• Years and Beers

    SO summer come and gone, the temperature returns to a reasonable number for this northern creature. Origins was nice as a show and I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity. I'm never sure what to expect at this type of thing what the pomp and circumstance level will be. I only really felt like a fish out of water once during an event that i hadn't much planned on. But good for all that. Glad to get back into the studio to get creating.

    A bit glum this year as some friends have shuffled off over the rainbow bridge style of thing. I’ll never get used to that and I suppose that’s good. It means I don’t have a little black rock for a heart.

    Just punching it out with my little demon monkeys to get on with things.

    Hoping the fog clears up.

    The Beer: Eviltwin Brewing Imperial Biscotti Break.

    We return to the old favorites and this is a light blocking stout and no mistake. Not as bitter as other imperial high octane stouts are. I think the almond and vanilla nock it down a bit. At 11.5%ABV this one will sneak up on you so tread gently, sipping as you go and enjoying. It’s easy and a bit sweet.

    This one gets 9 big heaping plates of cookies as you like them in your tummy.

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  • "Shut it, you're awesome!"

    This week is notable for me as I'll be the Artist Guest of Honor at Origins Game Fair 2018. I've been doing this show for 14 years and it's nice to see how far I've come professionally and how my style has evolved. Many of my friends and peers have had this honor as well and it feels good to be added to that list. It has also given me a chance to reflect on how I've been doing in my art world, how many cool pieces I've created and and how my technique has refined. I can tell that little monster in my skull to shut it and see how awesome we are. And it helps that i have so many friends and fans that say nice things as well. Thanks to you all.

    The beer: Leinenkugels Orange Shandy

    I know another not stout or porter, what's this madness? This is a nice summer beer. Citrus aroma and gold color. If you like a shandy this is a nice alternative. Orange instead of the traditional lemony fare. Refreshing indeed and goes with all manner of food.

    I give it 7 happy manatees lounging in a watercress laden pool.

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  • The mind of an artist or the mad monkey inside.

    Recently an artist friend was expressing that she was having a very common feeling expressed not only by creative types but professionals of many walks and even parents in some cases. The Impostor syndrome, that dark little imp that saps the joy from efforts and awards telling us we aren't any good or that someone made a mistake giving us the accolade and it's only a matter of time before they drop the other shoe on our heads. The feeling that everyone else has their shit together while you're just flailing about or that people know way more than you.

    I've attended many conventions with this artist over the years and i've watched her art skills grow in leaps and bounds, we're both now "seasoned" professionals apparently. I told her that I too still go through this and I've just been awarded an Aritst Guest of Honor at an upcoming show I've been attending for 14 years.

    My deep dark secret...I never feel like I've accomplished as much artistic gravitas as my peers, there is a certain visual style that many of my contemporaries produce with epic painted landscapes rife with adventure and emotion that only someone without eyes would not want gracing the walls of their home. While I'll be setting up with my stuff in the 10' x 20' booth with weird little homonculi, visual slapstick, and eye puns galore.

    Then I do a bit of fact checking because my brain conveniently tends to forget all the cool stuff I've done artistically and how many people have said many kind words to me about my work and my sense of humor.

    It doesn't stop the little grey monkey in my head from poop targeting my self esteem but it messes his aim up.

    Self confidence in your ability to succeed is such a hard thing to juggle sometimes. There are people I'm sure that are unflagging in their abilities and position in this grand show but I posit that they are few and far between and that our minds generalize and normalize people we admire who happen to do amazing stuff as the status quo. They must obviously get up every day with hot and cold running awesome and unicorn bacon sammiches and thus we mere starstruck mortals with our pedantic "coffee" and "work" are utter failures because we're not sucking down mana with the gods. That's the monkey talking, the monkey doesn't hate you but it's not here to help either. It's noise, pay it as little mind as possible. And it's always ok to take a sounding now and then however you feel comfortable by asking friends or posting something for feedback. My fellow meat beings, unless people are hitting you with sticks or setting you on fire, they probably like you.

