And You Thought Latin Was a Dead Language

mani pedi

I saw this cartoon on The New Yorker website today and had to laugh because I knew my high school Latin teacher, Mrs. Maruxa Cargill, would have appreciated it.  Our Latin II class was very small, maybe 10 students.  I adored Mrs. Cargill, a petite, classy intellectual originally from Argentina, who taught Spanish as well as Latin.  To bring the language alive for her students, every year she organized a Latin Banquet where we all dressed in togas, competed in games, and ate a lot of pizza.  Often in her classroom I was chosen to read aloud from “Winnie the Pooh” in English while she followed with the Latin version from her book “Winnie ille Pu.”  Fun times.

So it wasn’t too much of a reach (for me anyway) to connect this continuance of the famous phrase “veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) to another one—“rock, paper, scissors.”  And, of course, we come to the episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where Sheldon adds to it in the form of—“rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.”

And here it is:


It’s Baaack!

I hadn’t seen a commercial for the “male enhancer” Extenze on TV for a long time (sorry about that.) Then, the other night it raised its ugly head once again.  (My apologies for another innuendo.)  Here’s a cartoon I drew a few years ago when Extenze was in its hey-day, before we were forced to watch couples sitting in separate bathtubs (Cialis) and wonder just what the hell that was supposed to mean.  Enjoying the “after glow?”  Or taking a sitz bath to relieve the itching?  I’ll never understand corporate America.





This is a photo I tinkered with in the Paper Artist app on my Galaxy smartphone.  It’s the Morning Glory growing on our fence in the backyard.  I love how the vine looks like hair cascading around the metal sun face mounted to the wood.

So, of course, I’ve had the lyrics to the 60’s show “Hair” floating through my brain.  I actually saw the West Coast production at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles, probably some time around 1967-68.  Groovy, man.  And they did come out into the audience, as in this video.  But we weren’t as “Tony” as this crowd.  🙂



Silhouettes 101~or~Go With the Flow

In my last post I opened my big mouth and said I would show what my cutting process entailed.  Up front, I want to say that very often the scissor artist (well, me for sure) has to deal with mistakes.  Things get lopped off or over-cut and that’s just part of the challenge.  So when I chose this silhouette of a boy and girl riding a kiddie jalopy, I’d hoped this one would come out in what passes as “perfect” for me.

It didn’t, but I’m using it anyway.

By way of disclaimer, this silhouette is one of the group of 1920’s kids that I used to do exclusively in pastels.  Cutting this one in black belatedly showed an error in its design, which I “fixed” after it was finished by gluing a very thin piece of black paper to cover the back of the offending area.  It just didn’t “read” right for me, but now it does.

Hey, poop happens.

Anyway—to begin—this first photo shows the design printed on the back of the silhouette paper.  (This paper happens to be 8″x8″ square, which isn’t a real convenient size because trying to get it to go through my printer correctly is a challenge in itself.)  But we move on.




The next photo is the paper after being trimmed with just regular kitchen shears.  The idea is to remove enough excess paper so you can get as close to the design as possible.  At the top are my Gingher scissors next to a ruler for size context.  You can see that they are very pointy.  As Martha Stewart says, it’s a good thing.




I think the most important tip for cutting is to be sure to start with the smallest inside cuts first.  The reason for that is the more paper you cut away, the floppier the silhouette gets, so you wouldn’t start with cutting the border outline first.  Having enough uncut paper around the small inside negative spaces (the spaces created by the solid positive spaces) is really necessary.  If you had to go back and cut those areas after most of the other ones were removed it would be difficult.  The paper would bend or tear and….just trust me.  Cut the small spaces first.  I pierce the middle of the space with the tip of one of the blades and then start making tiny cuts toward the outline, following it until the entire space is cut.



After cutting the smallest inside areas, I usually work outwards by cutting the ones that are a little larger.  Here I’ve done all of them except for the wheels.



Next the wheels.



Then I cut the large inside space between the wheels.  You can see that I did this in pretty much one piece.  The grass was cut using a kind of slashing cut, not in one continuous cut.  Whatever works, I say!  Also, if I’d cut this area first before the insides of the wheels, imagine how hard that would be.  Oy.



So then, I like to start cutting the border outline with the heads.  That’s usually the most difficult part and I like to get it out of the way first.  Also, remember, I still have a little more paper left and that helps keep things from getting too floppy and unmanageable.



I finish up by cutting the remainder of the outline, removing the bit underneath that’s still shown here.




I always go back and tweak things here and there.  That’s where I decided to add the piece under the girl’s leg to make it “read” better.  As I said, this hadn’t occurred to me before with the pastel silhouettes, but it was more obvious with the black one.  My own worst critic.  But, you know, it’s okay.  It’s the overall impression that counts.  Hand-made art has imperfections.  As RuPaul says, can I get an amen up in here?

boy girl jalopy