menagerie

Yesterday, for my birthday extravaganza, the boy and I went to the Peabody Essex Museum. We hadn’t been in awhile, so all the special exhibits were new to us, but by far our favorite was the Trash Menagerie, an exhibit teeming with creatures made from recycled materials.

(Sulphur Blue Smeck, 2005, Michelle Stitzlein, mixed junk, 62 x 84 x 11 inches)

This butterfly is even more impressive in person. The stripes on the bottom of the wings are piano keys and the circles at the top are pots. It was impossible to pick a favorite, between the cardboard monkeys and the clam made of cigarette butts and the bunny with cigarette filter fur (bunny was even more adorable in person) and the glowing centipede comprised of bundt cake pans and bicycle brakes.

I love art made from repurposed stuff, and something about repurposing junk into animals is entirely enchanting. I can’t precisely put my finger on why, but the whole exhibit made me very happy. Finding new and exciting things, especially on my birthday, is a happy-making sort of thing.

After museuming we went out to dinner and managed to not get rained on, though it is the second coldest birthday that I can remember having.

We are still munching on funfetti cupcakes and I have a beautiful new necklace, my very first piece from Parrish Relics after years of coveting. Will be posting the first flax-golden tale tomorrow morning, and so far being thirty-one is very nice, indeed.

randomness for the 29th day of june

I finished the pages for the tarot deck today. They’re over here on LJ and in the tarot minors gallery on phantomwise.com. I have the sketches for the knights finished but I likely won’t start painting them until next week.

I am working on the aforementioned unexpected YA novel idea and it’s going pretty well. I think I want to do a relatively fast first draft over the next couple of months and see where it wants to go.

Query-wise I am playing the waiting game, and I seem to be getting better at it. Or better at distracting myself by baking cookies and drinking lots of wine.

I can’t believe it’s almost July.

That’s about it. Apropos of nothing, here is a photo I took on Saturday as we were driving off into the sunset.

thinky thoughts with henna

I forgot to update yesterday. So much for blogging every day in May. Almost every day in May, then? Every day I remember to? Mercury is going retrograde any minute now, so I was bound to get distracted or have technical difficulties anyway. We’ll see how the rest of the month goes.

I am henna-ing my hair today, which kind of impedes doing much else since my hair is wrapped in plastic wrap and towels and I can’t wear my glasses. And I think I mixed it a bit too watery, the henna is a bit on the drippy side so I have to keep an eye on it.

Photopaintings are sitting on the workbench while I figure out how best to detail them, there’s a kind of inlay on each one and I’m not sure what the best way to fill it in is. I can try different things, though, and see what works. But not today, since leaning over the table with my hair in its current state is not the best of ideas.

I was expecting to have a lazy, tea-filled afternoon but I unexpectedly had an idea for a new novel and I want to play in it for awhile and see if it has enough potential to work on seriously. I’m taking some notes and seeing where it wants to go, it might end up being this November’s NaNoWriMo novel, which gives me plenty of time to let it sit and simmer.

Speaking of writing, I am thinking of adopting a pen name. I like this idea a lot, for a multitude of reasons including that my current name is only a typo away from a pop singer, but I’m not sure how to best transition over to it. We’ll see, I guess. Am still pondering.

monday

I have been absurdly productive today. Like, giddy-making productive. Being productive apparently makes me a happy puppy, I should do it more often.

Spent most of the morning working on this set of panoramic photo-based paintings. Got all the photos mounted on their respective boards and I’m leaving them to dry overnight before I start adding more layers. They’re likely going to have a lot of layers when they’re finished. But I am on schedule to finish them this week, so that’s happy. Here’s a peek at what my table looks like, with all the seasons piled on it:

And my brain did that weird thing it does sometimes when painting (or rather, pasting prints of photos) unlocks the writing bit of my brain and I figured out how to fix one of the scenes in the novel that I’d been working on, so I wrote about 600 words that can be edited and added, and I’m absurdly pleased about that.

I also took a shower, drank a lot of tea, exercised and read another 50 pages of Then We Came to the End, which I started and abandoned sometime last year and picked up again yesterday. Nearly halfway through and liking it better this time around.

I’ve set myself up for a busy week but I think it will be an enjoyable one.

springy

For spring, which has sprung, a random list of artsy things I would like to do/try/attempt someday, when time and space and money and such fickle things align properly:

  • Re-finish and creatively paint furniture, in muted technicolor funky-but-classy patterns. You know, when I have the room to strip and store furniture.
  • Art dolls, quirky creepy pseudo-Victorian porcelain nightmares in lace. This will likely require improving my sewing skills.
  • Documentary film. I don’t know what subject, maybe something will come to me eventually. But I like documentaries, and have an odd desire to make one myself.
  • Encaustic painting. Painting with hot wax! C’mon, that’s awesome. Expensive and messy, but awesome.
  • Some sort of collaborative photo-based project to be star odyssey 2.0. No idea how to fix what went wrong with 1.0 yet, though, so will require pondering.
  • Zen garden, with koi pond and fountain and meditating Buddha statues. Need a yard first.
  • Another tarot deck, perhaps in a minimalist pencil sketch sort of style.

