anonyrrie: November 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Illustration Friday - Small (phase II)

Well...this is as much as I'm going to do on my mandolin lady, at least for now. I decided to play around with coloring her in Photoshop until I determine how I want to treat the original. I may want to leave her black and white, or go into a more organic, vegetable palette. It's fun to see how many different personalities a drawing can have, but at this's time to put it away for a while. Thanks so much for all your comments on the first two versions below. I really appreciate the feedback!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Illustration Friday - Small (phase I)

I may not have time to finish this drawing (I've been working on it all day), so I thought I'd post what I have now and then update it later. I started with a pencil sketch and then put in the details with a .005 micron pen. I still have to add the background and then add color with colored pencils and markers. That should be at least several hours of work.

This illustration is in honor of the mandolin, a small short-necked eight-stringed instrument, a descendant of the lute that dates back to 18th century Italy. In the United States, the mandolin has enjoyed popularity since the 19th century in a variety of musical genres...from classical to blues, country, folk and rock music.

Although the mandolin as we know it is several hundred years old, lute-like instruments appeared as early as 2000 BC in Mesopotamia. By the 7th century AD, this instrument developed into a folk lute known as the oud, which is still used today in its original configuration in the Near East. The oud was introduced to Europe via the Moorish conquest of Spain (711- 1492), and to Venice and the rest of Europe through coastal trade and the returning Crusaders. It is from the oud that the lute emerged.

The first lute appeared in the 13th century, and as early as the 14th century, a miniature lute, or mandora, appeared. The mandora, in turn, developed into the madolino, and then came to be called the mandolin in early 18th century Naples. The Neopolitan mandolin had a deep pear shaped body, an oval sound hole, four pairs of strings, and was tuned like a violin.

The mandolin became popular in the United States during the 19th century with Italian immigration, and by the turn of the century, mandolin ensembles toured the vaudeville circuit and mandolin orchestras were popular in schools and colleges. The mandolin continued its evolution during the 1900's with various design changes which included a carved top and flat back.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Reasons to be thankful...

I have been blessed with so much in my life...the love of a man who has given my heart its true home, the joy of seeing my son grow up with strength and integrity, a quirky family of individual snowflakes, a home in the country with lots of windows to see the woods and sky, good health and physical fitness, opportunities to grow as a woman and an artist, and an indefatigable trust in the bounty of the universe... So many reasons to be thankful...

Jol my love
Daniel my son
my mother Ellie
my father Carl who watches me from heaven
my two brothers, three sisters, two sisters-in-law, two brothers-in-law, two nieces and six nephews,
my sweet animal friends Heidi, Jezebel, and Samantha
my friends far and wide ( I miss them! )
my students and colleagues
my blogland buddies who inspire and encourage me every day...

Have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Illustration Friday - Free

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
- tagline from The Shawshank Redemption

micron pen and photoshop

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Illustration Friday - Strength

In the tarot deck, the eighth card is Strength, or La Force, and is typically illustrated with a gentle woman who dominates the fierce lion. When dealt in an upright position, this card signifies the virtue of fortitude and the power of love – along with determination, generosity, energy, optimism, resolve, and reconciliation.

Although some claim that Tarot originated in ancient Egypt or with the Hebrew mystic tradition of the Kabbalah, the oldest surviving Tarot cards were made for members of the Visconti family, rulers of Milan in the mid-15th century. The typical tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana (Latin for key) and the Minor Arcana. Similar to playing cards, the Minor Arcana is divided into four suits: Swords, Batons, Coins and Cups.

Since the Medieval times, tarot cards have been used both for games and as a means for divination. Later, the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875 - 1961) found a certain significance in the imagery depicted in the Tarot whereby the various cards might represent the fundamental human and situational archetypes embedded in the collective subconscious. Thus, in more recent times, the Tarot has also been employed as a psychological tool.

You can read more about the Tarot at Wikipedia. This version of Strength was done with micron pen, markers, watercolor pencils, and a bit of photoshop. The sun is "on loan" from the Speechless illustration.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Good Karma

Below is the text of an email I received this morning. I'm not one to pass along chain mail, but I really liked the message, so I thought I'd share it here.

This is what the Dalai Lama has to say for 2005. All it takes is a few seconds to read and think over, and then pass it along.

