Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The End of All Things

This life therefore
is not righteousness but growth in righteousness;
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
We are not what we shall be but we are growing toward it;
the process is not yet finished but it is going on;
this is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.
--Martin Luther

The above is probably one of my favorite quotes ever, and one that has come to mean a lot to me over the past few years. It's been a kind of touchstone for me, through all the ups and downs of my life. When I feel like I've had enough and I just want to stop, it reminds me that life is always in motion, and the unbearable burden of today will be like a gentle breeze tomorrow, or the next day, or years later. But the burden will pass. I will heal, and I will grow.

Life is always in motion.

Most of you (faithful readers and occasional passersby alike) know by now the past couple weeks have been a lightning storm of change for me. An opportunity to nearly literally restart my life has come up, and for once, finally, I am taking that chance.

I've spent the past eight years in Maryland, living through the best and worst times of my life, surrounded by some of the finest people I have ever met. I could easily have spent the next twenty-thirty-fifty years here, working at this or at that, spending more time with those wonderful people- my family of friends- watching lives play out, watching the world go by, watching myself stand still.

Or I could take a chance.

Life is always in motion.

So I'm leaving behind Maryland (but not my friends- you are always with me), leaving behind this place of so many memories, and moving to Pittsburgh. My hometown.

I'm going back to my hometown, a stranger in a familiar land. This man I've become will walk amongst twenty-five years of history of the boy I was. It will be so easy to drift back into that past- life was so much easier then, so little to think about, so much more comfortable to bury myself into those old habits. So simple to let the world wash over me and carry me away.

Or I could chart my own course.

Life is always in motion.

"...not being but becoming..."


So, what does this have to do with Karloff's Ghost? Well, it means an ending, of sorts. The next few weeks are going to be insane with prepping to move (not to mention finding a place to live, a rental truck, time to pack, etc.) and as a result, this will be the final post for about a month. I hope to resume posting the week of June 16 (fate willing). Expect things to look a bit different around here, as well; I've got some ideas.

See you soon.

- Steve

Music: "Live This Life" - Big & Rich and "Solisbury Hill" - Peter Gabriel

The Apocalypse Suite

Can you hear it?

Sitting there, in your comfortably expensive seats?

Shuffling about outside, resplendent in your finery?

The Apocalypse Suite is about to start.

Can you feel it?

At the edge of your awareness, the nervous shift in your seat.

At the base of your spine, the shuffling, scuffling of your feet.

Can't you hear it?

The Cellist twists the pegs slowly

The Flutist holds gleaming metal to lips

Can't you feel it?

The Violinist brushes the bow 'cross the strings;

The apocalypse suite has begun.

with apologies to Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba'

Not a whole lot to say about this really; The title comes from the first story arc of a comic book series titled The Umbrella Academy- it's quite daft, and very enjoyable. Anyway, the title of the story really stuck with me, and involves music causing the end of the world (it reads better than my description). Anyway, one day the above...paragraph-whatever popped into my head, along with the image. So there you go.

I'm not going to post again until next Wednesday. The past month or so has really taken a toll on me, mentally and emotionally, and I really just haven't been feeling very artistic or very creative. I know the spark is still there, but there's no fuel to burn. But I'll keep looking for it. I think it's going to take a few things getting down around here (like give myself the space to create) but I should be up and running again soon. In the meantime, I'll try to keep up with a tiny backlog of things already in the system, and hopefully get back to drawing.

'til Wednesday (if only I posted on Tuesdays...)

Music: "20th Century Fox Fanfare (extended version)" - Alfred Newman and John Williams

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Hometown

When I first glanced up and saw this, I thought it was a car on a trailer. But no, it was something much better...

I love Pittsburgh!

Come back Wednesday for something completely different.

Music: "The Times They Are A-Changin'" - Bob Dylan

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A boy and girl and their love story...

This is one of my favorite commissions. I was asked to make a "fill-in" picture for one of those big "autograph" mattes for a wedding- you know, the one where the guests sign the matte rather than a guest book? A lot more fun and much easier to look at than digging out the ol' guest book. It wasn't easy to do- as I've said, I suck with likenesses, and the added pressure of doing my best work made for some serious brainstorming. However, it came together pretty sweetly in the end. The original is just a black-and-white inked line drawing; lacking the ability to leave things alone, I decided to color this one.

