Saturday, August 27, 2011


I am terrible about posting my books of late. Here's what I've been reading.

Essential Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1 by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan - I found volumes 2 and 3 while on vacation so I ordered volume 1 from Amazon. Loved these as a kid and they hold up pretty well. The run was best when Wolfman and Colan were on the book.

Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler - Very quirky yet straightforward apocalypse tale. A fun and quick read. I'm going to check out more of his work. \

The Five by Robert R. McCammon - Anyone who really knows me knows I love McCammon but this book didn't do it for me. Sorry Robert.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - I really liked this story. In tv pitch language it's X-Men crossed with Alice in Wonderland....sorta. The old photos used thru the book really enhance the story.

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia - I wanted to like this more than I did. It had everything I like...elite forces fighting monsters. What's not to like, right? It was too long and, while the characters are likable, they are only about an inch deep.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson - Liked it but didn't love it. I have a feeling the Spielberg movie will iron out the parts I didn't like and make it more accessible.

Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live By Tom Shales - A behind-the-scenes tell all from the cast and crew of SNL. An interesting read.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I've been lax keeping up with books I've read. That ends now.

Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon - I like McCammon. 2 of his books (Boy's Life, Swan Song) are in my top 25 for sure. A couple are real stinkers (They Thirst, Stinger) and quite a few I haven't read yet. I finally got around to this one and I liked it...but...I felt like it was too long. I feel like it could have been edited down a bit more. That being said, I liked it and I'll eventually pick up the further adventures of Matthew Corbett. I'm really looking forward to his new book The Five and since our library doesn't seem to be getting it I may have to buy it.

Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years Vol. 1 - Kubert is a great artist. Visually, this book is great. He shouldn't write. Many artists make the mistake of thinking they can write as well as they draw. That is not the case.

Everyone Loves You When You're Dead by Neil Strauss - I only made it halfway thru this. I had heard it was interviews with celebs and music personalities like you'd never read before. I disagree.

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D. C. Pierson - This book started strong, got a bit muddy and then finished okay but it grabbed me from the first paragraph which is this:
"A thousand cartoons and TV shows and teen movies would lead you to believe that when you're drawing something at your desk in school, a pretty girls is going to say "What are you drawing?" and you'll tell her and she'll go "That's neat" and your artistry will reveal to her the secret sensitivity in your soul and she'll leave her football-player boyfriend for you. These cartoons and TV shows and teen movies are wrong."

Monday, May 09, 2011

Fasting Facebook

So, I took a week off from Facebook. I did it for an upcoming show called "The Unplugged Challenge" that will be at ArtsWest starting in late June. All the artists involved were to take a week off the internet, tv, social media, etc. for a full week and use that time to make art related to the experience. I don't watch tv except for DVDs and I don't have a cell phone so I'm pretty unplugged compared to most. Since the rules stipulated that we could use the internet for work purposes (my art is my work) I chose to specifically stay off Facebook and to keep surfing to a minimum. I won't say it wasn't difficult. It had it's moments. I rely on Facebook for a lot of things. It keeps up with my events and birthdays. I use it to promote my art. But I also use it to waste time. Did I make art? Sure. I put the finishing touches on 4 pieces today and I had finished one piece have 5 pieces for the show. I may have a couple more in me but I'm not sure. The experience is over so the art may be as well.
Did I learn anything? Sure. I think I won't spend as much time on FB as I used to. To be honest, I've had a pretty healthy attitude towards unpluggedness (a word?) for a few years now. In 1997 I got off cable tv and have stayed off. 400 channels and nothing on. Such a time waster. In 1999 I experienced a fire that destroyed my apartment and most of my stuff. I spent weeks staying with friends. When I finally moved back in to another apartment I had gotten out of the habit of watching tv. Before that, I would spend the entire time once I got off work until I went to bed in front of the tv. Not healthy. So, that habit stayed for a while. Then a few years ago my wife and I decided not to watch network tv anymore. We wait for shows we like to come out on DVD. We control our viewing and no commercials. I am way more productive now than I was 12 years ago. I look back and lament over all the time I wasted. I wish I could go back and change things but I can't. Bummer.
So...anywho...good experience which resulted in some new art. Can't wait to see what people think of the new pieces. I'll include one here so you can see what I mean.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Artist Ego

