Thursday, January 31, 2013

A True Passion

Okay, let's try this again . . .

I have a passion for pictorial treasures. 

A true passion. 

I eat, sleep, breathe the ephemeral ecstasy of sublime compositions of color, shape, design, fantasy, humanity, love, wonder and terror. A single slash of color can be the trigger of contemplation. A rendering that spirals out of nothingness just seconds ago is as exciting as a newly discovered graphic treasure of the long forgotten past. A photograph that assembles millions of pixels to capture and reveal the fleeting nuance of a person, place or thing is a divine time machine, speaking across the years. A cartoon is an inky collection of strokes and swirls and slashes that communicates with humor and drama with story and anecdote, relating simple wisdom to the young and old. 

A true passion.

I am not alone with this affliction. Millions of persons from every walk and station of life are addicted to the beauty that emanates from a page or a screen. From households in the 1930s, where people clipped and saved images from the Saturday Evening Post or the Sunday funnies, to today's millions who scour the internet and click-save high and low resolution images from thousands of blogs and web-sites — images that are ever more and more places of refuge to find some personal meaning and enjoyment.

My passion takes me to a level where I like to understand the ways and means that the images were made. To understand the times in which they were made. To marvel and be delighted by the creative talent that exists today, to question where that talent is headed and anticipate new creations as they emanate from some mysterious realm of imagination and intellect.

My passion takes me to a level where I like to rearrange creativity from the past that it might illustrate new ideas and bring it to new venues. I like to design pages so that images can have new life. I like to showcase new talent and creativity so that new audiences will encourage ever more creativity from others and themselves.

I have a passion for creating my own images, from simple sketches, to full renderings to photographs that create something from nothing, one definition of magic.

And I have a passion for students and education. For using words and images to inspire new interest in old truths.

This blog no longer suits my purpose. This blog's days are numbered. This blog is mostly just casting images to the wind (blown the world over, yes), but not in a meaningful way.

I will soon be taking my passions to a new venue — a true on-line journal. Filled with words and images that flow and soar, diving into depths and spiraling to heights of passion for the world, with some of my words and images and maybe some of yours. I will seek collaboration and involvement from any who wish to share their passions and together, whether two of us, or two hundred of us, we can create an archive of beauty and meaning.

Only a handful of people have responded to my previous query of interest. I myself would think twice or thrice before committing a monetary interest in an unknown venture, no matter how modest the cost. Therefore, I will now direct my energies toward a publication with FREE internet distribution, enabled by paid advertising and sponsorship. That will be a hard financial cliff to climb, and will take time.

In order to accomplish this free-for-everyone goal, I will need numbers. I will need demographics. I will need 'lurkers' to become 'members/followers/', to be counted — so that I can convince advertisers or sponsors to become involved.

If numbers don't amount to much (and I can anticipate that will be so), then this journal will be private. One way or another though, this blog and my others will fade into oblivion, even though I still have thousands of lovely images yet to be posted. I need to channel my energies to flow with my passions and I need to know that there is potential interest for an official Pictorial Arts Journal, with free and open distribution, filled with the creative energies of writers, artists, illustrators, cartoonists, typographers, designers, and students of all these arts.

I will spend a few more posts delineating some of the potential features of the journal.

This will be a journal you will enjoy, if only you will help to make it come about with your interest.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A New Era

Illustration by Thomas Mackenzie — 1920

It's a new year, a new era for me. Things are starting to fall into place. 

The Pictorial Arts Journal is preparing to rise again. 

But it needs your support. For it to blossom fully, I need to know that there is enough of a viewership out there in the cyber universe to make it worthwhile. And, I'm thinking that it might well end up being monetized — subscription based (affordably priced), quality advertising, or some such effort. The art would be beautifully designed to its pages (in full resolution), with articles written by entertaining and knowledgable enthusiasts of the very best of illustration, then and now—showcasing classic masters and the brightest talent of today.

Are you interested? Would you pay a little something to subscribe? Would you talk it up to get other enthusiasts involved? Would you be willing to contribute your time or talents to make the editorial content even better, whether paid or pro bono?

I want this to be the most beautiful online e-zine that exists, but in order to do so, I need to dedicate most of my time to make it so, and therefore I need to make it financially worthwhile enough to drop some of my on-going project work that uses up all my time.

I'm open to suggestions, brain-storming, collaboration, criticism, kicks-in-the-pants, any and all commentary.

Please respond. I need to hear from a LOT of you enthusiasts of the pictorial arts!

But, Still . . .

As I was preparing this, my daughter looked over my shoulder and said, "Mm, not his best work". She's right, but, still . . . Mucha!

Mucha — La Plume — 1897

From A to Z

I forget what I was going to say about this post. 

It was on the tip of my tongue . . .

