Paul’s Halloween Drawing

My older son, Paul, has always been artistic.  Luckily, he’s interested in drawing – sometimes.

From age two, Paul’s shown he’s a natural artist.  We were carving pumpkins, so we gave him a marker to draw a face on one.  He did so in about 90 seconds, then handed back the marker.  The curves he’d marked on the pumpkin looked like nothing to me.

“Paul, are you sure you’re happy with that?”

Even at two, Paul didn’t doubt himself; he nodded his head.  His answer was final.

I carved Paul’s pumpkin, then my wife put a candle in it.  We put it in a dark room.

Paul’s jack-o-lantern came to life.  With the light coming through, we realized that he’d drawn a face on an angle.  We hadn’t been able to discern the effect on the surface of the pumpkin, but with the candle shining through, we couldn’t miss it.  It’s not an effect I would be confident to try for.

I’m not talented; Paul is.  I always wonder where he’ll go with art.  Since the summer, he’s been drawing, now and then.

Details and that “finished look” are very important to Paul.  His mother is the same, while I’m so opposite.

Here’s a female vampire Paul drew last week.  Happy Halloween:)

Halloween Female Vampire Drawing


A drawing from James

My younger son started drawing last summer.

I used to think that all kids draw.  My younger son, however, never seemed to want to.  Last summer I asked him why; he told me that he was never happy with his drawings.  He lacked faith he could produce anything he would like.

I’m no great artist, but I would say I’m pretty good.  Moreover, I’m self-taught (starting about three and a half years ago) and not very talented.  A person who lacks talent, yet learned on their own, is usually well-suited to explain a skill to others.

Like people usually do, James was making the mistake of outlining the subject first.  Experience has taught me that’s exactly what not to do.  People don’t recognize faces by the outline, but rather by the features.  “Focus on what’s light and what’s dark,” I told him, “and what draws your eye when you look at it.”

James immediately started drawing with a whole new attitude.  I thought he did pretty well.  I’ll show you that drawing some other time; today I’m showing you a more recent one that he really wanted me to put “on the computer.”

By the way:  James has his own computer at school, and probably rivals my competence at some day-to-day uses.  Of course, he has a Mac.

Well, James, here’s Santa’s Buddy, for all to see:)




The Blacklist, Part II

Does another world exist around us, inhabited by people whose most potent resource is secret knowledge?

The Blacklist, echoing the X-files psyche, suggests that secret people are powerful players in government and big business.  Many of them live only by crime, but hide in the impenetrable depths of the very institutions we are supposed to trust.

Unlike ordinary criminals, the motives of the secret people are difficult to understand.   Rather than money or comfort, they apparently seek power and prestige.  For people who must forever live in the shadows, such goals seem ironic.

In The Blacklist, James Spader plays Raymond Reddington – just such a secret power player. His objectives are mysterious, but he seems occupied with using the FBI to neutralize other power players. One wonders if he is doing so to thin out his competition.

See my second drawing, below, of Reddington. This time I put in more detail, in the tradition of my earlier drawings.

Talk to you soon. Happy Halloween:)

James Spader as Raymond Reddington, Blacklist


Oct. 24: one week until Halloween, feat. Bela Lugosi

Bela Lugosi was an American actor born in Hungary. He played Count Dracula in the first such film in 1931.

I’ve seen “White Zombie” and a few of Lugosi’s other films.  I’ve never seen his portrayal of Count Dracula.  Around Halloween, I always think of him, since he played a lot of horror roles.  See my drawing of him – done over a year ago, I’d say – at the end of this post.

The time before Halloween, yard work is also bound to come to mind.  There is leaf raking, dead heading, and general clean-up before winter.  Today I was out there for longer than planned, raking up oak leaves and picking up sticks and cones blown from the Douglas fir. Around here, a yard needs to be combed of debris at least a couple of times per year.

The oak leaves are a great catch.  I raked them from my own yard, but also from the sidewalk and road.  Oak leaves are very high in nutrients; they’re great for composting.  My lawn will be very happy come springtime.  The oak tree has lost about half so far, so I’ll probably bring in another haul about as big within the next couple of weeks.

Last night we hit zero. Today is warm and bright, with a high of 14.  I take such opportunities to get sunshine, since we can go weeks without it in winter.

Hope to talk to you again soon:)

Wikipedia was a source for this article.

Bela Lugosi

Update w/Bette Davis

Bette Davis (1908-1989) is an iconic American actress from last century.

I found out about Bette Davis from Kim Carnes’ song “Bette Davis Eyes” back in the early ’80s.  I have never seen a Bette Davis movie, although I’ve seen clips here and there.  Davis had intense presence and was very sexy.  See my drawing of her at the end of this post.

Here, the weather’s turned foggy.  Everything is wet in the morning.  Sometimes the fog rolls in after school; I haven’t seen such weather since living in Newfoundland.  This morning, the sky above is bright as the sun struggles to break through.

