Tag Archives: desert

Another Sonoran Switchplate

I’m painting a lot lately, and I am working on a bigger canvas all week: it’s about 4 feet high and 18 inches wide. Making a lot of progress and wasn’t done painting for the day, but I needed to let that project rest/dry, so I did another switchplate. I’ve been wanting to do this design for a while. Honestly part of the problem was that I couldn’t find a screwdriver. However, I persevered.

It started out pretty good but then some of the paint pens exploded, and some of the pens weren’t flowing so all. I cleaned it up as best I could but some bits of it were better before. Paint pens are less versatile than actual paints. Still, it’s about what I wanted. I meant to put it by my front door, and put the zentangle that’s there now in my studio, but in fact they’re different plates. The one in the front has 3 switches.

Only 2 blank switchplates left in this house. Gonna have to start painting the walls soon.

Local Monsters on RedBubble

I had a few (local) requests for this design on a T-shirt, so here it is. I tweaked the colors and fixed the font, but otherwise, it’s the same design as the Halloween bulletin board that inspired it. And it can be yours on a T-shirt, sticker, mug, water bottle, and dozens of other functional products.

Check out Respect Your Local Monsters in my RedBubble shop. (This is a great time to buy from RedBubble. Pretty much everything is on sale!)

Sonoran Switchplate

This one matches its environment.

That’s 4 down, 3 to go. I like this one better than the ones I did the other day. The green pens are still acting weird but at least I got the paint to flow out of them. Unfortunately, it flowed into a puddle, but I made it work, more or less.

This design fits with the other decoration on the wall near it. I think I’m going to move the zentangle into my office and make the one in the front a sunset landscape. And then the one in the den will match my ketubah. Not sure about the kitchen; you can barely see that switch to begin with.

anyway, this is how it looks where I live.

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.

Three Saguaros: Father’s Day in the Desert

The real desert shinier and pricklier.

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve posted something here that WordPress actually logged me out of the site. That never happens.

I have made some art, but most of it was for a book that hasn’t been published yet and the editors asked me not to share it yet. But also, the world is on fire (here in Arizona literally, and figuratively everywhere else) and it’s hard to focus. I’ve been reading a lot.

This card is for my father, who loves cactus, for Father’s Day. By the time this page is published, I’ll have given it to him in a socially distant way. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

On a Roll: Fancy Bike Birthday Card

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Sometimes, I even impress myself.

My friend the Coyote really likes his bike.

I made this card for his birthday because it’s hard to shop for a man who has literally everything he’s ever wanted, including this very expensive bicycle. I guess it’s pretty special, but can’t tell you anything special about it, except that it’s worth more than my car. It was easy to draw, because it figures prominently in his Facebook profile; I didn’t even have to creep around dude’s garage to get the picture. Sketched in pencil on black butcher paper, cut with scissors for the big parts and a scalpel for the details. The desert and mountains are made of layers of tissue paper (used purple with a pink overlay to get that effect on the mountains. The sky is a specialty paper left over from some other project, although I can’t seem to recall which one. The paper is bonded with matte medium, which does very interesting things to tissue paper.

This really is the nicest card.

Monsoon: Prayers for Rain

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Until you’ve known the pressure of summer one you can’t love the release of summer two.

Oh, god, I’m so pleased with this comic, especially the first and last panels, but also the sense of motion in the second panel. The guy in the third panel could look more oppressed by the heat, but anyway I drew this without any help from Photoshop or the digital tablet. Just pencil, paper, and a ruler (OK and some reference photos) (OK I fixed a few lines in Photoshop after I scanned it because I’d already lost my eraser). Somehow, just sitting down and committing to doing it is the hardest part, yet, it didn’t take me any longer than it would have had I used the computer, and I’m still happier than I’ve been with the more polished stuff you get with more advanced tools. The drawing part start to finish took about an hour. I never know how long it takes me to write things. My lettering probably needs work.

It’s monsoon in Tucson, and it rained intermittently all day, which is lovely and refreshing and also kind of heavy and bittersweet. The Girl, who is now a full-fledged teenager, said she had been wishing for a full day of rain. Can you even wholly appreciate the beauty of a rainy day until you’ve been a teenage girl?

