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.

IMG_1283

stark raving whimsy

here is the first installment/draft of stark raving whimsy, my newest graphic novel project. yay! i created the character of bluejean back when i was in a watercolor class. she was a side character in my story trials of the moonfish. however, i became more interested in her than i was in the lead character (gertrude buttons). so i have been playing with her image & story ever since. with my intermediate drawing class, i get the opportunity to work on her. when my professor suggested a more encompassing story to incorporate my images into, i knew it would have to revolve around bluejean.

the storyline is still peculating within my psyche & subconscious, but i have determined that she is a pirate. and a storyteller. and that her own world is dark & fanciful–as well as her stories. but that is as far as i have gotten. i like to give stories life & then follow them to see where they go. i am very excited to see where bluejean & her stark raving whimsy take me.

meanwhile…zine fest is on saturday & i still haven’t actually made my zines. okay, that sounds really bad…but! i have all the pages in my email. i just need to get to a printer. i loitered around in the uw computer lab…but then decided to go to my neighborhood cooperative press. so i will be going to class late today in order to stop & make zines on the way. i could go before class, but that would mean taking 3 or 4 of the minions with me. okay, my brain just exploded even thinking about that. so, i have to wait for dusty to get home–he comes home in time for me to go to class–then i will go make zines. then i will go to class.

and i am very excited about zinefest. it’s on halloween and i’m all like–would i be a geek to dress up for zinefest? then i’m all like…wait, it’s zinefest. i’m already a geek. and what’s one more nail in the coffin?

i’m so cool.

zinefest!

(ps. dusty came up with the name stark raving whimsyi was playing with calling it dark whimsy or the whimsical nightmare _________ …but fidgit & dusty vetoed both of those ideas…& when i googled them, they were already being used for other stuff by other people. then dusty suggested this when we were talking & the words were there, but not put together yet. so thank you again, dusty! the name feels perfect to me.)

page 26…now with extra ink

wow.  from light to dark.  here is page 26 after i have done the second & third inking.  i love ink.  i’m still happy with this page. i think my doodling has helped improve my drawing.  i keep surprising myself with what i can draw.  i let a lot of imperfections show up in the ink.  i noticed that i did that with the very first incarnation of moses jones that i did for my art class  my style has definitely improved since then, but i also like some of the blotchy effect vs. the smooth.

zombies or cannibals

cute kids movies

i had to take a break from reading (“researching”) graphic novels.  there are so many out there!  so many awesome artists too.  i find that i do not like the glossy, color pages–graphic novels usually done by three or four different people.  the stories are good.  and the artwork is technically good.  however, it has no appeal to me.  i like the messier stuff with less pizzazz and more soul, preferably written & drawn by one person.  regardless, i found myself hiding away with my graphic novels and losing myself in their pages.  now i’m limiting myself to non-fiction–mostly food related–reading.  i’m more productive with my own art that way because it is much easier to set down a cookbook than it is to set down a graphic novel.  the past few nights i have been able to get my kids up to bed by 8 or 9, and then i am able to work a little bit before the baby wakes up & refuses to sleep alone.  that seems to be working for me.  i have pages and pages of moses jones written.  hopefully i can remain productive and get them drawn up.

tonight my nine year old requested that i start working on my “steampunk” comic.  he does not like zombies.  he cannot understand why i would want to write about them and draw them.  sometimes i don’t know why either.  sometimes i think i should try to bring prettier things into the world.  but then how would i exorcise my demons?

monsters for sawyer

i have been having a hard time.  not taking classes, being at the dead end of a relationship, trying to be a good mom and feeling like a complete humorless grump, unable to picture a future where i exist as anything but a failure….  i have sunk into a funk.  being in a funk means little motivation for creation.

plus!  my kids have been sick.  the baby has it the worst and is not letting me get any sleep.  no sleep equals no being able to stay up late to work on moses jones.

and today i broke the tip off one of my new rapidograph pens.  the 0/35 pen.  the one i have been using the most.  if there is a budding benefactor of my arts out there….

but i have been drawing a little regardless.  during the day when i get a smidge of freedom and no one is on top of me to bump and torment me.  of course, as soon as they see i am about to give my attention to something other than them, they are quick to jump, bump, and torment.  maybe i should start taking my art supplies to the bathroom with me (the only door with a lock.)

my six year old draws the most brilliant monsters.  he is my inspiration for many creations.  my nine year old helps me with squid and sharks, my six year old helps me draw monsters.  (this is one of his:)

and hatchlings

today i wrote a letter to a past inspiration of mine.  my favorite ex-fiance.  i have written him many letters and hesitate to send him yet another neurotic letter, but it’s stamped and ready to go anyway–and it was my last stamp–so i have to send it, right?  i’ve had one really good relationship out of too many relationships.  and i fucked it up as brilliantly as i could.  i’m sure i am just a bump in the road of his love life, but i like to think there is still something there.  so i wrote him a long and rambling derailed train of thought of a letter today.  and i drew him a picture to show him how special, brilliant, and lovable i am despite what we both know to the contrary.  it’s a variation on a sketch i did earlier.

letter to pete4

now i am going to watch the second half of serenity –hopefully before the baby wakes up again–and hopefully while working on the next page of moses jones.

sleep tight, y’all.

