Two of Benjamin Harrison’s more unusual pets during his term in the White House.
Did you know: Opossums are North America’s only marsupial. They are naturally immune to rabies and the bites of pit vipers. They have opposable thumbs...on their hind feet, so perhaps that makes them opposable toes.
Not sure they make good pets for presidents or regular folk.
This drawing is not one of my better efforts compositionally speaking, but I like the opossum concept. They are a nice combination of cat, giant rat, and raccoon qualities.
Maybe nice is not the right adjective. (Trump has remained petless so far. Perhaps he needs some appropriately named opossums?)
Non Denominational Winter Holiday Image...that no one at my house wanted to use as a holiday card:
I was trying to come up with a Happy Holidays image that wasn’t too Christmasy.
Unbelievably, tomorrow is the younger kid’s last day of school before the winter break, so I felt like I had to take a stab at the holiday card idea. No one was impressed....even though, coincidentally that younger kid is reading “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” for Language Arts class.
And yes, I know that penguins and polar bears reside on opposite sides of the planet.
But maybe they get together when they have time off from work over winter break?
The Boy With The Dragon Tattoo:
(Or The Ballpoint Pen Doodle)
As a parent, I cannot say that I respond with overwhelming enthusiasm when my son returns home from school, clearly having spent a good chunk of time doodling on some part of his body or clothing during a class.
But I try to fight the tendency to become solely the upholder of rules and the critic of disorder in my son’s life. There is some much petty crap to carp about: the homework that is not done, the teeth that are not brushed, the pumpkin pie that is smeared on the couch, the pen scribbled all over the pants....
So I tried to shift my thinking about the self doodling by redrawing his hand dragon.
He told me that my drawing had made it more cool. This was high praise indeed, but I will try not to be overwhelmed. There is still food smeared on the couch and I am not sure I can do much to shift my thinking on that front.
(Yes, this is yet another holdover from the #inktober series, Hideous Progeny, fantasy portraits of my kids...and it is a watercolor, and sadly, not a napkin)
The original hand art: (His dragon drawing is more interesting than mine, but there is no opportunity for flames)
We watched “Death Peck,” a recent episode of Disney’s “Star vs the Forces of Evil,” where a misunderstanding between humans and “the Pigeon Kingdom” leads to the pigeons trying to enforce “death by a thousand pecks.” There was also the implied threat of weaponized droppings.
But we were already thinking about pigeons anyway.
Our daily walk to the subway passes under an elevated portion of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. This area under the roadway has no doubt always a welcoming habitat for pigeons, but I can’t say that I really paid close attention until the last couple of years.
In that time, a neighbor lady who lives quite close to the BQE has developed a serious pigeon support hobby. It might be classified as quite a bit more than a hobby, actually. We pass her and her rather significant breakfasting flock as we rush to the subway at 7:10...or more often, ten minutes late at 7:20.
Depending on our timing, she is either energetically scraping pigeon guano off the sidewalk, or laying out what looks to be several pounds of birdseed on the freshly scraped areas....or if we are really late, she is presiding over a huge feasting flock of fowls.
Recently, one of my kids focused on the health implications of walking through the droppings every day....and depending on our timing, the sartorial implications of placing ourselves under hundreds of potential droppers.
He now insists that we go out of our way and cross the street to avoid the pigeon convention and its waste.
While I am not a big fan of the idea of being shat upon myself, I have to admit that I do think back a little bit fondly of the time before when we were on better terms with the pigeons and their human benefactor. She seems offended by our obvious avoidance of her flock.
We did finally make it to the other superhero movie over the fall break. At the beginning of every day over the long weekend, we would start by announcing that we would go see the DC movie that day, and then motivation would somehow prove to be insufficient.
But today we finally made it to to the theater, and I finally have managed to photograph this napkin.
Low expectations are often good when it comes to such things, however, so by the time we did see the movie, our younger son pronounced it not so bad after all. My expectations were perhaps not low enough for the movie or the napkin.
But I heard that the movie theater popcorn was ok.
My younger son has developed the habit of telling me that he "needs to boost oxytocin" when he wants a hug, like when he is stressed out on the way to school in the morning.
The closest thing we've had to a pet recently was a slug I brought home on a bunch of radishes from the local farmers market. Much to my husband's dismay, I managed to keep it alive for a week on a steady diet of fresh organic radish leaves.
I may have been overinvested in the welfare of the slug.
But eating all the extra radishes was probably not bad for the rest of us.
I neglected to post this one back on October 20th, although if was just a black and white drawing then.
“I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine.”
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 31
This one was based on a moment of brotherly togetherness while waiting to see the dentist last weekend.
If only those all teeth were brushed more conscientiously... Now that it is November 14th, I wish I could say that this last drawing is the end of Inktober, but yet I am still finishing the watercolor portions of a few previous images.
