wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Usually, when I do ritual, creating sacred space is easy. I hold my intent softly and gently in my mind, and I am there. Day or night, private or public space, the presence of candles, incense, or other sacred tools--it doesn't matter.

Except when it does.

Being able to do it so casually most of the time can make it harder to notice when it isn't just happening, much less to figure out why. Especially since life is usually unusually hard at that point--and isn't that when we need our sacred spaces the most?.

This is complicated by the fact that I find that living my life with the awareness and intent that each moment is sacred to be more important than formal ritual, which so often can be empty, or filled with a sense of bored obligation rather than an awareness and celebration of the divine within and without. Yeah, there's boredom and drudgery in any path--it's impossible to convince myself that washing dishes is sacred on an experiential level, no matter how much I agree it's sacred on a logical level, for instance--so it's a challenge to try to stay in that mental space, even when evil is not on the rise, even when there's no clear and present danger that in the near future I won't have the money and healthcare I need, and even when there's no urgent worries about the health or well-being of people I care about.

Add those things in, and that sense of wonder, of the sacred, can slip away like a well drying up in a drought. It's there, and it's there, and it's there (though you have to work harder and be more patient to drink your fill), until, one day, it's not there, or at least is not enough.

And for all my belief that we can defeat this evil and all my determination that we will (because we must), it's taking its toll. I don't want to have to spend time on politics, not day in and day out. I don't want to be looking at my dwindling income and the threats to Obamacare and the threats of violence to queer people and worrying about the future. My health issues affect my sleep on my best nights. Worries don't help at all, and exhaustion mimics depression remarkably well. It's no wonder I've been feeling worn, overwhelmed, uninspired, and distracted.

But my good friend Susan Urban and her husband were playing at Pagan Pride (as a group, they call themselves February Sky), and though I overslept and we got there late, I was determined to get there. And we did get there, and I was walking around listening to the music, looking at things and talking quietly to the vendors, and the sweet old lady doing readings talked me into a discounted reading. She assured me her cards could give me insight into what I most need to know, and that's why I was at her table. Then she asked about my question. Half of my focus was on the music and the other half, the part thinking about my life, was just kind of overwhelmed. I stuck with that question: "What do I most need to know?".

She does readings using three decks. She had me shuffle the first deck, fan them out, and draw cards one at a time, three from the first deck and one each from the other two. First, I drew Armadillo, which she said was all about setting boundaries appropriately, but also a warning to face my troubles and not try to hide in my shell. Armadillo was flanked by cards for the mental and practical, lizard, for dreams, and snake, for rebirth. A lot of reptiles--maybe signifying that I'm naturally more affected by the metaphysical weather than I thought? I don't know. But the boundaries thing, that rang true in lots of ways, from keeping the boundaries on my food intake I need to stay healthy to limiting my exposure to all the upsetting news happening today. I've also had a task to organize my writing and arting better that I set into my Google calendar. It's been recurring as instructed for a few weeks now, whether or not I had the time and energy to do it, and that is also essentially an issue of boundaries, of carving out time and focus so I get more done. Not that I saw all that in the moment, but I felt at least some of it, on a deep, wordless level.

And then she had me draw a card from the second deck, the deck she said was Spirit Guides. I've never felt a particular affinity to Panda, but the advice that I need to create a sacred space in my home and place of work, that certainly rang true, and continues to ring true. There are plenty of things that have been making me crazy about my work and living spaces. There's reasons for all of that, of course; I've been focused on accomplishing urgent things. But that doesn't leave much space or time for thinking about making sacred space and sacred time where and when I most need it. That dovetails right into the need to tend boundaries, really, in my mind. I've started to act on that part. Since the reading, I've prioritized putting at least a little time every day into finishing the plaster work on our currently deconstructed dry goods closet (I pulled it apart when I didn't have time because the detritus made it clear it had become a mouse haven, and wouldn't be a safe haven for our food and oven parchment and so forth until the holes were fixed), and cleaning my office (I'd kept enough space for writing, barely, but had started sorting old papers and cluttered things up quite a bit. Mind you sorting those papers is a legitimate business activity, but having them clutter up my creative space was far from inspirational. I will just have to refuse to pull more stuff out to sort than I can finish in one sitting, not to have my office look like it belongs in some yuppy magazine, but because I need the space to feel inspired.) There's work yet to do on both of those things, and other stuff to do after, but at least I have started. Some of this was clear to me when she turned Panda over for me to see, but it reflects into other things too, into my goal of giving away or throwing away stuff I don't need and even into remembering to go out and pick up the trash that blows into (and gets stuck in) my rose bushes.

