Stu-Stu-Studio!

Instead of you know, colouring my growing amount of inked work due to be coloured, I’ve instead just been adding more and more inked work to the ‘to do list.’ Currently there are six illustrations that need to be coloured. Cassowary, Delicate Mouse, Giant Armadillo, Walrus, Black-Winged Lory and Wandsuna – Remember? Not only that, but on my ‘to do list’ I also have sketches to do of some Dholes (whee!), a huge forest landscape, a Wolverine, a Paradise Parrot and a second Totoro.

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Phew!

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So my art-desk is starting to take on an immensely cluttered look. Observe…

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Stu-Stu-Studio by Ravenari

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Well, that’s cluttered for me. I’m not going to turn around and take a photo of my computer desk for you; I refuse! THAT is very cluttered. I have everything from mineral eyeshadow samples on there, my computer, my scanner, 4 bazillion pens (it feels that way, I’m exaggerating, I’m sure it’s only something like 4 milliion), hairclips, medications, anti-static spray, an awesome speaker system, my modem, a glasses case with glasses I don’t wear anymore in them, FOUR PACKETS OF TIC-TACS (including a giant packet of orange tic tacs, which I didn’t even know they did!), 40 lip-glosses (don’t judge me), a full pot of bobby pins even though I’ve been using the same two for two weeks, my camera, about 50 post-it notes (not exaggerating, for real) which has everything on there from dog names in Finnish, to old shopping lists, old ‘to do lists’ and future ‘as totems’ I want to draw (like the awesomely named Piapiac).

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But my art desk is usually quite clean!

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If all that clutter is starting to get to you, here’s a picture of an unidentifed species of local moth (unidentified by ME, I mean, any local entomologist who specialises in the ridiculous number of local moth species we have could probably identify it. Local entomologists; HELP!)

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moth at Ellenbrook by Ravenari

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As for how I’ve been going lately (not that you asked for all of this verbal diarrhea), I’ve been down more than I’ve been up. It’s been a tough four months, in all honesty, and my PTSD symptoms have been getting ‘bigger and brighter and better!’ I’m like a walking advertisement for classic post-traumatic stress disorder right now, and that’s not a good thing, considering I got diagnosed in 1998 and I’d like to be better by now. This second, if possible.

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However, there have been understandable triggers of this ‘explosion’ of post-post-post-post trauma stress, and I am working through them. It’s one of those ironies of life that working through the actual triggers themselves is of itself stressful, and in the short-term can create a compounding of symptoms and not an immediate release. Of course, this is why I don’t work a regularly scheduled full-time job and why sometimes I get up at 6.30am (what masochistic Circadian rhythm decided that was a good time to awaken?) and go straight back to bed again twenty minutes later due to phrase; ‘that 20 minutes was exhausting!’

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When I find some energy, you can find me diligently inking at artwork, or going on long, ambling walks throughout the suburbs. I haven’t seen any drop bears or bunyips yet, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled.

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In book recommendations, I’d like to take the time to recommend: Echidna: Extraordinary Egg-Laying Mammal by Michael Augee, Brett Gooden and Anne Mussen, which takes the prime place of being one of the few non-fiction books (excepting something by Bill Bryson) which made me laugh out loud a few times. As well as being well-informed, delightfully written, well-illustrated and easy to navigate, it has such gems like:

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“An echidna wedged under a car seat can only be removed by disassembly of the surrounding automobile!” (p. 123)

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This just proves the awesomeness of echidnas, if you ask me.

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The Weather.

I am about to embark on an awesome journey of research. That’s right, research. I love non-fiction in general, but I think it will be the first time I’ve ever devoted so much brain space to weather, weather patterns, weather cycles, extreme weather and so on.

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Partly, it’s to do with a science fiction novel I’m worldbuilding for. In it, people from Earth have settled on a very Earth-like planet that has much more severe weather than we do (a lot more supercell storms and a much higher density of rain and so on). But in order to do that, I need to understand more about weather patterns and cycles. I started by researching winds of the world, like the beautifully named Euroclydon, Khazri, Kosava, Levant, Oroshi and Coromuel. And around that point I realised that I just didn’t know a great deal about what I was talking about. And this is from someone who is actually fascinated by the weather and can generally tell if we’re having ESE winds or SWs and what they’re going to feel like and can name different types of clouds and so forth.

