Flourishes, but Quietly

Digital illustration from a painting: Splashy-FlashyNo Talking in Class

Am I a showy character? It may be that I am…

A bold display of color makes me happy as a clam—

The splash of waves or fireworks delights me deep within

Enough to make me run and leap and wear a silly grin—

An anthem sung; a symphony or jazz or drumline played

Or children’s playground chanting—yes, by all of these I’m swayed

To passion and delirium, to ecstasy and dance,

But mostly, from the audience, where I can hide, perchance…

I have to tell you honestly, I’d rather you’re the star

And I the meekly happy fan who worships from afar,

For though I love the big and grand, extravagant and wild,

I’ll gladly leave that up to you and stay a quiet child.Digital illustration from a photo: No Talking in School

Psychedelic Psanity (an Orison to Orange)

digital illustration from a photoI’ve been known to be loud. I’ve worn bright colors, I’ve shouted, and I’ve been opinionated. Much of the time I’m more modest and even occasionally somewhat self-effacing, and more often than not I’d rather anyone else be the center of attention, but once in a while I do just let
‘er rip and enjoy the noise.

It’s possible that my sometime dislike of bright orange reflected my then predominant shy and introverted parts. When I was little and not yet worried about others’ opinions of me, I chose as my first self-selected garment a coat of the color in today’s illustration, and I wore it proudly and felt like a (miniature) queen in it. Now, ten years after beginning useful treatment for that nasty old anxiety-and-depression cocktail that had drizzled over me in the many subsequent years’ passing after that coat purchase, I appreciate bright orange again. But in that middle time I was a nervous and insecure type and orange was far too ebullient and exotic and full of uninhibited good cheer for me to even look upon it without a twinge.

You know what, though? ‘Orange’ and ‘twinge’ may end with the same sound, but they sure don’t rhyme, and I can’t think of much else they really have in common either, so why should I let the fact that I look awful in that color (never mind my generous childhood self-image) steer me away from delighting in the joy and sunshine that orange represents and just allowing that loud, reckless, gleeful color to shine all over me. Maybe even though I might not be able to be orange enough myself, I can reflect the joy and sunshine of orange a bit. Whee!

Rising above It All

digital collagePhoenix in Plainclothes

I’m not afraid, though storm clouds menace me,

obscuring all the known, the safe and sweet,

though lightning slashes through the dark and sleet

to make its fury all that I can see–

For under it, still in the garden’s bed,

lie roses, graceful guardians of peace,

to shelter me until the storm should cease,

and blue convolvulus, whose trumpets said–

The rain announces plenty, growth and life,

and nothing terrible amid its fires

can conquer me, so strong are my desires

and will, that they defeat such earthly strife–

And I will spread my wings and rise, remade,

for though storms menace me, I’m not afraid.digital collage

Side Effects Make a Changed Man

Beastly Discovery

Mild-mannered Monsieur Ste-Hilaire

Went out one night to take the air

And came home newly sharp and snarky

(Full of mischief and malarkey);

I think that maybe in the park, he

Might have met a succulent

Voracious, wild and truculent,

That bit his elbows, left and right,

Infecting him that very night

(As you’d imagine, quite a sight)

With psychedelic thoughts to itch

Him to a highly fevered pitch

Wherein he met another world

And in its vortex, seeing swirled

(The way such rarities are hurled)

Strange creatures in bizarre parade,

He loosed the window, threw the shade

Upon it open just to share

With us the beastly thoughts in there

(Effects of which you’re now aware).digital illustration

Pop Peacock

Count me among the millions enamored of those strange birds Mother Nature garbs in the most exotic finery yet makes the comic relief when it comes to songbird status. Peacocks are hardly the scaredy-pants of the menagerie, but you’d never guess it when you hear their guttural squawks of Help! Help!! across the way. From what I’ve seen, this propensity for sounding the alarm does in fact make them rather handy gatekeepers for herd and flock, but as for any timidity, that seems to be far outweighed by their curiosity, which instead makes them as bold as their colors would imply.

digital artwork

The Love Song of Alfred J. Peacock

All of this makes them quite fascinating to me, and not only so because of my persistent attraction to all things gloriously colorful and iridescent. It also, serendipitously, makes them relatively approachable when they don’t feel threatened, so besides being photogenic they are also photograph-able. So I have a small but nice collection of peacock portraits and closeups of their dramatically beautiful details from which I can make playful peacock artworks. I share here a trio of my ‘recombinant peacock’ digital pieces using the same elements I’ve shot to create slightly different effects.

digital artwork

Psychedelic Peacocks

The peacocks gave their tacit permission. And I, magpie-type bird that I am, can’t help but oblige. Help! Help!! Help!!!

digital artwork

Peacock Moire

Not All is Crystal Clarity

Heart’s Metronome I

Each breath I draw could cauterize my lungs,

The ice in it a straight geometry

Of arrows pointed, or a ladder’s rungs,

Down to the inmost shrinking core of me–

I fear, I fall–I, frightened, inly veer

To shy away from such an icy blast,

And slipping on its planes, so disappear

From my entire future and my past–

And hang suspended in this present cage,

Unstuck from time and yet stuck in it too,

As cold as winter, death, despair or rage,

And all for fear I’ll not be loved by you–

There is no deeper loneliness than this–

That I should feel unloved amidst your kiss.photo

Heart’s Metronome II

One moment in an icy terror’s grip,

And yet the next, I’m bathed in jeweled flame;

How can it be that I may swing and slip

Between two distant worlds whose blazoned name

Engraves in me with equal force and pow’r

Identical, yet attributes apart

Change me by seconds much as by the hour,

Into a whole or broken kind of heart–

Because unfounded did I find my dread

That when you kissed me, elsewhere was your love,

And when I feared it must be null or dead,

It was the spark that made our hearts both move–

So on the instant turn both life and death,

When love enlivens this one dazzling breath.digital painting from a photo

Still Hungry after All these Posts

digital illustration + text

A Little Northwest Pictorial

It’s certainly a fine time to be in the old familiar places of the northwest. The Evergreen State is at its lush floral best, the cool-weather walks already impossible in Texas by mid-June are still a fine evening pleasure for scoping out the neighborhood sculptures and specimen plantings in their cottage-garden settings, ferries ply the waters of Puget Sound, and even Mt. Rainier comes out of hiding behind various veils of cloud from time to time.photophotophotophotophotophotophotophotophotophotophoto