Creeping Things That Run In Hedge Bottoms

Still slow updating because the painting I'm working on now is probably the most complicated one I've done yet. I will admit I have also been tempted out of the house by canoe trips in the Pine Barrens and very important pool opportunities but mostly I've had my head down painting and watching tons of horror movie documentaries and endless episodes of Home Movies. There are lots of tiny details (creatures, trees, fur, scales etc), but it should be finished by the end of this weekend. Hopefully I'll be able to find a place to get something this size scanned, then I'll talk about what it is and what it's for. Here are a few bits and pieces I photographed pretttttty poorly last night:

Also, the "From Whence We Came" Group show is coming down next week with a closing event August 6th from 4-6. There's still lots of cool art left (mine sold though) and Ryann is really close to her donation goal so if you live in the area and haven't stopped by yet go for it. I have a picture of my piece framed for once:
That's a 50 cent flea market frame! Cutting the plexi for it was a brutal nightmare!

Back to painting and willing Fall to come sooner.


The Eye From Outer Space

Just a few quick things. So I was having an unusually hard time settling on an idea for a big project that last couple weeks. It's never that I don't have ideas, it's more that I'm not certain if they're the right ones, or I can't quite figure out how I want to draw them. I got really antsy and listless and frustrated and pretty much the only cure for that is forcing myself to make something little. So I made this weird Orphic Egg:

I have a habit of picking up weird cheap wooden stuff from craft stores (that's where all those crosses came from) and got the idea for this around easter time when they had all those little wooden eggs out. The Orphic (or Cosmic) egg is part of the iconography related to the Orphic Mystery Cult. I've been trying to find some good essays on Greek and Roman mystery cults lately, after having read a lot about them in college, but so far no luck. I visited the Walters Museum in Baltimore a couple months ago for their exhibit on reliquaries and noticed they have a whole display of artifacts related to mystery cults (primarily Mithras, I think) which I don't think I've seen in a museum before. Really neat!

I finally stopped freaking myself out and started an intense drawing for a pretty involved painting. I'm not really going to talk about what it's for for a little while, but I'll be posting bits and pieces in the next month. I'm already almost done inking it, but here's a corner of the pencils:
I started the project with a sort of vague concept culled from a lot of random reading but I've since started "The Forest in Folklore and Mythology" by Alexander Porteous and I've learned a lot of neat relevant stuff from it.

Fiiiiinnnnnallly I wanted to talk about my friend Alan and the awesome piece of his that I bought from the "From Whence We Came" show I was just in. He's an amazing artist and really humble cool guy, who paints tiny intricate colorful monsters like this:
I bought a comic book he hand drew and painted and bound for the show and i'm really stoked!
You can check out his website here and buy prints here!

In other news it's 8,000 degrees in Philadelphia and I want to die.


Vampire Squid From Hell

I've been really long between updates lately. Taking care of a personal stuff but also waiting for good photos and scans is always an issue. Here's a full photo (getting a scan made didn't work out) of my piece for the "From Whence We Came" group show to benefit Oceana and Sea Sheperd:
This guy is a Vampire Squid, latin name Vampyroteuthis Infernalis ("vampire squid from hell"). It's not actually a true squid but rather an living fossil, the last of its own order which shares traits of both squid and octopuses.
The two filaments that you see hanging from the underside of the squid are one of the things unique to this particular order and are used for sensing prey. Unlike most animals that have the "vampire" moniker these squid don't drink blood but are rather named because of the black underside webbing between their tentacles that they flip up over their bodies like a cloak to hide in the dark water from both prey and predators.

Like many deep sea animals they are covered with photophores and capable of producing light displays and expressing bio-luminescent particles to confuse predators and using their glow to mask their silhouette from prey looking up from the deep sea towards the muted surface light. My original plan for this show was to do some embroideries of deep sea animals glowing using this glow in the dark embroidery floss I got, but I didn't trust my speed with embroidery so I opted to do a painting instead and tracked down some strong glow in the dark paint that glowed the actual blue color that the squid does:

Because they're so seldom seen I got my reference for how they look in action from a couple really amazing videos I highly suggest you watch, because watching how all of these features work in practice is pretty great, especially the light organs on the top of the head which can be constricted to imitate eyes moving away in the dark.

One of the things I really like about this and other deep sea creatures is the fact that the features that make it look scary or threatening are mostly there for defensive purposes in an inhospitable and dark environment. I could have done another piece about ocean folklore but sometimes natural things are way weirder and scarier and more interesting than anything humans create or embellish.

Going to help hang the show tonight! Check it out Friday if you're in the area.