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When I was twenty I was in love with words, a wordsmith. I didn't know enough to know when people were letting words get in their way. Now I like the words to disappear, like a transparent curtain. -- Wallace Stegner
Today I learned that classical music, while perfect for painting, sucks when coding. So I'm here late at night, when no one is around, and I have Marc Cohn in my ears and lemme tell ya - his album with Walking in Memphis on it is pure greatness. My voice is somewhat similar to his, so I'm belting it out. Currently, Dig Down Deep. I love the picture he paints of two people, exploring each other and just talking, late into the night. "Nothing to lose but your sleep." Yes, exactly.
His second album didn't have the same appeal for me. And I don't know if he ever had a third, but frankly the first was enough. In a few songs, he describes that very intense, intimate relationship that frightens some people and makes others jealous. Kind of like how Suzanne Vega describes a night with she and her husband when they slept so close together that they woke up with their hair entwined. What a cool metaphor.
One life, built with four hands.
I think marriage is a wonderful thing. It's beautiful, and difficult, and work and joy... it's supposed to be a lifetime of two peple committed to go nowhere but to work it out and work on it and to mature in their trust of each other.
Couples are attacked by problems with money, in-laws who embarrass and in-laws who hate, the togetherness and the separation that comes with children, the tug of career and the needs of home... every day is a new and crazy challenge. So how do you move through it together successfully?
Lots of talk, digging deep into each other, and staying true to one life, built with four hands. I miss that. That might be why I like this album so much. The music is great, but the words are genuine and wise and unashamed. He knows of what he sings.
Anyway, back to codeville...
ETC: I'm shocked and bummed out... I get home to learn that Marc Cohn has been killed wounded in a carjacking attempt. What a loss drag. (Geez... when I first read this story, I thought I read that he had died. But at least he's okay. That's what I get for reading this at 2 AM.)
I mentioned Syd yesterday and his song Back Home. I ordered his CD. Cool guitar work and a feel for melody.
Genevieve's In Our House. I think she's a Christian, and the song is good for a Sunday afternoon on the back porch with your mate.
Lori McKenna - I'll probably buy her CD. I downloaded Never Die Young. Love her voice and her emotion in the song. It has these lyrics: "I'm just brilliantly bitter/And sealed by my skin but broken inside."
And finally, Matthew Hebert of the Ware River Club and their song Broken Light grows on me with each listen - and I liked it the first time I heard it! He sounds like a great guy to sit to a beer with. Just an excellent song.
So go and enjoy. I like the idea of ignoring the DJ's and the music companies and finding these talented folk on my own. Lots of good stuff - so go explore :)
I'm currently listening to one of the most profound songs that I know, which is the 2001 version of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." Not her original, but the one that she did with full orchestra behind her.
I'm lucky... as a programmer by trade, I get to listen - pretty much uninterrupted - to music through my headphones for hours every day. I'd been using little earbuds lately, but yesterday I switched back to my big, head-engulfing Aiwa headphones and the sound quality is supreme. It's the difference between looking at pictures of the Bahamas and actually being in the warm sand and clear water of the Bahamas.
If you compare listening through normal speakers and listening through earbuds and then listening through high quality headphones, headphones win. By far. You can hear the musicians' subtleties, the ambient hollow in the faint echo of a drum... It's stunning. It's more. It makes me love music to where I crave it that experience again and again.
If headphones escalate the music experience that I have, then what's the equivalent for art?
Most of us view art casually, much like most people listen to music. Were it not for the isolated position that I have as a programmer, I'd be one of those people.
Prior to last December, art wasn't important to me. I didn't crave it. Pleasant, but non-essential. Not so today. Having painted and lived through the re-assembly of color and form, I know it more now. While one doesn't have to be making the music to appreciate it more, one shouldn't have to be a painter to have a heightened experience of art.
So what is the visual equivalent of headphones?
As I sit and think about it, I think it's actually owning the piece, in full-scale reproduction or print, and being able to be alone with it, in isolation, to look at it and consider it.
We all own hundreds, or even thousands, of songs. But we own so little art. Is that because songs are 99¢ each and art is, well, at least a $20 purchase at Wal-Mart or $hundreds from a private atrist or gallery?
I know that Bill Gates' home has large, flat-panel screens that displays works from his collection. I know also that some companies are trying to get consumers to purchase art in bulk for display on their plasma screens at home.
