Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Isn't she lovely, people?

Shortly after I took this photo, the day's sunlight, in the words of James Branch Cabell, "took the last cloud going West" here on the left coast. Above is a photo of a local treasure, built in 1926. The owner, Alan Michaan, has traditionally used one of the four faces of the marquee for advocacy over the years, most recently for the abandonment of electronic voting and the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. On Saturdays, Women in Black (an organization protesting the Occupation of Palestine) faces a Zionist organization on the opposite corner. It's a good time to recall Rodney King's "Can't we all just get along?"

If you like, you can read into the conjunction of words in the photo.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


In Through the Looking Glass, Alice meets a fawn in the woods. Neither human nor deer can recall identity or name, and they walk together peacefully to the end of the wood ...

Here the fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice's arms. "I'm a Fawn!" it cried out in a voice of delight. "And, dear me! You're a human child!" a sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed.

In looking for visual reference for stags on the internet I found, besides some humans who might more properly be described as jackasses, this sculpture

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Click on the X above to see the treasure. It's two years old, if you have a youtube membership think about leaving a comment for these guys because...there should be more of this in the world. I had seen a couple of posts recently querying the nature of art, on kyklops and on a site I just found today, Nigel Ayers. Anyway, I like the idea that it's for generating good in the world...

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I know that some good things happened this year, but I'm still reeling. Is anyone with me here?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Presenting the Blogosphere many flavors as there are bloggers.  No resemblance to any bloggers living or dead is intended by the above, unless you like the idea...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

St. George and the Dragon

Here's a very old illustration I did as a card many years ago. I suppose what appeals to me about the time of year is an English/European world that exists in literature in which pagan motifs were incorporated into the newly dominant paradigm. One example is the chorus of the Holly and the Ivy, the original being:

O the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer,
The playing of the merrier gods,
Sweet singing all in the choir.

Merrier gods being changed to "merry organ" to fit it in to the new religion. 

But I love the borderlands.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Scary Matron

In came the doctor
In came the nurse
In came the lady
With the alligator purse.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I was struck by this post at Airform Archives some weeks back, in which comment was made on the art on the back of an old photograph being more interesting than the photographs on the front. I discovered yesterday that I appear to have a card by the same designer - the photography studio was located in Nebraska rather than Arkansas, but there are the same fine details, the same conflated Japanese and Chinese elements seen through Western eyes, and a central suspended device - in this case, a fan. Did the designer travel with a printing press, or was he centrally located in the corn belt? In placing these miniature worlds (the central panel showing the woman and child at the well is only half an inch tall), did the artist expect that they would live on after him? I think of the electrician in Mike Rose's Minds at Work , who braided electrical wire inside a wall, not because it was useful to do so, but because it was beautiful.

Edit: You are encouraged to click to enlarge. I'm just saying...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Local Designer

Here you see Cynthia Lloyd in the doorway of her store,Cyzuki Indus-tries, at 4020 Broadway in Oakland. The dress you see in the window has images of Obama silkscreened onto it.Cynthia takes recycled clothes and manufacturer's samples and reworks them into funky but strictly tailored wear for clubbing or just strutting around town. She told me she likes her seams on the outside, because they are harsh. She's just a few doors down from Mama's Royal Cafe, an Oakland institution, and is mostly just open on Saturdays. You can check some of her work out on etsy if you aren't in the neighborhood.  

Edit: Blog title changed due to spam

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Comet found on the Ground

Just caught my eye...and here's a little old school cross hatching for the background. More local color tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Voices/Rabbit sings the Blues

Following my obsession with animals with flowers or flower-like notes coming out of their mouths. Added as a t shirt to redbubble.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Viennese Matron

Freud analyzing a sphinx-like patient.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old pirate at Carnivale

...he's still got a trick or two up his sleeve. There ought to be a Tom Waits song.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Sense of Place

The shot at left shows Bowden, a walkway down the hill from where I live. This is the walkway at the foot of which I took the green man photo yesterday. Past the tree you see a fence. This fronts a yard in which a man named Norm, who is quite old, lives in the little wooden structure with the blue door. He takes good car of the the squirrels in the area, who have no hesitation in approaching and looking up at you as if they are about to speak. Apparently he cut a little section of the fence out so they could come and go through a squirrel-sized doorway.