Finally, from a deck that's all wolves, I received the advice that I'm at a crossroads, with an emphasis that I am not at a dead end, I am free to choose my new direction. Additionally, the card advised me to plan and to keep focused on what's practical. I'm not sure what to make of that yet, but I'm still working on the boundaries and the sacred space. I expect that once I get those things in order, I'll start to see what paths are available and what choices I have to choose between. And certainly, with the danger of having less resources in the future, keeping practicality in mind matters.

I suppose that now I should go check on that drying plaster. It would be nice to paint the closet tomorrow, or at least very soon. Once it's dry, I can put stuff away that's currently hard to find and underfoot in the library.

And then I'll remember a lesson learned in my divorce, and do some formal ritual to help things along. Candles, incense, statues and so on are only symbols to help me focus (I learned, long ago, that if I tried to rely on an object for my magic, it would break or disappear all too soon)--but when I'm having trouble focusing, they are powerful symbols. And the tools I use are all, in and of themselves, beautiful and in alignment with my higher self, or I wouldn't use them in the first place.

They'll still be in a space that's imperfectly cleaned and sorted, but I can celebrate the progress I've made and plan for what I need to do to move forward, in whatever directions I will choose along the way.

Blessed Be to all of you, my friends. May you have the sacred space you need, and may your boundaries be wisely set and wholesome. May your dreams be strong, and if you need to shed a skin or two, I hope it won't itch too much as you shed the old and grow into the new. And when you face a crossroads, may you be aware that very few choices are between a good path and a bad one. May you see clearly the risks and benefits of your choices, and may you find inspiring and practical ways to work to achieve your dreams, and kindness along the way.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
So, the computer follies continued for so long the Geek Squad guys told me they were tired of seeing me. I realized several days after the New Moon that I'd missed posting. I do apologize about that! Life's been busy, and making multiple trips to the computer store in between getting help online didn't help my focus at all.

Eventually they diagnosed the core problem--there is a tiny solid state hard drive that has failed and needs replacement in the computer. It's is invisible to the user, but that the operating system relies on. Urgh. Every salesman I talked to said those break less than the regular ones. Now that computer is off getting the drive replaced, and I'm praying that's all that's wrong with it. I miss having a computer that's all set up for the stuff I want to do. The good news, however, is that so far they've found no problems with the main hard drive, so I shouldn't get a blank slate back. I backed up all the files, but it's a pain to set up the programs.

In better news, I've signed up for an in-person writer's workshop with some fabulous teachers and an online course in anthology construction, so I'm hoping to build up my Paypal account to cover expenses. Therefore I'm offering a five-card reading for $25, or if you want a larger reading we can discuss costs. As always, a signal boost will allow you to ask for a clarification card on some part of this reading, if you wish. Alternatively, you can ask for a Torn World reading and get an in-character reading in Affamarg or the Breidalam Mountains using that world's standard layout for the divination disks.

Or, of course, you can simply ask for a single card (with the usual clarifying card for people who tip or signal boost). The guitar case below is my personal PayPal link, featuring my own artwork, which still inspires me even though it isn't Tarot-related.

So, let's see if I can offer some some inspiration or spark some creativity for you. You can ask about real life or a creative project, or even a game. I can draw a card for you to meditate on, to represent the Guide you need right now, or to get you unstuck. I can draw a card for a character or can draw a card or cards for you to use as writing or art prompts, and I can modify a more-traditional five-card spread into a prompt for a story focusing on plot or characters or a little of both.

New friends and old are very welcome. The grass is shaggy, and weeds are keeping the tomato and squash plants company, but some of the roses have started to bloom, and I'm happy to have you visit.

For free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle, the Daughters of the Moon Tarot (one of the round decks), or the Shapeshifter Tarot. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide or for inspiration, or you can just ask for a card. I don't need to know what your question is, but you are welcome to share it with me if you like.

The first card is free (though tips are always appreciated). Tips (including requests for longer readings) also let you ask me to use any of my other decks, including but not limited to my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards and my Fantasy Showcase Tarot deck where each card was done by a different artist. Tipping can also be used to request a private reading, or to draw a clarifying card. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

Signal boosts are very much appreciated, and also earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card. I'd love to do a bunch of readings, under the circumstances!

I understand all too well that when people don't have cash or spoons that is generally when they most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

If you tip, it's helpful to me for you to mention it here so I can connect your paypal information with your request. Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). If that doesn't work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

I will reply to all requests. In the highly unlikely event that the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this card draw by adding a clear note at the top of the post rather than risk leaving anyone without a response. However, I intend to stay open through the weekend, and longer for paid readings.

