Tag Archives: kitty litter

Portrait of the non-artist as a middle-aged putz, Part II

For those of you following, this is part two of The Chronicles of Ian Attempting To Learn To Draw Purty (part one is here).

If nothing else, it should be entertaining in a watching-a-train-wreck-can’t-look-away sort of way.

The text I chose to work with for this self-guided journey is Drawing; The Head and the Figure by Jack Hamm. That said, all sketches, attempts at sketches, and oddly disturbing squiggles I have attempted here are the sole fault / responsibility of me, and not Jack Hamm.

You can’t blame an elephant trainer for being unable to teach a saw horse to use a kitty litter tray, so Jack can’t really be considered culpable for my output.

My efforts since last week started with the eyes:

I can't bear to watch this work progressing. I just want to close my eyes. All of them.

As you can see, if I keep my eye on the ball, I’ll soon have quite a following amongst the far-sighted crowd.

Once I got bored comfortable drawing eyes, it was time to move onto lips:

Looks like someone has tried to interbreed zebras with humans.

In nature, striped patterns often indicate something is highly poisonous. I think even a zombie would hesitate when confronted with lips like these.

Clearly this was an area where I needed a lot of work. Or a smudge function in my graphics editor:

These lips can't lie...mostly because they are an inanimate object.

When my model’s fever broke, the stripes on her lips faded and her mouth looked almost human again. Sadly, I don’t capture that here.

Fresh off this not-quite-a-failure ‘success’, I decided my ego needed a bruising to bring it back down to Earth.

I attempted a face again. The results were, to say the least, humbling. And not in a good way:

I bet she looks pretty good through one of my earlier efforts at an eye...

Beauty on the left by Jack Hamm, talented artist. Unconventional beauty on the right drawn by yours truly, untalented putz.

I am reminded of the original Star Trek pilot, The Cage, and the woman who was repaired by aliens who’d never seen a human before.

My main take-away lesson this week: the smaller my images are on the screen, the less horrible they look. I will be focusing on making my sketches much, much smaller going forward.

Next week, assuming I don’t feel honor-bound to try to improve the whole-face drawing skills, will be noses and then, possibly, if my noses pass the sniff test, ears.

Come back and see…if you dare.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My books are available!

The Santa Claus Gang:

The Santa Claus Gang: A Marlowe and the Spacewoman short story

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE, and another fine showcase for my artistic abilities!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)


Posted by on 26 January 2013 in Art!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tread Carefully, O Muse, or at least wear shoes…

So last week I talked about the joys of mowing my lawn.  This week I want to talk about maintaining my lawn.

These are not the same thing.

You know what’s stressful? Trying to keep your kids from drawing on every single flat surface they can find once they’ve gotten their little hands on a crayon.

A crayon, to a toddler, is an invitation to leave their mark on the world. And by mark, I mean marks. And when I say marks, I am not conveying clearly enough the extreme plural nature of the marks. These kids draw on walls, floors, drawers, doors, windows, screens, television sets, chairs, shoes, other crayons, and occasionally, themselves.

And this is an extremely small subset of the things they will draw on with those god-forsaken crayons.

(It’s a well-known fact: every time a child is handed a crayon, a demon gets his horns.)

What does this have to do with maintaining my lawn? I’ll get there.

I own dogs. This means that they leave lots of little presents for me on the lawn in the backyard. But that’s okay. Because I knew what I was getting into when I decided I wanted to own dogs. So while I don’t exactly enjoy cleaning up these little pee-mail attachments, it comes with the territory.

My front lawn is a different story. Maintaining my front lawn is extremely stressful. Almost as stressful as dealing with my kids and their crayons.

Why is maintaining my front lawn extremely stressful? Let me tell you.

Maintaining my front lawn is extremely stressful because I live in a Third World neighborhood.

What do I mean by that? Let me tell you.

My neighborhood is overrun by cats.

I’m not talking about the fluffy Persian cats that turn their nose up at the wrong brand of cat food, or that sashay back and forth across their house’s front window, showing off their ‘Best In Show’ ribbon.

I’m talking about feral cats.  And when I say cats, I am not conveying clearly enough the extreme plural nature of the cats.

This confederation of feral cats is thriving because I have a well-intentioned neighbor who insists on feeding them. He loves these cats. LOVES them. He leaves out several bowls of food for them each day, and he leaves the door open to one of his cars, so they have someplace dry to stay during the rainy season.

Aw, how touching.

Despite this affection, he avoids all other aspects of pet ownership, such as tags and collars, regularly scheduled veterinary visits, and, more importantly, being responsible enough to neuter said feral cats. And as the old saying goes, “An unneutered feral cat community that lives together loves forever, eventually producing enough offspring to overrun an entire neighborhood.”

Why, you ask, do I care? Let me tell you while I sit here, serenaded by the yowls of a couple of feral cats rutting just on the other side of my fence, driving my dogs into an apoplectic barking frenzy that I am convinced is going to end in an aneurysm, either for one of the dogs, or for me.

You know the one thing the cats won’t do in the area where they are fed? If you said, “Go to the bathroom,” then ding ding ding! you win a prize.  Instead, they go somewhere else to do that particular business. Which is where my front lawn comes in.

(If you’re one of those lawyer types and you’re going to start shouting about getting your prize, just send me your address. As soon as I get it, I’ll go out to my front lawn and scoop up your reward.)

I’ve tried everything to keep them off my lawn. I have a spotlight on a motion sensor. I’ve left out mothballs. I’ve sprinkled the essence of jalapeno pepper around my lawn. I scattered granules of a particularly nasty smelling repellent on my lawn (made with, among other things, spoiled egg and dried blood). I’ve even tried watering my lawn every single night so that it’s soaking wet.

(I have even thought [SHUDDER] of leaving food out for them so they’ll do their business elsewhere.  But that’s just forcing the problem onto someone else.)

The cats don’t care what I do to discourage them. They love my lawn. It is the best kitty litter box they have ever encountered. They tell other cats passing through the neighborhood, “Hey dude, if you ever need to take a dump, have we got the perfect lawn for you!”

It’s driving me crazy.

Oh, I’ve thought of more extreme measures. I looked into traps so I could take them to the local shelter and have them fixed (and let me be clear – by fixed I mean neutered, NOT euthanized). Traps cost $65. And one of my neighbors, who’s already tried this approach, reports that the local shelter simply brought the cat back unaltered.

I’ve also thought about slingshots, pellet guns, even a .22 rifle (they’re not that loud). The old SNL yard-a-pult skit has also come to mind. But as a pet owner and all around decent human being, I could never harm another animal. Even if I have just stepped, barefoot, in that animal’s still warm and most-recent-in-a-long-string-of fecal deposits on my lawn.

However, I think I’ve finally come upon a humane solution. It involves my children and crayons.

The only problem is crayons don’t work very well on cat fur.

Does anyone have any advice on how to minimize the level of injury sustained while shaving a cat?


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: