Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mental Exercises - Illustrations

This is Agnus taking a pee.  Agnus belongs to my friend Laura who so graciously took pictures of Agnus going to the bathroom.   To read more about this funny episode, clickety here.

I painted the illustrations for this story in oil paint on a panel.  Below is just part of it.

I like the idea of bookends or two stories that are actually the same story but from two different perspectives.  #16 Mental Exercises is a mirror story of #15 Lost.  As such, I wanted Ned and Claire to somehow physically relate.  To accomplish this, I painted Ned, then gave him a sex-change and reversed his figure in Photoshop to make Claire.  See below.


I have been behind on this story from the get-go. Technology has been a bugger on this one and I hope it will be completed by Friday morning.  It will be close, but worth it if I can make a certain effect work.  We'll see on Friday if I was successful.

It is always a balance to get everything done. There's the day job - which I like mine, although I would much rather make art. There's parenting - which is 24/7, even when my daughter is not home. Then there's maintaining the house and the yard, social life, keeping up on other art activities, updating things on the computer and then, finally, making the art.

Mental Exercises will be published this Friday, March 1, 2013.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mental Exercises - Story

Ever daydream about the future - about how you wish things could be?  This is what Mental Exercises, the fifteenth story in The Book of Bartholomew is about.  Ned, after leaving Toppings and Charlotte's New Years Eve party, walks home in the dark letting his mind wander between an old memory of his father and his current life situation.

Ned doesn't understand why he would be thinking about his father while also thinking about his current life situation, but as the mind has a habit, strings of thoughts are related.  Ned starts to devise plans for improving his current situation in terms of his apartment, his career and his love life.  But, like a dog that doesn't obey its master, life has a way of doing what it wants, no matter how it affects you.

Here is an excerpt from Mental Exercises, to be published on March 1, 2013:

The evening reminded him of a warm January night he had spent with his father a few years ago. He was home visiting his parents during his senior year of college. Ned was studying for a business degree and the course load was becoming very difficult as he neared the end. Statistics was never anyone's favorite subject, but for some reason, Ned enjoyed it and was very good at it. But as the course become more advanced and started to deal with stochastic calculus Ned became very challenged. In fact, he was thinking that his grade might come in too low to get a good job. What had bothered Ned the most was that he would disappoint his father. His father had been very supportive and he’d made it to every basketball and baseball game Ned played in high school. He made sure Ned could go to a college with a good reputation, paid for his tuition, and was always encouraging him to learn a practical business skill – which would increase Ned's chances at landing a decent introductory level job. He knew once Ned had achieved these goals, it was then up to Ned how far he would go. But what if he couldn't even get out of school with a decent grade? All the work his father had done to position Ned would be wasted. That night, a couple of years ago, while on a walk, Ned felt that he should share his school problems with his father..

“Uh, Dad,” Ned began as they walked the dog down a snowy road.

His dad did not respond, but kept his eye on the dog.

“Dad, I thought I should tell you that, well, things are pretty crazy at school...”

“JINGLES!” his father yelled as the dog spent too much time sniffing around a garbage can. The dog left the smell of chicken, moldy pizza and table scraps and moved on down the road. Ned watched the spaniel for a while and then spoke again.
“My statistics class is really stress-...”

“STAY OUTTA THERE!” his father yelled as the dog bounded into a swampy area off the road.

Again, Ned watched Jingles who came up to him with her tongue hanging out of her big grin. As Ned bent over to pet her, the dog took off down the road again. Ned walked on, following his father and the dog. They walked up a small rise, and as they were nearing the house, Ned felt that he had one more chance to talk to his dad before they were home, before his mom would interrupt and try to feed them.

“Dad, I...”

“Don't make me pick up your crap!” his father yelled at Jingles as she squatted in a neighbor’s yard. Jingles, looking sheepishly, deposited her package on the neighbor’s lawn. “For cripes sake, can't you get anything right? Stupid dog,” Ned's father muttered.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lost - Illustrations

The illustrations for the story Lost were created by Krista Kelley Walsh.

In the story, Claire is followed, and eventually attacked by a crow.  Krista created this wonderful illustration incorporating a bike, the menacing crow and a missing bridge.

Krista Kelley Walsh is a multidisciplinary artist and art activist whose projects use simple materials, responsive collaboration and audience interaction. Collaboration with other artists and with her audience is essential in her practice. Her aim is to remove any barriers that prevent art from being a part of our everyday life.

She has a 40 year history of arts activism and teaching in the Twin Cites. Currently she is teaching privately and is on the adjunct faculty in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota.

Her collaborative projects include: “LandMARK: 24 hours at the Stone Arch Bridge” Mpls, with Local Strategy multidisciplinary collective, “Limo” and “ Bird Eye Blue Print” NYC, with Lisa D’Amour, Katie Pearl and Emily Johnson. “Windmills and Mirrors” first as an installation collaboration with students at St. Cloud State University then remounted as a performance for Naked Stages, Intermedia Arts, Mpls.

Krista’s recent projects include an interactive installation commissioned by the Science Museum of Minnesota, “Gratitude Guerilla Action… because there is so much to be grateful for” a Public art action and Public Eye Action, a series of web based performance events.

