I got caught skipping school by the new principal. The punishment for skipping school and missing classes was office detention where you still missed classes but under the watchful eye of the principal. I brought art supplies and started drawing in colored pencil. I took Bob Dylan’s literally when he sang “…your orphan with his gun is crying like a fire in the sun.” All the teachers that came in and out through the day talked with me in a friendly manner. The principal then realized I was just a rule bender and not really a trouble maker. The next time he caught me skipping I was with my friend Ken Gray. He caught us walking out at lunch. He asked us where we were going. I told him I was in the work program which was true…but I wasn’t going to work. I was skipping. He glared at me for a second but let me go. Ken had to follow the principal back to the office where he was suspended. He never went back.
I grew up watching the Vietnam War on the 6:00 news. It was horrific. As I grew closer to draft age I had to decide how I would respond to being drafted to fight in a war I knew nothing about and wanted nothing to do with. I could go to Canada easy enough. The border was only 35 miles away. But I ruled that out as an option and decided that I would accept my fate and take my chances in war. If I did get drafted I was going to try and promote my concept of the frisbee as a weapon of war, and hopefully get into research and development of frisbee as a tactical weapon. I could avoid combat while simultaneously honing my skills. I had my pitch all set as there were many things that only a frisbee could do. A frisbee, armed with explosives or a camera could go around things and hover over things much like drones do today. A martial artist, learned in the art of where to strike a fatal blow could whip a frisbee at a target and eliminate them in broad daylight. All he would have to say is, “Yeah, I threw a frisbee at them and they didn’t catch it.” But you could probably only get away from it once. I planned to use my deft frisbee skills to showcase all the things that a frisbee was capable of and I envisioned myself being set up to train other frisbee warriors my skills. Fortunately for all involved, the war ended before I became of age and my delusions never manifested. But to this day I always keep a frisbee handy and never travel without one…even overseas. There are several in my truck right now. I once kept a now mostly forgotten list of all the handy things a frisbee can be used for. A water dish for my dog, a tray for a paper plate, a fan, an umbrella…a weapon. (Excerpt from “Roam Antics” a memoir.)
I know my mom took this picture of me with my British family members, Andy, Roberta and Mike as she had a habit of “clicking” the camera so hard she would pull downward and to the right. I had to crop off a third of the empty background and poor Andy is only partially in view.
“Always carry your sketchbook with you like you do your driver’s license.” My great teacher Juanita Greene Parks used to say. I had mine with me when I was broke down on a country road waiting for help. I did 3 sketches leaning on my truck. This was years ago. But I painted over one recently. http://www.arthurbarnes.com
I just finished reading a 970 page historical novel. I generally don’t read many novels but I will read anything on the legendary Musashi who roamed feudal Japan in the early 1600s. He was a philosopher, a painter, a sculptor, a strategist, a writer, an architect, a wanderer, a calligrapher, a poet and a ronin…a Samurai without a master. “I practice many arts and abilities- all things with no teacher.” Musashi wrote. Also, “When I apply the principle of Strategy to the ways of different arts and crafts, I no longer have a need for a teacher.” and “ When one has achieved mastery over one thing-it shows in all things.” He was a complex man who never married or settled down. He traveled his whole life to hone his art and pursue enlightenment. “ A week before he died at the age of 61, in the cave where he went to prepare for his death, he wrote the Dokkodo which consists of 21 principles. It expresses a stringent, honest and ascetic view of life. Number 19 made me chuckle.
1. Accept everything just the way it is.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17. Do not fear death.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
21. Never stray from the way.
I sketched this quickly in ink, in the dark. I call it blind drawing because I couldn’t really see much. I then painted it from memory/imagination.
I sketched this scene from life in 2011 and painted it in 2021.
I have been looking through sketches I have drawn from life in the past that I have never gotten around to painting. Spending the winter safe and sound indoors and working on them isn’t a bad way to spend my time.
I scanned this at various levels to show the process.
I am often asked why I include telephone poles in my pictures. Telephone poles are like people. They are all different. Some are plain, some complicated and some even have lights that shine. They stand alone and yet are all interconnected. Like people. I did a sketch of this scene when I was broke down waiting for help on a back road. It must have been a long wait as I did 3 drawings. http://www.arthurbarnes.com
I found this old sketch that I had done from life many years ago. I like to scan my drawings before I paint them. Its a way to save the drawing that will be covered up with paint. From the black and white image I can make prints up that can be painted later or even be sold as prints themselves. I didn’t really have an image in mind when I started to paint this. Once I did the sky the dye was cast, and I built off of that.