Sunday, October 31, 2010

drinks with amy winehouse

I took my old landlord and his wife to Elaines last night..They had never been there. His wife only knew elaines from this billy joel song.

"And they were all impressed with your Halston dress
And the people that you knew at Elaine's
And the story of your latest success
You kept 'em so entertained
But now you just don't remember
All the things you said
And you're not sure that you want to know
I'll give you one hint, honey
You sure did put on a show"

I love elaines, it is a literary mecca of NYC and being illiterate I am drawn there. While I was there I met Amy Winehouse, go figure. She seemed to be clean and sober. Elaine wasnt there...I think i make her nervous, she always stares at me. You have to be pretty cool to wear a white suit after labor day. Im pretty cool.

I sho did put on a show.

Friday, October 29, 2010

candy apple by gardega

I painted this after buying a caramel apple at the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy where my art studio is. I actually struggled over this little thing because the caramel apple was well painted but the brain wanted it to be a red candy apple so I turned it into a red candy apple. Then I struggled with background color and it took 6 different attempts to find a color I liked. The back went from grey to blue grey to orangey to two different shades of yellow until I got the color I liked, a high key van gogh yellow. I even once had a bite out of the apple. I get obsessed and little things turn into major things. Finally done-----and yes I ate it. 

it is for sale, I may ebay it.

etched glass windows layout process

The first step here is to lay down a rubber masking material on the glass you intend to etch. This process must be done very carefully and without air bubbles. After it is laid down I always bisect the pieces and find the midpoint--old habits die hard. I have done this since I can remember.

Now I (or my assistant) lay down my original drawings to get ready to trace them directly onto the rubber. This is the bottom panel of three panels.

Now I have traced the drawings onto the first rubber and I have laid the rubber onto the second piece of glass. Everything must line up!!!!! The next step is to cut out drawing with an xacto. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

random useless post

I dont smoke and I only use a lighter to light incense when I paint ( I cant paint without incense, it is anothe r quirk of mine)  It just occurred to me that I have had the same damn lighter for 4 years, it is a crappy lighter I bought at 7 11 in long island. I always keep it in the exact same place, hidden in a drawer because if you have a guest who is a smoker they will steal your lighter--they are thieves. I dont let people smoke in my apt. but they will still steal your lighter and save it for later. I was thinking how valuable it would have been in the history of the world to have a would have been worth a kings ransom to have a lighter in the middle ages. I bought it for 1 dollar in 7 11..cavemen would have liked to have a lighter. This is probably the most pointless post I have ever made but I was just realizing I paid 1 dollar for an item that lasted me 4 years. That is 25 cents a year by anyone's math..not bad---- fire is almost free.

Bernie Madoff Slipper Fund

Please help me to buy these handmade velvet Bernie Madoff Slippers, they go to auction NOV 13th in NYC I will be there. These slippers are my exact size--it is destiny that I own them--I will be sort of a Ponzi cinderella. I am putting a donation button to the right of my blog. I am serious about this folks the world is in too much turmoil not to take things unseriously.

update by gardega

I dropped off a portrait for a client yesterday on The Upper west side. I was miserable, it was raining but he liked the portrait and I got paid. It was the second one for the same client--his grandchildren. I have one more to do for him now. I didnt photograph yet, I am going to wait until all three are framed and then photograph them. This final one needs to be done before turkey day. I am a one man art machine--- art spews out of my studio and hand like idiocy spills from paris hilton's lips. I always hope to catch up but you never do, always something new to finish a treadmill it is but there are worse treadmills.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

saint progress

Here are the full scale drawings that will be etched for my saint window project. There are still some more to finish today. These drawings are roughy six foot high and roughly six foot wide. After drawings are finished they will be traced and transferred to glass.

Sketchy Monkey: SOLD

Sketchy folk has yet to paint a sketchy Folk that hasnt sold.  He now has his own blog he is working on. will link up later.

non citizens to vote

They are considering letting non-citizens vote in america. I dont care which side of the political aisle you fall on but to me this is the most Orwellian thing I have ever heard of. Is not voting the single greatest right of citizenship. I think the world has gone mad, completely and utterly alice in wonderland/  mad hatter mad. The fact that people arent upset about this speaks to the fact that americans are out of touch, numb, insane or all of the above. I am going to canada to vote in local elections--be back soon.

here is a great piece on internet voting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sketchy Folk gets his own blog, finally...

Sketchy Folk has a new blog, it is linked below and in progress.

