There was a time, not all that long ago, when the very sight of a foreigner in Japan would provoke shouts of Gaijin! Never could figure out who it was aimed at. Everyone else could see for themselves that there was a foreigner in the vicinity—and the foreigner did not need to be told.
Somehow the English word “foreigner!” doesn’t have the same zip. Gaijin, qallunaaq, haole . . .
The Grand Tour
1. On the Grand Tour
Here I’m playing with techniques. In “Grand Tour” and “Belgium” the whole window was filled in with crayon and then painted over in solid black; later the paint was scratched away. In “Rose Window” the black background came first, followed by oil pastels.
2. If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium
. . . and if it’s Tuesday morning, light will be shining through the window. Same technique for floor and window.
3. Rose Window
There were originally supposed to be two paintings. A diptych of diptychs, if you want to be fancy about it. One for Matthew and Mark, one for Luke and John.
After I did this one, I looked up the evangelists’ associated symbols. Turned out I’d got it wrong. All four of them are shown with a book, and all four also have an associated animal.
So I left it at one picture. On the left is your generic evangelist—who happens to be Matthew—and on the right is Mark with associated, er, feline.
Christmas Down Under
You may have seen the smiley that inspired this picture. All I had to do was make it nine times wider and eight times taller. But then, isn’t everything bigger in Oz?
I don’t know who originally created it, and I don’t suppose there exists a master directory of Smiley Creators out there somewhere. Consider yourself duly appreciated, whoever you are.
The grand old English garden mazes such as the one at
Hampton Court have been tourist attractions for generations.
I read (in a Georgette Heyer novel, I’m afraid)
that they kept a man stationed in a high seat, like a
lifeguard’s seat, with a view of the whole maze.
If a visitor got stuck, this man would be able to call out directions
to the exit.
If rats came to visit such a maze, could there be any question
what they would expect to find in the middle?
But the Sign Says...
The studio director mentioned to a class that you don’t want to use orange and purple in the same picture because it will come out looking garish. Naturally this kind of statement is a challenge to me—a red flag, let’s say—so I worked out a design involving orange and purple rats.
But then I made a mistake. Before painting the rats I filled in the background: a low-key light brown to avoid pulling attention away from the foreground. And it looked so nice with white rats that it had to stay that way. The only trace of red, orange and purple is in the shading.
That was the second mistake. The first turned out to be serendipity. The word “DON’T” was too far off-center. To balance the picture, I colored in only the first two letters. So there’s your title.