Tag Archives: painting

Mysteries for Mother’s Day

It can be said that a lot of my art work and commentary on this blog involves setting up Danger Crumples to solve mysteries. The inspiration for all of that mystery concern – my mother. I grew up in a home full of books that is currently slightly more full of books and the shelves I stared at the most were filled with Joe R. Lansdale and Elmore Leonard and Agatha Christie mysteries with pretty excellent and confusing titles. In third grade I got way into The Happy Hollisters, a series about a family where the kids are consistently running around solving mysteries, including one spectacular “whistle pig” mystery. In fourth grade I graduated to Nancy Drew and she has proved to be quite the inspiration for my art and picture captioning ever-since.

So to honor my mother and her never-ending support of my art and writing and guinea pig lifestyle, I’m letting everyone in on the works that her love of mysteries and books and Danger Crumples in particular inspired. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

This is the first print I managed using my current method after several years out of college, it is inspired by the cover of The Hidden Staircase. Danger and his flashlight have been evolving ever since.

 

This year I finally started a parody project that I’ve been contemplating for ages and ages and ages – Danger Drew Mysteries. The first work I did for the series was a parody of one of my favorite Nancy images, the end papers of one particular edition of the series. As soon as I finished this painting, I realized that it was for my mother, even though I had a different one planned for her.

Danger Drew spying on a very suspicious digging Finny. If you don’t recognize this design, you had new Nancy.

And of course, the next step was to parody the most inspiring cover ever put on a Nancy Drew book (including that weird one with the manta ray-looking ghost or whatever it’s supposed to be that I haven’t quite figured out how I want to parody yet)… The Hidden Staircase.

Of course in my artistic universe, we cannot parody without changing the title to fit the guinea pig essence of what I do, and Danger Crumples’ name is just so adaptable. Therefore I give you number 9 in the series: The Crumpled Staircase.

One aspect of these paintings that is not visible in the scan is that I’ve painted all the edges so that the canvas looks like a very, very realistic book. So realistic. It is not hard to paint tiny letters and images on the edges of canvas at all. Nope. Nothing but perfection from me. Anyway…there’s a spine, there’s a textblock, there are Hansa yellow borders, there’s a little Danger with a magnifying glass silhouette and it gave me my second favorite way to sign my work visibly besides having a gravestone, signing as the author. I am an author, so, it’s a funny on the many levels. Many!

When I first thought of the idea to make my Nancy Drew parodies look more like real books, I got a very strong reaction from another mother, the one who graciously does a lot of the photoshop help that I desperately need when my paintings are too big to scan in one go, and so I did number 19 in the series for her. Happy Mother’s Day to her as well!

The Clue in a Broken Basket is my approximation of the time she took care of Danger while I was moving and he broke out of his temporary laundry basket housing and had to be wrangled. I know he was trying to do his own version of Homeward Bound but he ended up under a futon – he just looks so triumphant though.

 

I do love end papers when the time is taken to put some effort into them and the Nancy Drew series has had several iterations that are pretty lovely. My favorite being the larger image above, which originally is Nancy watching some suspicious farmer digging, but the other end papers I particularly love feature line drawing versions of covers. I’ve done a couple of these, but the only one that I’m currently putting up is the first one, a version of The Spider Sapphire Mystery that I have since realized totally does not have a spider in it. I don’t know what kind of bug that really is, but it is not a spider.

Danger’s confused about what kind of bug that is too.

The latest of the cover parody paintings I’ve finished was heavily influenced by my main take-away from the Nancy Drew mystery stories – that she has a charge plate. For quite some time I had no idea what that was. She has a pudgy friend, her dad’s a lawyer, and she uses a charge plate a lot.

Maybe the charge plate won’t help this time, Danger. The best thing about that whole charge plate confusion – it’s an older version of a credit card – MY MOM GOT ME ONE! So, I can also solve mysteries using a charge plate. Mine has an alizarine crimson case, and is depicted in this painting.

