When I studied Childhood Development at teachers' college in 1951-52, Swiss clinical psychologist Jean Piaget was in charge of dominant ideas concerning kid's eye views of reality. At the age of sixteen, I was a still child-like, and felt that his hypothesis of environmental stages of development was nonsense, it just did not parallel field experience. Back then, children were supposed to be "seen and not heard," and having left high school quarrels with teachers in the dust, I remained silent. Now at the other end reality, I can see that in the declining years, "silence can be golden," and guarantee a quite departure from the stage. Remembering my fractious earlier days, I must say, "that's not much fun." And today, this mouse is a harder chew for any fat cat.

In the Searle cartoon, Krazy Kat is consuming the fag ends of Disney's Mickey Mouse. Fat Al might have noted that becoming succulents fat might be dangerous.
You have to be familiar with historical pop culture and even then may not understand the humour in this cartoon. Krazy Kat was invented by  George Harriman and ran as a comic strip between 1913 and 1944.

"The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health, suffer in soul, or get fat."
                                                                          - Fat Albert

Searle was versatile when it came to style but revisited themes. This is from one of his Fat Cat books, which took general aim at the human upper class. I dropped Mighty Mouse,
a superhero character created by the Terrytoons, into the scene. He first appeared in 1942 and subsequently in 80 theatrical films between then and 1961. Terrytoons was owned by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation based in Los Angeles. It morphed into Fox News Corporation infamous for its support of "fat cat" Donald Trump.

As a youngster I was exposed to
the curious relationship between an androgynous, guileless, carefree, simple-minded cat named Krazy and a short-tempered intelligent mouse named Ignatz. Krazy nursed an unrequited love for the mouse. Ignatz despised the stupid cat and threw bricks a his head. Krazy interpreted this as a sign of affection, uttering grateful responses such as,"Li'l ainjil." Krazy's rhetoric and soliloquies were marred by a small vocabulary, poor compositional skills and lack of cognition. Uncomprehending kids and intellectuals enjoyed the strip for different reasons.

Piaget's (1936) theory of cognitive development explained how a child constructs a mental model of the world. He came to disagree with the idea that intelligence was a fixed trait, and regarded cognitive development as a process which occurs due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment. He was hired by the Stanford-Binet folk to translate the English IQ tests into French. In the process, his interest switched to questions about how children "mature" or develop the structural properties of intelligence:  concepts of numbers, time, causality, justice, that sort of thing.

Piaget proposed four stages of cognitive development which reflect the increasing sophistication of children's thought. He said that the first stage ended at the age of two years, by which time a child had a sense of "object permanence," even if an object was hidden from view. Stage two, ending at age seven, he thought was the time when kids were egocentric, but able to think symbolically or in images. He suggested that they became truly operational between the ages of seven and eleven, able to mentally process their images of reality internally before testing them out in the physical world. The final breakthrough supposedly took place at the age of eleven. He said that
  during this time, people develop the ability to think scientifically about abstract concepts, and logically test hypotheses.

Those are things my grandfather never suggested and still seem a bit krazy kat as a hypothesis. Fat Albert says,
"If you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent read them more fairy tales." Grandfather K understood children and used to warn against those who were "book bound" saying that the only relief would come as "flying axe handles." I can interpret this folklore for those who do not immediately comprehend. That said, I was influenced as a teacher by the the Plowden Report (1967) which developed from Plaget's ideas. It said that "Children learn best by doing." Today, I am less certain that that ever was a truism. It does work for some kids and I was one of them! However, a decade of teaching school has led to the conclusion there are indeed "different strokes for different folks."

"From classical antiquity through the 19th century, science as a type of knowledge was more closely linked to philosophy than it is now, and in the Western world the term "natural philosophy" once encompassed fields of study that are today associated with science, such as astronomy, medicine, and physics.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of physical laws. Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself as a disciplined way to study the natural world. It was during this time that scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and physics reached their modern shapes." - Wikipedia. Thus,  science came to be divorced from the more intuitive intuitive humanistic arts which also evolved from philosophy.

