Friday, September 30, 2011

Tom's Fairy Tales #3: The Elephant and the Sparrow

(Click to Enlarge)
So for my third instalment in my Fairy Tales series, I've gone way back to what many consider the oldest collection of fairy tales in the world. I've chosen a story from the Panchatantra, a medieval Indian collection of mostly animal stories in Sanskrit. It is one of the oldest works of literature in the world.

In this Sanskrit tale from the Panchatantra called "The Duel Between Elephant and Sparrow," a woodpecker and a sparrow, with the help of their friends, a tiny gnat and a frog, take revenge on a huge elephant, who in a fit of spring fever destroyed the sparrow's nest and crushed her eggs. The four friends devise the following plan to kill the elephant: first, the tiny gnat buzzes in the elephant's ear, so that he shuts his eyes in delight at the sweet sound. At that point, the woodpecker swoops in and pecks out the elephant's eyes, leaving him to stumble to where the frog croaks by the edge of a deep pit (sometimes a bog of quicksand, depending on the version of the story). Thinking that water is near, the elephant goes to where the croaking sound is and falls in the pit to his death. In my picture, the little gnat has just started buzzing and the elephant is lulled into a pleasant state, his eyes fluttering. The woodpecker is taking off to peck out his eyes and the sparrow watches attentively on a leaf…

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tom's Fairy Tales #2: Rumpelstiltskin

The final scene of the story:

"... Could your name be Rumpelstiltskin?," asked the Queen.

"The devil told you that!" shouted the little man [and] he ran away angrily, and never came back.

(from the 1812 version of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tom's Fairy Tales #1: Ogre (From Three Billy Goats Gruff)

(Detail 1)

(Detail 2)

I've decided to start a small series of drawings based on timeless fairy tales. This is a drawing from the Norwegian story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff... There's the first goat, yearning for greener pastures, about to cross over the dreaded bridge under which the Ogre resides... Will he make it??

Painter 11 & Wacom Cintiq.

"Awakening:" Cover for Oxford University Press

Well here at long last is my digital painting for Oxford University Press, called "Awakening." It will be the cover image for Sovereignty's Promise: The State as Fiduciary by Evan Fox-Decent, Professor of Law at McGill University. Once the book is released, I will post the actual cover once the fine designers at OUP are done putting my painting into it...

In the book, Fox-Decent re-imagines Thomas Hobbes for the 21st century. The painting shows a multicultural mosaic of people making up the State, which is personified as an androgynous figure. The central idea of the book is reflected in the way the people in the painting are crowned while the State is not crowned. The people have the power.

For those political philosophy majors out there, you might notice that my painting resembles the engraving on the Penguin Classics edition of Leviathan. That cover, which can be seen here, shows Leviathan (the representation of the State) with a crown, and the people as his loyal subjects. This relationship is turned on its head in Fox-Decent's book. The people now hold the power and the State has a fiduciary responsibility to them.