Tuesday, May 26, 2015

1 Hour Pastel Sketch: Creative Platypus


Randolph Carter uses the Silver Key.  The Randolph Carter cycle is one of my favorite Lovecraft creations.  It shows us another side of the master of Cosmic Horror: his deep love of beauty, creativity, and culture.  They're the stories that make me wish I'd had the chance to know the guy.

The Beautiful and Dead Rest (Cont.): Platypus Travels LXVIII

A word or two remains to be said about the Reverend Jedidiah Mills, the "first and faithful minister of the Gospel of Christ at Ripton".  My earlier post neglected to pieces of local lore about the good Reverend (who in an ironic twist was often called "the priest" while his Anglican opposite, the Rev. Newton, was called "parson") noted by Ripton's great historian, Jane de Forest Shelton in her master-work The Saltbox House.

The first anecdote about Reverend Mills concerns the French and Indian War.  Apparently, when news of the British Victory came by errand-rider to the village green, the Reverend was in the middle of a baptism.  The ceremony paused for a moment of general celebration, but when the elderly Reverend went back to the baptism his mind was slow to follow: he accidentally christened the baby "Victory".  The name stuck, and was even passed on to a younger cousin.

The second anecdote has an odd personal connection.  When an enthusiastic David Brainard was kicked out of Yale (probably for calling his professors "unregenerate"), he was sent a days ride westward to the sleepy town of Ripton and put under the personal care of Reverend Jedidiah Mills.  Mills counseled Brainard through the discernment process that led to the young man's missionary efforts among the Native Americans at Stockbridge.  Members of this tribe served as missionaries in their turn, some of them taking the gospel to the Oneida.  The second part of this story was a favorite of my friend and mentor, Charles Smith, a member of the Oneida tribe.  David Brainard had for him the sort of status that Saint Patrick has for us Irish-Americans.  What I never realized until Mr. Smith had passed, was that I drove by the rock where Brainard kept his prayer vigils and by the grave of his friend and mentor at least once a day all through my childhood.

I met an old Oneida in the land
Of broken promise
And he spoke of David Brainard
And a little of John Eliot.
Here we were across the world
Far from both our lands and fathers
And I’d bless him by Saint Patrick
If I were still a papist.

You see I drove by Brainard’s Rock
At least three times a day
And the gas station marks the
Place
Where he wrestled with discernment.
So in the end we both love something;
Our affinities unite us
And I’ll gladly show you round the
Place

When I cross your side of Jordan.

Friday, May 22, 2015

4 Hour Pastel Sketch: Creative Platypus

The orcs carrying Turin hail Thangorodrim as they emerge from Tar-na-fuin.  We watch with Beleg from the safety of a nearby escarpment.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1 Hour Pastel Sketch: Creative Platypus

After another hour of work, my pastel sketch of Beren defying Thangorodrim is puttering along nicely.  I've learned that I need to press harder and trust my blenders more and that I need to stop stinting on my color application.  I haven't made any use of Microsoft Paint yet, but I'm sure that will come in time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Finals Whiteboard Mayhem: Creative Platypus

 It's Finals season and that means Whiteboard Art Mayhem ensues!  This year, the Slugbeast has been slow in making his appearance.
 In the meantime, Literature is representing loud and proud with this updated version of a classic text.

 Stendhal has broken out on the whiteboard with the aid of Jean-Paul Sartre.
 Gotta love those tacos.
 Mummy kitteh can has rotten onion.  Props to you if you know what this is about.
 Ah!  The Slugbeast cometh!  He is as the howling wind that knoweth not pity, that knoweth not mercy!  Of colossal tread is he...
 I think this speaks for itself.  Look upon their works ye mighty and despair.

*Please note: the little girl, chilled man, and mummy kitteh are courtesy of the students.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

15 Minute Pastel Sketch: Creative Platypus


Beren defies Angband.  I've been working my way through "The Lays of Beleriand" and "The Shaping of Middle Earth" over the last few months and it was time to begin working out the images in my head on paper.  We'll see how far I get.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The Dead and Beautiful Rest (Cont.): Platypus Travels Part LXVII

Henry E. Plumb (1824-1906) was a citizen of Monroe Connecticut and inventor of a new hay elevator and carrier.  This isn't surprising since the 1880 census records his occupation as "Farmer".  The witness to his patent, David Wells, is buried in the same cemetery (East Village Cemetery).  There is an interesting significance here to be teased out since the businessman who endowed the local library was named David Wells Plumb (1808-1892).  David Wells Plumb's mother was Urania Wells (1784-1862).  Given the location and the names, there must be some connection between Henry E. Plumb the farmer who ended up wealthy enough to afford a set of rather elaborate tombstones for himself and his second wife (his first wife, Catherine Elijah d. 1854 aged 29 years, is also buried elsewhere in the cemetery) and David Wells Plumb. the businessman whose dream it was for Shelton to have its own public library.  I haven't been able to find it so far, but if you discover it, please let me know.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

More Grave Matters: Platypus Addendum

The Getty Iris has an interesting post discussing the Grecco-Roman custom of depicting mythological heroes in their funerary architecture.  Here's the link.