Sita Sings the Blues Paintings

RakshasaCU

I have finally, FINALLY catalogued the paintings I did for Sita Sings the Blues, and they’re all for sale at http://www.palegraylabs.com/sita-paintings/

Each one is signed, dated, and matted under glass in a 15”x12”x1-3/8” (except “Forest Hut” which is 13″ x 13″) unfinished wood frame.

Share/Bookmark

The Angel of Pain

Angel O Pain 3 - Frame 0I needed something to visualize while I’m in pain. The Angel O’ Death is nice, but pain isn’t death; in many ways, it’s life. So this morning, I asked the Angel of Pain to show itself to me. And this is what I got.

Designing a Poster

SMPoster32_24x36 - Frame 56

So many iterations of this poster! This is version #32. A few earlier versions below:

SMPoster16_24x36 - Frame 108_2

SMPoster11 - Frame 23

You Gotta Believe

Why not believe in Her?

You Gotta Believe from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

 

In this episode of Seder-Masochism, Moses is confronted by the goddesses the Patriarchy is about to crush.

Directed animated etc. by Nina Paley (me)
Music: “You Gotta Believe” written by Norman Whitfield, sung by the Pointer Sisters, circa 1976
Free goddess gifs at blog.ninapaley.com/2018/01/01/24-free-goddess-gifs/

The lyrics are extremely clear in some places and hard to decipher in others. At two points the Pointer Sisters sing, “why don’t you let the Wilson Sisters set you free?”  Who are the Wilson Sisters? Does anyone know? Here are the lyrics I’m confident are accurate:

You gotta believe in something

Why not believe in me?

You gotta believe in something

Why not believe in me?

Tell me brother,

what have I, I, done to you

To make you mean and treat me

the way you do?

Go on and raise your flag,

Brother,

Start your revolution.

I’m willing to let you do your thing,

Tell me why are you blind when it comes to mine?

You gotta believe in something

Why not believe in me?

You gotta believe in something

Why not believe in me?

Take the chain off your brain

I said,

Take the chain off your brain…

Stop.

Take a look at yourself…

Don’t (refuse??) something something…

You gotta believe in something

Why not believe in me?

You gotta believe in something

Why not believe in me?….

Snake Dancer

Now she’s on a transparent background and a 48-frame cycle, and blinks!

Snake_Dancer_16

 

Same on a black background:Snake_Dancer_17Previous version here.

26 Goddesses

I’ve been painstakingly hand-removing backgrounds from photos in GIMP, so I can use them in Moho.Goddesses_ancient2_4

Goddesses_ancient2_9

Queen of the Night

 

Snake_Dancer_12

Here’s my collection:

Goddesses_ancient - Frame 0.2

Goddesses_ancient - Frame 0.3

Goddesses_ancient - Frame 0.4

Goddesses_ancient2 - Frame 0

Seder-Masochism Progress Report

My two goals for 2017 were to bicycle 5,000 miles, and to finish Seder-Masochism. I have 30 miles to go on the first goal, slowed down by mysterious health problems (for which I’m about to undergo a series of invasive tests). But the second goal keeps getting farther away.

I have all the pieces made, and they’re pretty good. The musical numbers are entertaining, and the “Our Father” scenes, based on recordings of my own father shortly before his death in 2012, worked remarkably well.

Scene of Our Father

Our Father

But the overall story isn’t holding together. In fact, it’s hard to tell what the overall story is. I set out to retell “The Passover Story,” but what is that? It’s Exodus. But it’s also more than Exodus, and far less. I tried structuring the film around the Passover Seder, and the result is incoherent. Perhaps because as a story, the Passover Seder is itself incoherent, its popularity and persistence due to early indoctrination and strict rules rather than narrative quality.

So now I’m looking for the story again, at this rather late stage. The narrative quality of the Book of Exodus itself is dubious, but it does contain at least one strong story: the going out, the leaving, the separation, the exit, the Exodus itself. I thought a lot about the meaning of Exodus a few years ago when I animated Death of the Firstborn Egyptians (the solo clip of which has become rather popular, at over a million views on YouTube alone).

Even as the mythological Hebrews exited mythological Egypt, the mythological Firstborn Egyptians exited Life, led by the profound power of Death – who is the Abrahamic God Himself, according to many Haggadot. According to the ancient Egyptian conception of Death and the afterlife, this was not necessarily a tragedy; in fact it would have meant something entirely different to the mythological Egyptians than it does to us. Still an Exodus, but from another point of view.

