Saturday, May 30, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/Pack of Cards

"You're nothing but a pack of cards!"

Unable to remain adapted to Wonderland, Alice finds herself back on the river bank. As I said in an earlier post, I'll be continuing to work on some variations with these. I think I've come up with an idea for a sepia section, which would simply be the actors cutting up in the photographers studio. For one thing, I think the dormouse gets to steal the Hatter's top hat. This coming week I'll be posting randoml bits and pieces and starting the Lost series, hoping to get some photos of little people with city life going on around them.

One of the photographs in Dreaming Alice on Blurb books.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/ The Trial

Just at this moment Alice felt a very curious sensation, which puzzled her a good deal until she made out what it was: she was beginning to grow larger again; and at first she thought she would get up and leave the court; but on second thought she decided to remain where she was as long as there was room for her.

In unrelated news: a first for one of my sticks...starring in a film with a curious female cardinal on the dinosaur casserole blog.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Trial Begins

The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived...near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other.

And let me just take the opportunity presented by the heraldic posture of the White Rabbit to put in a word about two new blogs 

~( sort of the punctuation equivalent of the above):

coucou c'est moi, which has a remarkable celebrity staff,


wildeve's art pages, which contains collage explorations


Feline Behaviour

It's not pretty, I just had to post this evidence that I am finally getting a little help around here. I put a burned pancake (tendency to wander off and look at blogs)  in the little yard area outside and Bosco, accurately recognizing at as a waste product, has buried it. The first time it happened, I wasn't sure, so I deliberately left a little heap of dirt near it. Cute cat anecdotes, anyone?
     If you're here for cats, there are many, many varieties on this blog.

Alice Post is later this afternoon. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/Off with her Head

The king laid his hand upon her arm, and timidly said, "Consider, my dear; she is only a child!"

A word on the process
There are three more Alice photos to run to complete the story after this.  I'll be continuing the project, there are things I need to reshoot and new shots I need to come up with, working toward putting a little print-on demand book on blurb. One thing I'd like to do is set up a few studio portraits in nineteenth century style (the Mad Hatter leaning on a column, looking thoughtful - that sort of thing) - in some way extending the Tenniel illustrations so that I bring something new to the narrative. I struggle with how consistent to make the series (should I be antiquing and sepia-izing them?)- some of the ones in which Alice is quite a small part of the environment work well, whereas others need the background de-emphasized .  As with any art-making, the process should look effortless - some of these have been photoshopped for several hours (like the one above) whereas the previous day's needed hardly anything done with it. Any opinions on which work better than others would be gratefully accepted. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Alice and the Duchess

She had quite forgotten the Duchess by this time, and was a little startled when she heard her voice close to her ear."You're thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can't tell you what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit."

One of the images in Dreaming Alice on Blurb Books

Monday, May 25, 2009

J.T. Steiny/Creatures

This is art by J.T. Steiny, who has many visual observations and good advice to delight the eye on his highly recommnded website. It looks to me like an aging Pan who is still delighted by the creatures around him. It brought to mind (some of you may have heard this story before) the time I looked at a dragonfly which appeared to be actively taking me in, ie, rotating its head as if to gather information while perched on a leaf. 
    My sister, her husband and I once stopped to observe a snake, which turned around in the act of fleeing and consented to be observed when we stopped walking and discussed it in an interested way. I assume it was also taking us in. Maybe  it's pathetic fallacy, and maybe there are simply different modes of observation.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A to B/snake attack

N excuse to link to the letter B on a blog that features the work of three generations of photojournalists.

In other news, someone found it necessary 
to yank the snake, thus exposing his stuffing to the world. He's 
now been repaired and is ready to return to his position. 
I had thought about attaching a tag saying "This is not a real snake and poses no threat. Please do not attack snake", but I thought that might be asking for trouble. 


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Mock Turtle

"Once," said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh, "I was a real Turtle".

These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by an occasional exclamation of Hjckrrh!" from the Gryphon, and the constant heavy sobbing of the Mock Turtle.

I saw this post on Three Little Cameras, which makes me think about doing more than correction in Photoshop - very inspiring work, a successful combination of digital techniques with a vintage feel - it's very difficult to do this without overwhelming the composition with the magic fingers digital stuff I think.

Say Hello to Groucho the tufted duck. He came closer to see what was happening and quacked indignantly (because treats were not forthcoming?). He is used to a lot of admiration. More about creatures tomorrow and Monday, Alice will resume on Tuesday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Croquet Game

The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo; she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up into her face with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing; and when she had got its head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself , and was in the act of crawling away...

It seems to me that Lewis Carroll may have found social intercourse with other adults like playing croquet with living animals, as opposed to the cosy predictability of mathematical formulas. Click on photo to get a closer look at the foreground hedgehog.

