23 May 2017

Busman's holiday

On the last weekend in April, there is a horror convention for literature called StokerCon. This year it took place at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, and Anarda and I got out of the library to do a little refresher course in horror to boost our collection chops (neither of us is a horror reader, so we thought we'd see what was new out there that we should buy for the library). We didn't hit the whole convention (we're not masochists), but StokerCon does this nice thing where they invite librarians to come all day on Thursday, and they have a few panels stocked with authors and publishers for us, and they feed us lunch, and we can shop for books from the booths the publishers set up.

We were sitting in the room where we had just finished listening to one panel and were waiting for the next to begin, and Anarda was chatting with some people I didn't know, so I pulled out my sketchbook and captured a moment. One of the volunteers running the librarians' day was herself a librarian; we both knew she looked familiar, and thought we might know her from grad school. She is a rather large woman, and I give her respect for her clothing choices. While most of us who grew up watching our weight and then giving up watching it (except to watch it grow) take care to wear dark colors and neutrals (slimming, right?), this woman always dresses with impeccable taste in dramatic fashion and intense color.

On this day, she had on a bright scarlet dress in a stiff material that wasn't satin, I don't think, but acted like it in the way it draped and folded, and in this moment between panels, she sat down to rest for a moment in a chair in front of me, with one leg tucked up under its voluminous skirt, and let it billow out around her. So I did a quick sketch, and then captured a few details from the room around us. I started drawing in the ornate pattern of the rug, but I liked the conceit that it was only blooming in her shadow (and also, the panel was about to start and she got up), so here she is, the lady with the talent to make the carpet sprout color.

21 May 2017

Draw dinner, make dinner

I was going to paint a "real" painting today, but my plan was to paint a vase of roses, and my roses were just "beheaded" by the gardener, so there are no new blooms yet. Rats. So, as an exercise, I decided instead to immortalize my ingredients before turning them into Black Bean Chili.

This is when I find out that it really is important to draw and paint more regularly. Proportions are so wonky in this thing--the tomatoes look like they are half the size of the onion; the black bean bag is too small to contain 16 oz. of beans when compared to the giant green pepper; the ear of corn is a lot wider than it is long when it should be the opposite. In fact, there are two completely separate size ratios here: The beans, chili powder, garlic, and tomatoes belong in one drawing, while everything else belongs in another, larger one! And my original layout had the chil powder on the other side, in order to have some variation of color across the page instead of grouping all the red with all the red and all the green with all the green, but due to the size issues (and starting too far over with the black bean bag), there was no room on the sketchbook page for the chili powder, so I had to put it on the left. Oh, and worst of all, I left the "n" out of "Organic." Curses.

Well, the best I can say is, I needed an exercise, and I did an exercise. And, like when you haven't gone to the gym for a while, I will rest for a day and work out again if I know what's good for me, but the sore muscles are a bit obvious at the moment.

I'm just going to go chop it all up and pretend it never happened. And then eat the evidence.