May 29, 2010

Illustration Friday: Slither

Ralph and Robby Ferguson of Tennyson South Dakota, demonstrate their riding style in the recent 2010 Minnesota Python Swamp Challenge Rodeo.

 Ralph and Robby came third in a line-up of 150 contestants from 34 different countries. An excited Ralph told BNB news he "thought it was a blast." Unfortunately his brother, Robbie, age 7, has been diagnosed with a case of terminal hiccups, and was unable to comment on their surprising third place: Writer Albie Buckrot; Photo: Richard Noser 

Thanks for looking. Again. Clicking for big gives you the big picture.


The top image was inspired by César Samaniego. Have you seen his work? Worth the long trip to Spain I'd say.  Here's the link.

The image with text was inspired by Janne from Spindlemaker. She does dress making and yucky stuff - but she makes wonderful art. :) She is here. She's one of those artists who tries everything and is well worth checking out. (Just kidding about the yucky stuff!)

May 28, 2010

Illustration Friday" Early

Brian was so excited about his date with Matilda Theresa Lollyita-Santa-Maria, that he arrived at their rendezvous fourteen hours and twenty seven minutes early. 

As was his habit on a first date, he wore no socks and clutched a posy of stolen hydrangeas in his left hand. 

Tonight, as well as being excited, he was slightly nervous. And it wasn't just that Matilda Theresa Lollyita-Santa-Maria was the only other dwarf in the village. 

Tonight Brian's physical infirmities had made him a little "fragile".

Sure, his belly buttom ached from his new piercing; but, even worse, he had trouble sitting - his buttocks were still tender from last week's 'entertainment"  at the barracks.

You could never trust Cavalry Captains, he thought to himself. Never, ever.

They were only in it for the ride.

From Rupert Bunny- The Early Days: 1892-1912: Editor: R.Ripplefardenteiner: Pub: Simonster and Schlonger: 1989. London.

Image: Apprentice jockey Brian Farnhobengarven  however, was slowly learning to dislike horses.

Clicking for big gives you a bad hair day :) Thanks for looking.

(apologies to everyone, and Little Britain)

May 20, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood

The wolf's eyes widened. "My! What beautiful flowers!" he said.

Red Riding Hood, looked down at her feet and stepped back in surprise.

She hadn't realized there were so many flowers. But they were just everywhere. Everywhere there were splashes of pink and purple and red.  Even in the dark shadows were scattered clumps of Salvia and Pansies, Bluebells and Harebells and Hyacinth.

They were deep in the woods. She'd been on her way to grandma's place when this strange creature had jumped out from the trees and sauntered over to the path.

He'd given her such a fright that she dropped her basket -  full of bread and milk and honey  and a small bottle of sherry.

The wolf was like none she had ever seen. He wore fine clothes; his coat was linen, his shirt of the finest lace. And he smelt faintly sweet - of  jasmine.

"Why not take the old lady some flowers?" said the wolf.

"She's not an old lady," said Red Riding Hood, wishing she'd never told the wolf about her grandmother.

The wolf guffawed. He held his lace handkerchief to his mouth, but Red Riding Hood could still see his teeth. They were pointy and sharp and glistening.

"Well, let me rephrase that," growled the wolf. "Your dear old grandmother will adore you when you take her flowers." He paused and nodded to the purple flowers near red Riding Hood's left foot. " I'll wager sixpence she  loves pansies the best."

Red Riding Hood looked up quizzically. How had the wolf known? Her Grandma loved pansies almost as much as loved a bottle of Sherry.

Perhaps the wolf was right?

"There's plenty of room on your basket," said the wolf, pressing his point .

"But I promised my mother .....," said Red Riding Hood.

The wolf held his paw out and mimicked her voice. "That you wouldn't stop? My, my! I bet she said not to stray from the path?"

"She did," admitted red Riding Hood.

The wolf grinned slyly behind his paw and peered  up through the leaves of the trees, to the bright blue sky. "You've got hours," he said. "There's plenty of time to visit your grandmother and get back home before dark."

Red Riding Hood thought about the pansies. The pansies were very beautiful. Picking them would only take moments.

And as the wolf had said, she had 'plenty of time'.

What possible harm could she do by taking her granny flowers?

(Thanks for looking. :) Clicking for big gives you Hyacinth and Harebells.)

May 17, 2010

Illustration Friday: Equipment

Geppetto, Pinocchio and the Unborn Son

Once upon a time, in a small Italian Village called Poledena in Tuscany, lived a poor but kind carpenter named Mastro Geppetto.

Though Mastro Geppetto and his wife had been married for fourteen years, they had never had children.

Gepetto's wife, being a hot blooded Spanish girl, blamed him. She ceaselessly nagged him for being a sterile "good for nothing culo rosso figlio di troiabut with malfunctioning equipment."

Gepetto, with a grim smile, took his wife's swearing stoically - for he himself blamed no one else but God.

Every night for fourteen years Gepetto had prayed and prayed for a son (and sometimes even a daughter), but God had chosen not to give him a child.

What, he asked himself over and over, had he done to deserve such a desolate marriage?

He went to church twice every Sunday, he'd been faithful to his wfe, he never drank, he gambled seldom, and he only smoked on Saturdays while he sat on the porch chinwagging with his good neighbour Master Antonio.

Of course, it was Master Antonio's idea to carve the piece of pine nut wood into the marrionette he now held in his arms.

With God's help - and the piece of wood that Antonio had given him - he, Geppetto, master carver and carpenter had  made a marionette that would dance and sing and flip somersaults - and perhaps entertain his nagging wife.

He had called the marionette Pinocchio - Italian for 'pine nut'.
The work was almost finished - he just had to align the kneejoints, then grease the neck.

Geppetto looked down at his work, feeling an instant of regret, but as he stared into the marionette's blue eyes he swore he felt the wooden body quiver.

Then, in front of his own amazed eyes, the nose of the marionette twitched and began to grow.

May 10, 2010

Monday Artday: Favourite Food

The Adventures of Pinocchio and His wooden Cat

Well, I been tinkin' about The Adventures of Pinocchio for a while, as we say in Ireland, and I got to t'inking the other day, what kind of pets did Pinocchio have?

Well the obvious answer was a wooden cat. But, in keeping with the idea of "Favourite Food", I had to ask 'what do wooden cats eat? "

Hmm. Now that would have to be wooden mice.

But what do wooden mice eat?

Clicking for big gives you splinters :)  Thank you for looking.

May 8, 2010

Illustration Friday: Fearless

'The Blue Rhino and the Red Rose'

Not that I tell many people, but at the age of ninteen, while I was busy drifting around up the north coast, I worked in a circus for three months.

Now it wasn't any ordinary circus. The circus was run by a chap called Ralph - who liked to call himself Raphaelo whenever some pretty young ladies were around. In Ralph's circus were all manner of dangerous animals - lions, tigers, Tasmanian Devils - and even rabid dogs.

But the most dangerous animal was the Blue Rhino.

This particular Blue Rhino was so dangerous that it was said that he'd once killed a king rat with nothing but his stare (my personal feeling was that the rhino had probably breathed on the rat - and the rat had died of asphyixiation).

Rhino breath aside, the unusual thing about Blue Rhinos is that they have very delicate feet and skin. So, just like horse, they have to be 'shoed' (only once a month), and scrubbed down with special rhino baby shampoo twice a week.

Cleaning a rhino down, let alone shoeing one, is no easy task. In the olden days the only way to get the job done was with a tranquilizer gun. But with rhinos having skin as thick as your arm, this was easier said than done.

That was till Jim came along.

Now Jim, I am led to believe, just wandered into the circus one night, just wandered in out of the darkness and sat down by the fire without so much as a -by-your-leave.

Jim, who was about eight years old, didn't say much, but old Ralph took him under his arm, and adopted him like a son.

It wasn't long before the circus folk noticed that Jim had a certain way with animals. When Jim would approach a lion or a tiger or some such he'd start humming weird tunes under his breath. And what do you know? You could see the animal relax straight away, almost as if it had been hypnotised.

But the Blue Rhino needed more.

I don't know who first discovered it (I think it was Jim), but the smell of roses, especially red roses, had an wonderous calming effect on the Blue Rhino.

And so on washing day, and especially shoeing day, Ralph would arrange for a dozen of the best red roses available to be sent to the circus. Solemnly he'd hand them to Jim. Jim would take them in his own quiet way, stick them out in front of him like a weapon and enter the Rhino's cage.

Immediately the Rhino would go quiet, cease it's grunting and pawing of the straw, and bow it's head, sniffing delicately at the rose perfume with it's gigantic nostrils.

And behind Jim, tiptoeing ever-so-gently in their muddy boots, would come the strong circus hands whose job it was to scrub down the Rhino before he became aware of their human smell.....

I stayed with the circus till February that year, when Ralph decided they were going to head inland to the back of Bourke.