Mystery of the Crumpled Swamp is the only (currently) Danger Drew painting that will make its way into the wild. It will be visible and available for purchase in all its booky glory at Supercon in Fort Lauderdale, July 12-15th, so start planning now. Now. I certainly need to do more of the planning as that’s the first time I’m taking Guinea Pigs and Books somewhere I can’t easily drive to. Paintings on a plane – it’s a recipe for massive anxiety. More of the line drawings like the “Spider Sapphire” Danger Crumples will be available as blind paintings, too, so, you can try and find the guinea pig ones. I won’t tell you which are which. And check out this exhibitor directory – I’m totally in there.

Of course, I know lots of guinea pig people can’t follow my gallivanting all over the Midwest and now South, so all the paintings I’ve put up are on my Redbubble so that you can find them on stuff and things. I’ve also linked to their individual pages in weird ways in the image captions.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Books

“Strong as I am!”

16. Red Dragon – Thomas Harris

I’ll just start by saying I love Manhunter. It’s super 80s, Tom Noonan is awesome in it (“Do you see?”), Brian Cox does a non-camp and actually intimidating (pre-Mads, that is) Lecter, William Petersen is an angsty but indelicate Will Graham, and there are so many iconic moments. It looks great, it sounds great, it’s just one of my favorite movies. After 2017’s plethora of shit, I sincerely hope that I will not soon find out that making this film was a nightmare of sexual harassment. It probably was. Nothing gold can stay.

Anyway…although I love Manhunter for all its 80s-ness, it did sort of leave quite a few things out that I now know after reading Red Dragon. Red Dragon is a great book.

And I must say, the William Blake print-eating scene bothered me infinitely in the version with Ralph Fiennes. I wanted that archivist to wake up and punch him in his face repeatedly. You are not supposed to eat the priceless pieces of printmaking! Fuck your becoming – you leave that Blake print alone! Bad serial killer. Bad. Very bad. (They’re fictional, which allows me to be mostly bothered by the librariany parts. That print is real. And thankfully uneaten. Don’t hurt the library materials. No touching.) It also bothered me in the Hannibal TV show, which I also love. But I agree with all the people who said Dolarhyde was too attractive and not very menacing in the show. Having Rutina Wesley as Reba was really good though, she was great.

This picture of Finny stretching reminds me of Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Francis Dolarhyde. SO much stretching. This is not Finny’s becoming.

 

Here’s Finny’s parody of the Hannibal (I mean Finnibal) TV show’s wendigo, or, *cough* Findigo. Available on stuff and things – along with the other works I’ve uploaded this Finnybruary, Samurai Finny and Raspberry Finny! Also, I did love the swapping of Dr. Chilton for Lounds on the show and the whole “You put your hand on my shoulder like a pet!” thing. Nice work. Holy shit.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Books, Review, Writing

Finnybruary

Maybe you’ve noticed one pig is dominating this month and that pig is Finny. Unofficially, I’ve been calling this month Finnybruary, and now it’s more official because I typed it for all to see.

Finny has also begun to make bigger appearances in my artwork and I’d like to share two of those appearances with all of you in anticipation of my next show –GeekCraft Expo – which will be at the Madison, WI Masonic Center on March 3&4.

Finny has made it into his own television parody paintings (one of which will preview on here later this month)! Yay, Finny! It’s like he’s got his own show…sort of.

I’ve always been a fan of Samurai Jack and it’s easy to stick a volatile, sassy rodent in the place of the calm, ever on guard Jack. Yes, yes, Finny would really be Aku, but he’s not. That’s part of the joke. Finny is the Aku within us all and therefore in the parody version he is Jack. Yep, that makes sense, going with it.

 

The other television parody featuring Finny is applicable to one of the reviews I’m posting later this month so that painting isn’t going up now (I am so prepared. Always.), but I did more than just a parody painting with it. I also made prints of the main image in shiny black (on tea towels and also card stock!) and raspberry (on fewer tea towels and way more card stock!). Now we reveal the glory that is Raspberry Finny:

Raspberry Finny. He’s got antlers.

 

These will both be available at the GeekCraft Expo and eventually I will also put them up on my My Redbubble portfolio so that people who can’t come to Madison still have a crack at their own piece of the legendary Finnybeast, new patronus of Finnybruary.

Leave a comment

Filed under art

Adventures by the pool of sadness

Art break!

I’ve been painting again, because I’m participating in the GeekCraft Expo in Madison on March 3-4, it’s at the Masonic Center and it’s free to get in. Free to get in! That’s unlike any of the other shows I’ve done…anyway, another show means new paintings had to be done and this year I’ve been expanding my selection of guinea pigs on TV with:

Look at these boys on their bikes. They are ready for an adventure in the upside-down. They’re even wearing jackets. Sensible.

 

My adventurous little trio of boars – Ozymandias, Danger Crumples, and Horace – got out of the graveyard and into the guinea pig version of Hawkins.

And then there’s Pere-Barb:

Sitting by the pool of sadness, just like every other girl who was super cool in high school. Eat your heart out, actual cool kids.

Peregrine channels her inner lovable loser feelings to be Barb just before everything went tits up for her. Poor Barb. Poor everyone who understood how she felt sitting by that pool, alone, sent away from her best friend who had a shot at being cool… I certainly can’t relate. *cough*

I will have postcards of both of these paintings and the actual paintings on display and technically priced at the GeekCraft Expo, which is on March 3-4 in Madison at the Masonic Center. I will also have more paintings and more postcards and posters and prints I made with my human hands (which will also be visible) at the show. I’m not bringing Peregrine, but, that’s because her true beauty is hard to witness in person. It’s very distracting. Horace too, he’s like, really cute in person.

Anyway, sorry about that bragging, but everyone can enjoy images of Pere and Horace (and Ozy and Danger Crumples and more!) in person at the show OR, if you can’t make it to Madison, I have made them available on stuff and things via my Redbubble page:

Pere-Barb

Danger Things

Leave a comment

Filed under art

“Won’t you take a ride…ride…ride…On heavy metal”

Today only! Redbubble has a 20% off sale (and express shipping gets things to you by Xmas) if you use the code: GIFTNOW

And, may I add, I have added two new parody paintings to my portfolio that are available on things and stuff:

 

And

 

I saw somewhere that Porgs are based on puffins and I must call shenanigans. They look just like Pere. And she’s not a puffin. So I showed them who is boss in this parody painting, heavy metal-style.

 

Again, I have called shenanigans.

 

Finny is a pretty emo pig, he’s got a lot of emotions, and he could turn to villainy at any time.

 

See? Villain potential vs. my little valkyrie

 

I have many of my other paintings available on things and stuff too. You can have the weirdest home imaginable (next to mine, that is). My portfolio page, it’s FULL of piggy goodness.

Leave a comment

Filed under art

It is happening again. (YAY!/I hope it’s good.)

We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a message about painting and excitement for the Twin Peaks new season premiering this Sunday and of course, guinea pigs.

This year I’ve been working on some more paintings that inject my sweet little guineas into glorious television shows. I started this series last year with my Danger Dixon parody, Danger Who number 10 and Danger Who number 11 , iPiggie , and now I give you the ladypigs of Twin Peegs.

But first, because Laura always comes first, I did a little photoshoot of Ozma acting as Laura being menaced by BOB in Fire Walk With Me:

I’m sure you can all tell this is an exact and painstaking recreation. I didn’t have to convince Ozma to walk in that direction and be menaced several times.

Funko Bob is super intimidating.

There we go. Fully menaced Ozma-Laura, running away…

In the actual paintings I decided to cast Merricat as Audrey Horne (my favorite Twin Peaks high schooler):


Ozma as Shelly Johnson:

Here’s Ozma not even really looking at herself as Shelly.

And Miss Peregrine herself as the Log Lady (my favorite Twin Peaks adult lady. I have a log pillow and vaguely debated trying to get my mom to buy me a real log when visiting the Twin Peaks section of a gift shop in Snoqualmie Falls as a teenager):

Peregrine’s log saw something that night.

