"Art Paper" and "Big Shot"

As I’ve told you multiple times, this entire year we’ve been on, almost, constant lock down. I say almost, because, well, we were on lock down for disciplinary reasons for the entire month of January and with the exception of 2 or 3 weeks in February. Due to the Corona Virus we’ve been locked down ever since with no relief in site — rumor is, we’ll be locked down this entire year.

Lock Down?

When a prison yard is not on lock down we are allowed to leave our cells and move about the cell block and the prison complex. We can get a job and go to work, go to school, the chow hall for meals, the library, the Recreation Yard, and of coursed the Art Room. It isn’t much, but it’s the freedom afforded to us.
When we are on a “Disciplinary” Lock down, which is the only kind I’ve seen up until this Corona Lock Down, we are locked in our cells 24 hours a day. Our food is brought to the cells and passed in through the “Bean Shoot”; the cell doors are not opened. On this type of lock down we are being punished, so we are fed a small issue of bran cereal in the morning with a piece of fruit and bologna and cheese sandwiches for lunch and supper; 4 pieces of bread, 1 slice of bologna, 1 piece of cheese and a piece of fruit – and usually a cookie or something sweet. To compensate these punishment meals, the law says, that on this type of Lock Down we are to be given a hot meal “Once every three days” – for the most part, not always, but for the most part this rule is followed. Most of us try to have some food stocked away in our lockers for such an event. Trust me, it ain’t enough food.
As for bathing on this type of lock down, well, the law says that they have to give us a shower every 3 days. This rule is OFTEN broken – but when it is adhered to, we are given 5 minutes out of our cell to shower, in fairness to the guards MOST of them give us extra time. Other than this, we take what the cons call a “Bird Bath” – we wash off in our sinks.

After two back to back punishment lockdowns in January and February, we of course went on a “Quarantine” Lock Down due to concerns over the Corona Virus. This Lock Down is different than any I’ve previously experienced … well, this is the first time we’ve been locked down and they weren’t mad at us, lol. So yeah, this lock down is different in some ways. I won’t explain it here because I’ve done so at length in several recent posts. My point is this: In-between the two “Disciplinary” lock downs of January and February we had a small two or three week window where we weren’t locked down. FYI: When not on lock down I am in the art room, seven days a week, painting.
There’s a guy here named Cruz, a youngster. He’s a little arrogant and most folks don’t like him … I do.
When Cruz got here he wanted to learn how to paint … but he had no money … let me add that he has a 20 year sentence for drug smuggling. 20 plus years for a youngster is a heavy burden, so I overlooked his attitude and gave him a set of paints, brushes, and canvas; other things he’d need to start off. Danny Boy – who’s now a free man, and definitely reading this, can tell you all about Cruz, while here with us he was exposed to Cruz and didn’t like him, hell, he once threatened to beat him up when Cruz said something negative about me behind my back. Like I said, Cruz has issues. Danny wouldn’t suffer anyone saying anything bad about me, especially behind my back, lol.

After the one month lock down in January I realized that I did not have sufficient Art Supplies in my cell to weather another lock down. FYI: We are not allowed to paint in our cells, but we can draw. So I decided that I would try and buy some art paper, just in case we had another lock down. I went to the art room and asked around … Cruz had paper, and agreed to sell me some. True to his word, the next day he brought me a nearly full pad of drawing paper … “I’ll give you a good deal on it” he said, then pulled a list out of his pocket of things he wanted me to buy him the next time we went to the prison store. I was happy to have the paper.
Upon returning to my cell I looked at the store list he’d given me and was very disappointed to see that it was for more than he’d paid for it; I was expecting a discount. In fairness to him, he could have parceled it out sheet for sheet and made more money, but still, some of the sheets were missing; it wasn’t a full tablet. I suppose that I was also concerned about paying for it, but I tightened my belt and paid him his price … no, it wasn’t a lot, around $20, I had expected to pay half of that amount.
Sure enough we got locked down the following week and haven’t been out since. My point: I now recognize that I should have been grateful to have been sold paper, period! Without that tablet of paper I wouldn’t be drawing now … God’s wisdom surpasses all understanding! I am learning to be grateful.