I had a very unfortunate encounter yesterday. I went to a gallery to pick up art and as I was leaving a very nice person complimented me on my art. Another artist was nearby and they quickly jumped into the conversation when I mentioned that my website is She barely glanced at my work and then launched into a lecture/explanation of her work that I didn't really want to hear. I was brushed aside so that she could explain that she sometimes does religious art and blah, blah, blah. Once she got to a stopping point, I quickly excused myself and got out of there. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I had been thinking about answering another call at that gallery but now I am leaning towards not.
I know what the artist ego is like. I am one. I believe in myself and my work but I don't want to come across as an arrogant a-hole. I certainly don't want to be guilty of brushing another artist aside so I can toot my own horn. I am actually not very good at marketing myself. I really need to be better at it. But I think I can stop way short of acting like this person. You have my permission to talk to me if I act like that.
And besides, I really didn't think much of her work. Is that bad to say?
Hee hee.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Skip the Small Talk

Very few people (at least by my observation) take the time to have conversations anymore. We live in a small talk world; a chit-chatty, shallow pool of meaningless jabber. I hate small talk. I am terrible at it and I refuse to engage in it. In meeting new people, I'll shake a hand and offer a fair, "How do you do?" but beyond that, I usually just clam up. Part of that is because, like I said before, I am not good at the small talk. The other reason is I am a pretty shy guy. I tip the scales pretty heavily on the side of extrovert. So, in new situations with new people I am hardly the life of the party. In fact, I usually come across as aloof, distant and seemingly above everyone else. This is hardly the case. I am, in truth, scared to death, unsure of myself and ready to retreat swiftly back into the comfort of my hidey hole. I have tried to overcome this in the past but I've never truly conquered it. It usually takes a long time for me to feel safe enough with someone to begin being myself in their presence. (which is difficult because I don't really know who I am anymore) Some people barrel thru my walls and plant a flag stating, "I'm here whether you like it or not!" Others tip-toe around the edges looking for a crack. I can't really say what the best approach is. I only have one suggestion.
Skip the small talk.
Yep. If you really want me to step out of my shell and interact you must put aside the chit-chat and engage me in conversation. Real talk. Swim beyond the shallows and go deep. I'm game. Really. Oh, and another thing you can do is not take yourself (or me) too seriously. I love to kid around and have fun. I find that most people I've met in recent years don't know how to have fun. Frankly I don't know how they survive life. I used to be known as a very funny person but my jokes and sarcasm fall on mostly deaf and humorless ears these days. I suppose that's why my art is so full of humor. It's the only way I have to get it out.
I wish these thoughts were more organized but, alas, this is what you get. I swore to myself that I would blog more. That requires a freedom to write without organizing and editing. So, that's what I'm doing.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I was talking to my mom a little bit ago and she reminded me that 32 years ago today we buried my Nana. (The picture is of Nana and my mom) Naturally this got me thinking about my Nana and what a wonderful person she was. She was the greatest grandmother anyone could ever want to have. I have no doubt that I am an artist today because of her influence. She was pretty creative herself. She used sit in her chair and do Tri-Chem (tracing patterns with colored paint in tubes) on pillowcases and other stuff. She made Christmas wreaths out of the plastic rings that hold beer cans together. (My Papa drank a lot of beer so these were plentiful) And she always had stuff around for me to be creative with. Sketch pads, pens, pencils, blocks, army men, toy dinosaurs, etc.
She also nurtured my creativity in other ways. She let me watch monster movies on TV. Every day during the week they had The Big Show at 3pm on one of the local stations and every once in a while they would show old monster movies. I loved 'em! She also let me watch all the crazy comedy shows I liked like Gilligan's Island, The Lucy Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, etc. Her biggest sacrifice was to take me to movies to see stuff I know she had no interest in at all. She once took me to see Battle for the Planet of the Apes because she knew I wanted to see it. That's an awesome Nana!
She did tons of other stuff, too. Way too much to mention here. I just wanted to say that Nana's on my mind today. She was the best.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Art Update

Since last night was Greenwood's Artwalk I figure this is as good a time as any to do an art update. Here goes.

