Tag Archives: paint

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.

Folksy Switchplates

I’m an adult and this is my house.

Somewhat randomly, I decided to decorate some of my switchplates using these Artiqo Paint Pens The Man gave me a couple years back. Apparently, I hadn’t even opened the box yet because they were all still shrink wrapped. I really liked this product, which was easy to use and dried fast. My only complaint is that both the light green and dark green pens had a watery consistency. I suspect something about the green pigment degraded the paint. They were still usable but the color is not as smooth or bold.

The big zentangle one is the switch by the front door when you come in. The fish are for the bathroom (that glow-in-the-dark star was already stuck on there as part of a larger decorative scheme) and the rainbow mandala is for the bedroom. I was intentionally going for this imperfect folk art look so I wouldn’t get angry at myself when they didn’t come out perfect.

Plastic switchplates are like 79 cents so if I don’t like them I can just replace them. But I think I like them. I have 4 more switchplates I could decorate. I’m really thinking about painting giant mandalas on the walls—a big complex one in the living room and the sacred geometry chakra chart one in the bedroom—and this fits that aesthetic. Painting is just a whole megillah and not my strong suit, but I think I’m moving in that direction. I always hated the paint job in this house but, again, painting is a whole megillah.

These pens might be dangerous. They write on pretty much everything. Who knows what I’ll draw on next?

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.

Ms. Kitty’s Heart

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You know what would have helped? If I had any idea how to paint. 

Well over a year ago Ms. Kitty was extolling the virtues of her heart collection–a series of paintings by various artists, which she’d acquired over the years, and which all featured prominently the image of a heart–and asked if I would contribute. But I don’t paint all that much (the last really big painting project I did was like 18 years ago) and I didn’t have any real canvas and it just kept getting bumped. But she had asked me again a little before Thanksgiving, and during Thanksgiving my sister was cleaning out her room at my parents’ house (my parents are retiring and threatened to throw all her stuff away, which is something they would totally do and had already started doing) and she was going to toss a painting she did in high school, so I just painted over it.

I know that’s not how you’re supposed to do it, but, as I said, I don’t know how to paint. Unlike me, my sister has taken painting classes, and she told me to cover the canvas in gesso, but I skipped that step and just laid the paint on thick enough to mostly obscure the original image, although you can still see a prominent line on the left side (through the wrist) and there are a couple places where her textures or colors peek through.

For all that, I think it came out decently, even though when I look at it all I see are its myriad flaws and I’d like to paint over it again and do it right this time. But Ms. Kitty seemed to like it. At this resolution, you can’t see the 6 ghost cats hidden on the bottom right.

The canvas itself is about 18″ x 24″ and the paints are acrylic, just the common stuff you can get at Michael’s or any art shop. I think the brand might even be called Basic. Most of the paints were fairly old but still seemed fine. I had to acquire 2 new brushes and 1 new paint. Even in acrylic, painting is a really expensive hobby.

This took me about a week, working between 2 and 5 hours every day. I imagine, if I knew how to paint, it could have gone faster.

Painting made me want to paint more, but I don’t have more canvas. I was actually thinking about trying that thing where you buy terrible landscapes at Goodwill and then paint monsters into them. I bet I could make a killing if I painted Pokemon into them. But actually, getting paintings at Goodwill is not as easy as you’d think.

In other news, The Man decided to give me an early Christmas present by teaching himself bookbinding and creating a hardcover version of The Hermit! I am astonished. It’s really remarkable work. If you’d like to see the step-by-step tutorial of his process, you can follow this Reddit link (and upvote if you’re a Redditor and you like me and you think his work is worthy, which, of course, it is). Now that the paperback version is available, the ebook will be offered, for a limited time, as a free download.

More Magical Paintings from the Past

tower kibbutz_edited-1

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.

butterfly screen

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.

 

I have a headache and now you can have one too

Alien world or weird filter? You be the judge.

Alien world or weird filter? You be the judge.

One of the hardest parts of drawing webcomics, for me, is the constant staring into the screen. My eyes, as I’ve written before, do not work all that well. They certainly don’t work like normal people’s eyes, and sometimes they betray me. Migraines, nausea, that sort of thing. When I was just writing 4 or 6 hours a day, it didn’t bother me, because I touch type, and by and large I don’t look at the monitor anyway, but I’m a much better typist than artist, and drawing a hand, or something like that, means squinting at the pixels and erasing and redrawing and shifting perspective, zooming in and out and erasing and redrawing again.

I’ve got a big analog project I want to tackle, which I will share when it’s ready, and tonight seems like a good time to start. No webcomic, no eye strain. There will be tiny scraps of fancy paper involved, but they won’t be backlit.

