art


“cat outside fishmonger’s” by amyeigttrack – smudged crayon and oil crayon, c. 2003

“man smoking cigar, thinking, in clouds, by river” – by amyeighttrack – colored felt tip pen and smudged crayon

“my stuff” – by amyeighttrack

“IT’S EASY BEING GREEN” – collage w/ cut paper, by amyeighttrack. (Note – the paper was a beautiful, thick sheet with blue on one side and purple on the other. I cut out shapes and reversed them to show the tactile pleasure of the paper.)

beaded pouch

pouch, reverse side

diorama.  woman with owls greeting card by Cheryl Renee Long

http://www.cherylrlong.com

Japanese dolls

sampan

Turku 87, print by Robin K. Wright

untitled abstract by Dolph Strietzel, colored ink (felt tip pens?) on heavy paper. I love the bright colors and Southwestern Native American motif. I won it with my low bid on eBay for $9.50 plus $7.50 shipping. I feel like that’s inarguably a rock-bottom bargain for original artwork and hope that he gets better paid for his work in the future.

“Kitten Eyed Woman” – pastel oil crayons and gold leaf by Brandi Cleveland. Her daughter named this one. Check out her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Brandi-Cleveland-Artist-622485181182054/

I think Brandi is a great artist! She is personable, engaging and thoughtful. I bought this from her at the Pride festival at the Seattle Center a couple of years back. I complimented her on the expressiveness, the beauty of the ethnicities she portrayed. I asked her about it. She said that one of her sources and inspirations was National Geographic magazines. I was doubly impressed.

Money was tight for me, and she kindly reduced the price. There was a large reclining nude she had there that I craved for months afterwards. It was indescribably Lush. You have to see her work in person to get the sensuality of it. If you see something you like – you won’t be disappointed! It only gets better!

Winter Sunshine by Gwendolyn Grant. This reminds me so much of my mom – beautiful, reading a book, enjoying the sun.

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“Pretty interesting artwork!”

Thanks Ellen. I wish more people would comment on my blog. Even criticism is good feedback for writers, artists – a jump-off point, a muse. I don’t really get why people don’t comment more. I value feedback from people I “friend”.
Posting this stuff, though – I take pride in everything on my blog. Reading some of what I’ve written today, I got a sense of accomplishment, a body of work, even if it is “just another blog”. Like I’ve made a contribution, somehow; I matter.
It’s one thing I have to appreciate about Facebook – you get a chance to express yourself to a wider audience. 🙂

all images and artwork © copyright the author 2011. may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without prior arrangement

“3 devil morning” – by amyeighttrack, pencil & watercolor, 1982.           This drawing came straight out of my subconscious. It is somewhat the product of being hung over and shamed.  It's a very scary combination - not a muse I would recommend. Still... this is one of my favorite drawings ever! So what's the lesson, in terms of 'the muse'? I would say: find a way to tap into the subconscious (sans alcohol/other 'substances') in an uninhibited, free-flowing way. Maybe it's about learning to trust yourself; your instincts, your point of view.  Find a way to draw because you have to draw. Let it be your 'diary' or journal.

“3 devil morning” – by amyeighttrack, pencil & watercolor, 1982. This drawing came straight out of my subconscious. It is somewhat the product of being hung over and shamed. It’s a very scary combination – not a muse I would recommend. Still… this is one of my favorite drawings ever! So what’s the lesson, in terms of ‘the muse’? I would say: find a way to tap into the subconscious (sans alcohol/other ‘substances’) in an uninhibited, free-flowing way. Maybe it’s about learning to trust yourself; your instincts, your point of view. Find a way to draw because you have to draw. Let it be your ‘diary’ or journal.

“design exercise – collage”, early ’80’s. Inspired by an art class design exercise. I think I tried to develop some design ideas; then chopped up and combined some of them with random stuff.

“Free” – collage – tempera & pencil, c. 2009. I had the materials available and wanted to try something different from a picture/word collage. You can’t see it in the photo, but I wrote FREE in pencil in the lower right corner

“nuclear” – pencil, felt pen, watercolor, 80’s. I think it was inspired by my art class design exercise and collage work.

“cassette player on ship cabin desk w/ checked tablecloth” – pencil and felt pen. Straight from the subconscious – I probably wanted to express how much music meant to me as a merchant mariner. It was like a splash of color on a grey, endless horizon; it made one feel a bit less isolated. It was a social thing, too; a broadening experience – sharing music.