People involved with the science like to categorize information for ease of use; unfortunately the social science pigeon holes are not as objective as those used by the physical sciences. That's not to suggest that that hypotheses are immutable in either camp, and theoretical physics is beginning to suggest that the absolute truth is relative.  What that means is that art and science may eventually recombine. Transmogrification may be one of those unfortunate truths about the nature of the universe in which we find ourselves.

Back in 1951-52 I took a two-term course entitled "Child Art" presented by Mr. Sinclair Healey, a new graduate BFA from Mount Allison University in Sackville. Although on-line sources suggest that pigeon-holing children's drawing and painting started later, his illustrated lectures suggested that there were five "Developmental Stages," sequential and progressive in nature. 1. The Scribble Stage, 2. The Preschematic stage, 3. The Schematic Stage, 4. The Transitional Stage (my daughter's large pencil drawing), 5. The Pseudo Realist Style, 6. Mature Child "Art."

Fat Albert guesses that,
"Creativity is intelligence having fun." Everybody seems to think that creativity is a good thing and that children should be aided in learning to make pictures. For some kids who happen to be visually oriented this is fun and they will probably draw and possibly paint come what may. The Scribble Stage is said to occur between the ages of 1 and 3 years.  The Preschematic Stage, ages 3-4, sees an attempt to represent what is seen. In the Schematic Stage, 5-6 years, what is drawn is recognizable for adults. Realism is said to be more persuasive between the ages of 7 and 9. Value and lighting as in Allison's drawing is said to appear between the ages of  10 and 13. From that point forward, children continue with this activity or abandon it as having no merit or use.


These generalizations, like the "Beastly Baby," just don't hold water. Edward Gorey's little fellow was creative but sociopathic and only interested in destructive activities. As a kid I met plenty of them. One was put away for being a pyromaniac and another died in a prison riot. A third, killed a payroll guard and came close to finishing off a second. He escaped to Reno, was repatriated, and is remembered as the last murderer executed by hanging in St. John, New Brunswick. 
As Fat Albert says, "Time flies when you are having fun." Fortunately, Father Time has cut down most of these fearful acquaintances, but their kind persists. They are often artful and crafty, and not easy to identify on first contact.

Children can be "hood lums," that is probably why that phase is referred to a "childhood." If you don''t believe they are essentially self-centred and lawless your memory is flawed or you really must have a guardian angel. Point is, I remember that not all schools had a charismatic art teacher, or even an art programme.  Today keeping the barbarians in a class docile through the use of pointers, rulers, the strap or the hose is no longer allowed. It was, when I taught at Fredericton Junction, but I never requisitioned a strap since I did not fancy corporal punishment in a public setting. Later, I came to understand it was not a good means of problem solution.

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep moving." - Fat Albert. It is possible that drawing and painting keeps some people in motion between crises. Wikipedia suggests that, "Art therapy can be an effective way for children to develop and connect with their emotions. Some children with autism have found that drawing can help them to express feelings that they have difficulty expressing otherwise. Similarly children who have faced horrors such as war can find it difficult to talk about what they have experienced directly."

In my experience as a kid, I found that many of my contemporaries preferred activities  relating to other human senses, e.g. music, sex, athletics, and dismissed child art at the scribbling or stick-figure stage. I think that is why the art-buying public is small. "After visiting a children's art display in San Francisco in the 1980s, educator John Holt stated that, "...An understanding of adultism might begin to explain what I mean when I say that much of what is known as children's art is an adult invention." Which is exactly what I thought when I was sixteen years of age and still doodling when I was supposed to be taking notes. People of all ages doodle.

