Saturday, 15 September 2012

Cattails in art stix

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is burst. Autumn's nearly here, and with it comes the bursting of the cattails into seed balls. And as anyone who's ever used cattails decoratively knows, if you bring them in the house without spraying them with lacquer or something like that, in a little while you'll find yourself with a heck of a fluffy mess.

By the way, cattails can be an important survival food if you're ever lost in the woods (or near a marsh, in this case). They're easily recognisable, and pretty much all of the plant is edible. Tubers can be roasted, leaves can be split for the pith (but that's more work than I'd bother with), and the young flowers -- the "hot dogs" when they're still green -- can be cooked and eaten like corn on the cob. They're actually pretty tasty. The pollen can be used to stretch flour, and later in the season the fluff can be a good source of tinder.

And, erm, now you know.

This was done loosely and quickly on purpose. I'm still ruining things with too many details (that's why none of them have been posted) and I've got to get out of that rut somehow. The scanner's taken a bit of the colour again, so if you'd like to imagine a little orange rather than brown in the sky and on the tips of the leaves, that'll help somewhat.

I'm going to try to paint something now. Either that or fold the towels.

What do you want to bet that the towels win?

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Um... something or other in inktense and art stix

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is imagination. And in the spirit of that, I kind of just let my hand do whatever it felt like.

I know -- that's pretty much exactly what it looks like. Ah well.

Incidentally, whatever it felt like apparently included not using brushes on the watercolour ink. I was going to do a proper wash (well, as proper as it ever gets for me, anyway), but found myself holding  the brush with a very distinct feeling of meh. Ok, then, hand. You get your way. Wet paper towel and streaky finish it is.

The colours, as usual, have been fairly mutilated by the scanner. I'm just going to let it stand (ok, then, scanner...), but I will mention that there's a bit of apple green in the centre thingy that isn't showing up at all.

And why apple green? No idea. The hand wanted it.

If I had to try to describe what's going on here, I suppose I could say that my imagination seems to work in a couple of different ways. Sometimes it just seems to whirl around in circles that don't really go anywhere, and sometimes it's more of a branching thing. One thought leads to another leads to another... you know how it goes. Some branches are obviously dead ends, some branches lead to other branches, and some branches just go straight back into the whirl.

But that's really more explanation than I was planning. Let's go another direction, then and say that my imagination apparently looks a bit like the inside of a veiny eyeball.

You can't not see it now, can you? Sorry about that.

Let's end on an even sillier note, then. Sometimes when I'm cropping the scans of these things I'll put them through the photoeditor's filters just to find out what happens and see if I can see another aspect that I didn't notice. This is what the current scan looks like as a negative.

I kind of like it better, to be honest.

Maybe hand knew what it was doing...
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