Sunday, June 18, 2023

More New Paintings

 I've been pretty busy with painting this year. I've also been reading some of the classics I had never read: War and Peace and Don Quixote. I'm actually still reading the latter (close to finishing it). But painting is where I spend most of my free time. I'm still primarily an abstract painter, though I occasionally work more realistically.

                        "Shimmers" (9x12 inches)

                                                      It's listed on Etsy for a better view of it. 

                                                     Untitled (9x12 inches)

Abstract art is not for everyone, but for those who like it, which is still millions of people, abstract art speaks to them through color, shape, and design, and, perhaps, through emotions. How all that works together is difficult to explain. For me, knowing when a painting is finished is usually intuitive, a realization that it works (for me) and there is nothing more to do, and, obviously, I like it.

                                                            "2084" (11x14 inches)

                        This painting made me think of the novel 1984. You can view it better on Etsy.

Of course, I've done more paintings and have many more to do. I hope you're doing what you enjoy doing, whether it's gardening or writing or painting or music. 

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Some of my new paintings

 While Covid stopped me from doing a lot of things I had done previous to it, I continued painting, and am still doing so. Fortunately, I'm gradually returning to a more normal lifestyle, getting out more, taking more chances. We recently went to Epcot and seemed to have not gotten Covid. We got into some very crowded places, such as, restaurants. On the way home, we stopped at Buckie's. That's an experience in itself. If you haven't been to a Buckie's, you've got to check it out. It's like Walmart at a gas station. Anyway, here are a few of my recent paintings. If you want to know more about the paintings, check them out on my Etsy account, Richard P Hughes Artist.

                                                                      Interstellar 1

                                                                        Apocalypse Now

                                                After Hiroshige, Travelers in the Snow at Oi

                                                                      Interstellar 4

Monday, February 1, 2021

"I Ching Symphony": Spiritual Music

 I recently listened to the I Ching Symphony composed by Frank Steiner Jr. I had not listened to it in probably twelve to fifteen years. It is one of the most beautiful symphonies I have ever heard. I'm transported to another realm of existence when I listen to it. I had not listened to it for all that time, because it had been an integral part of my writing my novel The Sendoff. When I was writing the novel, I used to listen to the symphony every night when I went to bed. I put my headphones on and listened to the symphony as I drifted off to sleep. The next to the last movement of the symphony was/is, in my mind, an integral part of the last chapter of the novel. I would imagine the last chapter playing out, and the music of the next to the last movement of the symphony helped transport the character Mitchell to his destination. The music was perfect for that chapter. So, listening to it while I was painting today, I was once again transported to a miraculous state of mind. If you get a chance to listen to the I Ching Symphony, I hope you have the same kind of experience.

I Ching Symphony

The Sendoff

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Some of My Paintings During a Pandemic

For me, primarily an abstract painter, painting is an exercise in discovery. Each painting is an experiment. I never know what the painting will look like until it's finished.

The painting arises out of uncertainty. It's sometimes a chaotic process. At least, it feels that way. Different considerations constantly reassert themselves during the painting process: color, direction of motion, cohesion, shapes, among other things.

How do I know when an abstract painting is finished? "It just feels right" is about all I can say. The color combinations, the movements inside the painting, the various shapes, the overall impression, work for me. It's asymmetrically balanced. There's nothing else I can do to that painting. Always the final consideration for me is, 'Would I like that painting hanging on my wall?' If 'yes', then it's finished.

Here are some of my latest paintings.

"Depths of Memory"

"Welcome To My World"

"Thunder Dance"

"Composition 1"

I'm experimenting a lot these days, trying different things. Some paintings work, some don't. It's always an enjoyable process. 'Welcome to My World' was actually painted a couple of years ago, but I want to work in that mode more this year. 'Composition 1' and 'Depths of Memory' are very recent, in the past week or two. I'm looking forward to a lot of experimentation this year.

2020 was a stressful year for me, as it was for a lot of people. Covid-19 changed my life in many ways. I suspect it will stay the way it is now for months to come, maybe longer. But, through it all, we have to keep living and doing what we love as much as possible. I hope you are doing the things you like to do despite the obstacles.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Universal Basic Income: Is It Time?

The idea of every adult receiving a universal basic income (UBI) is quite intriguing. Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate is running on this idea: every adult eighteen years and older will receive $1,000 per month for life, no strings attached, spend it any way you want. He feels that this money will not go for drugs, alcohol, and other such addictions, but will be well spent on necessities of life or making your life better.

