Thursday, June 29, 2006

Now, that - that is a hat!

It's Thursday, June 29th, 2006. I decided to spend a long weekend at the beach house - so, after getting up at 4:30 AM and hitting the road at 5:15 AM (sounds crazy - but if you have ever driven in "heading to the beach for a holiday weekend" traffic – you’ll understand why such things must be done) here I am at the beach.

Even with leaving the house at 5:15 AM, the traffic was heavier than usual. Fortunately, none of the roads that I use for my route were
closed due to flooding so I made the trek in about 2 hours – which is the norm.

The image above is a painting that I finished a couple of days ago. The next piece that I’ll be working on, if my friend Larry finds the vintage photos of his aunt, will be a commission work for him. If his search is successful, he’ll be bringing the images over tonight. The first commission work I made for him was one of his father. I loved the way it came out.

It was based on a tiny black and white photo both photograph of him that Larry had from the 1950’s. Larry was in the original photo, but he only wanted his father in the painting. By the way - I ran across this photo today of the lovely Catherine Deneuve probably from the early 60's. Now, that - that is a hat!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This just in...

Marine in 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Killed

WTF??!! Wednesday...

Woman Gets $100 Ticket for BUSHIT Bumpersticker

You are so beautiful

Patti Labelle & Joe Cocker-you are so beautiful 1985

This will kick up your rainy Wednesday. This was so overpoweringly beautiful, that it brought tears to my eyes. PS - RIP Billy Preston

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday and then some...

Today is June 27th, 2006. It’s another overcast day here on the east coast, but the sun has been peeking out a bit from behind the clouds. I’m sitting on the front porch swing watching the mocking birds, again, swoop at other critters than hap to close to the nest. This is of course, an easy thing to do, as the nest is snuggly in the middle of a hedge that lines the front sidewalk of the neighbors yard. It would be like putting a cardboard box in the middle of Times Square, standing in it, and attacking anyone that came too close.

I noticed this morning that the mockingbirds have been eating my precious raspberries from the bush that I have been tending to so diligently since I first noticed it at the beginning of May. I’ve had quite a bunch of berries from it since then however, so I don’t mind if a family of birds that I like so much plucks a few for her hatchlings. If some remain and I happened to be by the bush at the right time, then I’ll take those and be pleased with it.

Being that it is Tuesday, here’s something that I haven’t done in a while, Self-Portrait Tuesday. So, here it is for Tuesday, June 27th, 2006.

Now, even though some of my words form before may have read as very sweet, I’m actually in somewhat of a cynical mood today for whatever reason. And, as being in such, I decided to create a new addition to my blog which I will call “WHO GIVES A FLYING F***K!!”. This will be a cousin, if you will, of one of my favorites that appear on the pages of my blog on occasion that I call “WTF??!!”. If you have been one of the, let’s say – 12, readers of this blog, you already know that I post a “WTF??!!” when I come across a story that I find particualry unbleivable or inane. I usually use this when after reading a story I find myself asking myself, “how could someone do something like that?” or “what the hell were they thinking?”, or simply, “What the f***k!”.

Now, with the addition of “WHO GIVES A FLYING F***K!!”, I have a place to post occasional articles that make me ask that exact question after I have read or sometimes, even just cast my eyes across them. I have prepared a graphic for this use and here it is. Drum roll please….

Tee Hee. isn't it cute? Feel free to save it and use it yourself on your own blog, though it would be nice to credit me somewhere. And now here is the first entry for my new WGAFF section of my blog. It is a news story about Henry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Now, I know some of you may actually care about the following news item, but in opinion, when there are so many other stories that should be reported in mainstream news ( like the incompetence of our country’s current administration and the futility of the “war” in Iraq) and I come across some thing like this, it makes me, as in the words of Marvin Gaye, “throw up my hands in holler” – I’ve just added a big “WHO GIVES A FLYING F***K!!”. Here is the story, if you really give a F***K, feel free to click.

Rowling: Two 'Potter' Characters Will Die

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart just in case?"

plorre, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

That's what Peter Lorre asked Vincent Price at Bela Logosi's funeral. True story. Peter Lorre, one of my favorite, and a brilliant, actor was born today, June 26, in 1904.
Another true thing is that I have been battling heavy rain all morning from flooding my studio the same way it did about 3 weeks ago. I seem to be losing the battle at this point.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

If that mockingbird don't sing...

