Friday, March 28, 2014



Dance Till You Drop
I had been looking for a copy of Pina, the documentary film by Wim Wenders for some time.  It took a while but I eventually found the dvd locally.  I thoroughly enjoyed Pina Bausch’s landmark choreography and her exceptionally talented Tanztheater Wuppertal troupe.   

The dancing was spectacular, yet at the same time, I found myself drawn to the sets.

Several weekly drawing sessions later, two sketches seemed like they might fit onto Pina's stage.  The dances are Danzon and Cafe Muller.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Recent Work

Eighth Veil

Pipe Dreams

In a While Crocadile

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Drawn to Butoh

Arachnid Asana

Born Again

Cabbage Ritual

Moving On
For a drawing to have Butoh spirit there has to be a visceral connection between the artist, the model, and the gesture.  This is not merely a pleasing pose that will make a nice drawing, it is a connection that is felt in the body.  This pose, this gesture, this model has moved you, has changed the way you breathe, made you sigh or moan in pleasure.

A drawing with Butoh spirit captures authentic gestures, the untold stories of the soul.  Not stories we want others to hear, not the stories we want to believe about ourselves, not the stories we have tricked ourselves into believing, but the real stories that tell what lays deep within us. 

A drawing with butoh spirit should transform the life of the subject/model, the artist and eventually the audience.  The process of making these drawings and viewing them should unveil deep secrets and shake one’s belief structure.  Butoh drawings elicit thoughts that we would rather have kept subdued, but none the less need to be confronted.  Butoh drawings are felt in the body; they alter the breath, cause queasiness in the belly.  There is something about a Butoh drawing that makes one avert their eyes for a moment, gathering the courage to look a second time.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Stuff

Although the posts here have been infrequent I have been printing these past months.  There are still plenty of pages left in the book (see previous post) to use in interesting ways.  I continue to explore the possibilities of collage.  Here are a couple of recent images.

The fall season is kicking off for the Arizona Print Group.  We have 3 venues scheduled for the 10x10 exhibit, celebrating the group’s tenth anniversary.  The next reception will be at Paradise Valley Community College on November 5th.  The show then travels to Prescott at Yavapai Community College January 25th.   At present I have apiece at Tohano Chul Park’s Water, an Exploration in Print exhibit.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Book

I’m not really sure if I found the book or the book found me.

A while back the annual Matsuri Festival was held in Phoenix.  I hadn’t been in a number of years.  The Akita dog club we belonged to had a display booth and we were regular attendees in years past. We just lost interest in the festival after our beloved Akita, Ashiki   passed on a few years ago.  This past summer we brought a new Shiba Inu puppy, Yoshi into the family.  This seemed like a good year to re-acquaint ourselves with Matsuri Festival and check out the Shiba Inu booth.

We had a nice time; my grand daughter loved seeing the Shiba Inu and Akita dogs.  She got her face painted and made origami flowers.  I had a nice visit with my old friends at The Blue Fin and enjoyed their teriyaki chicken bowl for lunch.  Really liked seeing a number of high school age kids having fun dressing up in their favorite Pokeman and Manga costumes.

On our way back to the car I noticed a swap meet of Japanese stuff.  While wondering around I found a box of used books all in Kanji.  Thumbing through a particular book, I had one of those ah-ha moments.  The book pages would be perfect for printing my butoh prints.  So I bought the book.

Shortly after Matsuri Festival I attended a butoh performance by Debra Minghi and RPM Orchestra at Braggs Pie Factory on Grand Ave.  I knew some members of RPM from my years of hanging out on Grand Ave. and the Paisley Violin. I brought along a sketchbook and managed to get a drawing or two that got worked into dry point prints using the book pages.  The print, Scream Butoh was well received by every one involved. It will be used for the cover art of the DVD produced during the performance.  Since then we’ve had a chance to meet over coffee and discuss our mutual interests in Butoh.  Hopefully, new collaborations will happen down the road.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art

Very pleased to announce that 2 pieces from the Butoh Drawing Project were selected for a juried exhibition currently on display at the Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art. The Museum is located in Paradise Valley and is open to the public on Sunday afternoons 3:00 – 5:00pm. The current show will be up through August, 2012.

