Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all

Hey! What do you know? I’m making an actual holiday post. Y’all may want to start watching the skies and papers for other signs of the Apocalypse.

This Thanksgiving is different from past years. Usually, we go over to my aunt and uncle’s house to eat and watch the National Dog Show. Today, they’re going over to spend the day with his ninety-something year old mother. I sent them an e-card last night but this morning, I remembered several very young kiddies may see it. It was the gang on Sesame Street, gathered around the table and an absolutely huge roasted bird. Yep – you guessed it, there were two very familiar orange feet attached to it!

I don’t mean to be evil, especially to children. It just kind of gleefully slips out.

I’m spending the day gloriously alone with my cats. At the moment, I’m waiting for a pot of tea to brew and the dog show. I’ve got some chicken, wheat pasta, pesto and onion to mix together for lunch. Pineapple and several pomegranates are for later. (Did you know some folks think they were the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, instead of an apple?) I’ve got Charles deLint’s Moonheart to read, the Doors are in the CD player and the temps are going to being in the 60s. Yes, times are indeed good.

On a side note, I was screamed at this morning. I went out to check my laundry on the line and I startled the resident hawk. He’s been around for a month or so now. I don’t know what species he is but he’s so little compared to some of the red tails I’ve seen. My dad suggested looking up a sharp shinned or Cooper’s hawk.

It’s really starting to look like Azra’s Wild Kingdom around here. Besides the hawk, I’ve got rabbits, bats, two huge squirrels and two does making regular visits. The coyote pack is keeping itself across the road, back where there’s more forest for cover, at least for the time being. I swear I even saw a kestrel the other day.

Well, I’ve got more to ramble about for once but I’ll save it for another post later today. Have a good one, y’all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Little Bird Thoughts On the Water

“‘Come to the edge’, he said.
They said, ‘We are afraid’.
‘Come to the edge’, he said.
They came.
He pushed them…
And they flew.” - Guillaume Apollinaire

Neil Gaiman once did a short Sandman comic based on that quote. Just thought I’d mention that.

…and on a completely unrelated note: just now, as I was butchering the Toadies’ “Opossum Kingdom,” instead of singing “…behind the boathouse, I’ll show you my dark secret” I said “behind the goathouse.” That puts a whole different slant on the thing, doesn’t it?

Excuse my rambling tonight. I’m tired of sitting down night after night and staring at a blank screen. I thought maybe I could circle around and get my thoughts out this way. They remind me of a sparrow that flew into the house a while back. It fluttered against a closed upstairs window. Even after I opened the window and took out the screen, the bird fluttered against the glass at the top of the window. Eventually, after it had exhausted itself and its fear, it found its way out when it came down on the sill to rest. Here’s an opening, little birds. Fly. Fly and realize what you can really be.

(Here’s a combination: from the Toadies’ Rubbernecking to Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend. What’s with this early ‘90’s thing tonight?)

What comes to mind when you hear the word “water”? It’s been in a few of my dreams lately. In one dream, I was standing on the bank of a wide creek. The water was the color of the swimming holes I played in when I was a kid. It was almost exactly the same as a piece of light adventurine. There was an older man here too, named Mountain Ben. He said, “The water has to be deep enough to sustain the fish.” When I walked in, the water was thigh high. When one of those fish (which looked like a cross between a catfish and a large mouth bass) startled me by coming to the top of the water beside my leg, the water suddenly went down to ankle level. The fish were gone. My fear kept the water from being deep enough to sustain the fish.

Another dream comes to mind. It was a few years ago but it stuck with me. I was standing on the high bank of another creek, a shallow one, and I could see something moving beneath the water. Suddenly, a panther burst out of the water and just missed me before it fell back. It was made entirely of water.

Water, as a symbol, represents emotions. In my mind, it also represents spirituality and faith. It is situated in the West but it isn’t blue. It’s that adventurine green.

Speaking of adventurine, I’m working out an idea for another painting. I hope I’ve got the chops to do it justice (more fear talking?) I found an old copy of John Keel’s The MothMan Prophecies (interesting book) and in several of the sighting descriptions; a “bird man” was seen as having a green glow about him. That combined with some thoughts I’ve been having about the fluidity of ideas like “good” and “evil.” So the idea, if I can even describe it, is a dark, winged being. It faces out of the canvas (or board, I haven’t decided yet) and is “removing” its face like a mask. What’s behind the mask is nothing more than a blindingly bright white light.

Wow. I guess those little birds decided to fly after all, huh?

[Technorati tags: , , , , , ]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

One Reason for the lack of Entries (courtesy of the Ramones)

I got a lot to say
I got a lot to say
I got a lot to say
I got a lot to say

I don’t remember now
I don’t remember now
I don’t remember now
I don’t remember now

[Technorati tags: , , ]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

That's okay...really. You can have the bed. I insist.

I have a confession to make. I am terrified of spiders. No, wait. Let me change that: I am terrified of a certain kind of spider. Like the one that tried to lay claim to my futon.

This monster was sitting on a book less than a foot away from my thigh. I was proud of myself - I didn't even yelp. Granted, it was more due to being interested in Lost than my spectacular phobia fighting skills. That was also probably why I tried to knock it off my bed with a 3x5 note card...and discovered that this particular species of spider fights back. That damn spider was determined not to move! It was a heated and pitched battle but in the end, I won.

Or so I thought.

Less than a minute later, the monster was back and it looked as if it was sizing up my worth as a meal for the kiddies. This time, not only did I yelp but I almost jumped off the bed. I caught myself before it could claim victory though. I trapped it in a Sonic cup instead.

It was classic nightmare imagery when I put the white, almost opaque top on that cup. I turned the cup sideways and I could see the lower half of those legs as the spider tried to get out. Beyond that, they just blurred out into a big, grey suggestion of "spider." I could hear those legs too, as they scuttled against the top and sides of the cup.

The lid of a Sonic cup has three rings on it. The inner one, composed of eight (appropriate) domes is surrounded by a solid, raised ring. Then there's a trough and the third ring fits over the lip of the cup itself. The silhouette of the Monster Spider took up a lot of space - at one point, all eight of its legs were spread out and touching the second ring. That's about 2.75 inches across on a medium size cup.

That's one damn big spider for this area. I'll go to bed and halfway expect to be carried off by the damn thing now, even though I released it out in the driveway. It was big enough to watch as it scuttled through the leaves and gravel. In low light. Six and seven feet away.

So much for sleep.

[Technorati tags: , ]

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Odd occurrence #1546285462 (or there abouts)

I had an interesting sounding message on my machine this afternoon when I came back from the studio. It was my mom. She called to see if we were going out on Friday. Right in the middle of the sentence, she quit talking and there was a dull thud as if she dropped something on the floor. Then I hear "Hello? Hello?"

Things got even more interesting when I called her back. She swears my answering machine talked back to her and cut her off. She said that right in the middle of her message a voice said, "Thank you for calling!" and hung up on her.

There's no other voices on the recording, just hers. I heard a thud when she heard the voice and I heard her say "Hello?" when she heard the dial tone. The only thing, other than the greeting, the machine is supposed to say is "memory full" - and there is still plenty left.

So evidently, I now have a smartass answering machine...or some one/thing decided to liven things up for my mom today. Is that cool or what?

