Today’s illustration of Rutilant was one of the many times when my fingers come up with an idea before my brain does. As I was doodling R shapes in my sketchbook, one of them reminded me of an old-school flip hairstyle. And what could be more rutilant than a redhead?
At first my sketches centered on the face, but then I thought it would be funnier if the hair were floor-length. A little distortion of proportion has never bothered me, so I went for it! And the long red hair made me think of Rossetti, so I added a pomegranate & green gown as a nod to this painting.
In keeping with the red, gold & gleaming theme, a pair of ruby slippers & a golden hair ribbon were my last additions. It didn’t even occur to me until mid-painting that the color scheme is very Christmasy!
Today’s word, Pelagic, like last year’s Lentic, is a scientific term describing a water ecosystem, in this case the open sea. Researching various inhabitants of the zone, I was drawn in by the giant squid– not as scary as that sounds! Aside from this squid’s many fascinating qualities, its tentacles can conveniently be arranged to read as a Curiotype P.
Dangerously near pelagic in the dictionary lurks plastic. That coincidence reminded me of a painting commission I did a few years ago, to illustrate the word Obfuscation: an octopus emitting ink, & surrounded by a gyre of floating plastic. Plastic pollution in the ocean is a serious problem, & I decided to make this painting a companion piece of sorts.
This painting, & prints of the others referenced, are available in my Etsy shop, CuriousArtLab.
For our second word, Nidus, my first few thoughts took a very dark direction, but I decided to go a little lighter, mainly because I wanted to cheer myself up! Painting imaginary critters always takes me to a happy place, & these little hatchlings did the job. I doubt they’ll be this creepy-cute when they grow up, but I suspect we’ll be glad they’re on our side!
Even though I live in a city, a block away from a busy street, I’m definitely xylophilous! (In the etymological sense, that is– wood-loving.) My childhood home bordered on a forest, & my family spent many hours working, playing & wandering in the woods. But I’ve always said that I can’t see the forest for the lichen, because my favorite thing to explore & paint are all the tiny little life-forms that are overshadowed (yet also supported) by the overstory.
So when Anu offered this word, I jumped at the chance to create my own little peaceable kingdom of wood-loving flora & fauna. It’s certainly not an accurate sample of xylophilous species in the scientific sense, & it vastly under-represents the number of species that depend on trees– I couldn’t begin to show the tiny beetles and borers that live in & under bark, for example– but I hope it gets the point across that even dying or damaged trees can be teeming with life & potential & beauty in their own way. As William Blake said, “A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.” Or even a wise beetle!
I couldn’t resist hiding that quotation in the bark, & if you look in the background near the pendulous possum, you may find a rather dreadful math pun tucked in there too. Apologies in advance.
The original painting is sold, but prints are now available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.
As an artist & calligrapher I’ve always been drawn to beautiful curves, so I was delighted to see today’s word on the list Anu gave me this year. The sketch started simply as a curvy Z, then gradually materialized into my take on a classic boudoir pin-up, strongly influenced by that glamorous icon of bodacious body-positivity, Miss Piggy.
Prints of this image (& the original while it lasts) are available on my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.
Today’s word is almost as long as an aye-aye’s fingers. I’m not sure you could describe it as slender though. (Are there slender words? That’s a topic worth pondering.)
In any case, aye-aye fingers are long, slender, & dextrous, & the lemur relatives’ impressive hand spans would probably give them quite an advantage at the keyboard, though most piano teachers would suggest a shorter manicure. More importantly, they are natural percussionists, with highly sensitive touch & hearing. So it is only slightly insane to imagine them tickling the ivory.
Today’s word, ursiform, immediately conjured the vision of a teddy bear, along with the constellations Ursa Major & Ursa Minor. The honey bear & gummis invited themselves to the party much later on in the sketching process, whispering sweet nothings into my subconscious mind until I painted them in. I think in the end the teddy was happy to have more ursiform friends around!
Prints of this image (along with the original painting while it lasts) are available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.
It’s time once again for my yearly illustrations for A.Word.A.Day! As usual, Anu offered me a wonderfully inspiring selection of words, beginning this time with Fulgor.
As soon as I began sketching, a bird appeared on the paper, & it quickly became a phoenix.
rising from the ashes. The banner it is holding reads “Fulgor ex favilla” (Splendor from the ashes, inspired by “Resurget ex favilla” from the Lacrimosa.)
The contemptible Cockalorum is back in the studio after strutting around in the Visual Art Exchange Hearsay show for the past month, so I am finally able to list the original on Etsy! Perhaps you’re in need of some outhouse decor? Or a very expensive dartboard? Prints are available too if you’d prefer a cheaper target.
Edit: By request of an anonymous source, I’m now offering mugs with this ugly mug in my Zazzle shop.