Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stick in Barrington, R.I.

I am feeling a bit verklempt ...elephants and redwoods is located in in Rhode Island. I had mentioned that I lived in Barrington many years ago, and this stick has been placed on the East Bay bike path there. Thanks, E. - The photos are lovely also.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stick in Oslo and Chapter 3

This stick arrived somewhat the worse for wear after its long journey, but has now been repaired and sent out into the world by Son of Incogneato, who writes:

The deed is now done; your magik stick has been released into the population of Oslo.
I placed it yesterday (27.11.08) outside the main public library in Oslo, Deichmanske Bibliotek; it is one of my favourite haunts and attracts artsy-fartsy people like me. I put it at the foot of a statue of Arne Garborg, the famous Norwegian writer. You might be interested to know that Garborg translated the Odyssey into Nynorsk, or New Norwegian, which is one of the two forms of modern Norwegian.
In any case, I hung around with my camera for a while to see if I could document the Taking of the Stick, but as I had no takers, I went into the library to fetch some reading material. Pleasant was my surprise when I exited forty minutes later and your illustrious stick was gone.

Son also took on the challenge of adding Chapter 3 to the purple Prose Story. If anyone wants to take on Chapter 4, leave a comment for him that you'd like to do so, then a second comment when you've done so. You'll need to provide links to the Chapter before and after yours.

Note: Stick #9 is still available

Friday, November 28, 2008

Taste the Sky

This is based on a recollection I have of staying with friends in Upstate New York - Kate was sticking her tongue out to catch snowflakes and Julia was commenting on it. At least, that's my recollection. Simple pleasures. 

Illustration Friday Edit: Well, snowflakes are floating balloons. I had posted this for today and thought it could squeak by. I did post a more conventional balloon a few weeks back.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, Here's hoping every one in blogland has as much as they want of what they like most.

A nonsense poem, anon., this is one I can imagine Alan Rickman (who I intend to do a portrait of soon, because it's been long enough since last time I watched Snowcake) reciting in a sonorous voice:

The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag,
The reason you will see no doubt
It is to keep the lightning out.
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

Purple Prose: The second chapter is here at a thousand words. Leave a comment there if you'd like to write the next chapter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nother Sheep

Here is the companion piece to the superhero sheep. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chapter One/Purple Prose

My arrival at the shabby seaside town of B_ _ _ _ _ was quite accidental (or so I thought). I had merely departed the train several stops early, as I was unwilling to face what waited for me at home. It had taken me little time to settle my late aunt's estate, as she had ever been a model of prudence and forethought. Now I stood in the misty grey street as evening began to close in - an early dark, as it was the off-season. A spot of color appeared when a neon light went on in a shop window. Its electrical connection was evidently imperfect, as the light flickered intermittently. I approached the window, idly curious as to what sort of optimistic soul expected to do business at that hour and in that place.

This is part one of the exquisite corpse web experiment. Lucy has already volunteered to write the second part or paragraph. When she's posted it, I will link both here and in a new links box at right (titled PURPLE PROSE). To follow the story, you'll have to follow the link.  I expect that any individual chapter wold need have a link* to what precedes it in place, and then link forward to the next post, so anyone coming in mid-story can track it back. We'll see where it goes - I'll be following it, and if at some point it lacks a volunteer for say a week, I'll jump in and bring it back here. Anyone can provide a conclusion at any time, and can start a new story. If you don't like writing in the first person, a third person could kill off the first person narrator - it's all up to the author. Can't wait to follow this!

*links for these should be to the individual post. Click on the time of the post or the title and you will go to a page with a specific address. Copy that address and link in the post with a href etc.

P.S. Thanks Lettie , whose pics of Eastbourne pier inspired this story beginning.

Purple Prose: The second chapter is here at a thousand words

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sticks for placement

Three more sticks for placement. Let me know if you would like a stick (in the comments) and I will send you one. The intent is that the stick be placed somewhere for a stranger to find, simply for the delight of it.  If you photograph it after placement, I will post the photo here with a link to your blog, as I did on November 18 and on November 20.

For a stick cousin with an unusual placement, see born a girl

I will post the first segment of the story with illustration tomorrow, I thought maybe it was too much to have both in the same post.

Edit:Stick #8 has been claimed. Who wants to place 7 & 9? 7 has a silver smile I found on the ground, btw.

Edit; #7 has been claimed. Who would like # 6? It might look nice in snow...

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Here's another t-shirt design I just put on redbubble. Just for fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Opinion/Grey Eminence

This is my illustrationfriday submission for this week. It's an old drawing I did from the long-ago time of rapidographs, which was originally a collage of an owl head pasted on a mountain. You can see the artist's opinion of authority here, the artist admits to retaining certain personality characteristics from adolescence.

This is the first new post since I was tagged by two wonderfully talented illustration friday artists,Parisa and Tomas. with a meme about 7 things about yourself. I'm going to alter the rules here, in emulation of Priya at the Plum Tree with her variations on ate/8, and list 7 things that are personal Heaven (rhymes with 7).  1.Temeraire books by Naomi Novik, 2. The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, 3. Butternut Squash soup, 4. Just watched: The Princess and the Warrior, thanks T. for the recommendation and Happy Birthday, 5. The Tiger Lilies and their German-Gothic-loving-hands-at-home-puppet-terror-version of StruwwelPeter, 6. Dancing,7. This Bee at elephants and redwoods. I am so smitten!

As for passing it on, I'm just going to say...I've been mulling over some exquisite corpse internet thing, ie, starting a story here, then linking to the next person to post the next (say 3-line) chapter. Anybody up for being next if I start? I'll just repeat, I do like the dark stuff at this time of year.

Friday, November 21, 2008


This is not a terribly distinguished photo, and mostly about the story. Last week I noticed a crew cutting down some sizable trees in a yard in my neighborhood. This is always distressing, and I decided to check to see if the above tree, near the place I lived in five years ago, was still there. As you can see, it is still doing its patient work of breaking up the asphalt and seems to have sprouted a relative since my time. Things with roots are patient. In the Other City (as this Oaklander refers to San Francisco) there is a tree court. People have to prove to a judge that there is a reason to cut down a tree of mature years on their property. Maybe that's true in other cities?

Why the crown in the corner? Just an example of  the human need to assert primacy as a contrast to the tree. Crowns abound in the city of Oakland for extremely humble businesses. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stick in Louisiana

This stick went to Christine at Forget-Me-Not Antiques and Treasures in Louisiana. Stop by if you are in Denham, or see her site for information about geneology. Christine wrote

"It took me a while to find the right place to "hide" the stick/wand. I finally found the perfect spot on a recent visit to our Alma Mater's mascot, Mike the Tiger at LSU. By the time we took the picture then went to see Mike and came back it was gone!"

I plan to post more sticks on Monday if anyone wants to participate - Just ask and I will send you a stick, the idea being to leave it for someone to find. If you take a photo of it once it's placed, I will post here with a link to your website (if you like). Or, design your own sticks and leave them for people to discover. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday Bird Card

I am getting a small run of this greeting card printed for friends and relatives. It's a variation on an earlier illustration. The final will fold to 4" x 5", the inside will simply say "Happy Holidays". If anyone would like to order some, let me know - you can send me a check. They'll be $1.50 each, and will come with an undistinguished white envelope, shipping included in the U.S. My email is smsanford(at) (sneaky disguise of symbol to fool spammers) to make arrangements. If not, just enjoy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stick in Vancouver

Stick #3 from the post of October 20 was placed by Nao at teatimetraveller.
Nao said in her email:"There is a trail, in a forest, on a hill, above the sea, where Gus and I go walking. We are fairly certain that quite a lot of Faeries live here too. Since your wand reminded us of the "little people" we thought we'd take it to an enchanted place. We left it on a bed of velvety moss, growing on an old cedar stump, on the side of muddy and magical path. Many good hearted folks, and their children, and their four legged friends come wandering here. I am very sure that your beautiful wand will be found by someone very special, that is of course, unless the Faeries find it first, in which case, they might want to keep it for themselves."

Thanks. Gus and Nao. I hope to post more sticks to send out soon.

