Thursday, December 26, 2013


Unsurprisingly, the holidays have put a bit of a dent in any creative endeavors. I did start on another pic from the Ximon photoshoot, but not enough to show yet.

As stated before, I've succumbed to the call of Instagram. I'm finding that sometimes I'm using that instead of digging out my point and shoot camera, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad yet, but I think it's more for the instant filters and quick uploading more than anything else. I won't be doing photoshoots with just a cellphone anytime soon.

I did find enough on Xmas eve to catch my eye a few times:

The Vatican Xmas eve mass came on late at night when I was in my hotel room, and I was mesmerized by the architecture.

It's become a tradition somehow for my aunt or cousins to get a gift for me that is skull-themed. Here's this year's present.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

:tumbling within:

Mostly a week of more introspection, as I perused the box full of sketchbooks some more. I'm fascinated both by some of the forgotten ideas in them that I think could still work and could probably pull off better than I could back then, and also the often cryptic writings along with the drawings, some of which I can tell had to do with several different relationships I was going through at the time but are in some sort of shorthand that makes no sense now, so I presume I expanded on them elsewhere in other writings that I haven't unearthed yet. I did notice that writing overtook drawing at some point, and I changed that by having two separate little books for those different outlets.

Also linked to the past in a way is an exercise on Facebook that I'm involved in right now that involves artists, when people "like" the post, you give them the name of an artist and they are supposed to find something of theirs that they like, whether they know the artist or not, re-post it and spread this virus even further. It'd be nice to see Facebook full of more artwork than ads by the end of the week (although I have ad-blocking in place). I was given Salvador Dali, which was an easy choice, as he was an early inspiration of mine. I also recalled that when I was in art school he was barely covered in my art history classes and he also passed on during that time too.

I've noticed thus far that I've chosen more recent artists than older ones, which probably says a lot about me. In fact I did find a lot of art history uninteresting. Dave McKean, Moebius, Michael Parkes, Joel-Peter Witkin, Ralph Steadman, Masamune Shirow, Aubrey Beardsley, Rick Berry, Mark Ryden, HR Giger, Max Ernst, Robert Williams, Man Ray, Rick Griffin - not many of these are ones you'd find in a big 'ol museum. At least not yet.

So that this posting isn't bereft of visuals, here's a shot of last Saturday night, when we got our first big snowfall of the season.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Slight pause in working on the photos from the last shoot, as I may have said before, I'm planning one that may use possibly ten layers and I need the right time and state of mind for that. Sometimes.

For the past few days I've been looking through a box full of old sketchbooks that I filled up, little ones that I would carry around with me anywhere should something pop into my mind, and it appears that it often did. I'm up to 16 of these things by now, which I started around when I went to art school. Appropriately enough those early ones were filled with ideas for class assignments and some very ambitious ideas that didn't bear fruit. It appears sometimes that I'd have just a title or a character and I'd think it would lead to a comic story of some such, but it didn't always stick. I have no idea where I got something like "Pinkfish Rising" from, and apparently I was stuck after that. There are plenty of "cool" song titles and lyrics and such scattered throughout, too, not that I made music beyond some bizarro noisy tracks and collages that I really need to get off of cassettes and into digital format soon.

At times these little books are like a diary, I can definitely trace the rise and fall of one relationship and the long desert after it just from the drawings and what I wrote -  I'll spare you the writing -  plus notes on concerts I saw or trips that I took, like my first time to New York City (wasn't that good), and lists galore. I still make too many lists, this just reminds me that I need to get better at following through on my ideas and plans. It's just that too often real life gets in the way.

So I'm still not one for resolutions but I hope to improve upon this in the new year. Just looking at these sketchbooks alone show that I should have a much larger body of work.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


More photowork from the recent photoshoot. I have one in the works that may be a combination of possibly ten different shots. This one is interesting, in that I was making a conscious effort to not use the auto settings on the camera, in the hopes of learning about it more, but I tried it on a few shots, and it inevitably pops up the flash, even in the daytime, so this was an interesting result but totally not what I was aiming for on the whole shoot.

Speaking of learning, I've recently started an online course in photography, as there are still aspects that I could use improvement in, and I don't have the time nor money to go to any local schools/classes. I've only seen the first one so far, which was as basic as basic can be, but I hope things pick up a bit. The speaker thus far is not very animated, and if the .ca website address weren't already a giveaway, he's clearly Canadian and I keep hearing subliminal "ehs" in his speech. We'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


More shots from the last photoshoot. I'm pleased that I keep finding more that came out really good, although there are a few that would be contenders if not for one element that I can't fix, even digitally.

