A form of meditation I've been enjoying lately is setting aside 20 minutes a day to sketch while emptying the mind of thought. It's difficult because my mind tends to race with ceaseless pondering and I'm quite sick of all the chatter. I try to let go and do nothing but enjoy the feeling of the Sharpie's damp ink sink effortlessly into the dappled texture of the thick paper. Somehow in the process, these strange plant-like beings emerge. I can't wait to see what shows up as I let go even more. Medium: Sharpie on paper, digital color, text.
Often observed twisting its succulent tendrils around the trunks of abandoned trees, the amphibious Frog Vine grows rampant along the water's edge. In the early spring, Tadpole Berries sprout from the vine and when ripened, fall to the ground and roll toward nearby ponds and streams. No one's really sure if the frog springs from the vine or if the vine springs from the frog - it's one of those endless chicken and egg causality dilemmas. Medium: Graphite and watercolor on paper, digital color.
The elusive Fox Pea Vine can be found deep inside the dark lush forests of the Stickney crater located on the surface of Phobos, one of two moons orbiting Mars. Of all the craters dotting the landscape of desolate and cold Phobos, only the Stickney contains life. At this time, it is unknown why this particular crater holds life while others do not, but astrobiologists theorize it's because the Stickney crater lies near a mysterious monolith (once spotted by astronaut Buzz Aldrin) that beams a certain frequency necessary for the creation of life. Why do you think so many of humankind's attempts at Mars exploration has failed? Because the Fox Peas chased them away. Medium: Watercolor and colored pencil on paper.
After taking the walk mentioned below, I became obsessed with creating botanical illustrations of various flora and fauna found living throughout multiple dimensions and decided to chronicle my observations in the form of a book. More about that later.... Medium: acrylic on paper, digital color.
Thousands of years ago, after a long journey from the tenth moon located in the Sirius Star System, the Nommo descended to Earth from a particle beam emitting from a flotilla of jelly fish space ships. Landing in a mountainous area of Mali, West Africa, the Nommo, a half human/half fish creature quickly scampered off toward the nearest body of water. Several members of the Dogon tribe had seen the strange being and soon all tribal members had gathered around the lake in hopes to catch a glimpse of it. When the Nommo finally emerged from the depths, he began teaching highly advanced astronomical knowledge to all members of the tribe. The Dogons have passed down this knowledge over the centuries in the form of myths and complicated calendars. The tribe's teachings maintain that Nommo will soon return to Earth and rule the world from the water. I hope he hurries up, a highly advanced amphibious creature from outer space might just be the thing we need right now. Medium: Gouache, ink, acrylic on paper, digital color.
The proud spires of The Silver Tree shimmered in the high afternoon sun, and Ochuru walked beneath its shade gratefully. It was good to be aglow with the knowledge of the universe.
The Tree appeared out of nowhere, its towering figure announcing itself with bursts of sunfire and ground-shaking thunderclaps just nine sunsets previous. Ochuru was the only one of his tribe courageous--or foolish--enough to venture towards it. He remembered when he first peered into its cavernous maw and noted the strange, incinerated figures hanging from the top of the tree's hollow, their blackened limbs twisted like the scorched branches of an acacia after a great fire. And he remembered drinking the sap that flowed from The Tree's odd corners. The glowing liquid warmed his insides. And more importantly, it made Ochuru dream, whether he slept or roamed attentively about the silver hollow.
So Ochuru began following the dreams that swirled about his consciousness at all hours of the risings of sun and moon. He pulled shaped chunks of detritus from within the belly of The Tree, and used the shiny bark to whittle and etch at a nearby Nruga trunk. The visions manipulated his simian paws into carving a quadrupedal figure from the pink speckled wood. The dreams compelled him to carve the face of a human woman atop the Quadruped's neck, dyeing her lips with the juice of red berries. Then he broke off several branches, weaving and contorting them into the shape of a crown. When he finished, he dragged his Woman-Horse creation back to The Silver Tree. Ochuru hollowed out the figure's back with another shard of sharp silver bark and ran into the hollow with a gourd, collecting more Glow Sap from The Tree's hollows. The enlightened monkey anointed his carving with the sap, and the figure's eyes fluttered open. "I can carry you, my Prince," the Quadruped purred in a buttery voice as she turned her swan-like spotted neck, bowed and placed the Nruga branch crown atop Ochuru's head.
The Monkey Prince stepped into his Quadruped's open back and seated himself, a cluster of Gargoyle Lillies in his left paw and a gourd full of the Silver Tree's nectar in his lap. His four-legged feminine transport followed his command to traverse the land's only man-made path out of the heart of the jungle. All along the way Ochuru submerged his Lily Sceptre into the sap-filled gourd and flicked the moistened Lily stalks at the ground below him. Each droplet connected with the ground and transformed: Green pitcher plants, serpents with heads of felines, and speckled spined multi-hued stalks and tubes erupted from the earth to eject perfume and rustling life into the humid wilderness air.
Then all twenty-seven-thousand species of alien flora and fauna pulled themselves from the soil and followed Ochuru the Monkey Prince as he made his way towards the City of Man. Written by TwoPotatoThreePotato, illustration by 14: acrylic on paper, digital color.
The Mandrake (Mandragora Officinarum) has been a subject of superstition and awe for centuries. Because of the root's humanlike form, it has been used as an aphrodisiac, a potion to make soldiers of the Middle Ages invisible to enemies, a sedative, a fertility restorer, an expeller of demons, and an inducer of madness. It also enjoys entangling itself in various species of vine. Medium: ink and watercolor on paper.
For the past three years, I've been creating a collection of surreal botanical illustrations of the flora and fauna of imaginary worlds. Many of the illustrations from my Botany in Wonderland series contain mystical references, hidden codes, and inexplicable allegories. Some of the illustrations are meant to be viewed from multiple angles so that hidden creatures may be revealed. While I enjoy painting and laughing at the social commentary generated by celebrity gossip, my real passion lies in seeking out gardens of Earthly delight. Prints available here. Medium: watercolor and ink on a scanned page from my great great great grandmother's journal dating back to 1850.