Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lost Lenore

One of those "good" ideas that didn't work out that well. At least Lenore is grimly beautiful. She is another of the elements from my Itkupilli purchase.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Midnight Prayer

Tonight's work owes its soul to the magical Finnish witch at Itkupilli (I hope she doesn't mind my calling her that--I mean it in the nicest possible way.)  I recently made my first purchase from her shop, buying all kinds of dark elements and backgrounds for doing spooky collages. This entire piece, except for the skeleton and the arm, is one of her backgrounds. Thus tonight's work came about relatively quickly, which is great, because I took time to ride my cardioglide exercise machine after I got home tonight and got a late start. I'd love to have been one of those decadent artists who sat around drinking absinthe until midnight, then lit candles and worked into the wee hours. I've tried at least the wee hours part of that scenario, and it took its toll. I'll try to keep at least one vice to make up for exercise and more sleep. Thanks to Itkupilli's shop for making tonight's art possible, and please visit her via the badge in the right column.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Absinthe Drinkers

I understand absinthe has been making a return, albeit with a "safer" recipe. The wormwood (Latin name, Artemisia absinthium) is now illegal, I believe. Which is good, since it's basically poison! Yet,we must always pursue our pleasures, especially (for some) those that provide a frisson of danger. So here's to absinthe, the "Green Fairy" who will lead you into the wormy woods, but not necessarily out again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Nothing macabre going on here, for a change. Yesterday I heard from a friend who had a worrisome health issue come up recently. She has resolved to eat healthily and lose weight. I wish her the best!! This episode got me thinking again about my own current state of less than optimal health. Then it occurred to me that at least some of the skulls, skeletons, monsters, etc. that have dominated my work lately, may just be my subconscious trying to tell me something. I believe I'll listen...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Theresa regrets her sins

Can you imagine being trapped  in time, in a cosmic bubble, or a time-warp-wrap of softest spun galaxy light?  So she finds herself, damaged but hopeful. [this text makes no more sense than the image, but what the heck!]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

B is for Bella, Assaulted by Bats

First of all, a BIG APOLOGY to eBlogger. My recent difficulties with posting images were entirely due to my own ignorance. I posted a question on their help forum today, and voila! Problem solved. (Note:  you can't upload images from the html editor. So if you've accidentally clicked the "Edit html" tab, you have to click the "compose" tab to return to the place for uploading stuff.)

Today's piece is a tribute to the one and only Edward Gorey, being a little parody of his celebrated "Gashlycrumb Tinies." If you are unfamiliar with this compendium of grisly child mortality, well, Halloween season is definitely the time to become acquainted with it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Collage for August 24, 2010: Mixed Anatomies

This all started with a primitive image of heartworm and grew from there. I haven't written anything for a post in awhile. I've just been too tired. Going to bed early tonight!

Also a big WTF?! to eBlogger, I still couldn't upload the image and had to go through Flickr again. NOT ideal. I'll have to poke around online tomorrow and see what's up.

Collage for August 23, 2010: Midnight Music

eBlogger's uploader is still missing, this is linked through Flickr. You learn something new every day.

August 23, 2010: Midnight Music

Tonight's art will have to wait until tomorrow (that is, today) for posting. Blogger has decided to not display the link for posting a graphic.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 22, 2010: The Mirror That Flattereth Not

I wrote a lengthy post to accompany this image, but after giving it some thought, I decided it was hopelessly cynical and deleted it. Just consider tonight's piece as another simple Memento Mori.

Collage for Saturday, August 21: Scream Fountain

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Collage for Friday, August 20: Strasbourg Cathedral

I think a cathedral makes a pretty good-looking party hat, but only for a certain kind of party. You know, the kind that goes on for eternity!

August 19, 2010: D

D is my initial, and I must say I like it. It's always seemed like a friendly letter to me, perhaps because of its girth, and its generous, safely enclosed counter (in calligraphy, the counter is the shape created by the enclosing boundaries of a letter; it occurs in all of them except narrow uprights like f, i, j, l, r, t, though the capitals of some of these do have counters-such as R.) D also stands for Door, as in the one in the collage. I've always loved doors, not only for their metaphoric charge, but also for their status as protectors, and simply for their beauty. Doors represent such a wonderful concept--a piece of the wall that opens to admit you, then closes to keep out intruders, noise, weather, etc. Usually they are objects of beauty, ornamented with engraved or stained glass, lovely hardware, gorgeously finished wood. Here's to doors, small and tall, recent or ancient, plain or ornate.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Collage for August 18, 2010: Coliseum

