So We Go Inside And We Gravely Read The Stones

I'll save my long update for later this week when I have everything photographed and scanned but I finished my last piece for the show. Here's a teeny tiny detail I thought I should post since it's doubtful anyone will notice it otherwise. A cemetery the size of a nickle in the sunken city painting:
The frames are mostly painted, most of the backings are cut, just assembling the display boxes that Josh made for me (expertly as usual), getting all the hanging devices in order etc. If everything is ready to go by wed I might make two miniature last minute pieces. I'd really like to get to those but I'm trying to be reasonable. Until then, more coffee!


Light From Out The Lurid Sea

Heyyyyyy. Having a bit of trouble keeping up with the blog at the moment since I'm in the home stretch of the show work I have left to do. Next week when the show is ready to hang I'll probably have a ton of stuff to post including full scans of things I just posted parts of and photographs of things framed.

I finished the last painting on bone I had to do. It's the one on what is possibly a whale's growth plate. Well, it's definitely from a whale and theoretically a growth plate:
This thing is a Marool, an obscure little creature I found an excerpt about in one of my books.

"The Marool was a sea devil who took the form of a fish, and was a very malignant creature. He had a crest of flickering flame, and eyes all over his head. He often appeared in the centre of mareel-that is sea foam when it is phosphorescent. He delighted in storm, and was heard to shout his wild exultant song when some luckless bark went under"

I'm so-so on how this came out. It straddles the line between creepy and silly, though it might just read this way to me because I can't stop being reminded of this:
Also this particular bone was covered in ridges since it seems to have formed in rings like a tree so it was pretty tricky to paint on.

I also started what will be the last of my bigger paintings, one based on Poe's the City in the Sea.
The color is vibrating pretty bad in this photo but it's a bit less glaring in person. I can't say Im particularly excited to paint a bunch of buildings as straight lines are not my strong suit but I think it'll come out pretty cool.
I also wanted to mention the book where I found the blurb about the Marool. My buddy Ned got this for me for my birthday and it's great. Don't be fooled by the title, it's not so much about literal fairies as it is about the supernatural world in British/Scottish/Welsh/Irish folklore. It's FULL of stories about ghost dogs that haunt moors, long-armed swamp hags who drown lost travelers, ghost lights in the woods and banshees.
I have another book by Katherine Briggs and it's also really good. Her research is great and the excerpts have general descriptions along with synopsis of related folktales and the index in the back is arranged by theme, which is really cool.

I actually also found a little more information about the Melusine which I wrote about last week. According to this book her husband first began to suspect her supernatural background when their children were each born more and more deformed and evil. One of them, called "Geoffroi with the Tusk" burned down an abbey and killed a hundred monks. When her husband lashed out at her in response Melusine pledged to appear to each lord of his family before his death until the entire line had vanished, much like the ghost barge and banshee lore I mentioned a month ago. I love when a bunch of things I'm reading about end up having some common thread like this.

I have so much stuff to do. sob.


If I Rock Upon The Waves, Then No Corpse Can Lie Upon Me

I took me two weeks but I finally finished that big piece. Last week was kind of a wash, so I did most of the work on the weekend and once again messed my hand up painting scales for like 10 hours. Here are a couple photos of it. I'm still figuring out how to get something this big scanned:
This is the Melusine, a (often) twin tailed serpent woman from Medieval European literature and folklore. She married a mortal while in human form with the stipulation that he never see her bathing every Saturday. Naturally, he peeked and saw her in her serpent form at which point she flew away (in some stories she can still be found roaming as serpent or beautiful woman with a golden key in her mouth). The idea of mortals marrying gods and supernatural creatures is present in a lot of myths and stories, and usually comes with some caveat like this, and pretty much always ends poorly. The twin tailed mermaid image is also used as an alchemical symbol, and in heraldic imagery:
Here she is fleeing the castle:
When I was planning this out I wanted to make some nod to the medieval habit of using arbitrary scale in artwork, presenting a building as tall as a person, focusing more on narrative than realistic presentation. I also combined my idea for the Melusine sketch with a sketch I did based on a Robert E. Howard poem, the Singer in the Mist.