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Definitely not enough anymore! I’ve ordered a bunch of books from the library. For once, I’m going to be able to hold a sustained conversation with an English person and actually know what I’m talking about. 😉

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Speaking about weather, our suburb of Ellenbrook was hit with a freakish storm two days ago, which resulted in a twelve hour power outage. It was pretty amazing. Within the storm was also a miniature tornado, and we had winds of 150 kmh. We escaped damage at our house, but others weren’t so lucky, and the cost will likely run into the millions.

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This is what the storm looked like over our house, before it broke and the rains fell.

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the storm before it broke by Ravenari

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And then, after I stood outside in the rain for a long, long time. We went inside, had about an hour with which to enjoy electricity, and then power lines in neighbouring suburbs fell and we had no electricity at all. Very glad I turned off my computer for that.

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We had lightning strikes like this every few seconds:

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lightning from the front of our house by Ravenari

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And this was when it wasn’t over our house! (That’s the view from the front of our house).

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I love tumultuous, stormy weather. I really do. I have talked frequently about how much I love the rain, but it’s a very specific kind of rain. It’s not drizzle, it’s ‘here, you asked for it, now TAKE IT!’ rain. Rain that is forceful and conquers the soil.

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It will be interesting to research, at any rate. Especially because it means I get to take a break from research nociceptors and a-delta fibres.

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Never fear, those who follow the art. I’m still doing it. I’m doing a lot of it. Here’s a sample of the latest stuff:

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Red Kangaroo Totem – pre-colouring.

red kangaroo pre-colouring by Ravenari

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Brolga Totem – pre-colouring.

brolga pre-colouring by Ravenari

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Both of these, when finished, will be for sale at my Etsy.

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.)

Can it be art AND writing?

Something from the trenches:

silver wrens by Ravenari - SOLD

I’ve been not very inspired lately in the art stakes (outside of my silver/bronze/green-gold animals which are a ton of fun). Part of it is December, a month where I always experience a kind of major relapse in my post-traumatic stress disorder and have symptoms similar to Reverse SAD (never been officially diagnosed and some can sub as PTSD symptoms, so…yeah) and that affects my ability to get art out there (I say after having completed 10 illustrations this month; but it never feels like much when they’re little!)

I’m also sort of changing things up a little bit. Things are still ‘my style,’ but I’m mixing and matching up creative elements in my work and I’m not sure what they means for where I’m going. Finally, I have two Steampunk pictures to finish (and, er, start!) for next Easter’s Swancon/Natcon50 Future Imperfect art exhibition.

As I’m writing this, my cat Moet is drinking my paint-water. Business as usual, then! Maybe, our bengal cross, hasn’t discovered the joys of paint-water yet. Which is a relief. As she chews and eats teatowels and got herself a stomach impaction earlier in the year. She’s self-harmey enough, thanks!

Here’s a list of 10 things about what I’ve been doing lately.

1. Fringe is like my favourite show ever right now, and Misfits is AWESOME. Also, Community stop-motion Christmas episode!
2. Home-made chicken satay and sweet & sour plum.
3. Swimming again; yay swimming!
4. Killing a surfeit of redback spiders congregating around our house. Malvern Springs is mostly about finding mature venomous spiders in your house and thinking ‘OH GOD HAVE YOU BEEN HERE THE ENTIRE TIME?!’
5. Flashbacks and nightmares and scares, oh my!
6. Clicker training the cats (no, really).
7. Finished the first draft of a novel.
8. Read a whole bunch of new literature, loved The Wind-Up Girl and Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead.
9. Thinking about going back to university to do Honours. And by ‘thinking about’ I mean, ‘actually called them and got myself re-activated as a student in the system.’ I need a supervisor though.
10. Playing kick to kick outside on the oval, with the balmy Summery breezes at night, under the stars. 🙂

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I have often contemplated making this blog an art AND writing blog. I have had a few short stories and poems published in my time, though I personally identify as a crummy non-published novelist in terms of writing.

It’s difficult. Writing agents say you should have a writing blog, and art people say you should have an art blog!

Can I have both? Is this too confusing for the masses (and by masses, I mean my housemate and best friend Glen and my cats who avidly forget to read this blog too)?

I was always taught never to underestimate my audience (which I’m sure Glen and the cats are grateful for). I’m going to have both! Two for one!

And remember, when in doubt, there are always plenty of originals to check out at my Etsy store!