Have a Sweet Summer

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Yeah, and, um…bee good, OK?

All week I believed I was going to make a bulletin board featuring a picture of a date palm, but somehow when I got to school, I made a bee on an opuntia flower. Admittedly, it’s not my absolute best work. The school ran out out of black paper and it was about 100° outside and I just wanted to finish because it was 5 pm everyone had gone home and I still had 3 more engagements for the evening. But it’s not a bad bee. Or a bad flower. Still, whenever I do anything, I immediately see how I could have done it better. But this is better than not doing it.

Anyway, school’s out on Thursday, both my district and the Kids’ district, and the pool water should hit 80° this week, so it’s as summer as it can get. Summer I, I should say, since, of course, we have 2 summers in southern Arizona. But I like them both. There’s nothing like a summer sunset in the desert, especially if you observe it from your own back yard, next to your own pool.

Hot Sun Rising Mandala

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Maybe it’s not the mandala that’s hot. Maybe it’s the state of Arizona. There is no way to tell the difference.

One thing’s for certain, and that is that it’s imperative to fix my scanner. Ever since I updated my OS, it doesn’t seem to like its own drivers that came with the device and were running fine before I started running Jackelope or Elephant-Bird, or whatever the heck they call this operating system. Puma. Adidas. No idea.

I got Comiconned out, or maybe I was just Phoenix-ed out. At any rate, I need to get out of the city and be someplace without other people, so The Man drove me the VERY long way home–as in, Phoenix is northeast of Tucson, but by the time we got to Tucson we were approaching it from the southwest. We turned a 2-hour drive into a 5-hour one, counting severals stops for me to tromp around the desert taking pictures of flowers and birds. Got some great shots, like this one of a red-tailed hawk leaping into the air. Finally had the macro lens and the elusive desert poppy in the same place at the same time, too. Well, the desert poppy actually isn’t elusive at all. It’s fairly ubiquitous in the spring and summer in certain parts of the state, but it tends to favor the high desert, and I tend to exist in the low desert, so this is the first time I’ve documented its fabulous insides. Will share soon.

I did have a good time at Comicon, but it was so huge and I didn’t have a good plan of attack and it was overwhelming. I met some really cool artists and writers, including the inimitable Phil Foglio (Girl Genius) along with Larry Welz (Cherry), along with some less famous dudes, most notably this guy Russ Kazmierczak, with whom I randomly got into a massive discussion about Alan Moore, the history of comics, and the deeper meaning of superheroes. He was so pleased with my conversation that he gave me his comic for free. He said it was because I saw graphic storytelling in the same way he did, and I’m going to believe that it was for that reason, and not because I was wearing a media badge.

ETA: WordPress just informed me that this is my 500th blog post at QWERTYvsDvorak. And all I got was this stupid virtual trophy. Plus a massive portfolio of ridiculous art.

Prickly People Need Love, Too

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Slightly more enticing than the average guy wearing a “FREE HUGS” sign around his neck.

A couple years back, The Man took me to see some a friend perform standup comedy at a local club. One of other comedians doing a set that night was from out of town, and it might have been his first time in the desert. He tried out what was obviously a joke he had just thought of on his way into town, about the saguaro cacti and how they held their arms with a pugilistic attitude, making them all look like they wanted to fight.

He didn’t get any laughs with that joke, and I think it was because it was too easy, and it didn’t go far enough. Those of us who live here know that they don’t all look like they want to fight. Some of them do, but some of them look like they want to shake hands, reach something off a high shelf, or push people away, or hold them tenderly. A lot of them look like they want to hold you tenderly.

A lot of them look like they’re really proud to have sprouted arms that resemble genitalia, and then want to show those appendages off to you.

The point is, saguaros all have a lot of personality, in a way that can’t be said for every type of plant. They’re distinguishable, and while there are some with a particularly classic shape, no 2 are alike, and they’re easy to anthropomorphize.

Hard to hug, though.

Not impossible. But difficult.