We parted company at some lonely crossroads just north of Gilgandra, myself standing very still, watching the circus wagons rumbling into the west, spewing red drought dust clouds behind them until they were nothing but tiny specs on the horizon.

A few hours later a double decker cattle truck came rumbling down the dirt road and I hitched a ride down to Sydney. The truckie let me off outside Kensington Uni, where, later that day, I signed up for the first Intra Neural Cavity Research course.

Time passed.

Several years later I heard that the boy Jim had dissappeared one night up in the northern territory, just as quietly as he'd appeared. Rumour had it that he was eaten by a giant crocidile - but Jim was an animal whisperer, and I don't believe that for a moment.

The story doesn't end there though.

Three weeks to the day that Jim left, the Blue Rhino just lay down on its bed of straw, and, with a faint intake of breath as if it were smelling the perfume of roses, it just died.

The circus struggled on for a few more years, but Ralph, denied the company of both his boy Jim and the Blue Rhino, gradually lost interest in travelling. The circus shrank and dwindled, the old hands began to leave, and one day the three remaining loyal circus employees arose from their beds to discover that Ralph himself had vanished.

In 1987, on my very last visit to Gilgandra Town, the local doctor told me an unlikely story about Ralph. He claimed that Ralph had moved to Banjang Provence in Northern Indonesian with the idea of starting up another circus. There he'd married a one-legged Dutch girl he met on an internet dating service. Rumour has it that, though Ralph was eighty-seven years old, he sired a boy child.

I also heard he called the boy "Jim'. But I don't know.

You can't believe everything you hear, can you?

Happy mother's day! :D

Apologies for the rush story. It's a first draft, written in situ. And the spelling! Thankyou very much to everyone who wrote and told me the blog was down!

And I will get back on that last post. Thanks to everyone who were kind enough to guess. :)

see you in a couple of  years - er I mean hours.

May 7, 2010

Three Good Witches

Well, where did the inspiration come for this? It wasn't the quote below, that's for sure! But you get three guesses, if not wishes,  as to the real inspiration. Clues at the end of the post.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

from Macbeth (a short excerpt)

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.
Enter the three Witches.

2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

3 WITCH. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches' mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg'd i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.

ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

 Clicking for big gives you a bowl of brew - yuck! :)

The possible nominees for the three witches' identities, in no particular order, are:

Of course each of these people are all marvellous artists. The clues are on their sites.

The first correct guessee for all three witches wins a weekend for two at either 1) one of Ces' water side luxury apartments or 2) At Saint Enrico the Dwarven Acrobat and Chicken Sexer's apartment in Paris, Tasmania. Or eight free lessons at Maria's Exotic Dance Academy for Young Ladies (PG recommended)*

thanks for looking :)

PS thanks to everyone who remarked on the new banner :)
And to set the record straight: All three young witches are appropriately dressed, and it is lolly water in the bottles.

Footnote * Prizes subject to availability

May 2, 2010

A Quick Defence of The Innocent

Now how much of my tax did I get done today?
Not much. :)
I kept hearing this little girl's voice in my head. 
For some reason she was quite upset.
Her name is Griselda.
Just look at her! She is obviously innocent of any wrong-doing (see previous post).
Except making my tax return late.
(Mind you, I have to have a word with her hairdresser.)

Thanks for looking. Clicking for big gives you a halo.

May 1, 2010

Illustration Friday: Cocoon.

Why Butterflies Have Feathers.

Aha. Well I couldn't think of how to scare kids with this week's IF topic.

Hmm. I was thinking of a coffin, inhabited by a very pale
caucasian man with some long teeth.

But I thought I shouldn't give myself nightmares this week.
So I went for child friendly and ethereal.

I feel like such a traitor. :)

Thankyou for looking.

Did you know that butterflies have feathers like birds? (Well not so big.)

And I suppose I should admit that the boy in the Cocoon (Tim) has no legs.

That's why he fits in it so well.

I put a frog in the bottom one for fun, after seeing Martine Alison's spider in "Shéhérazade". Martine's work just glows.  If you get a chance have a look  her site.  It's well worth the visit to see what you can do with oils.

Plus you get to practice your Francais. :)

PS: Don't worry about Tim.
He is growing new legs and, if you click for big, they will be ready for next week's IF.

And why do butterflies have feathers?
I think it's so they look pretty.

(Addendum: Trust me, the little girl does have underwear. It's just a bad angle that's all. I hope no-one finds it offensive.)