Friday, June 29, 2012

Salt Water and Evergreen Kingdom

   In Tacoma is an amazing park called Point Defiance. It's full of trails through the woods and along the shore. I learned about this park from a hiking book and the book warned that a hiker may hear the trumpet of an elephant because the park is also home to a zoo and an aquarium. Plant lovers can admire the parks botanical garden and a Japanese garden. There is also an old-timey village where actors reinact history. For my first visit, I limited myself to one of the trails. It was a beautiful hike and it made me think twice about Tacoma which I was led to believe was grimy and bland. No place with a park like this can be described as anything but wonderful!

   Last weekend D and I finally saw the new Wes Anderson movie, "Moonrise Kingdom." It was great and lived up to my high hopes. The movie had the perfect mixture of wit and whimsy that I've come to love in past Wes Anderson movies. And it was beautiful to look at! It had a dreamy storybook feel to it... like everything was infused with a fantastical undercurrent in a way that reminded me of my favorite books from childhood. But it had a feeling of melancholy and nostalgia that distinguished it from a movie aimed only at children. The characters were complex and interesting. Also, I was glads Bruce Willis was in it. I have a soft spot for him because my Dad and I would always watch his action movies together in the theater when I was a kid.
  We got to the movie theater quite early so D and I went across the street to drink coffee and read. In between pages and sips I slyly people watched. There was a man sitting nearby who was sketching an interesting insect-like creature in his sketchbook. I think he is a student of natural drawing and that he wants to be a illustrator for field guides. He grew up in the suburbs and when he turned 18 he decided he would either move to a city or the woods. He wanted the culture and excitement of city life but he knew he wanted the woods nearby so he thought Seattle was the perfect place. He likes to sit in lonely coffee shops where he can look up from his illustrations, and gaze out the window where he watches the June rain fall.
   I also saw a woman in her forties with dyed red hair, big eyes, and colorful makeup. She was writing in a notebook. I think she is either a romance writer or a mystery writer who always adds romance in her mysteries. She gets all her ideas in the buzzing comfort of a coffee shop. In her notebook she writes plot summaries and character sketches. When she returns home to her blank computer screen she feels fortified with her earlier imaginings.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Adelaide And The Smoke Man Meet For a Secret Rendezvous On The Roof So They Can Dance

Here is a new illustration I finished recently. It is15x 20 inches and painted with gouache.

   Adelaide is a free spirit, especially when it comes to dating. She is still young and not looking for a serious relationship. Instead she wants to have carefree adventures that involve a lot of laughter.  The problem is that boys theses days do not know how to dance!  Adelaide has a great love for dance, especially formal couple dancing like the waltz or ballroom dancing. But every boy she dates is clumsy and awkward. She means to keep her cool but Adelaide can not help but to feel constantly frusterated when she attempts to engage a date in a dance.
   One evening after a date with a particularly klutzy  boy with two left feet and rubbery limbs,  she climbed to the roof of her home. She went up there with the pretense of watching the lunar eclipse, but really she wanted some alone time to think about life. This was when she met the ever so charming and handsome Smoke Man. Adelaide was staring toward the sky when she heard a man clear his throat. "My lady, would you care to join me in a dance." Smoke Man asked with the perfect mixture of humbleness and confidence. Adelaide stared mouth ajar for only a moment before answering with perfect poise "Why yes, I'd be delighted!" Now every evening Adelaide sneaks to the roof to dance with the smoke man. They dance until the fire simmers down and the smoke man disperses into the air. Adelaide is dreading summer when fires in the fire place will no longer be necessary. She plans to attend many a beach bonfire in hopes that she will once again meet the amazing smoke man.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Otter-Dog and Other Dreams

   Here are some photos I took a couple of months ago. They were taken in Ballard, a very photographically inspiring neighborhood of Seattle.

   Last night I had a dream that I woke up from a dream and couldn't figure out if the dream's dream was real or not. It was very meta. It was like I was in Inception, except my dream's dream was a bit more mundane than the Inception dreamscapes. So it was more like being in a more ordinary version of a Inception. I also had a dream that I was at a marina and I saw a half-otter half-dog swimming toward me. He was very friendly and seemed particularly fond of me. He had huge woolly feet and a face that looked sometimes like a dogs and sometimes like an otters depending when I looked at him. I have a lot of dreams revolving around made believe water animals. Someday I am going to draw pictures of them all. But enough with my dreams for now. Like Built to Spill says 'no one wants to hear/ what you dreamt about unless you dreamt about them." Although I don't think that is really true. It's just that dreams always seem more amazing to the dreamer than to an outsider. It is hard to convey how odd and amazing a dream feels through words and no ones reaction to a dream can match the way it feels to the dreamer.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Helena and Rover View the World From The Beak Of A Pelican

   Helena and her seal Rover have a great love for sea-air and travel.  The two friends met years ago when Helena was on holiday in Dover. Helena grew up in the Arizona desert and it was not until she turned 19 that she finally visited the sea. She fell immediately in love with the waves and the water and the salty air. If she could spend everyday with sand between her toes and waves swirling around her ankles, she would be happy. No longer could Helena spend her life land locked and water starved. Instead, she would travel to every seashore town in the world. Helena easily developed a great love for travel, but her love was burdened by two things: the expense of transportation and the solitude. First she met Rover, who wanted to experience the joy of swimming in new seas. Rover eagerly agreed to be Helena's traveling companion. But of course, traveling with a seal made transportation even more expensive. Luckily they met a gigantic pelican who agreed to escort Helena and Rover from seashore to seashore. The traveling companions get along swimmingly except for one argument. The pelican insists Helena and Rover are especially small but Rover and Helena insist the pelican is oddly enormous. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Day at the Beach

