Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sinister developments

It's growing wings*. Would any of my blogging friends of a less cowardly disposition (preferably on another continent) care to trade domiciles with me until it's hatched and flown away?

*An alternative explanation is that it has ingested a small bird and is doing some highly unnatural recombinant DNA thing. This is, of course, no more reassuring than the first explanation. Are Cheney's idle hands involved?
Another fungus is the Tomentella, which sheds its spores on the jungle floor, as documented in in the exhibits of the wonderful Museum of Jurassic Technology. The spore may be inhaled by a stink ant, which is inspired (the root meaning of inspired is to breathe in) to climb a nearby tree. Its central nervous system inhabited by the fungus, it sinks its mandibles into a convenient leaf,  and waits to complete the cycle. See the Museum's site for the details.
Finally, here is a potentially useful badge for assigning blame. The economy? Blame the fungus.
Any resemblance to a recent vice president (vice!) is entirely intentional.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Flawed/Hamlet/nutty goodness

I could be bounded in a nutshell, 
And count myself a king of infinite space,
Were it not that I have bad dreams
                        -Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Hamlet's tragic flaw was indecisiveness, AKA think-too-much-itis. We are all "bounded in a nutshell", our bony skulls, of course, within which our brains give us access to a hundred visions and revisions, in fact to infinite Heavens and Hells. The old wives said that walnuts were good for brain health - they had to be, because they looked so much like tiny brains. Scientists now tell us that walnuts have anitoxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, and are in fact good for your brain. 
         I recommend toasting them under a broiler at 400 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes. Don't walk away and burn them as I do...I have a touch of Hamlet's problem myself, and could be a bit more present.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Solar Squirrel

An image using the squirrel's famous storage capabilities as a metaphor for solar storage. Technology exists for storing heat from the sun in pipes underground  for later use. And, just to be fair, here's a post about capturing water . In Paris, apparently a need to connect with the natural world has made street fishing popular among young people.

Edit: A Squirrel link, courtesy of Kyklops, for them as likes em.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Heart on a Fuse

I saw this video of Neil Young at Mouse Medicine  (you will need to scroll down to see it). I thought he was holding an apple with a fuse in it, but it's actually meant to be an electric cord in the context of the song. Anyway, that's where this idea came from. Viewing the above-mentioned video is validating if you're in the arts...attitude at any age.
    As far as the art goes - I put this up on redbubble, where it's getting a thumbs down. I am completely unable to judge whether it's maybe a leetle too on the nose (not seeking reassurance, it's just hard to tell because I didn't think this up and therefore am not attached to it). 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One World, One Heart


Over at Spirit Cloth today, I noticed that Jude is participating in the One World, One Heart Giveaway (Click the above badge if you want to know more - you have until February 3 to sign up). Sounds like a good thing, so I'm putting this little decorative collage plate (it hangs on the wall) up for my entry. Leave a comment indicating you'd like to be on the list, and I'll draw a name on February 11 and send it to the winner.  I am hoping to do more giveaways soon - due for some new sticks, definitely.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Way more articulate than Yoda

He may be bald and elfin, but he's no mangler of syntax. I have superimposed my rendering of blogger/internet marketing guru Seth Godin on a 19th century primer because he seems always to impart instruction about good behaviour in his marketing advice. It's very heartening to start the day with his posts. He also does good work through Squidoo, making advertising revenues assignable to charities.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Department of Big Ideas

So, the above title has both an ironic and a straightforward meaning in this post. The straight up, non-ironic one is that grrl+dog has organized a global guerrilla knit-up project, to reach its most widespread manifestation on February 23rd. Please join in the free-for-all if you would like. I have linked to the original, explanatory post, but following posts show some initial embodiments of this project.
            The more ironic meaning is that I have noticed that since I haven't physically started on the project, it has grown more and more elaborate in my mind. I decided mine should have some sticks (a few previous examples of those here) and then a few days later decided that, wouldn't it be nice if all of the sticks have tags which linked to related videos on youtube.
          Think of this post as a cautionary tale: there's a time to get started on projects.

