Listen, and never discount a Vampire who wants to share art with you.

Some people do things oh so frustratingly slow, or weird, or just make me feel like nobody is listening (and I know they aren’t.)

On Thanksgiving I showed my great great great great Grandmama Lola a book to look at. It was an art book. I wanted her to see the artwork. So what does she do? She opens the cover and looks at the first page. Then she slowly turns the next three pages of publisher information. The she gets to the preface – you know those long introductions to art books that NOBODY reads, especially when someone wants you to look at some PICTURES. After she was into the first 15 pages, slowly turning them and not really reading them, wondering why I’d given her this book with so much text, I took the book. Then I opened it up to the start of the 175 pages that were in FULL COLOR of magnificent artwork.

She then slowly turned the pages, looking at all of the art, then proclaimed there were too many religious paintings. Did I mention this book was about Italian Renaissance art? It was.

I said nothing and put the book back on the shelf. My moment sharing Raphael and Michelangelo fell flat.

The whole week seemed to go like that. I was all but invisible wherever I went. Even among friends I was just there. My husband was there, but I was just a shadow most of the time. A few times I managed to make myself known before I was unseen again. Until a few nights ago when I finally found myself around kindred spirits.

When I was a child I was the quiet one. I would sit in corners, or curled in a large chair, and watch, and listen, and remember, and think about what the adults said. I always knew what everyone had done. I knew things children were not supposed to understand.  I also spent a lot of time with books, looking at pictures. I never get tired of art, be it a painting in a museum, or an illustration in a book. It could be an angel, or a landscape, or a diagram the ocean currents. Every image has a story, or a feeling, or something that came out of the head, the hands, the eyes, and the heart of someone else.

Lola is ancient, born in the Middle Ages, but she isn’t feeble minded, or out of touch. She just does things in a different way than I do. It is still damned annoying.

I was out with her recently and she insisted on lingering over her prey, excuse me, a donor. I clenched my fists, then quietly told her that we needed to get in and then get out fast. Unless you’re in a safe situation where you can linger comfortably for hours, you need to get what you need and get out. But noooooo, not Lola. She never listens to me, or any of my concerns. I swear I’m surprised she has lasted as long as she has. And yes, this is a Vampire blog. Why else would I be talking about what Lola does.

Anyway, don’t get between me and my art. Don’t make me feel unsafe or unwanted. And if you don’t listen to me, that is fine. I hear everything, and remember everything. And I still love you, for the most part.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Mystery at the Museum (and a WTF moment)

St. Stephen was said to have been stoned to death by a group of pissed off folks who didn’t like his brand of religion. Some say he spoke Greek and took care of Greek speaking widows stranded in a world of Romans. St. Anthony is the  Patron Saint of Lost things which would make him the patron saint of most busy moms and Vampires.

So this brings us to a mystery.

Aparrently Tony and Steve were bros and spent some quality time together before Stephen’s untimely and tragic death. Anthony died later of natural causes (not a lost cause, even thought he is the Saint of Lost Causes.)

In a painting by Italian artist Bicci di Lorenzo (1373–1452) Anthony and Stephen are hanging out together with somebody else. Look in the far left bottom corner. What is that? Seriously what is THAT? Is is a dog? A pig? A demon? A lost animal of unknown origin?

Anthony and Stephen hanging out together with a mysterious animal.

 

Seriously, WTF is that?

What is that animal? Is it friendly? Is it a pet? Is it Anthony’s or is it Stephen’s. Did Anthony adopt it in when Stephen died? Did they find it at the local shelter?

We looked around some more and found other interesting things. Oh, by the way, those are stones on Stephen’s head, apparently left over from when he died.

Around the same time another Saint was running around with his weird looking dog.

I’m not making fun. I’m always noticing odd looking dogs and cats in old paintings. Animals aren’t always easy to draw, but sometimes I really wonder about this sort of thing. Did artists draw certain styles because it was fashion, or did they draw that way because it was the only way they knew how to draw? This was way back right out of the dark ages, so maybe they just didn’t have the vision/skill/desire to make it look like a photograph. Yes, that was a joke I know they didn’t have photos back then – just like yesterday when I went to the store with my shirt on inside out and no less than four people informed me that my shirt was inside out.

We also saw this bit in the same painting, way up on the top corner. What was THAT ANGEL up to? Hmmmmm. No doubt he was up to no good.

My brother Val said we could just ask Tellias about it. He was around back then. He might know. But what fun would that be? Plus I know I’d get a long tale of BS and off the subject tales from Tellias.

As we roamed the museum I heard my daughter say to my husband, “Mom is having one of her religious experiences. Just let her look for a while longer.”

