This time every year a balance would occur. As Winter diminishes and Ēostre comes forth to herald in Spring, both light and dark are equals. This year Alti felt a special need for balance. It was a brooding feeling he had, that was compounded by bitter cold and darkness of winter, a feeling that something bad was coming and perhaps winter would not end this year. That the daylight hours would never surpass or even match that of the night. This felt especially true upon waking to dropping temperatures and sleet. He sat in bed looking out of the window, happy for this day of balance, but disappointed the winter was holding on. Alti decided he would not let the weather effect his mood and would still go for a long walk around the neighborhood to usher in the first official day of Spring and celebrate Ēostre and all she brings.
“Come on Gyoza. Wake up. We’re going for walkies.” Alti shook the spiny pumpkin-sized lump that was snoring beneath the covers. “Wakie wakie.”
Gyoza stretched and yawned while still under the covers and then crawled off the bed dragging the sheet and comforter with him as Alti changed out of his pajamas and into jeans and a sweater. Podgolins are notorious for their small bladders and their need to pee within minutes of waking, so Alti left the sheets on the floor and hurried down to his shoes and jacket by the front door and grabbed the leash off the hook. Alti jingled the leash, which prompted Gyoza to quicken his gait and wag his tail in excitement.
It was a blessing that podgolins love the rain and snow. Alti had other pets in the past that would hate to be out in such weather and would relieve themselves indoors even after having come in from a long walk with no success. Gyoza slipped and slid down the side walk, sniffing every tree and step along the way to Howard’s Dog Park. Few people were out in this weather and even fewer sense some schools had been canceled due to slippery conditions. The only person Alti saw was a tall man at the light rail stop at the base of the dog park. Time passed as Gyoza frolicked and explored and the light rail came and went, but the man never boarded.
No dogs ever came to play so Alti gathered Gyoza and continued their walk around the neighborhood. They had made it a block when Gyoza stopped and turned around. His back arched in a defensive posture and made a low and guttural sound. Alti turned just as two tall and shadowy forms took flight and disappeared from sight.
“Come on buddy.” Alti told Gyoza as he urged them to continue. “Good boy.” He said and Gyoza wagged his tail knowing he had done well.
As they made their way around Mount Vernon Place, Alti felt like he was being watched. Shadows seem to move, just as he would look away and if he looked back there would be nothing. It did not feel like it was the first day of Spring and definitely did not feel like there was a balance between light and dark on this day. He closed his eyes and thought of Ēostre waking through a field as the ice beneath her feet melted and crocuses would push through the soil and bloom. Gyoza snarled and Alti opened his eyes to see the tall figure from the light rail stop standing in front of him and staring at him with cold and murderous eyes. Sleet bounded from his shoulders and hat as two shadowy forms hung in the air high above him. Their eyes were cold and empty and seemed to feed on the fear that Alti felt.
“Here boy.” Alti pulled Gyoza closer to keep him as far from the man as possible. “Good day sir. Happy Spring.” He said as a little joke and moved to walk around the motionless man staring at him. The man spoke which startled Alti and glued him to the spot. His voice was not human and at first sounded as if it was feedback from a poor radio signal.
“Tell the counsel they have been warned. If you see me again, and you have not set them on the right path, we will have trouble.”
“Okay.” Alti stuttered, and the man floated off with the other forms into dreary sky, leaving Alti and Gyoza in the drizzle which was somewhere between sleet and freezing rain. “Lets go home boy.” He muttered. “It’s too cold for me.”
I have been hard at work preparing for my upcoming show entitled "Unearthed Neighbors" at the Laughing Pint in Baltimore, Maryland. This is an exciting show for me because it will feature a variety of my illustrated work - some a little older and some quite new! Lots of Baltimore landmarks can be found in my illustrations as well as plenty of Baltimore monsters. Check out past Blog posts to find some matching stories for some of my art. Make it to the opening to see my work in person. Those that attend may even end up with a little take home gift. The Laughing Pint is a wonderful neighborhood spot that is a favorite haunt of some of Baltimores talented artists and writers.
As many of you know, there was a delay in the opening, due to high winds collapsing a section of a building behind the Laughing Pint. The building has since been secured and the new opening date is this Saturday, March 10th from 6pm-8pm. With the extra week I began a new illustration to commemorate the event that caused the delay. The true cause could only have been some hungry Baltimore Monsters!
Hope to see you all there!
Saturday, March 10th, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Show runs March 3 - April 5, 2018
3531 Gough Street | Baltimore, MD 21224 410-342-6544
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 3:00 pm - 1:00 am
Link to Press Kit:
Omar Rayyan was born in Jordan, but grew up “all over” and eventually ended up going to school at the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States of America. Right after graduation in 1990, he and his wife ended up settling down in Marthas Vineyard, Massachusetts by accident. His work was accepted into a show there and they never left after going to deliver the work for that show. Omar’s work has been shown in galleries, conventions, and on his own through his website and Etsy store. Rayyan’s work has been featured in literature, games (most notable Magic: The Gathering), and even helped create the feel for Narnia in the motion picture The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Although Omar makes a good living through the sales of his work, he recently got paid reprint rights for a small press book cover illustration... with a bottle of scotch, much to his amusement. He attributes much of his decisions about his work habits, career path, etc. to his loving wife Sheila, who is a ceramic artist who also has a fondness for monsters. Omar’s work is shaped by the aesthetics of the great 19th century Renaissance and Romantic painters, but also by his surroundings on his island home. Nature and animals are at the core of his work and tell a story of magic and fantasy that are both curious and endearing. The world he creates with his work in watercolor, are both fantastic yet feel familiar. The painting I chose to highlight, Little Darlings, captures the strength of his work and how he can show a monster as both savage, and a cuddly pet at the same time. Follow the links below to follow him and/or learn more about his work.
As of October 2016, I intended to use this blog as an accompaniment to my Facebook page and Instagram page. On this blog I post information and updates about my work as well as once a month I highlighted an artist whose work I like (I stopped doing this when I opened my gallery www.GalleryBlueDoor.com). As of March 2017, I began posting a monthly Story Entry with an accompanying illustration of mine. In mid-2019 I took a break from this, but it will resume.