Edit: see Feb. 2 post for how it really turned out.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


This entry for illustration friday was inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's ode to untethered (possibly unhinged) heroism, Excelsior, the first stanza of which reads:

The  shades of night were falling fast
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device -

Oh dear, I see I have left the exclamation point any case, I was introduced to this poem in The Thurber Carnival, James Thurber being a domestic diety in my childhood home. You can see Thurber's own interpretation here. I think I made the climber a fair-haired Englishman because I had in the back of my mind the Scott expedition member Captain Oates who famously said "I am just going out and I may be some time". If you would like to see some actual icy expanses, Transient Lives has posted a virtual tour of a glacier in Patagonia.

Edit: Avid reader has commented that I left the L out of the banner. It was not intended to make the piece more editorial and is in fact an error...I will have to see if my conscience forces me to fix it in the course of the day, or I leave it as a happy accident. [Fixed]

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Badgery, NOW better-looking & functional

More badges which may be copied and used without let or hindrance. 

Here is a choice of colors for the the badge requested by Milly at Elephants and Redwoods. She has plunged into painting a portrait of her husband and is looking for suggestions from people. More generally, this one could be used if you wanted feedback on something you were presenting for consideration, or if you want particularly candid comments.
So, you've just been linked to some major breaking story or are for some reason expecting a number of guests at your blog. Here's a way to point people to the post you're proudest of...or if you have a blog about pies, the pie recipe, or if you have one of those ones with rude content, well, you get the idea. you can always put a title in above it to make it clear what its purpose is. 

This was the third one I did, the simplest, and my favorite. This is one where you can put a link to something cool you saw and get visitors to go that site. You can change it every day, or several times a day. Or you can use it to point to something on your own site - maybe a past post that relates to a current one. You can explain what it is, I think it would be fun to post it without explanation.

Finally, let me just mention the black box (scroll down in my right-hand column) which originated on author Carolyn Smailes' blog. Try it a couple of times and decide if you want to add it to your site - it's a good way to increase traffic, and I find the writing part of it to be quite addictive.

Edit: Eva's comment reminded me I meant to say, you can also make your own badge. I made mine At 284 pixels wide, which fit the side bar.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Heaven/The Youth Vote

Above is a photo of a painting by the graffiti artist The Mesngr or Lord Mesngr, of San Jose (The people at Manifesto Bikes weren't completely clear). It brought to mind the old Talkings Heads song Heaven. In Heaven, according to Mr. Byrne, "They play all my favorite bands". Which brings me to my request - I've noticed that a lot of people who've stopped by since the Blog of Note thing are young - me, I'm of an older generation. So, my friends: I like linking songs - they don't all HAVE to be from the 60's and 80's - I would be grateful if any of you would leave contemporaryish song names OR youtube links to a couple of things you like in the comments. If I can link them thematically with a particular post, or even put a few of them together as a narrative, I will do so at some point in the future. If I use a song you've suggested, I will link to your blog in the post - and I'll make an effort to let you know ahead of time when I've done so. Thrash metal, country and very abstract stuff are probably not going to work so well for purposes of this blog (no judgement, just saying).*

Above is a photo of Manifesto Bikes, which seems to be a center for social unrest of the best kind. And, as they make it clear on their website, they're not snobs. on 40th Street in Oakland (AKA the Navel of the World).

*Edit: Songs not in English most definitely okay.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Social Contract/Badgery

I'm not always sure I'm honoring the blogging social contract, since anything being assigned or awarded to me seems to bring up my authority (Mom?) issues. Eva at My Colorful Research has addressed the awards issue in a post.
        Also, on the general subject of prickliness, someone very innocently asked me here about using one of my images and I went to his blog and found some unattributed stuff, which caused me to give him quite the lecture (to the point where I'm feeling I was unnecessarily severe).              There are some problems with the capitalist system . However, at this point we need currency to live, and images are what artists have. So, I hope people will think about asking first/giving credit when you see something cool on the web.
       In any case, I did want to express my gratitude to the blogging community by inviting people, if they would like, to right click the above badge if they want to use it on their blog without attribution ( I will be putting some version of it on redbubble as a t-shirt). Edit: the red is hinky, not sure why - I will try to fix at some point. Also here are some other ones you can use if you like, and please leave suggestions in comments if there are any you would like to see, I will definitely be doing more in the future (I have one planned in relation to Cthulhu's little helper).
Here is one that might entice people to linger on your blog, at the risk of raising expectations.

Here is one that could be put up when you were in a mood to either warn people, or gain sympathy and possibly expressions of support. If it were in British English, of course, it would be a sticky situation, so I will leave that to a British illustrator.

