Monday, 12 January 2015

Tea and Religion

This is a rosehip teabag, one of many salvaged from my storage boxes, only a year and a half out of date. What i'm actually drinking is Irish Breakfast Tea, a fairly ordinary black tea which might once have turned my stomach, and which i would never have dreamed of drinking with milk. I'm drinking it with milk. Somehow, it was easier to start drinking black tea with milk than to explain my preference every time, after the milk had been poured. Somehow, like instant coffee, or ketchup, or sin, it has clammily attached itself to my soul, making itself the norm. No wonder i am worried about my prayer life.

Saturday, 27 December 2014


I haven't had a chance to use this yet, thanks to screwtops on all the wine bottles here, but i enjoy contemplating it and even attempted a first rough sketch...

UPDATE: We were lucky enough to have the screw cap on a wine bottle go awry, so i'm pleased to say the stopper has been tried and works well. Also, i spent more time doodling around this sketch than it would have taken to finish it properly, so i'm not sure yet what's going to happen with my sketching. I'm not inspired, but i'd like to be able to post something...

Friday, 12 December 2014


Well, i am back in Australia. After all that packing to leave the United States, it's time to do more of the same as i ruefully discover the crazy things i have managed to keep in my storage unit all this time. I guess i don't really need the bits of timber that were hastily shoved into that space, not to mention piles of crumpled old bills in boxes. Here are some sketches whose originals have been culled.

Saturday, 19 April 2014


It's a gorgeous sunny day, and i'm inside. My apartment is lit dimly by its one small window with the blinds closed, so this photo didn't turn out great. I'm listening to sad bluegrass tunes and refusing somehow to sketch, as i'm refusing to write an essay.

Vodka and rootbeer is the flavor of the day.

So far my happiest moment has been the discovery of a tiny basil shoot growing in a pot that i can't see without lifting the window blinds. Tomorrow is Easter, and perhaps i'll lift them properly then, whispering "bay-sil"...

I remember being chastised for saying "crackers". "Biscuits" is the proper word in Australia. "I'm biscuits," i say to you today. Sorry for the delay. The sketch i was planning has potential but only that, and i'm not good lately at finishing a soggy, gravy-soaked thing.

It was like the time in 2000, shortly back from here, i talked at work about "a bunch of" something.
"What are ya, a yank?" asked the outspoken boss i'd been chatting with. I didn't bother to explain.

Crackers like these are magnificently good with whipped cream cheese, which also may not be available in Australia. Together, that is, with understanding of how place changes a person. More Australian? Hardly.

For the first time in my life, I'm mostly wanting to be assimilated. Oh i know, i'll never make it. Especially not if i hang around indoors on beautiful mushy Spring days, and get too drunk to remember my most intimate conversations when they happen once a month.

I'm crackers, cracked, and missing half my heart.
The ground is soggy though, and new growth is everywhere.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Little Oddnesses

This is a leaf from the foliage from those New Year Roses. Still green, and growing some kind of... well... growth on the back of every leaf.

The magazine was a magnificent Christmas gift.

The little cylindrical thing is some kind of silica gel, which I feel evilly inclined to dunk in a glass of water to see what happens. Will it explode? There will be a sketch if it does.

The fabric is the covering from my home-made mattress bed, which sadly did not cope well with the abrasion of salty feet over Winter. Suppose this is why normal people use mattress-protectors and sheets.

This post is a little bit random, but it's a start.

Sorry, no explosion but a slow disintegration. Coincidentally that is the topic of my next post. Stay tuned for a miserable comic!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cutting the tops and ends of carrots, in preparation for making juice.

sketch of carrot

Trig uses the knife in a way that shouldn’t be shown a child. Shouldn’t without explanation and safe practice. It’s efficient, and doesn’t require extra tools.

Her dad would get what he’d call stroppy. Complain bossily about how her mum would use a paring knife. Even angrily. It was based in care: fear that she would cut herself, yet his stridency was upsetting for someone able – even using the knife in a practical manner, preparing his meal after a long day with four kids. Trig didn’t see how she used the knife, only heard and felt division.

Cutting carrots on her own, she feels his concern; does it this way anyway. It’s efficient, and doesn’t require extra tools.

She thinks of her various attitudes to doing and to authority, and finds their emotional stem.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Feeling Better

I just Googled the clause "Feeling better is never going to answer my questions," and was kind of astounded that there were no hits.

Last year I posted about happiness being orthogonal to sadness. I still think it's true, but wow, throw a bit of angst into the mix and it's harder to figure out.