[Technorati tags: , , , ]

Good Stuff

A friend of mine gave me some new Celtic music: the Brobdingnagian Bards (thank god they have the pronunciation of that on their website!) They do a great version of Whiskey in a Jar. I also love Donald, Where's Your Trousers? and the Jedi Drinking Song. There's more traditional songs as well.

I usually get tired of Celtic music rather quickly. Not this. It's good. Go listen!

[Technorati tags: , ]

Monday, October 09, 2006

My fate is sealed

Oh yes. Yes, it is.

I thought it was fairly certain how I would be when I get older. I'd be that little old eccentric lady on the corner, who lives with fifteen or twenty feline chilluns. Nope. Today, I got a glimpse of who I just may truly be in twenty or thirty years.

Three guys pulled their Jeep SUV into my yard this afternoon. When I heard the engine turn off, I waited a few minutes. You know, so I could ignore them when they knocked on the door. Nothing. I went to the bedroom door and looked into the driveway from the second floor window. Nothing. Now, when I say they parked in my yard, I mean that literally. They parked so far into the yard, I couldn't see the Jeep until I came downstairs and looked out the side window. They had come about twenty feet past the driveway and missed the Bertgarten Sage by about three feet.

If they had come much closer, it may have been a killing offense. They may not look like much but nobody messes with my animals or my plants!

So, out the door I go (_insert George Thorogood guitar licks here_). I get to the corner of the house and these twenty something-ish guys come from out from the backyard. I see three confused smiles on three confused faces. Honestly, I was only thinking, "What fresh hell is this?" but I can only imagine the smile on my face. I think it may have said, "Hi. You can leave or I can kill you. I don't care which."

Here's the conversation that followed:

"Hi. You want to get out of my yard?"

"Somebody told us this place was abandoned, I mean, no one lived here. We were looking at buying it."

"Nope. Sorry. Ciao."

"Oh. Sorry to have bothered you."


Before they could say anything else, I headed back to the door. They pissed me off and I'm not really proud of what I did next. It was petty and childish but I slammed the door behind me. All the while, I thought, "Granted, it isn't Better Homes and Gardens quality, the house could use a good coat of paint and the grass is a little long but abandoned?! Don't people see me going back and forth to the studio all the time? Don't they hear me blasting my music when I'm there? Besides, who the hell puts laundry out on the line of an abandoned house - which they drove by when they nearly murdered the sage?"

That's when it occurred to me that I have just gotten a taste of my possible future if I stay here. No, I'm not going to be the little eccentric cat-lady. I'm going to be like the witch in Big Fish, with the neighborhood kids making up scary stories about mean old me and all my evil exploits. "They say if she sees you, you're going to turn into a zombie! Then she buries you in that cemetery until she needs zombie parts for her evil spells - or worse, paint for her evil paintings! Oh, and her cats? They're the size of tigers and they will EAT you!"

Imagine it - me. Possibly a future urban legend. There's only one thing I can say to that. Cool beans.

[Technorati tags: , , ]

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ah, Technology. Ain't it grand?

Hello? Is anyone still out there? Anyone?

Ye gods, I missed blogging. My computer died. Again. Slowly. One bit of hardware at a time. A monitor here, a year old hard drive there. I think lightning may have been involved but I'm not sure. I guess we'll see what the official diagnosis will be. My computer tech is pretty much family - which means while the work is free, it's done in between and after the payin' folks. It may be a while before I know anything, especially if I lost a year's worth of photos and various kinds of research. Of course, I was going to back everything week.

Oh god - all that research. It literally hurts to think I've possibly lost so much information. Kitsune and other fox spirits. Chaos magick. The Egyptian mythos. The Cthulhu mythos. Epona. Cernunnos. Articles on Psi. Coyote. Nalbinding. Period clothing. Anne Bonney. Mary Read.

So in tribute, let's just go ahead and say I've thrown myself on the ground and pitched the biggest, most melodramatic fit the 'net has ever seen. Let's throw it all in: the wailing, stomping, kicking and screaming. Of course, the whole melodramatic effect is spoiled when I start laughing. I mean, honestly. How could we not in the face of such great silliness?

In the meantime, I finally have this nifty little temp computer. Hopefully, I'll get a setup for downloading photos from my camera next. I've got a few more things to post, although I don't know if they're quite up to to snuff. I don't know if anyone else goes through something like this or not but August seems to be my Month Of the Crap Paintings. Everything I know about painting just seems to go right out of my head and on vacation to cooler climates like so many geese. Now that October is here, maybe they'll migrate back where they belong.

I'll be around various blogs to see some folks in the next day or so. Tonight, if you don't mind, I'm just going to see what I've missed on Indra's Cyberweb.

Technorati tags: , ,

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Just venting some goofiness

Man, I'm lovin' these new (to me) water soluble graphite pencils.

99.9995% Finished

I should know better. I really should. Never say when a painting will be finished because more than likely - it won't. All it really needs now brighten up two or three of the orange spots on the right wing and perhaps even up the blue. In any case, here it is now:

11"x14" on canvas

Friday, June 02, 2006


Well, I decided that I wouldn't post again until I had something at least half way decent to show for it. So, here is a nearly finished study of a Spicebush Swallowtail. This is the underside of the wings. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish it either tomorrow morning before my dad and I go to the powwow or Sunday. I've got to add a few more spots, lay some orange in the spots along the bottom of the wing, as well as add some more blue and green just above them. I wish I had turned the canvas on its side though. I think it would be a stronger painting if it were centered more and the shadows allowed to fade out along the bottom. I'm not complaining too much though. I like the way the butterfly itself is turning out.

It's funny, in a "the universe seems to be listening and it's kind of freaky" kind of way. I hadn't said anything about my idea for the Butterfly Woman painting to my mom. Not long after I made this post, she gave me the butterfly. It had trapped itself in her car and died near the back windshield. It's wings were exactly the style I envision for the painting - I just didn't know how I was going to go about painting them.

I've kept the butterfly in the studio, on a table by the easel. I'll admit to looking at it, as if halfway expecting it to get up from the table and fly away at any moment. All this time and I'm still not always comfortable when I get help like that.

So what now, 'Verse? What are you going to send me when I get ready to do that honorary sculpture of Lu Yu, huh?

[Technorati tags: , , , ,, , ]

Monday, May 29, 2006

I so rock! Yes. Yes, I do.

Oh good god. Has it really been fourteen days since the last post? What, Azra? You have three paintings, an mixed media and two graphite drawing going but no new art to post? Bad Azra! Bad, bad!

I do, at least, have some good news to report: I have my diploma in my hands. I am now officially a college graduate - first in the family. Not only that but I graduated Magna Cum Laude. If it weren't for those two C's (damn that College Math!) I would have graduated Summa but hey...

I so rock!

It's hard to imagine now - when I first went back, I was almost terrified of not finishing again. I kept watching for those familiar signs of burnout. It didn't happen. Not only that, I ended up graduating with enough credits for two and a half degrees. Granted, those credits were kind all over the place. Part of that was because my previous credits in Photography ended up not counting as anything but electives. The other part was I kept saying, "Hmmm...I wonder what this class would be like?"

So the question now is this: do I go on and get a bachelor's or a master's in art? Do I do as someone suggested ages ago and just "take the hell out of a bunch of workshops"? Ah hell, I don't know. I think I'll bask in this for a little while first.

Yeah...basking sounds good.

I so rock!

[Technorati tags: , , ]

Monday, May 15, 2006

A small, harmless tale

This came to mind as I began working out a sketch for another possible painting today. I like working out stories to go with these paintings - I need to do more of them. (Besides, I have to offset the dense estrogen infusion of the last two entries!)

He stood in the vastness of space. It took a bit of getting used to. The type of space he had wandered through the eons was populated by dying stars and food for Those he served. This space was different. Quasars pulsed, carrying information across the cosmos. Small suns collided into each other and coalesced into galaxies of ones and zeros. Most of the information was useless - food looking to procreate. Food looking for ways to prepare their own food. Food looking to reach out and enliven their pitiful little lives.

If that's what they wanted, then who was he to deny them? His tentacles adapted themselves easily to this new kind of space, reaching out and finding the information he needed and re-weaving it into something else. When he finished, he had a large portal that would be impossible for the food to miss, let alone resist. Little did they know every time they used the portal, it would bring Those he served a little closer to the physical realm.

As he looked at his work, he decided this space was infinitely more interesting than the ones he was used to walking. Nyarlathotep smiled and said, "Yes, food. Come forth and google."

[Technorati tags: , , , , , ]

Saturday, May 13, 2006


I'm not entirely happy with the way this turned out. The big black shape on the right wasn't balanced out as much I hoped it would be on the left. But that's okay. I knew as I worked, this piece was cathartic but apparently I put more into it than I thought. I almost lost it several times as I tried to char the edges. I'd put out the flames, only to see them flare back up again a few seconds later. I may just go ahead, finish the job and scatter the ashes.

The text:
That day in Kentucky still stands
out in my mind
Reaching out to touch my necklace
Your salt and pepper hair
Such amazing eyes

I'm such an idiot.
I didn't want to admit
you made such an im-
pression on me.

It's been 2 years
since I came home
to Tennessee
I stand in my studio
and wonder where
you are. I call
out to you, even
thought I don't
even know your name.

I wonder if
you even remember

Still, I need you to
know, love -
I wish I could have another
But today,
I'm letting your memory go.
I hope you have a life that
transcends your wildest

...and maybe, just maybe,
we'll run into each other
again. If we do, the
first thing I'll do is get
your name.

[Technorati tags: , ,, , , , ]

Monday, May 08, 2006

And now...a girly "SQUEE!!!" moment.

I paid five bucks for these.  Who said money can't buy happiness?

We are now returning to regular programming. Carry on.

[Technorati tags: , , ]

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Embryos, tentacles and the Butterfly Woman of Doom

I've got a few new ideas for paintings floating around in my head:

I was musing one day (Oh all right - I was off tripping through a pleasant daydream. You happy now?) and I saw this image in my mind. It's a pleasant enough landscape, complete with critters grazing in the field except...instead of ordinary cows, there are these creatures with three or four trunks/tentacles. They use trunks/tentacles to pull the grass and put it in their mouths.

(I love the idea of tentacles...:::_insert maniacal laughter here_:::)

I'm not happy with these critters yet. One looks too much like an elephant and the other is still too bovine. I guess we'll see what comes out of it.

This one may be one of the next paintings I do. I was walking by the cherry tree and saw that it already has some fruit growing on it. It was a classic "what if" moment: what if, instead of this cherry, it were actually a critter growing in there? I combined properties of two different trees - I like the spent blooms of the cherry and the pollen of the pig hickory. The fruit itself needs to be translucent, with the embryo a little more...well, embryonic and indefinable. Yeah...I like that.

The last idea is still pretty vague but I can't get it out of my mind. It's a Butterfly Woman type being, with a dark twist.

Darkness looms on the horizon.
A storm approaches.
Lightning flashes.
I dance into the chaos.
A butterfly tossed about on the wind.

That's all I have of that at the moment. The image I see is a woman not one being tossed around, though. She is one who knows exactly what she's doing there. She may even have a mischievous smirk on her face - is she a Trickster? I don't know. Instead of the bright rainbow colors usually associated with Butterfly Woman, I see dark storm colors: grays, silvers, blues, violets. Heh. Sounds like somebody definitely worth knowing.

We won't talk about the tangent going on in my head right now involving butterflies and music reminiscent of 1950's era horror movies. Oh no we won't.

[Technorati tags: , , , ,, ]

Let's get this thing going again

It's funny. On the twenty eighth, I started thinking how great it would be to get back to blogging. I couldn't wait to get back to the keyboard! Then the day finally arrived and I sat down to write...

Nothing. Nada. I was once again a living personification of that Far Side cartoon "Full Moon and Empty Head." As many times as that's happened, it's a wonder I haven't achieved Enlightenment several times over.

These last few weeks have been...Interesting, to say the least. I still don't have any idea, other than maybe a bigger than usual batch of hormones, of what brought on that particularly nasty little attack. I didn't tell anyone - except oh, the entire world through this blog - what was going on until one absolutely scary day.

Now, most of the time, death doesn't scare me. I live next to a cemetery. I collect bones I find in the woods. One of my favorite knick knacks is a little statue of a mischievous Reaper but I am in absolutely no hurry to see what's on the other side of the veil.

I was alone at home when I caught myself seriously thinking that death just might be a welcome relief, if only as means of ending the overwhelming pain I was in. The thought was there for only a few seconds but it was enough. After I pulled myself together as much as I could, I started making phone calls and sending e-mails, in the hopes of both not being alone any more than I had to be and having someone to bounce ideas off of. I never told them how bad it actually got but I think they figured it out. I don't usually marshall the forces like that. I get over it and go on.

As one person said, after I told her part of what had been going on with me, "It's like sumthen evil got aholt of you!" Truth be told, it's hard to argue with that assessment.

But enough about that. It's over and if I have to go through that again, it will be entirely too soon. So, in the spirit of going on, let's unfurl the Jolly Roger, wreak as much artful and surreal havoc as we can and take no prisoners. Come on, it'll be fun.

[Technorati tags: , ]

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blog hiatus

I just wanted to give a bit of warning that I'm not going to be posting here for a few more weeks. I'm taking a break from the blogosphere until Beltane (May 1.) I want to get back to being my usual, strange self, plus I refuse to clutter up this blog with super angsty dreck that I'd later regret posting due to sheer embarrassment.

In the last few weeks, I tipped over into a full flown, hormone fueled bout of depression. The tail end of it was especially nasty. For whatever reason, things would get progressively worse until about 2 p.m. and not matter what, I would absolutely fall apart. By night time, I would feel like myself again. Thank Whoever and Everyone Involved that it's getting better now.

It's been over thirteen years since I've gone through a bout of this and it wasn't anywhere near this bad. Granted, the last time was brought on by the situation - one of those "Ajax" moments where quite a lot of crap got cleaned out of my life in one fell swoop. This time, I don't know what brought it on. I just know it left me pining, for lack of a better word, as if I had lost something precious like a child. Yeah - it felt exactly like grieving, including that mile wide empty hole in my chest. What was I grieving? Myself? My life? Something else entirely? Ah, maybe. I don't know. I just don't know. I just know to keep moving, keep working and keep fighting.

So that's it. Let me buck tradition here for once and say an early "Happy Beltane!" to those who celebrate it. I'll see you in a few weeks.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What a day for Sumner County

I was going to write about how my day went yesterday (from "middling" to "shot straight to hell") but that just doesn't matter anymore. In reality, the worst I experienced was being sent to the basement of the Allen County library because the tornado siren went off. While we were down there, someone mentioned that Gallatin had been hit but I didn't think much about it. In that situation, rumors fly through the air like excited little birds. Even after I got home, nothing was out of place - as if it were nothing more than a spring shower - but fifteen miles to the south, the folks in Gallatin and beyond had a much, much worse day.

