In the end, I chose not to write anything into the central panel of Red Bird…there seemed to be too many good ways to use the space, I didn’t want to cancel all other options out by picking just one. As an art print on museum grade paper, you can personalise your version of this print by writing, painting, drawing, or even stitching your own poem, quotation, name, special date, or anything else into the space. It’s a little unusual for an art print, but I kind of liked the idea of others interacting with it this way.
Red Bird and Better Homes & Gardens, paintings from the recent exhibition The Magic Garden, are available on my Society6 page, now, as archival gicleé prints on museum-grade paper, or on stretched canvas.
As promised, here’s the finished redwork bird design from yesterday, done up as a mock kitchen journal cover using the font Asterism, and a woven fabric texture from Picmonkey, to sort of give me an idea of how it might look.
Also some very small (the size of a playing card) watercolors from this morning…just playing with ideas and stuff. I really wanted to jump-start a big painting, but didn’t feel well…think I have picked up someone’s flu. It was bad enough to prevent me from heading in to work. So I consoled myself with these little things…they sort of serve as warm-up exercises for the large painting I had in mind; whether I use all the motifs or not is not important…what matters is that I’ve dumped my ideas somewhere for reference, and my mistakes on these teeny-tiny canvases will possibly save me from making the same ones on a larger scale in acrylics.
An idea that has been with me for a long time (too long!): a jellyfish that is also a terrarium. Because the two forms have always seemed to be crying out for each other, in my imagination.
There’s something very right about this combination.
A jellyfish like a pink silk muumuu with pleated ribbons.
Not happy with this one: Just. Too. Much.
Looks like the sort of horrible lampshade you sometimes come across at a Salvation Army shop. I like the tentacles, though.
The Meh Jellyfish…every smack of jellyfish has to have one: kinda boring, lacks spark. That beaded curtain was a really lazy, unimaginative, clichéd way to finish what might have been an okay exumbrella. (That’s that outer, umbrella-looking part of the jellyfish. I looked it up just now.) Maybe if I transplanted the tentacles from the crocheted lamp jellyfish…
One interpretation of mangroves.
Speaking of mangroves, check out my accidentally fabulous tomato plant, growing like nobody’s business in the middle of a mangrove creek! It sprouted from some kitchen scraps thrown onto a basil plant! Pretty soon it had ousted the withering basil and become the star plant on the F/V SonOfAGun.
*long, happy sigh*
This Sunday was spent just the way I have fantasized about spending a Sunday for many, many weeks: no craft market, no dinner parties, no social commitments, no dramas, no urgent errands, no housekeeping. I got up at a lazy 8 a.m. and—after breakfast and getting a huge pot of coffee ready—set to work with the aim of getting one simple project done, from start to finish, in one day.
I took an idea for a new journal cover design and moved it from daydream…to doodle…to finished illustration. In these pictures it isn’t quite done…but dusk came along just as I put in the finishing touches of opaque white ink, and then it was too dark to photograph the illustration properly.
This is going to be the cover fabric design for a hand bound “Recipe Journal”…the title, in handwritten Spencerian script, was supposed to go inside the empty label, but I’m glad I held off from writing straight onto the illustration…text can always be added in Photoshop, later. I think I’ll keep the label blank, so that the design can be used for other things besides a recipe notebook.
I loved devoting the entire day to making something. Now it’s dark outside and my eyes are a little strained from all the fine brushwork I did, so I’ll probably spend the rest of the evening listening to music in the dark and then turn in early.
It’s been a perfect, perfect Sunday. Hope your weekend was peaceful and satisfying, too!
Process: Pencil drawing (4B), watercolours on cotton rag paper. Redwork details (I was trying to capture the feel of embroidered redwork stitches) in matte flow acrylic paint applied with a fine-tipped gutta applicator. Opaque white details (not pictured) using white ink and a mapping pen.
Still just playing thoughtlessly with the painting tools on my desk, not planning or caring what comes of it all, in the end, but enjoying what does eventually come through.
Every canvas starts with an odd shape of paint—like an asymmetrical Rorschach—and often I scrawl the words Now Now across everything, making each letter as curly and elaborate and frou-frou as I can. A gentle reminder to stay focused, to stay present, because I’ve only just started and it is so difficult to stay here continuously!
Here are two funny little characters I met as they were passing through the moment. Nothing profound, here, nothing to become attached to or explain…just something that happened for a while, paintbrush in hand, and that has already passed, leaving meaningless little marks behind, like ripples on a sand dune. Maybe you will say they’re nice marks, maybe not…the great thing is that I don’t care, here they are, I am already doing something else, now.
Now I’m just writing to say hello to everyone (see me here, waving energetically from the bedroom window of our gently bobbing boat?) and squeeze your hand. (Yes, my fingers are cold, there’s a gusty winter wind blowing over the harbor from the deserts in the South, and I can’t feel my fingertips!) Now I want to go back to my game of paints and brushes. See you when I see you!
you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you’re young,whatever life you wear
it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever’s living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love
whose any mystery makes every man’s
flesh put space on;and his mind take off time
that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation’s dead undoom.
I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
So, you see, there really was a hat that I was working on…a pretty fancy one, too, with a golden cage and a fabulous bird inside it. The bird has built a nest of the dapper man’s hair (and probably poops all over his head, as well, but I won’t paint that. Heh.)
I started on this painting today, and it’s fairly galloping along. I have learned so much from the previous paintings about working with acrylics, I hope that the ease and speed with which I get my ideas down and start to flesh them out, now, is a sign that I am finally—finally!—understanding a little bit and gaining proficiency in this medium.
Christ, it’s about time, too, don’t you think? Crazy woman’s having an exhibit, and she’s bloody learning how to paint! Ridiculous.
It’s slow going, but I am enjoying the challenge and all the different aspects of softie designing. Like wire feet. What a pain in the butt it is to design tiny posable bird feet that also look convincing and are structurally sound!
Still just a prototype, but this one I am not going to cut apart with scissors and a scalpel, like I did the other two. Pretty happy with the pattern shapes, at this point, so I am keeping this one., and took the time to try an embroidery pattern out (Gah! embarrassing closeup! what terrible stitching along those seams…too much in a hurry!) on his back.
I’ve also given him a name: Nutmeg.