Pearls, claws and keys

Now that I’m finished with doing illustrations for my Strange Neighbours stories,  I indulged in drawing whatever came out of my pen.  And what came out of my pen was this:

I have no idea what this means.  I was listening to Charles de Lindt’s “Moonheart” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” on audiobook. Maybe that had an influence.

Feet and Flowers

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the  Haltadefinizione site – an Italian site that hosts extremely high resolution images of famous artworks.  These are works I’ve only seen in tiny prints in books, and here you can see every little crackle and brush stroke.

At first the images seem a little soft, but they get sharper and sharper as you let them download.  The interface allows you to pan around and zoom right up to the paintings, and the “full screen” button expands the images to fill your entire monitor.

I’ve always loved Botticelli’s Primavera – but now I have a whole different view of it. (And these images are a lot smaller than the version on the Haltadefinizione site, so they will fit in my blog.)

Just look at all the lovely feet:

I love these gorgeous toes among all those leaves and flowers 🙂

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Germaine Arnaktauyok – Inuit Artist

After my post on Caroline Leaf’s animation, I’ve been very curious about Inuit stories and imagery.  Germaine Arnaktauyok satisfies both those needs – she tells stories through her prints and drawings.  

“Mother Earth” – a lithograph

Germaine was named after a blind woman that her mother cared for.  From an interview with Germaine: More

Pictures without Stories

Do you remember the time before you could read, paging through books and looking at the pictures?  And once you could read, not really believing that what was written down was  the full story?  Some pictures are so evocative and mysterious I never felt convinced that I now knew all their secrets.

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I’ve been gathering such images and here are some of my favourites.   Firstly there is the photographic artist Madalina Iordache-Levey. This image is called “The Mysterious Disappearance of Miss Peregrinne Ploot: More

A Fascination of Dolls

A school of fish, a murder of ravens, and a fascination of …dolls.

When I was a little girl I played with dolls but they were not nearly as fascinating as my Lego or train set.  But these days I’ve found a different world of dolls.

I’ve been searching on-line for examples of interesting dolls.  I make dolls myself.  I cant spend much time on them as I have to work 😦 and looking through doll maker Marina Bychkova ‘s site I must admit to a twinge or two of jealously.<--break->

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Southern Ink

So I spent some time at the  Southern Ink Xposure Tattoo convention.

I will remember  –  the sound of a perfect swarm of  tattoo needles buzzing all around me.    Strolling in and out of clouds of disinfectant.  The intense discomfort on the face of a man having a Koi tattooed on his leg.  A little girl under a table –  drawing.

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Girls and Stories

I’ve been playing a new game after reading this post by sassymonkey on Blogher .  I’ve been making a list of my favourite fictional female characters.   This includes Lyra Silvertongue from the “His Dark Materials” series, Titty Walker and Nancy Blacket from “Swallows and Amazons”, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, Lireal and Sabriel and so many more.

I found some interviews with authors and directors about the female characters in their stories: More

New Tatoo

After a very long break I am back to blogging to celebrate the addition of a new tattoo:

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Stories Without Words – An Ocean World by Peter Sis

Some books touch your heart.  ” An Ocean World” by  Peter Sis is one of these.  It tells a simple and powerful story about a whale’s search for friendship and love.   Apart from the writing on the postcard on the first page, the entire story is told through the images- the evocative watercolour marks and the muted colours. We meet the whale for the first time in baby picture that has been turned into a postcard:

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On the back of this card we can read a message from Peter Sis to his children: More

Telling a story with colour: Jaap Tol

This is a book that I loved as a child;  “Het vroutjie van Stavoren”  which means “The Lady of Stavoren” written by Maryke Reesink.  This book tells a story with words but also with colours,  the wonderful illustrations of Jaap Tol.

Jaap Tol’s paintings let colour run into colour in great splodges.  The pages seem saturated and stained.  We meet a young spoiled rich girl who has all the clothes and dolls and toys a girl could want – but is still unsatisfied.

She grows into a spoiled and self centred woman who owns more ships and houses than anyone else in the city of Stavoren.  She is still unhappy and sends out one of her captains to find “the most precious thing in the world”. More

Work In Progress – Sneak Peek of what happened during my leave

I’ve just returned from a long research leave during which I worked on an exhibition. I dont like showing my work before the opening night, but here is a sneak peek.

My exhibition is in three parts. First, I wrote some very short stories. Then I created the characters in these stories as puppets. Now I am creating small drawn animations of each of these characters. I am going to show you a bit of two of the characters. There are five of them at the moment.

Here is Benjamin.

His story starts like this: More

Molly Bang’s Paper Crane: Joyful and Profound.

Dont you just love an excuse to sort through your book collections? To be paging through old battered survivors of childhood, as well as look at new discoveries. For me, one such new discovery is “the Paper Crane ” by Molly Bang. This little book is perfect. I love the freshness of the storytelling, the sensitivity and beauty of the artwork, and the quiet joy it radiates.

What could be a more satisfying medium for this story than to tell it in pictures made up of folded and cut paper and collage? More

Doodle meetings.

I’ve just come home from three days of meetings in Durban. All-day-long meetings. This time round I did most of my doodling between meetings, at the bed & breakfast. My doodles usually reflect my state of mind and I can usually remember what I was thinking when I did a drawing. Looking back on these, I’m not sure what I should conclude:

There aint no easy way was done before the first meeting. More

Errol Le Cain’s Sleeping Beauty: Rich and Magical

Isn’t it strange how some childhood moments stay with you so clearly, while most things fade into a half remembered muddle? It was just before Christmas, many years ago when I was just a little girl. My family were getting into the car to go home after a visit to the bookshop in Cape Town. My father was holding a brown paper packet. I tried to peep into it and caught a glimpse of two books, but my father whisked them away before I could get a proper look.

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That packet re-appeared again under the Christmas tree, and contained Errol Le Cain’s Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. More

Arabian Magic with a Polish touch: The Illustrations of Janusz Grabianski

Did you also have books, as a child, that you read over and over again? The images become so familiar that you cannot imagine the story without them. This is, for me, the ultimate edition of The Arabian Nights. The text reworked by Hedwig Smola, translated into Afrikaans by Andre Brink and above all illustrated by Janusz Grabianski.

As a child I loved Grabianski’s vivid colours and strong brushwork – the storytelling in the pictures is just as lively as that in the text. Here you can see the first meeting of Aladdin with the evil magician, pretending to be his long lost uncle. More

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