Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Rains, Guincho

This is a fairly large painting, as watercolors go, but I had to post a small photo of it, or it wouldn't fit onto the format of this blog.  If you click on the photo, you can see a bigger version.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stop What You Are Doing

And watch this:
It's short.  You can tape American Idol; you can resume your dental flossing; you can return to your sudoku - in a very brief, but very enlightening 13 minutes.

Then you can thank me.  I'll be waiting.

(Hat tip to Gatordoug.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sketch Number 3

A further inducement to working quickly, and omitting extra detail - this paper is meant for drawing, not watercolor.  That means it doesn't handle water well at all, and too many brush strokes will actually rub it to pieces.  This is a view of Guincho Beach.

"Workplace Violence" Claims Two More Americans in Afghanistan

Because that's what it is, right?  If Major Nidal Hassan's attack on fellow soldiers in Fort Hood was labeled "workplace violence," then how is it anything else when Afghan "partners" shoot and kill their American colleagues?

I guess one good thing comes from redefining our terms; if everyone is dying due to "workplace violence," we can now say that combat deaths are trending down.

The Heart of the Matter

Is laid bare in this American Spectator article by Daniel Mandel.

...the Obama Administration has refused to associate terrorists attacking America with Islam. Administration officials have spent four years speaking of particular terrorists at home and abroad as isolated "extremists," even when Islamist terrorist connections ... were readily traceable.
You can't win against an enemy you are unwilling to acknowledge, and your culture cannot prevail against an aggressive, virulent, totalitarian philosophy if you will not even allow your defense officials, analysts, and security specialists to apply useful terms in the process of discussing that philosophy.

The Administration has also expressly disavowed the use of terms like "Islamism," "radical Islam," and "jihad." ... terrorist attacks themselves have been rechristened by the Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, "man-caused disasters" and military campaigns against their perpetrators "in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the globe" relabeled by the Defense Department "overseas contingency operations."
This failure to recognize an enemy is bad enough, in and of itself, but it is compounded by the inclusion in our government of those who have demonstrated their committment to overthrowing it.  In his article, Mandel cites case after case where our own government has appointed advisors, spokesmen, and representatives from among the ranks of those sworn to elevate Islam over democracy.  This is without precedent in our history.  It is as if, in World War Two, we had allowed members of the German National Socialist Party to dictate to our War Department what terms it could use to describe them, and veto power over the training materials we developed to combat them.

Lincoln, in quoting the Bible, reminded Americans that a house divided will not stand.  Even less likely to stand is the house that shelters under its own roof those determined to destroy it.  And make no mistake; that is exactly what confronts us now.  Don't take my word for it.  Read for yourself how the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen to describe the "civilization jihad" against the west.
The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. […] It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is…
The most frequent response, when I mention these matters, is from people who assure me that, "Not every Muslim is a terrorist."  Nobody is saying that they are.  Nobody said that every German was a NAZI, either.  What must be said though, is that Islam provides justification for attacks against unbelievers, and that the weight of its theology is against us. There are Muslims calling for reform and denouncing terrorism but they are in the minority, and they are swimming against the current of their tradition.  Islamic law provides ample material to refute their calls, labeling reform as blasphemous.

I wish the reformers well, but if their efforts meet with any success, it will be in spite of, not because of, the incorporation in our government of those who would, if given the opportunity, place them at the top of their kill list.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another in the Series of Sketches

Here's sketch number two, a view of the old stable below the Peninha Monastery.  Again, the point of the exercise was to force myself to dwell less on detail, and rely more on implication.  To try to force my hand, I used a large flat brush for most of this.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Carpet for the Muslim Brotherhood - at the White House?

Sure looks like it.
...Scores of known radical Islamists made hundreds of visits to the Obama White House...Court documents and other records have identified many of these visitors as belonging to groups serving as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other Islamic militant organizations.
The IPT made the discovery combing through millions of White House visitor log entries. IPT compared the visitors' names with lists of known radical Islamists. Among the visitors were officials representing groups which have:
  • Been designated by the Department of Justice as unindicted co-conspirators in terrorist trials; Extolled Islamic terrorist groups including Hamas and Hizballah;
  • Obstructed terrorist investigations by instructing their followers not to cooperate with law enforcement;
  • Repeatedly claimed that many of the Islamic terrorists convicted since 9-11 were framed by the U.S government as part of an anti-Muslim profiling campaign.
Pardon me for asking, but if Islamists have that kind of access to the White House, could that have anything to do with this?

