Sunday, March 29, 2009


size: 12x16 inches
medium: watercolor

As usual prints, original, and all that Good Stuff, available at Shadowscapes.

Painting through the weekend to finish this piece up, since it's not a paying commission, and I've got some deadlines set up for myself to get started on once Monday rolls around. Gotta get back to having a few more chapters hammered out before the end of April.

NPR's "Planet Money" podcast kept me company for the last half of this one. Yeah, I'll admit it's not the rousing source of passionate fantasy inspiration you'd expect me to be listening to. Ironically the dire and materially rooted topics were an odd contrast to painting such a hopeful themed piece. That's the strange workings of my mind. It rolls along several tracks simultaneously. Dryads and tree spirits while listening to economic fiascoes and bailout plans.

Reminds me of how Dana is always a bit disconcerted to see letters and packages in the mail for me from the fantastic company and artist names of people I'm working with, tagged with "Inc." or "Co." at the end, or heading legal papers and contracts. "It's so bizarre!" he exclaims, to see these otherworldy names that conjure magic images in your head...rooted to something so mundane as a corporate and legal identity.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Arizmendi yummies

Friday afternoon errands. Running around Oaktown, shipping orders, groceries, returning videos. I decide to take a detour over to Arizmendi Bakery which I haven't visited in a while. One of my favorite places, from my Berkeley days even, over at the sister establishment Cheese Board. Who couldn't love a place that has a pastry called "Chocolate Thing"???

The place is always packed. Testament to the aromas of baked savories and sweets. People are squeezed in on every available seat, and elbow to elbow at the counter. But as if by magic, somehow by the time my name is called and I go up to the counter to pick up my slice of pizzasourdoughyumminess, a spot opens up. Always. It never fails.

Maybe they have a brownie keeping watch over the place to ensure happily seated customers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Progression of a sketch: Potential

New painting concept sprang to mind last night.

Sketch #1:

Dug through my sketch books around midnight for a starting point. I find that discarded concept sketches for other paintings often provide a good springboard. For example this was initially a sketch for the Tarot Ten of Wands, last year. I ended up using a completely different sketch for that final painting.

Toyed with this for a bit, made some changes to accommodate the new vision.

Still though, not quite what I wanted. Wasn't going to work in its raw form. The same reasons I discarded the sketch the first time for the tarot were cropping up. I like the emotion of it, and the tender feel of clutching the orb, but the pose doesn't feel quite natural, and the aesthetic lines of it are not yet there.

Okay, so on to Sketch #2:

After a bit of scribbling and a layer of eraser dust in bed, had a basic figure just to get the idea out of my head before dropping off to sleep. Cleaned it up some more this morning.

Still unhappy with it. It's a much more refined line. I like the legs, like the face. But the body now is much too stiff. There is not connection to the orb that she holds. It's just an object resting in her lap.

Sketch #3:

Hopefully this one can be "just right."

Grabbed tracing paper. Traced the legs of #2, curved her body around the orb more to be a protective embrace and to try to capture that feel from #1 that I liked. Tilted the page at an angle to shift the weight. I think I have it this time. Going to continue in this vein and start refining the anatomy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tree Spirit art previews from the next book

Finished off the tree spirits section yesterday night.
I walk down to the post office this morning to drop off the disk with the first several chapters. Cinnamon bun from the bakery to munch at on my way back. I take the long path up past the creek and among the trees. Hit the off switch on my ipod once I can hear the rushing of the stream instead of rumbling cars and trucks, and let the music fade to be replaced by the music of the water instead. Let the sound wash through me.

The book's a fun change of pace from most other commissions I work on. It's mostly my own direction; no art director to tell me to make changes to the art or to tweak compositions. On the other hand the limitation is that once I start scanning a step-by-step, the decisions I make have to be rather firm. Waffling on color choices or making changes to a sketch midway through a piece is fine when it's just the final result that I'm concerned with. But when I'm trying to make the process a cohesive single pathway, decisions have to be made and stuck with to the end. The chaos of my usual creative process does not lend itself to teaching very well.

A couple of previews for the art:

Heart of the Wood
7.5x10 inches, watercolor
This one might look familiar to some, as it was based off the ink drawing I did a while ago. I love the golden browns of oaks, blanketed by coverings of spring-green moss. Peeked out the window to fix the color palette in mind before setting to work at this.

