Category Archives: original art

Spell Paintings: the Process of Desire

I’ve mentioned spell paintings before – they’re one of my specialties. They operate sort of like vision boards. They’re artistic representations of elements one would like to see flourish in one’s life. You think about what you want/need/desire and you discuss it with an artist. Namely me. I render (we hope) an eye and soul pleasing design, rich in symbolic imagery, and then I paint it in appropriate colors. You hang it on the wall and see it every day. It seeps into your subconscious. You dream about it. The symbols work their magic. Before you know it, the elements of the painting are part of your material world. They have manifested. The spell painting is a success. If you’re careful about what you want. We don’t get into monkey’s paw territory if we can help it.

And spell paintings work, too. Make no mistake. I’ve seen it happen more than once.

This is a spell painting I made for my wife, Colleen. Let’s walk through the process with some visuals here.

First, we talk. She tells me what she wants to see manifest or increase or flourish in her life and I listen. I make notes in my sketchbook. I let it stew.

First sketches

Step two: I make lists and cull images and refine the sketch, which, if successful, will resonate with power and magnetism.

More sketches

Step three: the painting is completed, framed, and hung in a prominent place, to be seen often. In this case in the bedroom, across from the foot of the bed, easily visible before retiring and upon rising.

Finished spell painting.

Step four: things come to fruition. In this case, piano lessons, New Orleans, parties with friends, good food and wine, creative writing for fun and profit, good luck and the buoyancy of excellence, rising to the top like cream, etc. No dogs . . . yet.




Spell paintings work, chum. Don’t let anybody tell ya different. Contact me when you’re ready to change your life.



Filed under original art, spell paintings

A Thank-You Postcard from Burning Man

Just got back from a fairly intense stay in the Nevada desert. Alkali dust, all the time, from an ancient sea bed filled with the pulverized shells of long-dead shellfish. Breathe that stuff, eat it, get coated with it like a sugar donut. That’s the way it is at Burning Man.

But after a period of acclimation, it can be a good thing. It got a lot better when Colleen and I got with the spirit of giving (one of the ten principles of The Burn) and started gifting these postcards to people.

“Thank You from Burning Man MMXII”

We printed up a couple hundred, stamped ’em, and encouraged people to write a thank you to someone back home or wherever, and we would see they were mailed. A little tip o’ the cap from Burning Man. Colleen’s suggestion, and a fine sentiment, to be sure, but I didn’t expect the reaction we got.

We were swamped. The first woman we met was hoping to send postcards back home, but had just missed one opportunity to do it. Then, boom. We showed up and she got her wish. Uncanny coincidences like that happen all the time at Burning Man. I conjured a root beer out of thin air once.

Another girl started to write a note home and began crying as she was doing it, big old tears running down her dusty cheeks. Foreigners flocked to us, ready to spread thanks around the globe. Kids sent thanks to parents, and parents to kids. It was sweet.

We sent a few, too (and saved a few extras), so you might see one soon. We were surprised to get quick reactions from a couple of folks who already received ours. The moral of the story is this: say thanks to people. Right now. Do it. They’ll appreciate it, and so might you.

… and a tip o’ the pith helmet from Mr. Bob Hope. Bob HOPE, ladies and gentlemen! Bob Hope!

Thanks for reading!

YOUR U.S. Snail Service, always at the ready….

1 Comment

Filed under cartoon art, original art

Blast From Past Dept: “Want Some Bacon?”, a 1995 Sketchbook Piece Commemorating Pulp Fiction

Thanks to shoulder surgery, I’m posting reruns. Here’s a little chestnut from my sketchbook circa 1995, based on the infectious dialogue from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Enjoy!

Personality Goes a Long Way

Leave a comment

Filed under cartoon art, original art, sketchbook art

“FINISH WHAT YOU START,” said Hemingway, blunt and true and with purpose.

Hard to think of Hemingway now and not conjure up how Woody Allen had him portrayed in Midnight in Paris. That doesn’t detract, though, it just distracts. He said some wise things, many involving work. On how to write, he is reported to have said, “Write every day and finish what you start.” Substitute a different verb for “write” and it can be applied to any endeavor. Good advice, sir. Give that man an illustrated quotation.

Leave a comment

Filed under original art, quote paintings

Some Kind of Meaningful Message (another quote painting)

I’m in the back row of a classroom. I think it’s an art class. A phrase pops, fully formed, into my head. I know it’s important, so I grab the first thing I can and I write it down. I use a charcoal stick and write on a piece of driftwood.

Then I wake up. Then I write it down for real. Later I cut and sand and prime a piece of masonite board and go to Lowe’s with Sorgatz and buy wood to build a frame, which I stain and finish. Then I paint the board with gold and black paints, complete with an absurdly detailed border. And I hang the whole thing above my desk at the studio.

"Work to Reveal"


Filed under original art, quote paintings

The 52 Project: Week After Week of Riffing

Take a look at the 52 Project. It’s created by Chrissy Deiger and Brian Ralph Short as a venue for artists to speak to each other; to make things that would not have occurred otherwise occur; to mix media so that it melts, stumbles, smolders, erupts; to both interrupt and prolong the creative process; to enjoy the multitude of ways we have to communicate with each other, to make meaning, to insist and react and be still.

Each week for a year a different artist riffs on the art that was posted the week before. Mine’s up now, called “Work Chair.” Check out the guy before me, week 26. He did a dumpster dive, on video, and resurrected a chair (the one I drew below), on the fly.

"Work Chair"

Now get to it. Go do your work, fearlessly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Artists, original art

The Audacious Statue of Robert E. Lee: a Postcard from New Orleans

New Orleans is a city of contradictions.

At one time it was the most racially liberal city in the south. Then, after the Civil War, the tide turned. Post-Reconstruction the Confederacy was re-glorified with a vengeance. This meant statues. TONS of statues, and of course one of Robert E. Lee. It’s atop a doric column at Lee Circle, near downtown, and recently I was eye-level with General Lee, so I snapped a picture. Here’s my interpretation of that shot, rendered in pen, ink and watercolor:

Lee Statue at Sunset © 2011 John Tebeau

I took the photo at an event on the rooftop of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. There was a fine little cocktail party up there, and the sun was setting gently, the sky behind the general peacefully aglow. Lee stands like he won the war, one foot perched audaciously over the edge of his platform. Modernity is audacious, too. It intrudes on this stately scene in the form of the streetlight to the right.

Lee Circle from an actual old postcard:

Lee Circle, fron an old postcard

Leave a comment

Filed under original art, Postcards from New Orleans