Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Nowadays when I see a film portraying time travel, I laugh.

It is a knowing, arrogant laugh. Loud and annoying. This is because I am an expert in time travel.

I am an expert in time travel because I have drawn a two-page Moleskine spread outside Starbucks. (Double-click for larger views).

It's not the trip back in time that bothers me. It's the return trip. The return trip in any self-respecting sci-fi flick is imprecise. And I'm okay with this. The travelers return to a date and time a minute, an hour, or a week or two from their starting point. They return to the point of origin, and everything is as it should be. And this is when I laugh. This is when other moviegoers throw popcorn at me.

I didn't have much time to spend during each visit to Starbucks. I added to the pen drawing whenever I returned. But things moved. The first thing I noticed - the potted plants. Everything else the same - only the plants moved. Large plants in very heavy pots. Why on earth would anyone bother to move the &*%^*) plants? Then subtle changes - the tables rearranged, the bench gone. These I could handle. Finally when I returned one day everything had changed. The decals on the windows were gone, and the outside and inside tables and chairs were discarded in favor of entirely new furniture! Tall stilted uncomfortable table/chair combinations outside, and all of the cushy chairs removed inside. The modern definition of progress.

I will not be satisfied until a time traveler returns to find himself standing in a potted plant.

[Segue starts here.] We resist the inevitable changes and this is the source of much of our stress. 100 years from now we probably would not recognize much. 200 years, nothing at all. And xx years ago, my mother was born. On November 7th. Happy Birthday Mom!

Something compels my mom to create art. The same virus I've been infected with. And there is no cure. She will create even if a very few see her creation. Its something she returned to after her retirement. It brings her joy. But she has no blog. So on her birthday, I present her international debut! She works in acrylic, and here is a sampling. The flowers at the top of this blog were painted by her (yes, I am cheap - presenting her with her own flowers), and these. Feel free to let her know what you think in your comment.

And this beauty is hanging on my wall. I stop and look at it again and again.

:: Mom, to me your paintings are happy and beautiful. They portray your joy of life, your enthusiasm, your steady and uplifting encouragement, your compassion, and your love. But since I am your proud and very fortunate son - who loves you ever so much - I am biased, what can I say? Happy Birthday from all of us. And many more.. Keep painting.;) ::


  1. Yes, keep painting - both of you! I especially love the magnolia (I think I have that right) The glossy leaves look just like the ones on my daughter's tree. Happy Birthday!

    Your time travel story is good too. Moral of the story is to do a spread quickly. Okay, I've got that down. First I have to get up the nerve to do sketching in public but then I will try to do it quickly also!

  2. Dan, your Moleskin drawings are fabulous--I guess the Starbucks people moving everything really doesn't affect you adversely at all. I like that you "re-visit" your sketches/drawings...that is interesting.
    As for your Mom...her love of art shines through these pieces--what good colors and shapes. She should have her own can set her up! Happy Birthday Dan's Mom--and congratulations on your "debut"! p.s. & you did a nice job raising Dan...he's a good guy!

  3. I am so glad you are not tired anymore, must be all the coffee drinking. I love the drawings you have done.
    Your Mum's drawings are fabulous, I also would love to follow her blog when you set it up for her! Happy Birthday to your mum

  4. Happy birthday to your Mum from Australia ! Her acrylics are lovely with so much colour and life in them. The glossy leaves of the magnolia are wonderful and I think the daisies are so bright and happy.

  5. Nice to hear from you again, Dan and to see that your sense of humour and your "on-location" sketches are as good as ever !
    I share Celeste and Jill's idea of setting a blog for your Mum, her paintings really deserve it ! Give her my warmest Happy Birthday wishes from Fance ! I like her paintiings very much and the shades and light reflections on the petals and leaves in the first one are awesome ! Congratulations to Dan's Mum !!!

