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Today the French are celebrating Bastille Day, when the rebels stormed Bastille prison and it not only resulted in releasing seven inmates but it was also the turning point in the French Revolution. It is the French equivalent of the Fourth of July and there is a lot of partying and fireworks going on right now as you’re reading this.

For this occasion, I’m going to once again show my animation The March of Liberty since it includes an appearance by Marianne (who’s the symbol of France) as she marches to “La Marseillaise” (a.k.a. the French national anthem). This is the same animation that was shown at Light City in Baltimore earlier this year. Enjoy!

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I’m heartened to see that a couple of European countries are rejecting the right-wing extremism that catapulted Donald Trump to the White House last November. First it was the Dutch who rejected such a candidate last month. Today the French did the same by jettisoning openly fascist candidate Marine Le Pen.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the voters in both countries took one look at what happened in the U.S. and decided to use their own elections to say “OH, HELL NO!!!” at the ballot box to their own far-right extremist candidates.

I recently completed my latest animation called The March of Liberty. I’m going to post it here first while posting all the details about the making of this animation underneath the video.

Now here’s the story behind this video. Last summer the local STEM center Makerspace 125 decided to offer a series of free weekly workshops on animation, which would be centered around this new animation program that was released as free open source software known as OpenToonz. It created a lot of buzz, especially in the tech press, because this application is based on the high-end software that was used by the Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli when it made its hit anime films like Spirited Away and Ponyo.

So I went to a few meetups where I played around a bit with OpenToonz on my MacBook until I got annoyed that it kept on frequently crashing. I was stuck for ideas on what my first new animation (since doing the web ad for a new non-profit low-powered radio station) would be about until I was working on a page of my Doll Dreams art book in early July. Since the French holiday Bastille Day was coming on July 14, I decided to do a French-themed character. I did some research on the Wikipedia where I learned about Marianne, who is basically the French equivalent of Uncle Sam. So I did some Marianne art in my Doll Dreams book (which I have since misplaced, which is why I haven’t made any further posts about that book since last July).

As I was researching Marianne I learned that not only was she an inspiration for the Statue of Liberty (which isn’t a major stretch since the statue’s creator, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was French) but Marianne herself was inspired by the ancient Roman goddess Libertas. When I looked up Libertas on the Wikipedia, I learned that she was based on the Greek goddess, Artemis Eleutheria, which was a variant of the Greek goddess Artemis but her worshippers in the Greek city of Myra named her Artemis Eleutheria (with “eleutheria” being the Greek word for “liberty”).

So once I finished my Marianne page for my Doll Dreams book, I decided it would be cool idea to do a short animation tracing the lineage from the Greek Artemis Eleutheria to the Roman Libertas to the French Marianne to, finally, the Statue of Liberty. I drew a storyboard where I had a woman emerge from a privacy screen adorned with the Greek flag with the name “Artemis Eleutheria,” walk past some of the major Athens attractions, then duck behind another privacy screen with the Italian flag and the name “Libertas,” walk past some more attractions, etc. until the Statue of Liberty appears at the end. I even thought about using the national anthems of the countries involved (Greece, Italy, France, and the United States) as the soundtrack.

But then I hit a major snag and it was regarding OpenToonz. First it was the program’s penchant for frequently crashing. New upgrades were being frequently released and I finally found a version that didn’t crash so often. Now for the bad news. Not only was it extremely difficult to quit out of the application once you loaded it (I had to use “Force Quit” if I wanted to exit from the program) but I also found out that the Mac version of OpenToonz did not export the animation as a standalone video file at all. That’s right, an animation program that didn’t export a standalone video file. My only choice was a series of still images and I would need to find a different video program where I would have to manually put those separated files together and export them as a standalone video file.

That was incredibly frustrating, especially since the Windows version of OpenToonz gave users the option of exporting it as an .avi file. Mac users didn’t even have that luxury. I decided to put The March of Liberty on the back burner rather than waste time dealing with the software turkey known as OpenToonz. Instead I made this video called OpenToonz Sucks where I highlighted all the deficiencies of that program.

I also wrote a blog post detailing further my frustration dealing with that program. I basically wanted to warn other people, especially Mac users, to avoid OpenToonz like the plague. Despite the fact that I gave up on OpenToonz I still continued to go to the animation meetup at Makerspace 125 mainly because they also showed classic cartoons during that meetup so I basically watched the cartoons while doing other things with my MacBook besides making cartoons with OpenToonz. Not long after I made my OpenToonz Sucks video, someone in that meetup group encouraged me to download an updated version. I gave it another shot and found that not only did OpenToonz for the Mac was still not capable of exporting any animations as a standalone video file but this upgrade included being able to export the animation as a series of still pictures in this obscure file format that’s only readable by high-end laser machines. (WTF?!?) That prompted me to write this sequel titled OpenToonz Still Sucks Despite Its Recent Upgrade.

So my March of Liberty animation remained on the back burner for a few months. I looked into alternatives to OpenToonz but I was too cash-poor to even consider any paid applications.

But then I came into some money. It wasn’t a lot of money. Basically I had done some work for a startup back in May but I walked off the job after two weeks because I didn’t get paid. (I was paid for the first few days but then the payments stopped.) It was the same startup where the founder convinced me to write a post about it in this blog instead of getting a separate blogging account just for that startup because he couldn’t be bothered with getting one (despite the fact that many major blogging platforms offer free accounts). That startup was such a disaster that I had to make a new policy for this blog where I would no longer write about any work I do for other people in this blog until after the job was done (or there was some other kind of closure).

The startup owner finally paid me for the work I did in November. Even though I’m glad he finally paid up, I still wouldn’t work for him again for a number of reasons. (Basically the way he ran his business—including not even bothering with registering for a vendor booth at the events where he wanted to sell the startup’s products but, instead, just show up at the event without first notifying the event organizers and mingle among the crowd while selling everything out of backpacks in a manner similar to hot dog and beer vendors working the crowd in a sports stadium—screamed “AMATEUR” and “UNPROFESSIONAL”.)

I was able to use the money to buy a low-end animation program. After much research, I decided on Smith Micro’s Anime Studio Debut. It costs only $30 in the App Store. In addition, I also have the option of upgrading to the more robust $99 Anime Studio Pro at a later date. So far I like the debut version but I’ll definitely keep the pro version in mind if I ever feel like I’ve reached my creative limits with the debut and I really want to branch out further.

Compared to OpenToonz, Anime Studio Debut worked like a dream. There are a few glitches in that software but they were nothing compared to the total fuckery of OpenToonz. I did most of the work in Anime Studio Debut, with a few of the images (which were mainly the background images) being initially done in Photoshop (mainly by applying the various filters on some pictures I downloaded from the Internet) before being imported into Anime Studio Debut. Unlike OpenToonz, I was able to export my animations as standalone .mp4 videos in Anime Studio Debut. I assembled the various animated .mp4 videos in iMovie, paired it with some music, exported the animation, and uploaded it online.

As I was working on this animation, my idea as to how to end it evolved. I originally was going to end it with a closeup of the Statue of Liberty until I read in the news about how the U.S. Mint had issued its latest Lady Liberty coin. Unlike the previous Liberty coins, this new coin features an African American woman (or a Lady Liberty with African American features). Of course that coin received racist backlash.

That incident prompted me to create a new ending. After the closeup of the Statue of Liberty, I feature images of three different Liberty coins. The first one is an older coin depicting the Statue of Liberty. (Actually that one is the dollar coin, which usually has the Statue of Liberty on one side and an image of a deceased President of the United States on the other.) The second one is a 2015 Liberty coin featuring a more human looking Lady Liberty with short hair. The third one is the 2017 coin that has all the racists feeling totally butt-hurt over the fact that Lady Liberty now has African American features. Provocative? You bet it is!