Three friends from the Tuesday evening drawing circle, Stu, Jack and Laura are also represented in the exhibit. I’m very excited that our little drawing group is starting to get some recognition within the Phoenix art scene. Also three members of the Arizona Print Group are participating in the show.

If you’re in the Valley of the Sun, hope you will drop by the museum some Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Penny Hanson and Julie Peters invited me to guest teach for their art class at North High School again. I really enjoyed my experience working with the students last year, the kids are talented and well behaved. This year was no different and as a bonus, several parents joined us. I’ve taken the direction of introducing the students to short, gesture poses. There is a tendency to get too focused on details and get bogged down in their drawing. So my goal is to create an environment where they don’t think so much and just draw. At first there is resistance to the short poses, but as the class progresses, they start to get comfortable with the idea of gesture drawing. We had dance students model for us and they were wonderful. This year I took some time to talk with the class after the drawing about my approach to drawing. I’ve been mulling over some ideas of drawing and Butoh that needed to be shared. In all of my teaching experiences I’ve learned more about my subject through preparing for the classes. Thanks to the students and teachers for giving me this opportunity to get my ideas down on paper, organized and shared.. Below is an edited version of the class notes.

Class Notes For Guest Teaching

North High School, 9-28-11

We all tell our stories through various forms of communication. These stories come from parents, ancestors, friends neighborhoods etc. Over the years, I’ve become very interested in how drawings in particular and art in general tell these stories.

We are usually not aware that we are telling stories, and if we are; we carefully edit the stories to a version that we want others to hear. Underneath the fa├žade, the carefully crafted image we think tells the story we want our friends or the world to hear lay the real stories. We may be aware that we’re creating a persona, and are very much aware of our perceived shortcomings, dreams and thoughts that scare the hell out of us. But even deeper in our souls, there lay the real stories. This is the territory of Butoh; this is what I want to draw.

Of course, my drawings are a reflection of my own stories as well as my subjects’. My movements, my perceptions, my tastes, my “style” come from some place deep within. There is a process working that allows a particular drawing to “speak” to me, inviting me to pursue and develop that image as a more finished print. If a drawing or piece of art winds up on a gallery wall, the stories of potential viewers come into play. It’s this intersection of the model, artist and viewer’s stories that interests me. This confluence of sitter - artist - audience hopefully creates an environment where drawings (or art in general) become an interactive experience, not merely a casual viewing. It’s not a matter of being shocking or making social / political statements, it’s facilitating interactivity at a core, human level

So how do we get there? Is there a process?

Like most things esoteric, the magic happens when you’re not striving, not trying to achieve a particular goal, but rather you’re just doing, without much thought. So I think it’s best to draw at a brisk pace. Don’t analyze too much, dive in and just do it. This is why I had you doing two-minute gesture drawings for the entire session. I didn’t want you getting hung up on details; I was hoping to set up a scenario where your minds would be wrapped up in visually measuring the angles, sizes and masses of the model’s form and nothing else.

In terms of unveiling the stories that we discussed earlier, it’s more of a lens through which I evaluate my drawings. During the course of a typical Tuesday evening session at Suncrest, we will do 10 gestures and 4 to 5 twenty minute drawings. Sometimes a particular drawing appeals to me immediately. I review my drawings over the course of the next few days Sometimes it’s a facial expression that intrigues me, sometimes the overall gesture of the body as a whole that catches my eyes. One lesson I’ve learned from Butoh is that the entire body can tell our stories. I’m learning to trust my visceral reactions to the drawings as I work with them. If a particular drawing “speaks” to me I’ll start the process of making a printing plate and go from there.