“russian submarine bird” – ballpoint and felt tip pens, 80’s. Click on photo to see detail. Just doodles. I wish I still had that ability to just tap into/go into my subconscious. Or maybe I decided I didn’t like what I saw there.

“killer whale pod” – ballpoint and felt tip pens, 80’s. Doodles, as above.

“lonesome bird that looks like me” – xerox of original – collage, felt tip pen, c. 1984. Another doodle. Existentially lonely and kept company by a little bird outside my window that told me I’d be okay. Well, anyway – birds seems to resonate to something essential, within my life. This drawing may have been one of the first manifestations of that.

“scribbles” – pencil, crayon and watercolor. c. 1979. My mother and an artist friend were doing a whole bunch of these and invited me to try. I like the simplicity of the technique and its possibilities for spontaneous expression.

See watercolor and crayon art at Google Images here . There’s some schlocky ones, some nice ones, some by children… even some by masters like Camille Pissarro. This one was on page 16, lol  It’s nice to see how refined and beautiful some of them are; the skill; how far you can go with simple elements. Lots of great ideas and links!

“explosion” – collage with newspaper, pencil & pens, 80’s. Art class assignment to represent an explosion.

“Burroughs”  – collage w/ ballpoint and felt pen, 80’s. A doodle. I didn’t set out to draw Burroughs – it’s just what came out. I like the Folgers Instant Coffee label; it seemed to go well with it.

See a brilliant painting of Burroughs here by Roger Shimomura and an excellent article about Roger Shimomura here who did a series of paintings about the racial stereotyping of Asians.

“doll”     –     xerox of a watercolor by my mother. I wish I had more of her artwork, or even photos of it. Mom, you left us too soon… xoxox

One by my sister. My photo is blurred and doesn’t capture the richness & detail.

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Why do I call my blog amyeighttrack? It was a joke that came to me when I was starting my blog and I needed a name for it. I’m showing my age, I guess – I actually used to listen to music on 8 track. And I do write a bit about some of the music I like.

I attended the Seafarers’ International Union’s School of Seamanship in 1974. This school in rural Maryland has long been a model of union education. It’s approach to the training of personnel was innovative. It was founded, during the height of the Vietnam War in 1967, to meet the needs of a growing industry and provide a ready labor force. I don’t know whether working on ships back then as a merchant mariner got people an exemption from the draft – I’d be  interested in knowing.

I have some now-pleasant memories of sitting or working in the cafeteria, with “Free Bird” echoing out on the eight track, ad nauseum. It made a nice – if somewhat bluesy – soundtrack for all the young angst and passion – up, up and away!! Just pop it in the player and you’re good to go!

The sound was actually good, it reverberated nicely – especially when the cafeteria was empty; and was nice background music when the cafeteria was full and buzzing with conversation. Someone also had ZZ Top’s “Tres Hombres ” – nice; “I Can Help” by Billy Swan (mmmmm, yeah, right!) – nice; and BTO, “Blue Collar” – nice.

Later, on a ship, I went in with a friend on an 8-track stereo and some tapes. As you can imagine, 8 track tapes were a better system than a phonograph to have on a ship; though our stereo had a phonograph, too. We bought some tapes – “War Live” (which I recommend highly. The versions of the same material on “The Very Best of War” are highly truncated);  “Sally Can’t Dance” by Lou Reed; and “Bad Company”. Someone had a record of “Texas Gold” by Asleep At The Wheel, a very fine album (go to review here) with some really great Western Swing music; and some very serious drinking songs, indeed. The songs “Miss Molly”, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, “Miles and Miles of Texas”, “Choo Choo Ch’boogie” and many others by that band are also favorites of mine.

I met many interesting people at the school. There were a lot of guys from the East Coast and some from the South.  Shipping out of a few different US ports – Houston, San Francisco and Seattle, I met lots more people. There were new crews on every ship; and people who’d join the ship from whatever port that someone else got off in. I developed an abiding love for the many different peoples and regions of the US, each with their own unique character. It broadened my musical tastes and brings back some nice memories.

I worked on ships from 1975 through 1986. It wasn’t an easy lifestyle. It was pretty tough, at times. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

The industry in the U.S. has changed a lot since then. The little tankers I was on and most of the ships had a crew of about 42. Since then the ships have gotten bigger and the crews smaller, to maybe 23 or less.

Instead of there being what I would call a “merchant marine”, a lot of the jobs now are in support of the huge-and-growing military-industrial complex – one of the growth industries of the past decade or so. How regrettable that our society and values have come down to this – militarism. Then again, how many options are there for – especially poor – youth today? The merchant marine might still make an attractive alternative to the military.

I mostly worked in the steward department. They assigned me that, because of my glasses. I worked on freighters – mostly container ships, by then – and tankers – hauling fuel or grain. I worked on a ship that laid telephone cable on the ocean floor between Guam and Okinawa. I also worked on a Navy ship.

I sailed to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Indonesia, The Philippines; Leningrad in the then-USSR; Italy, Spain; down the Pacific coast of Central America and through the Panama Canal; Jamaica and other Caribbean ports; Brazil and The Ivory Coast. I feel fortunate and believe that travel or living abroad is a valuable, enriching human experience.

It’s been interesting seeing some of the people I met through the Union’s educational program and political work rise through the ranks of Labor and the industry. It puts a human face on Labor, for me. I have a lot to be grateful for.

My god, how the school has changed. The way it’s grown, I hardly recognize it. The school curriculum and program has grown, too. We never had ‘Small Arms Training’, ‘Anti-Terrorism’ or ‘Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defense’; courses now required for employment on some government vessels, where so many of the jobs are. I hate guns. Marching in formation was bad enough.

Back then, there wasn’t a mandatory 3 month apprenticeship period ship-board after the 3 months of school training. Today this apprenticeship period includes 4 weeks in each of the shipboard departments (engine, deck & steward), followed by more courses and upgrading. We didn’t have as good a firefighting course, either. It sounds fairly challenging – but it’s a good skill to have, on a ship!

I see that they no longer have an academic course for art. That’s a real shame! Some of the favorite art that I’ve ever done was a result of assignments for the little 3-credit course I took. However, it looks like they have some other very good courses.

The Seafarers International Union has an excellent and interesting website. View website here They have many beautiful pictures of ships and the seafaring life. You can check out their monthly publication ‘The Seafarers Log’; read more about the school; and even download the school’s 90 page catalog under the subheading, ‘Paul Hall Center’.

All of the wood carvings were purchased by me at the Daybreak Star Pow-wow in Seattle, circa 1995.

black jaguar with friendly, placid demeanor

yellow jaguar with black spots, as seen through a child’s eyes in a dream

señor red squirrel

blue pig

she-wolf – it looks like a Northwest Native American piece

Zopilotes, Turkey Vultures © Cheryl Renee Long. This is a fantastic print. It’s actually quite large – in frame, 37″ X 19″. It took my breath away when I first saw it. It was dark, powerful and mysterious. Then, one day, I “saw” it on my wall and subsequently bartered with Cheryl for it. I had found its beauty and spirituality. It depicts some turkey vultures spreading their wings to catch the morning sun’s warmth. Click twice to see detail.

http://www.cherylrlong.com

“Woman with butterfly robe”, hand-painted floor to ceiling scroll. Given to me by a friend; it was painted by their father. Image is 43″ by 16″; entire scroll dimensions are 71″ by 21″

It was Malle week at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle. I really liked “The Thief of Paris” (French, 1967) . It starred Jean-Paul Belmondo, and somehow I wound up making some doodles that looked like him. Unfortunately it’s difficult to find with English subtitles. The movie is very stylish and well done. Drawings by amyeighttrack

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I traded work for art, a beautiful framed print from my friend Cheryl Long. This painting accompanied a childrens’ book or book of poetry. She is, indeed, a “colorist”!

http://www.cherylrlong.com/

I went to see someone’s crazy graffiti-inspired artwork being displayed at a bar. I loved it and wished I could’ve bought one or two. It inspired me to write this poem.

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I sat in the kitchen typing noislessly, communicating with no one
can’t construe my thoughts
wondering wordlessly; the why, the wuh –
sinking in abandon, wondering wuh?

the cat napping lazily
endlessly catnapping,
the coffee kept me up
at least the cat can sleep

cause I was so tired, and no energy
two cups too late
now it is too late
it’s so late, it’s early

worked hard   – and after,
when you’re done, there’s nothin’ left
the pride of a job well done
and sometimes you can’t sleep
’cause you’re too tired

back aching    – it’s sensitive
– lets you know when you
need to make a change
and after all, I still had something to do

So now here I sit
wondering about the art, the big art I saw
on display the other day
I felt so free
it unblocked me
there was big art and so much of it
all together in one place, in one space
you could tell they had it together

Oh, it was just too easy, and I liked it
cause it was all there, right where it was supposed to be
it was starting to come together
and I wanted some, wanted one, wanted something

cause it had possibilities
and I’m tired of looking at the same
old four walls
It’s making me crazy!

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