The week departed

Photos from Twitter etc - part 1

Photos from Twitter etc – part 1

  • It took the slow boat, but my copy of The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 has arrived, with my story “Skull and Hyssop“! Almost like I’m a writer or something.
  • I had cause to quote Douglas Stewart’s gentle poem “B Flat”, and it remains a favourite:
    “Sing softly, Muse, the Reverend Henry White
    Who floats through time as lightly as a feather
    Yet left one solitary gleam of light
    Because he was the Selbourne naturalist’s brother…”
  • I’ve bought my membership for this year’s Readercon in Quincy, Massachusetts!
  • Terns of Reference

  • On Thursday I was the Event Illustrator (with a media pass and everything) for Elizabeth Gilbert’s event for the Brisbane Writers Festival’s year-round program, and it was great fun. Some photos in poor light are in a Facebook album – I’ll put up better photos after BWF has the chance to do so. I’ve been reading Big Magic, one of the more practically mystical works on creativity I’ve read:
    “Keep in mind that for most of history people just made things, and they didn’t make such a big freaking deal out of it.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Watching Ep. 4 of Supergirl and was struck by the fact the ONLY conversation between men (which I could remember) was in a flashback interruption where one was sacrificing himself for a child. It was quite subtly done, and I don’t usually track this but one of the jarring notes in Deadpool was how (occasionally awkwardly) it did the exact opposite, so it was on my mind.
  • It was a weekend for pastiches on Twitter:
    27/2/2016:
    “I must arise and draw now, and sketch a book or three,
    And several covers lay out, of rough lead pencil made.
    Three commissions I will lay out, and perhaps a birthday card,
    And sharpen my paper-cutting blade.

    And I shall Get Things Done then, for things happen very slow
    When I lie abed in the morning tweeting pastiches of Yeats
    And realising it is of cardinal import to go online and check right now
    Whether his name rhymes with greets or gates.

    I will arise and draw now for always night and day
    I hear deadlines tapping with increasing intensity at my door.
    Whether I lie on top of the doona or put the pillows over my head,
    I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

    28/2/2016:
    “Yes I want to draw a picture,
    Or take my bike up to the store,
    But instead I have to spend the day driving around to buy a Macbook cord!”

 

Photos from Twitter etc - part 2

Photos from Twitter etc – part 2

Second-hand and Antiquarian

(Being a small Twitter diversion for October – the first title incorporates several Angela Slatter stories which prompted the exercise)

Second-hand and Antiquarian

The Book of Spells and Skin and Words
A Catalogue of Sins of Birds
The Compleat Changer’s Almanack
A Monograph on Rare Sea-Wrack

A Treatise on the White Blood Moon
A Guide to Whales (with Whaling Runes)
The History of a Hearthside Ghost
(Inscribed: To She Who Haunts Me Most)

Of the books you requested, these
Are currently in stock, so please
Find them enclosed. We will retain
Your list on the offchance we gain

– A first ed. Necronomicon
A Tour Guide On the Rubicon
(Please write, if others spring to mind).
Sincerely, yours, the undersigned.

Illustration Friday: Sea

Illustration Friday: Sea

 

A small gouache painting for this week’s Illustration Friday topic. It is for practice with actual paint, because I need it. I do love the effects that can be got with gouache, and am gradually working out how to do the getting. I’ve also put it up as a print on Redbubble, to test the paper stock.

I chose the image off a tangent from Frost’s poem “Neither out far nor in deep” (which I love, although I imagine it in much softer grey tones, and the poem is by daylight, and this may be a deliberate misinterpretation – but then, it’s poetry, and there’s scope for that).

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep – Robert Frost

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be-
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

 

And on a slightly different note, here are some bonus mermaids, to use up the paint (mermaids don’t shave).

Mermaid 1
Mermaid 2

Illustration Friday: Beginning

Illustration Friday: Beginning

Some initial capitals, in scratchboard with digital colour, for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Beginning“. They are, as usual, test pieces for another larger project, but I chose the letters based on what I thought were the first letters of some recent poems. I managed to get one completely wrong.

Last week, Terri Windling held a winter poetry challenge on her blog. Below are three of my contributions. The first, on bears, I posted with the last Illustration Friday picture. One other is not here because it turns out it did not start with the letter “I”. So I have a spare capital and a poem to post later. If you are a fan of poetry, illustration, myths, fables or fairytales, I recommend checking out the posts – there are many more poems in the comments.

BAVARIA

(Theme: Snow White, and a memory of first encountering a landscape out of fairytales)

hen apple trees scrabbled to view,
Above a wall, boughs half-unleaved,
Heavy with portent and truth,
All bronze and pewter, I believed.
When garnet, pomegranate fruit,
Struck at my heart, I almost grieved.
(The castles only ever were
Sprung from some wild dream-aquifer).
Snow falling from the mirrored sky,
Softened the blow. But then when I
Saw winter forests spider-grey
All webbed and knotted out of view,
(So little space to struggle through),
I knew the stories all were true.

CUSTOM

(Theme: Deer in Fairy Tales, Folklore and Myth, which fit with recent research on legends of white deer for another project)

BeginningWDeer

e do not say we saw a deer. We saw
The starlight slanting through rain-silvered leaves
The mist lift off the lake, owls through the trees
Glide white and silent. This, and nothing more.

We do not say we saw a figure pale
Among the rushes, long-limbed, loitering.
We saw the rushes only, rustling,
The thin frost freezing to a glassy veil.

We do not speak of tracks that, seen too near,
Appear to change from hooves to naked feet.
We do not speak of strangers whom we meet –
Such questions only ever cost too dear.

We keep an older law:
These two have always been
Separate: What you have seen
And what you say you saw.

ROBIN’S FLIGHT

(Theme: The Wild in Myth, Folklore and Fantasy)

ut of rumour and night,
Blood and bone,
Something knotted and gnarled
Had sprouted and grown.

A tree climbed out of a heart.
It may have been
Oak or ash or elder,
Or else from a dream –
Not evergreen.

When the crown of gold and scarlet
Tarnished to grey
The branches clutched at sky.
Something had flown away.

Moths and Lightning

It has been weather for moths and lightning. Oppressive spring days burn scarlet with bougainvillea, gold with silky-oak, and rise in a haze of blue and purple smoke as the jacarandas put out their pale, leafless canopies. The nights are still and humid, or restless with a wind that is warm as blood and carries no relief, only a note of rising panic. The house, a cage of wooden openwork, fills with moths – sober desert camouflage moths, moths like lace, like cigarette dust, horned gothic fantasies, dusky rose plush – fluttering and clinging and blowing across the floor.
Storms come swiftly and inevitably. First the heavy, slow, warm rain, then pure white lightening which lights the night pale blue, then the insistent hail.

MOTH

moth is consummate couturier
pays all attention to detail
such subtelty such understatement

moth makes an entrance effortless
is past punctuality travels by day
to arrive prompt as thought to evening

moth is civil no noise no sudden movement
panic itself is velvet edged
and if asked politely will move aside

moth is old fashioned brown printed corduroy
pink velour the sensibility of shag pile
muted hooked rugs and macrame owls

moth is self effacing yet glamorous
will gamble all on the glint of gold
leave at the last a trail of silver dust upon a sleeve