"What They Saw" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil on film. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Please click here to bid.
I had an Englishman in my house last night. My best friend from college was visiting from Scotland and she brought her Brit husband with her. He didn't say anything like "pip pip" "hot toddies" or "bloody h-!" but he did explain to me the meaning of "dosh" and "punter" and then drank tea like a real English person ought to. He also tolerated my zoo like delight at observing his Albion characteristics. Hmm. I shall count the evening as a cultural and diplomatic success.
Oh! And I encourage you to visit my best friend Erin Hill's site and help make her rich and famous, etc.
"The Understanding" - available as 24 x 30" original on canvas or 11 x 14" print Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to buy a signed limited edition print.
Today I finished a self portrait. Well, I should ammend that. Yesterday I started a self portrait from life, in acrylic paint, two things that I have not attempted before. Today, I made that painting look vaguely like me. Later today, I grew frustrated and added red war paint to the cheeks and the word "URGH" (underlined, of course) in Naple Yellow across the chest. I think that counts as done, don't you?
The thing is, the portrait was doomed from the beginning. I searched my house for a mirror but not being a Girly Girl, I could only find a compact mirror that was attached to some powder foundation of indeterminate age. I found it under my bathroom sink. Shade: Porcelain. Translation into non Cosmetic terms: Ghastly Pale Skin. So it must've been at least from last winter, when I was at my most pasty.
Anyway, so I had a 16 x 20" canvas and a mirror that allowed me to see two square inches of my face at any given time. Add to that a sun that insisted on moving during the course of the day and children who only sleep for very limited naps during the course of said day, and it was challenging enough to be considered at least Level Two or Three of this game that is Art. (Is it Level Three or Four where the little bouncing mushroom guys appear?)
So I would show this work of art to you (which might now be classified as "abstract" or "experimental" due to the graphic elements - URGH - and the historical significance -- warpaint) but I can't quite bring myself to. I had my camera in hand, about to take a photo -- but no. I can't. I mustn't. Must maintain image as halfway talented artist. Don't ask me! No!!!!
"The Secret Smile" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil on drafting film. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Please click here to bid.
I know you're looking at the image above and thinking that I'm going to explain myself in this post. Well, you're wrong. I have no explanation for my cat Violet in a dress. I had a few drinks of Pepsi, a couple of brownies, and when I came too, it was on my desk with my signature. I'm not swearing to anything else.
What I will talk about is this jolly holiday season and Christmas trees. I discovered the other day that there is some sort of weird trend going around of upside down Christmas trees. What, you ask, is an upside down Christmas Tree? Just that. A tree. Upside down. Attached to your ceiling, actually. The manufacturer exclaims leaves more room for gifts! Smaller footprint! Looks like something out of Willy Wonka! And then I find out that they are sold out of their $600 model!
Has the world gone mad? Am I the only one who realizes that hanging a tree upside down is idiotic? What next? I always bark my shins on our coffee tables. I wonder if I could hang them from our ceiling? Of course, it might make setting glasses on it difficult, but no harder than attaching an angel to the top of an upside down Christmas tree. Hold on, sweetie! You've got wings, use 'em!
Me, I'm going to keep my Christmas tree firmly attached to the ground. Any presents that don't fit under can flow effortlessly out from around it. Any cats that wish to climb it can get partway up and then pulled off unceremoniously. All ornaments will hang downwards. Our star will be on top, coincedentally, where real stars are located. Our tree will Make Sense and Be Traditional. None of this newfangled upside down stuff for me. Weirdos!
"Little Black Dress" - 11 x 14" colored pencil on colorfix paper. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. $400 -- contact artist for purchase via Paypal.
We have put up the Christmas tree. It is glowy and fragrant and almost radioactively bright . . . I like it! My hubby and I arm wrestled to answer the whole colored lights versus white lights debate, and I won, because I have big arm muscles from painting, or maybe because he let me . . . though I'd prefer to think the first. Anyway, white lights. Lots of 'em. Looks like a landing strip -- well, a landing strip that ascends in an ever decreasing concentric pattern. Okay, so maybe not like a landing strip at all. But it's pretty.
Speaking of Christmas and buying things, I wanted to again mention to y'all that all blog readers can ask me for 20% off any fixed price inventory in my eBay store and also in my new Boundless Gallery listings until the end of the year. Boundless Gallery is a new site that was recommended to me and I have to say that I have enjoyed what I've seen of it so far. Unlike eBay, they have a jurying process that keeps the overall quality of the art quite high, and it's a very enjoyable experience to browse there. I highly recommend checking it out -- and I might be listing more on there in the future.
