September 29, 2006

Here we go, yo. Here we go, yo.

Events proceeding apace. I had business to do in Barcelona this morning, now I'm back in Tossa... got to seal up the house, pack the bag, and take a siesta because Kiko intends to keep me up boracho style until Bartolo the taxi driver rolls up at four in the morning for the ride to the airport.

That's about twelve hours from now.

Posted by Dennis at 7:23 AM | Comments (0)

Opening Night

It was tough maintaining the prescence of mind to snap pictures while I was straining new neural dendrites to apprehend and return an art conversation in a language I barely have a hold of. It just seems too crass to harvest an image of the event while I am meeting new people and digesting their reception of my work. Maybe I should have handed off the camera to a friend but once I walked into the gallery, everything avalanched into the night until we arrived back in Tossa at almost four in the morning.





Posted by Dennis at 7:19 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2006

Ahora (Sort of)

Young Alberto came by to help me uncrate a few paintings returning from the Netherlands.


Posted by Dennis at 5:51 AM | Comments (0)

Install Day

Everybody is in a whirlwind here. I'm sweeping up into a week where I end up flying to Los Angeles early Saturday morning. Alberto, Miguel's number one, successfully got the paintings into the gallery amidst the stormy weekend with minimal damage. Miguel is wrangling plane flights and appointments in far flung places that frame the opening day this Thursday. So I took the bus into Barcelona on a holiday Monday to hover during the install of the paintings.

Everything was closed in the city and even by eleven in the morning, the streets were vacant. I walked to the gallery imagining all of the inhabitants lounging in bed, nursing hangovers from the night before.

(The five people in this shot are really three. And I'll bet that they all wished that they were in bed too.)

You never know just how the work will look when you bring it into the gallery for the first time. I've painted larger paintings than these and when hung, they look tiny on the walls. Today was a pleasant surprise. Our concern at the beginning was whether I would be able to paint enough work during the brief summer to fill the gallery. My response was that I will do what I can, no promises, and we can hang what I produce with confidence.

Everything is possible with confidence.

It must be the nature of older buildings that enabled a hospitable installation for these 8 paintings. The rythmn of the overhead ceiling beams, the pattern of the stone tiles on the floor, the placement of the windows and doors, and even perhaps the strangely tweeked rhomboid shapes of the rooms in plan... I think provide a human scaled traction that situates the paintings so well, so easily.

The industrial scaled environments of modern exhibition spaces blow out human scale and even the giant paintings tend to look like postage stamps in them. I think it is best to shape the exhibiton space to the work than the work to the exhibiton space, and if I have the fortune to show in one, my instinct would be to lower the ceilings, reshape the walls and introduce scalar devices to bring the context back to human life.

If I ever get so lucky.

Posted by Dennis at 5:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2006

Transport Day

The big day has arrived for the delivery of the paintings to the gallery from my studio. Miguel's number one, Alberto drove in with a van. He devised these wood fabricated corners to attach to the paintings so that they may stack up easily.

It was a day with edges. Aside from the new corner transport solution, a big storm had just hit Spain the day before. I had an eye out for a kind of cyclonic weather system that was winding its way up the Atlantic and into Northern Spain. the first drops were falling as Alberto parked his van.

The other edge was Alberto's brusque manner in handling artwork. He was either fearless or wreckless... I'm still not sure which. The way he handles art is like the way a butcher handles meat, a good butcher that wields the cleaver so close to his fingers as he talks to customers whilst maintaining eye contact (I'm thinking of our local supermarket here). It's a little unnerving, and you have to trust that all of the ten intact fingers of his is an indication of his professionalism.

We called young Alberto in to help. Dos Albertos hoy. He was getting nervous watching older Alberrto go at it. Young Alberto was gasping and bugging his eyes from time to time. I had urged caution along the way, so many times that I had finally let it go. We''ll see. If there are no slips, Alberto is a breezy professional... but if he slips...

(Pues, caution Dennis. Tranquilo hombre. Let's see what happens. Miguel's number one is a good guy, my first impression. Trust, then verify as an old American president used to say.)

The van was filled with two of the larger and all four of the smaller ones. The older Alberto jumped in amidst the raindrops with the option to either return tonight or tomorrow morning.

I'm anxious to get to the gallery and see if everything is working out ok.

Posted by Dennis at 8:23 AM | Comments (0)


Titles of the paintings follow.
All are hyperlinked with notes as appropriate.

First Contact
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
125x116 cm

This title has, for me, a kind of dry quality but I felt it to be appropriate in at least a couple of ways. In the center of the canvas, there is preserved in part, the actual first touch, the image which led and ended the blogpost hyperlinked here. First paintings after a hiatus are interesting in that they tend to be approached with a fresh head and not a little trepadation... a great combination. Preconceptions follow and to a certain extent neccessary if there is any value in an arc of development in a brace of work.

This painting was an effort to bridge two kinds of painting that I have nursed up to now: a screed of paint laid down with pallette knives, which has a tendency to obliterate any marks made before it; and daubs of paint pressed down with "pointillist" tendencies. One contends with the other and the question in this painting was whether I can make a kind of emulsion with these two antithetical approaches. I had made a couple of attempts that skirted this issue before, and this time I wanted to give it a stronger try.


Big Hoss
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
125x116 cm

The title for this one came from the name I appended onto the large jpeg in the hyperlink. Tacking away from the previous painting, I steered towards the figurative with a retrato (portrait) format. I was looking at an older work on paper that I had painted and left behind from last year.

You've got to pay attention to the things your eyes return to.


Horizon Lines
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
125x116 cm

The title came straightforward from the blogpost title. Click on number one for the pop up to see where I was coming from.


To Live is to Struggle
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
180x160 cm

"Time to move on."


Snorkel Report
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
180x160 cm

The link should probably refer to this post instead:
Things get more interesting when I kick down vertically, holding my nose to equalize the pressure in my ears, and the horizon line is upside down with the seabed in a new sky looking for all the world like storm clouds in an intensifying gradiated blue. It's like that game we played when we were kids: we watched someone's mouth speak upside down. Didn't we all do this? You cover the rest of the face and isolate the lips, maybe you painted eyes and drew a moustache? Let's call it a Ren? Margritte effect, making the familiar strange. The scene is so arresting that I have to remind myself to avoid smacking my head on the rocky bottom.

This is probably the more representational paintings that I've done recently. I have mixed feelings about it. Straight ahead rendering doesn't go down easily with me... it's hard to describe why.


King of a Sceptered Isle
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
180x160 cm

After a scrape off, I was pretty much destroyed at this point. The green monochrome tack was a way to steady myself as in the way babies look at their hands when they get overwhelmed.


Dead Reckoning Tracer"
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
180x160 cm

This painting was a reprise of the first one, something I had intended to do for sometime at this point. I was curious if a scale change would alter the basic attack that I had enjoyed in the first painting, "First Contact".

Not much, really.

I've been day dreaming of painting in this way for the first canvas when I get back to Los Angeles.


Frozen Blood"
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel
125x116 cm

Regina's email provided me with a title for a painting that meshed with the gears that ran or stripped in "To Live is to Struggle". This one gets a bit personal and I am not in a position at the moment to explicate further.

Stay tuned for memiors in the twilight of my life. Then all hell will break loose.


Posted by Dennis at 7:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2006


Satellite television in this part of Spain provides over 500 channels, programming from all over Europe, the Canary Islands, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, and a whole bunch of others. I'm keen to share some of them with you from time to time.

I prefer the Patton ethos, actually*.

Posted by Dennis at 1:06 PM | Comments (0)

San Cucu Fato

My mother and I had business in Barcelona the other day, taking the first Sarfa line south at 7:30 in the morning. The bus stops at both the Estacion Nord Barcelona and Urquinaona (what a fabulous name), just a block from my gallery at the top of the old city near Plaza Catalunya.

