Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chesterton, the Church, and Imagination

I found this recently while reading G.K. Chesterton's Everlasting Man. Here is your dose of Chesterton for the day:

"In order to strike, in the only sane or possible sense, the note of impartiality, it is necessary to touch the nerve of novelty. I mean that in one sense we see things fairly when we see them first. That, I may remark in passing, is why children generally have very little difficulty about the dogmas of the Church. But the Church, being a highly practical thing for working and fighting, is necessarily a thing for men and not merely for children. There must be in it for working purposes a great deal of tradition, of familiarity, and even of routine. So long as its fundamentals are sincerely felt, this may even be the saner condition. But when its fundamentals are doubted, as at present, we must try to recover the candour and wonder of the child; the unspoilt realism and objectivity of innocence. Or if we cannot do that, we must try at least to shake off the cloud of mere custom and see the thing as new, if only by seeing it as unnatural. Things that may well be familiar so long as familiarity breeds affection had much better become unfamiliar when familiarity breeds contempt. For in connection with things so great as are here considered, whatever our view of them, contempt must be an illusion. We must invoke the most wild and soaring sort of imagination; the imagination that can see what is there."

A Bit of Magic for the Holidays

I found this monstrously cute dwelling on Mark Shea's blog. Do yourself a favor and click on it.

.... Ahem, however, I'd rather do without the compost toilet. I've actually had to use one of those before. I don't plan on repeating the experience.

Fairies, Christmas, and the Doctor

 It's been a while since I have posted. I have been busy working everyone's last minute vacation hours at work, trying not to spend all my money on lovely presents for lovely people, trying to do some drawing tutorials here and there, and falling in love with Doctor Who in between.  
    I bought my sister a book of Flower Fairies for Christmas- partly for me, partly for her. I want to practice drawing children's faces, and the faces in this book are adorable. Besides, I've always like the Flower Fairies: they are old fashioned and proper. 
   I am particularly fond of this little guy:

(I am having some difficulty with the formating in blogger lately- thus the reason all my images are in the middle, and not put stylishly on one side or the other. I am sure I must have selected some option that has caused this, or something like that. I hope to fix it soon. This is annoying.)
    Anyway, so there was a Doctor Who Christmas special on, I watched it, and I am officially hooked. At least, to the 11th Doctor. I rather love him rather a lot. I will try to spare you too many quotes and general fandom, but the last thing I can do is promise that the Doctor won't make an appearance now and then. For now, "bow ties are cool." 
    I hope you had a Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

By the Way....

It's Rubeus Hagrid's birthday!

Drawing by Cory Godbey. I love the little Harry! 
"NEVER-INSULT-ALBUS-DUMBLEDORE-IN-FRONT-OF-ME!" -Hagrid


"What's comin' will come, an' we'll meet it when it does." -Hagrid

For Girls

I found this comment on facebook on a post about dating and the like. I don't know who the guy is, and I tried to see if I could comment and ask permission to post, but I didn't find a way. I am sure he wouldn't mind me sharing his awesome comment.
    I have to wrestle with the culture and some girl friends on this issue who JUST WON'T BELIEVE me when I say 1) for heaven's sake be single and get to know Jesus for a while and attract a real guy who knows how to LOVE, and 2) there ARE such men out there. You've got to believe me. But how on earth do you plan on attracting someone better unless you yourself become better? Until you know what true love is? Yes, girls are wonderful crown jewels of creation, they are beautiful and special, etc- but they are fallen, come from dark places, and need to grow as well. And having a boyfriend who is bad for you will not help you grow. YOU have to grow on your own. You and Jesus do that. 


Photo courtesy of Felipa-de-Noailles/deviantart.
"On a similar note, I think it is so sad that there are people out there who think Chivalry is dead. Believe me it's not dead, you're just hanging out with the wrong guys. So many girls have had to settle, instead of waiting for the right guy who sweeps them off their feet. I know it's hard to be patient and wait for the perfect guy, and I understand you may think you'll wait forever. But when I meet the girl of my dreams, I don't want her to have dated every single guy on the football team. I can't begin to tell you how attractive it is when I learn that a girl has been single for a while because they haven't found Mr. Right. And don't get me started on guys who disgrace the male population. They are everywhere, and they honestly make my blood boil. Truth is there are a lot of awesome, Holy men out there too! They aren't usually the most good looking, but when it comes to being faithful and giving of themselves, they would sacrifice their life for the girl they love. And honestly, girls have lowered their expectations, and guys have become lazy and followed suit. Call it the media, the sexual revolution, or just the society we live in. But it shouldn't be that way, and I know there are plenty of men out there who agree with me. If a guy isn't treating you right, and he's not willing to do everything in his power to change ASAP, then he never will, especially not after marriage. Ditch his sorry butt, because chances are he's keeping you from meeting Mr. Right. And if that means you have to be single for a while, then BE SINGLE! Take the time to fall in love with Jesus, the perfect example of true love. Let Him romance you first, because only then will you be able to recognize true love when you see it. Don't settle, and don't waste your time chasing after guys you wouldn't marry, no matter HOW hot they are. If everyone took the time to fall in love with God first, and to wait for the person that He has picked out especially for you, we wouldn't need divorce in this country. Let God be your matchmaker. He won't lead you wrong :)"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Don't Know If You Noticed...

But I changed the title of the blog for a while, to see what I thought of it. Well, while the point of the blog may not be for me to post a drawing EVERY day, I did miss my old title. Besides, it matches the header image.

