pyraxis: Pyraxis (Pyraxis)
2017-06-30 07:21 pm

Shashigai

I guess I need to get it together to make a public post. My partner, [personal profile] shashigai, died from complications of cancer last Sunday night.

We've been keeping it on a private filter because he didn't want a lot of people to know he was ill. He believes that it's too easy for people's expectations to shape reality, and he didn't want to live the reality of being treated like an invalid. He wanted his accomplishments and his mistakes to stand on their own, not to always be tainted by "You're doing so well, for somebody who's ill," or making excuses for him. It carried over to offline life as well, and his work. He has an advanced degree in psychology and for the past few years he's been teaching online. Being a college professor was one of his dreams.

I've known him for twelve years, and we've been together for ten of them. When I met him, he was working in a hospital as a psychiatric crisis clinician. He's always had a thousand stories from his time there, from the silly ones like the woman who went dancing naked down a public street and when questioned, sung out, "I'm a treeeee! My branches need to grow free in the wind!" to the serious ones, like the former alcoholic who was being written off by the doctors and herded off to rehab. Under questioning from Shashigai, she admitted she felt a "tight band around her head", which he correctly identified as carbon monoxide poisoning. He sent a fire brigade to her apartment, where they found a gas leak behind her stove, the source of the faint hissing noise that everyone else had been calling her hallucination.

He's always been a storyteller. I only know a fraction of the stories in his head and I'm sure I could only tell them a fraction as well. He's left me journal after journal of writing. When we met, I introduced him to our world, Karn, and he took it on as his own. He made it his home in the Dreaming, and his presence has left it infinitely richer. I believe he is still there, both as his own self and in the dozens and hundreds of people we met there. We discovered other worlds together - Ua, and Beren Gan - and wrote stories and made art and stood together in fascination and admiration as it breathed into life.

We've fought like cats and dogs, we've screamed at each other and hurt each other, and I hope that in the end it was enough for me to stay with him when he acknowledged that there was no other treatment to be tried and the only question left was how should it end. He asked for his cowboy boots and his Superman hat, because that's the kind of guy he is. He's been defying human physiology for as long as I've known him. He's set me on fire (it was an accident!) and I've cut him on purpose, and beyond all that, I did every damn thing I could to support his free will in a society that is all too quick to disempower. He'd disagree with that and in the worst times he'd call me lazy and selfish, but we hung the fuck onto each other through the storm. We were proud of our track history of resolving conflicts.

He is a collector and a tinker and an idea person. He can name every brand of fountain pen and clean them to work again too. He could fix our dryer and our internet and cook like a professional chef. When we went out to eat, he would pick the best dishes and reproduce them at home by taste. I've managed to save some of his best recipes and I'm sad for all the other ones that were never written down. He did his best to teach my reluctant self not to be afraid of breaking things.

We went camping together and he took me for a walk through the deep woods at midnight to show me the delicate white mushrooms that creep out of the ground and the blossoms that only open at night. He knew all the secret places in the town where he lived, like the little tea hut at the end of the trail where we shared a thermos of ginger tea. He gave me a pen that could light up, for writing at night, and any number of blank books and journals in encouragement to write. We went hiking in the early morning so that we could be painting watercolour as the sun rose. I taught him everything I could think of about painting, so that he went from hesitating to do anything more than mix colours, to painting lighthouses and clouds and landscapes from Karn.

I could keep going. He helped me get my dream job despite my frantic efforts to take the first halfway decent opportunity that would have gotten us out of one place where we were living. He helped me rediscover my sport, rock climbing, and took me to the climbing gym religiously every weekend despite the fact that he often wasn't well enough to climb himself. He used to say that one of his biggest mistakes was allowing his former partner to discourage him from his own sport of marathon running. He ran ten marathons before she got to him, and he finished nine of them.

He said he'd lived enough for six lifetimes and blamed it on his ADHD. It still tears me up to think of all the things we still wanted to do together. We were in the middle of a move across the country which we had to delay because of the illness at the end. We were just buying a house together and ready to start a new life. All his things are halfway across the country now and I'm going to be putting pieces back together in the place we chose to suit both of us. I want to honor him and I want to share his stories with the world. I only hope that he can still see it.
pyraxis: Pyraxis (Pyraxis)
2017-04-30 05:26 pm
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RIP Polly Samuel

Also known as Donna Williams, the author of the Nobody Nowhere autobiography series, Exposure Anxiety: The Invisible Cage, many other books, and the music albums Nobody Nowhere (2000) and Mutation (2005). She was also a fine artist and performing artist and gave presentations on autism all over the world.

She and her work had a massive impact on our life. )

She answered the next day. )

~

In the dream home that j-t had designed in her head, there was a reproduction of Donna Williams' sculpture My World-'The World' at the end of the entry hall/art gallery.

A life-size bronze sculpture of a nude young woman, holding an apple high in her right hand and gazing into it. Her left hand is behind her, palm out, as if to ward something off.

I just discovered she's left an incredible array of entries in her blog about her thoughts preparing for death and how she would like to be remembered afterwards. I'm going to have to read through this slowly 'cause I know I'm going to end up crying a lot.

