Painting. Pastels. Paper Mache.

Whew! This was a productive day off. I’m supposed to be taking it easy and not overstimulating myself and a bunch of baloney like that while I’m in uber crisis self repair mode. But! Instead I finished my Breast Cancer Awareness painting with a matte finish, which was a bit nerve wracking because I’ve never touched a finished painting with a wet product like that before! Exciting!

Also, I did some paper mache for the first time since elementary school. Hubby commissioned me to make a monkey’s paw prop for his upcoming show, because for some reason I thought I knew all about this. Turns out I’m doing a decent job though! I made a rough mold out of aluminum foil and then put the paper over that. I’m going to paint it and shape it a bit more, then add some craft fur. Pretty fun project!


And then I did some art! Wow! I had another song stuck in my head that spoke to an ouch on my heart and I just had to get it out. This is acrylic and pastel on canvas… Thank you to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their song “Maps” for the inspiration.

I also did some writing on a novel. Dun Dun Dun… I know. The dreaded novel… But this was a real novel I worked on, not a manic novel. And I’m taking it very slowly… It might not be released until the end of the century, but I’m still taking this as a triumph. Here is my tentative prologue…

Sailor loved cloudy skies. She tolerated the poky grass on her arms and legs as she laid and watched the gray giants soar over her, using their magic powers to transform into whatever they wanted. Today the sky was so full of them that she wondered if they were gathering for some purpose… Something important. Like a big assembly to hear God speak.

She wished that she could go too. All of Sailor’s teachers liked her and told her that she was very bright – she just knew that God would feel the same way. Maybe they were waiting for her.

The wind picked up. The clouds’ voices, they were raising until Sailor thought they were screaming urgently for her to come join them, to run! Quickly!

But then…

“Wow! Look at that!” It was Ramona. Sailor forgot that she was lying beside her. They were playing Lion King until they were exhausted chasing the other students at recess (it turned out to be much harder than they anticipated, down on all fours.)

“I see it!” Sailor cried.

It was the clouds. The crowd in the sky had parted. The air felt warmer as a single loose thread of sunlight fell from the opening and landed somewhere on the horizon. It let in all of the color that the clouds were hiding, and it danced in celebration to a tune that artists would surely have stuck in their heads all day.

“I’m going,” Sailor decided, and she popped up like a grasshopper.

“Huh? Where?” Ramona asked, baffled.

“To the light!” Sailor called over her shoulder, for she was already running in the direction of their small town, half minute miracle.

“Sailor! That could be millions of miles away!”

“So what?” Her tiny voice barely traveled with the barricade of howling wind separating them. But Ramona heard her.

She didn’t chase her. Ramona knew better. This was just one more adult thing that she knew more about than her friends, for she too was very bright. But she would always remember the anticipation she felt, watching Sailor run.

Haters Gonna Hate

I love Jigglypuff. If you don’t know, she’s a basically harmless Pokemon from the show/game/manga/cards/empire that is also called Pokemon. It means pocket monster, and not like that you perv. I’m not going to explain the whole fandom to you, just get into it and yesterday. But anyway, in the anime series, Jigglypuff loves to sing for audiences. Like its a big deal to her. Unfortunately for Jiggly, her singing puts anyone who hears it to sleep. Like a Sleeping Beauty-type slumber. And then Jiggly gets super pissed and runs around drawing things on everyone’s faces in retaliation. And then it all starts again.

I guess I admire Jigglypuff’s tenacity. She’s going to sing, damn it, and if you don’t like it…well. She’ll doodle on you (a harmless, fun sort of revenge, really) until she gets sick of that and wants to sing again. I think we can all really learn from Jigglypuff.

Plus she’s super cute and embodies everything that anime is: big eyes, bright colors, cutesy-corny music, and she looks like a cross between dessert and a bunny rabbit.

This was supposed to be more pop art, like my fox painting, but the colors ended up running fairly true to subject…although I was loose with the brush strokes, which really just WORKS for me. But I really wanted to be able to call this series “Popart Pokemon” because it has a serious ring to it…

Just keep swimming 

So I promised myself that I would do a painting a week. It sounded great coming off the heels of my pretty Sailor Moon piece. She came out all in one sitting, I had a clear vision of what I wanted and I enjoyed every moment of work on her (even when it got tricky or things weren’t going on the canvas quite like I wanted.)

I waited a few days for something to inspire me…but I had nothing. Nothing that really stuck anyway, not like Sailor Moon did. Finally on day 7 I was in danger of breaking my shiny new resolution, which would be really pathetic…like quitting the gym right after signing up  without so much as a cardio session (I think I’ve done that, actually.) So I started sketching without my muse, hoping to pull something out of hiding. 

Out came Sailor Mars. I was relieved, at least I had some direction. But for reasons I don’t know that I’ll ever understand, Sailor Mars did not come as easily as Sailor Moon when it was time to actually paint. She took three days instead of three hours, and more than once I considered painting over the whole thing and starting over. I literally had to drag her out of me, kicking and screaming, and using just that naive promise I made myself as motivation.

But I did it. There are things I don’t like about it, of course. There’s plenty I don’t like about my previous painting too, but I’ve finally come to a point in my life where just doing the work is more important than it turning out perfectly. And who knows, if I keep at it maybe those imperfections will refine themselves. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Atashi wa… (Revised)

Note: I first posted this painting with no explanation, because I was so damn proud of it I needed to get it out there. But somewhere in the night I thought that’s not really how blogging is supposed to work, so here is a proper story surrounding this piece…


The first time I heard of Sailor Moon I was in second or third grade. It was actually a commercial for the dolls that I saw first, but in under a minute and with barely any context I fell in love. Five girl superheroes. Magic powers. A princess and an evil sorceress and a secret kingdom on the moon… My young mind was blown. You have to understand, there was NOTHING else like it at the time. Up until that point I only ever watched Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles and such — basically things geared toward young boys because the things that girls were supposed to watch I found terribly boring. So just this brief flash of something else was absolutely incredible.

I immediately began drawing the characters and sharing them with my friends. We would assign roles and all throughout recess we would play. Whatever I didn’t know I filled in with imagination, but my mom would soon discover the source of that wonderful ad…a television show on Cartoon Network. We didn’t have cable, so my grandma would record the show and send me the tapes. They were usually out of order but I lapped it all up anyway. Within a few years I became a Sailor Moon expert and I was drawing her with such convincing likeness to the show itself that unless someone saw me at work they assumed I was tracing.

And then I happened upon the anime section of our local video rental store. After Sailor Moon came Ranma 1/2, Project A-Ko, Magic Knight Rayearth, Saber Marionette J…so on and so on. I loved it all, mostly for the art itself. Big eyes, hair of all colors, extensive detail, and an overall prettiness to every character, every frame. That was it, I wanted to be an anime artist. I spent hours and hours recreating my favorite characters, making my own characters, drawing, writing, living and breathing this entire genre until finally one mean high school teacher told me that it was all a big waste of time because anime and manga can only be made by Japanese people in Japan. And then a college professor told me that it wasn’t art I was creating and that I needed to start focusing on big, important pieces that capture some hidden message about the human condition or a social commentary. Finally CGI films started hitting big and the interest in hand drawn animation became something just for hardcore fans and I was defeated. Anytime I caught myself doodling those familiar faces I would become angry with myself and the process became so painful that for years I stopped drawing anything altogether.

So this painting was a decade long itch that I was finally able to scratch. And you know what? Fuck the haters. Who cares if this isn’t art or if it isn’t original or whatever else. I love it. I loved doing it. I’m going to do more of it. I wish I never stopped.