If you missed what I am talking about, well, maybe that's for the better. You didn't get to witness my indecisive tendencies in person.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

And an update: as you can see the title has changed, as the purpose of the blog has been tweaked. If you want an explanation click on the "About" page.

Alright then, now for some fun:


Yes, it is ridiculous. I like the pattern on the vest there Jeffery. Now his way of singing will be in your head whenever you hear the songs he used. You're welcome! I love spreading joy! I love Julian Smith.

Now for something a bit more appropriate for Advent:


If you don't know the The Civil Wars, fix that. I am not usually one who likes folk or country versions of traditional Christmas songs, but this is lovely- because The Civil Wars style is lovely music itself. So it works. In my opinion at least.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chesterton on Imagination....

Found on this website.


"...the first fact is that the most simple people have the most subtle ideas. Everybody ought to know that, for everybody has been a child. Ignorant as a child is, he knows more than he can say and feels not only atmospheres but fine shades. And in this matter there are several fine shades. Nobody understands it who has not had what can only be called the ache of the artist to find some sense and some story in the beautiful things he sees; his hunger for secrets and his anger at any tower or tree escaping with its tale untold. He feels that nothing is perfect unless it is personal. Without that the blind unconscious beauty of the world stands in its garden like a headless statue. One need only be a very minor poet to have wrestled with the tower or the tree until it spoke like a titan or a dryad. It is often said that pagan mythology was a personification of the powers of nature. The phrase is true in a sense, but it is very unsatisfactory; because it implies that the forces are abstractions and the personification is artificial. Myths are not allegories. Natural powers are not in this case abstractions. It is not as if there were a God of Gravitation. There may be a genius of the waterfall; but not of mere falling, even less than of mere water. The impersonation is not of something impersonal. The point is that the personality perfects the water with significance. Father Christmas is not an allegory of snow and holly; he is not merely the stuff called snow afterwards artificially given a human form, like a snow man. He is something that gives a new meaning to the white world and the evergreens, so that snow itself seems to be warm rather than cold. The test therefore is purely imaginative. But imaginative does not mean imaginary. It does not follow that it is all what the moderns call subjective, when they mean false. Every true artist does feel, consciously or unconsciously, that he is touching transcendental truths; that his images are shadows of things seen through the veil. In other words, the natural mystic does know that there is something there; something behind the clouds or within the trees; but he believes that the pursuit of beauty is the way to find it; that imagination is a sort of incantation that can call it up."
          - G.K. Chesterton, Everlasting Man

Water Lady

I don't know if she is an elf or a nymph or human. She just is. It's based off a drawing in Guide to Tolkien's World: A Bestiary by David Day. I think it was a sketch of Goldberry, I am not sure. Anyway, I did my own variation of it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mr. Tumnus

    Sometimes I just have to watch the beginning of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe to make things all better. I absolutely love the snow scene at the lamppost. Here is a quick sketch I did during/after watching it:
Admittedly, he is a bit baby faced.
Snow! Narnia. Christmas.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Carried Off by a Murder of Crows

Yes, I am still alive. Have some health issues that seem to like tmaking sure I am working hard, but, somehow things always work out.

.... Hopefully. My commissions and things ain't gettin themselves done. Sigh. What I wouldn't do for a bit of health. Maybe it's best this way. Keeps me from being a Drawing Terror of some sort.

Back to the drawing. This is a quick sketch I did inspired by the book Wildwood by Colin Meloy. It's been rather charming.


I thought a little quick sketch of someone's little brother being hauled off by birds was more engaging than more anatomy lessons.....

Latest GK quotes via my Dad:


"A man cannot be wise enough to be a great artist without being wise enough to wish to be a philosopher.  A man cannot have the energy to produce good art without having the energy to wish to pass beyond it.  A small artist is content with art; a great artist is content with nothing except everything." -GKC, "Heretics"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Have Been A Bit Under the Weather...

... and that has hindered me in my work, but not in my looking.

I found these two young gentlemen and their blog, the Crimson Phoenix, and I absolutely love it. Not only are their drawings creative, but their names and comments as well. For me, I find it a refreshing blog to look at.

On the Crimson Phoenix blog, I found the blogs below that I LOVE:

Cory Godbey, and

Justin Gerard.


Ugh, my "non-drawing post tag" is about to be the top one. That can't be good.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Updates Updates

Well, in addition to my anatomy/drawing lessons from Drawing Tutorials Online...
Quick sketch of form light on a cast. Isn't that cool! No, I had NO idea about such lighting techniques before.


.... I have also added these two little activities:

I am illustrating for this lovely magazine for young ladies.

And I am participating in this little project.

Am I crazy? With that last one definitely- I haven't finished a story since I was 8 at least. Hopefully I have moved beyond stories about wild ponies who run victoriously in the Kentucky Derby.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Have I Mentioned....

... That I love this man? I couldn't agree more.

I love how he uses The Birth of Venus. I myself have struggled with the nude form and the possibility that I might tempt viewers to lust by drawing/painting it- puritanism is a sneaky thing unfortunately. Once it gets it tentacles in you it can be hard to remove. It's one of those things that is like a tree root- nearly impossible to completely pull out. I have fought and read and prayed and fought and read and prayed. But finally, one day in Florence Italy, God struck a deadly blow, and I feel like own little Puritan Tree is dying of some disease. Funny, there are so many ways that beauty wounds and kills, but that is another topic.
    Anyway, that blow was this:
Botticelli's Birth of Venus
I never really cared for this painting before. But that was quickly remedied. In my semester abroad, I saw many lovely things- but some particularly struck me, and literally hurt me and left me breathless. This was one of them.
    That blow, and this one:
Michelangelo's David. Also in Florence.
I didn't get to sit and draw from The Birth of Venus. There were too many people in front of it! (Grrr!!!) But I did get to sit and draw The David for about 20 minutes. I will never forget those 20 minutes. Ever.

