Category Archives: General

Gambling protection money

The state of Oklahoma collects fees from the Indian tribes for giving them exclusive rights to run gambling casinos in Oklahoma.
Last year alone, Oklahoma got over 128 million dollars for not allowing anyone else to have Vegas-style gaming.
The exclusivity fees are seventh in the top ten sources of ‘tax’ revenue, excepting sales and income taxes.

Just as a ‘by the way’, if the whopping fall in 2013 in the number 1 spot, gross production tax - oil and gas, fills you with concern, click on this. “Oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $795.5 million during the 12 months (2013), up by $67.46 million or 9.3 percent from the previous period.
So oil and gas production is up in Oklahoma, not suddenly slashed in half.


My granddaughters and I dug up red clay and painted with it months ago:

my earth heart
I knew that iron oxide should be lightfast, but there was a crazy niggling worry in my mind, so I left some out in the blazing sun for months. Well, of course it’s still exactly the same color. Isn’t that a beautiful orange brown? I washed it, I levigated it, I ground it. It’ll be a fine inorganic, opaque pigment for my palette. (Unless it’s not.)
I’m going to get synthetic organics from Daniel Smith.

**Update! I ordered from Kama at Here is my order:

Product Description Unit price Qty Total
HU-LI0050-A Cold pressed Walnut oil – 125 ml $5.95 1 $5.95
PS-MI0100-A Titanium white – 4oz/vol $4.95 1 $4.95
PS-OR0010-A Hansa yellow medium – 4oz/vol $10.95 1 $10.95
PS-OR0015-A Phthalocyanine blue (green shade) – 4oz/vol $8.75 1 $8.75
PS-OR0047-A Quinacridone magenta – 4oz/vol $21.95 1 $21.95

The jars are double the size of the Daniel Smith jars and Kama offers quin magenta in powdered form. It’s a freaking high price, isn’t it? Quin magenta is very intense, so a little goes a long way, and it can mix both purples and reds/oranges. Clean, strong mixes in both the blue spectrum and the yellow spectrum. Well, that’s the story. If that turns about to be an exaggeration, I’ll be upset. Back to the earlier blog post:**

I’ll use as primaries cyan, magenta and yellow. Daniel Smith has quinacridone violet as a powdered pigment, so I’ll get that as my magenta. Besides, I can’t see the difference between it and quin magenta.
For cyan, phthalo blue (green shade), which, though, doesn’t look green blue to me, and for yellow hansa yellow medium.
For a bright red for mixing clear oranges, I might want the napthol (sic) red listed in the Daniel Smith pigments…the permanent red has a better lightfastness rating.
I also want that buff titanium, for a neutral, opaque lightener.
And of course, zinc white.

Here’s what I’ve been using:
The blue and the yellow are 3/4 gone, so I’ve had to figure out the beginning structure of a palette.

Cyan, magenta and yellow should allow a broader range of color mixing than the traditional blue, red and yellow set of primary mixing colors. Well, so say the internet sages, the printing industry and my guide, Golden Paints:
If I’m not thrilled with that selection, maybe I can dig up more dirt!
And with powdered pigments, I’ll be able to make oil paint, casein, egg tempera, etc, as I wish. Yoohoo! With a little work comes a lot of freedom. Oh, doesn’t that sentence sound preachy. I annoy myself.

By the way, did you know the paintmaking industry for artists is dependent upon the automotive industry and other large industries? Yes, pigments are developed for cars and such. Then those new pigments trickle down to makers of paint for artists. Then, when a particular color goes out of fashion for autos, guess what happens? That’s right, it stops being manufactured.

I’m off topic; here’s a link to another secondary palette scheme at the amazing Handprint site: Scroll down for a simple color wheel, showing Yellow, red orange, Magenta, blue violet, Cyan and green.

The vehicle as a human right

Do I believe that internet access is a human right? Not directly. The right to freedom of expression is in international human rights law and includes the right to receive information regardless of frontiers.
But that right doesn’t mean that newspapers are a human right. It doesn’t mean that other people (by way of government) are obligated to pay for subscriptions to newspapers for any other person. That right means that no person should be blocked from receiving his/her chosen newspaper subscriptions.
The newspaper is a vehicle of information and ideas. The internet is another vehicle of information and expression. The vehicles themselves are not the information, just as a telephone is not the communication.
Vehicles of communication are ever-changing, evolving and diverse. They themselves should not be listed as human rights.

I believe this talk about human rights applies to Asian countries. I’ve heard the doubts that human rights are universal. There is debate about relativism and universalism. That Asian countries value the group, not the individual, making the rights of the individual relatively insignificant in Asian lands. Well, we can look to the fact that all human cultures are made up of human beings. The human is a self-contained unit. Thinking is still done inside one’s own head. Actions are carried out individually. In fact, Asian governments sentence individuals to prison for illegal acts, thus recognizing the autonomy of the individual.
Even those cultures that value the group recognize and put value on the individual.

The generation of useful objects

Facebook is family violence, isn’t it? This last little revelation, that Facebook messes with your feed from your friends in order to mess with your head and record the results, is actually not driving a lot of Facebook users away. They shrug and say isn’t that the way it is everywhere? They can’t expect any better treatment than that. It’s not important to them that they weren’t informed and didn’t give explicit consent*.
Isn’t that what happens in family abuse? The victim gradually becomes desensitized and starts accepting a little more abuse, a little more. Until finally he/she accepts much more than would have been acceptable in the beginning.
Are our kids going to become a generation of passive abused and used objects, because of social media and NSA?