And that’s where I’m returning to seek my story. To Abrahamics, the Exodus is the story of going forth from the “narrow place,” from cruel slavery to freedom. But what were they exiting, really? According to them it was slavery, oppression, and, worst of all, the worship of false idols. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” commands Yahweh in Exodus 20. How does this story look from the point of view of “other gods”? Specifically, goddesses?

Patriarchy celebrates Exodus as a triumph of civilization. But these days I question the value of civilization, since it’s (we’re) killing the planet and perhaps our souls and minds as well. The popular myth, amongst anxious environmentalists like myself, is that Once Upon a Time humans lived in harmony with nature, gathering and hunting, attuned to the natural world through animism and reverence for the Great Mother. There followed a Great Fall: Agriculture, and its attendant sins of property, hierarchy, and slavery. With the plow we were expelled from the Garden, and things have gotten worse ever since. Genesis in a nutshell.

Exodus is a different angle. This time the Great Mother isn’t a nurturing Garden, but a suffocating oppressor. Man isn’t expelled; he escapes. All those (formerly) animistic spirits are now ridiculous and evil idols. The sacred snake becomes the demonic serpent. Nature and fertility become disgusting things to be controlled. Yeast – spores of Life in the very air – is loathed and mastered through the fetishized Unleavened Bread. This loathing and mastering continues today, as we continually kill Life in the soil with fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. (My 4,970 miles of cycling mostly took place in Central Illinois, the heart of the agri-desert, where yesterday I rode past tanks of ammonia being dragged through denuded fields.)

What does Exodus look like from the point of view of the Goddess? She was in Egypt as Hathor, Hekket, Wadjet, Nut, Maat, Isis, and others portrayed already in Moses Goes Down. She was elsewhere in Mesopotamia as Ishtar, Astarte, the “Queen of Heaven” and other mis-named or un-named “idols.” She was in Europe. She was everywhere – all humans conceived the divine as female, long before the invention of the male God.

The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess) from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Watching Man walk out on Her, going forth from revering Nature to enslaving and killing it – would she even want Him back?

So I’m currently trying to articulate the Exodus from the Goddesses’ point of view. I hope it works. I’ve put a lot of effort into Seder-Masochism so far, I’d hate for it to be a BIG FAILURE WITH NO COHERENT STORY. Then again, I may end up with a coherent story that is despised. If my current storytelling angle succeeds, even more people will hate it, especially men. But that I could live with. Releasing a weak, incoherent film would be harder.

But this late in the game, that may be its fate – it’s up to the Goddess.

God-Mother

God-Mother from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Here it is, the intro/prologue to Seder-Masochism. Uploaded at 1080p instead of 4K because I’m sure I’ll fuss with it still.

It is by far the slowest-paced thing I’ve ever animated. Be patient. Best at full screen.

Animated in Moho Pro.

Stills:

Denkou_01-03_15 - Frame 1192_1920

God-Mother_sun_orobourus_1920

God-Mother_bird_sun

God-Mother_fish_1920

God-Mother_deer

God-Mother_horses_1920

God-Mother_hands_1920

God-Mother_forest_1920

 

Bicycling fauna for me

I’m going to lead a weekly Recumbent Ride for the local Prairie Cycle Club, so I drew some things for it:

Bicyclin' Bison

Bicyclin’ Bison

Bicyclin' Deer (the white-tailed deer is the state animal of Illinois)

Bicyclin’ Deer (the white-tailed deer is the state animal of Illinois)

Here’s the resultant flyer:

Recumbent Ride card2

Heather’s Ultimate Frisbee

A Hundred Dollar Drawing.

2016-10-26 16.45.39 UltimateFrisbee UltimateFrisbee2

Introducing Hundred Dollar Drawings!

Notice: This has been popular! New orders temporarily suspended while I work on backlog. I’ll offer Hundred Dollar Drawings again soon.

example of $100 drawing

Example of a $100 drawing

$100: Tell Nina what to draw* and she’ll draw it. It could be as vague as a word (“quadruped,” “equinox”) or more specific (“a cat driving a car,” “a sun and moon shaking hands”) or even more specific (“a tabby cat driving a convertible sportscar over a cardboard box,” “a sun and moon shaking hands over planet Earth, sky behind them half night and half day”). Nina will email you a photo of the finished drawing, and post it on her blog and social media.

*Specify drawing in Paypal checkout

 

+ $25: We’ll ship you the original art. Sizes will vary but it will be on 8.5 x 11″ or smaller paper.

 

+ $100: I will also make a “Making-of” video of the drawing, such as the above.

 

Example of cleaned-up, reproduction-ready PNG file

Example of cleaned-up, reproduction-ready PNG file

+ $100: Drawing cleaned-up and reproduction-ready for ANY USE YOU WANT!

