Went to the bookstore today–James insisted I go get a book I hadn’t read a dozen times already, since I’ve been re-reading, as Xmas left us financially tapped for the nonce. He points out, quite rightly, that twenty bucks never bankrupted anybody, and it’s undoubtedly true that a Dean Koontz novel rarely gains anything with age, so off I went. (James takes better care of my mental health than I do.)

Picked “From the Beast to the Blonde” up at random off a table–I’ve read reference to it occasionally, usually in some of those Terri Windling dark fairy tale anthologies. While I can generally sink my teeth into a good analysis of fairy tales, I wasn’t quite sure what the tone of this was, so I flipped it open at random, in the age old fashion of bibliomancy, and let my eye fall on a passage. St. Augustine of Hippo supposedly converted to Christianity based on this technique, so I suppose I was running a risk there, but I rather doubt St. Augustine ran across anything like this chunk of an Inuit myth:

…she was so powerful that she could lift a kayak on the tips of three fingers. She could kill a seal merely by drumming on its head with her fists…Sometimes this Sermerssuaq would show off her clitoris. It was so big that the skin of a fox would not fully cover it. Aja, and she was the mother of nine children, too!

I rolled that mental image around my brain for a minute or two, glanced idily around me to see if anyone had seen my brain twitch inside my skull just then (I mean, it must have been obvious!) and then shrugged and took it up to the front. Some mental images are just so…graphic that you can’t argue with it.

Don’t anybody even THINK of asking me to paint that…

Allergies and art occasionally don’t mix.

If I’m working on a physical painting, I need a paper towel to blot, smear, lift, and otherwise abuse paint. Generally, living in the perpetual snuffly twilight of the allergic, I also require a Kleenex.

You can probably see where this is going.

Not unlike dipping one’s paintbrush into one’s coffee, it’s inevitable that sooner or later worlds collide. A fast-running drip–of either variety–will require immediate attention, and I will grope for whatever is at hand. Kleenex as blotter is rarely too bad–if the Kleenex has reached the heavily used state, I’ve thrown it out already, so I am rarely in danger of accidentally spreading the contents of my sinuses across a canvas, and it just means I go through Kleenex a bit faster.

If, on the other hand, I have just thrown out my Kleenex, or knocked it on the floor as I flailed wildly across the little end table that serves as my essential-stuff-holder or the cat has made off with it–well, any port in a storm, and there’s a big, heavy-duty Viva paper towel, guaranteed to soak up anything RIGHT THERE, clutched in my off hand. And–well, I can’t imagine anyone on earth has gotten away with not experiencing, at least once, that hideous sensation whereby the nasal cavaties sudden decide they’ve had enough, rebel, and send the occupants packing south of the border, and suddenly you have about one second to find SOMETHING or else…it ain’t gonna be pretty. This is a cultural taboo up there with bedwetting–you get that immediate, visceral oh-shit-bodily-fluids-escaping! Noo! panic, and living as we do in a decorous society, the paper-to-nose reflex is so strongly ingrained that it would take a stronger soul than me to fight it.

Even a paper towel that has been catching paint for a coupla minutes now.

Which is, of course, how my nose and cheekbone got slathered in Quinacradone Violet and a smidge of Naples Yellow.

Good thing acrylic is non-toxic…

Fans of historical weirdos–god, I love rotten.com!–may be intrigued to know that today is the anniversary (in 1611) of the conviction of Elizabeth Bathory, the blood countess–yes, that one, with the sadism and the weirdness and most notably the bathing in vats of virgin blood to stay young–on 610 counts of murder.

As horrible as this is, you can’t help but be impressed by the scope. ‘Das a lot of virgins.

Since she was of the nobility, they didn’t execute her (although they did off her procurers) but instead walled her up alive in her castle and delivered food and water occasionally, until she died a few years later of causes probably related to being walled up alive in her castle.

The last thing that went through my head before the tyranny of the alarm clock dragged me into the waking world was “Great! We’ve got the white snake, now we gotta find a white goat.”

Feeding time or twisted albino animal scavenger hunt? Only my hindbrain knows for sure…

Update on Digger Donation sketches!

Took me a while to get these out–you don’t want to know how many times I drew Digger, and the holidays put the kibosh on everything–but realizing that I just needed to address these envelopes, I have done so at last! So the next wave will be going out tomorrow. This should cover everybody who just requested Digger–you’ve either gotten it already or should get it soon!–but I’ve still got a few special requests to go yet. (A few people did not include their mailing address with their donation, and will be getting an e-mail asking if they’d like one and requesting the info if so, in the next few days.)

As previous warned, I did get a little weird towards the end, so someone’s getting “Digger has a hideous nightmare of mimehood” and “Digger steps in something unpleasant,” and “Wombat playing poker” but y’know…

Thanks again to everyone who donated!

(Man, got a painting done today, got all these sketches ready to go out, painted half a planter, got most of a Digger done…this is gonna be a productive year!)

Reflections on Visiting A Bunch of Art Galleries

So this week, while James’s folks were in town, we visited galleries.

A LOT of galleries.

We scoured Scottsdale. We hit Sedona. We probably saw forty or fifty galleries in all, many of which were dreadful cowboy art schlockstops, some of which were really cool, and a good number of which were a combination. Overall, it was a good mix of things that were inspirational and things that made me feel better about myself.

But I noticed something.
What I noticed…

And the new year is off to a rousing idiot thumping start!

The person who accused me of plagerising my own work, then apologized, is now accusing me again, because–one quotes–“I’ve seen it around.”

I thought, in the spirit of kindness and humanity, of being kind and patient and explaining it once again, in small words. Then I said “Naaah…” and launched into my copied-it-all-from-Ursula-Vernon-et-al-I-weep-for-the-collective-IQ-of-humanity speech. ‘Cos if you can’t abuse an idiot on New Years, when can you?

Happy New Year!