Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Exciting Stuff

So I'm a wee bit tired after a long day, but had a few updates to share. First off, the Etsy shop is up and running again, listings are all back up.

Second, WE HAVE A WEBSITE!! It's still in the works, but you can check it out and link to Facebook, Instagram, and whatnot. Thanks to my lovely husband Nate for the web magic, as my digital skills are let's say limited.

Third, just wanted to share my latest finish and progress on Mr. Wells.

This first painting is of Savannah's famous Bird Girl statue when she was still in Bonaventure Cemetery. This is not for sale, as it was a gift to my in-laws, but if you are interested in something like it, you know how to get to me.
 And, this is the latest progress on H.G. Wells. He was shelved for the holiday season, but I'm back at work and hoping to have him finished in the next few days. Blocking in the colors for the border; next step is the finishing details!
If you're reading this, thank you so much for stopping by, and please do check out the new site. Until next time...

Monday, July 6, 2015

What to do?

This picture, snagged from the excellent Facebook page Grammarly, pretty much sums it up. I told you last week how awesome "The Girl With All The Gifts" was. The problem is, I have started and stopped four other books since then. It's not that any of these are fundamentally flawed in any way... I just can't seem to find the right follow-up. I am also reading "The Last American Vampire" by Seth Grahame-Smith, which is great, but I need an audiobook so that I can read while doing other things. My paintings don't turn out nearly as well if I'm reading hard copy, and the library tends to get cranky about paint on their books. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to share! Otherwise I am just going to browse Audible and cry until I fill this book-shaped hole in my life.

In other news... it's been a slow start to the week for painting. Between homework, packing, and work, I haven't gotten too much done. I am working on a second Tolkien portrait, by request. Like a crazy person, I decided to fill in the lettering first, then start working on the background. It seemed like a good idea at the time... instant gratification and whatnot. But now I am painting around all those little detailed letters and leaves. This is what it looks like so far.
I'll post tomorrow (hopefully with a finish!) but in the meantime, there's always Facebook, Etsy, and now Instagram! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Abraham Lincoln

If you're returning after reading my book review earlier, welcome back! If not... hello there!

I wanted to post some pictures from today's work, which has SOLD!!! But, if this is up your alley, you can visit me on Facebook and let me know. I don't have a listing for commissions at this point on the Etsy shop, but I'm happy to take requests. This one was a special request from Facebook, in fact.

My Dad has always been a huge admirer of Abraham Lincoln. So it wasn't all that surprising when he suggested doing a portrait of our 16th president. It was also quite fitting, as I made a clay relief sculpture of Abraham Lincoln for him during art class about eighteen years ago! So everything comes round full circle, you see.

This is the finished project, along with a few different detail angles.

As you can see, Zino was a big help in the process. He has invented a game, wherein he tosses his slobbery Kong into my box of paints, under the easel, etc. and then I have to find and throw it without toppling everything over.
 I ought to be off to bed right now, but I'm sort of on a roll with painting and listening to Men at Work, so I'll probably end up staying up deciding on the next piece. Thanks for checking in, see you tomorrow, and don't forget to visit Etsy if you haven't yet. :)

Book Review: The Girl With All the Gifts

I should start by saying that I am very much over the zombie craze. I have been for awhile. Zombies have never been my favorite horror fixture, and the theme has been done to death over the past few years. (Pun intended). So, honestly, I am not sure what made me pick up this book. I am just exceedingly glad that I did.

The book begins in a warped sort of academic/residential setting for young children. We are not told exactly why these young students are housed in cells instead of dormitories or rooms, nor why their daily routine includes all four limbs and head being strapped into a wheelchair before class. Throughout the book the author employs such vague and perplexing situations, revealing one puzzle piece from the left upperhand corner, two from the lower right, one from the middle, and so on, compelling the reader forward to figure out just what in hell is going on.

We eventually learn that a pandemic has struck, wiping out a large portion of society, and creating a subspecies of "Hungries." I feel I can tell you that without giving anything away, since the global disease model is fairly standard zombie fare. I won't elaborate any further, however. The less said on plotline, the better. Carey maintains a level of suspense not only about events and back story, but also with the characters. From one chapter to the next, you will not know who is good or bad, who is pulling the strings, and who is being manipulated or to what end.

The book is also emotionally absorbing. We are not given stale archetypes of heroic scientists, fearless warriors, and mindless droning cannibals. (Ok, there might be a few of the latter. But just a few. There is much more to Carey's Hungries than one might think.)

I hope I have intrigued you enough to have a look at this book. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Late night update

Hello readers. :) Just wanted to post a few updates before I head off to bed for the night... or I guess morning at this point. With two paintings finished in as many days, I would say it's been productive around here. Can't make any promises for tomorrow, because I have a ten hour shift scheduled. Monday, on the other hand, will be a different story.