(Rant Note to USA Today: Gallatin is not a suburb of Nashville. It is a city in its own right and the seat of Sumner County. Tennessee is not composed of just three major cities - Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville - and their "suburbs." Good. God. Where's your fact checker? /rant)

Channel 5's video of the destruction was, well, shocking. I was just there the day before, getting my groceries. The tornado went through the area of town that has seen a crazy amount of expansion these last few years. What shocked me the most was seeing the debris completely clogging Gallatin Road (hwy 31) - a five lane road - most which had come from the high priced subdivisions off Brown lane.

Then there was Vol State. It was a good thing it was a Friday. That's the slow day. What I understand, no one was seriously hurt. When I saw the damage to the health science building (only two years old,) the admin building (that they just renovated and expanded, no less) and all those trees down in the visitor parking, I couldn't believe it. I cried after I wondered if it would have been so damn hard for the videographer to walk to the other side of the health building to show whether the Fine Arts building survived.

Some folks around here are scrambling to help. The owner of the Bethpage Recyclers e-list is gathering things together for the folks who lost their homes. Food and shelter aren't the only things needed, though. Send plenty of prayers and strength too. These folks are going to need all they can get.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bast Update

Just posting a quick update on the painting of Bast. I'm not too happy with the belt yet. It doesn't look like she's wearing it, more like it's just sitting there. I also haven't found my way out of the "chestal" area yet...but it'll get there.

This painting is fun to do now. It's getting a lot of texture in it, where I'm using a palette knife instead of a brush. I'm just hoping I don't go into overdone territory with it.

I'll try to get a better photo where you can see the background better in the next day or so.

Well, that's it for now. Not much else to say. See you in a bit.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A page from the ol' sketch book

In my defense, it had to be done. Maybe most of the angst (read: melodrama) is finally over for a while and my world can fully return to its usual bizarre self.

[Technorati tags: , , , , , ]

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cleaning up the cemetery

No art got done today but I'm still beat. I spent a good deal of the day in the cemetery (and what girl wouldn't love that? What? Oh, just me?) picking up after last night's storms. Several big, dead tree limbs blew out of the top of the old oak tree in the back. I knew the wind was nasty last night but I had proof when I found one piece of a limb about a foot long. It had the appearance of trying to stab one of the graves - I guess I pulled three or four inches out of the ground. I ended up keeping most of the wood because it was beautiful - a creamy off white color with lots of bug tracks and "worm holes" in it. I don't what the heck I'm going to do with it but I couldn't let it go to waste.

I noticed today there were several sunken places that are unmarked graves. One gravestone is broken into about four pieces and several of the graves have some flowers on them that are so old, I can't tell what color they used to be. I also found a small piece of marble from a gravestone with a small amount of old red candlewax hidden beneath it, just enough to anchor a candle to the stone. I didn't sense any bad intentions with it, just some extraordinarily stupid judgment.

For some reason, I also found a bingo card pen with plenty of ink still in it. Is there something going on in that cemetery I don't know about? What kind of bingo prizes would the dead be interested in anyway? New satin pillows? A night at a luxurious bone bath and night Spa?

Getting back on track here, I decided something while I was out in the cemetery. I don't know why it's taken me so long to come to it. I don't have any family buried there. In fact, I don't have a clue who any of the people are, except for one guy who got the original grant for this land just after the civil war. No one's been buried here in many, many years and there is only a very occasional visitor in the warmer months. Yes, there is a guy who has family buried there who mows the cemetery every summer but this little spot of land is aching for some attention.

I will fix what I can and mark the location of graves. I'll take out the old, faded flowers and clean out that brush pile. I will care.

...and I'll try not to steal any more bingo pens.

[Technorati tags: , , , ]

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I'm an Addams! (Or Nosferatu, I'm not sure which.)

I hope this is still up: archeology April Fool's spoof: Archeology of the Undead

(Have I succeeded in making the Rocky Top Brigade regret opening its ranks to just any ol' Tennessee blogger yet? Just kidding, y'all.)

Lately, I've started collecting old photos. Not just any old photos but just whatever catches my eye, which means more than likely they've got something fairly odd about them. So imagine my delight when my mom brought over a box full of photos that had belonged to my great aunt.

Now, I don't know if it's a Southern thing or just my own weird family but there were a lot of photos of bodies in their caskets. There were just as many photos of people sitting on grave markers as if it were family reunion day at the park (hmmm...come to think of could as well have been, for all I know.)

Case in point: this photo that was given to my great, great grandmother Nike. (That's pronounced like "Mike" - it's short for Monica, which in turn was pronounced "Mo-NIGH-ca.") No one knows who the person is in the casket - or the strange guy standing behind it. I just know when I saw it, I immediately said, "Uncle Fester!!" Then again, he does sort of look like the creature from the 1922 movie "Nosferatu," doesn't he?

I have my own memories of being at the funeral home and someone taking photos of the body. Mostly, the memories are of my own grandfather, who died when I was seven and we still run across the photos of that every now and then. What I can't figure out is why in the world would anyone want to remember their loved ones like this.

Huh. Maybe I should ramble about strange memories like this more often. The more I ramble, the more I'm figuring out just why I'm as warped as I am.

(edited to add an extra "great")

[Technorati tags: , ,]

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chasing Bast

I feel like I was spoiled when it came to working on the painting of Khnum. The research was fairly easy with lots of scholarly info out there. Bast, on the other hand, is not so easy. (I think there's a joke in there somewhere.)

That's not to say that She's not popular. Oh no - just the opposite. The problem is that not much of the info for Bast is very scholarly and most of it is just reprinted (read: stolen) from other sources - which reprinted (stole) it from somewhere else. Then there is the one scholarly source, Per-Bast, which pretty much says that everything we know about Her is historically wrong. What exactly is She? Well, the webmaster can't say, except that we'll have to figure that part out ourselves.

Oh yes. That was a lot of help.

So I've spent these last few weeks trying to get a feel for Her, trying to get to know Her. For the longest time, it felt like a very one-sided deal - with me doing all the work.
Super Twin Powers - ACTIVATE!
Here's a sketch that came out of the frustration. I thought about trying to unite the two perceptions of Her, protector and sexy but in the end it just looked like a character from a cheesy super-hero cartoon. After a few of these, I finally had to tell Her, "That's it. I have tried and tried but I've spent too long on this. It's not working. I have to move on to another project. Sometimes it's just not meant to be."
Good god - is that table really that dirty?!
Apparently, my quitting is all it took. The next night, I finally got this sketch on paper. Herself, just standing there, with Her arms crossed and the sun (representative of Her being the protector/avenger of Ra) behind Her.

So now the painting is finally going. It's an odd one: 18.5"h x 8.0"w. That red paint gave Her an interesting look when it got dragged in as I was blocking the figure, didn't it?

All righty, then. It's 2:30 a.m. and time for bed. Zan, C.C. - thank you for the comments! I'll answer them in a few hours after I've given my poor, tired brain a reboot.