She writes, "I felt really strongly I didn’t want a funeral and when I learned I didn’t have to have one, or a grave or any of the trappings, it fitted me. ... I wanted those who loved me to remember and celebrate me in nature, where I belong and will endure in a spiritual place and to make a personal alter or plant a plant to commemorate me where they can commune with me within their own world, for I am a patchwork of all who loved me just as they are, so this is where I live, in life, and after leaving my body."

We're not in a place yet where we can do this. So instead I'm going to take a risk and set this entry to public, at least for now.

Edit: Removed the "Vale" from the post title, which I learned is actually a Latin honorific for the deceased, meaning "farewell", not a first name as I had thought.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2017-01-29 11:08 pm
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King of Cups

A deerlike being standing in a dark foresty place, with head lowered over a shallow bowl of water. He is staring directly into the viewer's eyes and his long tongue is lapping the water. His ears are cocked as if listening and there are dark circles of fur around his eyes. On his head, instead of horns, is a crown of living tentacles that coil and spiral like a halo around his head.

Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

Concept was inspired from a sketch by the Spacerobots


There is a lot that could be said about the Nethik King, but very little that he will let me say tonight. Maybe the image can speak for itself.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2016-09-04 11:37 am

Catching up with sketches

I've gotten behind in posting sketches. I've been doing character studies for the set of stories that Shashigai is working on. I just scanned a few pages of them last night. All of them except the last one are done direct from reference, from photos I found on the internet. Not exactly the characters themselves yet, but working out a sense of them.

Drawings under cut )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2016-07-03 03:52 pm
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Ace of Cups

A young black boy struggling to hold aloft an overflowing ornate wood chest. Water is cascading out of the chest, leaving puddles in the sand at his feet. The boy is wearing a brightly coloured woven loincloth with geometric patterns. In the background is a mud brick building with a round roof and set of double doors.

Photoshop, Wacom and MotionComputing tablet

All my disclaimers )

Anyway, it's Sha, struggling to lift an overflowing kifu, in front of Masta Ua.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2016-01-21 01:18 pm
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A new place

This one takes a bit of explanation. It's on Karn, but on a part of it that no one we know has explored before. Shashigai found a group of explorers who were venturing as far as the Last, which is the high mountain range out past keegrah (griff) territory where the keegrah go to die. This group of five made it through, and on the other side they came out into a deep rift heated by volcanic activity.

There were people there, who called the place the Kabo. There are huge twisted trees growing in the warmth of the hot springs, and the people make their homes up in their branches. But this picture is of an area out past them, on the other side of the rift, where a few have managed to make their homes in the bitter cold. And here's the part that the grehti can't hear of: some of their shapes are different. There are still tirothi and nethik, a few keegrah, and the taigh, who would be recognizable to Daria and her people. But there are also the woji, like the guy in this picture, and wolf-creatures who call themselves the sangh.

This picture was my Christmas present to Shashigai. The girl is Mikka, one of the people in his latest story.

A young woman with long black hair riding a creature that looks like a cross between a bear and a ferret, with fur the colour of fresh fallen snow. They're bounding across a winter landscape on a sunny day, surrounded by coniferous taiga trees.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-11-16 11:54 pm
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Palette challenge

There's a meme going around Tumblr with palettes by someone called AskTheStarGazers. The idea is you pick a palette and a subject and request the person to make a drawing. I tried it - no I'm not posting the results - and discovered that while the palettes look pretty cool, they're infinitely frustrating to work with. No tonal range! So I fixed them. I hope. Possibly my hard work will be for nothing the moment they're seen on somebody else's monitor, since I know my calibration is way off.

Anyway I haven't tried drawing with any of these colours, so they might need iteration. But you never know till you try, right?

I'm open to requests, your characters or mine or something else entirely. I don't do external fandom characters, but worldstuff is a maybe, especially if it's Myst or Minecraft.

18 swatches of colour, six colours each, which could be used as palettes for painting.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-09-13 02:21 pm
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Ice fishing, spiderfishing

A blond young man in a parka and wraparound knitted hatscarfshoelace is fishing through a hole in the ice. The viewpoint is from below, beneath the ice, and a strange half-fish half-spider is nibbling at the hook. It has eight legs with crab claws on the end and fluttery fins reminiscent of a jellyfish.

Evan Leda, from [profile] yonjuunana's comic-in-progress.

Blame Shashigai, who said it should be a spiderfish.

In other news, grr, the Mojang authentication server is down and I can't play Minecraft. I baked cookies instead but I need to decide what to do next.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-09-12 10:16 pm
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Hey Jim!

A cartoon of Jim Nightmare, a young robot guy with blue-dyed hair, exposed metal over all parts of his body but the face and lower right arm, and a t-shirt with a heart on it. He's dressed in badly fitting priest robes and raising his hands as if in blessing, but they look more like claws. He has a goofy grin and he's saying Bless you, my children.

Don't worry, it's not your art trade picture. That's coming soon.

