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Deer Skull in Camouflage 

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I don’t really know where these skulls come from. I’d like to think they died peacefully in the woods and were found a while later. In truth they may have been shot and killed so I guess it’s ironic that I’d paint one in a camouflage pattern. 

I’m no expert but I think this is a young one. Only three points. Thank you, deer. 

Tribal deer skull

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I like to pretend I’m a member of a tribe when I paint a skull. I imagine it’s going to be used for a ceremony. This is one of the deer skulls I got last week: a wonderful specimen, probably a pretty young buck with developing antlers. 

Here is a view with the antlers and my messy bedroom in the photo. 

Two Deer and a Goat

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A pharmaceutical rep just came in and brought me these three skulls. They are beautiful! They need to be soaked for a while and then cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. This was a lovely gift which really made my day. 

Fox (?) Skull

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Found by my friend in Eagle Rock Reservation, he was kind enough to give it to me. As per the genius skull collector Alan Dudley (the book is Skulls by Simon Winchester gifted to me by Kerfe and an invaluable reference) I soaked the skull in a bucket for many weeks to clean it. At first I thought it looked like a large dog such as a Rottweiler. Now I think it is probably a wolf. 

Couple of close ups:

Skull gift

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My friend Michael found a great skull in Eagle Rock Reservation. He knows how much I like them so he gifted it to me today. 

Here it is in its bath of Hydrogen Peroxide. I thought this was a raccoon skull at first but it is way too large. I’m about to refer to my skull book given to me by Kerfe. Any ideas? I almost think it could be a bobcat. I’ve heard we are starting to get those in our area. Not sure though. 

Twice as Nice

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Lots of times the things I do are dependent on my references.

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I have a bin full of words.  I may have my own ideas, but their ideas always win.

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I have envelopes and bins of cutouts:  food, faces, arms.  My preconceived notions mean almost nothing when I start looking through them.

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I did not see this coming at all.

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The fruit is clearly a catalyst, but how do you suppose it works?

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And of course I have to start somewhere.  Thanks Jane!

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poetry month

Hands, Eyes, Skulls

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I went to see the American Folk Art Museum exhibit of Masonic and Odd Fellows art, “Mystery and Benevolence”, this weekend.  Lots of my favorites!  Hands, eyes, skulls.

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Both the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows were (and are) secret fraternal organizations, dedicated to fellowship and the development of ethics and good moral character.  As one article about the exhibit pointed out, you can look up symbolic meanings online for, say, hands and hearts, but the true and complete meanings still remain a mystery except to the initiated.

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Is the mystery part of the beauty?  I loved this hand and hearts hooked rug.

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The all-seeing eye is another prominent symbol.  It is often shown with chains.  “F L T” stands for friendship, love and truth.

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Eyes are shown with the sun’s rays radiating.  The sun itself is represented as well.

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One of the purposes of these organizations was the contemplation of mortality.  This would hopefully lead to better choices in life.  Thus, the skeletons and skulls.

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I managed to photograph this wonderfully eerie skull and crossbones right over my reflection.

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Animals associated with these organizations include snakes, owls, bees, and double-headed eagles.

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The Ark of the Covenant and Solomon’s Temple are also have meaning.

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An intricate papercutting includes many of the mysterious symbols.

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This painting shows why these organizations are often associated with the occult.  The secret rites and rituals and cryptic symbols invite speculation.  But they are also wonderful to contemplate simply as works of art.

This is a great show.  It’s open through May 8.

Beaded Skull Mask

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“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.  Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.”–Oscar Wilde

I know I started working on this mask well before Nina and I started this blog, so it’s been at least two years.  As usual, I wildly underestimated the time it would take me to do it, especially the beading.  This summer I vowed to finish it for Halloween.  Just under the wire!  The idea comes from Day of the Dead skulls, which can be quite colorful and elaborate.

I sewed layers of felt on a felt backing, embroidered and beaded the face, and then backed and lightly stuffed it with a loop for hanging.

And I have been working on the real “unfinished project #3“, also a mask.  However, the answer to the question, “Can I finish by the end of the summer?”, the last sentence in that post, is:  in a word, no.  But I’ll be positive.  I have completed 4 unfinished projects so far this year.

I do not realistically expect to finish the 5th one before 2016 though.

In the meantime, I have houseguests, and will be offline for awhile.  Happy Halloween, hope to be back by “Draw a Bird Day”,  (November 8), will catch up with the blogworld then.

Netsuke Skeleton

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Thought I would start Halloween Week with The Ghost of the Buddhist Priest Danka as a Skeleton banging on his drum.  I couldn’t find out much information about the subject, but it seems to be one that is depicted in netsuke fairly frequently.  Perhaps keeping other ghosts at bay.

Ink and pencil.

Bones 3: Painted Skulls

 

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I haven’t been painting much, so I decided to at least do brush and ink with the second skull in my bones book.  And I’ve never tried to paint with my left hand, but why not? (that seems to be a theme these days…)   The left hand painting actually turned out OK.  I like the less-labored feel.

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I then painted one on rice paper, but with my right hand.  Somehow less skull-like and more human, perhaps because the angles got smoothed out in the process.

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Then…what the heck?…I tried painting without looking at the paper.  I think this might be better in the future on a very large piece of paper, as I was worried about painting off the page, and I think that constricted my movement somewhat.

“Interesting”