[Technorati tags: , ,, , ]

The betting window is now open

First things first: The twenty nineth is my dad's birthday. I hope the gift I ordered for him arrived today. Last time I saw him, he talked about the horrible "swill" he has to put up with at home, so I found some organic coffee. My thinking is this: organic vegetables taste...well, more like vegetables where the stuff in the store is pretty darn bland. Here's to hoping the same holds true for organic coffee.

Now, on to the bets. It's four days into a new phone billing session. Our Podunk illustrious phone company allots us (for a monthly fee) a certain amount of time for local calls to Nashville - which is where my internet access happens to be because I can't stand Podunk's own slow as molasses on a -40 degree day and expensive as hell service. Everyone around us (read: who use the other phone company) get to call Nashville for free. Will I stay within the allotted time for once or will I have another fairly large phone bill?

Betting info: Azra just downloaded the new-to-her version of Winamp and discovered the joys of Shoutcast. She spent three hours the first night looking for new and different radio stations. Winamp is now usually the first thing pulled up when online, even before mail or the automatic update of the antivirus program. The winners so far:

  • Radio Noferatu Azra can't seem to resist the music as well as such "commercials" as "Stevie Nicks' Greatest Hits - now digitally remumbled for stereo imcomprehenisity."

  • Gabba Gabba Radio "All Ramones, All the time - now with more Ramones."

  • Qu!TuRcRy!N NativeRadio SK She can't be without her Pow Wow drumming either.

Current odds: Staying within allotted time: 99 to 1
Having a larger than usual phone bill: 2 to 1

[Technorati tags: , , , ]

Friday, March 17, 2006


Why is it that sometimes I have to feel like I am going absolutely, positively batshit before I can get on with making art again? Yesterday was horrible. Not only did I wake up feeling pissed and disgusted with something that happened the day before (which I probably shouldn't talk about, even though the person involved will never read this) but I also felt very deeply lonely, wishing for someone absolutely snogilicious in the most melodramatic way possible - right down to just wanting to throw myself down on the floor of the studio and moan shakily with a long hanky in my hand like the woman in the Edward Gorey intro to PBS' Mystery! This after I had - also very melodramatic and complete with all kinds of hand gestures - ranted for about an hour to the gods about why I was so pissed.

Yes - it's true, people. Beneath this calm, cool and collected exterior is not a drama queen but a melodrama one. I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Deville!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Journey*

I am sitting in the sun, reading a book and enjoying a cup of tea. Soon, my eyes droop and I don't think I can stay awake any longer.

Instead of taking a nap, I find myself getting up out of my lounge chair. Something is different - the sunlight is brighter, everything is "sharper" and right in front of me is a path.

The path is sunlight itself, made solid like beaten gold. I find myself walking easily on it, despite the fact it leads up right up into the sky toward the sun. The farther I walk on this path, the brighter the light gets. Soon, I can't see anything but the light. Brighter and brighter.

Suddenly, I see something else in front of me, as if it is forming itself right out of this light. I can see the lower half of a body, then the rest, as well as some kind of room. I don't notice the room so much. All my attention is on Her. Bast.

I stand there, at first, staring like a fool. She wears a sheer white skirt, gathered in front and topped with a gold and bejeweled belt - and little else. She walks to a nearby table loaded for a banquet as she nibbles from a heavily loaded tray. I find myself now down on my knees, not in supplication or abasement, but as a sign of respect. I finally have the presence to ask her if there is any way She wishes me to portray her in my painting, since I had the feeling it was She who wanted it in the first place.

"Paint me as a white cat," she says. "Not a desert cat like you were thinking." I don't know quite what to think of this - many of the depictions I have seen of Her are black and I say so. "It doesn't matter," she replies. "This is what I want."

With that, it is over. I open my eyes and see the sun has dipped behind the trees and their long shadows have crept over me.

*a shamanic tool, somewhat like guided meditation except it is totally unscripted. Usually, the person taking the journey holds a question in mind at the beginning. In this case, it was my preoccupation on how to portray Bast.

I hope no one minds if I answer comments later - I really want to sit with this for a while.

Because I'm a completist

Here is a painting I finished this week. It was supposed to be a quick 3 or 4 hour painting but I got involved in it, which means it ended up taking about ten or twelve. I'm not saying it's particularly good or anything. It's simply a 5.25 x 5 inch "just because" painting I did on the spur of the moment.

I wanted a good variety of textures in this still life, plus something a little goofy "just because." I like the rocks at the top and the reaper. That little white shell at the top almost made me want to tear my hair out and it's still not right. Those two shells at the bottom took forever too!

Oh yeah. Now I remember why it's been over two years since I painted a still life. They're on the superhighway straight into insanity.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Is this thing on?!

I've added my blog to the Technorati site. You'd think it would be easy just to add a little snippet of code to my template to display a little button. I didn't think it was showing up at all. I don't know how long it parked itself at the top of the page before I noticed...

I'm embarrassed to say that "push button publishing" has gotten the better of me for the moment. Maybe my Technorati button should say "Technoramus" instead.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Dream fragment:

I am some kind of shop but I'm not paying attention to what's in it. My eyes hurt. I keep trying to adjust my glasses but it doesn't help. Finally, I take my glasses off and see why I hurt: the frames are bent and twisted and the lenses are cracked and smeared with a yellowish something that's now dried. I carefully try to straighten out the frame so I can wear the glasses without pain but I'm afraid I'll break them.

I wonder what it that's all about? I didn't think my view of things was that screwed up!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A first draft Creation story (read: a small novella)

In the long ago time, long before there was anything in the universe - before there were any planets, stars or even your Old Aunt Claire - there was Nothing. At first, Nothing wanted, well, nothing more than to sleep. So, it did. No one knows exactly how long Nothing slept because the concept of time wouldn't be invented for...oh, let's say several billion years. It didn't wake up for anything. It didn't wake up for a bad dream, a snack, or even the Monster Under the Bed, mainly because none of those things existed either. On and on, Nothing slept. That is, until something began to disturb it.

(ba dump)

At first, the something was irregular and barely perceptible (ba dump), which made it much more irritating. Nothing tried to ignore it and sleep. After a while, the something began to take on a rhythm and it began to get louder (ba dump. ba dump. ba dump.) Nothing couldn't ignore it any longer, mainly because there wasn't anything to throw at it to shut it up. That's when an interesting thing happened: Nothing woke up.

It's a no-brainer to figure out that Nothing was not a morning person. On top of that, the rhythm continued (ba dump. ba dump. ba dump.) Nothing couldn't escape it. (ba dump. ba dump. ba dump.) It got angry! It raged and seethed. Now, all that anger had to go somewhere. So, somewhere near the middle of Nothing and just below where its belly button would have been if it had one, a tiny bubble of energy began to form. This tiny little bubble started to grow with Nothing's growing rage. Stronger and bigger. Bigger and stronger the bubble grew and Nothing still couldn't get away. In fact, the angrier Nothing got, the faster and louder the rhythm went. (ba dump. ba dump. Ba Dump Ba Dump Ba DUMPBADUMPBADUMP) That's when another interesting thing happened.

The bubble of energy continued to grow but Nothing wasn't angry anymore. Another sensation had taken over completely: ecstasy. Nothing forgot everything as the rhythm consumed it and it consumed the rhythm. (BADUMPBADUMPBADUMPBADUMP) The bubble of energy started to pulse with the rhythm as power fed it and power grew. (BADUMPBADUMPBADUMPBADUMP) Nothing even forgot itself. (BADUMPBADUMPBADUMPBADUMP) Ecstasy. (BADUMPBADUMPBADUMPBADUMP)

Suddenly, Nothing came back to itself. It felt fear and panic. The bubble had become too big and too powerful. Nothing couldn't let it go - there was nowhere for it to go - and it couldn't hold on to the bubble much longer. So, with no other options, Nothing gave itself up to the energy and the rhythm.



