I don’t usually work with watercolour, since I have an amateur’s lack of control over the medium and I gravitate to ink and acrylic more, but I tried my hand at it for yet more Xmas presents for my family, using watercolour pencil crayons to fun effect. I was travelling at the time, but I’d tucked the crayons and a block of blank watercolour paper post cards into my suitcase, so I was able to monopolize my mum’s coffee table and had a blast doing these little rapid-fire paintings:
Ever try to bring your worry stone with you somewhere but you think, Dangit, I’m totally going to drop this thing somewhere and that will make me sad? Do you ever think, If only this small flat rock had a handle?
Well, wish no more! Using some embroidery floss, a big needle, a few toothpicks, and maybe even some pliers, you too can make it easy to hold your rock without dropping it!
Having experienced a great big helping of both anxiety and cognitive fog on a regular basis for most of my sentient life — Shoutout to my narcolepsy and that extra special specific social phobia! You guys are just the best — I’ve recently taken up meditation in an effort to wrangle my errant neurology and help my poor systems deal with the load that’s on ‘em.
Since I’ve also got the aching joints of every 90-year-old grandma and ex-dancer out there, sitting down to meditate is most comfortable on a thick cushion. Like, a very thick cushion. I measured. My knees need about 7 or 8 inches under my butt or they protest, sometimes for days.
Hence? I set out to make myself a meditation cushion that would keep my elderly knees happy.
Another past Xmas, another painting for my family. This one is of two matching lotus flowers, since I had wanted to play with the idea of multiple canvases and I wanted something calming but with a pop of colour. Paired paintings means that the recipient gets to play with the placement more, which makes the gift more interactive when they do so with you there. It’s fun to see how they’ll make the new paintings suit the room.
There is an entire story behind why I adore the Egyptian gods Anubis and Bast, which involves too many books about ancient history that were far too large for me at that age, doofy Egypt-themed movies like Stargate, late 90s animated shows about mummies with cool cars for some damn reason, and a truly ridiculous number of hours spent glued to the Discovery Channel.
There’s also an entire story about how I ended up being given not one, but two Bast plushies to go with the absolutely ADORABLE Anubis plushie I’d bought from the museum:
To sum it up: I have the very best friends who saw me torn over the choice — jackal or kittycat?? — and, simultaneously and unbeknownst to each other, decided to end my agony by each buying me a Bast plushie.
What’s the best way to make sure that you will never, ever again mistake your own luggage for someone else’s? Why, spray paint it with a garish custom pattern of your own, of course! Bring ALL your masking tape, a can of spray paint in a contrasting colour, and a stencil of your choice:
As my spirit animal Adam Savage has said, ‘If the masking isn’t tedious, you’re not doing it right!’
Every year for Xmas I paint something for my brother so that he and his girlfriend can enjoy a punch of extra colour in their apartment. Fascinated by the lovely and dramatic Chinese watercolours of wild tigers slinking their way down rugged green mountainsides, I decided to try my hand at capturing the majesty of such a royal and curvaceous kitty.
Almost exactly one year ago, I was struck with a lightning bolt of an idea.
Or, more accurately, the subtle static charge of the idea had been building up in my brain slowly for months — just building and building, the sizzling sound getting steadily louder, I imagine — and then, last July, it finally reached critical mass and all that mental energy finally arced — striking me squarely in the sketch book (right in the page, ouch) and searing it with an outpouring of the plans for my Stranger Things Demogorgon costume.
That metaphor may be A Bit Much, but my friends? I was so dang excited!
…Just as I have always been so dang excited for a multitude of other projects in the past. Not that I haven’t and don’t enjoy that blast of inspiration and the drive that comes with it, it’s just that I often don’t * cough * y’know … finish stuff. Once the energy grounds itself and my hair stops standing on end and the electric charge returns to neutral — once I stop being ‘atingle’, as I wrote all those months ago — it’s hard to keep at it.
…Speaking of stuff that didn’t get done, one of the finishing touches on my demogorgon costume that failed to achieve lift off was the sound system I’d hoped to add. I kept fantasizing about how friggin’ cool it would be if my gorgon not only stalked the streets for real, but if actual monster noises emanated from the thing’s throat at my command.
This would have been such amazing frosting on the cake that was this project, because folks? The gorgon noises are really damn cool:
I get shivers! That noise from the gorgon is pretty much all you perceive of it for the entire first half of the show. It becomes the monster’s marker, a source of dread, as much as the flickering lights that follow it. That noise? It makes me really not want to know what’s in the bushes over there, shaking the branches every so slightly, no thank you. Because it’s probably one of our own native trash pandas, getting frisky with the recycling …but it could also be this thing.
So. My demogorgon had been made in several pieces, bits, sections, and layers, all in various states of completeness. But how, you may ask, was this cheap and saucy club sandwich of a monster to be assembled? What did it all add up to, by this point? What did it look like??
To be frank? …A little chunky. A bit inelegant, a bit ill-proportioned, and quite unfinished. By my late October Halloween-themed birthday party — the Gorgon’s Grand Debut! — some of the functional bits still didn’t function yet, and the bits that were supposed to join definitely didn’t. The edges were not tucked in, nor smoothed out. Due to a ill-judged adjustment of the fit, the back of it was nigh unpresentable. The seams were, just, like, everywhere. It resembled the draft of a great big rambling essay that doesn’t yet have a thesis, the submission deadline looming mere hours away and author slowly starting to panic: It looked rough.
Kind of f***ing rad.