Alastair Smudge

Finished our dear Alastair Smudge and got him into his frame. He’s a bit different than my usual style, and I’m rather pleased with him.

Yes, he’s available.

Charcoal and graphite on mixed media paper
Wood frame
4″x4″, framed size is approx. 6.5″

$55 (not including taxes and shipping costs). If interested, email me at

The Tarot Cards Were Right Again, I See

Tentatively, his name is Smudge. If I’m being honest, it may end up being Alastair Smudge. He’s the current piece I’m working on. Jury’s still out on whether or not he’s going to get some color, as well, or if I’ll keep him straight graphite and charcoal. We’ll see how it goes.

So, looks like WP here made some changes to how the site plans go and failed to notify folks about it, and thus I have to start making some changes, as well. I am *deeply* unhappy about this. The short version is that last year they went from having multiple tiers of site plans to just two….basically free and Pro, and that was supposed to be the end of it. Yeah, not sure when, but they apparently decided that they didn’t really mean it, and got rid of the Pro and separated everything back out again. But hey! Pro will be grandfathered and users don’t have to upgrade to keep their ENTIRE SITE FUNCTIONALITY.

Now I’m in a position where I have three options:

1.) choose to believe them about that and keep on as I am, risking logging in one day to find that my entire UI is broken and my store is gone,

2.) choose not to believe them and upgrade to the tier where I’ll definitely get to keep my store, and go from paying $180/yr to $540/yr,

3.) assume that they’re full of shit, ditch the store entirely, and just use ko-fi’s store option in conjunction with reminding people that email is a thing that exists and they can actually, I don’t know, talk to the artist if they see something that they want.

Not gonna lie, I’m leaning heavily toward Door #3. I’m already looking at offline sales options, especially since my local area has started doing Interesting Things regarding working with local artists, and seriously looking into how the hell to get hold of a small camper that I can travel in for further afield options.

The fact that social media is currently a shitshow across the board and the AI crap is causing a million problems is also a factor.

So, this week’s plan is to finish up Mr. Alastair Smudge and get him into his frame, print out copies of all of the stories I have on Google Drive, back up everything, overhaul the site, and rearrange everything again. If I’m lucky, I might even get to start a second piece of art this week, in between redoing the same technical work I’ve already redone a dozen times in the last 3 years because hosting sites can’t stop fucking shit up every few months.

This was not, by the way, the original plan for the week. That was going to be working on Alastair and his friends, designing a physical newsletter for Auntie Yaga’s Home For Wayward Monsters, and possibly even set up a dedicated site for that project. That last bit is how I found out about WPs plan changes, as I was looking at the best way to handle the logistics of running it separately.

Hilariously, back when I was dealing with shingles, I did a tarot reading about business stuff and the cards that showed up were the 7 of Potions and Death. Basically, a foundational shift is coming, time to dream big or go home. An earlier reading had more or less said “Your dreams are still possible, you just have to believe in them again”.

Once upon a time, I dreamed of Newford. It got way off track and I got lost for a long time, but I guess it’s time to start walking toward that dream again.

The Gods Of Weather And Technology Are Being Petulant

In a shocking turn of events this summer, it’s raining again. /sarcasm. Apparently the Northeast is getting the rain for the entire country and we’ve gone from a really nasty drought into flooding. It’s not quite as bad here as some areas of New York, but it’s bad enough that I’m grateful for the fact that the stream that runs along one border of the property is cut really deep and that we’re on the side of the hollow, not at the bottom. I suspect that the bottom corner of the yard is underwater, but I can’t tell through the wall of feral vegetation.

I got the new printer set up in the studio last night (finally), but discovered that the wi-fi in the house, which barely makes it all the way to the studio, is not strong enough for it. Figured that this is likely also going to be the case for the Cricut, so today I go out to Best Buy to pick up the booster, to be installed in the office.

Art-wise, I’ve been sketching some new monsters this week, and grinding the rust off my drawing skills. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think they’re cute, in a “Muppets meet Hieronymous Bosch” sort of way.

With Adobe leaning hard into AI theft, I deleted my account with them and re-started Clip Studio (who briefly flirted with AI, got yelled at by pretty much their entire user base, and walked it back within a day or so of announcing they were thinking about it). The extra nice thing about Clip Studio is that it has the option of one-time purchase or subscription model, and the subscription model has an option to let me use it both on my laptop with the Wacom or on my phone. Weirdly, I’m having an easier time with it on my phone than I am on the Wacom. Not sure what that’s about, but whatever. Practice is practice. Still have to work out all the other bells and whistles, but getting there.

Definitely happy to be getting back to work and back on track again.

Now if it will stop raining long enough to be able to take my travel kit and go work outside somewhere for a bit. There’s some lovely spots around the area that I’ve been itching to go set up for a couple of hours at.

Forward Momentum

Apparently taking a few days to mope around and be melodramatic helped shake some stuff loose in my head. I’ll write something a bit longer in a bit, but for now, well, I figured out what the Smol Monsters are (not knowing was upsetting me and making it hard to draw or paint them). I figured out that I need to draw more trees. I figured out that I need to draw more trees, and Smol Monsters, and BIGGER. Like, a lot bigger.

