rik-rat corn pile

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good News, Everybody!

 Update 10-31-12  : Happy Halloween.  Also, taking the paintings to a professional photographer today! 


Ok, super excited over here.  Since my last studio update (a couple weeks ago) I've made some progress.  I finished a pretty excellent painting (starring two fox) and am about to finish another this weekend.

I feel unstoppable!  So, this weekend I will photograph the work and send it your way through the blog-o-sphere. 

See you guys on Monday.

Much love and stuff.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa: Ditch (creek bed) Time Adventure Time!

Found some nice Brachiopods and a killer horned coral over the weekend (top right, it's segmented and huge, totally excellent).  The ditch was full of biting flies, mosquitos, and itchy plants...if I didn't make it out with a handful of fossils I would have looked pretty pathetic.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa. Various horned coral and branch coral.

Left to Right and top to bottom.

1.  A branched coral fossil.  I happened to see it on the bank of the creek while I was falling down a hill.  I'm glad I fell down that hill, I wouldn't have been on the proper level to see it otherwise.  Serendipitous.

2. (top) This horned coral is twice as big as the ones I usually find.  This leads me to believe it's a different variation of the horned coral.  I can't seem to figure out which kind, though.  It's frustrating.  I think it may be a cystiphyllum vesiculosum" because they're common around my area...but this one is WAY too small to be that.  Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

3.  Now this horn coral can be identified!  Ha-zah! It is a "Zaphrentis" pallaensis.  It's known for it's spiny sides and, as you can see in the photo, it has those spiny sides.  Finally, I feel whole again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Artifact Hunting in Iowa: some broken pieces.

Left To right: 1. broken side of knife or spear 2. Broken Drill 3. Broken arrowhead 4. Broken knife 5. Not broken simple drill.

Here's some of the stuff we found this weekend.  I'd like to make a mosaic with all of the little, colorful flint-bits.  That's more of a winter project for when I go stir crazy.  Happy fuckin' Monday.

*update: Oh my god!  I was in a terrible mood when I wrote this yesterday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Creepy Doll from Goodwill. I'm confused.

I'm befuddled.  I have no idea what to write about this object.  Every time I look at this strange, strange, doll I start to laugh.  Look at those angry eyebrows and that beautiful mustache...look at them!  I'm so happy I went to Goodwill yesterday and I'm so happy I bought this beautiful, handmade miracle. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa.

1. A rock with a hole in it...soon it will become a beautiful necklace.  2. A strange and orange piece of coral.  Look at that fantastic ridge.  3.  Another small piece of coral or a sponge.  Not totally sure which one it is...I still vote for coral.

Found in Marion County.  It's a rock with a bunch of shells in it...I didn't show the whole fossil but it's shaped like a foot.  My guess is a size 11 in men's shoes.

I think this as a very beautiful impression fossil.  I've never seen a shell type fossil this large.  It's shape reminds me of a tulip and the oranges and ochers of the rock are simply lovely and beautiful.

Phew!  That's a lot of fossils.  As you can tell, I've been very busy tromping around on the look-out for ancient rocks.  Unfortunately, the fossil hunting season is coming to a close.  Two reasons: It's damn cold and the trees are dropping their leaves.  Said leaves cover the ground and it's almost impossible to search for my little treasures without a rake.  I'm not going to use a rake.  That makes it sound like a chore.  So, expect many more posts about paintings.  I hope you've enjoyed looking at this year's finds as much as I've enjoyed collecting them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa: A few impression fossils.

What my amateur ass assumes to be an impression coral (it kinda looks like this one http://www.flickr.com/photos/85591315@N00/3154262600/).  If you look at my previous fossil blogs, I found another one of these guys earlier in the year (http://fluxbiota.blogspot.com/2012/04/fossil-find.html).  As always, if anyone can enlighten me or suggest a good fossil book I'd certainly enjoy that. 

Some petrified wood (greyish stuff in the back), fossilized bone (in the front, note the texture), and a strange mysterious fossil that looks like a broken clam shell. 

A beautiful impression of a beautiful shell.  So pretty.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa : Bison Teeth Fossils.

A bison tooth fossil in it's natural habitat.

