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Yes, sadly I had another birthday...it happens pretty much every year now. I don't celebrate my birthday anymore. Just try to ignore it. I know everyone thinks it's nice to remind people that they are another year older, but it's not my thing. 
Today is my second painting class. 
I mostly learned last week all the things that I just take for granted when drawing or painting. Things like knowing when you should dip your brush into more paint, keeping a point on your brush, how much water to mix into your paint...things I am finding that most of my students simply do not yet comprehend.
i also had a literal last minute sign up. As I was unpacking my supplies at the activity center a woman asked if I was teaching the art class. I admitted that I was the culprit. She then told me her daughter would love to learn to paint. I asked her daughter's age...she was 9! Well I told her the cut off age was 18, as I did not want to deal with kids in a three hour class session. But the Mom was insistent and to make a long story short I now have a nine year old girl in my class. But she was very well behaved and maintained her interest for the entire class. I was pleasantly surprised. And for a kid, she did a pretty good job too.

so we do it again today.
I'm not sure yet if I am going to enjoy this experience or not. By nature I'm rather a selfish person. I want what I want when I want it. Part of the reason I don't have any little Bivouacs...a big part really.
When the 11 weeks are up, I don't know if I will want to do it again or not. It's certainly not for the money. 
Last week we did individual paintings from photos. But I was spread a bit thin. So today we do the Bob Ross thing...I paint and the students copy, badly, what I do. And we'll see how that works out.
Onward!
Seven year old Mac started sporting the SBBOD yesterday afternoon. No warning. I tried to get on line and the screen was frozen on DA and the beach ball was spinning like Hell.
shut it down, re opened it. Still BB taunting me. Looked for on line support but my specific problem does not appear to be addressed. I get past the apple logo and screen is blank with the BB spinning away. I think I'll have to bite the bullet and call tech support. Probably cost me $100.00 now that my warrantee is long expired.
fortunately I have an iPad with which to write this journal.
if and one out there can offer free assistance I will be happy to listen.
I found out yesterday that I have JUST enough sign-ups for my painting class! It's a go. Man, am I nervous!
Class starts at 12:30 today. I will shortly be getting supplies together, loading the car, all that good stuff.

I even did a quick painting last night to get in the zone. It came out rather well so I hope that is a good sign.
The idea of the class is a "Follow Me" theme. I paint and the class copies what I do.  Yes, like Bob Ross and Bill Alexander used to do. Laugh if you like..."Happy Little Trees" 

Perhaps I to should affect some sort of trademark...Ross had his 'fro, and his I-am-so-stoned manner of speaking. Bill Alexander had his lovable Sgt. Shultz from "Hogan's Heros" accent. I always expected at any minute he would turn to the camera, throw up his arm and shout "Heil Hitler"...Sorry Bill. I know you weren't a Nazi....probably. 

So maybe I need a gimmick too. Perhaps a monocle? But I already wear reading glasses when I paint... A Long cigarette holder?, No, I don't smoke and couldn't smoke in the municipal studio setting anyway. I have it! I could wear a top hat and tail coat! But not the best outfit for painting...especially in the high desert in mid summer. An English accent?  "I say Chaps...now portion out a dollop of smashing Thalo blue onto your jolly good palette..." I probably couldn't sustain the accent for an entire class session, though. Maybe I'm just over-thinking this. I think I'll just be my good old lovable self...now if I can just remember where I left my Good Old Lovable Self...I haven't seen him in ages. Under the circumstances, I may have to just go with the smart-ass, know it all, jerk self,  that has been serving me so well these many years.

It will be interesting to see how much my students currently know about painting...or should I say: how little they know. Of course the less they know probably the better. If they have taken other classes in the past they may hit me with things like: "Uh...excuse me, but why are you doing it like that? I took Mr. So and so's painting class and he always does it THIS way...".  And my response: "Well  I have some unfortunate news for you my informative fellow.....Mr. So-and-so just called, not five minutes ago,  and said he was very sorry indeed, but he simply will not be able to teach this class...he also said that you shut yer pie hole and do it like Mr. smart-ass, know it all, jerk, tells you! Now squirt out some Thalo blue onto your pie pan and show me just how much you stink at painting." 

Well, with that being said, I'm off to collect my supplies and prepare for battle!
A mediocre nude cartoon girl drawing gets more hits and comments than does a very well executed drawing from life. Maybe I shouldn't care and just draw some more T&A to get my ego stroked, but it's a little bit sad I guess. But no matter it's still good to have the opportunity to draw from life every week. I really enjoy it.
Not much of a journal entry I'm afraid.
I recently saw this great little documentary called "Stripped". It is about comic strips and especially about the current trend of on line comics. My wife was watching along with me and suddenly piped up and said:"You should do that." Oddly as I was sitting watching the film I was thinking almost the same thing.
I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now and even doing a little research on the subject. There is a lot of competition in the field. Some really well done stuff too. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I guess the question is...if I were to try and develop something, what sort of theme would it have? I think being a humorous strip would be a must. And possibly a little T&A would not hurt. Sex sells. But what kind of a setting? So many questions and so many possibilities.

So I started to think about what I enjoy...I like old science fiction and horror movies, superheros, mysteries, adventure, naked girls, robots, aliens and monsters. Hmmm, what could be made of that?

So with all that said, if anyone has any ideas that would like to share, I'm willing to listen.
Back from Tennessee....but I may be going back again!  Must meet with my employers and see what they wish to do. Still quite a few things to do back there. But it's busy season here at home and they may prefer I stay and perhaps go back in the fall. We shall see.
Posted a few photos of some of the work I did. Check them out.
Yes, back to Tennessee tomorrow morning! Probably for a couple more weeks of mural painting excitement! Packing up my brushes and paint cans as we speak.
Well my little week long trip to Tennessee turned into a month long trip! 
I was kept very busy painting murals and doing faux finish. I had a good time. Not many days off, but still I enjoyed it. For the most part the weather was very nice. Had a few rainy days but living in dry Southern California I actually enjoyed the different sorts of weather.

 On the downside, as the visit stretched out longer and longer I sadly had to cancel my spring watercolor class! I had eight whole students signed up! I hope they forgive me and sign up again in the fall.
In the summer I am scheduled to do a "Follow Me" acrylic painting class where I paint and my student copy what I do.  I'm the discount Bob Ross for the high desert. I've never done anything like that so I'm a bit nervous about it. I really do not like people watching me draw or paint...so of course I agreed to take on such a class. Go figure.

Anyway I will be posting some of my Tennessee mural work in my gallery shortly.
It never fails! I'm just about to start my Saturday watercolor class in April when,today, my Boss informs me I'm being sent to our Tennessee location to do some mural work for two weeks...in April!
I had to contact my go-between with the city and give her the news. I'm not sure what's going to happen. I'm hoping they can just start my class two or three weeks late and it won't be that big of a deal. But amazing how these things all hit at once.
Two pieces of my art got accepted into the the Carter Sexton monthly art show.
www.facebook.com/events/793260…
Newly framed, I dropped them off at Carter Sexton on Friday afternoon. This month the theme is "Science Fiction".

The two pieces are:
Jupiter Two WIP Almost Done by MJBivouac
Flying Saucer design by MJBivouac

Both will be sold for BIG BUCKS, no doubt.
I am thinking of doing a few quick digital caricatures of people. No original art just digital commission. How much do you think the market would bare for this service?
mattiasa.deviantart.com/
Deceptively simple looking artwork. Subtle colors, just an amazing artist.
I have this very early memory. I was quite young, could not yet read, and I believe this memory took place at my grandparent's house. I would guess the year around 1963 or '64

It was a magazine cover. I recall an image of a women FALLING towards the viewer. Her limbs flailing and her mouth open in a scream. Behind/above her at the top of a building, there are several men in uniforms watching her fall and they smile and seem to find amusement in her peril. There is also a man not wearing a uniform who looks distraught over the woman's plight. He is being held immobile by one or two of the uniformed men. And that is what I remember.

I have had this image in my head all my life. I apparently found it startling as a child. My feelings regarding it had to do with the lack of empathy the uniformed men had for the falling woman. I wondered if the men had pushed the woman off the roof, or if she slipped and they just found it funny for some reason. I wondered about the man being held by the villainous uniformed men. Was he the woman's husband? Why were the uniformed men being so callus and mean to them?

My only exposure to men who wore uniforms at that time were police men. My grandparents were much involved in local government and the police department. So even at my young age I had a few interactions with local police officers and they were all positive. Later, my father was even a volunteer policeman. So these uniformed men in the illustration I probably interpreted as police men.
But why were they being so mean?

