#Artvartist is where you create a collage of a picture of yourself, surrounded by your art.
#Artvartist is where you create a collage of a picture of yourself, surrounded by your art.
Sometimes, it takes me a little bit longer (or even a lot longer) than a month to create a new book. And yet, it has been sort of implied at the “Love to Color” $25 a month level of my Patreon that you might receive something every month for your $25. Last month, the book wasn’t ready, and the $25 a month subscribers just got a post card (that was actually a weird game, but anyway… subscribe at $4 a month if you want to see that stuff). I felt bad for not sending them anything larger. So, this month, I’ve been working a lot with wool. Thanks to the great people at the Cat and Crow in Mounth Horeb, Wisconsin, I’ve learned A LOT about working with wool. But still, no book yet this month.
So, I’ve decided I’m changing the $25 a month level of my Patreon. Instead of just books, you’ll get whatever sort of art I’m concentrating on that month—or, if there is a new book, you will get two copies of the new book! So, basically, you’ll NEVER MISS ANYTHING. You can be 100% Artsy Fartsy supporter all the time. Artsy Fartsy A.F.
In fact, I am changing the name of “Love to Color” level to “Artsy Fartsy A.F.” (It’s redundant, I know, because everyone knows “A.F.” stands for “Artsy Fartsy,” but I like it.)
Because I didn’t send anything to my supporters last month, this first original art piece going out to all $25 a month supporters is actually worth more like $70 – $140 (I’ve sold similar items to local collectors). I call them “Wallflowers.” They are a culmination of all I have learned about wool, a combination of wet felting and needle felting, all made from the organic wool we grow directly from our wooly friends out back (A.K.A. the sheep). Each fantasy creature has a flower growing out of her head. You can mount it on your wall, or plant it in your garden and see if it grows! (It won’t.)
How many will I make? I will make one for every new person who becomes a patron this month at the $25 a month level. And, after that, maybe there will be a book next month. Maybe another art piece. I have a possible project in the works with another member of the Tenderfoot Collective, and that would go out to you, too, sometime in the following months.
For this month only, you can get a unique, hand-made Wallflower of your very own by going to Patreon.com/Shoshanah and signing up at the $25 level. Thank you in advance for your decision to support my art and to bring more beauty into your life.
Over the weekend, while my daughter and husband played Minecraft, I was painting a cat in a fez. It’s fun to paint cats in hats.
I painted the background first, then the fez, then finally the cat itself, which I envisioned as a Russian Blue. I was painting it grey. Zanimal, age 10, came up for a snack and regarded my painting critically,
“What would you say is the focal point of this painting?”
“The cat, of course.”
“So…” she said.
“I think it should be a lighter colored cat, so it would stand out better. Then your eye would be drawn to it more.”
“It’s wearing a red hat,” I said.
“Still… it should be lighter.”
“That’s nice,” I said. “When you do your cat painting, you can make your cat a light colored cat.”
She went back downstairs. I put away my grey paints. I squirted a big glob of black onto my pallet.
And now it is a sweet, black cat painting. Yes, I am petty. But I am satisfied with my black cat.
When I go to the Red Cross and give blood regularly (you’re welcome, hundreds of people whose lives I’ve saved!) they are like super nice.
Sometimes, they give you cookies– not just a few cookies, I mean, like 120 cookies that you can put out at your Holiday Market Party. And that’s nice. It is. It’s really, really nice. But, I don’t know. I mean, I know I’m being nice when I give blood. I know I’m being a good person with that and all. They say “thank you” a lot. They are swell people, and that should be enough. I mean, it is. It’s enough to do a good deed. It’s just… it could be more fun.
I like vampires. I do hope the American Red Cross considers my questions to them. Also, a serious suggestion: When I am done giving blood, while I am sitting there drinking my juice for fifteen minutes, ask me to schedule my next appointment before I go. The Red Cross could be like the dentist. Also, another serious suggestion: Will you give blood? Because they VANT YOUR BLUD! Or, you know, they probably want to “save someone’s life” or some such junk.
*Members of Artsy Fartsy Coloring AND Colouring (a Facebook Group) get a PDF copy of Morbid Mandalas for free, just for being in the group! To join us, hop into the horse drawn hearse that just pulled up to your front door. Make sure and bring your coloring AND colouring supplies! Once you get to Facebook Town, you might be staying there for a wee bit longer than you intended…
**Donators to my Patreon get a creepy postcard from me each month! Try it out. It’s fuuuuuun. (Imagine Bela Lugosi saying that.) Fuuuuuuun. Eeeet’s fuuuuuun.