Sometimes people ask me, "How do you find all of those fossils?"  Sometimes it's the fossil that finds you, you just have to be in the right place at the right time and it's obviousness will blind you.  First off, a river bed is always a good place to look for fossils.  The river water cuts  through the earth and moves rock around, exposing objects that have been buried for years.  Also, rivers go through dry periods and wet periods. This getting wet, drying out, getting wet, drying out thing is a very good way to turn bone and teeth into fossils. It allows minerals to turn bone into stone.  Yup.

So, with that being said.  These bison tooth fossils were found on a river bank.  The one in the top photograph (or the bottom of my hand in the other photo) was found on a sandbar (and blinded me with it's obviousness) and the other tooth was found in the river water.  So, my advice? Eyes to your toes, keep looking down and eventually something will find you if you're in the right spot.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mushroom Hunting in Iowa. Hen of the Woods (aka: maitake or sheepshead)

5 pounds of edible mushroom!

Soaking in salt water to clean the giant, scary looking mushroom.

cut up and ready to cook in butter.
The posse and I went for a pleasant Autumn walk on Sunday.  Of course the pleasant walk ended up becoming a rigorous hike.  We were up and down hills, we tromped through poison ivy, trudged over corn stalks, jumped over puddles.  My back still hurts but all that painful exercise was worth it because of the end result.  At the end of the hike (i was so pooped at this point) I came face to face with a giant, Hen of the woods (aka maitake or sheepshead), mushroom.  And when I say "giant" mushroom I'm pushing it, this big guy was only 5 pounds.  Hen of the Woods mushrooms are known to grow as large as 100 pounds.  These highly prized mushrooms grow at the bottom of Oak trees during the fall...I'm no Dendrologist so I'll just assume the tree I came across was an Oak.  My plans for the mushroom?  They were cooked in butter last night so tonight I'm thinking omelets and maybe I'll look up some soup recipes. 

Happy Monday, friends.

Friday, October 5, 2012

More Marigold Seeds.

I collected more marigold DNA for next year.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa. Lycopsid tree.

Lycopsid tree root or Stigmaria ("root")
Oh god, I just want to drag the description of this ancient plant straight off of the Wikipedia page.  That would be so much easier. Its early, guys.

Basically, we were walking around a pretty area and I saw some rocks that looked like tree stumps with the bark ripped off.  With a closer look, it was pretty obvious that these were plant fossils.  I looked them up (thanks, google) and according to the internets these were Lycopsid tree roots and are abundantly found in coal deposits (we were near a strip pit so it's appropriate that we would find these).

Now...here's the wikipedia link.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycopodiophyta

Fossils, man.  So old.  I sound intelligent today.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Studio Time.

I'm almost finished with my 6th piece in the new body of work.  I feel like I need to pat myself on the back for ten minutes and give myself a hug.  It's not easy to get your focus on after working a 7-4 job that requires a full day of standing.  But I'm doing it. 

I've finally found a good work routine.  I create two drawings.  I pick one and work out all the compositional kinks and get it ready to paint.  While I paint that piece I go back to the other drawing and work out it's kinks...that way I don't get too bored painting and have multiple puzzles to solve.  It's a pretty great plan, it ensures that I always have something to work on and that there isn't any lag time.

My brain hurts today.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa: Coral

Left to Right: 1. small chunk of fossilized coral or sponge 2. buffalo nickel so you can guesstimate the size of each fossil 3. Part of a fossilized buffalo tooth.  The surface is very beautiful and looks like the cracked glaze of a raku fired pot. 4. Unidentified solitary coral.  I have never seen a fossil like this one.  Below is a detail of it's center. 5. a really nice chunk of coral.  I usually find tiny pieces of this particular kind but now I finally have a charcoal briquet sized piece.  I was totally pumped to find it.  I need to get better at coral identification.

A detail of the #4 Solitary Coral.  This piece (and all of them, really) have inspired me to find out more about fossils.  I have a generalized knowledge of the stuff, in that if I see something unusual I'll pick it up.  We'll be going to a Lapidary Society Meeting in a couple weeks where I hope to extract some knowledge from the experts.

A coyote skull found on a sandbar.

A pig jawbone found on a sandbar.  I assume someone slaughtered one and threw it's remains in the river as pigs are not native to the area and do not run feral (i god I hope pigs never run feral in Iowa.  They're so destructive)