Well, that image has stayed with me all my life. And as I got older and interested in commercial illustration I came to understand that the magazine I had seen was likely one of the garish men's adventure magazines that were so common and popular from the 50s and 60s. With the advent of the internet it has become easy to research many subjects including old publications. Over the last couple of years I have looked at websites dedicated to these sorts of publications, and I have seen a great many similar images featuring brutal uniformed men attacking and torturing beautiful scantily-clad woman. I also came to realize that the uniformed men in my memory were likely Nazi officers and certainly NOT policemen. However, despite my searching, never did I locate that one specific image from my memory. 

Until a couple of days ago. I was doing a web search for art reference involving pin-up type images from the 50s. And oddly I started to get a few of the old men's adventure magazine covers mixed in with my cute pin-up girl images. And then...THERE IT WAS! A flashbulb went off in my head. I knew in an instant. I suddenly flashed back almost half a century to that mysterious and lurid magazine cover. The falling woman, the laughing men in uniform, the OTHER man being held back..that was the image!

REAL MEN Magazine May 1960 35 cents!

A bit of a revelation after so many years. I was actually surprised at just how well I had remembered the image! And actually seeing the image for the first time in decades, certain elements of the image suddenly CLICKED with me that I had not specifically remembered. Things like the black sky and the fact that the woman was upside down as she fell. But it was equally interesting to see certain details that I did not remember. The BLOOD on the woman...I did not remember that. Perhaps I simply did not understand anything more than a little cut on the finger, and the concept of quantities of blood sufficient to run down someone's legs was simply beyond me at the time. The Nazi flags I also did not recall. But at my age, a swastika would have meant nothing to me. But there it is! After do many years...there it is.
My grandfather loved to read, and this sort of publication being in his possession would come as no surprise. He loved all sorts of history type stories, Popular Mechanics, magazines on firearms, coin collecting, so this lurid Men's adventure magazine would have been a natural for him to have around the house in the early 1960s.

I also find it interspersing that even as a very young child I was drawn to this sort of image. If I saw this magazine lying on a table today I would certainly pick it up and take a very close look at it...and probably stick it into my coat and try to steal it...Ha Ha! Just kidding...maybe. It says to me that there are a great many things which are inborn in us. My interest in lurid illustration and images was not taught to me. I was clearly already into it even at 3 or 4 years old! 

It only took about 50 years but I finally managed to track down that haunting memory...time travel of a sort.
I've sold a LOT of stuff on EBAY, but never artwork. 
Starting tomorrow I will attempt to sell my Matt Smith Doctor Who portrait. Here is the EBAY link:

cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?…

Here is the LINK to it in my DA gallery:

mjbivouac.deviantart.com/art/M…

So fangirls and fanboys who can't live without an original portrait of their favorite Doctor, we3ll now is your chance. Very low reserve on this. Take a look, make a bid you might just win it!
These people have been my on-line friend for several years now. They are not wealthy people. They need help to save their poor kitty cat. I donated what I could as well.

www.gofundme.com/cqdv1c
YES I Have returned from my month long out of state gig....and the crowd says:"What? You were gone?".
I was originally scheduled to be out there for two weeks...but then I got sent out a week early...and then that got another five days added to it and the whole thing turned into almost a month.
I was assisting with the opening of a new entertainment venue in Myrtle Beach, for my employers. Part of my duties were doing some mural and faux finish work. And although the hours were a bit long, as always I did enjoy doing the mural work. I will post a few images in my DA gallery soon.
So far the venue appears to be very popular. We had some very busy days and that is what it is all about.
Now that I'm back I must get rolling on some over due commission pieces. If you're reading this and I owe you a commission I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU.
Well, gotta go to the grocery store with Mrs. Bivouac soon. Talk to you all later.
I wrote this JOURNAL back in March. But I thought I had accidentally deleted it while working on it. I didn't feel like re-writing it so that was, I thought, that. BUT to my surprise I found it today in my STASH section. Apparently it had been automatically saved and I just did not know it. So here it is now. It's a bit sad so be forewarned.

Today was weird.

I had some car problems that kept me from going to work this morning. I got those ironed...at least temporarily. But I ended up with the rest of the day off. When I returned home, my wife asked me if I wanted to take our lovely old cat "Max" to the vet. Max has been loosing weight recently. He has never been a big eater. Just eating what he wanted or needed and has always had a nice trim figure compared to some of our other cats who really love their groceries. Max's spine has started to show and I knew it was not a good sign. I had thought of taking him to the vet but just hadn't gotten around to it. 

