Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Soul Mate

Before I turned 29 I had the misfortune of knowing three people who assumed that they would spend the rest of their lives with me. This is a bit of a persona poem about my least favorite word and how it has been used against me.

This poem is called "Soul Mate". 

Even though I talk about what a good provider I want to be, I’ll never look for a job. I know you’ll understand cause you’re my soul mate.

I want to introduce you to every woman I’ve ever slept with and still have feelings for. How could that possibly hurt your feelings? I’m just being honest, soul mate.

I will interrupt and talk over you every chance I get because my thoughts are more important than yours, soul mate.

I will pick fights with you just so I can feel like a bigger man. Seeing you cry and knowing I’m responsible makes us feel like equals again, soul mate.

I know I said I’d never do drugs, but I only meant when things were going good. Besides, I’ve got you to put me back together, soul mate.

I have never, and will never, ask you about what you think or feel. I don’t have to learn anything new about you. All I need to know is that you are my soul mate.

Of course I will continue to sleep with other women. I will never be satisfied, but you are the one who loves me best. That must make you my soul mate.

I would rather hold a grudge against you then work through my problems, because love is forever, soul mate.

No matter how hard you try to help me I will only add to these walls I build and insist you break them down for me. I don’t have to be a better man now that I’ve found you, soul mate.

I can insult you as much as I want as long as I use the word soul mate every now and then. If I keep repeating it maybe you’ll believe it, soul mate.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Insects and Invertebrates

I've been running into some strange creatures lately.

This tiny lime green bug was waiting for me when I got out of work at the top of my car door.

A few days later I found a dead wasp on the hood of my car. 

On my way to the DRIP venue after a rain storm I saw this cluster of large snails next to a hotel walkway. 

I found this lady bug, with wings wide open, face down on the outside of my car window. 

When my sisters were helping me move they had to drive my car while I drove the U-haul. Once we reached our destination I asked my them what was under my windshield. Apparently it was a plastic, glow in the dark cut out of an ant. Neither one of them had any idea how it got there.  

My cat enjoying the view from my bedroom in my new place. The hedge is home to many of Florida's enormous, colorful grasshoppers. 

I was sitting on the patio talking to one of my friends when this giant walked across the screen. A wolf spider the size of my outstretched hand, missing one of her legs and craddling what appeared to be an egg sac. My new roommate Myra was able to capture her and release her safely back into the wild. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Walsingham Park

A while ago on one of my visits home my sister Jenny wanted to go for a bike ride. I hadn't ridden a bike in years and decided to be spontaneous. She had her bicycle and I had to scrounge around in the garage to find something halfway decent. After a bit of work we rode to the local Walsingham Park and embarked on a much longer adventure than anticipated. In the end I was sore and tired but the trip proved well worth it. Here is a collection of photos taken at the park. One of my favorite things about photographing the sky is that you are only able to capture one specific moment at a time. A few moments later you may take a photo that makes it seem like you are in a completely different location.

A lovely view of the lake. 

Breathtaking cloud formations. 

The sun setting behind a small tree. 

A glimpse of the rising moon through the lacy leaves of a tree turning red with fall. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

"I Hope You Enjoy This, As I Do Enjoy Our Friendship"

A while ago my friend Matt bought me a book. It was called "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. It is a wonderfully written, heartbreaking distopia, and I highly recommend that you read it if you get the chance.

Matt and I were supposed to hang out one weekend, however, he got held up in Tampa. When he returned he presented the book to me with a handwritten note on the inside cover expressing his hope  that I would find the same love and inspiration that he felt through this book. Shuffled amongst the pages was another handwritten note. This one was written after he found out he wasn't going to make it back to Orlando in time. He apologized for the lost weekend, expressed more love for the book, and most curiously of all - included an illustration on the back.

The end of the note read: "I drew this fairly recently, and I like it. Actually, I really like the woman, not so much the man. But it was an attempt at realistic art. (When I draw real art, I <3 <3 <3 the 40's.) Anyways, I hope you enjoy this, as I do enjoy our friendship."

I turned the note over to find this little illustration:

A Matthew Dodenhoff original

I've become accustomed to Matt leaving notes and illustrations all over Starbucks when we work together. Almost everyone is meant to draw laughter, especially when accompanied by a silly caption. However, this one was different. No silly phrase, no goofy characters, not even any context. It just looked like to people who's lives intersect briefly on a street corner without so much as a word.

I was touched by the book and the note, but the illustration stayed on my mind. Maybe because it was so unusual, maybe it was because being an artist I don't receive much artwork. 

A few month's later Matt endured a difficult move. Although he remained in Orlando he moved across the city to be closer to work and struggled to get out of a living arrangement with a bad roommate. I had some rough living situations and I could definitely sympathize. Once he settled into his adorable apartment I set to work on his housewarming present.

I took inspiration from his note and decided to recreate his illustration with my style of drawing. I also pulled some ideas from Mad Men and I ended up with this:

From start to finish it took about seven hours and it is one of the first pure illustrations I have done in a long time.  For the most part I create illustrations for myself but this one was made for Matt.