Thank you, and Blessed Be!

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
I went to see Wisc. State Rep. Fred Kessler talk about the case (Whitford v. Gill) against the Wisconsin redistricting that was recently ruled unconstitutional, and which Wisconsin's GOP government is appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States.

He first introduced himself, talking about his history and how he got into politics. He was first elected to serve as a representative in Madison in 1960, when he was a very young man, and he has also served as a Judge before returning to working as a politician.

He gave us this background so we would understand why he immediately recognized how unfair the current electoral map in Wisconsin is. He immediately started talking to people about whether a legal case could be made to challenge it. I don't have all the names, as most of the notes I was taking were in the form of sketching the speaker, but it was interesting to hear how the case developed. Little things mattered--for instance, one of the people invited to a meeting brought his then-girlfriend, who agreed that this was a big issue, and who volunteered to do some fund raising, as she knew people who she thought would agree that this was an issue of basic fairness and very important to the continuation of our democratic form of government.

She came back to the group at their next meeting with pledges for over $150,000.

Now you have to understand that this money did not go to the lawyers--they are donating their time, and won't get paid unless they win--but this money meant that the lawyers could start the process, doing all the little and big things that are needed for a lawsuit, from the trivial (filing and serving the lawsuit) to the most vital and most expensive--paying for copies of documents as part of the discovery process, hiring experts, paying them to do the research necessary to have a properly informed opinion, depositions, and so on.

He talked about the importance of choosing plaintiffs who were representative of the various different districts in the state--and the importance of having one of those be a lawyer and law professor very familiar with the process and with the implications of the various choices that would have to be made in the course of the lawsuit. He talked about his worries that a Republican-appointed judge was assigned to their case, and how that Republican judge ruled quite clearly against the unconstitutional gerrymandering that the GOP created in Wisconsin.

He says that if the Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs in this case, upholding the lower court's ruling that Wisconsin's districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered, he thinks that this case will prove as important to our country as Brown v. Board of Education. He talked about GOP efforts in a number of states and admitted that the Democrats had done some gerrymandering, though not to as severe an extent, in Massachusetts. He said that it is very important that a standard be established. In his opinion it doesn't much matter who is tasked with drawing up the maps if there is a very clear, fair legal standard.

As to that, another thing that happened early on was that someone knew about then-unpublished research that would allow a non-subjective test of the fairness, a way to measure whether a map was fair not only by race, but by party affiliation or political philosophy. He felt it was essential to winning this case that this study existed, and that it was accepted as a valid test by the Court.

He also said that there were four important legal points that had to be met in order to win the lawsuit--the courts had to find the following:

1. That members of a political party (or perhaps it was people who lean one way or another politically) are a protected class
2. That the map did deprive said members of a protected class of their rights
3. That the map was drawn with the intent of depriving members of a protected class of their rights, and
4. There was no other justifiable, legal reason to have drawn the map the way it was drawn.

Now, my lawyer readers should keep in mind that I'm doing my best to report his words accurately, but I am not a legal scholar and did not record the meeting. I am relying on my memory and a few scribbled notes on the back of the meeting agenda, so I might have gotten some important nuance wrong. But this is accurate to the best of my recollection and understanding.

At the end, he took questions.

One person asked if this government in Wisconsin was elected unconstitutionally, then are they legitimately in office? Rep. Kessler said that is a very interesting question, and no one knows the answer. For instance, if they are not legitimate, then no one knows whether some of the more outrageous laws that were passed by the people elected using an unconstitutional map can be challenged in Court as invalid.

I asked if there is support for eliminating the Electoral College. He said that he is not convinced that is a good idea, and talked about the chaos that the Republicans caused trying to make sure that the Florida recount could not be accomplished in a timely and accurate fashion, and said that he didn't want to see that chaos on a national scale.

In answer to another question, he noted that, now that the GOP has instituted their very restrictive voter ID law, he anticipates that they will try to eliminate Wisconsin's election day voter registration and early voting provisions, to further suppress the vote.

It was a small group, perhaps in part because of the Women's Rally today, but clearly there were more questions at the point when the regular Southside Democrats' agenda had to be hurriedly finished, since the public library was about to close. Some of the attendees headed to a local pub for more discussion, but we had other errands to do and one of the stores we needed to stop at was closing shortly.

The meeting was definitely interesting, and I was very glad to hear from such a careful and informed person that he is very optimistic about what the Supreme Court ruling on this matter will be.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Yeah, the con report is a little late. Such is life.