So we have this holiday of sorts tomorrow, I suppose I could try and find things to be thankful for...I'm thankful that I still have a creative pulse, especially after years of almost being at zero, and it wasn't a pleasant feeling. I'm thankful for the two who posed for the last two photoshoots I've been documenting here, that's been a tremendous kickstarter, and hopefully a sign of more to come. I'm thankful that I'm aware that I have so many more ideas in store, I just need to master the time, place and money thing to make it all work. I'm thankful for those who appreciate my art. When I was younger, it didn't matter as much but I find that I need more positive feedback, or just feedback in general, as time goes on. Otherwise these would never see the world beyond my own walls. I'm thankful that you actually read this far!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

:point and shoot:

Further progress on shots from the recent photoshoot. As stated before I may go back and do further digital modifications, but I'm finding that I do that less and less these days. And I see others go in the other direction and it looks, well, a bit quaint to me now. Just because you have 100 filters in Photoshop doesn't mean you have to use them all. I learned that pretty quick.

Recently I also succumbed to the allure of Instagram. I may be a bit of a camera snob and a bit annoyed at people thinking that their phones are equal, but actually it's quite frightening what quality you can get from them these days. Heck, they're even marketing one mostly as a camera that just happens to be a phone as well. And as far as Instagram, I'm trying to remain "arty" with it, as opposed to posting pictures of food and such. Okay, I did do one shot of sangria. At first there was some annoyance at all the filters that can do the work that used to take me hours to obtain, thinking that people don't have to "work" for it anymore. But you know what, why not make it easier?

I'm rocketnumbernine in case you're curious.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Working away at shots from the last photoshoot. I was trying several different settings on the camera, still learning the ins and outs. I found it curious that some of the settings that were recommended for what I was doing seemed to give the shots a blueish cast, which didn't look awful, but not what I was aiming for. That was easily enough corrected, though.

I am pleased that I am doing minimal corrections with each new shoot, but the ultimate aim is to not have to do any at all, unless I'm seriously altering them, and unlike other photos I've done in the past, I find that I don't want to go too crazy here. Although there is still the possibility of further work on them down the line. I don't think I'm done with the pics from the August shoot either.

While I do do some touch-ups to the models' appearances, I try not to go overboard. Unless the concept calls for it, I don't want to alter reality too much here. Of course I want them to be flattering, but I'm not a fan of what I see a lot of where the model's skin looks as smooth as plastic. It's images like that that give people self-esteem issues, I'm sure, even though it's common knowledge by now how much digital alteration goes on these days.

However we get to the end result, I'm fine with it as long as we enjoy it while we're doing it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


This past weekend I succeeded in doing a photoshoot at a location that I had found only a few months ago; usually it can take months or even years for such things to come to fruition in my world, so this is encouraging. The weather even seemed to work in our favor too - it had been rainy all morning but stopped by the time we got there and it wasn't too cold, windy or sunny. In fact the sun didn't come out from behind the clouds until after we left. Spoooky.

To fully capture how these cliffs looked I would've had to either shoot from a boat or use some bizarro lens, but I believe I did my best. I'm still sorting through the shots.


Despite all the seriousness you see in these shots it was a fun shoot. One can strike dramatic poses overlooking the sea for only so long before you start cracking up.

After all that, in the evening I went to catch the Cinematic Titanic show, which is a live show put on by former cast members of Mystery Science Theater 3000, of which I may be still a tad bit obsessed. This is the farewell tour, alas, as their separate lives make it too difficult for them to get together or tour regularly anymore, but they did it for six years or so, and were thrilled to finally meet their fans. They said they really didn't get much direct feedback back in the day. Except for maybe the letters and artwork people sent in to the show, which they often showed on-air. With that in mind I remembered that I had done a drawing myself, so I managed to unearth it and gave it to Joel himself. He seemed pleased by it.

Mind you, this was done in the proto-internet days, no YouTube or even DVDs, so I drew this from a freeze frame off of a VHS tape.