  6. I liked your time traveller story Dan, it goes really well with your great sketches. I can see where your talent comes from, your mum is very creative. I especially like the Magnolia, the light on the leaves just shines off the page.
    Wish her a very Happy Birthday for me from Italy.
    Buon Compleanno Mamma!

  7. Dan, I have to agree with you on the time travel - great story and love the Starbucks double spread.

    Your Mom's art is beautiful. I love the color and the subjects. She's really good at letting the light shine through.

    Happy Birthday to her. Thanks so much for sharing. Now, you just have to get her to blog. I have a feeling she would be fun to read.


  8. Comes to something when you can't even bank on Starbucks staying the same. Great sketches, Dan and I enjoyed your post!

  9. Wow, Dan...that first painting of your mom's is exquisite! She should be so proud, as I know you are of her as well. The magnolia is beautiful also! I love the Starbucks sketches! Makes me feel like I was actually there. All the best to your mom!

  10. Happy Birthday, Dan's Mom!! Your work is beautiful; as beautiful as what inspired it. Dan, I love your sketches and musings about time travel. I can relate!

  11. I can see where your talent comes from...your Mom does great work with color! I'm especially fond of the pelicans. Happy Birthday, Dan's Mom. Hope your birthday is filled with joy! (P.S. Dan, nice to finally see your face!)

  12. It would be funny if Starbucks made all those changes just to complicate your drawing (which is wonderful). Maybe they blogged about you.

    This is a great tribute to your mother and her paintings are beautiful; I especially like the magnolia.

    The new profile photo makes you look taller.

  13. Hi Dan's Mom,
    These are absolutely stunning paintings! Thank you for pursuing your art -- and Dan, thanks for allowing us the rare privilege of seeing it!
    I am awed.

  14. ha ha I loved reading this time-travelling artist's rant about change. Your sketch is great, but WOW your mum rocks!!!!

  15. How annoying that they kept moving important elements of your sketch! You managed to pull off an amazing sketch anyway - it's brilliant!

    And Happy Birthday Dan's Mom! Beautiful paintings!

  16. Happy birthday to you mother and do tell her how much I enjoyed looking at her paintings, all so joyful and colorful...surely a reflection of her outlook.

    I loved the rant about Starbucks...I too resist change, especially when it comes to my few comfort zones: Starbucks, book stores, favorite restaurants. If it's not broken why "fix" it?

  17. Looking at an old painting takes us all back.

    Happy birthday to your mum!

  18. What a lucky mom to have a thoughtful son like you! And to have a son who enjoys making art like she does. I would say you are both blessed!

  19. Happy Birthday to your mom! Her paintings are wonderful. If I ever retire (yuk yuk) I want to be like her. Altho I must say that I don't think it's a virus...something inherited. Your Starbucks story and of course your sketchbook are great and a lot of fun to admire. I have to wonder if your sketching made them self-conscious about their decor (or something) - you know - suddenly worried that their plants were getting enough light or something?

  20. I just read a book about a time traveler--it's a rough sort of life to live. They were plopped down in really odd, unpredictable places naked, so had to learn to pick locks, etc to get clothes and what not. Potted plants were the least of their worries. Thought you'd like to know...;-)
    I love your Mom's colorful paintings and your sketches are pretty darn good too.

  21. Wow! Wow! Wow! Your Mom's art ROCKS! Tell her.. tell her.. oh, just tell her EVERYONE thinks they're fabulous. I'm sure she is too.

    Love your coffee shop sketches. Mr Time-Traveler!

  22. Dan, I had no idea your mother was such an accomplished artist! Her work is stunning and gorgeous- I'm blown away.
    Your words are a delight to read and made me laugh. I agree, time travelers should return standing in potted plants.
    Your line drawing is phenomenal. I love this style of yours, the lines. That's ART.
    Happy Birthday to your mom. Let her know her art is simply gorgeous.

  23. Dan, I love your art and your writing; your blog is just entertaining. period.
    Your mom's art is happy and shows how much she loves life and art...beautiful!
    She needs a blog!

