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90!

JD n books.jpgToday, December 20 here in 2016 my dad turns 90.

Ninety frikken years old! That’s crazy! And kinda really great too, of course.

So I thought I’d showcase some pix of the old guy.

He’s dedicated much of his life to the doing and teaching of art. I admire that. And I’m JD at WHEEL STDNTS.jpgproud of him for it.

So along with that and in the general interest of longevity and of his making it that long here on planet Earth and what he’s weathered (in the last 15 years: a heart attack, broken hips, a minor stroke and this year a major one, which he unbelievably bounced substantially back from… to say nothing of also living through Nazi bombing of England in WW-II & a harsh Catholic school education, his own stint in the army immediately after the war ended, decades of the vagueries of art sales, a black widow bite and the ups and downs of almost a century of temper tantrums and human rights rollbacks and degradations by political conservatives & the intolerant on both sides of the pond)–I offer up a WooHoo! and a happy birthday to him, born lo those many years ago on December 20, 1926.

Now for the nifty pix

The earliest picture I have of him, he was 13 when it was taken, visting, apparently, Shakespeare’s hometown. The girl to his left (on the right of the pic) is his older sister Winifred (she passed away about almost a year ago).

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Seven years later, he was in the British Army, stationed in Egypt; he’s the tall one.

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This is how I best remember him (and had the best interactions with him).

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But…we do all age, of course, and this is a more recent shot, from a few years ago, taken by my nephew.

Happy personal anniverary dude!

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Art, by Father Andson

The kids and I are lifer fans of the Toy Story movies…as well as everything from Pixar. A true, long-lasting, and dear friend works there and had both given us a tour and had us join him at a screening of the new one, Toy Story 3 actually AT Pixar a month before its general release. Yay!

He’d also informed me of some extra special cool things that had been done for the “Art of Pixar” exhibit that is currently at the Oakland Museum of California, near downtown Oakland.

So this past weekend the kids and I were excited when we headed out to go to check it out one afternoon, on a “Free Day” at the museum.

The sign “Pixar Sold Out” didn’t bode well on arrival, though. The ticket attendant informed me that the Pixar shows have a limited number of tickets that are gone within one hour on the free day when they have the exhibit. She added that the rest of the museum was still free, of course. I waited for the kids’ responses and they howled that they were psyched to go, anyway. Yay!

It’s divided into the Art of California and the History of California sections. We aimed at the Art part. There’s a lot to say about it, but for now will suffice with: from the entrance that features various tools of artists from chalk and brushes and pencils and clay to Apple computers and more to modern art by artists, here, to mid 19th Century landscape paintings, it’s chock full of goodness.

Within the area featuring portraits — from the 1800s to the present — they have this kiosk with a mirror and a screen on which you can use your fingers to make a self-portrait that comes out looking like a water-color. All the portraits done by visitors — if saved — are fed into a whole collection that then find their way to framed screens on a wall of other portraits by famous artists.

So my daughter did one, painstakingly. She’s 7 and very practiced and I s’ppose basically coming right along in her rendering and drafting skills. My son (who turned FIVE today!) cares less for representational drawing than for putting what he feels down on the medium.

As my daughter finished hers, museum staff informed us that we had only a few minutes until it closed. My son said he wanted to do one and started in, laying down a swath of color to serve as a base. When I gently reminded him we had about 5 minutes to do it, he looked at it and erased the color, saying he didn’t want to do it rushed.

I then started quickly laying down lines to do my own face which I figured I could spit out super fast.

No sooner had I made some blue lines for my face shape & ears and some brown lines for my eyes, than my son started adding to it! I have no idea as I write this whether his additions to the picture are supposed to be bits of a representation of his face or are commentary on me or my face or my act of trying to get one in real quick or what. As I was saving it, and it came time to name it, he told me to name it with his name. I told him that I had drawn a bit of me and that it was really more both of us together and that I wanted to name it “K&Son”. He thought for a sec, and cheerily exclaimed, “Ok!” and waited for it to then pop up on the public screen.

So there it is (see top of post again.) It’s way more expressive than anything I could have done by myself. Though I believe abstract expressionism is the ultimate of what can be done with the medium of painting, I am incapable of creating that sort of thing. My son, however, has a different connection to the ancient starry dynamo in the machinery of night than I do. And thank god for that. :-)

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My kids are cool. Me…?


Doing little art projects has been a source of great fun for me and the kids for years, now. Due to my tight circumstances — usually and trust me in most ways an “unfortunate” state of affairs — creating art out of what’s merely around has had the fantastic upside of making them impressively resourceful. And that even rubs off on me from time to time!

Like recently, being flush with cash one day, I actually did something that might at first almost seem counter to the found-art method I just described. I bought these little plain white mini-theatrically styled masks that come with paints (definitely aimed at kids), and you then decorate the masks — or help your kid(s) decorate them. (Maybe it doesn’t sound all that different, but rarely do we partake of pre-packaged things like this.)

So I purchased three, one for each of us. When we got home, after breaking out the scissors to get through the gnarly packaging (dontchya HATE packaging?!?) I discovered that the very packaging I was slicing into was contoured front and back around each mask! All we had to do was cut the contoured part free from the flat portion that formed the part where they put promo art and from which stores hang them on racks and viola! Three masks per package! (Not all such masks come in such packaging! Caveat emptor! Some wiley business folks have taken to putting them in boxes! Shop accordingly, parents. ;-)

So the kids’ masks are wild and cool. That’s part one on the link below.

Right around the same time they discovered the fun that’s possible with the effects on PhotoBooth, the cute li’l camera program attached to the built-in iSight cam top ‘n’ center of every iMac. And they went to town.

So the following art endeavors of my kids are ALL THEM. I really barely had any hand at all. The pictures really impressed me cuz they were eager and adamant about how each one was to be composed and look.

Without further ado, proof that my kids aren’t just alright, they’re awesome…but me? Eh, less so… ;-)

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