Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mark Denis - Painter

Friesian 3, detail
oil on board

My brother Mark has just created an account and gallery at DeviantArt. He works in oils on home stretched canvas and more recently on board made of recycled wood from furniture. His favourite subjects are historical buildings, cats, Dutch style still life, and horses. He lovingly creates multi layered paintings with great attention to detail and observation of form. Mark is largely self taught with help from a bit of formal schooling, friends and family. As his elder sister I have mentored him. He also provides me with a sounding board to bounce ideas and artworks off, as I do for him. Mark's amazing paintings are one reason why I will never dabble in oils! That, and I'm very happy sculpting and making collages.

Mark Denis - Painter
Ink Dreams at DeviantArt

Remember that famous line from Crocodile Dundee...

...when he brandishes a bowie hunting knife at the would be mugger?

funny pictures
My latest LOL from

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Charming steampunk flavour

Listening to: Monster Love by Goldfrapp from Seventh Tree


From Flying Frog Folio - Visual Merchandising, my online display blog.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sea Monkeys on Mars

When I first saw this particular themed sea monkey tank at Kmart I was envious that my shop didn't sell it. When we finally did I snapped one up! Since then (3 years ago) I have raised a number of sea monkeys to adulthood and seen individuals live an average of 6 months. The Sea Monkeys on Mars tank is cool because it has a little astronaut umbilically attached to his spaceship, little rocky archways, plus textured, plentiful surfaces on which to grow algae.

Male sea monkey with astronaut and spaceship

My current colony are the result of draining the bulk of the existing water out and restarting it again with a fresh packet of water 'purifier'* and eggs. It seems the fruits of the existing colony's last members were just not potent enough. I've since tried boosting the numbers by allowing water to evaporate over months, then adding fresh distilled water during the warmer Summer months**. This does cause babies to hatch but they don't seem to live long, though it wasn't the case with the first generation hatched this way. Since sea monkeys are type of a wild brine shrimp perhaps they have been bred to not procreate prolifically with success. There's no money in it if you could be completely self-sustaining is there?! No, you will need to buy a fresh packet of eggs thank you very much [ker-ching!].

Sea monkeys on Mars, top view through access aperture.

Note the verdant, 3 year growth of algae over the Martian surface. The accumulation of loose, green crud at the base of the tank is part of their ecosystem. It is green from algae and will contain some eggs. This type of algal growth is not only healthy but self sustaining. It should not be thrown out! The sea monkeys eat algae, digest it, and the algae turns the excretions into more algae.

Keeping the tank on a south facing window sill*** ensures plenty of gentle daylight throughout the day, with only the last rays of the sun at the end, which will not overheat the water and kill everything! It helps the algae grow and the sea monkeys need it as well. If you don't have such a suitable window sill you can place a small object like a picture frame, or a sheet or paper in front of the tank on a sunnier sill to stop direct sunlight hitting the tank. A sheer curtain is also fine to filter out direct sunlight.

Sea monkey males are sexually aggressive, latching on to females with their 'moustaches' in spite of persistant, wriggling feminine resistance. They stay attached for hours. In lieu of an available female, the sea monkey astronaut has appendages which make it an appealing sea monkey sex doll. Again these males will stay attached for hours. I have sometimes blown bubbles via a pipette to dislodge an elderly male from the astronaut, and once I intervened when two males attached to one female. Otherwise I leave them to it.

Male sea monkey in can't see his many little swimming legs because this was a long exposure picture (no puns intended!).

Blowing bubbles - without sucking up water - is not only the safest way to move sea monkeys but they seem to enjoy it. It is part of maintaining a colony since it adds oxygen to the water. This set comes with such a pipette though you can buy similar ones from a chemist. An eyedropper tends to be too short for the task.

Website of the Day
Sea monkey Mania with more down to earth information and tips than the official Sea Monkey website, plus reviews of various sea monkey products

*Actually salts and a small number of eggs.
**It's the best time to raise sea monkey babies since they are from warmer climes.
***In the southern hemisphere only. Put on a northern window in the northern hemisphere.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Michelangelo @ the discotheque

Listening to: Beat for You, by Pseudo Echo from Autumnal Park

Quote of the Day

'...the naked muscle on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel simply can't be ignored. It's like a gay disco up there!'
Boy George in the forward to Queer by S Gage, L Richards, H Wilmot published by Unanimous, London, 2002

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Arrival by Shaun Tan via Cabinet of Wonders

Listening to: Into the Nightlife by Cyndi Lauper, from Bring Ya to the Brink

I have been meaning to write about one of my favourite Australian book illustrators*, Shaun Tan for some time now and have been pipped to the post! Heather McDougal has eloquently blogged on Cabinet of Wonders about The Arrival. Via the comments page you can find this rather wonderful little documentary/interview with Shaun about the upcoming animation of The Lost Thing and the artistic process. The Arrival is my favourite Shaun Tan graphic novel, followed by The Lost Thing so I'm finding the prospect of that being animated, rather exciting!

What I adore about Shaun's unique work is the quirkiness, aged rather than shiney and new textures, details, fantastic creature design, contraptions and landscapes. It's a little bit steampunk without referencing any period in particular and in that sense, timeless.


Print sized illustrations from The Arrival here.

Website of the Day
Shaun Tan

*The other is Melbourne based, Graeme Base whose work I have had the pleasure of growing up with and seeing in the flesh at an exhibition recently. I got some books signed for Christmas including the delightful 'The Art of Graeme Base' :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mirrored Mask @

Cross posted to my art blog. There, you will see the number of works increase this month so pop back now and then. I've been taking photographs of some of my older works which have been exhibited, pieces relating to these, works in progress, and newer art that has never been seen by the general public. I don't intend to post many of the latter until they have been exhibited, in order to protect my intellectual property concerning the specific concepts behind some pieces . I must get around to finding a gallery and booking a space!

Mirrored Mask
digital photograph

Sunday, January 04, 2009

She sells sanctuary by the seashore

Listening to: She Sells Sanctuary by Pure Cult

A few months ago it occurred to me that, after almost ten years of frequenting goth clubs where this used to be a dance floor filling staple and hearing this song so many times, I still had no idea what most of the lyrics are. Do you? Tonight I finally looked them up and read them while listening to the song. Then I giggled at what I was fudging/pretending them to be in my head* This isn't what I actually heard but if forced to sing it I would have sung it like that** . The real lyrics don't make much more sense in my opinion ;)

* Involved slurred, snarly words and paper backs being burned.

**Actually I would more likely make something up to the tune of it. I have a gift for making partial songs up on the spot to the tune of other songs. It's a source of much amusement [grin].
example: While at an international airport a few years ago I came up with this,
sung to the tune of John the Revelator by Depeche Mode:
Get on the travelator
Get there sooner and not later
Get you to your plane on time