I’ve wanted to do a Bestiary for the longest time. Now, with the plague upon us, I can think of nothing better to do with my time.
The list of beasts I want to do are mostly mythical but I’m sure some beasts living in our touchable dimension will make it into the mix. Not sure how I will arrange it, how many beasts will inhabit it, well, actually I am not sure of anything at all except for the first beast I have started is the Phoenix. The Last Phoenix.
Head of a Phoenix by Linda Saboe
Anatomy of the Last Phoenix by Linda Saboe. Ink and watercolor on paper, 5″x7″.
And here’s an anatomical page that looks at the skull, foot, and some of the feathers found on the Phoenix. Held in the foot are branches from the Frankincense tree which the Phoenix uses to build his funeral pyre.
I’m hoping to include a full color image of the entire bird. Then onto the next beast which might be a dragon? Kelpie? Maybe a unicorn?
Since the plague hit and we’ve been self-isolating, I’ve had a tremendously difficult time creating any art whatsoever. I’m motivated but have the focus of a gnat. I sit, I look, I think, I try and I quit and go play WoW. And even then I can only play the game for an hour or less. I wonder if anyone else has “corona brain syndrome?”
The other day I managed to actually finish something. This to me is huge given the condition of my brain.
I started with making watercolor puddles on a tiny 5″x7″ piece of watercolor paper. I made bluish, grayish, yellowish and reddish puddles of very wet paint and tilted the paper around until they moved and bled and did those things pigment in water do.
Then I started picking out random shapes and suddenly I had a painting. It’s called “Plague birds” and I really like it. I hope this means my focus is returning and my brain is mending.
I plan on doing more art in the time of plague and will put them up here and create a plague gallery. Sounds like fun, eh?
It’s a new year and I think I can start working in my office/studio in the new house. It’s not “finished” but it’s now a place I can do some artwork and goof off on the computer.
So I decided to do some exercises to get my creative juices flowing. Since the move, I’ve been totally blocked with all the crazy stuff of setting up a new house and trying to figure out the lay of the land. I’d look at the paper, pencils, watercolors and just stare blankly as they stared blankly back at me. Thus the exercise.
I made messy, splotchy, watery gobs, drips, and drabs on a piece of watercolor paper and then cut them up into tiny bits. After staring at them for what seemed days on end (maybe half an hour or so), I started picking out shapes and colors with a small paint brush and a few watercolors. I tried not to think about what was happening. No drawing just picking and poking.
So here’s a pic of a few pieces of paper and what happened with the first one.
And a close up of the little phoenix that happened to be hiding in the first piece of paper that I played with.
Next to the new house is a majestic tree that was unknown to me. My tree guides were all packed away so I searched the internet with a description of the reddish, cedar-like bark and luckily I found it fairly quickly. The tree is a Metasequoia, or the Dawn Redwood Tree. Native to China, it’s in the same family as our towering redwoods and considered a living fossil. I love that name, Dawn Redwood Tree. Here are a few pictures I took today.
The Dawn Redwood Tree in front of our house.
She’s a pretty big tree! Even though the smallest of the redwoods, they can grow to over 150 feet tall. So, my feeling is that this tree is the guardian of our place. I took a closer picture of the bark. When it rains, the red of the bark becomes a fiery orange-red. This picture does not do it justice.
Since moving to this house, I’ve been getting up rather early each morning and this morning I was greeted by a stunning dawn sky outside my kitchen.
Settling in is slow going. Unpacking is daunting (so many boxes of books!) and figuring out where things go takes time. As I get used to the flow of the house, I have to tweak and make changes. The other morning, Brni asked, “So where are the glasses today?”
We also don’t have a clothes dryer yet so I made Brni dig a hole and plant a clothes dryer. I haven’t hung clothes outside in a very, very, decades-long time. I kinda like it.
I had a moment today. It seems that no matter how long you’ve been established in a home, or how much stuff you have, when you move to a new place you end up needed different stuff. Like a different dish drying rack or trash can because the ones you have don’t work in the new space. I tend to make due for as long as I can but when the jury-rigged rack ended up almost destroying the counter in the new place, well, I broke down and went out to buy a couple things for the new house. Since there’s a Bed Bath & Beyond not so far away, I headed out there.
(now this is not the moment I am writing about, this next bit is)
As I exited the highway to route 100, I saw a young man standing at the side of the exit. He had a sign stating that he was having a very hard time and any help anyone could give would be appreciated and “god bless.” I looked at his face, and he was just so young, and so sad with such a despondent look in his eyes, I waved him over and gave him a twenty. He took it, said “thank you and god bless,” then he looked at the bill. His eyes grew very wide and he looked at me and exclaimed an incredulous thank you and started to say more, but I just waived at him and said, “It’s okay, take care.” Then I went to Bed Bath & Beyond but I was terribly shaken and tears almost happened.
And they wanted to charge me $80 for a dish drying rack and $200 for a goddamn trash can.
Really? After seeing a young man, so broken he had to beg for help on an exit ramp, and acted like a twenty dollar bill was a gift from god, you think I’m going to pay these crazy prices for a trash can?
I was so incensed, I left.
It is just not right, that in a country with so much wealth that this sort of thing should ever happen. So I will continue to help when I can, one person at a time. Just like I did when I was doing wildlife rehab, helping one animal at a time.
And I will not be part of the problem of spending money mindlessly or on things that just aren’t that important when that money could be better spent helping ease another’s pain.