I’m painting a lot lately, and I am working on a bigger canvas all week: it’s about 4 feet high and 18 inches wide. Making a lot of progress and wasn’t done painting for the day, but I needed to let that project rest/dry, so I did another switchplate. I’ve been wanting to do this design for a while. Honestly part of the problem was that I couldn’t find a screwdriver. However, I persevered.
It started out pretty good but then some of the paint pens exploded, and some of the pens weren’t flowing so all. I cleaned it up as best I could but some bits of it were better before. Paint pens are less versatile than actual paints. Still, it’s about what I wanted. I meant to put it by my front door, and put the zentangle that’s there now in my studio, but in fact they’re different plates. The one in the front has 3 switches.
Only 2 blank switchplates left in this house. Gonna have to start painting the walls soon.
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.
Everyone loved the Monster Box (they call him the Candy Monster) so much they didn’t want to put him away for the season (honestly where would they put him? He’s enormous and he no longer folds flat) so now he’s dressed for Thanksgiving and collecting donations for the canned food drive.
My mom was recently admiring my fishy switch plate so I thought I’d make her something in a similar style for a birthday card, but I decided on a turtle, because she also likes those little folksy Mexican bobble head turtle things. I don’t know what they’re called.
The turtle’s body is cut from a single image of a hibiscus and the shell is an ad for fiber or something like that. I love how hexagons tesselate, even though these ones are imperfect.
I brought this card to the library, where my parents were presenting a science program about electricity for little kids on my mom’s birthday, because that is how my parents roll.
I honestly cannot tell you what the Monster Box is all about. The front office staff just asked me to make this for the PTA. They wanted a large box that looked like a monster and you could put candy in the mouth. They did not explain anything beyond that. I gather someone saw a similar project on Pinterest or something. I will have to go to the Fall Festival to divine the true meaning of the Monster Box.
Getting the box was a bit of a chore, and then I had to rebuild it because it didn’t have a bottom, and the top was kind of weird. After I cut the mouth I realized that they wouldn’t have any good way to get the candy OUT of the box, so I cut another access panel in the back. Then I made it look like the monster was wearing novelty underpants.
If I had to do it again, I would do a lot of this differently. I’m not use to working in 3 dimensions or with cardboard.
This project took about 7 hours, and used 1 1/2 bottles of Elmer’s glue. There was also a lot of tape involved and a little of my special bookbinding plastic adhesive. I might go back and hit the horns with the hot glue gun just to be sure. They are the number one thing I would do differently if I did this again. I’m not sure they’re stable.
Today is my little sister’s birthday! I usually think about sending her something at the beginning of the month, and then don’t think about it again until it’s too late (she doesn’t live in the States so I have to plan ahead to get it there on time), but this time I remembered at the exact right moment. Well, a bit late. But I had a few moments, and some collaged bits, and I used the materials at hand to make something new.
Not sure why I chose to photograph it when it was still wet. It was dry when I mailed it but I didn’t take more photos. Also there’s a couple lines missing, which I forgot to ink. Anyway, on the inside it says, “I hope your birthday will BEE SWEET,” because my sister seems really obsessed with animal puns these days.
I hope she likes it. Or at least appreciates the effort.
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.