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
Sweet.

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.

Jun 162017
 

All people, artists or not, have moods about creative focus and things you don’t want to do. Infrequently, I will have an aversion to a project that I think needs progress. Sometimes I can push through that feeling and get some good things done, but if it is a strong aversion, I listen to it.

Years ago, when I was building the workshop, I had a few hours in the evening after getting back from work and felt that I HAD to get some more drywall up, even though I really did not want to. I mustered all my available willpower and went down and got to cutting the drywall and by the time I was done with one sheet I was in tears with frustration and unhappiness and had to quit. Tears would soak into the drywall and leave little bubbles, after all. Hah. Plus, my cuts were imperfect, meaning I was going to have to do more work later to clean it up. But, that experience ratified my personal truth of having a limit when it comes to moods, projects, and sucking it up and getting on with it. Very occasionally, I simply cannot force myself to do certain things. That is okay. There is always something to be done in the workshop, like winding bobbins, cleaning up and organizing, or doing some other, different project.

Last night I entered the workshop with the plan to work on the dyed fabric quilt, but I simply didn’t want to. At this point in the quilt’s creation, I need to feel some drive and inspiration to move forward, because it is okay as it is, but I’m not excited about it. And those fabrics deserve some excitement. Thus, I did not work on the quilt.

With no quilt work going on, I instead thought about what I would like to do, (because I was also not looking forward to cleaning the workshop – I try to do that on weekends) and thought I’d like to make a Scrappy Cat – I haven’t done one for a while. But, the full figure was too much, a Flat Cat would be better and after the cat head cards, maybe it would be nice to do a cat head portrait in fabric. I didn’t want them to be cutesy, nor weird, so (after a coincidental video of Snoop Dogg) I thought I’d make Angry Cat portraits. That idea went fucking wild in my head and now I have about six interesting ideas for this incidental new series. I got one started, but then realized it was going somewhere I couldn’t see the full concept of, so I started a second and MAN! It is coming together! I like it a lot! I’d show photos, but they are still so unfinished that I don’t think the idea comes through yet, it remains in my head. Soon.

Now I have a new problem. A few weeks ago I bought three foam boards to use as project-in-progress boards. The Ganesh quilts are on them and now I have a new series of at least five Angry Cat portraits that need project boards. My choices are to finish the Ganesh quilts to recover the boards, or to buy more project boards. They don’t take much space, they’re always useful, and I have a current need for them. The Ganesh pieces only need a backing and hanger, but I don’t want to do that yet. I think I will wait for a “finishing” mood to come along, and in the meantime buy more foam boards.

This is how my workshop gets overfilled.

Jun 152017
 

Many months ago, I noticed I was working through most of my lunches. That, of course, it a bad idea! My working time includes an hour of lunchtime, I should NOT be working for it. It took a few weeks to break the habit, but I’m taking that hour to do something creative, which is very good for nullifying work stress. My two “at desk” projects are a small hand stitching piece, and watercolor paintings in sketchbooks. Here are two of those.

I like opossums and wanted to portray one in a “pretty” setting to help counteract the negative opinion that many people seem to have about them. This was my first shot at it. I liked it a lot, but I saw that my lines were messy and (for some dumbass reason) thought I should do better. This is a dumb thought because these paintings are quick sketches, fast and loose. The lines SHOULD be all over the place. This is a larger size (new sketchbook) and more detail and color than I normally use for a less-than-one-hour piece.

Anyway.

The next day I did the same painting again. I spent more time on the layout planning and line work preparation. I don’t normally do much or any linework – generally a couple marks here and there to remember where to put what color paint. That alone took most of a lunch hour. Most of the painting had to wait for the second day.

It is more controlled, cleaner lines, but the same general idea of painting. This is fine, but I think I have a miniscule preference for the first, loose and fast style.

So, there you go. Two paintings, almost the same, but different.

Jun 142017
 

I didn’t feel like working on the quilt last night, so I pulled out one of my many unfinished projects and got it done.

This is the largest of my fabric shag pieces. Now it is a clutch, or very large zip pouch. I love this shag!


A teal lining with a little pocket for chapstick or whatever small item.


An almost full sized back pocket. I find these types of pockets useful on bags; they’re handy for flat things you get handed, like receipts, flyers, business cards, coupons, restraining orders, whatever.


Leaning for the dimensional view. It is interfaced fully so that it will hold its shape.

I put it in my Etsy shop, too. My Etsy gets used as an available item show room. I don’t worry about not selling many things; I like the idea that some of my work is able to be seen and purchased, if someone wants it. The possibility exists, and that is my level of “selling” commitment. Sort of a personal gallery.

Tangent, someone thought I was making a full size quilt when they first saw a picture of my fabric shag. My reaction was No, no way. It would be an insane amount of work and result in a shortened-life item since the shaggy bits would continue to unravel over time. That idea has stayed with me, though. I like the idea, crazy though it might be. The big pouch is fun to pet and a quilt would be even better for the tactile satisfaction. Now I am considering it.

Jun 122017
 

More like pillow nap party.

Oz likes it when we throw all the pillows in one place. Squishy nap spot.

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