    The Beer: New Holland Dragon's Milk Cherry Choclate stout (duh.)

    This one was unusual in that it was delicious as I've come to expect Dragon's Milk BUT the cherry and choclate notes were really mild to me. The only reason I knew i had actually not been drinking regular Dragon's Milk was someone asked how the cherry was. I had to look at the label. Still delicious as Dragon's Milk with it's thick stout and bourbon wonder and it may be better for people that don't like alot of other flavors but just to have a hint of it.

    I give it 6 chewed dwarves lightly roasted.

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  • Alone again, creativly.

    Not quite in a Gilbert O'Sullivan way but there you are.

    While not exactly lonely the life of a creative individual specifically one that uses the majority of their time to create and manage a way to support themselves through life with their works is a solitary one for the most part even when surrounded by friends and family. Some are introverts that thrive in the solitude but an equal number of freelance social animals that crave company who find the exile a bit stressful at times as the want to bounce ideas off of someone gets on top of them and the quietude seems oppressive.

    A price to be paid for steering your own ship of fate.

    While collaborations can be wonderful things in the end an artist can only create alone. The introverted artist is a common theme and there are people of note who've done studies on the psychology of creative solitude, of the flow of the artistic mind. This why interrupted artists tend to get cranky because they can't just drop back into the stream where they left off, they mentally have to go back to the start and go forth again, now trodding a path that has soured. Before a pristine expanse undiscovered it is now a pragmatic path of utility necessary only to get to the point and robbed of some of its joy.

    Many artists have gone on at length of the creative power of solitude saying that is when their best ideas arrive.

    I've personally found a wealth of ideas and flow when I'm having "Shower thoughts", that is mind rambles while I'm in the shower. Something about the enclosed space and constant spray of warm water helps me focus like no other and I've actively focused on one idea before entering the shower and found an ease of solving that particular creative question upon getting out. Other artist friends have written about shower thoughts as well and the need for seclusion when creating as well as the benefit of returning to the throng of life and feeding from the energies of the collective. I love being around other creatives at conventions and in groups, recharging my internal batteries and getting my needs for social interaction met in the bargain.

    It's a weird world that we walk in.

    The Beer: The Mitten Brewing Co. Peanuts and Cracker Jack Robust Porter.

    This is one delicious drink and no mistake. Dark beer with a nice aroma of peanuts, chocolate and a bit of malt. Peanut and caramel flavors, slightly sweet malt but not sticky. Not as heavy as I thought it would be. Goes nicely with many things. Caveat it's made with peanuts so if you have an allergy I'd stay away.

    I give it 3 Damn Yankees and a handful of cornfield baseball ghosts.

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  • Win some, lose some. Try none , win none.

    Recently put in for the jury of Spectrum, a fantasy art anthology of some note and...didn't get in. There are always a lot of heavy hitters artwise in these things and many are people I know and well deserving of the accolades due them. It can be tough for some artists to be judged and found wanting, some creative people never put their works out there in the public for that very reason and so the world never knows them. It is disappointing to not be chosen, the signal that your personal skill bar has been raised and more will now be expected of you. The feeling to throw their hands in the air in disgust and yell "This is bullshit, I quit!" and burn their portfolio in the driveway and never create again is strong. But my advice is to not give into the quit monster, the bar has raised for you either way and now keep doing what you were before. You don't create so you can win an award, you create because every day your skull is hammered with inspiration, some many ideas that you've forgoten half of all the things you thought of. You have people, monsters and worlds you need to show people. You need to communicate about places that don't exist and times that never were. You're the only way the people of planet Earth will ever experience them. A creative travel agent to fly the weird skies.

    The beer: Magnum Mead Ale by Black Dragon Meadery

    That's right, not a stout or porter again. Look at all the personal growth. I'm a mead fan to begin with and this one is a beer/ mead hybrid and is a nice balance of dry and sweet in one golden beverage. Really nice aroma and very tasty.

    I'd let it shiver me timbers and follow it anywhere. 4 booties and a yard arm.

    (photo courtesy of Black Dragon Meadery)

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