Rob's Blog

I’ve been drawing kitties! – August 6th, 2017

by on Aug.06, 2017, under Cartooning

Started Sunday at a family church cook-out. St. Theresa Catholic Church in Belleview, Florida, invited our Champions for Champions group to join them. We’d just had a Summer Camp there a couple of weeks ago, where I taught an art class. Always great to have a home made burger, deviled egg and baked beans. Warms my heart to see local folks get together as I have in MacClenny on Saturday and at the church on Sunday. We need more of that!

Went from there and camped out at a Dunkin Donuts working on 3 projects for a few hours. Including this watercolored kitty.

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Book: ‘The Deep Six’ by Randy Wayne White – August 6th, 2017

by on Aug.06, 2017, under Books

The Deep Six (Dusky MacMorgan, #2)The Deep Six by Randy Striker (Randy Wayne White)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well known Florida author Randy Wayne White started off his published novel career with 7 books written about Dusky MacMorgan, hero-at-large, in the Florida Keys. The books are all tightly written with a decidedly John d. MacDonald feel to all of them. White is a huge fan of MacDonalds and that’s loud and clear in this book. Lots of JDM reflection and meanderings. The violence is a more blatant and charged than JDM. There is also little mystery in the book. The drive is action.

I’m more of a fan of these 7 MacMorgan books than White’s current long run of Doc Ford. I find the Ford books over long, too politically preachy and too many set in an area of the world I don’t care for, Latin & South America. All of that weighing down simple skeletal stories. MacMorgan are also simple stories, but, in my opinion, better constructed.

White’s strength in the series and this book in creating very strong, if not often stereotypical, characters. The dialogue is weak, but the narrative is good.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Dreams of Eagles’ by William W. Johnstone – August 2nd, 2017

by on Aug.02, 2017, under Books

Dreams of Eagles (Eagles, #2)Dreams of Eagles by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Anyone seeing the other reviews here will think I was reading a whole other book. I just found this Johnstone Clan entry to be strung together stories between a linear set of historical happenings. The stories all remind me of stories in many other Johnstone novels. I’ve recognized a repetition of stories before, but, at least, some had some differences. This entire book is full of yet to be written Johnstone books. I had to check my Goodreads list twice to be sure I hadn’t read this before.

That even might be OK if the stories were good. But these stories have little complexity as earlier Johnstone Mountain Man stories or the recent Flintlock series. It’s just a prolonged Mountain Man book over 400 pages of the same story over and over and over again. Good editing would’ve solved this.

How about presenting the offspring of the main character as something other than a carbon copy of the father. It’s actually written blatantly that they are carbon copies! Not all are carbon copies. But those that are not carbon copies are barely heard from again.

There are hints of adding layers to the book involving a couple of young people who have a secret that gets revealed the hard way. (I know I’ve read this also in another Johnstone book). But this thread is in sharp contrast to the rest of the book and, thus, making it a clunky, out of place addition.

To me, this book is the product of scattered ideas on a table that got badly stitched together to create this volume.

Bottom line: i don’t recommend this book. 4 out of 10 points.

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I’ve been drawing manatees!

by on Aug.02, 2017, under Cartooning

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I’ve Finished a Puppy Book! – July 28th, 2017

by on Jul.28, 2017, under Cartooning, Illusration

 
Been at it straight since Tuesday and finished it! Only a few hours sleep here and there. Now to get some rest and prepare for an event near Jacksonville Sunday!

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I’ve been Coloring Puppies! – July 26th, 2017

by on Jul.26, 2017, under Cartooning, What's New?

 
Been digitally coloring the puppy book I’m working on. The coloring here are only base colors. Shadows & highlights still to do. Lots more to do & working to finishing Friday.

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Book:’The Mordida Man’ by Ross Thomas – July 26th, 2017

by on Jul.26, 2017, under Books

The Mordida ManThe Mordida Man by Ross Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a rollicking good time. All of the foreign intrigue thriller writers of today should note Ross Thomas’ writing of ‘The Mordida Man’. The fun, humor and similar ridiculous circumstances portrayed in current same-genre novels, but with this one’s sense of tongue-in-cheek.

This also works both ways. It’s too bad Thomas didn’t see what writers, like Vince Flynn, recently did with the genre and he might have grounded his book a bit more involving the action part, certainly the weakest written part of ‘The Mordida Man’.

Clearly the Carter Administration and Nixon’s shenanigans influenced the plot of this book. Imagining Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy gets into the trouble written here isn’t too far a stretch. Knowing who Billy Carter is really helped swallow this story. Someone not knowing Carter, might find this book beyond preposterous.

The many, many, many characters and their motivations and goals are written superbly. Along the way the story swerves in and out of characters, actions and locations. All written with great skill and humor. Where writers like this today?

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 9 out of ten points.

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I’ve been Coloring more Lady Bugs! – July 25th, 2017

by on Jul.25, 2017, under Cartooning

This one holds pine needles.

 

So much more to digitally color this week!

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I’ve been Watercoloring Birthday People! – July 21st, 2017

by on Jul.21, 2017, under Caricatures

Here’s the watercolored painting of the illustration yesterday. I’ll be delivering this to the birthday lady at her party Saturday south of Fort Myers, Florida, that I’m also performing at.

This was done on Arches watercolor board with various types of watercolor, brushes and inks.

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Book: ‘Intellect: Mind over Matter’ by Mortimer J. Adler – July 20th, 2017

by on Jul.20, 2017, under Books

Intellect: Mind over MatterIntellect: Mind over Matter by Mortimer J. Adler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All that ‘Intellect’ presents has come more true since it’s first publication. Instead of reasoned conclusions, imaginary fantasy is creating laws and warping mindset. Mortimer Adler would be considered very un-P.C. today. Likely why his name seems to have disappeared during the Great Ideas conferences he developed at the Aspen Institute. I’m almost gald he is not still with us today to asee what has happened in the world. Though I would LOVE to hear what he would say about it.

This volume lays out Adler’s reasoned view of the elements of intellect: the brain and the mind, and why the two are separate. Adler breaks down his view and argues just about every angle. It’s all reasonable and logical. He also addresses counter arguments to his view and lays out why those are wrong.

As was Adler’s goal, the writing is not overly complicated. For those of us that read a lot of philosophy, his writing is too simple. Some philosopher’s have tagged Adler as a Pop Philosopher for spurning academia and writing for the general public and not to justify college tenures. As Adler introduced his simpler approach to writing philosophy, he couldn’t have known how even his approach is overly complicated for today’s American population.

He addresses his concerns about technology and what it could do to the intellect. His concerns, writing almost 40 years ago, are very mild to what has happened so far. I remember reading these views of Adler’s decades ago and thinking the ideas sounded extreme. An iPhone came into human’s lives and made concerns horrors.

Something else that has solidly entered human’s lives is the introduction to the panicky view of being healthy. To most all that means eating well and exercising. To Adler it is only involving reasoning. If you use your brain and mind, the grape-nuts & track run are obvious conclusions. But without the thinking part, it’s just a fad without commitment & dedication.

I found Adler’s arguments that language and communication being the same wanting. His argument is flimsy if that and his “natural & “nurture” arguments. Both chapters are short and he later in the book writes that those are his shallowest views. I agree.

Overall, this should be required reading for anyone wanting to be motivated to greater reasoning skills of the brain and mind.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 9 out of 10 points.

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