Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A makeshift lightbox

Doesn't it look festive for this Christmas time?
I needed to trace the first draft inking of a picture onto a new piece of Bristol so that I could add something, but I don't have a lightbox (they're expensive!) and in this winter, the windows aren't very bright and not for very long--the sun goes down at four. So I made do with this!

Half of a storm window atop a metal breadbox of Christmas lights. It got hot very quickly, so I had to take breaks in my tracing to let it cool down. Needs must!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Aitkin Age column: Have a non-abstract Christmas

Here is my latest column for the Aitkin Independent Age. The issue came out Dec. 23, so.

In my columns about gay marriage and abortion, I did not mention religion at all, because I was not basing my arguments on religious belief but simply on logic, which, it may surprise some to hear, is not incompatible with religion, though they can be separated.

However, the negative response I received still accused me of wanting to impose a religion-based government on the nation. I’d like to acknowledge the positive responses I received, of which there were far more.

But now, given the privilege of writing the My View right before Christmas, it would be remiss not to mention that I am Christian, a Catholic. My college degree is in theology. So I’m going to talk about Christmas from a Christian perspective, but I hope what I say can be applied to a non-Christian experience of the holiday too.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Christmas present

As a Christmas present to our uncle and his family, I printed out, watercolored around, and framed this poem.

Chesterton visited the University of Notre Dame in 1930 and witnessed a football game. He wrote this in honor of the occasion.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Photos from Fall

Fall is certainly over, but it doesn't seem to be properly winter yet. We've only had one significant snowfall, and it's all melted now. Seems more like Texas winter so far.

Anyway, first, some fall birds.

We went out and gathered leaves for garlands.

We dipped them in melted paraffin wax,

Let them dry on on waxed paper,

And stitched them onto upholstery thread.

Isn't that nice!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A new coloring book to Our Lady of Victory

Once again, I have put together a collection of pages selected from the Liturgical Calendar Coloring Book according to a theme and making it available, like I did with the Titles and Apparitions of Mary Coloring Book. But this time, there is one all-new page, that I drew especially for this collection.

St. James Matamoros

I am calling the collection Coloring Pages dedicated to Our Lady of Victory, and it is a selection of saints who, with words and/or swords, fought the forces of Islam.

This heresy has always been one of Christianity's worst enemies, and I pray for the day when it no longer exists.

For me to say this is not racism; Islam is not a race. It is an ideology, and it is evil. It is true that there are Muslims who don't wish to kill non-Muslims. But they are the ones who are not really following Islamic teaching. They are better people because of it, but the fact remains, this religion proclaims death or slavery on all who do not submit to it, and brings loss of liberty, oppression of women, sexual perversion, and desolation to the lands it conquers.

So, as a small prayer and rallying cry, I offer these drawings of saints who took up the call. I will include these pages for free with any purchase of Rosary Mysteries coloring Pages, and also, anyone may have them free for the asking. Just email me at snowflakeclockwork [at] gmail [dot] com.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Aitkin Age column: When did socialism become OK?

I think my latest column for the Aitkin Independent Age is fitting for today, the feast of Christ the King.

Visiting Ireland in college, I entered a self-proclaimed socialist book store. The stock was mostly Marxist books and pictures of Che Guevera, but in a corner was a random pile of used books, including an art book of Romanian icons for €3 (then about $5). When I went to buy it, the young man at the counter stood unresponsive for a while, then said scornfully, “Three euros. Is it worth that much?” This shows a socialist mindset: he made no effort to encourage the sale or provide good service, no individual striving for profit and success. I left thinking we’d never have places in America openly call themselves socialist, but now I’m not sure. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders does just that and many publications defend it. When and how did this become OK?

Socialism is defined as public ownership of the means of production. Supposedly the people own it, but an entire population of a country cannot manage every farm and factory. So you have government administrators who decide how goods and services are produced and distributed. Socialism promises free stuff for everyone. But history shows it delivers death.
Read the rest here.

