Category Archives: art

These Cherry-Blossoms

Let me count the things…

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.

Big Little World

I’m only limited by the scope of the canvas and the amount of paint I can afford.

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.

Welcome to Chupacabra Country

The chupacabras are happy you’re here.

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.

Let Love Grow!

First you have to put down some good roots.

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.

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.