Archive for January, 2010

I can’t rest because I’ve got things on my mind

January 16, 2010

Venice Skyline by Rogelio Reyes Cannady

December 25, 2009 | Christmas Day | 1:15 a.m.

THE SLOT HAS just been shut and in my hands I have an apple and orange. Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad and Joyeux Noël. Breakfast will be here in another two hours or so, but for some reason, we were just woken up and given our Xmas fruit. Guess I will rest now. No, I can’t rest because I’ve got things on my mind, but I’ll choose to concentrate on my loved ones foremost. And, well, I have some painting to do to. Join me? OK, I’ll admit something: I am anxious to paint. I have a drawing board, have made brushes and mashed colors into paint. I am debating on what to paint. I’ll do a second edition of my third attempt at painting; it’s the “Venice Skyline” at sunrise. I should admit something else: Although it may be my initial attempts at painting, I have been drawing, on and off, for years. I hope this next one does not embarrass me.

December 25 | Christmas Day | 7:30 a.m.

WELL, HOW AM I going to do this?! I’ve already set up shop! This table is too small to work on, so I have cleared off my bunk and have organized my paints, which I mashed and put in (cut out) milk containers. My brushes are ready to go and the drawing board is prepped and ready. I have decided to do the “Venice Skyline” using techniques I’ve learned from this book and from the mistakes of my first examples.

The sky and water below should be first, but before that, I need to sketch the cityscape on the drawing board so that I have some thing to work on. OK. The sketch is done.

Everybody is beginning to wake up. And the cold Christmas trays are about to be passed out. What’s a cold tray? Well, on Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are fed better and two trays are required for this purpose. The cold tray will contain . . . I’ll describe it when it arrives, so excuse me a few minutes while I communicate with somebody special .. writing someone.

9 a.m.

THE COLD TRAY? A piece of strawberry cake, piece of chocolate cake, apple cobbler, peach cobbler. Three sweet pickles and five black olives. The “hot tray” is yet to come and before that I should spread some paint on this board. The sky is first. Beginning with the rising sun… No, that’s wrong. The sky does come first. Then the sun…

2:20 p.m.

THE HOT TRAY came and went! It put me down for the 10-count. Knocked out! Ha Ha. The hot tray consisted of a slice of brisket, BBQ hot link, stuffing with gravy, potato salad, corn and beans. Can’t wait for next year to come around! Well, I also got the sky, sun and the city (generally) painted on the drawing board. The paintbrushes have worked surprisingly well. Who would have thought?!

How is your Christmas? Hope your is enjoyable. Merry Christmas, once again. Smile. OK, now I should concentrate on painting or I will never get done! You judge the result. My friend Juan will be the owner, if he accepts it! Hope your new year is a prosperous one. Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoy this because now I’m baldheaded

January 15, 2010

December 24, 2009 | Christmas Eve | 9:30 p.m.

WELL, WE NOW have brushes! I wish you could have seen me last night. The longest part of my hair was the top, so I started to crop it off a bit at a time. Each bit has become part of a brush. When I got done, I peeked into the mirror and a man twice my age looked back at me! Hair remained only on the sides and on the back of my head. Laughing? It’s OK, because I was too! Well, now we have six different types of brushes. We got paint and we have a drawing board to paint on. I’ve been at this since last night and never even considered how time consuming it would be to make these brushes. I hope you enjoy this because now I’m baldheaded! Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Joyeux Noël.

Necessity is the mother of ingenuity

January 14, 2010

December 23, 2009 | Wednesday | 1:41 p.m.

I HAVE BEEN considering in what way I can show another glimpse of this place to you. There are so many facts of this place that remain hidden from the public eye. What is the saying? Necessity is the mother of ingenuity? Yes, that’s it. Creative minds do reside here. For some time I have wanted to learn how to paint. Without fail, every opportunity that has brought me face to face with the prospect of learning has also placed barriers that I have yet to overcome. Until recently. This year, I received an early Christmas gift, and instruction book on painting. I asked for this particular book (Love you, Norma!) and now I am going to use it although some barriers remain. Mainly, the supplies necessary to create a painting!

Three times I have attempted to create a painting and fell confidant that I will succeed although I have had to improvise. This book calls for 13 types of paints to further create even more colors. I began with a set of dollar watercolors that I have since given up on as useless. The book calls or 10 different types of paintbrushes. I had only a plastic brush that came with the cheap watercolors. The book calls for a canvas board. I have a drawing board that should work just fine. The book also calls for other tools of the painter’s trade. I have none of those, but do possess determination and a will to succeed. The only art supplies sold to us through the prison commissary are: a set of useless watercolors, as daring board, a protractor/rule and a regular set of color pencils. We are not allowed to have art supplies sent in to us, either. Barriers. Barriers…hmm.

The three paintings I have attempted haven’t been as bad as I thought and these have taught me invaluable lessons. I have learned that regular pencil colors can be mashed into paints. So we now we have paints! I learned also that several brushes will be necessary to create a painting that resembles something. Anything! I have improvised to make a pair of brushes using my hair, but those two will need company.  We will figure some way. Necessity is the mother of ingenuity.