Friday, November 30, 2012

Illustration work

No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.

Edward Hopper

Hopper magazine illustrations circa 1920

Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks,  is certainly his most famous work and one of the leading recognized and parodied paintings in the world of American art. Hopper completed Nighthawks in 1942 when he was sixty-years old. Fame and recognition for his painting came after years of struggle, knocking on doors soliciting free-lance work as an illustrator.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Complete delight

Maira Kalman was the speaker for the October 2012 CreativeMornings/New York.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Acme products

For Acme products, Coyote is a loyal, repeat customer --the best kind!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Down at the end of lonely street

The song Heartbreak Hotel was released in 1956 as a single by Elvis Presley, his first recording with his new record label, RCAVictor. The song topped the charts, became Presley's first million-seller and was the best selling single of the year. In 2004, Heartbreak Hotel was ranked number forty-five in the Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

I think the first record I bought was Little Richard's 'Long Tall Sally.' Fantastic record, even to this day. Good records just get better with age. But the one that really turned me on, like an explosion one night, listening to Radio Luxembourg on my little radio when I was supposed to be in bed and asleep, was 'Heartbreak Hotel.' That was the stunner. I'd never heard it before, or anything like it. I'd never heard of Elvis before. It was almost as if I was waiting for it to happen. When I woke up the next day I was a different guy.

—Keith Richards

Before I actually heard an Elvis record, I was aware of him as an image because I'd seen him in an ad for 'Heartbreak Hotel' on the back page of NME. They weren't playing much of Elvis' stuff on the radio in those days. To hear 'Heartbreak Hotel' I had to go into a record shop in Liverpool and listen to it through headphones in one of those booths. It was a magical moment, the beginning of an era. Listening to it that first time was the start of my Elvis experience. Of course it's an amazing song. Lyrically, for starters, it was a real shock. You have to remember that, in the mid-1950's, pop lyrics were mostly fodder. It was 'St Therese of the Roses' and 'How Much is That Doggie in the Window?' Then you heard Elvis singing, '...Where broken-hearted lovers do cry away their gloom.' I remember thinking how odd it was to hear the word 'dwell' in a song. It wasn't the kind of detail you'd expect. It was those little touches that made it different from anything I'd heard before.

—Paul McCartney

It completely changed the way I listened to music forever. It was just so primal. Everything before was beautiful arrangements and bands and singers and this was like...I'd never been around music like that, music that was so powerful. I'd certainly never heard an electric guitar played like that. I'd heard Les Paul and Mary Ford, but never heard anyone play like that. The echo on the record! Wow! I hadn't been around stuff like that. There wasn't anything else around like that, at least not in my family. There were no obscure blues singers or anything of that kind. The weird thing was, that week I'd been in the hairdresser's in Pinner Green looking at Life magazine and I'd seen a picture of this man I assumed must have come from outer space, but that was Elvis Presley. When I put the two together it was astonishing. He looked amazing and sounded amazing and it changed everything for me. It was rock n' roll! That was what I wanted to be.

—Elton John

Monday, November 26, 2012


The new film Hitchcock, follows the famous director Alfred Hitchcock during the filming of his then controversial film, Psycho (1960). The original shower scene is a tour de force of editing.

 Original storyboards for the iconic shower scene by Saul Bass

Films stills for a brief portion of the shower scene
(can't you hear the screeching stringed instruments?)

Sunday, November 25, 2012


When E. was describing the hotheaded nature and all-consuming rage of Achilles, I wondered whether he could have become the hero of the Trojan War or the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad had he dialed it down even a few notches. Probably not.

 Achilles may have been destined for a storied warrior life, but like any good soldier, he had to prepare for battle. The centaur, Chiron, is often depicted training the young 
Achilles in bowmanship and the lyre.

 Jean-Baptiste Regnault, The Education of Achilles (1782)

 Eugene Ferdinand Victor Delacroix, The Education of Achilles

 John Singer Sargent, Sketch for Chiron and Achilles (1922)

Giuseppe Maria Crespi, 
The Centaur Chiron Teaches the Young Achilles Archery (1695-1700)

James Barry, The Education of Achilles (1772)

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Fascinating what can be found at the auction houses. 

