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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Illustration Friday: Insect

1. Pill Bugs aka "Roly-Poly", Buckeystown, MD
I spent a lot of time outside when I was little. One of the joys of playing in the yard was finding these little bugs and watching them roll up in my palm when I picked them up.

2. Nabokov's Blue Butterfly, New York, NY
Vladimir Nabokov is one of my all-time favorite writers, and it was so exciting to see a different fruit of his passion at the Natural History Museum in New York.

3. Cane Spider, Kona, Hawaii
I know that spiders are arachnids and not insects, but this story is too good to pass up. I'm not sure how large this spider appears on your monitor, but I can assure you, without exaggeration, that this particular spider is at least the size of your palm. It's perfectly harmless, but it is huge. My family rented a minivan to tour the Big Island of Hawaii, and while my mom, sister and I were out, this spider crawled into the van. We tried to shoo it out but it crawled under a seat somewhere where we couldn't find it. So, we decided to park the car in the sun, shut all the windows, and hope that the hot afternoon sun would bake it while we spent the afternoon at the beach. We searched again for it when our family loaded in to go to dinner but it was nowhere to be found. It had either died or escaped. In the parking lot, leaving the restaurant, something crawled across my foot and I saw the spider scurry across the floor in the dark. Did I mention my dad is deathly afraid of spiders? He slammed on the break and we all flew out of the car. We made another feeble attempt to locate and shoo out the spider, but by this time it was dark, and the spider was clearly smarter than us. Being the brave man that he is, my dad called the rental car company, explained the situation, and requested a replacement van. Believe it or not, the company obliged - probably out of sheer delight at having such a silly tourist story to share!

4. Big Beetle, Columbia, MD
This is another large bug; it's a good three inches long. I can't say I regret not seeing this beetle in action. A friend of my father-in-law is an entymologist and gave this specimen to my husband as a graduation present. I honestly have no idea what kind of insect this is but it is a really unusual, beautiful treasure to have, and is proudly hanging on the wall in our office.

5. Ladybug, Frederick, MD
One year, my parents had an explosion of ladybugs hatch in the house. They lost count of how many they released somewhere around 200. Isn't it funny that most people who dislike bugs will gladly admire a lady bug and count its spots?

6. Firefly, Frederick, MD
There is a short, rural road that leads to my old house. In the summer time, in the evening, there are hundreds of lightning bugs lighting up the fields. Beautiful! I still like to catch them and peek at them lighting up in my hand before sending them out again.

7. Honeybee, Everywhere
Something many people do not know about me, is that I am not afraid of bees! Just a little piece of trivia there.

10:19 AM   7 comments

A Morbid Homage to Scrapbooking

The photograph seen in the piece above I received with a set of ephemera I ordered from Silver Crow Creations. Who is this Bergstrom person? Who took the photograph? The shadow cast suggests that the photographer was alone. It must be at the very edge of a graveyard because there are no other graves around. In fact, there is nothing else around. It's an interesting photograph! I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it for months. I kept it out at my drawing table though, where I would look at it until it was ready to use.

Yesterday, I went to Recollections, which is a big scrapbooking and papercraft store. I'm not really into scrapbooking, but they have all sorts of little doo-dads and special tools that can be fun to play with, and can be especially fun for the mini-collages I make for pendants. I thought a lot about the aesthetic that they were selling there. They sold "Designer" Artist Trading Cards, and "Distressing Kits." They sell everything to make your art perfect. It's like instant creative problem-solving. Little metal charms, perfectly crafted die-cuts, collage papers in exactly the print and palette you had in mind. I don't want to seem like I am totally dissing Recollections because I did in fact buy a set of typewriter key stamps which I used in the piece above, and I often wander in just to see what toys they have that may inspire me. Still, doesn't adding too many tools to your arsenal make your work a little cold? This is the same problem I have with a lot of digital art. Yes it looks awesome and fancy and ... perfect. But does it really mean anything anymore? Or is just about all the perfect little pieces looking neat and tidy next to each other?

I can be incredibly fussy with my art. I get obsessive over details. I need to let it go! I need to stop worrying about the search for the perfect aesthetic and just let it flow.

10:19 AM   0 comments

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