My parents live by a pond (with very quaggy edges) & for a while they were regularly visited by a magnificent great blue heron. So when Anu gave me this word, I instantly thought of “Oscar” (as he was named by my grandmother, though I’m not sure why). I doubt Oscar ever landed a fish as large as this, nor could his neck bend in quite such a conveniently Q-like fashion, but he was an intrepid fisherman & a gorgeous creature, so this is my tribute to his majestic beauty. North Carolina (where most of my family lives) is the home of wonderful wetlands. As with many such areas across the country, they are very much in danger from over-development, so I thought of this dilemma often as I was painting this. Let’s hope generations to come will still be able to experience the wonder & awe I felt when Oscar came to visit.
Happy Year of the Monkey! In honor of the 2016 Chinese New Year, Shakespeare, the infinite monkey theorem, & antique typewriters, here’s the Infinite Monkey himself, complete with a background text from Henry IV Part 2: “Ah, you sweet little rogue, you. Alas, poor ape, how thou sweatest!” (Yes, I know the theorem usually refers to Hamlet, but who could resist that line?)
I happen to have been born in a year of the monkey (never mind which), & even though I don’t put much stock in horoscopes, I can’t help but find it delightful that nearly every description of the monkey personality includes the word “curious!”
You may have seen bits & pieces of this image before, but here’s the whole thing!
At last I am able to make prints of this available on Etsy. They’re not full-size (about half that), but much bigger than my usual small prints. (When I tried to reduce them to standard printer-paper size, you could hardly see the details at all!)
Unrelated note: today’s A.Word.A.Day painting is Ineluctable. A warm welcome to all of you who are arriving here from that site. (For the rest of you, if you haven’t yet wandered through this wonderland of words, head on over now!) And if you’d like to know more about the painting itself, see my previous post.
I’ve been working on this relatively small painting in between jobs for over a month now! I’ll probably tweak it a bit more yet, but I couldn’t wait to share it now that it’s finally coming close to what I envisioned. This mushroom, like its climber, is entirely imaginary, but it was inspired by various real species. If you are a fan of fungi in its many fanciful forms, be sure to check out this fascinating blog: When we die, we become one with the earth. Beautiful photos of some amazing shrooms!
The background engraving was scanned from The Practical Standard Dictionary, 1943; the borders were from an old map.
The not-so-secret message in the annulus refers to a series of books by Eleanor Cameron that I loved as a child. Working on this really made me want to reread those books!
p.s. This one’s dedicated to my friend Heather, an avid mushroom-hunter, & my father, a soon-to-be truffle farmer!
Edit: Prints of this painting (along with the original) are now available in my Etsy shop!