Posts Tagged ‘music’

Codex Gastropoda: A Visual Meditation

July 26, 2017

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You know the old adage, “Time passes quickly when you’re having fun” ? Well, this sentiment truly described the years between 2007 and the present when I began thinking about snails. Now, why on earth would anyone care about snails except as a purportedly (I say ‘purportedly’ because these creatures are among those forbidden to me by religious doctrine) tasty dish served with garlic butter?  Because I actually find them fascinating since I am able to look at them objectively for their natural beauty and metaphoric value without planning how to cook them.

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These musings slowly inspired a series of eighteen drawings on several species of snail (a.k.a mollusca/gastropoda). Some of them appeared along with my thoughts/poems about them over those years in several blog posts here.* Later, during this project’s development, a friend loaned me an eye-opening book that proved very inspiring and that I now recommend to you: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey (2010). http://amzn.to/2w18Zpc

My drawings are not strictly scientific but an amalgam of fact and fancy. Each tells its own story, inviting questions and second glances. At first, not knowing whether these drawings should become a book or simply a portfolio collection, I put out a query on social media.  Though enthusiastic early feedback suggested a book, I still liked the idea of a portfolio collection and decided to publish a ‘bookfolio’ (a portfolio in book form) as a sort of compromise.

In this light, I considered writing more thought/poems like those in earlier posts. However, I soon determined that haiku (seventeen-syllable non-rhyming Japanese poems), with their economy of language would better complement the nature of my drawings.  Slyme-TextGrid-8x10.jpg

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Now, I am happy to announce the release of Codex Gastropoda: A Visual Meditation. This 44-page ‘bookfolio‘ includes an introduction and has just been released from Imaginarius Editions in an initial small press run.

You can preview and purchase it (US$30) at my online gallery: http://bit.ly/2vzsSTM

Codex Gastropoda will soon be available at Amazon but for now you can also find it at my Etsy Shop: etsy.com/shop/Imaginarius

Given the experiences that inspired it, my goal for Codex Gastropoda: A Visual Meditation became to raise awareness of the wondrous details that inform Creation and their consequences for our world. I hope this visual journey and spare prose will also inspire you to appreciate our complex existence and perhaps add your own words and ideas to the continuum of human creativity.  

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* https://wordpress.com/post/imaginarius13.wordpress.com/754 https://imaginarius13.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/the-snail-queens-soliloquy/  

*https://imaginarius13.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/postscript-for-the-new-year-a-divination-of-snails/ 

*https://imaginarius13.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/codex-gastropoda-4athe-time-snails/ 

*https://imaginarius13.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/codex-gastropoda-2-the-snails-song/ 

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Bestiary: An Imaginary Menagerie

October 27, 2016

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In an essay entitled ‘On The Shoulders Of Giants’, posted on May 5th of this year, I offered a glimpse of my new alphabetical book project in progress. Today, I am pleased to let you know that it is now complete! It includes alliterative text and illustrations for each of twenty-six letters, a preface and artist’s notes. On Wednesday of this week, my book proof arrived looking exactly as I’d intended, so I turned around and ordered  my first small edition of twelve, scheduled for delivery early next week. I am accepting advance orders now at The Magic Eye Gallery: http://magiceyegallery.com/BookPage.aspx?id=8 

Here are some thoughts on my process and a bit of backstory:

Ideas are mercurial; they may appear to our imaginations in glorious finished form, awaiting physical birth or, more likely, just float by our consciousness, merely hinting at their potential. The idea for Bestiary: An Imaginary Menagerie simmered slowly on one of my back burners for several years as sketches and project notes in one of my journals. It had begun as a casual suggestion for an illustrated alphabet book from my former agent. Projects like this one can be very greedy with one’s time and generally do not pay the bills! So although I had done a few concept drawings at the time, other less speculative projects continued to demand my attention.

armordillounicornsketch

 

Then, late in 2015, following publication of two other titles (An Illumination Of Blessings and Notes From London: Above & Below), I decided to revisit the alphabet book idea. Paging through that old journal, I paused at some drawings of a unicorn and an armadillo which led me to imagine an alphabet book built around the real and imaginary creatures that have been portrayed in illuminated manuscripts for centuries. These colorful hybrids of letterforms and fanciful illustrations first appeared in the 2nd century Greek Physiologus, a compilation of the ancient wisdom and symbolism of animals mentioned in the writings of naturalists such as Aristotle, Herodotus and Pliny The Elder. Later adaptations from the 11th-13th centuries elaborated on these bestiaries and were flavored with Biblical stories, mysticism and religious doctrine. Bestiaries reached their zenith during the medieval era, when artists were commissioned by nobility and wealthy merchants to interpret their naïve descriptions of strange creatures seen on their voyages to exotic lands. Wikipedia offers a fine, detailed history of bestiaries here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestiary

Eventually, my journal sketches became the basis of the finished illustrations below:ArmorOnAnArmadillo-FINAL.jpgunicornwithuniverseunderumbrella-final

Yet, despite our greatly evolved knowledge of zoology since then, why does this timeless literary art form remain popular among the offerings of contemporary publishers? I propose that it does so because we have yet to fully understand the synthesis of our own evolving animal natures with the gifts of speech, writing and acumen.

That said, I’ve always loved to draw animals and have featured them in many original works of art. However, most of my animals are not portrayed realistically; I prefer to imbue them with qualities that reflect our human fortes and foibles. Those bestiary illustrations in which the animals display such attributes were important inspirations for this book. Their titles along with illustrated excerpts were discussed in my previous essay (http://bit.ly/2fjVcpi).

In designing Bestiary: An Imaginary Menagerie, I’ve framed each illustration with an alphabetical alliteration both for organizational purposes and simply because it was great fun to do! My hope is that my efforts will complement the voluminous body of bestiaries throughout history that are tributes to the wonders of creation and to our human imagination…

 

Codex Gastropoda #2: The Snail’s Song

October 21, 2010

This next image from my Codex Gastropoda series is called Voluta Musica. In 1758, a small snail shell commonly known as the music volute was given its Latinized name by Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. Found primarily in the Caribbean and West Indies, the markings on its shell closely resemble musical manuscript notation. In May of 2009, it was my good fortune to visit the early home of Carl Linnaeus and his family in Falun, Sweden. Though it has become a museum, the home and its furnishings have retained the elegant precision befitting a person of Linnaeus’ scientific discipline. In that sense, the Codex Gastropoda series is my tribute to his attention to detail that earned him the title ‘Father of Taxonomy’. There is an additional layer of intent to this drawing. Have you ever placed a seashell to your ear and listened to the faintly musical sounds of the ocean? Whether you believe those sounds are echoes of the blood flow in your ears or of the ambient noise in your environment matter less in my opinion than the poetic interpretation of our imaginations. And like the beautiful markings on the shells of Voluta Musica, the music we love is engraved on our memories…

Verba Volant, Sed Musica Sicut Mare Aeternus (Words Fly Away, But Music Is As Eternal As The Sea.)

Codex Gastropoda: New Drawings In Appreciation Of Little Things

October 17, 2010

Though the phrase, “God is in the details” has been attributed to several great minds from Michelangelo to Gustave Flaubért and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, it is of unknown origin. Yet who said it first is irrelevant since its wisdom is a call for us to pay attention to ideas and images which may escape our first glance. How can anyone claim to be bored if a continuous conscious effort is made to be an astute observer of all we call life? At the very least, even without some degree of spiritual orientation, wouldn’t we be inspired to ask questions? It is this line of inquiry that led to this first in a series of drawings called Codex Gastropoda. Two more will follow later this week.

Questions anyone? What small things have you noticed lately?

Autumn Alchymy

September 23, 2010

Today, I present to you a selection of designs for licensing from The Alchymy Collection: Designs for Eclectic Environments™.  As I wrote in my post of July 16, I am working with Sally Heflin of PaperRoad Art Licensing, developing portfolios of illustrative designs that can be applied to many different products and venues. These designs may be adapted to clothing, fashion accessories, textiles and wallpapers for personal, domestic  and corporate applications. A diverse sampling from my licensing design portfolios may be seen at: http://www.paperroadart.com/en/portfolios/details.asp?navid=2&artistID=67
Since today marks the onset of the autumnal equinox, you might imagine a new look for your home or office that includes wallpapers, table runners and coverings, upholstery fabrics, prints for framing, floorcloths, perhaps even ceramic tiles to brighten up a kitchen or workspace. If you are bored with the often mediocre standards available in big box store catalogs, I promise you that together, we can make your home and/or office more about you than you ever thought possible. To begin, here is an overview of the collection and selected thumbnails for autumn from the Four Seasons Portfolio of The Alchymy Collection for 2010.