I got to the hotel later than planned (the dentist trip the day before slowed me down), and piled the stuff I would need to teach people painting in the Midwinter Faire onto the little luggage cart I mostly use to take a few of my many instruments to filks, got to the usual area only to see no evidence of that event happening. Well, I thought, maybe they moved it. After a quick walk to programming ops, I found that they'd cancelled the event (too bad they didn't tell me, I would have brought less painting stuff). I also found that they were looking for people to add to several panels I was very interested in, one of which started immediately, so I took my paints and canvasses and spare paper and table cover and all to that room to talk about the allegation that there are only 7 stories (well, seven plot types, as it turned out). It was an interesting panel, and I did some sketching underneath my notes for the panel.

It turns out my in-panel doodles are much better when I expected to spend that time teaching art than they are when I am gearing up my thoughts to talking about writing, though I think I held my own on that front too.

Afterward, the art show found me space to hang some art (in addition to the Capricon Challenge piece) and I did that. This pic was taken before they printed the bid sheets.

The next morning, I got up very early (for me) to talk about Libraries in Space--or more specifically about what a library of a new colony on Mars would be like. That sounds like a planetary library to me, but that didn't make the topic any less interesting.

The final panel I was on was Theology in SF, which was fascinating. It was very different from the other excellent religion in SF panels I've been on at various cons in past years, which was due, partially, to the focus on deity rather than religion. I think it was also partially due to the fact that the panelists this time were primarily people fascinated by the study of religion, rather than primarily people who write science fiction--not that the two are in any way exclusive, because they're not, but the focus was more on views of God or Gods and how that affected various science fiction works, and less on how to make a fictional religion believable. I enjoyed it very much. I was also thanked afterward for representing the Pagan worldview, a thing the audience member in question said she hadn't seen much of. I guess either the popularity of Paganism at conventions is down or, more likely, the rise of the Religious Right and the "alt right" has made a lot of us back at least partway into the closet.

After that, I spent time painting and doing all the things that I go to cons for--chatting with people and filking and panels. One of the highlights was working on my painting of Cathy during her concert (and teaching some painting there, after all). During the filks, I sat with my sister. She painted, being of the firm opinion that a filk provides her with a good excuse to do art. I also painted during the filk, in between singing and playing songs myself and playing along with other people.

Here's a new detail from Cathy's painting. She suggested I add a sea horse, but when I saw a pic of an adult sea horse with a young one, I knew the painting needed more than one.

The con wasn't perfect, of course. I had to tell the Green Room staff how disappointing it was that they didn't keep the ingredients of the stuff in the room so I could tell if I could eat it or not (I've been eating in the green room with these food allergies at Capricon for years now, and in past years, they kept the ingredients panels from boxes in a spiral notebook). So I didn't eat much there. The ice cream in the con suite wasn't safe--but to my shock the hot dogs were (they still had the box!). Also, I brought some food. So I didn't starve, and more importantly, I didn't get sick, which I can't take for granted when I'm not cooking from scratch at home. So that has to count as a win.

And I sold a piece of art -- my Resist! black cat-eared hat. It didn't net me much income, but was a little more than the hanging fees, so overall, also a win. And to think I put the hat into the auction more as a political statement than expecting to sell it!

I guess I should go get some pink t-shirt material and make at least one more hat.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
After the dentist and dinner, I stayed up later than planned last night, finishing this. If no one buys it, I'm tempted to add a girl curled up, reading a book, in the biggest bubble, but I like the painting as-is, and besides, I can't paint up a decent person anywhere near as fast as I can do a flower or tree!

If you'll be there this evening stop by the Midwinter Faire and paint with me! Or maybe we can find time to get together in the Cafe and paint--there'll be musicians playing there on and off, if previous years are any indication.

And sketchfest is this weekend, so even if you're not there, we can, perhaps, do some art together virtually.

Here's the finished painting, with watermark. I think the photo is a little blurry--some of the details just aren't showing up. Oh, well. Maybe I can get a better photo (or at least some detail photos) at the con.

wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
So, we have this room off the TV room, either a very large closet or a very small room. The ancient carpet in it resisted being pulled when we moved in, so we left it there. We put the cat box in it, and plants, and some logs for the cats to climb on. Sadly, eventually an elderly feline started leaving messes there when the cat box wasn't as clean as he wanted. So the carpet had to go.

I've been working at cleaning the remaining carpet pad, which was glued (by intent or entropy) to the wood, up, a little every day. I got mad at something the current tweeter-in-chief did and overdid it a few days ago, and had several days where my wrist hurt. Last night, I got back to the painting, but not for long--after a while, even painting with my tiniest brush was more than I could do. But, I got her face and the imaginary friend roughed in.

