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.

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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

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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.