Friday, July 31, 2009

Santa in San Francisco

One day Santa Clause decided to visit San Francisco. He had heard that people where naughty down there. Every year he had entire books filled with the names of kids that wouldn't behave. He had a special computer that could see what all of the pigeons could see, so he used the birds as spies. Eight year old Billy would beat up the little kids on the playground at school, and seven year old Sally would always be putting her gum in other kids hair in the restrooms. Santa had had enough of it! He came down from the sky on his sled with his reindeers ringing the bells like a troop of soldiers at war. He tied them to a tree in the parking lot and stormed into a classroom and shouted "I've had enough of your misbehaving!" The teacher was right in the middle of teaching a math lesson when he barged in. The classroom got quiet. You could hear the sound of the clock on the wall ticking, TICK-TICK-TICK. The ticking echoed a little, and it reminded Billy of the sound the paddle would make on his hind when he got sent to the principal's office once a week. Santa's cold blue eyes combed the room for any eye-rolls, and he locked onto Sally. Her jaw dropped in disbelief as he approached her slowly. He big black boots made a hard knocking noise against the tile floor.
"Excuse me sir!" Said Mrs.Grophslonovich. "Do you have permission to be here?"
Santa stoped dead in his tracks. He was totally caught off gaurd. Nobody in thirty years ever challenged his authority to go anywhere. His head turned around slowly.
"Excuse me?" Said the white bearded giant.
"You can't just barge into a classroom without permission. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave," Mrs.Grophslonovich siad authoritativly.
"Alice," he called her by her first name. "I know all about you..." The color in her face lifted like an eraser just wiped it all away. "You would best not interfer with official Santa business if you know what's good for you."
"Oh, my God!" Alice remarked. "Ms.Caddle get security," she said gasping for air and swallowed her heart into her stomach.
"Yes mam," the teacher assistant stood up from her chair and head to the door.
When she had left, Santa walked up to Alice, and she watched and she steadily pivoted around him to be closer to the kids. Santa now stood alone at the front of the class, where Mrs.Grophslonovich used to stand to teach her pupils.
"Listen everyone...." Said Santa. "I know all about the bad things you have been doing every year. I have tried to encourage you to improve your behavior by not giving you the presents you ask for Christmas each year, but somehow you keep getting them anyway." The class started to laugh at Santa now, for they all figured he was just some duranged psicho in a Santa suit.
Then Santa brandished a gun, and shot everyone in the classroom. The gunshots echoed all through out the playground. The birds took off flying to save thier lives. The children all lay in a lifeless heap on thier desks. Blood flowed from thier bodies collecting into pools on the cold tile floor. Santa stood there to whitness the aftermath of his actions. "My God! What have I done! My children! My children!!!" He shouted. Just then a police officer cocked his gun at Santa's head, as he had snuck silently in. "Drop it or I'll drop you!" The San Francisco Police Officer shouted at Santa Clause. Santa turned around, and put his hand out to grab the gun out of the officer's hands. The gun fired, and Santa droped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
The police officer had killed Santa, and that is the true story of how Santa Clause died.
The End

Friday, July 24, 2009

Making Pancakes...The Movie!

Making Pancakes
by Unknown Author


"Six year old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.

He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.
Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.

He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove and he didn't know how the stove worked! Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.

And just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon 's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess.. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him.

Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process!

That's how God deals with us.. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend, or we can't stand our job, or our health goes sour.

Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.

But just because we might mess up, we can't stop try ing to 'make pancakes' for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll get it right, and then they'll be glad we tried...

I was thinking and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that need rekindling or three words needing to be said, sometimes, 'I love you' can heal & bless! Remind every one of your friends that you love them.. Even if you think they don't love back, you would be amazed at what those three little words, a smile, and a reminder like this can do.

Just in case I haven't told you lately... I LOVE YA!!!
Suppose one morning you were called to God; do all your friends know you love them?
Send this to everyone you love, and send it back to the person who sent it to you.. And never stop 'making pancakes."


This is the story that has made its way all over the internet. It's on Facebook, blogs, chat forums, and now it has come to Youtube!