Five years ago Saturday, Jason and April were married. They're two of my dearest friends, and I was incredibly honored to be asked to make this picture for their wedding (not to mention being a groomsman).

Anyway, this is my way of saying 'Congratulations!'

(and my way of getting out of posting anything new...)

(but mostly 'Congratulations!')

Jason and April are fans of black-and-white and sepia-style photos, so this one's for them-

See you all Monday- I'm headed back home to hang out with the family, including my brother and younger nephew. Good times!

Music: "Storybook Love" - Willy DeVille

Come my love I'll tell you a tale,
Of a boy and girl
And their love story.
And how he loved her oh so much,
and all the charms she did posses

Now this did happen once upon a time,
When things were not so complex.
And how he worshiped the ground she walked,
And when he looked in her eyes
He became obsessed.

My love is like a storybook story,
But its as real as the feelings I feel.
My love is like a storybook story,
But its as real as the feelings I feel.
It's as real as the feelings i feel...

His love was stronger than the power so dark,
A prince could have within his keeping.
His spells to weave and steal her heart
Within her breast but only sleeping.

My love is like a storybook story,
But its as real as the feelings I feel.
My love is like a storybook story,
But its as real as the feelings I feel.
It's as real as the feelings i feel...

He said:
"Don't you know I love you oh so much,
and lay my heart at the foot of your dress."
She said:
"Don't you know that storybook loves
Always have a happy ending."

Then he swooped her up just like in the books
And on his stallion they rode away.

My love is like a storybook story,
But its as real as the feelings I feel.
My love is like a storybook story,
But its as real as the feelings I feel.
It's as real as the feelings i feel...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Different Brand of Justice

This is my second Deadwood picture (the first being Al Swearengen). This here is Seth Bullock, businessman and sheriff of Deadwood. When we first meet Bullock in the show, he's seen fighting off a group of drunks who are trying to break into the jailhouse to hang a guilty man. Seth stops them... by hanging the man himself. The law must be upheld, or else chaos rules. Tough man, right? As you first start watching the show, you can easily see how Bullock and Swearengen are obviously meant to be mortal enemies. They're Superman and Luthor, archenemies to the death.

Except they aren't. The characters come to realize that they both want the same thing: Deadwood to succeed. They might not agree on the methods (there's a pretty brutal fight between them), but they do have the same goal. So, next thing you know, they make for a strange alliance, but one somehow built on... if not trust, at least respect.

Plus, Bullock has a mean temper.

The picture was sketched in, colored, then tinted.

That's all for now.

Music: "I Will Possess Your Heart" - Death Cab for Cutie

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blogs from the Edge, Final

Carnegie Museum of Art/Natural History, entrance.

Well, I'm back.

Music: "Tom Sawyer" - Rush

Friday, May 9, 2008

Blogs from the Edge, 3

Brief update today.

Let's see- yesterday was the zoo zoo zoo, the Pittsburgh zoo zoo zoo. Also, went to the Strip District (woo hoo! wait, wrong strip) had lunch at Primanti Brothers, bought some tasty bread, and got some Wholey's fish for Mom and Dad. Then, a trip back to my first comic shop, Phantom of the Attic- it's been a long time since I've been there on a Wednesday!

Today was a trip to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and whatever the art one is called. That was a mixed bag, as I had about five different people tell me I couldn't take pictures of the art. Not much fun. But, it was all not for naught. The revitalized dinosaur exhibits were opened (for the most part) and they were wonderful to see.

That's it for now. When next you read this blog, I'll be back in MD, and I'll probably have some pictures to post. Like about 400 or so. Hmmm, maybe highlights then?

Music: "Prime Mover" - Rush

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Blogs from the Edge, 2

Still on vacation, still posting. It helps to get posts done when I've been talking art and photoshop with the Brothers Weaver every day. Not that that helps with the writing, but it's all a creative process. Or something.