Seems to me like like there's an opportunity here for indpendent artists... much like MP3's made it available for independent musicians to release their music to the world without music companies.
I have a favorite playlist in my Windows Media Player that I call "Optimism." Tonight, I hopped onto MusicMatch and downloaded Boston's "Don't Look Back," which seemed to me to sandwich perfectly between the B-52's "Love Shack" and Squeeze's "Tempted."
It fits well - or at least it moves easily from "Love Shack" to "Don't Look Back," but I forgot that its ending is one that seques into another song, so it just kind of drops off and then the perfection of "Tempted" begins. A little awkward, but I like the song too much to leave it out.
You know, music is so much fuller with headphones on. I'll be getting lots of that starting tomorrow night. The older kids go up north to visit their Mom in Minneapolis. And then, I'm on my own for a few days till they return on Thursday.
I have a few things to do in the meantime. A former client needs me to add a few enhancements to their quoting system that I developed for them. The red pepper painting simply must be finished. And I'll be doing some work here, on beatcanvas.com.
I hope to release a feature that I call Graffiti.
It's basically a second blog here, but it's one that you commenters and readers will run. If you register yourself on this site, you'll be able to add articles/posts to the Graffiti section and others can comment.
Should be fun... I look forward to seeing what people have to say.
In the meantime this evening, I'll hang out with my sons and try to recover from dinner.
Barbecued chicken, pineapple, lots of veggies... yummm...
The kids are gone tonight. Bari is at a basketball game, Nick is at his girlfriend's house, Aaron is off in his room, and Austin and Jacob are happy to have their mom back from the hospital and they are enjoying her.
So of course, I'm listening to Journey's Greatest Hits - loudly - and trying to wrap up the first phase of this web site.
Steve Perry and crew get my vote for greatest band ever. Great songs, incredible musicians, and I'd love to sing like Steve. How can anyone not tap their foot to "Ask the Lonely?"
We used to play a few Journey tunes in the band. You know, it's mighty hard to program this here web site and jam on the air guitar at the same time...
Fortunately, my neighbors haven't complained about my headphoned sing-along, so life is good.
Oh, and the little drawing? That was how I depicted myself back in the days when I still had hair. Long hair and a permanent smile :)
That's my "senior" picture. Or at least it turned out that way. I graduated as a junior and my t-shirt - why, it's a Journey concert t-shirt, of course!
One of my favorite bands is Rush. I have no idea what their current song list sounds like, but when I was in a band oh so long ago, all of us in the band loved Rush. I played bass, so I mimicked Geddy Lee, my drummer was a spot-on Neil Peart, and Kelly channeled Alex Lifeson with amazing attention to detail. I remember the first time that we rehearsed Spirit of Radio. If Rush played the song as an instrumental, we did it justice. We were pumped after that!
Today, I'm listening to a long playlist on my laptop while working and Time Stand Still comes on. It's a good song and I've listened to it a great deal. But today, I caught something that I'd not heard before. About midway through the song, in the chorus, Geddy riffs this very subtle but very fat melodic bass line that has me double-take and replay that section a few times. Never heard that.
The Sundays have a song like this called She from their album Static and Silence. David Gavurin's guitar work throughout the song is varied and surprising. Enjoyable many times over, just to hear what he's doing.
Times like this are like walking along a favorite and frequented path, but today noticing a break in the bushes that leads to a lovely garden. One that you had never noticed before. Or like learning that your lover has an interest in photogrpahy and is quite good at it. You wonder how you missed that in 10 years of being together. But it's like discovering them all over again.
I never listen to lyrics much. Most lyrics are fairly nonsensical or trivial. They really don't do much for me, although there are a few exceptions. A turn of phrase or a deep wisdom conveyed in lyric will catch my ear. But mostly, I listen for the music. I can write code and listen to music at the same time with no problem. The music happens for me in a different place than my programming. The separation of right and left brain activity, I suppose.
But all of this has me thinking... that "aha!" sense is something that we all enjoy. I've been studying Betty Edwards' book on Color and I've been looking at others' works of art... something that I hope to do one day is to somehow capture in my painting that possility for "aha!" To somehow bury an Easter Egg into the work so that the viewer can one day spring off their couch and study it closer and marvel at how they missed something. I think if I can do that someday, I'll have done in art what I want to do.
And I suppose that this desire of mine is probably what will lead me to larger works. The larger area will allow me more detail and play within the work.