Apple Tree Man
5x7 inches, watercolor
Used to have an apple tree in the backyard of the house where I grew up. They were oh-so-sweet. Apples in the bag to lunch every day at school. Apple pies. (Mmm...why does my mind always come back to baked goods?)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An afternoon at the Ashkenaz

I get up this morning to head out with Bern and her 5 year old daughter Iliyana to Berkeley for some flamenco classes. I'm a little anxious as I've not been to any classes in a while. Bern and I mostly just do our own thing. But it's good to be injected with new inspiration now and then to get creative juices going. For that matter, same goes for figure drawing classes even when it comes to visual art.

Iliyana is in the children's class for the first hour. We have to wait our turn for the class that follows. We sit and watch at the sidelines among the parents, some of whom are enchanted by their little ones capering to the music of Carmen, others who seem a bit on the bored side, reading a novel or squinting at some paperwork. After a while, I pull out my sketchbook.

No pencil cheating I've decided now. Time to push further where I've already started the other day by using the less controlled brush pen instead of the usual minute points. It's how I used to do sketches in these books but somewhere along the line I lost my nerve and got too concerned with making it "look good" and started doing (very quick, but still) pencils first before laying the ink on top. As I was waiting for Bern to call and let me know she was here to pick me up this morning, I deliberatey did not pack a pencil into my bag.

Like not having been to a dance class for a while, touching black ink to a page without some guiding pencil lines can be a bit unsettling. Ink is so permanent. Each stroke has to be done decisively, with a purpose and a reason; knowing that once it has been laid down, it's there. Deal with it.

I watch the little hands stretch to the ceiling and curl in fleures. A dozen miniature black skirts twirl across the floor, following Yaelisa's graceful form. Iliyana turns hesitantly to look at us a few times, being the youngest and smallest in the class. Bern smiles encouragement at her. I touch black ink to the page.

gathered around to talk about abanicos

the older students dance some tangos while the two new ones sit back and watch

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sausal Park Sketches

Pulled out a brush pen sample that was given to me at Wondercon to test out, wandered down the path and did some sketches. Going for looser sketches. Brown paper, black brush pen, and highlights with white gel pen. Wish there was such a thing as a white brush pen, that would be fun.

Trying this out, reminded me of my old Chinese brush that I used to use for gestural figure drawing back in college. It's the sad sad story that no matter how much you love a brush, eventually, be it 3 paintings or 30 paintings, the time comes that it must be sent to the retirement home jar of fuzzy headed brushes. I miss that brush.

I felt a bit voyeuristic....

Waving in the slight breeze. A forgotten hat that someone had found and tied to a branch at the path's entrance. Peeking through the greenery, it was like a visual echo of all the lily of the valley plants dotting the park.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cypripedium californicum

6.5x7.5 inches, ink on bristol board

A fanciful little commission of Cypripedium californicum, a Californian orchid. Cypripedium refers to Aphrodite/Venus.

* * *

I'm working on getting an Inklings volume 2 out. Having a horrid time getting my printer to actually do it. It's been a series of misfortunes since late January when I sent them the layouts, so I'm not really holding my breath for it to be available anytime soon. I'm hoping they can do it in time for the summer conventions. I am factoring in a 6 month lead time after all (low expectations lead to pleasant surprises).

While quality from small press seems to be quite good these days, reliability is where the big failing is so far with all the companies I've had to deal with.

Still, it's great to be able to do things like this, that 10 years ago would really not even have been an option without searching overseas for an affordable printer, shelling out a large sum of money for the run, and then finding room to store the 1000+ copies. My poor little garage is already packed to the gills with paper product. Wait, there's supposed to be room for a car too???

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Angel sculpture

The mohair finally arrived. I was excited to finally be able to finish this piece. My first attempt at this type of thing - mixed media of figurative sculpture with clothing and hair and jewelry. I do think I'd like to try my hand at some more, now that I have gone through the whole process. Several ideas I'd like to work with, though there will probably not be time for it in the foreseeable future. Juggling too many projects right now! This one was started last summer, and it took over half a year to finally getting around to completing.

Made from La Dolle paper clay, mohair, silk, lace, metal wire, silver leaf, pearls, rhinestones, and feathers. Apologies for my bad photography.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Decision through indecision: Color choices

"Queen of the Cats"
medium: Watercolor
size: 12x18 inches

Mmm...she's done. After a cascading series of distractions throughout the day. Prints, original, and all that Good Stuff, available as usual at Shadowscapes.