For the uninitiated )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-08-23 09:10 pm
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Ice cream cake

I tried making an ice cream cake for the first time this year. It was a bit of a disaster. The kind of sloppy disaster that still tastes pretty good in the end, but there's no way anybody's going to mistake it for a store-bought cake.

A very sloppy, small round ice cream cake with one slice cut out of it. The icing is oozing down the sizes, revealing bits of ice cream, and the top cake layer is slipping off. There's a very rough checkered pattern on top done with chocolate magic shell toppping and coloured sugar flakes.

Live and learn )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-07-27 11:01 pm
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pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-04-27 09:10 pm
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Coloured pencil blending markers are a little bit magic

As requested, I made a version of the Karn forest garden with colour. It came out a lot more fairytale-like than I was envisioning. I think part of that is just the nature of coloured pencils. I only have access to an old scanner at the moment as well, so a little of the subtlety of colour was lost.

Basically the same drawing as the last one I posted, but coloured in.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-04-18 05:42 pm
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Karn Forest Garden

Today's drawing of the day is for two days, yesterday and today. It's not done either because I want to add colour. Shashigai made a special request, for a drawing of the Karnese forest and the flowers you might expect to see there. It's for a story he's working on. He originally asked for a caricature, ie something simple, but I got carried away.

A pen and ink drawing of an overgrown forest with a lot of different types of plants and flowers. There are venus-flytrap-like flowers with long tongues hanging from branches. Vines creeping up the side of the tree that break open to reveal petals. Lumpy growths like a string of beads along the tops of rocks, with a flower growing out of each bead. Flowers growing from the ground like an ear of corn. Mushrooms of different shapes and sizes. A thorny bush with flowers that have long thin petals. Star-like tiny flowers sprinkling the ground and dangling from branches.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-04-12 11:16 pm
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pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-04-07 10:40 pm
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Sketchdump

It's just a little one. I'm not keeping up with a drawing every day, but it's still more art than I was doing before. I think I'm going to be reclaiming life slowly, in and around all the remaining paperwork, and even the fun chores like installing shelves and organizing storage.

We're still unpacking boxes. I've built myself a desk now, of two masonite boards which I'd once meant to cut up and prime for paintings. They're braced across stacks of boxes. I could still use them for paintings in the distant future when I get a proper desk. There are a lot of things on the agenda first, like a mattress, and maybe a washer and dryer, because the laundromat is a pretty long walk away.

Meanwhile, have a few sketches.


Read more... )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-04-01 10:11 pm
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Art challenge!

The Spacerobots are starting an art challenge to draw something every day in the month of April. I decided to give it a try too. I really need to venture outside of the frantic motion of our move north and ground myself again in what I love to do.

I've been drawing nethik in the few moments I could grab between chores. Experimenting with their physiology. I'm not really happy with the earlier experiments. I've been capturing too much of the reference and not enough of the essence of what makes them nethik. I put an earlier one under the cut at the bottom of the post if anyone's curious, but here's one so far that I like.

Have a drawing inspired by jumping through too many bureaucratic hoops in order to be here in our new home.

A pen and ink drawing of a deerlike creature with a horn, looking straight out at the audience, with half-lidded narrow eyes. One ear is raised and the other is askew, both ragged and notched.

Read more... )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-02-28 09:00 pm
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Tarot: The Lovers

I've been working on this one for a while, but that's mainly because I started it before our move. Today I finally had the chance to put some finishing touches on it.

They are Auben and Amber, two of the people in the Water Song.

A young, well-built black man clasping in his arms a shorter blond woman with long braids pulled into a hairnet at the nape of her neck. She's wearing a simple vest over a light blouse and skirt billowing in the wind, and he's wearing a fine woven tunic with geometric tribal patterns and loose pants. Falling from her hand is a broken branch with an apple. Behind him is a desert with a dead tree and a small white-robed figure standing nearby. Behind her are lush tropical plants.

Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

The Lovers is a card about pairs and duality. It's the sixth card of the Major Arcana. There's a sense of ambivalence about it - sometimes it features a man caught between two women instead of a man and a woman joined. The idea is that something else has to be given up, some sacrifice has to be made, in order to pursue the love that has come into the querent's life. Auben and Amber both turned away from major influences in their lives as they turned to each other. The card can mean falling in love with a person, but it can also mean coming to something which feels as if it completes you. It's a bond which is felt at a deeper level than the conscious mind.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-01-18 09:52 pm
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Tirothi Treehouse

A view looking towards a tree trunk as if the viewer was perched on one of the branches, with wooden platforms built over the branches in a rough circle, and a set of wooden steps suspended by ropes and leading up around the trunk.

Copic multiliner pens on paper

Another treehouse drawing in the style of the one I did a little over a year ago. I actually started this last summer and worked on it a little bit at a time until I finally went back to it last week and got it finished.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
2015-01-18 09:18 pm
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Fox Rampant

A pen and ink drawing of a fox, focused on the head and front paws as it snarls and pounces at the viewer.

Copic multiliner pens on paper

A drawing I did over the past few days. I'm not 100% sure it's a fox. It's from a reference photo I took of a taxidermy exhibit at the Burke Museum of Natural History in Seattle.