Seriously people need to get a grip! Lady Liberty is no different from other mythical figures like Santa Claus, fairies, and elves. While she may have originated in Europe, there’s really no rule that says that she MUST remain white at all times. Look at elves. They originated in Norwegian mythology but they have literally spread all over the world way beyond the Scandinavian peninsula. Don’t believe me? Check out this ball-jointed elf doll that is currently being made by a Chinese company known as Bobobie and you can even order her right here.

As for the music, I used the national anthems of the various nations represented in the animation. Here’s the information about each song.

“Ymnos seis tīn Eleutherían” (Greek national anthem) came from the Public Domain Archive’s YouTube channel. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (reuse allowed).

“Il Canto deli Italiani” (Italian national anthem) was declared to be in the public domain by the Italian Ministry of Defense. This version came from Wikimedia Commons.

“La Marseillaise” (French national anthem) was recorded by the U.S. Marine Band in 1897. This recording came from the Internet Archive.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” (American national anthem) was recorded by the U.S. Marine Band in 1910. This recording is courtesy of the Free Music Archive.

In a way it was a blessing that I had to wait a few months later to finish my animation given the current political climate. The Trump Administration has only been in power for two weeks and there is already a lot of daily drama along with a lot of alienated people. (Yesterday President Trump managed to be totally rude to the Prime Minister of Australia. Australia!!! The same Australia that’s among the U.S.’s closest allies!!!) I uploaded that animation soon after the recent Women’s March on Washington so I think it’s very perfect timing to upload a female-centric animation like The March of Liberty online.

Santa Claus

A long time ago I learned that going downtown on Christmas Eve is the best place to be on Christmas Eve because everything is relatively empty. That’s because so many people tend to pack into the suburban shopping malls doing last-minute shopping while the stores in the city are empty. I’ve spent previous Christmas Eves in both Baltimore and DC and it’s the same situation.

I thought about a lot of places I could go to on Christmas Eve. In Baltimore I could go to the Walters Art Museum, Fells Point, or the Ripleys Believe It or Not! Odditorium. In Washington, DC I could go to any of the Smithsonian museums, Chinatown, or Georgetown.

But then it rained on Christmas Eve, which put a damper on a lot of things I would’ve loved to have done (especially going to places where I would be spending a good bit of time outside) and I was not in the mood to do a lot of driving in such lousy weather. I ultimately decided to go to Union Station and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum mainly because both places were located next to each other so I could take the Red Line Metro to the Union Station stop. I exited on to the lower level, where I found that it wasn’t very crowded at all.

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I hadn’t been to Union Station in a long time. I was looking forward to eating sushi for lunch at the Hibachi stand followed by going to Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry for dessert. Except when I arrived I found that half of the lower level where all of the fast food type places are located had been blocked off. While there are still places where one can get a quick bite to eat, there are far fewer choices than before. (That’s not to mention that both Hibachi and Vaccaro’s are both gone.) I ended up going to a Chinese food stand where I ordered orange chicken with two side dishes. But I ordered my lunch around the same time that they changed employees and I told the replacement employee that I had told the other one that wanted the orange chicken. She had me try the tofu and led me to believe that it was one of the side dishes. So I ordered the tofu as a side dish and told her that the orange chicken would be the main dish. Except when I got my meal and went to one of tables I found that this employee had given me the tofu as the main dish. The tofu was okay but I would’ve preferred the orange chicken. On top of it, the green beans side dish was undercooked. I made a mental note of never ordering anything from that place again.

After lunch I did some more walking around. I found out that the reason why the lower level had been cut in half was because Walgreen’s had moved in and opened this giant store.

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There was one large aisle dedicated to purchasing every kind of Washington, DC souvenir that you could think of.

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I’ve been to various Walgreen’s stores over the years but this is the first one I’ve ever been in that actually has a sushi bar that makes fresh sushi on the premises.

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If it hadn’t been for that less-than-thrilling Chinese lunch I had already eaten, I would’ve tried the Walgreen’s sushi for the hell of it.

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I made my way to the upper level where the upscale shops are located and I found that they were not crowded at all.

