Saturday, January 28, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
Illustration Friday - Black Cats and Hepcat
This is an oldie, done several years ago when I was first learning Illustrator. Admittedly, I haven't gotten a whole lot farther than these basic shapes and patterns, but that's probably because I don't use Illustrator that much. I'm posting it because I haven't any time this week to work on something new... I'll be spending all weekend working on the Journeys book project. Even so, I've always liked this because it honors two very special black cats I've had the pleasure of knowing.
Swamp and I came together in a karmic moment on the east bank of the Hudson River one spring morning in 1978 when I rescued him and his sister from being hurled into the river by a couple of boys. Both kittens were tiny black puffballs, the boy having the distinguishing trait of six claws on one front foot and seven on the other. I found the idea of a black cat with thirteen toes very appealing, so I kept him and named him Swamp, because with those feet he would never sink, even on the soggiest terrain. I gave his sister to a waitress I knew from the Empire Diner, where I used to have Sunday brunch. She named her Butch for her own particular reasons. I had Swamp for many many years, and took him with me on my adventures. He and my other cats, Wanda and Willie, even moved with me to the U.S. Virgin Islands, living first in a house in the mountains and then later on a tiny, uninhabited island a quick row away from the boat I called home. He spent his old age residing peacefully with my parents, and in his true mystical fashion, went off one day to die in the woods.
The other black cat was Oscar, who belonged to Jol. He was named after Oscar Wilde because of his flamboyant personality and his graceful movements. Oscar was an outdoor cat and an accomplished hunter with a taste for the unusual... Jol once witnessed him devour a bat! Oscar died a few years ago, and now shares closet space with the ashes of Willie II and Romeo.
I've had many cats that I've loved over the years, but below is a picture (manipulated photograph) of my favorite and the one I love best... the Hepcat.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Illustration Friday - e is for effulgent efflorescence
...and it's also for e.e. cummings, who wrote about Spring:
o sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
prurient philosophers pinched
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
beauty . how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
them only with
- ee cummings (1894 - 1962)
(acrylic and marker on canvas)
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Illustration Friday - Sea
Seafarer - Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982)
And learn O Voyager to walk
the roll of earth, the pitch and fall
That swings across these trees those stars:
That swings the sunlight up the wall.
And learn upon these narrow beds
To sleep in spite of sea, in spite
Of sound the rushing planet makes:
And learn to sleep against this ground.
Water is a primeval symbol, suggesting formlessness, primordial chaos, the unfathomable, union and transformation. It is also associated with birth, fertility, purification, and refreshment. Portrayed either as the ocean or the sea, water is an integral component of most religions and mythologies, one of the four elements essential to life in traditional western philosophy, and an archetypical symbol in psychological and dream analysis.
In many religions and creation myths, water in the form of the ocean represents the beginning of life on Earth, the place from which land arose and life originated. In Jungian interpretation, water images are part of the collective subconscious in which we remember our origins of life in the oceans. To see the ocean or the sea in a dream often represents the idea of delving into the subconscious to reveal the deepest and most hidden emotions. As a subconscious symbol, the ocean is generally interpreted as a boundless place representing the way in which one can get lost on the mysterious journey through life, whereas the sea with its more defined boundaries can be interpreted as symbolic of a more planned and secure journey across one's life. In astrology, the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) are people who tend to be flowing, flexible, oriented toward harmony or union, intuitive, and deeply emotional.
The illustration above was done in pen and colored in Photoshop.