Wolpertinger

Guys! Guys! Lookit, look what I did! wulpertinger

Let me explain why I'm so excited.

I have a historical problem, loosely referred to as line addiction. I draw edges. I draw them first, and hang the rest of the picture on them, like scaffolding. When my college painting teacher told me to build the image from the inside out, my first thought was literally "but- it doesn't work like that." [*]

More recently, this has meant that I've been doing line drawings before making digital color images. Which shouldn't strictly be necessary. If I'm making digital paintings, shouldn't I be able to do an underpainting as my laying out and on-canvas 'thinking', rather than a line drawing? (Trust me, this isn't through lack of trying. It's part muscle memory, part training. It's like putting an accomplished downhill skier on cross country skis and expecting them to not go whup!SPLAT. [**])

Last week, inspired by Three Panel Soul, I decided to give this 'painting' thing another try. Miraculously, something clicked. I know what I want to do differently next time (bigger brush, for one thing) but this is an encouraging start in a direction which has previously been mostly blocked to me.

The subject is a Wolpertinger. I was surprised to learn from wikipedia that Wolpertingers have a historical basis, and were not simply created as an amusing Brewfest pet. (Dear non-WoW players: Brewfest is an in-game holiday involving a lot of drinking. When drunk, you can see Wolpertingers. ) Apparently, "The Wolpertinger is not a typical cryptid, as local people likely never believed in its existence. Rather, it is some kind of traditional prank belief, as is evident from the many stuffed Wolpertingers displayed in village inns along with real hunting trophies, which have been fabricated deliberately in order to make fun of gullible foreigners who may want to go hunting for this remarkable animal." I find this hilarious. [*] Convergently, I listened to a TED talk after I painted this which suggests that edges (and motion) are the foundation of human vision. Very interesting stuff for visual artists, video here.

[**] whup!(SPLAT) is the direct transliteration of the sound you make when your skis fly out from under you for no reason, and you land on your back. For people from warm locals: Downhill skis have a rigid connection between your ski and your foot, plus your ankle is mostly immobile. You walk like a flatfooted duck, but the ski does not slip out from under you while you're standing around. Cross country skis, on the other hand, have soft boots and connect to the ski only at the absolute toe of the boot. This greatly increases your independent mobility, but also that of the ski. Which occasionally chooses to exercise its freedom when you're standing around not paying enough attention to staying centered over the ski.