There is yard work I must do, but day to day action has kept me from it so far.  There are courses to work on and of course spending time with the children.  We play a lot of games together:  Careers, for instance, as well as Mille Bornes, Rummy-O and others.  The kids don’t enjoy them as much as my wife and I do, but I think they’re important anyway.

We haven’t got our pumpkins yet, but we need to:  Halloween is just over a week away.  People ask me if I’m going to dress up, but I don’t plan to.  However, I always give out candy to the trick-or-treaters while my wife takes our kids around.  We haven’t even bought the treats yet, but we’d better do it soon.

Our reno is taking a break right now.  The place is liveable, anyway, and looks much better than when we started.

Talk to you again soon.  Cheers.

Wikipedia was a source for this article.

Bette Davis

Update (feat. Nicholas Newman)

I always imagine “Newman” being spelled “Neuman”.  I guess that ‘s because, to me, Victor seems German.

I continue to watch Y&R.  Some subplots are certainly better than others.  I want Phyllis back.

Right now, Sharon is trying to get back with Nick.  Although she’s been underhanded in her approach, I’m sympathetic with Sharon.

I really do believe in “true love” – where one person will do anything to be with the other.  Therefore, Sharon’s crime of passion – I understand it.  She and Nick were together for a long time once before; Sharon believes their love should last forever.

Nicholas himself can be quite likable, but quite the opposite as well.  Overall, I dislike him more than I like him, though he can have some very cool moments.

My own life is not so exciting as Y&R, though it does have its own dramas – our never-ending reno of the downstairs, for one.  The kids had friends over this weekend – always a yellow diamond.

On the yard front, I did some much-needed weeding on Friday, but unfortunately not where my lawn needed it the most.  I was talking to someone:)  Hopefully, I’ll be able to weed the backyard soon.  Although we live in a rainforest, and are even heading into the rainy season, there is no rain forecast in the coming week.

We had a very light frost the other night.

Well, here’s my drawing of Nicholas.  Believe it or not, I wasn’t trying to draw Nicholas; it just became him on its own.  That phenomenon has happened to me three times.  In each case, the person the drawing became – not the person I was trying for – was unmistakable. I hope you agree.

Take care, and I hope to talk to you soon.

Nicholas Newman

The Blacklist

NBC’s The Blacklist is a gem.

The other day I asked someone if they’d watched The Blacklist.  “No,” they replied:  “I don’t watch much TV.”

Believe it or not, I don’t think that I do, either.  However, I have shows I like.  Elementary, for instance, returned a couple of weeks ago to my delight.  Now I also like The Blacklist, having seen its first two episodes.

The Blacklist begins with a famous wanted man’s walking into FBI headquarters and surrendering.  The wanted man – whose name is Reddington – immediately starts giving his conditions of cooperation.  His ability to tell the FBI facts they want to know confirms his value to them.  Therefore, they decide they must cooperate.  Each agent shows his or her unique brand of distaste for Reddington.  Reddington loves being hated by them – and gives it right back with a smile.

Reddington’s motive for surrendering to the FBI is dubious, but seems to be control.  “The FBI works for me now,” he casually states in the second episode.  He suggests that he, himself, wants to take down high-value criminals for his own reasons.

Here’s James Spader as Reddington.

James Spader as Raymond Reddington

Steve Buscemi (and some catching up)

As Autumn descends, it’s hopefully time to start posting more.

For those of you who reach me through my WordPress blog, you may not know that my website has many earlier posts.  You can find them from my homepage here.

If and when you do visit those earlier posts, you’ll learn that one of my perennial themes is yard work: lawn care, composting, pruning…you name it. The weather is another favourite topic; anyone who gardens is conscious of it.

Well, the weather has turned here. Today is rainy and about 10 degrees, with a forecast of 12. We haven’t hit zero yet at night, but we did get down to 2 degrees the night before last. The leaves haven’t let go yet, but some have started changing color.

The weeds have been prolific. I haven’t had much time to fight back, but I’ve attacked them three separate times since June. I always weed by hand. There is much more to be done, but I’ve got them under control in a couple of key areas.

I didn’t water my lawn over the summer, which came late but hot and dry. The lawn went mainly brown, but stood up pretty well; it’s gone green again with the return of the rain. I’m pleased.

I’ll be talking more about my summer and fall chores in future posts. Now, let’s discuss today’s subject: Steve Buscemi.

I first noticed Steve Buscemi in Tarantino’s movies. However, I’ve been in a movie blackout since I had my first child in ’02. My wife recently showed me Boardwalk Empire: as Nucky,Buscemi is fantastic. I can’t watch that show, though; it’s too heartbreaking for me.

Here’s my rendition of Steve.

IMDb was a source for this article.