Sunday, February 28, 2010

Work in Progress

I think I have most of the writing done. I have been rereading Robert Polhemus' wonderful take on Through the Looking Glass in his book Comic Faith (its title comes from his contention that humor is redemptive, and that laughter can awaken us). Anyway, here's what I have now for the first section:

Both stories begin with pursuit, the dreaming mind chasing a rabbit in one, passing through the mirror of quotidian reality in another. The door out opens through language, both a prison and the key to escape. Carroll states his intent in the preface to Through the Looking Glass:

These magic words shall hold thee fast

I'll have a little intro to each section in prose, but will mostly let the pictures speak for themselves, with brief quotes from Lewis Carroll. I may post one or two more of the intros here, but will mostly reserve them for the book.


A little intermission, more Alice tomorrow.

I've been looking at the work at Half Moose with a Twist for awhile, and suspect that some of my recent drawings have been influenced by the efflorescence of the drawings there.

I have questions, but no answers, about this post on Drobtinice.

Just looked, and I have a paper emissary from Where's George. If you are in the continental U.S., let me know and I'll send it on to you - first claimer gets it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Strange Perspective

There's a little of William Blake's "The Crystal Cabinet" in this one, as Alice strives "to seize the inmost form". But as noted previously, these gems elude us, but continue to fascinate. The IllustrationFriday prompt is perspective.

I was very excited to see that Illustrator Oliver Flores is doing a Lost Series. I know some of my readers will be thrilled too.

And here's another take on Alice at Ambient Ink.

Linking to this just because, on Sara Lechner's blog. I remember pasting a pink cake in the shape of a lamb in a scrapbook when I was eight years old. It was simply the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and of course, it was a lamb and a cake at the same time. Take that, Roland Barthes!

Friday, February 26, 2010

You are Old, Father William/ Second Alice Series

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak–
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

- You are Old, Father William

Recently made contact with an Alice transmogrifier in Dublin at The Josie Baggley Company, I like her melancholy take on the White Rabbit.

In news of a personal nature, one of my nephews sent me a David Lindley CD (very greasy) - listening to the song "Your Papa was a Rolling Stone" fills me with longing to do a post titled "There was some bad talk on the rockpile". However, since March is officially going to be Alice in Wonderland month here, that may have to wait...

You are old, Father William

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat:
Yet you turned a back somersault in at the door –
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

– You are old, Father William

Robert Southey wrote the original (morally improving) poem, which Alice tries to recite with absurd results. Later today, another verse from the same poem, but in the style of the second series.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Drink Me

Do you like to try new things in restaurants, with names you've never heard before? I think Alice would...

Over on totalfeckineejit, a poetry challenge involving belief - something I think is at the core of Alice, in its constant questioning of prescribed behaviors.

Alice Totem

Playing around with paper cuts...some of it was cut, but a little reconstructive surgery had to be done, and of course it was only half-done to begin with, I flipped it over in photoshop. Mina and I met yesterday, this is one card design for when Alice takes over her store in March. Then I got to thinking,this would make a nice tshirt, so I went ahead and put it on redbubble.

Oh, I'm well and truly immersed in Alice - at the cafe yesterday, I saw a mad hatter, a middle-aged Alice, and one of the crew from The Hunting of the Snark. Have you spotted any escapees from Wonderland lately?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


On this will hurt me, extraordinary photos by a father of his two young sons.

On flickr, Laura Ferrara's lovely narrative of letting go.

For myself, "restoring" old photos is an ideal activity when visiting my father while we watch some old film without too many ellipses or actors with similar hair colors - no, it's not because he's old, he's one of those people who doesn't register faces. We need to put "You Kill Me"on the Netflix list because there's no way he can confuse Ben Kingsley with Tea Leoni. Also I'd watch it just to see that sideways head nod Ben Kingsley does in an early scene with Luke Wilson.

White Rabbit (again)

I think Dylan Thomas said something about the chains of time... Here's the original post, I think I'm going to set the images from the two series on the facing pages and vary which one I emphasize.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not all Mysteries are Secrets

Some of them are in plain sight, in the architecture, as here, on Clerkenwell Kid.

What you see through the keyhole is Alice's hand, opening the door into the garden.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Come to Mama...

A few years back, when I first heard the phrase "Too on the nose" on Six Feet Under (voiced by the Claire character played so magnificently by Lauren Ambrose) I felt as if I had found an old friend. It's that when things are too literally laid out, there is no room for an intimate approach to an idea, image or word - no dialogue, just dictation.

