Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Potter’

The Art Critic

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

The heron was so recently dead that nothing had disturbed its carcass. Finding a comparatively dry and shady spot on the bank, I pulled out my sketchpad and mechanical pencil. Unfortunately, I only had a few moments alone before I heard him scrambling through the underbrush. Uninvited, he sat close beside me and gaily splashed his hooves in the creek.

“Howdy do!” he grinned.

“Hmm,” I muttered in reply.

He pulled some poison ivy from a nearby tree and nudged me. “Some?” he asked.

“No, I’m pretty sure it would kill me.”

“Oh, that’s right! Your kind is allergic to it. Boy oh boy, you don’t know what you’re missing!” He crammed a handful in his mouth, loudly chewing and smacking while still splashing his hooves. I tried pretending he wasn’t there.

Finishing his snack, he cheerfully asked, “Hey, whatcha doin’? You drawing?”

I nodded.

He bent over to look at my sketch, blocking my view. “Hey! You trying to draw that dead heron there?”

I sighed and nodded.

“Well,” he said happily, “you sure ain’t no Audubon. I gotta say your drawing is awful, absolutely awful.”

“Thanks.”

“Birds sure aren’t your forte. Hey! I got an idea! Why don’t you try drawing me?”

“Can’t. I only draw fantasy.”

“That so? That’s too bad. You know, I like posing for artists.”

“Hmm.”

“I used to pose for Apelles.”

“You knew Apelles?” I asked, instantly regretting opening my mouth.

“Oh, sure, knew all the old Greeks. Then much later I moved to Italy and knew ‘em all there, too: Piero di Cosimo, Andrea del Sarto, you name ‘em.”

“Caravaggio?”

“Almost. He killed a man and had to skip town the day before I was supposed to pose for him.”

That gave me an idea. I looked around for a big stick or a heavy rock. Sadly, there were none.

“So,” I mumbled, mildly curious in spite of myself, “how did you wind up all the way over here?”

“Oh, you know the story. Wife had relatives here so here is where she wanted to be and I didn’t feel like butting heads over it with the old nanny goat.” He paused to chuckle at his own joke. He was the only one who did. “So here is where we settled. Then the kids came along… Kids! Hey! Get it!” He nudged me. I did not deign to respond. “Yep, kids and then grandkids and then, you know, you just lose your energy and wanderlust as you get older. You find yourself stuck. But I ain’t complaining, mind you. Once folks like Rubens died out and people like Courbet came along my modeling career was pretty much kaput anyway. And back in the day when there were factories here a good, honest satyr could make a pretty good, honest living. Still, you know, there are times a body can’t help missing the old days.”

“I know,” I whispered.

From a distance arose the chattering of an approaching gaggle of joggers, their noise frightening away all the wildlife. He dove into the underbrush. “Catch you satyr!” he laughed.

“Not if I’m lucky,” I muttered as I watched his shadow merge with the foliage. I then returned to the sketch and studied it. As you can see for yourself, the old satyr was right; it doesn’t look much like a heron. I blame him for that since he distracted me.

In Memory of a Cat

Monday, May 29th, 2017

He had a hard entrance into this world and a hard exit, but in between Snowball had a pretty good time. He was Sarah’s constant companion from 2003 until the 22nd of this month. Occasionally he’d deign to leave her side to teach me a few life lessons, such as it’s perfectly normal behavior to hide under the couch whenever Kathy’s relatives would visit or that it is never a bad time to take a nap. An even better lesson he taught me was never to hold a grudge. One may take understandably strong umbrage at having one’s tail stepped on, but it’s beneath one’s dignity to nurture the insult and let it fester. He taught me we all get our tails stepped on but since a lifetime is short, be it one life or nine, it shouldn’t be squandered in cramped pettiness when it can flourish in expansive forgiveness. He was one pretty smart cat. May he rest in peace.

Sparkle Comics

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

There’s a new comic book publisher in town and its name is Sparkle Comics. Although new, it has already published three comic books as of this writing. One is titled “Shocking Macabre Theater,” one is “Wolf Hunter” and the other is “Adventure Man.” All three showcase some remarkable local talent, but I’m going to concentrate on the last title by mentioning it was crafted by the gifted coterie of Messrs. Matt Brassfield, Wheeler Hall, Jeremy Hoyt and Jason Young. There was somebody else, too, but his name eludes me at the moment. Now, if you don’t reside in the Dayton area you’re no doubt pining, “Oh! I would love to purchase and forever savor these and future titles, but I live too far away. Whatever shall I do?” Mourn no more. You can now purchase copies online! To order their fine products, just go to www.sparklecomics.com and click on “shop.” You’ll be glad you did.

Reminiscing

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

It was seven years ago this month that a nefarious criminal mastermind, whose name, if any dare speak it aloud at all, is whispered in hushed and terrified tones as if one were speaking it in a library, unveiled a website he christened “Ok, PANIC!” Its purpose, as he himself confessed, was to “showcase the talents of his favorite artists in an online collaboration.” Oddly, this modern-day Moriarty, whom I shall call Wheeler Hall for the sake of convenience, invited me to be one of the contributors. One of his conditions was that each artist had to have his own website, a thing I had never considered and had no idea how to even create. Thus, in a remarkable display of generosity and forbearance, Mr. Hall created a site for me, the very site you are looking at now! And for the last seven years everything on this site has been his doing. All I do is send him a drawing with some more-or-less relevant accompanying text. Wheeler does all the rest. He’s quite a guy, despite his repeated attempts to enslave all of London. I would send Wheeler an inked sketch for PANIC! and the majority of the time he would color it electronically. My first submission was in pencil, however. After all these years I still recall Wheeler saying he tried coloring it but, because it was shaded in pencil, the results did not meet his standards. So now, a little belatedly and as a thank-you to Wheeler for these past seven years, I redrew the image in ink, aging the characters seven years naturally, for Mr. Hall to perform his magic. I trust you will enjoy the colorful result.

