Wednesday, September 17, 2014 Closure

Important Notice:   

If you were a follower of my website, A Catholic's Life, I was recently informed that and its EZWeb Site Builder will be discontinued on February 28, 2015. This being the case, I am migrating my  website to this blog of the same name which has acted as an archive for older articles on the site.  This closure is a major step  for many churches, my home parish and the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg  as well.

So until I am done  migrating my site  to this site, A Catholic's Life Archives some of my articles may look dated and that is because they are for now.  Nevertheless, all  my future articles will also be posted here as well.

Johnny V - The Boy, The Man, and The D.J. – An interview

Johnny V.Clements
To my readers and as promised, I have interviewed Johnny V, a former announcer of radio Spirit FM 90.5, and who just before Christmas returned to the northern state of Illinois to become the afternoon host and program director on 101 QFL -100.9 FM radio.


Johnny V - The Boy, The Man, and The D.J. – An interview

Good Afternoon Johnny V,

Now that you have made the move, how does it feel to be home again and surrounded familiar faces and places?
With a family as large as mine, and I’m sure the listeners heard me mention that my mom was the oldest of 18 kids, which is why I probably ended up as an only child sitting in a closet talking to myself on my pretend radio station.
Many know you as Johnny V. Some even know you as Johnny Vincent.  But we all would like to know you by your full name. So what is it J.V., who is Johnny V, really?
My full name is Johnny Vincent Clements. My grandfathers were named John and Vincent so I wanted to honor them with the name Johnny Vincent, but that eventually got shortened to Johnny V. by all of my co-workers when I started in radio.

When and where were you born?
Born In Terre Haute, Indiana…June 15 1982

What was growing up like for young Johnny V?  Has faith always been a motivating force in your life? Beside your religious influences, who in your family was you greatest motivator?
As an only child, I was with my parents a lot while they led the church choir every week. From the time I was five, I sung Silent Night at every midnight mass. I was always around when my parents had their adult friends over for dinner parties. So, besides break dancing on the street corners of Terre Haute, I grew up around adults, and I would have to say undoubtedly that both of my parents were my greatest motivators.

What event in your like inspired you to become a radio announcer? How did you know that this was the right decision (path) for you? 

 When I was 6 years old, we got back from midnight mass and found our house robbed. All of our gifts under the tree opened and gone. The house ransacked. But, as we began cleaning up, I noticed a little gift box that the robbers had missed and that it was for me. It was a Donnie and Marie Osmond wireless microphone, which I used over and over. It was the best gift I ever got for Christmas because it would allow me to talk through the AM radio and pretend I was really on the radio. I was hooked from there.
Which radio broadcasting schools or academies do think prepares young would-be announcers for life behind the mike? Which one did you attend and why?
 I went to Vincennes University between Evansville and Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s one of the best broadcasting schools in the country with a five student run radio stations and a student run TV station that would have a local student operated newscast every night. When I was still in high school, I was working in radio and gaining real world experience. After making the dean’s list and tutoring 2nd year students at Vincennes University, I took a full time job in Evansville at a Country station because I realized that experience was much more important than education in the radio field.
How easy is it to be a radio announcer now as oppose to 10 – 15 years ago? 

It’s actually easier with the technology that assists you to do more as a single operator. It changes for the better every year. 10-15 years ago, you had to have a board operator, producer, many assistants, etc. With today’s technology, I can sit in the studio alone and make a show sound like there is a room full of people with me

Why don’t radio announcers spent more than 4 hours behind the mike and what kind of things do they do when off the air? Events? Fundraisers? ETC?
The four-hour shift has a lot to do with the ratings system (ARBITRON) which rates the shows by the following shifts: 6-10am / 10a-3pm / 3p-7p / 7p-12a, etc. So that is pretty much why they have continued to stay in those slots. Off the air, as a program director, I wear many hats. I’m involved in station promotions, music scheduling, meeting with the sales team, doing live broadcasts on-site at businesses, charities, concerts, etc. My day begins at 9am and ends around 7:30-8pm.

