Archive for October, 2011

You’re either a Mole or a Beaver

October 27, 2011

        You’re either a Mole or a Beaver.

This past weekend while at a party for E’s birthday, one of the party goers, M, asked me the toughest question that any  person can ask an author, “So what is your next book about?”

Chhh chhh chhhh chhhh ahhh ahhh ahhh ahhh–the sound of Jason Vorhees walking into the room, wielding his giant, rusted machete as I stumble and stammer around looking for something to grasp onto.

So on this trip we went.  I rambled on about how it was inspired by a passage in Walden which always seems to wake me up whenever I read it, like just now as I type: “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”

So then I went on to say that it is a story about a Mole and a Beaver. The Mole lives simply. He only requires his small home, one pillow, his one bed,  his one shelf of books and his one cup for tea. The Beaver however, is a collector. He rummages and collects things(treasures) in order to build his home like Beavers do by nature. Dead pieces of lake wood, an old guitar neck, wagon wheel, an old bike, umbrella…etc. You know, things that are treasures that he does not need. A sturdy construction in its own way depending on your definition of sturdy.

As the story goes on the Beaver tells the Mole that he really doesn’t have much in his life because he doesn’t really own anything. He points the Mole to his hodge-podge house and in that instant the Mole feels worthless. His life changes and he decides that he needs to acquire more things in order to live a fulfilling, enriching life.

So that’s where I’ll stop talking about the storyline. Obviously there is more…as I’ve been told by many a critic, “YOUR STORY NEEDS A RESOLUTION!” This story has one so sleep easy…

But it was something that our friend said to me as her deduction of the story as I described the main characters. She looked up at me and said, “Well, you’re either a Mole or you’re a Beaver I guess…”

That’s perfect. So perfect.

I cannot thank her enough for her fantastic description of a book she has never read and only knows about through polite party conversation. With a simple whittling down of of my stammers and insecure descriptions–I can now say, “You’re either a Mole or a Beaver.”

That’s what it is all about–who we are. I know who I am and sometimes I just don’t like that person. Some days I am the Beaver and I regret those days. Other days I am the Mole and I am still looking for ways to become the Beaver. It’s just in my nature to observe and be impressed by things that twinkle…things that I do not need but sometimes have to have. But when the sun is long down and everything around me is quiet to a point of a single board creaking in the house echos like a world war…I am the Mole. I am sitting in my studio with a pen and a pad and often with a cup for tea.

The full quote from our friend Henry by the lake reads as follows, “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have even lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.”

I hope that one day I become as brave as those who I truly look up to. I don’t know where I’ll find that bravery in my work but I am always looking for it.


Thanks for the help Meg.







What a week will bring

October 11, 2011

First off–let me apologize for what will be a very verbose post. So…sorry. I promise lots of pictures however. Lets begin here–I decided that along with my new spot as a faculty member at Frostburg State University that I REALLY wanted to maintain my professional practice. That being mostly illustration and books. But…as an artist first, I am always just trying to make some sort of mark on something. This is not a metaphor. I would draw on dirt with ketchup if I had no pencil or paper. I just like making stuff.

So the first of that “stuff” from this past week was six ink drawings that I did on the floor with my son Oliver helping. As I drew with marker, he drew with crayon. You can really see his handy work on the bottom right image. This was fine because I knew that I’d be taking the images into photoshop for coloring.


After some days of cleanup and painting with pixels…viola, a few concept that I may use for a series of T-shirts. Keep in mind that each of these images is about 11″ x 14″.

NEXT: This piece is for an open submission to a company that I have done work for in the past. The fine art of hiding objects within designated art is made less wacky when your basis for the composition is one of Durer’s greatest and most ominous works.

From here I had to throw together a poster for an artist visit I have set up for my illustration classes here at Frostburg. Presenting my good chum David Ferreira. Dave will speak to my students about acrylic painting techniques, zombies, cat food art and just general awesomeness. I’m no poster designer so don’t dis…I tried.

Moving on. Myself and a few other professors have formed the “Communications Committee” here in the arts department. Our main task will be to get a comprehensive blog up and running to show the world all of the happy, western MD goodness that we are producing here. That and to raise a real awareness of the program to attract future students as well as give current students something to participate in. With that in mind, I’m proposing to the faculty that we all create a custom Munny for our page bio. Here is the first page in a presentation I’ll pitch at the next faculty meeting. Again…a designer I am not. The paw prints on Munny are because we are the Bobcats. GO BOBCATS!

Finally…and though this doesn’t technically count as work I’ve done in this past week, I’ll be participating in a publishing festival out here this coming Saturday.  It is a mouthful: The Fifth Annual Western Maryland Small and Regional Press Festival. I will be on a panel of children’s authors and illustrators. Though the festival happens all around town, I’ll be in the Lyric Theater at 22 E. Main Street at 11:30am.

I’ll hopefully(within the next month) post a few bits of my next book…gotta write it though. Now that’s a blog full.

Gone Frosty Gone

October 1, 2011

OK–Most everyone who already knows me knows that we’ve recently moved to Frostburg, Maryland. Here are a few images:

Lobby of Compton Hall where I hold my Illustration and Advanced Illustration classes.

View out from said hall–it rains like Mordor out here as of late…

Fall came.

Ollie runs these streets!

Now onto art–feeling not so much like a wordsmith tonight. Pictures, pictures, pictures.

Decided to make some signs for the department with the Ollie Logo, as well as a painting of Saint Sebastian all shot izzup.

And here we have our bloody saint. I’m digging spraying up the place. Frostburg State University–I have big plans for you!

Spray Saints–more to come. GNR Rules!