Usually I wouldn’t post food on this blog even though I’m considered a pretty good home cook and my food tends to be photogenic when I put forth the effort (I do post food pics on Instagram @hubris_and_smoke) but this one is a mandala so I totally have to share it.
Alas, the picture is all the remains after I fed it to my Mom for Mother’s Day. It was a big hit, and fairly simple to make. The crust is basically a sugar cookie and the sauce is a simple cream cheese icing. This one is gluten free so the cookie was a bit delicate but that’s why I made it in a pie pan.
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.
Despite my brother sending me an email explaining how he’d threatened my nephew with last Thursday’s “So Superior” comic, saying that if the bookish 10-year-old didn’t participate in physical activity he too would end up a basement-dwelling neckbeard troglodyte, I don’t seem to be feeling the comic today. If my nephew does end up living in my brother’s basement, I expect that will be entirely on his parents’ shoulders, right? I can rest assured that neither of the Kids will end up living in my basement, because the ground in Tucson is mostly clay, which is difficult and expensive to dig, so hardly anyone has a basement.
Anyway, I remembered there was another old crayon mandala that never made it to the website, because it’s hanging on the wall in the spare bedroom/closet. I wanted to lay it on the flatbed scanner but it appeared to be attached to the nail in some complicated way and it seemed safer to just let it stay where it was.
Truth be told, I’m getting a little nervous about finishing my big project on time, and around about while you are reading this, I am actually getting an MRI of my dominant hand, which could potentially result in surgery, which would likely prevent me from drawing anything or typing more than 20 words a minute for quite some time.
About 6 or 7 years ago, long before QWERTYvsDvorak, I started this 100 mandala project and when I got to 100, I wasn’t ready to stop. Why not 1000 mandalas, I wondered? Because, as it turns out, 1000 is a LOT of mandalas. Ultimately, I drew about 130 of them, not counting a few drawn after the blog started, and this is the very last last one of the original set. It felt like I had come full circle from the first (also rainbow) mandala and perhaps going on would mean just repeating myself.
I’m not saying I’ll never draw another mandala again, but they won’t be my regular Monday feature/safety net when I forget the weekend is ending.
Ms. Kitty suggested that I replace it with some sort of Monday gratitude, which seems like a really good idea right about now. Must think of how best to execute within the framework of QvD re: art.
But speaking of gratitude and art: that Lady Gaga concert sure was something, wasn’t it? So many people were watching it that the roads were completely empty, as were all the best hiking trails. But I caught it later on the NFL Twitter page. Those NFL people really put on a good show. I seem to recall they hosted one last year for Beyoncé that just slayed.
Wow, my head hurts. And this giant bright mandala isn’t really helping. Although it’s a pretty joyful image.
Must report that this weekend was more uplifting than I’d imagined. Miraculously, and for the first time in years, I was able to wake up without assistance in the morning, so I was one of 15,000 people in the Tucson Women’s March, which turned out to be a beautiful and encouraging experience that vastly reduced my overall level of fear. My city, at least, is a safe place.
That night I attended a fun party full of happy, upbeat people, and when I got home I had messages from 4 different friends alerting me of the fact that an image of me looking like a total badass made the paper. It’s true that I looked very fierce, but actually, I was singing along to “The Greatest Love of All,” my leather jacket was pleather and from Hot Topic, and my fingerless gloves were Yelp swag. But people seemed to appreciate that I looked like an angry, roaring woman, and now there’s a picture of me with crazy hair and my mouth wide open being seen by 1000s of people on the internet.
Today I did a photo shoot for my next big project, but I was supposed to do 2 photo shoots and somehow got my wires crossed and missed the first. Frustrating. Hope to rectify as soon as possible.
Look, I did very poorly in 3 semesters of chemistry, OK? You think you’re disappointed? Imagine how my PhD chemist father feels. Please don’t judge my canon on this 1 work.
