Jul 202017

Not a lot of progress lately, mostly because this quilt is taking forever. The struggle is partly because I didn’t have a clear idea of what it was going to be or look like when I started, so there was a lot of time spent staring and thinking, but the bigger part of time is because the damn thing is big. The flimsy (top) is finished which puts this at halfway done.
Finished flimsy.
At 60″ x 100″ it is taking up a lot of my workspace. I prefer smaller items, for many reasons, but sometimes things need to be big and I let them. I hope to get it actually quilted this weekend, but that is probably a vain hope. Merely basting the layers together is going to require moving furniture out of the living room for layout space.

We’ll see. I am eager to work on other things.

Jul 182017

Bombus ternarius (AKA orange-belted bumblebee, or red-banded bumblebee) are bees common in Cheyenne, despite our harsh weather. They are single season (colony) bees, so a colony thrives in our hot summer and the new queen(s) hibernates through the winter. They are ground dwellers, so I’m sure that helps here.
Bombus Ternarius on echinacea.
This worker was on my single echinacea plant shortly after I found the other plants eaten. Should I say that? I mean, the remains of the asters told the tale, but the seedlings were gone, so I couldn’t have found them. They were conspicuous in their absence and I concluded what had happened to them. I could be wrong. They could have been abducted my aliens.


Some success has been had! One bee, one flower – good start.

Jul 172017

We still have two baby bunnies living in our yard. They are almost done looking like young bunnies and more like rabbits. The chances of them being around for very long are slim, so I’m enjoying them while I can.
Baby bunny
Bunny 1.

Baby bunny
Bunny 2. I can be sure they are different since they were out at the same time.

And finally, a short video of Bunny 1 eating in the yard, before the mailman comes up the walk.
Same video on YouTube.

The bunnies have thwarted my gardening efforts in the backyard. They’ve eaten all the little seedlings I planted and gnawed half the asters down to nubs. Fortunately, the echinacea is tall enough that they’re not bothering it (or they don’t like it) so I still have something to show for all that dirt and sweat.

Jul 132017

Echinacea blooming
Now the echinacea has a proper bloom.
The original plant had two promising buds. The second, lower and smaller one was bitten off, I saw this morning. Ambitious bunny? Busy squirrel? I will never know since our security cameras don’t cover the plant area. Will have to arrange for a flora and fauna cam.

Jul 122017

After a couple years’ break, Slick and I went to DCC again this year. We had a great time, probably in part because we spent less time at the actual convention than previous visits. In times before we’d hit every panel we were interested in and stay the whole day in the building, only getting free at night. This time, we decided that many of the panels were simply not worth the fuss. It is difficult to tell which ones will suck ahead of time, but our experience in the past gave us a decent suck-to-not-suck meter of judgement. We spent more time sleeping in, hanging out, looking at costumes, and wandering around the Denver downtown area. Between that, the fast moving lines, and some delicious and delightful detours, we have our system down pat.

Here are some photos, mostly in order.
Denver Comic Convention, 2017
Final Fantasy mage. Thought I was going to miss this guy, but he turned around, in pose, looking right at my raised camera right before I gave up.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
An adorable Squirrel Girl, and she held her photo pose like a pro!

Denver Comic Convention, 2017

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
Very nice.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
I have no idea.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
Walking back to the hotel after the first after-party (so many parties all over!) we found ourselves behind a couple carrying a kitten each. Somehow, amongst the good music, tasty food, way too strong drinks (I am such a lightweight anymore) and general exhaustion from assorted merriment, this is the only photo I have from the night. Sometimes I find myself having so much fun and being broadly overwhelmed that I forget to take photos to remember what I was doing.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
While in a line.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
This guy was on two sets of stilts, hands and feet to pull of this costume. He was working hard, I saw him catch rest breaks, balanced on the stilts, between shooting sessions.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
Gender-bent Daenerys and crew, complete with baby dragons.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
What a mohawk!

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
Minotaur. If you can’t tell, the eyes are LEDs lit up. The victim cosplayer had a monopod stool to sit on for long shoots (like this one) and a Minotaur assistant (seriously, she was wearing a shirt with her title on it) to hold that big sword and manage the line of people who wanted photos with him. This photo was taken while in between guests.

Denver Comic Convention, 2017
This guy I saw while waiting in line at Starbucks, so pre-coffee obviously. I know I was tired from the night before because I found a part of my brain idly wondering why this guy wasn’t holding his box and what was he doing with this wrapped box in a Starbucks line that was so crowded. That was enough to actually make me look and see this was a dick-in-a-box costume. Hah.

This was a good mini-break for us. And thanks to our steadfast friend, Shplink for the daily cat care while we were away. With five spoiled cats, it was a necessary favor to ask and Shplink is a minor cat hero. Hero to us, just another human assistant/servant to the cats.

