Posted on Leave a comment


Back at work again

Work starts again today and I’m looking forward to it. We have a lot to share here at CPTC and feel we have a great program for a very reasonable tuition. I’ve been having so much fun on my vacation I’m almost at overload.

It started with a trip to Squamish for 4 days, Labor Day weekend. I was home one day and then left for a 3 day sea kayak trip with my son to the San Juans: long, lazy, and semi-scary crossings on shipping lanes, and between tiny islands. My son even remembered to bring along a six pack of Mikes. That’s a smart boy we have there, all 26 years of him. He is hiking the Wonderland Trail as I write this with another friend from the ER department. 90 miles in 7 days, hopefully he has his moms knees, and not mine.

Then Sue and I went to Leavenworth for 4 days. I am so lucky to have a spouse that climbs. We met Jim the last day and climbed some cool new routes that he knew about on Cate Rock, up toward Bathtub dome. I’ve known Jim since 1978, he is 73 and still climbs very well…an amazing man we are lucky to know.

self_portrait9-2-11, 15 x 20 inches, pastel on rives BFK watercolor paper

In between all of this I have been painting and finally finished this self portrait, my second one ever in color. I’m already started on another one, which will be a three quarter view. I love the colors in this painting.

I’m seriously considering stopping facebook again. I loved being off it on my vacation, didn’t miss it at all. It is a black hole of wasted, non-recoverable time that is completely unecessary. Several of my friends and family aren’t on it at all, and somehow lead perfectly normal lives. I think it’s time.

Being off facebook would also give me more incentive to buy a dumb phone in November, instead of the iPhone 5, to replace my Droid. I never, ever use my data plan. I don’t want to be that person who is always staring at his phone, on the street corner, in the car, at the office…uh uh. Don’t want to be that person, not ever.

I like to communicate with people in person, face to face, not over some electronic device. When I feel like going the electronic route, I have this website.

There is still some sunny weather left in the season. I’m hoping to climb Easter Overhang. It used to be rated 5.9, but was raised to 10c. I’ll be finding out whether something broke off to raise the grade. Off to work for now.

Posted on Leave a comment

9-13-2011 vacation

Just returned from a few trips with family and friends. First I went up to Squamish, BC climbing with a bunch of friends for 4 days. I was home for one day, then drove north

Clint paddling his Pigmy sea kayak in the San Juans

again, this time with my son and his two sea kayaks. We paddled out into the San Jauns for 3 days east of Bellingham. When I returned from that trip, I immediately packed for painting and drove to Cannon Beach with my wife and daughter. They hiked the beaches while I painted.

Cannon Beach has changed a lot in the 6 years since my last visit. It’s now all condos, restaurants, art galleries and no parking signs. We paid $36 for the worst campsite we’d ever seen. It was on the shoulder of a gravel road that led to better spots. There was just room for the car, a broken down shattered picnic table (missing one bench), a tiny fire pit and the tent. Everything fit on the shoulder of the gravel road. But I shouldn’t complain too much, we were lucky to get it. And it was within walking distance of the beach where I painted in the afternoon, and morning.

During the morning painting session it was hazy, with only a mile of visibility. By 11 AM, the clouds rolled in and I couldn’t see the top of Haystack rock anymore, plus the wind was very close to knocking down my easel. The tourists liked my painting, one even asked me if I was selling, but I’m thinking it needs work.

We checked out of the campground and drove up to North Head light on the Columbia river where I painted this old lighthouse.

North Head Light across from Astoria, Oregon

They’ve run out of money to paint the lights, or do maintenance. The old sandstone in the base of the light is shattering like a rotten cliff. There are yellow stains of rust and mold showing through the peeling paint all over the lighthouse. It’s sad to see, as just 6 years ago they were in great shape. This painting was done in the fog, so lighting was challenging.

We drove home that night and in the morning drove up to Sunrise on Mt. Rainier where I painted the north side of the mountain from Second Burroughs, while Sue, my daughter and her friend hiked to Third Burroughs. The light changes very fast on the north side of the Mountain and I’m unsure of this painting so I won’t post it immediately.

I’ve got about 5 hours into a self portrait. I’m a big fan of wild colors. Normal color bore me, and

self portrait unfinished, 5 hours in

I love painting something with the correct values, but the wrong hues. Like a forest of evergreens fir trees, painted red. Avatar for example has blue people, but they still look real. And I’m teaching myself the art of portraiture, and knowing how far I can push the color seems important.

Posted on 1 Comment

9-1-2011, wordpress blog online at my domain

After about 10 hours of work and studying at I now have my new improved blog up and running.

I’ve not had a public blog since I started teaching. But after seeing several of my graduated students build wordpress websites, I realized it was something I needed to learn if I wanted to stay current in the industry.

I don’t have the time or inclination to re-learn what little I used to know about PHP and MySQL, but this tutorial: made it super easy and fun…if you like messing around with computers, and building the internet.

Me in 1968
Me in 1968

You only have to edit about 10 lines of php code, and he explains every step. You can also simply host your wordpress blog on the wordpress servers. This is much easier, and but he (the lynda guy) explains it all. This might be best if you have never managed a self hosted website.

I highly recommend the website. It’s only around $35 a month, and they have video tutorials on everything you can imagine related to computers. They look like they are expanding to photography as well.

But now I’m done with this thing for a while. 10 hours of computer time is enough for now. It seemed like a good idea, I learned it, but now it’s time to move on. I have real life things to do like:

  • change the oil and sparkplugs on my truck
  • pack my rock climbing pack
  • work on my latest self portrait at my easel
  • do something other than sit at this laptop

Whenever I finish a quarter I’m always stoked to study the latest work related software like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, wordpress, etc. But as soon as a few days go by, I start to recover, and look around. There is more to life than working on computers….but you knew that right?


Posted on Leave a comment

9-1-2011 Installing wordpress on my domain

I’ve been watching some videos on how to start a wordpress account, and install it on your own domain name. A bunch of my graduated students have done this, and use wordpress commercially in their work as freelance web designers. From talking with them, it appears they use wordpress commercially because it simplifies the MySQL database work. MySQL databases are what makes a webpage interactive, as in:

  • blog posts
  • comments to blog posts
  • slideshows built by non-web designers
  • page up updates and configurations, again, done by non-web designers, etc.

MySQL is also used for ecommerce, but I don’t think wordpress goes that far, though I’m not sure. The beauty of hosting your own wordpress site on your domain, is that you have total control of the appearance of your wordpress site. When you host your site on wordpress directly, your address is, instead of

The latter is preferable, because it looks better, shows you know what you are doing, and you have more control, from a web designers perspective, that is. This has nothing to do with the quality of the content. Good content can be anywhere from a wordpress hosted site to facebook and myspace…or stapled to a telephone pole.

Good content lives on it’s own merits.

This is graffiti in a Tacoma parking garage down by old city hall.
This is graffiti in a Tacoma parking garage down by old city hall.

Sidewalk paintings in chalk are a great example of content living on it’s own merits. A great chalk painting will last until it rains because people love it and avoid walking on it.

This photo is graffiti in a Tacoma parking garage. One of my student created a short film about these artists. He told me it was accepted into a film festival, might have been in Tacoma.  He also produced this cool movie with local talent in Tacoma. He spent months editing this as a school project.



Posted on Leave a comment

8-30-2011 Last day of the quarter

The quarter is almost over. This is the last day. Only two of my students are here, but the room is full. The Pharmacy program shares our building, and sometimes uses our lab for taking tests. They are all here, in their green scrubs, taking an online test in Angel. My students are either done with their final projects, in which case they don’t need to be here on this last day, or they are coming in later.

The Pharmacy students are different than our students. They seem so much more serious, but that is probably because they are going to be handling medicine, which is far different than pixels. We get the creative types, and we like it that way.

Both my kids got into medicine, and I watched them study. They worked super hard to get into their field. And now they have good jobs, but I don’t know how much fun they are having, or, I should say, artistic fun. Media is a better fit for someone who is creative, I think. As compared to the medical field, I mean. I could be wrong though. Maybe coming up with medical treatments is very creative.

