I made about 30 12x9” ink drawings last week. I have kept about 20 from that batch. Long term, I’m gunning for 60 good ones. After that, I’ll probably shift to a different size and proportion of a rectangle. It’ll be interesting to look back in a year and see where these drawings were leading. Right now, this feels somewhere between productive and aimless. What if I just end up making 1000 drawings and it doesn’t lead anywhere? Maybe that’s not different from making 20 paintings and having a show.
I was asked to speak to a high school art class last week. It was a nice break from the normal routine. A student asked me if I had a YouTube channel. I understood why he asked but I felt old. Should I have a YouTube channel? What in the world would I put on there? Is it bad that I don’t even know what I would put on there? I’m a dinosaur. I’ve quit or suspended every social media account that I have ever opened. Now I’m supposed to make video content? Like I said, I understood why he was asking but it’d be like me asking Bob Dylan if I could connect with him on Instagram.
Baseball is back. The Phillies came out of the gate strong. My spring, summer and fall are set. We splurge for the MLB subscription. I’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones but dang it, if I want to see a Brewers game for no reason at all, I’m going to do it. I have a studio routine of a Phillies game followed by a Dodgers game as long as they are in their respective time zones. For some reason I feel more compelled to watch the Dodgers games if Mary Hart is in her usual seat behind home plate than if I turn it on and she’s not there. Like, “Well if Mary didn’t bother to watch then what I’m doing here?” Her seats are next to Larry King’s. Right behind home. Don’t ask me why I care, but I do.
I finally finished William Dalrymple’s In Xanadu. It’s an account of him retracing Marco Polo’s journey from Jerusalem to Kublai Khan’s palace. He was, I think, 22 when he made this journey. When I was 22, I was working at Pier 1 and playing bass in a crappy band. Here’s my favorite excerpt. I hope it’s Dalrymple’s as well:
“James Pattle…drank himself to death, and was put in a cask of rum to preserve him during the voyage back to England. His wife had the cask placed outside her bedroom door. In the middle of the night there was a violent explosion, and when the widow rushed out into the passage she found the container had burst and her husband was stuck half in, half out of the barrel. ‘The shock sent her off her head then and there, poor thing, and she died raving…’ But the worst was yet to come. The cask was nailed down and put onboard ship. Sometime after the boat had set off, the sailors guessed that the cask was full of liquor, bored a hole into the side of it and began to get drunk. The rum continued to run out, caught fire and set the ship ablaze. While the drunken sailors were trying to extinguish the flames, the ship ran onto a rock and blew up. So it was that Pattle was cremated rather than buried in England, as he had wished.”
I don’t have anything else for you this week, but what more could you want than that? I started reading C.S. Lewis’ The Discarded Image. I doubt there will be such tales in it, but it’ll be an informative read. I started a history of the Orthodox Church as well.
Beth Gibbons and the Polish National Radio Symphony released a performance of Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 last week. Krzysztof Penderecki conducts it. I had no idea it was coming, and it is something that I would have never considered. I like Portishead but I guess I never thought about what else Gibbons was suited for. I know she has released other things but I have never heard them, so this was pleasantly surprising. She doesn’t blow people’s hair back the way I remember Dawn Upshaw doing it on the ’92 release but I still really like it. I went to Grimey’s to get it and it was sold out. When was the last time a symphony sold out at Grimey’s? This time of year always sees magazine racks filled with Life and National Geographic issues that are always something like “Crazy Stuff You Never Knew About Jesus”. It’s nice to see a piece of music released during Lent that meaningfully engages with the season.
The Book of Mark
The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by Timothy Ware
The Discarded Image by C.S. Lewis