Monday, November 11, 2013

Annabelle and the Autumn Ducks Ponder by the Pond

  Here is another Autumn Illustration I finished recently. I recently added my current Autumn Illustrations to my etsy shop.

   Annabelle lives a very chaotic life. She is the oldest of thirteen children, and because her status as eldest child, grown up responsibilities are too often thrust upon her. She is almost an adult, and when she turns eighteen she plans to run away from home. She is either going to join a traveling circus as an acrobat or run away to Paris to become an artist. Until her eighteenth birthday, she can only find peace in one spot, the duck pond. The pond is the most peaceful and lovely place in the world in Annabelle's eyes. She loves to be near the strange ducks that live by the pond. The ducks are large and friendly. Sometimes they quack, but their quacks sound like music, like the pitter-patter of a drum, or the clatter of wooden wind chimes. Annabelle thinks the ducks are probably the most magical creatures in the world.
   But, as Annabelle soon discovered, there is something magical about the pond besides the ducks. The pond is a portal that shows Annabelle views of different parts of the world. If she wonders what a girl her age might be doing in China at this very moment, she looks into the pond and thinks about China. Soon she will see a Chinese girl walking to school, a stack of books tucked under her arm. Annabelle has also seen an old man in Russia walking with his grown sons and their two dogs through the snow. Even though the men's noses were rosy with cold, Annabelle could see that they laughed and smiled as they walked. Annabelle has seen a girl in Canada at her first musical recital. She has seen old women in Peru telling happy stories to each other. She has seen tourists in Germany dancing at a festival. Sometimes Annabelle wonders about the implications of her voyeurism, but she believes in the kindness of the pond. The pond will not show her parts of strangers lives that will violate their privacy. Instead the pond shows her happy moments at fairs, people at fruit markets, people laughing as they wonder through the streets. All things that Annabelle hopes to see and experience herself one day in person.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Succulents and Birds

 While my dad and I were exploring Monterey, we came across an odd and petite succulent garden. I love succulents, so this surprise garden was quite the delight!

   About a month ago I was walking through a marina parking lot when I saw a crow fly past with a strange, oblong object firmly clenched in it's beak. At first I thought it was a big cheeto or cheese puff, but it was not neon orange enough to be a cheeto. Then I thought it might be a pretzel stick, but it was too large for that. Soon after I saw the first crow, two more crows flew by carrying similar strange objects with their beaks. It was a funny sight to see three crows flying with matching mystery snacks. As I continued on my walk I saw an old red car parked in the parking lot. In the front seat was a man with white hair throwing things out his window. All around the car were happy crows and seagulls, nabbing the treats the man was giving them. From my brief observations it looked as if the seagulls ate the treats immediately, while the crows flew off to a more secure location so they could enjoy their treats in private. When I got closer I saw that the man was feeding the hungry birds cut-up hot dogs. So that is what the crows had in their beaks! The old man seemed very content making friends with all the birds. I imagine that he has been a life long bird enthusiast but maybe he lives in an apartment with no balcony, so he has to find other locations to befriend the local birds. I think probably he also has a special interest in crows and seagulls compared to other birds. After all, he was not throwing bird seed from his window in order to entice dainty birds like sparrows or blackbirds. He was throwing larger snacks appropriate for hardy birds. I think the old man likes crows and seagulls because they are scavengers. They are scrappy and have gumption and wit. Maybe the old man fought in a war when he was younger and the men he most liked to fight next to were the scrappy men with gumption and wit, so now he as a special fondness for these qualities in other individuals including birds.
   I was at the same marina just the other day when suddenly all the birds near by started up a frenzy of cawing and squawking. I looked around to see what all the racket was about when I saw the red car pulling into the parking lot. The birds were flying around the car, eager for their treats. I was impressed (and a bit jealous) that all the local birds immediately recognized their generous friend. It seems kind of nice to be famous among the bird population of Seattle. I never saw where the red car parked (it's a large parking lot) but a couple of minutes later, I noticed several birds flying off with hot dog pieces in their beaks. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sea Lion Pier

  While in Monterey, my dad and I wandered onto a fishing pier that seemed normal at first glance, but in fact it was quite an extraordinary pier. It was full of delightfully chubby and barking sea lions! Sea lions are not an animal I get to see very often and it was so much fun seeing so many of them close up. All along the pier were large brown rocks that the sea lions would sun bathe on. They would appear from beneath the murky greenish water and plop onto the rocks. They looked so content stretched out with their blubbery bodies soaking up the heat. At the very end of the pier is a gate preventing pedestrians from further exploration. But beyond the gate is a long island of more rocks covered with sea lions. There were hundreds of them! It was an amazing sight. They are also quite loud. They love to bark and probably they love hearing all their collective barks mingling together. The sea lions make quite the cheerful choir. Their barks sound pretty, so it is nice listening to them.

   Today while thinking of something that is never far from my mind, CANDY, I realized that Thanksgiving is the only major holiday (at least celebrated in the U.S.) that does not have a candy mascot. Halloween has candy corns, Christmas has candy canes, Valentines Day has talking hearts, and Easter has jelly beans. You could possibly make the case that Fourth of July doesn't have an official candy but I think of July Fourth as a second tier holiday. But either way, I would like to sponsor the root beer barrel as the official candy of Fourth of July. There is something so summery about root beer, and the Fourth of July is the quintessential summer holiday. But the candy companies of the world have been woefully neglectful when it comes to Thanksgiving. The entire holiday is centered around food (and being thankful of course), so how hard could it be to squeeze another food onto the list of Thanksgiving themed delights. Unlike fourth of July, I don't have a candy nomination for Thanksgiving. Some inventive candy maker should create one!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy Six Days After Halloween!

( Fake heron dreams of flight but must remain still, little orange poppy, succulent in the sun, fake rooster dreams of 'cock-a-doodle-doing' but must remain silent.)

Even though Halloween has past us by like a ghost in the wind, I want to share my Halloween pumpkins.

These two are David's pumpkins. I think of his pumpkins as crazy-pumpkin and hungry-pumpkin.

These two are mine. Let me specify, one of them is an owl but the other one is not a cat, it is a raccoon.

 Carving pumpkins is one of my favorite parts of Halloween, especially now that I am way too old to trick-or-treat. While in the car on Halloween, I passed a group of younger teenagers walking around trick-or-treating. One of them gleefully yelled 'Happy Halloween!' It was very cute because his joyful cry perfectly captured that giddy excitement I use to feel when I was a kid on Halloween. Halloween use to carry a certain sense of freedom that as a kid I would not experience on an ordinary day. Out late, getting free candy, dressed in a delightful disguise.

(Mysterious bridge that probably leads to a make-believe land, little red tomato glowing like a ruby orb, kitty paw!, unique daisies)

  I recently had a good idea for an invention. The invention would be called 'Boot Lids.' These would be lids that you put on your boots to prevent spiders from crawling into them and making webs. Sometimes during the Fall when spiders are creeping and crawling in every nook and cranny, it is unsettling to wriggle one's foot into a boot. You never know what sort of eight-legged creature is lurking at the toe of your boot. With Boot Lids, the boot wearing consumer can rest assured that their toe will not make contact with an angry (or more likely frightened) spider!