Etched glass: all those years ago

I etched this piece 10 years ago in some horrible basement etching studio I set up/ rigged in the east village. I always had a fondness for this piece because it was the most difficult glass etching I ever made. The whole piece is carved on one side of a flat piece of glass, the 3D effect is an illusion. I remember making this piece was so difficult that I started crying because It overwhelmed so badly ( I get pretty intense when I lock into a piece sometimes)  Pulling the rubber off the final etching was so difficult all my hands and fingers were bleeding from glass and exacto knives and the final piece had so much blood on it I had to hose it off. The worst thing was that this piece was eventually stolen from a night club on houston st. I didnt sue because I want nothing to due with courts or lawsuits or "the system" ever. I dont believe in suing people and I have never been sued. I once fell in a restaurant so bad that I cracked my kneecap and it hurts to this day. I walked it off and never looked back. No lawyers were called. Anyways, I have decided to remake this piece this year...I want it to live again and not on some thieving strangers wall...maybe it fell on his (the thieves) head while he was watching TV, karma is sometimes better than a lawsuit. 


My whole life I have had a soft spot in my heart for chickens. I love the little critters and I am fascinated by them, especially exotic chickens. I had chickens when I grew up in texas and briefly again when my parents owned a farm on long island. This chicken I am holding was one of my favs. She used to like to have me pick her up and kiss the back of her neck. I would do this every time I saw her. I miss the little thing. I once went all the way to queens to rescue a chicken that was in the NY POST. I took her all the way to long island and found her a home. I am using chickens in my new work as they have been a big part of my life and art and childhood. I still love to eat chicken but I dont like to think about chickens in small cages on factory farms. I am not an animal rights tree hugger I just have a soft spot for chickens, the good , the bad and the ugly.

My bro, the photographer

My brother Marcus is a great photographer and a good painter as well. He is also good at arguing but that is another matter. Here is one of his awesome photos...He travels a lot, I'm jealous...I sit in a studio and paint and he travels god's green earth.  I travel in my head, though. I travel to places on a given day in  my head that most people never dare let their mind drift to..I think of crazy things all day long, I think about neurotoxins, excitotoxins, I think about 20 different inventions I want to make I think about the 20 childrens books I have written or am writing in my head. I think about the fact that matter is empty space and reality is at best a persistent illusion. I spend most of my time alone thinking about stuff but I am never bored. Sometimes I get on kicks where I research things for weeks and weeks--fluoride, clouds, radiolaria, etc etc...there is a lot to learn in this world. I also think a lot about buddhism because when I was 16 I got really into buddhism and then I gave it up for drinking which was a lot more fun than sitting still and counting breaths.

copyright marcus gardega

New commission

I landed a new commission today from a former client to paint a mural in his long island mansion/ wine cellar and theater room. The trick is to get the thing done before xmas and I am already up to eyeballs in saint commissions and a colorado mural job. Somehow I will find a way and come spring I will be a burnt out wretch with a lot of money and a ticket to saint somewhere and there I will hide on some sandy beach and try to make some sense of it all...The mural will require me to live in Long island for a few weeks which to me is the dark side of the good universe but I will paint a mural in Hades if the money is right. The good thing about the Long Island mural is that the client is a red wine freak and has a hell of a wine cellar. we spent many a night staring up at my davinci mural in his old wine cellar looking for things to add and colors to tweak while drinking bottles of the finest italian red wines. My fondest memory about painting the mural was hearing the maid scream after she realized she let the tub overflow into the master bedroom and I vacuumed 3 inches of water off the carpet with a shop vac trying not to electrocute myself. Luckily I was smart enough to see if it was leaking downstairs and it was flowing a steady stream right onto the baby grande piano..all in an artists days work...

A PHD comments on my aspartame post

This is why I love the internet and learning as much as I can about everything that I can..Not sure why a PHD reads my blog but I dont blame him, truthfully..

Alex, I admire your effort to understand this issue, but you are listening to misguided people, who really don't know anything about aspartame, biology, or toxicology. They blame aspartame for ills perceived twenty years ago, but which were in reality endemic personal issues most generally related to folate deficiency. Realize that by 1998 this folate deficiency issue was so bad that mandatory folate fortification of cereal grains was undertaken in the USA, Canada, and Chile to reduce birth defects in human babies (; That second paper lists just some of the cancers thought to associate with folate issues; it neglects cancers and other diseases linked to folate related processing issues. 

