Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

Daughter’s Song & Dance–A sample page

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment




RT is feeling good about his progress on publishing his mom’s memoirs, A Daughter’s Song and Dance. Not that the process isn’t a bit humbling. This is a 270-page book we’re talking about, and even discovering how to convert a MS Word file into a JPG can take some time, not to mention learning the basics of book design. Still, book production for ADS&D is going fairly smoothly, and RT is posting a sample page to give folks a feeling for what the finished product will look like. RT is proud of this particular page, and notes that the photo is a Dorothy Lange public domain image available on Wikipedia. Anyway, he hopes the effort satisfies. He’s currently setting chapters 17 and 18 (out of 24 total chapters).



 Book Page Image © 2014, The Rag Tree


Dragon’s Teeth–A Poem

March 5, 2014 2 comments

File:Virgil Solis - Cadmos and the Spartoi.jpg

Last Sunday, after careful deliberation, RT surrendered to his book-buying impulse and brought home the newest member of his literary litter, Karen Armstrong’s The Great Transformation. His short list also included John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s The First Paul and Oxford University’s New Oxford Book of Romantic Period Verse. RT’s local bookstore has never disappointed him.

Speaking of which, during his deliberations, RT was moved to compose some off-the-cuff verses. He re-positioned the chess set on its side table to safety a few feet away, sprawled out in the generously padded wicker chair, and produced the following:


Dragon’s Teeth

the moon married the alphabet

& founded a city; somewhere in there,

she produced a cow, a cow, take note,


that walked by the waters that stream westward

past the kings, the Queen of Night, a blind man



even to Bharata, Axum, Gades, that cow; the

hundred gates of the world: the fence of humanity

and the hero who stands guard there–


lion pelt on his shoulders,

club in his hand.

He made the mountains, they say,


let loose the winds, that

flock of doves–

the archer chases them.


© copyright 2014, The Rag Tree.


Woodcut: Cadmos and the Spartoi (Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid’s Metamorphoses III, 101-130) 1562. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


still life…chairs and table…

February 25, 2014 Leave a comment


a beautiful photograph for the afternoon… RT

(reposted from t smith knowles)


still life…chairs and table….

Two Figures: Something Fun…

November 12, 2013 1 comment

File:Albert Müller Zwei Figuren 474.jpg

something fun…enjoy!   RT

Drawing: Two Figures (by 1926); Albert Muller. Crayon on paper. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

Sarmatia–A Map

September 22, 2013 Leave a comment


Wowzaah…what a map!   RT


RT’s Related Posts: 1) Hereford Mappa Mundi


Image: Sarmatia and Scythia, Russia and Tartaria (17th cent.); User: Nasz. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


It’s only natural.

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment


a bit of whimsy…  RT

(reposted from Foxes and Tea)


It’s only natural..

Sketch for Portrait of Astronomer | Schizzo per Ritratto di Astronomo

September 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya

September 10, 2013 2 comments

File:"Ahwaire and the Dog" - NARA - 558978.jpg


More discoveries, more beauty here.  This linocut drew RT’s attention to the traditional Urhobo story that it illustrates, Ahwaire and the Dog, and to its creator, Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya. So far, RT has turned up little about the story, but he did find a Wikipedia article on BOO–in Italian. So then Google Translator came to the rescue (not the first time it’s helped RT out), and RT provides his translation of the artist’s biography below.

RT will pause to note that, although he considers himself fairly well versed in the field of art, it amazes him that a successful and talented visual artist of Onobrakpeya’s caliber has remained unknown to him until now. Is it just that creative souls living on different continents can’t expect to be familiar with each other’s work? Or can we hope that artists around the world can indeed come into contact with each other and share their gifts across the globe?

(and what about Ahwaire and the Dog and the other Urhobo legends? Does a translation into English even exist? Time to check Amazon.)  RT


Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya (born 1932) is a Nigerian painter, sculptor, and carver.

Born in Agbarha-Otor in Nigeria’s Delta State, Onobrakpeya is the son of an Urhobo carver. Though raised as a Christian, he also learned traditional Urhobo religious beliefs.

Onobrakpeya’s family moved to Benin City, where he attended Western Boys High School and took drawing classes at the British Council Art Club. Early influences on his work include his art teacher Edward Ivehivboje and the watercolors of Emmanuel Erabor. After graduation in 1953, Onobrakpeya remained at WBHS to teach art, then taught for a year at Ondo Boys High School. In 1957, Onobrakpeya won a Federal Government Scholarship to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology.

While at NCAST, Onobrakpeya began evolving an art linked to Nigerian folklore, myths, and legends. In 1958, he became involved in the Zaria Arts Society (later, the Zaria Rebels), a group of NCAST students that met to discuss art and begin the “decolonization” of Nigerian visual arts.  Onobrakpeya has stated that while NCAST helped strengthen his technical skills, it was ZAS that shaped his perspective as a professional artist and gave him the courage to seek his own mode of expression.