"At birth a witch laid on me monstrous spells,
And I have trod strange highroads all my days,
Turning my feet to gray, unholy ways.
I grope for stems of broken asphodels;
HIgh on the rims of bare, fiend-haunted fells,
I follow cloven tracks that lie ablaze;
And ghosts have led me through the moonlight's haze
To talk with demons in the granite hells.

Seas crash upon dragon-guarded shores,
Bursting in crimson moons of burning spray,
And iron castles ope to me their doors,
And serpent-women lure with harp and lay.
The misty waves shake now to phantom oars—
Seek not for me; I sail to meet the day. "

If I haven't recommended his poetry before, I am now. 50% of it is about werewolves.

So, I've noticed that Pelikan Plaka is becoming less and less available and decided to start trying out a few new kinds of paint. My two biggest requirements are that it have a matte finish, and be opaque with a high level of pigment. Also water soluble.
I got a couple jars of this Turner Neo Color and so far I'm really into it. I will admit I was drawn in by the labels which don't seem to have changed since it was first intruduced in the 60's and by the fact that it comes in fairly large jars (and can also be purchased in what are basically small buckets). It's made for sign painting and design much like Plaka, but is a bit more fluid, cheaper, and doesn't have the same alarming chemical smell. It also doesn't build as quickly on the paper so the finished product is relatively free of all that pesky texture which bothers me so much.
I also tried out some of this Acryl Gouache. It's pretty cool but a bit more expensive and less fluid than the neo color, but with really bright opaque colors. Not bad! I'll still be bummed if Plaka disappears altogether though, because somehow their black is the BLACKEST and that's essential.

Anyway, I'm hoping to crank out two more pieces before doing all the framing and whatever else I think I can squeeze in before the show. Listening to Fever Ray and getting weird. Bleh!


Last Minute Group Show!

This flier is really heinous. Anyway my friend Alicia who's an extremely nauseatingly talented artist works at a fancy flower shop and curated a little show for what they're hoping will become a second Thursday regular event. It's in liberty walk, a creepy pre-fab art community in No. Libs. Most of the people in this show are my cool talented friends so if you're around check it out! Also PIZZA. She asked for pieces with animals or flowers in them so I gave her that Laurel Hill piece.


Bury Me At Sea, Where No Murdered Ghost Can Haunt Me

Well as of right now I have 5 pieces finished for my show, with one in progress and two more on deck (pardon the unintentional nautical pun). I finished the Bake-kujira which I posted an in progress photo of last week. Im back to just posting in progress and sneak peak photos until closer to my show when I'll hopefully have good scans and nice photos of the full pieces. Here's a shot of the finished Bake-kujira:
The color is pretty off there, the background is actually green. Strange.

I'm really excited about the piece I just started. It's the Melusine, a two tailed mermaid/serpent woman from medieval French literature, who married a human and attempted to hide her monstrous secret from him. I'll write more about that later. Here's a close up of the pencil stage:
And here's a shot of it with the background finished:
What's really exciting is how I've managed to scale up for this show. I guess I'm getting faster because These pieces have the same amount of detail but are all as large or larger than the biggest pieces from my last show. This one of Melusine is the biggest so far and I'm putting it in a mirror frame I got at a dirt mall:
Here it is with a regulation size cat, Mr. Vinegar Vincent Price, in it ^ I like the way it looks gold but I'll be painting it black for the show since all of my pieces will be in black frames and all of Mike's will be in gold. Because this one is a little bigger I'm assuming it'll take about a week and a half to finish since there's a lot of water detail, the detail in the castle bricks and all the scales on her tail. Woof. After that I'm aiming for another medium sized piece and that final whale bone.

I'd really like to do a few little fun things for this show, like design a button set to give out, and make some screen printed labels to put on the back of all the pieces as well as looking into getting some limited runs of prints made to have available at the show. But first priority is making the paintings. I was also going to try to make some anchor shaped cookies for the show. What's my problem?

Next week I'll hopefully have a lot more of this painting done and will also probably make a long winded post about supplies since the Pelikan Plaka well seems to have run dry and I just bought a whole bunch of other kinds of gauche and casein paints to experiment with. Oh and I'll be busy turning 30 tomorrow .