May 26, 2006 · Illustration Friday: Cake

Argh! Okay, I swore to myself I wasn’t going to attempt to participate in Illustration Friday until the comic book I’m illustrating was done, because woe! and whoa! i have so much work to do it’s not even fun….. but you see first thing this morning I read all about Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette which I am sooooo looking forward to and which I refuse to let the French ruin for me (the French apparently booed the film’s very recent premiere at Cannes). And then I watched the trailer like six times and marvelled at the visual frothiness, just swimming for a moment in that sugarplum world. And then I turned to I-Fri, jst to see what the topic was, vowing I was just looking… and the subject is cake. Cake!!! What are the odds of that?! And immediately, a full blown illo popped into my head and refused to be dislodged.

This is not it, by the way. This? This is a compromise… I gave myself an hour to to indulge my imagination, knowing that if I didn’t, i wouldn’t be able to focus on anything else. And the illo in my head was so good, so spirited, I didn’t want to lose it forever which is exactly what would happen if I squelched it completely. So I grabbed my hour, ripped out a page I did in my sketchbook over a month ago, modified it a bit, stamped it over with a smear of pink in Photoshop and here we are… Marie. With CAKE. Compromised again.

And before you get all up on yer high horse, I know the “let them eat cake!” thing was at very least taken out of context, and possibly never uttered at all, and poor Marie has been much maligned but nonetheless… i love the flipancy of the idea. So here’s my depiction of that notorious moment, the moment when the exquistitely simple solution just dawns on her… “Cake!”

I’m pretty pleased with the sketch. It captures a certain buoyancy, a certain flounce… i don’t think I did the sketch justice in Photoshop, but whatever… my hour is up. And I’ve got the basis for an illo I will complete down the road, once my plate is cleared. Which probably won’t be until next Easter, but whatever….

Cake! yum.

27 Comments so far
May 22, 2006 · solar cells delepleted

Way back when and once upon a time, we used to tease my mom that she ran completely on solar energy. Who knew I would inherit that tendancy? And the older I get, the more pronounced this tendancy seems. Saturday, it was cool and breezy, but the sun was out and I was bursting with energy. We got up bright and early and hit a couple of the local nurseries, looking for planty goodness. I bought some pretty perennial planters for the front step, two peony trees, some clematis vines and some bedding plants, vowing to return for more, more, more later in the week once we prepared a bed for planting. Then the Handsome Guy and I spent many back-searing hours ripping up a large chunk of sod in the backyard to extend out one of our garden beds, pausing only to apply sunscreen and collect the dozens upon dozens of earthworms we uprooted in an empty yogurt container. Finny thought this was a banner idea and kept dropping the river rocks she collects from the neighbour’s yard (patiently pushing her paws under our fence and scooping them out) into the yogurt container too. Then we layered on bags and bags of triple mix. We spent the evening watching the sun die out over our backyard oasis, listening to the sounds of neighbourhood barbeques.

Sunday… sunday it was rainy and cold and I never quite got over that groggy just out of bed feeling. My neck muscles hurt and I spent the day smelling like tiger balm and watching gay Scottish designers on HGTV.

The sun that was promised for today has not materialized. It’s cold and I’m sniffling and low energy once again and not in the mood for gardening. Sigh. The forecast for the rest of the week is promising, though. And we’re thinking about going to see a matinee (it’s the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada so the HG is home today.)

I’m hoping that the picture of my darling little apple blossoms which burst forth so urgently last week, but were immediately scrubbed from the tree by buckets of cold May rain, will usher in a week of sunshine and refreshing spring breezes.

On my list to get this week: Russian Sage, Larkspur, more Clematis, Passionflower Vine, Silver Lace Vine, more bedding plants, a new hose head, fertilizer, eyehooks and heavy line for supporting vines, some kind of trellis structure and something to take care of the white powdery mildew that’s attacking my Diablo Ninebark before it spreads to my new plants.

6 Comments so far
May 19, 2006 · Best Friday EVAH!!!

I am so, so excited people! I checked in to Drawn! this morning and lo! And Behold! Finally, finally, finally one of my all time fave children’s illustrators, Lane Smith, has a website! SQUEE!! O, I only hope to be one tenth as good as Mr. Smith when I grow up! So good!!! Now I must immediately forthwith and posthaste and urgently now,now, now track down a copy of his latest book!

4 Comments so far
May 16, 2006 · Illustration Friday: Angels & Devils

Once again, I haven’t had time to create an all new illo for Illustration Friday, but I think this one works with the theme and no one has seen it yet. So…

Meet Indigo Adams. Indigo is one of those poor little rich girls. An only child, now an orphan, her mother was locked up in an insane asylum only days after her birth and her father was a deeply eccentric, enormously wealthy, cold and standoffish man with extraordinary red hued eyes who lived on an enormous perpetually fog shrouded estate where he is was consumed hourly with taxidermy. He died horrifically when the monstrous rhino he was working to preserve toppled over and impaled him on it’s single, deadly horn, leaving his vast fortunes to his one and only daughter, Indigo Belladonna Adams.

Indigo attends a posh private school on the outskirts of London which is governed by a headmistress of such grim disposition, she makes Miss Mitchum (of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess) appear most saintly and cuddlesome in comparison. This does not bother Indigo much. Nothing bothers Indigo much. And in truth, no one bothers with indigo. If they’re smart…

The thing is… Indigo Adams has attended that school for over 150 years. And her appearance has never changed. Not even her clothing. She remains resolutely eleven and alone. Strange and horrific things happen to anyone who dares cross her path or thwarts her will. She rarely speaks a word, but constantly mutters mysterious incantations under her breath. She has a strange fixation with Luna Moths and her room is aflutter with them year round. She smells of lavendar and jasmine and her laughter sounds like tinkling bells, and around her always is an unearthly, almost anglelic glow, but no one who met her in person would call her beautiful.

This illustration began really just as an exercise in color. I just wanted to try out a radically different palette from my usual muted color preference or the bright primaries of my childreen’s work. I picked away at it sporadically over many months, whenever I felt like goofing around. It began life as do all my illustrations with a pencil sketch that I scanned into Photoshop and painted up from there.

30 Comments so far
May 14, 2006 · I should be elsewhere

right now, of course, I should be doing 90 million other things. Of course. I almost always have that sense… the feeling that I should be doing something else. That feeling is always wadded in the back of my mind like a favourite outfit (the one that makes you look sexy and sophisticated and is ever so slimming and makes your eyes look their very greenest) you keep meaning to wash, but never quite get around to because it involves hand washing and mayhaps something like Woolite. And hand washing and Woolite? are time consuming things that you’re not really sure you know how to do properly anyway and would involve at least one trip to the store to fetch Woolite, because you? You have never ever purchased a bottle of it. It is one of those sophisticated troublesome products that only mothers and grown-ups think to purchase and frankly? It kind of scares you.

Which means you wind up wearing your scruffiest dumpiest clothes ALL THE TIME, because they are the ones you wash and dry with no thought or worries about shrinkage or color loss or any of that laundry jazz. And the sexy-should-be-handwashed outfit lies wadded in the corner of your closet (you should have picked it up when it slipped from the hanger and fell to the floor of your should-have-been-sorted-long-ago-closet, but you didn’t… perhaps you should go do that now) mocking you with all it’s high falutin’ laundry needs and ability to make your eyes glitter green like emeralds.

Right now, for instance, I have the sense that I should be going to Sears to capitalize on Clinque Bonus Time (last day I think… it might even be over), I should be compliling a list for the grocery store, I should be working on the comic book, I should be washing my drapes, i should be making fastidious notes about what we want to do with the renovation of our house this summer, i should be at the nursery buying lavendar and lilacs and peony trees, I should be outside digging up the new bed to house all these horticultural wonders, I should be spell-checking this, I should be meditating, i should be drinking coffee with my husband, i should be catering to Finny Lou, I should be on the phone with my mom, I should be on a beach collecting shells, I should be doing something about world hunger, i should be learning French, learning how to sew, painting my bedroom, hanging pictures, outside exercising, finding a way to convince the powers that be that Amy Sherman-Palladino and her hubby deserve everything they ever ask for and more and should immediately forthwith urgently posthaste and now, now, now (!!!) be offered at LEAST, at bare minimum, a three season contract for the Gilmore Girls because without GG my life is empty and hollow and very unfun and I just can’t imagine how the show can go on without them (sidebar: I am in very, very deep denial over this which is why I haven’t mentioned this up til now and how I’ve been bravely soldiering on since I heard the horrendous news that they won’t be back next year….. )

The list is endless. Some items on the agenda press heavier than others, of course. It is not a good thing, this feeling. Because too much energy is frittered away on worrying about all the “should be” things and I never really feel a sense of accomplishment or completion when I finish a task. And it’s exhausting feeling bad about all the things you “should be” doing rather than feeling good about the thing that you ARE doing, you know?

hmmmm….I really should do something about it, this problem. If there is one thing that I absolutely no question about it should be doing, it’s tackling this “should be” feeling. How about this: I am going to try to concentrate on one thing at a time. Doing one thing, whatever it is, with full intention and full attention. I am going to try to fix that in my mind, and hang onto that as much as possible. I’m gonnna give that a shot and see how it goes…

*** i have just realized I have just listed like 9,000 (okay, at least three) brand names in this last post and feel the need to tell you, um…no. I’m not getting paid to mention them. I am currrently sans stats tracker, but I’m pretty sure my readership has declined significantly from burgeoning double digits at my zenith to under a half dozen now, so even if I was getting paid to mention these brand names, I’m reasonably sure I wouldn’t make enough to retire on or even purchase a bottle of the afforementioned Woolite or anything.

8 Comments so far
May 9, 2006 · Illustration Friday: Fat

If you haven’t heard already, my good friend Lopie has been at it again, raising the bar and astounding all with her brillantly conceived revamp of Illustration Friday. Despite being swamped with the comic book and all, I really felt the need to participate this week so I dug up this image which I’m fairly sure none of you have seen before. It’s part of an illustration from the second Jungleville Tails book I illustrated and features a deliciously round lion cub I took quite a shine to whilst (whilst!) painting this. Also, that sun bathing hippo is a bit roly poly too, as hippos are generally wont to be. Did you know hippos turn bright pink as they are sun-bathing? It’s not a sunburn… it’s because their skin cracks when dry and a reddish secretion that acts as an theraupatic agent is released. It’s like aloe vera for hippos. or something. (mmmmm… hippo secretions!) I’m full of keenly useful knowledge like that. And someday soon, I will share more of it. But right now I have to go watch Jon Stewart (who is also full of keenly useful information) and then maybe, you know, sleep and stuff.

18 Comments so far
May 7, 2006 · irrational

Apropos of nothing, can I just say I really, really absolutely LOATHE the word “ameliorate”?! Can I? Can I just tell you that I have heard it not one, not two, not three but FOUR times from the mouths of various tv reporters in the past week and i just don’t know if I can take it anymore?! It suddenly seems to be the word of choice these days, the one word that the talking heads seem convinced will persuade their viewership that they (the talking heads) are all erudite and stuff. But that word… that really heinous word? Puts in my head an image so vivid, so horrifying… that word makes me feel as if I’m being eaten by fat, deathly white, writhing worms with bloody maws full of pointy teeth from the toes up. I don’t know why. I know it’s not rational. I know what the word actually means and have for a very long time. It means to improve, or make better. It has nothing to do with flesh eating worms. It will likely never be uttered on Fear Factor. But seriously… it makes me feel nauseous.

I just don’t like it. No.


4 Comments so far
May 2, 2006 · snapping at shadows

i don’t consider myself to be a true photographer (…f stop? isn’t that like a baseball term or something? like short stop?) but every once and awhile, i manage to capture something that makes my soul sing. this morning was one of those moments. i’ve mentioned previously that since Finny Jane broke her leglet, our bed has been ensconced in the living room bay window. this morning i awoke to the most amazing shadow show playing across the drawn curtains. my camera just happened to be sitting within arms reach, so i grabbed it and started snapping as the shadows glowed like a sun print, etching themselves first indigo, then violet, then grey, then green. within minutes, i closed the shutter around 20 images, all of the same scene, and not one of them are identical. someday, I will get my act together and post them all as Flickr set, but for now here’s a brief glimpse. i’m sort of in love with them. they look like little stories, sad stories of new mornings dawning on fresh heartache or something, photographs that would slip to the floorboards from the slender white fingers of Neko Case as she sings about being foolish and run out on or images belonging to poems written with complete disregard for upper case punctuation.

12 Comments so far