Tag Archives: Friendship

Companions for Clever Old Souls

Companion Karen by Karen Gadient, 2014

Just in time for our anniversary, here’s the companion ‘me’ to my darling husband’s Doctor (Who) portrait.

Although I don’t have regeneration as an excuse, I created a younger alternate self with slightly different features (hey, David got an upgrade and I wanted one too). I gave her my unevenly-cut hair, though; I’m always snipping the ends myself instead of going to the salon and I suspect I’d keep that quirk if I were busy with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

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Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Graphic Design, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

Portraits of Clever Old Souls

Doctor David by Karen Gadient, 2014

When I first ‘met’ my husband, he was an El Aurian on a Star Trek RPG. Even being Betazoid in the game, I had a hard time figuring him out. He can be delightfully enigmatic. Back then, I did portraits of our characters. I can’t find them to show you, but it’s one of those things I did and do.

Now, a decade and a half later, David and I no longer play RPGS, but we’ve been watching Doctor Who together. He occasionally jokes about having once been a Time Lord and says he gave up all that for me.

Which is damn charming. And nearly believable. He’s always been so sharp and intense and yet silly and generous and wonderful and more adjectives than I can list. Old soul, as they say.

And so, since our wedding anniversary is approaching, I decided to make a comic-style portrait of him as the Doctor. Different, a bit—regeneration will do that to you—but still with the intensity and of course: epic facial hair (David and his mustache surely go back many lifetimes). And a scarf. Because I prefer Doctors with scarves.

I just realized El Aurians are sort of a Trek version of Time Lords. Slightly. Okay, not so much. Well, at least they’re long-lived. Not sure if I can imagine Guinan in a TARDIS. Picard would have been a fun companion. Nah. Data. Maybe.

Suppose I’ll have to draw myself up as his companion next?

Happy Anniversary, David!

I last did this style of illustration for the Fly Into Fire posters for Candlemark & Gleam. I had a lot of fun with this portrait, so I may make others in a similar style. If I do, I’ll list them for print. For now, this one stays on our walls.

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Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Love, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

Shrine to Coffee and Friends

Shrine to Coffee and Friends - Pied Cow Portland : Karen Gadient, 2014

Another one of my cell phone photos. This is a fantastic shrine-like element within the Pied Cow Coffeehouse in Portland, Oregon. Right next to a table, so you can drink your brew and ponder the spirits likely sharing it with you.

We went there to kill some late-night time while awaiting our dear friend Sunnie, who was driving down from Seattle to see us. Although it was pretty darn dark when I took this picture, it came out clearly enough to share.

I’ve been to some wonderful coffeehouses in New York City and Los Angeles, but this place had really smooth coffee and a lovely funky vibe that encourages discussion and triggers writing ideas. Would totally go there again.

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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Filed under Coffee, Food, Friendship, Inspiration, Oregon, Photography, Quotes

Weird and Wonderful Portland

Portland PDX 2014 by Karen Gadient, 2014

We spent the last week in Portland, Oregon. Truly one of my favorite places. While there, we had the fortune to spend time with many good friends and explore some fun Oregonian locations.

David takes the best photos; I only snap cell phone shots. I’ll post some of his photos soon, once he’s organized them. For now, some of mine:

[ Clockwise from top left ]
Pied CowReally Good StuffVoodoo DonutCape Meares

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Filed under Food, Friendship, Holiday, Inspiration, Journal, Landscape, Life, Nature, Oregon, Photography, Sea, Travel

Storm at Sea

Storm at Sea by Karen Gadient, 2013

Coral – Digital block print. Created with Corel Painter. Click for the print.
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
— Vincent Van Gogh

Speaking of sea…

Just returned from tagging along on David’s business trip to North Carolina, where I got to see Natania again. Only a day together, but there was talking and and wine and food and games—so even a day was enough.

I’m grateful for the internet, but I wish I could see friends in person more often.

On the return flight, I had the honor of beginning to read her draft of Watcher of the Skies, whose narrator happens to be Poseidon. So: sea. Water and wonder. Life and depth and flow. It’s already one of those books I love to get lost in.