Aspartame, through its hydrolysis to its methanol constituent, generates low doses of formaldehyde and formic acid. At these doses these substances are not toxic, but in fact are critical for proper function. They are required by folate and related enzymes (along with cofactors like vitamin B12) to make methyl groups. These methyl groups convert the DNA base uracil to thymine (methyluracil). Its incorporation into DNA in place of uracil reduces both DNA strand fragility and broken DNA that can cause cancer. Those groups also methylate and detoxify a true excitotoxin, homocysteine, to form vital methionine (S-methylhomocysteine). This is required for many other detoxifications, including direct DNA methylation that serves to silence that DNA from being expressed at the wrong time. Thus a low, steady intake of food-borne methanol is absolutely required to prevent cancer and disease (, figure page 3000). Aspartame is not an issue, because there is more methanol in many fruit juices than in aspartame drinks. 

The fact is that aspartame is perfectly safe used as directed; no regulatory authority in the Western world disagrees. Given that and 20+ years of safe use by a very large part of the population, my examination of the issue has found nothing in all the aspartame literature [both pro and con] that cannot be explained by one simple, alternate paradigm. That is, ALL issues with aspartame arise, not from any aspartame safety issue, but from heightened PERSONAL sensitivities in just some users caused by a deficiency of the vitamin folic acid (folate deficiency is not uncommon and is still a big cause of birth and other defects), by genetic folate enzyme differences (called polymorphisms that require more folate for the same function; up to 40% of certain populations), by related methyl cycle issues like low B12 (not uncommon), by high homocysteine (not uncommon), by ethanol abuse (a potent folate enzyme inhibitor, linked to 'fetal alcohol syndrome' birth defects), and by still other related issues possibly including childhood insect stings that might make a person frankly allergic (see Folate deficiency and these related issues have been linked to many different diseases, including depression (; geriatric depression that can lead to suicide,, and many cancers ( In fact breast cancers linked to folate deficiency issues may be more important than some BRC genetic issues ( The lupus issue seems more connected to the B12 side of this personal sensitivity problem than the folate side ( Amongst claimed complaints I have found no exceptions to this paradigm. But more importantly, no aspartame critic can show me an aspartame-sensitive person that has even been checked for one of these issues. But the point here is that even if susceptible people don’t use aspartame, they are still at risk from the issues raised.

John E. Garst, Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Nutrition)

words of the day

“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” - Buddha

“No one saves us but ourselves.” - Buddha

“To be idle is a short road to death.” – Buddha

Monday, October 25, 2010

leonardo learning: excitotoxins

Being a non-doctor and a layman I will explain excitoxins as best I can in layman's terms. I have always been interested in the functions of the brain an I enjoy learning and reading about the brain. Excitotoxins are substances, usually amino acids that react with certain receptors in the brain. Glutamate is one of the more common amino acids and neurotransmitter excitotoxins used by the brain. You may know glutamate from the good ole days and a little thing called MSG. Glutamate occurs naturally in the brain in small doses but when the level rises to abnormal levels the neurons start firing like a Macy's firework display and fry themselves into a quick and untimely death. The brain cannot handle extra excitotoxins anymore than a drug addict can handle a credit card. The brain does try to regulate the amount of excitotoxins it lets into the brain via something called the blood brain barrier (BBB) this is kind of like the crossing guard of the brain but there are many instances where security can be breached (diabetes, stroke hypertension, age etc) aspartic acid is another excitotoxin, it is also known as aspartate and was the genesis of the name / product/ brain eater called aspartame. Excitotoxins also destroy neurons by generating a large number of free radicals. It should be noted that this also occurs throughout the body as well and free radicals have been associated with neurodegenerative diseases--parkinsons, alzheimers, AlS.  This has been my layman's interpretation of excitotoxins and the effect on the brain and body and the danger of adding extra excitotxins into our system via diet coke and aspartame, MSG etc...

now back to dancing with the stars.

aspartame is poison

I am not a doctor but there is one thing I am--A damn good researcher. Aspartame has been proven in animal research to  cause tumors in the brains of rats and mice. If you research it further you can find out some really scary information...drink your diet cokes, people. It is amazing what you can learn in this world if you spend your free time studying and researching instead of sitting in front of the idiot box. Do your own research and study the things you put into your body, it is after all, your temple.

Summary of Aspartame Methanol/Formaldehyde Toxicity

      "These are indeed extremely high levels for adducts of formaldehyde, a substance responsible for chronic deleterious effects that has also been considered carcinogenic. .... "It is concluded that aspartame consumption may constitute a hazard because of its contribution to the formation of formaldehyde adducts." (Trocho 1998)
    "It was a very interesting paper, that demonstrates that formaldehyde formation from aspartame ingestion is very common and does indeed accumulate within the cell, reacting with cellular proteins (mostly enzymes) and DNA (both mitochondrial and nuclear). The fact that it accumulates with each dose, indicates grave consequences among those who consume diet drinks and foodstuffs on a daily basis." (Blaylock 1998)

Methanol from aspartame is released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin (Stegink 1984, page 143). A relatively small amount of aspartame (e.g., one can of soda ingested by a child) can significantly increase plasma methanol levels (Davoli 1986a).