The snake got fattened a little bit after observing the anaconda for a bit at Academy of Sciences the other day. Rather happy with how this piece turned out on the whole actually.

I got asked the other day about how I pick colors. The answer - Decision through Indecision.

The long translation: I frequently have only the vaguest of ideas as to a color scheme. For the most part a general equation in my head is for complimentary colors to really make foreground pop from background. Sometimes I have fixed in my head what color I want one particular element to be, and from there a process of gradual elimination determines the rest of the colors.

Example, for this piece, I started with the green/gold background. The cats were also predetermined to be normal cat colors, but an array of different sorts. Black, white, calico, orange tabby, etc. This results in darkening the green distant background trees around them to make them stand out more. It also follows then that if I want to keep the girl as a definitive focus, she would need some color to pop her out from the green - either her hair or her frock, and orange or red would be a real eye-catcher since it would compliment the foresty green tones.

The same follows for the arcing tree branch in front. Orange to really pull it out to the foreground. You'll notice that red/orange is used throughout the piece to focus the viewer's attention and say "Hey this is important!" Kinda the way Nature uses bright colors to signify "Danger!" or "Pick me, I'm the most beautiful (thus strongest and most worthy!" It ends up being fiery tones in this piece because I set the stage for it with the predominantly green background. It's happened sometimes that I get too carried away with backgrounds and vibrant clashing tones in it end up fighting with the foreground with attention, but fortunately this piece doesn't seem to have suffered from that affliction.

Frequently my color choices are not quite so decisive as all of this sounds. I'll start with one color, try something out, decide that I hate it and either scrub it out with lifting, or just painting right on top with an alternate. Hate that, go back to a darker version of first attempt. Hate it all but at that point unable to do anything more about it since it's watercolors and once the colors are down, you really can't change too much. Finish the painting, live with it for a week, and then suddenly I'm not hating it so much. Proximity sometimes just drowns out any objective analysis, and a few days to mellow gives a new perspective.

Old intaglio etchings

Was digging through some piles of paintings to locate one that recently sold and needed to be shipped today. I came across these old intaglio etchings from my college days 12 years ago. The general process involves taking a metal plate that you etch into with a variety of techniques using acid, and scratching, while masking off with asphaltum. When the plate is completed, ink is hand rubbed into the etched areas, a wet paper is placed on top, and the whole is squeezed through a hand-cranked press.

Yeah, the style's quite different from my present work, but that's due in large part to both the medium, and the fact that anything remotely "illustrative" wasn't looked on kindly at Berkeley. I ended up taking several semesters of etching. Finding these makes me miss it, but you really can't do intaglio without a dedicated studio for it. Keeping acid baths and toxic solvents lying around the house isn't really practical or a good idea.



"Shadow Dance"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Living Roof

I braved San Francisco's traffic again to drive to Golden Gate Park. It was one of those rare and perfect days in SF - the kind that tourists are always expecting and hoping for when they come to California, but that the city rarely lives up to (fog and wind usually being the bywords). I dug up my little travel sketchbook to take with me. It's been denied entries for far too long.

I think perhaps I need to start a new sketchbook. This one has become too... "precious", to use a word my old Berkeley art professors would have said with a sneer. The original point of the sketchbook was to make impromptu impression drawings, quick, fresh, and on the spot. I think I'm too concerned with making the drawings look good rather than just doing them now. Need to shake things up a bit. Perhaps try with a brush pen next time.

Met up with Horatio at the De Young museum for a quick lunch. He had already seen the Andy Warhol exhibit that morning while waiting for our rendezvouz. The other special exhibit was Yves Saint-Laurent. We decided to head over to the Academy of Sciences and see what that had to offer before deciding which one to spend the afternoon at. I hadn't ever been to the Academy yet, but had been hearing all kinds of fun things about it lately from friends, so my curiosity was piqued. In the end the Academy won out.

We visited the indoor rainforest exhibit, the planetarium, and the aquarium. At one point, the sign to the Living Roof beckoned us, and we followed the stairs up. There was a light breeze, and it was beautifully sunny.

The Living Roof is exactly what it sounds like, a carpet of rolling green hills that cap the Academy in poppies and strawberries and wild grasses, tying the environment of Golden Gate Park to the building itself. There is a backdrop of eucalyptus stands shadowing the horizon, and the faraway hint of the city's highrises. Rows of round glass peer down to the inside of the building below, like high-tech fairy windows into a mound.

