Second-hand and Antiquarian

(Being a small Twitter diversion for October – the first title incorporates several Angela Slatter stories which prompted the exercise)

Second-hand and Antiquarian

The Book of Spells and Skin and Words
A Catalogue of Sins of Birds
The Compleat Changer’s Almanack
A Monograph on Rare Sea-Wrack

A Treatise on the White Blood Moon
A Guide to Whales (with Whaling Runes)
The History of a Hearthside Ghost
(Inscribed: To She Who Haunts Me Most)

Of the books you requested, these
Are currently in stock, so please
Find them enclosed. We will retain
Your list on the offchance we gain

– A first ed. Necronomicon
A Tour Guide On the Rubicon
(Please write, if others spring to mind).
Sincerely, yours, the undersigned.

Illustration Friday: Sea

Illustration Friday: Sea

 

A small gouache painting for this week’s Illustration Friday topic. It is for practice with actual paint, because I need it. I do love the effects that can be got with gouache, and am gradually working out how to do the getting. I’ve also put it up as a print on Redbubble, to test the paper stock.

I chose the image off a tangent from Frost’s poem “Neither out far nor in deep” (which I love, although I imagine it in much softer grey tones, and the poem is by daylight, and this may be a deliberate misinterpretation – but then, it’s poetry, and there’s scope for that).

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep – Robert Frost

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be-
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

 

And on a slightly different note, here are some bonus mermaids, to use up the paint (mermaids don’t shave).

Mermaid 1
Mermaid 2

Print is Dead

Today, on Twitter, Text Publishing was (facetiously?) harking back to the gentler days before the great YA/Adult Lit debate, and wishing for some new pieces on the death of print publishing. I think they wanted links to articles, but I wrote a poem instead.

Print is Dead

Ink stains the sheets.
The newswires said
Behind a locked door
Print lies dead.

TV detectives
Trace white lines
Where the books fell
With broken spines.

(The culprit words
In bright neon
Through dirty windows
Flicker on,

Then flicker off.)
Print lies there, still
Ignoring all the ink
We spill.

Illustration Friday: Beginning

Illustration Friday: Beginning

Some initial capitals, in scratchboard with digital colour, for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Beginning“. They are, as usual, test pieces for another larger project, but I chose the letters based on what I thought were the first letters of some recent poems. I managed to get one completely wrong.

Last week, Terri Windling held a winter poetry challenge on her blog. Below are three of my contributions. The first, on bears, I posted with the last Illustration Friday picture. One other is not here because it turns out it did not start with the letter “I”. So I have a spare capital and a poem to post later. If you are a fan of poetry, illustration, myths, fables or fairytales, I recommend checking out the posts – there are many more poems in the comments.

BAVARIA

(Theme: Snow White, and a memory of first encountering a landscape out of fairytales)

hen apple trees scrabbled to view,
Above a wall, boughs half-unleaved,
Heavy with portent and truth,
All bronze and pewter, I believed.
When garnet, pomegranate fruit,
Struck at my heart, I almost grieved.
(The castles only ever were
Sprung from some wild dream-aquifer).
Snow falling from the mirrored sky,
Softened the blow. But then when I
Saw winter forests spider-grey
All webbed and knotted out of view,
(So little space to struggle through),
I knew the stories all were true.

CUSTOM

(Theme: Deer in Fairy Tales, Folklore and Myth, which fit with recent research on legends of white deer for another project)

BeginningWDeer

e do not say we saw a deer. We saw
The starlight slanting through rain-silvered leaves
The mist lift off the lake, owls through the trees
Glide white and silent. This, and nothing more.

We do not say we saw a figure pale
Among the rushes, long-limbed, loitering.
We saw the rushes only, rustling,
The thin frost freezing to a glassy veil.

We do not speak of tracks that, seen too near,
Appear to change from hooves to naked feet.
We do not speak of strangers whom we meet –
Such questions only ever cost too dear.

We keep an older law:
These two have always been
Separate: What you have seen
And what you say you saw.

ROBIN’S FLIGHT

(Theme: The Wild in Myth, Folklore and Fantasy)

ut of rumour and night,
Blood and bone,
Something knotted and gnarled
Had sprouted and grown.

A tree climbed out of a heart.
It may have been
Oak or ash or elder,
Or else from a dream –
Not evergreen.

When the crown of gold and scarlet
Tarnished to grey
The branches clutched at sky.
Something had flown away.