Sweetest melodies are those that are by distance made more sweet.
— William Wordsworth

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Filed under Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Inspiration, Life, Mythology, Nature, Ocean, Painting, Quotes, Sea, Seascape, Writing

Jump In: NaNoWriMo and Imagination

Zuzamele in Blossoms by Karen Gadient

Artwork: “Zuzamele in Blossoms” | Zuzamele, the first daughter of the Exalted Sovereign of Mahanizeh, disappears after leaving her eighth groom alive on the first year of their joining—an anniversary that traditionally allows royal grooms to relinquish their lives gratefully in the Rite of Delivery. Mahanizeh officials quickly announce her capture and imprisonment in Avizhdolin, but rumors flourish of her escape to Ruhizeya aboard a celestial freighter.

Oh hey—did you know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming? Yep, less than a month. As I have in previous years, I’ll be participating. Are you?

Zuzamele may not be the story I’ll be writing in November, but it could be. You see, that’s the awesome thing about NaNoWriMo: you can use anything your mind thinks up and run from a single paragraph (I wrote the above details on a whim after I created the artwork) well into an epic tale.

Jump in. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun and make a mess. Scatter ink everywhere and watch the magic trip into life. I make new friends every year during NaNoWriMo (my user name is Keyrover). Hope to see you there.

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Fantasy, Friendship, Imagination, NaNoWriMo, Portrait, Science Fiction, Sketchbook, Writing

Love is the Essence of Life

Family of Flowers 3

I know I have to say this here before resuming “normal” blog posts:

My mother has passed away.

My life is not the same. She was a huge part of my world. She was a brave and exceptional individual. Much of who I am was established by who she was.

We were by her side when she passed. It was a death without pain and she was surrounded by love. Yet she left us far too suddenly and there are times I don’t believe she’s gone. I have days I fall apart and days I’m clear again.

Life is precious. Go hug your loved ones. Make the moments count.

I’ll catch up with my reading (and posting) as I’m able. Many thanks to those of you who reached out to me. I’m lucky to have such wonderful friends.

Also: don’t feel you have to comment; I would have turned off comments if WordPress had let me. Virtual hugs are better than words right now.

Update: I was able to turn off comments. But I do appreciate those already left.

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Filed under Blogging, Caregiving, Family, Friendship, Journal, Life

The Unexpected Expected

Family of Flowers 2

We’ve had some life changes here. Without going into the details, I’ll just say that we need to focus on taking care of my mother right now. I might not have time to read blogs or write posts (although I will try, as it can be therapeutic).

I will be back when time and events allow. The blogging community means a lot to me and I’ve made many friends here. If you want to reach me while I’m away, please feel free to email via the info on my ‘about me‘ page.

Take care and see you soon.

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.” — Corrie ten Boom

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Filed under Blogging, Caregiving, Family, Friendship, Journal, Life

Photoshop Tennis: Pop Culture Version

Photoshop Tennis - Pop Culture Version

Okay, since I’ve had a few people—including my husband David—suggest I share another Photoshop Tennis result, I’m sharing the silliest one. Can’t remember how many players we had for this game, but we ended up with an image ripe with meme-stuff and pop culture references. So. Silly.

I was wary of sharing, due to some copyright-y things in there, but since the online world is FULL of these images (I mean, one look at Tumblr, people) I figure sharing a small-sized version is fairly harmless. Top image is “before” and bottom is (obviously) “after”. This is hardly art but we had a blast with it.

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Filed under Creativity, Digital Artwork, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Imagination

Photoshop Tennis: Before and After

Photoshop Tennis - Before and After

Speaking of image editing, there was a game my friends and I used to play involving image manipulation. We called it Photoshop Tennis but the graphics program used didn’t matter—Photoshop, Gimp, Painter, Paintshop Pro, whatever. It also didn’t matter if the players had great design skills; the point of the game was to have fun! The game went like this:

Three to six people would take turns adding and changing a base stock photo. The original image was pretty plain and we voted on it from a selection of five images before the game began. Depending on our schedules, a game could take weeks. The final image was always amusing.

The image with this post was a game played in 2010. The top was the base photo we started with and the bottom was the finished result. Good times!

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Entertainment, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Imagination

First, I’d like to thank the Academy…

Award Ribbon

I understand that award nominations come from a place of affection and are a great way to share links. However, I don’t want to pick and choose favorites or make anyone obligated. It’s not how I blog. Roll? Blogroll? Well…

It’s award-free blog time. I’ve had it posted as text on my sidebar for a while, but I’ve just added an image. I don’t want sore feelings. It’s just not my thing.

