Photos of the day – my art studio.

I’ve sufficiently recovered from the ‘scorpion of doom’ incident, have eaten dinner, fed the monsters of the house (the cats) and decided to share some photos of my studio with you today. Oh, some work in progress stuff is there too. 🙂

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In this one, you can see my latest spoils from the vastly overpriced Jacksons (it’s not like there’s much selection in Western Australia, it’s that or nothing.) Anyway, I’m in love with these shades of green (and that sneaky shade of yellow). You can also see some of my hair at the top of this picture. THAT’S BECAUSE I MOULT LIKE A GERMAN SHEPHERD. So annoying. About four times a week I panic because I feel something crawling up my arm only to look and realise that a piece of hair has come loose and is clinging to me. There’s some very nice product placement in this shot. Not that I like my Nokia. Okay, I guess that part wasn’t nice product placement.

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photo of the day 01 by Ravenari

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I like pens. I have a lot of pens. That’s probably a good thing, I average about one binned per illustration. I also have a lot of lipglosses (the container behind is just lipglosses). I don’t really ‘collect’ much, except for lipgloss.

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pens by Ravenari

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Glamourkins, which are seriously, seriously awesome pendants made from fairytale and storybooks, with wonderful, magical quotes. I’ve always loved wearing writing, and in all likelihood my first tattoo will be words. As an artist, I’m a bit weird that way. 😉 But as a writer it makes total sense.

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Glamourkins photo by Ravenari

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Doodling AND philosophy for the price of one stupid piece of note paper!

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why does socialising make me so sad by Ravenari

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Man, lots of stuff. Clutter clutter clutter. Look at the massive stack of artwork on the table!

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clutter clutter clutter byRavenari

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Saving the best for last. My current ‘works in progress.’ Well, I think it’s the best for last, anyway.

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works in progress by Ravenari

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If you could pick something for me to take photos of, and it was within my power to take photos of them – what would you like me to take photos of? 🙂

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Scorpion of Doom.

I was going to talk about how much I love nature.

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I was really going to talk about how much I love nature.

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AND THEN I FOUND A LIVE SCORPION IN MY STUDY (or Maybe found it and then was rapidly grabbed and put away before she could hurt herself, which is what she clearly wanted to do) AND I CHANGED MY MIND.

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The SCORPION OF DOOM

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I was going to be all like, hey I saw a western brush wallaby in the bushland today and it stared at us for ages and it was all magical and crap.

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But then I changed my mind. Glen’s all like ‘I didn’t know we had scorpions in Perth!’ and I’m like ‘I did, I didn’t know we had them IN OUR HOUSE.’

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We are now discussing the merits of moving anywhere but here. (I actually prefer close encounters with snakes over scorpions, but that’s because snakes can’t grab you with two pincers before stabbing the crap out of you.)

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(Anyone concerned with the welfare of the scorpion should know that we ‘rehomed it’ in some bushland far far far away. FAR AWAY.)

Work it!

Currently I am embarking on a personal project called ‘100 walks for health,’ which is based on the idea that I walk 100 times for health. It’s pretty straightforward. And then afterwards I start again. The rules are – the walk has to be over 10 minutes to count (and multiple walks a day count as separate walks), and other things like playing kick to kick or swimming don’t count. Anyway, today I walked in a thunderstorm and it was awesome. (Even if I did get rained on despite my umbrella, and got paranoid about being hit by lightning because it was all around me.)

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In the meantime, I finally finished the inking of Steampunk Elephants or Clearcutting at Dawn. This is how I felt about it yesterday:

photo of the day  - a commen sentiment - by Ravenari

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And this is how it looks today:

Clearcutting at Dawn by Ravenari

What I love so much about this series for the Natcon 50 Future Imperfect art show, is that I get to do something with animals that I’m not normally doing.

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I’ve been taking animals and looking at their natural environment, and then looking at how I’d personally exploit them (not that I want to exploit any animal really) in an imperfect retrofuture, where we only allow animals to survive if they can directly benefit us through work, beauty or medicine/health.