We parted ways at the stop, me to the gallery and she to meet with one of her contacts. She buys antique fabric in Europe and sells it in the States --mainly in California. I'm encouraging her to do eBay, and I'm curious to see what she makes of it.. She was off to see Xxxx and Yyyy, her fabulous "pickers" of all things antigue and fabric in Barcelona. Xxxx and Yyyy are super serious in a funny way, muy Manolo.

The end of the day came with my mother's call. But her voice was heavy. "Dennis, you won't believe what happened. I lost my address book, I think on the bus." For her business, an address book is more than a simple address book. Data is in there. Important data. As she started to wind into worry, I throw an anchor into the idea that we don't know yet if it is truly lost. There is a big chance that the bus driver will find it. They always perform a check of the seats between each trip for a clean up. There is a strong chance that they will find it. Let's put the anxiety off until at least this afternoon, after we've seen what has turned up at the lost and found.

My rational lifeboat would float, but to my surprise, she had already climbed onto a theme park luxury liner, ideologically.

My mother squeezed the Devil's balls until it hurt.

Discovering the lost agenda (address book in Castilian) at Xxxx and Yyyy' place, they jumped to the rescue. With glee they told her that her only chance to recover the agenda was to tie the Devil's testicles by tying two knots in a handkerchief and incantating thusly:

?San Cucu Fato!

Si no encuentro lo que he perdido las bolas no se los des ato!

Saint Cucu Fato!

If I don't find what I've lost, I won't untie your balls from these knots!

The time passed easily as she told me of the whole affair and how her friends helped her with such amusement. Soon, with a telephone call to the bus station's lost and found, Saint Cucu came through for her. They found her treasure and handed it off at the stop at North Station. Relief. And a waxing glee as delight was taken with the mental image of controlling the Devil so.

Xxxx called in:

?Sabe? ?Funciona, verdad! ?Funciona!

You see? It works! It works!
That thing was getting tight on his balls!

Winky eyes and a glimpse into the mists of time, when people didn't wink at such things.

Posted by Dennis at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)


Something's in the air.


Posted by Dennis at 5:11 AM | Comments (0)


"Our only task is to realize the destruction of the class society and private property!"

Alberto: "There is something beautiful about this, no?"

Dennis: "Well, I can see the idealism and the yearning for a better world, but..."

Alberto: "But you can see that there is something good about this, can't you?"

Dennis: "Maybe if you frame out the 100 million plus who died in the 20th century as a result of Marx and his derivatives, but that's a lot to disregard."

Alberto: "?"

Dennis: "Then there is this thing about defacing people's property. It's one thing to mark up someone's wall on the street, but then there are times when people throw bricks and break glass on the Paseo de Gracia. You can chalk it up to social friction, something you have to put up with in life, living with people... but then where does it stop... when it doesn't stop of its own accord?"

Alberto: "Yea."

Dennis: "Alberto, look around us." We were sitting in my house, paintings all around us. "I painted this." I pointed toward 'Greener, Still'. "This is my property. If property is a crime, then the state owns these paintings."

Beat, one, two, three.

"I wouldn't paint any more paintings then."

I didn't have to say: "...would you?"

Alberto: "Tienes raison."

What hung heavy in the air was the unspoken question of whether art itself could exist after the revolution.

Dennis: "And as far as the class thing, we live in a time where one can move up and down the class ladder. Abolition of class distinctions makes no sense on one hand and on the other, it has already been done, a fait accompli."

Alberto: "..." (He smiled.)

Then we talked of other things.

Posted by Dennis at 4:53 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2006




Posted by Dennis at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2006


Satellite television in this part of Spain provides over 500 channels, programming from all over Europe, the Canary Islands, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, and a whole bunch of others. I'm keen to share some of them with you from time to time.

"K+", a strange channel that is wall to wall movies, period Russian movies, raw and uncut with commercials or translations of any kind. Tonight, we are treated with these characters that look they sprung out of the "Wizard of Oz".

... or is it the other way around?

Posted by Dennis at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Barcelona This Week

This is a shot of a building in Gracia, taken the day before. It fronts a public square faced by a church. There's not much more that I can tell you about this edifice except that it caught my eye.

It was the first time I went into this part of town. I had heard many good things about Gracia, that it is a local neighborhood without many tourists straying into it, cool, normal, human scale, ideal. And that's about right. Gracia was a little town outside of Barcelona when Barcelona was within encircled defensive walls and everyone wore tights and daggers. Then they built the Paseo de Gracia and the metropolis filled in, later with the regularizing grid of the Cerda Plan.

Well, that's about it for the historical overview.

Here's a few pics I took while venturing into Barcelona this week:

Alberto and I met up with Gemma and took the subway to visit the exhibits at the Caixa Forum in Montjiuc. The big draws: Henry Moore and "Animated Stories", a show of animated films that features William Kentridge as the flagship artist in the group show. Here's a snippet from the brochure:

Reality is becoming less and less similar to reality. Never before had images contained so much information and disinformation in a single take, a single frame or a single pixel.

The discrediting of the image, whether photographic, filmic or digital, as a certificate of reality has fostered other ways of recounting our life experience. Thus in recent years we have been witnessing a fruitful meeting between art and animated film. one of the main aims is to deal with the themes related to "what happens to us" in forms of representation that are directly linked not with analogy, but to fantasy and magic.

The tales in the "Animated Stories" exhibition are therefore not fictions, but schisms between the world and its representation, as William Kentridge's installation, which opens the show, wonderfully evokes. And since reality is increasingly indescribable, animation conjures or suggests it, resorting to strategies that are sometimes ironic, sometimes lyrical and most often fantastic. In this exhibition, the artists patrol the boundaries of what cannot be said, of what is and is not appropriate; they give fantasy back its ability to opt for different declensions of truth. And this is, essentially, a political task.

Translation: artists are getting into animation, so let's see what they are up to.

What I saw: the best work told stories of course... and there weren't many stories in the show. Artists noodling with animation merely made drawings that moved. There's my critique. However, I don't blame them for their riveted fascination- I would have been transfixed too. But it is revealing that when the moving drawing weren't depopulated, the rendered figures tended to be faceless cyphers. Surprisingly, the show demonstrated to me that moving pictures of all types, especially the ones we grew up with, were rendered with human strum und drang and not graphite, ink, pixels or anything inanimate.

The Caixa Forum is a remarkable place. I'm typing this outside of a wifi signal, so I won't be able to research the background and drop nuggets of historical information for you. But my rough rendition is that this historical gem of a building was rescued by a corporation and a public exhibition program was installed. The place is beautiful, generous, and well maintained.

Like most artists, Henry Moore's early work is revealing, bright and shiny in the reflected light of later success. Looking at the first galleries, plans to chip stone and wood in my backyard in LA began to germinate.

The drawings and the legend of the later forms born in wartime London bomb shelters. There is a theatrical atmospheric thing that dropped out or got sucked into other formal aspects in the later work. Thinking about the political ambition dropped into the text of "Animated Stories": the politics of WWII weren't fronted in Moore's sketchbook. And for all of the political ambition in "Animated Stories", what is there is weak, flaccid or stereotypical.

Sublimation as an artistic political alternative has a lot going on for it.

So we went to "Camper" to sate our hunger. A strange place, it is a shoe store that expanded into a hotel and a groovy fast food joint... all this in a row in the base of a building in a great part of the Raval, just around the corner from MACBA, the contemporary art museum. This looks like the current fashion in global corporate strategy: to extend your brand into other markets. In this case, rice balls with third world overtones. You can break your twenty euro bill and feel as one with the strivers in other continents.

Here's a few pics of my compa?eros:

Alberto said: "?Ponte su Dior, por favor, ponte su Dior!"
Gemma is starting her final year in university, majoring in public relations. Alberto and I have been talking about a project this summer and we invited Gemma in to beef up the core team. Not much can be said at this point, more to come for sure.

