Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Burma Life

Funeral car and spire
Tallah Pya-that. Funeral car and spire.

Threshing Paddy
Threshing Paddy.

Rahan Procession
Yahan Chwa Thee. Rahan's procession.

Yok-thay-pweh. Marionettes.

Fire balloon
Mee-eim-byan. Fire balloon.

A grand distribution of alms
[detail from] Sun-gyee-loung. A grand distribution of alms.
"The blessedness of alms-giving is a doctrine carefully taught by the Buddhist religion, and the people esteem it a favour to be allowed to offer to their Hpoongyis. After the long Lent (WAH) is over, many of the young novices leave the monasteries and return to the world.

A month later, in the month TA-SOUNG-MON [November] there is a grand religious offering in the early morning as shewn in our picture. The whole body of Monks in the district or quarter pass in file through a covered way, and each receives as much as he and his attendants can carry."

Bullock cart race
Nwah-leh-pyaing. Bullock cart race.

Pagoda smith
Pagoda Htee-smith. Htee-lot-thama.

detail of monastery
[detail from] Hpon-gyee Kyoung. Monasteries.

Sin-mya. Elephants.

Burmese carpenter
Burmese carpenter.

Cremation. Mee-thin-gyo-thee Hpon-gyee-bya.

A Burmese house
Matayah-koung-eim. A Burmese house

Gaudama Buddha
Gaudama Buddha.

These watercolour sketches from 1897 were painted by a local Burmese artist. For each of the ~90 illustrations in the album there is an accompanying description by a missionary. 'Watercolour Paintings of Burmese Life' [Ms. Burm. a. 5] is online at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. {note the thumbnail view button at the top once you click 'Open Item'}. All of the above images were loaded at full size (the details come from unspliced zoomify screencaps) and were very slightly cleaned up - removing pencil additions and some of the most overt page staining.

National Children's Dental Health Month

Dental Health Month, American Forces Information ServicePrivacy & Security Notice The DoD Imagery Server is provided as a public service by the American Forces Information Service. (High Resolution Image).
The Defense Visual Information Directorate. Information presented on DoD Imagery Server is considered public information.

except where noted for government and military users logged into restricted areas) and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.

About Images on DefenseLINK, All of these files are in the public domain unless otherwise indicated.However, we request you credit the photographer/videographer as indicated or simply "Department of Defense."

The American Dental Association held the first national observance of Children's Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949. This single day observance became a week-long event in 1955. In 1981, the program was extended to a month-long celebration known today as National Children's Dental Health Month. National Children's Dental Health Month

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Andy Virgil - Part 3: Studios

What was some of the preparation Andy entered the illustration world with?

In those days when he was copying Rembrandts at the Met, he went about it as closely as he could to approximate the techniques of the 16th and 17th centuries. Following an incredible little book, rich with The Secret of the Old Masters by Albert Abendschein (D. Appleton and Company, © 1916 ), he ground his own paints with mortar and pestle, added the various mediums, gessoed his work surfaces, then built up such paintings by layering one tint placed over another: he under-painted in dark tones as did Rembrandt, then picked up these portraits with grays and whites,

and lastly laid on his layers of colors. Then glazed, varnished. I still have this book with Andy’s annotations regarding the painting of flesh tones. And that glass pestle.

Now he had to begin work in his chosen field and he had to produce a portfolio. Though I did not know him back then, I do recall him mentioning Fredman-Chaite, so I am guessing that was one studio he approached when seeking a job as an apprentice. I do not know what he showed them in order to display his own talent and dedication to art. Or if he only told him of his art education.

What he landed was a job at Cooper Studios some time in 1951 as an apprentice for their fabulous group which included stars like Joe de Mers, Jon Whitcomb, Joe Bowler. Andy cleaned their palettes, their brushes, acted as all apprentices in art studios: they were errand boys, cutting mats, probably delivering jobs, a veritable "gofer." But he was observing everything about this commercial art business. Apparently he especially befriended Joe de Mers whose work he admired. And de Mers kindly took Andy under his wing and loaned him his own photos with which to create his samples. Again, we have the pattern of Andy’s life: working late into the nights alone at his art. He did this at Cooper.

