Monday, December 31, 2018

Finger Fire

Wishing all a Warm New Year
....but maybe not too warm.

Our younger son expressed an intense interest in creating a video of himself setting his fingers on fire (courtesy of alcohol based hand sanitizer, I think) 

I tried to fulfill the wish without any physical hazards.  If this ever happens in real life, it definitely won’t be on the Union Square platform for the L train. But since we will soon be mourning the absence of the L in 2019, it seemed like a nice venue for manual pyrotechnics.

And yes there has been a lack of napkins over the last few days. I dropped into a weird knitting hole for a few days. I volunteered for the “finger knitting” booth at the kids’ school’s holiday fundraising fest (so, so, so many sticky little fingers!) 

The finger knitting thing was not such a gratifying experience, but it reminded of my decades-past previous life as an obsessive knitter. (Three very disturbing facts: I worked at a yarn store. I owned a knitting machine. I hand knit many things, including a sweater that had two realistic cats on it- one of them a calico)

The yarn that I bought to experiment with for finger knitting turned into a hood project (with needles, not intensely annoying fingers)

I somehow couldn’t help myself. Perhaps I needed to prove I could still do it? Or I just reactivated an obsessive compulsive disorder? 

At any rate, hopefully the knitting itch has been scratched. No one will ever actually wear the thing, but there it is. 

(And, did I successfully thwart online face recognition software in both pictures?)

More non-knit things in 2019.... 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Holiday Wrapping

I am always pleased to have an excuse to do some low stakes drawings.

(Thus, really, the whole napkin enterprise.)

I’ve been recently reminded that wrapping paper is another chance to make some quick drawings that don’t have to be good. After all, it’s all going to be cut up and taped together.

The cat and dog are the very important pets of the kids’ aunt and uncle. 

The zombie Santa and miscellaneous dogs, shark, goldfish, and menorah were for the kids.

And mediocre gifts are always bettered by handmade wrapping paper...right?

Perhaps I might consider cutting up all my drawings and taping them on boxes. (Or around socks and t-shirts as they were here) 

It couldn’t hurt. 

But not the napkins of course.

Happy Holidays!
(If you have one, hope your tree looks better than ours!)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Santa Jaws

Just leave some chum under the tree.

Yes, there was a 2017 SyFy channel movie with the title “Santa Jaws” 
It was part of “Sharknado Week.”

I have not had the pleasure of viewing it, but the synopsis says that the main human character is a teenage boy who wishes that he didn’t have to spend the holidays with his annoying family. He draws a wish fulfillment comic titled “Santa Jaws” with a magic pen which somehow manifests a real shark determined to kill his family members on Christmas. He and his older brother try to prevent the shark from eating the family... because even if you do fantasize about eradicating your probably don’t really want them to end up in the stomach of a shark wearing a Santa hat on its dorsal fin.  

In summary, this napkin does not resemble the movie. 

But perhaps, any holiday season, it is always good to be reminded that, no matter how strained the relationship, almost no one actually wants their family to be eaten by a CGI shark. ....even one driving a sleigh.....or Rudolph the Red Nosed Shark

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Homemade Wrapping Paper

Homemade Wrapping Paper:
Not quite half-assed....maybe almost a quarter?

When the gifts are not inspiring, one can always make an effort on the paper...(or just give up and draw on a napkin.)

In the olden days, when my sons were runny nosed small children, if I hauled out a giant sheet of paper and some paint, they would enthusiastically pitch in.  Now that they are adolescents who know how to blow their own noses, no such luck. 

So this was all me, sad to say. But let’s just imagine how good it could have been if others had been involved.  

I am going to cut it up into pieces and wrap small uninspiring items it it, so perhaps that will be an improvement?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Krampusnacht with Terrors of Christmas Past

Krampusnacht With Terrors of Christmas Past:

I read that Krampusnacht is celebrated on the evening of December 5th in alpine towns in Central Europe. Krampus, long before the recent horror movie of that name, is Santa’s nasty doppelgänger, the semi satanic guy in charge of the bad children. 

While I have never seen a Krampusnacht (night)  or a Krampuslauf (run- a street parade with people in Krampus masks) the costumes and masks one finds picture of online are quite nice, and certainly far more interesting than boring old Saint Nick.

And who is behind those masks? I added in a couple of characters from the claymation holiday specials that disturbed my own childhood- “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” Because we all know that banal insipidity lurks behind true evil...or maybe just conspires with it?

