Sunday, August 31, 2014

1001 - The Hero With 1,000 Sketches

I've begin reading "The Hero With A Thousand Faces", an analysis of myth in modern storytelling.  It's good reading, and very informative.  Although written in the 1940's, it remains the textbook for many contemporary authors and movie-makers.  Even after the first couple of chapters, it's evident who among my favourites have adopted this book and who haven't, it's like the difference between standing inside a spotlight as opposed to not.

Campbell at the outset uses the fable of the Minotaur to illustrate the human myth.  He compares the story of the man with the bull's head to the stages of personal development: Campbell was a devotee of Carl Jung, so in the book there is a dovetailing of mythology and psychoanalytic symbolism.  Taken from the perspective of the storyteller rather than the doctor, Campbell makes a strong case despite the current decline of Jungian therapy.  

Since the book is quite sense with information, I've taken to making notes.  And since Campbell describes his points with very colourful storytelling, there's many opportunities to provide my own illustrations.  

The Greek Minotaur was the result of a bad relationship between Minos, the King of Crete and his wife, who bore a monster as the result of Minos' greed.  Minos had his sage, Daedelus, create a labyrinth in which to keep the Minotaur.  Minos threw the children of his foes into the labyrinth as food for his son. 

Minos' daughter Ariadne falls in love with Theseus, the son of Aegeus King of Athens, and conspires with Theseus to kill her bullish brother.  Theseus slays the Minotaur but abandons Ariadne.  Bad communications cause Aegeus to believe that Theseus had been killed, and he commits suicide.  Theseus rises to his father's throne and sets in motion a Greek rebellion against Minos' tyrannical rule. 

The Minotaur myth normally is seen as a political allegory for the succession of Greek power to Athens.  Employing Jungian imagery, Campbell turns the Minotaur into a representative of the stages of psychological development, which in turn provides a key to unlocking his "monomyth", or the observation that Mankind's greatest stories all have similar features, since they all reflect human personality. 

This quick drawing of the Minotaur shies away from stoic Greek iconography and contemporary comic-book mangling of the original.  Instead, I've based the picture on  Yama, which is a fearsome Tibetan version of the monster with a man's body and a bull's head.  Campbell was right: the best stories do have similar features, even from antipodes like Greece and Tibet.

Anyways, now that I've made 1,000 JSVB posts, I suppose I can call myself The Hero With 1,000 Sketches.  Really, though, to be in top form I will need at least 9,000 more.  Today is one more sketch towards that goal. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

1000 - "JSVB Post #1,000"

"Well, here we are." 
- John Boone, the first man to step on planet Mars, 2020

JSVB Post 1,000.   

My mistake was to over-think all of this.  A thousand posts, and you'd expect to achieve a certain amount of consistency.  Instead, weeks of indecision and introspection delayed this milestone post almost past the point of justification.

Quit JSVB?  At our moment of triumph?  

I considered that.  The longer I blog, the less relevant this all becomes.  

Well, screw relevancy.  Years ago, I imagined how it would feel to achieve a thousand posts, and now I am ready to celebrate my accomplishments.   I've long since met all of my goals with the blog, and I've set new goals and achieved them as well.   I have a lot of new stuff I've been itching to create, and I will be ready to share it all once I commit it to rendering.

So join me in the next phase of JSVB, and we will see where it will lead us together.  I only have 9,000 posts left to go! 

***   ***   ***

The quote is from "Red Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson.

The picture frame is shown by the kind permission of master craftsman Derek Halladay.  Someday, I'll able to afford to buy one of his frames!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

999 - Fashion Cowboy II

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

For lack of trying, this month's JSVB Ungood Art entry has devolved into yet another photograph of me looking stupid.  

Here's the link to the original Fashion Cowboy, on of the original stars of Ungood Art Day: please click here. 

This photograph is courtesy of a wedding-sized Jim Beam and our friend Yang.  Thanks, Yang.  Thanks a lot. 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

998 - My Mt. Rundle

Mount Rundle, Alberta.

This picture has some meaning for me.  There are a million pretty much like it, since this is the view directly from the highway near Banff.   There's even a handy traffic pull-out to see this view.  Canada has no shortage of postcard views you can see right from the comfort of your car.

I'm certain I am standing taking this picture on the same spot my mother must have used to set up her painting easel maybe forty or fifty years ago.  She made a quick painting of this mountain, probably the work of a half-afternoon judging by how she threw her paint around.  There's a negative space caused by tonnes of rock that had sheered off the left side of the peak that my mother depicted with great force.  That part of the painting always disturbed me as a child, since it looked alien and eldritch.  Not until I drove by the mountain as an adult did I see how that shape was supposed to work.  Still, that painting remains in the back of a dark, seldom-opened closet in a room I almost never visit.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

997 - Squirrels Less Sultry

Here's yesterdays squirrel sketch re-organized a bit to make it more romantic and less sultry.  If squirrels had wedding magazines, this pic would be in there. But they don't, you know?  So they stay here, on good old JSVB.

Friday, August 8, 2014

996 - Sultry Squirrels

Squirrels revisited: I did some line art for my squirrel lover characters.  The pose is too sultry, though, so I will try to dial back the intent.  Usually, I have to add more emotion and push my poses farther, but this one I have to tone down a notch.   Most of the changes will be in the eyes and facial expressions, I figure.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

995 - Acorns Tied With A Satin Bow

JSVB: your one-stop shop for all of your acorn binding needs.  Now with satin!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

994 - Background In Blue Satin

In the television of my childhood, when they wanted to inject some class into the show, the TV folks would mount their prop in a satin background.  Think of a fairytale storybook or a title card, something like that.  Sometimes the satin would be real, and sometimes it was hand-painted.  Here's an example on JSVB, take a look at JSVB Post #900 by clicking here. 

I've always wanted to do something like that, since it resonates with my earliest years.  It's taken me a while to learn to render cloth, though.  My iconography lessons have helped, and practice seems to boost my skill a little as well.

This piece isn't complete since the bits in the middle are missing.  I'll get around to that after some sleep.