Friday, May 30, 2008

Red Poppy

Painting by Linda Paul

Red Poppy

Stately red poppy
singularly dejected -
discovers new bud!

Janet Leigh

Yes, yes, there it is standing alone /stately red poppy/ in a field of white or undeveloped flowers, so conspicuous, the rugged individual, the pariah/singularly dejected/--yet entirely able to persevere, to promulgate its message, to be proud of its individuality, its uniqueness, as it /discovers new bud!/. Yes, as one of your commentors mentioned, sometimes we all have felt this way, the black sheep in the herd of white, the white tiger in a sea of orange stripes, the Scottish Highlander, hairy and long-horned billeted in a herd of Herefords. So, you the poetess, the poet, the woman, the person, has had this moment of introspection leading to a smile, an epithany, a realization that your very redness is God's gift. So go forth, kiss the bees and birds, and spread your seed, smear the fields with your vermilion vigor.


Another Fine Day

Painting by Rick Mobbs

Another Fine Day

I felt better
as I walked
to Capitol hill
and my appointment
with David,
even though
I've not been paying
much heed
to my musical muse

Did I tell you
about my waking dream
this morning?
No, I didn't.

I had a dream
this morning
that I had made peace
with someone
with whom I've had
a troubled relationship.

So the day
started out
to begin with.
And was made
by a pint of stout.

David loves
my music,
so do I,
and so should you.
It's an entirely new type
of music.
I'm ahead of my time.

Number nine bus
Cooked burgers
for dinner.

Doug Palmer May 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jim Steranko: Graphics Wizard

James Steranko (born 5 November 1938, Reading, Pennsylvania, United States) is an American graphic artist, comic book writer-artist-historian, publisher, and film production illustrator. His most famous comic-book work was with the 1960s superspy feature "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." in Marvel Comics' Strange Tales and in the subsequent eponymous series. Steranko earned lasting acclaim for his innovations in sequential art during the Silver Age of comic books, particularly his infusion of surrealism, op art, and graphic design into the medium. His work has been published in many countries and his influence on the field has remained strong since his comics heyday. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.a

Frank Frazetta: Painting With Fire

Frank Frazetta was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of eight, with the insistence of his school teachers, Frazetta's parents enrolled him in the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts. He attended the academy for eight years under the tutelage of Michael Falanga, an award-winning Italian fine artist. Falanga was struck by Frazetta's significant talent. Frazetta's abilities flourished under Falanga, who dreamed of sending Frazetta to Europe, at his own expense, to further his studies. Unfortunately, Falanga died suddenly in 1944 and with him, his dream. As the school closed about a year after Falanga's passing, Frazetta was forced to find work to earn a living.

At 16, Frazetta started drawing for comic books that varied in themes: westerns, fantasy, mysteries, histories and other contemporary themes. Some of his earliest work was in funny animal comics, which he signed as "Fritz". During this period he turned down job offers from giants such as Walt Disney. In the early 1950s, he worked for EC Comics, National Comics (including the superhero feature "Shining Knight"), Avon and several other comic book companies. Much of his work in comic books was done in collaboration with friends Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel.

Through the work on the Buck Rogers covers for Famous Funnies, Frazetta started working with Al Capp on his Li'l Abner comic strip. Frazetta was also producing his own strip, Johnny Comet at this time, as well as assisting Dan Barry on the Flash Gordon daily strip. In 1961, after nine years with Capp, Frazetta returned to regular comics. Having emulated Capp's style for so long, Frazetta's own work during this period looked a bit awkward as his own style struggled to reemerge.

Work in comics for Frazetta was hard to find, however. Comics had changed during his period with Capp and his style was deemed antiquated. Eventually he joined Harvey Kurtzman doing the parody strip Little Annie Fanny in Playboy magazine.

Frazetta attributes much of the violence and brutality of his later paintings to his actual experiences as a young man defending himself from the street gangs of Brooklyn, who most likely unwisely targeted a man who in all probability traveled with a baseball bat. It was also during this time that he turned down an offer from a talent scout to play for the New York Giants.

Today, Frazetta's work is so highly regarded that even incomplete sketches of his sell for thousands of dollars. Frazetta's primary commercial works are in oil, but he also works with watercolor, ink and pencil alone. He currently lives with his wife Ellie on a 67-acre (271,000 m²) estate in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. They maintain a small museum, open to the public, on the estate. Some of Frazetta's sons make a living selling reproductions of his artwork.

In his later life, Frazetta has been plagued by a variety of health problems, including a thyroid condition that went untreated for many years. Recently, a series of strokes has impaired Frazetta's manual dexterity to a degree that he has switched to drawing and painting with his left hand. He still continues to find an outlet through sculpture and other means.

In 2003, a feature film documenting the life and career of Frazetta was released entitled, Frazetta: Painting With Fire.