The lowly doodle is thought of as an absent-minded scribble or rough drawing. It the case of American author Kurt Vonnegut it went rather beyond that since it is self-portraiture incorporating his signature. He practiced this until it became sleight-of-hand, something Trump would not comprehend. The 17th century German source word, originally a noun, dudeltopf, dudeldopp meant "simpleton." The word became a verb, doodle, "to cheat," and gained the current sense in the 1930s. Vonnegut's novels chronicled the lives of Trump-like anti-heroes. To trump is to fart conspicuously according to the Oxford English Dictionary, so one has to guess that WeeD is having "fun" in a singularly "artful" manner.

The doodle and the quote belong to Herbert Clark Hoover an American Republican who served as the 31st President of the United States from 1929 to 1933 during the Great Depression. He lost the election of 1932 to Franklin D. Roosevelt and spent the rest of his life as a rabid conservative denouncing big government, liberalism and federal intervention in economic affairs. All those sharp edges have been given psychological significance by some social scientists.

I'm pretty rubbish, as we say in Britain, art wise, and I always envy people who can pick up something and even do just a little doodle of someone that looks vaguely like them. It's impressive." - Freddy Highmore.

"The aim [of education] must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life problem." - Fat Albert, who did no have "clients and cohorts" and did not think of himself as a "master predictor."

Here are Pillay's suggestions regarding situations where doodling might prove useful:

"Artists paint the beautiful landscape in front of them while the rest of the world burns." - Diego Caleiro, director of the Brazil-based Institute for Ethics, Rationality and the Future of Humanity. Not always!

Diego Caleiro
says most artists are "counter factually replaceable." "One artist is as pretty much as useful as the next. And of course, the supply is plentiful." He notes that most are financially insecure and therefore not useful in supporting "Effective Altruism." Of course rich artists could give it away if they wanted, but few succumb to that siren song.

It did not do that much for President Johnson.

"I think that there’s sort of a mass delusion among artists and writers that just because there’s almost nothing that confers more privilege and prestige and symbolic capital than art, just because it’s high-status, people think it’s of a high importance," said the Australian writer Chris Rodley. But then he does engage in an art form and admits that "By definition, most artists are mediocre, and their art doesn’t really please many people, if any."

Trump is innately surreal but lack's Johnson's  imaginative flair.

Michael Bitton, who is a postgraduate in media production in Toronto doesn't want to doodle away his time. "I wanted to be a filmmaker, and then I thought, “Well what good does this do? So I kind of stopped wanting to be a filmmaker."
He questions whether "the traditional criteria of artistic greatness, like the profundity of ideas, or the emotional impact, or originality or timelessness or popularity," automatically translates into communal quality. "The concept of artistic integrity is inherently in opposition to the concept of Effective Altruism. I don’t think you could go all the way Effective Altruist as an artist without compromising your 'artistic integrity'."

In spite of that matter of conflict of interest, Rodley and Bitton are investigating the kinds of creative projects which they think have potential to do the most good, "on the assumption that it could sometimes make sense for EAs to influence culture through arts and media." In short, they see the function of art as the dissemination of propaganda. They are not looking for Renaissance quality or Christian mystery plays, they want utilitarian, subtle, narrative art. "It’s hard to see how a vase or something would really impact culture in any one way, because what does it teach you about life?" Bitton has asked.

Members of the EA want to be seen an understood by masses of people. Interviewer Rhys Southam, decided that, "In general, the avant-garde is suspect because art’s impact grows by reaching larger audiences, which gives the advantage to books, films, lyrical songs, video games and smart phone apps that make altruistic ideas palatable. If what you want to do is make the world better, the impact of paying to treat many people with curable diseases might seem a little humdrum compared with the revolution in human consciousness that will surely come when you publish your novel. But if donating to charity feels a bit generic, the lives it saves are not. All of which to is to say, when I thought that writing a movie was the best way for me to contribute to the world, I was almost certainly kidding myself. Then again, to some extent, we all do."

Our model altruists misunderstand the situation of those not in their elevated financial and social position. Not every citizen is born equal and rising above one's station is practically impossible in a world where the working poor are losing miserable jobs to AI and dumb computers. Rhys Southan is not underprivileged and a freelance writer for The New Inquiry and The New York Times, is a student of philosophy at the University of Oxford and is working on a book about the ethics of eating meat. Having survived contact with the anti-art movement to write Is it OK to make art?" he agreed with Rodley that "everybody is morally horrific," and "can be doing more than they currently are."