Today, after getting the headlight fixed on the car (and it's 100,000 mile tuneup), I picked up some potting soil and seed starter (I have a lovely garden plot to plant in, after all), paid the bills (it hurt to write and type even more than it hurt to paint, over the last couple of days), and got back to painting.

The photos aren't great--I was holding the painting in one hand and the cell phone in the other--but at least you can see the progress I'm making.

So far, I have the goat and the necessary three of the other items for the challenge: the humanoid child, the imaginary friend, and the bubbles. I'm considering whether I should bother with the flag or the balance-scales. The humanoid kid does need a bubble-wand and jar of bubble-soap still, and work on the face. There will also certainly be more bubbles. I'm enjoying the bubbles.

And I'm really glad my wrist isn't hurting any more! It might even have healed faster if I wasn't too angry at watching Mitch McConnell officially silence Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor for milder language than all the guys get away with using. That man needs his grandma to tell him she's ashamed of him. I sent a fax, but somehow I doubt it will have the same impact as a nice visit from Grandma Marley's ghost would. Or am I mashing up my stories too much? Still, it's not a bad daydream, and a better thought for bedtime than dwelling on the reality.

But regarding the painting, as always, comments and suggestions are welcome.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
So, I'm still working on the Capricon Challenge painting. I now have a goat and part of a child-satyr. She did have a face, but it was out of proportion with the body and not very good, so I've painted over her poor face.

She looks very awkward and sad this way, but the covering paint has to dry quite thoroughly before I try again or the background will blend into her skin tones, so she'll have to wait a bit for my new attempt.

The goat isn't too terrible, I guess.

I tried to find a spot where my shadow didn't fall on the goat; somehow that led to a much greener picture than we got for the kid, though I took the photos within a few feet of each other. The colored plastic shades on my lights must have more effect on the light than I realized!

I also dropped my brush and got paint on my skirt, a thing I normally manage to avoid. It (the skirt) is nothing special, so I didn't drop everything to go wash the paint out, but still, it's annoying. I'm used to painting in clothes I love without painting them--a much easier thing to do with real acrylics than with wall paint acrylics, I should note. That stuff is diluted for easy spreading and to still be spreadable if it's open to the air for hours and hours. So it's not really that impressive that I don't normally get painter's art acrylics on my clothes.

Tomorrow, hopefully, I can get the girl done, or at least more done, and start adding at least one imaginary (or not so imaginary) friend.
wyld_dandelyon: An exuberant dandelion I painted (dandelion art)
So, every year, Capricon has an artist's challenge, where artists have to include several things in a single work of art. Lately, I've been arriving at the con and painting one at the last minute--fun, but I know I could do better if I wasn't rushing that much. So this week, I looked up the particulars ahead of time.

This year the criteria are as follows: Artist’s Challenge Award: goes to special works which incorporate a goat (the convention’s mascot, so a goat is always one of the things that must be included) and three of the following: a humanoid child, blown soap bubbles, a flag, an imaginary friend, a set of (balance) scales.

I did a sketch background yesterday, and hoped to do a lot today, but work up feeling sick and unfocused. So not a lot--but a little, at least. Better than nothing.

For some reason, the first picture came out really green. Bad choice of lighting conditions, I guess, since mostly the cell phone gets really good color matching.

The plan is to include a kid (likely a child-satyr) swinging from the tree blowing bubbles with her imaginary friend. Her real companion, the goat, is in the tree and looking on or perhaps trying to bite the bubbles. I'm still pondering what sort of imaginary friend I should include.

As always, suggestions and comments are welcome.
wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
With the current state of things, I'm feeling more need for insight and inspiration than usual, and I'm thinking my friends might also be feeling the same. So I'm going to try to schedule card readings more often this year, hopefully at least once a month at either the full moon or the new (or possibly both). I'm also thinking I may be able to use this card draw for my own inspiration (see below).

It's a New Moon this evening, so I figure I'll offer to draw cards. I hope to send some good energy out into the world, to spark some hope and creativity. You can ask about real life or a creative project, or even a game. I can draw a card for you to meditate on, to represent the Guide you need right now, or to get you unstuck. I can draw a card for a character or can draw a card or cards for you to use as writing or art prompts--starting something new is a traditional use of New Moon energy. But ask what you will, because now is always transforming into a new moment.

I hope you will stop by my garden. It's windy outside today; the snow is all gone, and everything is still winter-grey. But we can move one of the little round tables into the library and sit under the wood carving of dragons playing. The guitar tree is in a corner, the there guitars each have a little tube stuck between the strings. If you ask, I explain that those are guitar humidifiers, to keep the wood supple. You and I can share hot chocolate or tea and chat, and you can get a reading if you would like one. Both new friends and old are welcome.

