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Here is a small drollery of a flower. Image taken with the MacBook and not modified in any way:

Gravisnonmod

This is a drollery I have planned to blog about for a while now. It has hung around in my notebook, just waiting for me to write about it. Everything about this plant-thing, succulent, gravid with something (…something…) …heavy, waiting to burst, is interesting. There is something called Kurbits in Sweden, very popular around the turn of the century at a place in Sweden where I spent my (um, er…) formative years (13-18). I, in true teenage fashion, resolutely deemed the local folk art boring, unsuitable for Yours Truly and Below-My-Artsy-Station, when my (equivalence of) High School offered it as a special course. Sigh. I believe I was quite insufferable. I managed to droll around it later anyway, but as of right now I would have liked to have had attended the course. Of course, Kurbits is not in any way monster-heavy. If you don’t look behind the thin veil of structured, romantic peasantry, that is. The monsters are everywhere, it’s all about where and how you look for them. As we all know, by now.

Below is the image modified in PS, brightness/contrast, playing around with Curves, Sharpening layers, etc. I find it disturbing how much I am able to modify it on the computer. It doesn’t sit quite right with me. Perhaps I just need to get used to it. But I miss black dust and smudges everywhere, I find that a vital part of any drawing endavour.

I might write more about Kurbits in later posts.

gravis

PS: “gravid” in Swedish is equivalent to “pregnant/with child”. I find the use of the word “pregnant”, as in e g “a gravid pause” and such” very interesting. The flower above is most decidedly pregnant, the question is with what?

…Sometimes you really have no good excuse for procrastinating, so you should just shut it and get on with it.

Things I have done recently rather than blogging:

1. Researched biopunk. Oh, yes.
2. Continued to plan my collection of botanical SF, Day of the Triffids upcoming. Recommendations of other works welcome by mail or in the comments.
3. Watched plants grow. It is more enjoyable than it sounds. Re: above.
4. London. Once again Kew and Cass art. Bought Bristol board, maybe partly because Ian Miller uses it. I am very curious about it.
5. Failed at keeping in touch with people. An old favourite, unfortunately.
6. Grown Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Swan Lake, a k a Dainty White. This is supposed to be the ‘Fantasia’ cultivar which sometimes have partially/all pink flowers. I will post again if this happens. The plant is from Madeira Exotics, a Portugese shop on British Ebay. I bought it last year. Growing Hibiscus from cuttings is not very difficult, but not for complete beginners either.

HibiscusSwanLake

I might have drolled around a bit. The title of this blog post is called Back to the classics for a reason, as this is very much nothing new at all and I wish I had something more bombastic to offer. Though there is fish, eyes with feet and what looks like an alien owl involved, which means it cannot be all rubbish.

uggle

New view

Not-so-new-but-still-dreamy job still messing with my blogging habit. Newly moved to a great little flat in the center of the small coastal town I think I am going to call my home for a long while. As my various views have been a key part of this blog over the years, I hereby continue this tradition by posting this new view. Enjoy.

newest view

I feel somewhat like a bird living up under the clouds. The flat has windows in three directions: north, east and south. The southern “windows” are actually three very small windows and one big, frigging conservatory/sun room (thank you Wikipedia) that actually is floor-to-ceiling glass to the south, east and west. I am thinking of naming it the Orangery (considering the number of Citrus species I am going to grow there). There will be lots of plant-talk on this blog in the future. You have been warned.

Upcoming: old jewellers glass-topped desk crammed with fountain pens.

The two areas of intrest that have held my attention the longest are exotic (house)plants and fantastic literature. I have been into plants since I was about 12 years old, and at that time I was already an avid reader. A long-standing favourite book that combines these interests, a book I have previously mentioned on this blog, is Hothouse, by Brian Aldiss. His Saliva tree is also a classic in its own right. Of course, there are plenty of others. In my botany-related to-read pile is Phytosphere by Scott Mackay and Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. Maybe a future area of collecting, botanical SF and Fantasy? I haven’t even gotten into green/macro biopunk yet. Just wait til I get my lab up and running… Any book recommendations?

I am growing tiny black holes in my bedroom window...

Huernia keniensis. I am growing tiny black holes in my bedroom window…

With an interest in the odd, grotesque and strangely beautiful, the more common houseplants did not do it for me, at least not for long. So I researched… Among the orchids there are many species that look beyond weird but I will start this series with another class of plants, the Stapeliads (tribus stapeliae). To add even more epicness, almost all the generas have names that really trigger the imagination: Huernia, Carraluma, Stapelia, Quaqua and Tromotriche. The genus Hoodia that has been featured in the weight-loss press, is also a stapeliad.

