[caption id="attachment_3393" align="alignnone" width="800"] Click on the image above to see it bigger![/caption] I had the opportunity last month to go out for a little "me" time. A local tea shop hosted a "Pinot & Painting" night, and it was fantastic! They served grown-up treats - cheese fondue, a chocolate fountain with strawberries, etc. And best of all, they had WINE! I only had one glass, but let me tell you, when you are painting at a table with a dozen other women, and you're all drinking wine and you all have cups of paint water sitting right next to you, it's very easy to confuse the wine and the paint water. Until you drink it, that is. Then you realize you have made a horrible, horrible mistake. Anyhoo, I had a lovely evening painting, although I must confess, the subject matter the instructor choose for painting was not exactly to my taste. She brought a reference photo of some local waterfowl. While her demo painting looked very nice, mine ended up looking more like the promotional poster for a movie entitled, "Psycho Ducks of DOOOOOOOOOOOM!" [caption id="attachment_3394" align="alignnone" width="400"] "Psycho Ducks of DOOOOOOM!" coming to a theater near you![/caption] Again, this is not a subject matter I would normally paint. My paintings usually look more like this... [caption id="attachment_3395" align="alignnone" width="400"] "The Twisted Lip" by Helen E. H. Madden[/caption] Or they look something like this... [caption id="attachment_3396" align="alignnone" width="400"] Work in progress - "Fight Like A Girl (Black Widow) by Helen E. H. Madden[/caption] This last painting is one of a series that I'm doing for Pixie's room. I found some images on the web of Black Widow, Katniss Everdeen, etc. I ran the images through Photoshop to break them down into basic colors and add the caption and background color. Then I traced that image onto the canvas. Now I'm doing a little DIY paint-by-numbers, matching the colors from my Photoshopped image as I paint. Not my most artistic work, but these paintings will look nice in Pixie's room when they're all done. So yeah, crazy waterfowl are not my usual subject matter for painting. Although I could see doing a painting of Howard the Duck for our living room. Hmmmmmm... Maybe "Psychotic Ducks of DOOOOOOM!" belongs on my walls after all.
[caption id="attachment_3389" align="alignnone" width="800"] Click on the image above to see it larger![/caption] YES! I had all my hair cut off! I just couldn't stand it anymore. It was too hot for the summer and the neighborhood life guards keep over-chlorinating the pool, so my hair was a bit frazzled. But now it's shorter than it's been in a long while. In fact, last time it was this short was the late 1980s/early 1990s. I used to spray this bright metallic red hair spray on my hair, so everyone said I looked like Annie Lennox back then. So I was cool with going back to that style. But then I slept on my new hair cut for a night and woke up looking like a Flock of Seagulls had nested on my head. I thankfully managed to fix that. I know I should post a pic of what my hair looks like now, but I haven't had time to take one yet. I'll get to that at some point. Right now, I'm busy keeping up with the kids for summer break. Hopefully, you all are having a nice, relaxing summer.
I've been doing some more doodling lately, playing around with using random elements to create a character. Here's a random crack I found in our road. [caption width="300" align="alignnone"] Random crack in the road[/caption] And here's the sketch I made based off that. [caption width="533" align="alignnone"] Psycho Bird from a Crack in the Road[/caption] If you don't see the resemblence to the crack above, that's because I turned it sideways to do the drawing. The idea for this little drawing experiment comes from the book Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop with Carla Sonheim. It's a fun read, lots of creative ideas in it, and yes, you can find the book on Amazon.
[caption id="attachment_3378" align="alignnone" width="800"] Click on the image to view it full-sized.[/caption] So, I'm a little late getting this one up. I mean, it's the middle of July and I'm talking about the end of school, so yeah, a little late. But this one was actually too good (in my opinion) to not draw and post. And yes, this actually happened. The kids finished up with school in time for us to drive 2 1/2 days to Milwaukee so we could spend 4 days doing nothing but karate. And then we spent a day visiting with family in Chicago, and then we spent another 2 days driving home. And I was soooooooooo exhausted when we got home. But we did survive and make it home, so there's that.
[caption width="800" id="attachment_3369" align="alignnone"] Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized webcomic.[/caption]Apparently my daughters share my tastes in movies... books... comics... feminism... UPDATE: The response to this particular episode was so strong, I went ahead and set it up as a print on Society 6. You can buy a copy here. I also set it up as a coffee mug, so enjoy!
[caption id="attachment_3363" align="alignnone" width="800"] Click on the pic to see the full-sized version![/caption] The kids and I started playing Minecraft a couple months ago, and life will never be the same. Pixie seems to love the game the most, and she has spent quite a few hours at my desktop building houses and mining for ore and catching chickens, etc. For me, the game has a rather ironic feel. I've been reading articles on productivity and recently came across this one on grinding in games versus grinding in real life. I realize that in real life, grinding translates to the everyday tasks I hate to do - laundry, dishes, making the bed, etc. I can get away with not doing most grinding tasks for long periods of time (for example, I dust the house maybe once a year). And some grinding tasks I've been able to pass on to the kids (I make them clean their own bathrooms, sort their own laundry, etc.). But there are some grinding chores that have to be done daily, and I hate them, because these are the most futile tasks. Cleaning the kitchen is especially miserable for me. I can spend an entire afternoon washing dishes and scrubbing down the counters, only to have all that hard work go "POOF!" the moment another family member enters the room. The kids make a mess every time they grab a snack. And when Hubster cooks, he can turn the kitchen into a disaster area beyond even FEMA's scope to fix. (Okay, yeah, FEMA doesn't have the best reputation for fixing things, but you know what I mean). So I've been trying to find a way to turn these grinding chores into something that either seems more enjoyable, less miserable, or more productive. I haven't succeeded yet, but I will keep trying. In the meantime though, yeah, I live with a bunch of creepers. Really messy creepers. Pray for me.
I swear to you, I have been trying to get back into the habit of regular blogging. I get all sorts of ideas for blogging late at night when I'm lying in bed, but then by the morning, these ideas have evaporated, or else I've lost the interest in writing about them. I set aside the morings for working on the webcomic and for other drawing projects, which is partly why I don't have the enthusiasm to blog in the morning. All my brain power has gone into drawing for a couple hours at that point, so the well is kind of dry by then. I can usually refresh myself with exercise, but by the time I'm done with that, it's time to eat lunch and then it's time to pick up the kids and then I have to deal with homework and chores and dinner, etc. I'm brain-dead once again by the time 8PM rolls around, which means I'd rather watch TV and crochet than write. But once I get into bed, my brain once again starts to rev up, like it has now. I always read the news before I sleep (bad habit, I know), and usually after doing that, I've got ideas for a blog post I'd really like to write, and I know exactly what I'd say... Except that it's bedtime, and the lights are already out and Hubster is sound asleep beside me. So right now, I'm experimenting. I have a wireless keyboard set up with my iPad, and I have a reading light clipped to the iPad/keyboard case. It gives me just enough light to see by. Hubster isn't in bed yet - he always stays up later than me - so I've got a few quick minutes to write this post. I don't know if I'll be able to write like this on a regular basis, but it's worth trying. I'm saving this as a draft tonight, and will post it in the morning. Then I'll see if I can start other articles this week. Maybe I'll even be able to post some artwork from the iPad? [caption width="433" align="alignnone"] Test artwork for night time posting[/caption]Yerp! That seems to work!