* * *

Made some more moderate progress on my Queen of Cats painting. Getting to the fun part now: the cats!
I saw an anaconda at the Academy. Took lots of photos for him for reference for the snake in this piece. The anaconda was enormous. Half-submerged under a pool of water, lazily eying the food that had been provided for him (or perhaps he had killed the rabbit himself, I didn't see).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Queen of Cats sketch

Phase 2 for this painting. Cover in progress for Fantastical Visions IV, fantasy anthology. That scribbled sketch I had a few entries ago got approved by the art director. So now it's full speed ahead.

It's kind of a collage of concepts from numerous stories in the anthology. A bit of everything thrown into it, and woven together.

Blew it up in size in photoshop, and transferred with tracing paper to Strathmore lightweight illustration board, at 12x18 inches. Then went back with pencil to better define the details and work out any kinks and generally refining the drawing. Cats had to shrink a bit. They wanted to be big and wild. Told them no.

Pulled Creatures of the Night down from my bookshelf and flipped through it for inspiration on capturing that fierce and wild glint a cat's eyes can get. That sinuous feline arrogance evident in the glance, in the prowl, and even in repose. Michael Zulli does it quite well in the first story in that book, The Price.

I wanted the girl to have that feral look. She'll have gleaming yellow eyes, like the cats around her. I'm looking forward to painting this, though probably won't have the chance to finish until the weekend. Tomorrow will mostly be taken up because I've got plans to head into San Francisco to go museum hopping with my uncle Horatio (very different sort of artist from me) who's visiting from Portland.

Also. Girl scout cookie time. Samoas. Chocolatey, caramely, coconutness.... Yum.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Seeking dryads

Feeling restless again today, so I hopped into my sneakers and set off for a walk across the street into Sausal Creek for a mini-hike. I figured I'd go for the longer circuit, down to the bottom of the gully and along Creek Bed Trail.

It's been raining for about 2 weeks straight. Yesterday and today feel like the first sunny clear days in ages. Just past the stand of unchecked cilantro-gone-wild, there is a newly fallen oak across the path. It's a sad sight. It looks like the same thing that happened to the giant that used to guard the spot directly across the street from my house. Water-logged roots ripping up from the ground to topple the tree down the steep slope.

I straddle the trunk as I climb over it. Pause for a moment from that perch to look up to the freeway on one side, and down to the ivy shrouded creek below. The trunk is completely dry. The mossy covering is soft, made of springy green curls.

Dryads on the mind for the next chapter of the book I'm working on. I wonder what strange melding of cultivated and wild, organic and straight-edged concrete, steel struts and flowing water creature would have spawned in Sausal Creek surrounds.

Eventually I get to the bottom. I realize that my plan was rather short-sighted. A path named "Creek Bed Trail" necessarily means you'll be walking along a creek bed. Which was hidden under about a foot of running water after all the rain. I'm optimistic, and in the new mud I notice many other sets of sneaker footprints. Someone else has been here. Maybe if they were successful....

In the summertime it's barely a trickle. More like a leaky faucet than an actual creek. By comparison to that today, it's about as passable as a whitewater rapid. After hopping precariously around on slippery stones peeking up through the flow and almost toppling in, I have to concede that it's not going to happen, at least, not without some waterproof rubber boots. Reluctantly, I climb back up the way I came. I usually like the variety of a full circle, but I do like my dry shoes even more.

I'm half watching to see if I can catch sight of the condor Dana and I glimpsed the other day, sitting out on a branch not twenty feet off the trail. For all I had ever seen one in the wild prior to then, it might as well be as mythical as dryads, or unicorns (or as my brother's old boss was fond of saying, "the sun, in San Francisco's Sunset District". He did have a point there.... Someone must have felt a tinge of irony when they dubbed it that).

* * *
Speaking of seeking....

I took a fancy to the kodama in Miyazaki's film Princess Mononoke. So I started hunting around for some more legitimate source for the folklore of them, coming up with a big empty nothing, aside from some websites saying it means "echo" or "spirit of the trees".

Vague references to folktales of kodama, but no actual folktales. I even asked Japanese friends and acquaintances if anyone had ever heard of kodama stories, some of them living in and growing up in Japan, but alas nothing at all.

If anyone reading this knows of any tales, feel free to share with me.

* * *

Some more Fantastical Visions IV previews:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A fish for prosperity

Watching my grandmother in action while bargaining with a shopkeeper is like watching a strange mini one-act play.

