And now a word from Basso, Demon Knight of Zondac
Aqua Knight v2, p. 103 (edited slightly)
Two years ago I started to feel like I was drowning in crap. I had piles of unread books, unwatched movies, and unplayed games. And at the same time, I also had boxes of books and movies and games that I didn't much like. So I put the brakes on my consumption. I got a lot pickier about what I'd buy, and made an extra effort to get rid of the things I didn't enjoy, whether that meant selling them on eBay or donating them to the local library.
At a practical level, some level of discrimination is necessary. Who has the time to read everything printed in a single month any more, or the money to buy it with? For that matter, even if you enjoy something, do you really have to own it?
For me the answer is, increasingly, no. I've sold things I've actively enjoyed, like my collections of Astro Boy and Lone Wolf & Cub, just because I know I'll never have the time to read them again.
Is what's left in my collection great? Hardly. There's a lot of sub-par stuff that I keep because it tickles me. But do I enjoy what's left a lot more? You bet. And I feel a lot less weighed down by my stuff, which is definitely worth it.
Off the Drawing Board
The Self-Satisfied Swordswoman
Here's a something from the drawing board with a somewhat complicated story...
This was originally intended to be a picture of a beautiful but distant woman in a kimono holding a bamboo umbrella. However, while doing some research for the picture I stumbled across a Hokusai sketch of a woman wearing a deerskin robe and wanted to incorporate that (she's on plate 130 of Michener edition of the Manga, if you're interested). Somewhere along the line she picked up a sword to balance the umbrella, and the smug self-satisfied smile started out as a joke but I liked how it looked.
Overall, I like the look of the picture. If I had to re-do it, I'd go for more of a full-body shot showing integration into a more complicated environment, but one of my goals was to keep everything very simple and restrained and I pulled that off. The only think I'm really not satisfied with is the patterning on her robe. It's to busy and distracting in color
The final piece was supposed to be a multi-block linoleum print. However, after I'd finished cutting and test printing the first two blocks, I realized that there were serious registration issues and that it wasn't going to be possible to fix them with the timeframe. Fortunately, I came up with a new composition that fit the frame I'd purchased, and spent a few days working on that. And then I wound up completely overworking that piece, and had to produce a replacement in even less time. After a quick brainstorm, I came up with the idea of re-using elements of the original piece in a new composition.
Finished piece behind the cut...
Compositionally, it's largely the same as the central portion of the original image — I've pushed in the umbrella so that it's in-frame, changed the busy patterning on the robe and kimono to something a little more restrained, and added some small details to compensate for the fact that the final piece is much larger (12"x30").
The solid line drawing/silhouette over strong color is a techinque I've used bofre, and I almost always like the results. Here, I think the colors are maybe a tad too intense, but that galls me less than the overly harsh blue-purple transition at the very top.
Truth be told, I was sad to let this one go. (It was a Christmas gift for a relative.) Which is why I'm working on another one for myself...
Who are the people in your neighborhood?
In early spring I moved from the East End of Pittsburgh to Mount Lebanon in the South Hills. It's a nice neighborhood, and I like it a lot. But on one of my first strolls through my new neighborhood, I happened to notice this...
In case you can't make it out from the photograph, that's an eviscerated teddy bear, half-buried in the roots of a tree and slowly being exposed to the elements by erosion. Creepy, isn't it?
I figured it was just an old toy that had been forgotten. But it was still a bit creepy. I mean, it was visible from the sidewalk. Surely the owner or their parents would have noticed it by now, unburied it, and put it in the garbage. But no, it's still there today.1
Then, a few months later, this appeared on the lawn across the street from the teddy bear...
Okay, I figure. Somebody in this neighborhood has a kid who's really hard on toys. Or maybe a really mean dog. But again, the doll is still suspicious — legs completely gone? Arms twisted way out of joint? Head totally defaced? It's like the Black Dahlia of tortured dolls.2
And did I mention it was right across the street from the teddy bear?
Then, a few weeks ago, this appears, stuck into a PVC conduit up the street from where I found the doll...
I'm beginning to think that one of my neighbors is a brilliant guerilla artist. Or perhaps in need of severe psychiatric help. Or both.3