Saturday, April 18, 2009

Molesting The Mons Monkey

I spent last week in Mons, Belgium for the Trolls and Legends festival. During our tour of the medieval city, we were introduced to the Mons monkey, apparently a symbol of good luck and prosperity (at least that's what we were told).

Rubbing the monkey brings good luck. Brian Froud, always eager to, erm...rub a monkey, took full advantage of this. That monkey got a full Froudian fondling. I think Brian now has enough good luck to last him a while.

New Painting: Corax

I started this painting a while ago. The sketch happened one night, the inking happened the next, and then it the darkness of a drawer. For weeks it lay undisturbed. I went halfway across the world and back. Life went on. The drawing waited.

Yesterday I pulled it out of the drawer, cleared off my desk, and set up my space to paint. This usually involves a level of personalized ritual that I won't go into here (I can't! it's personal), but believe me: it's necessary for the magic to happen. The natural world serves as my place of worship and I like to think of my art desk as my altar.

"Corax" (Corvus corax, common raven) is inspired by many things. I wanted to use a raven skull in a painting, and I also wanted to incorporate sacred Celtic herbs and trees, such as oak, mistletoe, rowan, and thorn. The raven spirit is collecting things, like she I do. Always seeking, always hoarding. There is no reason that can be explained with words. She just collects because it feels right. She collects them because she loves them.

Obvious Hole is Obvious

Sometimes when I'm going on one of my sunset walks I stop to listen to the evening birdsong. Occasionally geese will fly over honking a little tune. Crows are always somewhere in the distance bickering about something. The kestrel watches me, but she says nothing. The red-tailed hawk, meanwhile, always has something to say.

Then I trip and fall because of this stupid hole. I should have seen it coming. I's so clearly labeled.

Green World

Running around with a macro lens is one of life's simple pleasures. It doesn't have to be expensive. I just use the macro setting on my little Canon PowerShot. Moss is particularly fascinating. Try looking closely at it sometime and you will notice an entire ecosystem contained within a miniature almost bonsai-esque landscape.

Do not eat the moss. A million voices will suddenly cry out...and they will suddenly be silenced. These are probably fairies. Or worms.

Fire is Awesome

I occasionally go for walks along the Columbia River near St. Helens, Oregon. Sometimes my friends and I light things on fire. This is only natural, considering there is lots of free wood with nowhere to go. And it's usually cold, so the primordial beast inside me wants something warm to park my butt in front of...which reminds me, do NOT, no matter what any MEN tell you, use wet lava rocks as a containment apparatus for your fire. These rocks will explode with the heat and send bits of shrapnel flying right into your butt/face/eye/etc. It's no fun trying to roast weenies and s'mores while trying to dodge bits of burning, razor-sharp stone whizzing toward you only a split-second after an ear-bleedingly-loud POP or BANG.

That said, fire is awesome. Try it sometime. Safely. Without rocks.

Cherry Blossom Time

Cherry blossom time is almost over in Portland, but you can still find a few flowering trees here and there. Soon it will be time for the Magnolias and Dogwoods to do their thing. These photos are from several weeks ago at a park in the Sellwood neighborhood. There is a cluster of cherry trees there that must be over 100 years old. Going for a walk under trees like these with the petals fluttering by on the breeze as they circle toward the ground is absolutely one of the most magical things about springtime.