Thursday, September 29, 2011

El Curiosidad

When my husband visited Mexico a couple of years ago, he brought back a set of LoterĂ­a cards for me to play with. Mind you, I'm not much for card games, but he knew I'd have fun with the images. Thanks, T!

For a monster, this guy doesn't look particularly ferocious, & I think it would be pretty amusing to see him chasing his prey, given his obvious lack of aerodynamic finesse. But he does look as though he has managed to devour plenty of something, so if you should ever see him coming, beware!

Acrylic on Loteria card.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Girl with the Oddment Tattoo

Some people look little & cute, but inside they're ferocious. A touch of ink can help bring the inside outside. ;-)

Acrylic on found doll, with bead & pin for belly-button piercing, about 3½" tall.

p.s. Anyone recognize this doll? My sister found it on the street & kindly gave it to me, knowing I'd do something odd with it. If it's yours, I apologize.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yeasty Beastie

Poor, unsuspecting children & shop-clerk! Little did they know that an innocent purchase of Lupulin Yeast Gem would awaken this ferocious oddment.

Acrylic on Victorian advertising scrap, ~2½x4"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tyrannical Time

Time is a ferocious beast that devours my dreams on a daily basis.

I'm possibly the slowest painter in the universe. That's one reason I usually work small. I have so many ideas, so much I want to do, but there's always a huge backlog. I started this project to try to speed up my process, & to some extent it has, but never enough to keep up. Once I start painting, I go into a sort of trance, & next thing I know, hours have passed. Sigh...

This one was actually a quickie though, because it's so tiny! Acrylic on an old watch face, ~1 3/4" in diameter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Java Jump-Start

Introducing the latest Oddment series (with a nod to Philip Pullman): Her Odd Materials.

I've been itching to get away from the computer, & I'm a pack rat with collections of all sorts of curious bits & pieces. So I've decided that the next few Oddments will be creatures created with unusual media, or on unusual substrates, or both.

It seems appropriate (for a caffeine junkie like me anyway) to start any new project with a nice cup of coffee. And so I decided to inaugurate this series with a painting using coffee as medium.

Coffee, pencil & gouache on found paper, ~3"x4"

Details: I boiled down some coffee so that it would be dark enough for the darks, used normal-strength coffee for the palest tones, & white gouache for highlights. The background paper is from a Workman's Weekly Time Book (pocket sized). Not sure of the actual publication date, but the entries are from 1929-30.

Warning: Boiled coffee smells utterly vile, & the reek ruins the flavor of any good coffee one happens to be drinking!

Monday, September 19, 2011


An undersea slacker of sorts, this curiotype need not stir from his seat to hunt for dinner. Rather, he lures passing prey with mesmerizing undulations of his graceful faux-fronds, then "welcomes little fishes in with gently smiling jaws."

To be honest, "zoophyte" was already becoming obsolete as a term of scientific classification when the background text was published in 1906, but I ask you, how could I resist ending the alphabet with a botano-beastie?

Photoshop with text from Chambers's Encyclopaedia, 1906.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Okay, so Y is another tricky science letter. (See W.) I was almost stumped for a visual until I read that yttrium is a key ingredient in the formula for some synthetic garnets. That was the inspiration for this curiotype. You probably need to click on the image to see the face.

Photoshop with text from The Practical Standard Dictionary.

I wish I really had a bottle that looks like this. I have a bunch of wonderful old chemistry glass thanks to my dad, but I've always coveted really strange stuff like alchemical ware & Klein bottles. (Topology was one of my earliest science/math obsessions... right after malaria mosquitoes. Both due to random museum-visit epiphanies.)

Hey, this is Oddment number 50! And the curiotype alphabet is almost done. I'm a bit surprised I've made it this far. Raise a glass (of some non-yttriferous liquid) to the Oddments!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I'm quite fond of cacti, but I wouldn't want this prickly curiotype as a pet-- imagine how it would feel to have him brush up against your legs!

Photoshop with text from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1949

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


It's a rare & beautiful thing when two individuals transcend the boundaries of self & begin to move through life on precisely the same wavelength. These synchronous swimmers were loosely inspired by the astonishingly graceful & romantic waltzing weedy sea dragons.
(Many thanks to Isaac for introducing me to these real-life oddments!)

By the way, you may note that this curiotype is a departure from the more arcane vocabulary of previous entries. That is because there was no W in classical Latin, the base language of most scientific terms. I'm rather glad since it gave me the perfect opportunity to celebrate sea dragons!

Photoshop with text from Steele's Fourteen Weeks of Physics, 1878.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This curiotype is something of a gourmand... & he wears his indulgences proudly.

Photoshop with text from Gray's Introduction to Structural & Systemic Botany, 1876

Friday, September 9, 2011


Contained within the urceolate boundaries of this curiotype is an unexpected oddment! He lives a dreamy, meditative life, hidden away in a flower similar to this one. I only discovered him very recently, when the specimen happened to be turned upside down.

Photoshop with text from Gray's Introduction to Structural & Systemic Botany, 1876

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Totally Tubulose

Is it a fallen flower? A long-leggity oddment doing the backstroke? Or something completely different?

All I know for sure is that it's a curiotype.
Photoshop with text from The Practical Standard Dictionary.

Monday, September 5, 2011


This curiotype is a speedy, springy fellow who can cover quite a distance in a single bound, utterly unlike the snail with which he is sometimes confused.

Full disclosure: I found after I'd started this that the term strombuliferous is somewhat archaic. So fling it around in everyday conversation at your own risk. ;-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Continuing the cross-section theme: this devious fellow snuggles quietly down into the loam & remains perfectly still until a root borer happens along-- then suddenly snaps to life & gobbles him up!

Mysterious are the ways of nature. If you think such extreme camouflage is unlikely, take a look at this real-life amazingness.

Also, mysterious are the ways of Google. An image search for radiciform turns up the most peculiarly random assortment of stuff. ?????

Edit: I must say this IF prompt has brought out some of the coolest entries I've seen in a while! Definitely worth perusing if you haven't already.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Curiotype Collection

You might say this is cheating, & I do apologize, but two oddments in a row would wreak serious havoc with my current work schedule. :-( So I thought instead I'd see what the first 16 curiotype characters looked like all nicely lined up in order, in the spirit of Things Organized Neatly. I think their letteriness comes through a little more as a group, what do you think? But the "N" sticks out like a frostbitten thumb... I may redo that one at some point.