Anyway, today was the first day of actual touristy-type stuff done in the 'Burgh proper. Well, actually, in the North Side, but still 'Burgh-like. The past few days have just been me savoring the fact that I didn't have to turn around and drive back down to Baltimore like most weekends. Regardless, today was spent walking around the relatively freshly-developed and -revitalized North Side- specifically, the area right around world famous Heinz Field and PNC Park. Having the super-powered camera courtesy of Dave, I was able to take a great many pictures. It was a beautiful day, slightly warm, and made for great wandering weather. One of the great things about Pittsburgh- there are huge swathes of land that are essentially just for pedestrians. Makes sense, of course, since so many folks would be on foot around game time, but still nice to see. Lots of great scenery of course- just look over the river, and there's the skyline. I found a very nice little Korean War Memorial near Del Monte Place (or something like that- one of the buildings between the two parks) and a number of small waterfalls/water sculptures. I found out that they offer tours of both parks, but unfortunately I felt that I was pressing my luck in leaving my car parked back at the McDonald's a mile away. No need to fear, of course, other than having my heart explode from the walking. Lastly, stopped at a new brewpub for a tasty sammitch and beer. A good day, by any stretch of the imagination.

Oh- the picture. Well, this is the finish pic from Monday's post, obviously. Time spent learning photoshop tricks from Joey and Sean, and the internet, led to the completion of the Iron Man pic. Possibly suitable for a wallpaper, should it suit you. Heh- "suit" you... Iron Man, Suit of Armor, get it? sigh...

That's all for now- more Friday!

Music: "Shut Up and Drive" - Rihanna (the song I got to carry in my head for the 1.5 hours I was walking around, thanks to it being the last song I heard from a radio...)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Blogs from the Edge, 1

Well, I appear to be doing better than expected with posting, though admittedly, this is the first one for the vacation.

It's been a great trip so far, all two days and some change. The drive in was fine, as I wasn't hellbent on getting here ASAP to maximize my usual weekend-long trip. Saturday was quite the eventful day. My friend Dan came out 'burgh-way to make the trip to the North Side with me to the Carnegie Science Center so we could see Bodies, the exhibit with the plasticized people and parts. Educational, and alliterative. It was great to see so many people interested in the exhibit, though for educational or morbidly curious purposes I can't say. I found it very interesting, and it was certainly fun to try and dredge up vague memories of all those classes from college (Dan and I both being Biology majors). The one downside to the exhibit was that no cameras were permitted, and there were too many people around to permit the time and line of sight to try to sketch anything. Still, very fun. And after that- Iron Man! Fantastic movie, both as a 'comic book' movie and a straight-up action movie. The acting was superb all around, and Robert Downey, Jr. just owned the part. Good day.

Today was a bit less active, but equally fun. I had a drawing session/photoshop class with Joey and Sean- showing how much I have yet to learn in Photoshop, and how two people can approach a task from completely different directions and achieve nearly the same result. Then, out to celebrate Dan's birthday with his folks. Finally, back here to set up my computer and go to work on the sketch and this post. Sadly, I wasn't paying as close attention as I thought; Photoshop wasn't working as well as I'd hoped. This is only the most preliminary start on the picture. The rest of the week will hopefully be progress on this, or something else entirely... Ah well, tomorrow is another day. What that day may bring? No idea. But it should be fun.


Music: "Supernatural Superserious" - R.E.M.

Friday, May 2, 2008

We Interrupt This Broadcast...

Whoops. I was so busy loading my MP3 player and packing up my computer for my vacation (why didn't I buy a laptop again?), I forgot to finish my post last night (themed with Swearengen). So, you get nothing! And be grateful for it!

Or something...

Anyway, yes, I'll be on vacation next week, visiting the old homestead, and hopefully taking in the sights of America's one-time Most Livable City (and currently America's sootiest). I'll have the computer with me, so perhaps there will be some posts, most likely of the photographic variety, as I did NOT pack the scanner along with everything else. We'll see.

Anyway, hope everyone has a good week, and feel free to check in intermittently to see if anything's been posted. Regular updates will resume May 12. Probably.


Maestro, some traveling music:

"Dreamline" - Rush (my usual traveling tune)