Thursday, June 30, 2011

Half Youthful and Half Animal

Imagine it's the age of flower children and free love—in France, in 1967. Imagine a thoughtful man of 69, an age when many folk are starting to turn out the lights upstairs, strolling through the small town where he was born and coming across a young woman dozing, semi-nude, on the bank of a river. She is at peace with herself and the world.

What does this man do? Pull out a camera, with it's one-eyed 1/30th of a second stare? No, he pulls out his brushes and watercolors and creates a spontaneous study of her innocent bliss.

André Planson — Sleeping Girl on the Banks of the Marne — 1967

Such was André Planson, the French artist, born in 1898 in La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, a small town on the Marne River. To quote from an online source:

". . . the profound ties to his native land was what really counted in Planson's life. He always returned to the small town of Ferté and its surroundings where he painted deftly and untiringly the corn fields and the windings of the Marne River with the fishermen, the boatsmen, the restaurants full of shapely pretty girls whose sinuous figures, half youthful and half animal, are in accord with the curves of the foliage and the reflections of the light".

Oh, as I grow older to be such an age, I pray that I be in such a place, such a situation, such a state of mind and ability.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Carole Lombard, 1926! What more do you need to know?

His Song Quiets the Stars

This is pulp fantasy illustrator Virgil Finlay's style applied to the Edgar Allen Poe poem Israfel, written in 1831, about an angel who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures, 'his song quiets the stars'.

Virgil Finlay — Israfel — 1938

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Settings of Paradise

Jessie Arms Botke was an artist who created bold and decorative paintings, with a predilection for exotic white birds in settings of paradise. She and her artist husband sometimes collaborated — much of the time "leaning heavily on each other for advice, criticism, and encouragement" — basically describing the working relationship of my artist wife and myself.
Jessie Arms Botke — White Peacock (Romance of Eld) — 1931

Jessie Arms Botke — Sulphur Crested Cockatoos — 1942

Jessie Arms Botke — Demoiselles Cranes and Lotus — 1934

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Breathtaking Brilliance

The 1912 book presented here, Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur, created by Alberto Sangorski, is page-for-page the most beautiful publication I've ever seen.

Illuminated as of old, it is breathtaking in its brilliance. Any other words are superfluous.

Alfred Lord Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur
"Designed, Written Out, and Illuminated"
by Alberto Sangorski —1912

Ruby Lore

"What princess ever puts only one ruby in her hair?"
Warwick Goble — from The Origin of Rubies
Folk Tales of Bengal — 1912

Tiffany & Co
Preliminary design for a ninety-carat star sapphire
& 39 Burmese rubies
for the World's Columbian Exposition

Tiffany & Co
Design for Edwardian ruby, diamond and platinum necklace
ca 1905

Tiffany & Co
Design for a ruby bee pin — 1889

Tiffany & Co
Design for a ruby and diamond arrow pin — ca 1880

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It Has Everything!

Here's another colorful graphic from 1934.

It was an amazing time. Deep into the Great Depression, people were still scrambling to survive, and clouds were gathering for the next world war (Hitler became Commander-in-Chief of Germany)—yet people were flocking into escapist fantasies from Hollywood to the planet Mongo (Flash Gordon debuted that year). Donald Duck also debuted in 1934 and Babe Ruth hit his 700th career home run, etc etc.

An amazing time.

Demon Dick

I know nothing about these characters, or their creator Dick Spencer (other than I'm speculating that he was the cowboy/cowboy poet/songwriter [there's an award named after him], who was also the late long time publisher of The Western Horseman Magazine).

I like the 1930s cartoon aesthetic of this cover of a big little book that got stretched to a bigger big little book.

Dick Spencer — Tales of Demon Dick & Bunker Bill — 1934

Friday, June 24, 2011

Peacock Feathers

Coles Phillips created book covers as well as ads and magazine covers. His style of merging negative space with positive space is recognizable instantly even all these years later.

Coles Phillips —Peacock Feathers — 1924

la Belle Melusine

I'm determined to relate this image to those of the last two posts, as being part of the same enchanted realm. A 14th century tale tells of la Belle Melusine, daughter of a mortal king and the faerie Elinas Pressine, here in a wedding procession near the Forest Coulombiers.

Jessie Bayes — The Marriage of la Belle Melusine

Fruits of the Earth

This looks like an enchanted tree on the outskirts of that enchanted forest of the last post, lovingly illustrated by Edward Detmold.

Edward J. Detmold — The Fruits of the Earth

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Days of Knights

Back in the days of knights were the dark ages, when superstition ruled the senses. I should like to visit a forest like this.

Sir John Gilbert — The Enchanted Forest — 1886

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Everybody is a Doofus

"Zits is the worst name for a comic strip since Peanuts."
— Charles Schulz

Zits is probably my favorite current comic strip, consistently well written and drawn by two talented guys.

Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman — Zits

Prehistoric Days

The Gremlin is banished (for a while at least), let's try this again, adding a few more pages than last time.

Thanks go out to OtherEric of the Digital Comic Museum for sending over these scans of some early Alley Oop strips, as reprinted in The Funnies—in the prehistoric days of comic books.