That’s 4 down, 3 to go. I like this one better than the ones I did the other day. The green pens are still acting weird but at least I got the paint to flow out of them. Unfortunately, it flowed into a puddle, but I made it work, more or less.
This design fits with the other decoration on the wall near it. I think I’m going to move the zentangle into my office and make the one in the front a sunset landscape. And then the one in the den will match my ketubah. Not sure about the kitchen; you can barely see that switch to begin with.
Somewhat randomly, I decided to decorate some of my switchplates using these Artiqo Paint Pens The Man gave me a couple years back. Apparently, I hadn’t even opened the box yet because they were all still shrink wrapped. I really liked this product, which was easy to use and dried fast. My only complaint is that both the light green and dark green pens had a watery consistency. I suspect something about the green pigment degraded the paint. They were still usable but the color is not as smooth or bold.
The big zentangle one is the switch by the front door when you come in. The fish are for the bathroom (that glow-in-the-dark star was already stuck on there as part of a larger decorative scheme) and the rainbow mandala is for the bedroom. I was intentionally going for this imperfect folk art look so I wouldn’t get angry at myself when they didn’t come out perfect.
Plastic switchplates are like 79 cents so if I don’t like them I can just replace them. But I think I like them. I have 4 more switchplates I could decorate. I’m really thinking about painting giant mandalas on the walls—a big complex one in the living room and the sacred geometry chakra chart one in the bedroom—and this fits that aesthetic. Painting is just a whole megillah and not my strong suit, but I think I’m moving in that direction. I always hated the paint job in this house but, again, painting is a whole megillah.
These pens might be dangerous. They write on pretty much everything. Who knows what I’ll draw on next?
This is my most recent commission, finished a few minutes ago: the school logo (not my design, I copied it from another wall in the school) 5 feet high in the vice principal’s office. It took about 12 hours, not counting the time I spent waiting for the paint to dry before I changed colors.
It was nice that they paid me, since I don’t usually get paid for the work I do here (the only other time was the giant blue Morpho butterfly and parrot commission that was later destroyed by kids) even though it worked out to substantially less than minimum wage. At least I’m getting paid to paint.
it’s not my best lettering work, due to the fact that the wall is uneven in myriad ways and myriad directions, and also I’m not used to working on a vertical surface above my own head. But I think it will do the job, which is to make the vice principal look better when she’s in Zoom meetings.
Honestly the room look better as soon as I painted that cream background over the institutional gray of the rest of the office.
I haven’t posted in a while because I spent a couple months working on this commission! And now it’s finally done and the client said it’s OK for me to share, and I’m very excited to share.
This image, which took me about 50 hours over the space of 2 1/2 months to draw, is going someplace I likely will never go, Burning Man. (Some of it sounds fun, but not so much fun that I’m giving up indoor plumbing for 10 days.) It will be a room wrap, hanging inside a box van. The full size image is about 2 feet high and 8 feet long, but when vectorized and printed on a tapestry, it will be about 8 feet high and 30 feet long. (I would have drawn it full scale but my 5-year-old MacBook started complaining when the file was ~4’x15″ and the client said they would vectorize it themself, so I took pity on the machine; I do not know how to vectorized images). The person who bought it will be able to sleep inside their kawaii rainbow animal fantasy.
I actually have another commission I should finish next week, and I will share that one too, although it’s substantially less interesting than this one. And after that, there will be a new bulletin board! And I even have a comic script all laid out and ready to illustrate. I will try not to let the blog lay dormant this long again.
For my spring bulletin board I was inspired by images of lush cherry blossoms. After deciding that I wanted to recreate one branch, I knew that I needed a Japanese haiku to accompany it, and turned immediately to the words of Basho, whose poetry you probably read in school. I considered some other cherry-blossom haikus but ultimately thought this one the most accessible to schoolchildren, although it’s really about the fact that Basho is, at the time he wrote it, an older man recalling his childhood.
I cut the flowers from 4 different types of paper I found around the school. They often change suppliers so I’m never quite sure what I’ll have, but this offered a nice effect. I cut them all from a single stencil, and created the anthers from 5 staples for each flower. I estimate that I used 1500 staples here, so maybe 300 flowers?
First, though, I cut the lettering. I wanted to make it look like it was done with ink and brush, so after cutting the basic shapes, I went back and snipped at the edges and I have to say the effect is perfect. I’m so thrilled with this one and would like to keep it, but I don’t know how to deal with the 1500 stapes, and half the flowers are construction paper, which tends to fade in the sun anyway. Japanese people use the time of the Cherry Festival to reflect not only on the beauty of the cherry blossoms, but also upon their fleeting, delicate, and ephemeral nature.
This was supposed to be…something else. The Coyote and I get up to some shenanigans. He deconstructed two Amazon boxes to got with some finger paint I had. (Full disclosure: I bought them last year for my nephew before realizing they would be a pain in the butt to carry on an airplane and that I couldn’t afford to ship them to Canada. Sorry, kid, but I’m sure you have other artistic outlets.) We were going to do something very different with this setup, but sometimes he gets other ideas and he just decided to let me paint something.
Part of me was wondering what I would do with this masterpiece, but then of course the Coyote wanted it for his own house. It’s a big house and one of the rooms didn’t have any artwork whatsoever. So now it’s bolted to the wall and it really classes up the joint.
The canvas/cardboard is about 10 feet wide by 6 feet high. I used all my finger paints and some of his as well. I would have kept painting but I had…other things to do with my evening.
Last year I was out in the desert with the Fox and he suggested we take a bushwhacking off-trail detour to look at a hilarious piece of graffiti someone left. “Welcome to Chupacabra Country,” it said on the back of same random abandoned building. This is indeed the land of the fearsome goatsucker. And the inscription stuck with me so long that I went out and got some polymer clay and made this plaque for the Fox to enjoy.
This is my first time using polymer clay in this way. I made a lot of mistakes. I learned a lot.
The color is Unicorn Spit, which I had also never used before. Lots to learn.
I made the letters by pressing an old set of refrigerator magnets into the clay. The little dots in each letter were actually formed by the magnet.
Probably will make another plaque like this for myself, but I think I’ll flip the coloring so the background is read and the lettering is yellow.
This is, of course, my Valentine’s Day bulletin board. The leaves are hearts, the fruits are hearts, the roots are hearts, and the trunk is hearts. I did the roots with a scalpel in one piece. All the hearts I cut freehand. I folded all the leaves and stapled them down the center line to create dimensionality.
Aside from the logistical issue of having to use small sheets of black construction paper to make up for the weird lack of large rolls of black butcher paper (sorry, but light gray just won’t cut it for Halloween/All Souls/Dia de los Muertos season; this is the dying of the light we’re talking about here, not the general malaise of the light) this one came out pretty close to perfect.
I was inspired by the vast number of great horned owls in this neighborhood; I never see them, but I have frequently heard them and occasionally found their feathers. They’re definitely around. I’ve even heard them in a tree on the school property, although I used for my model and different, more photogenic, and creepier tree two blocks down the street.
Weirdly, none of the pictures came out great, but I did get some nice details of the owls, which I might put on Instagram. You can find me @hubris_and_smoke. It’s mostly photos of flowers but there’s other fun stuff too.