Have you ever consider another field of work? If so, what field and what do you find special about it?  
I have never actually thought about doing anything but a radio related job. However, I would love to branch out someday so that I can reach more people and let them know how great Christian music really is.
Why Christian music over mainstream music?
Because of the vulgarity in mainstream music and the type of promotions and events we were asked to do, it was a struggle to live the life I knew I should be leading.  

I think Contemporary Christian music and some Country Christian music make a good mix. What do you think? What’s your favorite mix?
I use to work in Country music and a lot of the music was very positive and uplifting. I think that there will be a Christian Country station if not a daily segment on a radio station that will feature all Christian / country music
Who are you favorite music artists?
Toby Mac, Skillet, Family Force 5, Michael W.Smith
How often do you log-on to And do you interact with the regular members there? 

Usually a couple of times a week. I try to email the listeners back who take time to email me. This keeps you on a personal level with your listeners. This is one of the great things about the new technology. It makes it easier to keep the “one-on-one” contact with your listeners.
Why as oppose to His Holy Space 

At 101QFL, we have a relationship with Shoutlife. Our morning show host, Darren Marlar, is the #1 most listened to comedian on Shoutlife. Not really a reason why I’m not on His Holy Space. I need to schedule a time to reply to one or more sites. 

Tell us about 101QFL? What of its mission?
QFL is not owned by a single denomination like SPIRIT-FM, which allows us to promoting ourselves to more than just the Catholic faith. We don’t push a certain religion but let God guide each individual while acting as a positive voice in the community. Unlike SPIRIT-FM, we can attend events like the Luis Palau Festival that drew over 100,000 youth who were looking for more spirituality in their life. 
Tell us about your new founded friends/co-worker
Just like the great family I had there in Tampa, I have another team here at 101qfl.

When you were here you have flirted with the idea of marriage. Have you found your girl and tie the knot? 

Not Yet…But I have done a recent promotion here that was a search for a mate from Chicago but it just became a friendship
Yours leaving the Tampa Bay area was a sudden surprise to many of your fans. If the answering the following question is not too personal, could you tell us why the unexpected departure?

Because my listeners trusted me with their prayer requests, sadnesses, and joys, I felt like I had a personal relationship with each and every one of them. So, I was told my services were no longer needed.
Well Johnny, this humble interviewer wants to say thank you for share your time, experiences and most of all you talent with us when you were here in the sunshine state. We miss you and wish you the best of God’s blessings. 

Thank you.

Ted Larson: Digital Artist - An Interview, Part One

Ted Larson: Digital Artist - An Interview, Part One

A few months ago, I was pleased and surprised to find myself hosting the artwork of one to the internet most popular and prolific digital artist, Ted Larson. He lives in Seattle, Washington and is a member of the Mars Hill Church. As a Christian, the subjects of his online work centers on characters and books from the bible. Some of his oldest digital art depicts Daniel, Ezekiel, scene from the Exodus, and Revelation. His newest and not yet completed artwork, centers on Zechariah and will also include a very ambiguous set of artwork “The Life of Christ,” which will span the four Gospel.

As an artist on the beginner level, I am truly awed by Ted Larson’s art. I saw his artwork for the first time a year ago as on the Biblical Art Com, which is a website created and hosted by Rolf E. Stærk, who is a Norwegian theologian and schoolteacher. While I was
Exodus 3:2-14 The Burning Bush
visiting the web site, I saw a small advertisement about  seeking a host for Ted Larson’s artwork. I passed it up.  Two weeks later, I was visiting the Biblical Art Com again, and I saw the advertisement again. This time I was intrigued, but I thought to myself,

 “Leave it, Evelyn. This is for the professional.” I didn’t listen to myself.

Instead, I plumbed right in with an email that stated that I have a site and that if Ted was willing the left me host his artwork, it would be my pleasure to do so. Once I shot the email off, I thought, this will never happen. Well, lucky for me, I was quickly put in touch with Ted and here we are today.

I must say that I am as happy to host Ted’s artwork today as I was at the first notion of it. Furthermore, to introduce my readers to the artist, I have added a brief interview, which I conducted via email with him yesterday.

