Saturday, December 27, 2008

Finishing 2008 with a Bang

Kyle and I jumped off the mountain today for a last fishing trip in 2008. It was beautiful out on the water. Chilly at first, but it warmed to the low 60's. We knocked it out, bring home about 10-12 pounds of fresh caught snapper, rockfish, and perch. Kind of fun to look east today. We could see our mountains nearly from Catalina Island, or about 75 miles away.  Nice end to 2008!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Slow Train Coming

There was a time when "hoppin' a rail" meant freedom, manifest destiny, a chance to stumble into something greater than ones self. Or, as a photographer once waxed nostalgic, where Woody Guthrie would have roamed.

But the rails are dirty, dangerous ribbons of metal and men; where hot days and cold nights rule. The rail riders today are not the charming hobo's from the past, sitting around a campfire singing in simple prose. They are outsiders; beyond Madmax and the Matrix. All at once angry, but scared to admit a simple fact, that they are alone, tossed aside, discarded.

I see the rails a lot in my job. I never considered them for anything other than for their utility, which is why I decided to 'train' my camera lens on them for a day. The result is the above photo, entitled Slow Train Coming. Hopefully, it evokes that sense of taking you some place further than when you started.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mac Daddy

So, the computer got a virus. Ended up losing a bunch of programs and about 800 songs on my music library. Plus, the pop-ups and spam were horrible. The PC was getting long in the tooth at about 5 years old, and it was the first (and only) PC I've ever owned.

After looking around, I decided to return to Macs. I arranged for a no interest purchase through work and snuck in a beautiful iMac this week. While Tami was teaching on Friday, I set it up in her craft room and said nothing. I swear she walked in an d out of the room a couple of times before she finally saw it.

Her initial response was an ass-whuppin' for me (not for the purchase, but the lack of consultation), but now she's had some time on it and she's pretty darned pleased. Whew!!!! Anyway, now the whole family will get more out of the computer experience because this thing rocks!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

When at First You Don't Succeed

Well, the print in the last post was just not working. Getting the registration right for the plates was just about impossible, considering I needed to print 25. So, I did a quick wood cut version of a paper craft type tree I had seen before.

Hopefully, this will be the one that works. First print was good.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Both Sides of the Looking Glass

Patrol in a police car is one of the most boring things imaginable. So, it was with great delight and amazement that I ran into a photographer of renown while parked next to a rail crossing known for transients. Of course, I was not aware of the 'renown' bestowment at the time (and I apologize to Justine for probably sounding ridiculous...), and thought she was an intriguing artist on a tragic calling; to find the romanticism in modern day train riders.

It was great to be able to discuss art with someone while wearing a uniform. I don't know that I've ever had that opportunity, unless you count arguments with fellow officers that their Velvet Elvis constitutes fine art.... What I found was that she was humble, completely open to conversation, and lacking in anything I would consider as pretentious. Just a decent person pursuing a vision.

Of course, I got home and found that her work commands prices greater than my combined photographic income over the years, but then again, she's the one 3000 miles from home pursuing the perfect shot.

Anyway, it's nice to know that a parallel world that finds beauty in decay can occasionally bump up against the world I occupy at work. Gives me hope for the future!
The aspen print is a two plate relief print for a Holiday Printmaker's Exchange I'm participating in.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Silverwood Sunrise

Every now and again, you get honored to see an amazing sight. This morning, Kyle and I were heading down to do some fishing and got to witness one amazing sunrise. The colors were as vibrant as I can recall. The way the light played off of the lake was incredible.

The fishing wasn't nearly as good as the sunrise, though Kyle did manage to bring home a decent size sturgeon. I was a bit concerned about cooking it up because it is such an ugly fish. But, the fillets were probably the best freshwater fish I've ever had; kinda like alligator. Deep fried them in an eggwash and beer batter and they were seriously tasty!