Viva Cristo Rey.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Available again

Over the past few months I have been swamped with my day job, freelance work, and personal projects. Now my freelance docket is cleared, so I am pleased to announce I am available for hire again for illustration and design work. To help folks decide if they want to hire me, I have now put my art resume up here. If you're interested, email me at snowflakeclockwork[at]gmail[dot]com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A New (in a sense) Coloring Book and further plans

I have just put together a new set of coloring pages, making my Titles and Apparitions of Mary Coloring Book, which is available for ten dollars.

I must point out that all of these pages are included in the Liturgical Calendar Coloring Book, so if you have that or intend to get it, don't buy this!

My eventual plan is to write companion texts for both the Liturgical Calendar Coloring Book and this Marian one. The one for the Calendar is underway. One thing is, one they're written, I'll want to get imprimaturs on them, and that might take some doing. That brings me into a subject for reflection as I, as aforementioned, undertake to write more about Catholic matters on this here blog. I'll ramble on below the cut.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Aitkin Age column: Memories of a young curmudgeon

My latest column for the Aitkin Independent Age is very local indeed, but my goal is to write such that even people who don't personally know what I'm talking about may find it interesting.

Since I’m very far under 60, my memories of Aitkin don’t go as far back as those of many folks but I still remember fondly many places that are no longer here. Thinking of these long-gone shops, I feel I’m old enough to look at kids these days and think that they don’t know what they’re missing.
My favorite place to visit in town was Ben Franklin. Since we were on vacation and there were grandparents around, we had better chances of getting toys when we asked for them there than back at home. There was also the small pet section in the back, where we would spend what seemed like hours but was probably about 10 minutes watching the fish, hamsters and birds. There were bins of candy at one cent each and the front windows were covered with suncatchers, so many so close together so as to look like one huge stained glass window.
 Read the rest here.

Doing this writing professionally for the paper has made me think more about my writing in general, and want to do more of it. I think I will start posting more essays here, maybe warranting a change in the title bar from "an art blog" to "an art and writing blog." Mostly theology and such Catholic matters and reviews of others' works of fiction, I think, but hopefully also snippets of my own works of fiction.

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Hallows' E'en

Here is our house on Halloween:

Pretty spooky, huh?

My sister Anna's blog has our pumpkins of this year glowing at night, so I show you them not glowing at day. It's like in the Horror Land board in Mario Party 2, which switches from day to night as you play, and is one of the most Halloweeny things ever!

And for our costumes, we were Wirt and Greg from Over the Garden Wall, also a Halloweeny thing and one of the best cartoons ever!

Happy Halloween, All Saints', and All Souls'!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Batman: Decadence - Masque Chapter III

The third chapter of my elegant gothic lolita-inspired Batman fancomic is here!

The beginning of the story is here.

As always, this comic is violent, so not for young children. The full content advisory is here.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Heavenly Clues Detective Camp logo

This summer, I was hired to design this logo for the vacation Bible school program at my old parish.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Aitkin Age column: The sport I know best

My latest column for the Aitkin Independent Age is more local, and even personal, in its subject matter, but I want my blog readers to know: it's about one of the best men I've ever known, and now we're in great need of prayers for his healing from several severe injuries from an accident. Thank you.

   I grew up knowing next to nothing about sports.
   When I was very little, my family went to a few baseball games at the Astrodome. (That shows how long ago this was.) I hardly paid attention to the game; the draw for me was ice cream, peanuts and lemon slushies. But over time, I did – very basically – learn how baseball worked.
   That was the extent of my sports knowledge until, in college, I went to study abroad in Northern Ireland. We studied, then attended a game of the at-least 1,600-year-old sport of hurling. It was quite chaotic and the players were very passionate; sticks were broken, they kept playing after helmets fell off and intentional personal fouls happened almost every time a goal was made.
   This covers all my knowledge of sports up until last year, when my sister and I moved to Aitkin and started attending Gobbler football games.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The end of summer

Pretty clear that summer's long over here. Here are some photos from over the summertime.

Lilies from our father's small bulb-flower garden.

A salamander, held by Anna.

A mouse made a nest in the gauge cover of the gas tank.