The day was getting late, so we skirted the show at MACBA and as we cruised through the Richard Miers environs, I stopped to record the way classically modern architecture is a gift from G-d for skateboarders worldwide. I wonder if LA's Getty Museum is as hospitable for the skateboarding teens and near teens?

As we jetted toward the bus station, I snapped this portal near the museum. It seemed to be the right thing to do after the Henry Moore vibes earlier in the day.

Posted by Dennis at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

Perfidy and Jamon Iberico

One of my favorite blog/websites is the Ministry of Minor Perfidy. A group blog, the list of Perfidious Ministers are as follows:

Sometimes you have fun, sometimes the fun has you

Employee of the Month

heteropatriarchal phallocentric violence-addicted prosthetic cock smoker

Can taste the difference between Colt .45 and .45 Colt

Tastes better than he looks

There's much to reccommend but this time, I'd like to spotlight Johno's post about the recent availability of Jamon Iberico in the United States:

Spanish cured ham so silky, so toothsome as to practically defy description. And one terrible side effect of our nation?s rules and import barriers was that the Food and Drug Administration prohibited its import. Like many raw-milk French cheeses, the unfettered and wild processes of bacteria, enzymes, and sheer time presented a horrible spectre of infestation to the crabbed pencil pushers who thronged its halls.

Like, come on! The whole point of curing meat or milk is to render it impervious to rot or infestation. Why the hell can?t it come into the country? It?s only been three thousand years since mankind perfected the process!! Am I to believe that a raw-milk Camembert is, on the face of it, more harmful to the good of America than Mohammed Fucking Atta? Who they let in the country?? JESUS CHRIST!!!!


Where was I?

Right. So there?s this ham they make in Spain, from pigs from Castille that are fattened on acorns and whose loin is rubbed with a combination of herbs and spiced before being painstakingly cured with great love and care in the gentle Spanish breezes. Salt and bacteria do their thing. The enzymes in the cells of the loin of pork do their thing. The spectacular alchemy of man and nature coalesce in a transcendent display of pinnacle of the art of charcuterie. And you couldn?t usedta get it here.

But not no more. It?s here. Yesterday when I bought some it was $99.95 a pound. Today it?s $199.95. A pound.

Some dudes eat a pounda steak as an appetizer.

So I bought some.

If you are too impatient to follow the links to Johno's post, click here for Formaggio Kitchen's page on the delicious Jamon Iberico.


(I'm just wondering if I can carry on a leg of Jamon on the plane with me next week...)

Posted by Dennis at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2006


I'm enjoying Laura Lark's new blog. Reading it takes the work out of artwork.

She has recently moved to New York and I enthusiastically reccommend her reports from the gallery scene there. Las week was the Fall opening season, "Tomorrow night there are a bazillion openings in Chelsea, which I look forward to and dread...".

She's got a great voice, she's funny and when she takes down an artist, it doesn't seem like the standard nasty soul destroying evisceration that I usually encounter in this not-so-nice-fairy-land artworld of ours.

Here's an example:

Greg Bogin. Sheesh. Spare me the shaped canvas. I know everybody thinks that Stella was a groundbreaker and a genius, but I think his shaped canvases blow, too. But at least when Stella did it it was novel. Stupid, but novel. Kind of like the product "Fingos" that was introduced by General Mills several years ago. Perhaps because, at the time, the show Seinfeld was in its heyday and Seinfeld was always eating breakfast cereal out of the box, General Mills thought it would be nifty to make a cereal that was the size and consistency of Fritos Corn Chips made for dips. Kids could cram their sticky fingers into a big cereal box, presumably stuff something that tasted like Golden Grahams into their pie holes, and spend the livelong day getting the Daily Recommended Amount of riboflavin, niacin, and goo.

That was a dumb idea, too. Fortunately, it faded into the distance like my beloved Quake, never to rear its disgusting head again. It's too bad that didn't happen with the shaped canvas. Who buys this stuff? Probably the same peeps who bought Fingos.

And oh, by the way, I don't wanna hear anybody's tirade about the genius of Stella or Bogin or the shaped canvas or whatever you want to rag at me about. If you don't like what I say about shit, don't read it.

My, but that was defensive. I'm scarred for life from that last batch of posts. And I guess I lied when I said I wasn't going to write about art. Fingos can definitely be considered a form of art.

Even if you are thrown into the category "Stupid but Novel", keeping company with Stella and Fingos takes the sting out a bit... maybe it because she's taking her ego down at the same time too.

Posted by Dennis at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

The Mandrake

Here's my favorite bar in Culver City. It has just opened this summer and I can't wait to belly up to the bar and order a glass of Knocando.

On the rocks.

And hang out with my pals over there.

October is just around the corner!

Posted by Dennis at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)


I'm still wrangling the puzzle of my messed up mail server. All I get is this:

The server response was: sorry, that domain isn't in my list of allowed rcpthosts (#5.7.1)
So, until I get a handle on this situation, more messages out in the blind and mailcall too:

Cousin Harold queries his dad to see if we are related:


It's getting warm on the related front! Here is an email I got as a reply from my father on the question of Kennett:

Not that I am aware of but don't really know. My grand father or your great grandfather
grew up in Iowa. Around the Des Moines area. My dad was born in Corning Iowa. Our family moved to Mexico Missouri, where you were born. What is Dennis's father's name? I could ask around.
Ball is now back in your court Dennis. Oh, Elizabeth Leach said to say hi, she told me she has a couple of your drawings at her gallery. Small world of ours!


My grandfather's name was/is Obie Hollingsworth, my dad's name, aka "Junior" to my folks in Kennett. Grandpa Obie's past melts into the mist and the only other reference I've heard is that there is some Choctaw blood in the woodpile soemwhere. My grandfather was a traveling photographer who wooed my grandmother Mary away from a Texas family by the name of Cox in Angleton Texas. Reportedly, they didn't like that. Ultimately, my grandmother didn't either, as my grandpa had a bad case of wanderlust. I hold the image of that time in my mind: a life in and around the Mississippi River shortly after the time of Twain, during the fading embers of the days when the big river was the Wild West. People possessed of the wandering instinct must have been selected into that population then and my grandad had a big dose of it. A lingering family moment is a time when just before the multi acre corn crop was about to mature, my grandpa was siezed with the lust to homestead another piece of property over the horizon and loaded the family up on the horse drawn wagon, my grandmother on the buckboard, tears streaming down her face.

A bit of that instinct plagues our family to this day.

Many thanks to your father for the information.

And hello to Elisabeth too, I'll send her an email once I stumble into the solution for my busted mail server.


And Jim Murray says hello:

Yeh denny just a little see if this emailage is floating its way
thru cyberwurld and u are getting it..i wrote a bit last spring, then mid
summer, then last week..just stuff @ color, ur blolingo, reactions to ur
reactions, congrats on the fine slew of shows u been having..etc..could be
that u arent getting these or , just getting them and not much to say rite
offthebat, (alls cool) but I have a health? ludditeish distrust of gizmoes
and I was just checkin to see if u been getting dig the recent
entr?e with the crop-pannie of the insides of ur pad with all the r3e3cent
work up against the walls..(did I see 3-4 works on paper..?) of
my daughters gave birth to a pretty little healthy boy yesterday up in des
moines im sort of enjoying the curious aura of potential when a new is
spun out into the planet up against all the rawa of the experienced reall
dimmimg and damning the color of doubts about hope..later, jimmy

from theodore roethke

There's a point where plainness is no longer a virtue,
when it becomes excessively bald, wrenched.
then poco de buk to clear our sinuses..funn? one call

"cows in art class"

good weather
is like
good women-
it doesn't always happen
and when it does
it doesn't
always last.
man is
more stable:
if he's bad
there's more chance
he'll stay that way,
or if he's good
he might hang
but a woman
is changed
the moon
the absence or
presence of sun
or good times.
a woman must be nursed
into subsistence
by love
where a man can become
by being hated.

