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From my clipfile

I don’t have anything in particular to report today, so here’s an illustrator from my clipfile: Willy Pogany (Vilmos András Pogány) (1882 1955) (full illustration here).

Pogany was Hungarian, though he took American citizenship in 1921. He was one of the great names of what is called the Golden Age of Illustration.

No doubt, there was one of those strange historical throwings-up of an unfeasible number talented people during this era, but I’m inclined to blame the Golden Age on technology.

Book illustration went from the sophisticated black and white wood engravings of the late Nineteenth Century (giving rise to geniuses of ink illustration like Charles Dana Gibson) into early, cheap color reproduction (leading to the ascendance of figures like Rockwell).

Illustrators who surfed the timeline just right — like Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth and Willy Pogany — moved successfully from one style to the next.

I admit, though, I like Pogany’s line work most of all.

Have a good weekend, everyone. I have to do my taxes this weekend, or at least get a start. They aren’t complicated on account of I am poor, but they still aren’t a lot of fun.

Revolución!

January 11, 2019 — 9:42 pm
Comments: 10

Happy New Year!

An homage to the great J.C. Leyendecker. Homage. That’s what we call out-and-out art theft, right?

You probably know Leyendecker better as the “Arrow Shirt Man” illustrator. But before Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker was THE Saturday Evening Post cover man. He was brilliant. Much beloved of painters for his technique painting hair (among other things).

Of course, me being me, I screwed up. I intended to find the Leyendecker cover from New Years a hundred years ago, but this is actually the 1909 one. Because math. Because, consarnit, I’ll see 2018 out as innumerate as I saw it in.

Happy New Year, everyone!

p.s. watch me get done for child porn.

December 31, 2018 — 8:04 pm
Comments: 15

Lossy

In the prior thread, Wolfus asked if “lossy” was a Britishism. It ain’t. And because I’m desperate for stuff to post about at the moment, I shall explain what it is.

“Generation loss” is a thing in graphic arts. It means that every time you make a copy of something — every time it goes down a generation — it loses quality. If you have an illustration, and you photograph it, and then you do a color separation, and then you print it in a magazine…every stage of that process involves a degradation of the original.

Then if you make a photocopy of the magazine article and digitize it to put in your slide presentation…don’t laugh. I often deal with images that are many generations removed from the original.

That’s generation loss; the term “lossy” is used specifically for digital file formats.

The Targa tiff file — which you may never have run across — was a common early digital file format that purported to be lossless. In theory, you could make a tif file of a tif file and every one was as good as the original. Downside: they were huge.

Lots of file formats have used all sorts of clever algorithms to try to squeeze file size without losing quality.

The jpg file came to rule them all because it’s very, very good at the trade off…it can look very good, or it can compress very small, or it can be a compromise, depending on what you ask it to do. That’s what it’s asking when a graphics program gives you a jpg quality slider.

The image at right is a jpg compressed at a quality of about 70% (100% means very little loss, very little compression) and it’s about 36K on the disk. The inset is compressed at around 10% (lots of loss, lots of compression) and is about 7K.

Notice the characteristic big square blocks that are the hallmark of jpg compression. I bet you’ve seen that before! Different lossy formats are ugly in different ways and when I get my Photoshop back, I can show you.

That’s not my big white rooster, by the way. That’s my old lavender hen Violence (may she rest in peace). I’ve had three lavender chickens, and they’ve all hated me.

November 28, 2018 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 7

This image is from one of my favorite FaceBook pages: Strange Things Found in Churches. Caption is: “Probably my favourite roof boss. Early 16th century, Tawstock, Devon.”

Sadly, this is the very last image ever posted to the group. Without warning or explanation, the owner of the page shut it down. I hate it when people nuke sites like that.

Oh, right. You need to see the whole thing to make sense of it. Scratch that — it makes even less sense when you can see the whole thing.

I know what you’re thinking, but I would just like to point out that there are four hands in the picture, and two of them can’t belong to any visible body. NOW what do you think you’re looking at?

I leave you to ponder. Good weekend!

November 2, 2018 — 6:44 pm
Comments: 15

Day 19: scorched

Because they’re sunbathing.

One of the happiest sights for a chicken keeper is watching a pair of birds dust-bath together in the sun.

Sadly, it’s completely unpaintable. Because a bird with its eyes closed and its wings spread blissing out in warm soil in the sun is visually indistinguishable from a dead chicken flung on a dirt heap.

October 19, 2018 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 4

Day 18: bottle

Yes, I suppose a chicken would stick her beak in a bottle, if she thought there was something worth eating in there.

I think she’d be much more likely to peck it for the tink sound. I’m not the first to notice that chooks will peck things they cannot possibly mistake for food, over and over, because they appear to like interesting sounds.

October 18, 2018 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 9

Day 15: weak

Not sure who’s weak here, the chicken or the worm.

Sidenote: one of the funniest chicken moments ever, the first time I gave a hen a strand of spaghetti. She must’ve thought it was the awesomest worm EVAR. She held her beak in the air and did a victory lap all around the garden, the other chickens running after her grabbing at it.

Later that Summer, she fluttered up and landed with a ripe splat in the middle of my plate of spaghetti, dumping my lunch in the grass. Loved her pasta, did Lucia.

October 15, 2018 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 7

Day 12: whale

In truth, chickens do really badly in water. They’ve been known to drown in a bucket or even their own water bowl. They’ve been pulled alive out of a dip in the pond only to die anyway out of pique.

I have occasionally bathed a chicken, but they are not fond of it. “Mad as a wet hen” is a real thing.

October 12, 2018 — 9:00 pm
Comments: 6

Day 9: Precious

D’awwww.

October 9, 2018 — 7:37 pm
Comments: 12

Day 4: Spell

Yeah, no. I wasn’t about to draw a chicken wizard.

I tried to register chikkens.com once. It’s took. So is chooks.com and all the variants I could think of.

Not entirely sure why I wanted it. Some people get addicted to owning domain names. I know I get a little thrill when I register a good one, like I’ve just planted my flag on the surface of the internet.

I have let most of my unused ones lapse, though (a couple by accident, to be honest).

October 4, 2018 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 12