Monday, February 28, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tell A Fairy Tale Day

In honor of "Tell A Fairy Tale Day" 2011, I'm reposting the "Frog Prince" illustrations I did a couple years back. One of my favorites!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Old One

Book Review: Imagist Poetry, An Anthology

This was the first book of poems I acquired for myself at the age of sixteen or so (very much at random), and it's still a favorite. It introduced me to Wallace Stevens and D. H. Lawrence, two I now can't live without; but it also contains lots of really wonderful poets that I haven't found elsewhere, like Richard Aldington and F. S. Flint.

Here's a sample from Aldington (who was married to the much-more-well-known "H.D."):

I know you, poplar;
I have watched you since I was ten.
But if you had a little real love,
A little strength,
You would leave your nonchalant idle lovers
And go walking down the white road
Behind the waggoners.

There are beautiful beeches down beyond the hill.
Will you always stand there shivering?

Isn't that delightful? Lots of hidden treasures to be discovered in this little volume. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


As promised, here is Bango, my three-year-old daughter's imaginary friend. The above drawing was made with her collaboration. I was instructed on the colors and told that she should be jumping in the sky and catching a star.

Here is Eliza's description of Bango:

"She hugs me. She kisses me. She goes outside and plays on the playground with me. When I get home, she puts her shoes in the shoe basket. She loves everyone she knows! She never wants people to hit. She says prayers sometimes. She likes to play with me in my room. And she likes to be silly. She used to be mean. Then she falled on her knee. That's all!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Triptych V: Voyage

"Triptych V: Voyage" (12" x 12" closed, 12" x 24" open)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Triptych V: Voyage

Opening Monday morning--stay tuned.

Book Review: The Summer Book

One of the most perfect books I've ever read. The story is about the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother and is suffused with the glories of the natural world, the humor and pain of childhood, and stripped of any cloying sentimentality. Tove Jansson was a truly incredible writer, and this book sings. It's a book to celebrate, and to remind you that life is delicious and that the world is overflowing with wonder. 

Also, the Moomin books are quite possibly my favorite children's literature.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mr. Broccoli

Lots of kids have an imaginary friend. My daughter's is named Bango (more on Bango later).

But not every kid has an imaginary enemy.

Meet Mr. Broccoli, the cause of all my daughter's woes. The above portrait was drawn with her guidance, and below is her description of this dastardly fellow:

"Mr Broccoli is MEAN. Sometimes he steals my pizza. And sometimes he hits. And sometimes he pulls people's hair! He tears pictures in my book. And he pulls people's noses. And he breaks fans. And he breaks windows. That's all."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Portrait Of My Daughter

Send me a photo, and I can paint a portrait for you, too!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Picnic Day

Working on a new book...

Book Review: Don Quixote

The best novel in the universe. So many richly fascinating episodes, such finely balanced tragicomedy, it is alternately hilarious and painful. The sublime visionary Quixote and the slyly Rabelaisian Sancho together form the ultimate human personality. Striking through the masks of materialism to create new spiritual values, Don Quixote proclaims "I know who I am, and who I may be if I choose."

This book has been dear to my heart and I have read it multiple times over the last decade. On my first reading, at the idealistic age of seventeen, I was enamored with Quixote's heroics, absurd though they are, and wished to be his apostle. A second reading revealed to me the richness of the character of Sancho Panza, as well as some of the darker shadings of Quixote's madness and violence. Having read it several times since, I see Quixote and Sancho as related aspects of a universal human character, as a lovely and pugnacious friendship, and as showing the best and worst in each of us, all served with generous doses of humor. 

Part One is a sublime parody, and Part Two is a sublimer parody of a parody, as Quixote encounters characters who have read Part One and thus formed various opinions of him. In the decade between the writing of Parts One and Two, an anonymous author published his own spurious part two, and the inconsistencies and frustrations brought about are deliciously absurd. Cervantes was writing an extended prose narrative in a time before novels, and so he is improvising the form as he goes. At times, it all seems postmodern centuries before modernism, as stories within stories, narrators within narrators, and spurious unauthorized characters roam the Spanish countryside.

Don Quixote is episodic in nature, rather than following a classical plotline. It is crammed full of mysterious images, ridiculous situations, and slapstick humor. It is rich and lively and generously rewards repeated readings.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fantasy Opera Season

Coming from the classical music blogosphere, we have the Fantasy Opera Season game. If I were a billionaire, these would be my first two seasons.



Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Cover

Book Review: The Crock of Gold

The Crock of Gold is a really wonderful, unique book that I was lucky to discover while wandering through the used book store one rainy day. Stephens was James Joyce's appointee to finish the monumental Finnegans Wake in the event that Joyce was unable to do so. The book reminded me a bit of The Wind in the Willows--it seemed that several charming novels were happening at the same time. The plot (inasmuch as there is a central plot) hinges around philosophers and leprechauns. Utterly delightful. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011