I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.
Good designs sell – mine sell out!

http://www.artbyhensley.com/index.html

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Imperfect"

I’m all for personal growth, but some ideas seem to be asking an awful lot. Debbie at Dosankodebbie’s Etegami Notebook wrote about painting bugs because they bother her, and I thought I’d give it a stab. Debbie’s idea actually made me want to wage an all-out chemical assault on creepy crawlies, but since I wrote about perfectionism last week, let’s talk about human imperfections in a different way this time…

My brother was staying with his friend in Columbus, Ohio. As fate would have it, they were living in the dorm across the hall from where I lived my first year at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). It’s a long drive to Columbus from Cleveland, my car didn’t have AC, and I was hot and tired when I got there. The door was open, so I went in and was vividly reminded of the squalor that young guys seem to thrive in. I gingerly shoved a lump of disgusting laundry onto the floor and collapsed into the contaminated chair while trying not to think about death by bacteria. After a while I cooled off enough to contemplate the fact that the hospital wasn’t too far away and I should probably get a tetanus shot before continuing my drive to Indianapolis, Indiana, especially after studying the smudged fingerprints and smear of lead white paint on the outside of the iced tea glass one of them handed me. I wondered if these guys knew about the existence of dish soap or how to use it. It’s really a marvel that males survive their first few years out of the nest without succumbing to foot rot or some other terrible disease.

Maybe this is a good place to insert that both of these guys are older and more sanitary now. I’m pretty sure they’ve both managed to master laundry and dish washing. I should also say that I really like my brother’s friend. I always enjoy talking with him and looking at his art – I’ve even watched him tattoo people, but maybe tattoos are a topic for another day. On the day in Columbus, I enjoyed looking at my old stomping grounds. The apartment was the exact floor plan as my old apartment except in reverse, and it was fun to remember old times while making a mental note to avoid all male dorm rooms in the future.

Eventually we decided to go out for dinner. Okey dokey! Back to the world of air conditioning and people who know how to use dish soap! We got up to leave and I hit a dead stop at the door. When I had come in, the door was open and I was tired. I didn’t fully take in my surroundings at that time because I was rather overwhelmed by the mountains of clutter inside the apartment. Now I was on the wrong side of a door with a variety of dead cockroaches nailed to it, arranged by size. The largest was hammered in with a nail about the size of a railroad spike. Uh, uh, uh, oh...

I eventually managed to force myself past them, towards the pizza and air conditioning. The dead carcasses quivered when the door shut, and I could hear the whispering crackling of their wings against the door. I don’t know Debbie, is drawing roaches really going to help me overcome this experience??? I have to admit that I got creeped out just looking up reference online. Ew, ew, ew, yuck!!!

BTW, it is probably obvious to all of you guys out there, but just to state the obvious, my brother and his friend were delighted at my bile-filled near fainting fit. They made plans to add to their collection and joyfully described their method of asphyxiating the victims with spray fixative before nailing them to the door. They still giggle over it. Guys are sick.

44 comments:

  1. Well, you made a beautiful illo out of a real creeper!

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  2. I'd say it's pretty perfect, in spite of the context ;) Love it.

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  3. I love how the background and the bug work together. It's a striking image.

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  4. i just had to be re-suscitated, linda. iiiiiii...have a seeerious phobia with um, la cucharacha. but, that being expulsed, as it was so awesomely done by you, this is GORGEOUS illustration. i LOVE the intricate wallpaper that draws the eye right to the intricate, um, thorax.

    and thanks soooo much for the visits, linda!

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  5. Whatever beauty there is in a cockroach, you have certainly captured it! Maybe part of what I was trying to accomplish in painting bugs, was to feel that I had some kind of control over the thing I feared. Of course, the painting is not the real thing, and I will probably fall to pieces the next time I see one anyway. ;p

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  6. Thanks everybody! Never thought I'd do cockroach art. I wondered how this one was going to go over. Last week's flowers were quick and pretty. By contrast, it seems odd that I labored so much over bugs.

    I don't think we ever get control over them Debbie. They outnumber us, outsmart us, and outsurvive us. I think all we can do is learn to live with them? Eewwwww. I'm still kind of chuckling that you inspired me to do this! Thanks!

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  7. It is the loveliest cockroach I have ever seen. It reminds me of living in NY. They were not so pretty though.

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  8. Yuck Linda I really do have quite an aversion to cockroaches, almost as much as I do snakes but then I love spiders...does that make me imperfect. Your story is very "male" and very "uni". It is hard to understand how they survive to middle age!
    Despite my aversion to these bugs your drawing is quite exquisite.
    Enjoy a perfect weekend,
    Jane x

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  9. Your story gave me a major case of the shudders, but your illo is absolutely beautiful! (I actually love drawing bugs... but having them in the house, not so much.)

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  10. Oh Linda, this one is absolutely gorgeous! Your pattern-talent is on full throttle here, and the color palette is so soothing (unlike your story's subject matter). I'm so glad I got to experience your story from a nice, safe, and sanitary distance...like Laurie Anderson's line: "I'd rather see this in the movies...!"

    Our mothers did warn us though. Remember, "Boys are made of rats and snails and puppy dog tails...?" Cockroaches must have been implied in there somewhere...

    As for your comment on my own Illustration Friday "imperfect" post, I too was an ugly duckling. Also a black sheep and a late bloomer. In fact, I may still be growing into myself...takes some getting used this, this gray hair and wrinkles. But we've got our 'voices' now, the two of us, eh? That's a lot!

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  11. wow Linda, that's two wows from me this morning.

    back later am at work UGH :)

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  12. Wonderful design! Nice writing, I felt like I was almost there in that cluttered filled, bug infested room~

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  13. Thanks everyone! I have to admit I've had some giggles that people are reading about cockroaches. I can handle most things in the natural world like snakes and spiders and such, but there's a whole different category for roaches, fleas, and centipedes. I wonder what I can possibly do with this art now? I've got a hard time imagining someone will want to hang it on their wall!

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  14. your illo hits the spot. And the story - ewwww. (Gave me some flashbacks to when I shared an apt with a pack of slobs.)

    There is actually a big audience for bug art. I've spotted quite a bit in the neo-victorian, steampunkish realm

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  15. At least I was only there for an afternoon :) I like the idea of the neo-victorian steampunks. Maybe there is a market for this?

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  16. Now, every time I see a great looking cockroach I'm going to have to ask him if he was the one that Linda drew...

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  17. Aren't you funny Rand? That cockroach is dead. Your cockroach would be one of its millions of offspring.

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  18. Fascinating design--captures the natural designs within the insect world!

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  19. That is a great picture, Linda. Close to Escher's bugs and Lalique.

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  20. Linda, I enjoyed your post. You've certainly found the beauty in this horrible intruder. Your palette, rhythm, pattern, and skill are woven together beautifully. Bravo! This one's a blue ribbon.

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  21. Wow Linda, you even managed to make a cockroach beautiful :)

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  22. I love all kind of bugs, and this one is well executed.

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  23. This is one of your best pieces.
    I like the design, and the subtleties, the color palette is perfectly understated.
    It's itchy and appealing at once.

    nicely done.

    .

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  24. I never suspected cockroaches to be able to inspire such a wonderful illustration and even a gorgeous wallpaper pattern to go with it! This illo is anything but imperfect!

    Men really must belong to a different species, with the y-chromosome actually making them more robust. How else could they survive such surroundings.

    Though I must confess that I really love to draw all kinds of insects, too, as long as they are safe on a photo or in some kind of locked container and there is no risk of them crawling over me.

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  25. Who knew cockroaches could go over so well? Your kind words almost inspire me to paint more bugs, but I think I might go back to flowers :) Well, I might do a dragonfly or something. Thanks for the comments!

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  26. very cool illustration.

    Speaking on behalf of men everywhere.... uh, you're right.

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  27. That bug is perfectly creepy!

    And your guy dorm room story... now I've got another reason to avoid my sons' room!

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  28. Hey Linda, well I got back at last. This is amamzing, (yes I invented a new word for you :) ) If I didn't know better I'd think it was 3d - the way it pops, the way it has that faint metallic shine,. I love the Esceheresque pattern below, but Escehr would never think of doing cockroaches. Either would I.

    It's brilliant how you gave taken something so creepy crawling and made it aesthetic. Not that I find them creepy... I have several as pets... now let's see... There's Rodger, and Cedric and Ralph, and mustn't forget the red one, Boadicea :)

    PS my magic word is "Cusse"

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  29. Love this drawing - the background is a complete surprise, usually a background with similar feel is plant curlicues or paisley. Bugs fascinate me, their alien armour and other worldly colours. My scalp itches, though. Great job.

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  30. My scalp itched too while I was doing this one :) I'm feeling happy with the Escher comments. I wasn't trying to copy his style, but I was doing some Escheresque bird doodles just before attempting this piece, so maybe part of my brain was being influenced by him without my awareness? Love the comments! Thanks!!

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  31. Thank you for sharing
    this wonderful work

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  32. It was art fair weekend here and someone painted one of those creepy crawly centipedes with the long legs. Actually her whole booth was painted bugs. Yikes. But some bugs are cool. And yours is artfully done.

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  33. Hi Linda, great story and amazing illustration. Fab cockroach and love the pattern you have created with it, creepy but super stylish:)

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  34. Thanks! I'm feeling kind of itchy at the idea of a whole art booth of bugs :)

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  35. That is a gorgeous illustration!

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  36. haha.. I gotta say yes the guys are gross.. but you sure made a cockroach beautiful!! The colors are Perfect .. and I love it on the wall paper. cool!

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  37. This is actually really beautiful, since bugs intrigue me. The "wallpaper" background is an especially lovely pattern!

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  38. What a beautiful beautiful bug illustration--and not creepy at all. I think what makes it not creepy is that you've emphasized the decorativeness of it, especially by placing it on a decorative background, and limited the palette. It really is beautiful.

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  39. I'm almost tempted to wallpaper something with that pattern :) Thanks for the comments!!

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  40. Heisann! Fascinating design, Linda ;:OD)

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  41. I'm still trying to figure out how I got so manyresponses for cockroaches! I may have to rethink my whole approach to my art? Thanks for the comments!!

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  42. une belle création mais histoire de Columbus est horrible ouhhhhhhh

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  43. I think I just got bilingual! Even I can figure out that, and it was est horrible!

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