After a while (no one knows exactly how long of a while it was), awareness returned. It took a while longer to figure out what was different. Now, where there had once been Nothing, there was energy. Everywhere. Energy in the forms of light and heat were starting to be given off by stars of every size and color. Energy in the form of matter was coalescing into planets. Galaxies. "The energy formerly known as Nothing" noticed something else. Where there had once been only Nothing, whole and complete unto itself, now some of the energy was different. Split. Male, Female and many other varieties. All these new energies began to literally give new life to the universe. It. Was. Incredible. But that's a story for another day.

*Well all right, smartypants. We all know sound can't carry in the vacuum of space. You tell me, though: does "SIIIILLEEEENNNCCCEEE!!!!!!!! make for a good story?

Friday, March 03, 2006


We all have stories. There are stories told by individuals, family, and still more told by a community. Folktales, myths, teaching and sacred stories. In the end, that is all the whole history of the human race is: stories told through the ages, and still reverberating in our ears, hearts and minds.

What is amazing is the sheer variety in the stories. Take creation for instance. Many of us grow up with the Christian version of events: it took six days to go from the Word to light to planets and finally to mankind itself. On the seventh day...well, after all that creatin', God just had to have a nap.

That's just one version. There are many, many more. In the Northwest, there is a tribe who say one of their gods danced the Earth into being, working and kneading the clay with his feet until it was in shape for all living beings to flourish. There is a Feri story that says the Star Goddess caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror of space and all of creation is a result of her love. Some scientists say all that exists is the result of the big bang - the ultimate story of something emerging from nothing. Still others say it's the effect of two parallel universes bumping into each other.

All that diversity. All that creativity. Go ahead and add yours to the mix. Don't be afraid. All those trolls, demons, imps and unseelie make up some of the best stories. Tell them. They deserve to be told.

Go ahead. I dare you.

This Blogger's Life These Past Few Weeks summed up by a caption from a Far Side cartoon:

Full moon and empty head.

I've sat down to write entries to this thing and I just ended up staring at a screen that was as blank as my mind. It sucks. Yea and Verily, it does.

Here is the latest painting - so far. I've been struggling for a week now to figure out why Cat doesn't look right. It wasn't until I was tinkering with the .jpg that I realized what it was. Shadows and highlights on the bench: check. Shadows and highlights in the background: check. Shadows and highlights on Cat: oops...except, for some reason, on her nose and in her eyes. I got those. Goofball.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sounds interesting...

birds of a feather mail art show

"As part of the Eureka Springs Festival of the Arts in May I am hosting an International Mail Art Show with. The theme for the festival is birds so with that I am having a Birds of a Feather International Mail Art Show.

Artists around the globe are invited to submit a postcard sized art piece through the mail to be included in this International Mail Art Show. The pieces should depict the theme of birds in any media the artist chooses. The show is open to all ages and is not juried. The show will be presented at the Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library Meeting Room Friday, May 12 with a reception on Saturday, May 13 from 2-4. At the reception visitors will be able to take a piece that they like home for free."

The Latest BromArt Update email

I just have to share. I love Brom's update letters.

Warning from BROMART!

Brom has escaped and is on the prowl! We’ve found his personal journal, deciphered his illegible hand-writing and have pin-pointed that he will be at the following locations at the following times and dates:

New York Comic Con February 24th (afternoon) and 25th (morning) - signing at the Harry Abrams booth

Signing at St Marks Comics February 25th, Saturday, 8 - 10PM,

11 St Marks Place, NYC, NY
(212) 598-9439

Emerald City Comic Con April 1st and 2nd 2006. Seattle

World Horror Con San Francisco May 11 - 14th

San Diego Comic Con July 20 -23 2006

Our understanding is he will be there to promote his new book the Plucker, as well as to chat, tell lies, use profanity poorly, and sign just about anything you bring to him that he can’t eat.

If you spot him, remain calm, approach with caution. Keep out of spitting and biting distance. His shots are not up to date. Do not offer him food scraps. And at all cost keep small children, the elderly, and members of the clergy at least 50 feet away.

Miscellaneous Jargon

Please do not respond to this note, as I will never receive it. All replies to this mailing list go directly to Hell and will be read by pointy eared devils that delight in making fun of your bad grammar. Instead just send a note to .

If by chance someone put you on my mailing list as a cruel joke, or if you have been instructed by a piece of bread bearing the semblance of the Christ to stay away from me, just go to and hit Unsubscribe. We will remove you from the list immediately … well maybe not immediately, depends what’s on TV that night. How about some time relatively soon thereafter, with the condition nothing really good is airing that night?

Helllllloooo?? Azra??? You home?

Hmmm...I'm seeing a pattern forming here. Holiday coming up = no posts from Azra. Bleh - I really need to do better than that! Although...I will admit Valentine's almost went by without me even noticing.

My mom called Monday and asked, "Did you want to go get something to eat tomorrow?"

"On a Tuesday?"

"Well, it is Valentine's Day."


This is almost equal to a conversation we had over the weekend:

Mom: "What would we do if we couldn't get out (meaning "go shopping and whatnot") every now and then?"

Me: "Paint."

Mom: " ."

Eh - maybe I do need to get out and socialize more often. Lately, I've been so absorbed in my routine in the studio, I forget nearly everything else. I'm happy though. I'm finally doing something I've been wanting to do for years. That counts for a lot in my book.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another glimpse into an artist's mind

I have a feeder at my studio but I found out rather quickly that most of the visiting birds rather eat on the ground. First thing I do every day, before anything else, is scatter the seed around the base of the big hickory the feeder hangs on.

I was late getting there today. Therefore, the seed was late too.

While I had gesso drying on several boards, I meant to do some studies of the birds at the feeder. As you can see, it didn't quite work out that way.

The list got cut off at the bottom of the page:
1 nuthatch (yay!)
song(?) sparrows

I also felt another "knock" (on the head?) so I worked out a very rough and basic sketch for a painting:

Yes, people. First Khnum and now Bast. What in the world have I gotten into?

The writing down the side that got cut off says:
Belly dancer?
accentuate curves
Have Her looking more at viewer
minimal background
Black cat? White 'gloves'?
Egyptian breeds?

She's going to have to wait a little while though. After she saw the work I did on those dogs, my mom asked, "Could you do one of Cat?"

This is coming from Ms. "I Don't Need or Want a Pet." Her cat forced herself on my mom a little over a year and a half ago now. That cat is more spoiled than...I don't know what. I keep joking that all my mom needs now is one of those old fashoined prams so she can take Cat (only one of her many names) wherever she goes.

Only...I'm afraid she just might do it one of these days.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Khnum Update #2

Well, I'm not entirely thrilled with the photo. All the little white spots are glare.

I think He's about finished. I tried to add more colors to the painting (I kept hearing one of my former instructors - Ms. Mulcahy - in my head: "USE MORE COLOR!!") but just didn't work. So, it's time to put Him back, let Him dry and see if there is anything that needs to be changed. Then it's varnishin' time! (For some reason, I wanted to say it like a UT football game: "It's varnishin' time in Tennessee!" I think I've inhaled too many paint fumes.)

