The Menagerie at Drahcirardnas

I had a conversation via email the other day with a good friend. I've noticed there are people in our lives who bring out certain qualities in us that may lay dormant until these muses feed them. These particular friends bring out my humorous, playful side. I can always make them laugh and that is a good thing today. I love laughter.

We had a pleasant discussion to catch-up on the typical points of daily life, "How's the kids, how's the work coming?, how's the blossom end rot on your tomatoes?", etc and so forth. After my answer back to him I wrote, "Well, that's all the news fit to print from Drahcirardnas."

The next morning I had this email:

Google doesn't know what Drahcirardnas is. It is a beautiful word. How does it sound? What does it mean?

So, again I'm being Googled. (see first entry) Wow, twice in a matter of weeks. But I had to directly answer this inquiry as to the meaning and pronunciation of Drahcirardnas.

-Drahcirardnas: Drahh Keer Ard Nas - noun- loosely interprets as: bridge to the peninsula; according to a Scotch-Irish Gaelic translator I once met. It is the name of our house/property. I made it up. I come from a long line of people who make up words and/or who rename things. My nickname is Estermarelda. It means one who prowls in her (paternal) grandmother's dressing table and who also breaks the tail off grandma's pet chameleon. Of course, I was also called Jamie by my maternal grandfather. The only name he ever called me-"Well, there's my Jamie". This name is not even close to my actual name(s).
So Drahcirardnas is this magical kingdom on a peninsula of delectable comic insanity. Course you gotta cross the bridge to get here. And it's filled with trolls and a very confusing gatekeeper. A few goats tried a while back and some...well...they didn't make it. As long as you're willing to suspend (humankind's "normal" but obviously false) reality and believe in faeries, sprites, brownies, goblins, and other wildly imaginative creatures; you'll be safe here. Oh and for George's Sake, "Don't mess in the affairs of the dragons. For you are crunchy and good with ketchup." Wish I had thought that one up, but alas, it's on a t-shirt and wall plaques in catalogs. Anyway, they guard the Waters of Imagination which surround Drahcirardnas.-

So I try to live each day in honour of such a magical place. One where imaginations are fed wildly elaborate foods. A land where my sons were raised. To explore, believe in all possibilities and to expect anything. Where play is as important as 'real' work, where building amazing Lego structures were applauded and left up for weeks. I also have used my sons as subjects over the years. For paintings, illustrations, & just because. I will include some of those images in later posts.

For now I leave you with a photograph taken last summer. We enlisted the aid of these cute pygmy goats in cleaning some underbrush. They were so adorable and lovable. We kept them only a few weeks as they were on loan. After they left my dog decided she was a goat and now grazes everytime we are outside for any length of time. They are meeting for the first time here. Let me tell ya, it was hysterical. They played well together and I think Sarah missed them after they were gone.


Birthdays, August and Cicadas

My birthday has come and gone. I no longer get quite the butterflies in my stomach that I once did during this time of the year. When I was young I knew that shortly after celebrating my birthday summer would end and school would begin. August is usually the hottest month of the year. Every living thing seems to take the month off except cicadas.
The cicadas have been in fine form this year. The air surrounding my house is filled with their calls. I once did an entire series of paintings based on this mysterious creature. I painted the Cicada series my last semester in college. I had been working on paintings concerning time passage and memories. Memories linked with imagery. I did a lot of paintings during my college years that visually illustrated how my memories are linked to color, form, surface, atmosphere. I enjoyed the challenge of working in the abstract.

I got a lot of arguments from professors and fellow students about universal appeal. How were these paintings going to be universally appealing? I've been amazed over the years to discover when people look at these paintings they are immediately reminded of something that happened to them during the time cicadas call or their first encounter with cicadas. Most find them hideous. Some see the beauty in their color, form, wings and voice. But almost everyone has a story. And isn't that what art should be? Informing viewers. So many times we go through life hearing and seeing things, but until someone paints it and asks us to look at it from a different perspective, we may not truly understand our surroundings.

My memories of the cicada songs are forever linked with my birthday and the return of the school year. Now they are reminders to my watercolor/painting professor. I saw him several years after graduation. He said to me "I always think of you when I hear those damn cicadas." I smiled. It was comforting to know I had passed along a visual and auditory memory. Behold, the universal cicada.


Rip Van Winkle's Walk

Image: Graphite on Paper
I draw and doodle all kinds of things in my sketchbooks. One theme I keep returning to is Rip Van Winkle. It shouldn't be hard to understand why I would continue to return to this line of thought.

Growing up I was constantly being teased by adults calling me Rip. I don't think most of them knew the entire story. They just asked me if my daddy slept for 20 years. Sigh...No one mentions Rip anymore.

Every once in a while I think about illustrating Rip Van Winkle again. It would be an honor to add my name to the list of wonderful illustrators who took on this task. Arthur Rackham did the best illustrations of Rip Van Winkle. Of course, he is one of my favorite illustrators. The image to the left is one I created while thinking about Mr. Van Winkle. It depicts a dry creekbed that Ole Rip may have hiked up while on his hunting trip into the mountains.

This Blog Thing

I've got to tell you. I'm a bit nervous about this whole blog thing. I have a friend who lives several hundred miles away. He's a photog and we've known each other-well let's just say a few years. He happened to be in town the other day and said "I've been looking for your stuff online. I Googled you. I can't find anything under your name."

Yeah. That's true. All the projects I've done have obviously been under the radar. Or maybe not good enough to wind up on Google. Thank goodness nothing I've done (as of this moment anyway) has found its way to YouTube. But with all the drawings, paintings, installations, musings and ramblings I've been known to yap on about you would think one would have made Google. I was a little undone by the "I Googled you".

I'm up with the Googling. I do it a lot. I love it. I just never thought of someone 'Googling' my name. So I started thinking about how many others may have done the same thing and given up because they couldn't find anything on Google about me. Not that I'm famous. Not even in the vicinity. Not even on the block with famous. But with all the directions my art has taken me you would think someone would find something.

So I decided it was a nice time for a blog of my own. I had big plans to have an escape space of my own by this time in my life. An actual physical building to get in touch with the muses, paint, write and occasionally nap. I've called it Woman Hut for so long that it will forever be known as that even if I name it something else after it is built. But, I haven't had time to get Woman Hut built; so, for now, this blog will have to do as my place to escape. Prepare for occasional napping.

I don't plan to do daily tricks here. There may be some, but I don't plan to do them. I don't promise, to myself or anyone else, to wax poetic, be profound or do anything that will change the world. I will just play. I will sometimes be funny when I'm not trying, I will be sassy and I will most definitely be a smart-aleck. I hold that doctorate degree. Only aleck is not the word my husband uses when referring to my wit.

I will post images from my work. Photos, paintings, illustrations, pen & ink, etc. Snippets from whatever suits my fancy at the moment. I will not promise those will always be stellar either.

My friend thought my reluctance to post my work online was due to not wanting criticism. Nope. I went and got a college education. They give a whole new meaning to criticism. I think the entire curriculum was just a toughening process. "Paint it this way...haha you moron...now paint it this way...wha' you listened to me?, now why would you do that?" It all worked out somehow. No, just chalk it up to being a late bloomer. Why rush?

I'm nervous because I may not have anything to add to the already swelling masses of Bloggers out there. Oh- I have read you. I have read some really, really good blogs. I've also been witness to some very banal dreck. So I suppose as long as I find ground somewhere in the middle I won't be drummed out. And as soon as I figure out all the tags and other cool stuff to help me get found; I will no longer fly under the Google radar.