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Since my last visit to Union Station I saw that the DC Lottery had opened its own store where anyone can buy—what else?—lottery tickets.

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I decided to eat some dessert. Since Vaccarro’s Italian Pastry was gone, I thought about going to the Corner Bakery instead since I’ve eaten their desserts in the past and I found them quite good. But I found out that it was replaced by a French pastry place known as Le Pain Quotidien. I found their Christmas-themed dessert display to be quite charming.

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I ordered the sea salted chocolate and caramel tart and it was wrapped up in this nice looking box. The tart was excellent.

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I saw the Christmas tree that was a gift from the Norwegian Embassy.

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There was also a special exhibition documenting the joint U.S.-Norwegian explorations of the Polar Regions.

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There was a large toy train layout that I found to be quite lovely.

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On my way to one of the exit doors I saw this pigeon who somehow may its way inside Union Station. It was walking around among the various people on the floor like it was going shopping or rushing to take the next Amtrak train. I thought it was quite a hilarious scene.

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Outside of Union Station is this futuristic looking dome where one can rent a bike.

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Right next door to Union Station is the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. It’s one of the newer Smithsonian museums that had opened in recent years but I never got around to stepping foot inside until Christmas Eve.

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I don’t even know what took me so long to visit this place (especially since I’m a local resident). I’m glad I finally did because the interiors are absolutely breathtaking.

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As you can guess by the name, this museum is dedicated to the history of the U.S. Postal Service and postage stamps. Naturally stamp collectors will get the biggest kick out of this museum but there are plenty of things on display to wow those who aren’t into stamp collecting.

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This museum features Owney, a homeless dog who became the mascot of the U.S. Postal Service for a time until his death over 100 years ago. Here’s a bronze statue of the dog.

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And here’s the real Owney, as preserved by a taxidermist.

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Owney was the Grumpy Cat of his day—a beloved animal celebrity who received attention and presents (in the form of special tags indicating where he travelled to) everywhere he went. The next photo shows the many tags he received and are currently on display draping his stuffed carcass.

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The gift shop also has a smaller stuffed animal version of Owney for sale.

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I didn’t buy that stuffed animal but I did buy a short book on the dog’s life for only $4.

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Since I arrived at the museum on Christmas Eve, I got a chance to see the museum’s Christmas tree with surrounding poinsettias.

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The one exhibit that excited me the most was the one on PostSecret: The Power of a Postcard. That’s because, through my past involvements with Artomatic, I know that PostSecret originally started as an Artomatic exhibit that was put on by the writer Frank Warren. That exhibit was such a phenomenal success that it overshadowed the other Artomatic exhibits that were on display that year. That exhibit was eventually turned into a series of books and I remember the times when he held book signings at various Artomatic events mainly as Frank Warren’s way of showing appreciation for the event that started it all. (You can read about those book signings here and here.)

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Now PostSecret has turned into a Smithsonian exhibit, which is pretty cool. The next photo shows just a small portion of the postcards that Frank Warren has received over the years.

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Here’s something that was actually sent on a coconut.

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I’m still amazed that something I’m familiar with from my involvement with Artomatic has become a Smithsonian exhibit.

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The photos I took are just a small sample of what’s currently on display at that exhibit.

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There was an area that was especially made for stamp collectors. One can view the various stamps currently on file in a special room. The stamps are in a case that one can pull out and they are organized by nation, year, and type of stamp. I can imagine a hardcore stamp collector spending at least two days in that area alone just looking at all of the stamps on file.

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That area also had the world’s first postage stamp on display. It was a British stamp known as the Penny Black and it was released in 1840.

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There was a hands-on exhibit where one can design a stamp on a touch screen computer. Here is the stamp I designed.

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There was even an area that’s designed for anyone who’s thinking about starting his/her own stamp collection and one can get the first stamps for free. First you get an envelope like this.

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Then you go through this bin picking out stamps you’d like to put in your envelope.