(If you're reading this on Facebook and aren't seeing any of the links, please visit my blog, and follow the links.)

On Not Overpainting

When I paint, I have to work hard to avoid becoming a slave to detail.  The painters I admire most, like John Singer Sargent, manage to impart tremendous amounts of information by implication.  Because the information is only implied, our imagination supplies the details, which makes the painting much more personal, and much more effective.  Ran, over at Si Vis Pacem, has an excellent example.

If you try, as I often do, to convey every single detail, you not only run the risk of muddying up your painting with extraneous information, but you also deprive your viewers' imaginations of the opportunity to make the painting their own.  To remedy this, I'm working on a series of quick paintings, sketches, really, in which I will force myself to work very quickly, and to leave out much of the detail I would put into a painting I spent more time on.

I'll try to put most of them into this landscape format book I bought recently.  It's 57 pages, 7 inches high by 16 1/2 inches long.  It might turn into a complete mess, but then again, it might end up being a nice record of my progress - assuming I make some.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cascais Alley

After the paintings of Venice and Peninha Monastery, in which I tried to be faithful to the tiniest details, it's nice to do a painting based more on an idea than an actual location.

The Other Tragedy of Fort Hood

The first tragedy is, of course, that cowardice and political correctness on the part of the Army and the FBI meant then Captain Nidal Hassan, who was known to be seeking and receiving guidance from a wanted terrorist, was not only retained in the Army, but promoted to the rank of major, and that, after briefing people with a powerpoint presentation on exactly what he was going to do, he gunned down soldiers preparing for deployment at a Fort Hood processing station.  He also killed the unborn baby of one of the soldiers, and severely wounded a police officer.

The other tragedy is that the cowardice continues with the attack being officially called, not terrorism, not an act of war, but "workplace violence."  If you think it's just a matter of words, consider this.  Although the soldiers were in uniform, and had reported to that station in preparation for deployment, and despite the fact that Hassan had been instructed by al-Awlacki that terror was an instrumental part of jihad - despite the fact that these people were wounded and killed in the line of duty, not a single one of them will receive a Purple Heart  or any of the benefits that should be attached to being wounded or killed in action.

Supporting the troops means more than sending care packages.  Sometimes it means something as simple as insisting that words reflect reality, and that political correctness take a back seat to the mission.

Thanks, Maggie.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not About the Movie - CNN Knew in Advance That Violence was about US Policy, not "The Movie."

Do you have 12 minutes to spare?  How about just 7?  If you watch just the first 7 minutes of this clip, you'll see that CNN was interviewing leaders of the 9/11/2012 protest in Cairo as it happened.  Were they protesting the infamous movie?  Nope.  They were protesting the continued imprisonment in the US of the blind sheikh terror planner.

You will also see that al Qaeda had threatened to burn the US Embassy in Cairo to the ground, and you will hear what you probably know already - that when hundreds of people show up carrying the same signs and the same flags, you're not looking at a "spontaneous protest."

Why did CNN supress its own story?  It didn't fit the narrative.  It didn't work with administration spokesman Jay Carney's assertion that the violence was not in response to US policy, and it makes it clear that to anyone who was paying attention, the attacks should have been anticipated.

Tip of the hat to Conservative Treehouse.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Santuario da Peninha

Peninha Monastery sits atop the ridge that runs from Sintra, down to the sea.  From its highest point, depicted by this painting, you can see the 25 April bridge spanning the river Tagus in Lisbon.  If you turn around and look toward the Atlantic, you will see Cabo da Roca, the lighthouse that marks the westernmost point of continental Europe.  You can see one of my paintings of that here.

I'd been working on this painting for a couple weeks, but interrupted it to take on the painting of Venice, which you see below.  It's often hard to start back up on a painting once you've set it aside.  That was somewhat the case with his one, but it also happened that I got some ideas about changes I wanted to make while the painting was hidden away, and I think that made for a stronger finished product.

Now that this is finished, I can get to work on an image that has been waking me up at night demanding to be painted.  It will be similar to this:

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Done. I think. - Updated

I think that's that.  I'll put this painting away for a couple days and then look at it with fresh eyes to see if I'm missing anything.  This has been a fun and challenging project, but I'm ready to get back to painting Portugal, and I have some portraits in mind that I need to get started on.

Update - Now it's done.  The bridge suffered from a lack of definition, especially in comparison to the objects behind it, so I sharpened some of the details and deepened some of the shadows to define it better.  Thanks Ran, for the suggestions.