Saturday, December 17, 2016

Primitive Memories

-By Paul Bonner

John Bauer. Pretty much perfection here.
Another dank, grey morning in Denmark, heralding the arrival of several fronts that I find myself up against. So - I'm afraid I must spare you the cutting edge insights and relentless enquiry that I do on your behalf in the visual jungle that we are all explorers in.

This was intended to be another lengthy prose on the strange, arcane, and somewhat haphazard techniques that I throw together in the hope of eventually reaching a satisfying arrangement of marks upon a blank, white surface. But alas! Time and circumstances dictate that the rumblings of something epic must wait.

For now, to keep you from growing restless I have opened some of the lowest level dungeons and cellars that contain some of my oldest memories. Some things never fade, and I managed to find a few dusty hints of images that I remember from childhood that possibly set me off, albeit - unknowingly, upon the hazardous path to becoming an… Artist!

Ivan Bilibin. How ominous and forbidding is that?
I could have chosen lots more, but I kept it to those that required not too many mental pyrotechnics to bring them out into the light. And, they are from my childhood. From books bought for me. Books my responsible mother dug out from libraries, and a couple that I have no idea where I saw them. Just that I did, and that the first, shining, tingling pleasure of seeing them for the first time, is still there each time I see them now.

I could have included Frazetta, Froud and the Hilderbrandts, but they came a later. These are the ones that went deep and opened doors into my imagination that have been wedged open ever since then.

Kay Nielsen. How romantic is that.
Tove Janson. Moomintroll. Grew up with her haunting stories and pictures.... still read them sometimes.

Hours of my childhood - right there.
Still to young to be a teenage delinquent, but I remember seeing this as a "painting" first, and marvelling - as opposed to a window to look through. Henri Felix Emmanuel Philippoteux (Must have been a pain in the "derriere" signing his canvases!)
Harald Wiberg ,"The Tomten". Very beautiful, haunting books. You can hear the muffled silence so loudly here.
From Lancelot du Lac by Roger Lancelyn Green. A book I  physically wore out.  And this dragon was the catalyst for many an afternoon scribbling and painting on the kitchen table.

I could pick many more. Many more by some of the artists here - but I really wanted to keep it to the ones that seemed to be there straight away, rather than having to be searched for. So, a little insight maybe into some sign posts that set me off at a tender age.

I'd love to see any similar sign posts from anyone out there; the ones from your earliest memories. Shouldn't be difficult, with most of you not having to trawl so deeply!

Seasonal greetings to you all as well. Have a splendid Christmas, and be good!

17 comments:

  1. Nice post! OK sure, I'll post a few paintings that continue to inspire me ... dang it, where did I put the 'Paul Bonner' images folder?!

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  2. Nice inspiration Paul. Though not as "Seasoned" as you, i'd guess i'm older than many Muddy Colors readers as well. I remember the book "Kingdom of the Dwarfs" by David Wenzel had a huge impact on me as did "The Land of Froud" when i was a young man. Of course Frazetta, Dungeons and Dragons art and Folklore/Mythology all left a mark. Cheers and Happy Holidays to you as well-

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    1. Land of Froud was a biggie - but I tried to keep it to my earliest memories. I don't know Kingdom of the Dwarves………..hearty cheers for your holidays as well Michael.

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  3. Love that Bauer sooooooo much! Thanks for sharing, Paul!

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    1. Pleasure Arnie. Bauer is my earliest memory - and it,s still up there, working it,s magic on me every time I see it (on the wall just above my work table!).

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  4. I think often about how much I used to be able to stare at a single image for hours and hours and just be entranced. That feeling is diminished now. I don't know if it's an age thing, an occupation thing, or simply the internet... but I sadly only look at images for a fraction of the time I used to enjoy them. I wonder if this is the case for kids growing up these days. That there are just SO many things competing for their attention, that they're less likely to become infatuated with any single image.

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    1. Agreed Dan. It seems folks attention span is definitely not the same. There are just too many "distractions…the next might be better. I try not to let it affect me - but I have to make a conscious effort not to flick around. Same as on Facebook or YouTube. I get angry with myself as I flounder away from the source, and just turn it off! But images like these 7, and countless others transport me away every time, and the dream like imagining they bring on has - luckily never diminished!

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    2. Can totally relate to that, Dan. Often find myself looking through hundreds of fantasy and other artworks ... and by the end, feeling not the least inspired to create something myself. Best to pull away from it - something I'll do right now. Cheers!

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  5. Roger Dean's "Views" book dominated my teenaged world for a long time... there's just so much in that volume, he was all over the place with ideas, and the overall feeling is so dreamy and otherworldly.

    Also, Vaughn Bodé's "Cobalt 60" in a copy of Witzend (obtained by dubious means), and Ralph McQuarrie's portfolio of concept paintings for the original Star Wars. I spent hours hand-copying the former in pen and ink, and endlessly poring over the latter, trying to figure out how he made acrylics do that. I still don't know.

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    1. I had views as well - some time in the 70's. Liked it, and loved looking at it, but the more sci-fi-y stuff never sat as deep as the more traditional fantasy.

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  6. I also have an early memory of Tove Janssons "Mumintrollen", the one when he wakes up in the middle of the winter, and I seem to remember pictures of huge piles of snow and compact darkness barely held at bay by their signature oil-lanterns.

    Another early influence for me was Alvaro Tapia's cover for the first Harry Potter-book in Swedish, it came out when I was nine I think and I remember lying in bed and just staring at the cover for hours (at least it felt that way).

    That also brings me to what Dan wrote about not being able to feel that anymore. It is rare for me as well, except for these old influences and some from my teens, and like Paul wrote, I think it is something that came almost by itself as a child but requires a conscious effort now.

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    1. Moomintroll Midwinter - a very haunting book. He's all alone after having woken up early from hibernation, and sees the winter the rest of his family doesn't know about. Tapias stuff is always wonderful!

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  7. Very nice post, Paul. Do you know the art of Quique Alcatena? It is an argentine comic artist; When I saw the picture of Ivan Bilibin, I thought in Quique, He use a lot of that pictorial frame around his pages:

    http://quiquealcatena.blogspot.com.ar/2009/10/santa-madre-rusia-1-holy-mother-russia.html

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  9. There are couple od things deep in my Memory that I just can't name and so I couldn't find them. They just figure as an ideas that light up my child imagination and root deeply into my current arts. And probably, if I ever find them, I'm afraid they would turn out much less magical as I remembered. So I'll just let the deepest dungeons be closed forever :)

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  10. You might be surprised…..if you ever find the keys!

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