Also while he was there, and I am guessing it was only about a year or so before he built up his own portfolio, it seems there was a young woman who worked there, too. She appeared and disappeared from time to time. (I never got the impression from Andy that she was one of the artists. When he spoke to me of her, his recollection was of her casually washing the eternal coffee cups that everyone used.)

It turned out that this woman had tuberculosis, about which not enough was understood . Certainly, not by the general public. Suffice it to say, in those days, prior to 1952 , there was no real cure for it. It was called "arrested," at best, when in pulmonary tb the scar tissue built up over the diseased area[s] in the affected lung, and the fever abated, as did the cough, and the night-sweats. So she worked some of the time -- until she fell ill again. Then, a while later, she would return to work.

At that time, Andy was ready to strike out on his own. And we return to that rainy "Autumn in New York" afternoon in 1952 when he walked into Rahl Studios for the first time. And was promptly taken on as a member of that ‘stable’ of artists.

There were about 16 – 20 people there. I am not sure of the exact number. Several of the artists worked in the NYC studio which was made up of a series of partitioned cubbyholes for the artists. I think it was on the 14th floor of the French Building.

(Later, they moved nearby to 45 West 45th Street to a larger spread.) Those artists who utilized ‘in house’ space worked off a 60/40 percent commission. Those who worked from home gleaned a larger cut at 70/30 percent. There were several artists who commuted from such places as Norwalk and Westport, Connecticut and a couple came from Pennsylvania to New York City when their jobs were ready to be delivered by the sales staff. Rahl had a brother-in-law, Leo Vallen, as one of his salesmen; there was Norm Heffron, Roland Galen, (the latter two dealt more with out-of-town clients) Phil Rahl, of course (when he was in town from his Black Angus farm in Washingtonville, New York) and his extremely competent studio manager, Willard Seymour.

There were about three apprentices, one of whom -- George Walowen -- ultimately moved up to do artwork and/or sales (I’m not certain if it was both or just the one ) and there was Vinny Dwyer, I recall . Also with artistic talent. They delivered the art, cut the mats, prepared the samples from tear sheets which the sales staff would take around to the agencies and magazines. And in slow times between jobs, an artist would work up fresh samples for the salesmen to use to drum up business. There was the Costume Researcher (in later years they were dubbed Fashion Coordinators), myself who booked the models, obtained whatever any of the artists needed for their jobs, props from skis to peignoirs, period costumes, photos rented from Bettman-Archives or from the N.Y. Public Library. Sometimes it ranged from Victorian love seats to Eames chairs, and frequently clothes for the models who rarely had what we needed. One quickly learned to have a back-up outfit even when models said they had what we asked for. You could not waste time on a shoot if the clothes they brought were no good. You had to proceed, full tilt, regardless. Likely the clock was ticking on another model hired on that same job. Or another photo session was scheduled immediately after. Often clothes were purchased by me ahead of time just for the shoot and then returned to the department stores ASAP so the artists didn’t have to incur more expenses than they already had.

At this point it is interesting to note that all expenses for models (and prop rentals on a job) came out of the illustrators’ commissions. At the same time, the practice for New York photographers was to bill the clients for all this! I was incensed to learn of this inequity, and the artists often complained mightily about how unfair it was. But they did nothing about fighting it. Because of these costs, whenever possible, artists would use their own possessions for props, or take photos within their homes and use family or friends to pose for them. Much that appeared in Andy’s work came from our home. Including our felines and our Irish setter who was in this Dobbs hat ad,

our antiques and my clothes and my homemade curtains. And from 1963 on, our daughter ! Many times over. (Her rates were reasonable.)

