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 Just thought I'd drop by here to share the painting I just completed yesterday, "The Emancipation of Galatea."

If perchance anyone wants a print, coffee cup, or some other thing available in my art shop, the link is here: http://amyla-silverflame.pixels.com/featured/the-emancipation-of-galatea-amyla-silverflame.html

Clicky for full size!


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Once upon a time, there was a man who carved a marble statue. He took great care in its creation, forming it with elegant lines and infinite grace. When it was complete, he set a trap and captured the wild spirit of the North Wind, and he imbued the statue with this spirit, and it came to life, and was made flesh and blood and Wind, and looked like a woman.

The man was very proud, and said, "Look at what I have made with my two hands! I have created life!"

But he had not created life. He had merely enslaved it. And so the living statue whipped up a whirlwind and flew away as if on wings, never to be seen by him again. Sometimes, though, she can be spotted flying through the sky at night, like a wisp of moonlight and dream.
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She liked autumn and bridges, doorways, stone arches and orange sunsets, sproutlings and seashores.  The liminal things, the in-between things.  She felt at home with them.

And she liked the green places, the wild places, the forgotten places, the crumbling remnants of stone overgrown with luscious flora.  She could often be found wandering between ancient columns that stood as stark sentinels against a starry sky, or gazing with inscrutable expression at Ziggaurat temples glinting their jagged corners from deep within a jungle, or wandering like a ghost through abandoned cathedrals, those structures built atop ancient power not quite still asleep, and the red and blue and gold light from the shattered remnants of their stained glass would illuminate her into something not of this world.  Once, she found an old cabin in the woods, a hut really, all rotted wood and echoing memory, and she paused to whisper greeting to times past.

Sometimes, she would walk down a sidewalk in the heart of a city that teemed with exhaust and clatter and artificial light and rushing people, and she would stop and smile, because an ancient tree had stretched its roots and shattered the concrete that sought to choke it.  Silently, she would congratulate the tree on a job well done:You did well, beautiful thing, you did splendidly.  Live on, Old Oak, and then she would tug the hood of her jacket down to hide her face and the otherworldly glint in her eyes, and she would slide her hands into the pockets of her jeans and continue walking.
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 I should post on this thing more often.
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 Sometimes it feels as though my participation in the arts (painting, drawing, writing) are about the only expressions I have of that more Other side of me anymore.  I suppose it's a good enough expression, though it feels somewhat... disconnected.  A little bit dissociated from my Real Life.  It's like bottled magic that never quite loses its stopper.  It's pretty and sparkly and sometimes, if I look at it long enough, it stirs up hints of half-forgotten feelings, a sense of wonder and the miraculous-- but it's contained, corked neatly and sitting on a shelf and waiting for the next time I take it out to admire its contents.

I sometimes just want to smash the bottle on my hardwood floor and let the magic spill out.  Not quite sure how to do that yet, though.  
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 I'm starting a new art presence on Tumblr.  Sorry about the lack of content; I've mostly been setting it up today.  I'll be following some blogs and reblogging some stuff soon, as well as posting some of my own work.  I'll be using this blog to reblog things of interest to me as well as posting my art.

http://silverflameart.tumblr.com
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 It's been a bit since I've updated here.  Since I've been wanting to write more journal-y things on a more frequent basis, I suppose I will drop in to write a little something up.

I've been putting a lot of focus this past week or so into improving my skill and speed as an artist.  Since I'm between art jobs for the moment (I've got one coming up in a week or so, as soon as my client gives me the green light), I've been doing mostly throwaway art, speed-sketching and speed-painting in spurts of twenty minutes to an hour.  I set a a timer and draw/paint as much as I can in the allotted block of time, then reset the timer and go at it again.   Most of the time I'm scrapping what I do for these practice sessions just because they're not up to par or complete, though I did keep one, and refined it a bit. I might keep working on it.  I saw this one with a backdrop of the Aurora Borealis when I went to sketch it.  (I don't like the extended arm, though; it's not in proportion.  But that's easily enough fixed.  You can click the thumbnail to see a bigger image.)