Her babies were nursing.


And carrots from the garden, leading into fall harvest time.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Many things in the wings

To anyone who reads my fancomic Batman: Decadence: the next chapter's still not ready; so sorry about that, but I will post it as soon as it is, rather than waiting till the next 25th of the month.

I have been extremely busy and should have some stuff to show once I can get it organized. Thank you for your patience!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Aitkin Age column: Opportunity to save lives

Here is my third column for the Aitkin Independent Age:

I've attended the Aitkin County Fair almost every year as long as I can remember.

First we would walk through the 4H and industrial buildings, get food, look at animals, then, finally, ride the rides. When I was a child, the buildings held little interest, except for saying hi to my grandfather, Dean Sanford, at the Minnesota Deer Hunters' Association booth. Now I’m older I find more than the rides and animals interesting but the industrial buildings are still where I’d spend the least time, preferentially. But that’s where I spent the most time this year, because for the first time, I volunteered at a booth.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Year One

A year ago today, I posted the first chapter of a large undertaking, my elegant gothic lolita style Batman fancomic, Batman: Decadence.

I had hoped to have the latest chapter ready for today, but professional work, a trip to Texas for my brother's wedding, and health issues made that not happen. But here something neat: my sister Anna carved the Decadence version of the bat symbol out of wood.

I have learned a lot from this project already. Nothing improves one's drawing like drawing as much as one possibly can till one thinks one can draw no more and then drawing some more. Pacing, flow, writing, and finding the right balance of American and Japanese comics style are all ongoing challenges. I truly hope to have the next installment ready by the 25th of next month!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Zelda Medallions Quilt II

I made a second Legend of Zelda Medallions quilt, like this one, but with a green background and queen-sized, as a wedding present for my brother and now sister-in-law. This one also has no silk, which is an improvement both in ease of sewing and machine-washability.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Second professional writing

It's been a while since this went up; but I've been awfully busy. Went to Texas for a week for my brother's wedding, at which I was the photographer. And that, a real wedding, has to do, by contrast, with the subject of my second column for the Aitkin Independent Age:

It may be bold of me to write this column, as it is only my second and what I am going to say runs counter to the attitudes of many, including my fellow columnist Pam King, whose words you may have read last week. It may get me labeled a homophobe who cannot possibly be motivated by anything but pure hate. The fact that, as mentioned in my introductory column, I am proudly Texan may also get my argument rejected without consideration.

There are even newspapers which have announced that since the Supreme Court ruling, they will publish no columns nor letters opposing or criticizing same-sex marriage, since it’s now the law of the land. I wonder if they will be consistent and disallow opinions not in line with any current law, silencing argument for any change or new legislation.

I trust the impartiality of the Age enough to know I wouldn’t get fired for this, but I would at some places. Anyway, I am not now going to say anything about the right or wrong of same-sex sexual relationships. I am simply going to say something that should be obvious but seems to be overlooked: it is not the same thing as marriage.
Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

First professional writing

I almost forgot! For the first time, I wrote something for hire. It's a column for the newspaper where I work part time, a sort of self-introductory piece.

When there’s a place that is in childhood seen as paradise, living there in adulthood brings both gratification and trials. Such is my situation, having come to Aitkin every summer of my life, last year moving here for good.
Of course, everyone said I would hate the winter and while I still insist snow is magical, when it snowed on Easter Monday I finally admitted I’d had enough of it. Other trials spring from the economy, remoteness and more bureaucratic regulation than in my home state of Texas. I’m extremely lucky to have this job at the Age. It’s not what I wanted to be when I grew up – that’s an artist, which I also am, freelance – but I find means to be enthusiastic about it through my greatest passion, fiction.
Read the rest here, if you like.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Tulips and peonies

Flowers from the past Spring.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Than We Deserve

I spoke earlier about my sister's goal to write about some stories that deal with abortion. This is not an easy thing to do, as abortion is a grievous, heart-wrenching horror. Thus, stories that deal with it adequately will be devastating. The one I have seen that is the most so is the Batman sequence A Death in the Family.

