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?
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.
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!
Posted in Books, Musings, Plants | Tagged Books, Botanic SF, Botany, Brian Aldiss, Lovecraft, Lovecraftian houseplants, Stapeliad | Leave a Comment »
Just like the thumbirds below.
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:
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.
Posted in Art | Tagged Thumbirds | 1 Comment »
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
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!
Posted in Musings, Plants | Tagged Vivarium | 1 Comment »
Below is the ceiling of my room in the 19th century apartment.
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.
Posted in Musings, Travels | Tagged Thumbbird | 1 Comment »
I am leaving this part of the country on Friday. All monsters are packed and the amazing carpet is safely stoved away and will remain so for a while til I find somewhere more permanent to live. I have my books, clothes and some steampunk gear packed in the car and I am bringing approximately 25% of all my drawing supplies. Yes, only a quarter. Yes, it was very hard to choose what to bring. No, I am not finished yet.
I have, as usual when moving, ceremonially decided to never move (this far) again, come hell, high water or an apocalypse. I am really quite finished with moving around and I doubt I’ll change my mind anytime soon.
Now, I have still had time to draw, write and read these past couple of weeks. Thankfully, or I’d have gone insane.
I have written very little of the project I am thinking about making and selling on RPGnow. Put simple, it is a way for me to hopefully spread my work a bit, at the same time giving the opportunity for various smaller RPG companies/people/game masters to use art at a bargain price.
Pen: Parker 51 EF
Ink: J Herbin Perle Noir (not satisfying, too little pigment to make a good black)
Paper: Seawhite of Brighton
Verdict: The idea? Borders. Borders, walls, separators and other stuff to reign in text. B&W linedrawings that work digitally and IRL. Below are drolleries. The finished work will be much more detailed and larger in size. I plan at least seven different themes to begin with. Below are freehand drolleries of the first one and a tiny bit of inspiration for the second.
Please excuse the abhorrent image quality. My scanner is in a box somewhere so I had to use my digital camera and tried somewhat unsucessfully to clean the images up in PhotoShop in various ways too tedious to recount here.
Posted in Art, Books | Tagged Borders, J Herbin, Moving, Parker 51, RPGnow, Seawhite of Brighton | 1 Comment »
Title: An unfinished Three-tailed dragon.
Size: 18 cm from eartip to end-of-middle-tail (Well, the left-most tail if you follow them closely).
Computer alteration: None.
Paper: Clairefontaine 90 g.
Inspiration: This three-tailed dragon have been giving me the sad eye for several months now, hanging out in the very front of my notebook and making me feel guilty for not completing him. It started with an idea of a faerie-dragon with a plait of three tails (what would YOU do if you had three tails? Plait them, of course!).
Notes: I decided to do things in the proper order and made a graphite sketch (I really, really dislike the word “sketch”. “Graphite” is pretty, though). Filled it out some with the Parker EF (now with J Herbin Perle Noir, which isn’t as black as I’d wish, but annoyingly the first black ink that works very well in the capricious piece of pen). Added the purple (Diamine Damson) shadowing on a (severely misguided) whim. Now I/he is stuck. So, I thought I’d give him some notoriety and see if anything happened.
Upcoming: I am not quite sure. RPGnow-project developing nicely, as is Life in general.
Posted in Art | Tagged Clairefontaine, Diamine, Dragon, J Herbin, Parker 51, Tail, Tails, Unfinished | 1 Comment »
Another look at the vivarium, now with flowering Sinningia muscicola Rio das Pedras.
This species is one example of a collection of species and hybrids commonly called “micro-mini Sinningias”. The diameter of the plant rosette is about 3 cm (that’d be a little more than an inch). The flowers are about 5 millimeters, pure white except for some vague blue mottling in the throat. My plants really thrive in the humid environment with constant air- and water circulation and good lighting (all these variables are important to avoid molds, algae overgrowth and rot. More on the construction of the vivarium in this post). There are other micromini species and I plan to try them all out. Having a vivarium this small is a bit like having a reverse bonsai, grooming meticulously inwards instead of pruning borders. I am looking forward to continue working with it. I do like the idea of restricting my huge intrest-drive to a smaller space like this. Restriction makes for quality and lots of time for this one structure. This thing is like a tiny green jewel.
There is a lot of information on Sinningia cultivation on the ‘net. A good start is googling “micro-mini sinningia” or visiting the American Gesneried Society homepage. I joined the Swedish Gesneriad Society earlier this year and I am very happy with the magazine and general attitude towards newbies (the homepage is partly in English).
Thanks to my father for taking the very fine photographs!
In other news: two weeks until I move and start working at my new, very exciting place of work. Looking forward to it immensely.
Recently read: I finally got to read Jasper Ffordes Shades of Grey, and oh, was that a great read! The only good thing about putting off reading it for so long may be that the next book in the installment (of three, I believe) comes out later this year. The wait from 2010 would have been long, had I read the first installment earlier. Since I love reading about colour, perception, weird stuff and dystopia-flavoured adventures in mad bureaucracies, this book is just up my alley. The general colourfeeling of this book is a somewhat bleak sepia tone. The constant referencing to colours messes up my synaesthetic book-sense, though (and I am not bothered by that in the least). This book is among getting-in-hardback-for-regular-price-territory for me, which is sort of epic since I am a bit neurotic when it comes to spending money. I have gotten better about that, though. Largely because I like authors getting their due.
Future plans: I wish I could get started making small illustrations related to books I have really enjoyed, to try to capture the vividness of imagery a really well written book creates in my mind. Next blog post is wholly original though, but unfortunately not yet finished (and may never be…).
Posted in Books, Plants, Recently Read | Tagged Books, Jasper Fforde, synaesthesia, Vivarium | 2 Comments »