Shashigai

Jun. 30th, 2017 07:21 pm
pyraxis: Pyraxis (Pyraxis)
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: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
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)
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)
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)
A young man in a vest and red pants, with three gold discs around his waist, is perched on a platform that hangs by a rope. On the jungle floor below is another man belaying the other end of the rope, and a woman sitting on a mat and sorting fruit. On the hanging platform is a big basket of fruit, and the young man is reaching for a bunch of triangle-shaped fruits above him.

Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

Thanks to Photography On The Run for the reference material.

Collecting sarfruit )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A smiling woman standing on a sunny plain with her two young children clinging to her skirt. She is carrying a baby in a sling of fine striped cloth and cradling his head as she nurses him. In the clear sky above are flying two birdlike creatures. A tree in the background has monkeylike creatures hanging from the branches, and a large lizard and a herd are also in the background.

This was a hard one.

I had to bring it together so it somehow represented both the essence of the Karnese Mother goddess, and the more ordinary scene of a nethik mother, whose people are the most pastoral of the four recognized shapes.

That's why you can see each of the four shapes in the background, even if there isn't space for much detail. The Mother protects and nurtures all shapes, and though the Grehti priests in their cosmology divide them into a hierarchy of greater and lesser shapes, those which take human form and those which don't, all of them live together in the Mother's cradle. She is the land and the magic and life force it contains.

Nethik secrets )

Anyway, some of the nethik are nomadic and others are farmers, and they've developed the most advanced farming techniques known on Karn. (Advanced being a relative term since the culture itself is neolithic.) They have a lot of skill with herbs both for medicine and for cloth dyes.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A smiling man by a campfire animatedly tells a story to a small group of people around him. The young boy listens entranced, the teenage girl looks at him coyly and the old woman has a melancholy smile. Campfire smoke curls up through the storyteller's hands and into the evening sky. Rocks shelter the camping space and the view behind the man is out over a dry valley with scrub plants.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Shashigai are the storytellers of Karn )

When storytelling goes wrong )

The storyteller has the power to touch people's hearts, to capture them and hold them. The real test of his character comes with what he does with them afterwards.

Who do you allow to tell your story?
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A dark-haired young woman in a green tunic and furs is on hands and knees in the dirt, surrounded by seven low wooden bowls filled with water. Moving clockwise from the one behind her, the bowls contain a bow and arrow, a rock, a red and yellow snake, a thorny rose, chunks of meat, a knife, and a speckled egg.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

I had to cheat a little bit on this one, because those are Earth symbols, not Karnese ones. I didn't want there to be too much of a cultural barrier to identifying with the imagery.

About the nethik )

The Seven of Cups is about what dreams may come.

The traditional Seven of Cups )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A large gryphon-like creature with heavy folded wings perches on a rocky outcropping with its back turned. Its head is turned sideways and one baleful yellow eye is fixed on the viewer. Three swords are leaning against the rock nearby and a fourth lies on a fallen fur cloak on the ground. The dawn sun is rising over the mountains in the background.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Griff Place )

Sketchdump

May. 19th, 2013 07:03 pm
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
It's been a while!

I've been studying avian anatomy and flight patterns, with an eye towards griff, one of the four Karnese shapes.

Images )

Karn map!

Oct. 17th, 2012 09:01 pm
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I've been playing with some new Photoshop layering techniques (new to me, anyway) and so: a map of Karn! Part of it. The part where the toren live, and the village where Daria was born. So if you're curious where to find this Teiranen place people keep talking about, here it is. Along with Daria's hometown Thumar, Celesty and Bryn's hometown Merinell, Teraf's hometown Maron, and the fabled (dreaded) Eileah.

Click for image )

Plus new icons!

A dark stone entrance made by laying a slab of stone across two other boulders, in a forest near the hills

A winding path through the mountains, leading up to a ring of standing stones with a low-roofed building nearby
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
The Spacerobot Crew gave me some scratch art paper for a late Christmas present. We have been playing.

These are designs from Karn. The first one is rsakk, probably from the Vahtani house.

Silver scratch art of a symbolic tribal landscape with two rsakk lizards starting a fire with their breath, which reaches up into the sky with wings and plants growing and eyes in the clouds and the sun.


More )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Two of Swords tarot card

[This painting started off as the two of swords, but it got really personal, really fast. I didn't think it was going to work for a deck, because I don't think the symbols would mean anything to anyone but me, but according to Wolf, that is what the nature of a hand-painted deck should be. -Pk]


Young Lin - she was called Mai Lin back then - is on the run across the Karnese mountainside. )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I'm back to working on the Karnese Tarot project. I'm not sure why this is calling me so much more strongly than the 3d character modeling project did. Maybe it's just easier on the brain - painting is much more focused than 3d work, where you keep needing to jump between aggressive experimentation (to learn the software), visual eye (to make it look good), technical fiddling (to figure out which tools to use for what), and the big picture (because otherwise it's very easy to waste time on detail that's never actually seen). Maybe it's because it's all soft skills. Maybe because the pressure's off.

I'm still going to keep working towards 3d, but meanwhile here is another tarot painting.



The meaning of the card (coins and pentacles are equivalent)

He is tiroth, who are jungle folk and crafters. Also very easily distracted by pretty shiny colourful things. :)

I noticed while I was working on this, how similar the composition was to a pen-and-ink I did six years ago. Read more... )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
And she turns to me with her hand extended, her palm is split with a flower, with a flame...
(Suzanne Vega)

She is a rsakk high Grehti and therefore a master of both the delicate and that which consumes.



The strands of shells are a superstition older than most people can remember; it's believed that sleeping under them will protect a priest from evil spirits.

It is actually true. A toren could not shift back out of their insubstantial form within striking range without ending up with strings and shells embedded in their body.

Link to a traditional interpretation of the high priestess card.

The video that inspired it )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I've been researching tarot symbology and art recently. I'm thinking about a Karnese interpretation, how it would work to use the tarot system as a vehicle for representing Karnese culture.

I did this sketch tonight as an experiment for the eight of swords, which would be a griff card. A story about a griff that may not fly. It's not finished, but I'm curious what people think.



Edit: slight update to the pic.
pyraxis: Pyraxis (Pyraxis)
OMG.

He's taken the things I've been theorizing but thought I was alone and haven't been able to talk about, and he's put brilliant words to them. This is it!


Marc MacYoung, "Conflict: the 21st Century Taboo":
Current dogma is that conflict is bad. Physical violence is viewed as evil, abhorrent, traumatic, out of control and something that must socially engineered out of existence by policies, laws and legal retribution.

And yes we intentionally used the word 'dogma.' Much of what are being promoted as unquestionable 'truths' on these subjects are not only unproven, but in many instances demonstrably false (e.g. "Violence never solved anything"). Offering a different point of view is risky. Daring to question the veracity of popular 'truths' about violence is often an invitation to a tirade worthy of a religious fanatic.

At Conflict Communications we contend popular denial, condemnation and ignorance don't protect people from the trauma of conflict and violence. They instead leave people vulnerable and more traumatized. Simply stated, teaching abstinence does not instill coping skills regarding a normal human behavior.

(the rest of the article)


Just had to share that with somebody, while I'm sitting here all elated that anti-violence neurosis really, truly, is wrong. And there's a logical case for it.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Icicle centuries burst into gentle breeze
Somewhere a curse had been lifted
She turned around in her chair and he touched her hair
And the universe shifted

Olivia, won't you let your heart come home
Olivia, leave those wild young boys alone....


(Edie Brickell, "Olivia")


This is for Marai. The song that Bonnus Canny sings her on the storm wind. PK wanted to do the translation to rsakki and then back to english but she could not.

Wolf has been telling me Marai's stories. I knew she was Grehti, knew she'd been born in Dekan and they pulled her to Karn like they always do when someone comes along who has enough of the diluted bloodline to still shift. I know she had a twin sister, and her sister is gone. Like the gone she calls Marai always, and that is why Marai went back to Dekan after three years and can not step foot back on Karn.

I didn't know that Bonnus was her brother but not by blood. Wolf's story (friendslocked but if you want on it just ask)

There is so much more that I would tell, about the rsakki dancers at Ak-shamalim where Marai lived for those three years, how they moved like ballet or more like ice skating, gliding and arching their arms, darting because even in nok, rsakk are swift and sudden, they run and freeze like lizards. About the lyrical rhythms in the song, and the drums, and how it makes Marai heartsick for that place.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] tigerweave for the idea :)





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