For free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle, my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards, or the Shapeshifter Tarot. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide, ask for inspiration, or you can just ask for a card. I don't need to know what your question is, but you are welcome to share it with me if you like.

The first card is free (though tips are always appreciated). Tips also let you ask me to use any of my other decks, to request a private reading, or to draw a clarifying card. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

Please consider dropping something in the guitar case below. Readings take time and energy, and even though the Milwaukee winter, like everything else, has been affected by global warming, winter heat is pricey and old houses always need repair somewhere or other.

Signal boosts are very much appreciated, and also earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card.

Today I'm trying a new thing--if donations reach $50 or more, I will use one or more of the cards drawn today as inspiration for a new acrylic sketch/painting, which I will share here, so you can all see how you inspire me.

I'll periodically update progress on that goal here (on DW, the edits may or may not transfer over to LJ, I guess that's also an experiment). So far, I have received $12 of the $50 needed to prompt a sketch/painting. If we go over that amount, I will put more time into moving the painting onward from the sketch stage.

I understand all too well that when people don't have cash or spoons that is generally when they most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

If you tip, it's helpful to me for you to mention it here so I can connect your paypal information with your request. Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). If that doesn't work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

I will reply to all requests. In the highly unlikely event that the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this card draw by adding a clear note at the top of the post rather than risk leaving anyone without a response. However, I intend to stay open at least through Saturday night, and longer for paid readings since in these days of low LJ usage, people may find the post late.

Thank you, and Blessed Be!

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
My sister, Dragon, and I made a plan to go march with the women in DC, because the voices of women and minorities matter, and if our new President understands anything, it's ratings, and I am hoping he will see all the women and QUILTBAG people and other minorities and allies who care enough to travel to his city to send him a message, and that he will want to earn our vote. If not, well, our other elected representatives will see us, and will remember we care. The house and cats and fish are well-tended, just not at the moment by me.

As I often do when I get together with this sister, we sat and painted together, each on our own projects, but with conversation and critique, sharing of supplies, and cheering each other on.

So, here is the revised (and still very much unfinished) painting:

As always, your comments & suggestions are welcome too (meaning, not just my sister's)!
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
During a past Sketchfest, I had a bunch of bright colors mixed for another painting and rather than waste them, I sketched a flower garden. I'm not even sure whether I uploaded the sketch The canvass sat there for a while, not inspiring me.

I had a bit of blue and white paint left over from something else last week, so I picked the painting up and painted the sky in behind the flowers. It's amazing what a difference that made. There is a shadow on the canvass in this picture, which is partially obscured by the watermark.

The line from a song came to me: "The spirit of the plants has come to me in the form of a beautiful, dancing green woman."

There's a lot of detail to do still, and clearly some things are missing altogether (for instance, she needs hair), but it's a start.

Comments are welcome!
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
So, a while back I did a painting inspired by going to Milwaukee's Indian Summer Festival and watching the dancers. I was very proud of it, but it lacked contrast. Still, where I was in skill, I hesitated to mess with it. I liked the composition and a lot of other things about it, and didn't want to risk ruining what I'd achieved.

But my skill and my confidence have both improved, in part thanks to @EllenMillion's sketchfest, and so finally, this week, I risked it.

I made almost no actual changes, but I added layers of paint to give it contrast and I added a lot of detail. Before it was very orange. Now it's still very orange, but it's more than that. (I should have thought to take a "before" picture. There might be one on my computer, but I'm tired, and I'm not taking the time to look.)

So, here is my Spirit of the Desert (with a watermark). It's acrylic on a 9 x 12 inch canvass.

Comments welcome! I'm at the *stare at it for a few days to see if it's done* stage.
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
I did a couple of gift-paintings for someone over on Flight Rising, which were delivered as electronic images. They aren't interested in the physical paintings, so I'm pondering what to do with the canvasses.

But anyway, I haven't been sharing creative stuff enough, so as an intention to both do and publish more creative work next year, I'm sharing them here:

I do like how much most of the people over on FR enjoy art, and how welcoming they are to artists at all levels.
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
A couple of days ago it was Mother’s Day, and—as is usual on my Facebook these days, because I have friends who care deeply and passionately about our world and the people in it—there was a lot of politics on my wall. One of the things on my wall was a friend (admittedly not a Clinton fan) who expressed horror that Hillary was willing to accept support from Republicans. In her mind, that was proof that Hillary doesn’t share any values with liberals.

