Friday, September 28, 2012

And Another Doodle

This is for Gina, who is very complimentary about my sketches, and also for Bella, who is tired of my post on the Battle of the Bridge of Stirling - a wee 18th century Highland Jacobite, complete with a white rose, to show where her allegiance lies:

Highlanders of this period wore the tartan as part of their regular clothing. Men generally wore a feile mor, or great plaid, which was the precursor of the modern kilt. A feile mor would be pleated, (or kilted to use the old word) and belted at the waist, with a long bit leftover, which could be used for a cloak, but which was generally pinned at the shoulder to keep it out of the way. Women did not wear a feile mor. Nor did they wear those dresses consisting of a lace-up bodice, and a full plaid skirt, which one often finds for sale in Renaissance clothing catalogues. No, what Highland women had was an arisaid, a great cloak of tartan material, worn over their dresses, often pinned at the neck, and belted at the waist, much as this young lady is wearing hers. Unmarried ladies also generally wore a little band of ribbons in their hair, and if you look closely, you can see that I put that in as well... Yes, I am aware of the technical flaws in the sketch, but I am still rather pleased with how it turned out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On This Day In History...

in 1297, the army of the great Scottish patriot, William Wallace, defeated the English at the Bridge of Stirling. It was a decisive victory, which went a long way to cement Scottish resistance against the English invaders. A good, brief account of the life of Wallace, and the battle can be found here.

William Wallace has always been a hero of mine, and on my first trip to Scotland, I had the good fortune to stay in a room that provided a glimpse of the River Forth, and I had to cross the Bridge to get up to the town of Stirling. The current Bridge is not the same one that the Battle was fought on, but I was still in my element.

There is a song called Stirling Brig which narrates the battle from the Scottish perspective. The Corries do a good version of it:

Monday, September 10, 2012

What Else Would I Draw?

I have only posted a couple of my own pictures on this blog so far, and both times they have been piper pictures. I draw a lot of pipers. I also almost always draw people in profile, so I have been challenging myself to draw from other angles as well - or so I fancy. However, looking at my more recent piper sketches, I notice with some puzzlement (since I always start thinking, I am going to try something diffent this time and genuinely believe that is what I am doing) that my go to position for pipers is a 3/4 view from the back. Very preturbing that. I had no idea I was doing that. However, to prove that I am capable of producing something besides 3/4 view pipers, here is a little sketch, inspired somewhat by the story, Peter Kagan and the Wind.

Friday, September 7, 2012

He's Pixelated....

A couple days ago, I saw an old Gary Cooper movie, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. I had never seen it before, and quite thoroughly enjoyed it. Gary Cooper, in the title role, plays the part of a somewhat eccentric young man, who comes unexpectedly into money, and whose native decency and straightforward simplicity are frequently mistaken for dim-wittedness by the more cynical and sophisticated men who try to ingratiate themselves with the newly-minted millionaire. The storytelling is solid, the protagonists sympathetic, and like many films from this period, there is a moral to the story, but one which is charmingly told, and therefore satisfying. I am ashamed to say, however, what sticks with me the most is a scene near the end, in which two little old ladies from Mr. Deeds' home town are called in to vouch for his character, and their solemn verdict is that he is "pixelated".  I thought I had mis-heard at first, but the words is said several times, and there is no mistaking it, Mr. Deeds is "pixelated". A short time later, the word is explained to be an early American word meaning that the pixies have gotten him; that he is, in fact, "barmy".

Well now, this was very interesting indeed. Up until that moment, pixelated had existed in my vocabulary merely as a word describing what happens to a small digital picture when you try to print it out far bigger than it wants to be. It turns in to a lot of little squares. It is pixelated. And yet, here is a movie, seventy years old or better, and there is the word with an entirely different meaning. I was intrigued. and I looked it up. It took a few tries to find a source that dug any deeper than the film for the origin of the word, but I came across a very fine site called The Word Detective, which features an interesting little article about the word's origin and history. It is a quick read, and well worth the time. I must say I am quite taken with the word, and am much inclined to re-instate the use of the word pixelated in its original and rather poetic meaning.

And here, for a chuckle, is the scene in question, which some joker has cleverly doctored: