7.26.2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty One

It's my last night in Jemez, at least for a little while. 


 
We continued work on the mural today, stopping for a quick lunch at the cafe across the way.



After returning home, we ventured down into the river to build a small dam and bask in the sunlight. 
It looked like rain, but the storm never quite hit us (despite a fair amount of thunder and a flash flood warning). Still hoping.

crisp adj. Easily broken; brittle; brisk or cold; sharp; clear. v. To make or become crisp. 
I wasn't sure how to begin after finding today's word. It spoke to me, but I couldn't quite turn the feeling it gave into something I could put on paper. Sitting there staring out the window, listening to the river running,my mind wandered on back through my day. I remembered wandering down stream, untangling thin and delicate prayer flags, bleached and worn from the sun and wind. Eventually, having collected a few of the more interestingly worn flags, I found a spot to rest on a boulder in the center of the river.
I sat there and watched the clouds rolling in and made an effort to clear my mind. 
Everything seems so utterly peaceful in these mountains; the air is fresh and the light is sharp and bright without becoming harsh or glaring. There's a sense of calm and bone-deep cleanliness that washes over me when I visit. I wanted, with today's word, to put that feeling down on paper (now you can see why it may be a bit of a struggle to form those feelings into a simple illustration).
In the end, I decided to sketch my moment on the rock; it may mean something different to each person that sees it, but it brings me back to that moment and that, I think, is the important thing.




Tomorrow brings Albuquerque and revisiting my childhood haunts. 
Wish me luck?

xx
r

7.25.2011

Day Two Hundred Thirty

Another blissful day in Jemez.
We worked on repainting the mural on the side of the Laughing Lizard (it had gotten so faded, people were having trouble remembering it was even there). Maddie and I were discussing retirement here; I would love to spend my later years on some little porch, watching the clouds make their way over the canyon. 

I enjoyed today's word; not the word alone, but the product that came from it.

dis-dain v. To treat contemptuously; to look on with scorn.



I wanted to put a twist on this word-to give it some sense of lightness and humor. Today seemed too peaceful and centered a day for ugliness.



I rather enjoy the way this came out; it reminds me quite a bit of the mix of love and slight disgust I find in myself when it comes to dealing with noisy, sticky younger brothers.

Evening.

xx
r


7.24.2011

Day Two Hundred Twenty Nine

At the advice of my ever-interesting companion, I will begin with "Well, we got some rain today." Which would be the truth-we did, indeed, get rain today. It was not quite enough, though, and we're hoping for more to stop the spread of the forest fires that have been sweeping this area. 
We stopped by the Lizard for a few hours today to have some coffee, play a few rounds of cards, and sneak back into the kitchen for a peek at the changes. The staff was a bit confused-they were not sure who these strange ladies were, and why they were back where customers were not generally allowed. Hah! If only they knew the years we had spent as munchkins at the Lizard... Ah, well, it was good to be back. 



The after effects of a double shot americano having caught up to me, I relied on shading to cover up my shaky lines for today's piece. Wait...the word. I think I'll start off with that.

slick-er n. A raincoat made of yellow oilcloth.



Rain has been on the mind as of late, and today's word gave me the chance to get it onto paper. 
I began with a pencil illustration, which I inked, and then re-shaded with graphite. I felt that the flatness of pen didn't quite fit with the softer, more gradually shaded look that pencil can give.




I added some odd details to this character-I wanted to avoid a red riding hood vibe. 
I rather like her, though. 
Hoping she'll work as a sort of rain dance and bring back the clouds over the canyon. Just a suggestion, there.

Well, enjoy your evening. Lord knows I will. 

xx

r

7.23.2011

Day Two Hundred Twenty Eight

Well, we've made it! 
Fourteen long, sugar-filled, ADHD-medicine-lacking hours later...we have arrived in New Mexico. We hit rain coming in, which made the entire remaining journey smell of wet earth and sage. I could not have dreamed of a better welcome home.

We are now settled in at the house in Jemez Springs, relaxing; enjoying NOT sweating. After a delicious dinner (did not include barley, despite Maddie's claims that the parsley was actually barley) , it was time to settle down in front of a notebook and get this post out of the way. I mean...get to do the art I've been looking forward to since I awoke this morning at 4  a.m. 