Instead, feel free to enjoy this weird portentous beach scene I painted about a year ago. My painting always looks pretty rough and experimental, because it is. I know nothing about painting. If I could afford it, I would take a class, at least something basic about technique, because I’d love to paint more, but it’s an incredibly expensive past time.

For that reason, I’ll probably be sticking to my Wacom tablet. You can have any size canvas, and any color paint, and it’s free.

Dragon Comics 54

And we’re back! In retrospect, I guess I meant to come back on Monday, but for some reason I thought I had planned to pick up on Wednesday, so here we are.

When the muse sings, you better shut up and listen.

When the muse sings, you better shut up and listen.

My intention was to draw 5 or 6 comics over my break, but of course, I got sick on Christmas Eve and lost most of that week. At least there are 4 finished. Comic back to the comic after take a week off was sort of surreal. It was necessary to remind myself that yes, I can do this.

Inspiration for short fiction sort of comes at your head all the time. I probably write 2 dozens stories in my mind every week. None of them get written down, or even remembered, most of the time, but stories are everywhere. There are characters; there are situations. With the comic, the characters and situations are, by my own parameters, basically the same, but there have to be a million ways to get to the punchline, even if we always start in more or less the same place.

Pebber nodder is a kind of delicious Danish spice cookie, sort of along the lines of gingerbread, but usually smaller than cookies we eat in America (at least in my experience; I am not an expert on Danish desserts) and typically served (I believe) for Christmas. The real life owl is of Danish extraction, but I don’t know her feelings on pebber nodder. We did not eat cookies in the desert over the holiday, although I have hung out in the desert with the owl, without cookies.

The owl, the fox, and the rabbit are my real life writing group, and we do like to go away together to write in a new place. It’s a good form of inspiration, but of course you can’t depend on retreat for inspiration. You have to be able to create in your natural habitat as well.

Paint It Whatever Color

Papier-mâché is an interesting looking word if you spell it with the French accents. There’s something both gratifying and disgusting about the process of creating it, though. Although I am far from fastidious in my personal habits, I despise being actively, tackily sticky or dirty, particularly when it involves my hands and arms. But for certain things, like baking bread or making papier-mâché, I’m willing to make an exception.

Family photo, Montezuma Castle

Family photo, Montezuma Castle

The 9-year-old came home a couple weeks back with an assignment to build an ancient Indian dwelling based on the design of some group of people who lived in Arizona, and her first choice of dwelling was Montezuma Castle, the most striking ruins site we visited on our recent tour of Arizona. Immediately, my brain started kicking the idea around. How could this idea come to fruition?

Papier-mâché was the answer.

I can’t really count this piece as my art. I designed it, and I told the kid how to make it, and I made her do most of the work—say, about 90%—without my interference, although I did come to her rescue when something was beyond her ability, and I stepped in for some of the fine detail work: cutting windows out with a scalpel, the parts that entailed using India ink, and placing the buildings in the cave. I also mixed her paint colors. Otherwise, she was in charge of creating this thing.

This seems like a pretty successful project to my eyes!

Montezuma Castle, executed in paper and paste: probably the best ancient Indian dwelling in all of 4th grade.

 

I confess that she was having so much fun painting that I couldn’t stop myself from helping. Anyway, it was getting late and she’s so meticulous and I needed to clean up and make dinner. I especially love the little accents I did on the front when she pointed out the real cliff had a lot more texture. I love painting and am certain that I would not suck at it if given half a chance.

Later that night, after the kids went to their mom’s, The Man was fooling around with the leftover materials, specifically the other half of the balloon shape we used to create the cave.

The other half of the cave. Note its specific shape.

The other half of the cave. Note its specific shape.

“It fits perfectly on your head,” he declared after determining that it was too small for his gigantic noggin. Then he stuck it on my head. In fact, it did fit perfectly.

Now, if you’re like me, in the sense that you really like dragons, and art, and the Internet, and have a lot of friends, you have probably seen/been sent this time lapse video of papier-mâché dragon being built. While I am not as good as the professional guy in the video (yet), I am not bad either, and after the second time the video appeared on my Facebook feed, and after wearing this paper hat around for a while, I decided to create a dragon hat. Yesterday I started the horns; today I hope to finish them and affix them, and then turn my attention to the problem of building something to fit over my head when I haven’t got a mold of my face and I’m not willing to get flour paste in my hair.

Of course, now the girl wants a Maleficent headdress  executed in the same style.

Since I didn’t really show you any of my actual work today, here’s another picture from earlier in the year, which was a request from some good friends who were getting married and wanted an agave sign for outside the venue. Aside from the Trickster’s Hat stuff, it’s really the only painting I’ve done in a long time. I’d love to learn more about the craft.

Their colors were springtime green and bubblegum pink.

Their colors were springtime green and bubblegum pink. It was windy on the hill; here we see the “ring bear” affixing the sign to the easel to keep it from blowing away.