Three clapper boards from the collection of Academy Award winning cinematographer 
Sven Nykvist, perhaps best known for his work with director Ingmar Bergman.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What good shall I do this day?

Prolific, inventive, enterprising, accomplished, contemplative.

Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule

(Click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We all have a lot to be thankful for!

Bringing home the bird.
(Notice how UN-Butterball those gobblers are?)

From the National Photo Company Collection, circa 1919

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You've got to grow up sometime

Vintage high school motivational posters by Frank Horr, circa 1960

Good advice is timeless.

Monday, November 12, 2012


 Louis Faurer

 Ernest Sisto

 Berenice Abbott

 William Klein

Elliott Erwitt 

Richard Avedon

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rashomon effect

Half a truth is often a great lie.

—Benjamin Franklin

Three films follow three men, all of whom share a talent for manipulating the truth.

In Flight, Denzel Washington portrays pilot Whip Whitaker who is lauded as hero after crash landing his failing jet, suffering only a few fatalities. That is not a spoiler, not even the meat of the story.  Director Robert Zemekis seems most interested in character study, as in the old adage, 'character is how you behave when no one is watching.'  Of course, as the audience, we are always watching Whip struggle with his decisions, impulses and view of reality.

The poster says everything: only one character looks so at ease in a gun scope, that's James Bond. 

In Skyfall, Daniel Craig plays Bond (my favorite actor in the franchise), so it doesn't much matter to me that the villain is played by Javier Bardem and the director  is Sam Mendes.  Skyfall, in requisite Bond film fashion, has the baddie spending all his time and personal fortune with a well-armed toady brigade, demolishing buildings and property in several international cities, underscored by an insatiable desire to rid the world of 007.  Despite Bond being an elite spy, breaking into hotels and homes, stealing documents, and every type of vehicle, bedding a bevy of women and generally wreaking havoc wherever he goes, he's always quick to reveal his true name! 
*Sigh*  Now that's entertainment!

Daniel Day-Lewis brings life and soulfulness to Abraham Lincoln, our American president mythologized throughout the 147 years following his assassination in 1865.  In Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, the ever-wise and impressively calm leader is hard-pressed to end the Civil War, while also pushing his 13th Amendment (that abolished slavery) through Congress.  Lincoln manages his opponents, constituents, cabinet members and political operatives with firm directives and folksy wisdom, sharing anecdotes and tales that are sometimes puzzling, and on one occasion drives a colleague away while shaking his head and muttering, "I can't tolerate another story!"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A light touch

I love Jean-Philippe Delhomme's paintings.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pom poms

 Gift wrap, Anthropologie

 Felt garland at Poketo

Moroccan blanket

Yes, please.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

10 List: Covering Dracula

The thing in the coffin writhed; and a hideous, blood-curdling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions; the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with crimson foam. But Arthur never faltered. He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted around it.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1845-1912)

Chapter 16

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pink Pearl

     Ramona pretended she was riding a stagecoach pursued by robbers until she discovered her eraser, her beautiful pink eraser was missing. “Did you see my eraser?” she asked a second-grade girl, who had taken the seat beside her. The two searched the seat and the floor. No eraser. 
      Ramona felt a tap on her shoulder and turned. “Was it a pink eraser?” asked the boy in the baseball cap. 
      “Yes.” Ramona was ready to forgive him for kicking her seat. “Have you seen it?” 
      “Nope.” The boy grinned as he jerked down the visor of his baseball cap. That grin was too much for Ramona. “Liar! She said with her most ferocious glare, and faced front once more, angry at the loss of her new eraser, angry at herself for dropping it so the boy could find it. Purple cootie, she thought, and hoped the cafeteria would serve him fish portions and those canned green beans with the strings left on. And apple wedges, the soft mushy kind with tough skins, for dessert.

Page 18 Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Pink Pearl print by Jordan Crane