Arting, arting, arting, rawhiiiiide.

Boy, things have been busy lately!

Firstly, check out this awesome interview by Le Animale, with yours truly, over at her blog! In it, I talk mostly about my spiritual connection to illustrating totems, and why I draw the totems I do!

In the meantime, since announcing that I am able to work with cat energy, a ton of cats have come marching on by. Domestic cats. Wild cats. Er…okay well that’s about it. But still, I’ve drawn a lot of cats lately.

Here’s a bunch of commissions I’m working on. All exciting projects!

Russian Trotter

Russian Trotter / commission, by Pia Ravenari 2012

Melanistic Jaguar

Melanistic Jaguar / commission, by Pia Ravenari 2012

Cheetah

Cheetah as Totem / commission, by Pia Ravenari 2012

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Have some art stats:

Current number of pieces I have to colour: 8
Are any of these a secret project?: One of them is!
What keeps me company during the artwork process?: Currently, Law & Order: SVU
How much chocolate do I consume during arting?: Entirely too much.
Seen any good films lately?: Yes! Wolf Children, or The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki. Cute! It’s a feature length anime, with glorious (Miyazaki level) animation, and a cute, powerful and at times tragic story. Just incredible. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves animals / who believes they are an animal-person, people connected to wolves and people who love sumptuous animation.

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Also, stay tuned for some new Romantic Minis (although they are the current romantic minis, only two left! These go quickly. Even the romantic spiders went!) I’ve got six of these little babies planned. You can look forward to Foxhounds, Foxes, Peacocks, Polar Bears, Rats and maybe some Vizcacha!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Ravenari and Startail! :)

I did this up today. Just then! I scanned it while it was still wet! I never learn. Lol. Here’s hoping there’s some more Startail love in the future. 😀

startail christmas 2011 - by Ravenari

Happy holidays for those who celebrate, may 2012 be all that you desire and more.

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.

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? 🙂

Cabbage Butterfly Balloon

I did a series of two illustrations, a while ago, and I never did anymore. I can’t say why. It tapped into something inside of me that went against everything else I was doing. Bold colour, striking line, saturation, saturation. And then I drew this.

01. cabbage butterfly balloon by Ravenari

And yet I look at it and know I have to go back to that space one day. That space of fragmented line and downgraded colour. I need to know what it means for my soul to do this; and why this feels so much more like it will shatter me, than using brilliant pigments and bold line.

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I am sometimes told by other artists that they feel intimidated by using bold colour. I don’t know why, but I have never felt this way. Perhaps it is that I hero-worshipped Franz Marc and his own striking colour symbolism as a young teenager. Or perhaps it’s just that I didn’t care when I was doing artwork, because I don’t recall ever concerning myself about colour, overmuch. And maybe that’s because I was raised first and foremost in the medium of pastels which – unlike their *name* – are known for producing the most spectacular brilliance of pigmentation of any traditional medium outside of just purchasing pure high quality pigment and doing it yourself.

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I cut my eyeteeth on colour and saturation, rather than the specifity of line, which was hard for me to get at the age of 14 with only soft pastels to play with. I discovered the love I have for the line, particularly the black line, not that much later. I would have only been about 16. While I was working lineless for TEE Art (TER Art now, I believe), I was beginning to appreciate the boundaries of limning subjects with line at home in my private works. I myself am so fragmented, so much about boundary and borders and fixed spaces and brokenness, that I became addicted to the line.

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One day, I guess, I’ll drift back to the low saturation illustrations that I can sometimes do, like cabbage butterfly balloon; but when? I don’t know. Originally, it was a whimsy, a flight of fancy. I didn’t know what I was doing, I only knew I wanted there to be a butterfly balloon and a snail shell in there somewhere.

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The new The Get Up Kids album; ‘There Are Rules’ is awesome. It’s taken about four listens for me to realise this, but now I’m there and I have some new ‘art’ music. Keith Case still swamps me every time I hear it. I don’t know what it is about that song, but it rolls over me like a flood, and leaves me over-drenched and barren all at once. I could dedicate swathes of art to that single song; and no one would know.

Portable Photovoltaics? Well, maybe.

I think I love inking more than any other part of the arting process. Or my arting process, anyway. I work with Artline Drawing Systems in 0.5 and 0.1, though sometimes I cut down my 0.5 to release more ink, and sometimes I will stray into 0.8 territory (though not in this one).