Yeah, it’s a good start. I also need to practice drawing larger, since I’m used to working much smaller, and I need to get new paper (that’s just a sketchpad, not Serious Paper). Looks like I’ll be heading to the craft store today, too, once I dig the truck out.

Oh, and I officially started working with a graphic designer yesterday to get a logo made so I can do things like get actual cards printed and things. Yes, I’m an artist, but logo work is what I refer to as “outside my scope of practice” (yes, I did used to work in a health care field, how can you tell?), so I’m being smart and paying someone else who has that skill set for it. I am SUPER EXCITING to see what he comes up with!

Right now, though, off to run errands.


“Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 50?”

“Picture your ideal life…what does it look like?”

“What’s your goal for your….everything?”

“What do you mean you didn’t have your entire life planned out in crystalline detail and scheduled to the minute by the time you graduated kindergarten?”

Excuse me, I have to go lie down on the floor and have an existential meltdown; I don’t know if I’m having a second cup of coffee this morning and this failure of basic organizational planning skills may cause calamitous financial and structural ruin. It might also be known to cause cancer in the State of California, and I don’t know if that’s just California specifically or if I need to be concerned about this in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and I’m not caffeinated enough to deal with that level of responsibility this early in the morning.

“Art Is Always Political! Art Is About Passion And Deep Feelings And Grand World-Changing Insights! Anything Less Isn’t Art. (also, don’t expect to get paid for bringing meaning to the world, freeloader, get a real job)”

Can’t art just be for the sake of being? Why does it have to be load-bearing and responsible for the course of the world and all of history? Look, I’m a small, anxious mammal who can barely manage to be the god of my own immediate biosphere. I just want to share the random shiny things my magpie heart thought were neat, not be responsible for saving the world. Or destroying it, either, for that matter, because I guess that’s something else that artists are supposed to do?

“What do you DO?!?”

I…I don’t know? I lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling a lot? I look out the window and watch the wind walk through the trees like a great, unseen being passing by the small, soft animals of the woods, uncaring of schedules or the shifting quicksand of societal expectations, and wish I had wings to fly alongside it, even for just a moment. Sometimes I make pictures with a paste made from water and crushed up rock powder, or string bits of glass or shiny stones together. Sometimes I scratch small tales onto a bit of bark that I found while following a moth down a moonlit road because they made me smile. Sometimes I keep them, and sometimes I leave them lying around for others to find, and hope they make them smile, too. Sometimes someone finds them and takes my offerings and goes on their way. Sometimes they pause and leave a piece of shiny metal or brightly dyed fabric that I can trade to someone else for food. Sometimes they tell others where the offerings are, and they come and see, and maybe also leave a bit of metal or cloth for me to trade for food.

Most of the time, though, I worry that I’m not really an artist because I don’t write Deep Social Commentary and my art isn’t about Big Important Feelings and I forget that I poured a second cup of coffee and now it’s sitting on the counter, cooled to that annoying temperature where it tastes like ashes and now I have to decide if I’m going to make another cup before I go stare at a blank piece of paper and hope that today is one of the days where I can ignore the voices that whisper and gibber in my ear that I’m Not Real Enough and should change my name and run away to be a cashier at a rest stop gas station in the middle of the night with the other ghosts and liminal creatures…

Well, That Took Longer Than Expected

Not an ideal workspace

*waves tiredly*

I’ve been mostly offline all week because what was expected to take maybe a day and a half, at most, ended up taking almost the entire week. This is the first time I’ve been at a real computer and not just on my phone since Saturday.

On the upside, Albatross House is 100% emptied out (seriously, the 1-800-got junk folks are awesome, or at least the ones on the NH Seacoast). It cost a bit more than I was expecting, but then, no one expected it was going to take as many dumpster loads as it did, so here we are*. I spent two days sitting in my truck while they dragged every scrap out of the place, trying (and failing) to work from the driver’s seat, but it was just the wrong angle and it was too damned cold. I had to keep turning the truck off and on to try and not freeze while also not wasting too much gas. Do not recommend. Today I met up with the real estate agent there to get her a key and go over a few things, and tomorrow will be filling out the couple pages of paperwork to get it listed and hopefully sold as quickly as possible.

While hunched over, trying to draw a straight line without a flat, rigid surface to put the sketchbook on, my resolve to one day be able to afford an RV van to use as a mobile studio was strengthened further. Also, having a bathroom and kitchen to use whenever I need them would be amazing. Major goal, there.

Tomorrow, aside from real estate forms, is dedicated to getting back to work. I have new metallic watercolors that should work the way I want, that the Coliro was not able to manage, and I want to play with them. If they do what the test page suggests, I’ll be able to do some really cool effects again, and I’m crossing all my fingers and toes.

Now, though, I go fall over so I can catch up on sleep before anything else. The last week has been a lot of Very Long Days, and I’m more than a little crispy right now.