Hope you enjoy the pics! Click on the sunrise; it'll enlarge and it's worth the effort!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Curtis & Tami Bayer
1st Dance
November 17, 1990
Thanks for 18 years of being the best wife I could ever hope for! It's been an amazing journey, with the best yet to come!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Kyle 'outgrew' Halloween this year. Instead of fishing for candy, he out out fishing for, well, FISH! We went out to Catalina for the day and had a great time. Caught some nice sheephead and kelp bass and enjoyed an amazing sunrise with rainbow. Even saw a half dozen grey whales. Enjoy the pics!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Knott's Scary Farm

My son loves Halloween as much as anyone could love a holiday. Aside from the candy, anything involving gore and costumes is his idea of fun. For the last 5 years, he's wanted to go to Knotts Berry Farm during the Halloween season, when it transforms itself into a 'monster sized' haunted park. I always told him when he turned 13, we would go. Well, guess what........

We arrived at the gate at sunset and I was immediately terrified. The guests waiting in line were as frightening a bunch of goths, emo's, vato's, and metal heads as I've ever seen (for definitions, ask your teenager). Once inside, there were literally hundreds of ghouls and freaks in wildly outlandish costumes trolling in the shadows for a good scare.

Several mazes were set up with names like Club Blood, Killer Clown College, etc. Within the mazes, all manner of freaks would jump out and scare the beee-jeeeesus out of you. The props were Hollywood quality with body parts strung out and blood galore.

The scariest moment occurred when we were in the Lost Vegas maze. Aside from two-headed gamblers and pit bosses looking for souls, we stumbled in a gentleman's lounge, complete with pole dancing vampira's. What was scary was Kyle and his friend Wyatt transforming from giggling laughing neo-teens into wide eyed teenage boys. All of a sudden, they were very attentive and focused. It wasn't until Freddy Krueger tickled them with his blade fingers did they move.

Overall, a fun night with big burgers and onion rings at Johnny Rockets 50's Diner finishing out the night. Happy Halloween to all!

Kyle and Wyatt and a fun open lenses shot capture the essence of the night.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The State of the Union Address

The silly season, ooops, I mean the Election Season is upon us. Actually, I wish it was silly, but this time around it is far, far from it.

There are some profound choices to be made this year at both the Federal and State levels. With all due respect to the Republicans, I admire John McCain immensely. He is an American hero with the credentials to prove it. Beyond his war experiences, he has often voted his conscious rather than falling along Party lines. A genuine figure.

That being said, his choice of Sarah Palin is such a monumental failure to his legacy as a public servant that the only thing potentially worse is the effect it will have on qualified women seeking the White House or Executive Mansion in the future.

Obama? He certainly is intriguing. I don't really care about his pastor or whether he associated with a member of the Weather Underground. But, his lack of experience has to be considered. What will he bring to the table in the next four years when Americans will be in a position and status they are not accustomed to? Will he bring our folks in the Middle East home?

Joe Biden ain't a bad VP choice. He's too hot headed for the top spot, but his background and experience could certainly help.

Kind of a shame that McCain didn't reach across the aisle to choose a Democrat for his running mate. Talk about a 'maverick' move! The line could have been "Not a Republican Agenda; Not a Democrat Agenda; An American Agenda..."

Personally, I've been a Green Party voter for over 20 years. As an outsider looking in, the Presidential Election is not choosing the lesser of two evils, but the evil of two lessers. So, what do we do?

I think it's time to take stock of ourselves. We need to do the right thing for the right reasons, and at the right time. We should help our neighbor knowing it may never be repaid. If we are receiving charity, we should not consider it a right but an opportunity to pass it on and be gracious in the process.

We need to respect that we are all different. Diversity in Community, Unity in Purpose. We are men, women, conservative & liberal, straight or gay, young and old, black, white, brown, red, yellow, Christian, Muslim, or Atheist. In the end, we are hoping that happiness comes our way and that we make a difference when it comes time to call it a day.
So, make sure you vote. And more importantly, regardless of the outcome, show dignity, respect, and sacrifice so that we can leave things a little better than when we found it.

Photo was during a massive forest fire in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Change is in the Air

I think Autumn is here.... One day, it's 80 degrees and sunny and the next day it's 40 degrees and foggy. The leaves are turning and falling in the wind. Squirrels are busy loading up on acorns and pine nuts. You can smell the spicy scent of smoke in fireplaces. A great time to be on the mountain!

