Thursday, August 18, 2011

Arthur Rackham illustrates, "Undine"


Arthur Rackham (September 19, 1867 – September 6, 1939) was a prolific, British, book illustrator; illustrating such famous books as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, the works of Shakespeare & the Brothers Grimm, among many others.
     Apparently, Rackham invented his own technique for illustration.  His pictures are always utterly distinct in their almost muddied (though, very precise), muted palette.  Perfect coloring for the waters of streams & storm churned rivers.  

     Wikipedia describes his way of sketching out an image thus:
      Rackham invented his own unique technique which resembled photographic reproduction; he would first sketch an outline of his drawing, then lightly block in shapes and details. Afterwards he would add lines in pen and India ink, removing the pencil traces after it had dried. With color pictures, he would then apply multiple washes of color until transparent tints were created. He would also go on to expand the use of silhouette cuts in illustration work.

     These are his illustrations for the fairytale Undine, which was written in 1811 by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué.  Undine has the distinction of, very probably, being the tale that inspired Hans Christian Andersen's, The Little Mermaid.  Undine is the tragic history of a water nymph & the mortal man, a knight, whom she loves.  It is perhaps my very favorite mermaid story...
     I'll save the telling of the tale for a later date, with more illustrations of the watery sprite & her cohorts.

Undine outside the window

 At the back of the little tongue of land, there lay a fearsome forest right perilous to traverse

 A beautiful little girl clad in rich garments stood there on the threshold smiling

 The infancy of Undine

 He saw by the moonlight momentarily unveiled, a little island encircled by the flood; & there under the branches of the overhanging trees was Undine

 The Knight took the beautiful girl in his arms & bore her over the narrow space where the stream had divided her little island from the shore

 He held up the gold piece, crying at each leap of his, "False gold!  False coin!  False coin!"

 At length, they all pointed their stained fingers at me

 When the storm threatened to burst over their heads, she uttered a laughing reproof to the clouds.  "Come, come," sayeth she, "look to it that you wet us not."

"Little niece," said Kuhleborn, "forgot not that I am here with thee as a guide."

 Bertalda

 "She hath a mark, like a violet, between her shoulders, & another like it on the instep of her left foot."

Bertalda in the Black Valley

 Soon she was lost to sight in the Danube

He could see Undine beneath the crystal vault

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blue Skyy, Blue Sea


Sailors downing their tankards full of mead & grog, having visions of maids riding the crests of the sea.  Apparently ad campaigners for Skyy Vodka have been drinking too much of their company's own brew.  Another liquor ad, graced by a little mermaid in blue sequins.  ;)


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yellow Tail


How often is a television commercial creative, let alone breathtaking?  Apparently, Yellow Tail is the wine of choice for mermaids...or do they prefer salt water?
      Tails, you win!









Yellowtail "Mermaid" from Daniel Boris Dzula on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sabrina Down Under




Could you use some super cheesy 90's-ness, with a merman named Barnaby, a talking cat named Salem, & a witch named Sabrina?  Of course you could! 
     This was a movie (to use the term loosely), I watched...several years ago now, it seems.  It was based on the tv show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, quite popular in it's heyday...well, not that it was that long ago.  It starred Melissa Joan Hart (of course) & the movie is possibly more cheesy than the tv show was.  ;)  Still, you might enjoy the silliness, if you're the sort of person who does not always need to take your television too seriously or if you have small children.  And it does fall under the mermaid category. 
     Eventually, I do solemnly promise to add the better, mermaid movies that I've seen.  This one just happened to pop into my head at random, so here are the youtube videos, thanks to some kind 'youtuber'.










Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Merman & the Figurehead: A Christmas Story


This is an old book that I discovered on one of my long, late into the night, forays for more mermaid lore. 
     It was written by Clara F Guernsey (Octorber 1, 1836 - June 20, 1893), published (in the copy I have here, for your reading pleasure) in 1871 by J B Lippincott & CO.  And I really do mean to read the sucker one of these days...I have such a terrible time when I try to read anything online.  Hopefully you don't have my problem with the non-physical book.  I may have to get my grubby, little fingers on a hard copy.
     Why is it subtitled, A Christmas Story?  I haven't he foggiest clue.  Sounds Dickensian.  It looks delightful! 
     Perhaps here, the merman, though he tends to hide in waters more shadowy than the mermaid, will be revealed.  Tell me, won't you if you manage to finish it before I do, let me know how you like this merman.

     Read a short, internet biography on Guernsey, here.

     To the read, The Merman & the Figurehead, click, here.  The book can be read online or downloaded, for free, onto your digital, reading apparatus thingy...which I obviously do not own, being very old school & all.  ;)