While I appreciate folks thinking of me when it comes to nominations, I must decline. I’m not the only one in the blogosphere who feels this way and I hope that my blogging friends aren’t offended that I don’t participate.

First, awards are time-consuming. Second, many blog awards have requirements that I’m not comfortable with passing on like a chain letter. Also, some of my blogging friends have blog formats that don’t allow for answering or posting lists of questions without ruining their blog style (experimental art, blogging from a fictional point of view, filmmaking, business professional, and so on).

But! I want to thank those who have recently nominated me. These are all writers I follow closely and I try never to miss one of their posts:

Chelsea Brown (who nominated me for the WordPress Family Award) — You need to check out her Jenny Mac series!

Andrew Toynbee (who nominated me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award) — A fellow writer who shares my passion for metaphysics.

Kristen Mazzola (who nominated me for the Liebster Award) — She inspires me daily and is one of the most productive writers I know.

I follow so many of you. So many blogs that some days it’s hard to keep up.

Yet, I darn well try. I also drink a lot of coffee.

You’re all so brilliant and talented and I think it’s fantastic that we have technology to weave our experience together. I never really thought I’d love blogging, but I do. And that’s because of the pure awesomeness of the blogging community. I just hope you’ll still love me back when I don’t accept awards.

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Filed under Blogging, Decisions, Friendship, Journal, Life

Follow Your Inner Moonlight

Inner Moonlight Quote Art

Crazy long weekend. Family time. And a meeting of friends too: I had a lovely brunch with Faye. Talked about writing and life. We have a lot in common. We both take a similar approach to the day-to-day: that you have to grab life by the… well, whatever’s handy—and make the most of it. Especially creatively.

Never mind what others say about you or what your inner editor whines. The key to success is trusting the madness and embracing what makes you unique.

Reminded me of a favorite quote. One I needed to remember. And so, I ended up doing a little art therapy and the image heading this post was the result.

Also, while I’m at it: more about Allen Ginsberg here.

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Creativity, Friendship, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Psychology, Quotes

25 Gems About Me

Gems - Colorful Baubles

My friend Katie tagged me in one of those game-like blog thingees. I don’t usually do that stuff, and she gave me permission not to. No pressure and all that. However, I figured I should honor her by doing something in response to her thinking of me. Because, hey—friends are awesome.

So, I chose the ‘random facts’ part and made it longer.

25 Random Facts About Myself

1. I dictate most of my writing.
2. And a lot of that goes into a micro digital recorder first.
3. I skim magazines backwards.
4. I worked for years as pet groomer.
5. I like fast cars. Shiny fast cars.
6. Yet, I drive a ten-year-old car with over 300,000 miles on it.
7. I collect nail polish. And kooky socks.
8. From my home office, I can hear peacocks calling.
9. I eat salad like people eat potato chips: straight out of the bag.
10. I love to build things out of LEGO bricks.
11. I’m a Gemini. And married to a Gemini. We’re great at parties.
12. I like spiders. And snakes.
13. I have tumbleweeds on the porch to keep away solicitors.
14. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s or Burger King in more than a decade.
15. I’ve lost more than 60 pounds in the last decade.
16. I’ve worked in three Las Vegas casinos. Two of them have since imploded.
18. I would totally go on a vacation to the moon.
19. I have a fondness for Existentialism.
20. Someday, I want to own a sailboat.
21. I support psychedelic research.
22. I love ancient cultures and tribal societies.
23. Yet, I’m just as fascinated with artificial intelligence and future science.
24. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey or Mad Men.
25. I hoard notebooks and sketchbooks.

Am I tagging any of you? Nah, I don’t do that. But if you want to write up a ‘random facts’ list for your own blog: consider yourself tagged and go for it. We’ll all learn a bit more about each other. Cheers!

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Filed under Blogging, Friendship, Games, Journal, Life, Writing

The Value of NaNoWriMo

Character Artwork: Version Two - for NaNoWriMo 2012, Karen Gadient

I didn’t win the Powerball. Pretty sure you didn’t either. Bummer, right?

However… last night, I “won” NaNoWriMo for the second time. This novel(la) was more of a struggle than the one I did last year—due to less laughs and more doom—but I reached 51,071 words and crafted a decent ending.