At this time, Onobrakpeya attended seminars on printing techniques in Ibadan, Oshogbo, and Ife, and at the Haystack Mountains School of Crafts in Maine. In 1959, his first exhibition was held in Ughelli in the Niger River delta.

Onobrakpeya’s work incorporates stylistic elements and compositions rooted in the decorative arts and traditional African sculpture. He elongates his figures, ignores perspective, and evokes the supernatural through the ambiguities of decorative elements. Onobrakpeya has contributed to the revival of contemporary Nigerian consciousness. He taught for many years at St. Gregory’s College, Lagos.

Over the years, Onobrakpeya has helped manage many arts events (including the Amos Tutuola Show, Lagos, 2000), and organizes the annual seminar Harmanattan in his hometown. He is the founder and president of the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation. Active since 1999, the foundation helps artists acquire technical skills and raises awareness of African art.

During his career, Onobrakpeya has exhibited in the United States, Canada, Zimbabwe, Germany, Britain, and Kenya. Major exhibitions have taken place at the Tate Modern in London; the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC; Malmö Konsthall in Malmö, Sweden; and The National Gallery of Modern Art in Lagos.


Linocut: Ahwaire and the Dog; Author: Onobrakpeya, Bruce Obomeyoma. NARA; Harmon Foundation. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

Along Floats the Mangled Kahuna–A. Manookian

August 31, 2013 2 comments

File:Along floats the mangled Kahuna on the sea-caves calm water near to the sitting Marin whose spark of life has just flickered out.jpg

Wandering, rather in the manner of an 18th-century mariner, RT has stumbled across a treasure trove. In Hawaii, of course, though nothing else in this story is quite what one might have expected.

The clue that let RT know he had found something amazing is the above drawing, by one Arman Manookian and exhibited at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The full title alone is enough to give the viewer pause: Along floats the mangled Kahuna on the sea-caves calm water near to the sitting [Francisco de Paula] Marin whose spark of life has just flickered out. A tale (or more than one) surely hangs on this title. Scurrying through the pages of Wikipedia, RT has assembled some data to help us decode the drawing: 1) a kahuna is a Hawaiian priest or magician; 2) Francisco de Paula Marin was an influential figure in the Kingdom of Hawaii under its first and perhaps greatest monarch, King Kamehameha I. FdPM is, among other achievements, responsible for introducing pineapples and coffee to Hawaii. But so far, RT has been unable to discover much about FdPM’s death other than its date–1837.

Arman Manookian seems a less legendary figure (if such is possible in this tale): Armenian, born in Constantinople in 1904, he survived the Armenian Holocaust and made his way to the United States, where he studied art. After graduating, he joined the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in Honolulu. He began to practice art, and his talent attracted significant commissions. Sadly, he committed suicide at 31. Today, his work, and especially his oil painting. is highly valued in Hawaii.

Hawaii, which RT visited several years ago, is an amazing place, and its history since discovery by Captain Cook is one of the most remarkable testaments to the resourcefulness of a native people dealing with the political realities of the 18th and 19th centuries. Why should we wonder that this period has produced illustrations worthy of an episode from Moby Dick? There is more poetry in life than we imagine.   RT

DrawingAlong floats the mangled Kahuna on the sea-caves calm water near to the sitting [Francisco de Paula] Marin whose spark of life has just flickered out, Arman Manookian; WikiCmns; Public Domain.

Campus Martius, circa 300 A.D.

August 9, 2013 3 comments

File:Campus Martius.jpg

RT, a lover of maps and old cities, confesses himself a bit overwhelmed by this wonderful model of the Campus Martius (Field of Mars) in ancient Rome. What are all the beautiful buildings, and when were they built? RT can offer only provisional help in the matter: 1) the model reflects the CM in about 300 A.D; 2) the model includes insulae, the apartment buildings (if you can imagine!) where most of the population of Rome lived; 3) the model also includes the Theater of Pompey (the semi-circular structure near the center of the model), which stands next to a quadriporticus (the portico or pillared building standing within another); and 4) finally, the Circus Flaminius is the large semi-circular building at the top of the photo and its adjoined open space (or piazza). There was much more in the CM, of course; the Ara Pacis should be represented somewhere.

Estimates of population range widely; here is RT’s best guess: the population of Rome at this time was 900,000; the entire empire’s population was around 60 million. Both of these figures represent declines from peak population in the early empire–for Rome, in excess of a million; for the empire, 80 million.

There is nothing like a model to bring an ancient city to life, and here we can sense something of the complexity and sophistication of ancient Rome at its height.   RT


RT’s Related Posts: 1) Maps, Auxlangs, and the Growth of Living Artifacts (or, Je t’aime, Paris!).


Photo: Architectural Model of the Campus Martius; Theatrum Pompeii Project. WikiCmns; Public Domain.