Saturday, December 28, 2013

Allowance of Holiday Laziness, and setting the oven on fire

4:43 AM 12/28/2013

the obsession with Sherlock continues.
We have found and unlocked secret online content - placed there to tease viewers about
the upcoming season! I also found a book at dads containing 3 volumes of Sherlock Stories
all in one book. The first story I read is the original about Irene Adler. Now that I've
watched the BBC version of things, the character has been brought to life for me, making
it easier to read and be interested in the stories - even the Victorian versions of them.

I have another book I need to finish as a job so I can Illustrate a cover for it. While I'm
enjoying that book, I'm on HOLIDAY as a HERMIT, so I'm allowing myself to be
emersed in other things. Although, I think tomorrow I may lightly begin to work on some
other projects. In total have a private portrait, a book cover portrait, the remains of a cd
cover, A book cover (trade), an OLD project that needs to be finished, and an upcoming
game characters commission. 2 other projects are on my shelf that sorta died with the
other involved party. For you artists, how many projects have you booked at the same
time? I hope once I get caught up on these I can manage myself better.

So, this Holiday as a Hermit has included watching a lot of tele, playing 'Fate's Carnival'
(Mystery Case File game) and spending time in the kitchen. I cooked BRICKLE today for
the first time on my own. I performed the recipe out of order and set the oven on fire, but
the dessert I was cooking miraculously turned out fantastic.
No idea how that happened, and I don't think I can blame coyote on that one.

I'm also thinking in an english accent. Too much SHERLOCK.

p.s. Freshly cooked bacon and raw celery make a really good combination.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Reading fake tv blogs and chatting about Christmas

5:54 AM 12/27/2013

I am amused by finding out that there is an actual blog for the John Watson character on
the BBC series "Sherlock" - the characters keep referring to his blog posts, and now I can
go READ THEM. There are other little fun tidbits too, like Sherlock's blog, and Molly the
Medical Examiner's blog. There are comments by other people in the show, and Molly's
blog shows the growing love interest between her and Moriarty (before anyone knew it
was Moriarty)
I'm very impressed and amused and have read about half of the entries so far. More than
just the episodes of the show, there are other tidbits too - rants and insights of things that
happen in the shows. (Like when he argued with the automated grocery till)
In fact, I am inspired by the whole blog thing again, I'm going to post this very entry. (I
know, I THREATEN this all the time and rarely get anywhere!)
(I DO log my days often but rarely share them anymore. I felt ... jammed by the idea of
having to screen my thoughts for the public)

And now it is 6:00 am. I should go to bed. I'm just now beginning to get tired. Its
Christmas week and I am finally giving myself a break from commissions and other
responsibilities (mostly) But I still stay up verrrry late.

What else did I do today?
COOK! I made bacon, pan fried potatos and veggies, and green bean casserole. Perhaps
tomorrow I'll finally make Brickle (and send some to my sister.) I had threatened to make
the sweet dessert on Christmas day, but didn't get to it. I hung out with Sarah and Malcolm
instead. And later with Joshua and Christina. We played Scatergories and I got to show
off 'Norman', my new cute little friend who makes adorable noises and motions.  (Strange
little toy Dave got for me) My excuse is that I was such a tom boy when I was a little girl,
and never allowed anyone to say the word 'cute' within 20 feet of my presence. I've got
some catching up to do. (I also just ordered a plushie CATBUG, prompted by Dave with
an amazon gift card and a pic of it on my wishlist. For those who know who that character
is, you'll understand I had no choice. Once Cat-bugged, you are lost in this strange
obsessed mental space and crave more catbug.)
Here is a video of the little guy - he (she) is a toy called  Fijit Friends Shimmies, named 'Whirlina', but I re-sexed and re-named him to 'Norman' because it just felt right.

This is the very first year I have a CHRISTMAS TREE.
I do not know why I waited so long for one, perhaps because I never stay home on
Christmas, I visit my family. But last year we found one on clearance and so this year I
put it up. I LOVE putting ornaments on Christmas trees! Dad gave me a box of
ornaments he was saving for me, and Dave remembered to put mom's fascinating little
'broken baby doll' ornaments that creeped everyone out the year she gave them as gifts.
'Cathe, why are you giving us DEAD BABIES for Christmas?!' I MISS MOTHER SO

Ok, Time for bed, or for another segment of Fate's Carnival (Big fish game)... no. Its 6:22
am. Its bedtime. maybe.