Charles Bukowski

Yes of course Jimmy, I got all those. I hope I didn't drop a ball but it looks like I did. Clicking away, I see the emails you sent. Here's the one before:

hey denn?..long time no memobackandforth..but I been checkin into ur
site from time 2time over l'estate....looks like great fun , that'db ur
summer in espana...!..and wow..(great for u) back2back2back shows all over
the planet.! I (of course) closle??gawk at ur groovy work..and poetic
pallete configures..i reall??dug the one with predominant julythunderstorm
over the midwest coming at u slate grey..i liked what ur configured it
with..sorr??I cant remember which was the entry...
recently what I likde was ur poetic/personal musing which read like an
open heart diary..i know , like in architecture afine work has both the
poeticAND the not certain which without the other can make or
break a piece..but tho ur stuff is kwoteunkwote non-figurative..i can tell
b??ur writing that the naming/expressing of ur struggles and
processii/sharing of likes and dislikes/..reall??give a gu??an insite to the
poetical which spurs ur ambitions...
recently looking at some of the paintings (I reall? dug the cirrus
prints as well!!from last spring)..i fetched this thot which alluded to how
I feel when I look at some of the pics..

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after
from 13 ways of looking at a blackbird..wallace stevens
Me this wife freaked on my dream of designing a studio/house
etc..said it would never she pushed for a mint 1916 craftsman
house with all the pretty wood inside etc..(not ugly) but not my
style..) u sort of begrddglinly moved all the junk 5 miles..shut up..and
got on with the of m? daughters is pregnant with her 2nd child
from a super immature young I took her up to my?friends house (and
my family)(in minneapolis) so I could go swimming with her and my year old
granddaughter to talk and help her figure some stuff out>>????? Alos sent my
collages to umm pavel zoubak gallery in n?n? a nice rejection not..odd
in a way..he shows a lot of"modern masters" but looking closely it could be
that he deals alittle more with text/image and photgraphic
stuff??anywa?...thought about a trip to chicago and L.A. But then another
daughter divorced(amicabl?) her husband so spent some time lending soothe to
that..she moved to huntington beach to work at the cheesecake factory then
rite away gets her car stolen from her.....finally a good budd? painter
friend of mine cam down and we drove around the gorgeous souther iowa
bentonesque landscape he painting, me sketching,,, now school has been open
since august 21st...and summer is bout over>>>>>>>>>all the best..ur friend
in iowa...jimmy jetta

You sure have a rich family life, Jimmy. I remember reading parts of that email and wondering if I should publish it, your words being so honest and raw and intimate. Good for you, moving into the home your wife wants. A 1916 Craftsman in Los Angeles or Pasadena is a palace, and the ethos of the interior/furniture design is a pretty cool environment to live in. Art will find a way and the home making ambitions of our "better halfs" doesn't have to eclipse the impulse to make art. Besides, the conventional model of the artist's studio could use a dent or two.

And congrats on the new grandson too. There's lots of Jimmy juice squirting around over there.

All the best,


Posted by Dennis at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2006





Posted by Dennis at 5:02 PM | Comments (0)

Admin/Email by Any Means Necessary

My outgoing server won't work, so I'm sending the following messages out in the blind:

-Stephanie: I got your recent message about the itinerary, no worries.
-Craig: It's great to hear from you! And yes of course, I'd love to talk to your class anytime... but... I'll return to LA on October 1. Can it still work?
-Harold: I'm glad to see that your hands are "dirty" too (as all ours are, it's just that some won't admit it). Where in Missouri are your folks from? My dad hails from Kennett. (And good luck to you in Portland!)

Posted by Dennis at 4:35 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2006

Snorkel Report

Last week was crowning achievement in the snorkel life here in Tossa: three night dives once every other night, three nights hunting for dinner. I shopped for tridents at the local dive shops but all I could find were flimsy plastic and steel tips and not the Posiden?-grade weapon that we really needed. The one saving grace is that they are cheap and therefore disposable. After breaking off a tip when pinning fish against the rocks, theoretically we can replace them in the water... a good theory yet to be tested. We scrounged around for broom sticks in Kiko's washroom and I felt a little Tom Sawyer-like, homespun and improvisational.

The moon was full all week and getting bigger with each dive. The downside is that -according to Kiko- the fish are not as sleepy with the bright moonlight suffusing the scene. The upside is that the underwater landscape is lovely, entrancing. The view reminds me of nighttime scenes in snow country, the light reflected up from the snowy ground, perhaps the sight owls have in a pitch black night. At sea, the sandy bottom resembles snow and the rocky outcroppings are dark silhouetted outlines between. With the flashlights switched off, you can see all of this but little detail and no sea creatures, only shadows. You can see the moon from deep below the sea. I get the sense that dives go deeper at night than by day. Perhaps this is an illusion, a subjectivity framed by a range of vision limited by the inverse-sqare law of light sources, the flashlight's relatively small cone furtively sweeping space on the way down. At least for me, the first lunges after dinner (fish) rarely hit their mark since the target (fish) wakes up from the light and noise and flits away toward deeper and open water in a blink of an eye. I get the sense too, that night dives go longer per lung full of air since the hunt provides the imperative to persist. Perhaps this too is an illusion, but as I kick deeper in pursuit, juggling the trident and flashlight, pinching my nose to equalize the pressure in my ears, a note of caution blinks faster in my mind: it's time to kick up to the surface, submariner. And there is the moon, shining more clearly than the sun because the sky is dark by contrast I would suppose) and I would rise with the bubbles thinking that the fish must know this moon, its' movements, patterns and quirks. While there is a sense organ laterally along the body of fish to sense signals transmitted in the medium of sea water, it must be a weak sense organ after all, surely it must be by eyesight that they close in on their prey for their own dinner. Therefore moonlight this strong must surely disturb a sea creature's slumber.

The dive team roster: two dives with Kiko and I, and the last episode that included Nacho. Nacho's business is motorcycles. He sells motorcycle accessories and equipment in Barcelona and he manages a racing team that competes under the name of "Attack", the logo of which is a shark image similar to the legendary ace squadron of old, the Flying Tigers. It was therefore no surprise that he sported a "torpedo", a small snub nosed submersible electric powered scooter. Though tiny, it was fast enough to match the strong kicks that I could muster with my Cressi? extra long fins. It was funny to watch Nacho dive deep with his contraption, looking for all the world like an extra in the final undersea fight scene in the '60's movie "Thunderball". Kiko knew all of the crevices and crags along the way, son of Tossa that he is. Being provocative and a bit brash, he tended to disregard the diver's buddy rule as he sped ahead towards his kill zone. Again, I (we) lost sight of Kiko, Nacho and I alone at sea looking for our fellow hunter. In that first time, I was alone and it was pretty spooky swimming back and forth with my light shut off so I could see Kiko's flashlight, just me and the dark sea at the far edge of Cap Tossa. I must not have seen him swim ahead as I was chasing four large fish hidden in a hole in the rocks below. That time, I had swum back and forth four times, stopping to pull off the mask and snorkel to shout Kiko's name into the night., not a god feeling. But was then and since this was my second occasion losing Kiko, I had an idea of where he went. Nacho and I cruised ahead to catch up, Nacho's electric engine whining ahead at full speed, bubbles reflecting the moonlight with small pearls of efflorescence that tumbled and mixed as we disturbed the surface with our swim.

After the disappointing month of August, the experience of swimming through a sea of trash in what amounted to a sewer, I had avoided daytime snorkels. The invasion of jellyfish were bad enough but it was the presence of trash that bummed me out to the point where I kept my gear dry for a while. Snorkeling again in September, I reasoned that the water runoff from the rains had abided and integrated into the sea water... and perhaps it did, perhaps it didn't. I wouldn't have known by night if only by the way our flashlight beams were dispersed by the small particles of matter in the water. I didn't want to know, so disappointing it was. But in the last dive, there was a Sargasso sea of trash and debris floating off the point of Cap Tossa and I felt dread and irritation as trash trailed and scraped along my back, trash bags and who-knows-what catching on my snorkel.