Tomorrow, I'm showing at the Pine Cone Festival in Twin Peaks. Hopefully the weather and economy don't put too much of a buzz-kill on the event. I did a few new pieces for the show and offer up "Happy Hour" as a tribute to shortening days and crisp nights.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Bad Day of Fishing Beats a Good Day at School

Kyle played hooky for a day on the high seas. We left out of Dana Point Harbor for a day of fishing. While we were looking for yellowfin tuna, all we could find were bonito, a lesser known member of the tuna family.

We both caught our limits and had a great time trying to haul up the mean, nasty, aggressive fighters. And, I walked away with my 3rd consecutive boat jackpot for the large fish of $100.00. Not a bad day at all.....

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Bronchitis Blues

Well, I thought I beat the early seasonal flu until Sunday night, when I was (literally) up all night with coughing fits. Rolled my sorry butt into the doc's office today and confirmed I've got a good case of bronchitis going. Hope with antibiotics, I'll get to improving. My fantasy is to be at least well enough by Saturday to go out fishing on some kelp beds with Kyle; the red snapper, rockfish, and sea bass are biting.

At least the ladies made it through their bout with kennel cough and are basking in some early morning sun.

Monday, September 15, 2008

First Show Success

I exhibited at my first real show this past weekend. The traffic was slow, but I still ended up selling 10 pieces. It was a watershed moment because while I was busy with the art show, Tami was busy teaching her first class on papercraft techniques. It showed me we can earn some fun money in retirement when we get to that point.

The best part of selling my work wasn't the money; it was the validation that someone else might actually enjoy what I'm trying to do. Knowing that some of my prints are now adorning some walls (even the bathroom wall would make me proud) in folk's homes makes me feel pretty good!

I learned some good things as well; Be polite, not pushy; pass on your excitement for the work; be gracious with compliments and criticism's; don't judge a customer by their cover; everyone is a critic; and fellow artist's are the greatest resource.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Leaf Etchings

I've got a full head of steam going into this Autumn Show! Here are a couple of etching's of oak and maple leaves. Being a warm color person, these were very satisfying to do. Image size is 4x4, framed and matted to 9X9. Used Akua soybased inks. Back to the studio!!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Latest Offering

Just completed a nice print and presented it on torn wallpaper in a floating frame. The frame size is 16x20, so it's pretty large .The title is "Fly Away Home" after the movie about Canadian Geese. I have my first Art Show in two weeks, so I'm very busy trying to get enough quality work for a show. Hope it goes good!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The End of Summer

Kyle and I had our father/son grand finale' this weekend with an overnite deep sea trip into Mexico. We landed a couple of HUGE Yellowtail, as well as Dorado (mahi-mahi). We came home sunburned, tired, and $140.00 richer for winning the large fish jackpot. And, we have a freezer full of fish!

For a summer vacation, it was a great one; two deep sea trips, two trout trips, a whitewater rafting trip, and a few trips to Disneyland. Hopefully, one day when Kyle's a dad, he'll remember this summer and do the same for his kids.

The pictures show our yellowtail and the beautiful sunrises you get at sea, plus about 30 pounds of fresh fish all filleted up!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

American Pie

So we started getting email offers for cheap Viagra.... Ton's of them. Now, I'm not one to turn down a great deal. Plus, the idea of being able to ride my bike on even longer training rides without ill effect is certainly appealing! In fact, I've always thought it would be cool if Viagra sponsored a bike team (the slogan---- Ride hard). But, I digress.............

Tami asked "Hey, aren't we getting a lot of odd emails?" A leading and delicate question. "Yep," I replied, "Some one's been visiting websites that they shouldn't have" I said trying to sound official, but feverishly retracing my recent web footsteps. Then we found it, tucked away in the web history section of our browser.

Seem's the boy has developed a taste for fine lingerie'. I know, I know..... It's an awkward age, as shown by his jumping between Catholic Schoolgirl models (two thumbs up!) and the Toys-R-Us website looking at Nerf darts and guns. But, why don't we get emails for cheap Lego's or PS3 games? Something we could actually appreciate?

When I was his age, we did it the old fashioned way. We either waited in earnest for the Sears catalog, or we dumpster dove for a coveted Playboy. No worries about cookies, spam, email, or viruses (at least of computer variety).

So, I called him in and talked to him. Call it the What Every Boy Needs to Know About Being a Man- Part III speech. He handled it well, I and I hope I did because I'm not sure if the message was that it's a part of growing up, or that men should take better care to hide their naughty items....