Illustration Friday: Search, and poems

Illustration Friday: Search

My current art warm-up exercise is painting this year’s calendar – free-handed ink and gouache with a liberal dash of gold acrylic – and the stories for these four months all involve searching: sisters for brothers, brave lassies for lovers, mothers for daughters…

The girl on the bear is generally from the story “East of the Sun, West of the Moon“, which I had in mind because of Terri Windling’s winter poetry challenge, and yesterday’s topic, which was bears. The post is full of fairytale art, and the comments of poetry.

Australia is bearless, but my mother is more-or-less from Colorado and we were raised  in Western Queensland on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, as well as fairytales (and my father telling us to run outside because bears had come in the night, we could still see bare footprints around the house), so this is my poem:

Bears My Mother Brought With Her

The bears that haunted
Nights and sleep,
The bears that spread
Their skins for warmth
In covered-wagon dreams,
The bears
That kept the dark
Soft-furred and deep,
That left their mark
On trackless dust,
The bears that must
Have haunted trees
And granite hills,
Have spilled
From northern lips
And filled
The bare and bearless
Eucalypts,
And fallen on this thin divide,
Have ranged like cattle in the dusk,
Left stories like a trace of musk,
Carried the frost off like a bride
On broad translucent labouring shoulders,
Lichened like boulders –

And we, who never saw a bear,
We never doubted they were there.

And here is another digital sketch, of the end of a search:

 

 

Illustration Friday: Search

 

Once upon a time…

The Once Upon a Time fairytale group art show starts this week! Tomorrow evening (16 August 2013) in point of fact, with the opening beginning at 6pm. The show finishes on 25 August 2013 and is on from 10-4 every day after that (I think – I will check and confirm tomorrow!).

August 2013 Blog Header

The Art & Design Precinct, 10 Bailey St, West End, Brisbane

16-25 August, 2013

Facebook: Once Upon a Time

http://artdesignprecinct.wordpress.com/

http://thecreativeactivists.com.au/about-us/

The snippet above is a sneak-peak at one of my works, with more to come, but not until the show is on! I have eight little cut-paper pieces in the show, with a theme of time, unravelling, paths of briars and stars.

It began with a combination of Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood, then moved into Diana Wynne Jones territory, and wandered out from there, through poems which went in part,

“When she was born
The great and grave,
Earnest and elegant
Givers of gifts gathered,
And said what was proper.

The godmother of all fairies
Arrived uninvited,
(As she always does)…”

and

“Who’s wise enough to know where each begins:
The path of needles, or the path of pins;
The way of briars, and the road of thorns;
The life you choose, or into which you’re born…”

and one of Trudi’s accordion sketchbooks filled with ideas, to be distilled at last into this set of stark, silhouette landscapes of stars and twisted trees, peopled with bold adventurers, cheerful foxes and (if you look closely) several intrepid mice.

There are 30 artists in the show, none of whom I have yet met, but the glimpses of art I saw peeking out of packing materials on delivery day look colourful and delightful.

Illustration Friday: Travel

Illustration Friday: Travel

An impromptu musing in pen and ink and a dash of watercolour (and a rather cavalier attitude to rhythm and punctuation) on the theme of Red Riding Hood and journeys which – combined with Sleeping Beauty and a lot of cut paper work – forms part of the theme of my contribution to next month’s Once Upon a Time art show (which this is not a part of, unless I can’t get everything else finished in time).

“Come!” says Miss Red, “we’ll go a-journeying – 
So what if the wolf is in the woods?
He knocks at every cottage door
And if the path should promise pain
Or flowers,
We may choose again.

But all paths give
Sharp stones and o
ffer pleasant hours. 
This is of needles, that of pins,
And she who travels lightest wins.
Wear a good hat – so that you won’t be seen,
Or else bright colours, so you can’t be missed
(Better to go uncheated? or unkissed?
Unsinging or unsung?
Or altogether elsewhere, all the time
Distracted by a fresh horizon, sprung
Anew with every step.)
Good boots at least (for mud and gravel)
And food (who knows how far you’ll travel?).
Danger’s at home as well as away, 
In bed as well as on the road, 
And worry is a thankless load – 
Come!” says Miss Red,
“I’ll share the forest and my bread
With who may join me, lingering
On pleasant paths.
We’ll go a-journeying…”

The show is:

Once Upon a Time – Reinterpreting the Fairy Tale

16th- 25th August 2013

The Art & Design Precinct, 10 Bailey St, West End, Brisbane

http://artdesignprecinct.wordpress.com/