So as I landed on this word, Maddie peeking intently over my shoulder, I couldn't resist the temptation to poke a little fun. I'd like to state that the use of this word as applied to a Maddie-like character is entirely in jest. Mostly in jest. 

pes-ter v. To harass with persistent annoyance; to bother. 




Hah! So, as I remembered back through the lengthy hours of our car trip, the signature Maddie hug stuck out to me as something that would translate well to a cartoon-like illustration. In case you have not met this...ahem...character, she is rather fond of giant bear hugs accompanied by a very long, drawn-out utterance of "huuuuugggg" just to make sure you are aware that you are receiving such a gift. 



Now, this illustration was done a bit smaller than it probably should have been; the ink ran a bit. Ah, well. I think you get the basic idea. 

Until tomorrow. 

xx
r






7.22.2011

Day Two Hundred Twenty Seven

Well, this is an early post. I’ll be out this evening, and am getting on the road at promptly 5:15 tomorrow morning to make our way back to New Mexico.
Green Chile, here we come.
Oh! Speaking of posting and road trips-because the drive tomorrow is a good 12-14 hours, I can’t guarantee that there will be a posting tomorrow. There will, of course, be art made; you may just have to wait an extra day to be told about it.

Onward.

When I saw today’s word, I absolutely could NOT resist doing a bit of a tribute to one of my favorite movies. (Actually, one of my favorite scenes of a favorite movie.)

re-cep-ta-cle n. Anything which holds something; an electrical outlet designed to receive a plug.



Hah! Now, I’ve been putting off a Big Lebowski post...but, I really had no choice with this word. In case you aren’t remembering the scene, I’ve found a picture for ya.



Hah! Well, I stuck with simplicity on this one. I wasn’t going to try and illustrate the Dude; I couldn’t do him justice.



Ah, well. There we go.

I’ve got to rush and keep packing now.
I hope to update you all tomorrow.

Xx
r

7.21.2011

Day Two Hundred Twenty Six

Oh, boy. Been up since 5:15. In case you haven't experienced the sweaty, humid, frantic mess that is the Lawrence sidewalk sale...it begins before the sun rises and ends after it sets. Most every store along Mass street puts out incredible amounts of stuff at serious discounts...and hoards of people swarm downtown to sort through and buy while sweating profusely. 
Ah, you've got to love this country. 

Anyway, consumerism ate up the majority of today and I was happy to finally settle down and get some art down on paper. 

root-hold n. The anchorage of a plant in the soil by the growing and spreading of its roots.



I fell in love with the application of this word to my life, and the lives of so many of the people in it. Although I illustrated this word rather literally, I knew I would spend time explaining the thought behind this drawing. 



I know it is just my youth, but the thought of "roots" and establishing them makes me just a little...itchy. I think, though, that it is a mistake to view roots as something that could trap. Because the idea of roots is not a literal thing at all, at least not in my opinion. Roots are not a house, or a neighborhood, or even a country (although those things can contribute to the feeling of establishing them).  Roots, to me, are an internal thing. I see the importance of establishing roots for yourself, and the equal importance of recognizing and appreciating the roots from which you grew. 
Now that I am thinking more about it, I really look forward to establishing the kind of roots that allow a person calm and stability of mind-allowing them to weather any kind of turmoil. 
I'll be lucky if I ever am able to establish these type of roots, but I will strive for it. 

I think I'd better get to work now-packing and such. 

Goodnight.

xx
r

7.20.2011

Day Two Hundred Twenty Five

I'd like to start off this post by wishing a happy birthday to my dear mother. She's getting up there in years and, although she can't quite remember us all too well, she had a few moments of clarity throughout the evening. 

Alright, on to this post. 

I had quite a bit of fun with this one, but I've got to explain a bit about it-it's kind of difficult to tell exactly what this is supposed to be. :/ 

sus-pect v. To have doubt or distrust; to have a suspicion or inkling of someone or something. 



So, I wanted a dramatic little character looking a bit suspicious. So...