P.S. Renamed the blog again, in anticipation of more randomness.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sneaking in the Doodles

Life gets busy.
Its easy to set my mind to work on specific tasks that are related to my paid commissons, or my teaching jobs. Finding time to work on personal projects is very random and haphazard. I have a visual narrative currently on hiatus, my paintings are slowly getting worked on at the most random of times and my goal to start creating a heavy amount of sculptures since August has resulted in only a few explorations: one tiny face, the disjointed beginnings of a larger plan, and recently a small bit of a collaboration with my studio neighbor. (Of which I'm excited to get back to)

But the one thing that remains consistent is my sketchbook. Even if I am too swamped for anything else, I always have my sketchbook ready to capture passing thoughts, imaginative brain drainage, and even moments drawn from life: quick studies from the eye to the hand.

I have not been active on this blog lately, preferring the short sort of facebook blips and updates.
But the Blog wants to come out and play...
So tonight I re-break the ice by sharing some sketches of people I've drawn live.
I have also included entire pages to show my thought process. I use my sketchbook as a notebook for everything. Passing thoughts, dreams, quote captures, to-do lists, AND drawing. I carry it everywhere, and I find it infinitely more useful and cooperative than my iphone. (and a hell of a lot cheaper)

One of the more recent drawings happened while I was watching the band Hog Eye Navvy - This is Wizard, one of the members. I was reminded that the last time 
I drew Hog Eye Navvy, I also drew Wizard.
Something about his beard drew me in. Also included on this page spread are model gestures, notes from a mini-lecture about contemporary traditional fine art galleries,
and a mini comic strip inspired by a ridiculous statement on a commercial.

Here is a closeup of Wizard.

A Portrait Jay Scott Berry, drawn during his magician lecture at Indy Magic Monthly. (OCT 2013)

A portrait of Sal Lizard, while he was telling me one of his 'being Santa' stories.

I had some extra time with this one - I was sitting in on the class of one of my favorite instructors, Jacob Dobson. I drew him lecturing his students. I felt the need to practice my skills with groups and depth.

Some drawings of Students volunteering their faces for the rest of the drawing class. Also included are to-do lists, a non-valid postage sticker, and quotes from Jay's magic lecture.

More students appear in this one, along with other faces from my imagination, and a wacked out figure inspired by 2 sculptures I have completed. Also, more to-do list notes.

If I draw gestures from a model, I get tired of seeing pages full of the same thing - so I shake it up a bit with some wild monsters and wacky colors. The central strip of text was a dream I quickly scrawled after waking.

NOW, back to the projects and commissions at hand!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm feeling a Surge coming on!

This is my new sketchbook. I am letting the Seawhite book rest for the moment, I needed a change of size for now, kinda like needing a new haircut. Except, I know I'll go back to the Seawhite book eventually. This was a spontaneous purchase, but I'm enjoying the size, and the paper was good enough for my purposes. Don't worry Seawhite book, I'm not cheating on you, ok yes I am, but you have important dreams to stew on while I explore. Promise you'll be there when I need you?

This is the second drawing in small-leathery-bound-book. (it needs a NAME. Perhaps I shall call it "Tiger Lily", inspired by this drawing. I'll think on it. I kinda want to include the word 'Caveat' in the name. I am dedicating this book to skill building PLUS. I want every page to include something I am drawing or painting from life.

Anyway, it was a productive day in the studio. I worked on an old painted series commission - illustrations for a children's poem book - hopefully I'll finish more of it tonight, as I may be seeing the commissioner this weekend. I also worked on a sculpture commission... its truly magic trying to create a skeletal torso. The basics of the ribs are done and hopefully I can start wildly building on it next session.

 I also toyed with the idea of creating plaster molds from clay. I really want to create a mold from my own arm, so I experimented to see if I could do this with the fingers. The idea just dawned on me out of the blue.
I covered my fingers and part of my hand with CLAY. It took a while as the clay wasn't the most supple... But I kept at it. I removed my fingers carefully and filled the holes with plaster.
Almost an hour later, I removed the clay from the molding and This is the outcome! Its not a super clean mold (the clay was a bit loose and crackly near the fingers) but what a cool texture. I think I'll keep it as is and paint it.
 Maybe I'll try my whole arm with smoother clay.

After playing with clay and plaster, I moved onto prose, and finished two found poems. I used some text a friend sent me in the mail and mixed it with some Dante's Inferno, (from 2 different translations) and other miscellaneous pre-cut words (I keep a box with all the extras I don't use - as I create found prose, I cut out a lot of words and phrases that strike me, then I arrange them in tantalizing combinations.) I am not ready to share these creations yet, but here is a sneak peek!