It’s Sunday late morning, June 25th, 2006. I’m sitting on my front porch swing here enjoying the moment. The sky is definitely overcast and a slightly cool yet humid wind has just kicked up - the kind that precedes a storm. As it breezes through the yard it’s picking up the wonderful sweet scent of the lilies and the heavily bloomed butterfly bush. It’s also is slightly tinged with the vanilla scented aroma of waffles which is making me very hungry.

I have my window slightly open so I can hear the classical music channel and about 25 feet away from me I’ve been watching a mother mocking bird feed and her hatchlings in the nest, which she has constructed deep within a row of hedges in the neighbor's yard.

I’m not an expert on mocking birds, but I think this is something that they do. They like to nest low to the ground usually in hedges or something of that sort. In fact, I just found this online “The Northern Mockingbird builds a twig nest in a dense shrub or tree, which it aggressively defends against other birds and animals, including humans. When a predator is persistent, Mockingbirds from neighboring territories, summoned by a distinct call, may join the attack. Other birds may gather to watch as the Mockingbirds harass the intruder.”

This is what I’ve been watching this morning. I’ve seen her fend off several other birds, a few squirrels and even a cat. In the past, I’ve seen them swoop at people. I have always liked the mockingbird though I have read that others sometimes find them annoying. I love the fact that they mimic other birds, even machines. I read that the adult male has a repertoire of 50 to 200 songs! Amazing.

I remember very clearly my first encounter with the mockingbird. I was in 2nd grade at T.C. Cherry Elementary school in Bowling Green, KY. I was in art class, which, of course, was my favorite place to be in, even then. At that time, the class room reserved for art wasn’t actually in the school building, but it was in held behind the school in this very mod looking trailer- like construction. It was avocado green with burnt orange carpet. There were 3 of these trailers in all, I believe, one for art, one for music class and the other for band.

So, in the middle of the art class when Mrs. McElvey ( a very sweet older woman and the art teacher) was explaining something, she suddenly stopped and with a hushed voice she told us to very quietly stop and to look out the window. Sitting on a branch so close to the window that it could have flown in, was a huge male Northern Mockingbird. She explained in a quick whisper about the bird’s ability to mock other birds and that if we were very quiet perhaps it would perform for us.

Almost as if on cue, the moment after she said that, the bird began to sing. It went on and on for what seemed like an eternity singing all types of different songs from other local birds. It was absolutely magical and the entire class sat perfectly still and silently transfixed, in awe by his songs. I’ll never forget it.

So, as I’m sitting here, about 10 minutes ago, a huge boxer dog and a basset hound came happily running up the street like something from a Disney film. I watched them run from yard to yard up the street. Just now, a police officer stopped her car on the curb in front of the house and asked me if I happened to see a Boxer and Basset hound. Like something from an old comedy flick, I said, “they went that-a-way” and pointed. She said thanks, turned around the car and went that a way.

I’m not kidding, I just this second, had a tall shirtless, tattoo covered man with a crew cut and a gravely voice ask me if I had seen a Boxer and a Basset hound. He was carrying two leashes. Of course, you know my response.

On a different and sadder note, I found out on Friday that the mother of a very close friend of mine died. Her name was Elizabeth Eade and she was a lovely woman. I last saw her in January when she came to one of my art openings and purchased one of my paintings. Her daughter Mary and I are extremely close. She and I are part of a tight circle of immensely close friends that have been part of each other’s lives for close to 30 years.

Out of this circle I had been the only one who had lost both parents, until now. It’s something that you can only understand once it happens.

On that note, I will close by saying, Mary, if you happen to read this, know that I love you and that I thought that your mother was an amazing and wonderful woman who will be missed by all who had the fortunate experience of having her enter their lives.

In Memoriam...
Elizabeth Eade
1923 - 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006

WTF??!! for Friday June 23, 2006

WTFMARCH, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

Though I haven't posted a WTF??!! in a while, here is mine for today.
As someone who was raised in KY and as a proud liberal Democrat, I say BRAVO to you Mark Nickolas and to Gov. Ernie Fletcher and staff I say FOR SHAME and I must ask you a resounding..

Read the story here...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Studio me

Studio me, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

I'm going to spend some time in the studio today after having a wonderful "light bulb" idea this morning while on my daily walk. This is a cell phone self-pic in my painting duds on my way to the studio. More later

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer's here and the time is right...