And you know, staring at that photo I have of Little Black Dress on today -- hmm, it could be that I'm blinded by 500 tiny bright white lights, but it looks pretty bad too me. I think I might have to take another one tomorrow that looks closer to the original. Note to self:
take photo tomorrow finally do sales tax returns for the month before IRS comes for me try to avoid staring directly into the Christmas lights.
"Red Lights" - 16 x 20" acrylic on canvas. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
There is a complicated formula for which toys escape cleaning up and remain on the floor, and it has taken me years to untangle it. I think that it goes something like this:
pointy + hard edged + tasty looking to the dog = left in middle of floor
small + easily misplaced + Maggie's car keys = thrown into the bottom of the toy box
I'm rather bitter about this today because I had my family over for spaghetti dinner (remember, my real Thanksgiving dinner is not until tomorrow at their house with my husband) and so I was scrambling madly to pick up my house. Ha. The futility of it all! Remember Piglet sweeping leaves, only to have five replace the one that he swept up? That's me, picking up baby toys.
I swipe up one, turn around, and find Will carefully disassembling a fire engine in the middle of the floor. As I sweep down to pick that up, I step with my full weight onto one of the pointy, hard-edged toys previously mentioned, curling my toys and causing at least one of my eyes to bug out of my head. As I begin to breathe a swear word, I look over to see two year old Victoria forming her lips to repeat whatever I'm about to shout out.
Did you ever notice how painful swallowing a swear word is? I think it'd be easier to swallow the pointy, hard-edged toy. So still choking mildly on "sh . . . ." I reach down and swipe up the toy, discovering that it is a small Dora the Explorer figure. Dora leers back at me, sure of her fame, fortune, and pointy, hard edged hair.
"Your exploring days are over," I tell her. I have her poised over the toy box, ready to put her far away from the ball of my foot, when Victoria catches sight of my hand.
"Faster Than Me" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil and acrylic on drafting film. copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
Am I the only one who is already smelling Thanksgiving dinner? I have not started to cook yet and I'm already in a fantasy of sweet potatoes and turkey and gravy and apple crumbs and ohhhhhh . . . you know what's the worst part? Because my husband's working tomorrow (those crazy cops -- can't you criminals take the holidays off please?) my whole extended family is celebrating on Friday. Which means I have to WAIT. An additional 24 hours.
That's a lot of Thanksgiving cooking programs to watch.
You have to understand that I've been planning for days what combination of herbs and fat I'm going to stuff under the skin of our turkey. Traditional stuffing? Or something with a kick? Apple crumb bars and pumpkin pie? Or some kind of orange pound cake? If thinking about food made you gain weight, I'd look like Jabba the Hutt after serious menstrual bloating.
Hmm, and after that mental image, maybe I won't need to eat for a few days anyway.
So since I have to wait for my Thanksgiving dinner and I know that y'all don't, you have to write me -- leave comments, email me, take photos, torment me -- tell me what you're having!
"Kenmore" - 6 x 6" acrylic on canvas. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
Tonight I must confess that I am suffering from serious writer's block. I had a list of potential topics but none of them really leaped out at me. So, I decided that I would just show you the topics and pass on all of them. You can tell me if that was a mistake or not.
Possible blog topics: 1. Midget Arm Wrestling 2. What the guys from Ghost Hunters think while watching GhostBusters 3. Why you always feel colder after you put a sweater on 4. Litterboxes and other forms of Hell 5. What I will do when I'm Queen of America
With those inspiring subjects, I have no idea why the creative juices didn't flow freely, but it might help if I have another Krispy Kreme donut.
"The Understanding" - 24 x 30"ish acrylic on canvas. In progress. Click here to see my current auctions.
Did you ever wonder about the circumstances that have brought you to where you are today? For instance, I find that it's 9 p.m. on a Sunday and I'm eating Ravioli-os and listening to one of the Lord of the Rings soundtracks while writing my novel. Can you imagine that as a child, I thought I might possibly grow up normal? You know, the sort of person that eats arugala and watches football? Or maybe I'm the normal one and the football watching person is abnormal.
But aside from the pressing questions of the adult world, I have exciting news for you all. It is now officially Thanksgiving weekend and that means that Christmas and the New Year are ominously close. Call me crazy, but I hate to carry art work over from one calendar year to the next -- I always like to create fresh works for the new year.