And I cringed. This was, after all, Mother’s Day, a day when we all—liberals, conservatives, the apolitical, and people whose politics are best described on some other axis—celebrate our marvelous mothers or console our friends who had the misfortune to be born to mothers who aren’t so marvelous. We all value family, just as we all value warmth when it’s cold. Like today—cold and rainy, prompting me to reach for something warm. I tried a sweater, and it was too scratchy. With all the political uproar, I wanted more comfort than that.

There’s this old silk jacket I have. I bought it at the thrift store years ago even though it was a bit threadbare because the colors—purples and blues and greens—are marvelous and it fits gently around me and it’s so soft and sensual. It feels good, like a warm hug made of rose petals. It was old when I bought it, and now the outer silk is pulling apart in strips and shreds. Periodically, I pick this jacket up and give in to the illogical urge (why not just replace it?) to take satin scraps or shapes cut from old silk shirts and patch the areas that are the most tattered.

I pick it up today and put it on long enough to warm up a little, and rip it some more trying to put my phone into a place that, as it turns out, is not the pocket after all. I look again at my Facebook and see more vitriol against that other mother who hopes to help the world from the big white house in DC, and I take the jacket off again. I cut a bit of purple from a ripped silk sleeve I’ve been using to clean my glasses and start stitching it to the coat, and I feel comforted.

Our social fabric is tattered right now, pulled apart by low income and bigotry and fear. But we can’t just throw it away and buy a new one. Someone has shared a quote showing that Trump thinks he can get the nation through hard times by not paying our debt. I sigh. I so very much don't want to see more things like that, so I switch over to Live Journal on the computer and read a poem where a policeman tries to help a person with superpowers who has PTSD. Then I listen to an interview of Hillary, so I can close that tab on the web browser. I enjoy listening to Hillary when she can actually talk about her hopes for what she can accomplish if she’s President, and it’s easier to sew when I’m listening instead of reading. I reflect that our world is kind of like the poor super-kid in the poem, broken and traumatized and scared.

The bit of purple silk stitched firmly to the sleeve, I go looking to see what I can find that’s suitable to put next to it. Our youngest cat, Nebula, is sleeping in a box of material, and is quite bemused when I pull the box out and dig through things around and under her. She blinks at me, strange human, and I rub her under her chin. I find a scrap of white brocade not much more than an inch wide, and some blue satin and green brocade, and part of a tie whose off-white lining could work. And a hairball. Ugh. I brush the old dried mess into the trash and consign that bit of cloth to the laundry, along with some clothes that will probably be donated.

Then back to my old jacket with safety pins and material. I cut and lay down several more pieces and pin them in place. Some of them will doubtless get moved around as I stitch, but it’s a plan. I thread the needle again and continue. The lovely smooth texture of the silks and brocades calms me. It feels as if each stitch is sending healing energy out into the world, a gentle prayer or bit of kind sympathetic magic to help us all in our quest to make the world a little healthier, a little less ragged, and a little more beautiful.

I use up the thread on my needle and tie it off. Next is a spot where the original fabric is just gone, the rough lining showing through. It reminds me of the places where lies and hatred have hurt me and people I care about, but I smile, because here on this jacket I can fix things. More green, I think, to cover this spot. Green would look good. We could use more green in our politics too, and fewer lies. More kindness and less fear. I pin and I stitch, and I send my good wishes out into the world, and in my head is a line from science fiction that has, contrary to all expectations, become popular culture: “Make it so.”
wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
I really enjoyed drawing that last dragon, so I went looking for another one to draw. For some reason, I couldn't resist this particular shiny dragon with glorious purple wings. Here, I have her juggling five pretty flames.

This one is for Speedemon.

Random Art

Dec. 7th, 2015 08:32 pm
wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
So, I picked a more-or-less random stranger over on Flight Rising and did a portrait of one of their dragons as a surprise holiday gift. Since FR posts don't make it easy to share art that's not posted somewhere, I'm posting it somewhere!

To PinkiePastel: Rynzin struck me as more of a lover than a fighter, and maybe a bit of a dancer. I hope you like the portrait!
wyld_dandelyon: (Feeling Creative Cat)
I've got new icons! [livejournal.com profile] djinni finished the last set of icons, and a new "icon day" is open for requests. If you want a new icon, his LJ has a link to his website. The first one is this cat with paintbrush, and the second is:

rainbow kitty running 100x100

It's fun just scrolling through each batch of icons, and even better to add to my personal trove of Djinni-art. It's a good break from the more drudgerly parts of life.

I always dread February bureaucracy. Taxes are no fun, and I always worry that I missed some important detail. The addition of Obamacare deadlines hasn't helped that. Reading through just one insurance plan's details is overwhelming. Trying to compare them is beyond that. I finally resorted to calling the insurance plans, trying to figure out important things like whether my allergist and asthma meds would be covered.