Jul 112017

The other night in the workshop, my two snuggle kitties did this:

The Captain and Friday.
Video was a requirement to capture this sweet moment.
They are my most constant workshop cat companions, although The Captain prefers short visits with a lot of window watching, while Friday is a die-hard PEST who must have attention or she’ll manage to tangle herself in cords and pull an iron onto her head.

Same video on YouTube.

Jul 102017

Echinacea blooming
The backyard revamping is coming along. Above you can see the echinacea plant blooming. I was worried about it because for almost a week after I put it in the ground the lower leaves turned yellow. They weren’t crispy or soggy, so I didn’t take action. That worked out, apparently, because it finally came out of bud mode and into flower mode. The lower leaves are slowly returning to green. The asters are still iffy; three seem like they’ll survive, one of them is shriveling up leaves like it is rebelling against life – or my debased and nugatory dirt. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I had two types of sunflowers started from seeds and they went gangbusters in the starter tray. Had to take them out early as they outgrew the cover and were bending over. Also started from seeds were some dwarf convolvulus (morning glory), which seem to be eager to grow, despite their delicacy. My fourth seed efforts were lavender, which I have a personal history of disaster with. They declined to sprout at all, so we’re both spared the heartbreak of their inevitable failure to thrive under my care. The viable (hopefully?) seedlings all got put in the ground on Sunday and there was still green out there when I peeked through the window on the way out this morning. Their environment looks inhospitable, but that is how it’s going to be. No coddling these backyard plants. If they can’t make it, I’ll find tougher ones.

Jul 062017

Wanted to paint something other than cute animals in amusing settings.
the galaxy in my heart
My heart burns stars for fuel. I’ve painted this subject in a more symbolic way; thought I’d try leaning towards realism. Went terribly awry and I had to bring in some color pencils to get it to this “okay” status. I really worked that paper – it started to pill and shred in the middle.

I’ve switched to a Stillman Birn in Beta series instead of Zeta as previously discussed. Reasons and photos of why are still to come. I need to bring this sketchbook home and do some microscope photos so you can see some of my consideration points and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I have so many things I want to do!

Anglien, a toothy creature
This creature is born from my desire to paint a monster. So, I made a monster. It is heavily influenced by anglerfish (teeth, eyes), snakes (jaw), telepathy (brain and skull arrangement), Abe Sapien from Hellboy (general), and the Gorn from Star Trek OS (general). The last two references I didn’t notice until it was done, but they are in my brain, so they must provide some influence to my creations. Of course, that is true of every single thing ever in my existence; it is exactly the monster I would come up with. I’m listing them as influences anyway, despite not actually thinking of them at all until afterwards. I call it an Anglien (anglerfish + alien = Anglien).

Toothy creature
This one wasn’t a lunchtime/work painting, but a quick sketch at home to play with the latest (July) ArtSnacks box contents. Whenever I get art supply boxes with colors that stump me, I find there is always some kind of bird happily flaunting those same colors in nature. This is meant to be a blue-gray tanager, a South American songbird. Birds are at the bottom of my list for painting subjects. I like them, like painting them, but they become monotonous quickly for me. I keep them as a backup subject when I can’t settle on anything else.

Jun 302017

Two subtle green arrows to help you see the bunnies in the grass.
The Captain watches two baby bunnies for breakfast.
Even if The Captain doesn’t immediately get into the food bowl, he is always there with me in the kitchen at breakfast time. He’s usually playing a game of, “oh look – I laid my tail under the edge of the fridge and will now stalk it.” I love watching him play that game. He is a self-amusing cat. When he wasn’t there, I worried that I’d shut him in a closet somewhere, or that he was ill. Not to worry, he was watching a different type of breakfast. These two baby bunnies were eating the greenery and frolicking a bit. He watched with interest.

Later, Oz saw what The Captain was looking at and went crazy, meowing, flicking his tail. I had to forcibly remove him from the window when it was time to leave, with him complaining at me the whole time.

Jun 292017

I had a few leftover dye samples from making my last swatch board, and I decided to give them another, final use. The colors left were odd, and I did a couple sprinkles of raw powder dye to make them a smidge more interesting. I wasn’t too much into this process, so I tossed each into a bucket and dumped the dye on top. Easy.
Dyed cotton.
This was watermelon and power berry. Worked well, definitely can use some of this in my current quilt.

Dyed cotton.
This was terracota and an unidentified green. I grabbed some reddish powder and it left tiny splotches that never dissolved. I love this effect. I might have to pursue how to make it on purpose – it reminds me of my powdered watercolors.

