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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

The Oresteia

The Oresteia is a three-play Greek tragedy written by Aeschylus. It consists of ‘Agamemnon’, ‘The Libation Bearers’, and ‘Eumenides.’ Chronologically speaking (if you can assign a chronology to Greek Mythology in the first place…), it’s one of the last stories to take place in the world of classical Greek Mythology (The Heroic Age? I guess that would be a better name for it. We live in the age AFTER the Heroic Age, the fifth age of the world; the age where gods no longer mix with mortals. More on that some other time, I promise). It’s post Trojan War and tells the story of Agamemnon’s return home, his murder, and the subsequent revenge taken by his children, particularly his son, Orestes. Of course the gods get involved, and it gets a lot more complicated, not to mention, well, tragic.

Anyhow, I don’t know how much of the plot I should really discuss here, because it’s definitely worth the read. And I mean, a thousand years ago when I used to make book covers all the time, it was with the hope of creating an interest in the story itself. And hopefully that’s the case with the three illustrations I made for the Oresteia. This story messed me up! In the best way! Got my imagination all fired up and I hope that comes across in the images and… maybe.. just maybe… does it toooo… YOU?!

Long story short, you should get a good translation and read the Oresteia! Or if you can time it right, go see them being performed somewhere! (Wouldn’t that be nice…)

So these three images sort of fall exactly into the middle of the stories. It was a scene from Libation Bearers that inspired this, though it’s not so terribly specific. They are each intended to be able to stand alone while still working together as a coherent set. The colours are carried through all three, as well as the set pieces. There is a tableau-ish quality to them, alluding to the fact that they are originally plays.

I did a rough draft of them in gouache, which admittedly is pretty close to the finals, but the final images are the final images. I’m actually very happy with how these turned out. I’m a little surprised that they’re almost exactly what I pictured. That, uh, doesn’t happen very often (though it has been happening more and more lately…).

Going from rough sketches to finals.

The originals are quite small, only 5″x7″, but I made them with the intention of making prints on a larger scale for the ’18 Artist Project. Scroll back a couple posts to see them! They’re on the Death Wall.

The framed prints that were up at the ’18 Artist Project.

And finally, the final paintings!

‘The Chorus’

‘Orestes and Electra’

‘Agamemnon’s Tomb’

First, An Update

Well, well… Don’t the devil just fool with the best-laid plans… Let’s not mince words here, I am in Italy at the moment and have been for about a month… SO! What we need is some kind of a blog or something, right? For starters, let’s get an old update out of the way…

As for the sketchbook that I built, I had to make a few extra modifications… I figured out pretty quick that it needed a spine reinforcement and something to protect the corners… Now, the corner thing has some pretty rad potential, cause it looks real official and fancy junk. But adding the corner pieces as a last step (or in this case, an afterthought), well, it has some aesthetic consequences. Buuuut live and learn. It’ll be full soon anyway and I’ll need a new one.

UPGRADE

Crispcorners

It's a bit of a bummer to have this weird overlap. But if it was underneath the inside cover...? Oh baby...

It's a bit of a bummer to have this weird overlap. But if it was underneath the inside cover...? Oh baby...

And there was another one of the Active and Contemplative Life sketchbooks that was in seeeeriously bad shape, even worse than the others (Ahem, as I recall I managed to drop it on the sidewalk and step on it in the same awkward movement outside of the Salsateria in Guelph, Ontario), which I also repaired. I figured I’d use a different paper for this one and dug into my unusually large* stock of Japanese papers…

TAACL

Redcorners

Redspine

Looking decent.

Looking decent.

And as for my nephew being crazy for Pokemon, my birthday card is case and point. I love it.

Chandelure is one of my favourites... how did he know??

Chandelure is one of my favourites... how did he know??

*Unusually large in that I can’t EVER see myself finding a use for even half of them, and that’d be after some pretty serious trying. What did I think I’d use them for? Why did I buy so much?? I can’t even guess what I thought at the time… I assume it’s not just me, but why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it so easy to accumulate STUFF. Like, no-fooling, honest-to-goodness STUFF. No other definition fits. And art supplies are somehow the worst… you’d think I’d know exactly what I need and only burden myself with the essentials, wouldn’t you? Nope. You should see how much goddam conte I have. I hate conte.

Sketchbook Cobbling

So WAY WAY back in 2007, the first time I was in Italy, I got a really beautiful sheet of marbled paper. And what did I do with it, you ask? Well I very carefully ignored it for seven years, that’s what. BUT AFTER THAT, I finally decided to use the damn thing to repair and/or improve some sketchbooks that were in desperate need of repair. Or improvement. Take a look!

The top one reeeeally needed the repair, and the bottom one reeeeally needed to look less boring.

The top one reeeeally needed the repair, and the bottom one reeeeally needed to look less boring.

So having done a half-decent job at sketchbook repair, and with a lot of the marble paper leftover, I figured I’d try my hand at making a whole new one…

FrontCover

BEHOLD! A sketchbook of marker paper!! Marker paper always comes in those stupid pads, and bros, a pad of paper just ain’t the same as a sketchbook. I had decided to spend a few days over my birthday in Ottawa drawering at the Museum of Nature, so that’s where this little bro got it’s first test run. There’s a few things to do better next time or whatever, but I think it’s pretty goddam good for my first book!

It's not gonna win me carpenter-of-the-year, but it's a place to hang up the old toothbrush.

It's not gonna win me carpenter-of-the-year, but it's a place to hang up the old toothbrush.

The spine needs a little reinforcement, which I kinda figured, but it's structurally sound on the inside till I get around to it.

The spine needs a little reinforcement, which I kinda figured, but it's structurally sound on the inside till I get around to it.

I think I'll reinforce all the corners, too, and make it look real fancy.

I think I'll reinforce all the corners, too, and make it look real fancy.

This isn't a huge deal, but I definitely can't use both sides of every sheet cause of that greasy marker bleed. (And I think marker paper technically has a proper front-side, which I didn't consider when I grouped the pages, but that really doesn't matter to little old me)

This isn't a huge deal, but I can't use both sides of every sheet cause of that greasy old marker bleed. (And I think marker paper technically has a proper front-side, which I didn't consider when I grouped the pages, but that really doesn't matter to greasy old me)

But look at how much fun you can have in a marker sketchboooook!

But look at how much fun you can have in a marker sketchboooook!

tonsOFfun

wolverers

And don't forget to hang loose, bros.

And don't forget to hang loose, bros.

The Castle of Otranto

This is it. The one. The tip of the top. The creme de la creme.

Ok, enough colloquialisms… but this IS pretty exciting. Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, is THE FIRST Gothic Horror. Oh yeah, this is where it aaaaaall started. Well, theoretically. But generally speaking and historically speaking,  this is the beginning of the genre. Whether or not it sparked the genre, or was simply the first of a movement that was starting regardless, who knows.

Either way, this is the big one.

Flourished story, flourished cover.

Flourished story, flourished cover.

The Gothic text was a dream to carve. Seriously. I was also watching Star Trek the Motion Picture while I did it (the old one, not the new one… you know, with VGER. Oh man…), so I guess everything just really came together that day.

Haha, does it take away from the image when I reveal stuff like that?

The Devil-Fish

Oh my. Lots of stuff. This past weekend, I was all set up at the Queen West Art Crawl in Toronto. Which was a lot of fun… other than an event like that you don’t really get the chance to stand there with your work and see how people react to it. Pretty cool. And there were lots of nice people, too. Aaaand the weekend before, I was all set up and stuff at the Sunnyside Art Show and Sale on the Lakeshore in Toronto. And there were lots of nice people there, too! Oh my. Lots of stuff.

And speaking of stuff, my back-log of prints to post has gotten pretty big, so let’s just jump right back in, shall we?

Now The Devil-Fish isn’t actually the title of a book, but rather a chapter from The Sea-Travelers by Victor Hugo. But that’s ok cause it’s only a half-size book cover. And it’s only a half-size cover because I originally made this print to be part of a print exchange, and 3.5 x 5 inches was the maximum print size. Pretty convenient considering my regular book covers are all 5 x 7.

Anyhow, I printed the editions on a big sheet of Stonehenge paper and cut them out after. I’ve done a second run of it since, so take a look!

Had to allow for a 5 x 7 sheet size...

Had to allow for a 5 x 7 sheet size...

The page in the corner turned into bookmarks...

The page in the corner turned into bookmarks...

Hey! And here we go! As of this weekend, this is officially my most popular book cover!

Hey! And here we go!