- Shows continue to line up. I am booked pretty much thru July. I am also working on some images for some mail art projects.

- Last night, I talked to my new friend Matt Harrison about his documentary Citizen Heroes: The Rise of the Rain City Superhero Movement. Matt and his crew showed up at Tasty for the March superhero-themed show to film Phoenix Jones. I was wearing my Super Jesus costume so they ended up filming me in front of the stained glass window on the Lutheran church across the street. Matt showed me some of the footage last night and said he was very pleased with how it came out. He said he's pretty certain I'll make it in the film. How cool would that be? Whether I make it in or not, I'm still looking forward to seeing the film when it's finished.

- Speaking of Super Jesus, I'm probably going to wear the costume again for a possible opening in May. It will be a Jesus-centric show featuring my Christ collages. More details to come.

- My work is going to be included in a book that will be published in 2012. It's called Modern Vintage Illustration. That's really all I know at this point. I'm also trying to nail down a photo shoot of our studio for a future book about artists and their studios and I've sent images and info to an artist friend for a magazine article he's working on. More great publicity when all these things hit the streets.

Not much else to tell. My art making has slowed a bit of late but it's been more about shifting gears than not having time. I feel like my art might want to move in a different direction but I'm still feeling that situation out. Also in the works is a future revamp of the studio to make more space. Sarah and I are also going to revamp the apartment a bit w/ some new furniture. All of this will probably happen around the same time. So, as you can see, things are still busy and happening. Sales aren't what I'd like them to be but that's the nature of the business and the economy. More later as there's more to share.


I just spent a few minutes backtracking on my blog, reading what I was up to in April in past years. Very interesting to go back and see where you were at that point in life. Unfortunately my blogging has fallen off in the past year or so. I really should get back to it for the sheer "journal" or "diary" aspect of it. I stay so busy with art and such that I don't ever think about writing anymore. I'll endeavor to write more in the future especially recording important events because I know I'll really enjoy looking back on them in the future.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Ghost of a Chance by Simon R. Green - I love Green's Nightside series but this new series starts badly for me. Slow pace + uninteresting characters = bad. I may give it one more book since I didn't like the first Nightside book but love the rest of the series.

The Gates by John Connolly - This book was fun and even though the story was only an inch deep, it was well-written.

Essential Marvel Team-Up: Volume 3 - Enjoyed re-reading some of my faves from childhood especially the stories drawn by John Byrne.

Essential Werewolf by Night: Volumes 1 & 2 - Again, re-reading stuff I loved as a kid. This one doesn't hold up as well.

Essential Fantastic Four: Volumes 1, 2 & 3 - I bought these at Comicon because they were dirt cheap and collect the classic stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Fun stuff.

Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language by David Crystal - I only made it halfway thru this. It was interesting but very, very dry. I was hoping it would inspire some new collages didn't.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Emerald City Comicon 2011

Sarah and I attended the Seattle Comicon on Friday and Sunday. I had to work on Saturday. Unfortunately, the best costumes are on Saturday so we missed some of the fun. We had a good time nonetheless. Here are the highlights.

- I met one of my art heroes, Sergio Aragones, of Mad Magazine fame. I've been a fan of his work since I was a kid. I bought a book from him which he signed. He also signed some of my Mad paperbacks that I've had since the 70's.

- I had my picture taken with Phoenix Jones, the Guardian of Seattle. He and his buddies, the Rain City Superhero Squad, patrol the streets of Seattle and try to help out.

- We attended 3 panels. Bruce Boxleitner (Tron, Babylon 5) was quite funny. John Noble (Fringe, Lord of the Rings) was very polite, courteous and had many wonderful stories to tell. Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: TNG) was hilarious! His Patrick Stewart impression is amazing. At one point, folks in the audience prodded him to call Big Bang Theory and ask to be on the show. He said he wouldn't because you should be asked not called and beg to be on. I yelled out for him to call and pretend he's Patrick. That sparked a hilarious bit where he pretended to call the show as Patrick Stewart. Very funny.

