15 March 2015

No Such Thing

The opening sequence to No Such Thing, a film by one of my favorite directors, Hal Hartley.  It stars Sarah Polley, Robert John Burke, Helen Mirren, and Julie Christie.

If you haven't seen it, well, I recommend it.  I recommend it even if you have seen it already.

It features one of the most cerebral, misanthropic monsters in any film.  He also speaks a lot of truth about the human condition even though he is far from human himself.  Let's just say he has has a lot of time to observe the ever changing world.

07 March 2015

Turkish Coffee Redux

I finally found a more authentic ibrik.  An Ibrik is the pot used to make turkish coffee.  The one I used previously worked but it was an enameled pot.  This one is copper on the outside and steel on the inside.  

I had to draw it before I got too jumpy.  The cup in the drawing is my second cup.

(crossposted on www.markbhillart.com/blog

01 March 2015


It is Sunday morning, the 1st day of March. I haven't checked the temperature but I don't have to to know it's cold.  I am sitting quietly sipping my first cup of coffee. Last night I thought about making a list of all the things I never want to hear about again.  You know, things like celebrity worship, Bruce Jenner, what whoever was wearing at the Oscars.  Then I thought, it's so easy to list all the things one hates.  This morning, instead, I am thinking about gratitude and all the things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my wife and boon companion, Valerie.  We have been together for ten years and it just keeps getting better.  We are each other's support system.  She is my best friend and the love of my life.

I am thankful that (at most times) I have my wits about me and my health.  I have command of all five senses.  My body complains a little more than it used to.  But I am 52 years old and I feel the healthiest I have ever been.

I am thankful my creative ability.  Drawing and writing keeps me sane.  Drawing is my meditation and my daily practice.  I can sit down at my table and start to draw or doodle and suddenly two, maybe three hours has gone by.

I am thankful for music.

I am thankful for old horror movies and Saturday morning cartoons.

I am thankful for my memories and past experiences, good or bad. You have things happen, you make a choice how they affect you.  I didn't see that for many years.

I am thankful for the ability to be still, quiet and enjoy solitude.

I am grateful, yes, for social media.  Yes, Facebook, I am glad you exist.  I would never feel so connected to other artists, like-minded people and old friends if it weren't for Mark Zuckerberg.  (This was the hardest one, seriously)  I have 699 Facebook friends and 85 percent (at least) are people I have never met.  And yet we are connected by our individual paths;  our love of art, music, the occasional political debate.

This is by no means a complete list.  It's only what I could think of in this short time.  Perhaps I will pursue this path in future posts.  Right now, though, I am going to have another cup of coffee.

Oh yeah, coffee, I am definitely grateful for coffee...

01 February 2015

Sunday Music-Phillip Glass Koyaanisqatsi

It is snowing here in Madison.  I am staying in all day if I can help it.  Luckily I have plenty of coffee and plenty of music to listen to.

28 January 2015

26 January 2015

Music Monday with Henri Texier

Happy Birthday (one day early) to Henri Texier!

Texier (born January 27, 1945) is a French jazz double bass player born in Paris. A self-taught jazz bassist, he is best known for his work in the 1960s with jazz trumpeter Don Cherry. In the 1980s, he was part of the Transatlantik Quartet, which featured Joe Lovano, Steve Swallow and Aldo Romano.

Varech, Texier's third solo outing, is the only CD I own at the time.  I definitely plan on buying more. It's great music to play while I am in the studio or reading.

Give it a listen.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

24 January 2015

I had to post this because it's cool on sooo many levels...

The Incomplete Book List

I am a voracious reader.  My brain gets restless when I can't read.  Recently, on my short bus commute to work, I have even started listening to audio books. It's not the same but it does help.

This morning I woke up and made a book list.  These books have left a lasting impression in some way or another, whether they influenced my thinking, inspired me, or the simple beauty of the writing itself.

With the exception of one or two authors, I have tried to limit the list to one author, one book.  However, usually when I find an author I like, I want to read everything else they have written.  So yes I have read more than one Ray Bradbury, and definitely more Kurt Vonnegut.