My sister declared her intention of seeing the Tim Burton Alice as soon as possible - me, I'm a little put off by its stylish Pop decadence. There is a mystery in the original story and its sequel articulated beautifully in Jan Svankmajer's Alice, which I suspect will be lacking in Burton's.

Alice incarnation

Here's the doll, I'm planning to put her in Mina's window in a couple of weeks. Mina is also going to show the book there when it is done...I am coming to the conclusion that I may need to ask for my readers' help with this. I'm wondering whether to do this sequentially with the the two books, or whether to group the images around ideas? Also wondering whether to just use bits of Carroll's text, or whether to get a a little ruminative in the manner of my blog? Or minimal text? Any thoughts you have would be gratefully received.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I picked up this glass bottle stopper - now I seem to have started an interactive series with the text. The (theoretical) book seems to be expanding. Is this avoidance of finishing the project on my part? Could be. I do like the divergent thinking part more than the convergent. Where will it end? I don't know, But I think I'm going to spend the evening doing something simple with thread, while watching the last of Season 4 of Doctor Who ( So long, David Tennant). Brain hurts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Through the Looking Glass #1

I want to be safe/I want to be free

Jenny Woolf was kind enough to send me a chapter of The Mystery of Lewis Carroll to read. Apparently he struggled all his life with wishing to believe, willing himself to do so, and the skepticism of his logical mathematician's mind.
Just reshot this (in part because I am delaying doing my homework for talking to folks at Shipyard Labs). Sometimes less is more- what do you think? As I finished, I inadvertently released the roll of silver duct tape which rolled merrily down the steep stairway and vanished (ie, did NOT roll into the street) when it got to the steps - that silvery gleam, whither is it fled?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Now can you guess?

This was the previous clue for the evolution of the doll. I'll show her in her new face and garments on Monday.

Before the Storm

This is an illustration from a few years back for an article about how animals often sense a storm on its way for a magazine in Florida. We're in for some rain here in the coming week.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One from Tennessee Williams

No stage too tiny, no shot too cheap...I couldn't pass up this photo op. I've said it before, but do I live in a great neighborhood or what?

Here's a link to the scene in Streetcar named Desire (I see my British readers have no clue - I know who P.G. Wodehouse is, why don't you people know who Tennessee Williams is (Is this about that spot of trouble back in 1776)?


The mad cross-hatcher strikes again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who is George Arthur Fripp...

...and what is he doing under the sink?

Please advise in the comments section. Note use of the article...may be my sink, may be your sink, may be the sink of a heretofore unnamed entity. As always, no pressure except that of your own fertile minds.

Fly away

And this is how the little prince turned out - here resting a branch nailed to my father's balcony before he flies away to England. The beginning is here. And there is another photo showing more detail on flickr.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One from the Mahabarata

Krishna prepares to throw a wagon wheel when it appears Bhishma's armies will be victorious over Arjuna.

A Visit to Point Reyes

We went to Point Reyes, but we didn't see any whales although it is the whales' migration season. We did see elephant seals, and a very shy man with a slight stutter who was was a researcher told us they swim for 7000 miles to get to where they give birth, then they don't eat for a month while the pups are nursing. As soon as the pups are weaned, they head back North. Let me tell you, we were looking at about 400 semi-comatose mammals with just an occasional twitch of a fin are a wobbly head raised to look around. When on the move, it's theorized that they sleep when they dive - think about that.

I've been asked about the scale of the paper figures I shoot- can you see Captain Ahab on the right?

Photo by my sister Judy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Alice and the White Knight

It's our old friend Alice...The White Knight is encountered in the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass. Another treatment of Alice and the White Knight here, and a preview of my Alice book on blurb here.

I'm linking this to the March 26 Illustration Friday, the whole White Knight concept...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day from a foreign correspondent

These playing card collages were made and distributed at the Sugar Loaf Mountain complex in (near?) Rio by Cláudia, who does not have a blog. What Cláudia had to say the process of making these and letting go of them:

I got attached to the cards I manipulated! So attached that I considered taking pictures of them and simply collect them all at the end and bring my babies back home again, with "mummy". God! It's a challenge to let go of things that we have carefully created . I was ashamed to be so selfish, so childish!

Then, it happened: I finally made up my mind to leave some of the cards and stepped back to observe people's reaction to them. And people were stopping to see my gifts! They didn't take them, but those "alien" objects did awake interest, curiosity and amazement. That was enough for me - I felt really rewarded and just walked away happy to have been able to create opportunities to make people stop and wonder.

