Friday, June 25, 2010

Snarky Cheshires and Ghostly Etiquette

Several nights ago I was replacing light bulbs and distributing literature in an attic that is seldom, if ever, the location of my footsteps. I keep in order such places in the event a listless spirit or bogle might be passing by and wish to have a nice read before they continue with their spooky business, for, as the historian had said after my putting him to inquiry so many years ago, “It might behoove one to keep such spaces well lit and tidy, which is the method behind this exercise – for ghosts can be induced to mischief if treated carelessly.” It so happened that on the evening I am accounting, my large, tuxedo cat had a mind to accompany me in this task, and directly following an exasperated comment on the deplorable disposition of a herringbone lampshade, made note concerning my latest illustration which he attested may be somewhat “lacking.” Being more than nettled, I addressed him haughtily and inquired, “In what, oh master?” To this he responded with an expression singularly feline, and at length suggested I consult the conceptual sketches I had done of the Cheshire for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and from these I might be enlightened. It took me a moment to realise that I had in fact, never produced a sketch of the Cheshire Cat, despite my illustrative excursion into Wonderland the previous year. “Brute,” said I, “you know very well I have accomplished no such sketches.” To which he quipped was precisely his point, and that in place of the “foolishness” I was at that time in occupation, I might consider producing an image of the feline who had been, according to him, “most worthy of attention to begin with.”

Never wishing to commence a creative instigation upon a flame I myself did not ignite, I was uffishly pestered then at the tempting nature of the suggestion, for the Cheshire Cat is after all, wonderfully charming, utterly delightful, and possibly the most familiar face in Wonderland. My dear tuxedo knew very well that I could not resist such a prospect, and purred triumphantly as I sat and began conceptualising the fellow later that evening.

Now, when executing an illustration that is intended to be a visual representation of a scene or story written by someone other than myself, I try to be as faithful as I possibly can to the author’s descriptions, while at the same time dressing it freshly in apparel of my own. The illustration I offer below is perhaps the furthest I have allowed my liberty to stretch, for there is no mention, as far as I know, of Jack-O-Lanterns in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The image of the smirking fellow perched atop a grinning pumpkin was too much an attraction that I gave in to my insistent reverie and situated him thusly before Alice. I do hope Lewis Carroll, the brilliant authour and creator of Alice and her adventures would consent to this bit of visual emancipation. After all, the Cheshire Cat is written to have only appeared upon the bough of a tree – who is to say he did not move about at some point during the interview?

Below is the latest sketch I have composed for the Cheshire Cat found in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The scene takes place in Chapter Six, directly before the Tea Party.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Toothy Villainy of Wisdom

Having a tooth removed from one's head is probably one of the single most distressing operations one might be unfortunate enough to undergo. Like most humans with teeth, I was the unwitting subject of four useless dental growths that are unscrupulously propagated as being wiser than any of the others before them. Three of these monstrocities were discharged soon after they made known their plans of despotism, foolishly leaving the fourth to brood and scheme at its leisure. Recently, this remaining miscreant began subjecting my mandible to excessive discomfort. Having sheltered this tooth for more years than is sensible, the devil was finally removed the day before yesterday following a considerable struggle. After witnessing the brute's tenacity in retaining its situation, the fight was, in retrospect, by no means fair, nor was it quick. The procedure was a battle, in all sense of the word, and after a length of time sufficient to promote worry, following volumes of incessant prayers, the tooth, at last, was excised. However, as it was directly held before me clamped in the jaws of that ominous-looking tooth-extraction device, it looked very incensed and offered me a few words, strangely enough with a dialect not unlike a certain Edward G. Robinson, that I cannot duplicate if I wish to retain my integrity as a gentleman. Now as I sit and record this experience, I am certain that not only was that tooth ill-tempered, but rancourous as well, for the requital of pain that has arrived following its removal is beyond description.

I have provided a sketch of the fiend as it looked succeeding extraction.