Thursday, March 27, 2014

Horace Cowers Behind the Tree when he Spots the Menacing Moth Hunters

   Here is a recent illustration of mine.

     "Here they come again." Horace thought when he saw Bubbles and Annie walking toward the lawn. "The Moth Hunters." Horace shuddered as he said the name under his breath. He'd seen The Moth Hunters before. They frolicked around the grass trying to capture his brethren. With no regard for a thing except their own 'joie de vivre,' The Moth Hunters rampaged across the grass, terrorizing any winged creature they spotted.
   When he saw Bubbles and Annie approaching, he hollered 'RUNNNN!' to all his winged friends. But they fluttered about unperturbed by his dire warning.
  "Fools!" Horace declared before cowering behind the tree just in time to avoid The Moth Hunters. From his hiding place he cringed as he saw Bubbles leap in the air toward a moth, yapping merrily as he ascended toward his potential victim. And that boisterous Annie. She swung her net around like a sword. Once Horace had even seen her laughing like a maniac as her net swooped over a moth, capturing the poor creature in the silky mesh. His moth friends may be unaware, but Horace new that these two were not to be trifled with. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Windy Gas Works and an Interesting Day

  Here are some pictures I took last Fall at Gas Works Park. It was the windiest day ever! I felt like if I had been wearing a jacket with more of a flap, I would have been picked up by the wind and blown across the lake! I wonder if wind ever gets strong enough to pick up small children. If I had been with children on this particular day, I would have been concerned for their safety. Although, from a kid's perspective, being picked up by the wind would probably be the best day ever! As long as the ride in the wind ended with no injuries.

The white goose adopted a new family.

Windy, Windy Day. This lake should not have waves. 

  I recently had a very interesting 'Downtown Day.'  I went downtown with David, but after brunch, he went to the Sounders game and I moseyed off to explore the happenings of downtown. First, I went into a free gold rush museum that I had never seen before. I learned about how the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska really helped the economy of Seattle because people would stop in Seattle to buy goods for their long trek. The most interesting fact about the gold rush was people's willingness to leave behind descent lives all in hopes they will strike it big with gold. In some ways, these people seem nuts. People left behind a comfortable life for the strife of making a new life in cold and wild Alaska, all for the small chance that gold would be discovered. But on the other hand, it makes me smile to think of the power of optimism and imagination. Probably while doing mundane tasks at an unfulfilling day job, the future gold minors imagined a romantic and adventurous life in Alaska looking for gold. They probably had a grand time daydreaming about what they would do with their golden riches. It is amazing the power that daydreams can have to propel people toward adventure (and danger!).
  After leaving the gold rush museum, I found a really neat store to explore. It is a store that sells rocks and fossils. It basically reminded me of a miniature natural history museum. It was very interesting to look at the fossils of giant mollusks and ancient sand dollars. There was also a fossil of a prehistoric cave bear! Along with fossils was a taxidermied bat and displays of insects the size of my hand. There were also many beautiful rocks. While exploring this museum, I was made nervous by the prices attached to the displays. Six-hundred dollars, holy cow! I had no intention of buying anything, but I was made nervous because: what happens if I move too quickly or awkwardly and I end up knocking something over and breaking it? This is when I came up with a good idea for clumsy people called 'clumsy-person-insurance.' This insurance would cover expenses due to a person's clumsiness, such as knocking into something expensive and breaking it.  In my initial imaginings of 'clumsy-person-insurance' it would be very cheap, maybe twenty dollars a year. Because, even though clumsy people worry about breaking things in stores, I don't think it really happens that often. But it would give a clumsy person peace of mind to know they are covered if they do happen to break something expensive.
  After leaving the miniature natural history museum disguised as a rock store, (and Phew! I did not break anything) I wandered off to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop to peruse the shelves of mysteries. I love living in a place that has a mystery bookshop, although I have not yet bought something from it. I rarely buy books because of the library. But one of these days I will have to buy a book from the shop just to support it since I think it is such a grand idea.
  Next, I was off to the tea shop to get some loose leave tea. But it was so crowded that I grabbed my free sample of brewed tea and skedaddled right out of there. My last destination of the day was the library so I headed that way. This is when I came across something quite wonderful- a parade! Sometimes I really love living in a city because I run into random things like parades. This parade was the St. Patty's day parade, although it wasn't St. Patrick's day, it was Saturday before. I got there toward the tail end of the parade but I saw bag pipers, pirates, and a marching band. Trailing along with the marching band was a man wearing a green shirt walking an Irish Setter. It was really funny because the man looked out of place. It was as if he was on the street viewing the parade when he thought to himself, 'Hey, I am wearing green. An lookie here, my dog is 'Irish!' Might as well join the parade!' But later I found out dogs were actually a real part of the parade. After the last section of the parade passed where I was standing, I walked toward the front and easily surpassed the slow moving paraders. This is when I started seeing more dogs in the parade. There were a bunch of people walking Irish Wolfhounds, Irish Water Spaniels and Irish Setters. So the green-shirt-guy just got behind his companions somehow. I still like the idea of him just joining the parade on his own whim.
  The last part of the day was spent at the library finding graphic novels. I am sure I will share some of the titles later. I have been having really good luck lately with finding interesting graphic novels to read!
  The worst part of this otherwise quite interesting and enjoyable day was that I forgot to bring my camera! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

While Performing a Seemingly Mundane Task, Rosie Meets the Wondrous Leaf Monster

  Here is a not-very-Spring-themed picture I made recently just in time for Spring... which is only three days away! Huzzah!