I've been watching a lot of art process videos on Youtube as well; some are just time lapse videos with no commentary, and others are more tutorial-like.  They're all useful, though, both in building mechanical skill and knowledge, and in visualization exercises, which I've been supplementing my practice sessions with.  I've been prefacing my practice work with either a short meditation session in which I visualize myself as a successful, highly skilled illustrator, or with a time-lapse video in which I visualize myself as the artist creating the images in the videos.  I don't actually copy the images in reality, obviously, and I'm using a variety of artists for this exercise so I don't subconsciously mirror the styles, but it seems to be a useful method of building confidence and shedding creative blocks.  I'm not sure to what extent it will enhance my work, but I've noticed that if I'm watching the videos as if I'm the one creating the art, I'm aware more of the subtle techniques being used that weren't registering when I was watching as a more passive viewer.

I haven't got much more to talk about right now, really.  My focus has been fairly narrow this week.  
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 I figured I'd drop this here and see what happens.

On my art site, silverflameart.com, I'm holding a fun little art event in which I draw you as a dragon.  These commissions are priced at a pretty heavy discount from my usual rates, and I'll be taking a limited number of them before closing the event down (probably up to 20 requests), but I'm still open for requests.

You can check out the Be a Dragon! page for details.

Here's one I did of [personal profile] liryen :


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 Back to try to get a little activity in [community profile] walkers_between .  I'm dropping links in a few places with focused intent that the right people will wander in.

I suspect that my previous attempts at creating similar communities (not on Dreamwidth, but similar in intent and energy) failed for a number of reasons: for one thing, not drawing in enough interest to start with before trying to build a standalone site.  Also, I think my intent was more scattered in earlier incarnations (Beyond Flatland, which I ended up shutting down when the paid membership ran out and I discovered they wouldn't let me revert back to the free account), not as focused.

Agh, I'm afraid my words are jumbling up today.  I've been having some brain fog issues.

We'll see what happens here.  The dream's still there; I just need to figure out how to best implement it.


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A short story by Neil Gaiman: The Return of the Thin White Duke.

A fitting memorial to Bowie: his legacy, vision, and otherworldliness captured and woven into a mythic tale.  As it should be.
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 I seem to be extremely talkative here all of the sudden.  I suppose that's a good thing; I am really not fond of the format and feel of Facebook for sharing bits and pieces of life.  

Today was fairly decent.  I completed the line art on a commission (the dragon piece); I'll be doing the coloration tomorrow, hopefully completing it.  A cold front blew through in the meantime-- I brought in a carload of groceries in a pair of sandals and managed to step right in the middle of a frigid puddle.  Warming up again though in my fluffy slippers by the heater.

Mostly kicking back and relaxing a bit now.  I might forage around for some dinner shortly, clean up the kitchen, get a shower.  I may log into WOW for a bit with a friend later tonight after he gets home.  

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 My "Be a Dragon!" event at silverflameart is going fairly slow, but I've got one commission from it.  I may need to advertise more?  I may try to hit up my SFA social media accounts to urge some participation.

I'll be working on the one commission today.  Hopefully I'll be able to finish it, though if not, then tomorrow.  

Right now, I'm in a sort of zoned-out place, drinking coffee, trying to urge myself into movement.  I may do some light exercise after I finish this cup, maybe some stretching, get the blood flowing, just for a few minutes.  I'm really quite out of shape now, and do need to start incorporating exercise into my daily life.  It's been hard because I've been struggling with various health-related problems and haven't had much energy.  I've been wanting to start incorporating short bursts of exercise throughout my day: three or four ten-minute bursts, to help boost my metabolism.  It won't do much for physical endurance, but it's better than doing nothing, and it's easier for me to say, "I'm going to exercise for ten minutes now, and ten minutes in two hours," than it is for me to say, "I'm going to do an hour and a half of cardio."  Perhaps, as I begin to do this on a regular basis, I'll be better able to do that hour and a half of cardio on my good days.  I just need to stick with it-- I keep doing it for a day or two and then stopping.

I seem to have found myself once again in caretaker mode.  My mother has been physically deteriorating at a rather alarming rate recently.  She's had a number of physical disabilities for as long as I can remember, but they seem to be spiraling now to the point where she can scarcely get around.  She spends most of the day sitting in bed, uses her walker to come into the living room to sit for a few hours a day, then goes back to bed when her pain gets too bad.  I've been taking care of her as best I can, preparing meals and checking on her throughout the day, helping her when she needs it.  Her mind is still intact, though she has severe brain fog due to her Fibromyalgia and often loses her train of thought, forgets words, and says or does odd things.  (At least, we both hope that's due to her Fibromyalgia and not from developing dementia or some such)  Despite all that, she keeps herself busy, running a blog on Wordpress, participating in a chronic illness group online, doing Dad's bookkeeping for his filmmaking business, doing numerous Bible studies.  She is, like my Dad, very very Christian, of a fundamentalist variety, which is awkward to be around, but they for the most part don't overtly badger me to come back to their faith (they do tend to do it passive-aggressively, but that's a bit easier to ignore).  

Between my own health issues (which brought me back to Houston after living in California) and the duty to take care of family, I expect I'm going to be here for awhile, so I'm trying to make the best of it.   I have my own private space, which does a lot to keep my sanity levels even.  And I focus on building and promoting my freelance work, on doing the things I enjoy such as writing, and on finding my balance.  I've had a difficult time accepting myself where I am right now, feeling like I've somehow failed in life because of it, but I think I need to start shifting my perspective on things. 



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 Had New Year's dinner with the family today, some rather good barbecue takeout from a local restaurant.  There was a touch of awkwardness when my dad tried to talk me into doing a massive art project for him for "deferred pay", claiming I would get paid when he gets paid for his production.  He is trying to break into the Christian filmmaking industry, a goal he has been working towards for the past twenty years or so.  He's made some decent headway, making a lot of contacts along the way, and is looking for investors for his first major project.  However, besides the fact that his movies espouse a worldview which I find very damaging (not Christianity as a whole, but his particular flavor of Christianity), he's also shown in the past that when he asks me to work for him in exchange for something, he doesn't deliver.  I don't think he necessarily plans it that way.  He just has a tendency to overestimate his chances for success when beginning his ventures, and thus his form of currency when paying me for my work has a tendency of taking the form of Pie in the Sky.

So, I told him politely but firmly that I don't work for free.  He tried to argue for a minute or two but finally gave in and admitted he had someone else in mind if I turned him down.  (I wonder if they'll be willing to work for "deferred pay")

I do have an upcoming (paid) project very soon, as soon as I get the go ahead.  Work has been a bit slow lately otherwise.  I need to kick up my social networking presence for silverflameart.com, hopefully drawing in some new clients.

I bought a fun little program with some money I received for Christmas: Game Guru.  It's a 3D game engine.  I'm not much of a coder and have no experience with 3D art (though I've been trying to learn Blender this week too), but the interface allows for the creation of a game from start to finish, beginning with the environment, adding and customizing characters, etc.  I haven't quite got the hang of the whole thing yet, though I've watched a good number of tutorials.  I've been spending the last couple of days trying to build realistic mountains.  It's a LOT harder than it looks; the terrain tools are pretty easy to use, but using them in such a way as to build REALISTIC terrain is another matter entirely.

I'm hoping to eventually be able to create professional-quality games, which is going to require a lot of new skill sets (including 3-D art), but for now I'm going to just content myself with learning the in-built controls and figuring out Blender, the latter of which has been causing some frustration thus far as it keeps doing strange things even when I'm following the tutorials exactly.  (I suspect I've got one of the settings toggled for something but I'm not knowledgeable enough to know which one)   
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 I have been baking today in preparation for the holiday.  Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (homemade), and pumpkin and cherry pies (Marie Calendar's frozen pies-- not as good as homemade, but not bad either).

