Posts Tagged ‘watercolor’

January 20, 2021

It was Sunday, 6:30 P.M. Irving Zitkin, hamburger and cookie eater, sat at the dinner table staring at his vegetables, hoping they would disappear. Then he made a face; only for a second, but long enough for Mrs. Zitkin to see.

Violet Zitkin, mother, housewife and saint, frowned and sighed helplessly. “Darling,” she purred, “Please eat your vegetables. Don’t you want to grow strong, healthy and handsome like your father?” Harold Zitkin beamed from behind his newspaper.

She reminded Irving how lucky he was to have a mother who cared about what he ate. “How about eating just a little bit?” she persisted. “Vegetables are so-o- good for you!” Irving shook his head defiantly.

“That’s it!” Violet muttered between clamped teeth, “Harold!”

Harold Zitkin, father, local greengrocer and diplomat slowly lowered his Garden Variety Journal. He also loved his son but preferred peace at the dinner table. “Irving,” Harold offered reasonably, “How do you know you won’t like them unless you try?” The stubborn seven-year old looked to the ceiling for support.

“I mean, aren’t you even curious to know what they taste like?” his father went on. “Nope.” Irving pouted. “They look disgusting. My tongue might shrivel and fall off!”

“Well, son; vegetables are not there just to decorate your plate,” Harold said sternly, shaking a stringbean shaped finger at Irving. “So stop this funny business and eat your vegetables! NOW!”

Irving smirked and proceeded to push the vegetables around his plate. He arranged his peas, corn, diced carrots and broccoli so they spelled out his name.

“I’d really rather have another hamburger instead of these stupid vegetables,” Irving shrugged indifferently, still testing his mother’s patience. “Irving!” Violet Zitkin begged.“Please!” Suddenly, Irving decided he’d had enough nagging.

Jumping up, he shoved back his chair and headed for the garbage can, plate in hand. The Zitkins watched in shock as their son savagely dumped his vegetables into the trash, shouting, “That’s it! I’m never going to eat these yucky things for anybody again!” Tossing his plate (fortunately it was plastic) into the sink, he turned to face his parents with an innocent smile. “So what’s for dessert?” he cooed, eyeing the plate of chocolate chip cookies on the counter.

Quickly recovering their wits, the Zitkins glared at their son. “Dessert? We don’t THINK so, young man.” they grumbled in unison. Disappointed and still hungry, Irving stomped upstairs and slammed his door. It was going to be a long night.

Kicking his way through piles of books and toys, Irving plopped onto his bed. “Well, I’ll just sneak down to the kitchen later and snag some of those cookies,” he vowed, giving in to a loud yawn. Soon however, his eyelids slid to half-mast, sinking fast. He didn’t see the dim bulb above his head flicker nor did he feel his bed lurch gently from side to side as the walls of his room slowly faded away…

Awakened by soft breezes under a sunny green sky, Irving lay perfectly still and frowned, trying to figure out where he was. He reached a tentative hand towards the floor. It came up covered in some spicy, slimy stuff. “E-e-u-uw!” Irving gagged. Then he saw it. Out of the corner of his eye, a huge orange thing with green hair and strange root-like hands had sidled up to his bed. Terrified, Irving dived under his quilt. “Ma-a-a!” he wailed. No answer; just a dry, crunchy chuckle. “Good Morning, Irving Zitkin. said the huge orange thing. “We were wondering when you’d get here.”

“Here?” Irving squeaked, dropping his quilt. “Where is here? And what are you?”

“Why, you’ve arrived at the Garden of Eating, you silly boy! Welcome to the first course! “I am Corporal Carotte.” The orange thing introduced himself with a stiff bow. “Follow me, if you please!”

Suddenly Irving realized he was talking to a giant carrot! He shut his eyes, muttering, “This isn’t happening…”

“Oh, yes, it is,” asserted the Corporal cheerfully. “King Bountiful has been expecting you.”

Irving crawled out of his bed, stepping gingerly through the slimy salad dressing. “What does King Bountiful want with me?” he huffed, hurrying to keep up with his guide.