Those of us who work in the arts will recognize this feeling. Bungy32 also wrote a beautiful ( and somewhat startling) post to go with the valentine he made and placed, and there is magnificent trio at Titus the Dog. Jasmine has plans for bringing an early Spring with her contribution at Nature's Whispers.Wind beneath my occasionally draggled wings - I love you guys!

Unrelated to cards, I just saw these lovely images on Resurrection Fern - If I have to pick one, it would be the mushroom/jellyfish/heart at the bottom, I love a multiple nature. More delight on Three Little Cameras. Also I posted on from Shakespeare on my other blog, TinyTheatre.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Velvet Fever (Guest Poets)

Every year poet Laynie Browne sends out a Valentine poem composed by her sons Benjamin and Jacob Davidson (now 10 and 8 years old respectively). I thought this year's was wonderfully Gothic.

Velvet Fever

My ice is rattling like rice bones
The star of pey
The kale was a cake and it was frozen
My homework folder got the Velvet Fever
By eating evil snowmen and kissing bunny Bunkin's nose
But Bunkin never got fluff or fever

Velvet Fever reaction:
Your hair turns into razor blades
Your pencils turn into cheese when you touch them
Your hands and feet turn into empty velvet husks
Fluffily scales appear on your eyelids
Your eyes turn into green marbles
Your voice little like a pea
The taste in your mouth is grape lemonade grasshoppers
When you close your eyes you see a labyrinth
You fall into a pool of velvet sleep

The cure the Velvet Fever:
For three weeks take out your potion
Only under moonlight

To make a potion
Brew three hours:
Liquid book
apple husks
phoenix tears
pickle juice
itchy bottle tops

Pour into a glass of midnight
It looks like a pitch black frog
Take 3 drops per day until healed

Then go to the Velvet Theater and watch a show.

It's all in the transformation, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I seem to need reminding.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gap by J.T. Steiny

Arrived home to J.T. Steiny's (of Dog a Day) latest corrugated masterpiece. Not the first time we've unconsciously synchronized themes..

The Gap

I thought it might be interesting to compare the original drawing at top I did with the finished illustration at the bottom. This was for an article for the Monthly on American kids taking up the European practice of the gap year between high school and college. The idea was all the art director's, I have to confess. I'm quite excited because the Monthly has accepted my story idea for Shipyard Labs, which I posted about here.

Edit: The Illustration Friday prompt is adrift, so I'm going to go ahead and link this up.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Crazy Heart (two of our finest blue-eyed actors)

What a terrific film. I had been wanting to see it since I heard it paired Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and it did not dispappoint. A tear, a smile, a lot of laughter. I saw this with my sister and my father, who seemed to be mystified about an attractive 30-year-old woman would see in someone withe "issues" the Jeff Bridges character had. For me, not a problem. Who's with me here?

Also, I can't resist linking to Seth Godin's post today: The hidden power of a gift.
Just about to take off for the family outing, so it will be a little while before I post new comments, but definitely interested in your opinions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Beginning

This is how it looks now...for a clue as to where I'm planning to take it, see SpiritCloth. We're going on a little family outing for a couple of days, I'm hoping to work on this and have it finished for my sister to take back to England...

The Seven Samurai: Two Styles

These are Samurais 6 and 7: Toshiro Mifune as Kikuchiyo, with his false pedigree, and Seiji Migaguchi as Kyuzo, the wicked cool one who looks like Buster Keaton. Mifune gives a performance as a classic trickster figure, almost demonic, at the same time he appears to be an everyman, a lost soul in a world which doesn't make a lot of sense - a ferocious performance, both in its humor and its tragedy.

Edit: Fresca's comment has reminded me that this film explores the theme of loyalty in a genuinely curious way, as does The Third Man, and is like that film one of the greatest films of the twentieth century.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Can you guess now?

This is what happened to the raffia in the earlier post....Can you seen where the doll is going now?

The Seven Samurai: The Hapless Lovers

Yes, you can kind of tell that "This Will End in Tears". I have substituted San Francisco's Japanese Tea Garden as background for the fields of flowers in the film, which seem to represent Nature at her most sublimely indifferent to human warfare.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Unexpected (Where Paisley comes from)

At the Farmer's Market, I was surprised by these greens - apparently they come in more colors than one would think.

More unexpected sightings:

On Via Negativa, a close reading of nature reveals something hiding in plain sight.