This collage was inspired by one of the most interesting books about ancient Rome I've ever read:  Those About to Die, by Daniel P. Mannix, written in 1958. (My copy is a yellowed paperback dating to 1960; price: 35 cents.) It is about the Roman "Games" in the Coliseum, which, to quote from the back cover, "started as gladiatorial contests between warrirors and were degraded through the centuries into the wildest public massacres in the history of perverted pleasure." So much for the roots of western civilization! I don't necessarily care for books containing excessive cruelty and bloodshed, but I do like reading about history, so I must tolerate a certain amount of it. This book goes way beyond, entering that zone of primal, lizard-brain sensations that we've spent millenia taming. It does so, however, without crossing the line into cheap thrills, being well researched and written. My collage is positively prim and tame in comparison. Bones signify death, but they do have a certain "clean" quality. For whatever reason, the skull theme continues to prevail in my work...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Collage for Tuesday, Aug. 17: Folly of Youth

Thinking up titles for artwork can be fun, or a pain in the butt. It's a process I usually enjoy, until I come up against a stumper. Especially since I'm often choosing a title in the wee hours when all I want to do is finish and go to bed. I find I am not satisfied with the title for this piece. OK, it may be folly for a young woman to run around half naked with a snake around her neck--didn't she hear what happened to Cleopatra? But "Folly of Youth" seems kind of a cliche. I can still remember myself that feeling of immortality that young people often exhibit (I was a particularly foolish youth) simply because they are so far away from death, time-wise. This work is another memento mori, but I already used that phrase for a title. So I guess I'll let the current title stand. Though I'll admit, looking at her youthful beauty, that there is probably a good bit of Envious Age going on too.

The painting is Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci by Piero di Cosimo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Collage for Monday, 8/16/10: All Hallows' Eve

All Hallows' Eve, the old name for Halloween. Seemed more appropriate for this piece, than the gentrified holiday name when children go from door to door gathering treats. These guys look like they're after more than treats. Your soul, perhaps? I think I'll read a little Edward Gorey before I go to sleep tonight.

Collage for Sunday, August 15; Premonition

I'm still on my surrealist kick. I should be tired of skulls any day now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Never Looked Better!

Another little Halloween inspired scene.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I can think of worse things than being turned into a Tree.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Halloween Treats

Please feel free to grab a handful of that Halloween candy you bought for the neighborhood kids, and munch down! Wait--it's only August, isn't it? Never mind--my macabre imagination generally kicks in about this time of year. Once it's dark by 9 PM, I dust off my broom. Mother Nature (aka, the Goddess) knew what she was about--we long for summer, yet we anticipate the cooling weather and moody skies of Autumn with a frisson of pleasure, as the heat of August drags on. And Halloween! Who could not love this shadow-laden  celebration? As with Mexico's Day of the Dead, here is a holiday where we flush away that fear of death and dread of evil, and embrace them instead. For how could we celebrate life, without occasionally taking off our hats (or putting them on) to death?  Dark is only the other side of light.  Would light matter if we never experienced the dark? So here's to the Dark--keeper of secrets, nest of conjugal coupling, bridge to our land of dreams. Or nightmares.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today's Collage: Fatal Attraction

Death goes a-wooing. With the help of a beastly servant, known for its breath-taking embraces. Don't dally too long in his mesmerizing presence. Keep on climbing...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back Online: 3SIXTY5 for August 9, 2010: MEMENTO MORI

This piece started out to be a Halloween design for Theme Thursday's challenge from last week. Then I had my little melt-down, resulting in no new art for 5 or 6 days. So I guess tonight's work has a potent message for me--Stop Wasting Tme!!! It's funny, if I look at this piece with my eyes kind of squinty, I see a skull with a little Santa Claus hat on. That's not so inappropriate for (lapsed) Catholic--in RC iconology of my era, it was all about suffering and death. The Babe in the manger, celebrated by Santa and his bag of gifts for all the world, in fact carried a destiny as dire as any. One of the most instructive books I've ever read about this theme--the god-man who sacrifices himself so that his people may survive--is Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces, which places the Christ story in the continuum of savior stories from way, way back. Informative, and liberating to those of us who have felt burdened by the weight of faith.

Well, I've wandered pretty far from my original purpose of making a simple Halloween design. Thus my Memento Mori (which means, in Latin, "Remember you will Die") is an appropriate reminder for me at this point in my journey. In spite of all our plans, dreams, and investments, life is transitory. But, this is no reason for despair. To paraphrase Dumbledore: to a right-thinking mind, death is but the next great adventure. Nevertheless, it's a scary thought to contemplate one's lone journey among the remote stars. Or not? I admit I am in no hurry to find out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Apologies

Friends, I am now 4 days behind with my collage-a-day project, not counting today, and I think the accumulated sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and on-the-run diet are taking their toll. To quote Ren from the "Space Madness" episode of "Ren and Stimpy"--"I'm tired...soooooo tired!" The ideas are there, but I find myself spending way too much time Planning the pieces and not Doing them. In other words--I've relapsed into my decade-old bad art habit.  This is annoying and distressing, but not insurmountable. A combination of sleep and determination will work their magic on my diffused brain. I will be posting a Halloween design tonight, one of several I have in the works, with a view to marketing them in my Etsy store (or possibly on Zazzle; I haven't decided.) Lack of ability to make a decision/choice has always meant I need sleep! Not sure I'll be getting all I need tonight, but I'll seek to strike a better balance between pounding out artwork and maintaining a flexible, healthful state of body and mind. I'll be back with some artwork to post, forthwith!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Tuesday, August 3: Melody

3SIXTY5 for Monday, August 2: Organisms

Today during lunch, I crossed two of Pittsburgh's many bridges (should've only been one, but I took a wrong turn) and went to Arvey's on the North Side, purveyor of all kinds of commercial papers and other goodies for the printing industry. I've been shopping there since the 1980's. I wanted some archival, 100% cotton rag  paper to play with in my color printers, and some acid-free printer paper in a nice warm, ivory tone.  I also found some translucent 30 lb text vellum in 8.5 x 11 sheets!!  I used the vellum and the ivory papers for tonight's collage (yeah, I'm 2 days behind. Blame it on my best friend's wedding this past weekend, which was a blast!) I am not unhappy with the results, but the vellum didn't perform the way I'd hoped. It buckles like crazy and is very difficult to glue down, unless used in small pieces. It also has a tendency to turn dark where it is glued. Thus the text piece in Organisms is well-glued only under the other images. It worked much better in smaller pieces. I love how you can see through the dragonfly's wings.

I also got some protective acrylic spray to use on my earlier pieces, made B.X. (Before Xerox--my son found a color laser printer for me on Craig's list for an incredibly reasonable price) because the inkjet images will fade pretty rapidly without UV resistant treatment. Since I'm now offering many of these collages for sale on Etsy, I want to do my best to make sure they'll hold up over time. I opened my Etsy shop last fall, in a rush, but didn't really put in much inventory until last month. I haven't sold anything yet, but I've gotten a great response from the other sellers! My shop's been hearted by several people and 3 of my collages have been included in Treasuries (temporary galleries of selected items from other sellers), which is good publicity. I want to make a Treasury of my own--I've discovered some awesomely inspirational work on Etsy--but I'm still learning all the ins and outs (of which there are many) so haven't gotten to that yet.

I've realized that a lot of my 3SIXTY5 works are just exercises. Due to the self-imposed daily deadline, I can't spend the kind of time I'd like to on these collages, to really explore my ideas and take more care over production. So I've come to think of it as sort of heavy-duty sketching. Instead of just roughing out my idea, I actually go ahead and  Make the Work. Total commitment! I think the results are, on the whole, reasonable, sometimes quite successful, and only occasionally totally disastrous. It's been interesting to lock myself in this artbox every night and watch and feel myself thrashing around in agony as the hours pass and the tiredness punches me in the head and I keep pushing to bring something forth, then rush to scan it and post it to this blog. Which is why there is sometimes no text to my posts. Fortunately, not all my evenings follow the above pattern, otherwise I'd probably give up! On the whole, I am enjoying this and look forward to my daily art-making.

I look forward to revisiting some of these pieces later on when I'll hopefully have the time to develop their potential (and my own.) I've tried to imagine how I'll approach art-making post-3SIXTY5. I know I'll never again go for years without being serious about my artwork--I've reached the age where I measure time in years instead of decades, for one thing. And I don't think I'll ever again be paralyzed by facing a blank piece of paper, board, canvas, whatever. Here's to the future!

Monday, August 2, 2010

3SIXTY5 for July 31, 2010: Twice As Nice

When I saw these two dapper young gents, possibly twins, I just had to smile. I hope you feel the same about them.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Friday, July 30: Stargazer (a tribute to Maxfield Parrish)

Maxfield Parrish, like Norman Rockwell, was better known as an illustrator than a "serious" painter. Yet his skill, depth of feeling, ability to convey same, and talent for creating a whole, self-contained universe, confirm that he was a genius. He is best known for his emotionally charged scenes unfolding before  dramatically lit, breath-taking landscapes of mythological beauty. Some of them crossed the line into kitsch, but at his best his work conveyed a primal beauty that you could not help but respond to. Some contemporary painters can match his skill; none can capture his special magic. For my little tribute, I borrowed the figure from his painting of a young woman sitting on rocks at the seashore, looking at the evening star, which is one of my favorites. I hope she'll feel somewhat at home in my own, less naturalistic artwork.


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