[sigh]

i finished, but if i had the time & energy & extra paper–i would re-do it.  i messed up a bunch of stuff, even photographing it for this post did not go smoothly.

simon srarbuckle 003 simon srarbuckle 005

i feel “meh.”

i have my critique today.  hopefully it will go okay.  there are some very talented very stunning watercolor artists in my class.  i can’t help but compare my limited capabilities to their impressive ones.  then i have to remind myself of my strengths.  wait…i will think of one…later maybe.

this whole project has left me missing moses jones.  missing black & white.  missing my ink.  watercolors are cool.  i love the way they flaw and leave their mark, but my heart is in ink.  if i do continue this series, i will do so in ink.

maybe a watercolor every once in awhile.

almost done…

character profiles 016 character profiles 017 character profiles 018i finished the last character profile painting last night at one in the morning as my ex-husband held our wide-awake baby and glowered at me.  that was simon starbuckle’s painting–perhaps my favorite & the one i am most happy with.  maybe i should have my ex glare at me while holding the baby for all my work.  ha!

i finished.  despite depression.  despite thoughts of–why don’t i just drop out of school?  despite feeling like i’m a fraud to call myself an artist.  despite four kids and an ex plotting against my project.  i finished the four character profiles.  now i have one more of the big paintings to finish before my critique tomorrow at 1:20.  will it happen?  stay tuned.  meanwhile i have to give a presentation today in another class.  meanwhile i have the toddler hitting the baby.  the cat attacking the nine year old.  and the six year old screaming at me that i hate him.  dishes to do.  dinners to cook.  toilets to clean. diapers to wash….

my watercolor professor says i need the fabled “room of my own.”  yes, that, perhaps, and a visit from mary fucking poppins.

onward!

2nd installment of TotM

i did finish in class today.  just the second of a seven picture series though…due tuesday.  ay, i do love the pressure of a deadline!  i am doing one more like this one, in yellow, featuring simon starbuckle the third (my six year old loves saying this name over and over again.)  then on to the character profile watercolors.  i’m thinking they will be a simple ink drawing with a couple of props to establish character & some splashes of watercolor.  now if only the baby would sleep for more than a half an hour at a time!trials of the moonfish 009 trials of the moonfish 010

being sparse with setting & background, this one was a challenge for me.  you can probably tell i am not great at doing city scapes, but considering i don’t usually do them, it’s not half bad…right?  my nine year old tells me that this is the best sperm whale he has seen other than actual photos of sperm whales–even though he thinks my blowhole is a bit off.

i like it.  i’m very happy with it.  especially bluejean (who some may notice looks a bit like moses jones)–that’s not a coincidence or a statement on the artist’s inability to draw different faces.  bluejean, like moses jones, is a character based on some of me.trials of the moonfish 002(portrait of the artist as a very tired mama)

work in progress

battling cats, infants, and toddlers, i have been working on this painting for my watercolor final.  a second story board for trials of the moonfish.  this is my second attempt on this particular painting.  in the first, i made bluejean’s head too big, madam buttons’s sweater too bulky, the moonfish too chunky, the sperm whale ALL wrong, and there was too much color.  i should get this version done today in class–where there are no curious cats or snotty babies with grabby hands.

dr. buttons & mr. wright

moonfish 005here is the first (almost) finished part of my final project in my watercolor class.  a story panel from my newest comic in progress “trials of the moonfish.”  here is where gertrude buttons meets harvester wright at a cocktail party.  we don’t know yet why mr. wright is approaching dr. buttons, but i suspect he has a proposal of sorts….

moonfish 004i, of course, find this very amusing.  my six year old keeps asking me what the buttons are for.  i keep telling him that when he figures it out, he should let me know.  i am not happy with the final panel’s portrayal of harvester wright, but at this point, i am not going to re-do it.  i need to do several more paintings before this project is finished and only a few weeks remain of school.

moonfish 007 moonfish 008 moonfish 009 moonfish 010over all, i am pretty happy with this piece.  (this last panel is how i hope to become more consistent with the looks of harvester wright.)

simon starbuckle III

here is the last of the core cast of characters.  a very ambiguous character.  i am not sure of his story–& i don’t think i am supposed to be sure.  i like this about his character.

now i will work on some story lines and background pictures.

ps. i am officially an art major now.