Wednesday, June 23, 2010

the harbinger

It follows me. I know not from where it came or what it foretells of my future, but it follows me. I first noticed the smell, a heavy earthen aroma like that of mushrooms turning sour. Others near me do not smell it. It is a nauseating foetid smell unlike anything of this earth. Then came the movements, deep in the shadows. Is something there? Who is it? I could have sworn I heard a wet rustling, like dead leaves being turned by a gravedigger's shovel. They are beginning to think me insane, but I know it is there, just out of sight. I can sense the blank, lifeless stare of eyeless sockets and the cold stench of a dead, tendril-like hand. Sometimes I think I can see the slow, glowing draw of a cigar butt, and the thick gray smoke billowing from the dark corners, but no others can attest to these sensations. I am terrified of the devilish portent that this soothsayer brings.

It follows me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

When My Ideas Pop

I don't know what the reason is, but I find that many of my best ideas pop into my head early in the morning. At some point in the first hour between waking up and driving to work, there is an epiphany...a eureka moment...when an idea is so clear that it is just burning a hole in my brain. Maybe the act of sleeping allows me to work out details that I am not able to focus on when going about my day to day routine. Maybe the idea has to fester in the dark hours of the nigh, forming an oozing pustule that breaks free into my consciousness upon awakening. Maybe at night my creations slither, crawl, or scuttle up to the side of my bed and whisper the plan into my ear. However it occurs, I absolutely love when it happens.

Today was one of those mornings.

I have a piece I have been working on for a while that I believe is a solid concept, but I have been struggling with the name. I have been running lists of different ideas, consulting my kids and my wife, but nothing felt right. This morning as I was half asleep, eating my breakfast and sipping coffee, the name erupted into my head so clear that I just know it has to be right...almost as if it was always there deep in the grey matter squirming its way to the surface.

In the coming days, watch for a new sculpt entitled "Banjo Ghouly Has a Friend For Dinner"

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Physics of Creativity

Isaac Newton's first law of motion (loosely translated) :
Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. These words ring true to the creative process.

Last year prior to Halloween, I was in the the midst of a spurt of creative energy. I had more ideas on new pieces than I could keep up with. There were times that I was literally making half a dozen pieces at a time to sell on Etsy, working on large pieces to display in my yard, and still had more ideas than i could possibly deal with. It was a fantastic time to be an artist, and I found myself in the shop working late nights, getting up early, and spending as much time as possible in between working on art sketching ideas and daydreaming new ideas. Ahhh, it was great, I tell you. I was an object in motion, and there didn't seem to be an end in sight.

Enter the outside force. I do not wish to elaborate on what this force was, but a bad experience with a visitor to my Halloween display served as a metaphorical brick wall in the direct path of my creative inertia. Every bit of energy I had built up was gone, it seemed. Just like that, the ride was over. I waited for the creativity to come back and start flowing again. There were times that it seemed it was nearly back, but I just couldn't get the drive to keep it going. I was an object at rest, and I stayed that was for months and months.

Enter yet another outside force. Yet again, I will not elaborate on what set the wheels in motion, but I finally decided to claw and scrape myself up off the couch and start creating again. The Pumpkin Creature was a very difficult piece for me to make. It took every bit of energy and determination to force myself to stay on task until it was complete. The very act of finishing this piece has turned on the creative flow, and I now have half a dozen projects started. I can't wait to get off work so I can work on the little beasties. All day long, I seem to be thinking of details to add, painting techniques to try, and other critters to add to my 'make this' list. Hopefully I can maintain the inertia and there will be no more forces to slow my progress, because I am truly happiest as a human being when I am creating something.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pumpkin Creature Sculpture finished

Squirmle Roadkill

I had one of these as a kid in the '70s. It was a pet that I cared for and loved, although I could never seem to teach it the tricks that were shown on the TV between Saturday morning cartoons. There was a list of instructions on how to care for your Squimle and keep it happy and healthy. One thing they never said, but shouldn't have had to say because it is really common sense, was to


The consequences are so very sad.
When I found this poor creature today in the parking lot after donating blood, it was too late to save it's life. Alas, the string had been severed and was nowhere to be found. I would have done anything to roll back time and save it's poor neon pink, fuzzy hide. Let this image be a lesson to all you Squirmle owners out there to the grave responsibility you accept when you adopt such an exotic and wonderful creature.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bald Eagles near Indianapolis, In

I visited one of my favorite places today. Only a few miles from my home, and less than 10 miles south of Indianapolis there is a stretch of the White River that is the home to a pair of Bald Eagles. The nest has been in the tall sycamore tree for 5 years now. Each year the pair has raised at least two chicks. Above, the male guards the nest from a nearby perch.
The nest was built almost as if the pair wanted to be viewed and photographed. This view is from across a narrow oxbow of the White River.
Male and female eagles greet each other from the guard perch. Today I was unable to catch a decent shot of the chicks, but viewed two of them as the parents called from above.