Yep, I’ve been doing a lot of drawing with pencil on this present lockdown. Yeah, I haven’t done any graphite drawings in years – years I tell you. Oh, I’ve been drawing with the ink pen, but not pencil, completely different technique. So It’s taken me a few drawings to get my hand back, but alas, I’m beginning to do satisfactory work.
Art is a funny thing. I mean, every-now-and-then you do something really good. For instance: I do my own drawing. I don’t trace or use a projector, nor a grid. I freehand my work. Good thing too, because on Lock Down there are no projectors available … for those of you who don’t know, a projector is an illuminator of pictures. You take a picture and put it on the projector and it projects that picture onto a piece of paper. Then you trace out the lines and when you turn off the projector your drawing is perfectly executed; all you need to do then is shade the outline. But, good thing for me, I can actually draw without one. Like I was saying, ever-now-and-then you do something remarkable. For instance, about 15 years ago I drew a picture of an old lady in profile. I liked that picture so much that I made a pattern of it and have used that pattern to reproduce it several times with only slight variations, you know, a little something different so that each successive drawing is still original in its own way. I use her as my example because you can see a rendition, the first rendition, of her on my FB page … I think those drawings are on my FB page … Not really sure, but I think so. Truth is, I have hundreds of pieces of art I’ve been trying to get photographed and posted for y’all to see… but… no one loves me… I repeat, no one loves me! Yeah, I’m trying to guilt trip my kids into photographing my work, l0l.
Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve recently created a piece that, like that old lady, is spectacular. I’ll keep you posted.
No, I haven’t been able to do any ink drawings – yep, you guessed it — no paper. Yeah, it takes a different paper than the pencil. I use a Bristol-Board paper by Strathmore and I don’t have any at this time — well that’s not true, there’s a Sureno here who has a few sheets, he GAVE me one sheet, wouldn’t take any money. So with this sheet of Bristol Board I proceeded to draw the “Ecstasy of Teresa” by Bernini; I have drawn her before, you can see that drawing on my FB page as well. This time however, I removed her Habit (head covering) and replaced it with long flowing hair. To add to the effect, I drew in individual strands of hair, then used a “Pointillism” technique to give it my own style. I put about 40 hours of work into it … then made a mistake 😦 Yeah, 40 hours of work, one sheet of irreplaceable paper, and I messed it up! Ink isn’t like pencil, you can’t erase a mistake, if you make one you’re stuck with it … all you can do is trash it. Well, no, I didn’t’ trash it, I flipped the paper over and am redrawing it on the other side — What’s the problem you say! Well, for your information, “Smarty pants” the paper isn’t the same on both sides. One side is smooth — good for ink, the other has some texture, not good for ink, but, these are desperate times. So, I started over and … yep, you guessed it, I made another mistake. What now? Well …. I have some watercolor paint in my cell, so I’m gonna see if I can use it to cover my mistake, arrg!
Well friends… I want to thank all of you who wished me a Happy Birthday — Your wish came true!!! I had well wishes from all three of my children and from all my granddaughters too, even the one who lives in London. I am blessed beyond imagining.


Another piece of news: my son Marco has opened his own Law Firm. As y’all know he does “Personal Injury Law” and he’s a MONSTER!!! Check him out @MarcoCrawfordLaw … he lives in San Antonio but he can try cases anywhere in the continental United States — so pass the word. I told him that being a Crawford has it’s advantages, “No one knows more scoundrels than we do!” Uh … yeah – I’m talkin’ about y’all 🙂 So drum him up some business … no of course… I don’t want you to FAKE a fall at the grocery store, wink, wink. The Crawford company motto is “No one can get you in a neck-brace faster than us!!” THAT’S NOT TRUE! My son will be mad as hell that I’m even joking about this. No really. There are all kinds of scandalous Trial Lawyers but he ain’t one of ’em, he’s a straight arrow … must’ve taken after the mailman! Oh I’m kidding about that too! He obviously took after his momma. Truth is, he’s damn good … better than ol’ … ah … umm … what’s his name? … never mind! Point is: if you need a good proven winner in the Court House who ACTUALLY cares about you, call my son, Marco! And if you need a car stolen, call my other son, Chris 🙂 I’m friggin’ kidding here. Y’all are way too serious this morning. Proud of my sons.

Peace be with y’all. Please pass this posting on to your FB friends.

Love you guys and appreciate the support.

Three Rives, 7-26-20