I have used this as my illustration friday entry this week, as the prompt for this week is cracked, and all the inhabitants of Wonderland are. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Painters

A large rose tree stood near the entrance of the garden; the roses growing on it were white, but there were three gardeners at it, busily painting them red. Alice thought this a very curious thing, and she went nearer to watch them...

Here the one who is Moe-like in character is demonstrating technique to the other two. And the moral of that is, when you need roses painted, always call Professional Rose Painters™.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Dormouse

...the last time she saw them they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot.

These actions were no doubt taken in a spirit of scientific experiment, like those of the title characters in the film "Dead Ringers" as small boys.

One of the photos in Dreaming Alice on Blurb Books

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Tea Party

"Have you guessed the riddle yet?" The Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

"No, I give it up," Alice replied, "what's the answer?"

"I haven't the slightest idea," said the Hatter.

On the table on the left you will see a little cup with two Kate Greenaway children - this cup (with its saucer) survived the Oakland Hills fire of 1991, one of my parents' few possessions to make it through. It shows some additional cracking of the glaze as a result.

This is the image for August in the 2010 Wonderland Revisited 2010 Calendar.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Snake Salesman

How would you like to see this character hovering overhead? This little guy just replaced the tree decoration I put up February first - high time . He's sort of a fast -talking salesman type, similar to Paul at the Diamond Center, if you were living in California about twelve years ago then you were probably lucky enough to see the TV ad with him singing "Credit Man" to sort of the tune of "Soul Man" while his female employees carried him with strained smiles on their faces. Paul looked sort of like the Cheshire Cat as to his grin, but his eyes, unlike the cat's, were extremely small and close together.

Edit: link to Snake with Eyes of Garnet because his (not referring to Paul) voice gives me chills

Sunday, May 17, 2009

California Fairy Tales (Confession)

California Fairy Tales is a book passed on by my mother. It was published in the late twenties, and is a mashup of legend and fairytale from many traditions, Spanish, Irish, Native American  and Chinese, supernatural creatures meeting up with the immigrants to California and working out ways to interact. That sounds so dry - they are very funny and whimsical stories, and have characters like the Freckle-faced Giant, the Big White Woolly lamb, the Learned Cat (I always think of him when I see this cat), and Pajaro, a tramp who became a sorcerer, whose "brains were buttered all over with surprise" by a piratical adventure he had one stormy night.
     The illustrations though...the illustrations are by C.E. Millard, there is not much about him on the net. But the illustrations turn line into an sinuous organic thing, particularly remarkable with his hand-lettered type - helpful in supporting an argument that words are living things. Below is an illustration that has stayed with me, and is the source of both my singing bird and flower-breathing dragon illustrations. Now you know - This artist is a magpie with borrowed diamonds! 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Competition is contagious

The illustrationfriday prompt is contagious, and I just did this illustration for the Berkeley Monthly, a first person piece about a woman who believes the middle-aged man next to her is competing to get across Lake Merritt while sculling. Apparently all emotions are contagious, even at a remove - scientists have done a recent study on happiness. The sculls in this drawing are kind of theoretical - I went down to Lake Merritt to look at them, but they were in a cage upside down (whines defensively).

Alice will be back on Tuesday, I am catching up on drawing little people.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Mad Hatter

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

The mad hatter welcomes Alice to the tea party in his own way. The entire tea party next Tuesday - Until then I will be showing some inspirational bits from here and there while I get caught up for the thrilling denouement.

Edit: Rick of the Kyklops blog has reminded me to link to this (whoa, sounds like Annie Lennox in the background). Arguably verges on misogyny - on the other hand, relates to the protofeminist book "The Edible Woman" by Margaret Atwood, which was published a year or so before the song was written.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Cheshire Cat

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought; still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt it ought to be treated with respect.

A Cheshire "cat" is a round of cheese. I can't find anything online that indicates the expression "cheesy grin" originated with the Cheshire Cat, though it would seem like a natural progression.

This is the image for July in the Wonderland Revisited 2010 calendar.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Duchess

Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternatively, without a moment's pause.

The above was photographed in the Tenderloin National Forest (see left), which exists in Cohen alley in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, one of the poorer areas of the city. Its designation is real, though the sign is not standard issue. The structure the Duchess is sitting in is one of the a piece by Cameron Hockenson made for an exhibit of Shelters in the alley a couple of years back. A few blocks away in the Civic Center, Patrick Dougherty has installed alterations to an alley of sycamores (see below). Finally, if you must have more sticks before Thursday (when I will have some up on the Tinytheatre blog), here is a link to a youtube video of Nick Caves's Soundsuits.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Caterpillar

She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the mushroom, and her eyes immediately met those of a large blue caterpillar, that was sitting on the top with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking not the smallest notice of her or of anything else.

Does anyone else think the caterpillar bears a curious resemblance to Mr. Punch? Although certainly his nature is quite different.

This is the image for May in the Wonderland Revisited 2010 Calendar.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/Bill the Lizard

Once again, liberties have been taken with the text. Bill the lizard is kicked up and out the chimney, while the White Rabbit is grabbed and dropped through the cucumber frame. So this is a combination of the two images. 

As of today,  I am in contact with Lewis Carroll biographer Jenny Woolf, proprietor of the From Somewhere in Time Blog , which you may visit for more details about Lewis Carroll and Alice. Jenny tells me that Carroll himself rejected Victorian masochism, however Bill the Lizard as limned by Tennyson is a different story. If you look at the original illustration, to which I have been faithful in feeling, Bill looks pretty contented, or something, about the whole kicking thing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Caucus Race

...they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running for half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out, "The race is over!"

I'm straying pretty far from Tennyson, since the Caucus race was never pictured. The prompt for illustration friday was parade, and since I had gotten to this point in the story, I figured it was close enough.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Pool of Tears

"I wish I hadn't cried so much!" said alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out...Just then she heard something splashing about in the pool a little way off, and she swam nearer to make out what it was; at first she though it must be a walrus or a hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small she was now, and she soon made out that it was only a mouse, that had slipped in like herself.

All done with mirrors, and photoshop.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/Stretch

"Curioser and Curioser!" cried Alice..."now I'm opening up like the largest telescope that ever was! Goodbye, feet!"

As a result of having eaten the little cake, Alice is too tall to go through the door into the little garden which she can see. The photos were taken in San Francisco's Mission district - I think probably the one where she is furthest away is the most successful - what do you think?

(imaginary segueway) 

Nemo Hill of the elsewhere blog is reading his poetry this Sunday at the Sixth Street and Avenue B garden with poetic cohorts this Sunday at 4:00 if you are in the neighborhood of Tompkins Square Park in NYC that day - I wish I were, I would stop in at the Cafe Pick-me-up beforehand.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cousin Louise

Meet Louise. If she looks familiar, that's because she is the cousin of the mermaid I posted about here last week. For a chance to win that same mermaid, leave a comment on the Tiny Theatre blog, where I have just now posted some News of the Tiny. Louise herself is in my Etsy shop.

Edit: Lucky people, I have found my very long poem about Cousin Louise and her disturbing effect on a nice bourgeois family. Here are just two stanzas about her arrival for a visit:

The front door bell began to din,
Cousin Louise came gliding in.
Tall and slender, with a veil,
Louise was just a trifle pale.

Her eyes resembled two dark oceans,
Her head had certain snaky motions.
She whispered with an air of stealth,
"I trust you're all in perfect heath?"


I am alone here in thinking Naveen Andrews is the most attractive, although not the tallest, male character on Lost? Coming attraction for the project after Alice.

Something you could do with a ball of yarn is knit something for these poles

at the National Gallery of Australia, where grrl+dog needs many knitted strips of 43" width to fill up the vertical height. Details for this international  project are here.

I will post the scary thing later today as I still need to finish it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/The Little Key

When she got to the door, she found she had forgotten the little golden key, and when she went back for it, she found she could not possibly reach it.

More variations, the last one being the most complete. If you like this sort of thing, by the way, you might want to rent Jan Svankmajer's Alice which someone has, with perverse appropriateness, paired with a Tom Waits song on youtube. An interval tomorrow for an announcement from Australia and another in my series of scary little creatures.

The image on the bottom is the one for March in the Wonderland Revisited 2010 calendar.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/Pursuit

...burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit hole under the hedge.

Liberties have been taken, visually speaking.

Yesterday I was in San Francisco and walked by the Mark Hopkins, which appeared in Vertigo - just in front of the driveway is an excellent place for pavement level photography. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Alice in Wonderland/White Rabbit

Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat pocket or a watch to take out of it...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stick in Germany

Here is the stick that was sent to Germany, looming over passersby at the Olympia Stadium where it was recently installed. More are posted on the Gerdiary blog, where more frequently there are thoughtful essays in fabric, paired with poems. 

Yup, probably time for more sticks.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Baby Ragnarok fits into his universe shell until he pops out at the end of a string. I made this a few years ago. Scary, yes?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dream Hierarchy

Who's in charge?* Alice ponders the question at the end of Through the Looking Glass - Did she dream of the Red King, or was the Red King dreaming of her (in line with the Chinese philosopher who asked the same question about a butterfly)? The Kalihari Bushmen say "There is a dream dreaming us." Pleasant dreams to you, in any case. Monday will see the beginning of two weeks of Alice in Wonderland here.

*This is a response to the Illustration Friday prompt "Hierarchy".

P.S. Power to the people, right on.

Edit: Oh, I meant to mention - any resemblance of the Red king to Cary Grant around the eyes is due to a lot of drawing of Cary Grant recently, and no reference for the Red King in the book.