Now Max is 19 years old! It's hard to believe we've had him so long.  How Max came to live with us is kind of an interesting story. You see, Max himself decided that he was going to live with my wife and I. We returned form a weekend grocery forage  and as I carried groceries to the front door I hear my wife say:"Who are YOU!" in a voice reserved exclusively for babies and cute animals. I look to see just WHO she is talking to and I see this black and white cat sitting on the porch like he has been waiting for us.  He "meowed" at us and as we opened the door, before we could do anything he ran inside. He immediately trotted down the hall to the bathroom, located the cat litter box, and used it! It was like he had always lived here.  When finished he came back to where we were and again acted like he had always lived there. Well as cute as he was, we already had two cats and we figured he MUST belong to someone in the neighborhood. So I scooped him up and went door to door trying to find his home. Well after knocking on a few doors someone told me he belonged to the women who lived right next door to me. I then knocked on her door,  she answered and then looked a bit surprised to see the cat. She explained to me that he was SORT of her cat. She had taken him in from three teenage girls who lived across the street from me. They had supposedly found him somewhere down in the San Fernando Valley, apparently all on his own. He was more or less full grown and very friendly. The teen sisters loved him and took him back home to the desert, only to have their father refuse to let them keep him.  The teen sisters took him to my next door neighbor and asked if she could take him. She already had another cat and seemed a likely candidate. She agreed and named him "Mr. Perkins". This was the second home he was to find on our street. Unfortunately the OTHER cat of the house did NOT like this new intruder. So my neighbor took to leaving Mr. Perkins outside with food and water. There was a large yard for him to investigate, but apparently Mr. Perkins had higher aspirations.  So he decide that the wife and I might be good people for him to permit to house and feed him.  Since my neighbor could not really give him the home that she would like to, she asked me if I would like to take him.
So with Mr. Perkins still in my arms I returned home and told my wife the tale. We immediately decided to keep him. But my wife was not crazy about the name Mr. Perkins. With a little thought she said that he looked like a "Max". And I then suggested perhaps his full name could be "Mr. Max Perkins", expanding on the name our neighbor had given him.  I did not immediately remember that there was a country western musician who goes by that name. But I doubted he'd take legal action, and that became Max's full name. But we always referred to him as Max. 
Max was sweet, smart, and lovable as he could be. One of the friendliest cats I have ever known. And unintentionally funny of some occasions. He once tried to investigate what was cooking in a sauce pan on the gas range, he singed his chest hairs on the burner and in what surely could only be great surprise, raced through the living room where I was watching TV. All I saw was a flash of black and white whiz through the room, leaving a smoking contrail behind him. I shouted to my wife:"I think Max is on fire...". Well we located him and while he was a bit shook up, he was unharmed, only loosing a little fur to the blue flame. But he was more careful around the stove after that.  Another time he tried to climb inside a plastic grocery bag only to get his head and one leg stuck in one of the carrying handles. Max panicked and did another crazy dash through the living room, up on the plant shelf, down off the plant shelf and a circuit of the kitchen, taking along anything that might happen to latch onto the plastic bag as he went. It was a symphony of clatters and crashes before he finally ended up under the bed where we found him and got the bag off of him. Again, all I saw was a flash of black and white wearing a white cape. My wife and I referred to him as "Super Cat" for a while after that.  There are other cute cat stories that took place over the ensuing nineteen years. Several more cats later, Max was still the king of the brood.  And after our original cat Allegra passed away a few years ago, Max was the oldest by far. Always the smartest and the sweetest.  But as good as the 19 years had been to him, they took their toll.
Recently Max had been loosing weight and being more lazy than usual. We partially attribute this to his age, but we knew he was getting just TOO thin. We talked last week about taking him to the vet the coming weekend. We didn't manage to get around to it on Saturday of Sunday...and maybe we really didn't want to take him for fear of what we might learn. But today's surprise day off made it hard to find an excuse not to take him. So we did. 
Well, the news was not good. Poor Max seemed to be suffering from kidney failure. Loss of weight, low temperature, and at his advanced age(92 in human years)the vet said he was only going to get worse and the best thing was probably to put him down. I had left the house completely prepared for bad news. Or at least I thought I was. The wife and I talked about it. And decided for Max it was probably best. Practical and logical...we agreed and once that die was cast. Well... then...I kind of lost it. Yes Mr. Stoic Manly-Man found tears rolling down his cheeks, and I almost completely lost the power of speech. It hit me very hard.  Over the years I have had to put down a couple of our cats, but none of them effected me like Max did. Max was really special.
We opted to stay with him during his crossing over. It was very hard. Once that first injection took place I knew there was no turning back. It was tearful, but we didn't want it any other way. My wife held Max and she cried almost as much as I did. Finally, good old Max passed away.  We took him home, wrapped him in a piece of fabric and buried him under the tree in the back yard. Max was a great cat and he is already missed. And even NOW a month later, thinking of Max brings tears to my eyes.Max
After almost 20 years, a movie I worked on in 1996 is finally viewable in the United States.