Anyway, got me to thinking about the movie, American Pie, when the father is explaining female parts and sex to his son. I know how that dad felt, as did my dad, and as will my son one day. The biggest thing learned by me- take it all in stride.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Show

Well, I finally did it..... I made the leap from the gallery on the refrigerator door to my first time showing in public. The Mountain Art's Network sent out an email inviting members to put out their work for the day.

I matted up some stuff, put together a presentation table, made some business cards, and I was off to the races! Unfortunately, the foot traffic was pretty slow; less than two dozen folks in 4 hours. No sales made, but I was encouraged by the 9 year old boy who was begging his dad to buy a trout print for $10.00. In the end, dad didn't understand that he could've purchased something that will one day be on the Antique's Roadshow (with the Keno Brother's oohhing...).

One of the pieces I put in was the school of trout. It's a solarplate relief and the paper is pretty cool. Tami found some vintage wallpaper (1960's?) that had some textured pearlescent design to it. I moistened it and used the paste in it to back it to card stock because it was so brittle. Once adhered to the cardstock, I ran it through the press with the plate for the final product. Kind of unique!
Anyway, now i understand what it means when they say "starving artist!"

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Slap on some red, white, & blue, enjoy some BBQ, cold beers, good friends, and fireworks today. Remember to take a moment to thank those who have sacrificed in order to make our nation (for all the good & bad) a little better.

I don't mind saying there are some things our government is doing that I strongly disagree with, but I'm still very proud and thankful to have the opportunity and the right to express my opinion. I've been in countries where that's not always the case and it's very chilling.

Enough with the soapbox.... Above are some prints from a solarplate I developed today. It depicts a giant Sequoia at Balch Park in the Sierra's. The cedar below it are all in the 50-60 foot range, so you can get an idea just how massive the trees can be.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


The title is not about the fact that we just finished our whitewater trip, but also about getting back some perspective.

In forensic science, there's a theory that you can't pass through a place and not change it, and be inexorably changed forever. You leave a footprint, and you carry with you the soil on the sole's of your shoes. The same can be said in our contacts with others.

This weekend, we had the chance to meet some amazing folks. Three ladies who were rafting and staying in the campsite next to us shared with us there triumph's and tragedies; their personal aspirations, and their genuine pleasure at experiencing the simple company of others. There was a generation separating them, but they all shared in zest for living that was nearly intoxicating.

Later, on down the road to Sequoia NP, we stumbled into the Springville Inn. While enjoying a fine black ale, we chatted with a gentleman who was bigger than life. A huge man with bulging sunburned forearms that come from hard work, slate blue eyes, and a white goatee to match his silver haired crew cut, he introduced us throughout the evening to his friends as though we were his long lost relatives.

He shared with us the history and local flavor of Springville, talked about fishing, and what it was like to know and rely on your neighbors. After a wonderful evening, he told me to look him up when Kyle and I head back for trout fishing in the fall so he could buy us dinner. Turns out, it was the Mayor of Springville who was our new friend.

Funny thing about this vacation...... Met a whole lot of folks, but never met any strangers.
From top to bottom.... Rooster Tail Rapid, a class IV run on the Kings River; Kyle enjoying some reading time at base camp; evening on the river; the Springville Inn; Kyle with one of many trout caught.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation Time!

Nothing like the anticipation of a family vacation, which is only hours away. Of course, I packed the car last nite, and am repacking again this morning in order to facilitate the burning off of coffee energy.

We are heading up to the King's River for a multi-day whitewater rafting trip, and then dropping down to stay at a haunted Stagecoach Inn just outside of Sequoia NP. It's a chance for some family adventure where Kyle loses what little teenage surliness he has and Tami, the sweet & thoughtful artsy crafter can become The River Hag.

Now, I've loved this woman pretty much since June 6th, 1987, the day of our first date. She's optimistic, kind, embracing; the definitive ying to my yang... But, throw some sunscreen on her and put her on a raft and she changes I tell you.

She's been rafting for nearly 30 years and has done every thing from pirate trips down nearly dry trickles, to crazy insane Class V, nearly killed her rapids. Whether it be the Kings, the Colorado, Rio Grande, Kern- she's tackled them all. So when she took me on my first trip, I reasonably and chauvinistically expected to take the lead in such matters.