TullioPericoli — From A to Z — ca 1986

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eight Hands of Tenslith

Oh, I love the comics from the old days. This beautiful splash page by Gene Fawcette has it all: strange adventure, murky monster, dashing hero, b-b-beautiful heroine (with pirate boots!), sizzling spaceship, great lettering, bold and colorful. 

One of my favorite splash pages of all time.

Gene Fawcette —Tara — Wonder Comics #17 — 1948

All Shapes and Sizes

Faeries come in all shapes and sizes . . .

from Johnny Gruelle's My Very Own Fairy Stories, 1917

Always a Pleasure

It's always a pleasure to see work by Johnny Gruelle, he of Raggedy Ann and Andy fame — wonderful fairy tale author and illustrator of the early 20th century, he had a nice range of style.

Johnny Gruelle — illustration from Grimm's Fairy Tales — 1918

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Path Through the Past

In moving our home, I've been going through more boxes of my mom's and dad's. It's a perilous journey, finding a path through the past, with sadness, anger, bewilderment . . . boredom. But once in a while something bright and cheerful pops up. Such as it is with this artifact from my past—a landscape on a masonite board with a thick cut-out (with applied felt) of ol' Pinocchio struttin' down the road, finding his own path.

The very earliest memories of my life include seeing this panel, framed on the wall above my bed (crib?). And here it is, just a little worse for wear.

And here I am, around the age that I first laid eyes on that cheerful Disney icon — me, these days, just a little worse for wear.

Thomas Haller Buchanan . . . age 2 (?) GPOY?
Yes, it's a hand-tinted photo—that's how old I am

Girl with Teapot

I don't know of an illustrative purpose for this Art Nouveau ink and watercolor rendering — it's probably 'just' a framable decorative.

Hans Christiansen —Girl with Teapot — 1893

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shadows of Lace

Excellent treatment of shadows of lace . . .

Edwin Georgi — Cosmopolitan illustration

Chapel of Mystic Horror

Of the early Weird Tales magazines, I feel that Hugh Rankin was the most interesting illustrator. I'd love to know more about the man.

Hugh Rankin — Weird Tales — December 1928

Friday, January 25, 2013


Ah, each evening, to surrender to sweet embraceable night.

Gustave Moreau — Night

Long Count

As a species of animal, the human race is born of, and rooted to, the earth—yet with our eyes fixed upon the stars.  

Still, many of us are limited in what we see and understand, still clouded by a shell of superstition and ignorance. The sciences should not stay elevated to the elite priests and shamans of technology, with jargon and techniques that leave the masses bewildered, or complacent in their short-sighted ignorance. Rather, we should promote the long count of knowledge with an eye to countering religious superstition and focus our energies to the benefit of our planet and its future.

The Mayan long count calendar has restarted. So should the calendar of humankind, starting a true age of enlightenment.

Above, Tullio Pericoli — Beneath the Stars — 1985

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Pictorial photographer Victor Keppler worked for all the slick magazines and ad agencies in the '30s, '40s and '50s.

His illustrative photograph of Queen Nefertari was for a slick magazine in the '30s, and great care was taken to be as accurate as possible in historical detail — with one minor exception, according to Keppler. Her left breast should have been exposed, but it was felt that was a bit too daring for mainstream America in 1936.

I made a quick pictorial search to see if that was indeed the case, but have not yet found reference that indicates that was so for Nefertari.

Victor Keppler — Nefertari — 1936

Thomas Haller Buchanan — Nefertari — 1987

My connection with Queen Nefertari, for what it's worth, is that I created a facsimile of a famous bas relief of her for a 1987 museum exhibit of Ramesses the Great, sitting side by side with authentic ancient Egyptian artifacts (mine was labeled as a facsimile). It was full size to the original, which was not available, and I created it by making a thick slab of plaster of paris and then chiseling out the negative space, just as the original was made (from stone), and I then distressed and painted it. My fingers were so numb from chiseling that my hands were useless for weeks. One has to wonder how the artisans of ancient Egypt filed for workman's comp.

"Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Merymut, was one of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great. Nefertari means 'Beautiful Companion' and Meritmut mean 'Beloved of [the Goddess] Mut'. She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut. Her lavishly decorated tomb, QV66, is the larges and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens. Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument.

Nefertari held many different titles, including: Great of Praises, Sweet of Love, Lady of Grace, Great King's Wife, Lady of The Two Lands, Lady of All Lands, Wife of the Strong Bull, God's Wife, Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt. Ramesses II also named her 'The One for Whom the Sun Shines'."

Sweetheart of the Rink

Jules Erbit — 1940s

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Faux Military

I love the faux military designs of Ralph Lauren that he also brought to the 2012 US Olympic Team. This design is from earlier than that runway. The look is commanding.

