Archive for Art

Brick and Mortar Friends

February is letter writer’s month: you can check out the challenge here, if you’d like to try it. My husband, who is participating in the challenge, told me this would be the perfect time to finally publish this post which has been sitting in draft mode for, I dunno… four years?

snail mail

Long ago, in the deep, dark recesses of ancient history, there was a long-forgotten ritual known as “sending letters to people.” With the advent of the internet, it slipped away so quietly and seamlessly that I didn’t even notice it; but there was once a time when I was a letter-writer. My awesome sister in law and I used to participate in it- we would send each other little presents from time to time. Stickers, bags of flavored tea, book marks… stuff that you could fit into an envelope. It was really fun. I mean, email is terrific- I love being able to communicate quickly with people, but it really can’t compare to handwriting on a piece of stationary. We try to duplicate the personal touches and end up with ecards and emojis, but our digital presence doesn’t have anything on the impact of our physical presence.

card covr

The awesome SIL sent me a card from the dayspring Really Woolly line, which was in itself like a little blast from the past. Such cute little drawings, and of course it came with tea. ❤
Thanks so much, awesome SIL!

A note about the top image: It was inspired by a similar card made by Amy Karol, aka the Angry Chicken lady, and I wanted to link back to her image, but I couldn’t find the exact one.

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A Collection of Sunday Sketches

birthday stairs
Drawing I made on my husband’s birthday.

compilation 1

compilation 2

morning people
“Morning people are such a blight on humanity.”

poor miss walrus

shoe tree

compilation 3

Text under Turtle on Puzzle Stack:
“How did you get all the way to the top of these puzzle pieces?” asked the bird.
“The ladder,”replied the turtle.
“That doesn’t explain much. How could a turtle climb a ladder?” asked the bird.
“Because,” said the turtle, “I am wearing socks.”

Facebook is Stealing My Umbrella

When I was a little girl, my family had a poetry anthology with this little number in it:

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.

-Charles Synge Christopher Bowen

We kids used to laugh about it because it sounded so funny. As an adult, I can see a little more of the point the writer was making.

The rain it raineth on the just

The rain it raineth on the just

And also on the unjust fella;

And also on the unjust fella;

But chiefly on the just

But chiefly on the just

Because the unjust steals the just's umbrella.

Because the unjust steals the just’s umbrella.

It is so often that the person who’s just doing his job, living his life, has to carry the person who is not. Isn’t it funny (or not funny) how often the unjust then wastes the resources someone else produced and then turns around to demand more?

just unjust panel 5

So now Facebook is being called out, yet again, for (allegedly) violating people’s privacy by scanning messages marked private and selling user demographics from them. It bothers me when companies do things like that- the rule of law is a valuable principle, and should be cared for and respected. When people abuse the legal system like this, the end result to the rest of us is new legislation. Laws piled on top of laws to clarify the mountain of laws we’re all already buried under. When this is finally brought to that point, the corporate fatcats at Facebook will have no new opinion about my privacy, nor will they decide that they now have enough money. They will find a new loophole, and continue on. We will all have some new legislation, whether it will directly affect us or not.

An Exercise in Delicate Beauty and Video Games

opening image

This past year, two guys named Dan Pearce and Jack de Quidt, who have formed The Tall Trees, released a game called Castles in the Sky. It’s so simple that I hardly want to describe it, because I would hate for you to think it is plain. It’s really the opposite; simple, but lovely and special. It’s like an 8-bit haiku.

The play is simple, with the game lasting about fifteen minutes from start to finish. In between the leaping and steering tasks are the lines of a poem about finding the uncomplicated joys in life and lost balloons and going to sleep at night. I considered reproducing the poem here for you to read, but it might diminish some of the enjoyment of the game.

fireflies

I don’t get paid to write posts for people or endorse products, but I really like this one. For roughly the cost of a cup of coffee (or less, depending on how you drink it), you can download it here. For me, it was definitely worth fifteen minutes and a buck and a half.

castle cloud

Unimportant thoughts about Importance and Important Unimportant Things

Vogue Magazine tweeted this:

all-important manicure

and at first sight, I laughed quietly and kept moving on, which, no offense to the writer, is probably what it deserves. In whose reality could a manicure possibly be important, let alone “all-important”? Even a manicurist or a hand model could skip getting one without anyone really noticing. Of course a fashion magazine would talk like that, but that line doesn’t even deserve the respect of an eye-roll, right?

“Important” is just one of those words that morphs along with us; we redefine it based on our surroundings. Just like someone who considers a manicure important while planning a New Year’s party might easily ignore it if they were planning for a week long hike in the woods, and the mere thought of recreation might go out the window if they were struggling for the necessities of life, “important things” slip in and out of relevance as easily as our changing circumstances.

It’s easy enough to dismiss people who attribute a high priority to their nails, but reading that tweet made me kind of aware of where I am right now. You may have noticed I said that was an email- meaning, I follow Vogue on Twitter. I actually really like fashion, and I even started fashion blogging a little (You can see it here, if you’re interested.) I like that blog, and every now and then I want to go work on it. I just can’t though- I just absolutely cannot.

