Gabriel Roberts

Truth is Beauty

Have Kids and Chop Down Trees: Painting Pictures Ep. 62

On a dreary Spring afternoon, I discuss the silent Tees of Vermont and Craftsbury, learning French, buying a house, mud season, and how long to leave Vermont in the winter.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943?mt=2

Here’s a permalink to the episode:
http://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2018-04-04_have_kids_and_chop_down_trees.mp3

April 2018 Desktop Calendar Background

Happy Easter and April and Spring!  Below a new background that is miraculously on time.  I think I even got the dates right!

This is a tempera and charcoal painting/drawing of the house across the street from us here in Craftsbury, VT.

Click one of the following links to download this free desktop calendar background (note: the largest file, 2880×1800, is slightly different, with some blank space on either side to pad out the image size):

2880×1800, 2560×1600, 1920×1200, 1680×1050, 1440×900, 1280×800

Elon Musk Biography by Ashlee Vance is Absurd Nonsense

Do you think I’m insane?  So begins Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk.  Before I begin criticizing this stack of papers, I must ask you the same question: do you, dear reader, think I, Gabriel Roberts, am insane?

I want things to make sense, and I’m bothered when they don’t.  For example, if somebody proclaims to hate garlic, and then, right before my eyes, eats a bowl of raw garlic, I would think to myself “that doesn’t make sense”.  I would wonder why this individual claimed to hate garlic, and I would probably ask for an explanation: “I thought you hated garlic”, I might say.

Does this make me insane?  Lately, my desire for things to make sense has not only felt crazy, it has been tried.  Oh, how it has been tried!  In movies, characters do things completely out of character just to bring about some desired outcome (like a nice burst of sex or violence or conflict).  TV shows seem even more shoddily-constructed, with music, effects, and snappy editing taking the place of actual story-telling.  Advertisements make me feel like a crazy person: “random” humor has become so popular that ad men actually strive for the incongruous and non-sensical.  Worst of all, Wikipedia—seemingly the #1 source of information in the world—boasts articles that appear to be written by idiots, children, or robots.

We eat it up.  We smile and repeat the nonsense we see on TV because it was on TV and all the bright lights were shining and it was said by a really famous person.  We trust NPR and Wikipedia because we’re told that they are to be trusted.  There’s no such thing as right or wrong, sense or nonsense.  If you think something is wrong, you’re insensitive or uneducated.  If you think something doesn’t make sense, you’re a conspiracy theorist.

I’m about to point out a whole lot of things that don’t make sense.  These are things written down in a non-fiction book by a person who calls himself a “reporter” with “journalistic integrity”.  I read them and allowed my brain to function and found them to be complete nonsense.  Before you label me insane, here’s your chance to read the same things and allow your very own super-developed mass of brain tissue to function, and ask yourself the following oft-forgotten question: “does this make sense?”.

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March 2018 Desktop Calendar Background

Welcome to Moe’s!  Err.. March.  Yes, yes, we are a little late here, but I got the idea for this image and wanted to make it anyway.  The big bonus was only having to type in two weeks of calendar:

The photo is from Montreal’s Mont Real, in March.  The wind was blowing and I’d never seen the way it built snow up on the trees in stripes.  Hope you enjoy this for what’s left of the month.  Happy Spring!  Click one of the following links to download your free desktop calendar background:

2880×1800, 2560×1600, 1920×1200, 1680×1050, 1440×900, 1280×800

February 2018 Desktop Calendar Background

Image of February 2018 Desktop Calendar Background

Welcome to February, everybody.  Every single one of you.  I’m probably not the first to welcome you to February, but maybe I am!  When landing at an airport, my Dad likes to lean over and whisper “Welcome to _____(insert city name here!!)” just as the plane lands, so that when the flight attendant gets on the mic and says “We’d like to be the first to welcome you to…”, we can say “WRONG! YOU’RE NOT!”.

I suppose people don’t really welcome one another to months, though, so I might truly be the very first.  Anyhow, here we are, and here’s a new desktop background for your computer:

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This is a church in Hyde Park Village, Vermont, a very very special little place.

Coffee Concerns and Chemical Baths

For the second time in my life, I’ve given up trying to take days off from drinking coffee.  I’m drinking it every day and enjoying it.  The battle line is now drawn at one cup per day.  Instead of struggling to get through the morning hours of my designated non-coffee days with a cup of watery tea (it was never a question of feeling groggy or needing caffeine, more one of forgoing the delicious robust flavor and pleasant ritual of coffee), I now struggle to resist the urge to go buy a second cup of coffee on my morning break—especially when it’s 15 degrees outside, and I’m working, for God’s sake, earning money and therefore “deserving” a cup of coffee.

Headaches and light-headedness will set in if I push my consumption further!  This is what I tell myself, but the whole idea of worrying myself over a couple cups of coffee is rather absurd, as my wife points out.  Plenty of folks drink way more coffee and are perfectly fine.  I have three concerns, though, that rattle in my brain every day: leakage, body odor, and loss of taste.