"I’m not ready to give up writing. I’m not ready to take up some high-paid job that I’d hate in order to reduce the world’s suffering. Maybe that will change. For now, call me Net-Positive Man."

Having been a working marginalized painter for decades I have noticed that artists of ll stripes contribute in kind to almost any charity that asks for support in spite of the fact that sales through their auctions or theatrical productions put the artist in competition with him or her self.

Fractal background. Calvin was decidedly born to greatness?

"I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share..."
   - Fat Albert. His last words.

Calvin is more disturbed by the state of things in his two-dimensional universe. More Damien Hirst,  a notable but not noteworthy Brit.

Photo by Rod. "If you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent read them more fairy tales." Then, they will not be traumatized at university if they happen to be exposed to a jar of sheep's eyes in a bottle filled with formalin. Which introduces another problem often faced by intending artists: visual acuity!

Over the years Rod I have junked about half my paintings and most recently the reason has been failing eyesight, which plagued me for a decade until I became visually disabled in 2014. It was never a handicap, it was complete visual disaster. Disabilities are OK if there is a remedy. Anyone who has had serious health problems knows they may not be correctable, but symptoms sometimes recede. Monet had no such luck and neither did my mother! Even then life went on for both of them who were of the same generation. Artists who are too attached to their work to look at it with a jaundiced eye are fools, and I can see that some of my later painting eccentricities related to failing eyesight..

Before stumbling upon this introductory Google page, I had never heard of this eye doctor and his chart.  The chart, from the start, supposedly measured visual acuity. Readers had to be literate, and sat 20 feet distant, with the average individual able to identify the smallest characters on the chart. If they did they were said to have 20/20 vision. Amazingly a small number of humans can do that at 60 feet.
Eyeglasses can correct conditions not caused by disease, but disease can damage eyesight.

Ping pong balls would not have helped.  The world got quite fuzzy for a few years, but eyesight very gradually improved with colour vision restored by Christmas as a result of summer operations. That might have been a good trick to use during dull university lectures. We used toothpicks between eyelids to look alert in my day, but that may have caused damage.

My visual acuity at Teachers' College tested very high and gradually backed off to 30/20 in the left eye which is astgmatised and a bit farsighted.  It was the dominant eye, the right eye always tested at 20/20 until glaucoma and a retinal tear and rupture made a mess of that right eye in November 2013. I can , nevertheless, now see quite well closeup using this corrective lens, which distorts the distance since the two operations. Optometrist showed me computer images of the interior "battleground."

Could not see well enough to draw or paint for three years but peripheral vision improved in both eyes and in the end things settled down to average vision. What that means is not absolutely clear which is why Ruth does most of the driving. Still, night vision is very acute, a bit better than what she seems to perceive. The brain is reporting something that looks like this!

I am not quite here yet, but I still have a "hunter's eye."

That trashed painting looked like this when abandoned as no longer interesting, partly because it was too small, and that is an unfortunate truth which cartoonists have also had to contend with, every idea is ephemeral. With visual acuity shrinking, ordinary paintings have become minuscule and not a good value for the money.

That leaves all of us doing the best we can for where we are at. Increasingly, it does seem that if it is not absurd it probably is unreal?  Fat Albert insists, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."

Searle has parodied Canada's national animal, which dare I say it, is a rodent like Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse and Ignatz? His busyness frequently creates problems for humans. Better than the American Eagle, who is harried by Common Crows. Absurdities abound?

"Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we're too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone."  - Steven Spielberg

Is happiness the goal of life? If you think so Fat Albert suggests how to meet that goal. Marie Antoinette tied her future to a star, and both she and her patron literally lost the heads.  Possessions come and go? But Fat Albert was a loner and not the perfect family man.

