If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that Nick Bantok’s The Trickster’s Hat was a huge part of my transitional journey from writer to visual artist, and you may even remember my original take on this concept: the first Muse and Duende poster. For a while, I’ve wanted to do better versions, and this was the result.
This project took about 12 hours total over 6 days of working. I think the originals took 3 or 4 hours.
Oil paint is a medium about which I know nothing and have next to no experience but it’s rich and delicious. (Last year the Otter decided to “learn to paint like Bob Ross” and invested in all the materials and then painted a picture and then decided he was done painting, so I was the lucky recipient of a lot of art supplies I couldn’t afford on my own.) The results are pretty satisfying compared to the original but also…I could improve that much again. I’ll be painting more (working on something else already that ‘s probably more disturbing but less NSFW than this ) but I’m going to do some acrylic stuff before I go back to oils. I love the oils, but the environmental impact is ridiculous and I don’t think breathing the paint or the paint thinner is really doing much for my respiratory issues.
But I think I want to paint more, even though it’s an insanely expensive hobby and I don’t know how long it would take to reach a marketable standard and it’s murder on my back and hands. But oh, that flow…
These paintings were a gift for the Coyote, whose home decor supports this sort of thing.
I was asked to create a cardboard “fireplace” for an event that will involve children drinking hot chocolate before school. While it usually isn’t cool enough for daytime fires in Arizona, lately it kind of has been, but I guess you can’t have a real fire at an elementary school, so they still will have to sit around the pretend fire.
This piece took a little extra time because it had to fold flat, meaning that I couldn’t just wrap the whole thing up, but had to keep each panel separate. There’s one piece of tape on the back and the whole thing collapses if it’s removed. The fire itself comes out: the grate isn’t attached to anything, and the flames and the wood are stuck into grooves cut into the grate and can also be removed.
Currently, the cozy pretend fire is sitting in the front office next to an artificial Christmas tree. Maybe I should make a pretend Hanukkiah to go along with it. There probably aren’t that many Jewish kids at this school—guessing we have more indigenous kids than Jewish kids—but not everyone is cool with Christmas stuff. I never do overtly religious designs, although I’ve done culturally relevant adjacent imagery, like luminarias.
Forgot to post my holiday bulletin board last week. That fireplace does look pretty cool but I was kicking myself because I mismeasured somehow, which shouldn’t surprise me because I do it every time, but the chimney’s too short and the rest is so wide it almost covered the text and didn’t leave any room for picture books.
Anyway, this is my cozy winter bulletin board. I don’t remember this Robert Louis Stevenson poem from my childhood but it seemed perfect for the occasion. There are more stanzas to “Picture Books in Winter.” This is the last one.
Funny that it’s a poem for children about childhood but it’s really about the kind of nostalgia that kids can’t experience.
Lettering is freehand based on lowercase but with all characters having approximately the same height.