From outer space, or lost Atlantis?
I glimpse the grim, green metal mug
That masks this pseudo-saintly bug,
Orthopterous, also carnivorous,
And faintly whisper, Lord deliver us.
–The Praying Mantis by Ogden Nash
Ogden Nash may have perceived the praying mantis as a lost Atlantean, but for me, she was a tiny prophet offering salvation on a searing summer day. Moments before meeting the alien-esque visitor, my then-boyfriend and I had been arguing about nothing. We had been arguing about everything. In an effort to alleviate some of the financial stress from our situation, we had moved out of our home and were staying with relatives. It allowed him to leave his job and search for a healthier environment in which to work. Though for the better, things were no less turbulent. After six years together, we were at the lowest point in our relationship as well as our careers.
We were in Walmart to pick up his prescription. Knowing there was nothing I could do for him or his pain, I waited on a steely, cold metal bench and stared at rows of jumbled baskets. I was frazzled by the confused and hostile energy that had been swirling around us. I decided to create some “space” in my mind. Walmart was not the ideal location to meditate amidst the chaotic frenzy of shoppers and piles of distracting merchandise, but what did I have to lose? I no longer wanted to suffocate in our mare’s nest of heartache. I thought, “I am.” Thinking or vocalizing the phrase “I am” triggers a pause in the mind, or a space if you will, before the next thought comes rushing in behind it. In A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle said being present is like hearing a new noise for the first time. A foreign noise catches your attention and holds it for a split second. You are not thinking of anything. You are silent, on alert, waiting for the noise again. Your brain hasn’t begun the process of puzzling out the source. I wanted to see everything around me without naming or judging it. For several minutes, my mind was blissfully blank. I was sitting next to a refrigerated cooler that displayed fresh bouquets. Tempted to curl up in the soft petals and dream of brighter days, I spied a pair of bulbous black eyes perched atop a triangular green face. Apparently the “space” that I carved out had called forth a micro space alien! A praying mantis the size of my hand was clinging to a bouquet. The sight of the tiny oracle flooded me with gratitude. Seeing her arms suspended in prayer pose, I knew the universe had sent her to get my attention. The praying mantis is a symbol of contemplation and meditation. Mantis is Greek for “prophet.” To the African Bushmen, it is the visitation of God on Earth. I could not have received a more perfect gift at a more perfect time. And yes, I say “her” for I had counted the rings of her abdomen!
I noticed this floral case colonist was missing part of her lower leg; thus, I named her Penelope, the Peg-Legged Mantis. I nudged her into my hand and gave her an insect elevator ride to my shirt. As lovely a grave as a bed of flowers would make, I did not want her pressed between rose petals or crushed in that refrigerated coffin. Rounding the corner, my boyfriend spied her on my shirt. He nearly stomped his foot in dismay. Begrudgingly he said, “This is why I love you.” We had been in such a dark place that it was hard for him to even admit there was something loveable about me, but who could resist the transfixing gaze of the little wanderer on my shoulder? During the drive home, she clung to the seatbelt like an adventurous pirate suspended from the ship’s mast as my boyfriend and I navigated the choppy seas of silence. When we arrived, I released her into the welcoming trees and warm winds of the afternoon. For the remainder of the day, I said hello as I passed, always making sure to acknowledge her presence. Not one to linger, she disappeared into the leaves. I imagine she moved on to offer atonement and bear witness to the lives of other dreary humans.
I later spoke of this encounter at a Writer’s Workshop taught by Elizabeth Gilbert, famous for writing Eat, Pray, Love. She was “eavesdropping” as she I recounted the story to my workshop partner. Liz, as she referred to herself, said she was always thrilled to find a praying mantis in her garden, but “at a friggin’ Walmart? Are you kidding me?” She exclaimed, “You lady, are touched by faeries!” And yes, I like to believe that I am. I will never take for granted what may be a seemingly tiny and insignificant miracle to the uninitiated. For those who live in gratitude, the praying mantis was a messenger. She was my gorgeous goggle-eyed miracle.
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final” -- Rainer Maria Rilke
The 78 Tarot is a tarot card deck with 78 cards from 78 different artists! I have a special card in this deck: The 10 of Cups! Yes, I am still working on my own "Morbidly Adorable Tarot," but I was also asked to contribute a card to this global art collaboration. There are only 4 days left to pre-order one of these decks!
About the 78 Tarot Project:
A few months ago I was asked to contribute a painting to a tarot deck made up of 78 different artists! If you love tarot like I do, this project is just perfect. You get to own a tiny piece of art from 78 incredibly diverse and talented artists. While you're still waiting for me to release the "Morbidly Adorable Tarot Deck" (which is all me!,) you'll get a very special piece of my art in this group deck. It will not be available in the "Morbidly Adorable Tarot Deck." It will only be available in the "78 Tarot." If you pledge any amount over $30 before midnight tonight, you'll get this special postcard of my art along with the package you select on Kickstarter!
Exclusive Box Limited to Two!
I donated two 11x14 Gallery wrapped canvases of my artwork the "10 of Cups" as a reward for two of my fans, because I want this project to succeed! It is a project being self-published by a handful of very talented people who are working for free! When you choose my perk, you'll get a limited-edition canvas, a tarot deck, and the super rare tarot box with my artwork on the cover!! They are so limited, even I don't own one of these! They are only offering two! In four days, these will be gone! Since there are only two, they may be gone even sooner! You have to be the first two people to grab them! If you want some uber-rare Morbidly Adorable Merchandise, this is your chance! (The standard "78 Tarot" box comes in black with little 78s all over it.)
Here's what you do:
You go to the package you want, and you hover over it. You may choose any perk that is not already sold out! It will turn green and say "Select This Reward." After you click it, it will ask you to continue to the next step. Then you sign up for Kickstarter. Your credit card will not be charged until the project reaches full funding.
Read all the details on their Kickstarter page (and grab a deck!) Join their Facebook page. Check out their website!
If you have any questions, I'll do what I can to help answer them! I am at work quite often these days, but if you ask one of their admins, they are super quick to respond, especially through Kickstarter!
Have a sweetly spooky Sunday!!
I know it has been a few years since my Kickstarter campaign ended. I have put out a few new tarot card paintings since then, but it has been slow going. I moved, I had a surgery, and I took a job working 50-70 hours a week! As you all know, life is crazy! I have always wanted to try something a little different than Facebook or Kickstarter for projects. I always wondered what it would be like for fans to subscribe to what I'm doing and have content made just for them! With Facebook it is hit and miss as to whether or not even 10% of my supporters see my posts. I don't have time to keep up there very much either, so I thought this might be a great way to hang out with a smaller, more intimate group of people! And Kickstarter, well, it was all or nothing, and I have a lot left to share! I'm going to start creating a world on Patreon no matter how many join me!
Visit my new home at:
To learn more about Patreon, watch this video:
For my Little Poets, I'm already sharing early sketches to show how a tarot card starts its life!
We hope to see you there!
Misty & The Morbidly Adorables
The color of my face after jogging? Cranberry! It's definitely beyond red. So I started jogging again after an on-again, off-again relationship with it over these past six years. This week I actually made it out six days in a row, two miles each day. It's small compared to the 3-6 miles I used to run, but it's 12 miles more than last week! Despite the bugs, mosquitoes, aching knee, burning calves, oppressive heat, and the hole in the top of my beloved running shoes, I wouldn't trade this progress for anything. The aches will eventually go away. The hole is heart-shaped, so I actually enjoy looking at it. Summer will fade, and I'll soon be running in the crisp fall air. It's a good anti-depressant, and my heart will thank me! I guess this is me "planting a tree!"
I hope everyone is having an amazing summer and is wrapping up a great 4th of July weekend! I look forward to doing a little camping and taking a road trip to see my family as soon as I get some free time myself! Speaking of free time, if you are waiting for an e-mail from me, please be patient as I am super busy these days. I used to be able to answer e-mails a little more quickly. I will still get to them, but it may take me several weeks. If it is urgent, please let me know! I will get back to you as soon as possible:)
Now onto the fun stuff!
Boise Weekly Cover - "Dark Side of Bacon"
Check out the cover of this week's Boise Weekly - Vol 22, Issue 02, July 3-9, 2013! It's the "Dark Side of Bacon" by yours truly, and the hellish flames are very appropriate for the 100+ degree weather we've been having!! Since I love all things sweetly spooky, spitefully cute, and morbidly adorable, this piece draws from both ends of the spectrum. Remember, like bacon, all good things also have a dark side. Grab a copy if you get a chance! They're free! I believe it will be out through Tuesday. Just look for the little red newspaper boxes that say Boise Weekly generally where newspapers are sold. You may also see the cover online: http://www.boiseweekly.com/boise/dark-side-of-bacon/Content?oid=2891029
"Dark Side of Bacon" - Set of 3 Acrylic on Stretched Canvas with Wire Hanger on Back 8"x8"x.75" and 4"x4"x.75" - SOLD
The original triptych was sold to the Boise Weekly for the cover, but it will be auctioned off for charity in September/October of this year. You still have a chance to get hold of the originals! I'll keep you posted on the details as soon as I know more.
NEW SKELLY SCULPTURES!
"Skelly Cake Topper #3" - Mixed Media Paperclay, Acrylic, Accessories 7"x6"x12" $550 firstname.lastname@example.org
I wasn't sure where the whispers of love were leading me, but I wanted to do another sculpture that could also pose as a cake topper! It's small enough to fit on the top tier of a wedding cake, but it's also large enough to stand as an eternal reminder of love after the big day! They are a little bit steampunk mixed with a little bit of the fae magic! See my "Skelly Wedding Cake Topper" folder for past works! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.423778821992.194125.70316911992&type=3
"You Make My Heart Sing" - Mixed Media Sculpture - Paperclay, Acrylic, Accessories 9"x7"x14" $400 email@example.com
This grinning Skelly has a very loud, and sometimes off-key, heart! This fella was based off my Dark Little Dearies Comic #26: http://www.mistybenson.com/images/DarkLittleDearies26Web.jpg
"My Skelly Heart" - Mixed Media Sculpture - Paperclay, Acrylic, Accessories $400 firstname.lastname@example.org
The "My Skelly Heart" Sculpture was based off the painting of the same name: http://www.mistybenson.com/images/MySkellyHeartWeb.jpg Some hearts bloom with flowers, others bloom with woe, my heart blooms with skellies. This is for those with a skelly heart!
NEW SKELLY PAINTINGS
Here are some new paintings I have available. I had a cooking and love theme happening as you may be able to tell! Please contact me if you'd like to purchase one. All paintings are on stretched canvas, and they have wire hangers in the back, so they are ready to hang right on the wall!
"Chef Skelly" Set of 3 - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas with Wire Hanger on Back 12"x4"x1.5"- SOLD
"Floating on Air" - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas with Wire Hanger on Back 6"x6"x1.5" - $125 email@example.com
"Skelly Family in Red" - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas with Wire Hanger on Back 5"x7"x.75" - SOLD firstname.lastname@example.org
"Last Dance" - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas with Wire Hanger on Back 5"x7"x.75" - SOLD email@example.com
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments or anything at all! I always love hearing from you!
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, grandmas, and even those of you that tirelessly take care of the furkids! I hope your day is full of love and appreciation!
Happy Friday everyone!! I'm so excited to say I sent not one, BUT TWO new Munnys to this year's Record Exchange Annual Munny Auction! They are the very best of friends -- an odd couple if you will!! They are being auctioned off with 50% of the proceeds going to Go Listen Boise -- who operate in the spirit of amplifying the local music scene! These Morbidly Adorable Munnys are dreamily sculpted and magically painted as one of a kind pieces -- all done by me! They are only two of four Munny Dolls I've ever customized. (You may see the previous years' pieces here: http://gossamerfaery.livejournal.com/2010/10/23/ & http://gossamerfaery.livejournal.com/2011/11/17/) This is the first Munny Skelly I've ever created, and I have such an affinity for water creatures, that I wanted to create yet another octo-girl! I hope to see someone give this bony beloved and the eight legged wonder a great home. I only paint these about once a year to every two years, so unless you commission a custom Munny, don't miss your chance for a super deal!
Artist: Misty Benson (me!)
Munny's Name: Love Goggles Munny Skelly
Materials: Mixed Media (Acrylic Paint and Paperclay) He is about 8" tall.
About the Munny: This playful Munny Skelly devours life with his giant love goggles! Who wouldn't want to have a heart-shaped view? This mischievous minion also has a softer side as displayed by the wistful girl pictured on the back of his hat. All the little toys are just some extra fun waiting to be had by Love Goggles and friends! Zap! Zap!
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Artist: Misty Benson (me!)
Munny's Name: Breaking Away...
Materials: Mixed Media (Acrylic Paint and Paperclay) I believe she is about 10.5"x11"x12" long from tentacle to tentacle.
About the Munny: This Rococo Octo-Girl views life as one big swoon. Wherever she goes, her lovely tentacles are always touching and exploring life. In her hand, she holds part of a broken limb from her own body. When an octopus is captured by a predator or gets stuck in a precarious situation, it may escape by breaking off an arm which it may later regrow. Instead of holding onto things in life that no longer matter to this aquatic angel, she breaks away in order to start anew. Won't you live in her dreamy world?
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Watch these two best friends play together! They like to go on outings and explore!
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To see all of the Munnys in the Record Exchange Auction:
To place an online bid, send an email with the subject "Munny bid" to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include:
Artist you are bidding on:
Price of your bid ($5 increments but you are welcome to bid more!)
Go here to find out the current bid: http://therecordexchange.com/munnyauction. They are updating this webpage regularly, but because bidding is taking place at the store and online, the current bids listed on the webpage may not reflect the current bids in the store. If you place an online bid that is below or equal to the current bid in the store, they will email you and give you the option of increasing or withdrawing your bid. If you have any questions about bidding, please contact email@example.com. The Record Exchange is running the auction:)
Online bidding closes at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 25. The MUNNYs were unveiled at The Record Exchange on First Thursday, April 4, and will remain on display through Thursday, April 25. Final bidding will take place at a special auction closing party from 5 to 7 p.m. April 25 at The Record Exchange. Note: Online bidding ends at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 25. There will be two hours of final bidding at the store following the close of online bidding. No online or phone bids will be taken during the finale, so if there’s a MUNNY you really want, you or a surrogate bidder will need to attend the finale in person. So please make sure to send in your absolute best bids so you won't miss out on this sweet treasure! Yes, they do ship! So you can still take her home even if you cannot pick her up in person!
All proceeds from the auction benefit Go Listen Boise (http://www.golistenboise.org/).
You may also go down to the store and bid in person!
THE RECORD EXCHANGE
1105 West Idaho Street
Boise, ID 83702-5625
RECORD STORE HOURS:
9 a.m to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
'What is a Munny?' you may be asking yourself!
The toy company Kidrobot who produces limited edition vinyl toys, created the Munny -- a blank character for artists to customize by drawing, painting, piercing, you name it!
This is how my Munny looked when I first received it! It was completely blank and up to me to decide what to do with it:)
I hope you enjoy these cutie pies! Theses Morbidly Adorable characters are looking for someone who will cultivate their love of beautiful things along with their need to cause mischief!
Have a whimsical weekend! Get out there and make some mischief!