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In this, I liked the idea of genetically modified elephants used in the process of clearcutting to save on fuel and materials needed to build the tractors and bulldozers and so forth needed. Because huge elephants could be engineered, larger trees could be engineered and managed, and the wood yield would increase in a world where there wouldn’t be that much wood remaining.

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Elephants are actually built to take down trees. While some of them will tear at branches, many will actually uproot acacia trees in order to get at the whole top of the plant. Unlike giraffes which evolved to reach the top of the trees, the elephant evolved to just take them down. To then take that natural instinct and accelerate it into a vegetative drive where the elephants even enjoy, or run towards trees that need knocking down, is something that I’ve been contemplating for a science fiction world I’m tempted to set a novel in. Photovoltaic ravens, deforestation-savvy elephants, giant squid that put the ‘giant’ in the name shepherding steamers from place to place in a world where supercell storms are the norm.

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Is it just me, or does anyone else really love that kind of stuff?

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But don’t fret, I’ve been working on a metric fuckton of totem illustrations too, including this recent one of Kookaburra, where the colours are all clashy and glarey, even for me:

Kookaburra as Totem redo by Ravenari

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This one is for sale at Etsy, just follow this link.

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And if you’re interested in what Kookaburra represents as a totem, you can read the full essay here, or just contemplated the keywords:

Laughter. Family. Wooing your partner. Sibling rivalry. Healing others and the self. Conquering fear. Ending old patterns. Turning hurt into happiness. Hunting down your own truths. Signals. God energy. Teaching and sharing your truths with others.

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If you could choose any animal for me to genetically adapt in my dystopian Future Imperfect, what would you choose? 🙂

That very first story…

Did you know I used to draw a webcomic? And it was mostly awful. But the concept remains and is actually the new novel that I’m plotting out now. Anyway, you can see one of my really different long ago frankly crap illustrations of the main character.

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(Disclaimer, I drew this on the 887 bus route on the way to ECU one day, which, as anyone knows, does not lend itself to smooth lines).

Jess by Ravenari

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Well, anyway, it’s come up because the webcomic originally started as my ‘first ever novel’ when I was 12 years old. Then about 150 pages was irrevocably lost during a move to Alexander Heights and I only had the first three chapters left in hard copy. Gutted, I left it alone and moved onto other things (namely: highschool). One day though, I looked back and realised I still liked the basics of the story. And, shockingly, I looked back only to realise I’d been writing a main character who had PTSD and alexithymia before I knew I had PTSD or alexithymia. It was – and still is – like my 12 year old self had a snapshot of the kind of person I’d be at the age of 18, and wrote a character about that in a science fiction world on another planet.

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That was…incredibly disturbing, and it still is. Reading back on it now, I find myself thinking; ‘how did I know?’ Of course, some things aren’t the same. I’m not, for example, a gun-toting mercenary strategist who inherits a major spy syndicate.

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Anyway, then I wrote it out as a NaNoWriMo novel. And then I drew it as a 24 page webcomic. And then I shelved it again, and finally I’ve come back to it and I think this time I’m ready to write it ‘for real.’ It might only ever be ‘for myself,’ but I’m certainly ready to write it for real.

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In the meantime, I made a salmon macaroni pasta salad (with wholegrain mustard and celery and other things) this weekend, which was a hit (i.e. there’s none left). Tomorrow night I’m making a spaghetti with roasted garlic, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and cabanossi. I was going to make that the other night but changed my mind. This paragraph is in tribute to Putu, who probably doesn’t have much access to cabanossi pasta right now (but I could go some umeboshi onigiri if you want to swap!)

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, but I don’t actually celebrate it. Is that bad? I prefer spontaneous romance over ‘scheduled commercial romance.’ And while I know I could still turn it into a lovely, sweet day… I’d just prefer not to do so on that day. Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you do anything special for yourself when you’re single?

I’m listening to Jude, what are you listening to?

I’ve been very dissociated lately, or ‘out of it.’ It’s been not too bad, except that I’m covered in scratches and bruises from not having a complete sense of body boundary and thinking that you know, my head is a lot smaller than it is and thus smashing it with a kind of tremendous velocity against something very sharp. I’m lucky I didn’t give myself a concussion. I have a 15 centimetre scratch on my torso. No idea how. Don’t remember it. Don’t feel it now. Dissociation is both a wonderful painkiller (sometimes), and yet the thing that needs you to have that wonderful painkiller in the first place (sometimes).

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To take my mind off whatever is causing the dissociation, I’ve been drawing. A lot. Like so:

eight pieces of art on the go by Ravenari

There’s a lot of inking in there! Plus the sketch of Steampunk Elephants (it’ll have a better title eventually, I promise) which is still a sketch because I want to get it ‘right.’

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Living life in a hollowed out state isn’t very enriching, and the only time I can ever feel anything meaningful at all is when I’m doing the artwork. Once I’ve finished doing these as totems / redos of the Australian Animal Oracle Deck, I’m back to the badass Wandsuna series, and dark fairytale interpretation series (wow, that last one needs a better name, doesn’t it?)

kookaburra by Ravenari

In the meantime, there’s been some cooking. Tonight’s dinner is sweet and sour plum chicken with basmati rice. I made chocolate mousse earlier. Last night’s dinner was miniature hawaiian pizzas with free-range ham and Edam. The night before that there was some spaghetti with tomatoes and caramelised onions, fresh basil and baby spinach, as well as many cloves of roast garlic. Isn’t roast garlic one of the best things ever? I love it.

roast garlic by Ravenari

I can’t spread it on toast straight like other people (garlic is a GERD trigger, as is just about everything I listed! Lol), but in pasta, and on roasted corn on the cob, and in just about any other form (bruschetta, for example), it makes me ridiculously happy. Plus having the whole house smell like sweet roasted garlic is a lovely thing to come home to.

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Anyway, wish me luck in the dissociation side of things; it often precedes a crash or a period of overwhelming emotion that leads to some bad decisions. I don’t want to get to the ‘bad decisions’ part. But staying watchful when your brain is kind of a constant fog and keeps trying to convince you your body doesn’t exist is its own kind of… trial.

While the rest of the world has WTF? weather, we have FTW weather.

It’s been an interesting February so far. Some family drama, some personal drama, some interpersonal drama, website drama, ISP drama, money drama, some drama llama. Basically… well you get the picture.

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There’s also been a lot of artwork. On the 1st of February, I had 9 (NINE!) different pictures in progress. I’ve completed five, though I’m staggering putting them up (as an experiment), and the other four are… coming along. Sort of.

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Here. Have a Green Sea Turtle Totem:

Green Sea Turtle as Totem by Ravenari

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You can buy the original, and many others, Right here at my Etsy.

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I’ve also been beefing up the Animal Totem Dictionary. Did you know I maintained one? Maybe. Did you know it’s the most comprehensive on the internet? (Unless Google is studiously avoiding any more comprehensive ones). Well. So far, it is. 246 animal totems represented and counting. Boy that’s a lot of animals. And yet, it’s hardly any at all. It wouldn’t even come close to representing half of the world’s species of ants. Isn’t that incredible?

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I thought it would be hilarious the other day to do something like ‘Internet as Totem’ (which I’d probably have representing mostly themes like ‘innovation followed by conservativism and conformity, followed by rebellion of such.’) And then I started thinking of an ‘objects as totem’ kind of theme. Like cars, paintbrushes, the eponymous cookie jar, and so on.

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Tomorrow we are meeting a couple who own Finnish lapphunds. There are less than 200 Finnish lapphunds in Australia, so they’re not exactly easy to meet! I’m looking forward to it though.

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In the meantime, while the rest of Australia is hit with cyclones, monsoons, flash floods, storm surges, lightning storms, bushfires and such. Perth looks mostly like this:

Hillary's Beach by Ravenari

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How has your February been so far?