As I confidently surveyed the first rapid I would ever plunge, taking in the glory of the sight and sound, I was shocked to reality by someone forever known now as the River Hag. My serenity was burst by the hard slap of a paddle on my life jacket and a scream, really a screech, of "Paddle, you S.O.B.!" I looked back to challenge, but she who was sitting behind me was no longer the sweet Tami of dry land. Her face was covered by her beaten river hat; eye's blacked with the deep dark pools of sunglasses, and arms bulging with the adrenalin of potential danger. She had morphed into someone new. And, I dare not challenge

So, anyway, as the years have rolled by, much like the river's themselves, so has our family. Now Kyle gets to see Mom as the River Hag (though he might argue at times that it's like that for him more often). We joke about it and tell our stories by the campfire and poke some fun at this woman we both love. For our little family, it's one more piece of timeless family history.

The woodcut is a collaboration between a very talented artist, Lisa Cook, and I for a new design for our local art's network. It features our mountains, the historic Rim of the World Highway leading up, and our local landmark Arrowhead.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More from the Sierra's

Seeing's how blogger only lets you upload a finite amount of photo's, here's some more from the weekend in the Sierra's. The Owens River looking towards the Minarets; the famous Green Church of the Eastern Sierra's; and a great shot of the Sierra's framed with the burning hot high desert. For those that may have seen the movie IRON MAN, does shot #3 look familiar? That's where they filmed the opening sequence. It's supposed to be a backdrop of Afghanistan, I believe. Cast and crew stayed in Lone Pine at a friend of mine's hotel.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sierra's Fishing Trip

Another great weekend of camping, fishing, and hanging out with the boy. The temperature's ranged from high's in the 90's to lows in the 30's. In fact, Friday morning we woke up to frost and Kyle's wet sneakers frozen solid. I went to pour water in a pot for coffee, and it immediately turned to slush upon contact! Ended up sleeping in the car the 2nd nite, it was so cold.

Anyway, here's some pics. Easy to see why the Sierra's are called the "Range of Light."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Into the Wild

Well, we are off to the Owens River Valley, sandwiched between the Sierra's and the White Mountain Ranges. Today's the last day of school for Kyle, so we are kicking off the summer with some camping and trout fishing. And, it gives Tami some creative time to mess up the craft room she spent last week cleaning!

Lots of pics when we get back! For now, a teaser of the Owens River!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Home of the Whopper

Kyle had his 13th birthday yesterday. He asked if, instead of a party, he could go deep sea fishing. Sooo, I got together with some other guys I know and we chartered an overnight to Catalina Island as a Father/Son trip.

Some of the highlights included Kyle inking people with squids from the bait tank, having flying fish land on the deck, and trying to relieve one's self successfully in a toilet on a boat in heavy swells...... But, this trip was about fishing!

Sadly, the action was pretty light with little Calico Bass, Sculpin, and the occasional Mackeral getting hauled in. Two of the guys landed some nice Yellowtail. Kyle landed a huge Bat Ray in the early morning hours (which was promptly released), but we had no other bites. But then it happened.

My pole bent straight down and I knew we had something special. As soon as the hook was set, I handed the pole off to Kyle. Whatever was on the line proceeded to walk him around the boat several times. With me in one ear shouting encouragement, and a deckhand in the other offering advice, and a background of voices yelling support, Kyle fought the fish like Captain Ahab battling Moby Dick.

A full 10 minutes later, we saw our first glimpse of a silvery beast under the water. Kyle's arms were shaking from exhaustion. I wrapped my arms around him and helped him support the pole, and together we hauled that fish to the surface. A quick gaffing, and the fish was in the boat. Not just any fish, but a 30 pound White Sea Bass! Knowing the propensity for fisherman to embellish, I offer up the photograph as proof of the catch. And, when the fish finished in the money on the boat jackpot, Kyle and I split our winnings and walked away with an extra $50.00 in our pockets apiece!

As I type this, Kyle is upstairs sleeping. I think he's been out for about 12 hours now. Partly because he is a teenager now, but at least partly, I hope, because he had the best adventure yet on his birthday.