Who said that? It certainly applies to all aspects of the art game.

Whether we are in a matrix or not, we are all players in a game, and probably overcome ennui through boredom.

If you enjoy playing the game you may be a victim of disruptive displacement, the subject of my next essay. The Victorians never seemed comfortable with their decades of restrictive behaviour. That is Mahone Bay in the background back in the black and white days. Do you know about those days? In Rod's childhood Canadian comic books were described as "whites."

Neil Gaimen thinks we are "all too old to make excuses" or possibly explanations. The TV anti-hero Max Headroom, always insisted that life is "all about fun." That simplifies the equation, so I intend to reboot there!

Grade 1, St. Stephen Elementary School, aged 5. I made a great good effort to stay at home because I could already read, write and do sums,but did not succeed in seeking exemption. War commenced and pencils an paper were scarce so in grades 1 and 2, slate boards were provided. The fibre edge was meant to keep things relatively quiet in the classroom.  Wipe cloths came from home. Those slate pencils were manufactured in Germany so they did not last long.  A pail carrier, who mas more manually-oriented than average, carried water to sponge off images when no longer required. The front was unlined and the back of the board lined for alphabet  practise. With assignments completed, students were allowed to doodle.

Obviously, doodling requires minimal equipment. By the third grade, my classmates and I graduated to using pencils and newsprint ends donated by The Saint Croix Courier. Quill styled pens and ink only appeared in the fifth grade. From the beginning there were one hour per week art lessons. For me doodling always seemed akin to automatic writing, character assassination said to be produced by a spiritual, occult, or subconscious agency rather than by the conscious intention of the writer. The sketch involved a conscious effort to record something seen in the environment or imagination. This is usually through of as a freehand drawing not typically intended as finished or fine art. A sketch can be a copy of existing work by another artist but is rarely a mechanical tracing, which is labour intensive.

It can be a quicky thing like my reinterpretation of a Edwardian bather created for Photoshop insertion into a photograph.  Sketches may be made using any medium on any ground.  "The term is most often applied to graphic work executed in a dry medium such as silverpoint, graphite, pencil, charcoal or pastel. But it may also apply to drawings executed in pen and ink, ballpoint pen, water colour and oil paint. In the above case ballpoint on paper.

My initial reputation was based on painting people in their environments rather than in studio situations.  Chance photographs are useful references for people in motion but in the plein air situation onlookers have the expectation of a little more sleight-of-hand, and that is where timed life-drawing classes have helped. This sketch was rendered at Annapolis Royal when town criers assembled there in 2010. That year, I produced and sold three  small paintings of town criers based on sketches like this. This sketchbook is a rarity since I have destroyed most as I went along. No storage space and I was no seeking a grand reputation. These are not quite doodles as they demand more interaction with subject matter in the environment. If one has a good short term visual memory these clues are enough to paint an individual into an empty static landscape.

In my "Hand of Glory" days I had thousands of dollars of high end art supplies and frames in various studios, some large, some very small. Today, there is what is left from my adult doodling and sketching days: Two partially used, bound sketchbooks; some pencils, which are not Faber-Castell; a mapping pen, a calligraphic fountain pen, a quill pen holder, a modern fine point art pen and a number of ball-points. I have invested in a new bottle of India Ink ($10), the Higgins having cried out. Obviously, you do not need a studio to be a simple linear artist.

Crowquills nibs loose tensile strength, so this is what I am looking for at a price I can currently afford. They used to cost five cents each at McAllister's Feed and Art Store in St. Stephen. However, I do have a starting point and hope to proceed.

Before World War II there was printed colour in books and magazines, an those of us who were kids had Crayolas. Crayola is a brand of artists' supplies manufactured by Crayola, LLC (formerly Binney & Smith Company) and best known for its crayons. The company is based in Forks Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. I inherited my dad's crayons consisting of the original seven colours and black colours. Some new packages and colours were added prior to 1939, when Canada went to war. In that year, Crayola, by combining its existing crayon colors with the Munsell colors which they bought out, introduced its largest color assortment to date. However, they were not generally available in Canada, although a few border town children did obtain the full 52 colour complement through smuggling.

If one did not have affluent parents a kid was was stuck with a sixteen pack even after that war ended.  The word crayon means a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk or other material used for writing or drawing. A crayon made of pigment with a dry binder is a pastel; when made of oiled chalk it is called an oil pastel. My painting of Ruth's package, which is inset, was largely executed in acrylics but the nibs were represented using actual wax crayons found in the container. I will be using them in the future, the befinde permitting. By the way, some artists I know are consummate delineators who have never mastered colour and cannot paint, although some push paint about.

This cartoonist seems to have had one of those older packages. Current packaging retains the old colours but otherwise is quite different from this "V For Victory" design. Affectionadoes of the product made every attempt to preserve them and did not use pencil sharpeners to reshape them. They did reshape them using their fingers and body heat.

To be honest, the Class of 59 wore pink berets, but Anne had one coloured purple although officially described as "garnet." I colored the backgrounds. Crayola retired the dandelion colour in 12017.

If your world is black and white why not embrace was crayons?

Colour can be manic or depressive in effect.

Which is this? It is a matter of opinion?

Why would one wish for the isolation of a personal art studio as opposed to a collaborative situation? To protect those crayons. Since painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface, this is a method of painting and some artists specialize in the use of wax crayons.

These are difficult times for those who are traditionalists.  You can get effects like this using crayons and a hair dryer. You could cut out and paste up a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon, but its simpler to do this by scanning and virtual pasting in Photoshop.


Here's some raw material should you choose to drop images into your very own home-made wax crayon world. Do this, remembering that you may be creating a childish reality. As Fat Albert has said, "Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Faber-Castell invented commercial coloured pencils in 1902.  Some Canadians think of them as pencil crayons. In this democratic world you can be untrained and without talent and still struggle (although not for long) and succeed. All it takes is a deep purse filled with money
to replicate  advertise and distribute the product and pay off critics. That can be a soul-destroying process, unless you opt to become a conceptual artist.

Painting involves applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush.

When I was a kid that mean applying cheap poster paint  (an opaque paint with a water-soluble binder) to newsprint. Really good coverage!  At Mount A, oil, water, and ultimately, acrylic-based paints were the standard and I learned that in traditional realist circles, one established light and dark
areas and then filled in intermediate coloured areas. Black was mixed from primary colours rather than used from tubes. 


Some cartoonists do black and white, others use paints for more visual impact.  The same holds for Fine Artists, and some cannot handle colour, just as some cannot represent what they see. Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, returned in 2014, creating this poster for a video treating the retreat of cartoons from the printed page to the web. He has not been seen since! Cartoons are not the only art forms being assimilated by the borg of the World Wide Web. However, as Alice In Wonderland  has noted, "I can't go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." That applies, as well, to products of people's imagination.

This is the stairwell at our current rental, blocked off by the landlord since March 14. The air down there is not good.  I have had much larger studios, and painting requires a studio since it demands more supplies and media than doodling, sketching or drawing. A north light is also desirable.

That's a Yoda quote from Star Wars. However, change is never simple or easy.

I have always considered snapshots as a reference. Keeping the computers and digital images at a distance guarantees less reliance on them in creating a drawing and painting.

Yoda is so demanding?  Break free!

That's probably impossible, but try we must?

These paintings were rejects several times over, which is how you should interpret, "Collection of the artist," or "Collection of the artist's wife." And that explains why they are more expensive than any current work. Some cannot be purchased while I live.

If there really is wizardry in creating paintings,  be advised that this wit is not a prognosticator, and cannot guess what people may prefer. To be witty indicates the ability to present facts in a clever or amusing way but it derives from the Old High German wizzi, showing knowledge, understanding, consciousness, conscience. From it the English wiz-ard, one of the "high wiz."