Peregrine also got some time with a small toy version of her character:

In the White Lodge – which is clearly not my bedroom -, they allow attempted hair cuts the same way I get them – guinea pig teeth.

Peregrine starts to take this whole thing a little more seriously.

Each of the full paintings is available on a variety of objects/in several fashions (posters, coffee mugs you can fill with fish coffee or damn fine coffee, either way, phone cases, my favorite the throw pillow, etc.) on my Redbubble page.

Guinea pigs love art work. And posing for pictures. And pie. And Special Agent Dale Cooper most of all, but also Albert.

Leave a comment

Filed under art

“This week in Ravi is the Best” from Jane Says is one of the things I’m most looking forward to about the show coming back.

29. iZombie I: Dead to the World- Chris Roberson & Michael Allred

30. iZombie II: uVampire- Chris Roberson & Michael Allred

32. iZombie III: Six Feet Under and Rising- Chris Roberson & Michael Allred

33. iZombie IV: Repossession – Chris Roberson & Michael Allred

My issues with the iZombie comics are basically the same issues I have with the depiction of female main characters by male writers occasionally – overly sexualized drawings (Such a comics norm, but, is it really necessary to have so many skin tight outfits in a non-superhero or athletic setting? Must one be aerodynamic to be a zombie? Who is this for? I miss Daria. Tangent.), seeming agency revealed to be influenced mainly by dudes (Daria squint. I really do miss her.), and of course, that female main character must be sacrificed (and she’s nude…because she becomes a Grow Monsters- those are heroic tits I guess) in order to save the world. Gwen seems nice, has some quirks, and barely felt real to me. Why did she like that Horatio guy exactly? Sometimes vampires aren’t necessary. Why does she call Scott “Spot” if he’s really her friend? He didn’t seem to need his self-esteem lowered any further. How many characters do we need in this story? Really, Amon? REALLY? What a dick.

Reading the comics just made me feel like I missed something. I loved Gwen’s Halloween costume in the first issue (Shaun). I like the idea of a were-terrier. I thought Dixie seemed like a pretty cool diner owner and needed some more scenes, maybe a spotlight issue, and after a little research I see the series was ended after 28 issues due to low sales. That makes some of the plot line drops and the wrap up make more sense. I can’t help but wonder if maybe Gwen’s choices weren’t as a result of a dude-issue (whether it’s Amon or Horatio) it might have found a female audience just a bit more solidly. The agency and dude influence issues are definitely something I don’t notice as much when watching the iZombie television show. Also, Liv Moore wears a lab coat a lot of the time. Doesn’t seem to make her less of a zombie or solid heroine. All I can say is, the show better not specifically end with Liv becoming a Grow Monster to eat an alien entity bent on devouring the world. Although if it does, it will just be one more reminder of what women won’t be able to get any credit for after that disaster of an election. If they go that route, maybe she’ll just let the alien eat us. I think we’d be better off…at the least it would be unexpected and it’s not like we’ll get equal pay or recognition before I’m dead anyway.

Now is the time on Guinea Pigs and Books where I brag about how Rose McIver liked the postcard I gave her of this painting. She asked me if she could keep it, which was the sweetest possible thing she could have done. Rose McIver is excellent and very small, not unlike Ozma, the guinea pig playing her in the painting.

Now is the time on Guinea Pigs and Books where I brag about how Rose McIver liked the postcard I gave her of this painting . She asked me if she could keep it, which was the sweetest possible thing she could have done. Rose McIver is excellent and very small, not unlike Ozma, the guinea pig playing her in the painting.

 

Thankfully, the very small Ozma will never have to worry about any of the things I get to worry about or becoming a zombie.

Thankfully, the very small Ozma will never have to worry about any of the things I get to worry about or becoming a zombie.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Review, Writing

Summer Ends

20. Touched with Fire – Kay Redfield Jamison
The title comes from a line in the Stephen Spender poem “I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great.” The subtitle of this book is “Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.” After finishing this book, I know two things: 1. I am not manic depressive. I have never been manic in the manner described in Touched with Fire; although perhaps in retrospect it will seem like I was when I finished so many creative things this year. And I haven’t even put all of them up in my store . 2. I relate more to Henry James than I like. I hated reading Washington Square, now I begrudgingly respect it. Actually, I still have that “ugh” feeling in my gut thinking about reading it, so it may mostly be a product of whatever mental state I was in at the time.

One of my favorite aspects of Touched with Fire is the list of artists, composers, and writers who were either manic depressive, had probable cyclothomia, or had major depression. It’s marked with who was hospitalized, who made a suicide attempt, and who committed suicide and it was super interesting seeing who did what. Like extremely late to the party gossip.

There was also a section of shorter biographical pieces dealing with the family histories of “madness” of famous artists and writers called “Genealogies of these high mortal miseries” after a phrase by Herman Melville that I truly love and that was the section that resonated with me the most. Writing and art are both solitary pursuits and when you consistently wonder if anyone is ever going to connect with your work or why you should care or if you should really be doing this work when you’re not that stable financially and it’s not really helping with that and you know that it’s all you’d like to pursue regardless but you can’t put aside everything you care about aesthetically just because people tell you should if you want to make money… well, that whole section just provided a lot of material for me to relate to. There are a lot of differences between the time period when Herman Melville was writing and now, but, those differences are easily bridged by the mental anguish a large swath of artists and writers feel on a regular basis.

Personally, I remain true to my artistic vision regardless of what anyone tells me; which doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to criticism. I just look for relevance in the criticism. Sometimes you’re doing something people don’t get, and the main thing to consider in that case is whether or not what you’re aiming for people to “get” is coming through. If it’s not, there’s work to do. If it is and they don’t like it, that’s a different story altogether. You’ll have to beat them to death with their own shoes. Or not. To be fair, I know that many people are not ready for guinea pig domination or ladies being clever in realms where men are used to being the only clever ones. I would like things to be different and therefore I create. And I had a shitload of catching up to do after my on and off dealings with depression over the past thirteen yearsish. I proved to myself that even if I’m very stressed and very depressed I can write and paint and when I can focus, I can write and paint A LOT. I did drop one giant amount of baggage between last year and this year, which enabled me to focus on myself and what I want and apparently that was to finish manuscripts, print, paint and paint and paint, print some more, and actually execute some of the ideas I’ve had for so long while still working full time in a job that can be really stressful in so…many…ways. And I can’t say that me doing all of this has been met entirely positively. Some people really want you to stay in the place they expect you to be. But it’s not up to them and I have also received a lot of very encouraging sentiments too and I do want to specifically thank everyone who came out to see me at the Wizard Worlds I participated in this year, it made it clear to me that my work is unique, and, Cute, – and a special additional public thank you to those that facilitated me actually being able to participate. Overall, my experience reading Touched with Fire worked like a door through the darkness I get overwhelmed by sometimes and reminded me that I’m not the only one like this, even if I’m on the major depression side and not the manic side. To borrow a phrase from Mr. Presley, I’m a bit more “Filled with fire” now than anything else – no touching-; although that fire has turned to a smoky haze quite often in the past. No phoenix metaphors, it was there the whole time.

I also have muse-pigs to honor and I'll never let them down. Danger Crumples, perpetual muse-pig, stepping on all my journals, would personally thank everyone who purchased images of him and expressed how adorable he is, if he was available.

I also have muse-pigs to honor and I’ll never let them down. Danger Crumples, perpetual muse-pig, stepping on all my journals, would personally thank everyone who purchased images of him and expressed how adorable he is, if he was available.

 

My little unexpected muse-pig Peregrine and the start of my Pigoween painting. She (and Merricat, their relationship was very Duke of New York-Snake Plissken) was very much the inspiration for my John Carpenter's Guinea Pigs series of paintings.

My little unexpected muse-pig Peregrine and the start of my Pigoween painting. She (and Merricat, their relationship was very Duke of New York-Snake Plissken) was very much the inspiration for my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs series of paintings.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Books, Review, Writing

I’ve been told I’m not good at recommending this movie…

The final John Carpenter film to receive the three pig painting treatment is Prince of Darkness. I tried to explain this movie to a friend of mine in the not so distant past and was told that I wasn’t really “selling” it by explaining that I like it, it seems pretty long, and that a lot of people seem to think it’s boring – but it has some really nice green tones and there’s what I describe as “Satan juice” in it. And old computers. And a very nicely lit classroom scene and this repeated shared dream sequence where the antichrist appears but it looks like the tracking needs to be adjusted. I see where he was coming from, but, I forgot to mention Alice Cooper was in it, so, that was probably the whole problem.

See? Satan juice. Corrosive Satan juice is compelling Pere and Ozma to wear 80s colors and reach out expressionlessly. I accidentally squirted half of my tube of titanium white on this when I was finishing the detailing...but I fixed it. Mostly.

See? Satan juice. Corrosive Satan juice is compelling Peregrine and Ozma to wear 80s smock-style shirts and reach out expressionlessly. I accidentally squirted half of my tube of titanium white on this when I was finishing the detailing…but I fixed it. Mostly.

 

There's also a scene where one student is translating some text and there's like a possessed computer moment where it says non-happiness inducing things, I've amended it a bit... the original messages did not involve hay. I assume because losing hay would be far too shocking for the world.

There’s also a scene where one student is translating some text and there’s like a possessed computer moment where it says non-happiness inducing things, I’ve amended it a bit- the original messages did not involve hay. I assume because losing hay would be far too shocking for the world. This image is going to be available as a postcard at Wizard World Chicago, as part of the movie set of postcards. So if you know any guinea pigs that can read and that you wish to play evil jokes on, I’ve got you covered.

 

Horace steps right into his role.

Horace steps right into his role. He’s also letting me know I messed up his little orange eyebrow.

 

The Finny Awakens

The Finny Awakens

 

These paintings also mark the painting debut of Finny, as the antichrist, the role he was born to play. He's not very happy about it. Too on the nose, perhaps.

These also mark the painting debut of Finny, as the antichrist, the role he was born to play. He’s not very happy about it. Too on the nose, perhaps.

I am one of several Smiths, yet again – Wizard World Chicago profile

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shop smart. Shop…

…at the Guinea Pigs and Books booth at Wizard World Chicago, August 18-19-20-21.  Yeah, I know, that bit of terrible word play is not really going to pass muster; however, I have a good excuse in that I’ve been using most of my brain to work on paintings again. Paintings like these:

Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Very fluffy.

Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Very fluffy.

 

Danger Dixon-Rachel E. Smith

Guinea pigs sit down to use crossbows. They sure do.

 

Danger Crumples has taken over for Ash and Daryl this time around. Oh, and also Blaine.

 

iPiggie - Where I dared to question whether or not guinea pigs would use chopsticks, eat brains, and if Horace would dare to wear a sweater vest. They can do all those things, through the painful magic of painting.

iPiggie – Where I dared to question whether or not guinea pigs would use chopsticks, eat brains, and if Horace would dare to wear a sweater vest. They can do all those things, through the painful magic of painting.

These are but three of the six new paintings I’ve done since the Madison convention in April – six! And you bet there are Danger Dixon and Army of Dangers tea towels (and also prints on paper), Danger parodies only truly work if there are kitchen accoutrements. Plus, as established, I am a bit of a lunatic and I like tea towels with strange things on them. My kitchen will never be boring. Yours doesn’t have to be either.

Oh, and I should warn you, iPiggie is only available in mildly expensive painting and much cheaper postcard format. The world could not withstand the complications of an iPiggie tea towel. By the world I mean me, printing simplified versions of my two Danger designs was torturous enough.

Come facilitate further torture at Wizard World Chicago! Whee!

Here we go again with the linkage – Wizard World Chicago profile

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized