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Author Archives: Harmony

The Ridiculous Strikes Back! Two Acts of Artsy Silliness Revealed (plus a possible third, if you dare)

The Ridiculous Strikes Back! Two Acts of Artsy Silliness Revealed (plus a possible third, if you dare)

 

 

Ridiculous the First

In last week’s episode, you joined the intrepid artist as she revealed her serious side.

Turns out I can’t be serious for too long at a stretch. This is what recently happened:

 

"Stalking the Wild Sardine" loose & wild watercolor cat by Harmony Harrison | from The Ridiculous Strikes Back! | harmonywithanimals.com

Stalking the Wild Sardine
watercolor, about 7.5 x 11

 

 

From across the room, this kitty looks like she’s underwater, hunting, of course, for sardines.

I’m playing with the backs of scraps right now. Here, then, is that painting’s illustrious backside:

 

What's on the back of your watercolor scraps? Show and tell! | from The Ridiculous Strikes Back! | Harmony Harrison | harmonywithanimals.com

(Can you find the hidden kitty?)

 

 

 

Ridiculous the Second

A few weeks ago, when I nearly drowned in library books, I scoured the tomes of watercolor to figure out how this medium ticks.

Watercolor is new to me, and I just wanted enough direction to play with it (without making a face that would stick that way).

But, oh, the overwhelm…

All those perfect paintings! All that advanced instruction! The photo-realistic perfection! Those total precision bombs!

 

 

Ginormous stack of watercolor books from the awesomeness that is the library. | from The Ridiculous Strikes Back! | Harmony Harrison | harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

Okay, so they weren’t all perfecty-perfect. Many were incredible, gobsmackingly beautiful, with encouraging instruction. But still. All that seeming perfection.

… It would take a miracle.

At this thought, my brain shook and jittered. Then, in a feat known only to brainkind, it tied itself into tight and complicated knots.

I stayed beknotted for many a day, as I hauled book after book back to Libraryland.

But suddenly! — the clouds parted! — and my good brain did something quite beautiful: It had a glorious, laughing snit.

I snitted on, with pencil in hand. Here is the product of said snittery (coming soon to a bookstore near you):

 

 

Got art-learning overwhelm? Watercolor book parody cartoon. | from The Ridiculous Strikes Back! | Harmony Harrison | harmonywithanimals.com

 

 Aaaahhh…

After making this bit of editorial commentary, I went on to paint several new paintings quite happily, humming a dulcet, though slightly ridiculous, tune.

Because snits, it turns out, are as good for the brush as they are for the soul.

 

 

Ridiculous the Third? I Nominate You!

What kinds of artsy ridiculousness have you been up to lately? Are you giving yourself a chance to let loose and play? Got a good snit to share? Please do!

 

Cat eyes? Or owl eyes? You be the judge. Detail of "Stalking the Wild Sardine," loose & wild watercolor cat | from The Ridiculous Strikes Back! | Harmony Harrison | harmonywithanimals.com

  (The Owl and/or the Pussy-Cat?)

 

 

 

And Now for Something Completely Different: In Which My Art Gets Un-Ridiculous

And Now for Something Completely Different: In Which My Art Gets Un-Ridiculous

 

 

 

This dog. I painted her.

 

dog painting

watercolor and collage on canvas board
6×6

 

***I just learned that this painting looks crazy-red on some tablets and phones. It’s gold in real life and on my computer monitor. Still learning the ropes of image scanning.***

 

Now back to our regular programming…

 

I had attempted an accurate rendition of the true-to-life portrait (below) but something different occurred.

 

 

teeny tiny golden retriever

the true-to-life photo in question

 

 

So it’s not a good likeness. But you can totally see a family resemblance. (Right?)

 

 

two dogs together

 

 

 

Perhaps my lack of realism began with the preliminary sketches. Or perhaps not.

 

 

dog sketches

(I seem to have an issue with offsite eyeball storage.)

 

 

So.

The art, it is a-changing.

I am, too.

No one told me, when I wielded a pencil to cartoon my very first corgi over a year ago, that I might someday paint something kind of real.

 

 

100 corgis

My first hundred corgis. Or is it only two?

 

 

 

Truth be told, I’m really excited about this change in my art.  And so are the dogs of the world.

I love my cartoons — I will always be the animal cartoonicator, after all — and I also love what’s to come.

How about you? Ever been through a major change in your artsy style? I would love to hear about it.

 

 

 

Loose Kitties of the Night, and Other Weird Stuff from My Studio

Loose Kitties of the Night, and Other Weird Stuff from My Studio

The earth rumbled. The studio shook. And piles of paper fell with a deafening whump to my paint-speckled floors.

So I have a bit of a filing issue.

Case in point: When I was in college, I filed every paper that passed through my hands by shoving it under my bed. This would have worked longer if I’d had a larger futon.

When I graduated, I pushed said paper into a queen-sized plastic box, where it remains today, hermetically sealed for eternity.

Things are not so hermetic in my studio.