I started blogging because having a creative outlet is “important” to me, and it seemed like a fun thing to do. I wanted an outlet and a new medium. As it got going, though, since I occasionally illustrate for people, having an online presence meant that I had a brief and personal sort of informal portfolio for potential clients to look over. That’s important to me, but it got shouldered out of the way big time about ten months ago.

scratchy

Meet Scratchy. He’s the mascot of MIT’s fabulous free online educational programming software for kids. He’s also the current redefinition of “important” for me, as I have had my nose on the grindstone working him into a set of lesson plans. Pretty much all of my other “important”s have gone to the wayside, and I just realized that I haven’t posted since October. A small handful of patient friends and family are waiting on me to get something done for them, and to each of you, may I say thank so much.

This all went through my mind as I pondered the immediacy of priorities, and how badly I often juggle my own. I hope you all know how much I appreciate your patience and graciousness toward me. I also probably shouldn’t tell you this, but you’re kind of my new year’s resolution- to juggle the many things that matter better and finish what I’ve started…

Happy new year, everyone.

What I Drew in Church Today

i heart sugar gliders

The Bean, The Coal, and The Straw

Here are some drawings from a project I worked on about a decade ago.

bcs 1 small

My husband and I got it into our heads that we wanted to make a book together. I can’t remember how we decided on the Grimms’ fairy tale of The Bean, The Coal, and The Straw, but I made a set of pictures to go with it.

bcs 9 small

My version of the story is pretty different from the one in that link. I seem to recall having read both it and a much more macabre variation in another book. It could also be that I rewrote the story with a little more death and sorrow (I was a pretty morbid teenager), but I really don’t remember. I was pretty happy to find them. I kind of want to do a few more of these.

bcs 4 small

The Ready to Wear Fashion Industry Likes Playing Headgames with People.

I’m not sure which is more aggravating- the fact that the clothes I buy are all, officially, coming from the XXL hangers or the fact that I always seem to end up buying them from a ninety-pound high schooler who tries to pretend like she’s sympathizing with me even though we both know she hasn’t hit her college belly fat growth spurt yet.

clothing store 1

clothing store 2

clothing store3

When Brain Lets Mouth Take the Wheel

brain let mouth take the wheel

I had a conversation with my mom recently about times when our mouths take control from our brains.

A Dichotomy of Mermaids

Hans Christian Anderson told this story about a young maiden in love with a hansome prince. She determines to have him at all costs, forsaking family and all that is familiar to her, propelled by infatuation into the all-too-common assumption that if she has the right physical appearance she will win him over. Conspicuously enough, she has never spoken with him, and therefore thinks nothing of bargaining away her voice for a pair of feet so she can go after him, which in the classic story, cause her terrible pain whenever she walks. That’s where the modern Disney interpretation starts to make its departure- HCA makes it a point that she suffers pain for her new look, which turns out to be a wasted sacrifice. She’s no different to lover boy than all the other girls around him, except for her hopeless inability to contribute to the conversation and he flutters off after some other girl. After his wedding, her sisters bring her a knife. They inform her that if she kills him and his new wife, she can return to the sea and become a mermaid again. Get it? Kill off the fantasy, and go back to your roots. But she can’t; she approaches him with the knife, and runs off to fall into the sea, dissipating into foam. Thus ends the little mermaid princess. She lost the man she wanted, because she never understood him and hoped that she could get by on looks. After she failed, she wouldn’t give him up and her life dissolved into nothingness.

It’s a horrific cautionary tale to young girls everywhere. Looking good isn’t enough to keep a relationship alive, living a fantasy will never allow you to be fulfilled as an individual… the morals are numerous and obvious.

Contrast that unfortunate creature with her modern counterpart:

ariel shopping

When the Disney movie hit theaters, I adored it. I filled countless notebooks and homework papers with mermaid drawings, and practiced swimming like a mermaid (hair tossing upon breaking the surface was a must). I was aware that the story glorified selfish behavior, but it was pretty enough that pretty beat out irresponsible (and it was JUST a MOVIE). As an adult, I find myself kinda sorta battling with that in my classroom. I love the toys and books and my kids like them too, but I see much nastier messages in the story that I didn’t pick up as a child. This character puts everyone around her at risk so that she can have what she wants. She decides she loves someone although she knows nothing about him. As it happens, he is a mindless hunk-o-matic who, like any good prince, exists only to be dashing and to fall in love, but after she creates the entire relationship without any effort from him, and after she sacrifices the well-being and emotional peace of her family, and after she has gotten herself into such enormous trouble that an entire kingdom is now in danger, he suddenly becomes a participant in the story and whoops up the villain before going back to mindlessly adoring her. In the end, her father sadly admits that she was right all along, and she gets an awesome fantasy wedding complete with paternal blessing and rainbow. Yaaay! Seriously, is that anything like reality?

Am I being ridiculous?

I find it ironic that the message is the polar opposite of the original story, but is it really that bad? I’m a little bit serious about that- Ariel is super bratty and she never has to pay for her outrageous treatment of everyone around her, so should we be warning our little girls against her, or can we just be okay with a person getting away with brattiness?

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