Oh the Insanity

The Duel

I find the seemingly endless human capacity for hate, violence and ignorance increasingly appalling.

It is appalling that our world, our humanity has slipped so far towards hopelessness that people fall to this.

Eiffel Tower Image

Je Suis Paris

Yes, things have been crazy busy here. I am squeaking in with a short but sweet halloween greeting to everyone out on the inter webs.


Love all those goolies appearing in the upper right!

Wishing lots of good things to eat and drink but not so much that you get sick. Ever the pragmatist, that’s me.

I have recently purchased the most marvelous book. (please note the smudge under the title is a weird reflection caused during scanning)

figs 4dim cover

Figures in the Fourth Dimension by Ellen Rixford is a delight to both the eyes and the brain. If you like puppetry and/or automatons you will love this book. If you want to build puppets, marionettes, or automata, you will be ecstatic.

This book is big, heavy and loaded with beautiful photos, extremely cogent diagrams, instructions and other valuable information. It starts with basics; the parts and devices used in building mechanical things. Then it moves on to tools, supplies, and setting up workspaces. Then there are chapters on artists working in a wide variety of styles both in the visual and the mechanical approach.

figs 4dim 1

Like this bright colorful killer tomato automaton.

figs 4dim 2

Or this modern statuesque carved wooden automaton, both these examples use similar mechanisms but the artistic esthetic is totally different.

figs 4dim 3

figs 4dim 4

Then there is this elaborately controlled elephant marionette who picks up and eats a fruit.

figs 4dim 5

EL Wire body puppets that in performance are light in motion.

figs 4dim 6

figs 4dim 7

This wooden spaceship is an example of how not only do you get a description of how the device moves/acts but also of how the action is achieved.

An outstanding feature of this book is that while it shows many, many different devices it also explains how to make and use the different mechanisms that the various artist used to achieve the motions.

figs 4dim 8

This last picture is here because I’ve adored Paul Spooner’s art for a very very long time and this one is a perfect example of why. It’s called “The Borgias’ Cat” who happens upon some spilled milk and laps it up . . . and dies. Wonderfully Silly! Dark but silly, just love it.

It took me a very loooooong time to decide which images to share, I finally chose on the basis of variety of styles as there are too many entirely gorgeous photos to choose just a few favorites.

So if you’ve ever wondered how puppets, marionettes, ventriloquist dummies and mechanical automata (both modern and antique) work, what their guts look like, or how to build one. Buy this book. Even if you’re just curious about these things: BUY THIS BOOK!

This Book is Totally Amaze-Bones!!!!

Figures in the Fourth Dimension website is here where you can see more about the book; including the entire table of contents (5 pages — this is a thick heavy book — hooray). Then did I mention . . . you should buy it!

Oops! Sorry about that.

Well, not really as I had a very grand time indeed chatting the afternoon away talking with my bestest buddy Arlene. Hopefully you can all understand that sometimes you just need to talk about art and life and books and what a mess your workspace is and how you are just going to have to buckle down and clean it up. My workspace that is, Arlene has already made progress on hers.

So here’s a little artistic cat picture to cheer your day.

cat painting at easel

It’s a quite grey day here so I wanted to post something colorful and bright. So there.

There are plenty of places out there on the inter-webs to look at design boards. Can you say Pinterest?

I like design boards, they’re fun to put together and are helpful in dialing in a focus on what you really want to accomplish in a given project.

Here is a collage of design boards that I found fascinating way back in the long-long ago.

art of muppets gatefold left

art of muppets gatefold right

They are the center gatefold images from a lovely little book about the Muppets.

This little book in fact:

Art of the Muppets cover

Don’t you just love the muppets? Doesn’t Everybody just love the Muppets?

So go out and find some inspiration. Let’s all make something fun and wonderful.

Today I have for you another image heavy post, this time about the joys and hazards of outdoor living.

Giant Jam Sandwich cover

The Giant Jam Sandwich came to me via the library book sale, it’s another book from the Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club. This book is from 1972 and I particularly like the sort of trippy illustration style. And the silly, silly story.

Giant Jam Sandwich 1

First all these wasps hit town.

Giant Jam Sandwich 2

Ruining everybody’s fun.

Giant Jam Sandwich 3

So the people have a meeting to discuss what to do.

Giant Jam Sandwich 4

They devise a silly plan involving . . .

Giant Jam Sandwich 5

a giant loaf of bread . . .

Giant Jam Sandwich 6

and a vast quantity of strawberry jam.

Giant Jam Sandwich 7

which attracts and traps the wasps.

Giant Jam Sandwich 8

Problem Solved! So they have a party.

Notice that in the upper right corner some birds are carrying away the giant jam/wasp sandwich wrapped in it’s giant picnic cloth for their dinner.

stand back sneeze cover

This book seemed like an appropriate choice for today. Don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve been sneezing up a storm ever since the green things started growing. I’ve heard all the science; the spring arriving late made the plants and trees all go overboard to catch up, but that doesn’t exactly make the sneezing stop. Or even slow down a bit, I mean, seriously!

stand back sneeze 1

So I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who can sort of identify with the poor old elephant. And empathize with everyone else who has to live through the onslaught.

stand back sneeze 2

like these monkeys,

stand back sneeze 3

and the panicked parrot,

and check out the way elly is strangling that little tree trying to suppress his sneeze.

stand back sneeze 4

and the scaredy-bear.

Hope you all got a chuckle out of this vintage children’s book


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