Here is a link to the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px19H8n-Sh0

Making Pancakes is now on Youtube on the Stanimatorblue Channel.
There are also some great merchandise available that features the artwork of this heart warming story on Zazzle.com. Here is the link for that:

http://www.zazzle.com/making_pancakes_t_shirt_2-235062493931808480

I am a freelance, independent artist. This is what I do for a living. The work I do is the "Pancakes," I bring to you. If you like my work feel free to download it if you know how, but please make a donation. Your donation is a most cherished "Pancake." Give what you feel is right. A pancake for a pancake.

Thank you for your support!


Click here to make your donation

Stan Levine


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Domain Confusion

Hello Stanimation fans!
I recently discovered a domain name problem that I wish to disclose to everyone to avoid any confusion this may have caused my loyal clients. When I search for "STANIMATION," there are many results, but there are 2 that are very similar in name. Let it be known that www.stanimation.net is not my website. It is Stanislas Hebette's from France does CGI (computer generated Imaging) 3D modeling. Although I am familiar with the tools and techniques of his work, this is not what I do. My website is www.STAN ANIMATION.net (only without the spaces.) www.stananimation.net. You will know if your at the right website if you see the blue and orange circular design on the Stanimation Productions homepage. When you search for stanimation, look for Stanimation Productions. Stanimation Productions takes you to www.stananimation.net. STANIMATION goes to the wrong site!!! If you see a whole bunch of CGI work and French writing then you're looking at Stanislas's site, not mine. Please make sure you have the right website when looking for my work, or you will be wondering why you can't find my Mt.Diablo Paintings, caricatures, or 2d Flash animation. You won't even be able to find this blog! If you look at the Google Search Results for "Stanimation," you will see a BBB Review of Stanimation Productions in Walnut Creek, CA 6th down from the top of the first page. This is a hyperlink to the Better Business Bureau Reliability Report for Stanimation Productions. My freelance illustration business has been a BBB Accredited business since 12/04/2008. It has an A- rating, and it has no customer complaints. BBB assigns ratings by evaluating businesses in various categories. Click here to learn more about BBB Ratings.

Buy a 2010 Mt.Diablo Paintings Calendar by Stan Levine on Zazzle!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bench Portrait By The Grand Canyon

A Bench Portrait By The Grand Canyon

This is an acrylic painting by Stan Levine (me) 18"x 14." I have painted with acrylics on a variety of sizes, but I am most confident painting on this size of canvas. I always use a photo reference when I paint, because it helps me to create the illusion of realism. While some aspects of my work are photo-realistic, others are more impressionistic. The couple sitting on this bench is my wife and I on our honeymoon. We met in high school when we were very young. I was only 17, and she was 15. We fell in love, and we wanted to get married, but our parents thought it was too soon. Our relationship continued to intensify until our parents were forced to break us up. We each went on our own separate paths. I went to the California College to the Arts in Oakland California to study film, video and performance art, while Ronda, my wife studied philosophy. It was later on in our lives when we re-connected online, and later rekindled our relationship when I had to honor of flying out across the country to see my true love for her 30th birthday.
Sparks flew, and a year later we got married. We went to the Grand Canyon of Arizona from Las Vegas using a hired tour guide. It was a very strenuous 6 hour drive with very little stops except one at McDonnolds for breakfast. Lunch was not until we actually got to the canyon. Ronda was feeling faint. Then it got cold fast as the sun set. It was beautiful, but a very exhausting trek. The Grand Canyon is a very dangerous place to stand. Many people have died and continue to die at this tourist hot spot. The canyon itself is so beautiful, that many people seem to be drawn to its edge to get a good photo and for the adrenaline rush of having that human experience of standing as close as possible to the edge of what would seem life itself; a mystical and spiritual place where life ends and something else begins.
Ronda took many photos of the Grand Canyon, and I really like the subject matter because it deals with something that is very beautiful and deadly at the same time.

