A Time to remember there is a lot to be Thankful for!

Where have we been...
What have we been doing.... 
Well here goes...


 Looking at this beauty for the past week while pup sitting for my parents 
while they took the little children to Mexico








A late night last minute Target adventure













Thanksgiving Day :)
(Mallory found her "Huggy", hah! made me giggle)





the usual baby girl pics


(sucking on a pickle...she thought that it was a great idea!)





and best of all...


these two make me the happiest

Forget-me-notes From Niederbipp With Love to be released Dec 3


I have put off this announcement because I was not sure I would be able to get it done in time, but my printer promised me last Thursday that they would be delivered in time for the open house on Saturday. The idea for this book came to me slowly over the past year or so as I have heard from so many readers who were interested in a quote book from the Niederbipp Trilogy. I have always been a collector of quotes and the last two books gave me an opportunity to share some of those with you. This new book, Forget-me-notes, is a collection of quotes from both the text of the the books as well as some of the chapter heads. Like the other books in the series, this one is also full of funky art that begs for interaction and is hopefully done in a way that will inspire thought and reflection. These books will likely never be available in bookstores as I am only printing a limited quantity for readers who come to my studio or invite me to speak at book clubs. I will likely make them available on Amazon as well. I will be selling these for $10 at the studio open house throughout December and likely over the course of the next several months.
Needing a break from the construction mess in October, I took my family to Moab for a quick getaway over UEA weekend. I asked Lynnette to drive so I could play with some ideas for this book. Instead of going to bed at night, I stayed up very late, sketching and planning and laying things out. When we got back home, I continued staying up late for a couple of weeks, trying to make this happen. Bert Compton, my good friend and the graphic designer of my books, was willing to put things together. It took a lot longer than either of us imagined, but we pulled it off in the time frame we needed to do it and you all will get to see it next weekend.
I am really excited about this book. It is beautiful, both inside and out, and the messages within its pages are thought-provoking and meaningful. I look forward to sharing it with all of you. Just a reminder, the studio sale and home tour will begin this next weekend and run through Dec 17.
Wild Rooster Studio Sale and Home Tour
December 3, 10, 17
9am-5pm
1150 East 800 South
Salt Lake City, Utah

I also wanted to mention the Remembering Isaac is now available as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple Store.The other books in the series should be available soon.

Alphabeasts: G is for Grue

The poll for this week's Alphabeasts entry told me to draw "a fearsome beast no one has ever seen."

Well, if you were playing text-adventure games in the '80s, you know exactly what is likely to eat you if you spend too long in pitch-black darkness.



That's right, friends: this week, G is for grue.

There are, so far as I know, no canonical illustrations of the grue, which after all always ate you before you saw it. So I guess I have some latitude.

When I was zorking around as a teen I always pictured them looking a lot like the aliens from last year's Attack the Block. (Let me digress briefly to say that I want to thank "Film Crit Hulk" for convincing me to see that movie. You can Netflix the DVD, y'all, and it's really good.)



I really love that design, and in the movie it's way more effective: the monsters just absorb all light, except for the blue luminescence of their own teeth. They're scary. My impression is that if these aliens actually have a name, however, it does not start with G.

Also, these aliens have no compunctions about entering a well-lit area.

If you want to see genuinely photophobic aliens—so leery of light that they actually get called grues by some people—then you'll need to look to Pitch Black, which is also a pretty good movie, I think, though getting a good look at the monsters in it is in the end sort of disappointing.



Of course it's better when they exist only as menacing sounds in the darkness. It always is.

But, you know, looking at those weird wyverns from the Vin Diesel movie, I can't help wondering why they don't like the light. They don't seem to have eyes, or to need them. How do they know that the suns are shining? And they sure appear to be the top predators on their planet, so its not like the cockroach's negative phototaxis, scurrying away from the things that might eat them.

I figure the grue must live in nearly total darkness, but still mostly hunt with its eyes. There are deep-sea fish like this, and it's at least a semi-reasonable explanation for why the grue would avoid even a lit match. The bright light must burn.

So, long story short, I set about to design a grue of my own, with great big eyes, powerful claws, and a big jaw full of teeth (all the better to eat you with).



There's not much room in that body for a stomach, but I'm sure the grue has some adaptation to deal with the digestion problem.

Let me know if you want to see any "process" images for these finished color versions. I took three different coloring approaches in Photoshop this week.

...And next week? An alphabeast from my very favorite book to read aloud.

Studio Sale and Home Tour, December 3, 10, & 17



That's right. We are finally back in our house after more than six months. There have been so many times that I've wished I could update my blog, but in the past six months, I have not had even one day, except Sundays, that I have not worked less than 14 hours, and usually fell into my bed, exhausted. But the work has finally paid off and I want to show you all. So, come to one of the open houses. Consider this your invitation. But if you would like to receive the newsletter, just click on my email and drop me a line, just letting me know you would like to be added to the email list.
So, here's the deal.

Wild Rooster Studio Sale and Home Tour
December 3, 10, 17
9am-5pm
1150 East 800 South
Salt Lake City, Utah

For the past ten years, I have been holding an annual studio sale here at my studio.
This year, we decided to try something we have never done before and open our home to those
who come to look at the pots. One of the coolest new features in our home is the 500 square feet
of handmade tile that I have just installed. It includes tiles made over the past ten year--quite
literally thousands of pieces. It took me nearly a month to lay all the tile in our home. Why, you
might ask would I do such a thing? Well, I'm an artist. I'm crazy and I really love it when people
spend a little extra time making the otherwise mundane, beautiful. The picture above is one of the
back splashes in the kitchen, but I have also made tile for the fireplace and hearth, the showers
the floors, the stairs, an entire bathroom we call the "Potter's Potty", the laundry, etc, etc. There
are lots of people who live with art, but not many people get to live in the middle of art. Taking
my inspiration from artists like Hundertwasser, Gaudi, and Rodier, and such places as Watts Towers
and Gilgal Gardens, I have turned my home into a living piece of art that I hope will inspire creative
children.
Since we have never done such an open house before, we don't know how it will go and don't
know if this is a good idea or not, so we are going to go for it and see if we need to change plans
in the future. Our purpose for doing this is to try to inspire people to be a bit more creative and
imaginative. You may not be able to do what we have done, but we are all capable of doing
something that will add charm to this old world. I feel that the creation of beauty is one of the
most important things we can do in this life.
Our project has taken six months of labor, several years of planning and a decent amount
of money, and though it took us longer than we thought it would, we are still under budget.
This would definitely not be the case had I not done much of the work myself. The project is still
not complete. Some of this will take place in the next week. Much more of it will have to take
place in the next year, but the house is livable and we have been living here for just over a week.
I am falling asleep and will finish this tomorrow, which is really today, just later. Remind me
about the big announcement I've been dying to make.

Alphabeasts: G is not for Graboid

Last week's Alphabeasts poll was the last one I'm going ot do for a few weeks, because I have plans for almost all of the rest of my creatures. And I have to say I wasn't rooting for the graboid (from the 1990 "science fiction horror comedy" Tremors) last week, but I'm disappointed it made such a poor showing.



I know I'm not the only person who is not drawing a graboid this week. But my heart goes out to the big stinky wyrm. It deserves more recognition.

Palestinian Christians Call Evangelicals For Action


In March 2012, a unique Christian International Conference will take place in Bethlehem, Palestine, titled: Christ at the Checkpoint - Hope in the Midst of Conflict. The conference is organized by Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine, an evangelical Christian institution, and it is the second time the College has hosted such a conference.  It will be one of the biggest gatherings of evangelical Christians in the Middle East ever to take place.

The first conference generated much interest and debate. It came out with a strong call for evangelicals to work towards peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. It also challenged the traditional stereotypical lens through which Western Christians have looked at the Middle East in general. The first conference report stated:

“The conference addressed different understandings of how the Evangelical Church, both in the past and currently, deals with Scriptural understandings of theology regarding those who live in the Holy Land and how that either promotes war and violence, or promotes peace and justice. Some of the themes of the conference included a Biblical critique of dispensational theology and repudiation of an exclusive theology of the land that marginalizes and disenfranchises the indigenous people. The conference affirmed the strategic role of the Palestinian Evangelical Church in justice, peacemaking and reconciliation. The conference speakers repudiated both Christian Zionism and Anti-Semitism. Other themes examined the dangers of using the Bible to justify ethnic hatred towards others, whether in demonizing Islam or minimizing the effect of the Holocaust. Participants shared their personal experiences and committed themselves to nonviolence as the only means to achieve lasting peace with justice.”

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has always been an issue of debate for Christians and non-Christians alike. The Evangelical Church, in particular, has typically looked at the Middle East through the eyes of prophecy, and leaned towards an unconditional support for Israel. Evangelicals in the West cheered the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent wars and uprisings, believing them to be signs of the second coming of Christ; all the while forgetting and neglecting the impact these events have had on the Middle East, specifically on Palestinians, and especially on the Palestinian Church. The irony for Palestinian Christians is that Evangelicals, with their over-emphasis on prophecy, have lost the capacity of being prophetic!

In many cases, when Palestinian Christians (or those who are sympathetic to them) shared their take on things, they were demonized, ridiculed, and even accused of being anti-Semitic. Bethlehem Bible College’s Dean of Students, Alex Awad, shared about the hurt caused by Christian Zionists in his talk at the 2010 Conference. The mere presence and voice of Palestinian Christians presents a dilemma for many Christian Zionists, who preferred the traditional, simple “black and white” perspective: Axis of Evil vs. Axis of Good. This kept them and their theology safe and secure. But over the years, Palestinian Christians have challenged the Western Church to consider what it means to be the Church; they have reminded them of the importance of justice and peacemaking. If our theology produces apathy to injustice, it must be reexamined. In the words of Carl Medearis:

If your end-times theology trumps the clear commands in Scripture to love neighbours and enemies, then it is time to rethink your theology.”

A change is taking place in how evangelicals are looking at the Middle East. This change can be traced to many contributing factors. Many evangelicals, who were discouraged by the failed prophecies and the “mood of doom” that dominated the Evangelical Church in the second half of the 20thcentury, are rediscovering that the gospel also speaks powerfully to issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation. Books about the end times, like those written by Tim Lahaye and Hal Lindsey, no longer dominate the bookshops, and people are being challenged by writings that focus on the here and now, instead of the there and then! Social justice, peacemaking, equality, and reconciliation are on the agenda.
Many who come to visit the “Holy Land” are troubled by the situation of Palestinians, and are beginning to ask questions about the occupation and the injustices that the Palestinians are facing on a daily basis. Facts do not lie. There is still the problem of about five million refugees, of whom about 1.8 million still live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and the surrounding Arab countries. The 700 kilometre-long (435 mile) Separation Wall continues to affect the lives of Palestinians, leaving thousands living in isolated ghettos. The building of the wall has been judged to be illegal by the International Court of Justice. The building of settlements continues to complicate matters for Palestinians and remains one of the biggest obstacles to peace. Though Palestinians and Israelis share the same water resources, per capita use in Israel is three and a half times higher than in the West Bank, due to water restrictions placed on Palestine by Israel. The Israeli military occupation is the longest occupation in modern history. Any visitor to the Palestinian areas cannot escape these realities. Checkpoints, the Wall, refugee camps, land confiscations, and lack of water define the reality for Palestinians.

More and more evangelicals are paying attention to the Palestinian Church and its testimony and ministry in the midst of the conflict; the writings of Elias Chacour, Naim Ateek, Mitri Raheb, and Alex Awad are good examples, along with the non-violent peace activities and advocacy by Palestinian Christian organizations. There are also the writings of many Western Evangelicals who are sympathetic to Palestinians, and new documentaries that offer a different perspective, like With God on Our Side and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

Then there is Christ at the Checkpoint. The wide participation in the first conference, and the strong message that came with it, generated enthusiastic support for this second larger conference. The conference in and of itself is a big example of this change. Among the confirmed speakers for 2012 are John Ortberg, Lynne Hybels (Willow Creek), Shane Clainbore (Simple Way), Tony Campolo, Ron Sider (Evangelicals for Social Action), Samuel Rodriguez (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference), Chris Wright (Langham Partnership International), Chris Seiple (Institute for Global Engagement), Ken Sande (Peacemaker Ministries), Sang Bok David Kim (chairman of the Asia Evangelical Alliance and the World Evangelical Alliance), and many more. Evangelicals are paying attention to an issue that they once preferred to avoid.

In addition to the international speakers, local Palestinian and Messianic Jewish leaders will share their own experiences and offer diverse perspectives. Participants will meet Palestinian Christians, and be able to listen and see first-hand the realities on the ground, as seen through the eyes of the people.
So why “Christ at the Checkpoint? The organizers want to draw attention to the fact that Jesus Christ is in the lives of Palestinian Christians who travel through and are humiliated at the Israeli checkpoints on a daily basis. He is at the checkpoint with the oppressed and neglected. The conference seeks to answer, among many other questions: what would Christ do today if He were facing the checkpoint on a daily basis?

The aim of Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 is to provide an opportunity for evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously to prayerfully seek a proper awareness of issues regarding peace, justice, and reconciliation. The hope is to empower and encourage the Palestinian Church, to discuss the realities of the injustices in the Palestinian Territories, and to create awareness of the obstacles to reconciliation and peace.

The Conference will also create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the evangelical theological spectrum, with many views represented. Above all, the Conference wants to motivate participants to become advocates for the reconciliation work of the Church in Palestine and Israel, and to recognize its ramifications for the Middle East and the world.

“I personally have witnessed the sadness and disillusionment of Christian Palestinians who feel that their American Christian brothers and sisters could not care less about the sufferings that they must endure. What troubles them most is that their fellow Evangelicals in America have very little understanding of the way the entire Islamic world views what is happening in the Holy Land, and how American Evangelicals who unquestioningly support Israel's policies are hindering evangelism among Muslims.”

Palestinian Christians deserve to be heard. Their suffering is real, their faith is genuine, and their perspective is valid.

Evangelical Christians have a huge potential and energy within them, and change can happen in the Middle East if this energy is channeled to peacemaking. Lynne Hybels, co-founder of the Willow Creek Church with her husband Bill, and one of the speakers at the Conference, has described her discovery of the church in Palestine. She concluded after many journeys:

I am still pro-Israel, but I’ve also become pro-Palestine, pro-peace, and pro-justice and pro-equality for Jews and Arabs living as neighbors in the Holy Land. And the bottom line is always: pro-Jesus!”

If more Christians go to Bethlehem in 2012 and leave with the same attitude, we can start looking at this dark part of the world with hope, in a time when it is desperately needed.
Written by: Munther Isaac, Christ at the Checkpoint Conference Director 

A book worth reading: The Land Cries Out

Finally! My article on Joshua 6 has been published and the book is out: The Land Cries Out: Theology of the Land in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. The book is edited by Salim Munayer and Lisa Loden from Musalaha, and contain different perspectives and insights on the theology of the land. My chapter deals with how Palestinian Christians struggle sometimes in understanding difficult passages from the Old Testament, and I use Joshua 6 as a case study. Of course Joshua deals with the destruction of Jericho by the Israelites. After looking the different ways Palestinian Christians have interpreted this story, I offer ways of preaching this story in the Palestinian churches today. 
The whole book is great. I know most of the contributors and as I said it contains different perspectives on the theology of the land, and is in itself a great work of reconciliation. You should check it out!

One More Run at the 3-D Cosmic Whale

As I mumbled and mulled this morning, it occurred to me that there's no reason my red-green 3-D image of the four-dimensional space whale would necessarily need to start from a grayscale version of the image. If I stripped all the magenta from one side and all the cyan from another, I'd still have some vestiges of "true" color, right?



Don your 3-D glasses. Click and enlarge.

I'm not sure how successful it turns out to be, but the background planets do seem to be different colors in that version.

And now I think I can lay this experiment to rest.

Improved 3-D 4-D Space Whale!

After I posted the four-dimensional space whale last night, I realized there were several missed opportunities in my 3-D version of the drawing. Apparently I couldn't let it rest until I made another attempt.

I've also made the "ghosting" in this red-green version less aggravating, I hope.



That should be pretty fun to look at through 3-D glasses. And if you can do the "magic eye" method of relaxed-eye stereoscopy, you should be able to get more fun out of this image than out of the one in the previous post:



2-D, 3-D, 4-D! Whee!

Alphabeasts: F is for Four-Dimensional Space Whale

The winner of last week's poll was "Moby-Dick analogue," so this week's entry for Alphabeasts is "F is for Four-Dimensional Space Whale."



These aren't the only space whales out there, of course. Like, remember, O Nerd-as-a-Kid, those ones who healed Storm when she had a Brood larva in her? Too late to draw them for this alphabet. Then there's the critter that nursed itself on the engines of the Enterprise-D after Captain Picard killed its mom. And it's been ages since I read this other book, and maybe those whales were off in the distant future, not in space, but they do start with W if you want them.

Anyway, to get my faux-Kirby space whale up against my faux-Kirby background, I had to put a lot of my linework right against flat black; if you want to see the drawing itself, it's here:



I actually hadn't yet seen the Futurama episode ("Möbius Dick") that features this creature until this weekend. And I'm not sure how I feel about these latter seasons of Futurama, to tell you the truth, though it's nice to see the characters (and the cast) back in action. We don't learn a whole lot about the four-dimensional space whale in that episode, anyway, except that it feeds on obsession (not the fragrance) and only "breaches" into three-dimensional space to fill its lungs with vacuum.