Stapelia grandiflora

Stapelia grandiflora

Probably Stapelia lepida

Probably Stapelia lepida

I wouldn’t go so far as to say reality is more fantastic than mine (and your) imagination. But I would say they are equal, if you know where to look.

These plants are E A S Y to cultivate, cheap to buy cuttings of (but you’ll have to wait a while for them to flower if you buy smaller cuttings) and generally awesome. They do like to dry up between waterings and a sunny, but not burning hot, spot in a bright window. Fortunately, as opposed to several orchid genera, they tend to look nice (Well, barbed-tentacle-nice) even when not flowering. The only disadvantage might be the stink. Yep, most of them are pollinated by flies, not by butterflies or moths. Ergo: “scent” of rotting meat or days-old cadaver. Some species are worse than others. When growing them in a small apartment I either open the window a bit or (really!) cut the flowers off and throw them away after a couple of days.

Upcoming: at least several posts on different orchid species, various pretty-leaf plants and probably more stapeliads, since the ones I bought a couple of years ago now are flowering size. Also, maybe a drollery or to inspired by my plant collection? Moving into my new and plant-wise very optimal apartment next week. Can’t wait!

Just like the thumbirds below.

Image

Actually, they look more like they are planning some mischief than resting. Oh well.

Sorry for not updating. Have we heard that one before? To my defense, I went a couple of years managing to update this blog sort of regularly, if not that frequently. I do have excuses, though. In September I landed my dream job, in a very nice town. This has led to a nearly exponential learning-curve that I enjoy immensely, but that has made me dead tired. To add to that, I had to leave my place of living unexpectedly and under very stressful circumstances about a month ago, making me effectively homeless for the last three weeks. Fortunately, I have a great family and over the holidays I have gotten much needed rest. People at my place of work has been very supportive as well and I currently live with one of my workmates until I move into a really (really!) nice flat in the beginning of February. So, everything is coming up roses, but there has not been very much drawing done recently. At nights, I spin threads of story-yarn about my Graphic Novel Project, but that’s about it.

Plans for 2014:

RPGnow-project “Borders”

Graphic Novel, WIP-name “Islanders” (horror/fantasy)

Spoiling Schedim with more RPG-drawings

Going to London in April, visiting Cass Art in Islington.

Continue working on the boardgame

Setting up a proper desk, an antique former jewelry with all the ink and pens I own readily available. Photos upcoming.

Start blogging more about the books I read. Upcoming: City of Dreams and Nightmare by Ian Whates was a good one I read recently.

…and lots of other stuff. It is going to be a great year.

New city and new place of work have kept me and left me busy and tired. I do like (almost) everything about this new phase of my life, but there is definitely a period of acclimatisation. I have a small but persistant headache and my eyes are a bit strained. I have made some progress on my borders and figured out the story a bit more on one of my Graphic Novel ideas. Apart from that I have read some books (Jasper Fforde, Celis T Rono, Conan Doyle and Jaqueline Carey), watched a lot of Farscape and started to paint the small figures that came with the boardgame Mice and Mystics I bought at Orcs nest this spring.

I brought my vivarium (of course). At five months running everything have been developing nicely. I have had to fight off a small fungal infection with neem oil and cinnamon powder. Seems to have worked and now I have made sure to improve the ventilation. None of the orchids have flowered yet. The Sinningias flower profusely, very prettily. I have sown another batch and they also seem to sprout small new plants from the base. The Kyoto moss spores have thrived in the treefern-wall in the back.

I am really annoyed at not being able to take better pictures, like the ones my father took in this post. Below is the best I managed, after some computer manipulation

Vivarium month 5

In other news: WordPress informs me that “sometimes your visitors will see ads here”. I have gotten more than a couple of e-mails from people wanting (sometimes for a small fee) to write guest posts. I guess this comes with this blogging thing. I have had plans on paying the fee to get my own domain and get rid of ads, but I am not yet decided. This was supposed to be a no-cost/no-earn blog and I hope to keep it that way. I hope it is not too annoying!

Slingertak

Below is the ceiling of my room in the 19th century apartment.

Slingertak

I am very satisfied. My next ceiling, however, I’ll paint myself.

Art-wise, I have only this thumbbird to add, since I haven’t really had time to do anything else than get acquainted with my new place of work, new city and new place of living. In all, I am very content with everything, albeit a bit overwhelmed. I have gone swimming in the Baltic sea twice this weekend, played several boardgames and managed to both study for work and get some drawing done. This move is exactly what I needed and I have a very good feeling about this.

Thumbirds5

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