When you think about creativity, as an abstract thing, I always used to think it was something akin to absolute freedom. The freer one was, the more creative one could be.
As I have aged and grown as a person and as an artist, I’ve found that creativity is often enhanced by limitations. Limiting your art creates barriers that need to be overcome, thus making it possible and even non-negotiable to learn new skills and achieve higher levels of creativity. Parameters make you look at smaller and smaller things. The more you give attention to small things, the better you are paying attention, and the better your art becomes.
I also used to think of learning as a steady process, sort of like climbing a mountain, step by step. But, again, with some age and experience, I have found that learning is more like painfully walking up a mountainside, slipping down a little, and then, suddenly, flying up a thousand feet, with no real explanation of why. And then, when you expect to fly up the next mountain, when you think it will be easy, you suddenly forget how to fly, and you are stepping tiny steps and sliding again- but after a while of climbing, you realize this mountain started at 10,000 feet, where as the last mountain started at 7,000 feet. You didn’t perceive the altitude change. You were so into the climb. So, really, you’re actually doing quite well.
Without any suggestions or instructions from other people, without any audience input, so to speak, I think I would spend a lot of time walking around the base of the mountain, growing not at all as an artist or as a person. No art happens in a vacuum. It is my whole life and your whole life, it is everything around us, everything contributes. Creativity is a compilation of all things. But it needs parameters. It thrives on rules.
You might know already (or you might not know) that you can subscribe to receive two copies of each new book I put out for $25 a month at Patreon. If you already buy all of my books, it is a genuinely good deal. It is also a genuinely good deal for me, because it is a subscription service, and it gives me a steady income. I LOVE my Patreon patrons. And now, because I want to give Patreon members something more, and because I realize the value of your input and suggestions, I am offering yet another benefit to my Patreon subscribers. If you subscribe to my Patreon now, you can tell me what book to make!
I mean, a whole book. Not just a drawing. Tell me what the topic of my next book will be, and I will make it.
And so, as of today, the description of the $25 a month “Love to Color” level at my Patreon says,
“Get two copies of each book book mailed to you the second it comes out! When you start this subscription, you immediately get two copies of the most recent book. Applies to all books by Shoshanah Marohn or published under my new pen name, Shana Lee. (Due to the prohibitive cost of international postage, this reward is for U.S. residents only.)
You will also also receive a monthly, colorable pen and ink postcard note from me.
THIS JUST IN: Sign up now, before December 21, 2017, and you can (seriously this is crazy but I just decided to do this) decide what my next book will be about. Not just a drawing, a whole book!
1. It has to be legal.
2. No copyright infringements.
3. It has to be nothing to which I am morally opposed. (example: Swear word coloring books. I am morally opposed to them on the grounds that they are bad art.)
4. It must be fewer than fifty pages. (Not counting blank pages, of course.)
5. The book will go into my cue in the order it was received. The order I create the books will be the order in which I received your Patreon memberships. (Look at how many people are subscribed to this, that is the number of books before yours.)
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.”
If you would like to tell me what to do, and thus exponentially benefit my art and make everyone who colors and reads my books happy, please click here.
If you don’t want to do that, well, why not?
I made this video for my patreon subscribers. (If you haven’t subscribed yet, subscribe at patron.com/shoshanah first, then watch.)
For a long time now- a few years, maybe- I’ve been thinking in the back of my mind how cool it would be to send people little notes and pictures, on scraps of paper. Like, if I had infinite resources, I would mail people postcards with tiny instructions. Or a poem. Or a story that made them think about something they never considered before. Something short, and unexpected, something to take a person out of time for a moment, and make that person appreciate that moment. Appreciate this lovely magic that is being alive. Even if it were because of sadness.
There’s a weekly email I get from this man, M. Van Vleet where he tells little stories and he’s an interesting dude, in general. He’s written books. I can’t describe him. But in any case, he has sent me a few postcards. Each time, it was unexpected. I think once or twice, I entered a contest he had, and won, and the prize was just this silly postcard. One of them was a postcard of an old timey movie poster with a scantily clad lady hanging from a rope and monsters around her, I think. M. Van Vleet wrote me a short, kind message on the other side.
The joy I received from this postcard was completely disproportionate to the thing that it was. I should not have been so excited! But I was. I don’t know why, but if I could guess, I would say it was because I wasn’t expecting it. And because it was mysterious, from someone I sort of know but don’t. Because it was beautiful in a campy, nostalgic way. And maybe most of all, because I could hold it in my hand. It was a human connection that did not involve a screen like the one you are looking at now.
