Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WIP Wednesday: More Paint Jobs

For those wondering-- with bated breath, I'm sure-- about the progress of last week's painting:

It is possibly finished? I'm not sure, but I'm at a point where it's hard for me to make things better and very very easy to make things worse, so I'm giving the paint a couple days to cure and me a couple days to get some perspective.

And in the meantime...

Experiments in Glazing continue apace. I like the bubbles, I've never painted those before! And the green/gold thing happening. I have overworked the background, maybe? It had a light quality I like and lost at some point, but on the other hand: bubbles! What do you think?
Oh, and also I'm working on another set of four atrociously cute paintings, that I can hardly wait to show you next week, when I'm well past the early euphoria of making something new and into the angst of being sure that my next brush stroke will DESTROY ALL I HAVE WORKED FOR.*

But I've also got a couple new pieces up in my shop, mostly so I can play along with some of my teams. Which, speaking of, if you read this and haven't voted for me? Go vote for me here:

Where my entry is the one that looks like I drew it. I mean, you COULD vote for someone else, because there's other very nice work there. But believe me, given how the background on this is giving me fits:

I need the external validation.**

WIP not picturable: catching up on forums, mailing out OWOH prizes (yes! They're going out THIS WEEK woooooh!), the ever changing FAE blog post, which you should also go look at, because it has shiny.

*Which will Oh joy. Have I mentioned my paranoid distrust of cameras? But these are giant actual canvii, and my poor wee scanner cannot accomodate them. Or these others I've been showing, really. Alack!

**Haha! It's funny because I'm the sane one in my house. Me, with the yelling at the canvas and frightening the cats because the brown isn't RED ENOUGH, curse you Liquitex!
...My childless status is probably for the good of all.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mondoodle: Mousephant raiding party

Just a sketch from the Fancy Sketchbook, which I am considering fancyin' up in Painter:

What do you think?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fairy Tale Friday: Winter Dragon Steals The Moon

Every year the Winter Dragon stole the Moon, and hid it away in the winter forest until springtime.

The village girl walked to the center of the winter forest, where the hills and the trees and the shining body of the Dragon were all the same thing. The Moon was shining above them, sitting so low in the sky she could almost touch it. She reached out to take the Moon and put it in her lantern, and carry it back to the village. The hills of the winter forest twisted and the trees cracked and waved, and the blue-white eyes of the Winter Dragon watched her with eternal amusement. The Dragon smiled, or snarled, and curled around the Moon, and said nothing.

But the girl asked, with a frozen tongue, "Why do you hide the Moon from us? Why keep it here, to light only your forest, instead of letting it light the sky for everyone?"

The Dragon answered, in a voice like cracking ice, "Because no one else ever notices the Moon, unless I take it sometimes; and beautiful things should not be ignored. But if care enough to come all this way, you may have some moonlight to take with you, and light your way home." And the Dragon put a bit of Moon in the girl's lantern, and sent her home, where she took her tiny bit of light and sent it into the dark sky.

The girl visited for almost a month; and at last the Dragon ran out of moonlight. But the Dragon kept its word as the last bit of silver light was tucked in the girl's lantern, and did not stop her. Instead the Dragon asked "Why do you take the Moon back to the sky for everyone, where it will be ignored?"

The girl answered, in a very plain voice, "Because nothing captive can be beautiful." And she left the winter forest for the last time.

Story and art by me, of course!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Feathergirl

A friend's hired me on to do some more Kokeshi Girls, like the ones in my shop*. Which is awesome, because I love that style; but sort of spooky, because I'll be working on much much bigger canvas than I usually do and didn't really have a feel for it.

So I decided to do a couple practice pictures, of hideously cute monsterpeople. And also I haven't played with acrylics and mediums and color theory in way too long, and wanted to get my glazing on. Digital's fun, digital's fine, but there's something exhilirating about a project where one wrong move can permanently wreck hours of work and also potentially ruin my clothes. So first up, a skysnake:

Woah, that's red! And not just because it's against white main figure, either. But that's ok, I'm doing underpainting here, because my secondary practice in these is to experiment with glazing and acrylic mediums. This time I'm going for a sunset-ish sky, seeing if I can't hint at all those colors with a fairly flat and uniform background. Oh, the times I will have! Loong, looong, wait for it to finish drying times...