My main character (yep, that’s him in this post’s image) went through a lot of changes as he fought his way through the story. He began as a teenager and ended up a grown man, much faster than he’d expected. And, although he may live for another hundred years, he still still has a lot of galaxy to save. I’ll return to him for a rewrite/edit and maybe a sequel.

Still, I’m glad to finally put NaNoWriMo aside and begin editing the novel I finished just before NaNoWriMo began. Those characters never got out of my head throughout all of November, and it was like having two people in the room with you, talking while you were trying to work!

“You really writing that? It’s creepy. Come back to us. We’ve got flying cars!”

NaNoWriMo Banner

This year, I saw a lot more banter online regarding the value of NaNoWriMo. Plenty of hate along with the love. Valid points on both sides.

I agree that not everyone “has a story in them” or is meant to be “a writer”. I agree that too many people submit/self-publish their “masterpiece” without proper revision, editing, and general professionalism.

Doe NaNoWriMo encourage this?

No. There will always be people who are naive, disillusioned, misinformed, or think that rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve been one of those writers. It was only through years of reading and failing and getting smacked on the head by professionals that I realized I wasn’t pouring magic from my fingers. Same goes with my art and design work.

As Alanis Morissette once said: you live, you learn. I’ll never stop learning. Or failing, I’m sure! I’m human. But I’ll keep doing what I do because I love doing it.

Sure, the online bookstores are full of junk. But there are gems too. Some of those gems even began in NaNoWriMo. Only those writers re-wrote, edited, got beta readers, and enlisted the help of professionals for the final product.

My favorite example, of course, is my best friend Natania Barron and her fantastic book Pilgrim of the Sky, which began in NaNoWriMo (although it went through plenty of changes before publication). I’m proud to get the blame for planting a wine-soaked seed for another book in those worlds, featuring one of my favorite characters, Joss Raddick. Mmm-hm.

Natania speaks of writing and NaNoWriMo, and shares some of her story.

Participate in NaNoWriMo. Have crazy fun with it. Get the short draft done. Then prepare to spend a lot of time fixing that draft before forcing it on others, if that’s your plan. Be proud you got the thing out of your head and onto the paper.

As my friend Katie cheered to me all this month: YAY YOU!

NaNoWriMo encourages people to give something a try—and to give themselves a chance to create something awesome. In a frenzy, without censorship. It’s so freeing. It’s a wonderful mess. It’s dreaming awake. For me, it’s embracing my inner child and remembering what it was like to hop in a sack race. It’s pure fun, even if no one ever reads it, and even if you don’t “win”.

That’s why I’ll keep doing it, year after year.

My favorite pep talk from NaNoWriMo this year, by Nick Hornby.

Congrats to all of you who did NaNoWriMo this year. And congrats to all of you who dare to create, no matter what you bring to life or what month it is.

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Filed under Creativity, Friendship, Imagination, Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Pilgrim of the Sky

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Sometimes the wish is real. In my case, that author is Natania Barron.

I’m biased, being linked to her through possibly a few lifetimes of friendship… but her book is delightful, full of wonder, and charged with characters worth meeting. If you’re looking for a new book to lose yourself in―this is the one.

Pilgrim of the Sky ~ a novel by Natania Barron

Pilgrim of the Sky - Cover

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Filed under Books, Friendship, Multiverse, Mythology, Publishing

Where do creative ideas come from?

Pool of inspiration

My dear friend Natania Barron and I have often talked about how creative folk draw from the same pool of inspiration. Some us call it the muse. Few of us can figure out how we travel to that magical source–frequently in dreams or arriving clear out of nowhere while we’re doing the dishes–but we’re grateful whenever it happens. We’re always reaching for it, muttering to it, and hoping it grants us yet another fantastic idea to add to our notebooks.

I’ve wondered lately whether we collectively add to this pool, and if it’s not really a source that has ideas waiting, but instead a place where our ideas gather, especially those ideas we obsess over, whether we use the ideas or not. For instance, I can spend months considering a concept, on and off, and then ultimately dismiss it, deciding instead on another direction. Then–bam!–that very concept appears in an article about some film or other project in development. I don’t mind; in fact, I’m pleased that, although I didn’t continue with the idea, it will come about all the same.

Could it be that I was merely helping this idea form?

Is it possible that we’re far more networked than we ever guessed–not alone in our craft at all?

So much for my professional hermit persona!

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Friendship, Ideas, The Unknown, Writing