Tag Archives: colorful

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.

Edible Mandala

As always, symmetry gets a bit ragged around the edges when the center has any imprecision.

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.

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.

Dragon Comics 159

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I hope you packed a harpoon gun, just in case they do release the kraken.

This is me: Let’s spend about an hour or so drawing a very simple comic tonight so there’s time to work on other projects before bed. This is also me: Let’s draw rainbow-colored nudibranchs. I hope the 5 hours I spent on this (wait, what? how?) was worth it. My hand hurts. Nudibranchs are the best though. Some of the most colorful organisms on earth, and they have no sensory organs that perceive color.

There was supposed to be one tentacle in panel 1, maybe reaching out for The Man’s head or Dragon’s bindle of holding or something like that, but this comic got quickly out of hand.

It really didn’t feel like 5 hours but the clock says it’s almost 3 a.m., and Netflix played 2 entire films while I drew.

At least I don’t have to get up in the morning. Yesterday I woke up 5 minutes before I was supposed to read to kindergarteners 3 miles away. Miraculously, I was only 10 minutes late, but I was busy the entire day without rest. It’s probably time to stop blogging now.

Happy as Kings Bulletin Board

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Presumably, successful kings of prosperous countries who are beloved by their people and enjoy a reign free from war or internecine conflict.

Look what I made while I was almost too depressed to stand up! Except for the placement of the attribution it’s almost perfect. Good thing the “ALL” is in caps. It sort of mitigates some of the bitter sentiment here. We should all be happy. There’s plenty of stuff for everyone. I’m sure of that.

The quote–or poem, rather, as this is a poem in its entirety–comes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. I didn’t remember it from my childhood, but came across it in my copy of the book, which the Girl was reading for her English class poetry unit. That’s the whole sentiment. My copy of the book belonged to my mother as a child. She wrote her name and address on the frontispiece when she was a little girl. So that’s wholly sentimental.

The black letters are based on the Minya Nouvelle Regular typewriter-style font. The other letters are, of course, of my own devising. The chalkboard letters were created by hand-tearing each letter rather than cutting.

This piece took about 4 days, working an average of 2 1/2 hours a day. I hope it doesn’t blow away like the last one did.

2 Rainbow Zentangles

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Just trying to unwind here. 

I hope these scans are high quality, because in the process of making them, I got my knee tangled in the cable and knocked the scanner off the shelf and onto the floor. It still seems to function normally, but who knows? Every piece of digital equipment I own seems to be malfunctioning lately. I’ve got a phone with a shattered screen, a laptop with an almost useless battery and a frayed power cable and very limited memory, and suddenly I can’t get any decent macro images out of my camera. At least my brand new Wacom tablet is still under warranty.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty focused on finishing up the book, but it seemed more or less done so of course I spent 2 hours drawing abstract rainbow designs. Tomorrow I can prepare the files to be printer and probably get them sent off. It could be printed this week. I may have to take a break from using the tablet for a little while so my hand doesn’t fall off. Maybe some photography is in order. That camera will do my bidding.

3 Polymer Clay Dragons Just Hanging Out

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Life is good, here on the edge of a discontinued Woodeye glass. 

I made these little guys a couple days ago, in the midst of the BJC project, on a night I couldn’t bear to pick up the Wacom tablet. Apparently, I don’t know as much about Sculpey as I thought I did, because the blue dragon’s wings fell off the minute it came out of the oven, and it doesn’t really stand by itself, even though it was totally designed to stand by itself. Maybe it’s a pendant that’s meant to hang by the loop in its tail. I had The Man glue its wings back on, because his hands are much steadier than mine. I don’t think I’ve ever crazy glued anything without also gluing my fingers together.

The braided dragon reminds me of Celtic knot work, and also, it’s a dragonicorn. A unidragon. He’s got a single green horn.

The third one is my little sigil I use. It’s a dragon, but it’s also a monogram. Sometimes I draw a little arrow at the end of its tail, and give it an open mouth, but you can see how it’s a dragon, and a cursive M, without the extra details.

Will make more tiny polymer clay dragons soon. I bought all these materials for myself for my birthday last year, and the Girl has used more of it than I have.

