Tag Archives: red

Sunset over Seed Sorghum

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I risked frostbite to bring you this image. 

We saw this huge pile of seed sorghum–milo, if you like to be specific–by the side of the road in Kansas, just in the last hour of sunlight, glowing like (The Man and I agreed) the sand dunes at Death Valley and the hills of the Painted Desert combined. I took about 100 pictures, most of which were pretty breathtaking, and settled on this one with the grain auger visible (top right) to represent the set. The different strata are caused by the different weights of the parts of the grain, the chaff and such. Every section shifted into its own spectacular pattern, so choosing a favorite wasn’t easy.

There was also a lovely field just to the south, all full of rolled hay bales. It was cold as a narwhal’s nose but at least it hadn’t snowed in that part of the world, as it had in Denver the day before, rendering all my pictures washed out and gray skied. It’s a long story, why I didn’t update Friday, but this is Friday’s update.

 

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Little Red Rosette

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Baby, you’re much too sweet.

Prince’s death didn’t hit me the way Bowie’s death did, even though I would say I enjoyed the work of both artists about equally. The different, I guess, was that my enjoyment of Prince was more public. Prince covered the airwaves in the ’80s. Everyone was always singing “When Doves Cry” on the playground. Prince felt pop, even though in retrospect I’d say his music had great depth. My experience of Bowie was more private. Labyrinth was a movie about inner worlds that spoke to me internally; The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was an intensely personal experience.

Or maybe I’m just burnt out on watching great talents pass.

But that’s what I drew a David Bowie tribute comic, and all I have for Prince is this pun.

An ex of mine always said that if I were a car, I’d a little red Corvette. Later on, he thought I was just going to hold him back, but in the end he realized he’d made a mistake. It was too late, then, anyway. I guess I was too fast for him after all.

Managed to get some writing in and put together part of a complicated comic with ridiculously complex artwork and too much text that nobody is going to appreciate, and that in a weekend with 2 parties. Starting to feel more hopeful, more full of creative energy, and more focused.

Red Diamond Mandala

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Just slightly askew. Hopefully in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.

Earlier this week someone made an interesting comment about civil rights that I tried to spin into an MLK Day comic, but every script I wrote sounded tongue-in-cheek or off topic so I decided not to chance it today. For now, I have standard boilerplate for Martin Luther King’s birthday, which I used to tell my students when I taught college freshman. I would basically suggest to them that, on their day off, they make a good faith attempt to increase the overall level of tolerance, equality, and love on the planet, and, if they couldn’t manage that, to at least stay inside and not to talk to anyone so they wouldn’t make the situation any worse.

In fact, a lot of years I choose the second option myself.

People can be very hard to love sometimes.

Reddit has been a real mixed blessing for me; my traffic has increased tenfold since I’ve been there, but part of promoting your work on Redding involves being part of the community on Reddit, and a lot of being part of the community on Reddit involves dealing with people who use their anonymity to express massive bigotry, the kind of thing that most people don’t say out loud anymore because they know it’s not OK. But it’s apparently very OK in certain forums. It’s certainly the only arena in my life where I know I will be castigated for espousing a feminist viewpoint.

So, while I like to believe in the overall goodness of humanity and the concept that most people are basically decent, it’s hard to talk myself into that in an election year, when I can see that there are thousands and thousands of people who feel personally threatened by the concepts of tolerance, equality, and love.

It’s too bad, because we could be living in paradise right here, right now. It would be so easy. That’s really all that any civil rights activist is saying: let’s not hurt each other. Let’s just allow everyone the same rights and freedom we want for ourselves. It’s nicer that way.

It’s weird to me that it’s so hard.

Instead of my off-kilter and possibly offensive take on freedom and equality, I started a much sillier comic. “It’s probably stupid and not funny,” I told The Man, and then I showed the sketch to him, and he said it was very funny. So, possibly, tomorrow you’ll laugh, if you read this page tomorrow, and also if you have a sense a humor that’s similar to mine or The Man’s, and, of course, if life flows smoothly enough that the comic gets finished and uploaded before that. The Rabbit used to say, “Man plans; God laughs.” But we don’t really have much choice but to keep planning.

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral Mandala

Ooh...dimensionality through texturization

Ooh…dimensionality through texturization

There came a point at which I realized that the mandalas were starting to form patterns, which allowed me to deliberately mix those patterns up. I had mandalas with crystalline structure, and mandalas that look leafy and flowery, and mandalas that had creature elements. This one combine all the three. In the center a sort of garnet-y thing in purple and red, surrounded by a sort of a green lily pad, with a feathery blue edge that reminds me of a sea creature.