As they bounced through leafy green valleys, and waded through haystacks of shredded cheese., the Corporal sneered, “Well, my boy, it seems His Royal Vegginess is not thrilled with your treatment of his loyal subjects. You see, we VeggieBeasts pride ourselves on our roles in maintaining the health of you ‘carnivorous types’ and we don’t take kindly to being wasted!”

As they descended a hill of croutons, Irving gaped at the panorama ahead. Rolling, bouncing and slithering towards them were an army of giant vegetables! He saw retinues of radishes, bunches of brazen broccoli, swarms of sentient squash, and throngs of tumbling tomatoes. They seemed to come from everywhere! Then Irving noticed the enormous potato creature marching towards them on his fat, gnarled roots.

King Bountiful, dressed in robes of ridicchio and romaine lettuce was crowned with a cornucopia of tiny vegetables. As he marched, His Royal Vegginess pointed an ornate rhubarb scepter in Irving’s direction!

“Ah, here he comes now. It looks like he means to teach you a lesson!” said the Corporal with a sinister smile. “I’d mind my manners, if I were you.” The huge carrot bowed low until his fuzzy head greens swept the ground.

All at once, Irving understood. The King and his VeggieBeasts were going to get him for trashing his salad! They might even boil him in oil and vinegar! Desperately, young Zitkin tried to remember the way back to his bed as the ground began to shake! The VeggieBeasts were hot on his trail! With a frantic screech, Irving made a mad dash for anywhere but here! He’d better eat his vegetables before they ate him!

At that moment he found himself back in his bed. “Yow, what a dream!” Irving sighed with relief. Then he smelled something suspicious. Turning over, Irving faced a steaming plate of vegetables left on his nightstand by his loving mother. He stared at them in annoyance and considered trashing them for a second time that evening.

Suddenly he heard someone shuffling up the steps to his room. “UH-oh!” Irving gasped, remembering King Bountiful and the VeggieBeasts. “I’d better not take any chances!” Frantically, he held his nose and shoveled spoonfuls of carrots, broccoli, green beans and potatoes into his mouth.

“Irving… are you all right?” came a concerned voice outside his door. Gulping down the last of the green beans, he mumbled, “Yeah, Ma. I’m fine. Sorry I made you upset.”

“Oh, Irving, don’t worry about it,” Violet Zitkin said with a smile in her voice. “How about getting ready for bed now? I’ll see you in the morning, OK?”

“OK…Um-m, Ma?” Irving called sheepishly, “I’m done with my dinner now.”

“I know you are, ‘sweetheart’.” came a dry, crunchy chuckle. Irving suddenly froze in terror. “Yow! Corporal Carotte’s come back for me!

Holding his breath, he listened as the strange voice and shuffling footsteps faded down the stairs. Then he tiptoed softly to his door, opening it just a crack…

But all Irving saw was a plate heaped high with chocolate chip cookies.

Illustration & Text © 2006 Ilene Winn-Lederer

If illustrations appear distorted in your browser, just double-click on them for clear view.

Note To My Readers:

If you enjoyed this little story, would you like to see Irving & The VeggieBeasts fully illustrated as a book for children? Please comment!

Quarantine Day 24: Flying In Place

April 5, 2020

I first became aware of the 17th century French philosopher and moralist Blaise Pascal in 1990 while working on the illustrations for ‘Sometimes I Am A Kite’, my first book for children. Under contract with Green Tiger Press in La Jolla, CA, I was assigned to work with a California book designer whose work habits were not only irritating, but hampered my own via time zones and her aversion to picking up her phone (no email or smartphone texting back then).

She left me no choice but to listen repeatedly to this odd message on her answering machine: “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” There was no attribution given but I eventually located the source which only reinforced my notion of her eccentricity. Considering the circumstances, I found this quotation annoying but it must’ve resonated somewhere in my subconscious along with my penchant for illustrating the tales in classic mythology. Not long after the book project was completed, ‘The Memoirs Of Icarus’, an ink and watercolor drawing, came to be. 

