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The Cuckoo Calls © Sarah Vernon

The Cuckoo Calls © Sarah Vernon

I’m on a roll with the divine vintage illustrations stored at The Biodiversity Heritage Library on Flickr, as per my Pheasant post. This cuckoo, to which I’ve added the same background textures, also comes from the ornithological publication of 1849 mentioned in that post.

‘They frequent tropical lowland evergreen forest and tropical deciduous forest according to the species. They are usually found in wooded and forested areas such as gallery forest, secondary forest, open or scrubby woodland, shrubby pastures or with scattered trees.

They may be found in humid areas, mangroves, swamps, humid woodland edges, forest with seasonal flooding, low thickets and dense shrub near water.’ [oiseaux-birds.com]


The Attic warbler pours her throat
Responsive to the cuckoo’s note.
Thomas Gray—Ode on the Spring.


“In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man


I’ll let you know as soon as The Cuckoo’s Note is for sale.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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Whirring Pheasant Springs © Sarah Vernon

Whirring Pheasant Springs © Sarah Vernon

This gorgeous pheasant, to which I’ve added my background textures, is from The Biodiversity Heritage Library on Flickr. Known as a Canje pheasant (or ’stinkbird’, as I discovered), he comes from an ornithological publication of 1849 and is a tropical bird found in the Amazon and South America’s Orinoco Delta.

I’ve taken my title from Alexander Pope’s Windsor Forest:

See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.

The piece is not yet for sale as I’m running out of bandwidth again and would overstep the limit were I to upload it to all my galleries. #Frustration!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Buy a framed print of Post Haste © Sarah Vernon at Crated

Oh, how I enjoyed creating this collage with layer upon layer of vintage French ephemera from 2 Lil’ Owls via Design Cuts. The creative process brings me such joy. I came across the perfect quote yesterday about this joy but I didn’t make a note of it and I can’t remember whether I saw it on a blog post or Twitter. Here are some other quotes instead! The Picasso comes closest to a part of what I’m feeling.


“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” Edward Hopper

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

“The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.”
Alberto Giacometti


Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I’m not particularly good at natural history. I can admire and squeak with delight at a bird or a flower but ask me to name them and I’ll look at you blankly. I downloaded this bird print of c.1879 from The Graphics Fairy and since the inestimable Karen Watson had not specified anything other than ‘birds’, I searched high and low (on Google, of course) to find out what kind of creature I was attempting to ‘doctor’ with my own textures and vintage postcard background.

It led me to a site selling prints from another copy of the 19th century book from which it comes. I know now that they are finches. If push had come to shove, I’d probably have said swallows.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


It was an original painting of a ‘cabinet of curiosities’  on Wikimedia that inspired me to create this image. These ‘cabinets’ contained collections of objects around a theme whether it be art, theatre or archaeology, antiquities, religious icons or geology, or anything else for that matter.

One might even refer to them as miniature museums. If you have ever gathered objects of a certain type, as I have done, on a small table or in a room, for instance, then you have created a ‘cabinet of curiosities’.  I should point out that ‘cabinet’ in this case refers to a room and not, as Wikipedia tells us, a piece of furniture.

I used the following image from Wikimedia as my starting point.

A corner of a cabinet, painted by Frans II Francken in 1636 reveals the range of connoisseurship a Baroque-era virtuoso might evince

A corner of a cabinet, painted by Frans II Francken in 1636 reveals the range of connoisseurship a Baroque-era virtuoso might evince [Wikimedia]

I continued by making small versions of some of my own images and placing them on top and within the frames of paintings before blending and merging. Look carefully and you can see The Lynx has Landed in the bottom left corner and Earthly Delights top left. Scrutinise the next to last image bottom right and you might see that I have merged a part of Romantic Meeting with the original Tudor-looking man to create what looks — to me — like Danny La Rue in his glad rags drag!

The finishing touches were done with a texture from 2 Lil’ Owls, a layer of yellow in Photoshop’s Overlay mode, and a black & white photograph by Len dela Cruz from Unsplash.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US tba
Zazzle UK tba
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art tba

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


The Dancer and the Pierrot is a digital collage I adapted about three or four years ago from one of Jules Cheret’s posters, Third Panel: la Pantomime, printed in 1900. I layered it with a couple of my background textures and various elements scanned from my theatre archive.

I view it as a Christmas piece but it would work equally well for any occasion if you were buying the greeting card or postcard.

Enjoy!

Art Prints
Art Prints
Available to buy @
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle
Fine Art America
Fine Art England

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


While I have not specified which empress this is in the title, she was actually the Dowager Empress Tzu-Hsi  or Cixi (1835-1908) and one of the most formidable of figures. According to King’s College, she ‘was famed for her beauty and charm’.

The original empress image from a 1920s edition of The Children's Encyclopaedia

The original empress image from a 1920s edition of The Children’s Encyclopaedia

These were not the least of her qualities, apparently, since she ‘was power hungry, ruthless and profoundly skilled in court politics’, rising from the middle class of Manchu society to become a concubine of Emperor Hsien-Feng and the only one to bear him a son. It is not surprising to learn that she could as easily be a great friend as a terrible enemy.

Marble Endpaper

Marble Endpaper

My first impression of the Children’s Encyclopaedia reproduction, which was from an oil painting done in 1906, was of a woman one had better not cross swords with and how right I was! Her story is fascinating and well worth reading.

Many old images are divine as they stand but sometimes I yearn to change them and that was the case with Tzu-Hsi.  By giving the picture an underlay of green marble scanned from the endpaper of the encyclopaedia (as above) and a layer of creamy yellow, I have softened the overall effect and made the image more pleasing to the eye — well, my eye, at least!
Art Prints

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I took a photograph of this yellow rose some months ago and have played with it ever since to little effect. Until, that is, someone posted a link on Facebook — in the Texture Artists group — to the British artist Sarah Gardner who also sells beautiful textures. Registering with her site gives you a free download of four textures. I added the one pictured below and I was off and running!

The typography elements are from a vintage advert for the Café Royal in London’s Regent Street from one of my theatre periodicals dated  late 19th and early 20th century, Play Pictorial.

Related articles

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Turning Windmill @ First Night Design

Turning Windmill @ First Night Design

Inspired by the work of J M W Turner, I created Turning Windmill (yes, the part-pun is intentional!) by using one of my textures, one from Kerstin Frank and a windmill in Estonia from Wikimedia.  I have not yet uploaded the artwork to any of my galleries as I’m still not too sure about the slightly garish tone. My instinct is to make it much softer.  What do you think?  Do you like it as it is or would you also prefer a softer aspect? If so, do take a moment to comment below.  Thank you.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

Related articles

The Cows Came Home

The Cows Came Home by Sarah Vernon

I’m still in my ‘yellow period’ and back with cows! Background is from EKDuncan-My Fanciful Muse and the cows from The Graphics Fairy. I have used various textures to create a cracked and peeling effect.

Linking to Brag Monday.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A quick post to show some of my latest tinkering!  This image was created with vintage flowers from The Graphics Fairy and my own backgrounds and textures. I do love creating an image with rich, golden yellows.  As colour genius Karen Haller says, it’s the colour of happiness.  ‘Yellow can boost your self-esteem and self-confidence, leaving you feeling full of optimism and positivity.’  It certainly does that for me, Karen.

Linking to Brag Monday at The Graphics Fairy

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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