Now, as I finished the character, I needed something for her to be eyeing with a bit of suspicion... the object to the right of her is, in fact, an empty cupcake wrapper. After this, I'm not sure one can convincingly illustrate a cupcake wrapper on a plate without needing just a few words of explanation. Eh. 

Goodnight everyone.

xx
r

7.19.2011

Day Two Hundred Twenty Four

Whew! Well, folks. It’s quite hot out.
Spent the day dumpster diving for boxes to break down and silkscreen on. Apparently quite a few people in this town are into this...my luck was slim and my sweat was plenty.
Managed to snag a few good bits of chipboard, though...we’ll see how it all turns out.

This word forced me to do something I don’t often do...okay...something I almost NEVER attempt. But...here we are. Wait!
I think I’ll get the word out of the way before I go on explaining myself.

nerve n. The bundles of fibers which convey sensation and originate motion through the body. Slang Impudent.



So, back to me explaining myself.

I decided to go with the slang version of this word.
The vision of an exasperated character really appealed to me when it came to this-I had often heard adults exclaim “The nerve!” about us kids growing up, and it’s stuck with me.



Yes...that IS a hand.
Go ahead...judge.

Bleh.
Well, it didn’t turn out quite as bad as I had thought.

Well, everyone.
I bid you goodnight.

Xx

7.18.2011

Day Two Hundred Twenty Three

Phew!!

Now I see why this is spread out over the course of a year.

Today’s post sort of evolved and changed dramatically into something I didn’t intend to create. As soon as I began to draw, it ran away.

un-but-toned adj. Not provided with buttons.



I began with the idea of illustrating a rather cute character wearing an unbuttoned men’s shirt over a little dress. As I began to sketch, the shirt morphed into a wide-shouldered hoodie of sorts, and the character became a sort of faceless, tall man.



Anyway, I’m not sure how much I like this one...but it’s an odd thing when an illustration runs away like that.

Odd.

Xx
r

Day Two Hundred Twenty Two

Almost there...

So, we come to our second to last post for the evening.

bald adj. Lacking hair on the head.



This word made me laugh, and not just because of the dictionary illustration-I’d been struggling to illustrate a male character all day and was having one serious problem-hair! For some reason, I just can’t seem to illustrate a convincing head of hair on a guy...hmm. Anyway, I caught a break with this one.



The character came out a bit alien; a bit feminine. I’m not sure, but I quite like him.

Xx
r

Day Two Hundred Twenty One

Coming closer to being caught up!

Alright...

As soon as I read this word, I knew exactly what to illustrate. I’d spent the day with my grandparents, with them talking about how much we...er...my brother had grown. Although he is three years my junior, he stands at least half a head taller.
This makes two of four brothers that have passed me up (and the other two aren’t far off).

runt n. The smallest animal in a litter.



I think you can guess where we go from here:



Hah! Oh well...at least I’ll be well guarded.

Xx
r

Day Two Hundred Twenty

Phew! One down, four to go.

Luckily, I’d thought to write this post out after I finished illustrating but, as my handwriting was almost illegible, I decided to save you all and type it out.

tem-po-rar-y adj. Lasting for a limited amount of time; not permanent.



Now, at first glance, it may seem a little strange to pull the word “temporary” out of a dictionary and end up with the sketch that I have before me, but I’ll do my best to explain the thought process on this one.
So, temporary got me thinking about rain-it in and of itself is a temporary thing, but it also causes many other things to be temporary. Rain led me to thinking of some of my favorite places to be. In case you are new to me or to this project-my absolute favorite places in this small town are the alleys in the downtown area. I have walked down them so often; I’ve started to learn the details of each block, and am able to notice when the little things change. At a glance, it seems as though these places stay the same yet, when you stop to look, you see that they are continually shifting and changing.
Although there will always be paper strewn along the pavement, that paper changes. The dirty water that pools in the potholes and cracks is not quite the same water that lay there the previous day. This is where “temporary” formed in my mind as something more concrete: a more solid idea that I could, with some luck, be able to express.



