INKtober day twenty-eight–time

today is rough for me.
i keep staring at my facebook feed. watching all the horrific stories coming from standing rock and the water protectors who are fighting the pipeline and having their rights and their bodies trampled on…
sigh.
i feel it in my bones. people turning their backs. not looking. and my heart hurts.
how is this world going to get better if everyone pretends it isn’t happening? if everyone looks away? if everyone says it’s okay to treat people like this? treat the environment like this?
and then there is the impending u.s. election where it is vote for this monster or vote for this monster, but, by god, don’t vote for someone who isn’t a monster because then the wrong monster might get elected and it will be all. your. fault.

what if none of us voted for either of the monsters?
what if the u.s. finally broke down this bogus two party system that is morphing into a one party system.

the storm clouds gather.
i try to hold onto hope.
we have to hold onto hope.
there has to be a way out of this mess.

so i inked & inked & inked and kids jumped on me while i tried to ink and weird crap came out of my head and onto my paper and i couldn’t make my first picture work (titled: you are here)

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it’s a bit fucked up in many different ways. i don’t know where i was going with it. i never do. i just start moving my pen & see what happens. i think my second one, “time,” worked a little better…but i still feel like my brain is a puddle and i need to just…relax….

relax….

breathe deep and focus on a better tomorrow.

sylvia plath, lynda barry, and a sheep named tyler durden

i am going to get some pages of moses jones done. i really really am. i have been busy…a bit suicidal…depressed…and busy.

i would be lying if i said i had been working on this zine that i started by drawing the cover. although i have worked a bit on an essay about john irving and also lynda barry. but that is all. and i did this journal page thinking about doing some ink brush paintings of livestock:

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livestock!
so now i have ten chickens and four sheep. i have a tendency to just wing it in many areas of my life. like i never seem to get adequate directions, do not have a smart phone or gps, yet constantly set out on adventures saying, “we’ll find it.” so i got chickens before i had a coop built. i got dogs before making sure my chickens would not be harassed by them. and i got sheep before i had a fenced pasture. long story short. i have lost one rooster to an over-zealous herd dog and have poisoned one sheep by not researching very well and just thinking, “it’ll be fine.” strange that someone as neurotic as me would be so okay with winging it. but i am. another example of my oxymoronity.

we named our sheep after favorite characters from favorite movies. i got to name the ram. i really wanted to name him tyler durden…but decided on harold (from harold & maude) because i was afraid a sheep named tyler durden might be prone to fighting as well as challenging the status quo. but harold the ram got really sick after eating something (acorns? toxic lambsquarters? too much chicken food?) and was looking awful. so i re-re-named him tyler durden and “drenched” (which means to force liquids on–not to douse with a hose!) him with apple cider vinegar and began my journey towards being a holistic shepherd.

but it is my depression more than anything that has crippled my creative process. i read something recently that said that depression is “living in the past.” you know, with anxiety being “living in the future.” i can see that…but my problem is my depression is a current event. i am very unhappy–not with my homestead…but with my live-in ex-husband. aka dusty knickers. he is happy to live at my folks place, contributing only when he sees the whites of my eyes, and otherwise playing video games and being a pain in the ass. i don’t know how to get him to move on…move out…move! i have come to peace with some things–like that it is not my job to let him know he is an asshole…but i do not know how to find peace with him always here. always being dusty.

but i have not taken the sylvia plath route. mostly because of what it would do to my kids. i decided that suicide is something best done when you are young and childless. i passed my open window of opportunity in 1998 (the last time i seriously contemplated suicide but ended up marrying some guy i just met instead. marriage & suicide are on about the same level for me, i guess. ha!) now i have four kids and have to commit to being here no matter how painful it is.

yay.

so i’m putting together this zine. you can be in it if you want. right now it is in a very loose stage of development. but, you know, art–poetry–essays.
and i’m still working on all my other projects: moses jones, lizard brain, whimsy, one up on sylvia plath, space aliens & serial killers…. kids, homestead, survival, etc. you know the drill. and reading, always reading. i totally recommend david wong. but most recently i finally read lynda barry’s notes of an accidental professor. as you may or may not know, i attended uw where she teaches, but somehow i never made it into her class despite her being an early influence for my comics. self-sabotage? fear of my heroes? just plain goofy? we had a nodding acquaintance, mostly because i took my kids to her monthly drawing jams…but i never became soul sisters with her even though my inner geek dreamed of this.
it’s a regret i have.
so i’m sending her a postcard.
you know, a moses jones postcard.
(who knows, maybe she will be my best friend forever after all.) a postcard, and then i will close that chapter and open a new one.

me & my lizard brain

well this went a bit darker than i imagined. i was thinking “quirky” and…well…day 5 without my minions…arguing with the narcissistic dusty about my not seeing them for another 2 days & how pissed off i am. i pick up a pen. and my lizard brain gets pretty dark. i like it though. nothing against quirky…but whenever i read a quirky novel i kind of want to throw it at the author. repeatedly.
don’t get me wrong.
i have written some quirky crap.
like here is a quirky short story i wrote for a writer’s workshop:
a severe lack of grace

my instructor, with her funky british-japanese heritage and goth name, assured me that i was “funny” and that i would have an audience accordingly. i’m pretty sure she meant it as an insult.
suck it, rowan.

anyhoo.
so i started working on my new comic, just me and my lizard brain. it could be disturbing…but i am going to try for dark & funny.

i just need my minions to come home. then i can be properly distracted and not wander to the darker realms of my brainstem.

on a lighter note! i played with more buttons.

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the four gentleman-ish

a wonderful friend whom i have known since second grade (that is 1978 for those of you unaware of my timeline) sent me a book on chinese brush painting that teaches “the four gentleman” as part of its practice. plum blossom. bamboo. chrysanthemum. and orchid. this is my first attempt at painting them–and! a thank you set for my lovely friend who is also an artist and has her work here.

also! just a couple of quick sketches i did using ink & brush and the topic of stark raving whimsy.

and! because i have no minions to monopolize…er…i mean…enrich my time–i am able to do other projects i have thus far only done in my head. mostly with buttons. i love buttons.

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what? two posts in one day? has the world gone mad?

i am going to teach myself how to do chinese brush painting and do some work on canvases. in case you were wondering.

so! last night i was staring at my piece klu klux kraken and feeling unhappy with it. i began to wonder what it would look like if i started with the brush instead of the pen. this is what happened. i did most of it with brush and ink, and then i finished with my pen (not much pen at all.)

it is basically a doodle done on a piece of paper i had already messed up. just a “let’s see what happens.” but i do like it better than the first one. i really really enjoy chinese brush painting. i can’t wait to learn more about it and start trying to do my stuff with the influence of that school of art.

new look! (does this theme make me look fat?)

i am trying out new themes. i have been trying them on all afternoon. even as my children whine at my feet. ( i fed them. i did. but they won’t stop thinking i am a 24/7 diner….)

i have also been playing around with the dimensions of the world in which mojo lives. figuring out the rules. wondering how much the audience needs to know. and doing it in a notebook. with lines and everything. also, i wrote some dusty/mojo dialogue. i need to sit around with this notebook some more. maybe take it to bed with me (nothing weird–just osmosis.)

and doodling my newest character…dusty’s stalker chick. what should i name her? does she need a name? i could just leave her nameless….

i also started trying to take my art more seriously…and my job as a mom less seriously. wait, can i do that? i posted an update on linkedin even. a site i have been largely ignoring.

so that’s my day. how are you? what do you think of the new look? really? honestly–but not too much so!

doodles.

here’s a doodle from my journal.

i am working on a new page. i have some words…some panels…. now i wait for a break in the chaos to pencil in some interactions between mojo & dusty.
man, she is stupid for that man.
i know the feeling.

i hope to have it finished today.
okay, just kidding.
a page a week?
maybe i can beat that this week.
we’ll see.

less heartache…more art

i am keeping busy with art, which lifts my heart out of its sad place and gives me a feeling of purpose…and a way to express myself that is more widely accepted (though not necessarily understood) than me just shouting profanity at the top of my lungs.

i have a critique on tuesday and need to finish a couple of more pieces. but i have finished the picture of bluejean & moonfish where i used masking fluid to create white areas before splattering the fuck out of the paper. i am not thrilled with how the dog looks…but i like it overall.

also! i colored lincoln tree the same night, dripping colored ink onto a wet piece of paper. i like how it turned out as well. i just like my art messy!

