Oct 17, 2010

The Joy of Tongues.





Question: so what kind of person starts a post about the Illustration Friday prompt “Spooky”, with a title that says  “The Joy of  Tongues.” ?
Answer: the same kind of person  that, in the beginning of his second paragraph, hits you with a bunch of seemingly random questions such as:

  • Did you know that fresh basil propped up  in a glass of  water in the fridge lasts longer than basil in a plastic bag in the crisper?
  • Did you know that the seeds of an apple contain more vitamin goodness than the rest of an apple itself?
  • Did you know that on the 2oth of this month my blog will be a year old? 
  • And finally, did you know that   Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) have such long necks that they, need not only amazing powerful  hearts, but a complicated system of neck blood vessel valves to stop blood rushing to their brains when they put their heads down to chew grass  -otherwise their corpus christi cerebellum superbum would explode like a small overripe pink carbuncle ?
There you have four seemingly random facts disguised as questions.  But how do they relate to each other? Or not relate?


Well,  the most obvious thing that sets apart basil, blogs, and apple seeds from  Giraffes is that Giraffes have a very long  neck.
But did you ever stop to wonder what, apart from those intricate blood vessel valves, is actually in that neck?  Interestingly they have the same number of vertebrae (seven) in their necks as we do (assuming ‘we’ are human). But one really big difference between Giraffe’s and ourselves is that  they have an extra-ord-ordinarily long (blue) tongue. Where a human tongue averages out at 4 inches, the average Giraffe tongue is approximately 20 inches long!

How handy is that eh? 

Think of the joy, the fun you could have with such a long tongue. Imagine the hirsuteness of being able to lick behind your own ear!  The wonder of being able to re-arrange your eyebrows with your hands tied behind your back. The expedentialism (find that in the dictionary!) of being able to clean your face up when some stranger taps you on the shoulder and says “excuse me, I hate to be a nuisance, but you have half a small meat pie stuck to the left side of your naso labial cleft.”

And oh what party tricks you could play. (see footnote ). Not to mention the fun you could have in elevators when standing behind some obnoxiously aftershaved Generation X upstart with a bare neck.

Admittedly that might not be your idea of the Joy of Tongues. 

But you’ll have to forgive me. As soon as I saw the Illustration Friday prompt “Spooky'” I knew straight away that I wanted to write about tongues - and specifically, what joy they produce.

But why? Well recently I’ve noticed that my art looks weird and creepy, dark and spooky - as if it is the product of a dark and disturbed mind (moi?)  and so I have been taking notes from some of the blogs that make me laugh. I go to these blogs with a tightly closed mouth and leave with strange hee-hawing sounds coming out of my oesophagous. 
When I visit these blogs I laugh, not just because the images are funny, but because the images are cute, approachable, and say something about ourselves as adults (dare I say the ‘human condition’?)

Quite frequently the characters in these illustrations are innocent kids with big eyes or anthropomorphised animals doing kid like things.  For me big eyes are the go, as well as  freckles – and more recently, tongues. 
Tongues? So what’s funny about tongues? Well it's not the tongues really, but they way they sit. Tongues stuck out of mouths in all directions are funny because their owners are, at that moment, completely oblivious  to everything except the joy of the world. The owners of wayward tongues are almost always children. Only children can be lost in that space where they are so absorbed by the world around them, or at the task at hand.

Well before I go any further I’d like to list the people who give me the joy of ‘funness’ when I visit their blogs.  The people that consistently give me a silly grin, that are the cause of the extra smile lines encroaching on my ex-babyface.  Well there’s Jack, and Shirley, and Bella, and Cally Jane, and Krista, and Roberta, and Vanessa.  I’d recommend a visit to all their blogs – and of course if you do happen to go, you’ll discover what a bunch of sweeping and untrue statements I have made about their work. All of these blogs have a sense of ‘funness’ because these artists are all individuals, attacking their subjects in their own unique manner.

Okay, well that’s probably enough blah blah blah for this week. I was going to tell you about the amazing emotive correlative Jungian archetype-like cultural iconography to be found at Don Roberto’s and Amalia’s sites. Worlds apart yet tapping into the same recesses of the human historical subconsciousness. I was going to tell you, but I won’t.