Mary and art and nudity will never be the same. Thank God.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Drawing A Day?

How about a drawing a week? At least. It's time for excuses. 1) I have, erm, health issues (dysautonomia and POTS mainly) that sometimes makes it difficult to not just produce art but get around to posting it online, and 2) I have been doing mainly anatomy lessons, etc, and that's just boring for y'all. But here is proof that I am still alive and drawing something:
Drawn from Matthew Archambault's Portrait DVD

It's not much. But it is good for me. Sometimes it is fun- but most of it is just discovering what I don't know, rediscovering what I do know, and relearning how to do things... like how I go about drawing faces or moving my arm, etc. Fun, but no fun. Mostly boring.

What wasn't boring was my visit to Franciscan University this past weekend (my old and much missed school). I was able to receive much needed hugs and affirmations, and have some wonderful conversations with my lovely friends. I think a refresher like that is good for a person- even for art. One does have to be able to breathe you know.

So yes, it was wonderful. Even if my credit card was stolen when I failed to keep it with me during Mass.... Yeah, I love my school dearly, but I spose no place is perfect. Oh well. After my travels in Europe, I am just glad there was a computer near by to look up my bank's number, and english speaking people to communicate with. Just goes to show that God looks out for me, even if He does allow me to learn things the hard way.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Angels and Dragons....

... Some of my favorites. They never stay away long.
    Well, I am still working on my friend's (Miss Emily) commission. So far, she has half an angel. If that. I rather like him.

So... are those anatomy lessons paying off? (What are you talking about Mary? There is hardly a body here at all.)
      Oh, and my scanner is fixed. That was kind of important. I'd like to say that the wretched contraption was the main reason I haven't been posting much, but that would be a lie, unfortunately. A false lie. (King and I anyone?)
    The. Point. Is. I have a scanner, and I was able to prepare that second dragon sketch I mentioned before.

Alas, there is still a shadow. But I would have to tear the page out to get rid of  it, and that did not sound ideal. Wretched spiral bound sketchbooks!
   The dragon is reading Knightboy: Dragon Slayer with Mouse as before mentioned. I copied this out of Me and My Dragon, as also mentioned.

   I recently joined Drawing Tutorials Online and I am rather excited! I have only been a member for less than a week, but I can tell you that I recommend it very much. You can find sample videos on youtube if you would like to check it out. Just search for "drawing tutorials online" or "Matthew Archambault" and you should find it. He is quite an amazing teacher, and is well learned in both traditional art and computers/graphic design/illustration, etc.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steampunk Contest

Go here and vote for me! Vote for "Practically Perfect," or my steampunk Mary Poppins. It's the best, as it were.... Win me some art school money! God bless you!

P.S. I was just informed that you may have to register and give out your email address... I apologize. What treachery!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough...

....The Tough copy pictures out of children's books about pet baby dragons. At least, that is what this combatant virtuoso of the female persuasion did. It is from the book, Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzychi. Just go look on amazon or something and look at the cover- you'll see why I found it irresistible when I ran across it at the library.


I apologize for the poor image quality. My scanner is dead, and I could not find ideal lighting for my silly camera. I went on a quest inside and out- outside was TOO BRIGHT, and inside this old house there is no good lighting ANYWHERE at the moment. This was the best I could do. I copied another picture of the dragon reading Knight Boy: Dragon Tamer in bed with a worried look, with Mouse looking over his shoulder. But that one I could NOT rescue- even with my iphoto editing, which I am rather good at.

Yes it has been tough lately. But, "beautiful people do not just happen."


"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. beautiful people do not just happen."
-Blessed Pope John Paul II

"As long as we live, we fight, and as long as we are fighting, that is a sign that we are not defeated and that the good Spirit dwells within us. And if death does not meet you as the victor, he should find you a warrior." -St. Augustine

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fascinating....

This makes me want to scour the comments on youtube of lovely videos to see what's being said.

My blog is about art- but over all, hopefully, about beauty.


Meago/deviantart

And of course:

"Beauty will save the world." -Dostoevsky (and I STILL have not read that book.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steampunk Mary Poppins

What?

Indeed.
Close your mouth... we are not a codfish.

I started this for a steampunk T-shirt contest. I have a bit that has to be done to the file before I can submit it. If I can do that, and if I send it, I will post the link so you can go vote for me!

I think I will also put this on a few items in my zazzle store. Any suggestions? My sister has already said she'd like to have it on a bag.

Cuteness Alert

I love this blog. She. Is. Adorable. Kind of like Ponyo- which I just watched. Made my night so much better!



If you want to die of cuteness, I suggest Ponyo. As well as Howl's Moving Castle. I love Hayao Miyazaki.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Exciting News!

I was just accepted into the Catholic Illustrators Guild! I feel so.... grown up? Proficient? Blessed? Dexterous? Obliged? Affected? In need of nibbling nourishment? Indeed!
    In short, I was rather beatific at the news this morning when I checked my e-owls.
And yes, I am taking liberties with this post to practice my vocabulary with my mac dictionary. I looked up most of those words....
(anyone catch the Harry Potter reference?)
  And, ahem, a random quote I just received from a friend. 

“Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast….Of course, slowness is bad. Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy.” 
― Miyamoto Musashi


 If you recall, I posted a quote by him for my first post. He makes me laugh. So, as my friend said, when you are accused of not being busy enough, just calmly mention that you are a master of strategy. 
   Oddly enough, I think I like Mr. Musashi because he reminds me of Jane Austen. He can make a point or insult you to your face, but you will have to pay attention to catch the subtleties. People like them can get away with insults, and get away with style. 


Interesting how one can jump from one subject to another, is it not?


Happy remainder of Hobbit Week.

Gallery Page Update

My Gallery page has been updated- it now has my favorite and most popular works (at least, as far as I've been able to tell). I thought perhaps it might be more convenient than having people leave the website to see a sample or two.

I thought this was adorable...

... and I think you should check it out. :)

Happy Belated Birthday Hobbits!

     And a happy Hobbit Day to the rest of you! Technically, that was yesterday. September 22nd is Mr. Bilbo and master Frodo's birthday, but I didn't realize it until the later morning hours, and didn't have time to draw and post properly the day of. However, I did find a website that said the week containing Sept. 22nd is considered Hobbit Week, so if you haven't had a chance to celebrate properly, you still have almost two days left! I celebrated by watching the Fellowship of the Ring extended version (for fans, there is a HUGE  difference), while drawing these pictures. Can one draw and watch at the same time? You tell me. Did I succeed? To be perfectly and entirely honest, I do think it takes away a bit from the drawing, but, I wanted to do both, and I didn't have time before work to do them separately. I had fun anyway. I think I will have to reread my Tolkien collection soon! There are so many things I have forgotten, and that makes me exceedingly sad.
      I picked out a bit from the "Long Expected Part" chapter of the Fellowship, because I thought that the most fitting.

'You mean to go on with your plan then?
'I do. I made up my mind months ago, and I haven't changed it.'
It is based off this:

Inside Bag End, Bilbo and Gandalf were sitting at the open window of a small room  looking out west on to the garden. The late afternoon was bright and peaceful. The flowers glowed red and golden: snapdragons and sunflowers, and nasturtians trailing  over the turf walls and peeping in at the round windows.
    'How bright your garden looks!' said Gandalf.
    'Yes," said Bilbo. 'I am very fond indeed of it, and of all the dear old Shire; but I think I need a holiday."
     'You mean to go on with your plan then?'
     'I do. I made up my mind months ago, and I haven't changed it.'
     'Very well. It is no good saying any more. Stick to you plan-- your whole plan, mind -- and I hope it will turn out for the best, for you, and for all of us.
     'I hope so. Anyway I mean to enjoy myself on Thursday, and have my little joke.'
     'Who will laugh, I wonder?' said Gandalf, shaking his head.  
    'We shall see,' said Bilbo.


Happy Hobbit Day to you all!
              
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update

My art website (it was marysullivanartwork.com) is no longer in use. I didn't want to pay for it anymore, and I simply wasn't having luck with it, and was losing more money than anything really. Right now, my gallery is deviantart, and I have a zazzle store for prints, and I am currently looking into selling paintings on ebay.

I am thinking about constructing a page on this blog featuring my favorite/best artwork... But for now, I just have deviantart.

BadCatholic Tackles Death Metal.....

... and he's brilliant as ever.  I mean, not to be a fangirl, but yes, I am linking to him again (and probably will again and again). And not to steal anyone's thunder, but I have totally thought what he said is so true! Those goths... they have no idea what dark means. They haven't even thought to imagine it's beautiful depths. You know, really, I mean, dead seriously, everyone longs to be Catholic so bad- they just don't know it yet.
    I know that I personally love darker things, but only darker things that have depth. The artist in me wants to somehow combine love, suffering, sacrifice, even death somehow in art. But as Marc mentions, today, death metal and the like are boring. They lack depth. They lack courage. I apply this to art. Type in "sacrifice" in the deviantart search, you get some model chick, half dressed, with some sort of blood substance somewhere, has too much make up, and is strewn across some decrepit looking structure or other with a pitiful look on her on her pouting lips. Nice. (Side note: not to completely bash deviantart. I use it myself right now, and for better or worse -usually worse- you can find what you want on there, and it does serve as a convenient free gallery for ones use and exposure. For now.)

I sympathize with them. I really do. If I weren't Catholic, had a life, a good family, etc, I would probably be one of them. I pity them.
    For what it's worth, here is what my emo/goth side produces:
Like Great Drops of Blood. Agony in the Garden.

I would like to think there is some difference. But of course, I am always learning. Both as a person and as an artist- while trying to combine the two in my art. Somehow.

Tips and Ideas!

    I read this lovely book called Entwined by Heather Dixon. Miss Dixon was raised with 10 other siblings I believe, and I think her blog is cute, witty, and a nice little place to see some refreshing creativity.

Anyway, on her blog, she is currently discussing the Delsarte method, which I had never heard of before, and I think it is very interesting.

 Here is part 1 of her crash course.

And here is part 2.

If I understand correctly, there will be a part 3 in the future.
Of course, one could always read the book of Delsarte's system of expression, but for now, I am very grateful for Miss Dixons quick, precise presentation. Thanks Heather!

Now, after looking at her blog again, I want to read Mary Poppins myself. Birthday present anyone? My birthday is coming up.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Have Been Busy Drawing Noses, Working on Commissions......

.... and reading Catholic blogs (a new favorite activity). 

And here is one.