No, this is not an example of my finest work. But this has not been an example of my finest week. The human brain is like a top-of-the-line luxury car. It comprises myriad systems that appear impressive when functioning correctly, but if the wrong combination of systems fail, it doesn’t take you anywhere, no matter how remarkable its appearance. Mine can only balance so many stressors and disappointments before smoke starts shooting out of my ears, à la a perverted carnivore encountering a nubile vixen in a Tex Avery cartoon. Then, of course, galactic law dictates that you must run in circles before dunking your head in the nearest body of water. Or vat of ale. Whichever is more convenient. This process becomes time consuming.
Remember when I used to spend my weekends creating a backlog of webcomics to ensure that every day’s blog post received the loving attention to detail it deserved? Now I spend my weekends worrying whether some nut job with the tape measure and the citation pad is judging my lawn unfavorably, and, of course, worrying about what I, an impoverished, self-employed adult human, will do for health care once the Comedy of Errors that we will soon refer to as our federal government starts turning its mismatched gears. And, of course, whether or not rock god Billy Gibbons in particular, and the universe at large, has it in for me.
Funny how those eyes seem to follow you across the room.
Happy New Year! This is a nice design to start 2017: it’s peaceful and calming. Right now, people seem angry and divisive. Everyone’s quick to point out everyone else’s flaws but no one wants to acknowledge their own faults, even if they’re the same problem. Especially if they both have the same problem. Meanwhile, the people they think they’re opposing are quietly profiting from the strife. I’m going to draw more mandalas, in pursuit of becoming more centered.
Today I rode my bike in the rain, because I’m tired of feeling middle aged. There were a bunch of kids riding their bikes in the rain, too, so I guess it worked. Of course, it shouldn’t be raining all day for days at a stretch in the desert but that’s another worry.
You know that documentary where the guy eats nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days? I’m doing a similar experiment, except with gingerbread and it’s only day 4 and my liver is probably ready to be foie gras at this point. Actually, I hid the last bit of gingerbread in the freezer, but as fans of the popular early reading series Frog and Toad are well aware, that isn’t likely to keep me from eating gingerbread. We gave away 3/4 of the gingerbread, and there is still gingerbread.
There’s a reason I only do this once a year.
It is very artistic gingerbread. We use cookie cutters for the shapes, and then we frost them with buttercream icing in every color of the rainbow and then we add candy, sprinkle, nonpareils, colored sugar, marshmallow, what have you. Every cookie is unique. Also, eating one cookie is kind of like eating a small cake. We went to 2 holiday parties over the weekend and I didn’t sample anyone else’s cookies. Because I was too busy eating my cookies.
Might have to go sugar-free for a couple months next year.
They are tasty fried. Although I will eat flowers however they’re served.
Presumably there was some real-world inspiration for this design, perhaps my next door neighbor’s garden, but that original motivation has been lost to time. Even though the page is mostly white and the axes of the mandala aren’t even approaching symmetrical, this still amuses me. Nine arms and no sense.
I have seen Star Wars. I have attended holiday parties. I have made impossible New Year’s resolutions. Yay, December.
At first glance, it looks pretty even, but of course it’s not. Pieces bulge and bunch and stretch and skew, but they do so in aid of maintaining the illusion of symmetry and balance.
Like my life.
It feels like some Dragon Comics coming on, maybe more of the slightly serious ones. This trip has offered a lot of time to think. Also, I should try to carry a notebook around and write down comic ideas when I have them instead of having great ideas and believing that I’ll remember them again when it’s time to make a comic. That’s not been a great policy for me in middle age. Also, a stand-up comedian suggested that I should attend her comedy brainstorming sessions sometimes. I should do that. Currently, I have 6 monthly fiction-writing meet-ups. Could definitely add 1-2 comic writing events.
Special thanks to readers who bought my book or shopped my RedBubble shop. If you want to participate in Cyber Monday while supporting my work, you can use the coupon code GOGIFTGO to get 20% off of everything in my shop! And if you’d like to read a thrilling contemporary fantasy novel with elements of horror and romance, plus a strong female protagonist and an assortment of talking animals, you can purchase The Hermit on Amazon!