A full day of Spring around here, and it feels like it. Nice.
Now I'm handing out some really personal information here by telling you that I am of the heterosexual inclination, and I share the fascination and appreciation with much of the world of the use of the feminine form in graphics of all sorts. But if someone could paint a picture of a masculine form that might make me consider altering my inclination, well, that someone would be J.C. Leyendecker.
J.C. Leyendecker — Spring — 1929
Though I'm still a fan of the traditional gender of the allegory of Spring, with all the attendant stereotypes:
John Byam Shaw — Rising Spring — early xxth century
Okay, Uncle Sam smiled once in while — here as one of the two faces of the gummint viewing the nation's vices of the time. This is an excellent illustration of that time, looking very much like a 'modern' editorial illustration.
Robert Lawson — from an article entitled 'The Return of Sin?' — 1933
The persona of Uncle Sam seems to be at its best when he's grim and determined, rolling up his sleeves or stepping out smartly in times of war. I haven't seen him showing up for the recent wars. Maybe a little bit in editorial cartoons. I don't know if he's retired because we're too sophisticated to need an icon to follow where few of us want to go, or if he would be up for ridicule from the rest of the world, or maybe I just haven't been near a recruiting station lately and he's still hard at work.
Now believe me I'm not being unpatriotic when I say this, but regardless, I'm not sure if I've ever seen an Uncle Sam image in a benevolent situation, say helping to rebuild villages or some such. Images of him handing out candy to street kids in other countries or playing soccer with them would be pretty patronizing. I wonder if there's a government agency that controls the use of Sam, like there is for the use of Smokey the Bear, and they're saving him for some grim time . . .
See, there's this shepherd guy and he's been losing his cows (?) to a vagrant lion, and the guy is really ticked and he's really buff, and well, enough is enough.
P.A. Leroux — A Shepherd Strangling a Lion — 1883
I try to imagine how this artist worked out the pose. If it's from his imagination, well and good. But if this guy is posing for the artist, is he, like, grappling a pillow, or what? Gosh I hope I don't stay awake tonight worrying about this.
I'm guessing this is an allegorical image and it looks pretty disastrous for what could've just been a boatload of naked people, all minding their own business. That poor baby is being swept right out of the picture, and the blindfolded guy at the rudder seems pretty darn calm considering what a ruckus is going on around him ("What's going on, people? C'mon, somebody tell me. Why's the baby crying?"). Whoosh. All this makes a lot of our struggles seem pret-ty tame, I must say.
My last couple posts showed old guys with long hair, and my daughter sent over the jpeg below because I've talked about growing out my beard and hair. Twenty years ago I had shoulder length hair, and a 'sea captain beard', but it all just got so hard to manage that I've had them quite short for a long time.
Until now. Being so busy, I've just let my beard grow longer, and I was getting ready to trim it when I saw a really cool image of an older guy with epic long hair and beard. And I thought, well hey, nothing wrong with looking epic, so I'm going to let it all grow for a while and see what turns out. My wife loves long hair or dreds on guys, so maybe I'll get back to being in her favor a bit more, 'cept for the dreds part. They're just not me.
But my beard is just now passing 'Grandpa' length and heading for 'Wizard'. I'm hoping my hair will do likewise, thinning it appropriately along the way. At some point I hope to get a new portrait photo for my avatar/icony thing that will show my progress.
Ol' Man Winter done got us in his grip 'round here tonight, but I'm laughin' at him. We're warm 'n' cozy and we jump ahead an hour tonight so that we'll be that much closer to when the lovely Spring Maiden will come flittin' 'round like a butterfly that's been hanging out at the WinterFest mulled wine booth.
Below, an accurate portrait sculpture of the ol' man hisself.
I ain't kidding folks, I just had 80 spams in only 10 minutes make their way through the filter. This isn't what I signed on for. I long for intelligent discourse, not for discourteous gibberish. Maybe it's time to pull up stakes and migrate elsewhere.
The mysteries of the universe keep me motivated. I'm gonna keep blogging here until at least the time I get the Pictorial Arts Journal up and running. But fair word of warning: I'm now holding back the very best stuff as content for the Journal.
I am posting these images with a non-profit and educational 'fair use' motive, regarding respective copyrights. Anyone downloading and using these images for any commercial use would be in violation of respective copyrights, and does not have my approval for such use.
My name is Thom Buchanan.
I'm an artist and photographer.
People are my favorite subjects to portray in art and photos. My wife (and studio partner) has called that my 'people skills', as I've been passionately creating portrait studies for many years.
I refer to myself as a pictorialist, a combination of image-making and journalist. Images are my life.