Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Stolen Bride

Once upon a time, a blonde, blue eyed lass named Colette was preparing to marry Stan, her childhood sweetheart.  But on the very day of her wedding, she vanished!  Old Roger, her father, who thought, incidentally, that Colette could do much better, felt this social humiliation very keenly.  A whole days' paid entertainment now gone to waste!  But Stan and the old man agreed to a truce and set out to look for her.

After a few hours, Old Roger thought he heard his daughter's cries for help away off in the hills.  Not stopping to tell poor Stan, he ran as quickly as he could in that direction.  There he found Colette, still in her wedding dress, covered in silver ornament from head to foot!  Her father then understood that she had been taken by the gyants to be the bride of a particularly lanky and strong bodied specimen.  They had dressed her in silver as her bride-price.

Old Roger was much pleased with this new match, and did all in his power to encourage the union.  Poor Stan did not learn until it was too late that his dear Colette was now forever lost to him.  Old Roger grew rich from his new relations, but did not live long in the enjoyment of it, as dissipation and luxury ran its course.  And as for Stan, he wandered the hills, hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse of his Colette.  She stayed ever young and golden as he grew old and grey.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gofaric the Gyant - part 3 of 3

After this debacle, Gofaric asked princess Colette why they kept coming to challenge him when it was so obvious that they could not possibly win.  Colette explained that her hand had been promised.  She, as fine a girl as had ever been seen thereabouts, with svelte figure, azure eyes and sungolden hair, would be wedlocked to him and have to clean his house, cook his favorite foods, wash his stinky clothes.....and sleep with him (ugh!).  It was quite obvious to any man that she was well worth the hazard of one's life (humph!). So the gyant pondered her words.

Suddenly, Gofaric the gyant came to realize that he indeed liked the idea of wedlock overmuch.  He picked up the princess and smashed his way into the cathedral, where he forced Bishop Abner to marry them!  Colette has a hard life now, but she did gain eternal youth and a share of the gyant's immortality and strength through regular and prolonged exercise of his husbandly prerogatives.


((there are many variations of this tale, as the mythology of Algarsheen is rich in gyant lore...........))

Gofaric the Gyant - part 2 of 3

The gyant Gofaric kept Princess Colette tethered outside his cave as a lure to all would-be rescuers.  These had been promised the hand of the princess by the King.  All set off from that city blessed by Bishop Abner, and all were easily defeated by the gyant!  Most fled in shame, but a few were slain, and their remains cast into the violated barrow of John the Old, first king of Algarsheen.

At his very wits end, the king did take council with Bishop Abner.  Together they decided to expend the resources necessary to summon Jack, the well-known gyant killer.  Indeed, this same Jack did then arrive with great celebration and homage, and the whole city turned out to watch upon the day when he went up to the low hill to challenge Gofaric.  But the gyant did mash him with one blow!  The throng, with their king and bishop together, fled headlong back behind the broken walls of Algarsheen.

((ooh! ooh!! who will defeat the gyant now????))

Gofaric the Gyant - part 1 of 3

((there are just not the right kind of fairy tales out there for me..so i must write my own..but be warned, they are oddshippy....))

Long, long ago there dwelt in a dry, dark cave upon a low hill the gyant known as Gofaric.  Ages out of mind had he dwelt there, hibernating at times for decades, and forgetful of even his own past.  But prodigious strength he had, and earth-lore aplenty.  When awake, he keenly hunted his lands.  His only fault was a lack of sustained attention, the exception to this being the possessive desire he felt toward his beloved treasures.


After a particularly sustained and satisfying hibernation, the gyant Gofaric was rudely awakened by a riotous cacophony of sounds  not heard on his low hill sanctuary before.  During his absence, the city of Algersheen had been founded, fortified, and converted to Christianity.  King and bishop now presided over a thriving and prosperous trade in foodstuffs and antiquities.  Gofaric took great offense to this blemish upon his domain.  Taking up his club, he smashed his way into the city, breaking walls and houses.  He rampaged all the way to the royal palace, where he espied and seized King Roger's daughter, the Princess Colette.

((ooh! ooh! what will happen next? stay tuned to this station!))

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Painting at last!

There comes a time in life when a person had to do what she or he has to do. For me, this is painting.  I have wanted to paint since I was in high school....more than 30 years ago.

This painting shows the city of Derbent in the Caucasus.  It is after an engraving of the city in the Yule-Cordier Marco Polo (Dover Edition).  The calpih Harun al-Rashid, ruler of most of the civilized world, visited this strategic place, standing at the frontier of his vast realm.

The city lies open to the sea.  The rolling hills are the body of the earth.  The one who has arrived, the so-called great one, is a small but important figure heading into the midst of the city.  he has past the entrance and proceeds into the depths of this ancient place.

The jetty and the boat linger at the entrance, but the caliph reaches the interior.  His presence will cause a chain reaction, the will engender new life into this once forgotten town.

Overhead, far from the concerns of men, two birds float serenely over the whole scene, oblivious to the concerns of humans.

"Auch euer denkin wir, ihr Thale des Kaukasos,
So alt ihr seid, ihr Paradiese dort
Und deiner Patriarchen und deiner Propheten"

                                     ~Am Quell der Donau, Friedrich Holderlin

Monday, May 7, 2012

Van Gogh in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Museum of Art recently exhibited almost 50 paintings from van Gogh's final, and most productive phase of his career as a painter.  In the reproductions that I have seen, his paint seems so thick, and his brush strokes so clear, that the paintings come to life off of the canvas and into the viewer's reality.  As a beginning painter myself, I felt that I just had to see them up close and in the real, to find out what he had done.

My friend Mike R. generously offered to drive us down to Philadelphia, as I could never have made the trip alone.  Before our time to view the exhibit, we wandered in the 1500-1800 gallery wing.  There the paintings, in spite of giving three dimensional appearances, were, for the most part, flat medium on a canvas.  What made van Gogh stand out so?  I had taken a class in Italian Renaissance Art in college, in which we discussed the various methods used at that time, but nothing I had seen from that time in painting seemed comparable to this exhibit.

I did find out, however, that there were rules about getting too close to the paintings.  I had so wanted to see them with my naked eye, and to do that, I had to get within a few inches of the canvas.  At least I was able to see a few up close before I was warned away, and it was enough.  Now, how had he done it? and how had he been able to paint so many in the space of just two to three years?  At home, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and discovered his method.  IMPASTO, or using the paint as a paste on the canvas.  Moving rapidly, finishing in one "sitting," van Gogh swept broad areas of color onto the canvas, and then worked on detail with a smaller brush and different shades of color to give the three dimensional effect.Upon trying this method myself, I immediately discovered the value of brushes with a curved end....to keep the areas of color from mixing too easily and promiscuously.