January 2008


Tales and Legends

This was painted in my pocket Moleskine sketchbook while at Runaway Bay with my family for 2/3 of the Australia Day weekend: the background was stained with a teabag and the figure painted in with very strong instant coffee. The tea is effective. The coffee is… pungent. If you click on the picture and go to the Flickr page, there is a link to the non-photoshopped version.

This picture, which is not-a-portrait-of-my-mother was painted subsequent to finding out the Illustration Friday theme, and was therefore a possible entrant (larger version beyond the link on Flickr):

Tales

And this is an illustration for any number of fish stories, made with paint and newspaper and tracing paper (I was feeling very self-sufficient by this stage, particularly as I had no scissors or glue). They may become my April header:

Little Fish

As ever, comments, critiques and advice are very welcome.

I completely missed (by three years!) the publication of the fourth edition of the Macquarie Dictionary. How did I do that? I’ve been moaning about when they would bring out a new one so that I could fulfill a long-held ambition and it has BEEN AND GONE!

Did I think I would find out about it by ESP? That the clouds would roll back and it would be announced with trumpets?

I am a very slack fan.

  1. Heath Ledger. My first thoughts on hearing of a death do not always reflect creditably on me. When I was on the bus to work my sister sent me an SMS with the news Heath Ledger had died. It was a shock, and my first thoughts were “Oh no!” which is rather better than I managed when Robert Jordan died. I suppose there is that disconnect when I only know of someone and relate to them through their work – it is easier to feel cheated of what they produce than to feel on more than an intellectual level that a person has died. Not right, but easier. And I had just been thinking the week before (after seeing the previews for Batman) that Heath Ledger seemed to be really coming into his own as an actor – that he’d ceased to be a fill-in-the-blank pretty face and was becoming an individual and a force to be reckoned with, that he was reminding me a little bit of Jack Nicholson and Tommy Lee Jones, and I was sorry for all the films he’d never make and I wouldn’t get to see.
  2. The Bulletin. I have mixed feelings on the folding of this magazine because it is not something I have much immediate emotional connection to. Like a house being torn down – not one I’ve lived in but one I’ve grown used to passing on my way to the corner shop. It was a very old publication, with some less than glorious moments (Australia for the White Man, etc), but it was… there. And now it’s only of historical importance.
  3. My cousin. Actually, he didn’t die. Concussion and some interesting scars are getting off pretty lightly when you’ve been shot in the head and arm during a home invasion.
  4. Not death, but with an appreciation for the beauty in decay and good manners in all things: Lady of the Manners and the Gothic Charm School.
  5. Honorary unsubscribes. I subscribe to This is True and the best and most fascinating part of the newsletter is the Honorary Unsubscribe, created to “recognize the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Obscure People who had an impact on our lives”, fully listed here, by – upon their death – honorarily unsubscribing them from the newsletter.

This week’s Illustration Friday theme is “Plain”. I did four sketches: cliched, angsty, determined and resigned. The cliche made the cut, and here is Plain Jane. Drop waists rarely suit anyone.

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Will wrote a post: “Dr Paul Owen: The Need for a Church Bible” on Dr Paul’s Owen’s  post of that name on Evangelical Catholicity. My post is not so much a reasoned response as a tangential rant*.

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Five books I’ve been waiting to read:

  1. Valente – The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden (recommended in New York, finally arrived at Pulp Fiction, begun!)
  2. Willingham – Fables: March of the Wooden Soldier (on order, picked it up from Daily Planet on Friday)
  3. Chabon – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Christmas present from Aimee, great first chapter and it mentions de Kruif’s Microbe Hunters!)
  4. Forbes – Return to Labyrinth (discovered thanks to Tansy Rayner Roberts, bought and dipped into with Aimee, much excitement but will be disappointed)
  5. Russell – History of Western Philosophy (part interest, part ‘use it or lose it’ approach to bookcase, chewed by mice)

Five books I’d like to get hold of:

  1. Rieber, Gaiman, Bolton – Reckonings: Books of Magic Vol. 3 (every other volume is still in print)
  2. Kaye – Golden Afternoon and Enchanted Evening (The Sun in the Morning was beautiful and thrilling and heart-wrenching and hilarious, and lauded The Far Pavilions, which covered much of the same territory but in fiction, was very disappointing when read immediately after)
  3. Gilman – The Balloon Tree (I adored this in year one – she had a secret staircase behind the fireplace!)
  4. Griffiths – Consistent Christianity (wonderful, slight, practical, solid book of applying and living out Biblical principles)
  5. A picture book about a family which opens a restaurant and one of the children serves jelly (or maybe peas) while on roller skates? Anyone?

I was going to rant about Courier Mail opinion pieces. And then I was going to rant about BCC Cinemas’ inability to communicate. And what exactly disability access does(n’t) mean. And about Broadband not being available 60km out of Brisbane. And about the lack of impact of general statements vs the universality of specifics. And crises of conscience vis a vis tabloid magazines. And then I was going to say something about Megan Gale being Wonder Woman and how this dovetailed into a number of conversations I’d been watching and having.

But for tonight, I will just point you in the direction of this post on Judge a Book by its Cover (a blog reviewing book covers) about last sentences and crazy ideas and the domino effect and the generation of a comic strip based on (part of) a James Patterson novel and say that, although I appreciate it is flawed and tends to superficiality, sometimes I love the internet.

(The post and comic in question remind me of when I realised that every single chapter of the Riftwar book in question (or possibly all R. E. Feist novels) started with a simple statement: “A rock fell”, “A hawk called,” etc. I went through and read the start of every chapter to see if there was a secret story, but there wasn’t.

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