Ralph Lauren — Ski Wear

No Better Cause

This is one of the drawings that I bought from Gil Kane himself, at the time he was creating a lot of Superman material for DC. It's an iconic pose, with iconic power auras like Kane was prone to draw at the time. This and some other stuff I've been hoarding for years is coming up for auction at Heritage Auctions. I'm loathe to let them go, but I have no better cause than to help our daughter to continue her college education.

Gil Kane — Superman — 1980s

Breath of Fresh Air

These three characters were ALways mistreating each other over many years, so it was a breath of fresh air to have the charm of music bring them together harmoniously. 

George Herriman — Krazy Kat — March 31, 1941

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ghostly Host on the March

This is a beautiful rendition of a ghostly host on the march. See, the idea here is that the lady in white can see the apparitions and they are in obeisance to her, while the warrior guy can't see any of the spooky stuff and — and — and there's a whole story here that you just need to go find. I'm not involved with this stuff, somebody out there is and can tell you about it (is this a book and a role playing game?)—I just really like the art, so it ended up in my image morgue.

Matt Stawicki — Dragons of a Lost Star — Dragon Lance

Showman of Science

For all his quirkiness, I really miss Carl Sagan — his enthusiasm, his optimism, his writing, his showmanship, his vision, his Cosmos.

And yes, his quirkiness.

Does anyone else miss Carl Sagan?

Time — October 20, 1980

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Enigma of the East

Last post, there was a comment from ToB that reminded me of one of my favorite character renderings by Nick Cardy, back at the tail end of the Silver Age of Comics. Lilith, an empathic clairvoyant who joined up with the original Teen Titans was drawn and written as a mysterious and caring teen wonder, and I, well, I sorta had a mid-teen crush on this paper doll, thanks to Cardy's drawing style.

Kid Robson wrote a post of this schoolboy phenomenon, here
I wonder, did girls have crushes for Superboy, or Brainiac 5, or Robin the Teen Wonder? Wally West? Hawk and Dove? AquaLad?

 Above and below, Nick Cardy — Lilith — The Teen Titans

The Daring & The Different

I have a genuine fondness for the DC comics of the 1967-74 years, a transition period of sorts between the Silver and Bronze Ages. The art and the stories were actually better in many ways than the Golden and Silver Ages, as the comics industry was starting into its 3rd generation of talent. Don't get me wrong though, the Golden and Silver years were raw, bold, colorful, and wonderful — with a huge nostalgic factor. 

Below is a tribute by Nick Cardy, one of the 2nd generation artists that was at the top of his game during this period. I have bittersweet memories of this time, as it bookended my high school years into my army years, when I was still collecting as I could, attending early comicons and such, and seeking out my favorite creators to shake their hands.

Nick Cardy — Comic Book Artist — 1999

And Now . . .

And now for something NOT controversial . . . but refreshing.

Marion Kavanagh Wachtel
Crystal Craig and Lake George

Sunday, January 20, 2013

No Happiness Like That Given by a Woman

The text sentiment regarding women is spot on in my little universe.

Art: Milo Manara — I think the text is by Fellini
(I've lost track of the book, except for a couple of scans)

Moving Ahead

Spammers be damned. Let's move ahead with alacrity. 

What a pleasant arrangement of color:

Helen Dryden — Vogue — January, 1918

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spammers Keep Coming

The spammers keep coming, no matter how fast I defeat delete them! Underscore_slash/THIS you hellish dogs!

Richard Corben — Infinity Four — 1972

Under Siege

Is anyone else under siege from spammers? I have been inundated with horrible gibberish and fake comments sneaking past my spam filter. It's like fighting off a goblin army!

© Frank Thorne — Ghita under siege

Friday, January 18, 2013

Liv Tyler and Proper

Matt Groening

I Want My Life to Have Meaning . . .

Matt Groening is one of the wisest billionaire cartoonists in the business, even though his business these days probably precludes any cartooning time (sadly, he did retire recently from Life in Hell).

His wisdom and humanity shines through every Life in Hell page, bless his heart, and he still hasn't invited my little family over for dinner. But, Matt, I'm inviting you to either brunch, lunch or tea, my treat. I'd love to render a portrait of you and talk about life in hell.

Really, email me.

© 1989 Matt Groening — Life in Hell — 10-13-89

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lovely Lalique

A lovely modern ad graphic for vintage art captured in glass.

 René Lalique – Bacchantes – 1927

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blushing Vegetables

Another reason for the boys to come home in WWII—
the beaches were lonely.

Blushing Vegetables — crate label — 1943

Grim Determination

When this ad came out in 1943, it was still a hard fight to the end of the war, but grim determination won out. The same sentiment could be used now for the service men and women still in harm's way — "Let's Get It Over With Quick!"

