Feb 27, 2011

Portrait of Maia Louise I

The first of two portraits of Maia based on some photos of her recently published here (see "Maia Louise," January 4, 2011). I managed to effectively maintain her haughty, obnoxious attitude in this drawing, which is so important as it's her defining characteristic.

Portrait of Maia Louise, graphite on paper, 2011 (detail)

Feb 20, 2011

Edison in the Land of Oz

Edison has liked to watch The Wizard of Oz since he was a baby and even now at nearly four enjoys sitting on my lap and joining me in a viewing. In fact, we've watched it twice in the last month alone. He loves the munchkins and all the kooky things in the busier scenes, like those that take place in Munchkinland and those within The Emerald City. He likes to watch Toto, any birds that appear in the film (he loves all birds anytime, anywhere), and he really enjoys the Wicked Witch. Her flying monkeys send him into paroxysms of joy. However, for reasons known only to him, he hates the Tin Man. He gets especially upset when the Tin Man is first introduced and goes into his "If I Only Had a Heart" song and dance. Edison goes absolutely berserk while watching the Tin Man clanking about on the Yellow Brick Road and banging here and there on his body. He poofs up, growls and snarls at the TV, eventually escalating into uncontrollable barking. The hysteria ends abruptly when the Tin Man toots steam out of his little hat, at which point Edison not only shuts up in mid-bark, but visibly flinches and jerks backwards with a look of amazement on his tiny face. When the dancing resumes, so does the crazy-dog mania. After this scene, those lucky enough to watch the movie with Edison have a slight reprieve, but only a small one, as from here on out, every time the Tin Man can be heard clanking about in a scene no matter what the character is doing or not doing, Edison ramps up the crazed shouting once again. And on and on it goes till he exhausts himself and takes a blessedly quiet nap.

Feb 15, 2011

The Eccentric Mr. Fish

Mr. Fish, usually being an in-your-face sort of chap, suffers from a bit of camera shyness as he swims away from his nearly constant face-pressed-to-the-glass pose.

Mr. Fish's actual name is Mr. Sparkle Fins (whose brother is named the rather unfortunate Senor Rainbow Fish Sparkle Fins II), but for obvious reasons I prefer to call him simply "Mr. Fish." He lives in a small tank in a sunny spot on the kitchen counter as he found it too cold in one of the bedrooms upstairs where he briefly lived. This is actually his second tank, the first one having been knocked off the counter by Maia Louise at 4 am one morning as I showered the day's art filth off of me. I heard a muffled crash, leaped out of the shower and ran dripping and naked through the house, only to find a broken tank, an insane amount of smelly fish water covering the entire kitchen floor complete with gravel and plastic plants floating lazily around in it, and Mr. Fish flopping madly while being volleyed about by an ecstatic Maia Louise. I managed a quick pick up to make do till a more reasonable hour and followed it up with a second shower. But I digress.

Mr. Fish is a very weird little fish. Unlike every other fish I've ever encountered in a tank anywhere, Mr. Fish never simply goes about his fishy business unaware of the humans doing their own personal things around him. Mr. Fish watches everything you do. And I mean everything. He constantly moves from one end of his tank to the other, following your every move, never once taking his tiny black eyes off of you. He's enthralled by ordinary kitchen-y type objects (utensils, food packages, et al) placed on the counter near him. He's especially fond of things that are yellow, though why he is is anybody's guess. I've discovered that if you stand in front of his tank while he's staring you down, and you wave to him, he gets so excited he spins in a circle like a puppy.

As I'm not a big fan of keeping any creatures that require a cage and loss of their freedom, I admit I feel bad for Mr. Fish and talk to him quite often when I'm in the kitchen, and I even take the lid off of his tank so he can see up and out the top for a change of scenery (I just have to make sure I remember to put it back before I leave the room, lest I give Maia a free shot at scooping him out and gobbling him down). And one day I felt compelled to reach in and touch him. Now honestly, what are fish supposed to do when you stick your hand into their water? Freak out and swim away in terror, right? Not our Mr. Fish who loves to have his back rubbed, so much so that he'll roll onto his side and wiggle around like a dog rolling in some sweet, cool grass on a summer's day. He's only big enough for a one-fingered rub and a very gentle one at that for fear of hurting him, but love them he does.

I dread the day he passes as Mr. Fish is unlike any fish I've ever known, seen or even just heard of. It's like there's another, more knowing creature inside his tiny fishy body, one that hates being trapped in a little tank full of water and yearns for interaction with the world outside. This is a thinking fish, a lonely fish and to be frank, a very, very strange fish that makes some people, who find themselves spending more than a few moments in my kitchen, quite uncomfortable.

Feb 8, 2011

Brammy Stays Warm

Brammy had the right idea on a recent very cold winter's afternoon: sleepily hunker down in a down-filled bed under a pile of little fleece blankets and only peep out when someone insists you show yourself.
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