Ugh, my very NAME is MARY and I love the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and BOTH this year AND last year I MISSED it. I know Our Lady forgives me, and she is probably laughing at my distress now- but it does make me a bit frustrated. Anyway, I have linked to the BadCatholic blog before, and I think you should read the article linked above. Besides, he picked two VERY lovely paintings for the post (all things lead to art/the pictures!.... and Chesterton, Aquinas, Jane Austen, Tolkien, the Passion and Resurrection, and coffee.)

I am also reading The Hunger Games series. It's not bad, but it could be a lot better- I just find the dumbed down YA style and the ever going love triangle annoying. Ugh, I usually can hardly abide love triangles!

I have been working on my anatomy lessons as well. I will share some of them with you, because I think they are cool looking, even if with a touch of creepy- which only makes them cooler in the end.

Did you know your mouth had that many muscles? Fascinating.

The nose.
The Eye! Ugly thing ain't it?

    I also have a lovely friend who commissioned yet another artwork from me. I  have people asking for art fairly often, and this young lady gets me to do stuff for her more than anyone (which, regrettably, still isn't much)! I must love her. 
   Her commission will have one of these:


And one of these (yay!):


   I think that is quite enough links and photos and update for now. Keep a special friend in your prayers. God bless!

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Brings Me Much Joy....

.... and I hope it does for you as well. Absolutely fetching! Beautifully prepossessing! Aesthetically winsome! (ok, enough vocabulary practice.)

Click here! Click here!

Click on "archives" and enjoy. Thanks Emily.

Welllll.... what now?

     Ok, well, I have finished a painting, and I don't really have a project to distract me anymore from, sigh, my anatomy studies. I must resume those. It will be very good for me, but not for you. I'm sure you will be quite bored. I will try to spruce things up once in a while, but for now, I really need to get back to it. I will maybe post interesting links or artworks perhaps. And, who knows, I may do draw something "real" with all it's parts... not just a section of muscle or skeleton.
                      
     In the mean time, Fall is coming, as is St. Therese's feast day AND my birthday (two of my siblings also have a birthday the same week as mine), AND......here is an amazing song from an amazing group.



   I believe this one is fairly new. I can not wait for their next album! God bless!

   P.S. If the Fall colors so inspire this year, I may try a bit of "painting outside" and perhaps have a go at a watercolor Fall painting...... That sounds attractive at the moment. Although I am skeptical of this "painting outside".... sounds a bit tedious and, well, messy. But I've never really done it, so I may be wrong.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Artwork Executed

    It is done- my St. Therese painting that I have been so excited about. It was accomplished rather briskly for me, seeing as it is larger than 16 by 20 inches, and I hardly ever paint something even that sizable.
"No One Bothering to Catch It"

     I thought of this painting one night when I was rereading for at least the 15th time a section of The Story of a Soul. I was from chapter five, the chapter about the Christmas that changed everything:

I enjoyed painting this dress!

"As I closed my Missal after Mass one Sunday, a picture of the Crucifixion slipped out a little way, and I could just see one of the wounds in Our Lord's hands, with blood flowing from it. A strange new thrill passed over me. It pierced my heart with sorrow to see His Precious Blood falling, with not one bothering to catch it, and I made up my mind, there and then, to stay in spirit at the foot of the Cross, to gather up the dew of heavenly life and give it to others."
                         -St. Therese <3


It is also roughly based on the idea St. Therese would speak of, about letting fall a shower of roses from heaven. Thus the reason for the blood falling as roses (at least, that was what I was going for.)
Yes. These were a PAIN-lovely as roses are.
     This idea is also in this post from a few months ago, with the blood turning into roses. I almost said "transfigured" into roses, but I don't believe that would be accurate: some might think blood to roses is a change for the better, this is Christ's blood- it is far more beautiful than a garden of roses.
    That was one of those things you don't plan on posting, but just think of sporadically as you are writing. In fact, I hadn't thought of that before, not even when painting these two paintings. Interesting.
   I am going to share a St. Therese quote that I do NOT like. It is something that I find hard, and that I'd rather not be reminded of. I have to fight little, annoying, and slightly vicious thoughts when I read it or here it:


 "If I did not simply suffer from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient; but I look only at the present moment, forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future. When we yield to discouragement or despair it is usually because we give too much thought to the past and to the future. "-St. Therese of Lisieux

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Bit of Nonsense Really

   In the past week there have been reports by one sibling (ONE sibling mind you) that there is mouse in the house. I for one don't mind- we live in an old house, so it's only right and decent to have one if you ask me! Anyway, while no one else, not even Brenna the kitty, has seen a trace of this mouse, it did, erm, inspire me. If this bit of nonsense even deserves the word "inspiration." Funny, I am working on an respectable  painting of monumental proportions, and I feel more accomplished by this mouse balderdash than I do something like my painting.
    Yes, I did use my Mac Dictionary/Thesaurus for a few of those words. But hey, maybe I learn a bit of nomenclature that way.
     In any case, I haven't written any rhymes since I was little- and even then it was no deluging amount. The only things with which I've provided such quantities to this earth are all those horse drawings I did when I was little. Hundreds I tell you! Thousands!
    As it were, so to say, the point is, it has been awhile, and I've not done much- so be merciful. I was rather thrilled when this burst out of me, and I only hope it makes some sense.
    Ahem:

There's a Mouse in the House!

Grab your shoes! Grab your mop!
Cover your feet, don't ever stop!
There's a mouse in the house there's a mouse in the house!
It'll nibble at your toes, and away they goes!
Over the hills, or far away?
You'll never know, 'cause you'll have to stay.
Unable to move, that's how you'll pay, 
For not keeping your little toes at bay!