Do you know Jungian Archetypes?  Think Star wars , Lord of the Rings, Mills and Boon  (romance novels). Typical Jungian archetypes are found scattered amongst their plots.  Apart from the Unwilling Hero, there’s  Old-Man-Wise- Wizard (Gandalf, Ob1 Kenobi etc), Mother, Oldlady Wise Wizardess, Evil Witch, Good Witch, Father, Best Faithful Friend (Sam in LOR), Travelling companions who give wonderful gifts (physical and mental Gimli, Legolas), Mentor (Aragon), Trickster (Sarumon, Loki), Big Evil One (Devil, Sauron),  Big evil one’s friends etc -well you get the idea .

But in Amalia’s and Roberto’s work we find the archetypal icons of tigers and oceans and suns and moons and icons of travel and mountains and homes. All Icons that serve dual purposes – not only do they serve the outside of the image compositionally, but they also give the image depth and meaning below the surface. The image becomes like a good poem – to be read on several different levels. And the more the audience puts into observing the work, the more they take away.

In a similar vein (in that it come’s from the cultural heart) we have the Ces’s work (but I spoke about her last post and I don’t want to give her a big head), not to mention the  amazingly talented witch from Tír na nÓg – who flies in and out like thysania agrippina. Yet there’s others – the puppet mistress of Bulgaria, the dark haired Norwegian Janne ocean orientated but ceaslessly experimenting and inspirational,  Chopoli who makes fairies real, Martine the French woman held captive by a talking Toucan name Leo,  Denise Scaramai’s digital illusions from Brazil,   Laura Deschia’s expressionist tour de force paintings from Austria.  And I mustn’t forget AOC  who’s poetry acts on illustrations in the same way as  a medium in a  séance acts as a lubricator to the spiritual world.

Well of course I could go on and on. In fact I would like to and I think I'll add Vanilla (who likes to tell stories),  Linda (who always touches me with her tales), Ana (who has a classic Nosferatu at the moment) , and of course my good friend Karen who battles her lack of spare time with a wacom in one hand and her latest masterpiece in the other.

I’ve seen so much transpotating work since I started blogging – most of it from talented females (why is that?).  Enough to start tongues wagging.

So that takes me full circle, to the real reason I made this post.  Below this paragraph I’ve included a few versions of the finished work. If you look closely you will see three little witches in addition to the Storyteller. You will probably find Hansel and Gretel in different variations. Then there is Tim, Jack and Jill, there is the little girl who shot her teddy bear, and the old dwarf (made young again) who lived in the forest and ate other people’s gold fish.

Oh I almost forgot. That’s me behind the witch.

Recently I’ve been reading a book called “Enchanted Hunters” by Maria Tatar a Havard Professor Of German Languages.  It’s basically a book about why children read (she has also written The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales and Annotated Grim Brothers).

In the book Ms Tatar points out the magic of the written word.  How words are really just black scrawls of ink on a a page, yet a sentence as simple as  “The man entered in the room” can transport us to another place and another time. Words surely are magic, and yet how much more magic are they when spoken aloud (in ‘tongue’ – hence the “Joy of Tongues”  title of the post). And even better  in a darkened medieval room with an audience of children collected around a fireplace, an audience that readily suspends its disbelief, an audience that clings together not just for warmth, but because of the primeval instinct that tells them that there is safety in numbers.

We are all children at heart. We liked to be scared, we like to be transported to distant places, to have indescribably exciting adventures – as long as we awake unharmed and safe in our own snug beds.


And so enter the story teller, the old crone, the bard, the poet, the witch with the Book of Tomes, the weaver of tall tales, the keeper of the lore.

This illustration is a nod to some of those by George Cruikshank – especially the Droll  Story (which you will find in this Survey Of Children’s Illustrators).  And owes its genesis to the frontispiece of Charles Perrault’s “Contes de ma mere l’Oye” – the original collection of Mother Goose Tales.

The rest of the illustrations are odds and ends from the rest of the week.

Thankyou so much for reading. I’m going to have a small break from blogging. I need to go surfing for a while and there are some paintings yelling out to be done.  I also need to stop having so much fun.
I’ll come and visit your blogs though – of course Smile (oh oh a smiley appeared).
See you all soon!

