anonyrrie: Illustration Friday - Escape

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Illustration Friday - Escape

What was Icarus thinking before he escaped into the sky on those glorious wings of feather, wax and thread? Although he had been warned by his father Dedalus not to fly too high lest the sun melt the wax that held his wings together, once in the air he was overcome by the thrill of flight and the power of his wings. In exultation, Icarus soared heavenward towards the sun, forgetting his father's earnest and loving words of caution. The death of Icarus is told in the following lines by Darwin:

...with melting wax and loosened strings
Sunk hapless Icarus on unfaithful wings;
Headlong he rushed through the affrighted air,
With limbs distorted and dishevelled hair;
His scattered plumage danced upon the wave,
And sorrowing Nereids decked his watery grave;
O’er his pale corse their pearly sea-flowers shed,
And strewed with crimson moss his marble bed;
Struck in their coral towers the passing bell,
And wide in ocean tolled his echoing knell.

The Myth of Icarus has long stood as a cautionary tale warning of the brash, impulsive exuberance of youth. I like to wonder though about the immense feeling of possibility young Icarus must have felt as he stood poised at the edge of the cliff, with the dark sea rolling out for miles to the mainland of Greece and the sun heating his blood and stirring his ambition. Perhaps in that moment, to him the sky wasn't the limit, and when he pushed off into the air, it was with a sense of confidence and purpose...a fine way to start a new journey.

You can read about Icarus in Bullfinche's Mythology


Anonymous shakespeare said...

that's really beautiful.
really really beautiful.

9:12 AM  
Blogger vfm4 said...

beautifully told, lovely drawn!

9:38 AM  
Blogger kg said...

nice illo - especially love the detail of the wings - the way you did them really does have a wax-and-feather look to them! brings back college days of reading "musee des beaux arts" by w.h. auden, which is about breughel's fall of icarus.

10:27 AM  
Blogger carla said...

Yes! I had initally though of Auden's poem. At first I thought of doing a modernized version based on Breugels painting, but decided instead to focus on what Icarus might have been thinking before the whole deal went to speak!

Thank you very much, Shakespeare, vfm4, and kg for your comments!

10:44 AM  
Blogger Tony Sarrecchia said...

Great detail, nice look on the wings.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Valaine said...

This looks like an old illustration made to tell the story of Icarus long ago. The composition is great. I like the collage feel of it The sun's face is strong and looks as if it should be respected. ^_^ Why did you personify the sun? I like that you did!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Perriette said...

Kg, I like your little bird.

Carla, is that digital? What does Annonyrrie mean? I escape with wings also, but I don't melt.

11:33 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Nice one, Carla -- both the illustration and the post. I can understand Daedalus's position now, but it takes an Icarus to do great things, despite the risk. Strangely enough, I was just in the process of sending this quote to a friend: Great love and great achievement involve great risk.

I'm glad you managed to fit another one in between planning and marking! :)

11:34 AM  
Blogger carla said...

Thank you Tony!

Valaine, I have always loved sun and moon faces, probably beause I have always loved mythology and fairy tales. On a rational level, I know that these things don't have personalities, but the romantic in me is seduced by the ancient stories of gods and godesses. I even have a sunface tattoo on my lower back :>

Tony and Valaine...are you alter egos? Look at your avatars...they look like the top and bottom! I think we have an exquisite corpse here!

Miss Daze, I drew this in Illustrator and then finished it in Photoshop.

I know what you mean a parent, it is clear to imagine what Dedalus must have felt throughout the whole process. I also agree with the quote you mentioned, and that's why I looked at the myth from this particular point of view.

11:44 AM  
Blogger kan said...

What does Annonyrrie mean? Interesting about your you have any others? Is your sun female or male?

1:44 PM  
Blogger isay said...

i am late in browsing....

i like how you made the clouds and the wings.

2:29 PM  
Blogger The Whippy Curly Tails said...

Love the greek mythology theme...such a happy sun, looks like a girl sun to me!

When I was young we named all our cats after those in greek mythology--Agamemnon, Orestes, and Daphne. My mother and grandmother were both english teachers in the CA school systems, so mythology was big in our family. =^..^=

4:01 PM  
Blogger Valaine said...

I know! I saw that after I posted ^_^ haha! That is really weird that that happened like that. I showed my son and he busted out laughing!!

4:50 PM  
Blogger rubio2d said...

Great work!
I really like the work you've done in the wings.
I love the sun, with that great expression of passiveness.
I also like the texture (is digital?)

a little more info about icarus:

7:41 PM  
Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

Unfortunatly, the legend of Icarus- like the Tower of Babel or Garden of Eden- is one of those stories to pound it into people's heads that God(s) (and, therefore, those on earth who are God's Personal Represenatives in the Vicinity) doesn't like it when you achieve too much, know too much, rock the boat, or threaten the leader of the pack. The implication is that God will then damn you to hades for all eternity. %$#@ 'em & fly, baby!

7:51 PM  
Blogger carla said...

Rubio, thank you:> ...this was done in illustrator and finished in photoshop.

Ah Tony, that's why I wanted to think about the moments before flight. I wanted to think about the courage it takes to believe you can "fly," and to the actually step off the cliff. I didn't want to get into a big thing about the whole control/fear factor that is implied by this myth (and has found its way into organized religion). It is, in my mind, not so much about being a foolish youth as it is about having hubris, and as we all know...hubris never goes unpunished in the world of mythology. Of course, you have to ask...who was really the one punished...Icarus or Dedalus?

8:10 PM  
Blogger miragee said...

The feel of this image is kind of different from your previous works. The subject is a man, but he is no less beautiful than women under your pen!

5:22 AM  
Blogger pino said...