When it's finally all said and done, it'll be time to see what kind of reception He'll get on DeviantArt. I can go back to doing different kinds of goofy posts in my blog too. Whoo-hoo!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's finally here!

The rice and beans are cooling and some of the avocados are mashed. The sour cream, olives, tomatoes and shredded cheese are ready to go on top. I've got three different kinds of chips, only one pizza, two kinds of cola and one bottle of wine. I've even got three kinds of black tea.

The cats are fed and romping outside, despite Spook's efforts to play supervisor and official rice taste tester. I got in some painting earlier and I'm trying to see if I've forgotten anything so I won't have to go scrambling for it later.

Yes!! Two hours and counting until the yearly Commercial Kick Off! I hear they're even bringing MacGyver out of retirement but not that sweet, sweet mullet he used to have. (The word "mullet" just needs the words "sweet, sweet" in front of it, doesn't it?)

What? Game? What game? You mean there's a football game today too? Huh - whadayaknow.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Khnum Update

This is what happens when you try to photograph a semi-wet board on a sunny day: 99.995% of the blue isn't actually in the painting. It's the sky reflecting off the glaze in the background. That's sort of cool, in a bizarre kind of way.

Now I just need to pull the "people-esque" shapes out of the background a little more and tone Khnum Himself way down before the detail goes in (I think I need to work in a few more colors too.) Some of the strange texture in the background is where I had the paint run down the board to represent Khnum's water aspects. Now it just looks like part of the wall.

There for a while, I had some serious doubts about this thing. I threatened several times a day to just take this painting right off the easel and let Him think about how He was treating me it sit until I was good and ready to work on it again. Maybe we're finally coming to an understanding.

I certainly hope so.


Was I in a mood or what? Sorry about that.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A little gratuitous ego boosting

Okay, I admit it. I'm a little vain. I also realize that I am not always the most forthcoming about myself, my life and my experiences when it comes to this blog. So, in the interest of applying a little Fix-A-Flat to my ego, here is an exercise I've used every so often over the last ten years. There are probably other versions of it floating around out there. Someone once gave me the barest bones of it while telling me about an experience they had with a spiritual counselor. I ran with the idea of "meeting" different facets of myself.

"The Dinner"

Get comfortable and relax. Let all the stress and tension drain right out of your body. Especially get it out of those little nooks and crannies we all forget about: drop your jaw, unscrunch your forehead, work on that little tight spot right between your shoulderblades...

Now, ground and center, using whatever technique works for you. When you're ready, start visualizing a room. This room can be anything: a ski lodge with plenty of soft, comfortable chairs and couches. A formal dining room, complete with fine china, silver and a chandelier. A kitchen. You can even visualize a meal or snacks if you want. Just create the room with the intention of inviting in various parts of yourself that want to "meet up" or socialize.

When the room is ready, visualize a door opening and various "people" coming into the room. These are different facets of yourself. They could appear as anything: archetypal beings, people you know, characters from stories, fairy tales or myths. Greet them, talk to them and get to know them. In other words, you're the host of this party - mingle! Ask them questions. What do they represent? Do they have some information you need? Some of these facets you may be very comfortable with and not so comfortable with others. Sometimes, there are parts of us that we can't or don't want to face or accept and they may show up in strange ways. Are any of them angry? Sad? Do they need you to make amends?

When it's time, thank "everyone" for coming and let them leave the room. Get ready to come out of the visualization by consciously taking a few deep breaths and perhaps gently stretching a bit. Open your eyes.

I don't want to influence anyone's results so if you're curious about what some of my facets were, I'll post them in the comments.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Note to self:

Dear Self:

Go to The Wish Jar Journal and read the entry called "Grinding Grinding Grinding," especially the part called "Exhibit B."


Thank you,

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

They're on to me...

Shhh...don't tell anyone...

You are faking non-gothness! You're the type that tries to not be goth, hiding it by listening to emo and/or underground hip-hop. You can't hide it though, we all *know*! We see your Neitzsche and your TKK!

What kind of goth are you?

Created by ptocheia

A week of misery

Man, I've been in a truly nasty funk since the last post. Yes, a funk for a solid week. Everything got turned on its head: I'd get up and try to work on the painting of Khnum for a few hours, only to be wishing to be anywhere but standing in front of this *&#^@!*%^ painting that isn't cooperating. By six p.m., I'd be dozing off in front of the TV, only to be raring to go back to the studio at two a.m. or three. I kept arguing with...Khnum? Myself? The Keebler Elf? that wouldn't accomplish much since there isn't any power down there at the moment and I absolutely refused to try painting by lantern light. Then, the insistent feeling to get myself to the studio would stay until I was just too exhausted to do anything else collapse in bed so I could oversleep and start all over again the next day. I did try to write about what was going on but the little bit that made into pixel form sounded like so much shiny, patent bullshit - which didn't help things any. I just could not figure out what the heck was going on. (Yeah, I know...I never said I was brilliant.)

Yes, people, I was getting really cranky. Today, I decided to get away from the whole sorry mess. My mom came by and we ended up leaving the state (that sounds sort of impressive until you realize the Kentucky state line is only about twenty or so minutes away.) I got to walk a little bit along the creek in the Franklin city park. The water was still way up but the thunderstorms over the weekend washed all kinds of mussel shells on shore - there were almost as many of them as rocks. I picked up a few, as well as a small bone I found. It looks like part of an animal skull. I started feeling almost normal after that. I really felt normal when we got back to Portland and discovered the library had a ton of sci-fi books for a quarter each. I walked away with Heinlein, McCaffrey and I don't remember what else.

Anyway, the bad thing about all this funk is most of it could have been avoided if I only listened and actually gone to the studio. I went down there tonight to feed Toby (who knew he'd become a studio/cemetery cat? That's my boy.) I lit a candle so I could see his bowl and turned around to see the shelf along the wall in the back of the studio. There it was - the answer why the painting wasn't working.

All this week, I'd been trying to make this painting exactly what it shouldn't be: a bright, shiny Ode to All Things Sacred and Boring. "Behold! Bright and Shiny Lord Khnum is forming another worthy soul on his wheel! See? It's sacred! It's bright! It's colorful!" It's sickening.

Standing there, watching the shadows flicker around the shelf, I realized this painting needs to be much, much darker. The stories say Khnum created himself before forming an egg that hatched the sun and earth. He then went on to form all other life. That's where this painting wants to go: Khnum, alone in the dark (except for a fire somewhere out of the frame), sitting at his potting wheel. Behind him, a suggestion of shelves lined with greenware - the egg, the gods, humans, etc. - waiting to be dry enough to go into the kiln.

Yeah, I like that...and it only took a week of misery for me to figure it out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Here I am, Zan!

(Alternate title: Huh? Whadaya mean it's been ten days? Didn't I just post a day or so ago?)

Okay, y'all - you can kick me from here to Memphis (take your pick between Tennessee and Egypt) for not posting. This has been one of those weeks where nothing seemed to go right so perhaps a kick is exactly what I need.

My mom and I did take in the Hermitage. It was pretty neat, considering they've added a few new things, but I didn't get one sketch and only about twelve odd photos. Part of the reason was the wind - all a person had to do was hold out their arms and they could have flown straight home. The crowd wasn't so bad at first but it got worse as the day went on (Gee, I wonder why?) My particular favorite things were the Belted Galloways, the donkey and the tiny, tiny cotton patch. Oh yes, a person might have gotten a whole pair of pants out of that field.

