Friday, July 19, 2013

Horses through the ages

This week's theme was horses. There are a lot of interesting kinds of horses but I struggled with an interesting presentation for horses. Finally I just idly scrolled through my previous designs, to see if anything struck me as a jumping-off point to make a coordinating horse fabric. I came across the petroglyph-inspired cranes, and thought ah ha! Let's do the same with horses. But then I remembered - weren't there some famous cave paintings of horses? Ah yes, Lascaux! And then one other art-history-plus-horses moment pops into my head.

When I was a kid, we had a set of art monographs. I was, of course, the most interested in the ones the Ninja Turtles were named after. And of those, I liked Leonardo da Vinci the best. One of his sketches stood out to me - Neptune with his Hippocampi. I tried copying it one time, at least the hippocampi, and I remember that my mom saw it and praised it as being "full of life." I feel a guilty twinge that I can't remember if I pointed out at the time that I had indeed copied the poses, not invented them (in case it hadn't been evident...).

Back to the present day - I decided a mashup was in order - Leonardo's composition done in Lascaux style! And speaking of copying, boy, nothing like trying to mimic the styles (or poses) of great artists to really learn how good they were. I almost gave up about halfway through but stuck with it.

Lascaux by way of Leonardo

This came in 52 out of 244 with 189 votes. The layout is not so great - it's really in that deadly category of merely an illustration, minimally worked into a repeating pattern. Probably having at least one other large motif to alternate with would help. For the textures, in the background I have the eucalyptus leaves I've used several times before, and on the horses a simple checkerboard pattern I've also used before. I'm really pleased with the effect of the checkerboard here.

There was at least one other design that referenced the myth of horses being Neptune's creation - which was, cleverly, a coordinating design to the warrior design that won the Greek myth contest.

Other designs referencing specific cultures included Chinese, Javanese, and Swedish. (I was dimly aware of those Swedish "Dala horses" but didn't realize what a "thing" they are - they were referenced in a TON of entries!) I also really liked this design in a damask layout but with batik textures and this very minimal but folk-artsy take.

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