  The air was crisp, and alive with an Autumn breeze. A perfect day to pull on the boots, put on a jacket and rake up leaves. It is a task that needs to be done before the rain starts and makes the ground mucky with mud. Rosie loves the outdoors and she sees raking up the leaves as the last bit of outdoor enjoyment she will get before the cold forces her in doors. She spends her Winters bundled up with blankets and books. Despite her love for a good book, she always finds her eyes wandering to the window where she looks wistfully toward the snow covered outdoors.
    Most of the time when she rakes, she rakes a neat pile and that-is-that. But on this day,something odd happened. Her leaf pile seemed to come alive! The leaf pile grew a little face right before her eyes. It was the most astonishing thing she had ever seen.
    "Hello there!" Rosie said. But the grumpy leaf pile sat slumped and silent with a petulant look on his face. Rosie didn't know what to do. Should she leave the leaf pile alone? Should she protect it some how from being blown away in the wind? Should she adopt it as a pet? And what does one feed a pet leaf pile?
  While she pondered these questions a great gust of wind pulled most of the remaining leaves off the surrounding trees. The leaves danced around in the air. But instead of fluttering to the ground the way leaves usually do, the leaves moved as if compelled by an invisible hand. They seemed to be forming something in the air. Before Rosie's eyes, the leaf monster materialized.
  The leaf monster walked toward Rosie. But, much to Rosie's relief and disappointment, the strange creature had little interest in Rosie herself. The leaf monster had eyes only for the leaf pile with the face sitting by Rosie's feet.
  "Henry!" the leaf monster said. "I have been looking for you for ages. For eons! For centuries! Every Fall, I try to find you, but it is never you. And finally, here you are!"
  Suddenly, the leaf piles grouchy expression transformed into one alive with glee. "Adelaide!" the leaf pile Henry cried. "Oh my sweet, sweet Adelaide!"
   Henry began to wiggle and rustle and move until he too transformed into a leaf monster. The two leaf monsters embraced and sobbed with both mirth and sorrow into each other's shoulders. Then, without a backwards glance at Rosie, they trotted off together, full of laughter and declarations of sweet sentiments.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bernadette and her Bear Friend Solve the Mystery of the Missing Villagers

Here in a new illustration I did with gouache, acrylic and tea.

    One day, Bernadette woke up and everyone was gone. Not just her family, who always slept in later then her. The silence of their absent snoring was mixed with the silence of the world outside her front door. The outside usually clattered and chimed with footsteps and chatter. The day before she had woken up to the sound of the jingle of coins in pockets and the scrape of a shuffled walk. Bernadette wandered her empty town, but she was alone, except for a bear, who sat in the shade of a building with a pitiful look on his fuzzy face. Bernadette wondered if all the bears had disappeared too. Had this bear woken up from a Winter of hibernation to find an empty cave? So, despite the advice she had always received to stay away from wild animals, Bernadette befriended the bear. The loneliness Bernadette felt and the sheepish yet sweet demeanor of the bear convinced her she and the bear were meant to be friends.
  Bernadette tried to live life as usual. Waking up each morning, making breakfast for her and her bear friend. She did chores and errands. And although no one was around to see her, she still brushed her hair and teeth. She still wore clean clothes and sprinkled lavender water on her inner wrists. She hoped that they would come back. Not just her family, but the old man whose name she did not know who worked at the bookstore. And the baby that had just been born to the Henri family. And the scowling classmate that Bernadette had never liked. She wanted them all back... the friends, the family, the strangers, the slight acquaintances. And after waiting for a month, pretending to herself that they would be back any moment, Bernadette decided the time had come for her to go out and search for the missing villagers.
  The village was surrounded by a forest, so to leave the village, Bernadette and her bear friend must travel through it. When she entered the forest, Bernadette thought that the forest seemed to have more trees then she remembered. But forests were always growing and changing, even thought they seemed still at first glance. But as the sunset, the shadows begun to stretch and change. That is when she saw it. The shadows were not the thick shadows of a tree trunk, but rather the shadows of people. The shadows stretched their arms toward Bernadette. Their fingers wiggled as they tried to brush them against Bernadette. Somehow, the missing villagers had turned into trees. When the wind blew through the tree's leaves, she thought she could hear their voices. "Bernadette." they whispered. "Let us free." Bernadette closed her eyes and hoped that when she opened them again, all the trees would be people and she would see all the faces she missed so much smiling back at her.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Balloon Man and The Return of The Statue Man

  Cindi, who is a really amazing photographer, took me on a downtown photo adventure with her last Fall when she was visiting Seattle. We woke up super early and headed toward the waterfront. It was raining and still dark when we left, but we did not let that deter us! Cindi is an especially fun person to go on photography adventures with because she is both fearless and curious. She is not afraid to take a stranger's photo and she is also very curious to talk to strangers. Because of this, we got to talk to The Balloon Man (who is pictured below) for a while. I've seen The Balloon Man countless times at the market but I had never before talked to him. We took a lot of photos throughout that day, but here are some of mine from the first portion of the day, the downtown portion.

