"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Thing of the Day: A Mystery Posting and a Scarecrow.

I am almost back to posting, and had my elbow jogged by Feedburner sending out a old post about the Mickey Mouse plant yesterday, completely unbidden! …so apologies to email subscribers. One reason for the long gap has also been the problems with the email feeds from Blogger which, if the recipient was using Outlook, were causing computers to hang. Thankfully this seems to have been resolved but for some time I just gave up trying to read my email subscriptions. Now, since Google has taken over Feedburner I am not quite sure who, if anyone, will get Pencil and Leaf emails. My Feedburner account seems inaccessible and it's all very frustrating very boring and horribly time consuming.

A quick update: just to let you know I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs or lying by the pool :)…

1. New apartment found, packing boxes waiting to be filled, much stuff thrown out, we move next weekend.

2. Exhibiton at Leu comes down Tuesday (bad timing).

3. Short printmaking course started for fun.

4. Much wrestling with Photoshop, tiffs and bitmaps to convert some B/W artwork for letterpress plates. Exciting small book project underway.

Scarecrow..

But.. meanwhile a scarecrow as promised in my last distant post…. This is a scraperboard drawing of a scarecrow I called Duffle Coat. Duffle Coat is one of many scarecrows I photographed about 20 years ago while researching for a small children’s book. An exciting discovery in the attic on my last UK visit was an old folder containing envelopes of these photographs.
I have long been fascinated by scarecrows, but not the awful, cutesy contrived scarecrows of the, now numerous, scarecrow festivals or the garden centre or the craft store. Mine were real scarecrows, working scarecrows, made by farmers, out in all weathers with a job to do.

It is debatable how efficient they are. My general conclusion was, that while they do not work for the birds, they do have an unnerving effect on the unwary motorist or countryside walker. They appear as strange apparitions in a misty early morning, striding across the landscape, trudging through rising corn, abandoned in an old barn or just propped up by a hedge. Figures made of sticks and cloth, plastic and tin cans and old cast off clothes. Some so realistic as to be a reincarnation of the farmer himself, some stripped down and abstracted to the nth degree, a simple cross of sticks with some flapping fabric. It is easy to mistake even this basic scarecrow for a person, as our human programming constantly and anxiously scans our surroundings for other humans, always on the look out for either friends or foes.

Over the next few days, between packing, I will be posting a few of my favourite photographs and illustrations from the book, with, of course, a bit of scarecrow information and history.

scarecrow 1

5 comments:

Sande said...

Very nice scratchboard drawing. It is a fun media and you have nice control of it.

Shell said...

I still get them! Can't wait to see more of the scarecrow series, I love the scratchy eerie feel. I came across a call for artists that they might fit well into you might be interested in. I think it's alled midnight oil through the st. james gallery in NY. http://www.stacarts.org/exhibits/show/32 I was thinking of entering myself if I can get my butt in gear and get things framed. Oh well. Lol, best of luck with the move!

Lynne Fletcher said...

Hello Val-
Glad to see that you're back - really looking forward to those scarecrows!
Good luck with your move to the new place.
PS What became of your pet ant?
Lynne

Shady Gardener said...

I cannot imagine you'll have much time for posting with all you have happening right now! However, it will be fun to read about scarecrows. I have created a couple or so these past few years. I'm due to create a new one soon. :-)

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks very much to you all.
S.. scratchboard is such a great medium, and once you get used to the tools lots of different marks are possible.
Shell... thankyou so much for that link.. I may not be able to get anything done for that show but what great subject..coincidently I am just working on getting a small Devilish book printed.. more of that soon..
Lynne and SG.... thanks for you support .. re ant.. well I have not seen him since returning.. I fear the worst. I really dont know what an ant's life span is? but I do miss my little friend. ..