Sunday, November 11, 2018
But Does the Llama Have Metamorphic Gonads?
(Fortnite Hangs with Red Dead Redemption...or Does it?)
If you follow these sorts of things, no doubt you have heard it said repeatedly that Rockstar Games’ recently released Red Dead Redemption is “so realistic that the horses’ balls shrink in the cold.”
And there is apparently some threat that Red Dead will eventually have a Battle Royale mode, this threatening Fortnite’s ubiquity.
Both games get played in our house, each having an advocate who attests the superiority of his chosen game.
I am unmoved by the relative merits of llamas and horses with testicles, but it seemed like a fine opportunity to embarrass my son’s by posting an image with the word “gonads” in the title.
Monday, November 5, 2018
Once More With Feeling:
Inktober 2018 is over, but one more dribbled out anyway.
This one happened while I was trapped on a plane on the way home from LA. I was unfortunately interrupted at the end by my need to focus on not losing the lunch I hadn’t eaten.
There have been complaints about the inktober heads and the lack of napkins, and I am cognizant of the audience dissatisfaction....though I can’t promise that there will be zero heads or non napkin stuff in the future.
But yes, probably something Fortnite and/or Red Dead related is coming.
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Finished Under Duress
It was only 9:43 pm, October 31st at LAX, where I finished this one, sitting on a dark plane between two sleeping strangers, using my in-flight drink as the liquid to mix the watercolor. (Poured the rest in my lap) The color was a bit of a challenge given the glaringly blue single overhead light.
So while it was already November 1st in NYC, I was still in October in California.
So Inktober was complete by the end of the month.
Thanks for bearing with me, those of you are still here.
I might have a few more distorted heads to get out of my system, but I will try to get back to more friendly napkin fare....as soon as I make it back to my family in Brooklyn.
Persistent Vegetative State:
There always has to be a pumpkin / Halloween themed inktober drawing.
Those pale growths on pumpkins and other squash are called cucurbit warts, for whatever that is worth.
Is the face visible? My son suggested that I should display it sideways to facilitate recognition, but that seemed to spoil the premise.
What Can I Say? I Am Not Full of Surprises:
I always enjoy images of monumental sculpture that is falling apart, revealing the interior structure.
Also, wraparound sunglasses are cool.
The inside of my head might be full of debris and in need of a good cleaning and some replacement windows.
It All Looks The Same To Me:
The drawing is the only one that I did before the month of October started. I thought it might be wise to have something in the bank as I knew that I would inevitably fall behind.
Here we are at the 31st, and I am definitely far behind....though I feel compelled to offer in my own defense that other than this image, all the drawings were completed by month’s end, more or less on a daily schedule. I haven’t done so well at the posting part.
And this one, the only one executed without the daily deadline, is definitely a dud.
I did make an attempt to draw it as if I had a deadline...in this case, that might have translated to “quickly and poorly.”
And some of the heads in it bear an unfortunate resemblance to a couple of my ex boyfriends, so that’s not good either.
I’m Sorry, Was I Still Talking?
I read recently that no two ears are the same. They are all special snowflakes that could be used to identify us like fingerprints...or perhaps more appropriately, to unlock our phones.
Each ear is an incredibly complicated sculptural form unto itself. Its interplay of concave and convex shapes originates inside the crevice between the jaw and skull, yet protrudes more than most other features.
But we mostly have the idea that ears are flat things (with holes) applied to the outside of our heads...
I always find it difficult to discuss ears in a portrait sculpture class. I want to describe some of their individual complexity, but not turn them into a distracting problem that doesn’t support the whole.
Most of us don’t spend much time studying other people’s ears...so if making a portrait sculpture is at least partially about creating a physical analog or material history for the act of looking carefully at another person, in most cases, it probably shouldn’t focus heavily on the ears.
Nevertheless, I find I am particularly unpersuasive in class when it comes to ears. Is anyone listening to me?
And my ears, often used as a visual aid, are particularly boring.
Not Entirely Empty Inside:
(Second Face for the “Second Brain”)
Continuing on about the theme that we might all be overly focused on our heads...(and this from the person who has been drawing her own head every day for the last month)
Read any three sentences in the “health and wellness” space and at least one is likely to tell you that the gut is the key to overall physical and mental health.
95% of our serotonin resides in the gastrointestinal tract, and there as many neural cells just in the small intestine as there are in the spinal cord. These are just two bits of the evidence that indicates that our heads may not exactly be in charge.
But it’s harder to read expressions off a stomach, even one’s own. Unless it has a cheesy face.
And as long as I am driveling along here: I want to add that the "belly face" is an appropriate concept as regards the exterior of the body also.
Enter “Belly” and “Face” into an online search field (and you will get some appalling videos of faces drawn or squished into protruding bellies) but the main link seems to be “FAT” Google suggests that everyone’s faces and bellies share the same pathological need for slimming assistance.
Face and Stomach are the body definitely the two areas that concentrate dissatisfaction. Some people may be unhappy with, say, their ankles, but it’s not a pandemic.
Gorgon Finger Puppets
Inktober 2018 Day 23
While I am on the topic of heads and the stuff on them, I cannot help by think of the rather famous head that gets carried around to vanquish monsters in Greek mythology.
Medusa is certainly a problematic figure. Her power and ability to turn the living into statues makes me want to claim her as a fraught metaphor for female sculpture making.
But there’s the initial rape (or at least some sort of “defiling” in Athena’s temple), the beheading, and the undignified supporting role in the story starring Perseus that really takes the fun out of it.
And all that horrible Freudian interpretation about symbolic female genitals and the castration complex is quite offensive to those of us with “the wound that never heals.”
....though the synopsis I find on Wikipedia of Freud’s assertion that Medusa becomes “the unapproachable woman who repels all sexual desire by carrying (symbolically) the genitals of the mother.”.... seems not entirely incorrect for my role as the parent of two adolescent boys.
However, of all the things that can be claimed as phallic symbols: snakes, fingers, cigars, etc... fingers are the only ones that are good for drawing and sculpting.
At there’s that mind/body split between thinking and doing...and between mental feeling and physical feeling...that makes me think that have a scalp full of (at least metaphorical) fingers might not be all bad.
Yes, I am still two days behind on posts for inktober because I have to write all this drivel.
I Feel Moderately Ambivalent About My Neck:
“I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” was a 2006 book written by Nora Ephron.
I am not proud to be name it here without having read it. At the time of its publication, I was subsisting on a steady diet of NPR interviews, so I did hear Ms. Ephron discuss her book multiple times, and gave some serious thought to the title, subtitle, and ostensible content.
Back in 2006, when I was not yet officially an old lady, I might have felt a tiny bit critical of the idea that women “of a certain age” should necessarily spend much time mourning the lost elasticity of the skin between their jaw and collarbone. How much time do older men spend looking in the mirror at their necks? I wondered. Well...probably more and more these days.
Of course, twelve more years and thousands of miles down the road, I understand more clearly that age and vanity come for us all in some form or another. This information hasn’t helped me with my own vanity problems, but maybe it helps mitigate my disapproval of other people’s vanity problems.
But besides holding the head up, the neck is a fascinating body part, full of all sorts of odd color and evocative anatomical detail.
And the older I get, the more interesting it becomes.
So, there’s a lot to look forward to.
So, there’s a lot to look forward to.
Does Somebody Need A Hug?
Self portraits are convenient, and I always feel better about decapitating and degrading myself than doing so to other people.
I exploited the kids last year for inktober 2017, and felt a little anxious about it. My drawings of our sons are always more revealing of (and more embarrassing to) me than them. And they seem to be more or less pleased by (or tolerant of) the attention...But that will likely change.
None the less, drawing myself repeatedly for a month is definitely irritating and boring.
Probably for you also.
This image about ambivalence comes from something I learned watching our kids.
An only child, I was not intimately familiar with the essential sibling move: The Love/Hate Hug/Strangle.
Very early on in their relationship, our older son would say repeatedly, “I NEED to HUG the baby!” And he wasn’t just trying to close an airway, (though that might have been a happy accident) he was HUGGING. This still goes on today. But now it is bidirectional.
Perhaps one can express affection and disdain towards oneself in a similar fashion.
Were We Ever Really Friends?
Inktober 2018 Day 20
Conjoined folks have to get along somehow. I am not sure I would do well if physically attached to another iteration of myself. (So opinionated! So self centered! Does she really always have to be doing something?)
While just a thought experiment prompted by my wish to draw two unflattering views of my aging neck, perhaps I should give this some more thought.
I May Have Underestimated My Uncoolness:
“Testament of Orpheus” was the last film made by Jean Cocteau in 1960. A dying poet played by Cocteau himself (also dying at the time) travels through time and meets various god like personages. Their more than mortal status in the film is indicated by large, blank, artificial eyes. The God Eyes are very low-tech, apparently just drawn on paper. However one might feel about the film, the eye thing was a nice solution.
When you can’t read someone’s gaze, you can’t read their intent or their role in the social order. Thus the enormous empowerment of wearing dark sunglasses.
I thought about this eye covering/ replacement topic and foolishly replaced my eyes with feline eyes. I considered many possibilities from flat symbolic drawings to tree frog eyes.
Cat eyes seemed like a good choice. They are proportionally larger on the face and cats are too cool for both poets and immortals. And my son likes them a lot.
But I underestimated my ability to make even cat eyes uncool.
On me the effect is more Sleestak than avant-garde immortal.
(Yes, for those of you who were watching tv back in 1974, the Sleestaks did have black eyes, but you know what I mean)
Definitely Not As Cute As The Monkey On My Back:
We tend to think of other people’s heads as representing the whole person. And we tend to think of the essential part of ourselves as resident inside our own heads.
But there is evidence that emotion, and even thought, requires the rest of the body, at least as feedback loop, if not actual origin.
I’ve done a lot of work about the head vs the body in sculpture and drawing over the years without making any identifiable progress on the topic.
And I’m afraid the proximate source of this drawing was the recent cover of National Geographic- “See The Bond of Monkeys and Humans in the Amazon” which featured a winsome monkey sitting on the head of a winsome child.
Neither iteration of me is winsome. But while thinking about what could sit on my head, I did give some serious consideration to rodents...so while I am less cute than a monkey....maybe I am more cute than a rat?...
But actually, no. Can’t make that claim.
Not My Most Authentic Self:
Tooth enamel is the hardest biological substance known, and lasts longer than the other parts of the skull. Given my dental challenges, I am not confident about the longevity of the rest of me.
While never a skilled smiler, I had exemplary teeth until the age of 35. I was a dental hygiene zealot during childhood and didn’t have a single cavity until pregnant with our first child. But things started to fall apart then, and have continued to decline ever since.
I sculpted a partial mask with big grinning teeth to wear in a cibachrome photograph many years ago. At that point, I was mostly interested in the social ramifications of a big fake smile.
But now that my actual smile is no longer entirely natural, I have a slightly different perspective on what the wearing of fake teeth might mean.