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i am still working on the “epic” moses jones…here is a sneak peek at my progress/process there:

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and i am working on a picture of moses jones as the archangel michael banishing satan…. okay. so when i first created moses jones, dusty lamented that he was not in my comic. so i tried to include him, but my subconscious turned him into a bit of an unsavory character. dusty is not evil. but he is a thorn in mojo’s ass. she has a lot of angst she needs to work out. this is just one representation of that angst (first inking using a calligraphy pen):

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and, finally, a request from fidgit…first draft…the wooly bear mammoth:

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while my children scream at me

i sneak away to my scanner….
since my camera is sad these days, i will try scanning more. since i have a home again, i will try scanning more.

i finally have the right ink in my pens. though this page was done before it occurred to me that i could dump the wrong ink out of my pen and refill it with the right ink. i was just trying to run it out by using my pen. my pen was not digging that and no amount of shaking or tapping was getting it to draw. so this journal page is a bit rough. also, i was using styles that aren’t mine. just for fun.

iggy called the bikini top “weed boob sacks”–ha!

i’m still reading amanda palmer’s book. i am tempted to contact her. maybe i will. she touts her own accessibility quite a lot in her book, however, i am new to the fan base…and i think i just rub people the wrong way–so i dread contacting her & being ignored. as she says in her book, social rejection hurts as much as physical pain. it does. plus, i realize that i may never be good at asking. as a child, i was ignored by my parents. the fourth of six, they just kinda forgot about me. they were pretty lackluster parents to begin with, and i was lost in the shuffle. instead of making a ruckus–like poppy does (i admire his 4th child technique of constantly demanding he get at least equal consideration, even though said technique exhausts me!)–instead of demanding attention–i decided to disappear. my feeling, even as a young child, was that if they weren’t going to give me the attention i deserved, i would not stoop to ask for it.

and i didn’t.

and now the art of asking is an art that i cannot grasp.

though i need to.

so how do i start interacting on a better level with my fan base? how do i reach out to people? how do i become human? these are the puzzles i occupy myself with these days. i hope to figure it out. being a successful artist & writer is important to me, but it may never happen if i do not learn how to interact with my audience.

ay fuck.

as for moses jones…my living room is still full of the wrong furniture & unpacked boxes. my desk sits amidst the mess, calling to me. hopefully, i will get the excess furniture & boxes out of the living room tonight so i can set up my desk & feel like myself again. and get some pages of mojo out to y’all. soon!

with my desk en route

at the point of this update, my desk–the home of my art & writings–is in a uhaul somewhere in stoughton, wisconsin en route to madison. i miss my desk terribly and anxiously await her arrival.

meanwhile, i doodle on. as my life rises and falls beneath my feet, i doodle on. i ride the waves of my own drama while i doodle and vent in the pages of my journal.

mojo, i have not forsaken you! i keep you close, but do not dare remove you from the portfolio which is your temporary home for fear of young children wreaking havoc on your fragile pages….

and i continue to read amanda palmer’s book the art of asking. i think i have ventured past the point where i am envious, petty, and sad–and now i am able to enjoy the book. i fear repeating my mistake of making contact with someone who seems a kindred soul. lynda barry has taught me to stay hidden in my hole. but i still fantasize about it. what would amanda palmer & i talk about at lunch? would she like my comic? would she make me some new eyebrows? what would she wear? would she let me draw on her eyebrows?

i’m a crazy stalker chick. there is no denying that. however, the book does have me wondering–in addition to what would happen if i started asking for things–where in my life can i be more giving of things? any book that gets me thinking is a good book in my opinion. hers is a good book. a memoir more than a self-help. and it isn’t chronological. and there aren’t chapters per se. she seems authentic. i like that. neil chose well. i look forward to attending one of their anniversary parties once amanda palmer & i have become best friends & gotten matching tattoos.