Oh and don’t forget to visit Ces and Bella’s BBB club.

Doc16tongues                                                                                                                                      baldhornscrop3

Oct 11, 2010

The Transpotated Joy of Being Cessinated

(Warning: Rambling post ahead)

Did you know that English is a language of relatively few words?

Yes, hard to believe isn't it?

If you are a native English speaker, your personal vocabulary is only about 20,000 words. And, of these words, you probably only use 2,000 on a regular basis.

Two thousand? It's not much really, especially if you spend a lot of time talking, or blogging, or even commenting on art work. Using myself as an example, just listen out for my use of  nice, wonderful, gorgeous, colourful, super, beautiful, excellent, congratulations - these and serviceable words like them come up over and over when I comment. And over. 

Not that there is anything wrong with them. On the contrary, they are all positive words that make us feel good and should be used more often. But they are just prime examples of the chosen few - some of the 2000 old faithfuls that I rely on in our communications with fellow beings.

Hola gente maravillosa, siento que no hay traducción al español. Voy a tener que traductor Google buton dispuesto lo antes posible. Pero este mensaje tiene un montón de palabras que (I made up the words!) he aprendido de memoria - por lo que no tendrá sentido. No tiene sentido que los hablantes de Inglés - pero no se lo digas a nadie. Feliz hacer arte! (be Happy in your art making)

Okay, well that's the one sided story. Admittedly, as English speakers we have a whole lot more than 2,000 (or even 20,000) words to choose from.

In fact, according to The Global Language Monitor, at this present second, there are exactly 1,007,711 words in the English language. But wait! By the time you finish reading this post there will be 1,007,711.5 words in the English language - depending on how slowly you read. (Of course you may not read the whole post and that means your vocabularly will be sadly depleted - because I have a surprise at the end, and it's not just that Eves' palm in the next image is missing.)

Well, 1,007,711.5 words seems a real lot doesn't it? But hold on to your horses, don't let the clappers go, nor spill your milk before she is counted.

Given that there are 508 million people who speak English as a first or second language, simple mathematics tells us that we have only 0.001968th of a word each to call our own. That's not even a single letter each in the longest word in the English language which, as you probably guessed is something like Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsano...pterygon at 183 letters (it means a long legged crustacean who eats Chinese takeway every third Sunday of the month).

Well how can we fix this problem?

Obviously we need to invent new words. We need more words to share around. At the moment a new English word is magicked up out of thin space every 98 mins.

One every 98 minutes? Not much isn't it? Considering those 508 million people, I reckon that that is a poor effort. While some of us are inventing new words, what are the other 507,000,956 people doing?

But the theory that a new word is magicked up every 98 minutes is merely a theory - just as it says.
And like every theory, it has its faults. And not surprisingly a  brief analysis shows up its faults quite quickly.

The most obvious fault that I can see is that the theoreticians over at The Global Language Monitor didn't figure on me.

Yes me. (I'm the guy hugging the tree on the left at the back in the next image)

Poor humble me. I mean it's obvious to me that if there were more people like me in the world that the gross rate of new words being magicked up (the NWBMU rate) would suddenly inflate to a massive three words an hour - which, by amazing coincidence, is exactly the speed that I type at.

So, with this in mind I had a walk on the beach today. And while I was dodging the tentacle blessed Bluebottles and the scurvy scum cusking bottom creatures' dehydrated washed-up bodies that littered the hide tigh mark I came up with several new words - the most magick of them being "transpotated."

Now 'transpotated' by another amazing coincidence, isn't the Illustration Friday prompt this week.

The word for IF is, in fact, "Transportation".

Transportation? Yes, I kid you not. Transportation - a particularly weak, assidious and denostrating word. 
Where is the assonance? The consonance? The sybillence? (okay I admit it has some assonance and consonance - but only a twiggle of each).  Where is the kink in its armour that will allow people like myself to easily mispell it?

It's all too easy a word. "Trans' the preffix meaning 'across'. "Port' meaning 'to carry'. The suffix 'ion' indicating that it is a noun. And so we have from 'trans' and 'port' the words 'transported', 'transposed', 'transporation' etc. All bland, billious and beltany. Not much is it?

