Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"We wish that we didn't have to leave / this wonderful world of make-believe!" Let's Watch 25 Years of Disney Television!

We've watched a lot of Disney television specials together here at the Blog.  Every time, I think I've finally found the weirdest one they ever made.  And boy do I love being proven wrong, as is the case with this 1978 special celebrating 25 Years of Disney on Television.





Now, I will never waver from my position that "Kraft Celebrates Twenty Years of Walt Disney World" is The "Star Wars Holiday Special" Of Disney, but boy does this special do everything it can to make it hard.  First of all, it's cut down from a nearly two-hour special that ran over two weekends.  That explains some of the jarring editing, but I honestly don't know if more context would help.  The whole thing is '70's variety show Hell, but I must direct special attention to that courtroom scene and the scene where we're suddenly in "Mad Monster Party?"

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Art of the Day!

Have a little Mary Blair study why not?

2.12.16 - Mary Blair Study

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Walking the Hadrosaur Roads - The Lost Continent of Appalachia

Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Diplodocus, Maiasaura, Deinonychus, Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops.  As a dinosaur-loving child growing up in New England, I learned very quickly that all the really popular, exciting dinosaurs lived in Nowhere Near My Home.  They all lived out west, on the other side of the great inland sea.  Back east, we can claim Hadrosaurus, some tracks... and that, according to the dinosaur books of my childhood, was it.  Maybe Dryptosaurus would get a shout-out, thanks to Charles Knight's "Leaping Laelaps" painting (still one of the greatest works of paleoart ever made).  Maybe there'd be a mention of Anchisaurus because you can't not love a basal sauropod the size of a sheepdog.  But generally, eastern dinosaurs would be ignored by popular culture.

Asher Elbein's Lost Continent of Appalachia aims to fix that.  It's a quick read, gorgeously illustrated, and tells the stories of the animals that roamed the eastern parts of North America during the Cretaceous.  And I love it!  It's what child-me would have given anything within reason to read.  (In fact, I would love to see it as a nice hardcover book someday.)  Make sure you read Asher's companion post at good old Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs too.  He's promised to post more behind-the-scenes material there and I can't wait.

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Art of the Day!

Antpittas!  Look at these adorable little fuzzballs on stick legs!

2.11.16 - Antpittas

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Impressions de New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee Landscape

I'd brought my "new" Moleskine along on a scenic train ride along Lake Winnipesaukee last October.  This was during a weekend in my childhood romping ground, the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  It wasn't quite peak foliage yet, but the mountains look beautiful no matter what.  Here are my inept little landscape paintings and drawings of them:

10.1.16 - White Mountains study

10.1.16 - White Mountains study

10.1.16 - White Mountains study

10.1.16 - White Mountains study

10.1.16 - White Mountains study

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Let's Go Down to "Turtle Town"

My current Sketchbook is a little pocket-sized Moleskine that's been riding around in my purse with me for some time now. Since I'm going to be traveling a bit this month, I decided to finally make it my main Sketchbook and fill the dear little thing.

10.8.16 - Tiny Landscape

There were already quite a few very nice drawings and paintings in it from this past October.  The first few pages were full of watercolors of a place we call Turtle Town.  It's a tiny little inlet off the main section of the Lake.  It's easy to kayak to and, yes, you can often see turtles of unusual size hanging out on the sunny logs or lurking in the mud.

I didn't see any turtles last October when I paddled down to take reference photos and do a watercolor sketch or two, but I did find a lot of cool water plants.  So here's a page of botanical studies and a couple of landscapes.

Three Little Botanical Studies

10.8.16 - River Study

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Let's Read _Recreating an Age of Reptiles_

Mark Witton's Recreating an Age of Reptiles (or "Rec-A-Rep" to its friends) is first and foremost an art book.  If you want to learn about dinosaurs or art techniques, you'll have to look elsewhere.  That said, it is the kind of art book I savor: gorgeous art, introduced and explained by the artist.

It seems like a simple, obvious thing, but I really don't have many art books in my collection like this (the magnificent 1995 volume The Alien Life of Wayne Barlowe has a very similar format and oh, what would I give for an updated version).  Here, Witton gives us the grand circle tour of his paleoart, all along telling us what is speculation and what is based on solid evidence.  Pterosaurs are the stars, of course, but we get a lovely tour of the Triassic, unusual depictions of sauropods and ceratopsians, and even us lousy synapsids get our own little chapter.  This really is a beautiful book and an essential addition to your paleoart library.

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Art of the Day!

A Merry Moleskein Marshtomp.  (Don't ruin his mood and tell him Janphibianuary was kind of a flop.)

1.30.17 - Merry Moleskine Marshtomp

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Let's Read _Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved_

What a fantastic book Naish and Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved is!  It is a fine introduction to these fantastic animals that I love so much.  If I could afford it, I'd buy copies for every family I know.  Most of the information in the book will be new and mind-blowing for them.

Most of the information wasn't new to me, so the selling point for me was those incredible illustrations.  The book is packed with art.  I can't express how happy I am to see the work of artists I first encountered online in a big beautiful glossy book.

Best of all, we have here a book about dinosaurs where birds are included like it ain't no thing and therefore, this is a book about dinosaurs that does not end at the K/T extinction.  Goodness, this is the dinosaur book I've wished for since childhood.

Oof, that cover though... >_<

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Art of the Day!

A tiny frog with a big, big voice to round out Janphibianuary.

1.21.17 - Janphibianuary

Friday, January 27, 2017

The State of the Chronological Disney Animated Canon Series

See the thing is, I reviewed "TRON: Legacy".

Let's back up.  The issue I'm wrestling with right now is the question of what I should and should not count as a Disney Animated Feature for my ongoing "Review Every Animated Disney Feature" project.  It used to be easy to answer: "Duh, it's a film with animation by Walt Disney Feature Animation.  Also, whatever Disney movies with animation in them were considered animated films by all those Disney Channel specials and montages and such.  ALSO also, whatever is listed on The Official Walt Disney Features Animated Canon Big Ol' List Thing on Wikipedia and elsewhere.  Golly, maybe this isn't an easy answer?"

So what's going on in my head right now is, like, do I have to review the new "Pete's Dragon" if I reviewed the original?  Cause again, I reviewed the "TRON" sequel.  And "TRON: Legacy" doesn't have any more or less animation in it than any other blockbuster released by Disney in the past twenty years (and I really don't want to have to revisit the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series).  And what of 2016's "The Jungle Book", which is an animated Disney film by any meaningful definition of the term?  If I review that, does that mean I have to do the other remakes of movies that are very definitely officially Disney Animated Canon features?  (Which would of course mean having to revisit Tim Burton's "Alice" movies and... no, please, God, no.)

I know all of this is ultimately up to me.  It's getting very tricky though.  Any helpful suggestions in the comments will be greatly appreciated.

For more posts in this ongoing series, go here, or click the Chronological Disney Animated Canon tag below.

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Art of the Day!

Thanxalotl.

1.21.17 - Janphibianuary