Monday, September 14, 2020


One of the ways I'm maintaining my sanity in these times is by using the Paint programme on this computer to draw/paint pictures of some of my briar pipes. Now, as it turns out, there are people who doubt that this is more than just fussing with photographic tricks, which would defeat the purpose of the exercise entirely.

So here are illustrations of how it's done.

First outline, with fill-in of colours. The highlight area is mapped out, neurotic attention to the shape as well as arc and line-tension. A background colour is chosen, usually yellow or orange, pale. Note a range of brownish hues to work with.

At this point one argues with a stuffed turkey vulture while spending time with colours and dark versus light. The apartment mate is at home today, and I now know more about Valley Of The Dolls (a horrid movie) than possibly I could ever wish for, detailed by her and the stuffed animal.

I'm worried about the area to the right of the bowl highlights. Does it look three dimensional? Hold the pipe in question in the left hand, angle it various ways, what are those wood tones? I'm probably not getting it right. Time to step outside for a smoke. Two tanned brawny fellows are moving a refrigerator across the street, a partially empty bus goes past, and there is a postman doing his rounds up at the next block.
When I get back, the apartment mate and the turkey vulture have returned to her room for more sleep. Time for more coffee. It is quiet.

Fussing too much. This has taken the better part of four hours. There is a pinkish quality to some of the grain, but it doesn't look right when I try to reproduce that. The heck with it all, work on the stem. Warm blacks, near-blacks. Less effort than the wood, because, after all, a stem is a stem. Predictable, and you'll recognize it anyway.

The apartment mate has made another appearance.  Oh lord, she's talking about that movie again. She's obsessive! Unlike me with my pipes, nope, I'm not obsessive at all!
Add text, border, and reduce the illustration (which hides lines or fuzzes everything into a more realistic effect).

In case you didn't know, Valley Of The Dolls is about vapid actresses who are in some way representative of American femininity, AND connected to show biz, as many ladies apparently are. The Dolls refers to both the lead characters as well as pills they end up popping. The songs, being pointless, meaningless, and impossibly stupid, are unquestionably the best part.
The director was a total jerk. There was a lot of drinking on the set.

While it was being filmed, Patty Duke over-ate donuts regularly.
It also features Sharon Tate as a wooden-voiced show girl.
The entire damned thing defies belief.

The top rim looks off, the nickel ferrule is too short, and the angle of the stem is slightly buggered. Not enough chocolate in the grain.
But heck, it's good enough for show business.

Here are some more examples of Peterson System pipes.

At this point I wish to stress that I am neither neurotic nor obsessive. This is normal shiznit. It's what normal people do. Okay?

Note that the 307 in the third illustration is NOT the pipe which is the subject of this essay. I tried to find it yesterday evening, but I can't remember which box it's in. Probably on my bed somewhere.

Now the one-legged gibbon (Urasmus Wazzoo, "Banana Breath") and the turkey vulture (Sydney Fylbert) are arguing. It's getting too noisy here, perhaps it's time for another smoke.

Pee first. Too much coffee.

Damned good thing we don't have a karaoke here. At the moment she's singing "I'll Plant My Own Tree" from the movie, which has turgidity up to the gills. Ghastly and reprehensible lyric mayhem. A full overload of whatever it is that people loved in the sixties. I'm not musical, so I can't judge whether it's a "good" rendition of that "famous" show biz tune, or if I'm listening to a female version of Kahn Souphanousinphone from King Of The Hill.

"Ze French girl, she iz inclined to be rather flat in ze boozum."

This calls for a long smoke.


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