Krista has been a recipient of Blacklock Residency Fellowship, MN State Arts Board Grant, Intermedia Arts Installation Fellowship, Intermedia Arts Naked Stages Performance Fellowship and Science Museum of Minnesota Artist Residency. Most recently a 2008 Forecast Public Art grant and 2009 Art(ists) on the Verge Fellowship.

Lost will be published this Friday, February 22, 2013 at The Book of Bartholomew.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lost - Story

Yes, Lost is one of my favorite T.V. shows, but this is wholly different.  In this story, Claire gets lost on her way home from a New Years Eve party.  She is biking and can't find a bridge across the river to get to her parent's house, where she lives.  She is joined by a crow, who is menacing.  Claire converses with the crow, sort of, and the crow taunts her and says things that seem mean - but also true.

Lost is a story about how our lives are continually being destroyed by our own growth.  We can never live the life we lived last year because we are not the same person.  We can never find our future if we are clinging to the past.  Claire is at that point in her life wherein she needs to do what will help her grow into her own person, but does not recognize it.

Riding down Third Avenue, she passed the last tall building and came to the river.
“Wha…?” Claire breathed as she looked up and down the river for her bridge. She did not see one. All she saw was darkness and a crow sitting on a street sign staring at her – head cocked looking out of one eye.

“Oh, shoo,” Claire said.

The crow did not shoo. Instead it spoke, “Where’s your bridge, little girl?”

“My bridge is right here. At least it should be. I’m not imagining things. I know its here.”

“Where? Kaaa,” said the crow. “Surely a whole bridge can’t move.”

“Maybe it is just around the bend of the river,” Claire theorized as she headed west down the road that ran along the river. The crow flapped its wings and vanished into the blackness.
Claire rode past many buildings and through several intersections. She turned the bend in the river and still did not see her bridge – or any bridge.

“This is crazy. How can people cross the river?” asked Claire.

“Maybe they can’t,” said the crow as it landed on the ground next to a box of Donkey Fries lying along the curb. “Maybe they aren’t supposed to.”

“People have to be able to get across the river,” said Claire. “There’s got to be a bridge somewhere. Where could they have gone, there used to be at least three of them?”

The crow picked up one fry with its mouth, tossed it around and then spit it out. “This doesn’t belong here, either,” said the crow.

Claire thought that she saw something back where she had been and biked east along the river. As her legs felt the ache of an incline, she thought about the first time she met Ned at Gerald’s house just a couple weeks earlier. She thought about how she liked his dreds, the manner in which he spoke and how he seemed to be nervous around her. She remembered how excited she was when they parted and he said he looked forward to seeing her at Topping’s party.
Claire passed many buildings and biked beyond her original point, yet no bridge was in sight. How could this be? She couldn’t even call her mom to come pick her up if there were no bridges. How would she get back to her parent’s house? In a little while they would start to worry about their little girl.

Asking someone for directions would be a good idea, thought Claire, but there was no one in sight.

“You could ask me, kaaa,” squawked a black shape perched on a bus bench.

“Oh, go away. What do you know, dumb bird,” said Claire to the crow.

Dumb?! Me?! I’m not lost. I haven’t lost a whole big stone bridge,” replied the crow. “I can see what’s right in front of me.”

“This makes no sense!” Claire said, and worry began to creep into her voice.

“Makes perfect sense,” said the crow. “Can’t find what you don’t need. Kaaa. Not supposed to be on that side of the river. Don’t need to go there.”
Lost will be published on February 22, 2013 at

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bartholomew Looks At Love Performance

On February 15th, Mark Granlund read three stories and played two videos, Kelly Jo Roth played three songs, Dustin Haug played one song, Thea Ennen played two songs, Dave Peterson played three songs and Nate Lindstrom played two videos.  It all worked together into a fun, entertaining and thoughtful performance about relationships, love and woe at Dreamland Arts.

The show opened with Dustin and Kelly Jo performing a Josh Ritter song on guitar and ukelele.  Mark then worked with the audience on creating the sound effects for the first story: Bartholomew and the Cabana Fire.  People were acting like cats and fire engines and making the crackle of fire.  Someone even made the sound of underwear glowing in the light of a fire.  Not something that happens everyday.

After the first story, Thea and Dave performed one of Thea's relationship songs and then the following video was shown:

Many thanks to Hamline University and their students for partaking in this video.

The second story, What Will Be Will Be, is a story about Claire and Ned's relationship which is a little rocky.  Actually, it is a story about a fight.  Oh, we know that scene, don't we?

That was followed again by the lovely Thea and Dave with a wonderful song that included some excellent guitar playing by Dave. Which was then followed by this next video:

Many thanks to the elder residents of the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

The third story, Someone to Call Home, is, in my mind, a love song from Topping to Charlotte.  Topping loses his job, but life is great because he knows he is loved.

Kelly Jo finished with a song she wrote, a simple and beautiful song about bodies.  Then, everyone, sang Elvis' Can't Help Falling in Love, ate some chocolate covered strawberries (thanks for the help Nina), and answered some Bartholomew Asks... questions as we filtered out the door and into a night full of love.

A big thanks to everyone for a fun and entertaining night of many kinds of love.  I will let you know when the next show.  Video for this show will soon be available for viewing.