There you have it. Exceptionally sensational, is it not? I even illustrated it:



   Now, just why the mouse is holding a tack, I am not positive. I just wanted him to have a weapon, and it seemed to me that a mouse might heft a tack.                                         

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Painting in Progress Pt. 2

   I decided to go ahead and post a quick preview of my painting before I leave for work. 


I decided to do this because I think that unfinished work has a charm of its own- and this painting in particular at this point has that. Although, I won't show you the whole thing, so, perhaps the charm is a bit diminished here (or maybe it was all in my head in the first place).

         I have to run to work now- I hope I can finish this soon! Although, I may be sorry when it is done as I do not have another painting in my head yet.... Hmm... I will have to think on it.

Here is a quote by our Pope from a speech that I understand he just presented in Madrid, Spain:

"Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world."
~Pope Benedict XVI, homily for World Youth Day, August 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Harry Potter, Chesterton, and Courage

   I will not be posting artwork this time- I am still working on my painting, and I thought about showing you the progress I've made, but I think I want to wait until it is finished. It is turning out well so far, and I am happy with it, and that is not a common occurrence.
   I have also thought about doing non look-at-my-artwork posts, and using my blog to share things I find, and to maybe share a thought or two here and there. I live a rather solitary life at the moment, which I like in some ways, but I must confess the idea of broadening my blogging horizons sounds attractive. That said, I want to share a new friend with you.
    I am a new Harry Potter fan. And I mean fan! (Yes, I do realize that I am about one million years late, but that's a long story- I was once a "Harry Potter has real curses and will have your kids killing kitties" misled little Catholic) I have been thinking about why this is. I've had my crosses, as we all do, and the topics of courage, love, and fighting have become both dreaded and loved by me over the past few years. They have become friends that are so close now, that the lovely sensitivity they cause is painfully and perpetually fresh. All the best friends wound you in some way or another.
    And so I love Harry Potter. It is a story of love and sacrifice and heroic suffering. Even if fate has dealt you a nasty blow, you don't have to become bitter or complacent- or seek out the One Ring, the best crystals for a super lightsaber, and the Deathly Hallows to undermine death, and take over the universe as the One All Powerful Overlord who spends her days planning out monologues to bellow to minions or enemies with her nails painted blood-red with the coolest black gothic outfit ever and stripes in her hair..... Ah hem, no, because suffering is not bad. (*gasp*) Yes, it is because of evil we suffer, but inn some ways, you could say we were born to live and suffer, and that is a gift, if we use it well. I am reminded of a F.J. Sheed quote I saw recently, "If Christ came to save us, then it must be noted that He did not come to save us trouble." Not that Harry was a saint to came to see all suffering as a gift to offer up- rather he is, as many other characters of the series are, struggling human beings who do what they can with themselves and their circumstances, and I think that is part of the luster of J.K. Rowling's series. They give and give and give- even if they are scared out of their wits, even until death. (I am not a completely brain-washed starry eyed fan-girl, I know the story has it's faults- but not all books that are good are written by saintly Catholic theologians, but they are written by people who have human hearts and are made in God's image... but that's about a dozen other topics in itself that I hardly feel qualified to discuss, at least at the moment)
    I think another reason I love the series is that while romance is not a prominent theme, it is still about the Great Romance- and I have found very few stories, at least in fantasy today (especially YA fantasy), that capture that Romance as well as J.K. Rowling did in her story. I will admit to not being nearly 1/gazillionth as literarily savvy as I'd like, but I have done a fair amount of reading in my life, fantasy being one of my favorite things in the world, and I have found few books that I love as much as these for that very reason. I think most if not all the books in my favorites list touch on it in some way, but these definitely make it to the top 5.
   Now, I could probably stay up all night giving you St. Therese quotes about suffering and digging up evidence in the Harry Potter books, but I think I will, of course, use Mr. Chesterton:

G.K. Chesterton on Romance

All romances consist of three characters… For the sake of argument they may be called St. George and the Dragon and the Princess. In every romance there must be the twin elements of loving and fighting. In every romance there must be the three characters: there must be the Princess, who is a thing to be loved; there must be the Dragon, who is a thing to be fought; and there must be St. George, who is a thing that both loves and fights. There have been many symptoms of cynicism and decay in our modern civilization. But of all the signs of modern feebleness, of lack of grasp on morals as they actually must be, there has been none quite so silly or so dangerous as this: that the philosophers of today have started to divide loving from fighting and to put them into opposite camps. [But] the two things imply each other; they implied each other in the old romance and in the old religion, which were the two permanent things of humanity. You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. You cannot fight without something to fight for. To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all; it is lust. It may be an airy, philosophical, and disinterested lust… but it is lust, because it is wholly self-indulgent and invites no attack. On the other hand, fighting for a thing without loving it is not even fighting; it can only be called a kind of horse-play that is occasionally fatal. Wherever human nature is human and unspoilt by any special sophistry, there exists this natural kinship between war and wooing, and that natural kinship is called romance. It comes upon a man especially in the great hour of youth; and every man who has ever been young at all has felt, if only for a moment, this ultimate and poetic paradox. He knows that loving the world is the same thing as fighting the world.    