 

FAQ

Q: What if I don’t like my drawing?
A: Too bad, sorry.

Q: Can you submit a sketch and let me comment for revisions?
A: No. If you want revisions, commission another $100 drawing, and a third, fourth, etc. You can get 10 $100 drawings for less than my usual professional rate.

Q: Can I use the drawing as a commercial logo for my business?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I use the drawing for advertising or other commercial purposes?
A: Yes, anything you want.

Q: Isn’t that crazy cheap for commercial art?
A: Yes. But some of these drawings are also non-commercial. It’s all less stress for me, and I don’t care what happens to the image after I draw it. (Actually I do care – the more it’s used, the better.)

Q: What about copyright?
A: Like most of my work this is Free Culture. There’s effectively no copyright to license or buy. You can do whatever you want with the art you commission, but it’s non-exclusive. I will be posting it on my blog and social media.

Q: What if I want exclusive rights?
A: Then you’ll have to pay more than $100 – same as most professional commercial art of this caliber. Shoot me an email to discuss.

Q: What if Nina finds my drawing instructions abhorrent?
A: I will refund your money and not do the drawing. Or I’ll keep the money and willfully misinterpret your request. That might be more interesting.

Q: Can you do a caricature if I send you a photo?
A: Not very well, but I’ll try. I am not a caricaturist so likenesses not guaranteed to be recognizable or remotely able to fulfill hopes and dreams.

I video’ed myself drawing

Here’s the drawing:

Oct24SLOW

Inktober 2016, October 19-22

I noticed some artist and animator friends were posting drawings with the hashtag #inktober. This is the sort of thing I never do. But it had been years since I’d respectfully drawn with ink on paper, and I kind of missed it. So I ordered myself some different brush pens, and the day they arrived I sat down and drew these:

"Flight"

“Flight”

No warm-ups, no practice, just bam, out they came.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve drawn in this style, with ink on paper. I’ve avoided it due to burn-out from drawing daily comic strips. Advice to you kids: turning something you enjoy into a daily job is a great way to make you hate it. I quit my last daily comic, The Hots, in 2003 (before that I did another mainstream daily, Fluff, and before that was my self-syndicated weekly Nina’s Adventures, the entire archive of which you may download here.) I guess 12 years is enough time to recover from style burn-out, at least a little.

“Inktober” has a list of “daily prompts” and I decided to just follow them:

"Squeeze"

“Squeeze”

 

Squeeze_BW

“Squeeze” processed in GIMP to function as a black and white illustration. This is from the same photo I took with my cel phone. No scanner needed, apparently. Welcome to the future!

"Big." I'm really liking that Uni Mitsubishi brush pen, more than the nylon hair brush pens I used to use professionally. It'll wear out fast because it's a compressed felt tip, but it sure is clean and easy to use.

“Big.” I’m really liking that Uni Mitsubishi brush pen, more than the nylon hair brush pens I used to use professionally. It’ll wear out fast because it’s a compressed felt tip, but it sure is clean and easy to use.

"Big" cleaned up. in GIMP, sans scanner.

“Big” cleaned up. in GIMP, sans scanner.

"Little"

“Little”

"Little" cleaned up in GIMP, from that same cell phone photo.

“Little” cleaned up in GIMP, from that same cell phone photo above.

I actually did 2 versions of "Little." The one I posted before was outlined with the double ended Uni Mitsubishi felt brush pen. This one was with the Pentel Pocket brush. Never thought I'd choose a felt over nylon hair brush, but there you go.

I actually did 2 versions of “Little.” The one I posted before was outlined with the double ended Uni Mitsubishi felt brush pen. This one was with the nylon hair Pentel Pocket brush. I have less patience for messiness now, I guess.

Honestly I’m enjoying this so much right now I’d kind of like to take on an illu$tration gig while I’m still fresh. Too much of that and I might burn out again, but right now it would be fun.

Special Snowflake Pride

snowflake-shirt-screencap

I recently came out as a Special Snowflake. Please respect my identity by buying this shirt.

Some stills from the Golden Calf scene

Woman04.2_transformation

Still working on it, but I like how it’s coming out. Based on Exodus 32. These are all things Hebrews should NOT be doing! But of course it’s the most beautiful chapter in the film.

Woman05.5_Canaa

Woman05.02.1_IsisMaat

Woman06_first02_Astarte

Woman06_second04_Wadjet

Woman06.3_QoH_Nut

Woman07.1.2_bees

Woman07.2.1_Asherahs