Locked Standpipes and Alarm

Sometimes there is a lot to see behind buildings. My walk today, took me to the back of one building where I saw a standpipe arrangement different from others I’ve seen. This dual set of standpipes was just below an alarm bell. I suppose the fire department would locate the standpipe by localizing the sound of the alarm. In this case, however, there isn’t a lot back there to distract them.

Photograph: Locked Standpipe and Alarm 062417

Locked Standpipe and Alarm on Blank Wall

Re-entry or Fiery Shield

My original idea for this composition was to combine a portrait with the shape of a shield. However, I could not see a clear way to accomplish that goal. Therefore this composition shows a shield in action, protecting the unseen from damage coming at it from all sides. It could also be a heat shield that also protects an orbiting spacecraft from burning up in the atmosphere.

Watercolor: Abstract - Fiery Shield 062517

Re-entry, or Fiery Shield
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Mike Portrait No. 7 June 2017 – Fear

This may be the last portrait in the June 2017 series of portraits of and about my older brother Mike.*  I don’t think there is much more for me to say, visually, about Mike at this time. Forcing the issue is not a productive endeavor, so for the moment I will put it to rest.

This blog began as a recapitulation of my attempts to make contact with Mike, to understand autism and the brain and the effect he had on my family.  The blog focus has shifted to an exploration visual expression to ‘make visible’** my understanding (or lack thereof) of my brother and other aspects of my emotional interior landscape.

Every now and then a new thought occurs to me about Mike and his effect on my family. Mike also greatly affected my younger brother. This manifested itself in my younger brother’s failure to remember much about Mike, except for being afraid.

The portrait below could depict Mike’s fear of the world around him or younger brother’s fear of the world inhabited by Mike.

Watercolor: Abstract - Mike Portrait #7 Fear 062417

Mike Portrait #7 – Fear
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


*Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal.

**Paul Klee, Bauhaus Master stated: “Art does not reproduce the visible, rather it makes visible.”

Mondrian Composition 300 CRY

I keep seeing Mondrian’s work everywhere I go. I came across the rare Mondrian 300 CRY (an emotional work), just today.

Photograph: Found Art - Mondrian Composition 300 CRY

Found Art – Mondrian Composition 300 CRY

Here are some of the others I have found: Mondrian 300, Mondrian 002 OXY, Mondrian 240, Found Art, More Found Art.

Mike Portrait No. 6 – Hiding

Yesterday’s portrait showed my brother Mike’s* rage at himself. His self harm would usually involve hitting his head, biting his hand and slamming his arm into his chest. I mentioned yesterday that, when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, I was not frightened of him.  Maybe I should have been. Mom told me once that she saw Mike near me or my younger brother with a hammer.

My parents told my younger brother and me that they tried to shield us as much as possible from Mike. I didn’t feel shielded, nor did I feel the need for shielding.  I always thought of Mike as a deeply complex puzzle. I would almost have welcomed a bit of physical contact from him.

Watercolor: Abstract - Mike Portrait #6 Hiding 062317

Mike Portrait No. 6 – Hiding
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


*Mike is my older brother, who is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. He currently resides in a geriatric group home.

Mike Portrait No. 5, June 2017

The fifth of this series of portraits of my brother Mike* is a bit different than the others. Mike would often display fits of rage, directed at himself. Some docs thought he was Tourettic, others thought it was a behavioral issue. The point is, Mike could be frightening. I weathered the storm and didn’t believe he would hurt me. My younger brother however was scared of him. My parents said they shielded us from Mike. I remember everything, but my younger brother, not so much.

Watercolor: Abstract - Mike Portrait #5 062217

Mike Portrait No. 5, June 2017
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Previous posts, Complex Motor Ticks?, and Another Film Strip (central image), provided the references for my portrait above.


*  Mike is my older brother, who is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. He was at home during my first 10 years.

Self Portrait with ‘Leave Door Open’ Sign

I almost left the doctor’s office without taking a picture of the sign. It’s not the worst door instruction sign I ever saw. The worst one read: “Keep Door Closed at All Times.”  I’m on the lookout to photograph that one if I ever see it again.

Photography: Sign - Leave Door Open

Self Portrait with Leave Door Open Sign

This one almost qualifies to be entered into the Department of Redundancy Department archives.

Mike Portrait No. 4, June 2017

I began this fourth portrait of my brother Mike*, with frisket squiggles to sketch out an eye and lips. Jarring the paper side to side and up and down created traces, traces that have meaning. This is almost a double portrait. Possibly it is a portrait of the space between two people, the channel that exists, an impossible channel to cross.

Watercolor: Abstract - Mike Portrait #4 062117

Mike Portrait No. 4, June 2017
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

For those of you who are interested in other of my portrayals of my brother, I encourage you to see these posts: Young Mike Smiling, Mike Crying, Klee and Jawlensky-Influenced Portrait.


*   Mike is my older brother who is autistic, low functioning and has never spoken or communicated with me in any meaningful way.

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