Save the baristas


They have no escape from me, standing, as they must, head on or in profile every time they go to help a customer at the register.

Not exactly art-related but I had a truly weird dream last night, inspired, in part by the television show Heroes. In this dream there were people with special powers that could be activated when they came into contact with someone else who had similar powers. There was an older man in the dream who was a father with two children. One was a girl, standing at elbow height next to him, and the other was a boy, perhaps 4 inches tall, standing inside a red silk purse that the father was holding. Into the room walked a straight-backed Buddhist monk with some kind of glow about him. This glow, apparently, activated the boy’s powers; he disappeared into the purse, from which he was crying out, “Oh no! Oh no!”

Terrorstricken, the father looked into the purse and saw that the boy had turned into an insect, a “sulfa bug*,” which looked something like a silverfish. The father doubled over in shock, and the little girl was weeping, but the monk gently picked up the boy/bug and said, “Now you have found your true place in the universe.”

And them ate him.

sulfa bug

Go figure.

*not to be confused with a “sulfa drug,” or even with a “sulfur bug,” which, I learned today is a microbe that eats sulfur and is good for copper mining but bad for concrete sewer pipes.

This funny baby came out at the end of a lot of exercises I was doing drawing the classical “map” of the face, which I learned at my portrait drawing class.

such a funny baby

I like this class and am learning a lot and getting exposed to new ideas, like the importance of getting the basic proportions of the human face into your muscle memory. I had certainly seen diagrams of the classical portraits, but hadn’t really understood until the teacher walked us through the face-on view–eyes halfway down the face, the bottom of the nose halfway between the eyes and the chin. Of course, at the same time that I’m learning, I’m also in rebellion. No one–well, all right, nearly no one, especially outside of Scandinavia–has a nose that falls entirely between their eyes. I realize that’s beside the point. One is supposed to learn anatomical structure in a general way and then tailor the details to the individual. Still, I enjoy the complaining.

An Excitable Dog and an Irritable Dog

Excitable dog 2Irritable Dog

More about Ears

The 14th-century Italian painter Giotto sometimes seems to avoid ears–he paints hats galore, and most of his Crucifixion scenes show Jesus’s hair falling into his face. When he does do ears, though, he often lavishes attention on them, as in this depiction of Pontius Pilate.

Giotto’s Pilate

Continued 11/7/07: I like to think that he gave this one a bit of a twist, portraying the ear in full profile view, while the head is at 45 degrees, so we can view the ear in all its glory. It’s got all the outer ear bits that anyone can come up with a Latin name for. I’ve labeled most but not all in the image below.

ear bits

I am enjoying all this auricular anatomy, but I also feel a bit disappointed to realize how similar one person’s ear is to another’s, when there are so many patterns of curves I can imagine within the confines of ear space. Form follows function, I suppose, and I’ll be drawing by-the-book ears for a while, but eventually my antihelixes will go back to taking the road less traveled.