Nash-Kelvinator ad — December 1943

Fair Game

At this here blog thingie we don't discriminate between "fine art" and "popular art", between "good taste" and "tasting good". All images are fair game, some more than others.

Al Feldstein, venerable artist/editor at the old EC madhouse, recreated, as an oil, his cover from Weird Fantasy #15, as many graphic artists have done to make a buck in the collector's market, and why not? 

Now THAT'S entertainment!!!

© 1991 Al Feldstein — recreation of Weird Fantasy #15

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

White Peacocks

About a year and a half ago I posted a few lovely paintings by Jessie Arms Botke of exotic birds in exotic settings. Well, here's another.

Jessie Hazel Arms Botke — White Peacocks & Hollyhocks — 1935

Warm 'n' Cozy

It's really cold outside my cozy little studio right now.

Hope where you're at, YOU are dry, safe, warm 'n' cozy!

Carl Barks — Blizzard Tonight — © Walt Disney Company

For Damned Intellectuals

Over 30 years ago, Joost Swarte had the courage to expose the TRUE behind-the-scenes business of how comix are produced, not unlike the movie industry, with the studio teamwork of many specialized technicians. Even some of the same Hollywoodish hanky-panky, as we spy going on in the water closet.

© 1980 Joost Swarte — Comix Factory — Raw #2

Monday, January 14, 2013

Long Ago Volume

This image is from one of those long ago volumes that a Victorian gentleman would keep on the highest shelf in his library, or perhaps in a cabinet under lock and key. This volume was a survey of sexual customs from around the world. Now that I've posted this I will replace the volume back to its high shelf.

Fine and Distinctive

An artist has a fine and distinctive style when one can recognize it even amongst a rendering of ancient masonry, as here with this ink and wash by Jeffrey Jones.

Jeffrey Catherine Jones — Ancient Staircase (my title)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Terrible Day in 1872

From a sketch by E.Y. Breck

'On Christmas Eve, 1872, a dreadful derailment took place at Prospect Station, Pennsylvania. Twenty-five passengers were killed when coaches fell from the bridge into a frozen creek bed, where they were set afire from overturned stoves. The derailment was caused by a broken wheel.'

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beasts and Demons

Now and then I receive email enquiries regarding background information on this image or that. 

This image is one that particularly caught my attention because I greatly admire the artwork of WT Benda. Peter was wondering if I knew the date or where this work might be. I do not. This reproduction is from an old Architectural Digest magazine with only the caption: A Mural Decoration by W.T. Benda.

Knowing Benda's fascination with masks, collecting and creating them, this retinue of beasts and demons makes a bit of sense, but still is a mysterious crowd. Some of you out there are fans of Benda, and knowledgeable besides. Do you know the date or whereabouts of this mural? Is this a reproduction of a study or of the actual mural? Are these dimensional masks placed on a painting, or is this a conceptual preliminary meant to drive the execution of full-sized masks? Enquiring minds want to know.

WT Benda — A Mural Decoration


This girl was "it" in her day and, for some, still today.

Clara Bow in Hoopla — 1933


There's a post over on the cool Enoch Bolles site that brings up the topic of early 20th century images portraying women smoking cigarettes, a rare and shocking event at that time. Enoch Bolles used smoking as a prop for a magazine cover of 1914. But Raphael Kirchner, in the same year, showed a young Ziegfeld beauty actually savoring her nicotine. The shocking thing these days is that ANYone is smoking, knowing the damage that it inflicts.

Raphael Kirchner —Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic — 1914

Friday, January 11, 2013

An Old and New Topic

Our lives are constant blends of old with new. That's almost one definition of 'time' — old days / new days. We all own some old things and some new things.  New things become old things. We can acquire some old things and thereby make them new things, for us. We moved from our old house to our new house, bringing some old things and buying some new things. The old year became the new year, looking quite the same, except our old view is now a new view. The old computer became a new computer, looking much like the old one, but behaving in a new way. I've finished some old projects and begun some new.

Old and New are simultaneous. 

Where does one begin and the other end?

Milton Glaser — Old/New

House-Warming Party

The weather was pretty nice, and this is a pretty fair representation of what our house-warming party looked like in the back yard. 

Wish you could've been there.

Hendrik van Balen the elder — Feast of the Gods 
 date: I dunno, a long time ago

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hordes from Hades

Thank you to everyone who sent over their good wishes for a smooth move for the home, studio and new computer. Everything DID go smoothly, exCEPT for when I went to the new basement to put some things away, hordes from Hades came pouring out from the unfinished section—which really shook me up until they explained that they were from the Neighborhood Welcoming Committee, inviting us to worship with them (and you should see the basket of goodies they left!).

Virgil Finlay — Hordes from Hades (my title)