Feb 20, 2010

Illustration Friday: 'Propagate'

     "Hey! Hey! There's blood on the tines of my pitchfork," shouted Uncle Jim.
     Beside him Aunt Maude went bright red. She knew all about the blood, of course, but she wasn't going to tell Jim whose blood it was. She wasn't going to propagate any more lies.
     In fact, she realised, no one was going to tell Jim.
    He'd have to find out for himself.

(From :'Seven Ways to Skin a Cat', by Raymond Foster, Pub. 1985 Simon and Sampleton, Liverpool)

Ellie had a few unusual lessons that summer, down behind the propagating shed. Not that uncle Jim and aunt Maude had anything at all to do with it.

      This black and white 'photograph' was my first attempt at "Propagate".
      But uncle Jim wouldn't play serious.
      Everytime I pointed the camera at him he'd pull a funny face. He even pinched Maude on the derriere once or twice - which is why, in the photograph, she looks like her false teeth are going to fall out.
      In the end I gave up and we got Fred from next door to take the part. You can see from the coloured shot at the top that Fred had too much hair but beggers can't be choosers, can we?
      It was actually Fred's suggestion to do a take on "American Gothic"; and it was Fred who pulled the pitchfork out of the long grass near the barn where someone had tossed it.
      But that was when we noticed the blood on the tines of the pitchfork.
      It was fresh blood. Too fresh. And straight away we knew that something big was up.

(From :'The Artist as Liar', by Raymond Foster, Pub. 1981 Simon and Sampleton, Liverpool)



  1. Well, this is a disturbing picture...! Well done, of course, as always. But slightly scary :-) Ellie´s expression is a lot more worrisome than Aunt Maude´s unwillingness to propagate lies.

  2. I got the reference to American Gothic immediately. Like the reds and yellows in the color illustration ... the colors support the story line. I like the black and white illustration too. It looks just like an old snapshot.

  3. Love the uncomfortable feeling about your work(s). We need to get out of our comfort zones more often. And if it is done with this much black humor, even better.

  4. I think the top one is much better than the B/W, in every way. I hope you don't mind me saying it but Uncle Jim seems to have a bit of the man-boob thing goin' on. :D

    I like it a lot. Will check and see if you have posted alternate views...they are always fun and worth taking a look at.

  5. I've always suspected Aunt Maude :)

    Very well done in a creepy good way!

  6. Wow, disturbing, creepy, and my son loves it, of course! Nice work Andrew, and slightly Stephen Kingish. I've always marveled at what it must be like to think of things like that and then to be able to make people see what you see, well done.

  7. Actually, Andrew, I always found "American Gothic" to be a little disturbing in its own way, so your take on it is refreshing and feels "truer" to me! Nice to see your struggles and how you worked your way through them — thanks for sharing!

  8. WOW! Andrew, this is such a strong set of illustrations. Shocking and worrisome content-wise, and darned impressive how you illustrated them. Thanks for your visit - it's great to "meet" you via Susan's blog. Congrats on the blog award you've been given by her..can't wait to read your "lies/truth"! : ) I'll be by soon - great work here!!

  9. Andrew I had to make a second comment because my husband saw this and thought this was really cool. So I wanted to say again "well done".

  10. I want to see you in action. I promise I won't disturb you. I just want to sit there pretending to read while I watch you create these intriguing images. And what a great sense of humor you have! I love that. Okay, I can't stand it anymore, I have to say this. You are so damn cute and good looking! I hope that will not scare you away from my blog.

  11. Uh Oh....Andrew you have another groupie!

    Wonderfully creepy this is, I love the new Uncle Jim! I hate it when things don't go smoothly, but I guess it comes with illustration territory. Awesome peek into your world once again!

  12. hi thanks for all the kind comments!

    I don't mean to be creepy in these pictures. The characters just do what they have to do. They sort of 'take over' if you get my meaning ... they begin to tell their own story.

    I put the black and white one in just to show that the illustrations can create their own stories. Because the fact that Uncle Jim just wouldn't play right, that he looked pretty silly holding that glass of 'milk', meant he had to be axed (so to speak!) and a more elegant character bought in.

    I knew I wanted American Gothic, but didn't know what it was called - I searched for 'farming couple with pitchfork painting" on google images and it came up straight away.

    Love living in 2010!

    Thanks again for the kind responses.

    I guess I failed the "kiddie sensitive test" :)

    PS Ces, I'll be round this afternoon at about 2.27! Just remember, that pic isn't me, it's just a bunch of pixels staring at you from the monitor. In reality I am much taller!

    Looking forward to seeing whatevery one is upto!


  13. Ho forgot to say LDahl (I don't know your name sorry!!!!)

    I don't mind at all constructive criticism which yours always is. I agree with you entirely!

    I share a studio with a bunch of artists and we all critique each others work as part of our sessions. You get a thick skin after a while. And ultimately it's upto the artist to decide whether to take on board the critique or not.

    Sometimes you need to stand by your guns, other times you realise that the critique is right and that helps you along the path :)

    The good thing about these blogs is that we are all so polite. But that's also a bad thing sometimes!!!

    cheers and thanks again!

  14. Fabulous atmosphere! And, yep, creepy!

  15. Amazing work!
    I also like your point of view on critique.:-)

  16. Wow! this is creepily fantastic! Very well done!
    BTW, thanks for your kind words in my blog

  17. oooh, very sinister. It makes me feel compelled to interpret the expression on the character's faces. I hope I can sleep tonight. :) Well done!


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