Random whimsy!

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/13363947/

or

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

This week is pretty much gonna be devoid of Real Art, because I’m in holiday frazzle, getting little art thingies ready for people, getting an extra Digger in, and I have some cover roughs to wrap up before the end of the week. But in the midst of frazzle, I am forced to stop and paint a thingy with a cool hat.

I, too, have a cool hat, but it doesn’t have a flower on it. I should get a flower. Or perhaps a rubber chicken. Because if people are gonna laugh at my hat anyway, they oughta have a good reason, damnit!

I should really figure out what to call these tapir-ish critters that I keep drawing occasionally. This is like the third one. And people keep asking, and “It’s a thingy I made up,” is becoming unwieldy.

Streeeetchy.

My father, who is just unbelievably cool, sent us an inversion table for Christmas.

It’s a rack. You strap your ankles in, hang upside down on it, and it stretches your back muscles out, so they feel better if they’re sore.

I know, it sounds like some kind of arcane torture device, but I used theirs a few times while we lived in Arizona, and it worked pretty well. My father swears by it, and since I inherited the bad back from him…well, I’ll try using it regularly for awhile, and see how it goes. (My back has actually been fine, although I haven’t been to the chiropractor since last month, what with the holidays and all, but it’s presumably only a matter of time until it goes foul again, being sort of sensitive and granted my Slouch Of Doom.)

Having assembled the device, James and I eyed it for a few minutes warily.

“You want to go first?” he asked. I looked at him. He looked at me. We both looked at the rack.

“Uhhh…” I said (Translation: “Hell, no, but say something chivalrous so that I don’t have to admit that I’m afraid a lug nut somewhere isn’t lugged and it will snap shut like an upside-down bear trap.”)

“Well, I gues I’m the one with disability insurance,” he said. (James speaks fluent Ursula) We strapped him in and inverted him somewhat, then…um…reverted? Deverted? Just verted?

“Cool,” he said dizzily.

And it is, indeed, cool.

Grim Tidings

It never fails to astonish me that I have come to a point in my life where stuff that big companies somewhere do can actually have a Direct And Personal Effect On My Continued Existence.

Case in point, EA is trying to buy stock in Ubisoft, namely about 20%. Ubisoft, until it hears differently, according to their press release on Reuters, is considering this a hostile takeover attempt and will be digging in their heels and fighting accordingly, and may the corporate gods be with them.

James works at a company owned by Ubisoft. Ubisoft is the reason I have health insurance, have gotten my teeth fixed, and can even think about things like taking time off to pursue shows and whatnot. I quite like Ubisoft.

For those who have no idea what the heck this means, it’s pretty much the gaming industry equivalent of having a nice job where they treated you right, gave you great benefits, only asked for crunch time at the ends of projects and always comped you the time afterwards–and waking up one morning to discover Wal-mart trying to buy you out. EA has a reputation for engaging in the industry equivalent of sweatshop labor, when they don’t just strip out the studio, ship people to California, and sell the remains outright.

The rats aren’t at the point of jumping ship, by any means, and it may blow over completely and turn out to be nothing, but somebody just yelled “ICEBERG!” and now, throughout the hold, little pink ears and little pointy whiskers are pricking up.

Random quick little piece for a Christmas present for someone, which I have either screwed up badly (smeared ink on the caption) and must discard, or which I can mat cleverly and give as a Christmas present. Since I will of course admit my folly when giving the gift, I feel no qualms about admitting it here, since if it can’t be salvaged, they’ll get something else and never know the difference.

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

Edit: Muahaha! Clever matting saves the day…

Print Sales

In a fit of organizational madness–and it’s not great to draw while printing, because it slows the computer down–I went through December and November’s print sales and calced them out. This is probably of no interest to anybody but me, but I did learn some interesting stuff. (Midwest Furfest is not included in this calculation, because my record keeping there sucked ass, and I still have to go through it so I know how much money to fling at the tax dudes.) This is mostly for me, but other artists, and those of you following my career closely to see when the optimal moment to kill me and make the value of those originals jump might also be interested.
Read more

Ha! Two large and spectacularly blue bluebirds showed up at the suet feeder, squabbling with each other about who gets to eat there. I had seen them from a distance in the spring, but this is the first time I’ve had ’em at the feeder. They’re magnificently colored, like slightly chalky denim.

I am STILL painting concrete.

24 x 36 is a much bigger area than 18 x 24. Well, twice as big. The thing is, I think there’s some kind of critical mass that hits, whereupon it takes much longer than twice as long to paint concrete over that area. Which shouldn’t be the case, but seems to be, as I slather washes of titan buff and raw umber and ivory black, and I haven’t even gotten to the detail stage yet. Part of the problem is that it’s gessoboard, which takes a lot more work than the clayboard, but the nice tooth in the gessoboard actually makes it rather easier to paint over the top, and takes pen and white gel pen much better, which, for this rather complex painting, will be a great help. (I think I’ll wind up using clayboard for the ones where the concrete is the point, and gessoboard for the ones where the things on top of the concrete are the point.)

But it’ll be cool. I hope.

That’s about the only exciting thing goin’ on yet today…picked up some high-fiber low-fat catfood for Athena, since she’s developing distinct pudge and the fiber is supposed to keep down her occasionally troublesome anal gland whatsits. (Exciting, no?) Small random birds are flitting around, but I haven’t seen the lovely Northern Flicker again. Re-reading The Fresco because it’s still one of my favorites in all those nasty, wish-fulfillment ways that I really shouldn’t revel in because it only makes me seem like an extremist loon, but I do anyhow. Sold a pack of originals. I’m actually well over the usual earnings this month, and haven’t had a dime come in on commissions–it’s all on sales. Obviously it being the holidays has a great deal to do with that, but it’s still nice as I hope to transition to a mostly commission-free life eventually. Another nice thing is that the print sales are about an even mix of digital and real media, which is good–still being slightly neurotic about my skills with real media, I worry that they won’t hold up in sales beyond the sale of the original itself. But they seem to be, so s’all good.

I have been laying down the inital passes to make concrete for another Gearworld painting–this time an ambitious 24 x 36, the size of the Twigjack or the Cardinals–and my hands have acquired the living-dead look that can best be achieved by layered Paynes Gray in successive washes, scrubbing about half of it off with soapy water, and then deciding it doesn’t friggin’ matter, I’m gonna do it all again ANYWAY, and repeating the process with raw umber. My nails and cuticles and all the little lines in my knuckles are sharply delineated, the line-drawing anatomy-study-in-ballpoint-pen kind of look.

I have Earl Grey tea with sourwood honey, and a slice of cheesecake sitting innocently in the fridge, awaiting me.

The cat is asleep on James’s chair, a foot away, curled into a neat donut, like an ermine hemerrhoid pillow (and presumably of similiar odor, although I’m not going to snort cat fur just to check the accuracy of my bad similes.)

The vast majority of my Christmas shopping is done. The art gifts aren’t, but my friends are a largely agnostic and irreligious bunch, and probably won’t much care as long as they show up before July.

It’s cold out and warm in here.

And y’know, life is pretty good.

Well, I’ll be jiggered.

For months, nothing really exciting on the bird front–the slate-sided juncoes returning was the only recent highlight, and it’s just been the same usual visitors, and I’ve been sufficiently busy that I hadn’t commented too much. And just now, I look out the window, and there’s a bloody huge woodpecker on the suet with a yellow herringbone back, teeny red band on the back of his (or her?) neck, and long black beak.

It is, in short, a Northern Flicker of the yellow-shafted eastern variety. They’re not a uncommon bird, but I’ve never had one at my feeder before.

Cool.