tar (تار) and 21 Guitars, A Benefit Auction for the Merced Symphony

tār (تار)
The tār is a traditional Persian stringed instrument. As a matter of fact, the word tār means “string” in Persian and is also related to dotar, sitar, setar, and guitar. It was my dear friend, Sirous, who introduced me to the tār and other traditional Persian instruments, when we were both graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. Sirous beautifully plays the tār, setar, daf, kamanche, tonbak, and probably others. Over the years, I’ve met a few of Sirous’ musician friends and had the pleasure of seeing them perform in both informal and formal settings. Many of these performances included the rendering aloud in Persian of the poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and others. One of Sirous’ musician friends, who stood out not only because of his natural height, but also because of his prominent role in the revitalization of traditional Persian music, was Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi, about whom I’ve already illustroblogged. Take a look at this short, homemade video of Lotfi sitting on the floor playing tar among friends in a cozy setting. I just love the structure and shape of the Persian Tār, especially the tuning pegs!
Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi

21 Guitars, A Benefit Auction for the Merced Symphony
I’m one of 21 contributing visual and performing artists in one of this year’s fundraisers for the Merced Symphony, and my entry is the above image, which I did on an iPad Pro using an
Apple Pencil and the Sketch Club and iColorama apps. I had it printed on 24″ X 24″ canvas, 1.5″ bordered, solid color wrap through Bay Photo.

Karl Malden’s Nose

About a week ago, a mobile/digital art friend of mine, click here to meet her, posted an evocative photo of a succulent, bulbous tomato on Instagram:

The image reminded me of Karl Malden’s nose; and so for several days I walked around, semi-entranced, with that image on my cognitive back burner…until last night:

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Reference photo (stock, Google images)

Technical: I drew this freehand in Sketch Club on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. Mas o menos, eh? Sketch Club produces a cool statistical summary of the images you create. You can see in this summary that I played around for about an hour. The summary doesn’t show how I used iColorama to slightly darken and sharpen the image, which only took a couple of minutes.

Studying the G Street Revolution

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the sounds of G Street Revolution whenever I have a chance. A few of the musicians are colleagues of my wife at UC Merced. Check’em Out on Facebook or here.

At the Merced County Fairgrounds:

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At Vista Ranch and Cellars:

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Just a snippet at Five Ten Bistro:

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Pretty sure all these were done in Sketch Club and iColorama.

The Bible: Crystal Ball or Mirror?

I know a little bit about the bible. I have an M.Div. for Christ’s sake; it’s one of three graduate degrees for Pete’s sake! I may no longer be an ordained Benedictine monk, but I sure as Hell sat through my share of biblical studies, theology, even Greek courses. Most of them were fascinating. I had a brilliant seminary professor, one of several like that, in fact, who approached the study of sacred scriptures from a literary-criticism perspective, steeped in critical hermeneutics, semiology, and philology…right up my alley. He planted the following image in my mind (I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.):

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