Dorothy Aldis Poem

I found this charming poem in a 1950s poetry compilation for children.  I did this drawing to accompany it.

 

Last week my wife purchased three boxes of books at an auction.  In the boxes were four of a five volume set of children’s literature called The Children’s Hour.  It occurs to me that children were treated with greater respect back then than in much of the literature meant for them today.  Authors in the 1950s tried to “connect” with the reader as much as authors today, but the effort has an entirely different attitude.  Whereas the common ground today amongst author and child is immaturity, the authors of yesterday found maturity to be the common ground.  The above poem describes a very simple and profound moment in a way that doesn’t look down on children.  It assumes that they are human beings with a cache of relate-able profound experiences.  It doesn’t assume that they need jokes about yellow snow or exposed underpants or romanticized adolescent sex to capture their attention.  To me the subtext is, “I am a human being and I had this sharply realized experience.  Maybe you would enjoy hearing it since you too are a human being.”

It is said that folks in the Dark Ages looked at the ruins of the Roman Empire and had no idea how such things were constructed.  While it isn’t fair to say that we are in the Dark Ages of children’s literature, it may be fair to say its Golden Age was the 1950s.

Christmas Card

This year’s Christmas Postcard owes much to my wife.  During the latter half of November we watched numerous (it felt like numerous) romantic comedies.  All the “follow your heart,” “believe in the power of your dreams,” “thinking is bad” moralism engulfed me, and I felt the need to combat the growing pressure of 90’s romantic comedies lest I should implode.  In order to press against the crushing embrace of women’s fantasy, I watched episodes of Surviving the Cut and Special Ops.  I actually completed this card while re-listening to Jack Coughlin’s excellent sniper memoir Shooter.  Not surprisingly, Santa ended up with a knife in his teeth.

Autumn

Fall is my favorite time of year, and though the northern states are probably feeling the season more acutely, the south is now starting to experience the trickle down.  Just as stories of becoming are typically more interesting than stories of being, I think the transitional seasons are more pleasant than Summer and Winter.

C.S. Lewis writes of perceiving the idea of Autumn as a child through Beatrix Potter’s book Squirrel Nutkin.

“It sounds fantastic to say that one can be enamored of a season, but that is something like what happened; and, as before, the experience was one of intense desire.  And one went back to the book, not to gratify the desire (that was impossible–how can one possess Autumn?) but to reawake it.”

There does seem to be a thought in Lewis’ writings that the beauty inspires longing because there is a tension between man’s spiritual aspirations, and his fallen (no pun) condition.  Because beauty speaks most directly to the spirit, it makes sense that beauty has fallen out of fashion in academic pursuits of art–especially since the narrative of modernity tends to run along the rails of scientific materialism which denies the spirit altogether.

At any rate, I have done an illustration in a fall setting in honor of the coming season.

Pencil Rough

Excerpt from Thomas Forsythe’s, The Ballads of the Fourteenth Regiment: sung during various campaigns in India, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, The Low Countries, and France from 1799 to 1818 with notices of variant constructions.  Volume 1.

The Ballad of Colonel Sly

Good Colonel Sly often was widely perceived

As the fanciest dandy that could be conceived.

He rode on the furry red back of a fox

And ladies did gaze at his golden forelocks.

 

O dum de de dum de de dum de de day

de dum de de dum de de dum de hurray!

 

The Colonel was fine and he stood six feet two

But poor as a church mouse he was, yes it’s true

So the wealthiest daughters were all locked away

Which caused the poor Colonel to protest foul play.

 

O dum de de dum etc.

 

But one soft grey morn Colonel Sly said “good day”

To a wealthy young widow who happened his way

And in no time at all they were married. Some say

They rode off on his fox with a fine rose bouquet.

O dum de de dum etc.

Photo of the ink version sans photoshop.

 

UPDATE: It is quite possible that there is no such person as Thomas Forsythe, and no such book as The Ballads of the Fourteenth Regiment.  There further exists the possibility that “The Battle of Colonel Sly” may have been made up.  However, I stand by my comments on Fall.

 

Girl

FW inks and photoshop experiment.  Also, I should mention, I’ve properly indexed my posts and the categories are listed on the right hand side at the bottom, as well as tagged at the bottom of the post for easy reference.
Update: Also, I added another gallery above if you want to see some older stuff but don’t want the trouble of sifting through the tabs.

Drawing

Alissa’s sister had a beautiful baby boy about 3 weeks ago.  This is the drawing I did for him.  Alissa has gone to visit.  I’ve stayed up late, slept late, and ate tons of sugar, but now I’m running out of things to do.  I can’t wait for her to get back.

Hotey

This is the cover I did of a wonderful little book by Josephine Bailey.  It stars a donkey named Hotey.

And here are some interior illustrations.  They were reproduced in b/w, but I like the color of the paper so I’m posting that version.