Her age is a nebulous floating target somewhere in mid-to-late 70's. She claims to be 78. Sometimes. Some of her children say she is 76. No one seems to be able to nail down when her actual birthday is. Who knows if they're all counting on the same scale even, by the Western or by the Chinese calendar?

She's lived in New York's Chinatown during her entire 40 years in the US, ever since they joined my dad when he came here for college. A queen bee, ensconced in and running her piano store and school, overseeing generations of children come through and learn with varying degrees of success to bang out semblances of salutes to Beethoven and Bach and Chopin.

She doesn't believe in checkbooks, or credit cards.

When she tells me I must never accept a given price for something as set in stone, that I must bargain or else I'm a fool, I nod and accept her advice. But I feel like a fool trying to put her advice into action. As an artist, I know how much work I put into every item, and the difficulty of price assessment. And so when faced with another artisan, to attempt to bargain with them would feel disrespectful and a dishonoring of their craft, their art, their valuation of their time. I could never do that. And when faced with a retailer...well in our culture and world of printed sticker prices and barcode scans, it's mostly just a big don't.

We walk down what she calls in Chinese "gold street". I didn't see any street sign to tell me what its name on maps was. She turns into a corner store with purpose, greets the jewelers heartily behind the counter by name. They return with similar enthusiasm. She has many children and step-children, and a multitude more grandchildren, and this store has supplied her doting habits in the past. But it's more than that. Before she even begins to eye the numerous sparkling glass display cases, she asks after one man's son, another's daughter, both of whom paid their dues at piano lessons at her school.

And then she takes a spot comfortably at one of the seats in front of the cases, as if settling to a familiar bar stool. Her tone is still friendly and conversational, like the salesman were the barkeep and she was asking him for her usual. She keeps up the chatter, telling him how her eldest son and his family is in town visiting from California. She wants to buy me a pair of earrings. They're a small token. Little sparklies. The salesman pulls them out, praises me and tells my grandmother, Excellent choice. Yes, those are definitely the ones. She has to have them, he declares. Look how pretty in her ears. These are the absolute latest fashion. All the young girls are wearing them!

And then she settles to business. The melodrama begins, on both sides. Rapid fire exchange.

I want a good price, she tells him. I'm a good friend to you, you've known me a long time, what can you do?

Of course of course! I would only give you best price, he returns. The best price on this whole street! How's this? He rapidly punches in a series of numbers in his hand calculator, barely even looking as his fingers type automatically. He slides it over to her.

She gasps, hurt indignation in her voice. What?! I thought we were good friends! Is that all 'good friends' mean?

Well, you have known me so long, he hedges. A little lower, here.

She glances at the number, scoffs. That's it?

Ah! I have my family to feed! My daughter! My son! How about... some more arcane numbers get input to the calculator ... this? Lowest I can go. He looks so mournful. I wonder if he might start tearing at his hair.

She purses her lips, sighs sadly. And after all the discounts I gave your children for their lessons. I hear from their teacher your son in particular is progressing quite well these days. He's such a well behaved boy.

Oh yes, a very good boy.


He moans and grunts and types in a new number, raised eyebrows.

She ponders for a moment, then sadly reaches for her bags. Perhaps my other good friend might....

No no!
he stops her, typing in one last number. Lowest I can go, honest truely, would I deceive you? No profit for me with this price, no profit at all.

She knows he is lying still. But with a sixth sense, she knows that this is as far as she can push. She smiles then as their agendas converge.

Like actors whose roles are now done, the intent focus slips off from both of them, and they settle to the mundane task of the actual monetary transaction and writeup of receipts. I feel a strange pride for her after having witnessed the confident demeanor she had possessed, and the utter surety with which the events of the past couple minutes had transpired. Even as I knew I myself would never be caught dead having done what she did, or had the sheer audacity for it either. It's not something that fits into my world. And yet, the jeweler doesn't seem nearly as heartbroken as the previous moments would have led one to believe he must be, and I see again how that actor's mask had quickly been set aside once it came to the sealing of the deal. That was the part that mattered. The rest...was just the path to get there, one way or another, one price or another.

That was several years ago. Perhaps a decade. She's a lot more physically frail now. But I still see her as a queen bee.