I would like to remind anyone who might possibly take an interest, that I did make it to day 25 and the theft of my phone before everything fell apart completely.
I never ever missed a night with the napkins, but now that I don’t stay up so late, things move so very much more slowly.
And strangely, as my sons mature into adolescence, they are not becoming less time consuming...or less toothsome.
“I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling”
Is it stress? Or just fear of vegetables?
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 29
I am constantly torn between wanting to shout at my kids to grow up, to be more responsible, to realize that they live an over privileged, over indulged, insulated life...and simultaneously seeing that they are completely overloaded and over stressed and not able to really enjoy their childhood.
(Yes, I remain far behind on this inktober thing...but still trying)
“What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?”
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 28
The day I after started this drawing, one of our kids was trying to deal with his life stress by being, shall we say, inappropriately over assertive. What had seemed like a humorous sketch when I started, seemed a bit less funny.
But a couple of days later, I have mostly regained my sense of humor.
“The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.”
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 27
Yes, it is October 31st today and this is drawing number 27.
While I was arguing with my younger son about his homework on the subway ride home late last week, an unsympathetic individual relieved me of my cellphone, and due to a terminally uncooperative series of computer and “cloud” backups, most of my data.
Several days, and over a dozen hours of Apple tech support later, I am pleased to report that I did not lose everything, although I did lose all of some things... but at least I know when most of our dental appointments are scheduled. Mostly.
So, back to finishing Inktober. I still have a few more drawings in the pipeline. And I have yet another appointment with Apple tomorrow. So more delays. It will be a bit of Inkvember, I fear.
This drawing was originally destined for National Pumpkin Day last week, but it seems equally appropriate today.
Happy Halloween! And maybe consider printing out the contents of your phone on paper....
"From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition"
(But don't let my parents know)
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 25
Did you know that because of their low nutrient diet, koalas sleep 20 hours a day? That they are "asocial" and "spend just 15 minutes a day on social behaviors." They also have the smallest brain in proportion to body weight of any mammal. Koalas are therefore definitely not innovative thinkers. According to Wikipedia, "when presented with plucked leaves on a flat surface, the animal cannot adapt to the change in its normal feeding routine and will not eat the leaves."
Perhaps those koalas were busy watching YouTube videos while reclining on the couch and were hoping if they remained motionless long enough their mother would heat the leaves up in the toaster oven and serve them?
But they are cute!
Are they still cute? I remember hearing that they were adorable, but when I look closely...
Who was I talking about?
Just kidding guys. I really just wanted to draw you with animal heads. Among other creatures, I considered birds and snakes, but nothing seemed more appropriate than Koalas.
"Pitiless as you have been towards me, I now see compassion in your eyes"
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 19
Doing reading homework on the train on the way home is pretty damn difficult...even for those who are not a tired, distractible 10 year old boy.
But I can't afford to be too sympathetic, or else, we will never be finished, and never get home.
It finally happened. I had a good run of 18 days of finished ink and watercolor drawings. this Inktober. But there is no way this one is going to get a color treatment tonight unless I stayed up extra late, and I am no longer allowed to do so.
So here it is as a monochrome. The fish was going to be a really lovely reddish orange to contrast with the florescent light of subway.
Please use your imagination to conjecture what a nice job I might have done with that.
Sadly, when I finish it later when I don't have a deadline, I will probably fuss over it and kill it.
"No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs."
Ha ha. Just kidding.
My younger son likes to rest his head on top of mine, driving his remarkably pointy chin into my skull. My older son is more interested in maintaining his own perspective and is presently less interested in denting the maternal cranium.
Today is the first day of Inktober, a yearly "art challenge" where one is supposed to make a drawing in ink every day. I embraced it last year mostly as an opportunity to make a series of drawings that were NOT on napkins. Not that the napkins are not executed in ink, but it's not traditional ink.
The drawing series last year ended up being mostly about my then fairly recent travels in the world of "alternative" health and wellness filtered through my longer term interest in representing fragmentation and discomfort with the body.
I managed to scare away at least 500 followers a week on the Daily Napkins Instagram account during Inktober 2016. The drawings were definitely not popular with those who were expecting to see images of pugs dressed as batman rendered on napkins
I've been having trouble identifying a theme for the year's drawings. I am afraid they will be no more popular than last year.
For the moment, I think I will just offer the information that this is a drawing of my younger son and a Jiffy Pop Popcorn foil. The term "Hideous Progeny" comes from the introduction of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. She writes at the conclusion: “I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper. I have an affection for it, for it was the offspring of happy days when death and grief were but words, which found no true echo in my heart.”
I will try not to entirely neglect the napkin enterprise during the month.