Because I have to add in color, like so:

And admittedly that is a fantastic, fiery background. But I don't want fiery. So time for another thin layer, along with more detail painting on my Cloudsnake:

Now that's pretty close to being done-- in fact, I could just do some highlights and touchups call it done, at this point. It would be ok. It would be pretty. But it could be *better*, I think, though I can't quite see the right thing to do to push it there. I don't like the all-pervasive blue in this piece, for one thing; my idea was to have it be high- contrast, like the others in the series (yes, it's going to be a series) and this isn't it. I also wanted it to look like she's against a sunset, sort of-those gold-pink tones I put in and all-- and this really isn't working for me. And I want something to break up the background.

I want a lot from a pretty simple piece! And I also don't want to experiment and totally muck up my lovely complicated background color. Playin' with software to the rescue!

Hmm. Yes, something with gold I think. This is probablya Bad Idea, and I bet I will look back on it with regret, but I look forward to trying it out! Stay tuned to see how dumb I turn out to be!

*Remember my shop? I have a shop. I forget it a lot. It has stuff in it! You should probably go look. I might add more stuff to it sometime! Any day! I am a woman of mystery like that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mondoodle: Ox Woman

Just a quick doodle which may or may not someday grow up to be a drawing:

See you Wednesday!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh Paperclay, Please Be My Friend

(crossposted, sort of, with the Fantasy Artists Emerging forum)

I have a big ol' block of paperclay-- that is, the dry just-add-water papier-mache stuff, not the actual-clay-with-paper-in stuff-- and I am dying to use it. It's fun to play with, and just the thing for the ever looming summer heat-- wet, ovenless crafting! Yes! Artists do wonderful things with this stuff. Make masks. Furniture. Custom paper surfaces to do wonderful collage art. It's cheap, it's energy-efficient, it feels wonderfully slimy and cool in my hands. It's like working with mud again, and my inner toddler is infinitely delighted.

The thing is, I am AWFUL with this stuff. Everything I've ever made with paperclay turns into a heap of lumpy paper and sadness. I can get general shapes across, but it takes forever to dry, humps oddly, and has big lumps-- not minor texture, big tumorous lumps-- all through every project. I've read many tutorials on using paperclay, but they all focus on individual projects over personal horrible technique.

What I need is a tutorial on How To Stop Screwing Up Your Paperclay, Carapace, You Awful Cruel Paper Abuser You. What I get are pages on pages of text that assume I am a halfway competent human being who knows what I need to do. I'm not! I don't! And I keep wrecking my paperstuff.

I love paperclay. I want it to love me back. And right now I am outside the window with minstrels singing ballads,beginning to suspect that Paperclay is more into bikers...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not My Sign: Etsybloggers Carnival

I do not like the Zodiac.

I specifically do not like the Greco-Roman Zodiac, which is what most people are talking about in America when they ask "What's your sign?". And I specifically do not like it because, whatever they protest, 99.999999 of all people give the wretched thing some weight, even though (1) it is so vague as to be utterly useless, and (b) it was invented by the Fathers of Western Civilization, and they were very insistently the FATHERS of Western Civilization, and the only indicator of my personality at birth that they would have bothered to notice would have been the fact that I was female, and therefor my horoscope for life would have read "Today is a good day to do whatever the man who legally owns you says! Or you're going to Hell, which granted you pretty much are anyway, because we have a very downbeat cosmology, and you'll never be a hero, Fe-Male, but you will go to some special hell for disobedient girl children. Assuming females have souls, the forum's still out on that. We've decided you don't have enough teeth, though! So in conclusion: watch your mouth, toothshort wench, and wash our dishes."

And then I would have been exposed for being sickly.

I will not even START on the Chinese Zodiac. *

I figure, if I'm going to be judged by an arbitrary standard, it should at least be an arbitrary standard based on the culturally agreed-on weirdness of the modern culture where I live, instead of the weirdness of a bunch of moldy old dead guys who didn't even know what chocolate tasted like. Something like:

Winter Crocus (the Optimist)
January 1-February 28
Born to a time of new beginnings fueled by the fading edges of a sugar rush, the Crocus brings optimism, resolve, and a willingness to try new things for at least a month or two. Those born in the sign of the Crocus make wonderful planners and idea people, but are often not so awesome on the follow through.
Great at planning vacations, but don't let them drive.