I've been looking at some blogs lately whose authors post photographs as well as history of their areas/travels in their country. Here are just three, in New York , in Paris and in Bangalore . Turns out there is a center for this, as I found out from the last link, That's my World , for any armchair travellers that are feeling the need to get away.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Green Man on the way to U.K.

This is my contribution to the pole decorating project at thisidorderedlife, now on its way to Knaresborough (and I still want to know what a Knare is). It's my version of a green man, an old pagan character. Here's a link to one that was spotted in Australia (You can see where Arthur Rackham got ideas from). Here is one in Norway. Here's a namesake pub where the specials are tailored to the current economy (presumably resembling in no way the pub in the Kingsley Amis novel of the same name). Who wants to meet me in front of a crackling blaze?

Finally, here is a modern-day version of ineffable mystery.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rambunctious Meme

My post for illustrationfriday. The doggerel was inspired by verse on authorblog.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


There is something beautiful about decay, as has been noted before. In the eighteenth century, the bored and landed constructed fake ruins on the grounds of their estate, sometimes employing hermits to live in them. Decay suggests a mysterious past which can be reconstructed according to the leanings of the viewer. Decaying monuments come in all sizes, as is shown in a recent post about  Jeanne Williamson's rubber band ball.

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!


Please note: blog author is in an extremely sour mood due to having been ticketed in Berkeley while delivering little craft items she hoped to sell for Christmas. Her advice: don't drive in Berkeley, California.  Illustration friday post tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

White Rabbit Surfing

Another Design for redbubble...Also an excuse to link to a youtube video of the best moments of the odd David Milch series John from Cincinnatti, that is, two wicked cool songs (by Joe Strummer and Bob Dylan respectively) , and surfing footage at the end of one of the show's stars, Grayson Fletcher, a third generation surfer (with somewhat negligible acting abilities). Watching 30 seconds of this kid surfing gives me chills and then causes me to tear up and feel better about the human race. Caution : Footage contains two naked folks hugging on the beach and implied sexual act under the covers. Oh - also bad language and a rude gesture and Luke Perry furrowing his brow. I think that's it.
Wave is after Hiroshige and adapted from an earlier post.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Tom, he was a piper's son
He learnt to play when he was young
And all the tunes that he could play
Was Over the Hills and Far Away
        - Traditional English Song

Monday, December 8, 2008

Alice Vs. The Mad Hatter

I decided this made sense in color, so I went ahead and put it on redbubble. But I'm sure I will be seeking opinions in the future as I frequently feel indecisive.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Candle Cave

I took this photo of a candle because it looked like a cave of light, which in turn reminded me of Coleridge's "sunny pleasure dome all made of ice". I have been thinking also about John Dobson, the Sidewalk Astronomer. For a number of years I went to yoga retreats at the Sivananda Farm in Grass Valley and he was a regular speaker there (they have improving lectures available when you are not doing yoga or chanting). He is a ninety-three year old former vedantic monk (he at one point had to stop making telescopes in order to remain in the monastery - Giordano Bruno, anyone?) who took his DIY telesopes to the street in order to inform people about astronomy, a remarkable sense of mission which he continues with speaking engagements. In person, he has precisely the sort of presentation that I am imagine Charles Dodgson would have had - both tentative and jocular.
I have a handout from one retreat in which Dobson says "Descended as we are from [ancient marine life], we can think of ourselves, even now, as little bags of sea water, hung out on clotheslines of bone, gulping oxygen directly from the gas layer above use, and shambling out across the rocks to gaze with starry eyes, through the blackness of night, at the vast expanse of the universe beyond."