Every of your illustrations are meaningful. But this week is amazing. I like mythology much and enjoyed your way of look to the subject:)

10:51 AM  
Blogger Seth Russell said...

Beautifly done, you always have such a great story to go with your art.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous paul said...

hi Carla,

OK, I admit that I'm a sucker for the whole Icarus story but your pic is really...intense? Maybe that's not the word but when you first look at it you think it's a simplistic representation of the topic but upon further inspection you can really see the detail in the feathers and the sun's antognizing gaze. It's kind of striking.

I'm trying to say it looks really cool, good job!

7:44 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Hey girl, great Ill. and post! Have a good week.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

No blonde girls this week? What does Annonyrrie mean? };-}

9:37 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Hi Carla
A beautiful story and illustration
I especially like the sun
Icarus does give me the feeling like he cannot wait to fly and that nothing else matters.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Tony Sarrecchia said...

Carla--The avatar thing is weird. What is equally strange is that Valaine and I both live in the Atlanta area, we are both Virgos and we both have a thing about facial avatars.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Virginia Valle said...

Carla thanks for coming back to my blog :D and thanks for your kind words :).. was very nice to see you :)... I will be back more... I promise. :D

5:02 AM  
Blogger kikazinha said...

Hi Carla, thank you,I will put word verification on my blog.

You are getting stronger with your illustrations, before they where always subtler than the text.Have you notice that?texture in your illustrations always seems made of sand :-)

You analyse quite well my work,that´s really nice,I do love magic realism,and I do love wolves,always did.That came from "Women running with the wolves" by Clarisssa P. Estés.Have you read it? Great is my selportrait.Next time I wiil put a photo of myself at the blog...greetings and have a great week!

5:35 AM  
Blogger Catnapping said...

I really like the wings! And the overall use of colours.


11:30 AM  
Blogger christina said...

This was beautiful to come to--both the text and the illustration. I've wondered about Icarus too. Such daring, such certain demise. But isn't that what taking risks is? Without trying we wouldn't fail, but we also wouldn't succeed. What if he HAD flown? Such a great interpretation of "escape" and wonderful to read lines of verse...thanks.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Jaimie said...

Beautiful illustration and thoughtful informative commentary to go with it!

5:40 PM  
Blogger The Whippy Curly Tails said...

What does Annonyrrie mean?

6:28 PM  
Blogger carla said...

Thank you for your comments:>

Miragee, I think I decided to draw a male figure because you mentioned something about that last time. I want to try to draw some things that are out of my comfort zone.

Pino,Seth, Cat, Jaimie...thanks...I always enjoy visiting your blogs to see what goodies you're serving up!

Hey Tony...are you sure you and Valaine aren't the same person??? Hmmm....?

Virginiajoe...I really loved your blog. I am definitely going to go back and spend some time looking at your work. As i said, the whole 3D thing fascinates me.

Kikahzina...I have not read that book. I can really see that how magical thing going on in your work. Aside from the fact that you have wonderful talent, your subject matter is always so different and compelling.

Christina, Tony, and Paul...I did want to show him really wanting to fly and feeling like anything was possible. I agree with Christina...we shouldn't be afraid to test our wings. Who knows what we'd be missing if we didn't try to stretch ourselves. Paul...the sun is a part of just does its own thing without deciding what to do. I was hoping for a sort of benignly passive expression as if it were basking in its own warmth.

And now, Anon, Jolie, and Lyn...anonyrrie is a made up word that really has no meaning except to me. And that's all there is to it!


7:13 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

Just saw your Grendel remark at Tony's. The following is from Haiku U by David Bader:
Hrothgar's hall, haunted.
Dauntless Danes die, Grendel - gored.
Why not hrelocate?

(With apologies and best intentions.....
Love your mythical takes on the topics, by the way.

2:20 AM  

the greater the risk, the greater the reward. im amazed i survived all the stupid things i did growing up, especially the years between high school and college. but with age comes wisdom, and hopefully the courage to fly. dig the illo and the look of the wings! now if i can only find my copy of kid icarus for the old school nintendo.

4:10 AM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Ah, Bullfinche's Mythology, one of my favorite books. I've always thought about illustrating Icarus, lovely job.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

Glad you liked the "Hrelocate" advice on Beowulf!! Yes, I saw the MOBA link... It was (sadly) reassuring to me... as I thought some of it was actually "OK" and that mine was "as good as" some of the time. I'm relieved to know that some where students are getting a liberal grounding in literature. Trust me, it doesn't seem to be happening in Texas.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Shano said...

Awesome! Love your sky and use of colors. So much thought went into this illo!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Alina Chau said...


This is a great interpetation of "Escape." The myth has soo much symbolism associate with it, and you capture it in a picture. Great work!

PS. THanks for your nice comment.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

This is great stuff. The last time I read that was back in High School. You write beautifuly. Also, thanks for the support.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

I've long enjoyed this legend. You did a wonderful job depicting it. One thing you can say about Icarus is that he embraced warmth and freedom with exuberance before the crash. Moderation in all things I suppose, but how nice it is to let go and fly sometimes!

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Beautiful job! You have a wonderful sense of color and this just works magically!

5:15 PM  
Anonymous shawn said...

oh carla, that is wonderful! And to think you did all that in illustrator and photoshop!! I also like your stories. Thanks!

8:25 PM  
Blogger Ian T. said...

Icarus seems to be trying to make a deal with The Sun and the upside down triangular structure gives this a perfect unstable feel - a premonition that this will go badly. Escape that fails - an interesting spin on the theme!

There are lots of songs about Icarus, including "Too Close to the Sun" by Alan Parsons, but my all time favourite is Steve Hackett's incredible "Icarus Ascending," sung by Richie Havens - one of my all-time favourite songs.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Pusha V said...

Wow nice work here. Keep it up!

6:21 PM  

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