Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Baby's First Resistary" Abcderian in Progress

I had to take three weeks off making wash-away illustrations with bink for our Trumptime abcderian, in order to finish my ms revisions, but today we finished our last three pieces--yay!
Working title: Baby's First Resistary--I've already posted "Justice: RBG".

These need some cleaning up, but I'm eager to share today's heroines so I'm posting them as-is:
EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) with seedling, from WALL-E, Dr. Zira from Planet of the Apes, and Michonne from Walking Dead.

I've been feeling kind of down--the normal end-of-project slump + other things, but making art is a real boost (especially when it turns out OK).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Some Fathers

BELOW: Andy Griffith and Ron Howard on the set of the Andy Griffith Show (aired 1960–1968).
I was in my late twenties when I first watched that show. A scene when Sheriff Andy Taylor apologized to his little boy, Opie, shocked me, it was so foreign to my experience, and I decided to adopt him as my Pa too.

BELOW: Spock and baby Spock, by Tommervik

BELOW: Laura and Logan (James Howlett/Wolverine) from the movie Logan (2017), which is more of a road movie than a superhero movie, and specifically a father & maybe-daughter reluctantly on the road together tale of redemption.

Watching Logan last week, I thought, Hey! This is Paper Moon!  (1973, Ryan and Tatum O'Neal)--even in some of its specifics--a funeral, the jalopies...
I googled it and sure enough, the director, James Mangold, said he had that exact film in mind.
Baby wolverine Laura, however, is a lot (a whole lot) more like Eleven in Stranger Things than she is like Addie Pray.


My father has taken a sudden turn for the worse and it seems likely he's in his final weeks. My sister who loves him deeply is with him. 

I feel a little sad that I don't feel particularly sad, personally,  just generally and gently saddened at the winding down of a life. Godspeed.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

That time Benton Fraser offered unasked for assistance to James Howlett.

Surely these two Yukon natives crossed paths at some point.*

*James Howlett is Wolverine, aka Logan (Hugh Jackman) in Marvel Comics.
Constable Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is from Due South.
They're both from the Yukon. 

photomanip by me

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Astro is astonished.

L & M's dog Astro: "You're leaving?!?!"

I Go Forth

"I go forth."

Marz tells me that's the motto of Aries, the sign we (the Earth? the Sun?) have just entered, and while I can't say I'm exactly going forth yet––I turned the revised ms into the editor yesterday, and this morning I just feel stunned––still, I adopt the motto for my next stage. 

I have no idea what that will be, but it will certainly involve some going forth, somehow, some way---maybe even some Kirkian striding forth. (Kirk is an Aries, you know.)

But first, …the dishes.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"You Cannot Go Home Till You're Done"

I keep saying "I'm almost done" with the ms. I really am, it's just that I'm caught in a fairy tale where there's always more [something] to spin. So, I am parked at the Java Hut until I finish revising the fan art chapter. Visual art is one of the funnest things in fandom, but only to gather and look at, not to write about.

I neglected to bring enough food for dinner, so I am having a Snickers bar and a glass of fizzy water with lemon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

One More: King Arthur Fan Art/Art History

I saved these pictures of King Arthur a long time ago (fan art of female Arthur on left) and didn't note where the art comes from.

Fan Art & Art History

A couple pieces of fan art that draw on art history

Top image, below: "Overwatch D.VA fanart" (2016) by Dao Le Trong
(D.Va is a hero in the video game Overwatch--her real name is Hana Song. I think she's just resting here.)
Bottom:  from "Ophelia" (1851-1852) by John Millais--Shakespeare fan art

II. Below, left: Michonne (zombie killer from The Walking Dead) by Nik Holmes, from his "'The Walking Dead' Go Art Nouveau in Fan Art" series
Right: "Medée" (Sarah Bernhardt ) by Alphonse Mucha (1898)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Michonne & The Dancing Dead, by bink

I'm plugging away on ms revisions while bink is making fan art. 
 :(  I'm jealous. (Also, our ABC book is on hold until I'm free again--next week, fingers crossed.)

Here's the first of series of the Walking Dead's Michonne, based on Holbein's Dance of Death designs for woodblock prints from the early 1500s.

Michonne's winning... so far. As you'd expect after a zombie apocalypse, most of the characters on Walking Dead lose eventually.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's "Send a Postcard to Trump" Day

I mailed my "You're Fired" postcards to Trump this morning for the national #IdesOfTrump Day.
“This is about protesting with humor and sarcasm, which are things which I don’t think [Trump] can handle very well and get under his skin,” Ted Sullivan, one of the organizers of the snail mail push said to The Huffington Post.

From the Boston Globe "Trump might get a blizzard of postcards":

"If this seems to be a counterintuitive way to communicate in today’s world, so be it. The guy who dreamed it up wanted the messages to be tangible. Zack Kushner, a 44-year-old Sudbury native and freelance copywriter who lives in California, said:
“An online petition or Facebook page doesn’t hold the weight of a physical object.
“That somebody took the time to write something, get a stamp, put it in the mail — there’s an additional level of commitment and resistance.”
 bink made these postcards at the collage party:

Death and the Maiden

Looking at Walking Dead fan art, to add to the ms (still working on revisions for another week or so).
Michonne and her deflector zombies (right) looks like a reversal of this medieval "Death and the Maiden" (left, found on Pinterest--no further info on where it's from). 
Are zombies our 21st century version of Dance of Death/ Danse Macabre art?