Merry Christmas to All!
Evelyn F. Altheimer-Fain

Revelation 12:7 Michael vs Satan
Hi Teddy,

Merry Christmas to you!
I visited your site this evening and saw your 3D CAD model of Ezekiel’s temple. I think it’s great. I also read where you plan to spent some additional time working of various projects including a "Synthesis of the four Gospels." This statement sparked a few over due questions from me. I hope you do not mind answering them.

1.  From you recent photo it is clear that you are a young man of college age. Can you tell the readers just what sparked your interested in Digital art, and how long you have been doing it?

Thank you for the compliment! Actually although I look young in my recent photo, I'm 46. It was my Freshman year in high school I knew that art was my life's work. My mother enrolled me in evening drawing classes at our local university. I learned the classical methods of drawing from a live model. I kept that discipline going throughout my twenties branching out with oils and pastels. I fascinated by the great masters of the past like Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Dega. They were my heroes and set the standard of quality I felt I wanted to achieve.

2. Do you or you have ever worked with tradition art forms, such as, oil pastel, and/or watercolor? If so, what are you favorites?

Yes, I am also self taught in natural media like watercolor. pastel and oil paints. I think for portraits pastel was my favorite. For landscapes watercolor is a great atmospheric medium.

3. In an earlier message you stated that you taught yourself how to work with a new digital art program. What program is it, and do you like it?

I taught myself a program called Photoshop, back in 1995 when it was version 3.0. I also use a program called
Exodus 8:17 Aaron Strikes the Dust
Painter. For props and backgrounds I use a two 3D cad modeling and rendering tools like Form Z, and Cinema 4D. I really enjoy all these programs. They each contribute something unique to each picture I make.

4. Of the many digital art programs on the market today, what one would you recommend to beginners?

Probably Photoshop Elements. It has all the basic tools for building illustrations for almost anything you can imagine. It just takes some time to work through the tutorials to get a handle on the basics of the tools.

5.  It is my understanding that you are in the thesis preparation stage of your education. Would you say that a formal educational background in art is necessary component for the success an artist today?

It's not necessary but any art or craft education can greatly contribute to creative personal development.

6. Because I am a newbie to working with digital art can you tell my readers and me just what you mean by the phrase "Synthesis of the four Gospels."

Sure! I am planning a series on the life of Jesus Christ as was described in the four Gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Many of the events and miracles described in the first three Gospels overlap. Some are unique to the individual book. I have a list of over 100 illustrations that will span all four books. The book of John is the most challenging. It contains some of the longest doctrine or teaching passages that Jesus ever spoke. The gospels project is ambitious but not impossible. I hope and pray it will be the body of work I am remembered for.

7. How does it feel to be one of the most recognized digital artists of the web?

I feel very grateful to God almighty for his gifts. Its feels a lot like the early oil painter pioneers of Europe. I feel awe and a humbleness being able to glorify God through my art. Sometimes I feel like I'm soaring the heights of secret treasures found in the pages of scripture. Other times I feel loneliness and despair much like Christ felt when people misunderstood or even rejected him. If you have ever listened to any of Beethoven's music you have a sense of exaltation and glory as well as the painful, tragic low points in life.Many creative people experience this range of emotions, but I would have to say its all worth it!

Ezekiel 3:17 Ezekiel the Watchman
8. Congratulation on your success with the creation of the cover for one of author, Ron Cantrell, books. I understand that he is a contributing writer for Bridges for Peace Christian organization. Could you tell us more about Bridges for Peace and its mission?

Sure. Ron is an advocate for the peace of Israel. He is a Christian who loves the Jewish people. Part of his mission is to help everyone discover that God hasn't abandoned his people the Jews. There are many prophecies describing the coming consolation of Israel when Jesus returns to earth. Many centuries ago God spoke through his prophets about a promised land for the Hebrew people. Long before there was a Palestinian nation there was a small but great nation called Israel. It's very sad to me that some of the teachings of Islam urge the Arab peoples of the world to band together and wipe Israel off the map. Hate and genocide is never the will of a loving God. Jesus said "You are my disciples if you have love for one another".  As followers of Jesus we have a calling to love everyone even if we disagree with the politics of the time. Ron has that love in his heart and dwells among the Jewish people in Israel as a prayer warrior and teacher to believers all over the globe.