Okay, so there wasn’t an actual seismic event in the region of my artwork, for which I am infinitely grateful. But I did start to jostle a few of my mounds of paper this week, just to see if any new life forms would emerge.

And did they ever.

Here are a few of those gems, along with my heckling commentary. My absolute favorite is the very last one. (I’m still swooning just a little over it.)

 

 

birdseye

First off, some weirdness.
I found this bit early on when the first mountain of paper began to slouch to the floor.

 

 

 

dogs and stuff

Another oddment rescued from the deeps of the heaps.
I love these dogs! Even if they don’t have eyeballs.
(On second look, I believe their eyeballs are in
offsite storage.)

 

 

 

orange cartoony kitty

Cartoony kitty in watercolor crayon on a gessoed book page (written in a language I don’t speak, though I could probably speak to the cat okay). I discovered this baby wedged in a quivering tower of old notebooks that was, ahem, “decorating” my desk.

 

 

book page

Ooooh, Weird…
Messing around with watercolor on a book page. The white stuff is a goopy substance called watercolor ground, designed to create a watercolor-papery surface wherever it is smoodged, thus allowing watercolor go where no watercolor has gone before.
The book page is all about the philospher Descartes and Christina, Queen of Sweden. My favorite line is about the queen: “And binding together this remarkable combination of sinew and muscle and brain was an indomitable will.”
(Sign me up for that.)

 

Then I started to find bits of paper that still had life to them. As in, their fronts were covered, but I could still paint on their backsides, which is not as salacious as it sounds.

Here are the two paper scraps I found. I had used these scraps to play with brushstrokes.

 

backside number one

 

backside number two

 

 

And here is what their lily-white backsides became.

 

 

loose kitty

 

loose kitty in the wind

 

 

I like. I like a lot. Painting loose kitties on the backs of scraps was… well, loose. And relaxed. Eased. Unleashed. I felt free and altogether marvelous.

These little paintings make me want to dig through the studio junk piles every single day.

 

 

Coming Clean: Miss Addie Had a Hairball (Plus surprising hairball facts that you never learned in Cat Parenting School)

Coming Clean: Miss Addie Had a Hairball (Plus surprising hairball facts that you never learned in Cat Parenting School)

  For those of you following the culinary adventures of Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner, I have a small confession to make: My darling dear tabby was not picky that day. She just had a hairball. Thank you very much.       Miss Addie does not care whether or not you think of her asContinue Reading

Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner: The Life and Times of a Very Picky Cat

Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner: The Life and Times of a Very Picky Cat

“So, what do you do?” the party-goers ask, ice tinkling in their glasses. If I’m at a party, I’m there under duress. So I answer coolly: “I stay home and feed cats.” This kind of response results in plenty of elbow room. I sigh with pleasure as the party-goers inch from my presence. But it’s actually theContinue Reading

I’m Stacked: 82 Library Books and Counting (a.k.a., Blame It on the Paint)

I’m Stacked: 82 Library Books and Counting (a.k.a., Blame It on the Paint)

The librarian handed me back my card, cocking an eyebrow all the while. “You,” she said, slightly breathless, “have eighty-two books checked out.” My eyes bulged out of my skull, or nearly. At the very least, I felt a boggle and a breeze in the eye socket area. “Our limit is eighty,” she went on, “but I extendedContinue Reading

We Interrupt Our Regular Dogcasting to Bring You… Chow?

We Interrupt Our Regular Dogcasting to Bring You… Chow?

        Each month, I fizz with delight when I get to join a group of local artists (or people who absolutely are artists but claim not to be) who get together with art teacher Dorothea Tortilla to make weird stuff. Last week, as we bubbled our way into her studio for a class,Continue Reading

Gusty Beaches and Things that Look Like Things, a.k.a., Drawing on the Windy Side of the Brain

Gusty Beaches and Things that Look Like Things, a.k.a., Drawing on the Windy Side of the Brain

    It was windy at the beach for awhile. Like, really.       Even the dogs’ ears were a-blowin’.           You can’t see it in these photos, but sometimes the wind was so strong it lifted waves of sand from the beach and blasted it against our skin. It wasContinue Reading

So What IS the Blue Dog’s Name? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

So What IS the Blue Dog’s Name? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

  Ever have one of those weeks where all of your well-intentioned to-do lists melt into a molten puddle, not unlike the faces of the Nazis on beholding the ark? Yeah, me too. That was last week. I do not know what happened to last week. I may have misplaced it. If so, I’ll findContinue Reading

This Big Blue Boy Needs a Name: Will You Help?

This Big Blue Boy Needs a Name: Will You Help?

  Have you ever been in a state of flow? No? But of course you have. Of course. Forgive me for thinking otherwise. I’ve been in a crazy kind of flow state for a couple of weeks, off and on (with an itsy-bitsy three-day anxiety attack and a tiny thyroid brouhaha — exhaustion and brain fog and all sortsContinue Reading

 
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The Beginner's Guide to
Animal Wisdom

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