More homemade iron gall ink and opaque watercolors. This could become a bad habit.
I’ve always loved pen and watercolor drawings, long before urban sketching became connected with it. The ink here is some of my homemade iron gall ink, waterproof and dark once dried. On top of that, opaque pan watercolors I picked up at a little store in Decorah, Iowa, this summer. The paper is 100% cotton Bee paper – nothing great, not expensive, but fun to use and responsive to both ink and color. Illustrations like this are fun because they aren’t “serious” – I get to play, practice, explore. Not a bad way to spend some time before lunch.
One of the beauties of drawing is you can create anything you want. This is a ground hog, but one I invented. I invented him when I realized his ear is all cockamamy. So, new subspecies: the Lopso-Eared Ground Hog.
Ground Hog Day has always been a favorite of mine. First, I like ground hogs. They are cute. Second, the entire idea of a day devoted to such a cute animal is rather delightful. According to the website history.com:
On February 2, 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.
Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal—the hedgehog—as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.
Groundhogs, also called woodchucks and whose scientific name is Marmota monax, typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds and live six to eight years. They eat vegetables and fruits, whistle when they’re frightened or looking for a mate (they’re sometimes called whistle pigs) and can climb trees and swim.
They go into hibernation in the late fall; during this time, their body temperatures drop significantly, their heartbeats slow from 80 to five beats per minute and they can lose 30 percent of their body fat. In February, male groundhogs emerge from their burrows to look for a mate (not to predict the weather) before going underground again. They come out of hibernation for good in March.
In 1887, a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.
In 1993, the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray popularized the usage of “groundhog day” to mean something that is repeated over and over. Today, tens of thousands of people converge on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney each February 2 to witness Phil’s prediction. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts a three-day celebration featuring entertainment and activities.
Let’s hear it for monata monax!
A Santa Catastrophe
Santa came to our house last night
The last stop on his weary flight,
Thinking of cookies or dreaming of beer.
Whatever, something happened I fear.
Headfirst he tumbled out of his sleigh
As all of his reindeer just flew away.
He fell straight down, downward into
Our old and tarry chimney flue.
Needless to say, he raised quite a fuss
And I heard many a new-to-me cuss.
We are not sure just what to do
So Santa is stuck in our dirty old flue.
“Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.”
― William Shakespeare
I am far behind on Inktober 2021, but the brain still works a bit, as does pen and ink.
Cowboy Is His Name
by Baxter Black
There’s a hundred years of history,
And a hundred before that,
All gathered in the thinkin’
Goin’ on beneath this hat.
And back behind his eyeballs
And pumpin’ through his veins,
Is the ghost of every cowboy
That ever held the reins.
Every coil in his lasso’s
Been thrown a million times,
His quite concentrations
Been distilled through ancient minds.
It’s evolution workin’
When silver scratches hide,
And a ghostly cowboy chorus
Fills his head and says ‘let’s ride’.
The cold flame burns within him
‘Till his skins as cold as ice,
And the dues he paid to get here
Are worth every sacrifice.
All the miles spent sleep drivin’
All the money down the drain,
All the ‘if I’s’ and ‘nearly’s’
All the bandages and pain.
All the female tears left dryin’
All the fever and the fight,
Are just a small down payment
On the ride he makes tonight.
It’s guts and love and glory,
One mortal’s chance at fame,
His legacy is rodeo,
And cowboy is his name.
Old I am, not looking great,
Sour as a pickle is my fate.
Thus I draw, by the hour,
Pickled pickles with pickly power.
Koshers, dills, gherkins, too;
Polish and German, to name a few.
And so for Inktober’s theme today
Is sour and then some, all the way!
This one put some pressure on me for an original approach. Pressure, to me, is often self-imposed. So, a pressure gauge is all you get today.
At first, I thought of a simple fan, held in the hand and used for fanning, or being coy in earlier times. I think there is even a “language of fans” – but I could be wrong.
And then I looked up. Living where we do, ceiling fans add a lot to one’s comfort in a hot house. If nothing else, here is an ode to my ceiling fans!
In America, “spirit” is often applied to “school spirit” as in Rah! Rah! Go team! Footballers and fans have “spirit.” To be honest, I don’t get it. I much prefer ghosts and haunting spirits to the other varieties.