*That one little mention of ‘research’ in the TOS would never make anyone think of experimental psychological studies actively performed on the users, especially since the phrase “we receive about you” is a passive construct.
That little mention: “…In addition to helping people see and find things that you do and share, we may use the information we receive about you for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”

Off topic, it’s not possible for any review board to believe that users’ checkmarked OK of that TOS constituted informed consent to those experimental studies.

Notes about gesso

Update: If you want to know the best whiting I’ve tried so far, it’s marble dust. It’s cheap, hard, somewhat absorbent, but not too absorbent.
It can also be mixed into paint to make the paint go further and last longer, if you’re on a budget. You’d be surprised at how much you can mix into oil paint before the marble dust actually tints the color. In water media, it indeed tints quickly and can even be used as a cheap white paint.

I’ve been reading like mad about gesso. I think I love gesso. I’ve jotted down what I’ve read. I only hope that what I’ve read is factual, not a lot of painters’ myths. 🙂

My notes about size and gesso:
Size: a glue used to seal the pores of the painting support, in order to isolate it from the paint and vice versa.
For example, the lignins and acids in wood would eventually leach upward into the painting, yellowing the paint, without being sealed off from the paint. Inversely, the paint might all be absorbed downward into the support. Also, the oil in oil paint could rot both fabric and paper. So, we want something penetrating into the fibers of the painting support, surrounding and isolating them.
The traditional size is rabbit skin glue. (now, if it were squirrel skin glue, I might be tempted to make my own. Darn squirrels are eating the peaches off the tree…that reminded me to locate the pellet gun).

Gesso / ground: a base for the paint. You apply it to the painting support: canvas, board, etc. It gives the paint something to grip to. So, it is somewhat absorbent. However, if the ground is too absorbent, a diluted varnish might be needed over it.
Gesso is also chosen for a desired painting surface: smooth or textured. Some gesso can even be used as modeling paste (cool, I could sculpt mountains into a painting). Gesso can be mixed with paint or pigment and used as a painting medium, if desired.
Acrylic gesso (no need for size) can be used with acrylic and oil paints, but an oil-based gesso cannot be used as a ground for acrylic paint. Also, acrylic gesso is incompatible with egg tempera.

For homemade gesso, you can mix a glue and a whiting/filler, with sufficient water to spreadable consistency. The whiting can be gritty, to give texture, or a fine powder, for smoothness that still has ‘tooth’ (grip). Gypsum absorbs the initial layer of paint evenly, for an even paint film, so has been preferred for centuries.

Possible glues:

unflavored gelatine
casein + alkali (borax preferred)
PVA glue (Elmer’s glue)
methyl cellulose adhesive? (I doubt it)
hide glue

talc/baby powder (soft)
calcium carbonate
corn starch
baking soda (too absorbent!)
(addition of titanium is optional: only for a brilliant white)

For casein glue, I decided to use the recipe from this site

1 Enameled or Pyrex pot (non-metallic)
1 qt skim milk
6 oz  vinegar
4 oz distilled water  (tap water is susceptible to bacteria mold growth)
1 oz  borax (can be substituted with baking soda, quick lime, aqua ammonia or ammonium carbonate)

The casein protein in milk has historically been used as glue. Addition of an alkali makes it glutinous. Borax as the alkali makes a PH neutral glue, suitable for all pigments. The borax acts as a preservative too (not eternal). This glue is an emulsifier – will take oil.

The casein glue can be used as size, in gesso, in milk paint and as a fixative. It’s strong, is somewhat absorbent. It dries brittle, so use is limited to rigid supports. It’s water soluble until dry (another way of saying that: it’s insoluble when dry!).

The making of PVA gesso was simple. I squirted Elmer’s glue into a container, added the same amount of water, then stirred in baby powder. Later I realized I prefer corn starch. It’s smoother. Oh, I added a little baking soda to the Elmer’s glue/water mix, to neutralize the slight acidity of the glue. When the gesso was dry, I had to sand it smooth with fine sandpaper.

My preference is the casein glue + corn starch gesso, for a smooth, flat surface ground, which can take any paint. I have no idea whether corn starch is stable, archival-quality. My purpose was to slap some homemade gesso onto corrugated cardboard and make practice paintings. But I’m so impressed with the homemade gessoes and the ability to paint on all sorts of surfaces, that I’m going to look into it more.

Update: I’ve learned that strong sunlight cracks gesso. 🙁
For more on gesso, read the section Grounds, starting page 18, in the casein booklet:

YouTube ‘video’

I made a little first slideshow of some paintings & drawings for YouTube:

It was spur of the moment! I use Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition, and all you have to do to record your desktop (whatever you’re doing on your computer) is press the key combination Ctrl-Alt-Shift-r. I started an image slideshow in an image viewer, pushed that key combo. When the slideshow was on the last image, I pushed the key combo to stop the recording. Cinnamon makes a movie in WebM format and puts it into your home folder. I uploaded that to YouTube. It took an eyeblink amount of time.

Update: I just saw that users can create photo slideshows directly in YouTube. I am such a doofus.