UBI positives
The UBI will go back into the economy, which is a valuable thing. It can help people start businesses, or further their education, among other positive things. It can provide people with peace of mind knowing they're not going to starve to death. It can allow a mother to stay home with her newborn child, even until the child grows up, if she likes. I think the positive outcomes are almost limitless.

UBI negatives
I don't purport to know how it all works, the economics involved. One thing I do know is that it would be expensive. If there are two hundred million adults in the U.S. The cost would be over $2.4 trillion a year ($2,400,000,000,000). I think that's how you'd describe that string of numbers. That's a lot of money. Yang says it would be paid for by a Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is a complicated tax, but I do know it's used in many countries. It seems that VAT is used in lieu of an income tax. I don't understand completely how it works, nor how it would work in this country, nor how Yang would implement it. (One of the reasons I can't get the answer to this, if it is on Yang's website, is that his website locks up my computer every time I try to look at it. I have no trouble looking at the other presidential candidates' websites, and I've looked at most of them. I don't know if this is a problem with my computer or his website.)

Basically, I'm living off of a UBI at this time in my life.

I'm retired and live off Social Security and my pensions. It's a steady, constant monthly income. Yet, I have not stopped working. I'm still doing the things I like doing, writing, painting, and a little bit of traveling. I think that working people who have an extra $1,000 or $2,000 a month coming in would continue to work, because you can't hardly raise a family on $12,000 or $24,000 a year if you're married. But if those families just getting by on their income received a UBI, well, it would change their lives for the better.

People who are disabled, trying to survive on SSI, for example, receiving maybe $600 a month, and another $200 a month in SNAP benefits, well, how do they live at all on that? I guess with a lot of help from others. If they received another $1,000 a month, as long as it does not reduce their SSI and SNAP benefits, it might make them less dependent on others to survive. It might be enough to help them be independent.

I know, if I had an additional $12,000 or $24,000 a year coming in from the UBI, well, hell, it would be fantastic. There are so many things I could do with that money. My imagination runs wild thinking about it.

Here's something to think about. If a young single adult received $1000 a month for life and invested $250 of that money a month in an investment plan for 40 years at 5% growth over those years would have approximately $381,000 when he or she retires.

How about an elderly person needing daily care or to live in housing for the elderly, a UBI could mean the difference between poor care and adequate care.

It's almost mind boggling thinking about how much people can benefit from a UBI. People need to apply the idea to their own situation and decide whether it would help them or make a difference in their lives.

Which politician?

As far as I can tell, there's no other politician out there than Andrew Yang who's proposals would change people's lives as much as getting $1,000 a month for life would. No one. And I think that's what many Americans, especially the middle class and the poor, are yearning for, a real change in their lives.

Can it be done?

Can it be done? I really don't know. But I have a sneaky suspicion that it can be done.

In an economy as enormous as that of the United States, it's just a matter of priorities. It's a matter of what we value most. And that's what I think we voters must consider. Are we going to vote along the same old party lines that now favor the wealthy and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor or are we going to put the interest of the majority of people above that? I think it's something that every American needs to think about, especially the middle class and the poor. If this is UBI's time, then those who think it will benefit them and change their lives the most for the better must consider it and, if they believe in it, vote for it.

Think about it. How would a UBI benefit you?

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Sailing, Research, and Writing

When I was in college, I was on the sailing team. I sailed on a small sailboat called a dinghy. I never actually skippered the boat. I was a crew member and I was quite adept at working the jib sheets and helping to maintain headway. I was happy being a crew member. Sailing was great fun. So, I have in my memory bank the experience of sailing, of the wind in my face, of the heeling of the boat, of hanging out over the water, called hiking, on the windward side as the boat sped along at what seemed like a hundred knots; of tacking and gybing; of following orders and the value of teamwork. Unfortunately, I never sailed again. But I have never forgotten it.

I mention this because I’m working on a story that involves sailing. I’m reading a lot about sailing and watching a lot of videos of people sailing and about how to do many of the skills involved. To say it’s complicated is an understatement. It’s almost baffling at first, but gradually I’ve begun to understand the skills. Does it mean that I’m now ready to go out and sail a yacht? Absolutely not. But, hopefully, I can write about it convincingly in my story.

Here are some of my favorite videos of people living aboard and sailing their boats.

 Adventures of an Old Seadog

Wind Hippie Sailing Holly Martin

Sailing Millennial Falcon

There are many others.

What about you? Do you sail? If you don't sail, watch these videos and you'll probably want to sail around the world.