Another Rant

Okay, this one I gotta get off my chest.

Has the Socratic method just fallen by the wayside? Does no one use it anymore? Does debate no longer follow this excellent system whereby one’s compatriots maul and mangle and attempt to locate exceptions in one’s thesis, and if said thesis weathers the slings and arrows of outrageous whatsit, it emerges, shiny and polished, on the far side?

Do people not know how to debate anymore?
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Been sketching a lot today. This is generally a good thing. Here’s two of the better results:

The Strep Throat Fairy This is all you people’s fault. If you hadn’t encouraged me about about the newt painter, (I’d link to the finished version of that one, but DeviantArt’s up and down like a lemur with a shaky bladder, so it’ll have to wait until they achieve a modicum of stability) I might have left fairy-kind alone. But anyway, my friend kalluna has strep and I was chatting with her and discussing fairies and it wasn’t a far stretch from there. I may watercolor it, since I’m in a mood for that lately, although while someone, somewhere, may someday buy my newt painter, I have serious doubts that anyone wants to adorn their wall with the Strep Throat Fairy. But you never know. Maybe somewhere there’s an ear, nose, and throat doctor with a really odd sense of humor. And anyway, I’ve got Copper Con next month, and since it looks like I’ll get space in the art show, I gotta…have…more…originals…

Wombat Tarot–Page of Swords This is the other one. I’m mostly just going through a guide to the Rider-Waite deck and picking cards that visually appeal to me. People at Trinoc Con kept asking me if I was gonna do the whole deck. While I am not adverse to the notion of doing a full wombat tarot, the notion of all those cards would overwhelm me if I thought for one second that I had to do them all, so I’m deliberately not putting any pressure on the idea for now. (It’s been suggested that I just do the Court Cards and Major Arcana, but I dunno. Back in the long ago pagan days of my misspent youth, I always felt gypped if there wasn’t art on all the cards.

Also spent this morning writing up a proposal for “Digger” including full outline to a project that asked me to submit. I’m not doing into details, for fear of jinxing, and it’s such a weird little idea that I’m not getting my hopes up, but hey, it’d be cool, and since there would actually be a modicum of funding, I’d be able to work on Digger for money instead of whenever I have free time/the mood takes me. So we’ll see how that goes. Writing the outline was a bit exhausting, but even if the proposal falls flat, it’ll be nice to have.

I really did intend to work on my tamarin piece. James likes it. (I hate it, but I’m not a reliable indicator.) Unfortunately, I was seized with this idea while waiting for it to dry. I think someone told me recently that I should paint more fairies.

There’s a reason I don’t paint more fairies.

The Reason Being…

This may have to become a watercolor, due entirely to the newt’s expression.

Went out and washed the car, something we never did to the Honda, but which our glossy Altima seems to demand. On the way back, they played “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” on the radio, which always reminds me of my Japanese class.

I took Japanese for three years in high school, and am ashamed to say that I have retained virtually none of it–I was a ball of hormones and angsty self-centeredness anyway, it’s amazing I remembered my name, let alone things like the French Revolution and “Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man” and the intricacies of Japanese verbs. Given time and a napkin, I could draw a handful of hiragana and kanji, I know a coupla nouns and adjectives (including “cheap whore” and “stupid”) and the highly useful “Wakarimasen!” (“I don’t understand!”) However, until I die, I will remember the word for “satisfaction” because of Mr. Flood, the teacher, boogieing around the classroom singing “I can’t get no manzoku!”

Little slice of life, that.

Again, with the experiments…today I worked on this sucker which I decided is called a “storkenvane” and is a late descendant of the platypus. While not terribly distinguished in and of itself, the technique was watercolor over sepia ink, and it came out kinda interesting. I still find myself slathering on the sepia and blue washes.

For my next trick, I’ll be trying to paint like Arthur Rackham, because everybody oughta try it at least once, right? Right. Maybe with a tamarin. I’ve been meaning to paint a tamarin. Or a langur. Langur is a good word. Laaaaangur. Langurrrrr.

James is plying me with German chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, and nothing I could write is nearly as interesting as this.