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I have a confession to make. The rules of picking out free stamps basically said that each person was limited to six stamps in order to make the free stamps available for everyone. There were so few people in the museum the day that I was there that I actually broke the rules and picked out seven stamps. I wasn’t caught (mainly because there were so few people there) and I got away with it. I’m not saying that what I did was right or correct and if there had been a ton of people in the museum that day I would’ve obeyed the rules. But I fell into temptation because there were so few people and, besides, I only took one extra stamp and not like—let’s say—30 extra stamps.

Here are the stamps I picked out. I’ll admit that I was inspired by the recent elections and the incoming President Donald J. Trump Administration along with all the doubts swirling around him as to whether he will even follow the Constitution. So I chose this stamp commemorating the 175th anniversary of the U.S. Bill of Rights.

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As a former Journalism major in college and current blogger, this next stamp really appealed to me. It features a quill and ink along with the words “The Ability to Write-A Root of Democracy.”

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I picked out this stamp featuring George Washington since he was not only one of the Founding Fathers but he was also the first President of the United States and he set the tone for how the succeeding presidents should always follow the Constitution.

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I picked out this stamp featuring Martha Washington because she was not only the first First Lady but I’m sure she went through her own trials and tribulations while supporting her husband first as a hero of the American Revolution then as President of the United States. It’s like the old saying goes: “Behind every man is a woman.”

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I picked out Thomas Jefferson because he was also a hero of the American Revolution, a Founding Father of this nation, and he was instrumental in including many rights that we Americans take for granted (such as the freedom of the press) and could possibly be threatened under Donald Trump’s presidency.

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I picked out Benjamin Franklin, another Founding Father who was the first Postmaster General. Plus I’m currently running the weekly Benjamin Franklin Fridays in this blog where I include quotations from his Poor Richard’s Almanack book.

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I chose Susan B. Anthony because she was a suffragette who fought hard to win the women’s right to vote.

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I chose one foreign stamp. This one is from France and it features Marianne, the French symbol of freedom who provided the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty.

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I basically hung around the museum until it was closing time. By that time the rain had stopped but it was still cloudy outside and the ground was wet. I was treated to a nice Christmas Eve sunset as I took the Metro back home.

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My last post was about my latest page in my Doll Dreams book that had my artwork based on the French symbol Marianne. I finished that page a few weeks ago but I scheduled the post to go live today since it’s Bastille Day in France.

Who would’ve thought that just hours after that post went live that a truck would plow into a crowd full of holiday observers in Nice? Now I’m seeing reports on my Facebook newsfeed that this was no tragic accident but a deliberate act of terror.

There are times like this when I hate my fellow human beings.

UPDATE (July 15, 2016): The Bastille Day Nice incident has been officially declared as an act of terrorism.

Previous Entries in This Series

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

Since today is Bastille Day in France, I decided to show off my latest addition to the Doll Dreams Book. Previously I did an American-themed page which I based on a three-part online tutorial that was posted on YouTube. That page faced a blank gesso page. Here is what the page looked like before I covered it in gesso and art.

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I know that three countries celebrate major national holidays in July—Canada Day on July 1, Independence Day in the U.S. on July 4, and Bastille Day in France on July 14. I managed to finish the American drawing in time for July 4, which falls after Canada Day. For the facing page I decided to do a similar French-themed work for Bastille Day.

I basically followed a similar format to the previous page where I did a quick cartoon-style sketch in pencil then used ink for all of the foreground elements and a watercolor pencil that was dipped in water for the background. I did her clothes, hat, and shoes in the same red, white, and blue flag colors. Her belt has the words “14 juillet” or 14 July, which is the date of Bastille Day.

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As for the woman, her name is Marianne. If you’re wondering why a woman named Marianne would fly the French flag wearing a belt that has the date of Bastille Day, you need to educate yourself. Basically Marianne is roughly the French equivalent of Uncle Sam but she also has some American ties as well. She was the original inspiration for the Statue of Liberty, which makes sense considering that the Statue of Liberty was created by a French sculptor named Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

This project was basically a quick one that I managed to finish in about a day-and-a-half. Right now I’m currently taking a little bit of a break from working on any more pages in this book because I’m trying to avoid burnout, like what happened by late August of last year. (I had originally intended to wait until around December or January before I resumed work on this book but I ended up not resuming until just a few days before Memorial Day weekend.) I only have four more pages that I need to work on before I’m totally done with this Doll Dreams Book.