They are fantastic politicians.


Bottle Rocket (The Celebrator)
July 1st- August 31st
Bottle Rockets know the sheer fact of their existence makes them the most interesting thing in the world, because what, grilling is that much fun? Fantastically entertaining, charming, and cheerful, unless you ignore them and let them get bored, in which case they will go off like the Fourth of July and wreck the place.

Also, do not get them wet.

and of course

Fusebox (the Fighter)
February 29th
Neurotic and high strung, people born to this sign react oddly to the simplest questions and comments, like "So when's your birthday?" and "Isn't that confusing?" and "Funny, you don't look like you're five years old, hyuck hyuck".

Yes, these designations are daft and unfair. They're also easily remembered and match the current calendar. And they have the added benefit of being completely unimportant! Truly, a solid companion to the newspaper advice columns, in which the local advice mavens remind us weekly not to eat paste, even though paste is tasty. What do they know, anyway? Ahem.

So, what's your story?

*I actually like Celtic Tree Zodiac(1) quite a bit, but no one knows the Celtic Zodiac. Alas!

** I AM a natural born inferior, of course, but we can none of us help not being beetles.

***Yawns are actually a way of transmitting more yawns. This is Science Fact, and an experiment you can do yourself! Yawn in a crowded room and watch them spread. Then give generously to Yawn Prevention Research, which is funded exclusively through my Etsy Shop!

(1) I'm a Holly.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring is Here!

Yes, the flowers are here! The sun is shining through the rain! The weathermen are shocked to discover that every day is now the warmest day of the year so far!* Spring is Spranging! It's the sweetest, most ephemeral time of the year. Winter is a fickle freak season that likes to do-si-do with summer for three months, and autumn's a nice solid citizen. But Spring blooms and melts away overnight, and I've got to enjoy the visit while I can!

My shop and blog, sadly, have not been able to keep pace with the sudden turns in weather. Largely because of the sudden turns of weather. It has been an awesome reminder of the power of nature this past month to have my internet service constantly ripped away from me by howling line-destroying winds and occasional thumbpunches of hail. And by "awesome", I mean javascript:void(0) "soul destroying". But it appears the world outside my yard** exists again, so look for rather more posts from me for a while!

*I am not even joking. One weatherman SAID this. Out loud. Axial tilt apparently still shocks him.

**I have a big yard. The world has to be pretty loud to be heard over the distance.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wriggle, My Mighty Harbingers!

The full moon came late in March; it's still shining down outside, bright enough to read by, provided the font is at least 12 point and not something intended for effect only like Skunch or something.

This is the Raven Moon. Ravens are symbol-heavy birds. Ravens have carried the messages of the gods, echoed the screams of battlefields, and burned down barns and storehouses (no,really, that last one is a physical fact.).

Ravens are clever, and inventive, and dangerous in the way only the clever creatures of the world can be (I'm not kidding about the barnburnings). And the members of the Fantasy Artists of Etsy have been inspired by the Raven Moon to come up with all manner of lovelies. Yes, I've got something there too, over on the FAE team blog, where everything is shiny and mystic and enchanted.

But over here, it's just me and--holy snakes, about 140 of ya'll. You know, intimate. So I can just be grubby and a little odd, and celebrate the much cooler...


Worms are brainless, useful, and never known for starting fires. They possess amazing regenerative powers, can turn absolute rubbish into fertile soil, and feed an amazing array of fauna including, yes, ravens. Even worm poop is useful! They give us food instead of stealing ours, serve as basic science projects, and help us identify the squeamish, so we don't mistakenly plan to include them in our zombie preparations.

And now it's coming up spring, and the noble Worms are once more free to move through ground no longer frozen by winter, spreading life and goodwill to all who depend on the soil. Long may you dance beneath your Moon, noble if squishy invertebrates!

(As a side note- this is all true. About the moons and the barns and everything. I thought about doing an April Fool's joke, but hey, how would anyone here know the difference between that and my usual posts?

Seriously. If you can think of a way, please let me know.)

(Also also: OWOH folks, I am still getting your prizes together, indeed! But they are alllmost ready to send out, according to my development department, i.e., me. Thanks for your patience!)