Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I.F. Dec.23 2011 "Messenger"

Inspired by the Illustration Friday challenge word: "Messenger"

In this busy season I had plenty of time to consider this word and its associations while driving across the city, buried to my elbows in cookie dough and surrounded by children enjoying themselves at the top of their lungs.

Messenger and message. We receive them together, and somehow have to untangle our responses to one from the other. Easier said than done, at times.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Separation" Illustration Friday Dec. 9, 2011

Inspired by the quote: "A composer knows that music is written by human beings for human beings and that music is a continuation of life, not something separated from it". - Hanns Eisler

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Brigade" Illustration Friday Challenge Dec. 2/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday word: Brigade

I enjoy working in response to a quote. This week I found:

"Some of us are like a shovel brigade that follow a parade down Main Street cleaning up". - Donald T. Regan

There was no getting around it: elephants were going to feature in this image.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Round" Illustration Friday Challenge Nov 25/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday quote:

"A character who is thought out is not born, he or she is contrived. a born character is round, a thought-out character is flat". - Rex Stout

A conflict between flat and round characters came to mind, and obviously, the strength is in being round.

Round, yes. Nothing in the quote said anything about being WELL rounded...

And yet literary tradition and its contradictions kept creeping in to my mind as I drew. What about Alice, and the flat card characters? Some wonderful flat paper characters in Spirited Away came to mind. Despite their obviously contrived and created origins, their presence is real - and threatening.

I'm drawing a blank at the moment, but I 'm sure there are many, many more.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Vanity" Illustration Friday Nov 18, 2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday quote:
"Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of the gentle people". - Garrison Keillor

I spent quite a while wondering where Keillor was going with this. Of course we would like to align ourselves with those gentle people whose campfires flicker in the gloom of elephantine shadows. Don't we always want to be seen as the kinder, gentler alternative - especially when vanity and greed are on the other side of the scale? On the other hand, pointing to ourselves and nodding with approbation is not necessarily a pleasant trait either. I decided to leave the equation alone and focus instead on elephantine vanity and greed.

Driving down the road I began to wonder what vanity and greed might be cloaking? Unattractive in themselves, they seemed in my mind to have a protective aura, to be a creation of how we wish to be seen, a concern with appearances. As though, through vanity, we were heaping ourselves under a substantial vestment or coat, heavy with embroidery and encrusted with gems, or the more modern alternative: fur. And yet, underneath, our malnourished selves hide an emaciated nature, a stingy spirit, an ungenerous inner self. We can stagger under the weight and be seen as substantial, but the rich covering only communicates to those outside. Inside, we are starving.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Swallowed up - November 2/2011

Swallowed up by coursework these days, hard to keep afloat, manage the household, much less draw for myself.

I have great ideas for I.F. challenges, but sleep takes precedence. Soon, I promise myself, and : next week.

Meanwhile the need to make images takes over now and again while I should be paying attention in class. Been this way for decades. Hope everyone else is inspired, and finding time to create.

And of course, comments here are much appreciated, inspiring in themselves. I find time to put things up in various categories on Facebook as well, comments, responses, ideas there all very welcome.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Ferocious" Illustration Friday Sept. 23/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday quote:

"It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious." - Henry David Thoreau

I've long admired Thoreau, and dip into his "Wild Fruit" often, for a way of seeing the world around us that awakens me to detail and depth, a way of thinking about inner and outer worlds as interlaced.

This quote sat. And oddly, what it brought to mind were my first forays into formal math - my first days in school facing chalkboards and sheets with numbers trapped in unnatural rigidity. Standing in straight lines and grid formations, where I could see they were a tumult of energy and colour, like wild animals forced into a circus to perform against their natures. I discussed this issue with my father, but his ordered mathematical mind boggled at my conviction that threes were green. That fours were calm. That sevens and fives knew each other, and were completely untrustworthy, likely to gang up and cause trouble.

A three is a three. Nothing else.

I eventually made peace with these concepts, but was reassured in later years to find the numbers achieved some sort of freedom to express their true natures - eventually.

