Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Preview!

For a long time I thought I might not live to see the day that this book finally became real, but I have an advance copy on my desk, so I guess it is happening! Below it is the original acrylic painting for the cover.
It should be available sometime in October!


This is an older painting (created for my local library), but I haven't posted it on this blog before, & by a curious coincidence, I just added it to my Etsy shop yesterday! (Prints of it, that is, by special request.)

Once again Illustration Friday seems to be reading my mind. ;-) Although, come to think of it, nearly any of my paintings would fit the "book" prompt-- especially the AlphaBooks series!

Acrylic on maps & text on canvas, 12" x  24"

Monday, September 17, 2012

R is for Riddley Walker

This week's entry for AlphaBooks is the eponymous hero of Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker.

This is a highly original book, not so much for its post-apocalyptic plot, but for its language, a unique dialect (& spelling) of English that takes a while to get used to, but once you do, it works its way into your brain & never quite lets go! Many many years after my first reading of Riddley, there are phrases from the book that still pop into my head at unexpected moments. (Arga warga!)

That first reading was a magical thing, by the way: I read the entire book by candlelight during a power outage caused by a hurricane. I'm sure the serendipitous setting contributed to the power Riddley holds over me, but even if you read it on a Kindle in a fluorescent-lit room, I think you'll still find the mysterious, smoky, quasi-medieval world Hoban creates to be an absorbing place to spend your time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sneak Peek

Guess what this is? Those of you who have been following Oddments for a while may recognize some of the elements... more to come soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Q is for Queequeg

This week's entry for AlphaBooks probably needs no introduction, but in case you haven't gotten around to reading Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Queequeg is the tattooed Polynesian harpooner who befriends the narrator (a.k.a. Ishmael) in the opening chapters of the book. Though at first Ishmael is fearful of the "savage cannibal," he quickly comes to admire & trust him, as well he might, because Queequeg is definitely a mensch!

Given his strength as a character, his striking visuals & the fact that there aren't a whole lot of "Q" characters to choose from, I'm betting there will be a slew of Queequegs in this week's AlphaBooks! I'm looking forward to the Queequeg parade.

I actually remembered to throw in a few "Q"s in the illo this time-- last week I was so rushed that I completely forgot to "P"! ;-) I'll have to go back & tweak that one when I fill out the alphabet.

Acrylic on text scanned from a 1992 Modern Library edition (with the wonderful Rockwell Kent illustrations), ~ 5.75" x 8.75"

Sunday, September 2, 2012

P is for Percival Bartlebooth

I'm back in the AlphaBooks game after yet another lapse. Apologies to all for my recent spottiness-- I will fill in the gaps one of these days! This week's character is the somewhat maddening figure at the heart of Georges Perec's Life A User's Manual. 

I have a weakness for novels that knit together many concurrent threads of a certain time & place, capturing seemingly infinite subtleties from multiple angles, & Life is like that-- & then some. A puzzle of a book in many respects, it tells the story of an apartment block in Paris, including all of its rooms & residents, & though the plot doesn't proceed in the usual chronological fashion, it has a logic all its own.

Today's character, Percival Bartlebooth, can't decide what to do with his life & wealth until he hits on a curious & deliberately useless scheme: he will first spend 10 years learning to paint, then travel the world for 20 years painting watercolors at every port, which he will have converted to jigsaw puzzles by his neighbor in the apartment block. Then he will spend the next 20 years working the puzzles, removing the images from their backing, returning to the place where he painted the original painting, & washing off the paint to reveal once again the blank watercolor paper.

His odd & obsessive life story is but one of many that weave through this prodigiously inventive book. I urge you to give it a read. It's certainly not for everyone, but in me it provokes a very particular sort of mad fascination.

Acrylic on reversed jigsaw puzzle pieces & text (scanned from a 1987 Godine paperback, translation by David Bellos-- a revised edition is now available) ~6"x9"