Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Foreign Language Comix

Some foreign language comix I've been working on. The duck panel is presented above in the original English because it's too precious to pass up!

I've been too lazy to finish coloring it. O well.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Recipe

Having come home at lunch time, still ill, I decided something nourishing, yummy and full of vitamins and protein would be a good way to combat my malaise. (Plus, I like think that my mentor figures are in some way pleased when I am eating well instead of the alternative :) All items that you may have available in your own kitchen!

Grilled Chicken Salad with Beans
1 can of chickpeas
1 can of cannellini beans
5 chicken breasts

some sort of vegetable greens mix, like a spring mix
a cucumber
cherry tomatos
Peppadew roasted peppers from the deli, with juice

5+ cloves of garlic
olive oil
ground ginger (or fresh if you have it!)
black pepper
coriander seeds

Combine the coriander, turmeric, ginger, paprika and some black pepper in a mortar and grind. (Use maybe 1 tsp or a little less of coriander, turmeric + paprika, and half a tsp of ginger.)
Put the ground spices in a solid bowl with 1/4 cup of high-quality olive oil and the peeled garlic; crush into a paste with the pestle. Add cleaned chicken breasts to marinate for 20 minutes. Add a little more oil, adjust spices as necessary and stir from time to time to make sure the chicken is covered.

While this is going on, wash the cherry tomatoes. Drain the beans and rinse, and chop the roasted peppers into little pieces. Peel the waxed skin off the cucumber (blech!) and slice Very Thinly, and then crosswise into semicircles. Once the 20 minutes are up, ready a skillet and set it to high heat. Put in the chicken and the oil marinade, turning chicken when cooked on one side. Once the chicken is white on both sides (well, it will be yellow due to the delicious, colorful action of the turmeric!) add the cherry tomatoes.

Continue cooking, adjusting heat as necessary, until chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are wrinkly and bursting with hot fragrant juices!

Prepare a bed of greens on a plate. Add the cucumber slices and some beans on top (I used probably 3/4 cup beans for myself) and sprinkle the red pepper over this. Add the sweet, spicy pepper juice as dressing. Spoon chicken and tomatoes directly from the griddle onto the salad, making sure you pick up some of the roasted garlic and pleasant, oily sauce. Top with black pepper. Some crisp white wine like an Orvieto Classico would probably complement this nicely.

Persian Progress

I've been pretty sick for the past two days (a case of virulent laryngitis that, like all youngsters, quickly entered a terrorizing adolescence) but was still able to get in the studio and do some work.
To start off, I took this messy, unkempt drawer where my paints have been living:

And used my superb craftmanship and woodworking skill (haha) to create a store-style display where everything is easily accesible:

Painting is an exalted practice, one which kings and potentates have honored and funded for centuries. Keenly aware of this honorable lineage, I make sure to assume the most august and reverential of postures while practicing the art.

(I'm not really sad; I'm just concentrating!) The brush is a 0/3, or something like that.

Side note: I have a fairly idiosyncratic way of holding a brush or pencil, which has drawn criticism from teachers, but it's what lets me make such fine, controlled lines.

The drawing instrument rests on the third finger of the left hand, with the pads of the pointer and middle finger where the ferrule of a brush would be. The main guidance and pressure comes from the pointer as it pivots on its middle knuckle, heightening or decreasing the tension of the finger's pad on the instrument. The body of the hand, including the base segment of the little finger, is firm + flat on the art surface which creates a very stable base for clear, steady lines.

Two progress shots of the Megature:

And some close-ups:

^An aeromouse

^A cloud

^Aeromouse with a boar. Overall, I want to the painting to be beautiful, majestic and silly, like a Bjork song.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Back In Action

Back in the studio tonight after a week of SLOTH (ok, I was doing pro-bono stuff for senior thesis projects - still felt lazy about the studio). First thing:

Finally remembered my camera. Here is the working sketch for "action rabbit," now operating under the new working title From Battles.

Here's me next to it to give an idea of the scale. Final will probably be slightly wider.

