Monday, October 19, 2009
This week's CAWS, which includes four African animal illustrations, offers a chance to quote the well known A.A. Milne and to post a small Ernest H. Shepard illustration or two. Milne, for the few who may not know, was the brilliant children's author from the 1920's who introduced Christopher Robin, Pooh Bear, plus his innumerable friends, to a huge worldwide audience. Ernest Shepard was the equally brilliant illustrator who, with small sketchy line drawings and cartoons, gave the Milne rhymes and stories visual meaning and life. None of the more recent replicas and illustrations for products, videos, and other media have come close to the charm, humor, and creativity of the original Shepard drawings.
I was lucky enough to grow up at the time, the 1920's, when the Milne series was first published, with a smart and foresighted mother who read them to us at an early age. My admiration for Shepard began then and continues to this day.
We'll move on to the 'would have been' animal prints from the late 60's and early 70's. I have seldom dated work....at the time it seemed unimportant. Today it would be interesting. These were in acrylic and gouache, done in the then current technique (for me) in those years. Once again, they were 'portraits'....and the animals seem just a bit confrontational.
The intent was to engage the viewer....not showing violent hunting action....but alert, on guard, aware. The subjects are a pair of African male elephants, a black rhinoceros, a pair of lions, and a leopard in the twilight.
These were painted on gessoed illustration board....and for some reason, the original size on all of the illustrations in the series was 12 3/4 by 17 1/2 inches.
I paired the animals from different reference sources....and the backgrounds and scenes were my concept of African locations.
Totally unrelated, but to clear the decks, the start of another subject....an antique race car. It was not finished....the gear shift and brake handles on the near side are missing. As said before, old planes and cars appealed to me as subjects....the other subjects chosen for variety....and I still have no idea of the reception by potential customers.
Last, another page from Milne's 'When We Were Very Young'? Why not!
"When We Were Very Young" is © 1924 by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.
Copyright Renewal, 1952, by A.A. Milne
All Rights Reserved
* Charlie Allen's Flickr set.