Overdue Update!

It’s unfortunately been weeks since I’ve updated this site, so sorry about that. I feel like I’ve been this strange combination of really busy with all sorts of traveling, but also not doing anything quite interesting enough that you might want to hear about it. As far as where I am now, today finds Lorie and I in Helena, visiting my sister for the weekend. Last weekend was spent in Stevensville with my family, and the week prior to that we were still in Oregon. So I’ve been logging a lot of miles in the car, but unfortunately not making quite as much art as I’d like.

Still, I made something this week while we were in one place for a couple days, which was great. I made a postcard to send in to the Best of Britain show that will be happening this spring at the Corinium Museum in the United Kingdom, which is now in the mail and making its way across the ocean to the UK. It’s a small work– about 4 by 6 inches, and is a pen & ink drawing colored with watercolor. I had a lot of fun making it, so it’s something I think I’ll be trying to do a bit more frequently.

Since Jentel, I’ve found myself making a more illustrative work than photographic, and I’ve been trying to embrace that impulse more than resist it. Conventional wisdom in the arts says that I should really stick with one sort of thing and work on it over and over again, but I’ve learned over the years that sometimes my interests shift, and I’m trying to be okay with that. I’ve also learned that my interests usually shift among the same reoccurring things, so it’s really more like I rotate through a cycle, rather than constantly doing entirely new things. The “next thing” I do, for example, is most likely going to swing back to a photographic project, rather than be something really unexpected, like furniture-making or wood-fired ceramics.

So, that might make me a terrible artist businessman since I’m not making one thing and doing it over and over again a lá uh, you know, that “light painter” guy who shall not be named with his prints of paintings that are “limited” to editions of 250,000. But I like being the sort of person who does many kinds of things, and I’ve found that doing work on one kind of project can still teach me something about the other. Ultimately, I’m exploring various ways of expressing myself, which is what any artist does, whether they do so exclusively through the piano, or through a combination of painting, sculpture, video installations, and freestyle banjo.

In the meantime, I should tell you the story behind the postcard I painted. It’s of a pub we visited while we were in Britain– the King & Tinker, located in Enfield. Tale tells that when King James became separated from his party while out hunting, he stopped at a pub to use the phone. Because it was the 1600s, and the phone was not yet invented, he decided to wait it out and sidled up to the bar where he struck up a conversation with a tinker– a type of traveling merchant who was generally not regarded well by society. Because he was plainly dressed and without attendants, the king was not recognized, and was able to talk politics with the tinker, who spoke his mind candidly about the King’s Policies.

When the All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men either decided to check the taverns, or possibly gave up the search entirely, they ended up finding the king, and blew his cover. At the this point, the tinker was mortified, since he suddenly realized that he had been speaking his mind to the king, in an era when candid discussions about politics would get you an appointment with the headsman. The king was not upset, however, and the tinker’s candor made James realize that he was surrounded by yes-men, and the tinker was knighted on the spot.

At least that’s how I remember the tale from the menu. I might not have the details right… the king might have been turned into a llama by a witch, but I think that’s another story. As for the pint depicted on the postcard– we often think of Germany as Europe’s beer-maker, but the UK has a lot of enjoyable brew too. While at the King & Tinker, I sampled a couple pints of Hobgoblin, and had a steak & ale pie. Later that evening, we moved to a slightly more raucous pub (I’m afraid I don’t recall the name) where I had a pair of Bombadier pints as follow up, and where a great band was playing. At the end of the evening, we retired to our friends‘ apartment, where we introduced Lorie to Father Ted. So, it was an evening filled with several great British things!

Anyway, the evening certainly made the list as a “Best of Britain” for me, so I decided it might be a good contribution for the show, since I figured they’d get plenty of Big Bens and double-decker buses. As for upcoming activities, I’ll try to make some more drawings. I’ve had an idea for something to work on lately, but I haven’t been holding still long enough to really work on it for a couple of weeks, so I’ll have to make time to work on this coming week.

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