There are 3 steps to immigration, as I see it.
Step one: get legal in the country
Step two: get your stuff out of storage
Step three: get a job
Ok, so I'm stuck on two and three. I know people move to Canada all the time, yet for some reason it's really hard to get my things out of storage and up here. I've gotten bids ranging from $2500 to over $8000 from moving companies, and the whole trying-to-figure-out-the-paperwork-thing with regard to customs...don't get me started. When I moved from Salem, MA to Seattle, WA in 1990 the mover I used was Paul Arpin, who charged me twice what they'd agreed to (on paper); apparently that's legal. I shudder to think what horrors international movers can pull; I assume any number I get is half of what I actually need to shell out. It's the sort of thing that keeps me awake nights, and is responsible for a lot of nightmares and tummy troubles.
The other night I watched Mirror Mask. It's one of those movies you watch the first time for the story and then go back and watch again and again for the atmosphere, the crazy sets and the creatures; I'm just glad people are making movies like this. When "whimsy" often becomes ponderous, crass, and just plain stupid (think "Cat in the Hat" and "The Grinch who Stole Christmas"), it's good to know there are some who still get it; you don't have to explain everything, and imaginary worlds have their own rules.
It probably helps when one of the authors directs the film, and overblown Hollywood horrors (and not in a good way) like Jim Carrey and Mike Meyers are a million miles away from being cast. The scenery, while mostly computer created, remains refreshingly unchewed.
From the website:
MirrorMask is the story of Helena, a fifteen-year-old girl working for her family circus, who wishes--quite ironically--that she could run away from the circus and join real life. But such is not to be the case, as she finds herself on a strange journey into the Dark Lands, a fantastic landscape filled with giants, Monkeybirds and dangerous sphinxes. Helena searches for the Mirrormask, an object of enormous power that is her only hope of escaping the Dark Lands, waking the Queen of Light and returning home.
I'm always amazed by artists who do everything in one sketchbook. It's so organized and methodical; I admire the concept but my brain doesn't work that way, so I always have at least half a dozen books going at a time. Some days you want to draw on white paper, some days on cardboardy stuff, some days are for lumpy watercolor action, and some days are for those fancy ass leather bound books with flower petals in the paper.
Then there is inspiration; what form is it going to take today? Sometimes it's really easy to trace where it all came together. The monsters in this book came from 3 places.
First, my pal Erin forced me to get my hands dirty with oil pastel a couple of years back, and I freaked out. People have been telling me for years to do oil pastel, but I'm all about acrylic, keeping things dry, getting things finished. The mess and the wait of oil just drove me nuts. Well, I found this lovely bound book at a stationary store and right about the same time my husband gave me a pile of his left-over art school materials, including a box of oil pastels. I had some linseed oil and brushes left over from a beginning oil class I took last summer so...I started making messes.
Second; Demons. One of the most brilliant books I've read in a long time is Lynda Barry's 100 Demons. I'm trying to paint my monsters to get 'em out of me. This one is about keeping your head up and keeping inspired, even when stuff is dragging you down; it's also about reaching into your past to inform the future.
Third: Clive Barker's Visions of Heaven and Hell. The colors are mouthwatering, the creatures leap off the page, and I finally got what people have been telling me about oil all these years. It doesn't have to be landscapes or flowers or portraits or all that blended into airless perfection stuff; it can be completely insane and alive!
This is only my third oil drawing, so it's all new going. It takes about 2 weeks for each to dry enough for me to turn the page and do the next one, but I'm kind of enjoying that as part of the process. Besides, I have all those other sketchbooks calling my name in the meantime...