Tentacle Mandala In Color

Flashback to a year ago

To put my last post about the art show in context … about a year ago, when I started doing more in physical media, I tried a bunch of different things.  Eventually, I got down to pulling out the watercolor gouache I got fifteen years ago.  So, I printed out a copy  of the Tentacle Mandala on some plain copy paper and went for it.

Just so we’re all clear, regular copy paper isn’t exactly suitable for watercolors, and I hadn’t done any gouache work in a long while (and that was in a substantially different context), and I was doing a lot of flying by the seat of my pants on color choices, but all in all, I really like the way it came out:

a portion of a mandala with purple tentacles at the center reaching into a yellow zone, outside of which is a pink zone with red dots

Tentacle Mandala

There wasn’t much I could do with this, other than privately admire it, since the paper buckled significantly when wet with paint, and yet, I loved the way the whimsically chosen colors played out for a so very very undersea, tentacle-y, shellfishy, with bonus pearls kind of theme.

Thus, when I finally figured out how LivePaint works in Illustrator, it was a pretty obvious choice to replicate this digitally.

The digitally colored version is available on RedBubble. While the glittered effect of the silver and gold paints doesn’t translate, I think it’s still pretty good.

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Artist’s First Art Show

The artist makes a break for the small time

About a year ago or so, I started realizing that my trees were … a bit simplistic. Just floating around in space, and backgrounds might just be a thing I needed.  So, quietly, I started trying out some physical media beyond just sketchbooks for sketching trees.

Then, this spring, I discovered the Residents Association was doing an art and wine show at the library for a fundraiser, and decided to show my work.  Originally, it was just to show, no sales, but then they did get a permit for onsite sales and suddenly I needed to get a business license and set up in the sales tax system for the state.  This was the moment I’d been putting off for years and here it was.

Step one, put your work out there

I spent some time scrambling to get prints of my work from RedBubble and Zazzle, while also scrambling to make originals and do the hardest part – pricing.

Side note: seeing the difference in quality of prints, I can only recommend RedBubble if you want prints of my work.  Maybe it’s just the kind of thing I was getting printed, but the Zazzle prints were fuzzy and I didn’t even put them out.

At the show itself, I got to walk around some and look at everyone else’s work and that was briefly terrifying, but I set up anyway and thus the show was a success!

I mean, that was the definition of success for this: get business license and set up for sales tax, show up to show with art and put it out there.

I did end up selling three pieces and that was extra bonus!

Here’s a photo of my setup:

Artist's First Art Show display

tl;dr I now have originals for sale

If you see something in that photo that you like, contact me for prices.

Note: the small framed mandala has already sold.

p.s. I am now on Patreon

For folks who want to support me and my art but don’t need more stuff, you can now patronify me at: http://www.patreon.com/ninthcircledesign

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Liquid Sleep Substitute

Let me explain

No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Life keeps circling around, a flurry of blog posts followed by mandalas followed by flourishes of trees followed by text based designs followed by mandalas and back around to blog posts.  Life is full and I have been painting, which I should like to take photos of to share with you all, but at this moment a bit of graphic design popped up and got priority.

When you absolutely, positively, didn’t get enough sleep last night, accept this substitute

Need more sleep?  Try this brand new Liquid Sleep Substitute (pat. pending)!

a black outlined circle with the words "liquid sleep subsitute" inside

Now available on RedBubble in two delightful flavors:

  • Tea (non-mugs say “Tea is my sleep substitute”)
  • Coffee (non-mugs say “Coffee is my sleep substitute”)

All mugs say “liquid sleep substitute”.

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Eppur Si Muove Mandala

My momma says it all goes around

This summer on Habitica I’ve joined a reading challenge, and as part of that I re-read Ann Leckie‘s stellar Ancillary series.  If you haven’t, I cannot recommend them highly enough and I am so looking forward to Provenance, the new book in that universe.