Clinically, chronic, low-level exposure to methanol has been seen to cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, ear buzzing, GI distiurbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness & shooting pains, behavioral disturbances, neuritis, misty vision, vision tunneling, blurring of vision, conjunctivitis, insomnia, vision loss, depression, heart problems (including disease of the heart muscle), and pancreatic inflammation (Kavet 1990, Monte 1984, Posner 1975).

The methanol from aspartame is converted to formaldehyde and then formic acid (DHHS 1993, Liesivuori 1991), although some of the formaldehyde appears to accumulate in the body as discussed above. Chronic formaldehyde exposure at very low doses has been shown to cause immune system and nervous system changes and damage as well as headaches, general poor health, irreversible genetic damage, and a number of other serious health problems (Fujimaki 1992, He 1998, John 1994, Liu 1993, Main 1983, Molhave 1986, National Research Council 1981, Shaham 1996, Srivastava 1992, Vojdani 1992, Wantke 1996). One experiment (Wantke 1996) showed that chronic exposure to formaldehyde caused systemic health problems (i.e., poor health) in children at an air concentration of only 0.043 - 0.070 parts per million!

Obviously, chronic exposure to an extremely small amount of formaldehyde is to be avoided. Even if formaldehyde adducts did not build up in the body from aspartame use, the regular exposure to excess levels of formaldehyde would still be a major concern to independent scientists and physicians familiar with the aspartame toxicity issue.

In addition to chronic formaldehyde poisoning, the excitotoxic amino acid derived from aspartame will almost certainly worsen the damage caused by the formladehyde. Synergistic effects from aspartame metabolites are rarely, if ever, mentioned by the manufacturer. Aspartame breaks down into a free-form (unbound to protein) excitotoxic amino acid which is quickly-absorbed (as long as it is not given in slow-dissolving capsules) and can raise the blood plasma levels of this excitotoxin (Stegink 1987). It is well known that free-form excitotoxins can cause irreversible damage to brain cells (in areas such as the retina, hypothalamus, etc.) in rodents and primates (Olney 1972, Olney 1980, Blaylock 1994, Lipton 1994). In order to remove excess, cell-destroying excitotoxic amino acids from extracellular space, glial cells surround the neuron and supply them with energy (Blaylock 1994, page 39, Lipton 1994). This takes large amounts of ATP. However, formate, a formaldehyde metabolite, is an ATP inhibitor (Liesivuori 1991). Eells (1996b) points out that excitatory amino acid toxicity may be the "mediators of retinal damage secondary to formate induced energy depletion in methanol-intoxication." The synergistic effects from the combination of a chronic formaldehyde exposure from aspartame along with a free-form excitotoxic amino acid is extremely worrisome.

It appears that methanol is converted to formate in the eye (Eells 1996a, Garner 1995, Kini 1961). Eells (1996a) showed that chronic, low-level methanol exposure in rats led to formate accumulation in the retina of the eye. 

glass etching design by gardega

Sometimes when I am working on a project that is taking a lot of focus and I need a breather, I will design a few pieces on the side of unrelated imagery and this relaxes my mind. I took a break today and designed three glass pieces for myself that I will etch in the middle of etching my saint deadline. This is my latest design and will be etched in November..The face is not how the etching will look, this is just a rough sketch done to scale..I will refine a few time to have it perfect before I etch. I always work the same way--rough to finished, I spiral in on projects--- I start with messy rough sketches and refine and refine and refine. I am never ashamed of my roughs as nothing is sacred in art, work is the only sacred thing in art--lots of work and sketch after sketch after sketch...

I realized after drawing this I want to move the figure closer to the right side. She is looking to the left (her right) so the empty space should be more weighted to the left as this is how the eye works. If you have a figure looking off to a side of the canvas or glass the empty space should be weighted to where the figure is looking. 

this will be 18 x 24 inches on 3/ 8 inch glass.

Glass Etching by gardega

Here is the final sketch for the saint Joseph etching. It is roughly five foot high and two foot wide. I will make slight adjustments as I etch the piece, there is certain things you can adjust when sandblasting but you must have the drawing "locked Down" for the most part. This drawing is for sale as will be the entire lot of drawings for these windows.

Abstract depressionists at MOMA

I am very excited not to go see the abstract expressionistos at the MOMA. I am very excited not to buy a ticket and to not see the show. I would rather own one sketch by Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, Nc Wyeth or Daumier than be gifted all the waste of paint that is called abstract depressionism...I have no use for any of those works--they stood the test of time about as well as last weeks sushi...Just another ISM, a bunch of thumbless apes who couldnt draw so they joined the same train of mindless art. The worse art is the more words it needs to describe it...the reason all modern art sucks is because no one has skills anymore, skills take time and years to perfect...slipshod craftsmanship is the norm.  

ten dollar art drawing for sale

My genius idea to protest the scam that is Modern Art and that was feature in page six endless supply of studies and sketches are available for 10 dollars plus shipping...I came up with this idea when I read about damien Hirst's shark purchase click below.

Life and the alternative

I was invited to attend a memorial service on long island yesterday for a friend's son who checked out of life too early. The son was roughly my age and hugely successful but for some reason success didn't equate to happiness and a shadow fell across his spirit and he decided to leave this life. I felt and feel terrible for my doesnt have words for such things. I left my home on the upper east for a train to long island at 11AM, the memorial service was being held in a cemetery in Long Island and by the hand of god and fate and long island railroad "switching problems" I soon realized I would not make the ceremony..Regardless, I took a taxi to the cemetery, a jewish cemetery, paid my driver and jumped out of cab. I went to the main office and they were as helpful as a person at motor vehicles who was getting ready for their lunch break. I took a map and wandered alone around an empty cemetery, trying desperately to make the ceremony or what was left of it. I could find neither cars, nor people..Just me and the stones alone on a long island sunday. 

I found an old lady crying near a grave and was tempted to ask her for help but I didnt have it in me to bother her. When I passed her a second time she asked me if I needed help or directions. She offered to drive me around and I got into her car and we traded names. I could see she was fairly upset but I thought it pointless in asking why as we were in a cemetery and I was pretty sure I had that answer. I was on edge and stressed and cursing LIRR under my breath, I felt terrible being late for such a thing and I was trying to be very calm with the elderly lady and her act of kindess. There seemed to be a weird, sad light wrapped around the entire day. I wanted to be anywhere but there..I learned from a cell phone call the party had left the cemetery and were already on way to the restaurant where we were having lunch. I said goodbye to the lady and thanked her and said god bless, not even sure if jewish people say "god bless." it seemed like something to say at the time. I called my cab and found it was the same cab driver who dropped me off, he was a lively old black man with a good stories and a great laugh. He told me he once worked in a cemetery cleaning the stones but it was monotonous and there was nowhere to pee so you had to call the guy to come pick you up "they couldn't pay me enough for that shit" he laughed. My cell phone was dead and he had no idea where we were going so we got lost and my stress level increased by the minute and a mile like the meter in front of me. 

In time I found the restaurant and walked in late and sheepish and greeted the tables who were seated. A few red wines and my heart returned to pace and I was seated with some good people and I settled into my seat and started breathing again. I ordered fish, a salmon..I dont think I have ordered fish in 12 years. Looking about the room I got a sense of people coming together not to honor the dead but to honor this thing we call life. There was even some laughter and funny stories floating about. It started to sink into me (and I think of this often) that there is a certain thing about this game we call life, a certain something I can never put my finger on except to say that in the long run it is a damn good gift. A gift that can sometimes seem like a curse but all in all life (as one great philosopher said) "is something that shouldnt be" what are the odds that we are here on this planet, alive and breathing and laughing? it makes no sense to my brain that we are even here. There are more questions than answers and that is just the way it is, the way it has always been. I suppose one in 10,000,000 is actually is able to comprehend the magic that is life while they are in it--they are the buddhas and the christs etc. Most people scurry around from shiny thing to shiny looking under rocks for something called happiness, the more you look for it the more it hides..The dog never gets to bite his own tail in the end he circles and circles. Monks and mystics are few among us and for many life seems like something to survive and bear at best, we fret over a million things and then one day they inter us, our best deeds sleep with our bones. 

I got a ride back into NYC and as I got closer to the city I felt the same excitement I feel every time I return to my spiritual home. The days stress was behind me and I thought about the cemetery and the old lady and the cab driver with his street wisdom and then I thought about my deadlines and they didnt seem like such a big deal. Life is a short and strange train ride, some people decide to get off early--they check out of the game. Back in my little hobbit hole apt. I thought about my day and my life---Some people in life find the magic in the middle of all the sham and drudgery  while others bear life like it is a curse to be born. That old cabby seemed to still have a few coins of happiness tucked away in his pocket which he shared with me in his own way--- it cant be pleasant driving stressed out and late strangers around. I cant imagine the pain of losing a child nor do I ever want to know that pain, I guess life can hit you in the gut pretty hard and knock the wind right out of you...I suppose time does heal all wounds but time can be a cruel and slow passing thing when grief is the dominate emotion.  I guess in summation it is laughter, no matter how bad it gets one can find the humor in life. Humor has kept me going through the dark days and it will probably be with me until my toes are pointed skyward. Never forget how to laugh...god bless.


Will you have some tea
After theatre with me?

We did it all - didn't we?
Jumped every wall - instinctively
Unravelled codes - ingeniously
Wired all the roads - so seamlessly

We made it work
But one of us failed
That makes it so sad
A great dream derailed

One of us gone
One of us mad
One of us, me
All of us sad

All of us sad - lean on my shoulder now
The story is done - 's getting colder now
A thousand songs - still smoulder now
We played them as one - we're older now

All of us sad
All of us free
Before we walk from the stage
Two of us
Will you have some tea?
Will you have some tea
At the theatre with me?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

alex mumbles about art


1966 Catalina

My old landlord came into nyc yesterday to say hello and interrupt me from my saint deadlines. He drove in his 1966 convertible. We drove this car around little italy looking for parking for parking for an hour--boat parking is hard to find. Here I am trying to look cool but not really achieving the desired effect (or is it affect?) either way the car was cool and it was like a magnet for pretty girls--- but I knew they were just after the car. My old landlord gave up art to become a very successful real estate investor. Somehow he misses art and likes to hangout with me because I am an artist. I told him I would trade, he can have all my brushes and canvases and career and Ill take his real estate holdings...My ass would be on an island faster than you can say rumplestilkskin and I wont even be listed in the phone book. Between margaritas I may bust out a few watercolors but you wont see me chasing 4 am deadlines anymore. The grass is always greener--but I prefer sand to grass. adios. 

words of the day--presto:by n. peart.

I am made from the dust of the stars
And the oceans flow in my veins
Here I hide in the heart of the city
Like a stranger coming out of the rain

The evening plane rises up from the runway
Over constellations of light
I look down into a million houses
And wonder what you're doing tonight

If I could wave my magic wand
I'd make everything all right

I'm not one to believe in magic
But I sometimes have a second sight
I'm not one with a sense of proportion
When my heart still changes overnight

I had a dream of a winter garden
A midnight rendezvous
Silver, blue and frozen silence
What a fool I was for you

I had a dream of the open water
I was swimming away out to sea
So deep I could never touch bottom
What a fool I used to be

If I could wave my magic wand
I'd set everybody free

I'm not one to believe in magic
Though my memory has a second sight
I'm not one to go pointing my finger
When I radiate more heat than light

Don't ask me
I'm just improvising
My illusion of careless flight
Can't you see
My temperature's rising
I radiate more heat than light

Don't ask me
I'm just sympathizing
My illusions a harmless flight
Can't you see
My temperature's rising
I radiate more heat than light

Leonardo Learning: Etched Glass Saint project

Here is a full scale drawing of saint joseph copyright alex gardega. I spent most of yesterday drawing my pictures to full scale using a projector. Here is saint joseph..The next step is to go in with a marker and refine the lines and fix drawing. In glass etching there is no room for fudging..everything has to be crisp and concise..the reason I prefer painting is that there is more room to be wishy washy and to hide errors is unforgiving and much more difficult a medium than painting. The drawing here is about 4.5 foot high. dont be afraid to go large! People have a fear of large scale projects--even me...Full size figures are nerve wracking but they also liberate you..once you go full scale you feel constricted in a 24 by 36 canvas or glass piece. This drawing consists of "two panels" there are 12 panels total to draw and etch. Off to a funeral and then back tonight to hit the boards.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gardega makes ponzi history

People who know me know that I am the inventor of the world famous Bernie In Hell, Madoff with your money hot sauce. But they may not know that there was a slew of books about ole Bernie and in this particular one I was given a full page. Viva gardega! I only found this out one day as I flipped through this book while online in a bookstore. Another book even stole my tagline "madoff with your money" as a title, people steal my ideas...

Please note I am an equal opportunity offender, I  give not a fig for race color or creed--- if you are a ponzi scammer scum then I may just make a hot sauce with your name on it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Sketchy Folk!

Sketchy Folk has made a new painting! Another Sketchy Chicken..This is already sold, sorry. This is actually based off a real chicken, yes there are chickens that look like that. Amazing creatures, they are.   

portraits by gardega

I am painting a portrait for a client right now. Here is a detail of the underpainting of my second portrait for this client. It is rough and not finished. Portrait painting is not my art form of choice but I am learning a lot and I like a good art-challenge.  I am busy enough in art to keep my working 8 to 12 hours a day right now and I wouldnt have life any other way. I am always pushing myself ahead, looking for more work, taking more than I can handle.  I try to think a year ahead of time in terms of projects and things I want to get done but there never seems enough time. I take my little victories where I can.

Leonardo Learning: Etched Glass Saint project

In order to make my etched glass windows, I make a lot of studies, a lot of drawings to work out the problems. In the early stages I focus on the feel and the energy of the piece and I worry later about details. Here is my desk laid out with some of the work/ studies.

I even bought a costume, a biblical robe and had a friend pose for me..he has a beard from his time in afgan. so he was a good model. He told not to print his face and I promised not to--he owns guns. When I do my drawings for glass, they are stylized lines by this I mean they arent realistic, they are more design based and line based than reality based. Glass etching only works in a line based, stylized form. 

What I have done here is I have drawn the window to scale and started to piece my drawing into the window to make sure everything fits into place and matches up correctly. Notice the robe is alive and flowing, not static. I have included the naked window to show where the glass is going to be installed.

Today I will start blowing up the drawings to full scale.

On a 10 scale this project is a 9 on difficulty. Luckily, I have many years experience in this art form. I am self-taught and I learned all my experience by mistakes and errors and 4 AM trials. You can do anything you want in art if you are willing to walk the path and pay your dues and put your neck on the line.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

words of the day--gilmour

Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime

I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life

words of the day--gabriel

I am standing up at the water's edge in my dream 
I cannot make a single sound as you scream 
it can't be that cold, the ground is still warm to touch 
this place is so quiet, sensing that storm 

red rain is coming down 
red rain 
red rain is pouring down 
pouring down all over me 

leonardo learning: life drawing

After working for 8 hours on my saint windows yesterday, I went life drawing. I didnt want to go life drawing I was tired and wanted to go home but if you dont go the extra mile as an artist you may as well strap on an apron and start flipping burgers. For the first time in my life I tried to draw the figure with a brush and using washes--I decided to do this after looking at some of Rembrandt studies, he used a lot of ink and brush in his composition studies. I think I will use this method for now on, even though this page is a mess and I am rusty as hell I made a breakthrough. I learned that when you have a model doing quick poses--2 to 5 minutes etc it is really handy to be able to throw in a wash to get a sense of form and mass. With a pencil there would be no time for this. I am sold on the brush as a tool for drawing figure, it only took me 20 years to figure this out. The thing about being an artist is you must be willing to fail big and in public. I never had a dimes worth of fear about failure because it is what moves you ahead if you dont quit and learn from failure. I know artist's of all stripes who never broke out of the fear mode, they wont play music in front of people they wont paint in public they wont do this they wont do that..get off your butt and rock and roll, life is short and one day you will have to wear an adult diaper.  

St. Joseph Etched Windows

Here Is my latest watercolor/ study for my etched St. Joseph windows. The windows are large (approx 9 foot by 9 foot total etched area)  This is my roughly 4th or 5th study. The next step is to go into the drawing and make it into a very precise line drawing, watercolor washes are simply used to get a "feel" an "energy" but when it comes to etching it is all about precision.  Today I convert into a tight line drawing and tomorrow I blow up to scale. Installation is scheduled for the 28th of this month. There are 5 windows total, this is the first one and the largest, I believe. I will be on project until spring. As an  artist you must set your own deadlines or you will die, you must set up dates to finish sketches, order supplies, scale up drawing. If you dont set deadlines NOTHING HAPPENS. This is the biggest lesson I can share in art. I am going to document the process of etching this window including installation etc. All my sketches are for sale. 

The window pictured doesnt look large but it is 10 foot high and 9 foot wide and that is enough to put some stress onto my plate. I have tackled a lot of large commissions but there is always some stress that comes ahead of the job...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sketchy Folk on Ebay.