In my ‘spare’ time I maintained a "scrap" file on every imaginable subject clipped from magazines. The scrap served the artists and was often incorporated into their illustrations via the "Lucy" (or camera lucida, that mainstay of the commercial artist) when they had to place photos of their posed models on shipboard or in a country setting, in a ballroom,

or in a factory or a kitchen, bedroom , etc. Last, but key as all were for the functioning of Rahl Studios, was a secretary /receptionist/ bookkeeper.

Some of the artists and/or those who were added on in the years I was there included Fred Siebel, Dorothy Monet, Oskar Barshak, Robert Patterson, Leo "Dink" Siegel, Phil Dormont, Ben Prins, Boomy Valentine, Al Muenchen, Raphael Cavalier, Herb Saslow, Roy Cragnolin, and later Fred Otnes and Arpi Ermoyan were added. There was a single photographer, Jerry Kornblau. (He, much later, opened his own antique shop in the city catering to such as Andy Warhol.)

It seemed to me as an outsider that, generally speaking, these people each had their own illustration niche and hence were not in close competition with one another. Once in a while, though, if an artist was chosen by a client but was too booked up with other work, a salesman might in those early years offer as a substitute someone like Dorothy to fill in for Andy. Or Siebel who originated "Mr. Clean" right there at Rahl in the ’50s , or possibly Muenchen could fill in for Dink Siegel’s semi-cartoon animated figures. That sort of thing. I don’t recall this happening often though. Muenchen, an incredible talent whom Andy liked a great deal, was the car man. In a pinch, if Muench was unavailable, Roy Cragnolin might fill in for him. Another artist Andy particularly enjoyed was Fred Siebel, a brilliant, complex and multifaceted individual. Dink Siegel was loved by all – especially by all the models! If they were lost sight of between posing for a job and coming out to the front desk to get paid, one only need go back to Dink’s cubicle and there they would be. Dink was a genuinely sweet laid-back fellow – and a chick magnet. Our in-house balding but crew-cut bachelor, a Gary Cooper type, with a slender hooked nose. And he was also one of Andy’s poker buddies. Dorothy Monet was a rare charmer with friends in theater and movies like Shelley Winters, Robbie and John Garfield, the Lee Strassburgs whose daughter Susan visited the studio one day for she was interested in commercial art, Clifford Odets, Artie Shaw. Dorothy was a beauty of many talents. Decades later, I was stunned to see that it was she who wrote the tv script for a fine production on the artist Mary Cassatt for PBS.

Tomorrow: Name Droppings

Anita Virgil is an internationally anthologized haiku poet. She lives in Forest, Virginia.

Entire contents of these posts on Andy Virgil (both text and pictures) © 2007 Anita Virgil. Nothing may be reproduced without permission of the author.

* A selection of Andy Virgil's original art is available from Graphic Collectibles.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Illustration Friday: RED part two

"Red "flower" hydrant"
Linocut print on paper

Mum's Gone To Ibiza

Black History Month, George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver, full-length portrait, Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, LC-DIG-ppmsca-05633]TITLE: [George Washington Carver, full-length portrait, seated on steps (bottom center), facing front, with staff], CALL NUMBER: LOT 13164-C, no. 103 [P&P]
REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-DIG-ppmsca-05633 (digital file from modern print), No known restrictions on publication.

Digital ID: ppmsca 05633 Source: digital file from modern b&w print Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-05633 (digital file from modern print) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Retrieve higher resolution JPEG version (147 kilobytes)

MEDIUM: 1 photographic print. CREATED, PUBLISHED: [ca. 1902], CREATOR: Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.

Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published works before 1923 (THIS IMAGE) are now in the public domain.

NOTES: Title devised by Library staff. Reference copy (modern print) in BIOG FILE - Carver, George Washington. Forms part of: Booker T. Washington Collection (Library of Congress). Original negative may be available: LC-J694-159.

PART OF: Visual materials from the Booker T. Washington papers. REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. DIGITAL ID: (digital file from modern b&w print) ppmsca 05633 , CARD #: 2004671560

MARC Record Line 540 - No known restrictions on publication.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, LC-DIG-ppmsca-05633]

He was born into slavery in Newton County, Marion Township, near Diamond Grove, now known as Diamond, Missouri. The exact date of birth is unknown due to the haphazard record keeping by slave owners but "it seems likely that he was born in the spring of 1864".