I chose two rather different subjects this weekend. The first one I'll show you is the one I just finished the details on. If you don't recognize the face or the quote, it's probably because he was someone who made many of his creative contributions from behind the scenes: Jim Henson. I ran across one of his quotes the other day, and knew I had to paint it. "Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending." Doesn't that sum up his work perfectly?

The next painting was for fun... it's The Stig, from the British motorhead program Top Gear. If you don't know who The Stig is or what Top Gear is, get on Netflix and watch it right now. Even if you aren't very much into cars, the program is ridiculously entertaining.

Marley and Zino are both giving me the hairy eyeball for still being up instead of in bed, so I'd better get to it. I hope you like these latest paintings, whether you're a Muppet fanatic or an auto enthusiast, or both! That's all I have to share at the moment, but stay tuned. For other excitement, "like" us on Facebook and check out the Etsy shop. Good night!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Catching Up

Hello there... I have certainly let a lot of time elapse since my last post, apologies! I will try to be more diligent from here on out. We have had some very high and some very low points, but as always, we keep on trucking and see where the road goes.

Nate's battle buddy, Zino, finally came home to stay, after 33 months in service in Afghanistan. Now he is enjoying retirement. And the couch. We lost Jade in March to a rapid onset pneumonia. It was very sudden and extremely painful but we were lucky enough to have the support of our friends, especially Natasha. We miss our little Bug terribly but we are so fortunate to have had her in our lives.

We brought home this crazy little girl about a month ago. Her name is Lola, and she is absolutely hysterical. She doesn't really talk as of yet, but she likes music, flying in circles, and stealing shiny objects. We are hoping to welcome a new furry family member soon, one of Zino's Army peers. I can't elaborate on details since I don't have any, but fingers and paws are crossed.

We are also looking to move in the near future. We really want to be near downtown, and think we may have found "The Place!" Again, fingers and paws and feathers crossed.

Lots of good books to update you on, but that's for another post. I went back to school in December to pursue my Bachelor's in Creative Writing. It was finally time! Thus far I am focusing on one course per semester, so it's slow going, but I am so glad to be studying again, polishing up old skills, and learning new ones.

Finally, I have launched a small venture on Etsy called Something Wicked Art. Right now I only have a few pieces posted, but I am spending anywhere from two to ten hours on any given day working on paintings to add. The revived October Country blog will still talk lots about books and I will keep you up to date on my latest cross stitch adventures, but I hope to bring you along on this art journey as well. We do have a Facebook page as well, so please check out the shop and "like" the Facebook page if you want to see more. Nate has been trying to sell me on the idea of Instagram, but I haven't quite figured that out yet. Here are a few sneak peeks at some of the paintings... click the links above to see more.

Well, to anyone that's made it this far through the post, thank you for visiting and reading! And stay tuned for further updates!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Literature Map

It's Saturday night and after a long day at work, we are settled in, relaxing and watching old Tim Burton movies. Glad to have Nate back home after several days in the field. Amazingly, some of the humidity let up and the air is actually really nice tonight! I've just passed the halfway point in Catch-22 and I'm having very mixed feelings. I keep reading that the second half is pretty extraordinary, so we'll see how it pans out. Stay tuned for a review in a couple of days.
In my last post, I talked about my reasons for reading. I asked you why you read, as well! I thought that a next logical topic would be "what do you read?" And how do you decide? I think I addressed the first question in the previous post... I will read just about anything, including a Chinese food menu. Deciding what to read is not always that simple.

May I present to you... the Literature Map! If you can think of at least one author whose work you have enjoyed, this site can get you on track to some new reading suggestions. The site is based on a self-adaptive computer system which "learns" relationships and patterns and then generates suggestions for similar authors. It's a simple website, and can get a bit addictive.
When you go to the Literature Map homepage, it will open up a window and ask for you to type the name of an author. Hit the "continue" button, and in a few seconds, you'll see a screen like the following example. I chose to start with John Steinbeck.

Somewhere near the middle of the "map" you should see the original author's name you entered. The names surrounding the original are other authors related to Steinbeck's writing in one way or another; the closer the relationship, the closer the names will lie on the map. Some will probably be authors you've already read; some will be familiar; some will be new. Now, pick an author from the map. Any author will do.  Jack London you say? Ok, let's see what happens...

A new map! Note that Jack London is now the central author. Some of the surrounding authors will be common threads from the previous map (Ray Bradbury and Cormac McCarthy, for example.) But there are also a whole new assortment of authors to explore. Click on a new one, and you'll get a new map! I don't know about you but I could do this all day.

When you're trying to decide on your next book, do yourself a favor and visit the Literature Map. Play around with some names, follow the trail of suggestions, and I bet you'll find some summer reading ideas!