Jean Coucteau has guessed that, "Art produces ugly things which become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces things which become ugly with time." That could be because ugly people, possessing ugly money, buy ugly art from ugly artists? Some folk prefer an evil Santa Claus.

By-the-by, that word wizzi passed into Old English as witt, and became wit, in Middle English. These were the intellectuals of  times long past. The Witan, also called Witenagemot,  was the council of the Anglo-Saxon kings in and of England. It advised the king on all matters on which he chose to ask its opinion.

Here is the other side of that coin, where human vulnerability
does not yield to ugly art. Ronald Searle penned this for his wife when it seemed she was lost to cancer.  She survived for many more years.

"We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness - and call it lov - true love." -  Robert Fulghum, True Love. Too bad those Wyrd sisters are such control freaks. Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon culture roughly corresponding to fate or personal destiny. The word is ancestral to Modern English weird, which retains its original meaning only dialectally. Ruth is a force of nature who has had to contend with a lot of fat cats in days past.

"...and someone your own size!"

                       She is liitle but she's wise.
                       She's a terror for her size.

"When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper; They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless." - Chris Colfer

"Many say that no real avant-garde - which I'll define as a combative group of free-thinking artists - can exist anymore. The media's reach is too vast. New artists and movements get snatched up too quickly." - Margo Jefferson

Wilson is not alone in making this claim. Some vary the quote a bit, e.g. "I paint what I am," and the vainglorious claim that, "I paint transcendent reality."Of course no one paints what they see but rather what they have seen. Pablo Picasso came closer the true situation, when he noted,"I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them."
"I paint what I see, not what a camera would see." - John Dyer. No man is a camera!

R&R are at lower right in the above cartoon, trying to ignore all this cant.

A Searle cartoon based on the Victorian pictur-puzzle.  Where is the mouse? "There are three things which the public will always clamor for, sooner or later: namely, novelty, novelty, novelty." -Thomas Hood. However that female zebra is doomed to a repetitive future: "Our own relentless search for novelty and social status locks us into an iron cage of consumerism. Affluence has itself betrayed us." - Tim Jackson

When it comes to novelty, Searle was a master. Again, Where is the mouse? It is a contradictory world: "Therefore, when I considered this carefully, the contempt which I had to fear because of the novelty and apparent absurdity of my view, nearly induced me to abandon utterly the work I had begun." - Nicolaus Copernicus. And you will know his story?

So why continue? The reasons differ between people and worlds: "Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another. - Thomas Merton." Also, "
The meaning of life is not to be discovered only after death in some hidden, mysterious realm; on the contrary, it can be found by eating the succulent fruit of the Tree of Life and by living in the here and now as fully and creatively as we can." - Paul Kurtz. Action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger has a different perspective, "For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer." Some artists are quite full of themselves. The Russian writer Novalis thought that, "Only an artist can interpret the meaning of life."

If that last quote has any veracity we are in a world of ascending peculiarities.  I took this video clip while watching Scanners, David Cronenberg's 1981 horror film featuring a darkly paranoid story of a homeless man (Stephen Lack) mistakenly believed to be insane, when in fact he can't turn off the sound of other people's thoughts in his telepathic mind. The work seen behind him was created by Benjamin Pierce, who was not telepathic but a loner. "Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life." - Pablo Picasso. He had a very dusty soul.

Not all professional artists have found art theraputic, generally they are a whining, bitching crowd, which is why I prefer to work alone. Art therapy as a profession began in the mid-20th century, arising independently in English-speaking and European countries. British artist Adrian Hill coined the term  in 1942. while recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium. He found that working with his hands diverted his mind and his seminal ideas were published in Art Versus Illness (1945). In a similar circumstance  for 14 months, I tried writing and drawing and found it useless as a therapy. In this do-it-yourself world we actually have art therpy colouring books.

I have reinterpreted this genre. I think I have heard that this colour has been disbarred. I could produce an "adult gentleman's" cover for this book, but this is enough to parody that strange novelty. Have recently regained normal eyesight, I am willing to consider revisiting childhood methods of making art, but I never was addicted to colouring books and won't go there. It I were going to do that, I would definitely colour beyond the lines.