Here's the deal -- from now until December 31st, if you buy anything out of my store (store, now -- pay attention, not an auction listing, but a fixed price listing) and mention that you're a reader of my blog, I'll give you 20% off the price of the art that you purchase. And if you happen to mention that you're a SUBSCRIBER to my blog, I'll give you free shipping on top of it.
And no, it doesn't apply to the gift certicates, but nice try. It does, however, apply to portrait commissions bought out of the store. So. Go wild!!!!!!
And get yourself some ravioli-os. They're so salty!
"Manmade Tiger" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil on paper. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Please click here to bid.
Well, I'm kicking it! My cold, that is. Through sheer will power, lots of water, and enough chocolate to bury Kieffer Sutherland in a cheesy 90s film. I'm one of those anti-antibiotics people. I mean, I think they're great and all that, but I think they're vastly overused and we're all gonna pay for it one day. Everyone knows the whole story of antibiotics by now. No? Well, let me refresh your memory.
Once upon a time, there was an evil bacteria. See, here's the evil bacteria:
It was a small little bugger so even though it was painful when it bit your ankles and could make you keel over, a famous guy named Louis was able to nip it in the bud with a pretty weenie little antibiotic called Penicillin.
Well, soon everybody wanted Penicillin whenever they got sick. Even if Penicillin wouldn't kill whatever was wrong with them. Sometimes they just wanted Penicillin so they could show the pill bottle to their bosses and prove that they really were sick and that was why they were gone on that day when those two execs flew in for that important meeting and their paper wasn't in the inbox like it was supposed to be.
There was so much Penicillin flying around that the itty bitty fluffy bacteria got used to it and got bigger. Another famous guy not named Louis had to come up with a stronger antibiotic. But people still kept taking them like they were M & Ms, even though they usually caused intestinal distress and didn't make you high or anything!
Soon, the little, puffy, cute easy-to-kill bacteria was a lot bigger and badder. See below.
And now it takes a friggin nuclear antiobiotic with the firepower of an elephant gun and a copay that causes nausea, vomiting, and dizziness to kill off the super bacteria we have created.
The moral of the story, my pets? Unless you have green snot, drink water and eat lots of cookies. You got green snot, then you can come whining to me. Well, with a napkin over your nose, because I don't want what you have.
"Mother" - 2.5 x 3.5" acrylic and colored pencil on film. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
So, tomorrow's my birthday, and already I'm raking in the loot. Today my Fine Line Artists friends sent me The All Butter Fresh Cream Sugar Packed No Holds Barred Baking Book (I wonder where they'd get the idea that I'd like that?), a very retro and sexy apron, and enough dark chocolate to make me a happy girl. And my husband got me this cool handmade flame thingy -- it's a rock with little wicks in it, so it's just like me -- always on fire but never burnt out. Oh yeah, baby!
I would show you pics but both the flamey thingy and the apron on yours truly are far too hot to photograph.
"Pretty Please?" - 5 x 7" colored pencil on paper. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
So, you all know that I love cars, right? That I used to race them on back roads in my college days (not now, of course -- now I drive only the speed limit.*)
*while anyone else is watching
That I pride myself on my ability to handle my vehicle and bullied my husband into getting a five speed for our family car so that it would be more fun to drive. I laugh when I hear men talk about women drivers and yes, shamefully, even involve myself in said conversations, speaking derisively of women who smash bumpers while talking on cell phones.
Today I hit a curb.
Yeah. Bent that rim. Flattened that tire. Lost my "Queen of Cool" title and swapped my ego for a space saving spare. Oh, the agony of such crushing humiliation! Someone was even watching. I know what they were thinking, little beady eyes blinking out from behind their Jaguar's steering wheel.
"The Hanging" - 11x 14" acrylic on canvas. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. E-mail me for purchase details; not available until Jan 1st
I'll keep this quick as I'm sick and coughing up a hairball and all that good stuff, but this is my second piece for our Fine Line Artists exhibition in New Hampshire -- and it's still getting tweaked a wee bit, but for all intents and purposes, here it is. I remember exactly in Berkeley Springs, WV you can find these chairs and this swing and I remember exactly how few miles per hour were registering on our speedomotor as we drove by it, stuck in some sort of parade or lynching or something . . .