I hate it when it looks like my medicine will be covered, but when I try to figure out exactly how much it will cost, I find a message that it isn't in this plan. Right. Another call. I looked up and told My Angel that there has to be a better way!

Well, this insurance company put me in contact with an insurance agent, who made multiple calls on my behalf before I made a decision--but the decision is made. The next bit of paperwork is taxes, but I'm still awaiting a 1099, so I can put that off at least until after Capricon.

I'm going to be doing the Midwinter Faire at Capricon again, and in honor of my Aunt, who left some black paper behind, I'm going to do spacescapes with whoever stops by my table (unless they request something different). So, I'm going to share some in-progress shots of the painting. I started with a canvas that my Dad had primed with black long ago. I have no idea what he was planning, but I started with a little hint of a nebula and then added a planet.

nebula planet

After I started adding more to the painting, I figured I should back up a bit and get the whole canvas for today's in-progress picture:


And now, I should head to bed. There's more to do tomorrow!

But hey--if you'll be at Capricon, stop by the Midwinter Faire and we can art together! I may also be set up in the Capricon Cafe at some point. If you haven't painted before, I'll provide intsructions, and if you have, maybe I can learn something from you.
wyld_dandelyon: (Magical Moth Artist by Djinni)
And, of course, other stuff. I try to clear out other errands to leave open time for sketchfest and muse fusion, but it rarely works out the way I want. This weekend, not only do we have both Sketchfest and Muse Fusion, but tomorrow is the only Sunday this month that the others in our writers' group could get together, so I have to review the stuff we're critiquing and head out do do that instead of staying in my own little creative cocoon.

Part of me is yelling, Make room! Make room! Clearly, I need to get better at making room time-wise as well as space-wise. Ah, well, I'll get better at it. I am determined.

But in the meantime, I have a couple of things to share:

Gryphon Nebula for Sketchfest January 2015

Both of these are on 12x12 canvasses, though I like the closeup picture of the Gryphon Nebula better than the other pictures I took--I took a bunch, but the others look less in focus. Maybe I can get a better pic in daylight? Mostly, the cell phone camera is great, but every once in a while, it's ornery. But life is like that in general, isn't it?

Sunset Showoff

You're welcome, still, to stop by Sketchfest or the Muse Fusion, check out what other people are doing, and if you want, leave some prompts.
wyld_dandelyon: (Rainbow Margay Mage)
I got a wonderful sketch that I'd like to share with you all. Head over here: http://silverflameart.livejournal.com/3762.html and scroll down. Mine is the last sketch posted to date.
wyld_dandelyon: (wigged Deirdre)
A long time ago, I was more active in the SCA than in fandom. No one hassles you about glasses in the SCA, but they're Not Period. So, when I got out my sketchbook (which I did a lot, since autoharps are also not period), I drew people without their glasses.

Through some strange mental alchemy, I stopped noticing people's glasses. It was as if they became invisible to me, unless something called attention to them. That persisted during the years when I rarely picked up a pencil to draw, and why not? It's the person that matters, not their clothes--or their glasses!

Then My Angel fell, nearly bleeding to death, and afterward joked to the nurses that her balance was better if she couldn't see. Sure enough, her eyes had, with age, degenerated to the point where she needed different prescriptions for each eye, and the lack of glasses was a bad idea. Suddenly I needed to retrain my brain to notice if she was wearing her glasses. Or at least try to. It's not as easy as you'd think to undo years of habit.

But I've made some progress.

At Worldcon, I joined my sister, Dragon, and her daughter at one of the Sketching From Life panels. At one point, while we were sketching, Dragon talked about the sketching she'd done while studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. She mentioned doing 30-second poses, and the teachers pressing them to draw at least something for each pose. In that zen-drawing state I was in, I responded that that sounded like fun. Several people nearby stared at me as if I was nuts, and Dragon answered, "What it is is really hard." "Well, yeah." I said. But hard doesn't mean not-fun. If you push enough past your limits and dive into the flow of the process, hard can be a great deal of fun.

Later, I went to the Hugo ceremonies, again with my sketchbook, and I thought, "Well, I said it would be fun, so why don't I just do it--sketch the people presenting and accepting Hugos. So I did--with varying levels of success, of course. Pushing your limits is always like that. And it was, indeed, fun.

I drew a lot of people--and I drew a LOT of glasses. The exercise made me very aware of an unsurprising fact. Most of my people, like me, wear glasses.


wyld_dandelyon: (Default)

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