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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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26 March 2024

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No. 2,940 (cartoon)

How could things possibly get any worse?

Shut up and be patient; I’m about to show you.

27 March 2024

Sharon Stone, Living Artist

I’m waiting until I get old to watch movies, so I’m not familiar with Sharon Stone’s film career. I do know that she was highly regarded as a thespian until she made the classic Hollywood mistake: she lived past forty. Then past fifty. And so on. And now, at sixty-six, she’s too incredibly ancient for Hollywood.

She had a minor epiphany many years ago after a film producer demanded that she have sex with her costar. “Now all of a sudden I’m in the ‘I have to fuck people’ business.”

She fled Tinseltown’s “small-penis energy” and rediscovered painting a few years ago. I’ve seen her work; it’s very good. She now enjoys the freedom of working on her own which I’ve appreciated ever since I picked up a camera and abandoned my French horn when I was a teenager, but I enjoy what I consider to be a huge advantage over her: anonymity. When someone looks at my work, they see my work, but when someone views one of her canvases, the first—and perhaps last—thing they see is a painting by a famous actress.

Stone acknowledges that her work might not be widely exhibited if she’d used a nom de art like Harriet Hammer. Conversely, gallerists have advised her that her paintings would be more sought after if she had a terminal illness. She noted, “I would be more valuable if I were dead. If there is the possibility of a shorter life expectancy, that’s a winner for female artists.”

I’m not sure what gender has to do with that; dying is always a good career move—financially speaking—for any artist.

28 March 2024

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Five AM Shadow, Spider

There I was, sitting on the only porcelain chair I have at five in the morning when I spotted it: a big black spider. Or maybe it was an itsy black spider; I don’t know my spiders from my spiders.

The close encounter is a perfect example of my approach to wildlife photography: let the critters come to you. The spider was an excellent model, motionless against the white enamel bathtub. I got my serious camera and a tripod, found a comfortable seat, and made Five AM Shadow, Spider.


As for my subject, I later took him/her/it to the garden for better hunting. (I’ve never knowingly killed a spider, but may have done so during a woodsy adventure. But let us not split hares; I know I never harmed one of them.) Going back to arachnid ignorance, I discovered from examining my high-resolution file on a large monitor that the spider actually had dark orange stripes before I corrected it to grey with my chromophobe filter.


On 6 May I changed the title and added a second image to make Motionless Bathtub Spider (Diptych).

29 March 2024

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Whiskey Breakfast

“Why oh why,” I asked my learned friend, Dr. Hayes, “would the owners of my local market stock whiskey next to breakfast items?”

He paused for a second. No, he paused for less than a second.

“Common sense,” he replied.

“Common sense” is an oxymoron, alas, so I’m most grateful that Dr. Hayes is very wise in such matters.

30 March 2024

BLINK (The Photographic Numbers Game Revisited)

Seven years ago I wrote about a camera that can capture five trillion frames per second. A year and a half later I noted that a newer model was twice that fast. Four years ago I read about a new iteration that made seventy trillion photographs a second. And now some scientists somewhere (as is obvious, I still have my journalism standards) created a swept-coded aperture real-time femtophotography camera that creates one hundred fifty-six trillion three hundred billion frames per second.

Ah, now there’s a high-speed camera I can finally use!

I’m going to use the recently announced camera to make a new film, BLINK. I’ll film a one-second closeup of my eye blinking, then combine the trillions of frames into a single film. If I use thirty frames per second, the movie should be one hundred sixty-five thousand and ninety-five years long. My new masterpiece will be even more boring than anything coming out of Hollywood, albeit not by much.

31 March 2024

Clichés Come to Life and Death

I don’t know my art history (I have better ways to waste my time), but I can’t think of a more popular surrealism cliché than Salvador Dali’s melting watches. I was reminded of that when I saw the remarkable video of a mammoth out-of-control cargo ship drifting into the Francis Scott Key Bridge near Baltimore. The huge steel structure appeared to melt across the bow of the ship and into the Patapsco River as if it were made from wet noodles. I felt like I was watching a sequence in a low-budget surrealist film using primitive special effects.

I didn’t pay much attention to the tragedy that killed six people: another day, another disaster. And so it wasn’t until today that I learned that the name of the ship was Dali. Of course it was; who can pronounce Yves Tanguy?

1 April 2024

Andy, St. Stupid’s Chosen One

It’s St. Stupid’s Day, and Andy is the poster boy Andrea chose for this auspicious holiday. He’s one of the students in her class getting a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography.

Andy (or, more likely, his parents) is spending a hundred and fifty thousand dollars to get a worthless art school degree. That’s stupid, but since that describes everyone taking her course, that’s not dumb enough for special St. Stupid’s Day acclaim. No, there’s something that sets Andy apart from perhaps every other photography student in the history of the medium.

Andy doesn’t know what an f-stop is; he hadn’t even heard of such a thing until Andrea brought it up in conversation.

Yes, really.

I repeat: Yes, really.

I twice repeat: Yes, really.

I’m sure his spectacular ignorance won’t hold him back. As David Sedaris observed, “That’s the beauty of an art school: as long as you can pay the tuition, they will never, even in the gentlest way, suggest that you have no talent.”

2 April 2024

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Acme Sour Baguette and Bucatini no. 15

Behold the Acme Sour Baguette. Gaze upon Bucatini no. 15. Contemplate their harmonious union.

That’s exactly what I did to create Acme Sour Baguette and Bucatini no. 15.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2024 David Glenn Rinehart

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