Of course, I couldn’t have predicted the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, but Pascal’s philosophic bon mot seems apropos to the world now figuring out how to survive in isolation from the disease, so I decided to post that drawing here. In retrospect, it joins the other illustrations in my ‘Quarantine Portfolio’ that can be seen on Facebook and Instagram at the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/ilederer  https://www.instagram.com/ilenelederer/?hl=en

 

The Game Of Life: Cosmic Jeopardy?

May 30, 2013

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Last night, while searching for a drawing reference, I revisited some of my former selves via the thoughts, sketches and the flotsam and jetsam of memory in the small journals I’ve kept for years. This is rather like re-reading a favorite book and finding new insights between the lines. By default, time is a great teacher because in the periods that elapse between readings, our minds have a chance to integrate what we’ve experienced since our first reading into our subsequent ones. This idea also extends to my art. It’s why I think that a work of art is always a work in progress; it sits waiting patiently for you or someone else to impart new insights upon each viewing thereby enriching the presence of that artwork and lending a depth to its purpose that the artist may not have originally understood.

All of this musing leads me to offer you one of these little philosophic tidbits that I found in a journal entry of 24 February 1999. Though it was a stand-alone observation at the time, I now realize that it was the perfect accompaniment for the 1986 watercolor drawing shown above: The Game Of Creation.

“Maybe life is a game of cosmic jeopardy in which we are all players. Experience provides the clues to our existence, but it is our task to formulate questions to comprehend their meaning.”  

There are probably no satisfying answers, but the questions lead to wonder and perhaps that gift of wonder is an answer in itself…

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The original framed painting or giclée prints of it may be purchased through The Magic Eye Gallery where you will find further details. (www.magiceyegallery.com)

Bits Of Whimsy: Sushi By The Sea Of Tea

May 21, 2012


Each painting or drawing I have made over the years usually disappears into its own secret place, perhaps within a portfolio, a drawer, a private/public collection or simply my memory when a collector contacts me. Which is what often prompts me to re-engage with an older work just for a clue to who/where I was when it was made. This idea was translated graphically (see below) when I set up The Magic Eye Gallery(www.magiceyegallery.com)last year.

Here are my thoughts on the genesis of Sushi By The Sea Of Tea:
August 26, 1998-The image shown above actually began about ten years ago as a sketch entitled ‘Sushi Under Clouded Moon’ following business trips to New York and Los Angeles, where my taste for these Japanese delicacies developed. I have always admired the spare, yet colorful sensuality of Japanese graphic design and the ways in which this sensibility translates to every aspect of that culture… particularly the presentation of food. The finished painting was put on hold in deference to a continuous stream of other projects, both personal and professional, yet always came to mind when I found myself in a Japanese restaurant. On a recent trip to NY, I made a few sketches of the restaurant staff and customers in such an establishment and considered these experiences part of my ‘research ‘. This year at last, everything seemed to come together; the choice of watercolor as the medium and the images of Madame Ginger and Master Wasabi … exchanging spicy stories of their travels amidst a feast of sushi. The tiny fisherman, guiding his craft on silky waves, is the eternal Guardian of The Sea of Tea.

The original art and gicleé prints of Sushi By The Sea Of Tea may be ordered at The Magic Eye Gallery: http://www.magiceyegallery.com.

Imaginarius’ New Book!

March 30, 2011

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Since the 2009 publication of The Alchymical Zoodiac: A Celestial Bestiary, my micro-publishing imprint, Imaginarius Editions,  has released two new books. Stitchburgh in 2010 and now a small bedtime story. The Little Sheep Who Couldn’t Sleep was originally written and illustrated in 1990 and like the others was finally able to come out and play. The Little Sheep is Willy, for whom bedtime is the best time for thinking about interesting things. It’s not a spoiler to say that in this story, learning how to count sheep finds a wooly new meaning! It’s intended for children 2 and up, but if you are a parent, grandparent or older sibling charged with putting a little brother or sister to bed, I think you’ll find it fun, too.

The Alchymical Zoodiac, Stitchburgh, & The Little Sheep Who Couldn’t Sleep are available via PayPal at my website:http://www.winnlederer.com/