Square Roots, 48 original watercolor paintings, 5” x 7” each, are, collectively, a small tribute to the art of Marc Rothko. I picked up a book of Rothko reproductions in Borders Books in Bettendorf, Iowa, one afternoon in ’04, and, sitting in the Borders Café, as I was preparing to write what became the book called “Mother”, Rothko’s art brought me to tears, surprising me, at the time. I was in the Quad Cities, now called the Quint Cities, more specifically, Moline, Illinois, where I was born and raised, after my formative years in McCook, Nebraska. I was living with my mother in the last year of her life, taking care of her and writing about it. After my time with her, I left her in the care of my brother, John, who had been with her for two years before I was. On my return to Seattle, I began a series of paintings based on the square. This series is the result of that time.
Never Mind Gertrude Stein, a collection of aphorisms, was begun in 1982, after an incident in the Owl and Monkey Cafe in San Francisco. I was sitting with Chuck Ferrera, when I said something clever. Chuck suggested I write it down. I said it was just a remark. He said I was a writer, and I should write it down. I said that Gertrude Stein had said, “Remarks aren’t Literature.” Chuck said, “Fuck Gertrude Stein, you’re a writer, write it down.” So, I did, and began to compile that and other aphoristic remarks into a volume, then titled, “The Captain of the Wind.” At the time, I had read only two books of aphorisms in my life, one by La Rochefoucault and the other by someone else, whose name escapes me. I sent the book to Northpoint Press, in Berkeley, and they wrote back that they were “swamped with aphorisms.” The same day, I read, in the New York Times Book Review, new reviews of three books of aphorisms. Over the years, I turned these “remarks” into greeting cards, after doing the drawings that accompany them, and called them, “Small Talk.” I have reverted to nearly the original sense, calling them “Never Mind Gertrude Stein.” I thought of calling them “Fuck Gertrude Stein”, but that was Chuck’s attitude, not mine, and I think Never Mind Gertrude Stein scans better.
Never Mind Gertrude Stein:
Spike’s Eye View is a book of cartoons for children and others, from 2000.
The True Story of Zenman is a book of cartoons, compiled in 2001, for children and adults, that could also be an introduction to Zenwords.
Music Night, abstract poetry and art, was written and painted one night in the Honey Bear Bakery Cafe, in Seattle, in the mid-Nineties. Music Night Stanzas is a better version of the printing that accompanies the artwork.
Music Night Stanzas
The Cartoon Kid is a collection of cartoons, my attempt to create a New Yorker style cartoon, a life-long ambition, it seems.
Big Head Theatre is a collection of satirical cartoons, each one portraying a mini-drama. These drawings were done in 2001.
A sampling of several styles of artwork, generally in oil pastels, some oils, and watercolors. The sizes vary greatly from painting to painting. Generally speaking, the figure work is in the twenty-four by thirty-two inch range, and the landscapes are mostly small, five by seven inch, but there are pictures that break that pattern.
Abhaya Paintings and Drawings Contents
Walking in the Barnes and Noble in the Kahala Mall, in Honolulu, I passed the self-help row. It seemed to go on for miles. I thought, “Somebody ought to write 101 Ways to Avoid Reading Self-Help Books.” Then I thought, “You’re a writer. Why don’t you do it?” So I did. This book, if what I’m saying is true, should work, even if you read it and do absolutely nothing it suggests.
The drawings included here have been sold as a coloring book called Have a Seat!
Download text only here:
101 Ways to Avoid Reading Self-Help Books
101 Ways with illustrations:
Philip Blanc in San Francisco was published by Panjandrum Press in 1972. These light surrealist excursions, as someone once described them elicited this response from my mother, “Stephen, were you on drugs when you wrote this?” I said I was not, that I wrote them in the library at San Francisco State on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. The drawings came later.
Philip Blanc in San Francisco