Well, Ted, this is all that comes to my mind at this time. Sorry for the delay. I get sidetrack with other projects from time to time, but I never forget a friend. 

Peace and Many Blessings to You and Yours during this Holy Season!


Ted Larson Digital Artist: An Interview, Part 2

In this second half of Ted Larson Digital Artist: An Interview, we learn a little about Ted the youth, who is inspired by his mother’s love of the classical renaissance art. We also learn of his other artistic influences as he gains mastery over the different art forms while traveling on his formal and informal road of education to his presence day mastery as a digital artist. He also shares with us some of his artistic techniques as well as some sound advice for artists just beginning their own artistic journey. Not unlike other of artists throughout the centuries, Ted Larson turns to the Bible for his inspiration and is currently working on a series of digital paintings inspired by the Four Gospels on the life and ministry of Jesus. 
Ted Larson Digital Artist: An Interview, Part 2
Hi Ted,
While updating my sites and surfing the web. I came up with a few more questions that I hope you will not mind answering?
What is your artistic background in terms of education and influences?
As a kid I drew a lot. My mother shared her love of classical art with me in my early teens. I think
Ezekiel 1:5-6 Cherubim
God put it on her heart to open my eyes to the beauty and passion of the great masters. This was a huge inspiration  for me. It set the standard of quality I still aspire to achieve. My formal education in the arts is somewhat sporadic. I would say I am mostly self taught. In 1979 After high school I worked and saved money for tuition to the Burnley School of Art in Seattle. It was a 3 year commercial design school, specializing in training graphic artists for real world jobs in the local community. Sadly they never emphasized traditional drawing skills. I took a summer off and I worked through the lessons on my own from a book called "The Natural Way to Draw' by Kimon Nicolaides. This was my Bible during my twenties. I also carried a sketch book and drew people on the bus, in parks, coffee shops and everywhere people paused long enough to be captured by my obsessive pen. Upon graduation, I worked for two years as a layout design artist for a local department store illustrating newspaper advertisements. In the evenings I continued developing my drawing skills working from life models at the University of Washington. They have excellent informal drawing groups run by students and are open to the public.  Eventually I branched out to landscapes during the 80's. When the first Power Macs came out in the 90's I embarked on my Christian art career.

My hero's were the great three renaissance masters- Leonardo, Michaelangelo and Raphael. I also loved the work of Vermeer, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Holbein, Poussin, Ingre and Degas. These are still my favorite masters. I hope and pray my art can someday stand alongside the great works of these wonderful artists.
 How do you create your illustrations?
The Beast with Ten Horns
I start out with pen and paper and sketch out ideas for my pictures from my head. Usually a flood of ideas happens during this process. I imagine colors, light, shadow, costumes, and poses of people I wish to portray. Early on I used to work on one picture at a time. Now I sketch out an entire series of pictures in one go. I like the idea of juggling a lot of artwork. It keeps things fresh and exciting. It's also practical if I get stuck or bogged down on one picture. I can move on to a different picture to stay busy and creative.

After the sketch and design phase I start thinking about models for my pictures. I sometimes ask friends or family members to suit up in costumes and pose for me. On occasion I hire a professional model to pose. During the modeling phase of my art I shoot digital photos in my home studio. I shop for costumes at local stores and sometimes order items like robes from places on the internet. I also improvise simple outfits with fabrics purchased from the local sewing supply shops. Using my sketches as a guide I shoot most of the figure poses in a couple of hours. The nice thing about digital is you can experiment a lot and see what things look like right away.

After the initial photography stage I move to the computer in Photoshop to start building my compositions. I create silhouettes from my figure photos and move them around on the screen like paper cutouts until I get a pleasing design. I work all in black and white at this stage. It helps me blend the people with the background tones for a realistic effect.