Dyed cotton.
The last one is on a long strip of fabric which is folded in half over the line. It is a natural scarf like this, maybe a low-key hem treatment to finish it off. The soft orange dye color seems to glow with the sunlight behind it like this. Maybe I’ll leave this piece, maybe I’ll add to it. I’ll let it sit for a while and see. I definitely like it.

I’m kinda tired of dying fabric and will take a break. Now that the samples and leftovers are used up I don’t have anything pushing me to dye. Also, I’ve used that single bottle of dye fixative up and need to order more. I use it as a double-safety fix on my printed fabrics as well as these dye pieces, so I will always be ready with supplies one way or another.

Jun 282017

Moxie cat, with Slick.
One of the reasons Moxie prefers Slick is because he puts up with her fussy bullshit. Even if it is 90F, she demands to be snuggled and held. Then she tries to claw your intestines out incidentally when she leaves. No thanks. But, Slick does it. He snuggles that fussy, hot, shedding cat in his arms and sometimes they watch tv together.

Had to blow out the photo a little because of the sunny window backlighting so you could see Moxie.

Jun 272017

Fennec foxes in the graveyard.
Another lunchtime painting, this one of fennec foxes enjoying a sunset in the graveyard. On Instagram, a couple artists have started a monthly art subject suggestion of unusual animals and June’s is the fennec fox. This sunset is painted from one in Lion’s Park, when Slick and I had walked and played our hearts out and were stumbling home, tired. I had to stop and take a picture when I saw how colorful, bright and dramatic it was.

My last two lunch painting sessions were interrupted severely and I didn’t get to finish. As soon as I get a chance to complete them, I’ll share them here, too.

Jun 222017

Paintings completed on lunch break, not paintings of lunch

I mentioned previously that I’ve been painting on my lunch hour, but haven’t shared much of it. Since I recently started a new sketchbook for this, AND managed to share the first two paintings, I’m going to keep it up. At some point I’ll go back and photo/scan all the first sketchbook, but that is a later project.

Creature discovering coffee.
Slick named this creature a Slork. I was explaining my snippet of dialogue as a thing to do if you meet a strange creature on your morning constitutional. Be reasonably friendly, introduce them to good things in your world, like coffee. This led to an interesting discussion about the addictive nature of coffee combined with the eventual potential for 30 Slorks waiting for you every morning and how expensive that much coffee would be over time compared against the natural benefits of being generous to appreciative recipients and potential supernatural benefits that might come to you from the tribe of Slorks.
We have silly discussions with non-silly connotations sometimes.

Two rabbits smoking pipes in a burrow.
This one was inspired by two very active rabbits I could see from the window during this morning’s (over-long) meeting. I knew I couldn’t capture their speed and frolicking, but maybe what they’re doing in their downtime. They’ve put up a sign in their borrowed burrow (did you know cottontails don’t make burrows? They make above ground nests, but will reuse abandoned burrows or cubbies) to make it more cozy.

Foxes in the coffee shop, yawning.

Sleepy foxes, starting their day. Free rodent with triple shot.

Painting from my poem.
Poison Pie, a summer special. Inspired by one of my poems I stumbled across again this morning.

One day I’m going to make a book/booklet/zine/some sort of collection of my poems with my art together. One day.

Jun 202017

Last week when taking out the trash, I saw a tall yellow flower amongst the weeds. In a hurry to get to work, I delayed taking a picture until the evening, but found it closed. This morning I was out and found another of that flower, this one with multiple buds.

Yellow flower
This flower is the root cause of my latest project, which is turning the center area of our backyard into a wildflower and plant haven. If this weed can survive in our crappy, rocky soil, battle off the horde of dandelions, and look pretty to boot then I need a lot more of this type of plant. The center area has been abused over the years (by us and bad concrete contractors) and will take a lot of work to get back to a “perfect” looking grassy yard. But, I hate grass. I hate mowing, I hate wasting good water that we pay for on needy, stupid, pointless grass. So, I’m going to weekly take a shovel and scrape up the bits of grass, the loads of weeds and plant hearty flowering weeds and plants. These plants will all be selected for their hardiness, ability to survive in our restrictive zone with minimal or no maintenance and for their benefit to honeybees (first), butterflies, and birds. I’ve already got an echinacea planted, along with some specific asters. My aim is to add a plant every week so I’m not overwhelmed.

Tiny apples
While I was doing that, I saw a bright green and found that our apple tree has started production on a new batch of apples! Yea! This is the yearly foreshadowing to the apple harvest battle – how many, if any, apples will we get against the ever-vigilant squirrels, the sudden damaging hail, and the resilient bugs.

We have some damaged old lawn chairs that I’ve brought out. Some minor refinishing work and they’ll be pleasant to sit in on the rare cool evenings we’ll get. We can sit and look at the productive plant life out there. If nothing else, we’ll have less mowing to do and something pretty to look at.

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