Never Bored with the Boards

Bridge Yellow

It was one hell of a busy summer. I finished a novel and gave up on another one (for now, anyway). I put together a game and marketing plan for the world’s first free daily serialized coffee break novel (seriously, Google it). The novel is currently running on my parallel blog, The Weekly Man.

I also, visited Fundy Park for the first time with my bestie, Stephanie, and will definitely be going back. I discovered a lake I’d been wanting to see for years along with my friend, Nanook of the Nashwaak.

I also put together my first solo exhibition featuring my macro photography and board drawings. I did 37 boards last winter and lost over 20 pounds. They were addicting to the point that I would start right in on them as soon as I got home from work and forget abut things like eating and making a lunch for the next day.

I did the actual drawing at home but took the boards into the studio to paint and varnish them.

This is what they looked like in the studio:

And this is what they look like hanging up:


I’ve visited the studios of many of my artist friends and it always fascinates me to see their works in progress and then see them on display with all the messiness of creation left behind. I think this is what many skeptics fail to see when they look at a painting and say something stupid like, “A few dollars for paper and a few dollars for paint…and you sell it for ten times what it’s worth.”


I hate these people with a passion. I’d like them all to work for me for free for one year. You know, doing whatever they’re good at and not being paid for it. Or being paid a couple of dollars an hour. On the other hand, these are most likely to be people who don’t do so well on their jobs because they’re not smart and they talk too much. Maybe I don’t want them working for me and just messing everything up.

So, with that aside put aside, seeing the work in progress gives you a true sense of the intense focus and commitment that goes into creating art. I’ve seen artists on the verge of collapsing from hunger and fatigue because they had a deadline for an exhibition and they’ve gone for days without sleep and they’ve survived on coffee and air.

And this isn’t always a matter of the artists not preparing properly. Often, it’s because the gallery or other venue has changed the rules, the dates, the physical venue or whatever. Or, preparing for the exhibit leads the artist into new areas and the temptation to add some of the new stuff to the exhibit. Fortunately, most galleries don’t allow this, or there’d be a lot more crazy artists jumping out of windows and off bridges.

For me, working on the boards was one of the most fulfilling and mystical experiences of my life. I believe that where there was life, there will always be life. Life is energy and wherever that energy has existed, there will always be some remnant of it…like when you cut down a tree, the tree’s life energy doesn’t just disappear…patches of it inundate the wood like shadows of the tree’s memories, and you can feel that energy in the boards even after they’re cut into useable sizes from the tree.

Before I start drawing on the board, I spend some time getting a feel for its life energy, and that’s what directs the tip of my gel pen to bring out the board’s story.

And the stories are never boring.


(BTW, the image at the top of the screen is one of the photos in the exhibit.)









Day 28 – So Much Beauty…just waiting

The colors are going away, drifting off into those late autumn hours of rain, wind and cold. Each day, the trees have fewer leaves and all that fire in the trees is falling to the ground, leaf by leaf. Let’s see if I can put this poetically.

“No,”said the fox. “Please, Biff, don’t do that to us.”

“Fox,” I reply, “Isn’t it time for your intravenous?”

Aw…the fox doesn’t like me anymore. Maybe I don’t have to watch him smile anymore.

So here it is…poetry… and the intricate structure of naked branches are like veins of the earth rupturing into the sky.

That structure.

Those veins.

Naked trees.

I get chills.

I write lousy poetry.

OK, fox…you were right. Stop pouting and come back here and help me write this blog.

“Biff…if you ever mention my intravenous again…I’m leaving your blog.”

OK, fox. Don’t get your diaper so wound…I mean…don’t get your panties so wound up.”

“Tightrope, Biff, tightrope.”

OK, let’s talk about today. I was on my lunch hour, driving, drinking coffee, no idea what I was going to photograph. So I took the road into Lincoln because I got some good stuff there yesterday. But, there was one other place I’ve crossed paths with before and wanted to capture. So I drove there.

It’s a place where a stream flows into a marshy area almost like a horizontal roller coaster. It’s like a story unfolding. And that’s what nature is…a story unfolding. Around here, the story has four parts…summer, fall, winter and spring. Life, color, death and re-birth.

And the color.

I think…the closer you get to death…the more you appreciate the color. And color is so full of sound, texture, aroma and the beautiful sight of life.

These are things we’re taught to ignore. We’re taught to conform to the norm. We’re taught to average out so that we’re not noticed…so that we fit into a mould that was never of our making.

Fox, are you with me on this?

“Yeah, Biff…with you all the way on this.”

Hey, you two reading my blog…go into the woods. Leave your cell phones at home. Park your car half a mile from where you’re going into the woods. Get into the woods and close your eyes. Close them longer than you’ve ever closed them before. Forget everything…the job, the next payment, the relationship, the feeling of emptiness…and just feel the woods around you. Then, open your eyes and see the beauty.

It’s there. You haven’t lost it. It’s been there all the time…waiting for you.

Lesson learned: There can be color in black and white. No shit.

Day 28 1 Day 28 2 Day 28 3 Day 28 Day 1