The best part of diving here is in the beginning of summer for sure. I hope that the local authorities get a handle on this situation soon.

When we caught up with Kiko, he had made two kills. He called the fish "Sargo", one about a kilo in weight, another a bit smaller. Looking down, I spotted a target drifting along a cleft in the rocks. Flashlight and trident in my left hand, I kicked down and pinched my nose to even the pressure in my ears. Drifting down in free fall, I shifted the trident to my right hand and with the fish framed in the light beam, I moved the trident tip close to the target and with a lunge, the fish moved but not fast enough as the weapon hit behind the head and below the dorsal fin, the trident smashing against the rock face, breaking one of the tips. I raised the quarry up and swam up, keeping it impaled until I broke the surface where I held the fish aloft not wanting it to wiggle free. After my last dive where I lost two fish after removing them from the trident, I followed Kiko's advice and squeezed the head until I either stunned the creature or killed it. I kept it impaled on the trident and I used both gloved hands to do the grim work. But the creature was too hardy or I was too uncoordinated to do the job. I struggled to get it into the net/bag tied to my waist and as I collected my trident and swam ahead, the fish kept struggling in the bag, the spines of it's fins poking into my legs. This wasn't tolerable. I finally stopped and inserted one of the remaining tips of the trident into a spot behind the eyes, where I suspected the brain was. And the kicking stopped . Three fish, three divers. With Nacho's and Kiko's family waiting by the bar-b-que, we called it a night and cleaned the fish by the shore underneath the south tower of old Tossa.

Fresh fish for dinner, the good life.

Recently, I came across this bit regarding how we moderns tend to forget the connection between the food we eat and the wildlife we appreciate in the media, The Smell of Death":

Armed Liberal wrote about the problem of those who 'keep their hands clean,' never hunting, buying meat prepackaged and without an awareness of the moral cost. I disagree: there is no moral cost. We are monsters, who butcher though it creates mounds of gore: who sever heads, and find it moves us though we know not why.
But it isn't killing that makes us monsters. We are exactly that same kind of creature, whether we have ever killed or not.
The moral problem of 'the clean hands' is that it is an illusion. It makes people believe they are better than they are, and therefore that others can also be better than they can be. It creates a class of people who feel clean, because they have never felt blood on their hands.
Yet all these things arise from things buried deep in the genetic code. You cannot walk away from them. The failure to experience these things does not mean you would not react to them in just the same way as everyone else: it only means that you cannot understand how you would react, and how others do.
The man with clean hands is just the same as the hunter. It is only that he does not know it. He does not understand that part of his soul, as it lurks beyond his experience. He comes to believe that there is a kind of human that is and can be clean: perhaps that sweet, aged lady on the corner, who in her youth broke necks every night before dinner.
Failing to understand what Man really is, he opens himself more than is wise, and defends himself less. The man with the clean hands believes in diplomacy but not the force that makes diplomacy viable. He believes in staying clean, because he believes it makes him better than you. He does not understand that it only makes him blind.
This is not a call to amoralism, but precisely the opposite. It is a call for true morality, which can only begin with awareness of sin. It can only come from a recognition of how deep-set, how permanent, how personal sin is in each of us.
It is only in that way that we can begin to put real chains on sin: by recognizing the truth about it. We must learn to face the truth about ourselves, so that we can better ourselves: we must learn to face the truth about others, so we will recognize when murder is in their hearts.
In Zen Lessons: The Art of Leadership, translated by Thomas Cleary, there is a lesson to which my mind often returns. It is a lesson taught by a great master of early Zen Buddhism, called Chan in the Chinese. He had made a life given to fasting and simplicity, relinquishment and moderation. One day he visited a hermit, preparing a simple meal of rice:
The master said, "Why do crows fly away when they see a man?" The hermit was at a loss; finally he put the same question back to the Chan master. The master said, "Because I still have a murderous heart."
So do you. And so do I, and know it. For which cause I set guards on myself, chains of chivalry and courtesy, forgiveness in spite of anger. Our ancestors knew it, for which cause they learned to fight duels instead of wars, and make laws that legitimized violence in defense but not aggression.

Armed Liberal is right. Modern society has given many, for the first time, the problem of clean hands. It has yet to teach them how to overcome that problem.


Posted by Dennis at 9:01 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2006

Admin/ Mail Call

In today's mailcall, it seems Google is connecting a lot of people all over the world. This time, I got a request from someone doing some research:

Hi Dennis,

I came across your blog doing a search for *anything* relating to the
Dreams of Yellow Mountain exhibit at the Met a few years ago. I have
been trying, vainly, for years to discover the name [though preferably
an image] of one of the works in that exhibit. The Met has been
notoriously unhelpful. I was hoping perhaps you could help.
Is the NYT write up of the exhibit and the work I'm looking for is in
these paragraphs [finally I know the artist, Zhang Feng, but not the
One of these personalities, the poet-painter Zhang Feng, opens the show
with a group of pictures that charts changes and continuities within a
career. An album of landscapes, dated 1644, offers tight, fleet riffs in
the manner of Ni Zan, a ''leftover subject'' of an earlier dynasty,
along with the image of a sunset, a motif found in other Nanjing-related
painting and perhaps of Western derivation.

A hanging scroll done nearly 20 years later -- its brushwork loose,
parched and spare -- has the image of a scholar standing on a natural
stone bridge stretching over an abyss. The bridge was on Mount Tiantai,
a Buddhist site, and the legend was that whoever passed over it would
enter paradise. But the way across was perilously slippery, and the
scholar in the scroll, venturing toward center, seems frozen in
indecision, a condition familiar to artists and intellectuals torn
between Ming loyalties and the increasing attractions of life under the
culture-hungry Qing. "

As I recall it was the back wall of the exhibit and was an approximately
20-25ft scroll.

Thank you for your time.

Jason Beals

Hello Jason:

I'm sorry but I can't find any more images from that visit so long ago and my memory is too creative to be trusted to factually reconstruct what I saw. I wish that I knew more about "Dreams of Yellow Mountain" to help you here, but alas!

I would be interested in learning more of what you are cooking up there. What caught my attention was a world in which paintings were painted and subsequent visits from poets and artists would result in poetry inscribed in the colophon as a collaboration and commemoration of the encounter.I like to say that there are many art worlds and the inner nature of that particular art world so long go is fascinating to me.

All the best to you,



Here is an email from someone who is doing a different kind of research:

Hi Dennis,
I?m watching your page since abouth 1 year every day. I am a fan from Paca la Ciclona.
Your painting from 6th, september looks like frozen blood.
I saw you in july at codolar,but did not know what to say.You never wrote anything more abouth Paca. why?
One stuped question: can you live from your paintings?
I?m german and was married to a californien guy 20years ago, who loved the alcohol more than anythjing else(including me).
Are you at 16th septiembre still in Tossa (because you exebition in Barcelona)?
Is it possible to meet you?
Sorry , the questions are verry direct, but this the way I am.
I?m getting ready for a operation in octiobre and feel like have some things get in order before,include a talk with you.
So long,
I've had a quiet spell recently, little was blogged or letters replied. She wrote again today:
Hallo Dennis,
sorry, please forget the last mail from me.It was not the best time to write a mail to you.The only reason, I?m reading your page, is that I am searching in internet for informations abouth Tossa and its people.Since 8 years I am going to Tossa 2 ore 3 times a year. I am also no fan of Paca ,I am a friend of her since many years.
Cause you are often in CA I had the idea to ask you if you see a possibility to find out ,if my ex-husband and his mother are still alive or not.There is no special reason,-I am just kind of curious.
The last painting from you -,is just great!
I am no fan from you, I just like the way you make fotos from Tossa.--And the Foto fom Paca and you! Because all this other fotos from Tossa are kind of boring to me.
I keep taking fotos from La Paca every time I?m there.And I am not very happy abouth her health the last 2 years.When she comes to the point, that she needs help, I?ll try to help. But thanks good she made it this year (with oxigen,but she is still able to get on the stage.I don?t really want to meet you,-just want to say "Hallo" to you, when I see you somewhere there next week.
Hello Regina:
Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading the blog!

I am certainly a fan of La Paca too, but perhaps I am not as fervent as you. My movements this summer have been constrained by my studio schedule and the interleafed social events haven't taken me to the famed Club Flamenco in which La Paca sings. Although, there is a sense of a fading glory to the place, made more vivid by the sight of one of the feature singers breathing from pxygen bottles between performances. New blood for Flamenco dancing seems to have been suppressed by a resurgent Catalan consciousness, Flamenco being a central cultural phenomenom in the more southern parts of Spain.

Uh, I don't think it's a good idea for me to help you find your ex-husband. Good luck with that.

If we cross paths in Tossa, certainly it will be nice to say hello... but it is probably best to keep a meeting incidental. My weblog ultimately has a professional address and the personal life shown therein is that which has connections to the art being made.

All the best to you!



An old Navy buddy writes in:

hey hollywood,

will you be posting a pic of the 9/7/06 painting on your blog. i want to see what the whole painting looks like.

p.s. wish i could be there swilling beers and talkin' smack!



I'll take some more pics soon. There's a few that I've dropped along the way.

I'm sure we will be swilling and smack talking someday soon!

On a smack-free topic: were you on board the Truxtun when we picked up the Vietnamese boat people in the South China Sea? I wanted to refresh my memory of that time. I remember at least two ocassions, one of them where one of the passengers had passed away and the body was tied to the roof the boat. I didn't understand the political context at the time, the gravity of the situation, the historical ramifications of it all. One question for my fellow sailors: ...did you?


Posted by Dennis at 7:52 AM | Comments (0)

To Live is to Struggle

Here's a good summary of what's happened since 9-11-01:

Five years after Sept. 11, 2001, ground zero remains a 16-acre, 70-foot-deep hole in the heart of Lower Manhattan. High above it, a scaffolded bank building, contaminated during the attack, hulks like a metal skeleton, waiting endlessly to be razed.
The wreck that still stands tall and the pit that still sinks deep sum up the troubled history of ground zero. A site of horrific tragedy whose rescue and cleanup operation was a model of valiant efficiency, ground zero turned into a sinkhole of good intentions where it was as difficult to demolish a building as to construct one.
So let's struggle past this catatonia regarding the site of the World Trade Center. A tower of Babel brought down at the drawing boards. Five years of lapsed imagination in the various thousands of redesigns (some less than the others), and I think we can say that no one design has eclipsed the original feat, fact, and legend of the WTC towers.

So let's rebuild the towers with a beefed up Yamasaki design strategy (a fortified core and tube) and take design liberties with the internal volume which was over determined anyway in terms of the quantity of commercial office space. When the first plane hit, many of the upper floors were somewhat vacant. It seems natural, the incorporation of the post 9-11 architectural program within the historical skin -the formal shape and volume of the World Trade Center.

Posted by Dennis at 6:41 AM | Comments (0)

Real Progressiveness

Madrid Fashion.jpg least not regress.

I once pondered the idea of mandating camera lens in popular media to be modified so as to make the appearance of people thinner. If the camera adds ten pounds, make one that takes it away... or at least ot add the weight in the first place. This however is an interesting approach:
Madrid bans too-thin models from catwalk
MADRID (AFP) - Excessively skinny fashion models will be barred from a major Madrid fashion show later this month for fear they could send the wrong message to young Spanish girls, local media reported.
Madrid's regional government, which is co-financing the Pasarela Cibeles, has vetoed around a third of the models who took part in last year's show because they weigh too little.
The authorities collaborated with a Spanish health organisation to come up with a minumum body mass -- a height-weight ratio -- of 18 for the models.
Spanish daily ABC said it was the first time such restrictions had been imposed on a fashion show, although a recent wedding dress exhibition in Barcelona banned fashion models who took a dress size below 38 (British size 10, US size eight).
Posted by Dennis at 6:38 AM | Comments (0)


My gallery has published a press release:

La Galer?a Miguel Marcos presenta la primera exposici?n individual en
Espa?a del artista Dennis Hollingsworth. La muestra se inaugura el
pr?ximo jueves 28 de septiembre de 2006 a las 20.00h:


Del 28 de septiembre al 10 noviembre de 2006

Dennis Hollingsworth (Los Angeles 1956), presenta desde el d?a 28 y
hasta el 10 de noviembre la exposici?n con obra reciente e in?dita

Licenciado en Arquitectura por la Universidad de California, Dennis
Hollingsworth pertenece a ese grupo de pintores expresionistas que
emergieron en Los Angeles en la d?cada de los 90. Desde 2004 su obra
pertenece a la colecci?n de uno de sus museos m?s importantes de la
ciudad, el Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

Reconocido internacionalmente con numerosas exposiciones en lugares como
Tokyo, 2004 Tomio Koyama Gallery; Cologne, 2004 Buchman Gallerie; Tur?n,
2000 The Box; Londres, 2002 Londodn Institute of Art; o Basel,
Kunstahalle Basel; Dennis Hollingsworth presentar? en la Galer?a Miguel
Marcos su primera exposici?n en Espa?a.

En su obra, Dennis Hollingsworth utiliza la pintura como algo f?sico y
mat?rico, como un elemento constructivo. El artista utiliza la t?cnica
alla prima, sin correciones ni capas, pintando contra el tiempo de
secado. Sus trabajos son a la vez construcciones intuitivas y met?dicas:
por un lado son impulsivos con todas esas gotas y salpicaduras cargadas
de energ?a, pero por otro ofrecen una composici?n planeada de manchas de

Para m?s informaci?n o im?genes, por favor contactar con la galer?a en
el 93.319.26.27 o via email:

Galer?a Miguel Marcos

Here is my response to the gallery when the topic of the show's title came up:

In the recent show in New York, I have considered using "" as a title, an indication of the oeuvre as self portrait and the blog as the indexical pointer toward that portrait.? But I was persuaded to reconsider, the argument being that a refernece to a blog might seem too cheeky.? I'm still not sure.??

Recently, a friend mentioned a word "Sidereal" in Castellano a response in viewing the paintings and this word has surfaced in my mind many times since then.? The meaning I take from it:??


1. Of, relating to, or concerned with the stars or constellations; stellar.
2. Measured or determined by means of the apparent daily motion of the stars: sidereal time.

Another alternative is "Constellations" a title which is an indication of how we organize meaning from natural phenomena, another way to interpret what I am doing with paint.? I have long been interested in amateur astronomy and learning the night sky.? My forays into snorkeling recently can be another form of it as in a regard for the observations of nature.

From 1996 to 2003, I was plunging pretty deeply into amateur astronomy, also known as backyard astronomy, a better name. My involvement was light enough but deep enough for me to buy an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and binoculars. I learned the night sky, the stories in the constellations both zodiacal and (north) polar. I had sky charts and a small library, especially a catalog of Messier objects that was a favorite. What I learned about backyard astronomy was all I needed was an expensive set of image stabilized binocs (on my wish list still, I have a good pair of night vision binocs but image stabilizers will prevent the heartbeat vibration from blurring the view ) and a

All of these concepts organize a multitude into images, a connecting of dots or blogposts to divine a pattern, an enlargement of the imagination that I think is central to art, an implied direction from the finite to the infinite and therefore a further implied critique and reversal of what seems to be current and perennial malaise we manifest when we want to foreclose and fix meaning.

You can look up at the sky and see Sagittarius but know that you can see other things up there too. What makes great art great is the ability of every generation to see their own Sagittarius in the spray of stars that is art.

Regarding backyard astronomy, it is still an abiding concern even though it has become a variable star for me. The cool thing is that like blogging, backyard astronomy has a serious potential as realized by those who have been tracking and discovering new asteroids in the night sky. I recommend this site from the estimable Sky and Telescope Magazine as a good starting point for those budding backyard astronomers out there. This month is a good start with the early night view of Sagittarius, a constellation rich in Messier objects (a catalog of deep sky sights such as star clusters, nebula, and galaxies. Along the axis of the Milky Way, the feature Sagittarius A marks also the galactic center and the position of the black hole that anchors us all in place along the spiral arm of our galaxy.

Posted by Dennis at 6:25 AM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2006





Tacking is a term I use to describe my usual shift away from whatever direction I've been headed in a painting. I have tended to regard definitive objectives (spelling out just what the purpose and meaning of the art I am making) as something to be avoided. I anticipate that by doing so might foreclose (I'm groping for a name) surprise, epiphany, something that I am not yet capable of realizing but what I will be able to realize as I grow...

...the possibilities of Dennis at (t+1).

I've gyrated grand ellipticals and moved in oblique ways all my life. Take my education for example. Long before I had heard the Hubert Dreyfus lecture in Existentialism (iTunes podcast, "'Fear and Trembling' - Preamble from Heart II" at t=1:02:40 "...eternity in time... ...a defining commitment...") I stood in front of Goya's Saturn at the Prado when I was thirteen with the knots of paint of Saturn's face dilating in my head and I knew I had to become an artist, a painter. Before then, I was already copying the illustrations in the margins of art history books, I remember thrilling to the smell of "Pink Pearl" erasers and "Ticonderoga" pencils in grandma's house when I was of preschool age. Maybe it was the fact that there was no one else in my family who knew of the art world and that my father was career military and to plot my way to where I am now I had to matriculate through military service. But it is certainly because I was a kind of autodidact and it is probably because I read about Michaelangelo ("Agony and Ecstasy") when I was twelve that I crafted a kind of monumental education that incorporated an architecture degree and license at its pyramidal base. Once I slid the block of a secondary degree in art in place, I was 35 years old.

So as I tacked away from the horizonless landscapes of the first and seventh paintings of this group of eight paintings bound for Barcelona, and with the last painting I moved toward the pictorial structure of the portrait with the dominance of the color red, thinking of the sixth green near monochrome. Normal stuff, I've done this for a while now. What I didn't anticipate was a telephone call heralding dark news of trouble in my family.


And this is where I must tack away from the ill winds that plague my Hollingsworth/Garcia clan. A subject best left for memoirs in later years.. ...what were Tolstoy's opening words in Anna Karenina?
?All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.?
Posted by Dennis at 7:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2006



Posted by Dennis at 4:31 AM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2006


I'm working on the last of eight paintings bound for Barcelona on the 25th of September. It's nice to have a full house for a couple of weeks.

Miguel and Mirentxu introduced me to Fernando Castro Florez, a writer and critic from Madrid. He's going to write something for a catalog Miguel is cooking up. Fernando and I have a few interests in common -architecture, for example. He taught for a few years... and his attitude seems to align with mine. Sharp and genial, I'm looking forward to our work together.

Posted by Dennis at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

Admin/ MailCall

An old Navy Buddy writes in after reading the previous snorkel report:

Hey Dennis.
Bob Burnidge comment here. Not sure if I am doing a comment to your blog correctly, so this is just a test.

You talk about Shark attacks and the other sea critters that can ruin your day when you do your skin/scuba diving events.
Bummer about that Aussie dude Crocadile Hunter that took a StingRay stinger to the heart.

I bet the Insurance Policy adjustment after your wife's foot injury about a year ago is nothing compared to the Insurance Policy for StringRay Barbs to Dennis Hollingsworth's Heart if it happened today.

Snorkel Diving with a Bullet Proof Vest will now be manditory equipment during your fun dives.

I am not a diver myself, but I would think about hiring a girl from a TopLess Bar... 44DD Chest to perhaps be your escort in them Dangerous Waters.

Always fun to check out your site Dennis. You did me many favors, many years ago. DRT artwork by Dennis Hollingsworth during ASW?kept them LCDR's off my back.?

Hello Bob!

Yea, it was tough, that news about the stingray attack. He flirted with danger and fed a family with it.* Tough stuff all around. Our culture is life-centered but the only way to understand our fascination with those who create a show business from a proximity to death is that perhaps it makes our life more vivid. It must have been a nasty surprise when that barb flashed.

No worries about me over here, I'm a lightweight when it comes to outdoor adventures. And the sea life has been depleted, que lastima! Although Kiko wants another night dive this week. We are to go around Cap Tossa, that piece of rock with the lighthouse atop it. He wants to spear some dinner that might be sleeping 'neath the rocks -with tridents and flashlights no less. Shades of King Neptune! The swim is long enough to make you happy to see land again. This time, I think I'll take an inflatable buoy along just in case I need to catch my breath.

(Note to the public: pay no mind to the sailor talk in paragraph six.
Note to Bob with a smile: I'm a married man, my friend. I've earned my medals of fidelity over here in Spain. )

Nice to hear from you!


As for the acronyms:

DRT: Dead Reckoning Tracer, a glass top table lit from below with a machine that represents the ship's movements in scale. A guy on the adjacent radar calls off targets with bearings and distances and the plotter (me) would draw a picture of the surface situation at sea.

ASW: Anti-Submarine Warfare. Helicopters, sonar, ASROC torpedos.

LCDR: Lieutenant Commander. An officer who has seen enough service to know his way around and thus does a lot of heavy lifting for the Captain and XO.

I've just got back from a night dive with Kiko. A beautiful night, flat sea, but the nearly full moon probably kept the fish from sleeping peaceably. I thought spearing sleeping fishes 'neath the rocks wold be like machine gunning deer from a helicopter (not that I would know) and I therefore had a lingering doubt about the enterprise... but it was a lot harder that I had anticipated. We each speared one and I injured three others, poor things. Kiko said that in the past he would spear eight in a night. I hope it's just the full moon that made the difference. I'd hate to think that the sea has been depleated that much.

The moon was so bright that we didn't need flashlights to see the sea floor. As a matter of fact, the water -thick with saline- diffused the light so much that we saw much less of the surrounding terrain with them on. (I wonder if anyone has made night vision dive masks yet?) We could see the fishes though. Kiko knew all the of the crags and fissures along the way, the homeboy advantage. The fish seemed to be easily startled by the lights. After a few lunges with the trident, the whole affair seemed to be a reasonable sport, mano-a-fisho. Water was warm or at least not cold. After an hour and a half, we emerged and gave the fishes to Pepa, the owner of the bar "El Pirata" located at the top of Codolar. Immediately she gushed: "...con cebollas y patatas y tomates en la horno..." as she planned tomorrow night's dinner.

Not bad for a good turn around in the snorkel report.

* This is a problematic issue, as Steve Irwin's career was somewhere between Evel Kneval's, Jacques Cousteau's and an Alaskan crab fisherman.

Posted by Dennis at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2006

Snorkel Report

August has been a bad month for snorkeling here in this part of the Costa Brava. It seemed to begin with the break of the heat wave as rain finally broke the dry spell that had people here so concerned about the combustibility of the local forests. Thirsty earth. And with the first rain, I remember noting the unusual robustness of the runoff from Tossa's streets into the sea.