(There's a pretty cool sequence starting about 11:55 into the episode where the Planet Express ship gets dragged into the fourth dimension on a "sleigh ride" behind the harpooned whale. It reminded me of an interesting old post I wrote about violations of the two-dimensional page by three-dimensional creatures.)

(Also, at 10:30 into the episode, the space whale blows out a breath in the form of a fractal, which is a nice math joke I guess.)

Anyway, all this talk about "four-dimensional this" and "three-dimensional that" made me want to work up a 3-D version of my 4-D Space Whale, so I tinkered with the method I'd used on Ben Towle's Kirby ukulele way back in the day. If you can do the "magic eye" method, you should be able to relax your eyes and see a 3-D space whale between these two images.



Or, if that method never works for you, you can whip out some 3-D glasses and try to see it here. I had trouble with the hues, though, so there's some "ghosting." Maybe that's just the four-dimensionality coming through.



UPDATE: better 3-D versions are in my next post.

Next week, I have a couple of different ideas for creatures to draw. What would you like to see me do?



You have until Friday evening to tell me.

Alphabeasts: F is neither for Flukeman nor for Flying Spaghetti Monster

Once again, the people (eleven of them, this time) have spoken. When I draw my Alphabeasts creatures this week, I will draw neither the Flukeman nor the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Sorry, guys. Better luck next time.



At least they're being good sports about it.

(You may now commence singing about the Flukeman to the tune of The Kinks' "Apeman." The Flukeman won't mind. He don't shiv.)

I'm a sucker...pun totally intended! HAH



Oh Twilight! I shall see you tomorrow at one p.m.
I know this picture will not be a part of this part... HOWEVER
I couldn't resist. And who knows if it is even a part
of the next...part. Oh well

Also!



So, I have this cute baby who discovered her shoes today
she thought they were neat.

         hey....                                        when did these get here?              Mom, have you seen these?


And to think Isaac doesn't think she looks like him at all....



and a slumbering babe.





Success

The 17th Annual Telfair Art Fair was a great success for me.  I met some interesting people, sold some of my most beloved paintings, acquired some commissions, and had a great time. Here is some of the work which was displayed in my Tent.





Mark Masked Series, Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 in , 2011

Masks, Charcoal, Conte, and Pastel Pencil on paper, 20 x 16 in , 2011

Reluctant Triumph, Charcoal on paper, 46 x 28 in, 2011



Isaac McCaslin, Painting Self Similarity, acrylic and pastel on canvas, 34 x 72 in, 2010


Painting painting, oil on canvas, 50 x 58 in, 2011
figure sketches, charcoal, conte, watercolor, ink and marker on paper, 9 x 12 in., 2011

Skitzomask, oil-on-canvas and charcoal-on-paper on canvas, 20 x 16 in,  2011

Dinner Disater!

So Basically I am a decent cook. 
I wouldn't call myself brilliant but generally I can execute a meal.
Well a couple nights ago totally ruined my track record.
I failed miserably. 
I spent quite a bit of time making "Orange Chicken"
It smelt amazing. We were excited to dig in.
With one nibble I saw that the chicken was WAY overcooked.
I followed the directions perfectly.
BUT... in further evaluation I realized that my problem laid or lyed (?) in the size of the chicken pieces
I cut them too tiny and cooked them as the directions said
four hours on low... (I should have known!)
Man that made me preeeety grumpy (just ask the hubs).
So... I had to save the night with these beauties (sarcasm intended!)



 an exact replica of THESE
I know right? The resemblance is spot on...with a few minor differences.



Okay all jokes aside they were tasty.
Also... they are green for Christmas spirit.
Not so pretty but oh so tasty. Thanks pintrest!

On another subject The Sing Off never lets me down but it did a little last week
but then it REALLY did on Monday night. So sad. Vocal Point...we will sorely miss you.

Now for a few shots of the babes. 
Necessary, I must say.
My mom heard about a brilliant idea that many folk out there are doing and we decided to do with Reagan.
Monthly growth comparison pictures. We chose to do ours in her crib.
So here is her 4 month pic. (See older post for older crib pics)


and


5 Months!

first she was like...



then she was like...



and FINALLY....



This is the winner!
drum roll please....



A sad pic of a baby not loving her coat and headband combo....



T.T.F.N.