Mr. Potter aka Sherlock Bones

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hi. This is Mr. Hall. And while Mr. Potter’s words are very kind and I appreciate them very much, he is the true genius. I am a mere dilettante (as you will see from feeble colors on this piece) who he allows to color some of his art. Ok, Panic was a blast, and I’m so glad that I could be a small part of it.

Mr. Hall aka Moriarty

In Memory

Friday, November 4th, 2016

The following is part of a poem by Abraham Lincoln. I feel it’s slightly analogous to what I was trying to say in this painting, even though the painting, by comparison, is but a shabby and decrepit simulacrum. His meditation may not express quite the degree of optimism I tried to hint at in this image, yet I still feel both works share some little things in common; albeit his words are far, far more powerful than my chaotic daubs. And now, Mr. Lincoln, sir, the floor is all yours.

My childhood’s home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There’s pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
‘Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that’s earthly, vile,
Seem hallowed, pure and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-tones that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As, leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar –
So memory will hallow all
We’ve known but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things,
But seeing them to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray;
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I’m living in the tombs.

Long Ago

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

I came across this while dusting and straightening some mummified corpses in the attic. It’s a very, very old piece, done when I apparently had a lot more nervous energy than I do now. I think it was my first serious attempt at a pen and ink work and was done, as I recall, with technical pens. It’s not good but I was outrageously proud of it way back when and, truth be told, I like it even now, if only for sentimental reasons. Besides bringing back memories of a misspent youth, there’s just something about it, I’m not sure what, that I find charming.

In the Grasslands

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

This was done eight years ago. I assume I made most of the colors drab and sunken hoping that the contrast would make the white feather and yellow flower stand out. There’s precious little, hardly a single brushstroke, that I wouldn’t radically change if I were to paint this image now. Still, despite the somberness of the colors and the figure’s expression, it was obviously done just for the fun of it. Since I hadn’t looked or even thought about this piece in almost a decade, I can look at it now without any prejudice or vanity. Thus, I can, with cool disinterest, state that the piece is certainly no masterpiece, but it does succeed, in some measure, in being a “just fun to look at” exercise, which is what it was obviously supposed to be. Despite its flaws, I like it.

The Apple Seller Tells His Riddle

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

They walked together silently in the apple orchard that cool June night. It was a good season for the fireflies and the two wanderers were delighted at the wild profusion of scintillating, hovering living lights. As always, the beetles slowly converged in a space between the wanderers and the tops of the trees, aligning themselves and synchronizing their signals. In a few minutes their bioluminescent glow formed into a lambent quote, different from the ones on previous nights. Their lights spelled out “Thou shalt say a thousand things, and saying them a thousand times over, thou shalt still have said nothing.”

“Hawthorne?” asked the boy.

“Who else?” smiled the father. “That’s a pretty fine quote, don’t you think?”

“Well, for fireflies,” the boy grudgingly conceded. “They flash their lights to find a mate, don’t they?”

“So I’ve heard. I’ve also heard tell that they use their lights to attract prey.”

“Mates and prey: aren’t they one and the same? And the poor beetles go through all this trouble merely to die shortly afterward.”

“It’s their nature; but how beautiful they are while they’re here, despite the reason. To them it is a grim struggle for temporary survival or procreation, but to us their lights are things of intangible beauty. Things are always beautiful when you look at them from the outside, when you’re not the one involved.” The father smiled and studied his son from the corner of his eye. “And surely even you must agree that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.”

“So you say,” the boy muttered. “Yet so many others, they tell me love is like death and that death is nothing… but I don’t know what that means.”

“That’s all right,” the father said, putting his arm over his son’s shoulder and watching the fireflies leisurely disperse, “they don’t know what it means either.”

And father and son walked away into the darkening night.

Cornered

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

One inspiration for this piece was my thinking about Botticelli and a
couple of other Renaissance artists whose styles were strongly
hard-edged and linear. No matter the subject, their style suffuses every
work with a certain pale and quiet sadness that is easily felt but
difficult to describe, like that universal yet unsharable sadness which
is part and parcel of every life. There is no sfumato in the artists’
works to mellow or hide that sensation, nothing to compromise or lessen
its harsh representations. This sketch is merely my response to that
certain melancholy inherent in every linear work. The creature inhabits
a harsh, brittle realm of unyielding and emphatic demarcations that
allow no thing to really touch another, a world of sharp outlines, sharp
and stinging like nettles and barbs, a world of boundaries that cannot
be crossed. Yet the creature itself is also harsh, untouchable and
armored in its own severe outline. It belongs in its world. It’s a
little bowed and battered by its environs, but it is not broken. It
perseveres and is not overwhelmed. To me, that is part of Botticelli’s
genius. There is an ambient sadness in his work reflected even in his
smiling or dancing figures. Yet they survive in the sadness and somehow,
magically, impart a graceful undefinable happiness, even joy, to the
entire piece. And that is part of what makes Botticelli’s works beautiful.

Rhyme and Reason

Friday, January 29th, 2016

First, a little tribute to Gene Lehman, without whom Mystic Dreaming could never have been what it now is:

A great friend,
A great, great lifesaver,
A great, great, great artist,
And a great many more things.
Thanks!

The wondrous event poetry lovers the world over have been eagerly awaiting has finally arrived. Sarah Potter’s second collection of original poetry is now available! It’s titled Mystic Dreaming and you can find more information about on it at the following link:

Buy Mystic Dreaming here