November 21, 2011

253: Vanity In Purple

I sketched this portrait of my now-seven-year-old niece (holy crap, it seems like only yesterday) in fits and starts over the last few days. 

I am rusty. It took me more than a few do-overs to arrive at the basis of something I could continue with. The source material was never in doubt: an incredibly brief moment I captured earlier this past summer at the beach. The reason for this epic pout long since forgotten, it's still a universal expression all kids learn to master – whether it works or not in getting what they want.

The layerings of purple, added digitally, come from an altogether different source of inspiration: my friend's three-year-old daughter who, like three-year-old daughters across this earth, is enamoured with all things purple and pink (despite her parents' consternation). But as the pinky-purply wash continued to accumulate, the more it began to take on overtones of summer storms around these parts – some of which even come close to matching the power of a little-girl tantrum.

Midway through creating this thing, Illustration Friday – that one-time bastion of inspiration for me in keeping this blog running – dropped in my Friday inbox their current theme of "vanity". I haven't dropped in on Illustration Friday in a year and a half, but am including it here since the whole creation would not have happened were it not for the brief moment of pouty vanity that inspired what you see here… which, you can click here, to see even bigger.

November 06, 2011

252: Hybridized

hybrid animals 2
In an attempt to even draw a little bit these days, I signed up to make an appearance with my friend Mary's Doodle Swap Project, which previously I'd only done once before... wait, no – twice.

So yes, I joined in, tasked with producing seven small cards to be sent out across the universe, in exchange for seven in return, from various locations within the same universe (one keener had already arrived before mine even hit the post office).

I realize I'm cheating a bit by resorting to found art for half the concept, but during our trip in Chicago we popped into a paper/craft store and I stumbled on a whole bucket of 90-cent old-timey bird identification flashcards. And I knew then what I had to do.

I had to draw fish heads on them.

hybrid animals 1
Shown here are six of the seven. I'd show the seventh one, but really, the gist is here. You'll have to trust me in that the seventh was of a bird, with a fish head.

I believe it was a rainbow trout.

November 03, 2011

251: What Happened To October

nesting instinct
In October, we went to Minneapolis. Went on an artsy outing to the Walker, and saw a man dressed as a frog in a canoe on the way there. I have a photo, but I'm still coming to grips with it actually having happened. We witnessed the splendour of Nye's Polonaise Room. Buried our feet in beautiful fall leaves.

lady in red
We went to Spring Green, Wisconsin, where my friend Erin took us under her wing. Arranged a reading for Kerry at the bookstore. Took us behind the behind-the-scenes at Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home, Taliesin. Sang Mazzy Star for us on karaoke night, and, a week later, displayed her own band's bad-assery at the Sh*tty Barn.

circus minimus
We went to Circus World, in nearby Baraboo. Off-season, the place was a shell of its bombastic summer self, I'm sure. But also, it was quiet and curious and serene, with the exception of a plays-for-25-cents monster calliope wagon. I bought a cap there. It says "Circus World" on it, and it's awesome.

…and later that same day, we saw whooping cranes.

We went to Madison, where my friends Tracy and Nate treated us like kings of all Wisconsin (or whatever they have there… governors, I guess, but they sure didn't treat us like the governor of Wisconsin). We drank local beers, ate some incredible extremely-local pancakes. Good, good people. Their cats were kind of meh about our visit.

rock lobster
Taking nowhere near our fill of Wisconsin, we also went to Chicago. In October, Americans do not celebrate Thanksgiving. But there's this thing called Columbus Day, and in Chicago it brings out enough pomp and lobster costumes for me to forget about turkey. Although later, I found a turkey sandwich for lunch.

In Chicago, we craned our necks for five days. Everything is tall in Chicago. And if it's not, it's probably big in some other way.

beer high
And in Chicago, at its absolute tallest, I had this fancypants glass of beer. And we watched the sun set, and Kerry and I rested our foreheads together and watched all the lights turn on.

In Chicago, we went to the Art Institute of Chicago. For eight hours on a rainy day. And for a rainy day, it was one hell of a rainy day. Maybe the most fantastic I've ever been a part of.

felted wiener
I celebrated my 36th birthday in Chicago. Kerry surprised us with a sunny-day jaunt on some Segways. And presented to me this needle-felted Chicago-style (no ketchup) hot dog.