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This blog has been retired. I won't respond to any inquiries but have retained it in case it is still of interest to anyone passing by.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ron Embleton by Candlelight - Until We Meet Again

I have previously devoted a number of blog entries to the art of Ron Embleton and the post More Ron Embleton Magic (18 June 2011) has consistently proved to be one of my most popular.

Last month I was thrilled to be able to buy the painting shown above to add to my small collection of original Ron Embleton art.  It is not a large painting, but it is one I have loved ever since I first saw it as a child.

Although I admire all of his work I think Embleton's works lit by candlelight, firelight and moonlight are his most atmospheric and technically brilliant.

This is how the painting appears in the story 'The Secret of the Trolls', originally printed in 1970 in Once Upon a Time magazine.

In one of my earliest posts Here be Dragons (20 January 2011) I mentioned that prints/posters of Ron Embleton's work are available for sale that are often vaguely titled.  This painting is another example.  It is always called 'Girl Writing a Letter'.   The 'girl' in the illustration is called Lady Ulfstan - she is busy inviting all the noble knights in the land to her castle in the hope that one will offer to marry her troublesome daughter!

These works of art are usually referred to as 'boards'.   The paintings are taped onto a square of board (ready to be sent for printing) with instructions and dimensions written underneath.  For me that is part of their appeal - they are working illustrations - part of the magical process of bringing to life these wonderful stories for children.  I have chosen to keep them exactly as they are and not frame them (although I have covered them in cellophane to protect them.)     

Last December I bought another painting from the same story (shown above).   Again I think the use of light in this painting is brilliant, divided as it is into a hot and cold area.  Like the examples I included in Ron Embleton's Comic Cooks (September 2011) the inclusion of the dog is a lovely touch.

Once again here is the illustration in the context of the story:


I bought these two paintings from Frans Leeflang - items he is currently selling on eBay can be found on the link provided.  Frans is one of the nicest and most professional sellers on eBay and his art collection is truly incredible.  You can see some of the works he has sold on his blog Frans' Pop Art (not only children's art).

To finish this post I'm including three other examples (by no means a definitive list) of Embleton's work that is lit by candlelight.  The first is from 'The Magic Apples (1971).  I really wanted to be a delicate sleeping princess with long golden hair when I first saw this illustration.   


The next two are both from Snow White (1969) and show the wonderful depiction of the wicked stepmother in that story.

This will be my last blog entry for a while.  I've thoroughly enjoyed the 'almost year' that I have been putting these posts together.  A completely unexpected pleasure and treat has been the other bloggers (and blogs) that I have got to know.  It has been a real privilege - thanks so much for popping into my blog and for the comments that have been left.  I've really enjoyed visiting in return.

Although I've only completed one post a week I've found the process surprisingly time consuming and unfortunately spare time is not something I have in abundance.  My family have also been teasing me (in a nice way) that my blog is not one with a wide enough appeal and comparatively speaking does not perform that well.  So I'm going to try to spend more time with them and less plugged into a machine!  I won't stop blogging altogether and will perhaps do a post a month instead of one every week.  Hopefully I'll also still be visiting some of the other blogs I've really come to enjoy.

So for now all that is left for me to do is to blow out the candle.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars were a special part of Christmas during my childhood as we eagerly counted down the days to Christmas morning.  Our calendars were beautifully painted and always retained the same simple concept.  The cardboard calendar was backed with fine, almost tissue like paper, and each little window opened onto a small picture.

I still have two of my original calendars from the mid 60's.  I've included them both here.  There were always 24 windows with the final one a double size that always contained a nativity scene.  I think there were two variations of the nativity scene but the calendars I have both contain the same one shown below.

I think the pictures concealed behind each little window remained the same over the years.  All that varied was the order in which they appeared.  There was always great anticipation to see which would be revealed next.  Those containing angels were my favourites.    

It was my mom who had the foresight to put these calendars back in their envelopes and pack them away for me to discover again in recent years.   The envelopes are just as special a memory as the calendars themselves with the same lovely appealing artwork.

A couple of years ago I bought the calendar shown below.  I couldn't resist it when I saw it as it reminded me so much of the ones I knew as a child.  It has a beautiful and very intricate scene that looks to be a romantic representation of times past from the early 20th century.  Although I haven't shown any here, the pictures behind each window are just as pretty and appear to be from the same era.

I was interested to notice that both this calendar and my original two are from Germany.  This later one was made by Richard Sellmar Verlag.  My earlier calendars have no other acknowledgement other than that they were printed in West Germany.

Because it was something so special to me I have carried on the tradition of Advent Calendars with my own son.  When he was four I bought him this one shaped like a Christmas wreath.  It is quite large so I've just shown a corner here.   

This calendar conceals an assortment of Christmas decorations and 3 tiny little books.  One contains the poem of 'The Night Before Christmas'.  Although we've had it now for almost 10 years we still take out this particular calendar every year and hang the decorations daily on our tree. (It was made by Canada with thanks to Heritage Canada.)  

For my son's generation an Advent Calendar is not an Advent Calendar unless it it filled with chocolate!  Even though he will be 14 next year he was still looking forward to this year's offering.  I bought him one with a Where's Wally theme and have to confess that it took me the longest out of the three of us to find Wally in the picture!  


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