Category Archives: art

Great Horned Owls, Autumn 2021

Owls say, “Time to get spooky!” Just kidding. Owls say, “Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!” all night long

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.

Sunflowers

There’s a million ways to do this; this is one

Since the pandemic started I’ve made and mailed a lot of cool cards but I realized that I never took high quality photos of most of them or shared the pictures online. Ran across this image on my DSLR the other day. This is a sunflower card I made for my mother-in-law back in Kansas. Kansans love sunflowers. This is a very Kansas card.

Sunflowers seem simple but if look carefully you realize they’re so complex. I love this card but I could have made it ten times more complicated if I really wanted to get down into the plant’s anatomy. One day I’ll do one where I cut each individual little floret in the center and each individual petal on the outside.

Anyway, my mother-in-law loved it and said she’s hanging it up, which is what I hope people do with these little custon artworks that I spend hours making!

6 Paper Hummingbirds

Little flying jewels are an artist’s conception and not scientifically accurate.

My school district went back to in-person learning after spring break, and I was there making my 2 banners, and a teacher of whom I’m fond seemed pretty stressed out getting her office back together. I told her I couldn’t help her (I had like 25 hours of work to do myself!) but I could offer her a leftover hummingbird I had in a drawer from some other long-ago project. She liked the hummingbird but indicated that she wished she had a pair of them. So I finally got around to making some pairs.

They didn’t come out exactly how I had imagined them but I think they’re pretty cute. I actually made (and kept) the templates so I can quickly cut out hummingbirds in the future, if I ever need to do that.

Happy Birthday, V!

Flyyyyyy me to the moon…

It’s my dear friend, the Vampire Bat’s, birthday, and I made her this card to amuse her. The background is layered tissue paper, the bat is brown butcher paper, and the starts are holographic foil, but the holographic part didn’t really seem visible once I started cutting. O well. I went back and forth over whether the bat should be black or brown and probably black would be better but it’s already in the mail so that’s that. Hopefully it reaches its destination before my friend’s birthday.

Pretty often I forget people’s birthdays entirely so sending a card 5 days in advance is pretty good.

What are you afraid of anyway?

It’s always something and it’s usually right behind you.

Just a little scribble that could probably be a comic if I didn’t think that whatever was going on here is probably not funny. Can’t help but think that this drawing means something, but it’s hard to articulate what that might be. I certainly was not trying to draw anything like this.

Just Another Rainbow Mandala

Sometimes it do be like that: a little off kilter, ragged around the edges, and with the lines from something you husband drew on the back of the paper showing through in the corners.

I wasn’t planning on posting this image, or the image in my next post, but my brother saw them on my desk and wanted to know why not, and I didn’t have any particular reason. I used to post mandalas and dragons all the time. There’s no reason why not, except that the last couple years have been sort of detrimental to my health as an artist.

For the last 8+ weeks I’ve been working my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is a sort of an emotionally painful and psychologically brutal. I used to say that drawing mandalas could help you view the state of your spirit, and this one—complicated and colorful but off-kilter and imperfect—seems to follow that pattern. Even before I started the book, I’d been working on playing—making art fun again instead of a job—and this mandala and the dragon drawing I have slated for later in the week are part of that.

I’m fully vaccinated and will be clear for hanging out with other fully vaccinated people on the 30th. I can’t help but feel like if my spirit had been in a better place, this pandemic would have been a much more productive time for me. I did create some things, but not as many as I would have liked. And now my time is going to fill up with other people again. But here we are: the world keeps moving.

Time to Grow!

I know half the country is covered in snow but we’re 5 days from meteorological spring.

The execution may have suffered a bit due to the addition of the work in my previous post, but it’s still pretty decent. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I miscalculated the letters and had so much extra space that I had to add the big butterflies, and then miscalculated again and had to add the little butterflies. Plus I miscalculated a third time and ended up with 6 little butterflies rather than the 4 I meant to make. But it’s better this way.

In Person Learning! A Welcome Back Banner

Not gonna lie: pretty proud of this effort, all things considered.

My district is going back to in-person learning after their spring break (which is this week) and the front office staff asked me to work my magic on the front window. (With social distancing, temperature checks, and hand sanitizing, I’m guessing there’s going to be a bit of a bottleneck there in the mornings.) Since I was also making my own back-to-school/spring bulletin board, and this week was break, I really had to jam.

This is the biggest piece I’ve done to date. It’s about 170 cm wide by 180 cm high, which is bigger than me in both directions. It took three people to hang (haven’t figured out how to get a good photograph from outside because it’s behind a glass window and there’s a glare). My head was in all kind of places all week and I was constantly miscounting and mismeasuring things (anybody need a heraldic lion? ‘Cause I have extra) plus I really just slapped all that lettering together in record time and those rainbow bullseyes should have been much more complex mandalas and I’m still quite satisfied with it. The front office staff loved it and the principal thanked me too.

Card for a New Baby

This font is awesome and I forgot what it is.

Well, the new baby is like 8 months old now, but I made this little card when he was newer. Baby Amiel will be bilingual—his mother is American and his father is Spanish—so I wanted to make the card bilingual too. A is for alligator and apple in English, and árbol and abeja and amor in Español. Also, Amiel’s middle name is Willow so that tree is doing double duty.

Courage!

I didn’t put a mask on the lion because lions don’t wear masks.

Well, all things must come to an end, and that includes the waking nightmare that was summer of 2020, and now children are heading back to school in whatever ridiculous configurations are necessary to educate the populace without killing it. In this district, there will be distance learning, with teachers teaching from their homes and children learning in theirs (except for a small number of economically disadvantaged children who will be distance learning in one big, happy, k-12 classroom, with a single aide to watch over them).

I made this bulletin board for those unfortunate souls who do have to be in the building 5 days a week.

The lettering is based on the free font Andhibath Demo. The lion face is based on a stuffed animal my aunt gave me 40 years ago.