But it can’t be creative in an artistic expression kind of way, like media can. James S. drew this figure in my Illustrator 1 class. He got a lot of satisfaction out of that drawing. And it is a skill that has some value in the marketplace. Not everyone can draw like that, no matter how long they practice. It requires a bit of a gift to see light as well as James saw it. The ability to see light and shadow is the cornerstone of visual art.

One of my students (James S.) drew this in Illustrator
One of my students (James S.) drew this in Illustrator

I need to buckle down on my grading but for some reason I’m avoiding it. Grading is like a snowball rolling down hill. The longer I avoid it the more time it has to snowball up on me.

I also need to update my curriculum for next quarter. I’m going to drop pop up windows in favor of an animated jQuery slideshow. Pop up windows are old school, very confusing for the students, and more trouble than they are worth.

Both pop-up windows and the jQuery slide show use pre-built JavaScript, but jQuery uses less of it, so I think the students will find it easier to process.

I’m looking forward to vacation. I’m going to do some climbing and some painting. I enjoy this teaching job, and helping the students who want to learn is awesome work, but it’s nice to have these breaks between quarters.

If and when I ever retire from teaching, my backup plan is to be a full-time landscape painter. It may just be a pipe dream…but I’ve always been a dreamer.

Posted on Leave a comment

Blast from the past: 3-15-1998

Life of a press operator

Today I got fired. (3-15-1998)

I was just starting to enjoy my new day shift job. I had been cutting paper for about 2 weeks. A paper cutter in a print shop is the person who takes the paper from the paper truck, un-boxes it and trims it down to the size that is needed by the press operator. He also trims the paper down to the finished size (ie: a business card) after the paper has been printed by the press operator. Continue reading Blast from the past: 3-15-1998

Posted on Leave a comment

Sunday, 8-28-2011

Sue, Lisa and I hiked up to Comet Falls at Mt. Rainier yesterday. I’d never painted a waterfall before, and I knew it would be ugly. I set up my easel while they hiked on up the trail to Van Trump park.

Surprisingly, I was able to create something sort of pretty, though I’m very unsure about it. It’s almost abstract. I kept trying to make it tight and accurate, but the shadows in the deep canyon kept changing under the rotating sun, and don’t even get me started on the waterfall. Those veils of water were dropping at 40 miles an hour. I could freeze them in my mind, but trying to extract the subtle shading of color from the gossamer veils of falling water was a trial.

And the rock surrounding the waterfall was horrible. It was all fractured and curving with pine tree poking out in random locations. I was ready to tear up the painting, but decided to get super loose and start throwing color at it. I mean, what did I have to lose?

I felt good about getting anything recognizable. It was a fun day out with the family, and great practice for me.

Comet Falls at Mt. Rainier
Comet Falls at Mt. Rainier

And here is the previous Saturdays painting when Sue and I hiked up into the snow on Skyline Ridge at Mt. Rainier

Painted from the Skyline trail at Mt. Rainier
Painted from the Skyline trail at Mt. Rainier
Posted on Leave a comment


I’ve watched about 15 instructional videos from on wordpress now and I’m starting to get a fuzzy grasp of wordpress.

It appears to be an online web page builder, that brings in, by default, the ability for my visitors to make comments. This has been one of my main complaints about my old school online journal, which I’ve kept since 1997.

My journal was not interactive, so my readers…all 3 of them :-), could not make comments, and it could not be seen on the internet, because it was locked down with password only access.

I’m coming up on some cool videos that will tell me how to host this wordpress blog on my own domain. I see this as a useful tool for our students. I’ve had several students figure wordpress out on their own, so any knowledge I can gather about it’s functionality will be all to the good.

Me painting the mountain
Me painting the mountain
Posted on 1 Comment


This is my first web page on word press. I’ve had my own website since 1997, but have never had an interactive one. I’m still learning which buttons to press. My plan is to make this a publicly accessible blog, since my current blog/journal is password protected. The reasons behind that are long and convoluted, but this new blog will be public, interactive, and searchable.

I created this self portrait by taking a photo of myself (thanks John!) and manipulating it in Photoshop for 10 hours using this book: Derek Lea is the first person I’ve found who explains high end photoshop artwork. Truly an amazingly talented digital artist.

Self Portrait in Photoshop