Torpor Touch

Day 234: Torpor Touch

Okay, so first let me say that A: this is not a cross, and B: I know it really looks like one, but it’s a lowercase t. Seriously. Why lowercase, you ask, when this whole issue could have been avoided by just doing an uppercase T? Because all the other ones in this series are lowercase, alright? Also, I think it’s kind of amusing that it looks like a cross and there happen to be other words on this page like torture and totalitarian. 🙂 Not that I have anything against religion. But it has historically been perverted and used as an excuse for unspeakable acts (i.e. Spanish inquisition). Just sayin’.

I like this piece because the header words together imply a touch that would numb or paralyze, which can be interpreted as either menacing or intriguing (or both). Also this page includes a definition for the “torrid zone”, which is apparently a real phrase applicable to a real place on the earth, as opposed to a reference to the awesomely hilarious Venture Brothers cartoon on Adult Swim. Which would be pretty amazing considering that this dictionary was printed several decades before that cartoon was created.

Time for a brain-teaser! So far I’ve made mini paintings with dictionary pages depicting the letters r, s, t and n. Can you guess which two letters will come next in this sequence? Hint: if you spend your sick days watching the game show network, you might have a leg up on this one.

"Torpor Touch", another 5x7 mini painting with vintage dictionary page.

Satin Savageness

"Satin Savageness" is simply sultry seen from the side

Day 233: Satin Savageness

Since I’m still slaving away at the sculpture series, I sat down and steered myself towards a sassy small-style painting session. This 5×7″ canvas features another vintage dictionary page that showed me how sometimes letters can be sexy, as illustrated by this selection with “satin savageness” in the header. This page includes several sultry symbols such as: saucy, sausage, satisfy, Saturday, saunter, and sauterne…it kind of writes itself, trashy romance-novel style. 😉 Here’s hoping your Saturday is filled with a little bit of saucy satin action! 

Use "Satin Savageness" as a date planning guide! Select some snippets and get started!

Read Rebel

I totally can't roll my R's. It's frustrating.

Day 232: Read Rebel

I’ve been bitten by the typography bug. Up next in this simple letter/page series of sans-serif sillies is the letter R on a dictionary page “titled” Read Rebel, which I find intriguing. It makes me think of a person who is both learn-ed and who bites his/her thumb at authority. Rock on!

It also includes other important r words such as realm, reality, reasonable, reagent, ream and reaper. I still don’t know what it is I like about these except that they look simple on the surface, but then there are curious word arrangements behind on closer inspection. *Shrug* Happy weekend, everyone!

"Read Rebel", a painting with paper on 5x7" mini canvas.

Hey Nonny Nonny

"Nominally North", painting on 5x7" canvas

Day 231: Nominally North

I’m still working away on the sculpture pieces, sewing some quilted fabric, picking up LEDs at RadioShack, moving my plaster stuff around gingerly with fear it will suddenly shatter. I find that when I’m working on long-term pieces, I prefer to stick with small scale daily art to minimize the frustration factor. Today I found that the overflowing inspiration well runneth dry, so I began again with a vintage dictionary page and mini canvas, and no images seemed to jump out at me. My sculpture pieces are all in white, so then I decided to just stick with a plain, lower-case N in the negative space and a white glaze surrounding it. Simple, yes. But I like it after all. 🙂

The text at the top of the dictionary page reads "nominally north".

Sage Salamander

"Sage Salamander", a collage on 5x7" mini canvas.

Day 228: Sage Salamander

I’ve always found it really interesting how someone’s face can take on animal features. For example, I feel that the head coach of the San Jose Sharks looks very much like an adorable hedgehog.

Don't you want to ruffle his hair?

"Move your ass, Thornton!"

Today’s mini painting uses a dictionary page entitled “Sage Salamander”. I kind of feel like this chick has an “all-knowing” look- as if to say “I totally knew plaid would still be in 40 years from the time this pattern was printed”. Yet at the same time she’s seducing me with her eyes, but in a terrestrial amphibian sort of way, no?

 I’m tittering with delight over your gigglicious comments from yesterday! Couldn’t think of anything for that comment challenge? How about putting together an amusing alliteration using words from this dictionary page? As I hinted, I’m in a giving mood, so some free art is in the works for the funniest participants! 🙂

Vegetal Veneer

"Vegetal Veneer", collage on 5x7" canvas

Day 227: Vegetal Veneer

As the adventures in plaster wrap continue, I decided to do another mini painting with vintage paper and sewing pattern illustration. This page reads “vegetal veneer”, which amused me so much, I hunted through my bag of patterns until I found a drawing that seemed to match the spirit of that word mashup, et voila!

I know a true 'vegetable' wouldn't be smiling, but you get the point.

I’d like to invite you to create your own caption for this blank-faced-smiling-Susie in the comments. A free piece of mini artwork may be in it for you if you can come up with a good one. Here, I’ll start- “Whoopsie! Brain almost slipped out of my ear again!”

And what do you see on this card?

"Limen", a 5x7" mixed media painting on canvas

Day 225: Limen

I’ve got some sculptural projects brewing, but as they’re going to take a few days or so (seeing as how I don’t know much about sculpture techniques and will be learning as I go), I decided to do another mini today with an odd word I found in my vintage dictionary- “limen”. And it’s not the jazzy word for citrus you’re thinking, either.

It's a real word. Promise.

I know it’s hard to read, but it says: “limen- in experimental psychology, the threshold of an appreciable stimulus.” I used thread and drips of watercolor in a thick layer of medium. After it was mostly dry, I laid a piece of an old curtain on it and painted it down with some more medium. I like how it looks like an ink blot in the rain during an acid trip. (I’ve never done acid, but I hear it has something to do with bright colors.)

Now it's making me think of alien tears. Time to bust out 'The Fifth Element'!

Blech, this memory tastes like shame!

"Gossamer", 5x7" mixed media mini painting on canvas.

Day 223: Gossamer

Continuing adventures with paintings of the ether resulted in “Gossamer” today, a 5×7” mini canvas. I selected the dictionary snippet after seeing what form the string shape and gesso imprint on plastic “mirror” part took. “Gossamer” somehow seemed appropriate, as it’s the kind of word that makes my mind tiptoe off to Shakespearian lands of wonderment.

There's probably a 45 year old dude named Gossamer wandering the streets of SF right now...in search of a latte. He goes by "Gus" at his programming job.

Of course, then I remember the horrifically embarrassing photo of me as an “elf” from Midsummer Night’s Dream during freshman year that mocked me from the walls forever. Seriously- tinfoil shorts (and vests!) over purple tights and leotards, a bad blonde perm and glasses over face paint. I’m sure that if Shakespeare had added elves to that play (bless our theater-marm’s heart for taking that liberty so more of us could create these woeful memories), they would not have had glasses, being magical beings who could conceivably create better garments from gossamer itself. A big thanks to those older drama geeks who didn’t bother to suggest I remove them for our lame ass photo shoot. 😐

Creepy? Pretty? Or creepy-pretty?

It’s begun.

"It's.... alive!"

Day 222: Biogen

“Man, it’s a parking lot out there,” Rob said as he headed into the kitchen with the dinner dishes. Within moment, the familiar house-shaking door slams of minivans rang through the air.

“Oh no. It’s begun.” I suddenly remembered the message on the marquee across the street at the recently dormant elementary school. I looked out to see our lawn once again overrun by screeching banshees. One particularly blood-curdling scream made our neck hairs prickle. But no one was being attacked by zombies outside. It was just a random, unwarranted “wolf” cry as I tend to think of them. At least my mom and grandma told my sister and I growing up that you shouldn’t scream like that for no reason or people won’t know when you really need help.

I soberly envisioned my next several months plucking Snickers wrappers and Coke cans from our lawn like one of the bears in that “Put it in the bag” Disney short (minus the singing and butt-waggling, plus clothing) and sighed as I put today’s mini painting up on the wall to photograph it before the daylight was gone.

I'd say this piece packs quite a punch for a 5x7" mini canvas.

Today’s inspiration came from watching the most recent “Work of Art” episode. The contestants were challenged to create artwork inspired by nature, incorporating an actual piece of nature in their finished work. While I did not head into my suburban jungle to collect a blade of grass with which to paint my canvas, I was interested to see how much some artists focus on process and saw my joy for letting materials kind of “do their thing” mirrored in the episode.

So I experimented by laying down gesso and placing string on it. I smooshed the string into the gesso with a plastic brush bag and the resulting pattern was really cool so I decided to embed it in the finished piece along with the definition of “biogen” which seemed to complement the soupy, organic composition achieved with liquid watercolors.

Don't get near this painting with a Geiger counter. Just sayin'.

It made me think of another painting I did before called String Theory– which actually ended up under the Christmas tree of a physicist!- and I’m thinking the school year isn’ the only chapter that’s begun. More art for nerds could be on the event horizon. {Snort, guffaw!} Stay tuned, junior scientists!

Fun with Fokkers

"Flying Folk", a painting on 5x7" canvas

Day 216: Flying Folk

Chester seems awfully perturbed lately by this perpetually barking dog in our neighborhood. I often wonder what he is barking about non-stop like this. Is he akin to the dude I walked past in SF last week shouting “THE END IS NEAR”? Or is it something more like “Hey! Is that a pigeon? My fence is in the way! I can’t see! Other dogs! Help me out! IS THAT A PIGEON ON MY LAWN?!?! If it is, F&*$ OFF, PIGEON!!!!” Perhaps he was so animated today because he wanted to shout from the rooftops about the state Supreme Court’s decision that Prop 8 is unlawful! (Woohoo! Finally some sense in this mad world!) Chester doesn’t bark back, so I’m not sure if they even speak the same doggie language.

Definitions just never cease to amuse me.

The oil portrait is chugging along (today was hair), and it’s getting kind of eerie. I’m not used to faces in my studio staring back at me all day- that look like me, no less. So today I did the 6th of these little dictionary page city illustration mini-canvases- ‘Flying Folk’.

If you're wondering, yes, I did just sprinkle water on the first one after midnight and the others spontaneously appeared.

There are some hills in San Francisco that make you wish you could fly, just in case you take a wrong step and go tumbling down some insane gradation. And SF has a history of ‘flying’ in another sense, if you catch my not-so-subtle-drug-reference.  So it seemed funny to me.

These are the three with the simpler borders and thinner paint to let more of the words show through.

This page includes some other intriguing nuggets as well, like folderol, flying squirrel, foible, fog (hee hee, too perfect!) and Fokker- which, apparently, is a German plane, which my husband knew without reading the definition. He would be the 1 guy out of 100 whom, if polled by Family Feud about “What’s a Fokker?”, would answer “A Plane”.