I am so pleased to see the second volume of the Inner Islands Trilogy in print! I loved illustrating it and following the adventures of the wonderful characters Tom created. All of the illustrations were drawn in pen and ink with brushed ink washes.
This one was a commission. I had it mostly done back in March when everything shut down but I did a couple of final tweaks recently and finally got to hand deliver it to the new owner. I was quite pleased with how it turned out – the setting and the dog’s expression were such a pleasure to paint. And I’m happy to say the new owner was delighted. In case you’re wondering, this beloved pup was part (mostly?) Irish wolfhound.
Tom wrote a touching poetic tribute to go with the painting.
There is a dog that moves the hearts of men, whose soulful eyes see further than our own: far into realms and regions past the ken of those of us whose spirits dare not roam beyond these castle walls of bone and flesh and into spaces where the angels fly unhampered by how gears of logic mesh to make this cold illusion where we die and are not swept into the heart of God where our absent friends are joyously awaiting us. Do not mistake a dog for one without a soul. At peace and free: where there is love, there still she is alive to greet us in the morning as we strive.
Well hello! So glad you’re here!
Isn’t it just grand today?
Never such a thing, my dear,
has been ever seen, I say!
There’s this and that and over there
and look again, go everywhere!
Such a glorious event
so sure to leave a modest dent
in the annals of our time.
Never have so many known
the very best, as I have shown.
To not be here would be a crime!
Now come sit down and have a chat
And tell me what you think of that?
Raccoon on the other hand is much more concerned with doing the right thing…
Dowsing down upon the beach
some tasty morsel washing clean.
Neglecting it would be a breach
of all that’s good and right, it seems
that often children in these times
don’t care for elder ways, such crimes
against good taste and proper form
leaves me feeling lost, forlorn.
But then I think of my own youth
when I would run around so wild
the older folk seemed tame and mild…
so now it’s my turn, that’s the truth!
And I will keep to custom taught
And honour thus my place and lot.
It seems like a long time since I have posted a mandala! I have been much more focused on other types of ink drawings and oil painting recently but I did finish this small (6×6) one. Do you think maybe I am thinking about spring already!
Tom wrote a poem for it full of warmth and energy – just what we need at this time of year!
The spinning vortex of bright spring,
to the outer edges flings
the buds of bursting flowers.
Leaves in warming sunlight wave
like flags upon the breeze
snapping sharply on their staves
of branches. In their lea
a titmouse rests in perfect calm
awaiting season’s turn
to bring the summer’s warming balm
and ease the vernal churn.
First art of 2018! Here are a couple of drawings of river otters. These are on watercolour paper starting with a fountain pen and finished with a Chinese brush and ink wash. It’s imperative that the ink I am using – carbon black – is quite water resistant otherwise all the details would have been lost.
Tom likes otters too! Here’s his poem celebrating their mischievous character.
As changeable as summer light
when thunderstorms go by
flashing rain and lightning bright
then clearing blue the sky
So is Otter in the sea
and by the river banks,
embracing change in changeless glee
engaging in such pranks
As to cause most mischief for
least effort: that’s the fun!
And when a human comes to roar,
far off has Otter run!
Another otter sketched on rice paper. I like how smug he is!
Tom wrote him his own poem …Otter is quite sure he deserves it!
“If you don’t want me coming ‘board
you shouldn’t leave the hatch
open, unlocked, not dogged down,
just captured by a latch
that will not stop the likes of me
so clever with my feets
from opening up and wandering
around your cotton sheets
that once were free from otter-prints
but now are signed quite well
with muddy water, algae too,
and sorry ’bout the smell!
Yet I’m sure we both agree
’twas worth it in the end:
my joy was mighty, don’t you see,
so thank you, my dear friend!”
Today’s raccoon is a young’un with no worries …adventuring without a care!
Tom’s poem for him wonderfully captures that mood.
Some days a little beast must wander
here and there and over yonder
wide-eyes watching everything
wondering what time will bring.
All the world is new and bright
glowing in the morning light
dripping dew and rising mist
Earth by Sun is gently kissed
as I go off exploring wide
down the beach where ebbing tide
reveals a world that’s strange a new
and full of tasty things to do!
I have been having a lot of fun with my ink drawings of crows so I thought I’d try some other animals. This raccoon seems to be concerned about something. Just what is he looking at?
Tom took a look at this and saw that while this guy might hesitate a moment, he’s going to be headed into raccoon mischief any moment!
I know it’s not a good idea
but it’s not easy to resist…
I lack the wisdom of Sophia,
can’t let a random chance be missed
to open up a door that’s closed
to grab a thorny climbing rose
to never leave a gap un-nosed
to use my fingers and my toes
in mischief mild and hijnks low
for life’s too short to be a bore:
adventure lies behind that door,
and if it don’t, at least I’ll know!
But I will pause to contemplate…
Then happy chaos I’ll create!
Sea otters are so cute! but this one does seem a bit worried about something. For facts on these engaging creatures, such as that sea otters have the densest fur of all mammals at 100,000 hairs per square inch! … check out this site.
I have a bit of an seaside theme going the last few posts and I’m trying different techniques for the water… no doubt more to come!
UPDATE: This just in from Tom in the comments! Thanks Tom!
The otter watches, drifting by
while gulls and scaups across the sky
wheel in gyres and flocks afeather
through the fog and misty weather
where a form is looming large…
a ship, perhaps, caught in the marge
of currents turning, twisting, strong
where the otter lazes long
upon his back in furry peace
watching while like flapping geese
sailors pull the sails around
to keep the ship from touching ground
but windless skies leave all aslack
while the otter on its back
watches human comedy
then slips away through peaceful seas.