Well, I gotta either go to sleep or get back to work! Goodnight!

I plan to keep up with this again, I think this sketchbook will yell at me to art and tell. 

Friday, May 31, 2013


Hm. I have been quiet for a while on this blog.
Possibly because I taught such an intense art history class for a while.
I also have not had much to share, besides personal introspectives and mundane ramblings.
To post about those things here would feel insincere, and possibly repetitive , as a more in-depth bounce back from facebook. I am weary of the social network echoes, the attempt to catch the attention of the silent viewers that may only be watching from one angle, when it seems like all the watchers and the watched are all on the same networks.
Alas, that is not why I am posting here tonight!
I do not know why I am writing here tonight.

... tonight, tonight... are you just like me...

I have been enjoying a daily personal journal. I seem to write more when I know it is just for me right now. A chance to record my daily thoughts without judgement. Judgement from out there? No. Judgement from within. There is a sort of corruption that wiggles into my journaling that can only happen when I am aiming for interaction. I keep away data that I deem personal. I worry that the prospect of ~trying-to-impress~ will get in the way of ~trying-to-express~. There is sometimes just a smidge hair difference between the two, and that might just be the two letters.

OK. I think I'm done with expressing for tonight.
I'm going to go work on art and finish listening to a rendition of Les Miserables,
directed by Orson Welles (who also reads the part of Jean Valjean)
I found it on spotify.

sneaky little preview of a little work I haven't revealed anywhere yet...

Art Update (Ok, a tiny bit of promo)
OH. And go check out my art tomorrow (Friday)  - I'll be showing at the Art House in Columbus, IN. Funny enough, my dad who lives in Columbus is having a closing to his show in Seymour, at the Southern Indiana center for the arts.(Facebook event page link here for the Art House show)

Teaching Tidbits (ok, have some more life stuff)
There is a 5 week Art Appreciation class I teach through a tech school. I arrange to meet at the IMA museum. Today there was a mistake in scheduling. We were given a lecture room to use, but due to a specialized event, the museum was not open to the public today after 5, (our class is 5:30-9). Uh-Oh, dilemma! Well, we were allowed to continue using the lecture room, but we could not see the upstairs collections. This soiled my plans for today. Its an intensive condensed class, and we cannot miss or reschedule any dates! THANKFULLY, it was a nice day, and we improvised by visiting the outdoor sculpture park. What could have been a disaster turned out to be a unique experience that my students rarely get a chance to see.
I highly recommend it! I even saw a new sculpture I did not see before.... one that made me LAUGH a lot. If you get a chance, visit the 'Flock of Signs' Installation in the woodsy part of the sculpture walk at the IMA.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

He who holds Paradoxes and the IMA Islamic art exhibit

The past few days have seemed quite culturally rich, and a blur.
I felt like sharing!

I still had a free pass to see the special exhibit at the IMA:

BEAUTY and BELIEF: Crossing Bridges with
The Arts of Islamic Culture

The exhibit was ending in only a few days, and I knew I wanted to see it, especially after a friend posted some (covertly taken) photos of ASTROLABES in the exhibit - and Dave and I both got very excited about the ASTROLABES, because we watch WAREHOUSE 13… and if you watch WAREHOUSE 13, you know what we are talking about! If you don’t watch Warehouse 13, the simplest explanation I can provide is that in the show, a special astrolabe was used as a very potent and very dangerous supernatural tool to reverse time and potentially released a terrible evil into the world.
Ahhh… the joys of science fiction and fantasy - they inspire us to get excited by and learn more about things in our own physical and natural world.

Astrolabes are very complex mathematical devices used for navigation and locating astronomical objects, and in the Islamic world, could be used to locate the Qibla direction and the specific times to pray.
They image I’m sharing is from about 1400, but they were also around as early as the 900s.

Astrolabe of Jean Fusoris, made in Paris, 1400
Check out the Wikipedia page for more info -

I was compelled to share this because I am FASCINATED by early complexities, the use of mathematical devices as WELL as ANCIENT ROBOTIC SCIENCE … aka: AUTOMATA… One of the displayed illustrations was a depiction of an AUTOMATA by Al-Jazari (1136–1206)  (read about in at Wikipedia)

A few other fun tidbits from the show:

The first piece of art we come across is a very looooong scroll. It looked like a combination of a sacred text such as an illuminated manuscript, a sketchbook or journal with writing in the margins, and a children’s activity book, as there were quite a lot of large bold designs with little writing inside - as if it were a game or a brain activity.

