Monday, May 23, 2011

Pirates and Mermaids

Original drawing by W. W. Denslow
Well, gosh - what a long time between blogs! I HATE that! Luckily, I have lots of excuses. I've logged almost sixty hours a week at San Diego Opera working evenings on the make-up crew for performances of Carmen and daytime hours painting scenery in the shop. It's nice to have so much work again - but it's NOT good for blogging.

Now, on top of all this I had to get the Winkie Convention Program Book ready for press. It has been a huge job this year as the book is bigger, better, and longer than ever! I'll try to give you a sneak-peek at the cover in the next week or so.

One of the items included in the program book is this original drawing by W. W. Denslow from The Pearl and the Pumpkin (1905). This drawing was used as one of the color plates in the book and it seemed especially appropriate for this year's Winkie Con as we are celebrating the centennial of L. Frank Baum's The Sea Fairies (which is about mermaids) and the 80th anniversary of Ruth Plumly Thompson's Pirates in Oz (which is about pirates) - hence, the appropriateness!

You might find it interesting to compare the original drawing to the printed color plate in the book. Denslow's original art for Pearl and the Pumpkin is very similar in style and technique to his original art for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Both feature his bold style and show a couple of the characters breaking thru the frame of the illustrations. It's also interesting to see how Denslow modified the original drawing; he clearly tried several positions for the mermaid's tail. If you click on the image of the original drawing, it will enlarge, and you can see much more pencil detail. Note how some elements of the original line art are printed in a color, not just in black, such as the mermaid's hair and the tattoo on the pirate's arm.

So, the blog is back on track and so is the Winkie Convention. If you aren't already planning to attend this year's best Oz convention why not decide to right now? You can get more information and find a link to download our info-pack and registration materials by clicking here.


James C. Wallace II said...

I see here he has not gone with the predominantly orange theme I've seen in his other work that I blogged about last week. The 1904 Scarecrow and Tin-Man storybook was equally wonderful with his expressive artwork, though as I mentioned, he sure had a jones for orange.

David Maxine said...

I don't think Denslow had any particular fondness for orange. True there is a lot of orange and yellow in SCARECROW AND TIN MAN as you blog about - but I'm sure that's because the Scarecrow and Tinman themselves are largely blue and Denslow was into complimentary colors - hence orange.

The other book that has a lot of orange is PEARL AND THE PUMPKIN but it's set during Halloween.

James C. Wallace II said...

That makes sense. I hadn't thought about it as complimentary colors.