Before I begin a painting, I like to start by drawing a pen and ink illustration. This process helps me to plan out the composition, and make decisions about value that I will later use in the painting when I mix the colors. In this painting, the background is far away, against the horizon. The colors are desaturated by adding gray to the orange, and cobalt blue. The foreground consists of the bench and my wife and I. The colors used for these elements must be sharp and in focus. This is achieved by keeping a high level of contrast. Light colors are accompanied by dark colors and shadows to help the forms to pop out in 3 dimensions, and there is more detail placed here as well. The hardest part of painting is knowing when its finished. Sometimes less is more. In the photo reference, and in the pen and ink illustration, the bench is chained into the ground, but I chose not to show this in the painting because I thought it would crowd up the composition too much. Paint is powerful in that it expresses energy with color and texture with brush strokes. If it gets too busy, it can be disturbing to look at which is ok if that is the intention. In this painting I was looking for a sense of balance. I want to show you a glimpse of the canyon's beauty, while holding you back by putting my wife and I on the bench as the center of focus. My wife's posture conveys warning, while my posture conveys protection and safety. The space on the right gives us a way out, so we do not get the feeling like we are trapped. There is a great flow of elements, color, and value in the composition. I have another photo reference lined up for another Grand Canyon painting that I hope to get started on in the near future.

Friday, July 3, 2009

An Artist's Writing Exercise

My wife found these exercises in a book called "How To Get Started Selling Your Art," by Carole Katchen.
The first writing exercise is to confront your fears. So here it goes:

1. If I become an artist, I will have to: live a life that lacks structure. I won't know when I'll wake up or when I'll go to bed, or if I'll have the money to keep the lights on at the end of the month.
2. If I become an artist, I will only: be viewed upon by others as an unemployed bum taking up space and valuable resources in a overpopulated down sized economy.
3. If I become an artist, I will never: build a space shuttle, or be anything else that would require a different skill set, because being an artist will be the prime focus of my professional life.
4. If I become an artist, no one will: No one will truly understand the way I view the world as I exist in it. I will be alone in my perceptions and in my process of how I create the art I make as a physical form from that which was once only a thought of mental visualization in my mind.
5. If I become an artist, everyone will: Everyone will expect me to die of starvation in my car that I'll be living in alone with water bottles filled with my urine.
6. If I become an artist, people will think: That I am some kind of criminal conspiring against them in some unknown way, or that I can't be trusted because they won't consider being an artist a respectable occupation.
7. If I become an artist, people will be afraid: That I will murder them and chop them up into tiny pieces and stuff them into a 'Hello Kitty' suitcase, or that I will end up as a male prostitute on Hollywood Blvd.
8. If I become an artist, I will lose: my sanity when I become famous, trash hotel rooms, and that the power of popularity and influence over people will corrupt me into something ugly and perverse.
9. If I become an artist, I will have to give up: Any hopes or dreams that I had of anything else I ever wanted to do for a living.
10: If I become an artist, my friends will: laugh at me and vandalize my property.
11: If I become an artist, my family will: lecture me until they talk me out of it, and into some lame minimum wage, no brainer retail job, or they will expect me to use my artistic talent to serve them for free at every occasion in their lives.
12. If I become an artist, my life will be too: chaotic, stressful and uncertain.

This next writing exercise is to consider how you'll feel if you don't become an artist.
1. If I don't become an artist, I'll never: realize my full potential.
2. If I don't become an artist, I'll have to: go back to school for another 3 to 5 years to learn another trade.
3. If I don't become an artist, I can: beg for money on the streets for a living, or just do nothing except sleep, eat and watch tv all day while my wife does all the work.
4. If I don't become an artist, I might: end up working retail for the rest of my life wondering what I might have achieved had I became an artist.
5. If I don't become an artist, I'll regret: not doing what I truly love to do for a living.
6. If I don't become an artist, I'll be glad: that I'll have a chance to find another career doing something more conventional.
7. If I don't become an artist, I'll think: that I'm a total loser for quitting on a dream that I've had since I was a child.
8. If I don't become an artist, I'll wish: that I could be 15 years younger, so I could go back to school and learn a trade in computer science.
9. If I don't become an artist, I'll always: feel that if I had that I would have been happier with myself.
10. If I don't become an artist, I'll be able to: have lots of time to rethink my life and decide what I want to do for a career, and how that will affect my life and those around me.
11. If I don't become an artist, I'll never be able to: look at a movie, a painting or any work of art without being reminded of the opportunity I gave up.
12. If I don't become an artist, I'll feel: really really bad! :(

Wow, so I guess I should continue the art thing. I really like being an artist because it allows me to use my mind in a way that makes me think about things in ways that I wouldn't in any other situation. When I create art, I always feel like something wonderful is happening.