Been tinkering with the same comic all weekend. It’s closer, although I still don’t have the last panel. The illustrations are coming together, at least. So I’m drawing these pictures and trying to figure out why the ones that are supposed to be kids look like adults. And then I realize that kids have great big heads on their little tiny bodies. If you don’t give them enormous heads they just look like thin adults.

Anyway, I would have gotten further but The Man wanted to watch Boyhood with me. It’s a very long film. The concept is fascinating, though. Not only could then have no way of knowing what the child actors would look like at the end of the movie, they couldn’t have written certain scenes (like when the main character rants about Facebook) before they actually pitched the film. Not to mention the music. I neglected to take any of the vast quantity of OTC medications that have been keeping my sinuses from back up into my brain, so now I have a headache, too. Still, I’m going to try to get this comic at least 50% finished tonight. Otherwise tomorrow night I’ll going nuts either scrambling to finish it or to dash out some kind of filler comic.

Man, people better appreciate.

Pretty in Punk Mandala

My love is amorphous, like a single celled organism dropped in a vat of acid.

My love is amorphous, like a single celled organism dropped in a vat of acid.

What’s black and red and pink and spiky and full of love? This lopsided septagonal mandala which potentially looks like a Hot Topic exploding over an Orange Julius stand at the mall. It appears to be comprised of equal parts death, hearts, and sugar. It looks sharp. It will probably cut you if you try to pick it up. And it’s probably ornery, too. I bet the tips break off in your hand and you have to dig them out with a sterilized sewing needle.

On a wholly unrelated note, if you like webcomics and/or binge-reading, and you haven’t already, why not head over to Panels and check out my new article about webcomics you can read straight through, beginning to end, online?

The Past is Pointy and So Is This Mandala

Mistakes were made.

Mistakes were made.

Without notes, it’s hard to remember some of the details, but I have a pretty good idea that this mandala is about ill-advised relationships, about feeling tied (or in this case, sewn to) to a person who is emotionally dangerous to you. Sometimes things can feel good or right in the moment, but all the while they’re slicing you up and leaving scars. Sometimes, those are the hardest relationships to get away from.

Speaking of things that slice you up and leave scars, the detail I was too tired to write about yesterday concerned thorns. In my hands.

As many readers know, I live in the desert, where much of the local flora is extremely pointy. Even the trees can be insanely dangerous. Before we bought our house, The Man and I lived on a property where the mesquite trees had 4-inch thorns. I’m not even exaggerating. Every person who ever lived there had, at least once, the experience of going outside wearing shoes and accidentally stepping on a thorn so long that it penetrated the sole and pierced deep into their foot.

We have a mesquite tree here, but it’s not quite as dangerous, and it’s at the very back of the property, where its calculated unruliness helps stem the flow of traffic from the utility easement into our yard. We also have a palo verde tree that is very close to the house. Probably, it should be removed, but I’m sort of fond it it, even though it’s considered a weed tree. They grow so fast that this one has begun to take over our roof.

Palo verdes are also thorny, and while the thorns are much smaller, to my mind, the small ones are much more insidious. This did not deter me; once up there, I could see that the tree was compromising the roof. There was a 3-inch mat of the needle-like leaves, which were trapping water and causing the insulating foam to decay. It took me 4 hours, spread out over 2 days, to clear them off and cut back as much of this tree as I could reach, and I was so intent on the job that I didn’t even notice my hand filling up with little tiny thorns.

My right (dominant) hand took the brunt of it, with the first knuckle of my index finger being severely compromised with three piercings. I could barely straighten it for 2 days, and the first knuckle of the left index finger also had one thorn stuck in it, which made simple tasks like putting on pants pretty painful. The Man dug around in my flesh with a needle to the best of his ability, but the thorns were too small, too deep. They’ll just have to work themselves out on their own.

So that’s what I was contending with last night. The pain is greatly receded today.

A few years back, The Man and I were trimming a date palm out front. Most people don’t realize that palm fronds can be incredibly sharp. Both of us took a pointy piece of frond deep into the hand, so far in that there was no extracting those pernicious little slivers. Six weeks later, within 24 hours of each other, we both were surprised to find our bodies expelling tiny, woody spear tips that we had forgotten were inside of us. So I expect that sometime around the end of March, I will be reminded of this experience on a strange day when my hands eject a dozen tiny minuscule palo verde thorns.