The 0.1s run out the fastest. But then, I put them through their paces.

Portable Photovoltaic Systems - pre-colouring - by Ravenari

I can’t believe it’s only the first week of January. It actually seems to have progressed remarkably slowly. Everyone else around me constantly exclaims; ‘I can’t believe how fast this day, week, month, year has gone!’ And I’m often occupying this strange space where I think ‘oh my god I can’t believe how much I packed into that year and how slow it went!’ I don’t know what that is, but I like it. My mascot is a snail.

Portable Photovoltaic Systems - pre-colouring - detail - by  Ravenari

I don’t understand how governments can subsidise some things, but won’t subsidise others. It wouldn’t kill them to subsidise solar power on buildings (though hopefully not ravens, like in this picture!) I’ve been thinking about getting solar power for our own home, but it’s expensive, and on a Disability Pension, regular haircuts are ‘expensive’ so, y’know. It’s one of those ‘one day, when I have the money’ things.

Portable Photovoltaic Systems - pre-colouring - detail - by Ravenari

It’s very strange occupying a capitalist culture, and yet… not enjoying so many parts of it. Because it’s capitalism that stops that kind of subsidisation. It’s wanting to yank as much money as possible from fossil fuels while they’re still around.

Drives me kind of crazy.

Silver swans and silver ferrets

Watercolour pencils aren’t a graceful medium when I use them.

Frankly,
they can end up looking kind of scrappy.

For example –
We start with this…

But then it sort of turns into this.

And then it becomes this.

The silver swans are available at Etsy!

In the meantime, there’s an upcoming pheasantpalooza (no really, I’m illustrating four of them. FOUR! One’s a peacock pheasant though, so that’s okay).

The Sea Shepherd has a frame (and a crooked photo)

Boy am I happy to see The Sea Shepherd finally framed. I’ve yet to put Ornamental Lighting: The Green Range in the frame, because it’s a laborious process and one I don’t really enjoy (I think I’m going to start going to a framer’s instead of ordering the frames online, even though there is a big mark-up for basically waiting a lot longer for the frames which is like…what now?) But still, might give it a try.

This is for the Natcon 50 Future Imperfect art exhibition. 🙂

Cats and Art do not always mix.

I do my art in an art studio from home. After years of pilfering space wherever I could find it (including doing full-sized pastel works on an uneven carpeted floor between university homework and the latest ten books I was reading), we decided that we’d dedicate a room to my art/computing/writing/shenanigans.
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Blast from the Past – Eucalyptus

I drew this Eucalyptus in 1997, I’m pretty sure. I was in year 11, probably fifteen, and I had gone to our local primary school park on Priestley Street and actually taken my fineliners and egg tempera paints with me. I still remember the experience vividly. I did used to take art materials with me to that park all the time, there were big, grand eucalyptus trees everywhere.

Embleton Eucalyptus by Ravenari

Sometimes, you look back on the things you release into the world, groan, hold your head in your hands, and basically have to learn how to deal with people not only seeing, but sometimes even owning things that you can’t stand.

Sometimes though, you look back on things and think, ‘wow, could I actually do that again now? Do I have that same vision?’ And I don’t. I do have vision, but it’s not this vision. I think, personally, that it shows my obsession with unconventional colouring, something I’ve always kind of had. I feel like this with writing, too. I look back on things I’ve written and sometimes wonder who that person was, what she was thinking, why she chose the words she did, how she managed to execute a sentence that I’m not sure I could execute now.

Eucalyptus trees are fantastic subjects, they’re graceful without being too ordered, they have a lazy way of growing their branches which translates to wonderful curved lines and robust curved leaves on the page. More than that, there are hundreds of species of eucalyptus to choose from.

I used to do most of my artwork outside of and independently of class, despite taking TEE Art, and Art & Design. Sometimes I’d try and cheat and find a way to add it to my portfolio by making something up, and hoping for the best. But ultimately, I drew this eucalyptus because I really felt like this eucalyptus wanted to be drawn by me. It’s my favourite kind of art; art that is a communication between subject and artist, and is its own pattern of interspecies or interobject understanding.

It has nothing to do with deadlines, commissions, commerciality, making money or even personal philosophy and politics.

It was a tree. It was some tempera paints. Some ink. A fineliner. Some paper.

I miss those days. I don’t draw nearly as freely anymore.