September 2003

Got some sketches done of the old woman living in a rutabaga. It’s not quite there yet–I think the idea requires further percolation before it hits paint. I like her face, but it’s not quite coming together yet. Part of it may be that she’s an old woman, thus guaranteeing that this will not be a terribly popular painting, even if she seems to be drinking a martini and is the owner of an outrageous hat. (Not that I mind that much–I paint mostly for me on things like this–but it’s a consideration.) I told James that when I was old, I want to drink martinis and wear outrageous hats. He pointed out that I’m a teetotaler and wouldn’t drink a martini if it was handed to me. And this unerring logic flattened me, and I slunk back to my chair.
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Ever since I finished the egg, a vaguely fairy-talish phrase has been wandering through my skull, kicking my poor gray brain in various tender areas. I don’t know if it wants to be a painting yet.

The phrase is “There was an old woman who lived in a rutabaga.”

Hmm. I could do a rutabega? baga? house. Or I could do a snail-like old woman with a rutabega shell. Hmm. That sounds a little more disturbing than I quite want to go.

Sometimes these phrases just wander in…

Before I delve into a rant or ramble or other thing starting with R, a public service announcement–with Monday’s comic, we have officially gotten through the Digger backlog! So if you were holding off signing up for Graphic Smash until the new ones start–now’s the time, the new ones start goin’ up Tuesdays and Thursday, starting midnight tomorrow. And if you sign up before Oct 15, it’s only 19.95 for a whole year!

If, on t’other hand, you’re poor but still wanna follow the wombat–and I understand completely–if you drop by the day of the update, Tuesday and Thursday–it’s free and you can read it. You can’t access the archives, but you can still read that day’s comic for the 24 hours it’s up. (Insidious ploy to get people hooked, ain’t it?) Click the niiiiice link…

Ahem. Enough of that.

I got an e-mail not long ago asking me about how I practiced writing, and why, and this made me stare somewhat blankly at the ceiling for a bit. And that’s the topic for the day, and because I’m an artist, not a writer, it’s mostly a rambling, confused rant that may not be any use to anybody. But hey, that’s the chance you take.
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Yesterday was a good day.

It was a good day for a coupla reasons. One is pure ego-gratification–a reader of “Digger” who is, like myself, a fan of Jeff Smith’s “Bone” posted a link over on the Bone messageboards, and Jeff Smith himself weighed in as having looked at it and liked it. Which, while small in the grand scheme of things, makes me feel warm and fuzzy and inclined to gibber.

Secondly, I cracked my artist’s block. I think I was placing way too much importance on doing something with real media, so I went over to digital and began work on a really weird little piece deriving from my recent admiration for James Christensen and my childhood dislike for Humpty Dumpty. (Go ahead, laugh. He was creepy, damnit. And stupid. What kind of idiot egg goes sitting on walls all the time? If I were an egg, I’d wear a bubble-wrap suit and live on the ground floor.)

Mortimer was a very bad egg.

Every time I look at this, I think that she should be yelling “Die, wicked egg!” which I think everyone should have occasion to yell at least once in their lives.

In a fit of pure insanity, and to help out poor Gryllus who sounds frazzlified, I offered to help do app reviews at Yerf. I’ll try it for a month, and then we’ll see how matters stand. I did a bunch already, and now I’m simply waiting for the tide of horror to roll in…

Ah, well, s’good for the soul.

In other news, had a reeeeally odd dream last night. It was one of those that get wrapped up with hitting the snooze button, so that whenever you hit the snooze, it triggers some kind of event in the dream? Well, I kept getting these bizarre pictures that would sort of waft down from the abyss and fall past, and I’d have to catch them and look at them. Every time the snooze went off, I’d hit ‘it, and catch one. I can’t remember them very clearly, unfortunately–what bits I remember are largely derived from the James Christensen work I was looking at yesterday evening–but I was really gripped by them for some reason. So I asked the girl with me–who was in some way part of, or sinisterly entwined with one of the paintings, where they came from. “They’re from Ghent,” she told me. (Interestingly enough, I knew exactly how it was spelled, too.)

Ghent? What the hell is Ghent?

Well, according to Google, Ghent is a city in Belgium. I don’t remember ever hearing about it, and I have no idea why my snooze button dreams would derive from there, but that’s what the dream girl said.

As usual, can’t remember the images worth a damn. Which always makes me wonder if my dream actually manufactured the images, or merely the excitement of seeing them–in other words, was I dreaming I saw cool images, or was I dreaming that I was excited about seeing cool images? Seems like the second one would be a lot easier to manufacture than the first…

Ghent. Huh.

I got nothin’.

Ideas? Sure. Ideas are the easy part of a painting. I could come up with enough ideas to keep me painting for a week in one ten minute session in the bathroom, reading the framed menu from John’s Pizza Cafe that our Shadowrun crew gave us as a going-away present.

But as soon as I hit the page, I got nothin’. The ideas are there, the reference is there, I’ve got cactus and weirdness and whatall, but the results suck donkeys. I have art block. Bleh. Being me, and thus as stubborn as a concrete mule, I keep pushing paint around. Various texturesinterest me, but I can’t put ’em together into anything worthwhile. About the only thing so far that’s piqued my brain is looking at the work of James Christensen, which makes me want to paint things where I throw anatomy screaming to the wind. But meh.

This happens to me only rarely, and fortunately, has no actual impact on my commercial skills. But when, as now, I could paint ANYTHING I WANTED, I have the time, I have supplies, I have carte blanche to spend a week or two doing nothing but painting whatever I feel like–I am overwhelmed. I got nothin’. Possibly it’s PMS related, in which case I got nothin’ for another day or two, and then maybe my brain will settle down.

‘Course, there was this…
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Well, that’s what I get for being self-satisfied with existence…

Woke up this morning, got out of bed, went “Hgaark!” and leaned against the wall. Hmm. Who would have thought that breaking up my incredibly sedentary existence with a two hour hike, punctuated by frequently crouching for long periods on hot gravel, would cause my thigh muscles to ache? I mean, my back was twinging a little yesterday, but this..woof. Feels like my legs are getting root canals. It’s my own stupid fault for A) being woefully out of shape, and B) doing the Photography Zen thing, where I forget that hey, yeah, I’m in a hideously uncomfortable position, because lookit that cactus! Must get a photo! Even if I have to stand on one leg in a cholla patch! I’m an idiot.

So, needless to say, I’m doing the stiff-legged I-am-too-proud-to-limp hobble, attempting to walk without having the big mass of muscle on the front of the thigh–I think it might be the quadraceps, can draw it, but can’t remember the name–actually come into play. Unfortunately, I live at the top of a lengthy flight of stairs, so going out to pick up coffee and hashbrowns this morning made me go “HGARRK!” again, punctuated by quiet “fuckfuckfuckunnnghh” noises.

Fortunately, as with most such aches, as long as the muscle’s not in the act of moving, it doesn’t actually hurt. (Sort’ve like getting a tattoo–when the needle stops moving, it stops hurting.) So I can paint without much qualm. Which is good. Because somewhere, there’s a watercolor calling my name…

*sigh* I would like to offer a public apology to Money Frog, who evidentally decided to straighten up, fly right, and bring in the checks. Evidentally a little public mockery was all that was required.

So the next time I’m broke, I’m gonna put a little hat on him and parade him around Portal of Evil or something, damnit.

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