Monday, May 27, 2013

"I Have Sung Storms to Sleep."

The Golden Age of American Illustration Show I took in at Pepperdine continues to put a bee into my bonnet. And if the stings are inspiration, then Sting me, by God, Sting ME!  Although arguably, a wasp would be more appropriate. I'd hate to think I make one decent piece and never get another dose.

In any event, the show had several pieces by two of my favorite pen & ink men: Charles Dana Gibson and Joseph Clement Coll. Master draughtsmen both, Gibson had a gift for beauty and elegance with a dose of humor under the veneer, and Coll...criminey...Coll wielded a pen more elegantly than most can wield a brush. In some ways, looking at their work in person could convince you to never fling ink again, but all too often, aiming for the stars helps you to fall in just the right range.

Having said all that, this piece was another inspired by classical mythology, in this case, the death of Orpheus. When the "father of all songs" failed to bring his beloved back from the Underworld, he was said to spurn all affection and was eventually ripped to pieces for it. (Although, as this is the internet, I feel compelled to mention that in some versions of the stories, he only spurned all women and turned to boys.)  His body floated down the Hebrus river with his lyre still playing a mournful tune that bummed all of nature out until he emerged into the sea and washed up on the coast of Lesbos. My drawing enters the scene there, as a bather discovers the musician's remains.

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