The leakage is real, and I wonder if all coffee drinkers suffer from this.  Just a little bit after going pee, unless I take an extra five minutes to stand frozen over the toilet (or frozen patch of ice) into which I’m peeing, waiting for that last little bit to make its way down and out.  I’m almost 100% convinced this is coffee-related, but is perfectly dry underwear really worth two or three days without coffee?

My friend Stu once said that he thinks coffee gives him body odor.  Stu is a very handsome man, and I always considered him successful and balanced and happy, and admired him as such, and was greatly relieved when I heard that he drinks coffee every day.  It could be lots of other things, of course, but when I find myself smelling the day after having taken a shower and vigorously scrubbed my armpits, I search for something to blame and coffee is the natural choice.

Lastly, I worry about losing my tasting ability.  My wife once told me that she did a tasting exercise in college, and that daily coffee drinkers had a harder time tasting bitterness, thanks to the regular blasting of their palettes with bitter coffee.  This has stuck in my mind, and with every sip that I eagerly take onto the tip of my tongue, I worry that I’m destroying those sensitive buds and am walking the road towards becoming an old man who pours salt on all his meals except breakfast cereal, onto which he pours sugar (this was my grandpa in his later years).

The irony of all this concern is that I regularly spend hours each day bathing in toxic fumes from paints, primers, and lacquers, or swimming in clouds of fiberglass dust.  While I make more of an effort than I once did to pause and gear up properly, I still am frequently exposed to the worst chemicals of modern building materials.  Like yesterday, when I spent five hours painting the interior of a small municipal building the color grey, using first a primer and then a paint that wiggled like cold bone broth, and came home to my wife who immediately exclaimed that I smelled like chemicals.  Twelve hours later, after changing clothes and eating meals and exercising and drinking water and brushing teeth (twice) and sleeping, there’s still a slight taste of chemical in my mouth.  And here I am agonizing over six ounces of coffee.

January 2018 Desktop Calendar Background

It’s been a full year since the last time I made a desktop calendar… way back in December of 2016. 2017 was great. I enjoyed the end of every month when I didn’t have to freak out about not having a new background ready for the next month. Well, enough of that! Let’s start all over again, shall we? Welcome to 2018! As per usual, we’re a little late.

January 2018 Desktop Calendar Background Gabriel Roberts

Click one of the following links to download your free January 2018 desktop calendar background:

2880×1800, 2560×1600, 1920×1200, 1680×1050, 1440×900, 1280×800

This image is from behind a little house in Morrisville, VT, on a sunny snowy December day.

Wok Choi brought to you by Michael’s: Painting Pictures Ep. 61

Brought to you by the Arts and Crafts Aisle at Michael’s, this solo surfboard takes you to Hawaii with Jack Johnson, past a stopped school bus in Vermont, and into David’s kitchen where Wok Choi is made. Also, my new PO Box number is shared.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943?mt=2

Here’s a permalink to the episode:
http://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2017-10-12_wok_choi_brought_to_you_by_michaels.mp3

Daddy Beans and the Butter Softener: Painting Pictures Ep. 61

Mon Pere, Leland Roberts, joins for a brief discussion of Benjamin Franklin, The Bastards, and the legendary Uncle Reggie. Then, find out how your butter gets perfectly soft every morning.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943?mt=2

Here’s a permalink to the episode:
http://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2017-09-01_daddy_beans_and_the_butter_softener.mp3

Email questions/comments/praise, etc. to gaberobertsart@gmail.com

New Painting: “Sunday Morning, Craftsbury”


(click to enlarge)
This painting is on Rives BFK paper and measures 6.5 x 11.5 inches

View of our Crafstbury apartment from the step up from the kitchen to the utility room. Had to block the entryway while painting, so to get by we had to shimmmy sideways and hope we didn’t bump into the palette full of paint. I started the painting with my palette knife and got a few things in and then realized that I’d put in the ceiling at the top of the picture, and the refrigerator at the right, which didn’t leave much room for the table and chairs and the living room off to the left. So I took a brush and went at it with a bit of gusto, drawing in the things I wanted, moving the whole perspective down and to the left. This little half-hour session with the brush imparted some good energy that I tried to maintain in the picture. On the second day of painting, a Sunday morning, Ailynne sat down at the table with her crossword and coffee and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to paint her in. Her figure led me to realize that I’d made the table much too small, and the wall behind it much too narrow (she looked rather like a giant, capable of picking up the entire table). So I had to enlarge the wall, the table, and move the window scene a good deal to the right. The result is that the right side of the painting is a bit heavier—there’s alot more paint on it—than the left side. The left side is, incidentally, my favorite part of the picture and I like how much light comes through.

If you’re interested in acquiring this piece, please send me an email at gaberobertsart@gmail.com

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