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!”
This little oddment began as a sketch for Illustration Friday’s “Unicorn” prompt, turned into an ornament given as a gift, & now it’s a greeting for you all: wishing you a holiday season full of rare & unexpected delights!
Today’s painting for A.Word.A.Day illustrates a pair of elephants forming a mutual admiration society for their respective homes & customs. Just painting this made me want to travel to Africa & India, so I guess that makes me a xenophile too!
When Anu gave me this word to illustrate for A.Word.A.Day, I came up with the idea right away, but I couldn’t find “yobbery” in any of my old dictionaries! What to do? Aha! In good yobbish fashion I would simply tag over another definition! It was fun to paint all the teeny tiny trash.
Today’s A.Word.A.Day painting is Quacksalver, a variant of the more familiar quack. This particular duck doctor is administering a terrifyingly large leech to his very unhappy patient. His office wall bears a dubious diploma from the Institute of Hirudiculture, conferring a degree in leechery. Three troubling vocabulary words for the price of one!
It’s that magical time of year again– when I get to share my illustrations for that wizard of words, Anu Garg, & his fount of esoteric etymological lore, A.Word.A.Day! How appropriate that we begin this year with Gramarye. I first encountered the word as a child, reading T.H. White’s Arthurian series, The Once and Future King, & ever since it evokes warm memories of those books, so when Anu offered it as a possibility, I knew immediately that I wanted to illustrate it. I felt the image needed some magical letters in addition to the letter “G” formed by the art, so I researched magical alphabets & did my best to “spell” out a secret message using one of the most popular. Do you have the magical powers to interpret this gramarye?
I was planning to post this image for Illustration Friday’s prompt “Ruckus” because the word immediately made me think of Festus & Mercury: Ruckus in the Garden by Sven Nordqvist, one of our family’s favorite children’s books. If you’ve never encountered this book, please get hold of a copy immediately! It’s a quirky, hilarious tale of an old farmer & his mischievous cat & their mad adventures in gardening.
This painting, of course, is a different sort of ruckus, inspired by my well-established love for tendrils.
I didn’t finish quite in time to post for “Ruckus,” but luckily it sort of works for “Outside” too!
The text comes from this delightful old book, a flea market find:
2015 is the year of the sheep according to Chinese astrology– most say it doesn’t start until the Chinese lunar new year (the 19th) but others insist it begins today, on the solar new year. Happy new year whenever & however you choose to celebrate!
Maybe it’s because this is also the time of year when W-4s start turning up in the mailbox (when you’re a freelancer there’s a frightening amount of paperwork to keep up with), but when I started sketching out a sheep in honor of the coming new year, it decided to grow up to be an old-school accountant. (That ledger paper is actually how I kept my business records for way too many years. I am so very grateful to my brother Dev who finally enlightened me in the wonderful ways of Quicken!)
The figures on these particular papers, however, are years of the sheep past, present & future. And you may notice that the fat stacks of 100′s are also strangely sheep-centric (& in no way representative of my own cash flow, alas)!
The background text was scanned from an antique 8th-grade textbook, Iroquois Arithmetics.
What could be better at the end of a long hard week in the lab than a nice refreshing craft beer? And hey, if you’re a zymologist, you can call it research!
Why a goat (aside from those elegant horns that conveniently help form the “Z”, that is)? Goats have a long association with beer– specifically bock beer– thanks to a regional German accent.
Quoth Wikipedia:The style known now as bock was a dark, malty, lightly hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing. Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (“a billy goat”), and thus the beer became known as “bock”. To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels.
That’s all the excuse I need. :-)
Meanwhile, back at the lab– Curious Art Lab, that is– I’ve brewed up some prints of this image for you!