  24. Happy birthday Dan's mom! And Dan's mom's art is awesome I love them =) Okay Dan's art is awesome too... like mother like son? ^^

  25. I love the top painting of the yellow flowers. I would ask what they are but they probably would not like Oregon. Love to hear about "Arty Families.' Bill Wray's mom paints, Ted Nuttall's mom paints, and now we find out your mom paints! You are in a colorful gene pool - unsinkable!

  26. Wow, Dan! Your mother is awesome! I love that first one so much! Tell her happy birthday. (I agree that you should set her up with a blog, or even just a flickr account. ..she'd love our group!)

    Wonderful sketch of Starbucks. So funny that they were moving things around. Maybe they did it to tease you?

    Sorry I haven't gotten to the moleskine yet. Just finished another huge project...painting the exterior of our house. All I can say is...22 gallons of paint, a backache, and exhaustion. I've got an idea brewing though...

    PS Your writing is always brilliant!

  27. Love this and its given me food for thought. Its a great skill to be able to sit down and draw in a public place and one I usually shy from (and the pots moving would totally get on my nerves!) However you have done a fantastic job. I love your mothers drawings, they are incedibly rich and vibrant and agree as well with a potential flickr or blogger account. Its good to share.

  28. These are amazing Dan! I particularly love the first painting of your mum's. I love your painting too.

    I bet your mum is chuffed to bits that you gave her a platform. A lovely present if you ask me!

  29. What a good son you are, for showcasing your mother's artwork! And your mom is a wonderful artist, I can see why you're proud of her and where you got your love for art from.

  30. Great Starbucks sketches Dan.....think it's funny that they keep moving/changing furniture...sounds a bit like H.K., some shops seem to re-furbish every few months.
    I especially love the first of your Mum's flowers - Happy Birthday Dan's Mum

  31. Your mom is lucky to have such a devoted son. Happy birthday to her.
    The nerve of Starbucks to change!!

  32. Hi Dan, Happy belated birthday to your Mom! Wonderful flowers. The top one is particularly stunning! Interesting discussion about time travel. I can just imagine the time traveler landing in flower pot...a huge flower pot. That would be funny! Fun sketch, in spite of Starbucks!

  33. Are you kidding me? If I could paint like your mom, I'd have a blog...and a price listed on each painting. Love acrylic.
    Get your mom set up with that blog, and happy birthday to her.

  34. Thank you all so much, especially for the comments for my mom. She was surprised and delighted at all of the feedback. Until now her paintings had been seen only by family and close friends. Can't seem to convince her to get a blog though - she says she has can show her stuff on mine .. and it's true.

    Thank you also for the comments on my Starbucks drawing. I didn't know if you'd all notice! Acrylic is powerful on the post, as compared to the ink and watercolor sketch. But I was largely pleased with this one, and it took a long time to do. So I greatly appreciate your comments (as I always do).

  35. This is such a great post, love the story about Starbucks and I can so relate to the issue of things changing (and the frustration to draw it)... But I really like sketch, my favourite is the man sleeping in the comfy chair : )

    Your mums work is wonderful and I love the way you share her work with everyone, you are a good son. Please tell her I really enjoy looking at her work, beautiful work.

  36. Oh, thank you for the good laugh! I'll never be able to see a time travel movie again without thinking about the flower pots and laugh!
    By the way, your drawing of the starbuck is awesome.
    And your mom's paintings are absolutely gorgeous.

  37. Hi, it's me..Tracey. Just had to comment on your Mom's art. I do the same with my daughter. It needs to be seen....

    The comments have been sort of ... one way. Pleae know that I lurk..I watch your work and am impressed.

    Thank you for taking the time to see me; I love what I see of your Mom and understand thru her works where you get your talent.

    Thank you, Merry Christmas..and isn't the artistic endeavor wonderful !


  38. Dan, tell your mom she's an amazing image maker...
    I really like your Starbucks images and you dealt with the subtle changes in each session brilliantly.