Comfest 2016 & Other Mid-summer Follies

In Columbus, Ohio, mid-summer always means Comfest, a music, art and consciousness-raising festival totally free of corporate sponsorship. Every year during the last weekend of June, people from all over the country flock to the city for three days of local bands, artists and various anarchic/political shenanigans.  We used to have a booth called “Hippie Hut” but eventually ran out of steam.  I’ve retained a soft place in my heart for the gathering, however, and this year I’m back..  Local artist Mary MacDonald has agreed to carry my indoor/outdoor lucky pendants in her booth on consignment.



The idea came from a garden decoration I made years ago to use up some orphaned pieces of crystal and beads.  The Comfest version has lots of “eye” beads, which is the “lucky” component of the pieces.  I would have called them “God’s eyes,” but prefer to sneak up on folks rather than beat them over the head.

I spent yesterday and today painting this sign.   I originally did one on the computer but decided to whip up something a bit  funkier at the last minute.

comfest sign

2016 Comfest Sign

Frankly, this is more likely to catch and hold the attention of stoned people, of which there will be many.

Meanwhile, the Sun is goading the garden into a full-steam-ahead-hyper-drive frenzy of growth.


By the Summer Solstice, the gardener’s hand is more or less defeated.  Dill volunteers have popped up everywhere, green tomatoes festoon shaggy plants and the potato vines have already begun to die back.


This is such an edgy time of year.  There is so much power it makes you wonder how we Sun-intoxicated mortals manage to remain upright under the weight of it all.

Berjaya Resort, Malaysia

“Langkawi Honeymoon”


Berjaya Resort, Malaysia

“Langkawi Honeymoon” by Lynda McClanahan

“Langkawi Honeymoon” is basically finished.  The piece is packed with details meant to strengthen the Nature/Culture divide.

It’s a bit like playing “Where’s Waldo” but the Butterly Lizard, Crab-eating Macaque and blue butterfly are all native to Langkawi Island, Malaysia, where we saw the happy couple.

Metallica Tee Shirt

Metallica Tee-shirt detail, “Langkawi Honeymoon” by Lynda McClanahan

I took some liberties.  The man wore a ball cap and sported a different Metallica tee-shirt, but I think this version is the most recognizable.

Palm With Creeper

Tree with creeper detail, “Langkawi Honeymoon” by Lynda McClanahan

I made sure to include some creepers twisting around trees.  This is a traditional visual trope in Indian miniatures, especially Hindu paintings of the divine lovers Krishna and Radha.    It’s a cultural symbol of a weak feminine principle clinging to a stronger masculine one, but I can’t help but note that vines often kill their support.  Perhaps the image is not so pretty after all, eh?

Technique-wise, the nearness of color values between the background and foreground is an unintended consequence of working the background first and painting in the figures later.  This is my normal method, but this time I wish I’d been a bit more far-seeing.    As usual when something can’t be changed (too much time invested!), I’ve decided I like the painting just as it is.

Today is devoted to red-staining the frame but as for the painting itself, it’s a day of rest.  As any cook knows, some dishes benefit from sitting around on the counter  before they are eaten.