"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Searching....risks,forests, futures

Rainforest dawn...9 by 12 watercolor, 140# Fabriano Artistico

 "I realized I had earlier been working only within my known range--never pushing far outside the comfort zone to take any real risks... ."--Rosanne Cash, Memoir, quoted in Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro.

Something different today, watercolor technique I've read about, haven't tried. No idea where this was going, or the subject. Pouring paint on paper, experimenting. already found out some things that work, some that don't.

I don't think in abstract art, and so this is a hybrid, I guess as all art is. Once poured, then what? You see the result.

Me, searching a metaphorical rain forest--risks and futures.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oklahoma spring, for Helen Barrett

Oklahoma Spring, 9 x 12 watercolor, Fabriano Artistico, 140#
Winter brings dreams of spring.
 I am not a wildlife artist--I don't study the anatomy, spend the time with the greats, whom I see every year at the National Cowboy and Western  Heritage Museum--they are experts in a long tradition of immersion in their subjects. I so admire and envy their craft and art and most of all,  their passion.
But, as a student of landscape painting, especially of Terrence Miller Clark, and of prodding of Scott Williams and Steven Pressfield, The Art of War, and Do The Work,  and my wonderful career at the University of Central Oklahoma,  with wonderful students and professional contacts, and more, I will continue to try, to take the risks... .
So here is this Saturday's watercolor, dedicated to my dear friend of many years, Helen Shaw Barrett, journalist from Alva, who died a week ago, doing what she loved, snorkeling, loving life.
Spring always, Helen, in the Oklahoma prairie... .

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Retirement clock ticking, comments and more

This story and photo appeared in the online student paper at UCO, The Vista, story by my students Caitlyn Striker, Photo by Aryn Robinson, editor Kateigh Mills.  Thank you. It's symbolic and fitting to me that my first retirement story for an old newspaperman appears online. 
(It was especially emotional and stunning for the outpouring of good wishes from many former students in social media yesterday and today. As a journalist, it helps offset being one of the "most dishonest people" in the country, according to Trump. My students and colleagues knew, I am proud to be a journalist, and of my students who give me hope and energy for the future.) Thank you.

(Aryn Robinson/ The Vista).
Dr. Terry Clark, a longtime UCO mass communications professor, is retiring.
Dr. Terry Clark prepares for his next class in his office in the Mass Communications Building on Jan. 19, 2017. Clark, who has worked at UCO for 27 years, will be retiring at the end of the Spring semester.

By Caitlyn Striker 

May 1 will mark the day that Dr. Terry Clark, the University of Central Oklahoma professor known for his unique and enjoyable classes, will retire.
He will be retiring after 27 years in the Mass Communications Department, where he spent his time as a professor and former department chair, contributing to the evolution of the department into what it is today.
“We have a really good program that I’m proud of,” Dr. Clark said. “We’ve come a long way.”
Dr. Clark has been a pioneer, changing the department in ways that students in recent years don’t know.
“Dr. Clark’s leadership to the department has been invaluable. His willingness to merge the Department of Communication with the Department of Journalism eleven years ago illustrates forward thinking and willingness to take risks for the good of students,”  Dr. Mary Carver, chair of the Mass Communication Department, said.
Clark is not only a professor and former chair, but also a prominent figure in the world of Oklahoman journalism.
Some of Clark’s titles include the Director of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, an Oklahoma Publisher column writer and trustee of the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation.
“His guidance and wisdom have been incredibly important to me as a new department chair the past year. He will be greatly missed,” Dr. Carver said.
His time as professor is coming to an end. The decision came after another birthday passed, and he simply realized it was time.
“One day it was just crystal clear. I said, ‘Clark, it’s time,” Dr. Clark said.
The decision to retire wasn’t an easy one, but Clark said that is how he knows he is making the right decision.
“I’ve put it off because I enjoy what I do,” he said. “With any decision, you’ll find that if you’re leaving for the right reasons, you’re going to miss some things. You’re going to have mixed feelings. That’s a good sign.”
The main thing he said he will miss is the students, however, he may still be on campus as an adjunct professor.
Regardless of his future involvement, one thing is for sure – his kind spirit and lovable personality will be missed by the students whose lives he has impacted.
“His passion for teaching and determination to pour into his students is truly remarkable,” said Mass Communication student, Misty Jordan, “I am going to miss seeing him every day.”
He will also be missed by the professors he has inspired.
“I’m sad to be losing him,” said fellow Mass Communication instructor Desiree Hill, “He is a treasure to our department, but he has impacted so many students that his spirit will be in our department always.”