I look at the paintings and I can feel the breezes, hear the voices, see into the souls. I a room full of Rodins I can feel the touch, the kiss, the embraces, and the passion of the pieces. The rest of the world is lost and gone and doesn’t matter at that moment that I am with art.

We spent Monday at the Museum.

And we survived.

We more than survived. We came to life, again, and again, and again.

Thank you to Anthony and Stephen. Let us know what that critter is when you get a chance.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Sad Vampire: American Gothic

Way back towards the first of the year I received the honor of being awarded FIRST PLACE in the 2017 Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever. My entry was the story of a horror adventure told by Vlad, King of the Vampires (yes, cute Vlad from Vampire Diary, click here to see it.)

As a prize I was able to pick out something from The Evil Squirrel’s Cafe Press shop. Oh I can’t tell you how delighted I was to receive my American Gothic Bag a few weeks later. I LOVE THIS. I’ll be taking it on my cross country trip from Orangevale, CA to Lincoln, NE this summer. I’ll be taking it to a coffee shop this morning. I’ll be taking it everywhere.

I love this version of “American Gothic.” Oh my goodness have you EVER seen anything so cute? Love love love this. Thank you ES.

To get your own Evil Squirrel’s Nest Bling click HERE.

The first time I saw the Grant Wood painting “American Gothic” at the Art Institute in Chicago I was surprised at how small it is.  It is only 30¾ in × 25¾ inches. I remember walking around a corner and seeing it sort of an afterthought. I thought it would have a larger presence. But in real life it is absolutely stunning. Thank you Grant Wood, for that and ALL of your art. Grant Wood Rocked. Check out the faces in “Daughter’s of the Revolution.” You can’t get better than that.

And more from Grand Wood…

So in my rush to attempt to be clever and creative I took out a pen and pencil and did a quick sketch of “Vampire Gothic.” It took me all of five minutes. I believe Mr. Wood spent more time on the original version than I did on my sad Vampire version.

 

Seriously, I can draw when I want to. No, really, I can. Well, um…

Now I’ll do some shameless promotion. You can get your own Vampire Maman shirts and other items on Red Bubble. Good quality and unique fashion is just a few clicks away. Click Here.

 

Sad Vampire is a semi-regular feature on vampiremaman.com featuring somewhat quick and somewhat sad sketches, but sketches non the less. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Ghosts

Vampire Maman

Today I sit here and try to get my brain around what I’m going to do today.

Landscaping. I realize that isn’t typically what one thinks of when one thinks of Vampires, but it helps me clear my brain. I’m clearing out everything, which isn’t much right now, just weeds and rocks and old feral grass, to make a drought happy yard. I’ve already put in one daylily and iris bed. In the bed are also Asiatic lily bulbs and a few other odds and ends that will yield spring and summertime surprises. Today I made the second bed, a space of about 12 x 12 feet. I hoed out weeds and brought river rocks from the backyard to make a border. The puppy helped move sticks around and barked when I used the hoe and rake. It is great fun.

Yes, I could have done this at night but the neighbors already think we’re weird. I live my life during the day because I have kids in school.

I gave my neighbor a can of tuna so she could lure a sick cat out of her attic. She watched my puppy in the front yard while I dug through my pantry. My cat loves tuna too, almost as much as he loves whipped cream.

Then the wind kicked up and I got tired of dirt in my eyes.

So what will it be today? Writing?

Seriously, I’m writing a novel and Nigel the Ghost is the main character. Any takers? Could this be a best seller in the making?  I’m not in it. It is his story, not mine. I’m just the story teller.

I’m in major transition right now. Soon there will be no children in my house. I also need to figure to what I’m going to do next. Sure I can write, but do the masses want my tales? Any takers? God, I sound pathetic. This is what my brother Aaron calls the “worm song.”

I can help new Vampires, but that isn’t a full time job and it has trickled down lately to almost nothing.

I can draw. I need to draw more. I need to bring back my passion and see if my skills are still there. Yet, as much as my passion and identity lies in my art, it is painful. It is painful to start anything.

I started this blog writing about Middle School. That was nuts. College and High School are calm. The kids are calm. All is calm. All is wonderful. But that leaves me with a parenting blog about my perfect kids – and who wants to read about that? Oh crap, everyone would hate me. Give me a few days. I’ll think of something funny or inspiring or helpful. Maybe even later today.

So I watch the trees shake in the wind. I attempt to housebreak the puppy and take her for walks. I rub the cats on their necks and listen to them purr and complain about the puppy.

I check in on everyone.

Then I sit numb, sort of, and listen to the clock on the mantel and the soft snoring of a calico cat on a red couch.

The only ghost here today is me.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Teen