In more quotidian news, I'm working on something I will post tomorrow which I'd like a vote for black and white or color (for redbubble, of course).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hanuman saves Lakshman

When Rama's brother Lakshman lay dying, Hanuman was told the only way to save his life was to fetch a healing herb from the Himalayas. He grew to giant height and leapt across the leagues to find the mountain. Unable to distinguish the herb, he uprooted the entire mountain and placed it on his palm. As he was returning, the sun began to rise. As he had been told that Lakshman would die if he did not have the herb before sunrise, Hanuman captured the sun under his arm and continued his journey. Rama's brother was saved and all was well. 
This also makes me think of my nephew (at seven) drawing a drowning man being rescued by a man with a long stretchy arm which went out and looped around the victim and proceeded back to shore.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Illustration Friday's prompt is "similar", so I thought of the Mad Hatter's riddle "Why is a raven like a writing desk?", a riddle with no answer. It occurred to me that Poe could have been inspired to write his famous poem by the impenetrability of this conundrum - unfortunately for that theory, his poem was published decades before Carroll's book. It had been my intention to draw this with no digital enhancements, however due to poor planning I left out the bottle of ink with quill pen, so that has been applied afterwards.In the planning stage: Edgar Allen poe surfing. With the raven, of course.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Over the Limit

A window on Piedmont Avenue ready to be loaded with gilded items- nowhere near the mountains despite its name, therefore the only snow we see will be of an interior artificial nature. Note the two hour time limit...some of us wish The Holidays came with such parameters*.

*Edit: see cat in previous post

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Massive wrapping

This lovely cat was made by one of the artists at Creative Growth, a local art center where disabled people make art (it was unsigned). I bought it at one of their Holiday Sales. At a similar center in England, plans are afoot at this disordered life to wrap 26 poles with knitted or textile pieces by anyone who cares to participate, the idea being inspired by grrl+dog's wrapping of streetlights with knitted creations on the streets of Sydney.

If you'd like to participate, visit this disordered life to find out details and address in England. Remember if posting from the U.S.: 9x 12 priority mail envelopes can be used to send up to 4 lbs worth of anything you can jam into them for $11.95: If you're sending under 12 oz., use an envelope NOT a box to send in (big difference in price).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Imperialist

Thought it was time for another illustration. Let's hope we've seen the last of this guy for awhile. The horse is tired. I have a special announcement for crafters tomorrow.

Edit: Here are some adjective possibilities: clucked up, cluck handed, cackleheaded. Please feel free to add your own.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rather Random

Here is a photo of the lovely Olive, my friend Katherine's dog, wearing a winter garment I made for her. I like to think that it is the sort of thing Dame Edith Head might have designed for Audrey Hepburn if Audrey Hepburn had been a small dog. But possibly this is a conceited thought (see under: Wind in the Willows, Toad's song).

I like the Gothic stuff at this time of year. Just wanted to say, for those who thought Pan's Labyrinth was a great movie but would never consider seeing Hellboy2 - just go ahead and rent it. The commentary by Guillermo Del Toro (AKA Papa Bear) is worth the price of admission in itself, and the film is quite beautiful. Apparently he does all the monster voices himself, which is exactly what I would do in his position. 

This time of year gives me a taste for the Gothic stuff, so from my tiny bully pulpit, I'm going to list some favorites in case anyone is looking.

I don't know what the connection is between bloggers and dogs, but a lot of you seem to have canine companions. This woman wrote one book 11 years ago. She breaks your heart, but it's lovely.

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas 
Described as "chick lit for nerds" by one reviewer. Quite a yarn.

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The first two books are the best. If William Blake had written young adult fiction...

To quote the Ramones, "Hey Daddy-o, I don't wanna go down/in the basement".
James told one of these stories to a roomful of Cambridge dons every Christmas.