I was in 2nd grade, the agor old question was brought before us by the teacher of “what did we want to be” when we grew up. Amongst all the answers of fireman, nurse and doctor, came my response of “I want to be an artist”. This caused the whole class to laugh and I remember very clearly the teacher telling me that I couldn’t be an artist because the chance of being successful were very, very slim. Of course, that was a long time ago. I began creating work professionally in my late teens, but I was working many different jobs at that time to financially support myself outside of my artwork. Now, however, I have been working full time as a professional artist for several years.

5) How many different works have you composed?

I have created so many different works of art over the years that I literally don’t know the answer to that question. I imagine hundreds though I have every intention of creating much more.

6) How long on average does it take you to complete a painting?

I’m asked this question often and there is no solid answer. It depends on the work and my mindset at the time, my level of inspiration. Some works take only a few days and others a few weeks.

Any additional information you would like to provide would be appreciated.

There is so much advice that I could give young artists that I have learned over the years that I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps I will write a book, because I have really had a wild ride, though I am grateful for every second of it. However, one key piece of advice that I would suggest is to strive to do something creative every single day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a doodle on a notebook, a painting, or rearranging items on a shelf. If your try to do something that requires you to think creatively each and every day, you will begin to see that there is beauty and inspiration all around you, no matter where you are or what type of situation you may find yourself in. If you can do that, you will begin to think like an artist and a whole new world will open up for you.

Thanks for your interest in my work and for your engaging questions. Best of luck to you all,

Michael Sprouse

P.S., you can learn more about my work on my website at

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

In Memoriam...

A brilliant director, artist, and visionary.

In Memoriam...
Robert Altman
February 20, 1925 – November 20, 2006

The Power of Now

First, I want to begin by stating that this particular post today is in honor of my dear friend Kathryn who has a lovely way of emailing me subtle hints about needing to update my blog when I fall behind. Kathryn has been a part of my life for over 20 years - a fact that I pleases me very much. Now, last evening before I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, I was preparing a long and wordy explanation as to why I have been absent these last several days. This morning, however, I decided against it. I'll incorporate the KISS (keep it short and simple): SInce my last posting I have been mostly on the road between NJ, Delaware, and Richmond transporting new works into the Chasen Gallery. When on the road, I rely on my Mac Powerbook. However, this time I realized that one of my kitties had decided to chew into the power cord leaving me with a quickly draining battery. Since the replacement cord was shipped to my home in NJ, I didn't have access to a computer until last Sunday afternoon.

There is much that I am leaving out, very much, from my crazy last week.
One thing that I did manage to do (one of the joys of stepping away from the computer for a few days) was to read a book that I found fascinating. In fact, I found it so fascinating, that I immediately began to reread the book after I finished it just so that I could absorb it's message more clearly. The book is titled "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.

I'm not going to spend too much time here describing the book because there is so much about it available online. I will say though, that it has really opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and clarified many ideas and thoughts that I have had before reading the book.
The morning sun is now streaming through the window and it is lovely. It's also streaming through the incredibly beautiful stained glass windows that Kathryn made for me last year. I'm going to sit quietly now and enjoy. Back later.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Scatter Perm

Needless to say, I am wonderfully happy with the results of the election. With that said, here's something totally different. I ran across it on You Tube. It's wonderfuly retro. See if you can recognize a young Erin Grey, Cheryl Tiegs and Ali McGraw.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


If you're reading this and you are a registered voter in the United States, you should either have already voted today or you are on your way. It is your civic duty! NOW GO VOTE, and remember, your Democratic party members love you!

Monday, November 06, 2006


It's early and I'm still waking up slowly through mouthfulls of hot and robust coffee. Tomorrow is election day for those of you who may be reading this seconds after waking from a coma or a Rip Van Winkle like sleep. Though I have made it no secret that I am a Progressive Democrat, there's something that I want to stress the importance of here, and that is the need to get out and vote!

Frankly, regardless of what party you may hitch your wagon to, if you're not registered to vote or have no intention of voting, then please, keep your f**king mouth shut the next time you feel the need to discuss politics with me. I've had it with these idiots who attempt to have a political discussion with me and then reveal that they aren't even registered to vote. It's shameful and there really are very few excuses for not voting.
So with that said, has posted some useful information about how to make sure that your vote counts tomorrow. You can read about them here. I placed the link on page 3 of the article which cuts to the points, though the whole article is worthwhile.
And, please, in case you don't know who to vote for, just vote all Democratic and you'll be fine - and so much more happier too!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Post Halloween Rapture

Well, turn your back for a minute and an entire week has gone by. I'll begin by stating that I had a wonderful Halloween week. I attended two very fun parties and my undead costume was very popular. On the actual night of Halloween, I was the one to give out candy at the home of our friend's Larry and Tom. The second party was held there and of course the place was decked out. Though it wasn't my intention, I made 3 little kids scream and cry when they came to the door. But, isn't that what Halloween is for?


Last night, George and I happened to catch a very poignant film on television. It was titled "Rapture". Directed by British-born John Guillermin, the film stars Melvyn Douglas, a young and striking Dean Stockwell, Gunnel Lindblom, and most importantly an absolutley enchanting and amazingly talented actress named Patricia Gozzi.

It happened to be showing on one of the INHD channels offered on comcast. So, if you have high-definition television and digital cable, you may be able to catch a rebroadcast as they seem to show films more than once. You may also be able to locate it in your local video store or library. I don't think that I can describe the film as well as this page that I found online.
Though I did find some more info here in an article in Time magazine from 1965.,9171,828378,00.html.
Finding much online about Patricia Gozzi is very difficult. It seems that she dropped out of the film industry all together 5 years after this film was released. What a shame. She had amazing film presence and incredible acting ability.

Friday, October 27, 2006

KATE : The Woman Who Was Hepburn

It's still Friday, but just wanted to mention that the most recent book I'm reading is KATE: The Woman Who Was Hepburn by William J. Mann
So far, this is turning out to be a fascinating read. If you're a Hepburn or classic film fan like I, you'll enjoy this book tremendously.


McDonald's latest slogan ( "it's what i eat and what i do" - actual insipid lack of correct capitalization) , takes on a macabre new meaning with the perfect Halloween twist when you read the following story...