A painting and some words about this story are below the cut. It is thus concealed because it has both nudity and blood, and the words reveal things that, for the dramatic power of the story, should not be known before one reads it, if one is going to.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Got some great kids here

A little Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies drawing I painted up today. Here's the sketch.

Trucy (the girl in blue) is Phoenix Wright's adopted daughter. The rest are friends and relations... but he's like a good dad to them all. ^_^

Happy Fathers' Day!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Stories about babies

Art by Anna MacArthur

My sister and fellow artist Anna is embarking on a mission to talk about fiction with themes relating to abortion.
Someday I want to have on this blog a section where I talk about works of fiction that have a Pro-Life message. Abortion is the primary and greatest sin of our age, or any age, because when you look at the numbers of victims it is obviously the largest genocide in the whole of recorded history. Since 1973, there have been approximately 50,000,000 abortions in America alone. I want you to think about that number for a moment. Don't just read it as a big number; try to actually imagine that amount of people. This is more people than you have ever met. This is more people than you have ever heard of. More people than live in your state. More than every single person who died in the civil war. More than every single person who died in World War Two, including both soldiers and Holocaust victims. Now remember that that is only the number of victims in America.
Not only is the death toll staggering, but these people are the most innocent and vulnerable people that exist. They are not soldiers or criminals, they are children, and they are being killed in some of the most excruciating ways imaginable. This is happening right now. It is happening constantly. Any time throughout the day when you're not thinking about it, it's happening.
Yes, I am trying to make you feel guilty.
Read the whole thing here.

This is extremely important. Is it true that things seems more and more hopeless as the proponents of pre-birth (and often, shortly after birth) infanticide are starting to drop their pretense that the victims aren't human and openly advocating murder as a good thing, but there are also people who stand in grey areas of ignorance and indifference, and stories may reach them. More than that, the tragedy must be acknowledged, even if no one listens.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bizenghast - the Train fancomic cover

I was once planning on doing a short fancomic of Bizenghast by Mary Alice LeGrow, but never found the time. I did do a cover for it, though, and I think it looks neat. I need to use crosshatching more often.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The power of Shazam!

Here are the forthcoming better photos of my Mary Marvel cosplay. You can see those of Anna's Supergirl cosplay here.

I am working on a go-to versatile and comfortable dress pattern of my own drafting, this is the second iteration thereof. Still need to perfect it...

I thought one fun thing about this costume would be--well, when I cosplayed Jade Harley from Homestuck, some other Homestuck fans called out to me, "Jade!" and I didn't respond right away because I didn't realize it was me! So, with this I thought, if anyone calls, "Mary!" I will respond because that's my name too! But then, everyone who addressed me just said, "Shazam!" Ah well.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Looking back and Wizard World Comic Con Minneapolis

My sister Anna and I have now been living in Minnesota for one year. In that time, among many other things, we got chickens, I participated in my second plein air painting contest, we traveled to Illinois for both Chesterton Conference and Typhoon concert, I got a job at a newspaper, and I got my driver's license. I don't mind telling you, it's a bit of a matter of pride to be able to say I learned to drive in a Minnesota winter. (With the result that I feel really weird driving without gloves on, and so I always wear them to drive now.)

And I do all the driving currently, since Anna had a seizure a few months back and thus isn't allowed to drive till she gets an all clear from the dmv. So, a few weeks ago, I drove to the Cities for the first time ever. To attend a comic book convention for the third time ever. (Here are the first and second.) The main reason we went was to see...

Do you know who that is? That, my friends, is Batman. 
No less than the Batman I grew up with, Kevin Conroy!!!!! Oh My Gosh. Remembering the Animated Series and New Adventures from when I was little, and having rewatched them recently, and with how much I understand the story of Batman means now... I am humbled.

We also saw Karl Urban, Sylvester McCoy once again, Gillian Anderson, and more. We bought tons of comics. As you can see above, this time we cosplayed, as Mary Marvel and Supergirl, (better photos of our costumes will be forthcoming eventually) and there were lots of other neat cosplayers:

A good time was had by all.