"Keeping Your Seat Warm" - 11 x 14" acrylic on canvas. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater email me for payment details before January 1st
This little painting of my neurotic Jack Russell Terrier, Peanut, is destined to join 15 others at the Fine Line Artists Small Works exhibition. The exhibition is being hosted by Brewbakers in Keene, New Hampshire, and features works from across the globe: the United States, England, and New Zealand. The group is made up of eight artists who are all close friends and who support each other in the artistic process. They are (and I encourage you to check out their websites):
The exhibition will hang through the month of December and will be VERY VERY interesting (not just one Very. Two Verys!) so if you're anywhere near Keene, you should check it out. Keene is within driving distance of Manchester, Wilton, New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and anything else in the continental U.S. and some Canadian locations too, so you have no excuse. Go see it!
"Shadowfax" - 3.5 x 2.5" colored pencil on film. copyrighted 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
Well, I'm sick as a dog. I keep telling my body to fight this cold, but unfortunately it punches like a girl. So I've got these germs that are just angered now but not killed off, and they want to make me suffer. Runny nose, hacking cough, snoring -- that's the worst. Snoring is so painful, mostly because of my husband elbowing me when I start to do it.
So I've tried the usual remedies, ibuprofen, dimetapp, cookie dough . . . and I just keep coming back to the cookie dough, because it tastes the best and that has to be a good thing (though Dimetapp is running close second. Gosh, when they say "yummy grape flavor" they really mean yummy, don't they?)
But for some reason I'm not getting any better. I think it may be time to try drastic measures. Brownies, maybe?
"Last Thing You See" - 4 x 9" colored pencil on paper. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
I have to say that I had a great time this evening, teaching a colored pencil workshop here in town. I love doing these things. I'm not sure why. . . the ability to bully people without getting in trouble? The idea that I'm spreading around my Maggic (see, nice play off my name, you can laugh now) to be used by all peoples? Anyway, it was a lot of fun. And I got to eat hot donuts afterwards, which is always a plus. The class ends perfectly every month, right when Krispy Kreme's "hot donuts" light comes on. Coincedence? You decide.
"Bite Between Friends" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil on film. Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
So, the title of my latest art card reminds me of my day today. I don't know if I've mentioned to you that I've been suffering from computer problems. Of the Department of Motor Vehicles sort -- you know, it wouldn't work at all, and when it did, it was going very slowly and doing things wrong?*
*If you work at the DMV, please borrow a sense of humor from someone and don't hunt me down!
Well, I've been going at it from every virus protecting, disk defragging, and file deleting angle I could for about a week and a half now, but today, I hit paydirt. If by paydirt, you mean 8,756 compressed porno videos in hidden folders scattered throughout the computer. I know what you're thinking, but I'm not that kinda girl! And anyway, even if I was, I would've had to begun downloading porn when I was 3 years old to achieve such a huge stash. And since they're all still zipped, it means I was too busy downloading them to watch Hot Naked Old Ladies Do Happy Bavarian Men. (the titles are very descriptive -- who needs to watch?)
Anyway, so it took me about a half hour to find and delete all of them (may I put in a brief plug for the program Spacemonger) and now my computer is back to it's usual hyper, caffeinated self, like it's mistress.
Hey, speaking of Mistress, I think I saw a couple mentions of that in the porn titles that went by: Sadistic Mistress Spanks Sexy Computer for Being Too Slow!
"The Yellow Building" - 16 x 20" acrylic on canvas. copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater. Click here to bid.
The way I see it, naming a cat is worse than naming a baby. No, no, before you start heckling -- is that how that's spelled? -- bear with me. When you're naming a baby, you only have to deal with the 100,000 baby names and name derivatives out there. And a bunch of nosy family members and coworkers who insist upon giving you suggestions despite the fact that you've pretty much already made up your mind. However, when you're naming a cat, you have to choose between 100,000 baby names and every plant and flower, color, physical attribute, and combination of initials ever thought of in any language since written history began.
No wonder so many cats are just called Fluffy. Actually, I think Fluffy's a bit of a thoughtful name -- it's what I like to call a "flattering partial truth name," or FPTN. See, FPTNs such as Spot, Shadow, Blacky, and Frisky title the cat after one of its attributes, invariably a pleasant one, which often requires a fair bit of imagination. For instance when I started thinking of our new cat's attributes, I came up with names like:
It was like a list of names for a new deformed malignant generation of Snow White's seven dwarfs. If only I'd had "Fluffy" as an option! But our new kitty was unremarkably short haired. No real spots, either. Just sort of Skunky patches.
It should be noted that I asked my 2 year old, Victoria, what the cat's name was, and she suggested, "Cat." She conceded, "Oh, she's so cute!" I thought "Cat" was a bit of a cop-out.
