free (and worth it) subscription

An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak



17 July 2020

gratuitous image

No. 1,010 (cartoon)

I wish I was dead.

That only works once.

That’s all I need.

18 July 2020

gratuitous image


For years I’ve wanted to experiment with writing on my photographs. Fortunately, I recognized this urge for what it was: an excuse to spend a thousand dollars on a shiny drawing pad that was technically inferior to the computers and cameras I’ve had for years. Six months ago I finally spent fifty dollars on a graphics tablet and pen, and today I finally got around to using it on an image I made yesterday.

The result: Failure.

My computer handwriting looked like it was scribbled by a five-year-old who just suffered a debilitating stroke. I don’t know why I was shocked and disappointed; it was the same as my analog handwriting. How could I have foreseen that the results with a digital pen would be the same as with a manual graphics generator, i.e., a pencil?

I do everything with a computer, so why pretend otherwise? I think I’ll use a Tekton font when I get back to work in the morning, and celebrate today’s failure by taking the rest of the night off.

19 July 2020

gratuitous image

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge Overlook, Taos, New Mexico

I can’t say how I got there, but on Friday I found myself staring into the abyss. It wasn’t the dark, nihilistic kind; it was the clean, well-lit, deep gorge that the Rio Grande River has carved through the desert rock over the last several years or more. Yep, there I was, standing on a bridge gazing down on a shimmering ribbon of water some two hundred meters below. The relentless, baking sunlight, swarms of insects, and thunderous traffic made it an unforgettable experience, although I wish I could.

Fortunately, the nearby fence erected to block shortcuts to the popular suicide destination provided a rewarding aesthetic experience. Here’s how I described it: “The relationship of the horizontal fence link (below) to the horizon provides the primary visual interest.”

I typed those words in the photograph, but they’re illegible in the relatively small reproduction in this notebook or in an image posted separately, Rio Grande Gorge Bridge Overlook, Taos, New Mexico.

Well doggone it if that ain’t the second time that’s happened this month. First, there was the nasty moiré pattern, and now the words that are the crux of the visual biscuit are indecipherable.

It seems that I’ve accidentally entered into a dead-end niche of conceptual art almost no one can see. Unless you’re me—which you ain’t—you’re not going to see the entire image unless you’re visiting me in my studio.

I was about to conclude that I’ve wasted everyone’s time when John Lennon came to the conceptual rescue: “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted.”

20 July 2020

Polar Bear Research

I ran across this alarmist tidbit whilst scrolling through the news feed: “Polar bears in much of Alaska and Russia will be in serious trouble by 2080, [and] the study indicates all but a few polar bear populations in the Arctic will probably be gone by 2100.”

Ursine bollocks!

Here’s how polar bear research works in practice. Someone at Giant University scores a huge grant, heads way, way north, grabs a flagon of vodka (as is tradition in the Arctic), hops in an Airbus H125/AS350 B3e Astar copter, then flies over the snow and ice until it’s time to eat.

S/he’ll report seeing only one polar bear; it was bloody after a tasty seal snack. The verdict: polar bears are almost gone.

What’s wrong with this picture? Start by identifying what snow, ice, and polar bears have in common. That’s right; they’re all white. No one’s going to spot a white bear on white snow and ice. As an Inuit elder once told me over a muktuk buffet that the only way to spot polar bears is to lay on the ice at dawn or dusk and look for their silhouettes. Almost no researcher has done that and survived.

In conclusion, I’m not going to worry about the polar bears’ future. Not unlike the coronavirus, just because you can’t see ’em doesn’t mean they’ve vanished.

21 July 2020

Predictions and Horoscopes

Anyone who makes enough prophesies is going to be right on occasion. For example, I used to tell everyone I met they they were going to die tomorrow. That bothered people and later upset them when I was right a couple of times, so I changed my predictions (about which more later).

Horoscopes work the same way, which is why I never take them seriously. That includes my horoscope in today’s edition of The Onion, which was completely and uncannily accurate:

Remember, the slow cycle of sun, wind, and rain can sunder even the hardest stone, so whatever you do, don’t go outside.

This may or may not have something to do with living in the desert for months, but I never step outside the house unless it’s for the exercise I need to postpone the inevitable decrapitude and/or go to the store every other week for vittles and adult beverages.

I’ll conclude with a safe prediction: you’re not going to die tomorrow. It’s spooky at how good I am at looking twenty-four hours in the future; no one has ever told me I was wrong.

22 July 2020

The Thief of Joy

Dr. Landweber sent me a cartoon by Julia Suits featuring two cats, each of whom—or is it which?—is standing over a dead rodent s/he’s apparently just killed. In the caption, the cat with the much larger meal advises the other, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Milton.

What a great cartoon! I had all but forgotten about Berle; I was glad to hear he’s still remembered in popular culture.

I later looked at the comic differently: with my glasses on. That’s when I discovered that I’d misread it; the real caption was, “Comparison is the thief of joy, Mittens.”

I was disappointed; I preferred my imagined Milton version. On a positive note, at least the message rang true: the comparison really did steal my joy.



Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak
©2020 David Glenn Rinehart

nothing nothing nothing nothing