So in my mind, Thoreau's quote and my early number sense rang in harmony - we cannot prize a three above a seven - or vice versa, nor a lion above a sheep. In context, of course, let them be where they are, and be themselves with all their might.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Mesmerize" Illustration Friday Sept 16/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday word: "Mesmerize"

We don't allow ourselves to be mesmerized much as adults, don't give much time to wonder at the things we see - occupied by routine and the demands on our time, it is seldom we shake ourselves to find we've been lost in the contemplation of something in front of us.

As a child, I remember this being an everyday thing. Stepping outside the door was to step into a world of wonder - every pebble, glint or movement could become an hour of discovery.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dream Boundaries - colour final

What we know of the world we discover through the senses.

In contrast, we have been encouraged to distrust dreams as products of fantasy, made up, "only your imagination" - and yet they tell us, importantly, what we think, what we believe, what we trust regarding what our senses tell us.

When we balance what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell with what we feel, believe and value about these, then the world of the real, the possible, truly opens up around us.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Boundaries - colour version progress

I hear we dream in black and white.

In my dreams I know I've seen someone in a green t-shirt. The kind of green that used to be bright, almost neon, but now seems dingy, as though it's been through too many washes, too many t-shirt disappointments and hangs limp and faded, leaving a stronger impression for what it was intended to be than what it is now.

So I know either that I dream in colour, or my mind adds colour as separate, imagined, dream-information, even though my dreams are in black and white.

Or something.

She has her feet in dreams; Dreams deeper than what she can feel with her toes, standing there in the uppermost layer. Perhaps she will swish her net and catch a wet butterfly. Or drop the net and run back on land. I imagine she will toss the net aside and jump in, swim with the flutter, the tickle, the colour of all that she cannot see until she does dive in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boundaries Illustration Friday Sept 6/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday quote: "Dreams have always expanded our understanding of reality by challenging our boundaries of the real, of the possible." - Henry Reed

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Mysterious" Illustration Friday September 2, 2011

colour version. So far.

Inspired by the Illustration Friday quote:
"Art is the fatal net which catches these strange moments on the wing like mysterious butterflies, fleeing the innocence and distraction of common man." - Giorgo de Chirico

It was interesting to consider art as a trap, rather than a process or an end-product. And as I rolled this quote around in the back of my mind over the weekend, it occurred to me that in the complex cat's-cradle of the mind, what we capture is not always benign. Infinitely worth understanding, sometimes its struggle to escape back into the subconscious and ours to capture, understand and reveal it remain visible to all - and we call it art.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Disguise" Illustration Friday Aug.26/2011

Inspired by the quote:
"Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise." - Margaret Atwood

What we know if Margaret Atwood is shaped mostly by her words - words left in print, hovering in the air of an interview, in the impression of energy and intensity she creates.

What about the rest of us - do we feel as giants among children? Whole selves among equals? Or do we too feel we craft an impression, a disguise behind which we traipse through the world of adults, exulting in our childhhood, or cowering in our sense of inadequacy?

Colour version anon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Influence" Illustration Friday Challenge Aug. 19/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday Quote:
"In the beginning you must subject yourself to the influence of Nature. You must be able to walk firmly upon the ground before you start walking on a tightrope" - Henri Matisse.

As a child, you can't help but be influenced by Nature if your summer mornings begin with the door closing behind you, the decided click of a hook-and-eye closure snapping into place above your reach and your mom saying " Make sure you can hear me when I call you for lunch". With 500 acres to explore, there were times we didn't hear her...

