Of Trills in the Night
A Few Words of Introduction:
Of late, the time required by my day job has left me with so little to dedicate to newsletters that an open invitation to my friends and colleagues has gone out in the hope that the respite provided by expected guests will afford me the time to not discontinue them entirely. So, as you can well imagine, I was delighted when Imola Unger replied to my invitation.
No stranger to the strange land that constitutes the geography of the site, she has often contributed help and thoughts. Texts insightful, thought-provoking, impeccably researched, grammatically irreproachable, and always delivered with illustrations and captions. A perfect guest.
(Guest writers always find the welcome mat out. I leave a light on as well, sometimes there’s even coffee.)
And, as you’ll see, like the nightingale, Imola has a voice distinctly her own.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 14/07/12 | 07:59 PM |
WAITING FOR THE SUN
Or “Knowledge Does Not Enrich Us”
C. G Jung, in his American travels, spent some time with the Pueblo people of New Mexico. Jung perceived that there was something shared by the entire tribe to which he was not privy. “…the air was filled with a secret known to all the communicants, but to which the whites could gain no access. This strange situation gave me an inkling of Eleusis, whose secret was known to one nation and yet never betrayed. I understood what Pausanias or Herodotus felt when he wrote “I am not permitted to name the name of that god.” This was not, I felt, mystification, but a vital mystery whose betrayal might bring about the downfall of the community as well as of the individual.”
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 15/06/12 | 09:16 PM |
THE STUFF OF DREAMS
Women of the Golden Age of Illustration: Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale
“…The decorative illustrator has usually literature to illustrate, and a commission to be beautiful and imaginative in his work. He has the opportunity of Rossetti, the opportunity for significant art.” 1
“Therefore all art is illustration, though it rather seems to follow that all illustration is not art.” 2
“I feel inclined to throw away my palette and brushes. What are my things by the side of stuff such as hers.” 3
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 15/05/12 | 05:00 PM |
A Book Cover and a Few Other Things for Later
Over the last few years, I’ve been walking quite a lot, mostly along the edge of the sea.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 12/04/12 | 06:34 PM |
DISAPPEARING INTO THE INSTANT
Or the Quiet Art of Balancing in the Present
Mist is a must. Overcast skies and low cloud are good. A little rain as well, but light.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 16/03/12 | 06:00 PM |
IMAGES WERE MAGIC ONCE
Or The Need for Words in a World of Pictures
It is indeed getting pretty sad, I thought, when I write a text at someone’s request, send it dutifully off (albeit certainly so late it is no longer of any use, or for some catalogue long gone to the printer) and then cannot for the life of me recall who it was for.
Although, the modest silver lining is of course stumbling upon it again and thinking well, there could be a place for that…
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 15/02/12 | 09:00 AM |
DRAWING THE LINE SOMEWHERE
Or All About Making Your Mark
One of the best ways to go on about yourself, albeit obliquely, is to proffer advice.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 18/01/12 | 09:00 PM |
STRANDS AND BROKEN SHELLS
Or Thoughts for the Year to Come
I think if I had to choose what seashells I prefer, I would respond “The broken ones.”
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 16/12/11 | 07:44 PM |
ABOUT THE MOVING OF MOUNTAINS
Or the Able Tools of Patience and Passion
It seems we humans have a certain preoccupation with material things.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 16/11/11 | 08:59 AM |
SHIPS, SAILS AND FARAWAY PLANETS
The Forgotten Voyage of William M. Timlin
Several months ago, I received one of those offers that cannot be refused. Calla Editions, the fine art book imprint of Dover Publishing, was preparing a re-edition of William M. Timlin’s book The Ship That Sailed to Mars. Would I like to write an introduction?
Well, yes, of course yes.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 15/10/11 | 07:00 PM |
~ THE DEFINING OF DREAMS ~
Women of the Golden Age of Illustration: Florence Harrison
“The chief obstacle to a woman’s success is that she can never have a wife. Just reflect what a wife does for an artist.” 1
“I see a little girl sitting on the grass, beneath the limes in the hot summer-tide, with eyes fixed on the far away blue hills, and seeing who knows what shapes there; for the boy by her side is reading to her wondrous stories of knight and lady, and fairy thing, that lived in the ancient days…” 2
“There is no earthly reason why women should not be illustrators.” 3
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 15/09/11 | 03:59 AM |
Come Unto These Yellow Sands – but mind the naked fairies…
A Few Words First
Most of my favourite newsletters are the ones I’ve not written. Not principally because some generous soul has spared me racing against looming deadlines, but because the texts written by talented authors who generously allow me to reproduce them here are always a delight to discover.
Charlotte Zeepvat is, in her own words, a “compulsive researcher, endlessly fascinated by finding things out, model maker, painter (never quite finding the skill to match the pictures in my head but still game to try) and would-be but probably-never-will-be illustrator, historian by training, writer, and collector of old photographs.” She writes books, occasionally illustrates them, and knows astonishing things about subjects few have heard of or even considered.
Charlotte has a web site, currently with hoarding all about and “Under Construction” signs up all around, and very politely declined my offer to list her books because they “probably won’t be of much interest to anyone who wants fantasy and fairies.” So, you’ll have to look up her work on your own. You can also take her qualification of “would-be but probably-never-will-be illustrator” with a grain of salt. Her artwork is detailed and exquisite.
But, in the meantime, read on, and do mind the fairies.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 16/08/11 | 11:41 PM |
SHIPS IN THE AIR
Or a Short History of Flights of Fantasy
“…Give me the ships, with sails adapted to the heavenly wind; there will be fearless people, even if they face the immensity. And for those descendants who in short time will venture themselves by these ways we will prepare…” The words are from Johannes Kepler, written to Galileo Galilei in his “Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo” published in 1610. Four centuries ago.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 15/07/11 | 07:00 PM |
THE DREAM OF EMESE
Or An Intricate Intertwining of Threads
Many months ago, while investigating – if investigating is not too diligent-sounding a term for my somewhat directionless wanderings on the track of some mythological creature or other across the marches of cultural history – those wonderful places in time and geography where ancient cultures meet and exchange the greatest gift: the transference of elements of their beliefs from one to another, I stumbled across iconography all but identical from Persia and Hungary. I promptly sent a note to a friend and colleague from Budapest, asking if the tale of the Dream of Emese might ring a bell.
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 11/06/11 | 11:33 PM |
A SHOULDER TO LEAN ON
Or Reflections by a Vicarious Southpaw
After a half a century of diligent draughtsmanship one would think that much if not all of the process can be taken for granted. (Estimation based on the point where I most distinctly recall encountering my first major difficulties in drawing what I wished – a recalcitrant cow* - sure sign that it would never be possible to be fully satisfied with a drawing, meaning of course that the only choice left was to spend a lifetime or so working on it.)
Read the whole entry - Posted by John on 15/05/11 | 07:00 PM |