Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Well, I intended to have a short illustrated story up in time for the observance of Corn Night, a Red Wing ritual that, when I read Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery", kind of made me think I was growing up in an X-File-type creepy-town (although no one was ever stoned to death on Corn Night, to the best of my knowledge.  Still: an observed holiday that no one else seems to remember or recognize?). I choose to observe the holiday by eating candy corn.The short story fell by the wayside; I did this sketch quickly today.  Sorry for the crappy scan quality.  I will try to remember to hack it down and scan it again. 

If you think that the Queen's gown has been marred by the last-minute addition of a completely non-matching hooded sweatshirt, then you are clearly not from a cold-weather climate.  It's Halloween tradition to completely screw up whatever costume you were dressed in by topping it off with a sweatshirt or parka (and, yes, we did need parkas. Let's celebrate the 20th anniversary...).  This happened yearly.  Why did we never, ever think to incorporate a coat or some layering into our costumes?  Because our costumes were covered in jacket.  So the sweet folks answering their doors developed a sort of coat blindness: "Oh! You're that MC Rapper [in a jacket]! And you must be a nurse [dressed for surgery on the Tundra]! And where did your mother find a Saturday Night Fever leisure suit [with non-matching jacket]" 

Minnesotans are a special breed of people.

Does this look too suicide pact-y?  I was explicitly trying to avoid that.  Happy Halloween. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Botanical Quick Sketches

 I scanned these in black and white; they should probably have been scanned in color instead just to preserve some crispness of the lines. 

My high school art teacher once (was it many times?) had us do an exercise in which we were only given a specified period of time to capture the essence of whatever it was we were looking at, starting with five minutes, then two minutes, then one minute and then only thirty seconds.  (Or maybe I invented this memory?  I'm pretty sure that happened).  It was astonishing to see the different styles and that we all mostly captured the object well enough to tell what it was. (Pinecone? I surely remember drawing a pinecone because my parents have it on their wall right now.)

These floral sketches break and follow the rules: I took no more than 4:02 to draw any one of them (I used Lady Gaga's Just Dance as my timer, so to speak.  Actually, I was just really enjoying that song, so I had it on repeat...), but these are all from my imagination and not from three still lifes.  I'm not money, honey. (Which is a different Gaga reference.)

Angelique tulip, muscari, lilies
Bells of Ireland, begonia leaf, bleeding heart, zinnia, closed campanula

peony, peony bud, lily of the valley

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Completely Agree.

It is way too early to think about Christmas. Unless you prefer to get your shopping done in November, which I do, and you really like the Walton's Christmas and you like to listen to it year round, which I do, and you adore re-reading Martha Stewart Living magazines from Decembers past in July, which I do, then it's not too early to think about Christmas. However, I applaud Nordstrom for sticking to their seasonal guns (C'mon. What do those shoot? Egg nog? Tinsel? Ribbon? Sheet music for carols?) and not officially decorating until after Thanksgiving. 

For what it's worth, I do not decorate for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving, which is exactly as it should be if you celebrate the holiday.

Forgive the chewy lines and the failed experiment on the line "all lighted up." I wanted to experiment with negative space.  To that end this was painted entirely in green on a piece of red scrapbooking paper. 

You mean that was obvious? Dang. I thought I'd fool someone.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

From the Archives

This time from my dorm room rather than the laundry room, but this was inspired by Spring Garden Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.  I have been a displaced Minnesotan for a while, it seems.  Either that or I have a Dorothy-like problem with not recognizing the value of home until I'm no longer there.

I've been to two confirmations at Spring Garden and I have just the faintest recollection of it.  Heck, there may not even be a cemetary near the church, but I kind of think there is.  I also loved the aerial photographs of my grandparents' farms, a perspective which was woven into this half-remembered, half-imagined landscape.

Fall, 1999

From the Archives

Direct to you from Santa Ana Hall, fall of 1999.  Because what else do you do when your art class requirements include at least one drawing, sketch, or painting a day?  That's right - you take your laundry, markers and a sketchbook all the way to the basement.

There's not much to draw down there, though, at least not in the laundry room.  Which begs the question: I think there was a TV room with a foosball table, and possibly even a view of the mountains.  So why did I sit in the laundry room sketching the detergent?  I still love packaging enough that I might even start buying detergents and cleaners just to draw them.

And I know what detergent I was using twelve years ago.  Do you?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Color Orange

Like every other color, the color orange has its defenders and its detractors. I am mostly in the detractor camp. Orange is largely intolerable. It's such a bossy color, and doesn't play nicely with others. It is the color of hunting. It is the color of traffic cones and safety vests.  And, although it is luscious and beautiful in its lone natural setting, the fall forest, that orange is only a hop, skip, and a jump from the dead browns of early December, and by then, of course, you're in the thick of winter.

But when you consider that orange is part of the natural order of things, and that the cleansing warmth of spring and summer will come again (when I'll be hoping for cooler days).


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Inspiration: Black Narcissus

Have you ever seen Black Narcissus?  I've never read the Rumer Godden novel (although as a little girl I loved her stories about dolls), so I'm not sure if the movie was supposed to be as fearsome as it ended up being.  Black Narcissus is one of those stories that is somehow able to remind me of a time of fear in which I'm so afraid that I can feel the ground slipping out beneath me.  You wouldn't think a story about nuns would do that, but this movie is so very, very good.

Where I began with this and where it ended up, tugged along by the memory of Lotte Reiniger's Adventures of Prince Achmed, are two separate things.  A lot happens over time.

I'd like to pretend that you can see shades of two of my favorite artists, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu.

I am informed by my peanut gallery this looks like Pixar; that wasn't my intention.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Don't we all feel better when we eat our vegetables? 

Feeling Fancy in the Jungle

I really like to read non-fiction.  I really like to read non-fiction, usually the more disaster-based the better (Krakatoa, the Black Death, the Dust Bowl...).  I think the last fiction book I read was O Pioneers by Willa Cather, which was only because I read it for the first time last summer and loved it so much that it needed revisiting.  So many fiction books are so disappointing; then, not only have you invested time, but you haven't learned anything.  Maybe I'm picking up the wrong non-fiction books?  Recently I re-read 1491, and while the dangers that lay in the "New World" were not the focus of the book, my mind wandered to how long I could have survived in the pre-Columbian Americas.  Bears, cougars, poisonous snakes, plants you don't recognize, people whose language you can't speak and whose customs are unknown to you, deserts, etc.  Maybe three days?  The challenges that the Native Americans faced and overcame as they adapted the world to suit them are spectacular, although they had 30,000 years, give or take. You know, Gilligan's Island was in syndication when I was a child, and they survived for at least three years that island, so you just never know. 

And so here a lady, unprepared for the jungle, though this isn't a hostile jungle in the least.

I highly recommend reading both of these books if you haven't already. 


Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Front Door

This isn't exactly my home anyway.  The nasturtiums and azaleas don't bloom at the same time, my bricks aren't this attractive shade of National Building Museum red, and the light fixture looks sort of like one approved by the Dark Sky Foundation that I would like to have instead of the faux Federal style lantern I do have.  But with an Artistic License you can drive whatever you want, and it can look however you want it to look.  Therein lies the beauty of the Artistic License.  And I took it.

Welcome to my art blog.  Check back about once a week for art, maybe a little more often if I get the time.  And I may just go on a Jane-style rant occasionally!