Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Across the Universe and the Old drinking Song

Here is December! And things are getting colder by now. Though not so cold during my grade school days.
Last semester seems a month for me. And most of my works and schedules during this time were lost in my memories. But when I recently fixing my things in my bedroom, I saw this plate and remembered this particular work. This is the songbook I made for the first plate in my Advanced Illustration class last semester. This song is not so familiar to me, and the bunny just introduced it to me after several hours or days if I’m not mistaken, of thinking an appropriate song for my plate. It is the song called Across the Universe by the Beatles, and revived by Fiona Apple. It is a wonderful song. And somehow when I am listening to this music, I am picturing the scenes for my plate.

And this is the cover, with dead winter trees framing the title.

I placed the sun as, well randomly, the beginning of the day. Just like the beginning of the book.

And so the story begins.



As an enclosure, I put the moon as the counterpart of the sun at the beginning.

As I explore some interesting songs, I also encountered this lovely old drinking song which is supposedly my first choice. I came to this site. They have this kind of celtic music, which I really admire. This site is called the Brobdingnagian Bards: A Bard's Celtic Lyrics Directory. You can visit their site here. And here is one of the song I encountered.

Old Drinking song
. Hey ho, rum diddly-o,
Handsome knights come courting.
Hey ho, rum diddly-o,
The lasses keep them sporting

Sir Ganymeade went to the Ball to win his lady's favor.
Upon a white horse, proud and tall, he did the banquet enter,
But at the urging of his friends, he drank a quart of honey mead.
His lady was dismayed to find he could not keep his steed.

Sir Gallahad went to the joust to win his lady's favor.
A kerchief tied about his lance he as a signal gave her,
But much too hasty he had been, the kerchief was another's.
His lady was dismayed to find the kerchief was her mother's.

Sir Lancelot went on a quest to win his lady's favor.
He swore he would bring back a prize to prove that he was braver,
And so he brought a golden ring which from a dragon's nose he'd got.
His lady was dismayed to find it looks like gold and yet it's (s)not.

Sir Bedivere composed a song to win his lady's favor.
Of true love long and deep and strong for hours he sang to her.
His lady op'd the window wide to taste of what he'd spoken.
His lady was dismayed to find his instrument was broken.

Sir Robin bought a handsome gown to win his lady's favor.
A beaded purses and shoes to match also he chose for her.
This fine ensemble was a clue to what she surely should have known;
His lady was dismayed to find he'd also bought one for his own.

And since I became intrigue with these old-old folkish songs, I also discovered this one. I hope I could create this kind of songs for my stories, like the old stumpy characters merrily singing these songs while drinking in a Tudor house.


In days of old in a kingdom bold, there lived a fearsome dragon.
And the King he was in great distress and the countries spirits flagoned.
Until one day there came a knight, he was handsome, bold, and charming.
And he slew the dragon with his sword with a smile that was so disarming.
With a hey and a ho and a hey nany no, a smile that was so disarming.

Said the King I wish to know your name, but the knight said do not bother.
For the name of a knight of the realm says he, is the same as any other.
Said the King tonight in my daughter's bed you shall take your leisure.
And she'll reward you for your deed, with a night of exhausting pleasure.
With a hey and a ho and a hey nany no, anight of exhausting pleasure.

One daughter she had raven hair, a maiden young and chaste.
And she slept all night in the pale moonlight, naked to the waist.
The other daughter she was fair, the fairest in the town.
And she slept all night in the pale moonlight naked from her small waist down.
With a hey and a ho and a hey nany no, naked from her small waist down.

Well the knight he spends many hour behind the castle wall.
But the ending to my story dear, isn't what it seems at all.
For in neither bed of neither maid was he repaid for his glory.
But he slept all night with the King instead for this is a fairy story.
With a hey and a ho and a hey nany no, for this is a Fairy story.

