Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A while ago I told you about a series of drawings I did inspired by Dia de Los Muertos ofrendas, including a skeletal St. Catherine of Bologna. I always meant to come back and do more skeleton saints and apparently to make that happen I needed someone to say, 'I want that and two more like it and in exchange I'll give you dollars.'
Of course, said benefactor is a family member and while I know in my head he's just being a nice guy, I'm not going to look at it too hard. Also, if he'd asked for anything else, anything but colored pencil, I'd have given him the usual family discount of, 'take it, it's just cluttering up my house and one of the cats might wee on it.'
But as these things take forever and absolutely wreck me physically (went for a massage after finishing one and was promptly scolded for all the weird noises my bones and tendons were making really take a break and stretch out ever, god, what is that you're arm is doing, that doesn't even make sense) so I'm not really feeling the guilt of charging a relative. Also, we come back to he's being a nice guy and I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
As I'm playacting at being professional, I decided that I will mat and frame them. Which seems an excellent yet relatively simple idea, but I didn't really leave enough room for matting on St. Catherine and so I've had to redo her. Along with coming up with two more pieces. Way to go, self.
At ny rate, here's is St. Catherine v. 2:

Unfortunately, I'd don't like it as much as the first. I had some human faces, how do they work problems. The Boyfriend pointed out that they usually have skin, which was about as helpful as it sounds.
Up next was St. Luke:

Or, 'cross-dressing Ghandi in a Hello Kitty not wearing a windsor.' Which translates from the original Boyfriend to 'looks a bit like Ghandi, but he has a red smudge on his forehead, in a reliquary and he's not wearing a wimple because he wasn't a nun.'
I've currently sketched out the frame for the third but am stumped on which saint to do. I initially wanted to do St. Anthony but Pater pointed out a painting of St. Agnes in his Lives of the Saints book. She's typically depicted carrying a lamb, and a skeleton lamb tickles me greatly.
All of these were / are being done with Prismacolor colored pencils, which are notorious for their easily breakable leads. And it's not just the bit that pokes out of the wood, oh no, the leads will and do break inside the pencil leading to many frustrated attempts at sharpening which end with a lovely point that promptly falls out of the barrel.

Cue fit throwing.
I'm doing two things to help minimize the frustration. One, I'm making perhaps the longest pencil roll ever to keep them from rattling around and suffering indignities as the pretty tin they come in isn't so great at actually, you know, holding them. This won't magically piece back together what's already been broken, but I can at least now pack them up in a bag without having seventeen heart attacks every time they're jostled.
Two, I've ordered a new set. I've heard of people having better luck ordering sets from the internet than picking them up at a brick and mortar as far as internal breakage is concerned so I'm testing this theory out. That their largest set now comes in 132 colors is what finally tipped me over into switching my current collection to traveling mode. 132 colors! I can hardly imagine. Also purchased, two fancy pants pencil cases that I've heard wonderful things about as far as providing the coddling these pencils require.
Sensible!resa knows that she just ought to use her perfectly serviceable 72 colored pencils to finish this project up but waiting until I have 132 colors at my disposal is so tempting. I'm going to be coloring all the things when it gets here. It's a coloring party at my house.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Road Trip

This weekend was my grandfather's 95th birthday, an occasion decidedly worth driving out to El Paso for. That and the food. I'm pretty sure the only time I'm not eating whenever I'm out there is when I'm sleeping. Not positive though.

There's really not too much to say about a nine hour drive through pretty much nothing, but boy, I'mma give it a try anyway.

Here we are, on the road to El Paso. We're still pretty close to Austin, hence the trees still being, you know, existent.

First pit stop was in Fredericksburg. Food was, of course, consumed. I'm not the sort of person who can say no to potato pancakes with applesauce, much to my waistlines chagrin.

We might have also bought some truffles, and I might have eaten all of my share before we even made it to grandpa's house. I'm neither confirming or denying.

I promised Pater I would tell no one of his car related shame, but trust me when I say that this photo will always be hilarious. Also, that's a pretty decent attempt at trees for west Texas. Good effort!

Despite this state maintaining a rather disagreeable love affair with oil, windmills have been popping up. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a good photo of the field of pump jacks with windmills in the background.

I was encouraged to see that apparently the windmills aren't just a passing energy fad, as we passed a truck loaded with parts.

(Pater called this photo the random phalluses. As we're both perpetually twelve this provided more entertainment than is probably healthy.)

At one of the gas stations coming back home we were confronted by a trio of feral dogs, that weren't so feral that they wouldnt follow me around begging.

Poor pups.

Coming home the central Texas fires were already well underway. We were lucky enough that we didn't get stranded or rerouted through road closures, but approaching the ring of fire around Austin was pretty horrifying.

For most of the drive, the sky was absolutely cloudless. But as we approached Johnson we could see a rather disconcerting purple smudge low on the horizon.

While we were passing beneath the plume the light turned an eery red. Apparently Dante was wrong, the first circle of hell is central Texas.

Seriously, these fires are absolutely terrifying. Wild fire is something that you just sort of get used to with the prolonged droughts we have but this is one of the worst seasons I can think of. And it's not looking like it's going to be getting better any time soon.