On Cobalt Violet, an over-exposed photograph is transformed into a visual meditation on light as wave and particle.

On Three Little Cameras, some odd visitors to Zagreb.

On Aleph and Elsewhere, deserted connections to the earth.

On New First Unexpected, the perils of cynicism.

On My Delineated Life, philosophy from the krazy/wise cat.

Woohoo! This just in: Timothy Winkler's "Arcade" was selected as one of the winners in the New Yorker's Eustace Tilley cover contest. I don't think he was expecting that!

Let me know in comments if you have posted about anything surprising in your environment recently and I will add it to the links.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reptilian Brain:The Illustration (I can see you, you know)

Does the above look curiously familiar? I got the idea off Monet, reminded of his painting recently on Empty Nest Evolution. I always remember the samurai on the kimono as a white dragon.

Tomorrow, the Unexpected Links.

Reptilian Brain: The Photograph

That pesky amygdala...Does anyone else have trouble with theirs? My sister is visiting and she had to sort me out twice yesterday, once of for smartassery and once for butting in. Here's a musical link for a blast from the past, to see just how pretty a certain yoga practitioner, AKA the Ace Face, was back in the day. For some reason this video clarified for me the descent of Steampunk from the Mad Max films.

~Illustration version later today~

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Yesterday Up in the Air...

...I saw a town that wasn't there. Argleton is a town that doesn't exist, but which appeared on Google Maps. Was it a misspelling of nearby Aughton? A copyright trap? I'm not sure if it was ultimately removed (although I certainly hope not). One intrepid walker ventured into this English Bermuda Triangle and lived to write about it...although as he says here, he's not sure if he was the same afterwards. Elsewhere, an interview with the author of Mythogeography, which advocates a kind of enchantment of the urban environment...unless what the author is suggesting is merely to see, really see, some of the wonders around us.

Friday, February 5, 2010

D.I.Y. Valentines

For my readers who are parents with children to entertain in what may be inclement weather, I've posted some do-it-yourself Valentine ideas on TinyTheatre - hope they'll be fun to play with, and maybe generate some ideas for you or your pint-sized family geniuses.

...And also for functional

I'm not particularly exercised about anything at the moment...I just like the idea of huff as a kind of vehicle, The drawing of the huff is based on something in a book of old engravings, an inexplicable but clearly decorative object. I left off the draperies in the original to make it more functional.

After much inner debate, I decided to make a little handmade alphabet book, tentatively titled "Mental Metereology", which Bryan of the valentine below is going to help me with binding. I will be rolling out the letters here as inspiration comes, O is already taken care of in the obsession post.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jasmine's felt Alice

This was sent to me by Jasmine of the delightful Nature's Whispers Blog - she describes a bit of her nuno felt process and the source of the image here. Jasmine has a deep love of nature which is apparent in her beautiful felt work. Visually related to this is some work on Tales from Beyond the Glimpse, if you would like to see some islands of a more organic nature than the ones James Cameron came up with for THAT movie.

Thinking here about how I can come up with something for Jasmine as lovely as this...any ideas?

Crash Course: 500 years of European History

If you click, it will get taller than your browser...way taller.

I had a plan for doing some sort of animation about the March of Civilization in the manner of Terry Gilliam, but I think for now I'll be pursuing another project, of which more on Friday.

In the mean time, it's a T-shirt - redbubble ships most places in the Western Hemisphere, by the way...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What song?

Which song is this? A couple of clues: the artist's hair has been rendered faithfully, nothing to do with Elvis Costello despite the red shoes, in fact, the artist could give Tom Waits a run for his money in the gifted simian department. One of the prettiest songs I know.

Rats, I may have to draw him too...his face just lends itself to scratchy lines.

Here's the link .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Artists in Community

I know, life in California - the first of our Springs.

Recently I've been struck by how a couple of young and very talented bloggers work with their friends as subjects - affection and respect for their models/actors show in their work:

In photographs, at Romanitan Nicolae

In film, at mildly interesting films

Imaginary Heroes

I watched this after the earlier rant about heroes which I wrote, although it covers some of the same ground. A terrific film, with a screenwriter/director who turned 24 while making it, I must say he wrote a wonderful part for Sigourney Weaver. Emile Hirsch plays the son with more life-shattering traumas than a barrel of monkeys (I did what with my what?). The characters spend a lot of time staring at the heavens, with the occasional aid of a delightful piece of lawn furniture.