Guy Beckles: “ideas have motion”

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“No man ever creates anything.  He simply re-arranges what is already here.” (Guy Beckles)

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The branch of the New York Public Library that I use most often is the Morningside Heights location.  They often have art exhibits, and the current one is a lot of fun.

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The Trinidadian artist Guy Beckles calls his work Kinetic Art.  Kinetic:  from the Greek kinetikos, to move:  “characterized by movement”.  His animated sculptures certainly captivated library patrons from strollers well into adulthood as I was photographing them this week.  They initiated conversations between parents/caretakers and children, and between the children themselves.  Mr. Beckles says on his website that he hopes to draw people in so that they interact with his art, to both inspire ideas into action and produce smiles.  It seems to be working.

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Not all the sculptures fared equally well in my photos, but you can see them in motion by visiting the library, or on Mr. Beckles’ website in videos.  He also provides poetic commentary on individual works, which have great titles too.

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And you can take classes with the artist:  learn how to translate your own ideas into your own Kinetic Art!

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shadow boxs

Headline Haiku: The i-’s Have It

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This recently ubiquitous ad with it’s equally ubiquitous i-product was fertile ground to explore the desirability to consumers of i-products in general…not a u-phone or u-thinking, or even a wii-pad or wii-shares.  Once again, what we buy is only a reflection of who we are.

Outbreak is a Poor
Researcher:  Mistake, Message,
and Election

i's bottom s

Illustrated Poetry recently had a post on computer-generated surrealist poetry (  I took headline words from the front section of the NY Times where the ad appeared and plugged them into Poem Generator’s given structure:  amazing.  I got lots of great lines.  I liked particularly the one above.

You can also create your own structure, so I took a classic haiku from Basho to see what would happen with that.  Poem Generator must have been channeling Congress!  Or at least Fox News.

the People
and the Former Incomes–

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A cold rain starting
and no hat–

Poem Generator:
Be careful:  it’s addictive.

Ring-Tailed Lemur

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All lemurs are native to Madagascar, an island off Africa that is one of the highest priority conservation areas on Earth.  It’s unique ecology is threatened by habitat destruction, political instability, and climate change.  Madagascar has already lost 90% of its natural vegetation due to logging and the clearing of land for human use.  Lemurs are threatened not only by habitat destruction and isolation, but by hunting.

Ring-tailed lemurs are abundant in zoos throughout the world, but the population in the wild, along with that of all lemurs, continues to decline.

Em and Birdman


Birdy is the puppy that my daughter picked out of the litter of eleven six years ago. He is a dog who enjoys watching humans do human things like dancing or blowing their hair dry. Although my daughter doesn’t live here anymore she still considers Birdy her dog. This is a painting I did yesterday of the two of them having a moment together.

Faces of Ebola

ebola 2s

healing:  this living
depends on open hands to
touch comfort contain

ebola 1s

we are asking, please
protect us, give us courage,
freedom from dread

My Dad and Jane


I’ve always loved this photo of my Dad and my sister Jane; they look like two orangutans to me for some reason. This morning I attempted an ink painting. I didn’t really get the darkness of the photo but the painting of my father looks uncannily like him. Kerfe and I started this blog to encourage ourselves to do more artwork. We have almost 160 followers and I truly appreciate everyone who likes our blog and likes the work. It is true that the more work you do the better you get (shout out to our fellow blogger One Drawing Daily). It also is a lot of fun to draw and paint. Life had gotten in the way and I am slowly finding my way back. Thank you, blogging universe and my dear Kerfe!

Missing 5

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You can see the rest of this series here:

White landscape


This is a painting I did quite a while ago. It hung in my parents’ house. The technique was that I painted a lot of colors and then went in with white over many places. Like so much of the stuff I post, I would like to revisit this. I haven’t painted in oils for a long time but maybe I should consider it.

There’s a Crow Flying…

crow #1s

“…he’s black as the highway that’s leading me…” (Joni Mitchell, that song has been in my head for a week)

This is kind of a variation on my series “What is It Good For?”  In #7 (    I did a monoprint on rice paper from the (very wet) watercolor I was working on and then stitched over part of it.  This time I put the paint on a piece of plastic and pressed the paper on that.  Actually I did 7 different ones, sometimes more than once, adding paint as I went along.  Some were more successful than others, but I like to take things that are not quite what I want and add things to them to see what happens.  So I’m going to maybe collage or stitch a lot on some of them.  I also got a feel for what I want to do next time, including getting glass or plexiglass that is thick and rigid, not thin and flexible like the piece of plastic I used.  I worked on the floor, also not ideal as I had to get from sitting to standing a number of times, and I also kept stepping in paint.  But I don’t really have another place to do this at the moment (although I have a wonderful studio in my mind).

crow #2s

I always intended to put crows in these skyscapes, but I wasn’t sure how I would do it.  I settled on collage silhouettes for the first two.  I like them, but want to add stitching for more texture to the next one I do.

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The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

One of the first collages I did after not doing anything for many years, “Thirteen Blackbirds”, was inspired by the Wallace Stevens poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”  This poem was my introduction to Illustrated Poetry, too.  (

More to come.

Self portrait, 1964


I thought I’d echo Kerfe today with a self portrait. This is from a photo taken by my Dad; he liked my singing and playing and this photo still exists. I was probably singing a Phil Ochs song. This was my first guitar, a Goya. When I saved enough babysitting money I bought a Martin 00-16C (too bad I wasn’t smart enough to buy a big ol’ D 28 which would be worth thousands today). I still have the Martin, beat up and beautiful and it sounds great.


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