I waited a few days afterward to let the street water dissipate but the dive was nasty. I hadn't seen water like that since I dived the far end of the Philippine's Subic Bay back in my Navy days (Olongapo City was modeled along the lines of Sodom and Gomorrah and it wasn't a literary impulse that named the local waterway "Shit River".) I will never forget the sight of spent condoms looking anemone-like at a 100 feet, forcing my lips to form a tighter seal on the mouthpiece of the regulator. When I was younger, my father took us to the thousand island national park in Northern Luzon, a vivid memory for me still. Coral in full color spectrum just a short kick down. I heard that it has been destroyed by dynamite fishing since then.

That first August snorkel wasn't much better than that Subic dive. Already the sea was thick due to the Mediterranean's characteristic salinity, but there seemed to be a kind of denser particulate soupyness to it and a considerable amount of debris, much of it plastic -mostly bags, but other trash as well. It was a revolting excursion. No doubt the cause was bigger than the August rain, and I looked toward the shipping lanes on the horizon for the cause, the despicable practice of trash dumping that is unfortunately normal for all seafarers. I showered off carefully after the dive that day.

About a week later, the jellyfish came. In Castellano, they're called medusas, a great name that constantly prompts for me the legend of Perseus. Stephanie sent me a news report on the coming jellyfish invasion in the western Mediterranean. This happened last year as well, but this time they weren't the large white and blue variety, but the smaller yet nastier brown/purple types.

Excursions below the sea were still soured by pollution and the condition of sea life took a hit as the life force of undersea flora and fauna dimmed. A kind of spongy, unattractive foamy moss grew over everything, another sign of inbalance. Schools of fish were fewer, and what I did see seemed to hunker down in small groups on the sea floor. It was other than irritating and more than sad. I opted to take a holiday from snorkeling for a while, letting the crunch of painting absorb most of my attention.

Then I happened to talk to a local lady here, an owner of Roquet de Mar, a nice little pocket hotel around the corner from my house. She was telling me of life back in the old days when Tossa was more of a fishing pueblo than a tourist resort. She spoke of the harvest normal then: octopus the size of small children, tuna as big as doorways to the house, the sea filled with lobsters, mussels, starfish and sardines. So the vibrant undersea life I froliced in at the beginning of summer was but a rump of what had been. Afterward, I talked to a local boy, David, son of the owners of Codolar's chiringuito (beach bar and grill shack) --who was cleaning the surf of jellyfish and dumping them all on the nearby rocks, their gelatinous bodies pulsing with a fading life force-- that the jellyfish invasion happened because the sea turtles were gone, their natural predators.

So today, I did a little googling:

Here's what Greenpeace says what's happening:
In May, Greenpeace published a report which drew the world's attention to the serious depletion of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea and demonstrating that up to 45,000 tonnes of tuna may have been caught each year in 2004 and 2005, despite the fact that only 32,000 tonnes can be caught legally. During the past month the fishermen Greenpeace has spoken to admitted that quotas are not respected and that there is no effective control over the fishery.
Greenpeace is calling on the countries of the Mediterranean to protect bluefin tuna with marine reserves in their breeding and feeding areas. They would become part of a global network of marine parks across 40% of the world's oceans that are needed to give

Well, I like the idea of marine parks. From what I've read, industry big and small are the culprits, enabled by feeble regulation poorly enforced:

"The Mediterranean is in desperate need of a sea change - literally. The large industrial fishing fleets are out of control, the tuna ranches are out of control, the illegal driftnetters are out of control, even the jellyfish are out of control, partly due to its main predators like tuna and sea turtles being wiped out," said Karli Thomas, of Greenpeace International. "A network of marine reserves would guarantee the protection of the Mediterranean species and their habitat and definitely help to reverse the fishery's decline."
(emphasis mine)
The problem with the industrial farming strategy is that even thought he scale is immense from a human perspective, from the scale of wildlife habitat, it concentrates animate and inanimate material too much, producing a kind of counterproductive blowback:
Furthermore, a new trend - bluefin tuna "farming" - has emerged, with the Spanish as the European leaders. The fish are captured live, placed in cages about 300 meters from the coast of Murcia in southern Spain, and fed until they grow fat. This maximizes the price for each fish: the greater the fat content, the greater the price on the Tokyo fish market. But these fast riches come at a cost. Apart from encouraging more people to catch this scarce fish, bluefin tuna farming is also leading to increased pressure on smaller fish species, such as anchovies and sardinella, which are sold to the farms to feed the tuna. Plus, keeping the cages so close to the coast has led to pollution of the coastal environment, raising the ire of local residents and other fishermen.

Which takes us from the Mediterranean to the Tokyo fish market (a place I haven't seen yet, and I intend to visit next March):

The price of a prize red tuna can top 50,000 euros (60,000 dollars) on the Japanese market.
It's going to be a sad day when I belly up to the sushi bar and take a pass on an order of Toro sushi. I'll have to drown my sorrows with Unagi, California rolls and a little saki. At least we haven't figured out how to large scale industrial farm eels (or avocados, unfortunately)... yet.

( Image Source)

postscript: Imagine my surprise when I came across this post from the estimable blog EU Referendum which draws a connection from the problem of the illegal immigration by desperate African refugees across the sea towards Europe to the mismanagement of fisheries by the EU (the tuna/jellyfish connection):

That is the measure of the failure of the media as it records, yet again, the surge in illegal immigration from West Africa to the Canaries in small boats across the perilous Atlantic, the Guardian, amongst others, reporting, "15 Bodies Found on Mauritanian Beach", believed to be would-be immigrants washed ashore after a failed attempt to reach the Canaries.

As we detailed in May, here and again here, the forced migration is almost entirely due to the collapse of the artisan fishing industries in Mauritania and Senegal.

This is in very large part due to the predatory EU third country fishing agreements exacerbated by the EU's failure to assist in developing effective conservation systems and enforcement measures to deal with non-EU fishing vessels which are also raiding the fishing stocks.

(emphasis mine, again)
The story was framed by the larger problem of a sputtering, misleading and hollowed out mainstream media.

If you aren't surfing for your news, you aren't getting any.

Posted by Dennis at 7:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2006

Watching my Back

Here's a big abrazos for my "cousin" Harold Hollingsworth, who is an artist in Seattle who happens to work at the Microsoft Art Collection as the head preparator. It seems that the labels for my 1996 sumi ink work were missing one day and he was happy to discover them when he undertook the task of replacing them.

If artwork is as I like to say, in constant motion between the land fill and the museum, it's nice to know that a distant family relation was on guard against oblivion.

Ademas, here's a warm greeting to former school chum and fellow artist Steve LaRose who was kind to float these works in his head recently.

Posted by Dennis at 7:02 PM | Comments (0)

Ahora in Tokyo

My wife Stephanie is on a shopping expedition in Tokyo at the moment. She starts off with a sitrep in a recent email:

Here are some photos of the view from our hotel. It rained all day yesterday. Today looks to be dry and hot.
and while I am here in my wifi hideaway in Tossa, checking my mail and harvesting the web after a late night dinner and drinks at Kiko's place, it appears that Stephanie is singing a half a world away...


We went out to a Karioke club last night. What a trip. It is several floors of these rooms with tv monitors, sound systems, microphones and a waiter to keep bringing the drinks. It was just like a scene from "Lost in Translation". We had a lot of fun. The Italians were great. It is quite interesting to see people get into the singing and the emotion. We even had a few people that actually could sing (three of 12 people).
March 3rd is looking better and better....

Posted by Dennis at 6:41 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2006



The house is fully broken in for studio life. Painting on the first floor was a special event, a nice time was had here this summer. I look at this and think of the work I'll have to do next summer repainting the interior. You might see the lower part of the walls where the moisture from the earth seeps up into the walls by capillary action and disintegrates the paint and plaster finish.

Ah well, we'll figure something out later.

In the meantime, I have one more painting to do and a few works on paper and that will be it for summer '06, Tossa de Mar.

Time for a beer....


Posted by Dennis at 3:35 PM | Comments (0)