July 2004

There is a moth on the door.

At first we thought it was a bird, which may tell you something. It is bright, lemony yellow, and has a wingspan wider than my hand is long. Its body is unbelievably huge, thicker around than James’s thumb, and at least two inches long (I held a ruler up the glass.) The feathery antennae are large and visible and it has large mesh eyes and frantically groping yellow squidgy bits.

It is fearfully enormous, larger than some of the little birds around here. I can’t imagine a bat trying to eat it–even the big brown bats aren’t very much larger than this is. It’d be like me trying to tackle a live goat with my teeth.

I am both fascinated and thoroughly grossed out.

Update: And thanks to level_head, we have an ID! It’s an Imperial Moth! Woo! Go Imperial Moth!

It must be a good summer for the birds, because there’s a somewhat haggard red-bellied woodpecker with not one, but TWO enormous, ill-mannered offspring following him around like grumpy doves in tweed jackets. Must remember to get another suet cake to make his life a little easier.

Tragedy: Several of my plants have died from overwatering.

Comedy: I haven’t watered any of them for weeks. It just rains every day here.

As a sign of how fast humans can get used to stuff, Bob the spider didn’t build a web last night, and both James and I went “Hey! Where’d Bob go?” And now I’m vaguely worried about a creature that, were he on the other side of the glass, I would scream and hammer into squishy eight-legged dust. Go figure.

Here’s that gearworld painting I promised…


Learned a lot painting it. It’s kinda funny that despite all this time, I’d never tackled realistic skin tones in real media before. Good to do.

My brain wars between some of the gearworld sketches I’ve got, and the treacherous whisper that Billy vs. Satan would be a really fun painting…

Reading China Mieville’s latest, “Iron Council.” There are a handful of authors for whom I will lay out money for a hardcover, no questions asked–Pratchett, McKinley, Gaiman, Martin. Mieville, author of “Perdido Street Station,” is the most recent addition to the list. (Not to be confused with “will maybe lay out money for a hardcover after dithering about it for awhile and feeling vaguely guilty,” of which there are many more, depending on my mood and current cash flow.)

Still waiting for the megaplot to start. Mieville has this tendency to get all the characters, get them motivated, get you interested, and then suddenly, several hundred pages in, drops the REAL plot on you like a ton of intriguingly painted bricks. I’m not sure if he’s going to do that here, or not, but I also don’t much care–I’d read a manual on fixing Volvo engines if Mieville wrote it.

And boy, reading this stuff before bed will give you some seriously weirdass dreams. Had a whole montage of steampunk cyborgs grinding through my brain for half the night. Gronk.

Musings on Artistic Mental Laws

Woke up this morning, did the usual waking-and-checking-email-and-coffee ritual. Pulled up a blank page of Painter. Did three roughs of almost scary gearworld pieces–nude women with masks and gear tattoos, in crevices and alcoves in the concrete.

Said, “Hmm, those are kinda interesting.”

Flipped open a new page and did a sketch of the female follow-up to “Valley of the Wang” again featuring our horrified lizard hero. Snickered a bit.

Some days I feel like the bastard child of Goya and Beatrix Potter.*
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The last art dump!

Eh, the sketch was better…

Wombats and gears–two great tastes that go great together!

Still in sort of creative shut down mode following the Con. I mean, I can paint, but it’s a mechanical process–this is the nuts and bolts, not the mad jag of inspiration. Painting digitally for me is not unlike driving a car now, a sort of hard-wired skill that I only need to be marginally present for. My brain shows up for the turns and the color changes and any tricky bits, but my hand, eye, and hindbrain are fully capable of doing the gruntwork while my forebrain lounges about the skull with the good-natured feebleness of a patient recovering from illness. The Muse is convalescing.

It twitches now and again–there’s a rather intriguing gearworld sketch I tossed off a few hours ago–but I am definitely not up to spending the evening painting for another few days, so I picked up a coupla books. And I’m in a mood for science writing.

I’ve nearly finished reading “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” which was fascinating and extremely funny. I love the fact that bodysnatchers were called “Resurrection Men.” Facts like that are like little pearls. (And in ancient Egypt, eyeballs, which tend to more or less dwindle away after death, were replaced with pearl onions to plump out the eye sockets.)

“James!” I said. “Donate my body to science!” (Having learned what exactly will happen to said body, I am not at all deterred, despite the occasionally trivial seeming uses, like practicing cosmetic surgery, that the human body can be put to.)

“Okay,” said James.

“Do you want to be donated to science, or cremated?” I persisted.

James got about a syllable and a half into “Surprise me” and stopped. There was a brief pause. “Cremation’s probably good,” he said. I have no idea what goes on behind his eyes at moments like this, but possibly he was having horrible visions of being made into fertilizer for Purina Wombat Grass or being used to train a legion of attack capybaras to crave flesh. I figured it was probably polite not to ask. James trusts me, but being a wise man, he trusts me to be myself, and this is inherently somewhat unpredictable and prone to strange behavior. “Surprise me” was probably too much of a blank check.

Anyway, good book, recommend it highly. The author is Mary Roach.

Even…more…art! Today is Weird Fruit day!


I have not achieved nearly this much this morning as I had hoped, despite working all morning. Bugger. Back to work I go…

More art from the con! These are three troll paintings, all of which sold…



and my personal favorite

Phew, that’s enough art for one morning…now to go paint…

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