In 1996 I traveled to Romania to work on the film:"Demon in a Bottle". This was a kid's fantasy film made by FULL MOON PICTURES, maker of the PUPPETMASTER, Subspecies, Trancers and other series.

The small effects shop that I worked at had built a creature suit for the very low budget film. And as things turned out. I was asked to go to Romania where the film was to be filmed, to babysit the special effects and play the creature as well. Well that sounded like great fun and I quickly agreed to do it.  We finished up the suit, several hand props and even a puppet on a stick. A few weeks later, I was off on a plane to Romania! I spent a month there and it is the only time I have been on the European continent before or since.

In addition to the creature I was asked to play another character in the film. A small walk-on role. I even had a couple of lines. But it was so windy the day we shot it, my lines had to be dubbed...by the director!  I was glad to do the extra role. And it turned out several people on the crew ended up with small roles in the film. The director himself played TWO! That is how tight the budget was. But my small role was unique. Not only do I appear very early in the film, in period costume, but I also get killed in a most unique fashion. I can at least be proud of that.

Now the director ended up wearing many hats on the film. He directed the piece, did some art direction on the creature and props. He acted in the film. Created and then wore a foam latex appliance for one of his characters. Dubbed lines in post production. Provided the voice for a CG character. Wrote needed dialogue and came up with some new scenes. And after all the filming was done he also created digital animation for the film. He had been a Disney animator in an earlier career, doing classic cell animation(and a few voices)on projects such as "The Brave Little Toaster". And as times changed, he taught himself the relatively new technology of digital animation using the amazing new software package: LIGHTWAVE!  FULL MOON would never have paid for a digital house to do the effects, but the director did it all for FREE. So the price was right.  By the way a few years ago the same low-budget director found himself on stage at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood where he received his OSCAR for his CGI effects contribution to a little film series known as "The Lord Of The Rings". 

But back to 1996...after all of that work... the film just never came out. It was only ever going to come out direct to video, but it never showed up in a single video store. Rumor had it that FULL MOON was badly in need of cash and as the story went, they managed to sell the finished film to Disney!  When I originally heard that rumor I found it just a little difficult to believe.  Would Disney really consider buying a FULL MOON film and release it under the Disney name?  I took the story with a very large grain of salt. But I later heard another rumor that the film was indeed released by Disney but only in South America.

Well time went by and I heard nothing further about the film. My brother in law got a job with Disney and I asked him if he could try to find out anything about the film having to do with his new employer. He did what he could but no one seemed to know anything about it. I came to the conclusion that the Disney Rumor was just that...a rumor.

More time goes by...I hooked up again with the director of the film. He had a video copy of it and invited me to his house where I finally got to see the completed film! Sadly, much of what I did in the film got cut out completely, and replaced with a rob puppet that in all honesty, did look much better than the clunky suit we had built.  That sucked but what could I do? At least I got to see the finished film, and my OTHER role in the film.

More time goes by. Doing a web search I find a copy of the film on VHS up for auction on a South American website. The auction was long ended but at least I did know that the film did get released in South America. That part of the rumor was at least true.

So now...today, on a lark I do yet another web search for the film on YOUTUBE. Lo and behold! The ENTIRE film is available now on YOUTUBE. But...dubbed in Portuguese! But it's all there at least! So I decide to watch a few minutes of it. And what do I see? But the HOLLYWOOD PICTURES logo as the film opens...and in case you don't know it, HOLLYWOOD PICTURES is a subsidiary of Disney! So all the rumors I heard over the last 20 years appear to be true! 

Okay so now everyone can see what Bivouac looked like in 1996(in costume and make-up), enjoy his great acting skills, and NOT see the creature suit he work upon and performed inside. So if you should decide to waste even a few minutes of your life looking at any part of the film, please...be kind to me.