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“Burning” c. Susan Sorrell Hill

“Burning”

(watercolor, pen & ink, gouache)

The original painting is available here. Museum-quality prints (and the original painting too) are available here.

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is burning.

Last week, after finishing and submitting the book dummy for “The Emperor’s Pear Tree”, I took a much-needed rest. Now I’m looking for new inspiration among the folktales and fairytales at the astonishing public domain source, Project Gutenberg. The Wizard of Oz caught my eye…can it really have been published so long ago?

Trusting my little printer to valiantly copy all sixty-six pages of the text, my belief that there are writers…and then there are great writers…has been reaffirmed. Even after so much exposure, this brilliant tale still holds my interest and fires my artist’s imagination with imagery. The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, has continued to be an inspiration for screenwriters, playwrights, illustrators and toy makers since its first publication in 1900. (Those of you who read this blog regularly will have already guessed that my all-time favorite interpretation of this classic is by the award-winning Austrian illustrator, Lisbeth Zwerger. Her imaginative characters were not influenced by the popular American movie version, but are her own unique and satisfying interpretation of Baum’s original text.)

With the announcement of this week’s Illustration Friday word, burning, it is not surprising that my newest painting would be inspired by The Wizard of Oz.

I’ll tell you a secret,” [the Scarecrow] continued, as he walked along. “There is only one thing in the world I am afraid of.” “What is that?” asked Dorothy, “the Munchkin farmer who made you?” “No,” answered the Scarecrow, “it’s a lighted match.” The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

The Scarecrow’s fear is almost comical in its simplification, isn’t it? But then, our deepest fears usually do boil down to something very basic, even if we are not made of straw. I had thought I would write more about Fear this week, but these quotes say it so much better than I could have…and more succinctly. (Many more quotes about fear can be found here.)

“We are largely the playthings of our fears. To one, fear of the dark; to another, of physical pain; to a third, of public ridicule; to a fourth, of poverty; to a fifth, of loneliness … for all of us, our particular creature waits in ambush.” Horace Walpole

“Fear is the fire that melts Icarian wings.” Florence Earle Coates

“Fear is the prison of the heart.” Anonymous  (This one reminds me of Roberto’s wonderful birdcage image, titled, “I Desire This for All” (DESEO ESTO PARA TODOS), in the right sidebar.)

Shall we give our fears a holiday?  ‘Tis the season…

“Burning” (watercolor, pen and ink, pencil, gouache)

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