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mountain dreams

Los Suenos de Los Sangre de Cristos, 9 x 12 watercolor, 140# Fabriano Artistico
 Peace. When you need peace, you go to the mountains. In the autumn, with snow on the high country.
This view comes from photos of our trip to Colorado a year an a half ago, staying in Westcliff, at the base of the majestic 14,000-foot+ Sangre de Cristos. 
My goal this year, is a painting a week. Why? Because of dreams and peace.
In times like these, of turmoil and hate and division and uncertainty, peace is away from the crowd and 24-hour barrage of nonsense. It descends like snow in the  high country as you ignore the so-called "human" world, and consider creation.
Painting it, writing it, brings peace also.  Dreams.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wolf moon, ghosts

Winter moon, 9 by 12 watercolor, 140# Fabriano Artistico
Wolf moon rising, snowbound, mountains,  dreams and memories and ghosts of times and people past. 
Books, and fire, and stew and cornbread, and quiet stillness in a brittle night. 
Time of no time.
Where in your dreams and memories?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reflections of New York City

Reflections, New York City--5 by 7 birthday card
Only been there twice--both were magical. Have former students living there. 
Love to visit. Want to go back. But I like wide-open spaces, the big skies, the far horizons, the stars, few people. Great Plains. The Southwest.
But here's a little birthday card-today's watercolor.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Books found, stories told

Looking for a book "Steal Like and Artist" by Austin Kleon of Austin, for a friend, scrounging through cabinets and shelves, I found six more books I read last year, bringing 2016's total to 28.
I forget what order.
First was a novel by an Oklahoma City author, Tim Washburn, who I met at Edmond Best of Books to get it signed. Tim Washburn's "Cataclysm" is about the devastating eruption of the super volcano under Yellowstone park, an even that will happen.
Another was by Kristi Eaton, an Okie who wrote a book I wished I'd thought of, "The Main Streets of Oklahoma--Stories from every county." Complete with photos and insteresting stuff. 
Third was the famous "Peace Is Every step," by the Buddhist Thich  Nhat Hanh, must needed this year. I'll reread it soon. 
A book of short stories introduced me to the Western writer, C.J. Box, "Shots Fired, " set in modern Wyoming, like Longmire, by Craig Johnson.
Then there was the motivational book by Kleon, Show Your Work.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Coffee spoons and life...wondering

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." 

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," T. S. Eliot


Time to start writing the story of #clarkclass

Hideaway lunch for survivors of Twitter for Media #clarkclass 10.0
By @Okieprof
(This is a reprint of an article on the Twitter for Media  class blog, the innovative intersession class, hashtagged #clarkclass. Just completing its 10th session, (Started in spring intersession 2012-2013) it has become my favorite, energized by speakers from many fields, and terrific mature students. It's a class of exploration and discovery, and "winging it" creativity. It's time to start writing the story of the class. To get a sense of it, check the class blog by clicking here: I dare you! #clarkclassUCO)
Those who could make it through schedules, and snow and ice, ate at Hideaway Pizza in Edmond, celebrating the end of an intense two weeks. Out of a record 27 students this year, these hardy souls made it to gather one more time.
The class never fails to astound me about the quality and positive attitude of our students at UCO and in UCO_MCOM, and in stuff we all learn in this rapidly changing media world.
An indication of that came with the snow storm that canceled class yesterday and today, leading to a #twitterclassstorm. As the class is unique in Oklahoma, more innovation came as a result. Student presentations of professionals who use twitter were scheduled both yesterday and today.
#clarkclass ready to innovate
What to do? Wing it. Students sent me their summary outlines and screen shots of their "adoptees."
I posted them all on this blog, and then at 10 a.m. we began at twitterclassstorm, all tweeting and commenting as we scrolled through their subjects.
This is probably a first of a class being conducted on twitter. This would not have been possible perhaps five years ago.
You can scan through those reports, in the three previous posts on this blog. Excuse the lack of consistency in format, but there wasn't time to make them uniform since the decision to abandon a campus class for twitter didn't come till about 5 pm last night. I took what I got and posted it.
"Content" the speakers said. We have that. It was loose, with some confusion and questions, but creativity isn't always  so uniform. It emphasized how twitter is a communication tool.
I'm particularly thankful for all our speakers who share their experiences, and to those who agree to be interviewed. You make the class.
It's about time for me to try to write the story of this class. I know I've got enough material from tweets and speaker comments to write a book.
But first, I've got to read  and grade all these students' "analog" but digitally submitted assignments.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A cuddle-up-in-the-cabin kind of day

Cabin days, 9 x 12 watercolor, 140# Fabriano Artistico
Snow always makes me think of the mountains and cabins.
Today was one of those, as an overnight four-inch snowfall shut down the campus where I'm teaching the twitter class.
It's not a lot of snow, but when most students commute, and Oklahoma cities and drivers aren't as prepared to deal with snow as those in the northern Midwest, it's significant.
Yesterday I saw photos from son Travis where he lives in the Colorado mountains, with a foot of snow on everything. That image, and other messages and photos helped inspire today's painting.
It's a cuddle-up-in-the-cabin kind of day, with a warm fire,  a loved one, good books, a cat or a dog, and some homemade stew and cornbread. All you have to do is bring in more firewood.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"Coming in on a wing and a prayer..." long ago

In the depths of World War II, the Army Air Force bombers returning from raids over Nazi Europe sustained terrible losses.  Many with heavy damage would barely get their crews home. 
When they made it home to a safe landing, the crews knew they were "coming in on a wing and a prayer."
My Dad was a technical artist for Consolidated Aircraft in Fort Worth, working on those bombers, the B-24 Liberators.
Thus my birth announcement, drawn by Dad--that is a B-24 Liberator engine on the stork.
My fascination with aircraft began early.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Favorite blog posts--journeys--of 2016

Every blog post is a journey, a journey of ideas, thoughts, life, and reflections, as well as work and time and organization,
Here are 22 of my favorite last year (click to view):


The aging blog--a year of change facing unknown journeys

Aging journey, 4" x  5" watercolor
The blog(ger) is aging as an old year departs and a new one arrives.
It began almost eight years ago, into new media and unknown and undiscovered travels.
Like the blogger, it has changed, been vibrant, been ill, grown and grown older.
For a while, 2016 seemed like it was comatose in the depression of the fall campaign, but it awakened if not refreshed, at least lucid and creative.
Consider the few number of posts this year, with about a third of them in December--rescued by the blogger's Christmas cards and essays.
This blog led to the blogger creating a new class, Blogging for Journalists, and it occurs to him that this year's students--now juniors and seniors-were early teens when the old journalist launched into this new journey. Much has changed in technology since then--demanding more creativity to just be relevant.
The blog needs to change even more because 2017 will demand more creativity in a year of approaching journeys. As it was in 2009, those travels head for undiscovered territory, as does the solitary traveler in the little painting above, on a path past a tree.
Milestones for the blog this year included more than 32,000 page views, tweaking the layout, coming out of the coma, and reaching readers in 150 countries, up 10--the fact that intrigues the blogger the most about this journey. 