This just in: another stick has been placed - photo on Thursday. I don't know about you all, but I'm getting an overwhelming urge to rent some current-ish Doctor Who DVD and stay in this evening making more sticks.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama changing a tire

Here's another editorial post, Detroit in trouble is referenced, but there could be a reference to greening the automobile industry there. My illustration site
is now refurbished, though much of the work on it has appeared here previously.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


A little bit of Venice still in this week's first post. This goes with the illustrationfriday prompt "pretend". I've also added it to my t shirt designs on redbubble.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Venice Shop Window

This window makes me think of E.T.A. Hoffman's story about the man who fell in love with a beautiful automaton. Hoffman is known as the German Poe. I frequently reread his story "the Golden Flowerpot" at this time of the year, when the borders between the worlds grow thin.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Venetian Scene#2

Some posts I am pleased about are coming up for next week. On Tuesday I will be posting narrative and photo about the destination of the first stick to be placed. One stick is going to be a collaborative effort due to the fact that it did not arrive at its destination whole. Otherwise, the illustrations will be resuming. The illustration friday challenge this week is pretend, something will be going up Sunday for that. Have an inspiring weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Venetian Scene

Looks like the sun broke through for a little while here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rain in Venice

This table had been left out in a ittle square after some communal celebration.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Islands of the Lagoon, continued

Another dissolving statue on Torcello

Monday, November 10, 2008

Islands of the Lagoon, continued

The island of Burano is mostly known for its easter-egg-colored buildings, but it also has a charming Lace museum. I still vividly recall a piece of story lace with figures and paths woven into it. I liked the humbleness and scale of this museum, and ended up not searching out the glass museum on Murano simply because I wanted to keep the memory of smaller place not shouted down by the large, gaudy glass museum. I would rather be moved than have my socks knocked off.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Islands of the Lagoon, continued

I don't know how much time I'll have this week, so I'm posting photos from my stay in Venice three years ago at this time of year. It was wonderfully misty with occasional gentle rain. Here is another photo from the Island of Torcello, where there was a monastery with romanesque mosaics.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dylan Thomas looking at an avocado

This is another in the Holiday series for the Monthly, also maybe the second in the series of inhabitants of the British isles looking at hand-held objects, the first being John Cleese looking at a piece of string.

edit: Just read today, Nov. 9, is the anniversary of Dylan Thomas' death. So this turns out to be a timely illustration

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wise and All-seeing

Well, I am thrilled to be able to present my all-seeing potato swami. this is a piece I did for my own entertainment some years ago which has never seen the light of day until now. It just didn't seem to fit into an editorial work portfolio. I think there is probably quite a story here...the other vegetables lacking eyes, they would need to consult someone with more perspective (although perhaps it's unwise of me to talk about perspective, living as I do in an art world with 2 1/2 dimensions).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dog Released to Owners

Just talked to the shelter and the dog was released to her owners.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Well, the town of Oakland, California is pretty happy right now. This illustration is part of a series I am working on for The Monthly and has to do with a grandmother dancing in the snow at Christmas time, but it seems appropriate (there was, in fact, dancing in the street last night).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Edit: A couple of people had asked about the dog, which was a found, not a lost dog. Just checked with the shelter and apparently once it's in there a number of rules have to be followed for people to get the dog back, which the dog's owners are in the process of doing. I am glad that I now know there are two neighbors who could watch a dog for a day or so while we looked for owners, because once it's in the shelter the whole ownership thing comes into play. It's a huge difference, being responsible for an animal (how it feels for the individual) and owning it (How the powers that be slot things into boxes).

Monday, November 3, 2008


I visited Torcello in the Venetian lagoon a few years back. What is so compelling about ruins? Is it their ambiguity, that leaves the past as unknown as the future? Venice itself seemed to me like a place half-remembered in its elusive familiarity.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Street Chickens

Here's a Portland Photo, I got involved in a lost dog saga today so didn't do an illustration.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Stormy Weather

It's been pouring down buckets here, time to get everything up off the closet floor (you don't want to know), here is another in my series about the economy for my illustration site. Really, I haven't put all of them up here.