The Walking Dead is too disturbing for me to watch, but I still love  hearing about and seeing art of Michonne.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Dear Mr. President, We no longer need your services. (#TheIdesofTrump)

OMG, it was sooo fun to get together with a few other people this afternoon to fire the president of the United States. 
Because, let's face it--no need to wait 90 days--he's just not working out for us.
And...  Despair Management, you know.

bink's first Arts & Crafts Resistance Group (ACRG) met this afternoon and we all (five of us) made postcards to put in the mail this Wednesday, March 15, and to post on social media with the hashtag #TheIdesofTrump
"Nonviolent but sassy!"

I was laughing out loud looking at the other people's postcards, and laughter, as we know, releases chocolate into the bloodstream.

So--in lieu of feeding you brownies, here's my series of "You're Fired, Mr. President" postcards. I made them polite because, really, it's no fun being fired, even if you know you aren't up to the job...

The ACRG is meeting next month to make signs for the local branch of the national Science March (Earth Day, April 22).

"Unhistoric Acts"

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive:
for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
--end of Middlemarch, by George Eliot

Intention: Come Up For Air

"Knight of Pancakes" 
art by ArtSparker Susan Sanford [her Instagram]

56 Up
It's my 7-Up year, and I like to imagine what I'd do and say if a camera crew showed up to film my life.

Oh--wow--total digression:
I just googled the 7-Up series [New Yorker review] to see where they are, and I'm sad to see the first one of them has died.

Lynn Johnson, the working-class girl who said at seven, "I’m going to work in Woolworth’s" and grew up to be a children's librarian, died at 57 years old in 2013, one year after 56 Up.
Her death seems to have gone largely unreported, except a piece when the library was named in her honor---the 7-Up film crew was there.

I love the series, though--or even partly because?--it's problematic. Lynn was interesting because she seemed slightly hostile toward director Michael Apted, whom the New Yorker review noted "can be unbearably patronizing toward his subjects, particularly the working-class women." 
I'd once thought maybe Lynn was just a sour person, but when you see her with her family, she's relaxed, open, and loving--and her body language is altogether different--leaning in, instead of holding herself at a distance.

R.i.p., Lynn.

Coming Up For Air & Pancakes

Um, so... what I was going to say for my life is that, heh, if a film crew showed up, once again they'd show me looking at open water, not sure which way to row or where the currents will take me next.
This seems to be my return-to position. :)

I mean that mostly in relation to [paid] work, not self. I feel centered in who I am, like a person sitting in a boat is stable, and that's nice. I mean, I never worry about being unmoored from my self, just sometimes a bit lost in space. :)

Also, it's a nice place to be, in a boat. Still, I can feel soggy with seriousness sometimes. "Especially now," as I keep hearing people say since January 20.

This year on my birthday, I was talking about astrology, and I said I sometimes feel awfully saturated, like the water sign I am--like a wet sponge--and would like to remember to come up for air, like a dolphin surfacing, or like bubbles rising in champagne...

(Of course, all the elements are somewhere in my chart--I've got Libra (air) moon and Mercury (air) in Aquarius, for instance, which are good balancers for Pisces.)

So my phrase for this year is: Come up for air.

ArtSparker's "Knight of Pancakes" (up top) is a picture of what I mean. Air adds levity and space, it's not tied-down (not literal). This knight is something of a clown, but is still a knight: a heroic seeker and a servant of Ideals who is wise enough to wear armor.

My favorite Knight of Pancakes is Molly Ivins (1944–2007) [wikipedia], who did heroic battle in political reporting with humor for a lance and armor. 
Here she is in 2004 talking about "How We Hurt Ourselves When Scared".

Molly Ivins: "We make the same mistake over and over again. We think we can make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free. I'll tell you something: when you make yourself less free, all that happens afterward is that you are less free. You are not safer."

This is an excerpt from an hour-long speech on youtube, "The State of The Union". In it she says that liberals and leftists have a real problem in this country: 
we're not having fun. 
Some people, she said, tell her they'll have fun "when we win."
She pauses before she replies that this is not a good strategy.

You gotta come up for air.

I am hereby enrolling in the Order of the Pancake.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

In Blossoms

A couple collages I made at my birthday party.
I don't know if I'm making little-animals art because I find them comforting when I'm stressed (father in hospice, revising edited ms, job hunting) or because I really love little animals. 
Probably both.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What's Up

What? Things are happening? In my life? 
Sort of.

First, my collage birthday party: laura b's carrot cake + paper & glue = good launch for 7 x 8
Me v in blue shirt, clapping:

At this party I announced I was looking for a job,
 and John S. (not pictured) invited me to come check out a classroom of  special-ed preschool kids at the school where he works--they're looking for an aide until the end of the school year, and based on my work with adults with dementia, I'd be a good fit, he thought.