My experiment in giving away free downloads on deviantArt of my Halloween pics is over, and what was the most downloaded? Can't say I'm surprised:

Let them eat cheesecake, I suppose?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The night before Halloween ( Isn't that Devil's night? Well, if the Red Sox win or lose tonight, that's what we'll get in Boston probably. ), which is still my favorite holiday, even if I don't get too dressed up for it like I used to. I still dream of creating some elaborate costume, but then I think of what it'd be like wearing it the whole night. I had a monkey mask as part of a costume on Monday night, and that was difficult enough as it is, what with no peripheral vision, and difficulty in getting a straw in so I could drink, heh. It was fun getting away with certain things while people didn't know who I was, though. Sometimes a blank stare alone was a prize.

Nothing new to show this week, as I gear up for a new month and hopefully new projects. I attempted to take more photos of the new Homunculus doll, who is officially named Ximena now, but thus far the original photographs were better. So I don't mind showing you her again.

Actually I was supposed to go on a photoshoot this past Sunday, but the model became ill, so hopefully this Sunday then, if it's not too cold, since it's an outdoor shoot. If so, then we'll have to pray for an early Spring. Sigh. I so hate the cold, more so with each passing year. Though I am not unwilling to try a shoot in the snow at some point.

A few more days of the Halloween pic free downloads on deviantArt, then I'll tally up how many were downloaded and see which one was the most popular, though I already have a hunch. Maybe it'll point me in a creative direction, although I still would rather follow my own than whatever's "trendy." I do get surprised by what people choose as favorites, they are rarely the same as mine. Interesting to see that point of view.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I believe that the latest Homunculus doll is finished, I will take better pictures of her in the daylight hours. All that remains now is a name, I'm torn between Estrella and Ximena, what do you think? This definitely was a case of less is more with me this time, the dress that came with her was too nice for me to going messing with and too many skulls would've been...too many. I have plenty left over for future projects now. I also found a lot of lobster parts by the sea this past weekend.


Yes, a part of Halloween is still free free free!!

I thought I was done with the photos from my last photoshoot for a bit, but the model asked recently, "What about the ones with the skull?" more for now. I posted it on Facebook today and it's gotten more likes than anything else I've put up so far! And I don't even think it's the best shot in the series. Shows you what I know.

There's the slight pause between projects now, which as I've stated before I have plenty of on the back burner and not enough time for them all. I've had an idea about an Edward Gorey-inspired piece, and I actually managed to track down the owners of his estate and artwork to ask them permission, at first the answer was no, but I explained my idea further and they seem open to a smaller version of what I had in mind. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


More progress on the latest Homunculus doll. I do believe that I am done working on her face, so now for the rest of her. I will probably leave the dress that came with her pretty much intact, it's too nice to cut up or burn, truly. So it's time to figure out what accoutrements she will have. I went through all the bones and such that I have, found quite a bit that I forgot I had, including a complete dead baby bird skeleton. I had watched it slowly decay over the summer of 2012 on the ground where I ate lunch outside while at work and finally took it home. I'm not adding that to her, just thought I'd mention it. Can you see why I'm still single?

I still need to think of a name for her. The skull necklace is giving her a bit of a Kali-esque look, which was not the original intention. I've said it before, after awhile they sometimes seem to create themselves.

Yes, the free Halloween picture downloads are still available.

I recently read an article in Time magazine ( the Sept. 23rd issue to be exact ) which was about creativity assisting in longevity. Most of it seemed to be about people doing this after retiring, which doesn't help me now, and there were some statements of the obvious ( "Multiple studies over the decades have shown that happiness contributes to longer life." In other news, water is wet. ), but it was encouraging to read something like this after my previous reading about other artists who had died in their 40s.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today is the last day for voting in the RAW artists semi-finals, so one last time I bug thee:

I've been working on a new Homunculus ( I used to just call them Spooky ) doll, hopefully to be done before Halloween, as it progresses you'll see why. For now I've just been working on painting the face, using the crackle finish I love so much, even though the results are unpredictable:


After it was dry enough, I went back in and touched it up some more:

I've been starting to gather other materials to be used later on in its creation. Who knows how much of this will be part of it, too soon to tell:

The free Halloween pics are still available for download at deviantArt. I'll remove the free download feature next month, and tally up how many there were. So far this is the front-runner, can't say I'm surprised:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Too much non-art stuff in the past week, so not much progress with the new homunculus doll, at least not enough to show here. But! In related news, one of the other dolls, Ostia, will be on display ( and for sale, if you're so inclined ) at Witch Dr. in Salem, MA for the month of October. I confess that I really didn't know what sort of place it was before I dropped off the doll - turns out it's a store that sells smoker paraphernelia, you know, for tobacco use only. But they have a lot of space for artwork, and they create much of their glass products in-store, you can watch through a window in back as they make some of them.

