Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wings to the Human Spirit

Here I'm posting the very My Book House story that I read as a boy, about Leonardo, and the inspiration it stirred in me is still evident today. Without giving anything away (assuming and hoping you will read this story), this is what it says at the end:

There was always something exciting in the workshop of Leonardo. (They) not only learned to paint there, but they learned to think and inquire and investigate the universe.

Without consciously adhering to that, our studios have somewhat followed suit—brimming with project overflows; sketches and paintings pinned and mounted everywhere; mannequins with ever-changing costumes; studio props; camera equipment of varying sizes; of course books everywhere; but above all—the aura of problem-solving and research into the mysteries of the universe. We certainly don't share Leonardo's genius, but we do share his curiosity and passion for knowledge.

Many of our projects entail interpretive graphics, meaning that we need to study and understand the subjects that we endeavor to explain visually. Over the years we have developed interpretive exhibits and murals about Egyptian, Chinese, Aztec and other assorted cultures; prehistoric animals and dinosaurs; current ecosystems; historical persons and events; space exploration and modern technologies; various branches of science; children's interests and issues; and currently just finished an up-to-date graphic portrayal of the origins and evolution of our planet earth. We are illustrating two books, as we speak; developing content graphics for two visitor centers in magnificent areas of the country; and creating portraits of very interesting people.

All of these projects require so much research and spill their contents through our brains and into hundreds of sketches and finished art pieces that fill our studios and our lives. Our daughter is majoring in theatrical stagecraft, which brings another magical dimension to our mix.

In addition, my personal interests push deep into the esoteric regions of science and philosophy, involving the mysteries of Time, Space, Dimensionality and the Human Condition. I don't have the conceit to think I could contribute substantially to the subjects, but curious, I am so curious.

Leonardo has always been close to my heart, and it started with this very story:

Donn P. Crane made so many drawings of so many subjects.

1 comment:

Annie said...

Hi Thom,
I had to read the story before I could comment. I love the way it’s intelligently written, engaging for children and adults who may have read the work aloud, conveying tons of information in ways that capture the spirit and the imagination, starting with that great title: The Wonderland of an Artist’s Workshop. The opening paragraphs make a person yearn for paint, paint brushes, and discovery. I can see why it had a huge influence on you. I was reminded of a three page play my son wrote in sixth grade about Leonardo and the flying machine, capturing both the personality of Leonardo and his assistant, with the actions and the dialogue. I’m a librarian, so I’m intrigued by the description of your published work, and the projects you and your wife are working on; also your work in the areas of science and philosophy. Thanks for publishing scans of the story. That must have been a great series to absorb when you were a child; a testament to how important books are to our development. I love the illustration of Leonardo's workshop, too. It’s a great companion to the verbal description in the story, with so many compelling things for the eyes to light upon.