Tomorrow, I'll be making Christmas dinner, but most of it will be easy prep (unlike Thanksgiving this year, when I did almost everything from scratch).  Will have a quiet dinner with family; I'm hoping there won't be too much stress.  

Honestly, I've always loved the Christmas season, but I've found it hard to get into the spirit of it over the past several years.  I tend to prefer celebrating with close friends and chosen family rather than with my birth family, who are extremely Christian (in a fundamentalist sort of way) and tend to make things awkward.  So it's become more of a hassle than anything.  But I still engage in some private celebratory things, generally in interactions with online friends, so that takes the edge off of the awkwardness and brings a bit of the warmth I always liked about the holiday.

I know, it's probably a bit strange for an agnostic-type pagan to like Christmas, but I tend to approach it from a mythic perspective.  I like the messages woven into the mythology: of transcendent love, of peace on earth, of kindness and goodwill, of family and togetherness, of magic and the miraculous.  Because of that, I haven't fully given up on it.  


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 Will be heading out later today to see The Force Awakens.  I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, but I do enjoy it quite a bit.  And, of course, I grew up with the original trilogy and adored Princess Leia.  I was always more prone to playing with Star Wars action figures than anything else.  I would even play Star Wars with my Barbies (among other adventurous games, like pirates).  I wouldn't exactly say I was a tomboy, because I liked girly things too (I loved ballerinas and dancers, unicorns, Rainbow Bright, the color pink, etc), but I was just an adventuresome girly girl.  *grins*  I think I'm probably a lot less girly nowadays, but I do have my moments.  I still ooh and ahh when I see a beautiful dress, even if I know I'd never wear it.

And yes, I know I'm pretty much rambling about nothing, but frankly it feels good just to ramble in a blog again, even if it's all shallow, unimportant stuff.  I haven't got many people on my list here, though.  I've been wanting to meet some new people, so maybe I ought to scout around and see if anyone catches my interest who seems open to being added on here.


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 Trying a pot roast recipe in the crock pot today.  I made a few modifications, partly because I didn't have all the ingredients (it called for fresh sage and thyme and I only had dried), and partly because I wanted a potato instead of a yam in the mix, so hopefully it'll turn out good.  The broth is a mixture of balsamic vinegar and beef broth.  It suggested a cup of dry red wine, but offered more broth as a substitution.  (I think I would have preferred the wine but got voted down)

We'll see how it turns out.  I haven't made many pot roasts and the few I've made wound up a bit chewy.
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 I posted a couple of things to [community profile] walkers_between as a way to get things moving over there.  If anyone has anything to share of your own, please feel free!  This group is for creative expressions of the otherworld and magic, and can be anything from visual art, to poetry, to short prose.  

I'm hoping this group will be more than just a place to share artistic expressions, but something deeply rooted in the layers of reality being reflected, a bridge of sorts.  I've been playing with this idea for awhile now (mostly through my earlier project Beyond Flatland, which just didn't draw enough people in to make it worth the money to keep it going), and it's an idea that refuses to die, so I'm giving it another go with this community.  Perhaps it was synchronous that it dropped unexpectedly into my view again after I'd forgotten all about creating it years ago.
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 I dreamed last night of etheric, hidden whales, creatures of deep magic and ancient wisdom, swimming unseen through the rooms of a seaside house.  A dog seemed to be aware of them, signaling their presence with his barking.
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 I do rather prefer this sort of blogging platform to any of the current alternatives.  Whether I use this account or not will really depend on how active a community Dreamwidth is.  It doesn't have to be the level of Facebook or Tumblr, but enough so that I don't feel like I'm talking to myself (or maybe one or two people at the most) most of the time when blogging, which is how I've felt on LJ lately.

If I do use this blog, I think it will be for writing about my take on paganism, magick, faerie, and such.  I haven't really had a place where I feel comfortable doing that.  As such, this blog will probably be friends-locked for the most part.  Maybe.  We'll see.

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