Thursday, April 30, 2009


GuangZhou is the city my wife Mei was born and raised in. One of the first things I noticed was how old everything was. There were lots of new things, but mixed in everywhere were remnants of Old China. It's something we don't get to experience in USA. I was the only one who thought this was odd: a corn ride for kids. 
There are lots of old twisty trees all over the place. They grow up the sides of buildings, and thru sidewalks on busy streets. No one bothers them. 
Is that a van in the far background of this picture? No! It's a super tiny van right next to me. I couldn't see how anyone could even get into it. I always considered myself to be of fairly average build, but in China I felt like a huge freak of embarrassing proportions. 
This tree was unusual too. It was 5 or 6 trees which grew to about 8 feet tall, then all turned at 90 degree angles inward, converging together, and then continued growing upward as a single tree. It was the perfect treehouse tree.
Here is Mei with our 2 nephews whose English names are Michael and Gary. Gary (middle) used to make everyone call him Gavin until he decided Gary was better. Before "Gavin" he went by another name but I can't remember what it was now. "Gary" probably won't be the last name he chooses either. We go along with it. 
Michael and "Gary" pose with me.
I had some of the most delicious food in my life when I was in China.
I also saw some of the most horrifying food in my life.
This is a typical day in a grocery store in GuangZhou. I guess there are some fairly busy groceries in USA but I've never experienced anything like this in my hometown.
Here's a balcony view from Mei's brother's home. In China you buy your home and you can own it for 99 years. After that it goes back to the government. If you don't have kids to inherit your stuff to, I guess it wouldn't be a big deal. They may have changed this law and now people can own their homes forever, but I'm not sure if that goes for homes people already bought, or if it's just for purchases after the law changed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

PARTYKI painting

CLICK for a larger view (you may have to scroll)

You can see the painting on the wall here.

Monday, April 27, 2009


They throw away lots of really good chunks of wood where I work. Most of these guitars were made from wood I dug out of the trash.

I find old broken guitars at yardsales and fleamarkets for very cheap prices. Sometimes a broken guitar will go for $10. You can harvest a surprising amount of hardware from a demolished guitar. Tuning pegs alone go for $50 or more if you have to buy them new.

Making guitars involves design, woodworking, and music, which are my three favorite hobbies all rolled into one. Here are some guitars I've made.

I call this one "The Shovel" because of it's shape. The back was pieced together with 6 ribs. I couldn't find a bridge or tailpiece which would look right with this shape, so I found some walnut and carved this one.

This one doesn't have a name. It's very small and portable. I wanted it to be as thin as possible and still have an accoustic body. The hollow body is only 1" thick. The sound hole is shaped like a scarab (AKA dung beetle.) Depending on who I'm talking with, I decide which insect name to use. People 13 years and younger appreciate dung beetles more than the 40 and over crowd.

Here is my gourdtar. The sound holes are shaped like dollar signs. It seemed funny since it was a gourd. The dollar signs are vaguely styled after the f-shaped sound-holes in violins.

I wanted this one to be as stick-like as I could make it. the volume and tone knobs are on the bottom edge. I don't play this one very much. Turns out a stick-shaped guitar is very difficult to hold.

This one was ergonomically carved to be more comfortable to hold. It fits my belly better. A lot of times, guitars have frets way up near the sound hole, and then there's a body in the way so it's extremely difficult get to them. I put a deep scallop in this one so the frets are very easy to reach.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


With the exception of the last one, these drawings are made with a black brush-pen on colored paper, with a white pencil used for the highlights. I like brush-pens a lot. Because of the rubbery tip, the harder you push, the wider the lines become. In the last drawing I used a black pencil instead of the brush-pen. You can see the black and white pencils mix to gray in his hair. That mixing happens whether you want it to or not.

These drawings are satisfying because you get a 3D result very quickly, and don't have to wait for anything to dry. As soon as the white is added, everything begins to pop out. If you don't want to go out and buy colored paper, old paper grocery bags work well.

These pencils, both the black and white are Prismacolor drawing pencils from the art store. I was happy when I discovered them. They are very nearly as permanent as ink. I can't erase or smudge them. (Sometimes that's good, sometimes it isn't.) I'm left-handed so smudging is a major concern for me. Every time I write a senctence, the heel of my hand smears right through what I just wrote. 

Another thing I like about these pencils is the black is much blacker than a regular No.2 pencil. Sometimes if you tilt the paper just right, regular No.2 pencil lines almost become silvery and difficult to see. If there's a shiny light the reflective No.2 pencil lines can even become white. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009


This pirate is true-blue to his pirating ways, even in times of trouble. Although he's sinking and severely in need of help, he fully intends on robbing whomever comes along to save him.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Earlier I posted some pages from my note book. These are all notes I wrote to myself when I just started learning to paint. I'm sure some of it's common sense to a lot of people, but it took a while for me to figure it out, so I wrote it down. Now I won't forget. (Unless my dog does something with this notebook. In the past, she's critiqued my drawings in her own special way.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


My wife and I saw these odd statues in Guilin, China last June. They were just mixed into the foliage for no apparent reason. They were pretty big too. Some were about 5 or 6 feet tall. Something about them really appealed to me. There were a lot more, but these were the only pictures I took. I wish I'd snapped them all now.
This one smiles with his face, but his hands look somewhat threatening.
Here's something you don't see every day: a nightmarishly huge scorpion statue on the side of the road.

This one's scythe arms scared me until I saw they'd put up that fence to hold him.

This is my wife Mei with a Pikachu-ish guy in the background.

He needs to get that tongue looked at. These 2 guys must also be danerous from the looks of that roped holding area.

Note the blood-stained fangs.

Disney, Shmisney! In China you can make all the Mickey Mouses you want and not worry about getting sued.

In China all the dinosaurs get along with each other. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


These are some random, out of order pages from a comic book called The Tacit Tales of The Oddman. At the time, hair and ears were the least fun, so I created a hairless, earless guy to draw. Although these pages cause nothing but stupifying confusion, the complete 36 page story makes sense, in a sorta-kinda way.

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