(This was supposed to be a donation for a holiday benefit, but it went unframed yesterday and is therefore still at home with the rest of my failed donations)

Holiday Themed Weirdness and Failure

Every year when the need to donate something for the holiday benefit “Deck the Walls” for the New York Academy of Art rolls around, I am seized with temporary delusions of drawing capacity.  “Deck the Walls” features a whole lot of small inexpensive (maybe holiday themed?) works by the students faculty and alumni of the school.

The NYAA is a place where aspiring artists go to be taught by people who really know how to draw and how to teach drawing. 

There is instruction in painting and sculpture also of course, and I am a person who teaches sculpture. And I might even be a person who took up sculpture because my drawing wasn’t really all that good. Can’t remember that far back now.

But I like to continually pretend that I know how to draw, mostly hoping that continual pretending will lead eventually to actual capacity.  (Most often, I do an end run around this topic by drawing on absorbent paper products.)

Like all previous years, this time, I started out optimistically, with low expectations, just planning to knock out something silly and inexpensive...and then somewhere along the way I started to get self conscious about the silly concept and the less than stellar drawing. 

But here it is on social media. Maybe I will work up enough chutzpah to actually donate the drawing to t

This image is a les- interesting-than-hoped spin-off of an image of a kid’s Santa and Reindeer costume- one of those where the wearer’s legs go down into the reindeer portion and the Santa body is a weird floppy stuffed doll sitting on top.

I now realize it is disturbingly similar to a holiday donation from two years back- Zombie Santa with Rudolph the red nosed skeleton.  That one found no takers-  despite the novelty of it being a napkin in a frame. You can see it at the above link if the description was enticing...

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Miraculous Ladybug, Cat Noir, Spider Man and Cat Woman

Bendy Insects with Dark Felines:

Someone at our house might be watching “Miraculous,” but I am not authorized to reveal who that might be. I gather the show is quite popular...but somehow embarrassing to the in-house viewer.

We are talking about “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir” a French anime style show (“Miraculous, les aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir”) starring an adolescent Parisian girl named Marinette. Her secret identity is the superhero Ladybug. Her schoolgirl crush is Adrien, whose secret identity, unsurprisingly, is her superhero counterpart, Cat Noir...

Or, en francais: 
Chat Noir.

“Miraculous” definitely traffics in some friendly superhero story elements, Marinette and Adrien are simultaneously awkward young people who can’t be cool around cute members of the opposite sex....and powerful spandex clad heroes easily able to dominate evil adults.

Marinette seems to have some qualities  in common with Peter Parker.....And Adrien bears a startling resemblance to characters who are stereotypically female in the american superhero universe.

Like the cat ladies, he sports a skintight shiny black catsuit, ears, tail and pointy finger tips. And most disturbingly, he wears a large blingy gold bell around his neck.

I’m conjecturing that the French audience has a more elastic understanding of what is allowed in male superhero costumes and thematics.

Gender elasticity in superhero land is certainly a good thing.

But apparently, I need to work on my drawing of bendy people in spandex suits.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Stan Lee

I Have So Many More Stories To Tell....

Stan Lee’s cameo appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 seemed like the most appropriate napkin image to mark his passing yesterday. 

(And how could I pass up the challenge of  a blotchy pink and purple sky and a transparent helmet....though maybe better luck on that next time...)

This cameo was billed in the movie’s credits as “Watchers’ Informant” and he was briefly shown twice, once in a post credit bit, regaling a group of Watchers with stories at an intergalactic transfer. The scene were perhaps a meta joke, suggesting that all of Stan’s cameos in Marvel movies, television shows and comics were appearances of the same character. 

The Watchers, imagined long ago in the comics by Lee and Jack Kirby, are powerful immortal beings whose calling is to observe galactic events.  In the Guardians’ post credits scene, The Watchers depart, leaving him protesting “Hey fellas, where are you going? You were supposed to be my lift home. I have so many stories to tell."

Here’s hoping the Watchers will be giving Stan a ride home.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Fortnite Llama and Red Dead Redemption Horse

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

Not Inktober 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

Inktober 2018 Day 31

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.
So there.

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 soon as I make it back to my family in Brooklyn.

Inktober 2018 Day 30

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.

Inktober 2018 Day 29

That Thing Inside My Skull

Inktober is winding down in a rather dismal state for me, can you tell?

Inktober 2018 Day 28

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.

Inktober 2018 Day 27

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 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.

Inktober 2018 Day 26

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 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.

Inktober 2018 Day 25

It Should Get Easier With Practice:

Self decapitation has been a bit of a specialty of mine.

Not sure I am getting better at it though.

Inktober 2018 Day 24

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.

Inktober 2018 Day 23

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.

Inktober 2018 Day 22

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. 

Inktober 2018 Day 21

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.

Inktober 2018 Day 20

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.

Inktober 2018 Day 19

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)