And I have a long-harbored desire to make an installation sculpture consisting of a skull stuffed with teabags and a top hat, entitled Requiem for the Mad Hatter.

sheep

Yesterday I wasn’t sure what I wanted to work on and couldn’t quite focus enough to write. So I pulled out my big box of random supplies and found a bunch of polymer clay I’d pretty much forgotten about.

And I made a sheep.

He’s a bit over an inch tall and about 2 inches from head to fluffy tail. He is more or less the same somewhat shifty-eyed sheep from Secret Agent Sheep, except with stubbier legs so he would stand up better. He’s made of polymer clay that was detailed in acrylic and glazed. I haven’t made anything with polymer clay in years so I’m pretty impressed with myself.

I kind of love him. But I might put him up for sale on Etsy. I need to see how durable he is when he’s completely dry.

Also yesterday I read Laurie Halse Anderson‘s new book, Wintergirls, in its entirety. Because I picked it up to read the first page and could not put it down. It’s heavy and somewhat draining but absolutely beautifully written. I really kind of wish I’d been able to read her books as a teenager.

Today I am chipping away at my list of book edits and compiling files of literary agent information. It is probably more fun than it sounds, because I have tea and a small clay sheep looking at me sideways.

finished bunnies & suggestions welcome

The Phantomwise Tarot 10s are done, remarkably ahead of schedule. You can see the set in the tarot minors gallery on phantomwise.com or over here on my art-based LiveJournal. Someday I might combine that blog with this one. Today is not that day.

Here are the finished bunnies, in bookish tea party glory:

I kind of can’t believe the numbered minors are complete. I’m really pleased with how they’ve all turned out, so often the minors are dull in comparison to the majors, and I’d like to think these hold their own. Now it’s just a matter of getting the courts completed, and then the deck is done. I doubt I’ll know what to do with myself then, I might need another epic art project of some sort.

In other news, I am going to endeavor to blog here more frequently. I was going to set a lofty goal of once a day but that seems too lofty at the moment. So I’ll start with several times a week and maybe attempt that every day thing in April.

I’ll need topics, though. Suggestions are welcome, just comment. Otherwise you’re just going to get more writing, art, kittens, and possibly a lengthy essay on why I love LOST in general and Michael Emerson in particular.

And you get a Watchmen review on Friday, of course.

technical difficulties & a bunny

My Macbook is unhappy. Googling indicates that it’s suffering from a kernel panic, a malady that makes me want popcorn. I’ve tried all the helpful hints for creative restarting but it persists in panicing, so it will get a trip to the Apple Store in the nearish future. In the snow.

I am sick of snow. I am bored with hibernating. It’s pretty, but I’m cold and I would like some greenery. Flowers and butterflies and a world outside my window not covered in ice, please thank you.

I am working on the 10s for the Phantomwise Tarot. They are all sketched and some of the paintings are started. I should be able to finish them by the end of the week.

The ten of cups got overrun with bunnies. Here’s a teensy peek:

I decided I only had a few cards left to be silly in, to make the deck more me than Rider Waite, and bunnies, books & tea seemed a good way to do it. The pents are rather non-traditional, too, and I managed to sneak each totem animal in their respective suits for good measure.

So, painting and editing in a winter wonderland, waiting for Spring and trying not to get impatient about it.

recycled words

Have just discovered the art of Will Ashford and I’m completely smitten.

I have always loved art with text and text with art, and this combines text & art in a really lovely way. Found his stuff by accident, too, doing Google image searches for “old books” when the umbrella caught my eye. It makes me unreasonably happy.

this entry has no kittens

I was going to post pictures of kittens but they are being uncooperative. Likely because it is absurdly humid and they are absurdly fluffy and like to flop in difficult to photograph places.

I have been on internet hiatus this week, which usually involves me avoiding the internet save for important things like e-mail and whatnot. It is remarkably beneficial to my productivity level. During this particular hiatus I finished the sixes for the Phantomwise Tarot and drank a lot of wine and thought about the novel a lot. I have something of a timeline for getting things done and I’m going to make charts and maps and helpful tools that will be, well, helpful. I hope.

Tonight the Phantomwise Tarot Shinies go on sale at Wyrding Studios. I have spent a fair amount of the day promoting them in various places and playing e-mail tag with Kythryne. I’m excited about it, I haven’t even seen the finished product in person but I’m sure they’re even lovelier than the photos, since Kyth’s stuff usually is.

I am very much ready for it to cool down and be nicely autumnal already. I always feel out of my element in the summer, despite being a July baby. I want sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes and crispy air and kittens that are more easily photographable.