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Albín Brunovský

By Albín Brunovský

I was flickering through my Google Reader feeds, trying vainly to catch up and struggling beneath an informational avalanche when I saw a shaft of light through the trees and found THIS.

Above is a sample of the kind of things that are showcased – forgotten books and their illustrators.

Beautiful.

Thanks to DarkRoastedBlend for pointing me there.

Pirates, Zombies and the Fountain of Youth

Pirates, Zombies and the Fountain of Youth

I am re-reading this amazing novel.  I remember liking it the first time round, but not being completely floored.  Now, however… It is a supremely weird masterpiece, combining a light, almost slapstick humour with extremely twisted and dark effects (like a literary Dado), although the main protagonist Jack Shandy sheds his somewhat bungling persona as the book progresses.

I have always suspected that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise ransacked this novel for ideas, but, fond as I am of the first installment, OST blows the movies out of the water.

I once had a fine UK First Edition, but I foolishly lent it to someone (don’t remember who) and… oh well.  I’m only really into book-collecting in the sense of having a copy, I’m not too fetishistic about which one or how many of the same book.  Mind you, I think it’s worth a fair few now.

Speaking of Dado (a Montenegrin painter who melds staggering bleakness and horror with beautiful painterly effects, textures and colours), I’m finding it very hard to track down any of his images online.  Here’s one though courtesy of the Gallery of Surrealism.

Gibbering fungal heads anyone?

Gibbering fungal heads anyone?

The guy deserves a lot more recognition, as does Tim Powers.  If you happen to read this and haven’t read OST, get a copy.  Now!

Dark Roasted blend put this selection of knitted creatures up recently and then the comments section led me to this Cthuloid comic strip by Howard Hallis, parodying the work of Jack T. Chick, the fire and brimstone comic evangelist.

Apparently the Hallis strip has been pulled from the artist’s website due to censorship/copyright issues…

Shameful.  Firstly because it’s really good and secondly it drew me to the Chick strips, which are even funnier and in their own way much creepier.

Going through my Google Reader articles and find one entitled ‘Pass me the nautiloid, nurse‘…

My heart leapt – at last Nature Magazine is referring to my blog!

Alas, the article is about something much more important, namely whether allowing hospital patients to handle museum objects could help speed up their recovery and alleviate suffering.

Great idea.  I know I’d like it.

Shape of Water Cover Art

Shape of Water Cover Art

I had asked Ken Wong about using one of his images on this blog after Matt Staggs had showcased his art. Despite his self-confessed aversion for checking email, he kindly wrote back with an ok and mentioned that one of his paintings is on the cover of a book.

The book is called Shape of Water by Anne Spollen.

Here is the description from Amazon:

According to 15-year-old Magdalena’s mother, the world is strange, beautiful, and watery-full of secrets and discoveries known only to mother and daughter. But when her mother dies suspiciously, it becomes an arid world of anxiety, sexual confusion, and desperate loneliness, where an imaginary family of bickering fish torment her. Magda’s only outlet is the beautiful but destructive fires she starts in the marshes near her house. As her father and aunt try to pull her into a mundane world of school, schedules, and stepmothers, the voices of the fish in her head tempt her toward insanity. Magda must plot a course between her mothers fatal madness and her father’s soul-destroying normalcy.

The Shape of Water is a darkly lyrical and surprising tapestry of mundane and imaginative worlds. Magda untangles family secrets, struggles to cope with profound loss, and finally discovers a stable place in the world-without compromising herself.

Spollen has a good Q&A spot on her work at Amazon.

The plot description reminds me vaguely of A Tale of Two Sisters by Kim Ji-Woon, which is a dark and pretty disturbing story about loss, loneliness and severe family tensions and happens to feature a lake.

I’ll keep an eye out for the book. It sounds good. And what a cover! Incidentally, you can buy a print of it here.

New Painting

New Painting

Sue has done another flower painting, which I varnished this morning. Hopefully there should be more soon. I was photographing plants for ideas this afternoon and the light was so lovely.

Here is a sea grape leaf with the evening sunlight shining through it.  Bit blurry but I like the effect.

And finally, a couple of (also out of focus) frangipani blossoms.

Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity

Yet again, the Octopus has delivered! Thanks Matt.

I’m always looking out for art that grabs and inspires me. This is a perfect example of what I like.

Visit the artist’s amazing site here.

Flower Painting

Flower Painting

Sue is finally painting again. She’s doing a series for her Mum’s workspace. It’s on a big wooden panel.  Sue used Golden acrylics and she has to work fast to get them all done so they are very stylized and minimal.

I put on an isolation coat and used Golden’s UV-protection varnish (contrary to the old saying, I actually like watching paint, or in this case varnish, dry). Then we did loads of work getting the garden looking good in full tropical sun.

She’s started on the second one. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with later, as there are about ten panels and she’s just warming up.


Jeff Vandermeer and Matt Staggs‘ web pages are diverting me away from education per se as a theme for this blog and into literature, especially of the speculative or fantastic kind.

Having just re-read the Lyonesse series, which seems to get better each time, I thought I would search to see if the cover artist, Mick van Houten, had a web-page.

He does and it is great. Particularly interesting are the photographs he prints. To me his work captures a quality in the landscape and air that you find in certain places. Scotland, Northern California, Galicia. The art may be fantastic but it works because it feels solid and real.

Then

Now

And he painted what is probably my favourite cover image of all time, and an awesome book too – Always Coming Home by Ursula Le Guin. I must have spent hours staring at it over the years, and I took my just bought copy on a family trip to the Western Isles, to Scalpay, when I was a teenager, still the most beautiful place I have been. Perhaps that is why I connect the landscapes together in my mind, though I guess on the face of it they don’t have a lot in common – it’s something underneath.

Prints can be ordered from the artist here.


Jeff Vandermeer and Matt Staggs‘ web pages are diverting me away from education per se as a theme for this blog and into literature, especially of the speculative or fantastic kind.

Having just re-read the Lyonesse series, which seems to get better each time, I thought I would search to see if the cover artist, Mick van Houten, had a web-page.

He does and it is great. Particularly interesting are the photographs he prints. To me his work captures a quality in the landscape and air that you find in certain places. Scotland, Northern California, Galicia. The art may be fantastic but it works because it feels solid and real.

Then

Now

And he painted what is probably my favourite cover image of all time, and an awesome book too – Always Coming Home by Ursula Le Guin. I must have spent hours staring at it over the years, and I took my just bought copy on a family trip to the Western Isles, to Scalpay, when I was a teenager, still the most beautiful place I have been. Perhaps that is why I connect the landscapes together in my mind, though I guess on the face of it they don’t have a lot in common – it’s something underneath.

Prints can be ordered from the artist here.
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