5 Tomatoes Mandala

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And then those are olives on the outside, I guess? And some kind of columbine flowers. 

Per usual, my weekend consisted of me compiling long lists of imperative tasks and then not doing them while I messed around on the internet, hung out in other people’s houses, went swimming, and played Pokemon Go. Also spent most of Friday night sitting in a bean bag with Misses Kitty, playing the ukulele and singing.

I’m also reading the Owl’s book, which was just released last week, although I probably read 4 complete and 12 partial drafts of the manuscript before its publication. It wasn’t fresh enough in my mind to write a book review. Soon I hope to write that review, and then there may be a little news regarding where that review will be published, but I’m not supposed to talk about it just yet, and I don’t have all the details anyway.

This mandala is nice and cheerful and juicy, probably hailing from a time in my life where I didn’t neglect my plants for days at a time and instead took good care of them so they remained healthy and bore fruit. Not this year. This year I murdered two tomato plants and sorely abused a couple of peppers.

Should try and take another stab at that logo design. My first was rejected for being too cute. But I thought the original design was too ugly. So we’re shooting for something in between.

Malala Yousafzai and Love of Learning

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We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow. ~Malala Yousafzai

Considering my final message of the school year, I really wanted to do something that spoke to the ideas of unity and acceptance and love, concepts that seem widely absent from the world this year, and decided to choose a quote from Malala Yousafzai, the education rights activist. If you don’t know about the amazing life of Malala, you should check her out. In a nutshell, she was an 11-year-old girl living under the Taliban when she was asked to blog about her experience as a schoolgirl in a country where education for girls was outlawed, and she began to speak in favor of education and against the regime. Four years later, the Taliban shot her in the head to shut her up, but she survived, and kept at what she had been doing, and went on to win a Nobel Peace prize and some other things too. She graduated high school and went on to open her own school. I don’t think she’s yet turned 20.

It seems like a lot of the problems in our country are predicated by a lack of comprehensive education, a sort of selective myopia about what education means, and what’s important, which is why I chose this quote. You can’t make informed decisions if your schooling has massive lacunae. You need science and literature to understand your world, and you need a good overview of science and literature. You can’t for example, teach science and literature but deliberately leave out the workings of evolution and stories about sex  and claim that you know the shape of the world.

If you must zealously guard your deficits in case something that clashes with your beliefs slips through, then your beliefs are probably not as not as strong as you think they are. Learn about the things that scare you and then evaluate whether or not they’re useful (and why they’re frightening). And that means actually learn. Don’t just be like some people and sit in the classroom with your fingers in your ears, or demanding the teacher reconcile observable phenomena with your preconceived notions. That’s not learning. Science means you look at the quantitative data, not just the parts that validate your story. Literature means you look at the entire human experience, not just the parts that are pretty and clean.

Technically, and from an artistic perspective, this is one of my less ambitious bulletin boards, but I think the kids will enjoy it. Those are real strings on the balloons, and they move when the wind blows. Someone will probably pull them off. Oh well. It took 4 days total, although the first day I just put up the background because I was busy. Then it took a couple hours to make and paste the letters, a couple hours to make the rainbow and the books, and a couple hours to finish and hang everything. The Girl was there to help me, because her school got out a week before mine, and she helpfully pointed out, 3/4 of the way through the rainbow, that I had arranged the colors backward, probably because I haven’t had a good night sleep in weeks. Then she said that it was OK, because the rainbow was unique, like Malala.

So tired.

Dragon Comics 132

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Once, great flocks of origami cranes roamed North America, often in such great numbers that they blotted out the sun overhead, bringing darkness to the day.

Although I’m still hacking up both lungs and weak as whey, today I budgeted my time better and managed to accomplish all my many important tasks before midnight. The Vampire Bat, who is the last person in the world I expect motherly advice from, told me that I better slow down and take care of myself or it would get worse (#mom) but things are just too busy to slow down.

Tomorrow I’ll only do writing tasks and not strain anything. Maybe consume that soup and hot tea that would have served me best 3 days ago.

Maybe fold a couple paper cranes.