Monday, October 29, 2007

Sound of Silence

We are back and safely ensconced in our home. We are one of the few to have returned, so it's eerily quiet. Still. it's good to be back home. I threw in a shot of the fires at their worst. Notice, this was taken roughly from where the picture from the Butler Fire was taken (scroll down), but the omnipresence was overwhelming.

Giving credit where credit is due, the photo was taken by Kelly the Cable Guy and posted on rimof

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Home is Where the Heart Is

I was good all week, but today I needed to get back to the house to take a peek, pick up my bike, and have some quiet, creative time. Had to go through 5 roadblocks (man, it's good to have a badge aka-the brass pass...) to get there, but it was well worth it.

The house is fine; in fact it started to rain! There was quite a bit of ash and other burnt material so I'm relieved no spot fires happened.

Carved a little while I enjoy a beer. Never really appreciate those kind of moments until they are taken away, so I savored it. I felt compelled to say something about how I felt about the fires, and this is what came out. Did it on a scrap piece and, while it's not the best thing I've done, it felt good to do it.

For anyone else out there who visits, and is from SoCal, I hope your home is standing and you family is safe!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Can't post any new artistic efforts or photo's seeing's how we are off the mountain due to, as the local news loves to declare, FIRESTORM 2007!!! Our home is most likely to survive absolutely intact as the fires that threaten it seem to have burned away. But, this leaves all too much time to reflect on those that are not so lucky.

For those who don't know, Lake Arrowhead is a tiny community. Since most full-timers work "down the hill" you have to go the extra mile to find your niche and social group. For me, it's my cycling buddies; for my wife, her bunco and crafting friends. When the fires rip through neighborhoods that these folks go about living in, there's a certain amount of survivor's guilt that comes with knowing your home is safe. I have had to make the call to tell someone they have no home to return to. I can only guess that it's akin to telling someone they have a terminal disease.

I hope the best for all our neighbors, and for our mountain. It ain't paradise, but you can see it from there!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Power of Emotion

Rather than dwell on the events of the previous post, I put my emotions to use and decided to work on a scene from my favorite place in the world; the Eastern Sierra's. First, it's great to really concentrate and think about the locale for the print. It's almost like getting to go there. Second, coaxing the print out of the block, balancing the shadow and light, and seeing it reveal itself is very therapeutic.

So, without further commentary, here it is, titled "Sierra Moon."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The long week is over and ended on a horribly tragic note. This morning our SWAT team was assisting a neighboring city, Rialto, with search warrant services. While making entry into a drughouse, a Rialto officer was critically shot and succumbed to his injuries a short time later.

The regional trauma center is in my city and my shift shut down the world in order to get officer's, friends, and family into the facility so they could gather to grieve. Watching burly, veteran SWAT officers walk in, eyes swollen and red, made me take pause, but I stayed stoic in expression while I went about my duties.

When a sheriff's helicopter landed and the fallen officer's wife stepped out, it was too much. As cops, we know what we signed on for. We train against tragedy, and wear our armor, both physically and psychologically. But, seeing her and the look of what I can only start to describe as complete devastation, clarified to me that that we do not go into the job alone. For her, their family, their friends, and their co-workers, it's a world I hope I never venture into in any capacity.

So, please, think good thoughts and prayers for the family of Officer Sergio Carerra. He was 29 years old, married, with two children, ages 1 & 2. Tonight, he won't be coming home.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fun with Color II

Just tried some new inks and linoleum and am pretty happy with their quality; it's certainly better than the artist.... Anyway, the ink is pretty cool. It's all natural, waterbased soy ink called Akua Intaglio ink. The soy gives it that rich, deep look you get from oil based product, but without the environmental or health concerns. Learned about it from Gretchen at

Unfortunately, I'm looking at 50 hours of work in 4 days this week with an extra 8 thrown in on Saturday, so I doubt I'll be anything near creative or inspired. Hope someone out there will carry the torch for me! Also, thanks for the feedback on the linocut efforts!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fun with Color

Yep, I know the title sounds like one of my wife's posts, but I've been trying to expand my boundaries on the whole printmaking thing. Mixing some primary colors seemed like just the thing. Honestly, I did this on a spare piece of linoleum and was having some fun experimenting with rolling colors together. I've always admired how Northwest Native Americans have depicted nature in their carvings, so I thought I would take a crack at my interpretation of a trout. I like where it's going and once I get some new inks in, I'll make a more serious attempt.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Fishwife

Getting away is about getting some back; refilling your cup so it can 'runneth over' for others, for creativity, for whatever you need it to. Our trip to Pacific Grove was definitely a time to get some back.

For those who don't know where or what Pacific Grove is, it's the little seaside community that sits by Pebble Beach Golf Course, and is the wintering home for a majority of the Monarch Butterfly population on the west coast. Less well known, and from which we could see the memorial from our balcony, it's where John Denver lost his life in a plane crash.

The homes are Victorian and beautiful; the landscape raw and powerful; and the food was incredible. Our favorite was a little place called "The Fishwife." It wasn't the food (which was beyond compare- I had a crab, shrimp, and scallop quesadilla with a roasted chipotle cream sauce, while Tami enjoyed an heirloom tomato salad drizzled with a mango-pineapple vinegarette topped with seared salmon). It was the Fishwife...

Before we went to the restaurant, my instructor for my class warned me "There's a tiny little lady who greets you with a hug when you come in." We came, but no lady.

About half-way through our meal, she walked in. All of 4 feet tall, possibly in her late 80's-early 90's, and possessed of an energy and elegance that washed over the room. When she came up to our table, I told her "If you're the Fishwife, I would like my hug!" Keep in mind, I am not a hugger, but she leaned over and gave me a good squeeze and patted & rubbed my back, and then did the same for Tami, and chatted with us like we were here great grandchildren come to visit. Honestly, if you could start your day with that hug, it would all be biscuits and gravy from there on.

Her cup runneth over so much, it filled mine to overflow as well.

This photo is sunset at the Tobin James Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA. A great tasting room with an awesome late season zin called "Liquid Love." The vines are starting to gain their fall colors, and the coastal oak stands guard over rows of pinot noir grapes.