Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter blues

Still have a few posts backed up that I need to make! I have been busy though and need to catch up a little...with the coming of winter I get really into blue colors. The painting on top is another in my series of surreal alien landscape paintings, mainly with ice/water themes. I always have figures without facial features in these, though I usually leave the gender ambiguous and I think this one is more clearly female.

Speaking of water, the painting below might look at first like waves or hills in a watery background. But it is actually meant to represent a reclining female form -- and the secret symbolism here is that this is how i feel when I'm trying to get out of bed in the morning...forever drawn back into the watery depths of sleep.

This brief post brought to you by my realization that it's Sunday night and I won't have time to make one for awhile!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

a feast for the eyes

It's been awhile since my last post (well, about a week, but that's a long time in this hectic fast moving world) but I've been busy...and I have some features to share on some artist friends that I'm excited about...but while i am preparing all of that, i thought i'd break my silence with a couple of psychedelic paintings that i've completed recently.

I didn't really have a title for the one above so she is Astral Peacock Empress, apparently.
She combines some of my favorite imagery, but I tried to use some things that don't pop up quite so often in my paintings...a strange tentacle mollusk creature...a lizard...a hydra...weird flamingo bird skull type thing...but most of all I love RAINBOWS, and peacocks, and candelabras border on an obsession with me!

This one is sort of the idea of the "gateway to the unconscious," where there is a door separately the rational and irrational parts of the mind. It just takes a key to crack it open and all the weirdness starts spilling out -- the stuff of dreams and nightmares; masks and ghosts and rainbow paisleys, bubbles of ideas, and squiggles of thought; odd little bugs of confusion and delirium.  I think I called it "The Key to Dreams," but I'm not much for naming things, ha!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who (like me) are in the US.  We just go to an Indian restaurant so it's a pretty mellow affair. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can't get me out of the woods

It was unusually warm today, around 70, which means that once everything else was under control there was time to check out the woods department. Most of the trees are bare except for some yellow maple leaves. The 'timer' on my camera isnt' really working anymore, can you tell?

After a summer of nonstop mushroom photography (I say that as someone who is not a professional photographer, mind you, just a random weirdo with a barely-functional cheap digital camera) I was happy to still be able to find a few of the little guys, peeping out from beneath rotting leaves. Lots of critters came out today -- lots of bright green leaf bugs and spidery friends.

Bright green moss is so beautiful! It was the only spot of green in the forest (other than those bugs) but it's so lovely.

Spider ahead!...
This guy was actually huge, for New Jersey -- we're not known for our enormous spiders, but he was as big as I've seen them. This was the only picture that came out clear though! After some research I think he's a pretty normal garden spider, but I've never seen a bright neon orange one before. Looking up spiders online, it looks like he might be an orange marbled orb spider (or some combination of words thereof) but I say that as a wild guess. The Clueness Naturalist strikes again.

Bought some more canvases on sale today, so it's back to my indoor activities now!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alice in Squaresville

I really love square canvas --- why has rectangular always been the norm? The round canvases I've been seeing in stores lately are tempting as well but so intimidating -- instead of seeing things through a rectangular lens I have to start thinking about round, organic shapes.

This 8 x 8 square inspired me to revisit a favorite topic -- Alice and tea. And cake. And because my husband loves badgers, I threw one of those in too. And because badgers makes me think of mushrooms...there you go. How's that for a short blog post? Oh well, it's Saturday night!

Thank you to Kathryn Lantz for tagging me in the One Lovely Blog award -- I shall post my post about that in the very near future!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

books books books

About three years ago I realized that some of the books I had most wanted to read in the world, were starting to pop up on Amazon. 18th century gothic novels and chapbooks -- late 19th/20th century supernatural mysteries -- things that haven't seen the light of day again in decades. Not only that, but this time they were affordable! I have the unfortunate combination of a deep love of obscurity in the realms of literature, film and music, and absolutely no cash with which to fund said obsessions.

Valancourt Books and Zittaw Press were the main sources of my undoing -- I have ordered several dozen books from these fine publishing houses and I go on mad sprees several times a year when, armed with an Amazon coupon or gift card, I add another five to the pile. Above and below are a selection of some that I have accumulated, but I admit I haven't even gotten around to reading all of them so far, I just want to make sure that I have them before they disappear.

One of the things that most excited me was the forthcoming/ongoing publication of all of the "Horrid Novels" described in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. I'm not actually an Austen fan, other than that particular book, because it's a parody of the 18th century gothic novel. My absolute favorite parody of the gothic novel, "The Heroine" by Eaton Stannard-Barrett, has been my holy grail of books for some dozen or so years, since I took an old copy out on interlibrary loan and had to return it before I finished it. But it's coming out! Eventually! I know it's available as a download for free on the Internet Archive, but I like real books. Hold in the hand books. Touch the smooth glossy cover books.

The Horrid Novels are, incidentally (list copied from wikipedia for ease of typing):
I don't really know where to begin with why I love the 18th century gothic novel so much, except that it seems to be the basis for a lot of things that I love that came after it. In a way they are the source of all of the "Scooby Doo" cliches of the genre -- the empty suit of armor in the corridor, the painting with the shifting eyes. The secret passage concealed behind the bookcase. The pirates pretending to be ghosts. Candelabras and dank abandoned castle corridors. Imprisonment in a tower. The identity of the wrongdoers revealed in the final act!

While all of those things can be found in the classics of the genre, like The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe and The Monk by Matthew Lewis, every one of these relics is interesting to me, even if they all follow similar plot lines. A few of the most exciting books out of the batch to me are:

Literary Mushrooms - a collection of gothic chapbooks from 1800-1835

Phantasmagoriana - the very collection of stories that inspired Lord Byron, the Shelleys, & co., on one infamous dark and stormy night. in its first English translation!

Before the Count - a collection of British vampire tales from 1732-1897, long before vampires were sexy, sparkly or any of the other things that they appear to be now.

So there you go. A buncha books. I've been reading a different series all fall (the Wordsworth series of Mystery and Supernatural books) but I'll be getting back into these piles as we advance into the dark winter...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A winter witch and a robot angel

I have been swamped lately so it's going to be another day of "hey look what I did" instead of musings on other topics, for the moment. I'm thrilled to have some more 5 x 7 prints available, including the painting above. I did this originally many years ago but just did an updated new version of the painting so I could create prints from it. "Snow Cauldron" is my favorite winter witch painting from my little humble collection.

This on the other hand is a new painting, "The Archangel of Robots". I was inspired by a line of dialogue from the film "Who Are You, Polly Maggoo," a 1966 satire in French by the director William Klein. It is an artsy spoof of the fashion industry but it is a visually amazing film in itself. The film opens with models showing off fashions crafted rather ridiculously from sheets of metal. My painting however has nothing to do with any of this, it was just taken from that one phrase that appeared on the screen in subtitles, to my infinite delight.

Oh yes and the Unicorn/UFO painting I mention in my previous post is now available as a print!

I beg your indulgence for my shamless self promotion in my recent posts. When things cool off in my daytime schedule I will have a chance to post about some other adventures!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Repainting the past

This is a tree that I like to read under. I remember reading Dune....many books of ghost stories...Unfortunately I missed the chance to read under autumn foliage in this particular park this year because it was just gone in an instant -- one day it was all green, then there was a cold weekend and then everything blew off the trees. Alas! But I have a vague memory of what fall is supposed to look like. I did this little painting in an evening recently and somehow resisted the temptation to put any creatures or characters in it.

This is one of the things I found in my vaults recently that I made some prints from. They'll be up for sale in a few days...I remember it took days for me to figure out what the UFO should be beaming up and finally I realized -- duh, obviously, a unicorn! This is the kind of thing that I'm guessing sane people don't generally think about.

I'm knee deep in repainting a bunch of things that I originally did around 2000-2002. The limitations of technology (specifically, the kind that I was stuck with at the time) left me unable to get high quality scans or pictures of them before I sold them so I've never been able to do anything with them in terms of reproductions. So I'm repainting a bunch of them, with what I hope is possibly a little more detail than I originally painted them in, and getting nice crisp scans.

But before I get those together...I still have some recent stuff that I'm finishing up and uploading. Click to see the full painting this is from! There is a glass turtle off to the right hand side of the painting that I'm quite delighted with.

I'm a little preoccupied tonight in thinking about weird movies I'd like to see or find on dvd so my coherent post will have to come in a day or so! I'm going to go look through my old video tapes now for something weird and inspiring to watch!

Friday, November 6, 2009

At the edge of the universe...

I have a post about books in the works and some more features to do on artists whose work I enjoy...but first a little something from the vaults. I did this painting two years ago (I thought it was one year ago but then I remembered that 2007 also existed) basically for myself but I'm kind of knee-deep in art around here so I put it up on Etsy today, as I flail around looking for attention.

"The Black Tower at the Edge of the Universe" brings together a lot of things that I love -- a glistening dark tower carved from onyx or ebony, rising from a precipice that falls off onto a chaotic cosmic swirl, with a rainbow waterfall cascading into the abyss. Psychedelic streams of color and a dark, apocalyptic theme in an impossible world. Anyway, that's what I'm into!

Meanwhile I experimented with putting a "Retweet" button at the top of the page and just putting one post on each page, to keep things neat and tidy. I'm very much in the learning process here of how to use Blogger so any advice or tips are always appreciated, if something isn't working or looks confusing or cluttered. I mean, the entire internet looks cluttered, really, these days. I'm leaving the pumpkin background for now, I'm always all about the pumpkins!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Notebooks found in the trunk

I was just cleaning out the trunk of an old vehicle that we have had for a long time and am getting ready to put out to pasture, sell for parts, etc. Deep in the trunk, I found an old reporters' notebook I used when covering municipal meetings. Throughout my life, whether it's high school, college, or the so-called real world, I've always doodled in notebooks. I pay perfect attention to whatever is going on, but I absolutely MUST doodle if I have a pen in hand. But hey, even with high school notebooks full of weird doodles and very little actual note taking I still had a 4.0, so there! Above, you can see that alongside some drawings of a magical candyland and a frilly ballgown, I've written "tinker with TDR section , set up methodology for contributions to centralized recreation." Sounds exciting, no?

This is a segment of one of the paintings that grew out of these doodles -- a lot of snow and candy witches.

I think this was the doodle that led directly to that painting actually.

This is my personal favorite. A peacock made of spirals with the words "traffic signal" under it. That is my attempt to make the mundane world exciting I guess!

"Police cars at low cost - advertising on cars" - alongside a woman in a fancy hat and frilly dress, of course.

A candycane witch with hearts all over her dress, and "land development ordinance ... historic pesticide residue."
And here's where I just gave up on note taking completely and went to Candyland! Maybe this was before they even got started at the meeting.

I usually saved the notebooks with the good doodles in them, so I might uncover more.

Meanwhile I finished listed some prints over on Etsy, so I have a whole bunch there now with more to come!