As the end of summer felt closer and closer, we crammed days full of things we knew we shouldn't be doing - from ooching out of the window of a deserted farmhouse on to a woodshingle roof the day after a rain (I can tell you just how it feels to leave a track as you zoom for the edge of the roof, and the strange feeling of relief knowing a nice, thick tangle of raspberry canes and poison ivy will break your fall) to jumping off the bridge into about 12 feet of rock-strewn water after our mother's car had disappeared around the dusty gravel bend of the road heading to town - I'm amazed now that there were fewer trips to the hospital, and less scolding than we deserved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Swell" Illustration Friday Challenge Aug. 12/2011

Add Image
Inspired by the quote:
"Some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up and touch everything. If you never let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you." ~ E.L. Konigsburg

Song came to mind first, as something that truly swells up inside of us and touches everything in earshot, but I kept mulling over ideas until I arrived at the expression that a bud swells - flowers do a wonderful job of reaching out and touching everything, with their rich beauty and aroma. I spent part of my summer studying Dutch painting so their masterful reminders of time passing, the still lives with flowers, bugs and various other symbols of the brevity of life suggested what flowers would reach out from the mind of someone taking a day to allow what is already inside to swell up and spill over.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

See what's happening on Facebook

Just to round things out, I've created a Facebook page for Aino Anto Illustrations - for all the doodles, paintings, past illustrations and general creative overflow that doesn't belong here or on my website.

Check out what's new on Facebook today, tomorrow, next week ... there will always be something. Facebook: Aino Anto Illustration Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Imperfect - Illustration Friday August 5/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday quote:
"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring". - Marilyn Monroe

I read the quote over and over, an idea tickling the back of my mind like a sneeze that hasn't quite arrived - until today, when it occurred to me that jesters embodied the entire quote.

Often different physically, they dressed to stand out even more; the butt of jokes and the confidants of the powerful; japesters, jokesters, philosophers, mountebanks and scapegoats, they made an art of the ridiculous, found beauty in imperfection and split madness until within they found wisdom. I wonder if Marilyn ever saw herself this way...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Obsession - Illustration Friday July 28/2011

From the Illustration Friday quote:
"Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment." - Claude Monet.

Looking at Monet's paintings side-by-side with countless copies, the originals stand out - the subtleties of colour which swallowed Monet whole, that he revelled in, chased, and tried endlessly to commit to canvas, those subtleties are lost in copies.

Instead of copying his paintings, to lose oneself in observation as he did, let us imitate that. Perhaps not to the point of obsession and torment - but how else to grasp at the joy he found in it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Perennial" - Illustration Friday July 22/2011

Inspired by the Illustration Friday quote:
"A good scientist is a person in whom the childhood quality of perennial curiosity lingers on. Once he gets an answer, he has other questions". - Frederick Seitz

Childhood curiosity leads us with a string of questions into unexplored territory. Finding one answer, the mind is already wondering about the next question. And the next. And the next. Observations shed in the quest for a particular answer surface later for further exploration.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I.F. July 15 "Gesture"

From the Illustration Friday Quote: "Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence" - Henri Matisse

Pondering the word and the quote, I wandered off into thinking about gestures in general, and those with more or less permanent effects.

Gestures on the highway are generally held to have little permanence, though they tend to cheapen the maker and leave an unpleasant taste for those on the receiving end. I wonder if this effect, observed in themselves, led so many cultures to ascribe magical powers to gestures - and to spend energy either in warding against them or learning to use them to advantage?

Here is one person, making a gesture in a very impermanent surface, previous gestures swirling around her, clinging to her every surface, changing her form, her appearance and filtering the world in which she moves.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Threshhold "stay" Illustration Friday July 8/2011

From the Illustration Friday quote: "Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them." - Jim Carrey

Pondering on what the fear described might be based, so many times one turns a corner and finds the unknown too much to face - open doorway, blank page, empty calendar - no matter how vast the blank, all filled one step, one word, one action at a time.

And despite the inference of the above quote, no need to overcome fear to take that first step, accept the opportunities that develop, write that first word - and the next and the next... just do it despite the fear, and then forget all about fear in discovery, growth and all that they bring.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Once Upon A Time In Outer Space..

After many years and 744 million miles, enduring every possible kind of privation, Hubert was thrilled to finally officially debunk the obviously out-there theory that Saturn's rings were composed of crystals of various icy compounds.

It was a relief at the same time to confirm his personal theory regarding the whereabouts of apparently every lost sock in the known universe...

Friday, February 11, 2011

When you want to fly in comfort, Converse Helifootgear is definitely the projectile of choice.