Today is June 21st. That makes today the first day of summer. Perhaps it’s just the genetic traces of ancient Celtic pagan blood in me, but the solstices of each season always stir my blood to some degree. And of course, well, SUMMER.

(view from my front porch last Winter - ugh)

(view from my porch today - Ahhhhhh)

Just the word alone fills most people’s minds with wonderful imagery of hot days, late sunsets, outdoor gatherings, ice cream trucks, beaches, fireflies, fireworks, and Frisbee in the street. Well, actually the reason I suggest that last one is because yesterday was my brother Nicholas’s birthday. I remember the day he was born very clearly because when my parents left to go to the hospital, my brother David and I were playing Frisbee in the street in front of our house. He was 15 and I was 13. The year was 1978.

(popular albums from 78)

The Frisbee was bright blue with some gold lame writing on it. I was wearing cut off faded jean shorts, and a bright yellow t-shirt that I had just recently purchased with my paperboy money. I had had it airbrushed with my name “Mike” (though I haven’t gone by Mike in years and prefer Michael now). It looked like the side of a customized van and I loved it. My hair was parted in the middle and “feathered” back.
So, even though I already phoned and sent an e-card yesterday, I will take this opportunity to wish my brother Nicholas, Happy Birthday.

Now, on a different note, I have recently mentioned here my renewed interest in reincarnation. This has occurred due to several intriguing events that have taken place over the last few weeks that have made me start to ponder whether or not the universe is trying to send me some big message. I stated that I would be writing about these events, and future ones, here on the Sprouseart Blog and today I will begin. I certainly welcome any helpful feedback about them.

Though I have always had a strong interest in reincarnation, it has been one that has faded in and out over the years. While the pilot light was always on, sometimes the burner was on high and at other times, a slow simmering. This interest, in my opinion, more or likely rose from my natural interest in metaphysics, in particular, the Tarot. I purchased my first deck, synchronistically enough, in 1978 and have been reading and studying them ever since.

(My first deck of Tarot cards purchased in 1978. The green silk scarf was my mother's. The old wooden box was something that I purchased at a tourist shop somehwere in KY in 1972 when I was in 2nd grade and the hip 2 dollar bill was given to my by my father when I was in my early 20's.

I still use this deck often and refer to it as my "power" deck. It has been used by coutless people over the last 28 years including friends, family and strangers. While most are living, some are now not. Some have gone on to do some amazing things while some others have gone on to do some terrible things. In fact, there is an amazing amount of history in these cards which have been touched by the hands of so many different people.)

But, recently, the burner under my interest in reincarnation somehow managed to turn itself up to high again. I found myself finding articles and stories online and reading them very carefully (there are countless articles on the web about reincarnation). I tried to read them as open mindedly and as suspiciously as possible at the same time so that I could try to make up my own mind about the information.

It was during this period recently that the first event occurred that really made me sit upright in my chair and made the hair on the back of my arms tingle. The event alone, or I should state the story behind the event, was enough to make anyone think twice about reincarnation – but the fact that I was informed about it during this reincarnation research period (something I had mentioned to no one by the way) made it all the more valid to me.

Basically, the event goes like this. One afternoon a few weeks ago I receive a phone call from my sister. Even though my siblings and I keep in touch rather regularly via e-mail, we hadn’t had the chance to actually speak over the phone for a bit, so it was a welcome call. We chatted about the usual things to catch up on and then, right before we were about to end the call, she remembered something and asked me if she had told me about the amazing conversation that she had had with her 3 year old daughter earlier in the week. O told her that she had not and so she proceeded to relay to me the following conversation that took place between she and her beautiful little girl. While these are not the exact words, I’ve done my best to make them as accurate as possible from my recollection of the phone call.

She began by telling me that she and her daughter were in the car driving somewhere, perhaps home from preschool I believe. She said that they were having basic conversation about the school day and what not followed by a lull in the conversation when her daughter suddenly said the following.

“I was very young when I died.”

Which continued as thus:
SISTER: ‘What!”
NIECE: “Mommy and Daddy said it was OK for me to go, but when I did, Mommy cried and said no, no, baby come back come back. But I didn’t. I tired to call to you but you didn’t hear me so I came to you instead.”

