Tag Archives: butterflies

Dark Nights on Planet Earth

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Who wants to buy me a plasma cutter so I can do this sort of thing in metal?

Well,  I’m in love with this style of paper cutting, except, obviously, it would work even better in metal. It’s weird that I’ve never even attempted anything like this before; was actually way easier than I thought, probably the only bulletin board I’ve ever done that actually took less time than I’d estimated. The whole thing still took 12 hours over 3 days, but cutting out the details (with a scalpel) didn’t take much longer than sketching them out.

You can view some process pictures on my Instagram feed if you want to see that, along with some closer imagers of each design.

The quote is slightly messed up, probably because I never sleep as much as I need to. There should be another definite determiner between “in” and “contrast.” Still, pretty good stuff. Some kid will probably rip some of the details; they’re very fine and I wasn’t able to hit every spot with glue. It’s too tempting for the littles. After the break, I’ll go back and secure it a bit more.

Speaking of the break, I’m grateful that I didn’t have to get anywhere near an airport this week.

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Special Request: The Nurse’s Rose Bush

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My hand still hurts from using those cheap decorative scissors, but I guess it was worth it.

They asked me to do an extra bulletin board for the nurse’s office. The health aide had painted the bulletin board and added the paw print border and the letters but then she didn’t know what to do with the rest of the space, so the attendance clerk’s idea was to let me fill it in. Which I did. I couldn’t find any pinking shears so I ended up buying a set of 12 “decorative scissors” for $13 just to get the ones with the zigzag edge, and let me tell you, you get what you pay for. Those scissors were just awful, but I wanted to make the leaves jagged like rose leaves are.

I had the Girl to help out one of the days, so she cut 30 leaves, which is more than I thought she’d manage. I cut 170, making 200 leaves total. There are 27 roses, 12 ladybugs hiding in the foliage, and 6 yellow butterflies. This one took forever, in part because each little component was time-consuming, and in part because I was so busy last week that I never had any long blocks of time to focus.

As I finished, I told the aide, “Let me know when the kids destroy this one and I’ll make you another.” And she said, “The kids are not allowed to touch it!” And I said, “Yeah, but they will.” However, it will last longer than the designs I do in the breezeway because it’s inside, protected from the elements, and there will never be unsupervised kids around it. Any kid who gets near this delicate papercraft will necessarily be no more than 5 feet away from an adult. So I give it until at least next fall.

If you want to see some close up pictures of the flowers you can check out this little gallery on my Instagram (taken with my Moto X4). If you like flowers, cactus, pets, food, or my art, you should totally be following my Instagram. I’m hubris_and_smoke.

More Magical Paintings from the Past

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The mythopoetic tree serpent ascends. 

Before all the webcomics, and the Trickster’s Hat, the first couple months of this blog were just scans of every piece of art I’d made prior to starting the blog. Not everything, of course, but everything I still had that I still liked, going back to when I was 11 years old. But still not everything, because I keep remembering, for example, this photograph of a painting I did when I lived in Israel, in the fall of 1997.

The original’s probably long gone. When I left the kibbutz, I gave it to the volunteer coordinator because he had admired it once, and I was going to bum around Europe and didn’t want to carry it, but about 6 hours after I gave it to him, this guy I knew told me about a terribly racist thing the volunteer coordinator had done and I wished I hadn’t. He probably didn’t want it anyway. For my purposes, the photo is probably sufficient.

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The Fabulous Butterfly Screen

This butterfly screen is definitely the biggest thing I ever painted, and the most complex. Actually, paint costing what it does, I’ve done very little painting in my life, and this is the only piece that took me more than an hour or two to finish. I think it took close to a month, actually, but it was a labor of love, a gift for an old friend. This is Christmas 2000, I think. Maybe 1999. Wonder if this screen still exists.

It’s hard to imagine painting this by hand. How much more righteous would it have been if it were done in Photoshop?

No one ever goes back to the beginning of this blog but it’s still nice to have everything uploaded to one place. Although if I could go back and do it again, I would have made this blog a Tumblr.

 

The Life Cycle

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In the next chapter, we will discuss the organism’s mating strategies, which vary depending upon which university it attends and whether or not it decides to rush.

For a very long time, I’ve suspected that butterflies have the right idea. Their larva are grubby but not without their charm, often visually pleasing, even if they are prickly and disgusting to touch. Their final form is, of course, stunning. And while they’re stuck in that transitional phase, which is almost certainly disgusting beyond measure, they get to do it in peace and quiet. They go into a room as a baby and come out as a lovely adult.