I like crying all day better than having my mind quit functioning properly from anxiety, that's for sure. Combine those, though, and ugh. That's when it's really bad. As for today? I was happyish and cried all day and then I started ranting about the confusion in my head.

Here was my question:

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15)

So, how could this thing I've seen as an obvious truth in the world possibly be consistent with the doctrine that all our sins are forgiven through faith in Christ's death and resurrection for our sins?

Isn't it a whole lot simpler to take His Word, obey and believe it? Isn't *that* what He taught us to do?

I'd been wondering this when I read:

"The distinction between the Law and the Gospel is a particularly brilliant light. It serves the purpose of rightly dividing God's Word and properly explaining the Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles. We must guard this distinction with special care, so that these two doctrines may not be mixed with each other, or a law be made out of the Gospel." (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, beginning of Article V: The Law and the Gospel)

Well, it's not all that simple: it's easier to drink a bottle of wine than to face repenting wholeheartedly. The brilliant light of distinction though? Doing is Law-stuff. Believing the Law is easy for me, so, in reading Christ's Words in Matthew, I mistook Law for Gospel.

As for feeling better? Even if I don't always feel it, I can see how it's wonderful to be wrong when it's understood why with true comfort.

Saturday, 21 July 2012


What does it mean to foot?

▸ verb: pay for something ("Foot the bill")
▸ verb: add a column of numbers
▸ verb: walk


And also this day it meant: I sketched!!

Probably the most common subjects ever of my sketches are my feet. They're spectacularly patient, always willing to hang around, and really good at being still.

My ankle's still stiff, but not swollen particularly. I liked sketching it looking normal. This is my first sketch since before I hurt it. My first wholehearted sketch in nearly a year.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Sometimes I Like Words

Literal intention
Literal interpretation

How come this kind of free-form quasi-haiku feels so natural? The size of an idea?

Friday, 12 August 2011


Wandering tomato stalk

This reminded me at first of Cain, cursed to be a wanderer after killing his brother Abel, unable to be killed himself.

I relate it to Paul's image of the olive tree which is sustained by the root which is holy, but that we as branches may be removed or grafted in by faith.

People these days talk a lot about salvation as being about "going to heaven when you die", but I think that's a real distraction from the power of what Christ taught, and how it can change our lives in the present, day by day. Forgiveness and forgiving is fundamental to it.

We're taught that, when we pray for forgiveness, we must forgive others so that we may be forgiven by God. In my own life I've noticed a reduction in fear and guilt, and an improved capacity to love, but I hadn't thought until today about the "extreme" example of a murderer. We tend to get all entangled with the practical difficulties of what society should do with murderers, and what punishments they "deserve", and how we feel about murder being done -- but these are entirely beside the point when we consider that it is not for us to judge murderers, but God. The bit I was excited to realise was that in principle, if a murderer, in praying for forgiveness, also truly forgives... the motivations for murdering are removed.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Cutting, clipping, prune?

I feel very silly for wanting to call this a prune!

Hydrangea cutting.

It's a bit of my hydrangea bush from August last year.

Friday, 15 July 2011


It cracks me up that there are so many processed snack foods made of corn, and yet my favourite instant snack is fresh sweetcorn.

Partly-husked sweetcorn

Given that I normally nuke it in the husk (high, 3 minutes, done), I'm usually in a bit of a hurry when I peel it (hot, hot, ouch!). Trying to decide how to sketch it, I peeled this corn really slowly, one piece at a time. It was so beautiful.

I wanted to add, "like getting to know a lover", and then had to laugh at how absurdly dissimilar these things can be!


Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Sadness and Happiness curves on orthogonal axes

This is one of the most important discoveries of my life. It's quite possible to cry all evening and still be happy!

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Missing Piece?

Transparent piece of jigsaw puzzle.

I dreamed once of a puzzle piece like this. It was enormous, made of glass, and had a simple design in earthy colours embedded in it. It lay on a bed.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Three of these pills were actual prescribed medication, and the rest were vitamins.

Vitamins and medication.

The vitamins were much more colourful and shiny, and they all had distinct smells, too. Were these for greater psychosomatic effect?

Colour, smell, sketchy entertainment... Clearly I'd gotten my money's worth!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Hex to square drive adaptor.

Here's what I originally wrote to go with this sketch:

Adapt or die?
Adapt and die?
No dice...
Logic fails me: I appear to be a virus.

It was about the idea of a human mind being performance-tested by a computer!