There is a bit of "waste not, want not," in my makeup and I do have unused canvases and frames that need to be filled.  Bought two large Canadian-made canvases at a yard sale for $20. Is that a sign? I really would like to get back in time to the period when a 24x36 " canvas was my usual size, with 16x20", the smallest size in which I worked. That was when businesses were given tax write-offs to buy office-sized local paintings, and that is where many of them went.

Even black hens can be blighted. Illustration: Edmund Dulac. In many cultures the making and taking of images was considered a magical practice, since our ancestors believed that things that look alike are in psychic contact. Hence creating an image, a three demensional or two-dimensional counterpart was believed to empower an enemy. Damaging the drawing of a man or woman was considered to be a means of blighting him or her. Cameras when first seen were believed to capture the essence of a human and the printed snapshot used to do damage.

The evil eye is more direct; a curse believed cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when they are unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury. In the earliest societies  early artists were seen as aspiring mortal deities. However, the evil eye may exist in nascent form although Fat Albert supposedly said that, "artificial intelligance is no match for natural stupidity." Not possible since he died in 1955 long before that age of commonplace computers. However, fellow physicist Dr. Stepehen Hawking has warned that, "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

From egotism and sloth Good Lord protect us? This is how some Edwardians viewed the future where we find ourselves temporarily stranded. "Man like every other animal is by nature indolent. If nothing spurs him on, then he will hardly think, and will behave from habit like an automaton." - Fat Albert. He advised: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." Nice ideas if one can overcome ennui, but computers are not helping.

In 2014, an digital artist completed an imitation Colville paintings using a Wacky pad. That required a modicum of eye-hand-coordination and not much expense in terms of time. You can find this on line if it is of any interest.

Not very creative but some graphic artists turn a buck copying projected images. This can be time-consumong unless one has trained to work quickly, which has been my advantage. This is not my thing in spite of the fast bucks I might pocket. Fat Albert has wryly commented that, "Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts."

This kind of visual mashup is very quick using Photoshop on a speedy computer and that makes it fun rather than a chore, so I'll undoubtedly spare my brush hand at times by continuing on with this recreational work.

As for "Fat Albert," he is the mathemetician/physicist "Albert Einstein," made a pop star because of philsophical sayings, many of which were not actually his quotes. He supposedly said that. "...we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat." His explanation that he knew how to control his broad bottom "Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle," may be apocraphal.  While intuition is fine linked with rational thought...

"Wild Bill" Rogers died in a plane crash soon after I was born but I saw all his movies. He said, "America is becoming so educated that ignorance will be a novelty. I will belong to the select few." He was so wrong, but then he was being facetious. He added, "I belong to no organized political party, I'm a Democrat." He was 1/4 Cherokee Indian born in their territory in Oklahoma in 1879. His advice? "Do the best you can and don't take life too seriously." As for mortality: " If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned." He guessed that there were tree kinds of men, "The one that learns by reading. The few that learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the fence to see for themselves." Finally, Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad jusdgement."

"Wizard's First Rule: People are Stupid (that includes wizards); given proper motivation almost anyone will believe almost anything... they will believe a lie becuse they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true... People's heads are full of facts, knowledge and beliefs, and most of it is false,  yet they think it is all true. They can only rarely tell the differnce between a lie and the truth and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool." - Terry Goodkind. R&R, unfortunately share this charcter trait with the rest of you. However, as Rogers cautioned, "Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction."

Wish us luck, as we all wave goodbye? Anyome remember the Beverly Hillbillies? Having stopped the plow to save a mouse, I am moving on, as Hank Snow used to intone.  Keep tuned for doodles and sketches, all free of charge. And we will post our mini vacations financed by my daughters. Thanks!

By the 1937 second revision of the Stanford-Binet test, Terman no longer used the term "genius" as an IQ classification, nor has any subsequent IQ test