So I moved on to real names. You know, Gladys, Rebecca, and Yvonne. It just wasn't working. You don't call a cat Jessica. Or Melinda. Well, maybe you do, but I definitely don't.
To add to the difficulty, my husband is a SITM. (Stick In The Mud). He rejected all fun names that I came up with. At the top of the fun list were Vodka and Puppy, but Ed gently but firmly told me no. He insisted that I give the cat a name that conveyed some dignity.
The animal poops in a box and drinks out of the toilet. What dignity?
It was around three days after we'd gotten New Kitty when I began having one of those Brain Hatching feelings. You know, a sentence or word or concept is tickling the back of your brain and you just need to be patient for it to break out? Well, sure enough, I drank a lot of caffeine, and a little voice reminded me to go watch Lemony Snickett and pay attention to the main characters. Of course! Violet! Perfect. Ahh. Now, that was painless, wasn't it? I should name cats more often.
"Violet" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil & a bit of acrylic on film. Click here to bid.
Today's card is of our new little cat Violet, a rescue from a home that definitely didn't want her. She didn't have a name when we got her (at over 6 months old!) and she's not spayed. This card goes to her spay costs. She needs it!
I shall expound at length later about the joys of naming a cat, but for now . . . I must go get into the catnip.
"Close Friends" - 6 x 6" colored pencil on canvas. This image is goin' to Vegas but click here to see my current offerings.
So I'm back, and I had a great weekend, but I'm more worn out than a "your mama" joke. In case you're not a regular reader and have no idea what the fluff I'm talking about, I spent the weekend as a vendor at the Richmond Craftsmen's Classic. I'd not done this show before -- heck, any indoor show before -- and it was a real eye-opening experience. For starters, the first thing I discovered is that the show doesn't guarantee a 10 x 10' booth. They only guarantee an 8' depth, which is what I got. And in case you didn't know, a 10 foot square booth set up doesn't fit into an 8 x 10' spot. I mean, I guess that fact should seem obvious, but when I was jamming my 10 foot mesh walls into an 8 foot space at 8 pm at night, I was really hoping for a physics defying miracle.
So it looked like I was going home.
Until thank goodness, Clyde Daughtery, a very amusing woodcarver, offered the use of his booth poles that he wasn't using and saved my skin. It was a bit of a frankenstein booth by the time I was done, but at least it was up, it was holding my work, and most importantly, it was 8 foot deep. I was saved! Please, go to his site, buy his charming work, and tell him I sent you so that he knows that I'm eternally grateful. Or at least until Christmas or so.
On other news, I'm planning on doing an art card of my new little cat, Violet, who came from a home that didn't want her, and I'm hoping that the proceeds will cover the cost of her spaying. And good Gawd, she needs it -- she's in that part of her heat now where she walks around the house and gives anything with four legs -- that includes the sofa -- charming smiles.
This is just a quick post to let you guys know that I will be woefully absent from the blogging world until Monday when my show was done and to also let you know that I will share with you then tales of woe! Hopefully I will be able to add tales of joy, happiness, and instant millionairitude as well by then, but no promises.
"Shooting the Breeze" - 16 x 20" acrylic on canvas. Click here to buy.
Today I was doing more prep work for my show this weekend, which meant that rather than starting new works, I assessed existing works to see which were coming with me and which were staying home to watch reruns. Well, this painting has always held kinda a soft spot with me, but it was just . . . something wasn't right. So I came back to it today and in an hour I completely changed it. Now it's definitely coming along! You can see the earlier one below:
Oh, I have to go . . . Top Chef is coming on. Why the heck do I watch that show? This is the girl that, according to my mother, only at "round foods" when young: Cheerios, beans, and M & Ms. And now I'm going to go watch a show that involves snails and raspberry sauces swimming on a plate with some unpronouncable French green? I'm ashamed of myself.
Dee Monaghan is a painfully shy but musically talented teen with a penchant for barfing before important musical performances. When Luke enters her life, enigmatic and inspiring, he draws her out of her shell and helps her discover strange abilities. Sucks that he's a faerie assassin, and she's his next mark. (12-18 years old/ PG, for some language and vague nookie) Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
I'm Maggie, professional novelist by day and artist by night.
All of my life decisions have been based around my inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you're a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which I've tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. I've made my living as one or the other since I was 22. I now live an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with my charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, and neurotic dogs.
I'm the author of the Books of Faerie (LAMENT and BALLAD); the bestselling SHIVER trilogy (SHIVER, LINGER, FOREVER), and THE SCORPIO RACES .