The rest of the week felt like a total bust. I kept playing tag with the mailman because I had a notice that he tried to deliver a book. Every day, I felt like I couldn't start anything major because I'd have to drop everything to chase the mailman - only to miss him and realize there was only a little bit of light left to get any work done...and yes, after a while, I did feel like running around in circles, chasing my tail and barking.

I ended up calling the post office, only to be told they didn't have any record of the notice or the book. When I finally did catch the mailman, I got the feeling he did know what happened to my book but didn't want to tell me. So...after about four days, the mundane work was done with not much to show for it. It was time for the big guns. Hey! I never said I was especially brilliant on timing...

I took a cue from the cave artists of Ice Age France, only instead drawing an auroch on the end of my arrow, I had my book. A neat thing happened as I finished drawing it: I "saw" a silver arrow laying on top of the one in the drawing and a silver longbow in my hand. I notched the arrow, drew it back and said, "Find my book!" as I sent it into the air. Two hours later, my mailman was calling me to tell me that the book had been delivered to the wrong house and I should have it later that afternoon - and I did. It's a great book too: "Problem Solving for Oil Painters." So far, this one book has told me as much - if not more - than three semesters of oil painting classes. Now I hope I don't have to repeat the process for the other two books I ordered. ("Technicians of Ecstasy: Shamanism and the Modern Artist" and "Dreamtime and Inner Space" if anyone wants to know. Used books from Amazon are a wonderful thing.)

The prelim sketches of Khnum are finally starting to work. I had to do some serious research on Him and make some adjustments. I found a neat page about the wheels used in Egypt to throw pots and it had pictures! (Yay!) I also had to research the type of clothes to use - Pharonic? Royalty? Laborer? A mixture of both? The jury's still out on that one.

The breed of sheep the Ancient Egyptians used as a basis for Him went extinct just after the Middle Kingdom era (circa 1640 BCE.) I found another breed - the Damara - still in existence that had its beginnings in Egypt around that same time. Their horns aren't as straight as the others but I got the idea that Khnum was happy with my decision as I sketched it out. Now I just have to figure out how to fit it onto a human body and have it look like it belongs there.

Oh good grief - it's 2:30 in the morning and I've been rambling on and on. No wonder I'm yawning. See you in a bit. I'm off to visit the dreamtime.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Phase two

I wanted to sit down and write a little bit while the water is warming for my tea. I don't want anyone upset with me - it's 11:12 p.m. and I want to properly thank everyone who left birthday greetings but I have to be up again in about seven hours. I will do it. I promise - but not tonight.

My dad just left a little while ago. It was a good day for the most part. We had Chinese for lunch and ended up doing something extremely fun on my part: roaming through the aisles (again!) of the Lowe's, only this time it was the new one in Gallatin. We spent a large chunk of the time looking at the power tools and I got a lot of practical advice: "Don't buy Ryobi. They've been bought out and you can't get parts for the tools anymore. This attachment is great for the dremel - I use it a lot. Here's what you should do if you want power in your studio..." Yeah, it was good. There are a lot of things unsaid between us but this day, neither of us let them get in the way.

I really want to type more but I'm beat. I'm going to go try to watch Stargate without falling asleep with my tea in my lap. I'm counting tomorrow as "Phase Three" of my birthday - admission is free to the Hermitage tomorrow for the 191st (!) anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans and I'm hoping to get there early enough to get some good sketches before so many of the church crowds get there. After that, I'll get back to work on the sketches for Khnum. I think he's getting a little impatient with me.

Goodnight y'all.

I'm her granddaughter all right

Day One of the celebrations is over. It was a pretty good day: both my horse and DVD collections were expanded and I got caught up on some of the family news, as well as some history I didn't know. I even went to Lowe's and Home Depot for lumber and masonite - it's impossible to not have a good time roaming the aisles of a home improvement store. Wood! Gadgets! Plants! Adhesives!

The story I learned about the family history involved my maternal grandmother. Now, my grandmother was a character anyway. The story came up about the time one Christmas when my mom was wearing dress shoes and nearly did a split in my aunt's gravel driveway. On the way home, my grandmother heard what happened and said, "You ought to be careful! That walkin's dangerous!"

Here's the part of the story I didn't know: Sometime before this particular Christmas, my grandmother had taken care of her own funeral arrangements with one of those "pre-paid" deals. Instead of waiting after the holidays to tell the entire family, she sat my mom and her sister down at the Christmas get-together and started instructing them on how to act at the funeral - a good twelve years before the actual event. So here is my mom, who is in her early forties, and her thirty something sister sitting there at kitchen table with my grandmother saying, "Now don't just sit there when somebody comes in. You go on up and you greet them at the casket..."

That's my MaMa. I've always said that I am certainly her granddaughter and this pretty much cinches it. I've already done something similar with my dad and paternal grandmother. The topic came up and I said, "I don't want to be pumped full of chemicals and put in the ground like an old hot dog at a landfill. I want to be cremated." When they objected on the grounds that there wouldn't be a place (a tombstone) to visit afterwards: "Then buy a rosebush and throw my ashes around it. The bush will be happy, you'll be happy and I won't care."

Speaking of my dad, he's coming over today. I'd better go get ready. I wonder if I'll hear any new stories today?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Gratuitous Self Praise

I couldn't stand it. Since I couldn't get the cats to sing to me, I'll just have to do it myself:

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday dear meeee
Happy birthday to me

Let the party begin!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I don't know exactly what to say

I found out today that Chris Dayman December of 2004. I only met him once when he was the guest artist at my college in 2003. His work was on exhibit for a few weeks and he gave a lecture about his art and experiences. I guess he - and his work - made a bigger impression on me than I thought because I am, well, stunned.

I really liked the works he chose for the show. I remember a lot of people were horrified by several of them because he depicted the dead - a mouse, a bird, a rabbit. One with a well-dried mouse juxtaposed with a female model (called "Epitaph," I think - it's on the website under drawings) caused a big ruckus.

His lecture was filled with humor and things from his life. He talked about how therapeutic one particular sculpture had been, because he had covered it with rants about something going on at the college where he taught. He laughed about how great it was because people tried and tried to read it after it was glazed and fired (including some of the ones he ranted about) and couldn't. At another point in the lecture, he talked about using the animals in his drawings when he took a baggie with a well-mummified dead mouse out of his shirt pocket. After he made his point, he held the mouse by the hindquarters and said, "...and besides, Look! You can make it run!" and bounced it through the air.

I also remember, unlike many of the guest artists we had, he also took the time to talk to us and look at the stuff we were doing. Many a time he would say, "Oooh...that's juicy!" when he liked what he was seeing. I guess that's what the biggest impression. He was as truly interested in us and our work as we were of his.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Note to self:

Khnum - Egyptian, ram headed god who creates human souls on his potter's wheel.

Ram - a male sheep, not a goat.

Back to the drawing board.

Because goofiness needs to be vented...

...or the results could be very, very scary.

This is how I spent the first day of the new year. I tried to get a better image of the thing - I even waited so I could use direct sunlight today - but I guess my camera wanted a few more days of vacation. So, here it is anyway, grey and all. Just click on it to see a larger version.

Yep, that's me - always on top of the latest in music and pop culture.