Humans, on the other hand, suffer the animal kingdom’s most distressing adolescence. Everyone can see them struggling along awkwardly, not babies, but not grown up, either. Awash with terrifying chemicals, all their body parts are growing at different rates, bizarre and unpleasant changes are taking place inside and out, and they’re constantly being forced to compare their development to those around them.

I posit that the human way to go through adolescence would be with an option, around the 11th birthday, to lock oneself away from the world and stay in hiding until age 15 or so, at which point you emerge, gorgeous and confident and ready to take the driver’s exam and make out with other recently reintroduced teenagers. How much less psychological distress would we have to overcome if we could spin cocoons?

There are 2 adolescent humans in this house, although we count ourselves pretty lucky that they have not yet shown any signs of hormone poisoning. There’s no arguing or sullen silence or anything like that. Just a fairly constant direct connection to screens. But, MAN, when I was 12, I would have given almost anything for the privilege of going into my room and not coming out until at least my junior year of high school.

Good at Heart

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You can tell which letter I did yesterday and which I did today, because yesterday’s letter are all too skinny. Still, a cool effect.

Some bulletins boards I make for the kids, but every once in a while I make one strictly for me. Hopefully the kids enjoy and get something out of it, but I needed the reminder. The lift.

The quote, of course, is from Anne Frank, written not terribly long before she and her family were betrayed to the Nazis and sent to the death camp where all of them, except for Anne’s father, died. About 70 MILLION people died in World War II. But Anne was right. In general, people are really good at heart. Just sometimes, they fall for the darkness. The darkness seems to be cyclical. And catching.

The political situation in America right now is terrifying to me. The darkness has a platform and a voice, but I have to believe that the light always prevails. Still, I cried in the car going home after I made this bulletin board, contemplating all the commonplace hatred that has bubbled to the surface of society in the last 20 years.

The butterflies refer to the poem “I Never Saw another Butterfly,” and the eponymous book in which it appears. It’s a collection of poetry written by Jewish children who were interned at Terezín, the Nazi’s “model” camp outside of Prague. While Terezín wasn’t a death camp, over 90% of the Jews who went sent there did not survive the war. The single yellow leaf is a reference to Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, a book that should be required reading for human beings. It’s partially a Holocaust narrative, but it’s also a manual for life, written in a time of death: a light in a the darkness.

The moral of the story is that you have to remain hopeful, or the darkness will swallow you.

A Truly Splendid Otter Can Grace Your Wardrobe

I was asked if I could print the Truly Splendid Otter on a tote bag, a pair of thigh high socks, or a pair of women’s underpants. Sadly, RedBubble does not offer the latter 2 options (yet). There are certainly places where I could have them printed, but I like RedBubble because they host your page, and, more importantly, the shopping engine. Of course, if more people bought merch, I would have more incentive for expanding my options…

OK, so if you want a Truly Splendid Otter in your wardrobe, or on your stationary, or adorning your new iPhone, Otter is now available for purchase on a fine variety of projects.

The colors are actually a bit brighter in reality than in this screencap.

The colors are actually a bit brighter in reality than in this screencap.

If Otter is not ridiculous enough for you, I promise you that no one else is wearing this original Giralicorn shirt. Be the first on your block. Or in your time zone. Or your continent.

It just doesn't get more original than this.

It just doesn’t get more original than this.

You might think that you’re too old to wear graphic tees. And quite frankly, if you think this, then you are. Which means you are the perfect age to send snail mail! You probably even write thank you notes! If you do, and your name starts with one of the first 4 letters of the alphabet, consider a fancy monogrammed greeting card, available in color or black and white.

The butterfly and the blade

The butterfly and the blade

Granted, I am not actually starving, but that’s because my husband works, and I know how to shop and cook. But even so, you could support a hungry artist.

Ereshkigal, Mesopotamian Goddess of the Underworld

Just finished and uploaded a new design to the shop, and I’m pretty satisfied. Ereshkigal is a section out of the Scroll of Wisdom, the second goddess, after Athena, in the Alphabet of Desire.

Ereshkigal, Mesopotamian Goddess of the Underworld

Ereshkigal, Mesopotamian Goddess of the Underworld

She’s a little bit creepy, but she’s an embodiment of death, so, what’s she supposed to do?

This drawing gave me a lot of trouble, both the original and the digital version. I sort of felt like she was watching me with her hypnotic eyes, as if to say, “Soon enough, you’ll come to me.”

I first met Ereshkigal in Alan Moore’s Promethea, where he retells the story of Ereshkigal having her younger sister, Ishtar/Inanna brought low. The goddess of the heavens is forced to give up all her clothes in order to descend into the land of the dead, in much the same way, I imagine, as a seeker of knowledge must shed certain thoughts and ideas that have adorned her in the past in order to unfold new mysteries.