  Last Sunday, I went to craft day at my friend Ces's house. It was a rainy day, therefore a perfect day to huddle inside a warm apartment while working on a scarf. While crafting, we watched 'The Little Mermaid,' for purposes of nostalgia. The best part was trying to sing along to all the songs, which are still sort of in my memory. Afterward, I walked from his house to downtown to catch my bus. It is a longish walk, and by the time I finally got to my stop, my jeans and jacket were soaked with rainwater. Some of this rainwater was the type that had collected in a big puddle on the side of the road and was then splashed onto an unsuspecting pedestrian (me!) by a car in a hurry. It was one of those days where it seemed I waited for my bus for thirty minutes or even longer. Which is vexing, especially when soaked, but it just means next time I want to catch a bus, it will come right away.The karmic rules of the bus rarely fail. Once on the bus, it took me a while to get settled. I had to take my wet jacket off, find my book, find a new song to listen to, etc etc etc. So, I had my book sitting on the seat next to me when The Statue Man sauntered onto the bus. I noticed him when he was just a couple of steps ahead of my seat, so I quickly picked up my book in hopes the infamous statue man would sit next to me. But, he chose a different seat by himself which was probably for the best, because what would I say to the statue man!?
  I talked about encountering The Statue Man on another occasion. It was a day that Ces and I went to the aquarium together. So when I saw The Statue Man again, I quickly texted Ces. I marveled that while I am covered with water, The Statue Man's paint is still in tact. My mascara was smudged beneath my eyes like a raccoon, but The Statue Man's weathered green face was still pristine. This is when Ces suggested The Statue Man is indeed a real statue! After agreeing this certainly must be true, we decided The Statue Man comes to life once a month, the first Sunday of every month, to wander among the humans in the guise of a street performer. He has been around for hundreds of years and will exist thousands more, so all the Sunday's together will actually be longer then the average human life. But it would hard to keep friendships as The Statue Man. Three years for you or me would be only a little over a month for The Statue Man. But there would be benefits to being The Statue Man. I am certainly curious to know what the world will be like in a thousand years! I bet it will be an odd place. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Charlotte Tries to Bribe the Rabbit Queen into Letting her Join the Rabbit Kingdom

Here is a recent illustration I did of Charlotte and the rabbit queen. It is made with acrylic, gouache and tea.

  Charlotte moved from the city to a little house in the countryside. She loved being able to keep her windows open all the time. Instead of worrying about criminals sneaking through her open windows, she could enjoy the fresh air blowing its way in her house. Sometimes, Charlotte liked to sit very still in her living room and watch the wind. It would shimmy through the window, inflating her drab curtains with blustering life. Then it would dance into her living room, rattling the teacups in her cabinet and rustling the pages of an open book. Sometimes, the wind even blew Charlotte's hair behind her ears, like an affectionate gesture from a doting aunt. One day while sitting still in her living room, the wind brought something else into the room too. It was the sound of something far off in the country. The sound of thumps. The sound of dancing. The sound of a strumming guitar and a myriad of strange singing voices.
  Charlotte's proclivity toward sitting motionless in a vacant room may make her seem dull and inclined to avoid adventure. But this is very far from the truth. Charlotte has a keen desire for adventure and a thirst to explore her ever growing curiosities. So when she heard the strange sounds, she had to discover what it was that was making the sounds. On tip toes, she scampered toward the sound. It seemed like the noise was coming from nowhere. Or rather, it were coming from underground.
    'How peculiar!' Charlotte thought. She pressed her ear to the ground, and the sounds grew ever more clear. Then, she saw the hole.
     "Ah-ha!" Charlotte declared. She knew she had found an entrance to a strange and wonderful world. She dangled her leg into the hole with the intent of crawling inside so she could begin her exploration. Before she could get any further, something furry pushed against her leg. It was a giant rabbit.
   "Who goes there!" the rabbit said.
   "Oh my! It is I, Charlotte, and I beg admittance to your wondrous kingdom." Seeing the crown on the giant rabbits head, Charlotte knew immediately that what she had discovered was the rabbit kingdom. No explanation was needed, she could feel in her bones, down to the poorly healed fracture in her knee. She had finally found a place of true magic.
"Young, naive Charlotte." the rabbit queen said and chuckled. "It takes more effort than that to gain admittance to our kingdom."  With that, the queen hopped back down her rabbit hole.
  Charlotte was not deterred by the rabbits slightly rude response. She knew she would eventually make her way to the rabbit kingdom. The next day, Charlotte brought the rabbit queen the most beautiful wildflower she could find growing in the field behind her house. Who could resist the allure of a beautiful flower?

(I plan to do at least one more Rabbit Kingdom illustration... so this story is 'To Be Continued.......')