As often happens, I then ended up with Foz Meadow’s version of “It all goes around” (video) in my head as I was coloring this.

Side note: I have finally discovered LivePaint for Illustrator and it is so useful. so! useful! Also highly recommend!

And so it shouldn’t be too surprising that I ended up with a mandala edged in the fires of the sun, with planets swirling in arcs around the green crust and molten core of a planet in a geocentric view of the universe? Or are these the cycles of electrons around their nucleus? Fire, water, air, and earth?

A little of all are to be seen here in stasis, and yet … does it not move?

Upper right quadrant of a mandala mostly blue with an edge of yellow and red and green dots

Eppur Si Muove Mandala

See the full design on RedBubble.

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The Heart Like a Flower Grows Mandala

A minor confession

I need to make a minor confession here … the reason it’s occasionally difficult to write the blog posts for my work is that they’re not always recent.  Sometimes I’ve just finished them, but I started them months (or years) ago.  Sometimes the pace of work and life has become so hectic that I’m writing these well after the work is done and published.  Whatever the reason for the delay, it means that I have sometimes lost the urgency and meaning of the work.

As one might guess, that obtains with the one I’m posting about today.  And yet, there is a thing to be said.

The mystic in the ordinary

Recently, I’ve been reading again The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.  I find it both fascinating and mediocre.  I find the way the plot plays out to be … unconvincing. As a piece of craft, however, I find it fascinating.

In some ways, it reminds me of Lovecraft and his unspeakable horrors. The entire concept of the circus is one of mysteries perfectly executed in part by magic, and that blends with the entire concept of the book.  And like the Lovecraftian horrors, one cannot cannot make them explicit without bringing them into a scope where our minds can put them into scale or comparison to other things.

Yes, there is a lot of glowing semi-detail in the book, but it is all about limited physical details.  That’s just a gloss.  More importantly, there is no explicit building of the relationships between any of the characters (just hints and mysteries). It’s the opposite of “show, don’t tell” … “hint and tell, but don’t show”.

All of which may be to say that I appreciate the author’s ability to pull off a novel’s worth of story in this mystique style, well enough that it was a best-selling novel.  After all, it’s something I have so far only tried in miniature form or in poetry, and for me it takes a certain kind of thing where I hook my brain to the mystery of the universe and let words come out.  I can’t imagine doing that for the length of a book and interweaving past and present and multiple points of view.

Circling to the point

This mandala is one I hadn’t posted yet until I was suddenly ordering prints for my first art show (yes, more on that later), and so I had become detached from the original thinking (let’s all pretend it was deeper than “hey, what if I put leaves on a mandala?”) and needed a title in a hurry.  Nothing was immediately forthcoming, and so I hooked my brain to that associative subconscious mystery generator and thus this became The Heart Like A Flower Grows:

The Heart Like a Flower Grows a mandala with a a blue background, green leaves, striped red/pink hearts, purple petals, and a ring of yellow with orange dots

 

Available on RedBubble fully colored and as an outline.

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Caution: Contains Multitudes

The other night I ended up getting an e-copy of Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like An Artist [1]. It was worth the $2 (so, if you’re in an unsure of yourself stage in just about anything, go get it).

Near the end are an assortment of text-based illustrations (Kleon does poetry by blacking out parts of newspapers; fascinating) and one is just these two words,: CONTAIN MULTITUDES.[2]

In a flash of inspiration, a new design came to me and I put most of it together in half an hour.

It’s already up on RedBubble and CafePress [3], with Zazzle soon to come.


[1] Because Daniel Abraham RT’d Kleon’s tweet about it being $1.99 (links here, probably not that cheap today maybe).  Daniel is the fellow who got me started on this about 15 years ago by asking for a RiotNrrd shirt, so thanks once again are due to him. :)

[2] It’s a reference to the Walt Whitman poem “Song of Myself“, of which is usually quoted just this:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

[3] Because I have to post a new design there every three months or I get even worse rates, and I use text-based designs for that.

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