Erato and Melpomene

Let me quickly tell you about today’s projects…

On the 36″x48″ piece of plywood that I primed a few days ago I took some time to redraw the sketch that I drew late at night on the second evening I spent at the hospital. That was probably my most despondent evening, and I kid you not that I spent an hour looking around the room contemplating the ways in which I could kill myself between the hourly checks to make sure you’re breathing that the nurses did. However, rather than choosing to fashion a rope out of a shower curtain and stringing it over the top of the closet door I sketched out a take on the classic — and painted more than just about anything else — “Descent From The Cross” meme. Details still have to be added but you get the idea, and I think it’s clear that it’s a departure from the cartoonish stuff I’ve spent the last few years painting.

By the way, you may notice the pictures below the painting. I’ve started using DAZ Studio (sort of like a free version of Poser, a 3D design suite optimized for characters) as an alternative to human models or those little wooden artist’s dolls. Especially to any tattoo artists reading this, I do recommend checking it out because it can really streamline your creative process. Here’s a link to the page where you can download it (and don’t forget to download some also free characters to pose). Not to become an advertisement, but you can also use this program to create animations.

On to project two…

Quite a while back I bought a couple of cheap sound-activated animated electroluminescent shirts from Deal Extreme (and they actually sell the animated panels for $6.80, including free international shipping). In addition to not really being into gimmick clothing, the panel isn’t particularly comfortable to wear, so the shirts got no use other than wearing one once to Nefarious’s school to amuse her friends. But to avoid the panel going to waste I excised it from the shirt, built a quick frame out of an old scrap board, and put it all together. It sits next to my stereo’s speakers now and lights up to the music.

Yes, I faked that, but it’s an accurate simulacrum.

I’ve been pushing myself to be active but I think I’m burning out a little so probably tomorrow will be a far less active day as I recharge. Even if the doctors can get my pain under control (and so far I’ve got faith that they will, even though I’m far from there yet), I will continue to get worse and worse as time goes by and feel a little like a replicant from Blade Runner [“I want more life, fucker!”] — as if I’m living under the shadow of some planned or unavoidable obsolescence.

You were made as well as we could make you.
    But not to last.
The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You’re the prodigal son. You’re quite a prize!
    I’ve done questionable things.
Also extraordinary things. Revel in your time.

So like Roy I do my best to revel in my time, and I’d like to believe there are a few extraordinary experiences in my memories as well, and yes, questionable things also. Anyway, I know that I’m never going to be able to do things like get a job (how convenient you may be thinking, since I do so hate jobs), but I am still trying to squeeze in as many experiences and moments of creation as possible.

Oh, and I’ve been reading the Bible to Nefarious lately. Not the King James of course, but all the Bible stories, starting with Genesis (boy, God really comes off as an asshole if you’re not reading it under the curse of the blind admiration of religion). We’re only starting Exodus now, but to my surprise she’s totally loving it and is quite glued to the stories. If you’re wondering why I’m reading them and working to give her a complete understanding of Christian mythology, it’s not just because one should know one’s enemy. It’s because our history in the West is dominated by Christianity, and when you’re ignorant of that faith, your understanding of history is stripped of many insights that are only possible when you understand the superstitions and beliefs of the people who lived that history. It’s a real shame that schools have been scrubbed of Bible class, and I worry it’s resulted in people who grow up with a shallower grasp of our culture. When we’re done the Jewish/Christian Bible we’ll likely read the Koran next, and explore other faiths from around the world as well. I also hope that by giving her this foundation she’ll appreciate the richness of religious literature without falling prey to the control it attempts to exert on the world.

Anyway, I think I’ll go read a bit right now before I make supper. Yesterday I made a lemon ginger shrimp stir fry — using those immense two ounce “gigantico” shrimp that Loblaws sells — with a little of every veggie in the house and udon noodles (super yum), and tonight it’ll be something similar although today’s protein is nice plump sea scallops. My mouth waters just thinking about it.


  1. Karika wrote:

    This reminds me of the two Pietas you did many years ago. However your growth as an artist is clear in the way you can now emote with a much lighter touch. Though I very much enjoyed your ‘catoon art’, I am looking forward to this new phase of Shannon Larratt, the artist.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
  2. Jill wrote:

    If you don’t mind, which version of the Bible are you reading? I’ve tried before, but have stopped and started as the language in the NIV is still fairly dry. At some point, I want to work through the main stories at least (for very similar reasons to yours). Thanks!

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink
  3. Carol the Longwinded wrote:

    Are you readng a book of Bible stories, or pieces of a Bible? Because that whole Noah thing is waaaay different in the Bible than in kiddie books. My eldest son, when he was 7, and I read Genesis (the New Jerusalem version, fwiw) and mercy – I stopped reading it because it was the most racist thing I have ever read. Made me give up all that Christianity stuff. The 13 yr old is now an (anti-racist) Heathen.
    Pilgrim’s Progress is a good one too, if you can stand it, because that has a lot to do with White European Protestant US culture.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink
  4. Valmai wrote:

    Have you looked at “Biblial Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know” by Timothy Beal? It has the main passages (directly quoted from the NRSV)plus a little commentary. It’s written for the purpose of cultural education rather than from a religious advertising standpoint. I’ve learnt a lot from it already.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink
  5. Timothy wrote:

    I’d like to re-read the bible, since it’s been a very long time since I last read it.

    I don’t think you can fully appreciate most English literature without at least a working knowledge of both Old and New Testament.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  6. starbadger wrote:

    1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

    1 Corinthians 13
    The Way of Love
    1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

    Love never gives up.
    Love cares more for others than for self.
    Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
    Love doesn’t strut,
    Doesn’t have a swelled head,
    Doesn’t force itself on others,
    Isn’t always “me first,”
    Doesn’t fly off the handle,
    Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
    Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
    Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
    Puts up with anything,
    Trusts God always,
    Always looks for the best,
    Never looks back,
    But keeps going to the end.
    8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

    11When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

    12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

    13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
  7. saphir wrote:

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:14 am | Permalink
  8. HJP wrote:

    Eastern religions are a group I’d like to study further, right now I’m learing about Asatru (modern day viking religion) and just starting on Urglaawe. You can spend your whole life just learning a little on each religion and probably not get to them all. Your daughter shall be well roundedin her knowledge nbo matter what path she chooses, she will not be walking blind on what she was spoon fed.

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:49 am | Permalink
  9. Juniper wrote:

    You might want to do the Bhagavad Gita next instead of the Koran – to switch up Western/Eastern. (Also: if you haven’t picked up R. Crumb’s Genesis, it’s incredible.)

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink
  10. Elizabeth wrote:

    I like and appreciate the art and your educating Ari in religion, I loved my book of Bible stories as a favorite. I honestly never knew that anyone took it literally when I was a child. I thought it was understood that they were parables.
    Speaking of religion, you did two Pietas? Another favorite!

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  11. beardyface wrote:

    I just wanted to say that I think it’d wonderful that you are including religions in her education. Before you decide to disagree with something, you should first gain an understanding of it

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  12. Shannon wrote:

    Juniper — The Gita is wonderful. But what I was thinking in that realm was to get her a bunch of Amar Chitra Katha comics… A friend of mine lent me a stack of them ages ago and they’re great.

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
  13. Shannon wrote:

    BTW, I just noticed that some of the Amar Chitra Katha comics are free downloads on the iPhone. I don’t really like reading comics panel-by-panel on a small screen though.

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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