For today’s A.Word.A.Day, what could be more marmorean than a marble marmot memorial? (Many thanks to the masterful minds of the Latin Discussion Forum for helping me craft the most M-laden Latin inscription imaginable: “In memoriam marmotarum magnificentissimarum.”)
Nothing is more delicious than a good, juicy word, & A.Word.A.Day provides one every morning. I’m honored to be illustrating for Anu Garg’s succulent site again this week, & especially delighted to be given this word this year. In June we visited The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, & saw the most astonishing collection of succulents there in the Desert Garden. My East-Coast eyes couldn’t get enough of their curious shapes & colors. There were a number of lizards enjoying the landscape as well, & I would not have been very surprised if an aloe-esque creature like this “S”-shaped fellow had appeared in one of the beds. Even an alien or a dinosaur would have seemed right at home!
(By the way, the Desert Garden is just one of many, & we were so entranced by all of them that we barely had time to pop into the Library at the end of the day before it closed– which was a pity, because their collection of rare books & manuscripts is as spectacular as the collection of plants.)
Original sold but prints still available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.
Yesterday I found out that these crazy creatures will soon be invading the Communication Arts 2016 Illustration Annual! To say this came as a happy surprise is putting it mildly– I think I alarmed my normally imperturbable husband by emitting something combining a shriek, a whoop, & hysterical laughter.
The news came at the perfect time, too, because I had just that moment been pondering my next painting & wondering if I ought to tame my ideas down a little. But I had so much fun working on Invasive, mostly because I had given myself complete permission to paint whatever came into my head. It seems odd really, how rarely I let this happen, when there is nothing stopping me but my own inhibitions. Now I feel emboldened to take another walk on the wild side!
The annual will be published in the May/June issue of CA, & as for the painting in my head, I’m hoping it will make its appearance before then!
Happy Year of the Monkey! In honor of the 2016 Chinese New Year, Shakespeare, the infinite monkey theorem, & antique typewriters, here’s the Infinite Monkey himself, complete with a background text from Henry IV Part 2: “Ah, you sweet little rogue, you. Alas, poor ape, how thou sweatest!” (Yes, I know the theorem usually refers to Hamlet, but who could resist that line?)
I happen to have been born in a year of the monkey (never mind which), & even though I don’t put much stock in horoscopes, I can’t help but find it delightful that nearly every description of the monkey personality includes the word “curious!”
By the way, the typewriter in this painting was modeled on one that came with our house (which was built in 1927.) One of the many reasons I knew it was the right house for us!
Today’s painting for A.Word.A.Day illustrates a pair of elephants forming a mutual admiration society for their respective homes & customs. Just painting this made me want to travel to Africa & India, so I guess that makes me a xenophile too!
Today’s A.Word.A.Day painting is Quacksalver, a variant of the more familiar quack. This particular duck doctor is administering a terrifyingly large leech to his very unhappy patient. His office wall bears a dubious diploma from the Institute of Hirudiculture, conferring a degree in leechery. Three troubling vocabulary words for the price of one!
It just so happens that the painting I’m working on is full of pointy elements, so once again I feel like Illustration Friday is reading my mind with their latest prompt! It won’t be long before I’ll be able to post the entire painting, but for now here are some process shots, gathered from Instagram.
I was planning to post this image for Illustration Friday’s prompt “Ruckus” because the word immediately made me think of Festus & Mercury: Ruckus in the Garden by Sven Nordqvist, one of our family’s favorite children’s books. If you’ve never encountered this book, please get hold of a copy immediately! It’s a quirky, hilarious tale of an old farmer & his mischievous cat & their mad adventures in gardening.
This painting, of course, is a different sort of ruckus, inspired by my well-established love for tendrils.
I didn’t finish quite in time to post for “Ruckus,” but luckily it sort of works for “Outside” too!
The text comes from this delightful old book, a flea market find:
Why a goat (aside from those elegant horns that conveniently help form the “Z”, that is)? Goats have a long association with beer– specifically bock beer– thanks to a regional German accent.
Quoth Wikipedia: The style known now as bock was a dark, malty, lightly hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing. Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (“a billy goat”), and thus the beer became known as “bock”. To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels.
That’s all the excuse I need. :-)
Meanwhile, back at the lab– Curious Art Lab, that is– I’ve brewed up some prints of this image for you!