Posts Tagged ‘Undercover Cover Art’

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is influence.

I have a special relationship with a copy machine at my local Staples store. Well, several copy machines, if you must know. Sometimes my attentions go to the black and white machine, and other times I turn my affections toward the full color machine. Full color copies cost about five times more, but they are so worth the pain: to see a smaller version of my newest watercolor painting, or a larger version of a favorite Klee painting from a library book (which I can then, guilt free, cut out and paste into my scrapbook), is a feeling beyond price.

But last week I went in search of copying pleasure on, alas, the first day of High School. The parking lot was packed, and a crazed SUV driver pulled a definitely-illegal full-reverse down the lane I was slowly–lucky for me–moving into. Instead of an almost-empty store with the typical few and elusive employees, I found check-out lines twenty people deep, clerks madly rushing about, loud sales announcements, and aisles crowded with harried mothers and their oh-so-cool, socially correct teenagers. Most striking of all, I found a considerable amount of female teenage flesh on display.

Now…I am not a male of the species and admittedly I’ve been living rather a closeted life lately. I’d forgotten that Life–and Fashion–goes on, as does the News, Government, and Television. I had no idea that the ‘Britney Spears‘ attire was still in strong evidence, and indeed, had accelerated. Perhaps there are even newer, younger Pop Stars out there who’ve taken her approach to further extremes? Whatever the reason, that day at Staples, there were a lot of under-sixteen girls under the influence of this trend, and wearing (as my Grandmother would have put it) “Hardly more than a handkerchief.” And they weren’t looking at all embarrassed…quite the opposite, in fact.

The last time I was wearing scarcely any clothing as a teenager, was the Graduation Pool Party in 1971. It was the first time most of us (of opposite sex) had seen each other with less than shorts and t-shirts, and I can still remember feeling acutely uncomfortable. My beach towel was my closest friend that day, and my hard-earned tan was not nearly enough to hide behind. I was shy by nature, but even so, very few of us back then were strutting in the Britney way.

Don’t get me wrong…I am all in favor of the beauty of the female body. (Although, all things being equal, I would choose Eileen Fisher over shredded jeans, push-up tops and studded belts any day…) But this trend seems to be something else entirely. What is the point, I ask myself? After all, without all of the Display and Parade, I (and my mother, grandmother and her grandmothers before her) managed to attract loving relationships and reasonably fulfilled lives. Most of us females even produced children. All based on having qualities and attributes that were apparently attractive to the opposite sex, and deeper–and more long lasting I might add–than youthful flesh and the mandate to Go Forth And Multiply. It is quite a mystery to me: why has the mating ritual been reduced to such a bare minimum? Perhaps this is the reason that the divorce rate is so high?

Don’t get me started on teenagers with big bellies wearing the Britney Spears look with insouciance. Or middle-aged mothers who dress like their daughters. I’m feeling my age, and better go lie down now…

“Walk This Way”  (detail)     (watercolor, pen & ink)

It’s the last week to enter artwork or vote for your favorite re-imagined book covers at Undercover Cover Art‘s new Blog Launch Contest. If you are in the voting mood, my own entry, “The Girl With Silver Hands,” would really appreciate your vote! Type “Susan Sorrell Hill” in the Search By Artist box, and follow the link to the Yellow Stars. When you’ve clicked on your preferred Star, the words “Thank You” should appear just to the right if you’ve voted successfully. Voting ends August 30th. A heartfelt “Thank You!” to all who’ve voted for my entry already.

This is what the stars will look like!

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is swell.

“Happy is the woman who does not seek the Things that make her head swell, for they would surely turn her into something green, scaly, and altogether not nice.”   (Anonymous)

“The Beast’s Ring”   (watercolor, pen & ink)

There’s still time to get your votes in for the Undercover Cover Art‘s blog launch contest! Vote for your favorite re-imagined book cover by visiting here, and clicking the Stars on any images Comments page. If you’d like to vote directly for my own hopeful entry, “The Girl With Silver Hands” (thank you so much!), visit here, type Susan Sorrell Hill into the Search by Artist box, follow the Read Full Post link, and then scroll over and vote with the Yellow Stars. Comments are most welcome, but clicking stars is the only way to vote. You can vote for more than one artist’s work, but you won’t be allowed to vote for the same artist more than once. Note: Entry for your own re-imagined book cover art is still open too…hurry…
Voting for all entries ends August 30th!

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is imperfect.

We recently finished watching the vintage British television series, “The Darling Buds of May,”  starring David Jason (of the British detective series, “A Touch of Frost”, fame) and a very young and nubile Catherine Zeta-Jones. It’s the saga of a 1950’s country family composed of Ma and Pop Larkin and their eight rambunctious kids, all living on a ramshackle farm in the English countryside. There’s quite a lot of food, generous amounts of alcohol of questionable provenance, lots of animals, green acreage and farm equipment. And there is, especially, a lot of love. (It’s not heady stuff, just light dinner and end-of-the-day “check out” entertainment. I found the dvd at the local library.)

The “lots of love” is the part that’s really stuck with me. Having grown up in a “family of origin” rife with parental criticism and completely lacking in democracy, the relationships that these very imperfect people have to one another, and to the other people who filter in an out of the series, could be as close to Unconditional Love and acceptance as I have seen in human relationships. No one ever says anything negative about the very overweight Ma (indeed, Pa is quite enamored with her), the annoying personality, snippy curiosity and intense gazes of the second-oldest daughter, the insipid manner of the tax man who Zeta-Jones marries early on, or even about the hair-brained schemes that Pa and Catherine’s new husband, Charley, get up to. They all love and encourage each other, adapt to each other’s foibles, and even manage to get on with their own dreams and lives. They have quite a few laughs along the way, and no one knows ‘best,’ not even Pa. No one is trying to change anyone else. Remarkable!

Imagine how you and I might have turned out if our early environment had looked like this? I know it’s just a TV series…but it must have been based on someone’s memories, or at least on someone’s longings. Didn’t you have a longing to be accepted and loved, no matter what? I know I did. Surely that desire must be universal! The absence of love and acceptance seems to be depressingly universal too. I have read, and noticed in myself too, that early parental and family criticism lodges itself firmly in a child’s psyche. We become critical of ourselves and others as well, simply as an habitual way of seeing the world. It is, alas, contagious! But it is also entirely reversible …one interaction, one moment at a time. We still have the opportunity to change the world–with kindness to ourselves and each other.

But why did I post “Goose” for this Illustration Friday’s word of the week, you may be wondering? Well, have you ever seen an animal look at another animal and say, “Your feathers are too long, your beak too yellow, the skin on your webs is absolutely gross, and where did you get that goop on your chin??” No, animals, seem to be very good at accepting the lumps, bumps and bulges of their fellow creatures…and they’ve got no fancy clothes to hide their cellulite behind, no Cover Girl makeup to disguise their blemishes. They present themselves As Is, and it seems to be working just fine for them.

Humans, let us take note.

“Goose”   (watercolor, pen & ink)

Have you checked out the new Undercover Cover Art blog and contest site yet? Lots of great artwork being posted every week, and entry for your own version of a re-imagined book cover is still open. Voting is still open too… Vote for your favorite using the “stars,” which can be found on the “Comment” page under each image. (Click “Comment” under a particular image, then click a “star” to vote. Note: leaving a Comment is not the same as voting!) My entry, “The Girl with Silver Hands” would really appreciate your vote…thank you! (Voting ends August 30, 2011)

This is what the stars will look like!

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