There’s a book I read over and over again as a teenager, that I don’t want to read again now, because I think it would spoil it. The book is, of course, Steppenwolf, by Hermann Hesse. Why I, as a thirteen-year-old American girl, related so much to a middle-aged man in Germany, I have no idea. I guess it is a credit to the talent of the great Hermann Hesse. I read that book over and over again. What I liked most about it was the magic. Underneath the streets was another place, where Harry didn’t belong, but he went there, anyway. The sign above the door said, “MAGIC THEATER—ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY.”
It’s sort of a trick, really. Magic is for everybody. But the sign makes you feel special, like you might be the only one who will be worthy. Or maybe it makes you afraid- will they let you in?
Underneath that, in a reflection, are the words,
“FOR MADMEN ONLY!”
And with those words, Hesse took everyone who’d ever felt they didn’t belong, and he pulled them under his wing. (What kind of wing would he have had? A bat wing? A crow? Perhaps he had wings like a raven. What I wouldn’t give to have a cup of tea with Hermann Hesse.)
Ever since then, I’ve been longing for the day when I am walking down the street, and I find a little door- a door that I have, curiously, never seen before, although I’ve walked this street a million times before, and over the little door is a sign, “MAGIC THEATER—ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY.” I’ve been walking and looking for thirty years, and I have never seen the sign.
But I have seen other things.
I have seen other things, but rarely on the internet. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but rarely. All of the magic seems to happen in that IRL space, where our meat bodies meet. Where you hobble out to your mailbox, and you open a letter and see a familiar scrawl. A doodle. A note from the great beyond.
I have come to believe that we need to add magic to the world. Coloring Inside the Dreams was my attempt at that. I labeled it a coloring book, but it really was a love letter to the nearly lost art of creating magic. (Ironically for sale at Amazon.com.)
I’ve been wanting, for a long time, to do something not so public. Not on the internet. Just sending letters. Notes and pictures. To people like you. I want to write you a little poem, or give you some strange instructions. A dare. Or maybe a story that is from the great beyond. Ethereal. You read it, then maybe you lose it. But you remember it. A glimmer. A reflection on a sidewalk. A sign, over a little door.
MAGIC THEATER—ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY
But I always came up against the sad fact of money. Stamps and paper and ink. They cost money. And my time. Darn. But it does, right? That’s just how it is. Everything costs money. Although, not too expensive, actually. Just a little money.
So… I have created a doorway, now. I’ve got a Patreon account. To support magic. (What have we come to? I know. I know.) And there’s a few levels, because I know some people really do like my coloring books, so you can pay a little bit and see what lies beyond the little magic door (receive scraps of paper from me once a month, always including a pen and ink drawing and some writing), or you can pay a bit more and receive the letters plus all of my books, coloring and whatever else, whenever I print them. Two copies: one to color and one to keep. They will be mailed straight to you, no Amazon involved.
I think perhaps one person will sign up, and you will be very special.
Join the Artsy Fartsy Coloring AND Colouring group here.
The Cat and Crow ordered another weird wooly creature sculpture from me. That was a while ago. It was summertime, and impossible to find time to do a large creative project without someone asking, “What are you doing? Why are you doing that? Who is it for? That doesn’t look like a unicorn!” Etc. So now that school has finally gone back into session, I had time to do a new wooly creature for the Cat and Crow.
Her name is Zurgioch. I don’t know why. That’s just what she told me. Continue reading Zurgioch the Last Unicorn
My coloring book fans are goofy! I guess that isn’t surprising. In the Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn group on Facebook, I’m running a contest where the prize is that you get to tell me what to draw! Tina won (there can be more than one winner) and she wanted me to draw a T-Rex in high heels, running from a lady with a flare. (She thought it was stupid how the lady in Jurassic World ran, like, forty miles in high heels, so she wanted me to balance the scales a little.)
Join the group if you like. I recommend it. You can be a lurker, or a full on coloring artist. I appreciate everyone.
from Birds in Beards 2: Dead Poets Edition
Thoreau is kind of a cheat. He wasn’t a poet. I just thought, what a weird beard!
“This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.”
-Henry David Thoreau, June 1853, writing about a Wood Thrush
According to my friend Rui Afonso: XVI century… self exiled in military in North Africa due to an unrequited love. Lost his eye but lived to write the Epic poem that tells the story of the Portuguese Discoveries.
Poems don’t translate well, but here is a poem of his in Portuguese (Don’t speak Portuguese? Learn it!):
As Alcióneas aves triste canto
Junto da costa brava levantaram,
Lembrando-se do seu passado pranto,
Que as furiosas águas lhe causaram.
Os delfins namorados entretanto
Lá nas covas marítimas entraram,
Fugindo à tempestade e ventos duros,
Que nem no fundo os deixa estar seguros.