I loved the juxtaposition of ideas when I began to think about the permanence and impermanence of alleys. Beyond the fact that the larger details (where the dumpsters sit, the look of the buildings) do not vary, I wanted to focus on the details. (Details have been a big deal to me lately-trying to notice everything about a scene will, I hope, help to broaden my mind when it comes to photography and illustration.) I loved the idea that, although the literal details change, the general details remain largely permanent. For example, that hipster looking for cool stuff in the dumpster may be a different hipster from the one you saw yesterday, but, the fact is, there’s still a hipster picking through cardboard and day-old bags of trash. The paper littering the ground is different, but there’s still paper beneath your feet.

I don’t know. It seems as if it’s becoming increasingly difficult to effectively communicate these thoughts that I find so fascinating. The deeper I go into my head, the more of his stuff I pull out but, the deeper I go, the harder it is to share what I’m thinking once I’ve come out of it.

Who knows, maybe I’m just a loon.
I hope so.

Good evening everyone.

Xx
r
Note: It was late at night when I wrote this, so apologies if this is rather redundant. 

Day Two Hundred Nineteen

Alright...

I feel like I’ve been away from this blog for years.

So, I guess I’ll just...begin.

The first word of my absence happened to be...

heav-y adj. Of great weight; very thick or dense; forceful; powerful; rough and violent; as stormy weather; of great significance; grave; painful, as bad news; oppressive.



As I happened to be reading an incredible book on the blues, “heavy” really brought the blues into my head. Anyway, I decided to illustrate a character (sort of, but not quite) resembling a favorite of mine-Lightnin’ Hopkins.



I’m not sure how I like this one, but it was a treat to illustrate as well as learn about these legends.

Xx
-r

7.13.2011

Day Two Hundred Eighteen

Well, I’d like to start off this post by announcing my upcoming disappearance from the blog. We’re venturing down to Oklahoma until Monday evening, and it’s a feat getting enough signal to make a phone call much less finding away to update this little project. Ah, well...when I return, there will be a flood of new art.

So! Today’s word.
It fit perfectly with the insane printing I’ve been doing.
Wait! I’ve got to show you what I ended up with at around 2:30 this morning...



Anyways, as I got back up from the print studio after churning out a few more of these, I went to clean all the paint off my arms/hands/shoulders/feet. Thinking I had gotten every last bit, and deciding to change my shirt, I happened to look down...which leads us to today’s word.

mid-dle adj. Being equally distant from extremes or limits; the central. n. Anything which occupies a middle position; the waist.



Anyway, as I looked down, I spotted a GIANT slash of black paint across my stomach. Being that today’s word is “middle”, and this happening struck me as both funny and impossible, I decided to illustrate this slash of paint.



I don’t know how crazy I am about this sketch, but...why not?

Well, I think I’ll get back to packing.

See you in a few days.

Xx
r

7.12.2011

Day Two Hundred Seventeen

Well, once again it’s late in the evening and I’ve had a bit of coffee.
“Late” being too late, and “a bit” being too much.
Ah, well.
It rained this evening, and then it poured. Snapped a few photos downtown before the drops started smashing into us on the way to the car...




Got some Billie Holiday on vinyl and a fresh cup of iced coffee...I think we’re ready for this post. Are we?
Well, if you aren’t ready by now, you’re beyond help.

So!
Where were we?
Ah, yes...
The word.

ros-ter n. A list of names.



Well, that seems simple enough.
Immediately, I thought of a rather annoying character taking roll.
Without any better ideas coming along the, eh, stream of creative consciousness, if you will...I stuck with it.



I can’t quite be sure about the rest of this character, but I enjoy the heck out of those feet.

Evening, everyone.

Xx
r

7.11.2011

Day Two Hundred Sixteen

Spent the day with some pretty cool people.
I’ve got to back up, though, and tell you about some artwork.
I spent part of my morning (between batches of cookies) finishing a print run that I’d been wanting to work on for, what I’m embarrassed to say, was weeks on end.
Anyhow, I finally managed to do a run of 11 prints, plus a couple multi-layer prints with the same screen.




Sweet!
Now I can finally pull out the material and use the screen for new projects. It’s been too long, print studio.

So, today’s word:

par-snip n. A plant from the carrot family cultivated for its long, edible root.