Here are pictures from the day David and I went to Alki Beach. First, we ate fish and chips and clam chowder. In front of the fish and chip place were members of a good-natured motorcycle gang. Huddled around glossy motorcycles were men with tattoos and wooly beards. They were laughing, great bellowing, jovial laughter, about past adventures and inside jokes. After lunch we wandered along the shore and watched all the people and sea birds. It was one of the first summer type day so tons of people were at the beach, soaking up the sun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Old Duck

I like how marinas are always full off fake birds. Most of the fake birds are owls meant to intimidate smaller, live birds. But I also saw this old duck floating next to a boat:

Here is an intimidating owl, with his sinister wide eyed stare:

Yesterday, I saw something odd: A man jogging (for exercise, not escape) with no shoes on!!! I live in a city so there's glass and spit and wads of sticky gum on the sidewalks. This man is either brave or foolish in regards to the protection of his feet. But probably, he knows something I don't about a new running fad. Athletic people are always surprising me with all sorts of newfangled ideas about improving their athletic experience. For instance- running skirts. Instead of running in shorts, I see many women running in athletic looking skirts. I know there must be some reason that people choose to run in skirts, but I do not know the reason. I am curious though. Maybe the skirt is more comfortable to run in because it is airy. Or maybe these women want to feel feminine despite unattractive huffing and puffing from being out of breath and sweat soaking their clothes. Another odd sports related accessory I saw recently was a really long and pointy bike helmet. It looked like a pterodactyl head. I imagine it is for the improvement of aerodynamics of the bicyclist.
If the barefoot jogger isn't part of a new trend in running then I think he is writing a book about living life barefoot. He decided to spend a year barefoot and is going to chronicle his experience. He will encourage people to abandon shoes so they can feel the wonderful, freeing feelings that a barefoot can provide- grass between your toes, warm cement on a sunny day, or autumn leaves crunching under the soles of your feet. He will be interviewed on NPR and he will go on a book tour where he will continue to remain shoeless. When I was in college, I use to know a guy who went everywhere barefoot. This was quite the feat (excuse the pun..har har) because the town we lived in was very rainy. That was several years ago though, and he is probably wearing shoes now, but you never know.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paintings of Animals and Plants

  I really like acrylic paint but I rarely use it and do not feel confident with it. So I have been practicing lately by painting plants and animals with acrylic paint. It has been a lot of fun. Mostly, I've been taking advantage of sunny days and have been painting outside while listening to audio books.  Here are some of my plant and animal paintings.

  The Chinstrap penguin spends it's days immersed in the icy climate of Antarctica. They are tiny penguins, growing usually to be two feet tall, but they spend much of their time on giant icebergs. They are undaunted by contrast between their size and the size of their landscape. (A)

   The Golden Mantella frog is a realative of the poison dart frog. This lovely frog lives in rainforests and is currently an endangered species.  Although most people associate the 'ribbit' with frogs, the Golden Mantella has a different way to communicate. The male frogs call to the female frogs by making a clicking sound.  (B)

  If the names of mushrooms are any indication, then mushroom scientists must be the poets of the botony world. The four mushrooms listed above are: The Prince, Destroying Angel, Tawny Grisette and Fly Agaric. Destroying Angel is my favorite name! Here are some other mushroom names: Crocodile Agaricus,Bleeding Agaricus, Cloud Ear Mushroom, Butter Bolete, Puff Ball, Green Spored Parasol Mushroom, Blewit (sounds like something that should go in a Harry Potter spell), Snowbank False Morel, Hedgehog Mushroom, and Hen of the Woods. There are a lot more mushrooms with neat names, but I fell like I already named too many. Those mushroom experts really are a creative bunch! (C)

   I've always been fond of seals. They have such soulful eyes. When I was a kid I really loved a book called 'Seal Child' about a seal that comes to land and turns into a human girl. She then lives with a human family for a summer while they stay at their beach house. But the seal girl can never swim in the ocean with the other kids because as soon as she goes back into the water she will turn back into a seal. Here is an interesting fact about seals: Evolution experts believe that the seal ancestors lived on land and were bear like creatures. (D)

 Snails really understand the pressure of parenthood. A single garden snail can have up to 430 babies per year. (E)

  Rats have very hardy teeth and can chew through metals such as aluminum or copper. This gives me a good idea for a comic book character: Half rat-half human! He would have super strong teeth and with his teeth he would chew through rocks to save minors in caves. Or he would rescue the falsely imprisoned by chewing through the bars of their cages and setting them free! (F)

   Although crocodiles are thought of as fierce and unkind creatures, the Nile Crocodile seems to have a soft spot for birds. Sometimes the Nile Crocodile lets birds pick bits of food from between its teeth. The crocodile keeps its toothy mouth open wide while the birds enjoy pices of food scraps lodged between the spikes of the crocodiles teeth. (G)

   Although the Red Mullet enjoys a life or swimming through the Mediterranean, North Atlantic and Black Seas, humans appreciate them more in their death. They are considered a delicacy in the Mediterranean. The ancient Romans raised them in ponds. The Red Mullet fish learned the sound of their caretakers voice and would come to the surface for food when they heard the caretakers voice. (H)

   The barn owl is a very worldly bird despite the despite the country bumpkin implications of its name. Antartica is the only continent in which the barn owl does not make its home. I've never seen a barn owl in real life but someday I'd love too. They are so beautiful and off looking with their flat, pale faces. (I)

     The Creeping Jenny is a lovely plant but also an invasive one. When conditions are right they creep over the landscape and take over! (J)

*( Where I found my facts:
J. )