In 2016, the blog had readers from these 10 new countries:

5-11-South Sudan

Here are the 150 countries of the readers
    • Africa--Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Togo, Ghana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Gabon, South Africa, Mali, Mauritus, Mauritania, Cameroonx, Zambia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Senegal, Benin, Angola, Botswana,  --26
    • Asia--Russia, China, Taiwan, Cambodia, S Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Kazahkstan, Azerbaijan, Japan, Mongolia, Armenia, Georgia,  Nepal, Uzbekistan, Macau, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Burma (Myamar), -26
    • Caribbean--Caymans,  Sint Maartin, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Anguilla, Netherlands Antilles,  St. Kitts and Nevis, Bermuda-11
    • Central America--Panama, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador-5
    • Europe--UKx, Isle of Man, Francex, Spainx, Germanyx, Italyx, Switzerlandx, Monaco, Czech Republicx, Polandx, Croatia, Greecex, Macedonia, Netherlandsx, Icelandx, Norwayx, Swedenx, Denmarkx, Finlandx, Latviax, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Ukrainex, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Austria, Sloveniax, Belgium, Irelandx,  Bulgariax, Turkey, Portugal, Luxemborg, Slovakiax, Albania,Slovenia, Leichtenstein, Montenegro-42
    • Indian Ocean--Maldives, Seychelles-2
    • Mediterranean--Maltax, Cyprus,-2
    • MidEast--Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait,Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Yemen-, Syria-14
    • North America--US, Canada, Mexico-3
    • Oceana--Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Indonesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Fiji-7
    • South America--Colombia, Peru, Chili, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Bolivia, Paraguay-12
      (Ignore the little x after some countries--those are countries I've written about on the blog. Also, the Flag Counter in the left sidebar is inaccurate, added after many of these countries had already be on the blog.)

      Perspective: I don't have total page views by country by 2016, but here are the top 10 for the life of the blog, with 234,000+ total page views:

      United States133456
      United Kingdom3801
      Year-by-year postings
      •  2016--137: December--39   
      • 2015--136: December--26
      • 2014--276: December--33
      • 2013--252: December--39
      • 2012--203: December--2
      • 2011--134: December--15
      • 2010--292: December--9
      • 2009--339: December--47 (Started May 3)
      (Note--most blogs start off strong (Note my record posts in 2009, even though the blog started May 3), and then sort of fizzle out. While mine has fluctuated, I'm proud it is still going, and being read. Thank you.)

      Sunday, January 1, 2017

      Dawn of Janus--a new year--today's watercolor

      New Year's Dawn, 9 by 12 watercolor, 140# Fabriano

      Janus, the two-faced god of the Romans, the god we worship as January arrives on New Year's Eve. New Year's Day, a day of looking back, looking forward. 
      He is the god of beginnings and transitions, and thus of gates, doors, doorways, passages and endings. 
      Taking stock. Resolutions.
      Today I took stock, journaling in reflections over the last year, the magnitude of evil and bad in the world and country, and my long list of personal positives. I don't make resolutions, but always a  list of challenges, and goals looking forward.
      These reflections come with thoughts finishing books while drinking coffee in a coffee shop, listening to old music on a record player, walking two miles in Hafer Park, and then this watercolor of the dawn of a new year.

      New Year's Winter Reverie

      Ice storm, 9 by 12 watercolor
      Oklahoma winter usually means an ice storm, especially as a New Year arrives and January and February cold sets in. 
      In spite of this year's unusually warm weather, and a drought, we know freezing rain and icy roads may be just over the horizon. Weather people call it a "wintry mix," but that can include snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice, all combined.
      An Arctic blast that dumps snow north and west of here often brings a more treacherous cousin. The latitude and temperatures conspire to paralyze parts of the state with ice that coats roads, destroys the power grid and subjects us to a wind-chill nightmare.
      This abstract watercolor was from a year or two ago when we sat hunched in the front room by the gas fireplace for about 12 hours.
      There is still beauty in Nature no matter the vagaries of weather.
      Hafer Park, Edmond