I just now got home from an afternoon with the kids, and it was...  full of stories. I'm not supposed to tell stories about the kids, of course, but I can say one of them leaned close to me and whispered, "What are you doing here?"
Which struck me as a pretty darn brilliant question.

Also I can say that small children move more in two hours than I have moved in two months, and I want this job if only so I will start moving again.

Meanwhile, the editor did a bang-up job on my ms, returning it with lots of good ideas for making it better. 
So there's a week or two's worth of work there.
I do think the final book is going to be fun.

Speaking of fun, I'm taking a 4-week community ed class with bink: 
"Funny Up: Adding Humor to Your Writing".

I am wary. Humor and I have a mutually suspicious relationship:

I think it's manipulative, and it thinks I'm trying to analyze & explain it out of existence. 
Both are correct.

For the second class tonite, we're supposed to think of a favorite funny thing and why it's funny, what the mechanics of its humor are. 
I immediately thought of Gene Wilder's attack of hysterics in the Producers.  [links to vid in NTY]

I'm surprised how little I've thought about humor. 
The teacher talked on the first night about what it is (like, basically, it's surprise--the breaking of a norm: like chess, it has simple rules and infinite variations). I could tell that she was giving us the party line, but I'd never even heard it.

Anyway, I love that scene because it's actually very kind, at root--Zero Mostel only smiles to get Gene Wilder to shut up, but you know what? It works. For both of them.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

"Superman Gets ICEd" --illustration by bink

"Superman Gets ICEd," by bink

Superman is an undocumented alien (literally), I have long known, but I only recently learned ICE stands for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

--from Baby's First Resist/story, the Trumptime resistance abcderian bink & I are making, w/wash-away illustration technique

Thursday, March 2, 2017

“Justice, justice shall you pursue.”

bink and I are making a Trumptime abcderian, using a wash-away technique for the illustrations.* (We'll add the ABCs later on the computer.)
Working title: Baby's First Resistary (more here).

This is my first one--J is for Justice--Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. RBG displays on her chamber's walls an artist's rendering of the Hebrew phrase from Deuteronomy 16:20
Zedek, zedek, tirdof” — “Justice, justice shall you pursue.”** 

* How to Do Wash-away Illustration

Results may vary, which is, hopefully, part of the fun.

1. Tape the edges of a piece of heavy illustration board, to protect from water. Draw your illustration on the board, and paint with (white) gouache the areas you want to stay white. 

2. Let it dry completely, then brush black waterproof ink all over the board. It will not stain the gouache, only the board. (Brush ink fairly quickly so you don't re-wet the gouache too much, making it smear.)
Let the piece dry completely again. 

3. Rinse board under cold water--the ink will remain, having stained the unpainted areas, and the gouache will wash away to reveal the blank illustration board. 

** RBG mentions the "Justice" phrase on her walls here:

Here's a version made by Ruth Mergi for the Women's March in January 2017, "written in the Hebrew feminine. Rawr."

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mood Enhancer: Send Mail

^ The White House Mail Room, January 25, 1939, Americans send dimes to fight infantile paralysis --from the Library of Congress

I. DIY Adult-ed American government

I loved this article (found on Orange Crate Art) about the flood of mail and calls to Congress: 

From the article; this could be me--
“It’s good for my mood,” Dreyer said about her call-a-day [to Congress] habit. “When I’m not actively standing up and doing something, I get dragged down and start to feel hopeless.” Moreover, for many people, including some who slept through high-school civics, the past several weeks have been a kind of adult-education seminar in American government.
II. "You are already a good man..."
I don't expect Trump to care about mail (ha!), but I do like to think of the young interns & staffers who open it.
I recommend this fascinating and moving article,  about the young staff & interns who read the letters to Obama includes some of the letters themselves.
Dear Mr. President,
It’s late in the evening here in Oahu, and the sun will soon be sinking behind the horizon onto the ocean.
[ ... ] Sir, I was injured in Afghanistan in 2011. [ ... ] I wasn’t afraid in Afghanistan, but I am horrified at the thought of my future. I want to serve my country, make a difference and live up to the potential my family sees in me. I am scared, I think, because I have no plan on what employment to pursue.
It is something that is extremely difficult to me; and with my family leaving the island soon I am truly lost. Sir, all my life I’ve tried to find what a Good man is, and be that man, but I realize now life is more difficult for some. I’m not sure where I am going, and it is something that I cannot shake. [ ... ]

Patrick Holbrook
Oahu, Hawaii
Obama wrote back:

I was surprised so many people still send actual paper mail. I was not surprised that Obama read ten letters a day himself. 
I'd be surprised if Trump read more than zero. 
Or if he even reads anything from the National Security Council either:
"While Mr. Obama liked policy option papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, council staff members are now being told to keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps.
“The president likes maps,” one official said.
^Via NYT article. Not that I'd feel better if this guy did read papers. It's a little scary to read about our national security ---is anybody home?