Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Stranger In A Strange Land ( Lost and Found, No.4 )

                                         An original mixed-media painting, on illustration board
                                         4x6" unframed, ( mat size, 9x11")
                                          $70.00, - (plus $7.00, pack and ship)

     This is another selection from the series I worked on during recovery from my
recent surgery.  All of the pieces in the series featured the same lost and forlorn
Disney animation character as their center of interest.  In this case, he is befriended
by two other little characters who also traveled far from their places of origin, many
years ago. They had been recently discovered in the back of a dusty but cozy and dry
bookcase, rather than suffering the tougher journey experienced by the Snow White
dwarf figure, which washed up in my street's curbside gutter last year, like a refugee
from a sad shipwreck.

     Both of the little animal figures were travel souvenirs.  The bear was purchased in
a California Redwoods park, in the early 1940's, when my brother and I were small
boys.  One of us chose the bear and the other chose a squirrel figure of similar size.
The two animals were molded out of pressed wood, which was probably redwood
sawdust, to make them more authentic souvenirs from the park.  The squirrel and the
bear must have been played with a little bit, because they both suffered some slightly
chipped toes and ears.

     The little rabbit figurine was chosen decades later, in one of those generic, Indian
tourist-trap, souvenir shops of the American Southwest.  It was most likely produced
by the thousands, someplace in the orient, so it has no particular relationship to the
town or the state where it was sold.  It was probably purchased because of the ease
of transporting such a tiny figurine home, rather than chosen simply for its perky
personality.  It is less than an inch tall.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Taking Flight

                                         An original mixed-media painting, on illustration board
                                         20x30" unframed, ( mat size, 26x36" )
                                         $2,200.00, - ( plus $30.00, pack and ship )

     This painting dates from several decades back, at a time when I was trying to
capture the impression of movement in some of my work.  Birds in particular, with
their multi-positioned, moving wings, were favorite subjects for me then. The multiple
layered effect of the shifting rhythms of the feathers, as the wings folded or spread wide
or high, seemed to provide endlessly changing, abstract possibilities.

     As I look at this painting now, I can still recall the vigorous, expressionist manner in
which I began applying the paint and colored inks, striking hard, as if the the very
forceful method of the work itself would somehow convey the feeling of movement in
the subject I was painting.. I can see that I even went so far as to vigorously scrape
and scratch linear movement  into the surface.  I doubt that I have attacked a canvas
with quite that high degree of expressionist enthusiasm since those days, but maybe
it would be revitalizing to try it for a change.

     For this painting, I imagined a pair of great horned owls being disturbed from their
perch, perhaps by an intruder with a flashlight, and thus suddenly taking flight, in an
explosion of flapping wings and flying feathers.

                                                 (Click on image to enlarge.)

Ghosts Of Old Friends ( Lost and Found, No. 16 )

                                                    An original mixed-media, on illustration board
                                                    3.5x5" unframed, (mat size, 8.5x10")
                                                    $65.00, (plus $7.00, pack and ship)

     This one was a more surrealistic, second version of a previously posted piece 
called Old Forgotten Friends (Lost and Found, No. 15).  In this version, I played
around with creating shadows which couldn't exist but are perhaps visually intriguing.
The Surrealists, such as Dali and Magritte, were famous for creating impossibly 
long or exaggerated shadows in their work, which they sometimes used to describe 
contours of land or walls, for example.  But in the case of this little painting, it is the 
central shadow of Mickey Mouse which could not exist, because he was only a 
two-dimensional, cover-illustration on the front of the little, children's card-game box.  
So.any actual shadow would have been that of the box, rather than that of the spirit 
of Mickey.  

     Disney himself was fond of using shadows for great effect, particularly in his more
spooky or eerie animations.  The one which comes to mind is the sorcerer's apprentice
section, of his Fantasia film, in which Mickey borrows his master's magic wand, as well 
as some enchanted spells, without knowing how to control the power he unleashes.  
This of course, ends in disaster, with hundreds of marching brooms, and hundreds of
monstrous, marching shadows accompanying all, including Mickey.

     Back in the days when that film was being made, Mickey was three-dimensional
only in the minds of his animators.  They would have been amazed to see the great
dimensions which Mickey would eventually achieve, in the world of business and
entertainment, and the long shadow he would cast..  Mickey was truly the mouse 
that built an empire. 


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Donald's Game ( Lost and Found, No. 17 )

                                    An original mixed-media painting,  on illustration board
                                    3.5x5" unframed, ( mat size, 8.5x10")
                                    $40.00, - ( plus $6.00, pack and ship )

     In my previous posting, I mentioned last fall's finding of two sets of long-
forgotten, children's, card games.  Since one tray of the little "libraries" of game
"volumes" was made up of games named for Disney, animated characters, they
seemed to fit in quite naturally with the little lost-and-found series which I had
been doodling around with at the time, while remembering days long gone by.

     Back in the nineteen thirties and forties, before the arrival of television killed
off all the local, neighborhood movie-theaters, movie-going was a weekly or
twice-weekly habit for the American public.  Those theaters were where a full
evening's entertainment, including a double feature, newsreels and cartoons,
could be enjoyed for the price of a small coin.

     Often times, the cartoons being shown in the theaters in those days, were
Walt Disney cartoons, featuring Walt's alter-ego Mickey Mouse, and Donald
Duck.  Mickey and Donald were the bread-and-butter stars of Walt's animated
short films, and their contrasting personalities also made them the yin and yang
of the cartoon world.  Mickey was ever the smiling, gentlemanly optimist, but
mercurial tempered Donald was forever erupting into tantrums, when his plans
or schemes went awry and backfired on him.

     The Donald Duck card game is labeled volume one, of the little, six volume
set of games licensed by Disney.  I couldn't very well have painted a tribute to
Mickey without also having done one for Donald, and this was it.