- I got comics signed by Sergio Aragones, Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), Humberto Ramos (Crimson, Impulse), and Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon). Most were nice. Some were very dismissive. I've got to say, if you can't have a good attitude with the fans then don't attend.

- Ran into our friend Ivy as she was about to be fitted for vampire fangs. We saw her later with her new fangs. They look fantastic. I may get a pair next year.

- A very talented young man named Seth was dressed as Tennant's Doctor Who. He made his own costume which impressed Sarah greatly.

- I took advantage of the great sales and bought a bunch of trade paperbacks. I'll have to take more money next year. I could have spent double what I took.

Well, that's all I can think of right now. It was great fun and I can't wait 'til next year. I hope I can go on Saturday in 2012. It'll be the 10th Anniversary for the con. Should be spectacular. In the meantime, go here enjoy my photos on Facebook.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Man I Used To Be

I don't know why I was thinking about this today. Crazy how the brain works. This article was written about me probably in 2003. Not sure what to say about it other than I am so not this person anymore. I feel like a completely different person. Perhaps this is the alternate world's (via Fringe) version of me. I may have to write more about this later. For now it's just...strange.

Marty Gordon...A Creative Ministries Journey
Marty Gordon’s creative ministries journey began in 1990. Having grown up at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, and accepting Christ at the age of 17 at youth camp, Marty was no stranger to ministry. His formal education to become a visual artist began in 1980 as he entered college but his frustration soon grew as he found few ways to use his talents in the church. There was the occasional poster that needed to be drawn and the Christmas and Easter Pageants were there for some musical and dramatic opportunities, but Marty wanted more.
In 1990, Olive’s college minister, Rew Randolph, sensed Marty’s frustration and provided him with an opportunity that would change his life. With Rew as his guide, Marty attended the 1990 National Drama Festival held at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention. At the festival, a whole new world of ministry possibilities opened up. At the festival, Marty attended several of the many classes offered in puppetry, clowning, interpretive movement and drama. He also witnessed many wonderful performances by Christian artists. A standout for Marty was The Company, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s drama team. On the way home from the festival, Marty and Rew were so inspired that they planned a creative Christmas service for college students and performed it in December of that year.
Having been jolted into the reality that artists can use their gifts for God, Marty soon accepted a call to ministry and started at Southwestern in 1992. In 1993, he joined The Company, the group he was so inspired by at the festival in 1990. During his stint in The Company, Marty honed his skills as a dramatic artist. He returned to the National Drama Festival in 1994, only this time as a faculty member. After leaving The Company and the seminary behind in 1995, Marty joined Face to Face Ministries. This group was comprised of former Company members pursuing their vision to communicate the love of God through artistic mediums. After a year with Face to Face, Marty left to take a youth ministry position in Columbia, SC.
When Marty arrived in Columbia, two new creative ministries opportunities opened up to him. He was contacted by Angela Dowless of the Youth Ministries Group of the SC Baptist Convention about helping write scripts for Evangelympics. Marty is now in his sixth year of serving on the scriptwriting team for youth events such as Hardball and Summersalt.
Around the same time, Marty attended the SC Creative Ministries Festival where he ran into Rose Crane Grayson. They had met the year before when Face to Face served on faculty at Curtain Call, the North Carolina Festival. Rose asked Marty to not only serve on faculty but to be a part of the planning team for the festival. Marty just recently served at his sixth festival in SC.
Marty presently serves as Minister of Arts and Worship at Lakewood Church in Irmo, SC, where he attempts to communicate the gospel creatively through all of the arts.

Monday, February 07, 2011


I lost track of what I was reading for a while there. Here's what I can remember.

Monster by A. Lee Hernandez - Worth a read but only okay.

Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Hernandez - Same as above.

Percy Jackson Book 5 by Rick Riordan - Best book in the series. Too bad the others weren't as good.

A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World by Marcia Tucker
- Interesting biography of museum curator Marcia Tucker. A bit disjointed at time but still a worthwhile read.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - I'm still enjoying this series. I'll be very interested to see if they can successfully turn it into a movie.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Overcoming Your Artistic Block

What do you do when you have artist’s block? What do you do when you just can’t seem to get yourself going? I’m sure each of you experiences this from time to time. Or am I alone here?