Next I build my scenery, the backgrounds and props for my pictures. I use several 3D programs to draw and sculpt objects like hand held tools, interiors, buildings, costume patterns and even jewelry. I
texture them with additional photos shot in my city of stone, metal or even paint drips and blend them with the figures.

Once the black and white illustration is finished I jump into color. I start with a wash of warm reddish
Ezekiel 37: 1-3 The Valley of Bones
or golden brown. This helps me to build my color scheme around the flesh tones. I paint in layers using Photoshop and Painter. I try to achieve rich color effects like different bits of stained glass stacked upon each other. I use digital airbrushes for the most part. Large brushes work best for skies and water. Smaller detailed brushes are really important for me to give a picture that sparkle of detail and realism. I often make masks to contain colors to certain areas. Other times I let colors bleed and overlap like watercolors. All of my color is imaginary but it's based on years of painting from the model and landscape.
What type of computers Ted Larson recommend for creating illustrations?
Any of the recent PC's or Macs on the market will work wonders. I have used both and they are nice tools. No paint fumes or toxic pigment chemicals! The main thing needed is lots of RAM. Digital art is a memory hog so a big external hard drive is nice for storing all ones work. I usually need at least one new external drive a year. My art fills them up fast. Mostly I would recommend getting a drawing tablet by Wacom. Next to a good digital camera, it's the most important piece of hardware for a digital artist. I use the portable small one mainly so I can carry it to and from work. It's also fairly inexpensive compared to the bigger ones. Most new digital cameras give excellent results. I like Canon SLR bodies because you can use their nice range of lenses for professional results.

What published books have you created the illustration cover for over the years?
The most consistent publisher of my work has been Peachpit Press. They have an ongoing series called Painter Wow! I usually have two pictures in each volume. I haven't done a cover for a while. I mostly focus on my Bible illustrations. Once those pictures are displayed on my web site I have different publishers contact me to negotiate a price or royalty fee for use. I've had work published as far away as Italy and South Africa and a near as your Television.
What do you think of Terragen as medium for creating very realistic landscapes?
I think it's very good for what it does. But what's important to remember is that the inner vision or ideas of the artist are what really make a picture unique. Individual style comes over time with lots of experimentation and practice.
Where do you get your ideas?
All my art is inspired from my daily Bible study. I have been reading through the entire Bible every year for the past 16 years. When I come across something that inspires me or challenges my imagination, I'm off and running with plans to paint my next series.
I have this idea warrior-angel on my mind. She’s been there for years now. If I were to give you a detailed description, could you bring her to life?
Yes definitely, I'm open to ideas like that. But I'm pretty busy with projects planned for the next few years. I take on a few commissions here and there as God leads me. Sometimes sadly, I have to turn work down because I'm swamped with projects and deadlines.
Gosh that’s a tough one. I think a recent painting I did of Jesus standing upon the river Tigris for my
Revelation 22:13 The Alpha and Omega
Daniel series is a favorite. I have two pictures with the Angel Gabriel and the Prophet Daniel that I like almost as well.

Finally, unless a young artist is financially set or extremely lucky, becoming an artist isn't the easiest of choices. Would advise a young artist to hold onto his/her day jobs and cultivate a second means of earning a living? If so, why?
Yes absolutely! Besides the income from my artwork, I have a night job within the criminal justice system. It pays well, and I don't have to worry about not having medical insurance and other benefits. I recommend finding something that feels easy and fun that leaves you with some extra energy and time to develop your art. If you are young and not married, use the time God has given you to develop that talent inside. I feel blessed that I can bring my laptop to work with me so I can do my art while the inmates are sleeping.
As with any interview there are always questions that the interviewer wished he/she would had asked the first time around. So with my ever presents and burning exciting for the arts and of my desire to learn how to create digital art, I have asked Ted these additional questions, and I thank him deeply for his earnest and open answers and of sharing some of his life as an artist as well as his beautiful artwork with me . . . with you.
Thanks you, Ted!

As always, in Christ and Mary,


P. S. Don't forget to visit Ted's site Digital Art by Ted Larson.