In the intro video to the exhibition, we learned some basics of the connection between the arts and the sacred in Islam. Some of the names of god were mentioned. I wrote down one of the names - but yet, when I search for the 99 names of god, or even this phrase online - NOTHING SHOWS up, and it seems all to appropriate and coincidental that the phrase I heard doesn’t actually seem to exist… but I wrote it down! “He Who Holds Paradoxes”  … I think I may have to paint something inspired by this descriptive. Again, I find it odd that this ‘name’ doesn’t appear anywhere. Perhaps I heard it wrong, perhaps it’s a message from god, perhaps its just my universe playing with me, I don’t know, but it makes me smile. And I have always perked up at the mention of paradoxes.

Most of the art in the exhibit was covered in beautiful writing. This is a major part of the culture. I’m not going to lecture here why it is or the relation to the culture  - as enlightening as that would be, it would take too long. Instead I’ll share some of the inscriptions I took note of:

“The taste of Wisdom is first bitter, then sweeter than honey”
(written on a Jug, IRAN, end of 12th century)
so TRUE! Same with KNOWLEDGE.  And Learning. Something that seems... 
difficult at first - I mean, the brain IS a muscle, and you have to think hard to pump it up
but after a while, learning becomes a craving. I should tell this to my students. 

“Beware of the Dream of the Horse”
(written on a horseshoe, 18th century Turkey - I love how the simplest of things can be personalized by such phrases)

“… It happened that he was wetting his face with the blood of his heart; he repeated this poetic verse with his spirit” (a snippit from a story, involving a Sufi watching a poet)

“There is no god but god” - Many of the inscriptions were religious in nature like this one - this being one of the more common ones… I normally gloss over references to god in religious art, but the phrasing of this caught me and got my brain thinking. Earlier in the exhibit, there were paintings that came from a specific place and time where many religious communities lived harmoniously without conflict - (Muslim, Christian, Jewish) - that combined with the phrase above got me thinking about the potential harmony people of faith could have if they took this literally - something so profound and simple at the same time. Rather than saying ‘there is no god but my god’ - if one truly believes that ‘god is everywhere’ and ‘god is in everything’ - then it would be without question that anywhere people encounter the sacred, then that is where god is. There is no conflict. Ever since college when I participated as the secretary in the student based organization ‘Earth Religions’, I’ve always been a bit interested in concepts where religion, spirituality and belief can combine with full acceptance of each other no matter the specific belief or region.

ANYWAY, (no, that's not an inscription) there was so much more and it was an amazing exhibit - also a lot about patterns and reflection of nature’s patterns and how that ties in with philosophy and belief etc - but these were the specific things I grasped onto during this visit. Too bad the exhibit is over now that I have undoubtedly inspired you to go visit. Regardless, I now want to learn more about Medieval Islamic culture, I want to write all over everything, and I want to paint a picture of a being that holds paradoxes.

Dave and I also went to see


An experimental Swiss mime troupe that have been around for a LONG time.
Dad took me to see them when I was a kid, and it had a huge impact on my playful spirit.
Dave had never seen them but was a fan, so that was his birthday gift. :)
See a youtube video of my favorite segment by Mummenschanz!
Clay faces…. jealousy, humor… *grin*

I am feeling blessed.
Tomorrow I start teaching a new 16 week class at Ivy Tech (basically ancient - medieval art history and non-western cultures). I am not as familiar with some of the culture’s art so I am extremely excited to be delving in to the subjects myself so that I can teach! The best way to learn is to teach, so it is said.

Also, the illustrator in me is smiling big time. I think I found my ~author~
I always get an ache when I see an author and illustrator match that seem to work well together, and stick together for a while - like Gaiman and McKean for example.
I can’t say too much right now, and I don’t want to jinx anything, but we’ll see what happens after I get a few of these book covers under my belt!