Needless to say, you could have knocked my sister over with a feather at this point. I was floored by what she told me. I asked her if her daughter had said anything more, but my sister said that she just changed subjects as small children often do and didn’t answer any questions about it when asked, as if it were nothing more than a thought which had drifted in and out of her head. My sister assured me that her daughter has not been exposed to anything about reincarnation and it is surely not something discussed on Teletubbies and Barney.

She told me that she had done some online research herself and found massive amounts of information on children that suddenly blurt out past life stories in the same manner as my niece had done. One researcher said in particular that she receives countless emails and phone calls from parents who have had similar experiences with their children. She went on to say that 90% of them happened in the car while the children were being driven somewhere. She seemed to believe that the hum of the motor somehow places the child in a light trancelike state where these past life memories come to surface more easily. Since the children are so young and have yet to forget these experiences they are more likely and more easily able to recall them then older children and adults.

I found the whole thing fascinating and a definite sign from the “universe” that I was on to something more. It felt the same way as it feels when a puzzle piece fits perfectly in place. You feel like you’ve gained more knowledge and the picture that your trying to visualize becomes a bit clearer.

I will relay the other events here over the next few entries. As I stated before, I would be interested in feedback on them.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Let them eat cake.

Monday afternoon. June 19th. I really have accomplished very little today, but accomplishing many things wasn’t high on my list as I have felt somewhat under the weather today. Sinus issues.
In fact, I’m not really feeling up to even typing this blog entry. So, I’m going to cut this short. Very short. I will say that I baked this yesterday from scratch for a close friend’s birthday.

I have made this cake; from “scratch” mind you, exactly 5 times in the last 4 years. Every time I do, those who taste it roll their eyes back in their head and swoon. It’s a decadent thing that involves a lot of work. It's also insanely rich as well (heavy cream, buttermilk, butter, dark chocolate and more).

We enjoyed this last night after Chinese food, many martinis, and poker. It was a fun birthday for him and fun for us as well. Now I’m starting to wonder if my malaise may have something to do with all of those martinis… and cake.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Passes and Glasses

Since I intend to spend some quality time in my studio today, I’m think that I’ll pop in and out of my blog today with little snippets of interest. The first being this fun website that I ran across today totally on a fluke which strongly suggests that guys can wear glasses and still be sexy.

This is somewhat synchronistic for me, as I have been wearing my glasses more and more frequently rather than my contacts (quite frankly, my contacts have proven to be an annoying pain in the as 90% of the time).

In fact, I recently changed my photo on my website to that of myself with my glasses. Now, for me to do that, I must really like my specs!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Catching Up...

Obviously, I need to spend a bit more time updating this blog. Though, I’m unsure as to whether I’ve any readers. I’ve certainly not received any emails from readers demanding that I update. Just for arguments sake however, I’ll pretend that sometimes people stumble upon this blog. If that is indeed the case, I would much rather they stumble across a current blog rather than something stale and stagnant – especially since my name is attached to it.

So, on that note, now comes the time for me to place into digital ink here a solemn oath that I will strive to do my best to keep this blog updated on some sort of daily basis. I make no guarantees as to the quality of the entries however.
One of the things that I did this morning (that I like to try to do as much as possible when I can’t get into the gym) was to go for brisk walk around the neighborhood. There’s a very large and very well kept park not far from my house where I walk. I think, based upon experience, that the walk that I talk to the park, around the circumference of the park (which really is huge) and back home is about 2.5 miles. If I walk this briskly, I get my heart rate up for about half an hour, which is my goal.

This morning while on my walk I noticed the following things in no particular order. I’ll place them in list format because I happen to be fond of lists.

• A freshly smashed cantaloupe in the street
• A freshly smashed squirrel in the street
• A lovely little rustic bird house with a aged red roof perched in a garden of wildflowers
• An empty package of Funyons.
• A red, white and blue memorial wreath made of plastic flowers left in honor of local WWII dead.
• An empty M&M package in a shrub.
• A huge inflatable rat used by some striking and picketing pipe fitters at a local construction site.
• RIP Kid SIMON written in chalk on a stone wall.

Now, on a completely different note, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about reincarnation as of late.

(while this is a recent photo of myself, I am not actually thinking about reincarnation in this one)

I’ve had several recent experiences which I’m not quite ready to go into detail yet about here that have placed my on this thought path. I’ll only say that they have been rather fascinating and as soon as I’m able to understand them more clearly, I’ll place some information here.