My parents' car

I learned to drive on my parents’ car. The one they gave me. A 1970 dodge dart with a slant six engine.

 That was the first car they got. In fact the only car they got.My parents were not car people. They were foot people. In their hearts and anywhere else their selves lurked,  my parents were refugees.  They werealways in or about to be in a state of flight. On foot. For them to choose something that was inescapably strange, like a car, was astonishing.  In a moment of illuminated madness they chose the best car ever.

Not only was it a mystery how they discovered this car. It was also a mystery how each of them became licensed to drive. Both myparents wore glasses and my father wasalso deaf in one ear . He would have been about 60 years old when he was learning to drive. His hearing loss was in his right ear which, if he was behind the wheelat the time he was getting his lesson, would put him out of hearing range of the driving instruction.

I am sure my parents arrived at the drivingtest location late, bickering, blaming the other for not being ready on time. My father probably so agitated when he got into the car for the driving test, he could not figure out where to put the key. I can only presume my father bribed his successful completion of the driving test. It probably took five bucks and hewas free to roam among an unsuspecting driving public.

My father was deaf and he had a tenuous relationship with reality. A vestige of his world war two experience was that hesaw reality in a hyper-exaggerated form of menace. Particularly any reality that was different than what he was used to.  He would become uncontrollably hysterical at the sight of an improperly folded newspaper. What could he possibly have thought he was going to do with a car improperly changing lanes?

My father only drove the car once. The first timehe got into the driver’s seat he rounded a corner and could not control the steering wheel. He made a complete revolution. Apparently he did not realisethat turning a corner required him to stop the rotation of the drive wheel somewhere in the movement through its circumference. The Dart ended up coming to a halt on someone’s front lawn. My Dad got out of the vehicle and walked away, never to drive it again.

To be continued...

Sergei Magnitsky

This is Sergei Magnitsky. I did this in 2012 shortly after he died. He is the reason for the Mangitsky Act in the USA that bars Russian thugs who have been implicated in criminal conduct from entering the country. In 2016 Canada was asked and refused to pass similar legislation. So, Dion/Trudeau talk the talk but can they walk the walk?  Seems not.

Stanley and Leo

Stanley is 90 and Leo is 103. Good friends, they are both avid readers. They met a couple of years ago and Leo taught Stanley how to cook because Stanley's wife had recently died. I learned about them when I read about Stanley's typical Sunday in the NYT, May 15-16. Stanley's favourite publication is the New York Review of Books, which I also love.

Why I Paint By Simon Schneiderman: Drawn To People

Lots and lots of Sketching

Lots and lots of Sketching

Changed Everything

Changed Everything

If art has has as one of its unstated objects the connection with the other I try to connect with others  by drawing them. I am trying to bridge the isolation I live in. I am the only child drawing a community of people. Balzac said solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine. Which is to say one hand clapping is okay until you want applause. I use the image of strangers to turn them into companions for myself and anyone else. After all, the unstated question when we look at the image of the other is what do I have in common with you. Maybe nothing but just posing the question is worth the price of admission.

I started painting and drawing because I was unable to write.

I developed an impediment, a writer’s block. It came out of nowhere. I started falling asleep each time I tried to write. Instead of just trying to fight the block I thought, maybe I could fool the brain by trying another means of expression. Draw instead of write. But that was easier said than done. 

I didn’t know how to draw and I wasn’t born with the drawing gene I thought you needed.  Then I read a book that changed everything. Drawing on the Right side of the Brain. The book showed me through various exercises that anyone could learn how to do draw.  That drawing was a language, no different than Spanish or French. If I learned the alphabet of drawing, perspective, shading, line. If I practiced a lot and learned how to see I could learn how to draw. I started carrying a little book with me everywhere I went. I filled dozens of  those books  with sketches. I worked every day to deepen my drawing vocabulary. These books became little records of my life, almost like a visual diary. Drawing of my kids, my travels. People  on subways, lawyers in court, everyone and everything. That’s how it started and so it goes.