-------- fin --------

Well, I have not much else to share here, most of my recent images I’ve shared on facebook.
 So... have a fuzzy picture of the cat Frankie who lives with dad. There was a cat door on the entrance to the basement, but after several attempts, dad gave up on training him to go through the door, and just removed it. Frank now has no inhibitions going through the HOLE in the door. Much Love, he's the snuggliest cat ever. I'm also allergic to him, but I still give him lots of love when I visit.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Twin Blackbirds Have Landed, 2013 here we are

2013, you come to me like a new lover
promising a year full of adventure and beauty and creativity, if only I make the effort to stand up and embrace you.
Shine for me 2013, beckon me away from laziness and complacency. Kiss my cheeks and smile for me - for then I will want to show off for you, to create for your eyes and dance excitedly. I want to feel the rush of adrenalin as I hurry home to show you all I've accomplished each day. To feel your light as I wake up, ready to make the day proud... This is my wish. This is my wish for us, 2013, that we rise together and make great things.

Thank you 2013, for starting me off well, with direction. And thank you to the authors who are commissioning me for covers, the friend who showed me a path to a new job, and the university who changed their requirements, thus allowing me to teach there again.

Now all I have to do is stir up my self drive. To let my artistic and academic dreams scream louder than the comfortable couch and the glow of the computer.


So Yesterday I got my very first tattoo. Did I start small? Did I start with a simple image? NO! *grin* I got a fairly large and VERY SHADED piece on my lower right leg and ankle.
~See more photos of the process on facebook HERE~

 But let me start at the beginning.

Many years ago, while pondering the universe, infinity, unripe bananas, creative paths, chimeras and dreaming... I also wondered what I would do should I lose a parent. What would I do to honor them or to remember them by? I determined that if mother ever passed over to the great beyond, I would get a tattoo that would make me think of her. I determined that it would probably be a blackbird. Or a bluebird. Eventually I landed on twin blackbirds - to represent us both. And it would inspire me to be creative.

Well, in 2011, that event happened way sooner than I could have anticipated. After about a year I decided to start seriously thinking about getting the twin blackbirds. About a month ago, I get a notice that my favorite tattoo artist and one of my favorite artists would be coming through Indy. Sarah Frary. As soon as she began tattooing, I KNEW that I wanted HER to tattoo me SOMEDAY. Her mark would not only remind me to stay creative - but to hold onto the sense of adventure I crave - reading about her travels of starting a life out west and exploring the inner and outer worlds are always an inspiration to me.

So the two desires came together.
Now here's the awesome part. Sarah's best work comes when she works free-hand. Her art and energy shine. I never thought 'freehand tattoos' made much sense until I saw what she was doing. Now I know that they make the BEST sense. We met up on the 5th - and thanks to another incredibly awesome artist/tattooist Amory, we had a perfect little tattoo studio atmosphere to let the art happen.

I told her the perameters of 'twin black birds' , she performed some hot sharpie action on my leg to make sure she had a direction to work in - and that I was comfortable with the general idea. YES.
Sarah Frary Style! *breaks into dance*

 I was not quite prepared for the sensation of getting a tattoo. No one can ever know what it truly feels like until it happens. Because its not just the pain one has to imagine - it is the pain combined with the acceptance of that pain as a journey toward a beautiful destination. At times it felt like cat scratches, at times like bee stings, and around the ankle, upper foot and calf it felt like a knife or razor cuts. But I just smiled, grabbed my upper leg and stared VERY INTENTLY at the wall, or the air in front of the wall. At times I was frozen, my mind very preocupied with processing the feel. What made things smooth was the laid back creative atmosphere. Amory was also tattooing another patron and another friend of theirs was in the room. The laughter and jokes that floated in the warm room made for a very comfortable, friendly and light hearted situation.

(...Funny enough as I write this, and have all my music on RANDOM, the song that is playing right now is "Fever Ray - Dry and Dusty" - and I keep hearing - "We are capsules of energy". I could write a small novel on how this fits, but I'll just shorten it by saying that Sarah is one of the people I think of when I listen to Fever Ray.) 
I am very very very happy with the outcome. I am excited that I decided to let my first tattoo be a freehand expression and collaboration between my basic idea and Sarah's hand. This could not have come at a better time. A heartfelt thank you to Sarah, the universe, Amory for the use of his studio and David for his constant love and support, and thanks for all the comments and love on fb after I posted the first picture. This was an important step for me. Like, leveling up on a video game. Wheres the level up music? XD


More Self Drive Please 

Yep, I changed the name of this blog BACK to the self drive thing. I feel it helps me keep at it.
I plan to try posting generally once a week, but my life is never on a schedule so who knows how often I'll post. January 3rd saw the first of my random art pieces.
"My Dreams are made of Gold" 9x12 mixed media on bristol paper.

In other news today, its Daves b-day! We had sushi with friends and it was grand. My b-day gift to him happens next Saturday when we see Mummenschanz!