* Words are flying out; Pools of sorrow waves of joy
**That call me on and on. Sorry for corrections!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Red Death

Last May, the bunny asked me to illustrate one her favorite short stories: "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe ( you can click the picture for better view of the illustration). I never heard of this story before the bunny introduced it to me, so I read it and what I found was quite an interesting story. The short story was part of the book "Short Stories and Essays of Edgar Allan Poe," a compilation of the writer’s work. Set during the early middle ages, Poe really captured the horror in the medieval atmosphere, though in a exaggerate way, and embodies the Victorian taste of gothic romances, which I also like. He presents the Red Death as a parallel form of the Black Death, if only grislier, but just as contagious and fatal. The protagonist, Prince Prospero, in his belief that such a lowly thing as Death cannot even reach the hem of his robes, defies it by hiding in a remote castle with his courtiers, abandoning the rest of the country to the ravenous fever of the malady while they go on with their excesses. Irony then strikes upon the celebration of masque, when an unexpected figure visits them.

The illustration was part of my project with the bunny to illustrate some of her favorite fairy tales and other stories (The first one was the Beauty and the Beast. The second one was a scene from the Arabian Nights, and this was the third one. The fourth is supposedly a scene from Alice in Wonderland, but I’m still working on Red Death.) I no longer had the plan to finish it because I revised it in a new canvass.

The work was somehow Van Eyck-ish, but I had to make it darker for the gothic novel atmosphere and that Allan Poe flavour. I'm working on a revision, which is still in pencil, somehow improving the clothing. Before, their clothing and postures was based on Netherlandish interpretation of angels: plain robes, medieval virgin hair, and calm faces.

The figure of Death, on the seventh hall, is based from Bernt Notke’s Danse Macabre or the Dance of Death (you can click the picture for larger view). It is a wonderful work depicting the mortality of people, rich or poor, and they dance with death as a symbol of reunification with it, and to tell how Death makes everyone equals. This kind of metaphor was became more widely spread because of the bubonic plague in Europe, as shown in the many works of art that features this, from poetry to paintings. One of the famous Danse Macabre series were the woodcuts created by Hans Holbein.

To all the viewers of this blog, thank you so much for your little time. I hope you enjoyed your travel to my own realm. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

From the Vaults of Curious Expeditions

Last time the bunny introduced me a strange and interesting site about, well, strange things. This site is called Curious Expeditions: Traveling and exhuming extraordinary past. And it has many exciting stories and mysteries about the past. Since I am fascinated with historic past and it's intriguing tales as well as enigmas, I became interested with this site (and I helps too if a certain site has links to other blogs, so that I can look for other things that may suit my curiosity).

But one article from their archives that I became most intrigued about talks of the small statues of dwarf in Salzburg, Austria. It is actually a garden filled with dwarf statues, called Zwerglgarten, or “Dwarf Garden” created in 1715 by prince Archbishop Franz Anton Harrach. You can click the here for the link to this curious site. These over-sized garden gnomes might not be categorized as fantastically grotesque, but are more of nameless memorials of the court dwarves who are simply differently formed in nature, and are represented as thus.

Sadly, they never mentioned the artist of the dwarves, or probably they don't know who actually made it, and the commissioner never puts his or her name in records. Sometimes, I am dissappointed with the artists who were so skilled yet they are forgotten by time, or were never recognized, and now we hardly know their names even if their works still exist amongst us. But perhaps it's their destiny to not to be recognized by future generations, or even by their contemporaries, to preserve their strangeness and the mystery of their work. Or because they just haven't really given thought to fame and immortality, and they simply did what they wanted to do.


During the past seven days, we had a meteor shower in our country. Though quite sadly I missed them due to my usual sleeping schedule, since I usually sleep early and wake up minutes after the sun had risen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Carving on the wood and the Coming of Age

Last month, the Bunny sent some pictures from Spain. And she took a picture of this grotesque woodcarving of an old woman. Somehow, this carving reminds me of the artist Rima Staines and other unknown medieval craftsmen, all of whom I really admire.


I can feel my younger years starting to abandon me, and my debut is coming on the twelfth and last month of the year. Things have started to change, and the days are getting busier than ever: over making my latest portfolio for my application to I.N.K., academics ( for which, this time, I only spent four days over the enrollment!), and household chores.

The last semester, I left my thesis subject due to financial problems, so I will have another year to catch. But it’s OK for me since the bunny will come back to school next year after her scholarship in Spain, and I have more time to research now for my topic, so that next year things will get easier.