Played around with technique today–I’ve been wanting to find new stuff to try with watercolor, since, let’s face it, originals sell, and I got the mad idea to put some in the Coppercon art show in September. However, after Trinoc, I’m back down to about four originals, including furry stuff, and so it’s back to hammering out originals I go. But I’m determined to try some new techniques–I may never get the same skill with watercolor or acrylic that I manage with digital, but hey, y’never know.

Arthur Rackham evidentally used to ink everything in sepia, so I picked up some sepia pens to try that. I may also have to try doing the underpainting in coffee, which I’ve heard some artists use (and heck, I’ll try anything once as long as it’s not expensive or painful.) My big project today was a random experiment idea that I had–I did the sketch in my standard digital-print-project thing, but rather than ink it, I went over the lines with sepia watercolor pencil. When I watercolored over that, the lines bled a bit, and softened, but retained more definition than if I hadn’t penciled them, while not being nearly as aggressive as inking. Parisian blue and sepia are a fabulous color combo, by the way. While this is just a quick and dumb little piece, probably inspired by too many Discworld novels, I like the technique, and I’ll have to try it again sometime.

The Tortoise At The Heart Of The Mountain

An amusing thing happened at Trinoc*con that got me thinking…

I was drunk. This happens very rarely, and only because James was on Vicodin and I had to stand in as a stunt liver. I generally don’t drink, not out of any particular aversion to the notion, but because I never did manage to acquire the taste of alcohol–I think I burned all my acquired taste points on becoming a coffee fiend. I find beer quite disgusting, for example. This generally makes me one of Nature’s designated drivers, which I’m perfectly happy to be. If I drink, it is To Become Drunk, and that is easiest achieved by lining up shots of something potent that gets me hammered with the least amount of gagging chemical nastiness crossing my tongue. About the only thing I drink for fun is very very dry white wine, because I enjoy the sensation that it’s evaporating through the roof of my mouth and directly into my brain, even if I’m not real fond of the taste.

Anyway. That was a tangent. I was mildly drunk, due mostly to being exhausted and partly due to some scotch. As Mario Party and Monster Smash played on (Alex owned us all) I found myself with a ballpoint pen in hand, doodling crappy little wombats on the back of the hotel notepads based on wherever the conversation was roaming (don’t ask about the wombat ninja practicing the Resplendant Ass technique…) Kathy wanted one. I was more than happy to give it to her, but I told her I felt guilty giving her such a crappy drawing, and she said she felt guilty asking for free art in any event. “This isn’t free art!” I tried to explain. “This is a crappy ballpoint pen doodle by a drunken Ursula on the back of a hotel notepad! It’s not like “will you draw my character he has the following items etc etc.” And at that point Bruce, a writer, enters the conversation, and we discussed how this never happens to writers. Nobody hands a writer a notepad and says “Quick! A paragraph of deathless prose!” “Write me a haiku about my character!” or whatever.

Which is all fairly self evident, but amused me anyhow. I am both delighted and terribly embarassed that anyone wants my notepad doodles, and I am quite glad that I can earn money by arting-while-U-wait, where that isn’t really an option for writers.

And yet, somehow I can see a young Melville stuck behind a table at a con, writing “Call me…Ishmael,” in people’s books. Which in turn gets me thinking of a crew hunting the Great White Wombat, and this is probably proof that I should stop writing and go paint something before I get all weird.

Well, we got back from the dentist. $700 to crown the tooth, and our insurance won’t cover any of it, the buggers. Ah, well. It eats our profits from Trinocon, but at least there were profits to eat, and it’s not like I’m gonna let James wander around with half a tooth missing. (It IS kinda interesting–there’s a giant filling in that tooth, which is still intact, but exposed, so it looks like a molar from that one James Bond villain with the teeth.)

In the interests of paying for this, and in the spirit of experimentation, I’m putting up a very weird little auction–I have no idea if anyone will be interested, but what the heck. It’s a frog auction of all things. It’ll actually end with a real original, and since my frog painting at Trinoc went for nearly $200, I am flush with success and thinking “Hey, maybe someone would actually pay for a custom frog!” I halfway doubt there will be any nibbles, but nothing ventured, etc, and at least it’d be fun. Unless someone wants graphic frog sex or something. Hmm, maybe I better go edit that…