And yes, this being October, this is your weekly reminder of the Halloween is My Xmas illustrations available free for download on deviantArt, or, if you want to support the arts, in particular MY arts, on sale at Etsy.

You may recall that this past March I participated in one of the monthly RAW art showcases that they have here and in many other cities. Right now they're having open voting for the best artists of the year, who will go onto the semi-finals in NYC. I know full well that this is more about the number of votes received than actual talent, but that doesn't mean I won't give it a go! So if you would be so kind, please vote through the link below, and you can do so once a day until next Wednesday, Oct. 9th. Surprise me!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Started some planning on the new Homunculus doll, to be completed before Halloween if all goes well. The sketches below will surely give away the direction I'm going in, but ah well.

I'll also mention again (and will until Halloween itself ) that I'm offering free downloads of the Halloween is My Xmas series over at deviantArt. Hoo hah.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

:on location:

Looking ahead, feeling hopeful in several ways. As long as I can keep active hopefully there will be momentum.

I have plans to make another Homunculus doll before Halloween, which might give you some clue as how it might appear. You will certainly see so in the progress photos, but for now she looks like this:

Speaking of Halloween, as mentioned last week, I'm still offering some Halloween art as free downloads until the holiday itself on deviantArt.

Two more pics from my August photoshoot below. I think I'm done with editing the "normal" shots, and while I'm proud of these on their own, let's see if I can do my usual "arty" thing with them now. Or not my usual thing, who knows?

But I am also looking ahead to what I can do next with my photography. In my usual weekend wanderings, I came across a cliff overlooking the Boston Harbor in Nahant, which is a small strip of land poking into it that won't survive when the oceans rise. I immediately thought that it'd be great for a model photoshoot. Now if only I can get somebody to follow through on that. If I hadn't mentioned it enough already, I have a long string of people show interest then flake out on me. One could almost take it personally after awhile. But I'm determined to make this work somehow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

:tis the season:

It's getting to be that time of year again - Halloween! Although you'd not be thinking that way in Boston today, with the temps being in the 90s. But since I hate winter more (and heating bills), I don't complain about it.

No idea yet what I'm doing for the holiday itself, especially since it's on a Thursday ( meh ), but it's still a fave of mine. I shouldn't jinx it, but who knows, maybe we'll get another snowstorm.

I have no new artwork in that theme, yet, although I may see if I can create a long-overdue new homunculus doll in that vein. But I decided as an experiment of sorts to allow free downloads of my "Halloween is My Xmas" series on deviantArt until Halloween. I just checked it out, people have already started. People just love free artwork, sigh. But if you want to buy actual printed versions of them they are available on my Etsy page.

So far this is the top runner:

I talked about these in further detail in a past blog entry.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Working away at more photos from last month's photoshoot, I think I'm nearing the end of the "basic" shots, then I'll see if I can do further things with them like I normally did with photos in the past. Again, there was no concept here so I'll have to create one.

Once again I'm pleased that I'm able to "recover" some of these shots due to some bad lighting in the beginning of the shoot, but the ultimate goal is fewer mistakes of course. I like that I was able to bring half of this shot out of darkness, but I'm still not completely pleased with the tones. Maybe it looks better in black & white?


But I have no such problems with these other two:

I have just finished reading "Just Kids" by Patti Smith, which is about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe, and it's heartbreaking because you know how it ends, with his early death ( like Patrick Nagel, who I've talked about before, in his early 40s. ), but also very touching in how their lives stayed entwined through so many changes, and it's also very much about living life as an artist. I found it equally inspiring and frustrating, because while they certainly had their struggles, it also appeared that they were often in the right place at the right time, people seemed to just give them things or opportunities, and this sort of thing still eludes me. Or just to find people who "understand" what I'm doing with my art, even if I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

A lot of it has to do with personality of course; it was clear from her story that Mapplethorpe charmed more than he frightened, despite his often controversial subject matter, and it didn't hurt that his main patron was also his longtime companion. Do patrons even exist anymore? Can I get one please? Or I just have to get a personality transplant. I feel that I have improved somewhat, but I think some people still make wrong assumptions about me without ever really knowing me, and I've made forays out into the art "world," but a lot of it seems more like a performance than real life. Some people's lives are their art, and that's okay I guess, but I can't compete with that.