   I have been thinking on who Harry's "Princess" is that he was fighting for could be. You could say it was his love interest, Ginny, who fit this description, but I think it was more than that- much more. He was willing to leave Ginny for life for what he thought was right if he had to. No, he had his parents memory and their sacrifice, his friends and their sacrifices, and, encompassing all, love to fight for. He gave his life for Romance (How could a book embracing such Christian principles be satanic? Yes I know, that's another topic... ). 
   You may think I am stretching things: saying such things about Harry Potter (a tale with joke shops, the Chuddley Cannons, Hippogriffs, flying cars, remembrals, owl mail services, petrified kitties, etc) and connecting it to the Chesterton Quote, and all this talk of love, etc. But I tend to find connections everywhere for better or worse, and I am grateful for the comfort and even strength I find in little things such as stories. I find many things that connect back to the Chesterton quote, if not all things. Maybe I am overly simplistic, I am not sure. But while it is not advisable to underestimate evil, I think it is just as if not more tragic to underestimate the power of good. I know for my part I will take what I can, when I can- and I found much in Harry Potter. 

Excuse me... This muggle must go check her e-owls. (Couldn't resist) In the mean time, enjoy this fan video- I thought it was quite good. But be warned, it contains spoilers.






P.S. Ignore that last part about the Pope in the mtv link.... I truly believe there is more to that story, and I am not the only one. 
   Don't forget to check out  the Hogwarts Professor and Mark Shea's blog on the matter. God bless!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

" I Am A Bear of Very Little Brain....

.... and long words bother me." -Winnie the Pooh

      Well, yesterday evening working at the library was slow. I had straightened shelves, and sanitized sticky kid's books and counters..... twice, and had to find something else to pass time so my brain wouldn't explode or melt. I usually read articles, or research something- but yesterday I decided to copy some little drawings out of a Winnie the Pooh book.

There's a little girl I sometime see at work who has some sort of disability- she can't seem to form real words when she talks, and while she seems to be able to hear, I've seen her family use sign language to communicate with her. Anyway, she gave me a little drawing of two fairies last time I saw her, and I thought I might give her a drawing next time I see her. She's very cute. She has an odd posture and body shape, but has the cutest little face, pale complexion, rosy cheeks, freckles, and dark hair. I was going to post her little drawing as well... only, I kind of left it in my pant pocket in the wash, and now it's in little flakes all over my laundry and closet. Makes me sad. I was rather proud of that little drawing.


    I am looking for some words of wisdom from Winnie the Pooh on the internet. I have a friend who has a little book of it, and I am having some difficulty finding them on the internet- at least, with my poor internet connection. I hope I can finish this post before it escapes entirely.      
    In the mean time, I am listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on youtube. It's rather fabulous listening to Jeeves read such a delightful book- he is a great narrator! (yes, it's on youtube- at least for now, before it's discovered and removed)
    I found some cockamamy (new word of the day!) yet entirely sensible and delightful wisdom from Pooh Bear:

"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
- Piglet, Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne



"My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places." - Winnie the Pooh


"Some people care too much, I think it's called love. "- Winnie the Pooh


"People who don't Think probably don't have Brains; rather, they have grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake."
- Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne



They're funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you're having them.
- Eeyore



And finally.....


"If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you."
- Winnie the Pooh

Monday, August 8, 2011

Painting in Progress

You remember that painting from the last post- the one I got so excited about? Well, I am working on it. See? I have been busy! (but that's hardly any excuse for not sketching something to draw.) I've been painting and watching Serenity and going to the theater twice to see The Deathly Hallow Part 2. AND working out AND reading AND actually cooking (a bit) for my lunches at work! For me, that's a lot. I have lots of energy lately and I am rather enjoying it.
Here is a preview of my painting. It's a black and white underpainting. It's also an experiment- I am trying out a new brush that has an odd asymmetrical shape that I thought might work well for petals. I was right, but it's tricky. It's a hit and miss every stroke, which is frustrating, but over all I think it's turning out ok. Eventually the roses will be red.
    This painting will have lots of roses... and roses are hard. Why do I do this to myself?
 Oh! And guys, FALL is coming! I am so happy about that! I've had enough of southern 110 degree days. I want to go outside without melting. 
   I bought a lovely hardcover used (but in excellent shape) copy of the complete works of Flannery O'Connor. A few quotes in her honor would be lovely:

‎"Don't expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust--not certainty." -Flannery O'Connor

"The artist uses his reason to discover an answering reason in everything he sees." -Flannery O’Connor


Friday, July 29, 2011

Start of a New Painting

I've had this idea for a painting for a couple of months now, and today I finally did a sketch to maybe map it out and think about what I want to do. No, I will not tell you exactly what it is.

I will tell you that it has to do with the diary of one of my favorite saints, and it's predominant colors will be red and green. It will most likely be quite dark in the background, seeing as most my paintings are, whether I plan them that way or not. More or less. I like to start dark, and add light and color gradually.
    I know I kind of gave it all away, seeing as there are very few saint's diaries.
     I have no idea if this will even resemble the composition I end up with, but I wanted to get some ideas down on paper. I don't know what medium I will use either; I know I want to use color, but I'm not sure if I'll use my usual acrylics, or watercolor. Maybe I will do a few versions over time. I most likely will, seeing as it is one of my favorite painting ideas I've thought of. I am actually quite surprised no one else has thought of it- especially when you consider how popular this saint is.  It's something she herself thought of! I was reading the passage, and she actually described an image herself that I think is amazing! I'm kind of excited that I haven't seen another painting of it. Could I actually come up with an original masterpiece? We'll see. If not now, then maybe someday when I have acquired more skill.
      Anyway, this drawing only reveals half the concept; and so I am risking displaying it, and having it stolen, before I even start painting. I know you will be holding your breathe in anticipation of this painting- but don't hold it too long! I am a slow worker these days.
     Good night! The last of the Harry Potter books calls for a bit of reading before bed!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flowers, Ink Pens, and More Movies

Well, I worked on this a bit and a painting over the weekend, and finished it last night. When I started it, I was re-watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and finished later with Sense and Sensibility. I think I was looking up Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) to see what else I had seen him in, and that reminded me of Sense and Sensibility's existence (he plays Colonel Brandon), and put it into my head that I could use a bit of Jane Austen.

   I used a Bic Atlantis pen for this. I discovered this pen's amazing ability for sketching during my note taking days at Franciscan University. Yes, I DID take real notes- it was nothing for me to take 10 to 15 pages of real notes per class- but I will admit to being distracted here or there at times, especially in the library whilst studying. Ugh, especially then. Whenever I wasn't sketching I was being distracted by the AMAZING selection of books there.... but believe it or not, I did actually get a lot of work done in that unattractive modern building full of wonderful old books. I love you Franciscan, so much, but you don't always have the best taste in architecture..... When I am a famous artist I will come help you out- when I am on vacation in the states away from my home somewhere in the British Isles that is.
      I am in the mood for yet MORE Jane Austen- I think I will listen to Pride and Prejudice while I work today. I hope the narrator's good, I can't stand it when I listen to audiobooks and the narrator is getting on my nerves. It messes with the feeling of things! I prefer real books, with actual paper and smells. Which reminds me, John William Waterhouse, one of my favorite artist of all time, used to draw in his books (novels, for example), and sometimes ended up using those drawings for his paintings. I think that that's a wonderful idea! I should try it sometime. Here is an example:

     I had no intention to discuss Waterhouse at the beginning of this post- but he is a delightful diversion any time.

   How about some Jane Austen quotes?

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."


When a young lady is be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.” 


    This was a rather, um, gushy post, full of Waterhouse and Austen. Maybe next time I'll post something on Caravaggio or Michelangelo- they were pretty tough! Not that someone like Jane Austen wasn't hard as nails to be sure! But I am due for another dragon soon. It has been a while. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Of Those Moments That Makes Everything Worth It

Last Weekend, a wonderful Priest, Fr. John Malloy of the Father's of Mercy, passed away. He was an Irish priest from Stanton Island, NY, who was always telling stories about his Irish New York City Cop of a dad who didn't tolerate no nonsense. He was a good man who never wanted to stop, and who wanted to "die with his boots on," and who blamed the poor nuns for keeping him from missionary work in the nursing home. Shortly after his 65th anniversary of being ordained to the priest hood, he passed away.
     Some time in the past few years, my Dad gave Fr. Malloy a print of one of my paintings from 2004. I remember thinking that I was glad he did it, but I wasn't sure how much good it did- Fr. Malloy's memory was deteriorating and I didn't know if he even remembered who I was, or if the painting would have any meaning to him at all. I think that the day we gave him the print was the last time I saw him alive.
      At the funeral, I had more than one person, including one of the nuns who took care of him, tell me that he actually was aware of the painting, that he was very proud of it, and that he had it with him within sight as he died. It was this painting that I did when I was about 15:


              It's funny. Things like this always happen when I am doubting whether I am called to study art at all. I have tried and tried and tried since I was about 6 (ok, 14) to get into art school, and it just refuses to work out- at least so far. In Austria (I studied abroad there for about 3 months with Franciscan University), this was a huge issue for me... There I was, on my last semester with Franciscan, about to graduate and leave my friends, go into the world, surrounded by AMAZING art in many forms, etc, and all I could think of was how I no longer felt called to study art, because 1), I had no way in sight to do it, and 2) because I felt I could never paint anything like the masters did- I could never paint anything that would make a difference or mean anything. But, during the weeks that were particularly hellish in this way (and that is hardly an exaggeration- art was my life), some little nun on campus in Austria would whisper in the chapel, "keep drawing," or, "can I see what you've drawn recently!?" (it's always nuns.... watch those nuns!)
      It's tough. You can't go to school to make yourself "useful," and you do blog posts of mice and spiders and dragons and Harry Potter. How on earth could God use that? And yet that's just it- I may be discouraged, but the fact is you just never know. The same day of the funeral, I read this in a little daily prayer book:
          
              "For those who love God, all things work together unto good." Rom 8:28


               Reflection: Those who love God are drawn nearer to the Father by every circumstance of daily life- joy brings them closer by ties of loving gratitude, and sorrow by the painful way of the Cross. 
               Those who do not love God become haughty and forget Him in the passing joys of this life and in sadness become bitter and desperate. 


               Prayer: "Lord, grant me Your true love. This is all I need."

This is why I LOVE BEING CATHOLIC SO MUCH! Jesus is good. As long as I strive to love and trust God more completely, to become a saint (A thought which nearly makes me laugh. Good thing God is ALL powerful.), everything is taken care of. I may have no idea what I am doing. I may not have known that a painting I did at 15 would mean so much to such a holy man during his last hours, but that didn't matter. I may never know of anything good I accomplish with my art ever again- but if I paint out of love, I can have complete confidence that it is doing something out there in time and eternity. St. Therese truly was such a gift. Her little way of trust in God's loving mercy applies to everything- so simple, yet all encompassing. I do not see how I could have made this far without her little way. If you have not read her Story of a Soul, fix that last year.
    
"Lord, grant me Your love. This is all I need."