I watched her do it again today: she quickly and professionally whittled a price down to its minimum at a jewelery store here. She didn't know this manager, nor have any history with him, as this time it was she who was visiting us in California instead of us in New York on her turf. And so the melodrama during the exchange was at a minumum, due merely to a lack of reference point. But she still had that audacious confidence that I wouldn't be able to emulate. Back and forth the price jumped in staccato Cantonese, and before my brother could even protest that he didn't need a jade necklace, it was slipped around his neck, and the reciept tucked away into our grandmother's purse.

You'll need the luck for your job hunt!
she tells him. He is moving back to Sunnyvale with his wife to be closer to family in the coming months, quitting his job for the sake of the move, despite the uncertain job climate. Wear it pressed against your skin. It's a fish. For prosperity.

He gives up on protesting and just thanks her.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Like a cat in the sunlight

Feeling lethargic most of today. Took a nap. I never nap! Perhaps something to do with crawling into bed last night at 2AM. I turn into a pumpkin if I stay up too late, and then have trouble falling asleep after that, though usually the magic hour is around 3AM.

Lounging in the front room, in the big puddle of sunlight that comes streaming through the picture window from morning until early afternoon. I feel like one of the fat stray cats that perpetually wander around the neighborhood. I bet they'd love to be in this spot, especially that particularly pushy grey fellow who is under the delusion that any time I open the front door, for whatever reason, it is an open invitation for him to step inside.

The house is a like an enormous living sundial. Through the various windows I can estimate the time of day by the angles of the shadows thrown across the counter-tops and floor . 10AM when the tentative fingers lay their first warming touch on the bedspread. Noon when the angle shifts from the left side to the right side of the house. 4PM when the front room fades into shadows. Summer when the rays start to burn in bars across my back as I sit at my desk and paint. Living and working in the same place every day, through the seasons gives you a connection with it, lets you feel its breath.

Muddled around some more with my angel figurine. Waiting for the mohair I ordered online to arrive so I can finish her hair. Might be a week or two. Impatience!!! I'll post photos when she's done. I discovered today amidst much swearing and frustration that stitching fabric together directly onto a solid object is not nearly as easy as I initially thought it would be.

After my nap, finally found the energy to do some sketching. Brainstorming session for the cover of Fantasical Visions IV, amidst some further swearing and frustration when the image just was not taking shape under my pencil immediately, the way my mind was telling it to. Sometimes an image just springs forth with little coaxing. Other times ... it can be a bit more elusive. The image that I want to see on the blank page constantly dances away once the pencil touches page, hiding from that tip that's trying to define it. Taunting little twit.

This is the hardest phase of creating a new piece - the first steps and figuring out what to do. Determining the focus of a piece, hashing out the composition, getting a (very) rough idea in my head for the color scheme. At this stage, my sketches are pretty scribbly. The feel of the piece and movement is what I'm concerned with more so than details and rendering. Actually I think I have this piece to blame for my troubles falling asleep last night. My eyes were too busy darting around in my head trying to picture the ideas I had.

After much wrangling, here it is directly from my sketchbook, with some mucking around in photoshop to cut and paste elements around the composition.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tea and sculpting experimentation

This is my morning:

A pot full of Rooibos red tea. Several nights of insomnia last month made me paranoid of caffeine, so though I love my green Dragon Pearl and Monkey Picked (fanciful names are they not?), Rooibos is the only flavor in my teapot these days. Amber glow in my cup, with the faint hint of a vanilla scent.

A bowl of blueberries. In a blue bowl (Can't resist that symmetry).

The doll/figurine I dug up again. I haven't touched her since last November, for frustration about what to do for her hair (thanks yesterday to Damon Bard and Rebecca Schumacher for some much needed expert advice), and for the holidays that suddenly came crashing through, demanding attention from both personal and business fronts.

After having spent this past weekend being a Good Little Artist and working very hard at Wondercon, I decided I needed some time off from necessary projects and work on something for Absolutely No Reason. As well as spending a good portion of the day curled up on the plush couch in the front room listening to the sound of the rain flowing along the roof gutters and trickling to the patio with its strange musicality, while finishing off Robin McKinley's Chalice.

And the drill. To attach her wings. Hopefully I don't screw the whole thing up at this point and end up a with a gaping hole in her chest from being heavy handed after spending several hours painting her (not to mention the sculpting). Oops.

Yesterday, after rummaging through the closets to dig for the black art box, I was fairly surprised to find that my acrylics were still usable and not dried into twisted tube shaped pieces of colored plastic. Those paints haven't been used in almost a decade.

* * *

A few more previews for Fantastical Visions, done in the quiet moments while at Wondercon: