the age of the earth
10 inches high x 8 inches wide

Another Illustration Friday theme: wrinkles. The definition in Winston Simplified Dictionary, 1925, for wrinkle is, "n. a small ridge or furrow on a smooth surface; a crease; colloquially, a useful hint or idea or an innovation." In 1998, the definition (from the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary), reads, "n. 1. a small furrow or crease in the skin, esp. of the face, as from aging or frowning..." Sometime in those 63 years, the more general became more specific, from any smooth surface to the face, which, when one really thinks about it, is never smooth. Even a baby's face wrinkles and furrows when it smiles or doesn't. And the "new idea" or "innovation" in 1925? By 1998, it is a separate entry in the dictionary and it reads, "n. informal. an ingenious trick or device; a clever innovation."


how I think

This is Fear Country
10 inches high x 8 inches wide

I've been asked, how do I come up with these collages? So, here is how. Start with the theme; this week, Illustration Friday's prompt is primitive. I riff on that. Look in several dictionaries to find, "pertaining to the beginning; original; simple or crude; old-fashioned." I connect with simple and with crude, crude oil, simpleton, what was in the beginning and what is being lost by our simple use of petroleum products and digging in the dirt to get oil and gems and to make the surface of the earth useful to us. And so it goes and I end up with this. I pull out images that feel to me like the thoughts running through my head on this subject. I cut them up, arrange them, glue them down, scan the image, and now you see it. But then there is the bit about the title. During this creation, I was listening to T-Bone Burnett singing a song called Fear Country; it struck the right bit in my brain, naming the artwork, saying what I mean.

And that is how I make a collage.


erie canal aqueduct

Old Erie Canal State Historic Park is a section of the first two versions of the canal that runs from Dewitt to Rome. Almost 17 miles of it is filled with water and is, therefore, navigable. There are three aqueducts on this section to traverse. This one is off Butternut Road at the western end of the park. When the canal was built, there were many streams that had to be crossed and the only way to do it, with the technology available then, was to build a bridge to carry the canal water over the stream—an aqueduct. What is left of aqueducts today is usually the supports that held the wooden "tub" that held the water of the canal. In the winters, these wooden structures would be removed and repaired. On the right in this photo is today's bit of an aqueduct; it is wide enough only for a kayak or a canoe, but it is an aqueduct, a bridge over running water.


when we fail

You Lose
10 inches high x 8 inches wide

What do we lose when we fail? Illustration Friday's word of the week is fail.


erie canal

The first enlargement of the Erie Canal came soon after the thing was built (1825). The enlargements expanded the locks especially—widening and lengthening the lock; doubling the lock so that boats could come and go at the same time. Gere Lock #50 opened in Camillus in 1845. These gates are on display at Camillus Erie Canal Park, a 420-acre town park that has water in the old canal for paddling, towpath for walking, and a museum. Go. Spend the day outside. Get some Vitamin D from the sun. Waves your arms in the air.


spring water

Flint Creek is full and rushing to join Canandaigua Outlet. Part of the Ontario Pathways trail goes along here; this was the creek the other day. Strong water, moving fast. Cleaning itself and its channel. The fish are there somewhere, too.



Ah, another Illustration Friday theme; this one is Save. What do we save? Memories. Money. Ourselves. What does it mean to save, anyway? So close to Safe, so far from reality.

10 inches high x 8 inches wide



The town of Eagle, in the Southern Tier of New York State, is a forested place, hilly, with some large dairy farms. And now, the entire town seems to be participating in a wind farm. These majestic windmills are everywhere, and they appear over every ridge as one drives up and down the roads. Impressive.