Also pulled out the ol' Megature and gave it a go again. Things went much faster this time (last time I worked on I despaired of ever finishing anything in addition to it), but I will definitely need to buy a new outlining brush - very hard to find a good one for doing really fine acrylic details. After thinking about it for a while, decided to go with the same colors for the clouds as on Heavenly Creatures, but I think I must have used cadmium red on that one, because the clouds came out very purple this time around (I used my Naphthol Crimson instead, and Cerulean blue...one of my least favorite colors...but it works well with the silver)...anyway. You can see a snake coiling from top-right to bottom left, the head and body of the fox-dragon-axlotl, a little aeromouse top center and a boar on the left where the snake and fox make an X.

Here it is with a lttle more black filled in. I'm excited to see it done.

Out Of Synch

I just ate my lunch leaning against an overturned canoe and watching the geese out on the Pond. Then when I came back to the office, I noticed that the bare patch where the ducks lived in the winter is suddenly covered in grass, and felt very removed from nature.

It made me want to build a little Waldenesque hut of sticks between the ponds and eschew human interaction there.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Friendly Game of Tag

Jack over at The Pink Armageddon has challenged me to some tag, so here goes:
4 Places I've Been

  • Orvieto, Italy. I lived in a convent with miniature nuns and incestuous cats for a semester!
  • Thailand. And various locations therein. One of the most beautiful parts is the Queen's Botanical Garden, built up the side of mountain and landscaped into different sections divided by plant type. There is a huge Crystal Palace-esque greenhouse with a rainforest inside, and an elevated boardwalk so you can walk through the tree's canopies!
  • Mount Desert Island, Maine. Very beautiful there as well.
  • Singapore. I lived there for six months when I was little but don't remember much about it. Except for all the rules we had to follow every waking minute.

4 Jobs I've Had

  • Data Entry. I think this was the first paying job I ever had. It was a one-time thing. I sat in a small room and typed stuff into a database.
  • Cafeteria Server/Vegetable Chopper. I liked making sandwiches and I really enjoyed being alone, chopping vegetables for an hour, and getting paid for it! Vegetables are actually really beautiful, if you take the time to look at them, especially cauliflower.
  • Custodian. Cleaning dorms and toilets in the summers.
  • Tour Guide on Boston's Freedom Trail. I showed people around Park Street Church, gave little guided tours, and said, "No, the church is NOT connected to the graveyard. Yes, I know they are adjacent," many times a day.

4 Of My Favorite Foods

  • Sticky Rice.
  • Anything Indian, especially Malai Kofta and Shahi Paneer Korma.
  • Pasta
  • Wheat Chex. My favorite cereal, which I can no longer eat due to my wheat issues! Fie.

4 Scenes In Movies I Wished I'd Written And Directed

  • Elizabeth Rejects Darcy: BBC Pride and Prejudice Oh, the fire in Jennifer Ehle's eyes when she declares, "I had not met you one week before I knew you were the last man on earth who I could ever marry!"
  • The Two Femininities: Aliens Ripley getting into the power loader and screaming, "Get away from her, you bitch!" as the alien queen tries to eat(?) Newt. (Do the aliens really eat, or do they just implant their embryos and skedaddle? The whole food intake is never really gone into that I remember...)
  • Attack Bible: Saved Hilary Fay, her attempt at excorcism thwarted, actually throws her Bible at Mary. Mary turns around and says, "This is not a weapon, you idiot!"
  • The Diva Dance: The Fifth Element Need I say more?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Illustrator's Copies

I just got my complimentary copies of A Writer's Space the last book I did some illustrations for.

Possessed, perhaps, of a morbid state of mind, I always suspect a letterbomb when I receive a package that I'm not expecting, but this turned out to be nicer.

Progress Continues/Self-Reflection/Geeking Out

Was back in the studio last night doing a little more drawing on the megature - dogs, tigers, more spines on the snakes...

While I was creating a series of arching, fluted horns growing from the back of a floating, greyhound-like creature, I found myself in a moment of self-recognition.