Anyway, here goes.  If there is a book or author you think I might like, leave it in the comments

  1. The Light Boxes-Shane Jones
  2. Choke-Chuck Palahniuk
  3. The Last Magician-Janette Turner Hospital
  4. The Dharma Bums-Jack Kerouac
  5. The Journal of Albion Moonlight-Kenneth Patchen
  6. Tropic of Cancer-Henry Miller
  7. Steppenwolf-Herman Hesse
  8. A Brief History of the Dead-Kevin Brockmeier
  9. Neverwhere-Neil Gaiman
  10. Doctor Sleep-Madison Smartt Bell
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  12. Nausea-Jean-Paul Sartre
  13. Cat's Cradle-Kurt Vonnegut
  14. Trout Fishing in America-Richard Brautigan
  15. The Romantic-Barbara Gowdy
  16. Hallucinating Foucault-Patricia Duncker
  17. The Dogs of Babel-Carolyn Parkhurst
  18. The Boy Detective Fails-Joe Meno
  19. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting-Milan Kundera
  20. Motherless Brooklyn-Jonathan Lethem
  21. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay-Michael Chabon
  22. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell-Susanna Clarke
  23. Ghostwritten-David Mitchell
  24. The Black Book-Lawrence Durrell
  25. The Razor's Edge-M. Somerset Maugham
  26. Where I'm Calling From-Raymond Carver
  27. Collected Stories-Andre Dubus
  28. Galore-Michael Crummey
  29. Daniel Fights a Hurricane-Shane Jones
  30. A Fairly Good Time-Mavis Gallant

Let me know what you think...

23 January 2015

A Short List of Movies

I love movies.  I have movies on most of the time when I am sitting back in my studio.  Old movies, generally, old horror movies, specifically.  I go beyond just the horror genre when I talk about my favorite movies.  There are movies that are guilty pleasures, the ones I rarely admit I watch. There are also those that have made a lasting impression.

So, I made a list, in no particular order.

  1. Fight Club
  2. Murder, My Sweet
  3. Touch of Evil
  4. Experiment in Terror
  5. The Big Lebowski
  6. Snatch
  7. The Devil's Backbone
  8. Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  9. Frankenstein (1931)
  10. Don't Look Now
  11. The Maltese Falcon
  12. Snatch
  13. The Razor's Edge (1984)
  14. A Fistful of Dollars
  15. Moonrise Kingdom
  16. Away We Go
  17. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  18. The Seventh Victim
  19. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  20. 12 Monkeys
  21. Halloween
  22. Trust
  23. A Night at the Opera
  24. Blue
  25. The Illusionist (2006)
  26. Mindwalk
  27. On the Waterfront
  28. The Last Seduction
  29. Orlando
  30. The Fisher King
  31. Blood Simple
  32. Chamber of Horrors (1966)
  33. Miller's Crossing
  34. My Favorite Year
  35. Becket
  36. The Devils
  37. The Pope of Greenwich Village
  38. War of the Worlds (1953)
  39. Jacob's Ladder
  40. A Perfect World
Bear in mind these are the first 40 that came to mind right away.  There are more.  A lot more.  I'm thinking of more as I sit here, but I will stop at 40 (for now).  The movie titles with the years after them?  I wouldn't want you to think I even finished War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.  Please...

And yes, this list, upon review, is all over the place.  I make no apologies for my eclectic taste in movies.  I tried to restrain myself from listing all the old (bad) horror movies I enjoy.

Please feel free to comment with your list.  I'm always looking for new movies to check out.

15 January 2015

The Other Blog

Perhaps you've noticed I haven't been posting quite as much here.  Maybe you haven't.

I'm finding it more difficult to juggle two blogs.  I have this one and one on my website.  Since my website is Coffee Fish Press it has mostly my linocut block prints.  Lately. though. I have been using the blog feature as a showcase for my drawings and sketches.  A long time ago, this was my only blog and I used it for all art and writing.

So, I think I might be facing a tough question somewhere down the line.  The options are to make this blog my "sketch blog" and keep the website for just the printmaking.  Or ditch this blog and just make it a "one-stop" website.

I'll get back with you when I decide....

16 December 2014

Sketching Pens

crossposted on www.coffeefishpress.com

I have been taking a short hiatus from printmaking to re-acquaint myself with sketching.  It's a basic skill that I occasionally lose touch with.  I forget how to get out of my own head and see the world around me.  This results in feeling stuck in more ways than one.

My plan, starting this Spring, (and when I'm not doing an art fair) is to venture out into the world and sketch as much as I can.  Whether it is outdoors or in a cafe, I hope to fill several sketchbooks by Autumn.  And then I plan to just keep going.

Of course, there will still be lots of printmaking.  Even though it is only December, the Summer art fair season is looming ahead.  I've already applied for one show for 2015.

I hope you can join me on the journey.