Sunday, February 13, 2011

A New Composition: The Tower of Babel

Throughout my life I have been drawn to painting and writing since my words seem to continually fail me. Of late, it seems that if I manage to stammer out a response, it is quite unintelligible to anyone who hears me.

Nonreligious as I am, through all of my miscommunications, I keep recalling a story I heard when I first came to this country, that of the building of the tower of Babel in the land of Shinar. "They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withholden from them which they purpose to do" The people yearned to build a tower to reach the heavens, so they can always be united in knowledge and understanding. "God," learning of this plan said "let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city." (Genesis, The Bible).

The story has been coming to my mind recently as I have encountered people who seem to exceed at communication, and so frequently fail at action and others who stammer to be heard. The name of the tower and the city which held it, as it later came to be called, originated from the Hebrew word "babal" which means to jumble, confuse or confound. It hit a cord with me, this structure which seemed to be destined for incredible greatness, but failed at our inability to listen and hear each other. It seemed a great opportunity to explore a variety of gestures and figural compositions, as well as the necessity for a great depth of field and architectural elements which have been missing in much of my earlier work.

Since my last visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles where I saw Printing in the Grand Manner: Charles Le Brun and Monumental Prints in the age of Louis XIV, I have been increasingly interested and influenced by Charles Le Brun, and somewhat more significantly by the exquisite black and white prints created from his works by his contemporaries and followers.

There is a really great sense of movement created by curving bridges and horses falling and thrashing through bodies of water. Although this piece is significantly more stagnant and disjointed due to the lack of correlation between the characters, I have spent a lot of time looking at Le Brun's compositions and hope to claim some influence therefrom.

There are a few adjustments I need to make with some of the character proportions and gestures, but I am happy with the overall composition and wanted to share!

Also, I have taken a much better shot of Happiness is Only Real When Shared:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Penguin Classics Cloth Bound Collection

I have been reminded of late that I have been sadly remiss in keeping up with my blog this past month. My sincere apologies to those who have noticed and have taken the time out to send me a message. I am gratified to know that I have at least a few devoted followers. Thank you guys!

I have found myself in a bit of a hibernation since the New Year. With the shortening of the days, I have had little opportunity to explore the city after work and many of my habitual crafty projects have been temporarily set aside while I completed my graduate school application. You will be glad to know that the application was mailed off last week, and I am ready to get back into my routine.

Throughout my somewhat drawn out dormancy, I have busied myself during the long, dark evenings by reading and re-reading some of my favorite classic novels. Revisiting Oddysseus's long trials and tribulations in Homer's Oddysey, reliving Heathcliff's monstrous passion and hatred for his life-long love Catherine in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and discovering the hardships a young woman can endure in her whole-hearted love for an absent, unloving husband in Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy have been the relish of many an evening hour.

I have been slowly working on building up my library, much to my own detriment as I will be lugging all of my volumes across state lines in a few short months. I have never been able to heed my own warnings about the breadth of my ever-increasing collection, and have of late, fallen for a brand new temptation. Up until a few months ago, my precious classic stories were found in tattered and creased Barnes and Noble's paperbacks and the few vintage volumes I have been able to find in the over-searched shelves of New York's antiquarian bookstores.

In 2008, Penguin Classics, an imprint of Penguin Books, started releasing incredibly beautiful cloth bound editions of some of my most precious novels. For a long time, these editions were only available in England but thanks to America's need for, well everything, the beautiful books have been appearing with increasing frequency of the past year. As it stands, 20 different books are available in the states of authors ranging from Dante and Shakespeare to Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters.

The books are lovely compact size cloth-bound editions with bright and charming covers. Cover designs and intro page illustrations were created by Coralie Bickford Smith. Upon first encountering these charming volumes, I made a pact with myself to only read novels that are available in this edition until I have a copy of each one. Collecting these books have been among my main occupations these past few months and I am happy to share them with you.

Check back in with me in the coming weeks for updates on my paintings and other creations that I have failed to properly update with in the past month.