While there are so many exhibits to check out over four floors in a variety of subject matter and a variety of 2D and 3D media, there is much more to Artomatic than just visual exhibits. There are all kinds of events—ranging from educational workshops to live performances—that are also held as well. On Friday, November 13 I decided to check out my first event called DC Drink and Draw. The premise of that event is self-explanatory: People bring their art supplies to draw whatever they want while drinking a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from the nearby bar. Here are a few photos of what it’s like.

The DC Drink and Draw Event at Artomatic
The DC Drink and Draw Event at Artomatic

The DC Drink and Draw Event at Artomatic
The DC Drink and Draw Event at Artomatic

The DC Drink and Draw Event at Artomatic

The next photo shows one of my own drawings as a work in progress.

The DC Drink and Draw Event at Artomatic

Here is what it looked like when I finished it and scanned it into the computer using a scanner.

Poodle Wearing a Human Skirt

I did a 1950’s style illustration where I had a female poodle wear a human skirt (in a parody of the 1950’s poodle skirt fashion). I did one other drawing that evening but it’s way more serious.

Babar the Elephant Crying

This event took place on the same day as those horrible terrorist attacks that took place in France by members of the group known alternatively as ISIS or ISIL. Babar the elephant was created in France and I used to love reading his stories when I was a child. I felt that it made sense to have Babar crying over the newspaper headline regarding Paris.

As of this writing it looks like it’s the only DC Drink and Draw event that was scheduled at Artomatic but anything can change. Check the Events schedule for any word about whether this event will be repeated as well as any other events that will be happening at Artomatic. You can also keep up-to-date on any future DC Drink and Draw events through Meetup, Facebook, or Twitter.

Things have blown up on the Internet over what the hell happened in Paris yesterday on Friday the 13th. To some extent I can identify what Parisians are currently going through because I live just 20 miles from the Pentagon, which was one of the terrorist targets on September 11, 2001. Anyone who was anywhere between New York and Northern Virginia on that terrible day 14 years ago would understand what the people in Paris is going through.

Last night I went to Artomatic because there was a DC Drink and Draw event that I wanted to check out. In the midst of consuming my one beer (I tend not to drink too much these days if I’m driving) I decided to do this Paris themed art that also tapped into an old literary character from my childhood.

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It’s Babar the Elephant crying as he’s holding a newspaper with a headline announcing the terrorist attacks in Paris. Babar was created by a Freanchman named Jean de Brunhoff. I used to check out many Babar books out of the library when I was growing up. (I read the English translations of those books.) I loved reading about how Babar became King of the Elephants. I even used to watch the TV specials that were based on the books when I was growing up. So I thought it was appropriate to have Babar cry over what happened in Paris since he originated in France.

This morning was Saturday the 14th so I decided to do this photograph as well.

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The Eiffel Tower is actually a hand soap pump that I purchased from Kmart when that particular store was having its going out of business sale earlier this year. The doll is the mini doll version of American Girl’s special 2015 Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas. I purchased her earlier this year at Target for a fraction of the cost of her 18-inch counterpart. This photo is not only a response to what happened yesterday, it’s also the latest entry in my ongoing Occupy the Dollhouse series (which I update every now and then).

It’s very appropriate that Grace should be part of the Internet response to what happened yesterday in Paris. Her default meet outfit includes a t-shirt which features a drawing of the Eiffel Tower that says “Paris, Je T’aime.”

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Ironically my church is having its annual auction next week and it plans on serving a French dinner as part of the occasion. That French dinner was decided on months ago so it’s a sad irony that it’s now running concurrent with the aftermath of what happened in Paris.

