Sunday, September 7, 2008

Find out moonshine

They are here! The 2009 Lunar Calendars are in. Got my batch of comps and they are divine.

I posted the tiger drawing awhile back, when I was in the middle of figuring out the illustration. I am asked to do the cover only every few years, so I wanted this one to be as colorful and dramatic as possible.
I decided to work with separate elements, and then play around with layering them in Photoshop. This makes the process akin to collaging, my other love. I can play around til it hits me just right. I also wanted to get more mileage out of the reams of reference I had collected when researching Bangla culture for Rickshaw Girl. I had gotten books about Indian art featuring lots of court paintings of Hindu goddesses. As it turned out, this was not the realm of art done by Naima, the young girl in the book.
In that culture, women do decorative paintings of designs around the dwellings, called alpanas. They are done with rice paste, ephemeral as the latest rain.

With free reign for the calendar, I mixed it all up: an earth goddess, Prithvi, as a tiger queen bordered by decorative designs. The Lunar Calendar is "dedicated to the goddess in Her many guises" and I like to think that the Divine Feminine resides in every woman, queen or not. I have contributed work to the calendar since 1982, which suddenly boggles my mind. 26 years?? It's a mix of nature wisdom, cycle awareness, poetry, and original art.

My favorite thing is gifting the special women in my life with one of these calendars. It can be a revelation to notice the power of the cycles and flux; I keep the lunar calendar right next to a regular grid calendar on my wall. Being visual, I like to see the eliptical moon phases. It's a reminder that what goes around, comes around.

Plus, being an island lunatic, I can tell exactly when the moonrise will be. And rush to the backshore to watch. Thanks to Nancy F. W. Passmore, publisher at The Luna Press, I keep looking up.

Shakespeare said it best: "Doth the moon shine that night we play our play? A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac; find out moonshine, find out moonshine."

Long live lunacy!

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