This one may need some work, since it might have the opposite of the intended effect.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


So we get a day to celebrate our changed circumstances - though from what I've read about the inauguration speech prepared (I am posting from the past) it sounds as if Dad is Home, and he will be Straightening Us Out. So , here is a link to a musical celebration seen on mousemedicine , and if you want to see another (super furry) take on universal connection, 

(pause for aural palate-cleansing)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cthulhu's Little Helper

Discovered growing up from under my mouldering apartment building (possibly a limb of some entity which is controlling my landlord?). It really does look as gilded as it does in the photo, and seems from traces on its top to have been fertilized - my cat may have been involved. Is money the root of all evil? Or could it be ...Mushrooms?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Problem Child

She's like a daughter to him, but Commander Adama just can't seem to instill the notion of discipline into Kara Thrace. If you haven't seen Battlestar Galactica, you're missing a great actor's showcase and the remarkable actress Katee Sackhoff in the role of Kara Thrace (and that guy with the droopy face is no slouch either). It was slightly disturbing to see Edward James Olmos smiling in some of the photos on Google Image when I searched for reference - it would be highly improper for him ever to do so on the show. Cause things are way, way worse than they are in the world right now in that particular dystopia. Here is the Robot Chicken take on the linguistic variations of BG. If you know the show and are curious about "Heeyooo" followed by drumming in the opening credits, this is what it is (as promised, K).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pale Reflection/Lost in Reverie

According to R. Nemo Hill , to the Shiny Shallow Sunbird the real world is a pale reflection of what it sees reflected in the water. This illustration is a result of thinking about doing something with pale reflection and coming upon his post today on the subject of some birds you may not have heard of (So, words which found an image). You are encouraged to visit his blog for ornithological and other wonders.

Sometimes making art feels like this.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Turning and turning will be our delight
Till by turning and turning, we come round right
- from the Shaker song "'Tis a gift to be simple"

Also works for Sufi spinners

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2 Gems

A couple of recently discovered blogs by interesting women that you may want to check out:

after the pencil soars through , for its fierce intelligence


waiting room aquarium , to see an artist figuring out a creative path

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Most likely to

Stephen Colbert is probably going to be most familiar to American readers. I've had questions lately, with the deterioration of, oh, just lots of stuff, whether satire has place anymore as a corrective to social ills. But I think this guy keeps it fresh. There's also something quite nice he does, which is to break character, simply in his facial expression, a few times in the course of his show. It recalls what I like about a few performers who you can imagine at the back of the room in high school, with the teacher saying:

"Yes,Mr.Wayans,is there something you'd like to share with the class?"

They have.

Who's on your list - or were you that person?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Summer Dream

One of my assemblages, there are more here.

And from stranger shores, Carlos' are here. Happy exploring!

Edit: I was going to do a rant of some kind, but I am temporarily tired of the (figurative) sound of my own voice. Hope you all don't mind, I'm sure I will recover the will to rant shortly.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This Island Earth

I had been thinking about how, with our best efforts, it's hard to live green - for the most part we can make steps in that direction, but most of us own cars. In California, we are running out of water, and I think about this when I take a shower. I read this post today on flutterbean, so I know I'm not alone in thinking about this. I did check , and there is a central place for recycling electronics called where you live for those in The United States. One thing I take pride by association in is that Oakland is the home of Green for All, an organization founded by Van Jones providing training for green jobs as a part of revitalizing the economy. Finally, in the practical matter of conserving resources - refrigerators, as heat-producing devices, use up quite a bit of electricity. Here are tips on how to get them to use less at A Concord Carpenter Comments .

Edit: submitted by jenn's mama:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Environmental Footprint

It looks like something is stalking the streets...An amusing environmental revenge fantasy is Sheri Tepper's The Family Tree, written in what a friend described as "serviceable prose". Not a great prose stylist, but she is a funny woman. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Contained Vision/losing the spectrum

This is a reworking of an illustration I did for Education Week some years back for an opinion piece by Mike Rose, a U.C.L.A. professor who has had a long commitment to a philosophy of education with more depth and complexity than one that relies test scores or experts' theories that leave out real world experience. In particular, he feels that teachers themselves have been left out of the debate. Mike said in that essay:

We mistake narrowness for rigor, but actually we are not rigorous enough. To acknowledge our collective capacity is to take the concept of variability seriously. Not as a neat binary distinction or as slots along a simplified cognitive continuum, but as a bountiful and layered field, where many processes and domains of knowledge interact.