Now, I had a vague idea of what a parsnip looked like, but I thought I’d google them anyway to get some ideas.
When you’re googling something as specific and simple as a parsnip, you generally get exactly what you asked for-dozens of pictures of similar looking parsnips.
Deciding I liked the look of the many lines, and the sort of strange, knobby way parsnips look, I wanted to simply illustrate a parsnip literally.



I didn’t want to draw definite lines-I wanted to allow the shading to define the shape of the parsnip.
I don’t normally go for the realistic, or try to illustrate food, but I do like the way this came out.

Well, I think that’s about all I have to say for this evening.

Goodnight.

Xx
r

7.10.2011

Day Two Hundred Fifteen

We didn’t leave the house today. I think, at one point, the heat index reached 120 degrees. I wasn’t going to set foot outside in that kind of heat... So, we stayed huddled indoors out of the sun and did a bit of re-organizing. Got back down into the print studio today; it was wonderful even to ink the first layer of a two-print run.

Settled down in front of a movie to relax for the evening. We’d spent a good chunk of the afternoon loading CDs into a 300-cd disc changer, and another good chunk clicking through to find some decent music. Okay, so the clicking through was entirely my doing... Anyway, the music I finally settled upon has been stuck in my head since hearing it. When I came upon today’s word, it fit perfectly.

spell v. To say out loud or write in proper order the letters which make up a word; to relieve. n. The state of being controlled by magic; a short period of time; a time or period of illness; an attack.




Have always loved this song.
I am struck by the way she, in this song, is both powerful and powerless. It’s as if she does not beg for love; she demands it.
This has stuck with me, and I wanted to illustrate a character that portrayed this contradiction.



It’s rough, but I enjoy it.
I like the way this character turned out looking broken yet resolute.
I aspire to be like that when, if ever again, I find myself in that place.

Evening.

Xx
r

7.09.2011

Day Two Hundred Fourteen

Ah, I think today was a good day.
Got quite a bit figured out.

I wanted to do something strange and kind of abstract with today’s word.

re-broad-cast v. To repeat or broadcast again at a later time or date.



I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super psyched for today’s word.
Anything to do with broadcasting is always a treat to illustrate.



I drew the same character from different angles to symbolize “broadcasting” again at a later time.

Ah. I’ve very much got to post this.

Xx
-r

7.08.2011

Day Two Hundred Thirteen

Took a sick day today.
Which is ironic because today was the most artistically productive I’ve been in a while. Nothing large was achieved, but I’m slowly getting back on my feet as far as sketching and printing go.
The one part of today that I really enjoyed was digitizing a stack of LPs. I worked my way through to a Dizzy Gillespie album I’d bought in Livingston. As it finished, I played it for the first time on a computer, and was overjoyed to find that the deep warmth of the vinyl had come through the digitizing process-every soft crackle and pop was left intact.
Perfection.

Today’s word really resonated with me in kind of an abstract way.
I’d continue and try to save myself from coming off as a pretentious artsy type, but I think I’ll have to tell you the word first or my attempt will make little sense.

shelve v. To put aside; to place on a shelf.



Alright, so, back to this explanation.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the split between enjoying your life and being desperate for something different. I can recognize the near perfection of my situation-I can look at things and see how much I enjoy them, and how much they mean to me. Sometimes, though, I wish I could put this life on a shelf-just store it for a while. I think I’m selfish enough to want to fall off the map without burning any bridges; and to be able to return to the way things were without consequence.



Now, I’m not sure that sentiment is entirely captured in this quick sketch-good thing there’s a written element to this blog.

I don’t know.
I think I’ll battle this feeling for some time to come. I may never figure it out, but I just might. I guess we’ll see, eh?

Xx
-r

7.07.2011

Day Two Hundred Twelve

Ah! It’s gotten super late...and I’d completely spaced out on this poor blog.
Nothing much to report about today...for once, things were incredibly...normal. Which made it special, I guess.

shout v. To yell. n. A loud cry.



I went with just a ridiculous interpretation of this word, and ended up with an odd little character.



Who knows...

I believe it’s bedtime.

Xx
-r