Instructions For Life

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R's:
Respect for self
Respect for others
Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember that not getting what you want is often a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone each day.
9. Open arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situtation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


It started out almost pleasantly. My voice took on an intimate, husky tone that reminded me of an old nighttime friend from my high school days, Allison Steele. Those of you who lived the New York metro area during the late 60's and 70's might remember her overnight show on WNEW FM. Known also as "The Nightbird," she had a mystical and magical vibe, and always played the coolest music. But, my sexy lady DJ voice wasn't meant to last. By yesterday morning, I was speechless, and when I woke up this morning, the most I could manage was a decidely un-sexy croak. It seems that laryngitis is a close companion of this wretched cold I've been dancing with for the past several weeks. So off to the doctor I went, and was given instructions to stay home for a few days and rest... or else I'll get more and more run down and keep company with this coarse and common cold for the whole winter... The problem is, I really don't like sleeping during the day, and I had already made the bed.

So what did I do? I opened my new moleskine and doodled this lady with flower power. I drew her with a micron pen and then colored her with markers and colored pencils. The background is photoshop. And now, I am going to bed. Goodnight:>

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Illustration Friday - Night

Night appears in literature in many forms, often representing the darker side of our existence - obscurity, the subconscious, terror, the unknown, and even death.

In Greek mythology, Night is personified by the goddess Nyx, the daughter of Chaos. She was one of the first divine beings to come into existence, and by her brother Erubus (Darkness), she was mother to the Moerae (the three Fates), Nemesis (justice and divine retribution), Hypnos (Sleep) and his brother Thanatos (Death), Moros (Doom), the Keres (goddesses of violent death), Oizys (Misery), the Hesperides (Deceit, Friendship, Old Age) and Eris (Strife). She was both helpful and harmful to mankind, bringing either sleep or death.

In his Theogony, Hesiod describes Nyx's residence:

"There also stands the gloomy house of Night;
ghastly clouds shroud it in darkness.
Before it Atlas stands erect and on his head
and unwearying arms firmly supports the broad sky,
where Night and Day cross a bronze threshold
and then come close and great each other."
(Hesiod, Theogony, 744 ff.)

Night is also associated with the mysterious remote beauty of the stars against a black sky, and here George Gordon, Lord Byron uses such imagery to describe his love:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

So take this illustration (ink and Photoshop) as you will, either the primordial dark Goddess Nyx, or the serene beauty of whom Lord Byron waxed poetic. I was going to be ambitious this week and try painting my illustration in response to the challenge Dennis West put up, but once again, I have way too much work to do and too little time to do it...sigh...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

And The Tag Goes On...

I have been tagged yet again, this time by Her Serene and Royal Quirkiness, Andrea (aka the Rattily but Wonderfully Gloved One), to list an indefinte number of quirky "things" about myself. The problem is that when one has lived with her quirks for as long as I have, they cease to be quirks and become simply traits and facts. And so, I offer up a few more traits and facts... as they come to me (I'm definitely running out of things to say)... that may or may not seem quirky. You decide.

61. When I was maybe eight or nine, I experienced "Catholic School Stockholm Syndrome," which presented itself as a fleeting interest in becoming a nun.
62. I don't know my cell phone number.
63. I get pedicures year round and always paint my toes a very, very dark red called "Wicked."
64. I went off to college at sixteen. It was quite a shock to be free and on my own at such a tender age. One of the first things I did was get a fat kitten, named her Zeuben, and took her with me everywhere, including to class. She'd ride on my shoulder like a parrot-cat and when she wanted to run in the grass, I'd let her scurry down my arm. Unfortunately, I was busted by the RA (no pets allowed in the dormitories) and had to send her home to M & P, with whom she lived a long and charmed life. I still long to take my animals to work with me.
65. I always rinse my hair in ice cold water, a practice I learned from my grandmother when I was a child. She was a militant blonde who, whenever I spent the night, would wash my hair and then rinse it with cold water and lemon juice so it would stay light. Her reply to my squeals was (but in French), "One must suffer to be beautiful." Each time I turn on that freezing water for the final rinse, I hear her voice in my head reminding me of the price I must pay :>
66. I always have to be on the right side...of the bed, at the theater, on a bench.
67. I am told that my preference for sandals as my default shoe of choice whenever possible is "quirky," particularly in New England.
68. And speaking of shoes, I refuse to wear running shoes with anything but exercise clothes. I also still call them "sneakers."
69. I draw little faces on inanimate objects and then make them speak in tiny voices.
70. When I have all kinds of pressing obligations, I often procrastinate by invloving myself in silly projects. Today, for example, I found out (courtesy of Andrea) how to become a South Park character. Here's South Park Carla & Jol: