Having sold the Cardinal painting–to a very good home, I hasten to add!–I was thinking it’ll be odd not to have it around the house anymore, since it’s right in front of me on the wall when I leave the studio. So I was thinking about the cardinals, and the dogwoods are currently blooming, and I wound up doodling a quick little watercolor of a cardinal in spring. It’s obviously nowhere near the complexity of the original, but it amused me.

http://www.metalandmagic.com/Pages/Galleries/Oddities/springcardinal.jpg

Hmm. Auctions still up, put up some little originals as well that were cluttering up my studio space–generally stuff I wasn’t quite happy with and so I had left them out to work on when I figured out what needed to happen, and then a few weeks slid by and they were just taking up valuable real estate atop the watercolor pile. So to auction they go!

http://www.furbid.ws/cgi-bin/auction.pl?alluser&Ursulav

And now that it appears I’ve gotten an agent for the Anthrocon art show–time to get to work on originals! Yaaaah! Once more into the breach!

Hmm.

I have a quandry. I am not going to Anthrocon, since I didn’t reserve a dealer’s table, but I’m being offered the space in the art show that I had last year. The art show is usually worth a coupla hundred bucks, which is enough for me to want to enter, but not nearly enough to cover the cost of getting up there and staying in a hotel.

So is anybody goin’ up that way who’d want to act as agent? Preferably someone who’s hung stuff at a con before and knows the drill? It’d have to be an absolute confirmed hell-yes-I’m-gonna-be-there, since I’d be mailing art to the hotel a coupla days in advance. Basically you’d just have to spend an hour or so on the first day hanging the art, and filling ou the paperwork, then another hour unhanging the unsold art, packing it, and mailing it back (I’d pay the shipping back.) There’s no money and no particular glory, and generally it’s a tedious pain in the ass, but I’d be terribly grateful and could probably be relied upon to scrape up a small art token of appreciation.

Failing this, I may also try a mail-in–they only take a limited number, so if I can get an agent I trust, I’d much rather go that way, but I may try it. But if anybody of sober and reliable mien is heading that way, drop me a line!

The hummingbirds are here!

I saw one–Ruby-Throated, the only kind we get out here. Thrilled me to no end. I was standing out on the deck, resting after having done some heavy digging (and whoever warned me about the dreaded Yellow Clay, you were more than right) and saw a hummingbird in the neighbor’s yard. I was about to break into spontaneous cheering (see, this is why I suck at birdwatching) when it zipped over in my direction and began intently examining the potted red salvia two feet from my leg. I froze. It hovered cheerfully for a minute, ignoring me as some impossibly slow piece of furniture, and then zipped off.

So that was exciting.

The bluejay has brought a friend back. They were sitting on a branch, making aimless bluejay noises, and then one leaned over and picked something off the other one’s face, a very casual, crumb-brushing kind of move that the other one bore with resigned grace. I could practically hear “You’ve got something on your beak. Hold still…” “…sigh…” It amused me to no end.

Also spotted a bird on the ground with a brownish back and striped head–black and white, lots of stripes, very crisply defined, like a nuthatch, only more of ’em. The books would indicate that it’s a white crowned sparrow. I’m jazzed. I keep seeing new birds–I know they’re usually very common birds, and it’s ‘cos I’m looking, but now I wish I’d actually paid closer attention back in Oregon and Minnesota to the feathered critters comin’ through. Saw one yesterday that I’m stumped on–took a walk with my friend Kathy to a local lake, and there were a number of big black…thingies…in the water. They weren’t ducks, although they were definitely in that genre–they seemed to have longer necks, with orange? (I think orange) beaks. The only thing that looks close are double-crested cormorants, and my notion of cormorants is of ocean birds, not the sort of thing that hangs out on a lake in the middle of Cary. So if anybody has any ideas, let me know–I did not take photos, alas. Did see spiderwort blooming, though, which was snazzy.

Nature is gooood.

Someone, presumably a non-native speaker trying to leave a compliment, said “You are formidable!!!!!!”

I’d like to think they’re correct, even if that probably wasn’t quite the meaning they were after.

Feeling a little better today, seem to have staved off the histamine reaction. Put up another two Dutch auctions, since the last one was so successful, featuring the four Major Arcana prints from the Wombat Tarot, at $25 plus shipping

http://www.furbid.ws/cgi-bin/auction.pl?print_genfur&1082559250

and a Slime Set, with the slug totem and Darwin snail together for a mere $15 plus shipping.

http://www.furbid.ws/cgi-bin/auction.pl?print_genfur&1082565966

Check ’em out!

Today, I had allergies.

It was poetic justice, really. I admit this. Even as I frolicked carelessly ‘midst the pollen dripping pine trees, revelling in my allergy-free state, nose dry as the Sahara, sinuses so clear that you could see forever (or at least the short distance to the inside of my skull) I knew that I was living on borrowed time. I knew that the allergies would eventually strike, and when they struck, it would be with the approximate force of a locomotive laden with overweight anvils.

And today, they struck. And I went down for the count.

I clawed my way to the store and got Claritin, but other than that, I accomplished virtually nothing today beyond mailing a bunch of stuff. I was flattened. Driving was an effort. My eyes are dry, my nose is stuffed, I have reduced many innocent lengths of toilet paper to wretched rags of their former selves. I would have forced myself to hammer out a Digger, but Photoshop was gagging, and it becomes difficult to work when the time between sneezes/nose-blottings is actually less than the time it takes to sneeze/blot nose. It was not a good day.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better, if I can Claritin before the histamine reaction kicks in. Otherwise I’ll–ha! Health insurance! I sing thy praises!–call the doctor and see if I can’t get real meds. I have no idea what that’d be like.

http://yerf.com/vernursu/bloodscratch.jpg

So the little capybara climbed up on Blood Gatherer’s broad and slimy back and found the itch, and scratched it with his webbed claws. Blood Gatherer glomphed and lashed and thrashed, but very carefully, so as not to shake the little capybara off.

When the itch was finally gone, Blood Gatherer said “Well, I’m a Lord of Xibalba, and I’m really not supposed to go around helping people, but since you helped me, I’ll tell you this—the owl carried your sloth friend right past here. But this tunnel goes into Xibalba, the underworld, where my eleven brothers live, and if I were you, little capybara, I’d turn around now and go home.”

“I can’t go home yet,” said the little capybara, “I have to find Stanley.”

“Fine,” said Blood Gatherer, with a great glomphing sigh, “then you’d better get going. But see if you can’t find the Mosquito, and maybe she can help you.”

I’m thinking that if I do follow this project any length of road, I’d want a combination of full splash pagers and little inset panels like this. And that’s about as much planning as I intend to do, since I know enough about my creative process that in-depth planning is a much surer death than just doing a painting or two that ultimately doesn’t get used.

Bird Herd

Took a walk. The goldfinches are in summer coat now, and Christ A’mighty, they’re spectacular. The gold! The black! I need to do a goldfinch gnomebird. The big bluejay, who is also spectacular, has decided that my suet feeder is an acceptable offering for his gloriousness and has been coming back to munch. Lots of northern mockingbirds out, the usual robins–I have never much liked robins, I think it’s the streaky eye-ring, makes ’em look like they have an encrustation of eye pus. Plus they’re jerks–and a positive horde of myrtle warblers. My feeder is like myrtle warbler central. And they’re feisty little buggers.

So far today, the backyard has seen three cardinals (two male, one female), at least four myrtle warblers (I’ve seen a dozen, but only four at any given time, so I’m assuming there’s some repeat sightings) the elusive brown-capped nuthatch, two white-breasted nuthatches (who are the boldest of the lot and tend to bitch at me when I come out on the deck) a downy woodpecker, male and female red-bellied woodpeckers, a pine warbler, the bluejay, a cavalcade of Carolina chickadees, two Carolina wrens, a coupla pine siskins, three mourning doves, two dark-eyed juncoes and I’m keeping an eye out for a partridge in a pear tree. It has been a busy day in the yard, and those are just the ones that sat still long enough for me to spot.

Not having much luck attracting the finchy types. I’ve put out a finch sock of thistleseed, but nobody’s found it yet. I’ll give it a few days, I suppose. Everbody else, however, is in fine style. When the migrants start coming through…well, the heart quails. I’m excited.

I got the high cholesterol blues…

Well, the blood tests came back, and to no one’s great surprised, my cholesterol, like that of both parents, is high. (230, to be precise, with an equally elevated Bad Cholesterol.) I suppose should be grateful I’m not like Dad, who’s up in the 300s. Everything else is perfectly okay, and my blood pressure is fabulous enough that I’m not exactly at high risk for anything, but the cholestrol…well, no surprise there.

My suspicion is that this is a chronic family ailment, and that I will not have a great deal of success controlling it through conventional means. However, the doctor wants it dropped forty points, and I will give it t’old wombat try. I’m not particularly overweight–packing the extra five or ten, like most of humanity in this country, but not bad–but I will try the daily walks through the neighborhood.

And then there’s diet.

I’ll be honest with you, the odds of my giving up James’s potatoes and chicken with heavy cream death sauce are pretty slim. More veggies, sure, but there are limits.

However…(inhale) I will try to give up Coke and replace it with tea. Again. It’s my worst addiction, and I consume enough of it, sugars, carbs, and empty calories that it is, that if I shed that particular one, there would probably be significant changes in t’old body chemistry. So I’ll try that, and the exercise, before I start going into subtractive diet mode.

Anybody got any suggestions for good cholesterol busting foods? (And not bran. There are limits.)

And now, to go take a walk…

Doodling up ideas for Midwest Furfest. I like jobs like this. Nobody wants anything specific, they just want you to do Stuff. In your style. On maybe a particular theme. And this makes me happy.

I am beginning to get a nagging suspicion–which I shove firmly back into the closet whenever it oozes out from under the door–that I don’t want to do freelance illustration for a living…I wanna do my own stuff, and sell it, and have people buy it. This is something of a change for me–for many years, my highest ambition was to be a freelancer who worked on art for big companies. I don’t know quite how I feel about it.

However, since it’ll be a long time until I can do that, my short-term goals have not changed significantly–I still want to work on art for big companies (which would neccessitate sending out another set of mailing here soon..) that’s just not my highest ambition anymore.

Then again, I suppose anyone who’s ambitions stay the same from eighteen through the rest of their life probably has problems anyhow.