Sketchy Folk has a new piece on ebay. His work is gaining a wider audience and he is luck enough to sell each piece before they are even dry. This is a rare one, it is his first monkey. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010


If you want to be an artist, a real, working artist, then you have to be committed. You can't be halfway in, you cannot have one foot in the water and one on the shore. You have to live for your art like it is your food, it is too competitive a field to dabble in and hope for something---Not that some people dont get lucky or have parental connections etc to roll out the carpet for them and open doors but for the most part it is not a place to dabble in. There is NOTHING wrong with making art for your own pleasure--I love artists who make work because it moves them and for no other reason, that is honest and personal and great. But if you really want to give it a go then you have to make at least a painting or drawing every day--- Even if you are sick or hungover. When I was having my appendix out in the hospital I was sketching as they wheeled me into be cut open. My sister gave me a paper and pad, she knows me. There should be no days without a line or a brush dipped into paint. There are no excuses, you are either in or you are out, you are on the bus or off the bus. If you want to paint on sundays, then god bless you, you can enjoy art without the pressure and that is fine but if you want the gods of art to smile on you then you must have both feet in the waters commitment. Methinks.

a video of some of my book covers

When I first started painting the yellow page covers I didn't really tell many people but as time when on I began to think it was kind of Pop Art in the fact that it has major exposure and also it lands on every ones door step and then it winds up in a kitchen cabinet next to the Campbell's soup...I painted my first one in a dire panic because I didnt understand how to paint a picture using a yellow background...I was stumped, it forced me to think in pop art terms and to use bold and bright graphic colors--this went against  my grain as an artist but I learned so much from these covers! They actually helped me in my fine art as I grew less afraid of making pop art earn from every job you do. God bless ambassador yellow pages, they have been great to me. I have never missed a deadline but god knows I delivered a few wet ones after 5 AM panic sessions.

chinatown photo by gardega

Having an art studio in little italy/ china town is amazing. I love china town and little italy, I feel like I am in heaven down there. This actually went right past my studio as I was working. Every day I order some strange new chinese food and have no idea what I am eating. Down the street from me they sell frogs from a bucket, this makes me sad as I really like frogs. These frogs are for soup--I asked my neighbor. I would like to sell a frog painting by skecthy folk and buy the whole bucket but where would I release the frogs? central park pond? hmmm

Saturday, October 16, 2010

on the easel: by gardega

My art reflects my nature. Sometimes I am very dark and sometimes Im light and happy. I am like the weather and I change just as fast. On the left is a gift for my mom because she helped me get my new pad together--she is the best mom on the planet and I am blessed. It is a picture of mohonk in new paltz new york..this is where the Mohonk mountian house is--I can say that anyone who can should visit this place, it is paradise on earth. On the right is a painting called Lost souls: The drunkards. I paint a lot of painting based off the ideas of Lost souls--those poor people trapped in hell or purgatory. My ex hated them but a lot of people like them and so so I. it is already sold--- I like selling work before it dries. 

the mohonk mountain painting isnt done yet--that is why it is "on the easel"

New Sketchy Folk

Sketchy Folk has a new masterwork...Sketchy Monkey. This is the only remaining one until he paints more! It is 12 x 16 acrylic on masonite board. I predict Sketchy is going to a very famous artist. He has sold all his painting to date. They are priced well for a new artist---50 per panel. I am his agent and he is a slacker. this piece will not last. to buy it contact moi.

ID theft, survival and finding work

I would laugh if someone steals my ID, its like taking a blood transfusion from a sick person..poor sucker. Someone stole my passport in a miami beach hotel, the cleaning lady...this made me angry. Life is a strange, I am insanely busy in art and most people dont have jobs. I have known for a large part of my life the pain that most people are now experiencing. I have learned survival skills that are burned deep, deep into my being. I can turn my life around on a dime and start a company or get a job tomorrow if I needed. Most people have not had to learn those skills and god bless them, they come with a big price. But I hear about people who havent had work for two years--I could go bartend tomorrow, I could kick ass at real estate like I once did...I could teach art, I could paint houses, I could install storefronts, I can can glaze glass, I can etch glass, I can do sales, I can sell street art and make more money than most people would in an avg. day job. These skills and the dues I paid will never leave me but if you never learned about the streets and survival and you spent your life in an office then god bless you because they are things you dont want to have to learn late in life because they dont come easy.

leonardo learning: gesture

What is gesture but the revelation of character and mood? ( I coined that phrase) look at these dogs, I took a photo of them because it was so apparent that they are impatiently waiting to be walked, to get going--to hit the road...lets roll people...But my question is what about the dogs lets you know they are in that "mode" in humans a pose can tell all...leonardo spoke of a figure twisting? Is there tension? What are the hands doing?--- hands tell a million tales. How do the movements of youth differ from that of the elderly? take notes!

there is looking and there is seeing...looking is like fast food and seeing is like eating a slow cooked piece of filet mignon. one must learn to SEE!

Alice in Winter Watercolor

12  x 16 inches on arches paper to purchase