Mike's current post concerns the labeling involved in the preliminaries of selecting of Obama's Secretary of Education, and a plea for involving teachers in the formation of public policy for our schools. If you are interested in education, I hope you'll check it out.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Weird Comfort

Feeling slightly stunned at being a blog of note...hello to new people here. Sometimes I guess it pays to be cranky. It came at a good time, as I have been feeling a bit at sea. Reality on the ground, as opposed to the ether/blogosphere, is rather discouraging of late (not only for artists, I know). So it's lovely to have the opportunity to connect. Recently watched for an odd sort of comfort: the precursor to Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond, with host John Neuland, whose presentation is a perfect combination of geniality and dignity. The unexplained forces at work in this half hour drama, said to be based on real events, affect people on an individual level, as opposed to being vast geopolitical or economic bogeymen. And Neuland is incredibly soothing.

The above is a little sculpture I made of a headless frosty the snowman figure, a replacement ceramic head I made, a saucer, a sugar pot lid, thinset mortar and buttons. It will eventually be on my etsy site when I pull myself together.

Edit: correction by Peevish (see comments): "One Step Beyond ran 20 Jan 1959 until Jul 1961: Twilight Zone pilot episode was aired in 1958 and the series ran 2 Oct 59 until June 64".

I still think it would be a lot easier to hang out with John Neuland (urbane, that was the descriptive adjective I was trying to think of) than Rod Serling.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kleo Kat

This is available on redbubble as a t-shirt.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nother New Year's Stick, Germany

This clown stick was placed on New Year's Eve in The German town of Erlangen by the proprietor of Lilaphase, who transported from Atlanta, Georgia in her luggage for that purpose. Check this blog for adventures in home schooling and transporting children across borders in the tradition of Shirley Jackson's "Life among the Savages".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Matrix Fail

So maybe I'm looking for it, but it certainly seems to me we're getting pretty short of comforting illusions around here. The big nasty coal sludge that burst out of its concealment in Tennessee recently (video linked on grrl+dog) like the Creature from the Black Lagoon is a reminder that coal sequestration as it is practiced now is not too functional. At This is Reality, the opinion seems to be that clean coal mostly exists as a public relations tactic for the coal industry, and in fact the evidence as she stands seems to support this. Whether the President-elect will change his mind about this "technology" remains to be seen.

In other news of the harsh light of reality, an  article by Matthew Parris (found on Andrew Sullivan's blog) considers that possibly the current President merely hastened the end of the American delusion, and that Obama's job may be to help We the People adjust to our changed circumstances. As Parris says, who better than a Brit to comment on fading empire. On Art Scatter, the American Tall Tale is considered from the point of view of the public's ready belief in the larger-than-life appetites of Diamond Jim Brady. The post goes on to examine how free Americans have been with their credulity recently to more harmful effect.

Edit 18 hours after publication: I thought this was clear, but two of the comments have made me think I need to be clearer: I do not believe Obama is a superhero who will save us (I think we have to be awake ourselves in order to do this), and I do not believe that clean coal exists as viable technology. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Son of a Gun

When I was in college, the equestrian stature of Bartolomeo Colleoni in my art history book made a great impression.  On finishing the above, I realized I had drawn a descendant of the statue, whose sculptor appears to have heartily disliked his subject. I believe this statue was also kept in mind when I saw the Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God by the remarkable resemblance of Klaus Kinski (in a typically unhinged performance) to the Venetian statue. Western Civilization - it begins in bronze and ends in pastiche. Th...Th...That's all, Folks.

Edit: Massive rant tomorrow. More art on Tuesday.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Mildred resolved to practice being more resilient in 2009 and started the year out with a cup of tea in midair, while Mr. Jingles preferred a nap. For illustration friday.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's stick in Montana

The above photo is by Tammie Lee at Spirithelpers , who placed Stick #9 at Lake MacDonald at Glacier National Park. Tammie has a remarkable eye for the natural world and has many extraordinary images on her site, a favorite of mine looks like the mouth of winter. The German phrase "Das gros in klein zu finden" (To find the large in the small) comes to mind...miniature fractal worlds. Stop by her site to be amazed.

Edit on Sunday: Bad German, Should read : "Das Grosse im kleinen zu finden", thanks ger for the correction.