*So tempting to get rid of all of my worldly possessions and become an ascetic after dealing with that catastrophe.

Word, Wire, Paper, Bone Redux

A bright pink and yellow stuffed animal in the shape of a moth examines a hand-painted cylindrical bead wrapped in dark gold and bronze colored wire.
Sylvie Investigates A Moth-Proof Bead. Neener, Sylvie.

Well, this week sure was A Lot. On top of everything else, we finally got a phone call last night from the shelter that was going to be helping us out with the cost of the Goblin Boys neutering (Puca, in particular, because hooray cryptorchidism), only to find that the new vet that we’d have to use (the original one they had recommended turned out not being comfortable doing his surgery, and directed us to someone else, so we had to go back around for the approval from the shelter) doesn’t do ultrasounds first, but does it the old-fashioned way of “just open him up and poke around to find the MIA organ”, and yeah, that’s a deal-breaker for me. Our vet is expensive, and I appreciate so much that the shelter was willing to help, but we’re not going to be doing major, invasive, exploratory surgery on him when there’s an option not to. With ultrasound, they can locate the missing nut and go in with a small incision; without it, they have to basically go fish around because there are multiple locations it could be.

Needless to say, I now have even less time to come up with a couple of grand, because the biological clock is ticking down on puberty. There’s a small chance that we won’t have to redo their bloodwork again, at least?

In the meantime, I’ve got the studio rearranged into a more functional manner. Still needs some straightening up, but that’s always the case. Working out how to navigate Mothpocalypse damage and prevent further depredation. (Seriously, I’ve never had fucking clothes moths eat paper before, and while I’m glad they seem to have only gotten the one piece, and it was a minor one, having the little bastards eating my work is wildly unacceptable.) Today I’m working on jewelry, since gesso, paint, wire, and stone aren’t particularly edible to anything short of a Rock Biter. If I get one of those in here, well, I’ve got bigger problems to worry about than some gnawed-on artwork.

Always an adventure…

*Endless Screaming*

Went to put a piece away and found this. This piece had been listed in the shop, and now it’s not, because, just…

If anyone needs me, I’ll be somewhere in the woods, screaming. I just…I don’t know what else I can do at this point.

Dancing Around With Nervous Excitement

Tomorrow evening I’m going to look at the studio space with the other folks that I’m going in on this little adventure with, and I’m so exciting I can hardly sit still. I’m nervous, because this will involve being indoors with other people more, and well, *gestures at ongoing pandemic*, but I’m vaccinated up to the gills, have no problems wearing a mask for hours at a time (just ordered a couple packs of KN95s), and honestly need access to the kind of resources that I can only get by being in a studio group.

In general, though, I’m really, really excited and hope that this works out. I’ve got several pieces of art that aren’t on the site for a variety of reasons ranging from being difficult to photograph, to being outside my current shipping capabilities that will have a place to go that those issues evaporate. I’ve got many more pieces that live only in my head right now simply because my spare bedroom doesn’t have the space to work on them, and my house doesn’t have the space to store them until I can find a physical space to sell them out of. On a personal level, being able to share a workspace with friends and be around other artists in person (the Pocket Friend Collective is wonderful, and I adore y’all, but sometimes I need to be around folks in meatspace, too, and that area of my life has been sorely lacking for too long).

Hell, just getting to see a dear friend (who started this whole idea) that I haven’t seen since 2019, alone, is so exciting I can barely even. The idea of getting to see her on a regular basis?!? Utter glee!

So looking forward to tomorrow.

A Small Grotesquery and Helpful Kitties

The best part about autumn really is being able to cook the things I love to cook again. Last night I made a pot of sausage and kale soup for dinner, with enough left over for lunch for the next couple of days. Tonight I’m planning to bake a pear crisp, using the rest of the pears a friend gave me from her pear tree. The household cooking is generally divided by season around here, so Himself does most of the cooking in the warm months on the grill, and I do most of the cooking in the cold months, and it works pretty well. The cats do their best to help us both year-round, which is to say that Púca nearly made a successful attempt to jump into the soup kettle last night while I was stirring it.

Slowly but surely figuring out a new household pattern that lets me get some serious work done, and as a result I’ve got a new painting finished! Turns out that some of my monsters make excellent grotesques when combined with medieval illuminated manuscript techniques and stylizing. Planning to see if I can find a frame for it this afternoon so I can get it formally listed in the shop, and then get another one started later on.

I spent some time earlier in the week reconfiguring my Ko-fi membership tiers, so now monthly subscribers will have exclusive sneak peeks at whatever I’m working on that I won’t be posting elsewhere online, as well as the ever-popular cat pictures (since subscription donations go toward helping keep them fed and housed by providing a steady source of income), in addition to the discounts that the two high tiers already get. With shifting away from Patreon, it’s so much easier to manage perks, which frees up a lot of mental bandwidth to make sure I can reliably follow through on them. I’m hoping to add more as I go, but for right now, it’s a good start.

Now, though, I’m off to the store to see about a small frame for the newest Smol Monster and maybe a couple of extra to have on hand for it’s upcoming siblings.