Let me suggest a few ideas to help you overcome your artistic block.

Just Create

Pick up a brush (or whatever your medium is) and go for it. You don’t need to have anything specific in mind. Just mix up some pretty colors (or ugly if you want) and smear them around. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Before long, you will be getting into it.

This is one of the best ways I know of to overcome artist’s block. Creativity begets creativity. Yes, the act of doing usually leads somewhere…wherever that may be.

But, it isn’t the only way to get those juices flowing.

Study Other Artists’ Work

Looking at great art often gets me excited to paint. I have a decent collection of art books and stacks of art magazines. I study pieces of art in my own collection. When possible, I go to an art gallery or museum. I study the work of artists I admire. The juices begin flowing.

Sometimes I study the work of artists I’m not so sure about. I try to see if you can gain some appreciation for it. How would I have approached the work differently? I start getting ideas.

Study Your Own Art

Sometimes thumbing through my stacks of plein air studies or through my rejected studio pieces gets the gears in my mind cranking. I start to see possibilities in the unfinished pieces. I begin to find solutions to problems that stumped me in the past. Sometimes my original inspiration comes flooding back.

Visit Your Muse Where She Most Likely Hangs Out

I am a landscape artist. So, naturally for me, my muse is most likely wandering through the forest somewhere. Perhaps climbing a mountain peak or resting on the banks of a river. When I am at a loss for something to paint, I hop in my truck and head up into the nearby mountains or down some country roads among the farmland. With no specific destination, I go out into nature and just observe. I let the light, the patterns, colors, etc. speak to me.

Driving often does it, but getting out on foot in nature does it even quicker. I enjoy hiking in the mountains or taking a walk along the nature trails through town. Within a few minutes I almost always find something that inspires me. The closer I am to nature, the more in tune I become.

Whatever your subject, go find your muse at her usual hangout. She’s likely there.

Look Where Your Muse Seldom Hangs Out

Huh? Sometimes you need to step out of your box. Sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone. Notice the possibilities you’ve been overlooking – there’s a bazillion out there.

One of my favorite paintings is a close up of the landing gear on an old WW2 bomber I painted at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson. Beneath the HUGE plane, I poked my head up into the compartment that holds the landing gear and was fascinated. Not only was the old relic really cool, but the design possibilities were intriguing. I set up my easel right there and had a blast painting the gears and wires and rods, etc. My oldest son hangs that painting in his room.

Try a New Medium

Although I am an oil painter, I have sculptor’s clay in my studio. Sometimes I just start rolling the clay through my fingers and – voila! I am creating something – and excited about it. Yes, creativity begets creativity. But don’t neglect trying a new medium. I love sculpting. One day I may feel competent enough to consider casting a piece. For now, though, it is a diversion which frees me and opens up new ideas. I also find it interesting how something as opposite as sculpting can actually help me with painting.

These are only a few suggestions. There are many more ideas out there. What are your favorites? Add to the discussion by sharing.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Blogging and Resolutions

Well, I hardly ever write on here anymore. Seems like all I do is keep up with the books I've been reading. I used to be so disciplined about blogging. Facebook takes a bit of the blame. I can share videos, links and such on there for a much bigger audience. As for things that are happening in my life...well...let's just say my life isn't all that exciting. So, here I sit dealing with a bout of insomnia with nothing to say. I used to be able to come up with stuff to write about. I don't know what's happened to my creativity when it comes to writing. I guess I'm channeling it all toward my art and there's none left for anything else. Who knows?
I thought about sharing resolutions but I don't really make them. There are some things I want to do this year but I don't really call them resolutions. Just stuff I want to or should do. Here's a few.

- Make some new friends.
- Take some hand percussion classes.
- Rent a studio and take my art to the next level...whatever that is.
- Lose some weight, exercise and eat better.
- Try to have as much fun as possible.
- Travel as often as possible.
- Get my passport so the above is easier.

Well, that's all I can think of right now. That's a decent list for anybody. Guess I'll surf the net some more and hope the meds I took to help me sleep kick in soon.