But as I said, the the theoreticians who came up with the NWBMU rate didn't figure on me.

And so, after my walk this morning I would like to proudly announce that English has four new words. Yes! Not one, not two nor three but four!

Since this morning English has the new words 'transpotated', 'transpotatederd', 'transportater' and last but not least:  'transportadeness' - which is the art of being ready to be 'transportated."

And so finally, at last, and not without time - to the guist of the matter.

These four new words  ('transpotated', 'transpotatederd', 'transportater' and 'transportadeness')  I would like to dedicate to my friend Ces, who, with her generous gift of a nut, has recently 'transpotated' me from my usual state of 'untransportadeness' into a world of otherworldly Cessinatedness.

It will be of no surprise to you that Ces's gift of a nut was not just any nut. As you can see in the leading image of this post it was a nut, not only worthy of the invention of four new words, but a nut ideally suited to be the new Goddess figure of the inaugral Ces Nut Dwarven Appreciation Society of New South wales and the Southern Highlands - of which I am the newest founding member....

Do you know Ces' work?
If not I would highly recommend a trip.
Ces is inspiring, brilliant, concaphanous, a great artist, generous and just a little nutty.
She has also just founded (with others) the BBB society - which a little bird informs me is short for The Big Breasted Budgerigar Society.

Her artwork rips. Which is good.

Is any one still reading? If you are still here I would like to thank you for your time. You are very kind.

Below and above you will find some of my weeks work. Cinderella's Chariot,  renditions of a Cramer induced Adam and Eve, and also something for Creative Cup, which has just announced it's first challenge. If you look closely you will find that the apple in one scene transports Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, that the Pumplin Carriage transports Cinderella to her father's home, and that the tea pot in the Creative Cup transports me into a world where tea tastes nice, and the surf is great every day.

Thankyou for reading. I enjoy typing and I must get a spell chicker one day....

And thank you SO MUCH for all those people who commented on my last post. I'm off to visit your blogs when I get back from the studio and thank you personally. Watch out, I have some new words in my armoury!

Oct 2, 2010

Hic Sunt Dracones.

 Hic sunt dracones.

Here there be dragons!
What a saying eh? It's like pirate talk, but serious.
 Marked on all the best  medieval maps,  "Hic sunt dracones" is just one of a collection of  flavoursome warnings that also include : "in his locis elephanti nascuntur", "in his locis scorpiones nascuntur" and "hic cenocephali nascuntur" ("in these places elephants are born, in these places scorpions are born, here dog-headed beings are born"). From Wiki.

Hic sunt dracones is also the name of that first image right up the top.

The image tells the story of  eight dwarves who, every night at dusk hear a horrible bellowing noise emenating from the earth beneath them.
Finally, after weeks of terror and sleepless nights, they decide to send the bravest of their number (Baeowulf) down into the earth to investigate.
But as so often happens in life, the brave dwarf is on a fruitless quest because, in reality, the dragons and demons the dwarves seek are lurking in the shadows directly behind them. They are- unseen because they are unlooked for.

You are probably not aware that Baeowulf is one of my favourite stories, and that Baeowulf means "Bee Wulf" which means a "Bear,". In my household Baeowulf also has the honour of maintaning its dypthong - much like Aegypt, Aetilogy and Haematology. Baeowulf ...? Well the political correct manner is "Beowulf" but I like my spelling better because ... because it's mine. :)

So here's a bit of literal translation (from here)

He gave then Beowulf the sword of Healfdane,
Golden standard victory to reward;
Embroidered war-banner, helmet and armor,
Famous treasure,sword - many saw
Before the warrior borne.

Which to my untrained ears sounds much better than the clumsy transliterations accompanying it.


To the crux of the matter: the Illustration Friday  prompt for today is "Beneath". And I've been working on Goldilocks and the six dwarves for about a week, so that is lucky. You think I'm kidding? Well this morning as I was telling my wife about how the dwarves kept eating her porridge... then I sudenly realised that it wasn't Goldilocks at all, but Red Riding Hood and the Six Dwarves ..... hmm.

"Now whose been eating my porridge said the little dwarf?" It has a kind of ring to it. I wonder would the Brothers Grimm be interested in it. Still it's all very confusing when you get to my age (26).