A week or so ago Jonathan Bennett came by to discuss some potential collaborative work, (ekphrastic stuff, as we say here in Wenham) and we got into a fairly in-depth talk about my artistic motivations (it was actually a little like being in therapy). At first I was a little wierded out, but eventually he explained that he was just trying to find out what makes me tick artistically so that he could respond informedly to the work.

Since Jonathan is a poet, the conversation naturally drifted to my past work in orthographies and constructed languages - what sounds I like, how I go about choosing and developing letter/character forms, etc. I have mostly abandoned such pursuits in the last few years since they're time-consuming and fairly solipsistic, but it was fun to babble about them to someone who was actually interested.

One of the languages, Oriset (the only one with a semi-developed working grammar and vocabulary) whose script is calligraphic and resembles sequences of clouds or waves, has a very complicated system of verbs, with many irregular ones and an ornate method of conjugation. The entire language from the choice of consonant sounds up to conjugations and noun declensions, was developed for beauty, flow and a rhythmic, embellished sound, which brings me back to the Persian Megature.

As I was drawing the various creatures, it struck me that I was designing the line-quality of the Megature in much the same way that I went about building the sound-quality of Oriset. I take the necessary and essential elements of the creatures I choose to include, and spin them out into a sort of attenuated Mannerism that borders on the Rococo.

So, an interesting observation - don't what what I'll do with it yet.

From The Vault

Speaking of hyperstylized linework: a rabbit grooming itself in a thicket by a pond, in the Thai style. Circa late 90s?

Illuminated manuscript, color pencil, 2004ish

Monday, April 14, 2008

Down Time

I had a great weekend on the Vinyad.
There is No New Art currently, but to get in the Grant vibe, listen to Courtship Dating by Crystal Castles.

Crystal Castles is my groove and I have been rocking it for the past week without stopping.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Where No Grapes Grow

Going to the Vineyard for the weekend.

I anticipate much Black Dog food.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Persian Megature

Working sketch for Persian Megature.

Photos of the drawing for those with good eyesight:




Thousand-Year Rooster

Really, really excited about the snakes and birds, and can't wait to see what they look like when they're done!!


Here's my painting on the Montserrat Artrageous! site: Artist Listing I'm in the left column under Live Auction! :D

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Quick Tuesday Update

Vegetarian Sandwich Bar
Was replaced by an all-day sundae bar! At first was upset, but decided to roll with the punches and got a small bowl of vanilla ice-cream with strawberry sauce and plentiful gummy bears.
Two hours later, was urgently reminded that I am now lactose-intolerant! :o

Finally started work on the drawing for Persian Megature. It is coming along swimmingly. A trifecta of majestic rabbits, long sinuous snakes and of course quantities of aeromice.
Forgot the camera twice, but the graphite on silver is very hard to photograph anyway, so will post pictures once I start painting in the black.

Really want to start on Action Rabbit (and finalize its name!), but am forcing myself to wait a little while until PM is well underway, and I have gotten a quorum of the other series started on.

Ration ration ration.

Tomorrow I'm going to the alumni drawing session at Gordon, but hopefully will return in time to get some more of my own drawing done as well.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Building Myself A Future In Photoshop

So here's a Photoshopped mockup of Action Rabbit as it might look when complete, with a stylish gallery-goer pasted in for scale.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

(planning ahead)

Next time I'll do a show on birds. Once the rabbits have been flushed.

Thirsty Thursday

SO I didn't even want to go to the studio tonight, but I forced myself to go anyway (at 9!) and ended up having a really good time and got a lot done. My friend Anne stopped by (fortunately after I had stopped listening to the Mary Poppins soundtrack on my iPod, loudly singing, "A British bank/is run with precision!" hehee

BUT ANYWAY, I worked on a 1:1 scale sketch for ACTION RABBIT, which I am superexcited about (used charcoal!), and finished pre-glazing Persian Megature so that I can start doing the pencil drawings. (Yes, I am going to force myself to start them soon.) Naturally, I did not bring a camera to document any of these activities for your veiwing pleasure :( I need to start carrying it around in my bag I guess. No doubt I would take more commemorative pictures of other fun events too...

I DID bring back and scan Stage II of Scylla + Charybdis. Here it is.

I'm going to paint in all the rocks, as if they were mountains in the air, and then the waves over them so that everything is in layers for a very artificial, theatre-scrim effect. I'm really into that. I guess I like that it enhances the metaphoric effect of the work (? maybe ?)(that is, it takes a painting one step further away from verisimilitude, and more into a decorative realm of obviously artificial objects and effects - iconographizes things.)

Here is a digital piece I'm working on as an example for the digital illustration seminar I'l be conducting at Gordon on Saturday. It's part of a loosely-formed, slowly-coalescing series ("Series=serious!" as William SVTCHRNK says :) of digital illustrations, so far all of me but hopefully to branch out, drawing on photographic sources but also working with a surrealistic, iconographic set of elements. I did't really have any starting thought, except that I wanted to include more arms (multiple limbs being a rapidly developing schtick of mine), and then, once I had done the initial sketch, I thought of adding a little cape of wings, sort of along the lines of a tengu or garuda, and then, once I had done that, I was suddenly reminded of my favorite part of the The Epic of Gilgamesh, the description of the underworld, Irkalla:

Then he... and turned me into a dove,
so that my arms were feathered like a bird.
Seizing me, he led me down to the House of Darkness,
the dwelling of Irkalla,
to the house where those who enter do not come out,
along the road of no return,
to the house where those who dwell, do without light,
where dirt is their drink, their food is of clay,
where, like a bird, they wear garments of feathers,
and light cannot be seen, they dwell in the dark...

Gilgamesh, Tablet VII

Which inspired the gritty textural background and all the pale greys.

Digital series also includes this piece (double dutying as a poster for abovementioned seminar:

Thursday Deli Report

Another sad disappointment. Lots of carrots sticks and cucumbers are getting me through. I managed to snag half a boiled egg and coated it with enough pepper to make it crunchy.

The Matrix II

Here's a scan of my plan and overall organizatinal scheme for the show (drawn over a botched
attempt at Hints/Accusations. (Sorry, I wanted to make it bigger, but apparently if it's too big, Blogger makes it a thumbnail only?)

From The Vault

Earliest extant rendering of the rubric, circa 10th grade (2000).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


One of my approaches to the rabbit is iconoclastic. I paint rabbits, not bunnies. The rabbit is a creature with many associations. First and foremost is The Bunny, which is cute, innocuous, fluffy and bland, reducible to two ears, two teeth, and a carrot. Then there is the rabbit as reproducer ("breeding like rabbits"), the rabbit as fleeing prey, weak and with its only recourse in speed and cowering. Overall the animal is usually portrayed in a light that is condescending if not negative.

One of the aspects of my employment of rabbit imagery is to subvert these stereotypes. In my paintings of rabbits, I try to capture and enunciate the native grace of their movements and body - to remind the viewer that in technical terms, rabbits are referred to as does and bucks.
Like the mythical creatures of Thailand and China, they take on ennobled characteristics of other animals; the horns of the stag, the claws of the cat, the haunches of the greyhound. Like Japanese kitsune their horns and ears may multiply, implying a great store of wisdom or power.

The rabbits in the paintings may initially seem cute, (and of course that is an aspect of a rabbit's charm - sometime I'll post a little chart that explicates this further :) but upon closer inspection other details appear. These rabbits do not cower or flee. They have claws, they have teeth, their ears catch the wind like sails and slice like curved blades. My attempt is to remove them from one an anthropomorphised sphere of cute and cuddly, and reinstate them as amoral forces of nature. In Predator/Prey the eyes are blank, black, cavernous, leading inward into a hidden place, but also flat and forbidding.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lane Salad Bar: Tuesday 1.4

little crackers

Of Note
asparagus tips in vinaigrette
roasted sweet potatos
unidentified pink soup, visually akin to Thousand Island

Horrible Omissions
hardboiled eggs
not many craisins

Sandwich Wrappers + Rubber Bands: Check