I have never been to France and I’ve always wanted to go there. My great-grandfather, Wilhem Karle, was an ethnic German who came from the Alsace-Lorraine region that’s now a part of France. (How an ethnic German came from what is now a French state is an entirely different story.) I also want to visit Paris. I’ve seen replicas of the Eiffel Tower at both King’s Dominion and the French Pavilion located at Disney’s Epcot theme park. It would be cool to see the original. I want to visit the Louvre and see the famous Mona Lisa painting as well as other great works of art housed there. I want to visit the area where the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub is located. I want to walk along the Left Bank and visit the cafes in the area.

Despite yesterday’s terrorist attack, I still want to go to Paris. If someone were to offer me a chance to go to Paris tomorrow I would jump at it. Washington, DC didn’t die when one of those airplanes hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 so I’m expecting the same from Paris.

Friday the 13th

All this week people such as Republican presidential candidate (and total buffoon) Donald Trump have been getting their panties in a twist over the fact that Starbucks have decided to release a red coffee cup for the holidays.

First of all, if your faith is heavily dependent on what some coffee shop chain (or any other type of chain stores for that matter) does for the upcoming winter holidays, then maybe your faith isn’t that strong to begin with. Real people of faith can care less about what Starbucks does to its coffee cups.

Secondly, people are acting as if the new Starbucks coffee cup is some kind of kick in the face of traditional Christmas. Here’s a newsflash: Starbucks is using a red coffee cup. Red is one of the traditional Christmas colors and it has been that way for a very long time. Don’t believe me? Check out what color outfit Santa Claus wears. Visit a store selling Christmas decorations and see how many of these ornaments, lights, and other types of decorations use the color red.

And, finally, today I’ve heard some really grim news that makes all this upheaval over the Starbucks Christmas cup seems stupid and ridiculous at times. As I’m typing this there has been a horrible series of terrorist attacks that have struck Paris. Some people have been taken hostage. The entire nation has closed its borders. This is deadly serious stuff that makes all this crying over the color of Starbucks’ coffee cup seem trivial and stupid.

Of course all this shit is going down in Paris on Friday the 13th.

I’m typing this in the Market Cafe area at Wegman’s and the nearest TV is tuned to MSNBC. When I first entered I saw President Obama give a press conference on the situation in Paris, which is what you’d expect from a leader. The channel is now showing footage of all the emergency vehicles driving all over the place in Paris and people stop by the screen to take a look at all of the carnage that’s currently unfolding live.

If you’re mourning over a stupid coffee cup, you are totally pathetic and you need to get a life. If I only had magic powers, I’d send Donald Trump and all of those other whiners over to Paris so they would have a real reason to cry.

I’ll just end this rant with a cute video of puppies and piglets playing together. It sure beats all the horror that’s currently going on in this world.

Have anyone checked out today’s Google Doodle, which celebrates the fact that the Eiffel Tower in Paris opened to the public for the first time on this day in 1889?

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I’ve never been to Paris but I’ve seen a couple of Eiffel Tower replicas. One is a life-sized replica at King’s Dominion near Richmond, Virginia where people can actually ride up to the top. The other is at Epcot located in the World Showcase area at the French Pavilion. It’s located behind the theater where the Impressions de France movie is shown. Unlike the King’s Dominion one, this Eiffel Tower is mainly for show and is off-limits to the public.

I would love to see the real thing in Paris but money is pretty tight for me at the moment.

In any case, since today is an Eiffel Tower anniversary, I’d thought I’d highlight something that I currently have on sale in my Spoonflower shop. It’s called J’Aime La France outfit for 18-inch dolls (such as American Girl) and it’s my riff on the default Meet outfit that the 2015 Girl of the Year Grace Thomas wears. Prices for my outfit range from around $10-$17, depending on which fabric you select. All you have to do is sew it yourself. You can see a few dolls model the outfit below, which was produced on the Basic Cotton.

juliealbrightinoutfit

addywalkerinoutfit

ivylinginoutfit

See more close-up pictures and read more about this outfit right here. Buy the outfit right here.

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