I've also been working on Rapunzel - not that I tell anyone, else the prince be jealous. So I threw her in this post too - but she, like the dwarves, is a work in progress. Her hair is hard to do when it is that long - (it's common knowledge that I have enough trouble with my own). And yet, frizzies and flyaway hair aside, she hangs in there with the theme "Beneath".

The dwarven names? Well I was going to call them 'funny' names like Rhinitus, Stupid, Boring, Unhappy etc, but I thought it was too close to Grumpy, Sneezy et al - and since Walt Dysney owns the metaphorical DNA helix for all cute dwarven names, I didn't want him jumping up out of his cryo-tank to come looking for me.

So, avoiding Gimli, they are called Cedric, Edward, Gayus (he's the Roman one with tight pants), Beaowulf , Godric, Arlo and Roderick. The eight one has no name because .... okay, his name is Freya, it's a girls' name and it makes him depressed. I promised I wouldn't mention his name on the net - so you didn't hear that, okay? Thanks for keeping it quite.

Oh there was something else.... hmm.
Ah. A BIG else!

 Did I tell you what a wonderful scintillating witty brilliant artist my friend Ces is?

Today I received a special nut - not only is it the best nut I have ever received .... no but seriously I am stompfooted and bowled over twice by it's beauty and by Ces' generosity.

But more on that later.
Thankyou for looking :)

Hic sunt dracones.

Aquí hay dragones!
¡Qué decir ¿eh? Es como charlar al estilo pirata, pero grave.

Marcado en todos los mejores mapas medievales, "Hic sunt dracones" es sólo uno de una colección de advertencias sabroso que incluyen también: "en su locis elephanti nascuntur", "en su locis nascuntur escorpiones" y "hic cenocephali nascuntur" ("en estos lugares los elefantes nacen, en estos lugares escorpiones nacen, aquí los seres con cabeza de perro han nacido "). De Wiki.

Hic sunt dracones es también el nombre de ese derecho la primera imagen hasta la parte superior.

La imagen cuenta la historia de ocho enanos que, todas las noches en la oscuridad oye un ruido horrible bramido emenating de la tierra debajo de ellos.

Finalmente, después de semanas de terror y noches sin dormir, se decide enviar el más valiente de su número (Beaowulf) hacia abajo en la tierra para investigar.

Pero como tantas veces sucede en la vida, los dragones y demonios están de pie justo detrás de ellos, porque son invisibles para el inesperado.

Usted probablemente no son conscientes de que Beaowulf es una de mis historias favoritas, y que Beaowulf significa "abeja Wulf", que significa "oso". Beaowulf también tiene el honor de su maintaning dypthong - como Aegypt, Aetilogy y Hematología. Beaowulf aún mantiene una dypthong cuando escribe de la manera correcta política de "Beowulf", pero me gusta mi ortografía mejor porque ... porque es la mía. :)

Bueno el viernes Ilustración del sistema de hoy es Bajo. Y he estado trabajando en Ricitos de Oro y los seis enanos por una semana, por lo que es suerte.

También he estado trabajando en Rapunzel - no es que le digas a nadie, de lo contrario el príncipe celoso. Así que le lanzó en este post -, pero ella, al igual que los enanos, es un trabajo en progreso.

Los nombres de los enanos -, así que me iba a llamar a los nombres raros como estúpido, aburrido, etc infeliz, pero pensé que estaba demasiado cerca de Gruñón y otros - y desde Walt dysney propietaria de la hélice de ADN metafórica de Ricitos de Oro y los seis enanos, que no quería que saltar fuera de su crio-tanque a venir a buscarme.

Así se les llama Cedric, Edward, Gayus (que es la romana con pantalones apretados), Beaowulf, Godric, Arlo y Roderick. Los ocho uno no tiene nombre porque ....

Oh, no era otra cosa .... hmm.
¿Te dije lo que es una maravillosa artista brillante brillante ingenio de mi amigo es Ces?
Hoy he recibido una tuerca especial - no sólo es la mejor tuerca que he recibido .... no, pero en serio me stompfooted y rodó más de dos veces por su belleza y por la generosidad de Ces.

Pero más sobre esto más adelante.

Gracias por mirar:)