His owner, Moses Carver, was a German American immigrant who had purchased George's mother, Mary, from William P. McGinnis on October 9, 1855 for seven hundred dollars. The identity of Carver's father is unknown but he had sisters and a brother, all of whom died prematurely. George Washington Carver, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leave a comment, make a request, Let this small sampling be a guide to better quality, more plentiful, public domain, royalty free, copyright free, high resolution, images, stock photos, jpeg, jpg, free for commercial use, clip art, clipart, clip-art. more at and or and or and or and or and or and or and

Ever growing collection...

My growing collection of
handcarved stamps.

For those of you who asked:
I use StazOn and VersaColor ink pads for stamping.
To carve the stamps I use Speedball linoleum cutters
& I usually carve little white erasers or on this block
if I'm lucky to have it around.

Andy Virgil - Part 2: The Dreamer

Andy Virgil was born Andrew Virgil Calafatello in January 1925 in New York City to Sicilian immigrant parents. He was the middle child of three. His mother, Josephine, a highly skilled seamstress in New York’s garment district, was the one who encouraged his artistic expression from the time he was very young. Andy was endlessly drawing planes and cars then. He did not draw the clunky cars he saw of the 1930s,

but, as his older sister told me, “He was visionary. He drew cars of the future. Like those of today . . . sleek, modern.”

And he was fascinated by the beauty of aircraft, a passion that lasted all his life. (Below: WW1 Fokker and Richthofen and his men.)

But school was something he did not like. Often caught gazing out the windows instead of listening to his teachers, when asked what he was doing, he replied he was looking at the clouds and drawing the pictures they made.

For junior high school, he attended P.S. 83 in Manhattan and, according to his sister, Ethel Luciano, while there he worked occasionally for the WPA artists at Harlem House Settlement House. This was his contact with professionals who noted the abilities that his school teachers had to have observed.

I think it likely this is where his precocious talent was encouraged, and it is my guess these people he met up with would have known to suggest he plan after high school to attend a school like Pratt.

But after graduating from Benjamin Franklin High School at 115th and East River Drive, Andy went to work for a while in a marble-sanding factory and then was drafted into the army. He served about a year in the states as an artillery man and was, of course, with his vision, a crack shot. But a long-time arthritic condition of the spine that began to plague him in his teens led to a medical discharge. (About this condition, as about all later physical problems, he was a complete stoic. Never complained, just constantly popped aspirin.)

This, then, was the time for attending Pratt. By then he was definitely a freewheeling “artistic type.” (I have a snapshot he treasured of skinny him, wild-haired astride a motorcycle!)

He graduated from Pratt, then went on to Cooper Union. He continued to pursue his studies under Reginald Marsh at the Art Students’ League. In his very early 20s, he was also setting up his easel at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he was given permission as a student to copy huge paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt. (Below: "Lady with a Pink" and "Head of Christ" by Rembrandt)

In 1954, taken by Andy to “meet the family” before we married, I was overwhelmed by the small and very ordinary row house in Flushing, Long Island whose walls were groaning with these huge masterworks in gilded frames. (And, of course, there was also the cheery little Sicilian donkey cart on the end table by the plastic-covered gold brocade sofa! Our daughter, Jennifer, adored that trinket above all else at her grandparents’ home -- and remembers it to this day.)

Though both parents were aware of his talent, Andy’s father, Guiseppe, took a dim view of his son’s desire to make a career in art. Holding down two jobs to barely care for his family of three children, Andy’s father saw no future to his son’s dream. His recommendation was that Andy should learn typing so he could get “a real job” as a clerk for the City of New York and have security. But Andy was determined to pursue his ambitions. He vehemently refused to heed his father’s suggestion. A volatile relationship existed between the father and his maturing son. In all fairness, it must be said that many years after, when Andy’s star was rising and his work was appearing all over, his father was heard bragging about him – to others. And, it is also interesting to note that Andy’s younger brother, Mario, became a professional commercial photographer (his studio , Mario Cal, was on 57th Street near Carnegie Hall) . He still teaches his craft for the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Andy’s older sister, Ethel Luciano, became a school teacher and has helped fill in some of these childhood recollections.

I have a feeling, in retrospect, that Andy’s core of toughness derived from those early confrontations with his father where he learned to stand up against what he felt to be wrong and at the same time doggedly pursued what he felt was right. This trait was to play out mightily in his career. And it also rose to the surface on rare occasions in his life when he stood up and dealt with someone he felt was being a bully. (When you are as slight of build as he always was, you choose your battles carefully. But neither would he back down when confronted by injustices done to others.)

Growing up as he did on the streets of East Harlem, he was exposed to many types of people, and he learned to be a shrewd judge of character. He used to regale me with stories of some of the Mafia-types who collected their money from the little neighborhood stores, candy stores where there were pinball machines. He and his friends learned how to tilt them just so to make the lights light up and allow them to win too many free games! But the presence of the sharply dressed Zoot suiters of the day looming in the candy store doorway with their fedora hats acted as a governor on these young pikers’ behaviour, these street-wise little boys. Needless to say, they desisted. But there was also a touch of admiration for the, shall we say? raw power these studs emitted. I am ashamed to admit Andy’s sister told me he had a Zoot suit at one time! When I knew him, thank goodness, it was Paul Stewart on Sixth Avenue -- and delectable.

Amazing how differently people turn out from similar environments ! Some went bad. But Andy’s friends at that time shared his other passion which was music. That, too, shows up in some of his artwork, for, more than painting, Andy wanted to excel at jazz trumpet. Idols in music were the Big Bands, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and his Herd, and such. Later, his ultimate idol was Canadian trumpet player Maynard Fergusen (below).

We used to go to Birdland to hear him, talk with him. Andy would play his records while he worked on commercial jobs at home. And listen to and tape (7” reels on a Tandberg) endless WQXR late night programs on jazz with Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughan, Chuck Mangione (below). “Cool” jazz most reminds me of Andy.

All of one’s life feeds into one’s art. But you need to know the origins to more fully appreciate the end results.

Tomorrow: Studios

Anita Virgil is an internationally anthologized haiku poet. She lives in Forest, Virginia.

Entire contents of these posts on Andy Virgil (both text and pictures) © 2007 Anita Virgil. Nothing may be reproduced without permission of the author.

* A selection of Andy Virgil's original art is available from Graphic Collectibles.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Kyushu Medical Books

gozonoshugonarabin a

Gozonoshugonarabin (undated)
I *think* some of those objects are meant to be body organs.


zentaishinron a
Zentaishinron, 1854
comparative anatomy


orandakinso a

orandakinso b
Orandakinso (undated)
I think those circular figures are the legend for the anatomy points
(pressure or energy or acupuncture) in the body charts. [It took me a
while - I thought they were cross sectioned veins or blood cells at first]

Shinkyokuzusetsu (undated)


kotsudoseigozusets a
Kotsudoseigozusets, 1744

Majimaganryonozu (undated)
All the different flavours of pinkeye.

Meikakyusensanpen (undated)

Naikeizusetsu (undated)
I'm sure I've posted that figure on the right previously. You have to wonder
how they came to be so stylized. Ignorant artist? Intentional for teaching
purposes? Or perhaps it was just the result of copying from a narrow range
of source material during the foreign exclusion in the 17th/18th/19th centuries?

Hobakuzushikifugen (undated)


hosonozu a
Hosonozu (undated)
I'd be thinking 'alien impregnation' rather than dermatological
condition if I woke to see anything like those faces in the mirror.

Juteikaitaishinsho, 1843
The artist had obviously been perusing European anatomy texts.

Kodomosodaturuoshi, 1840
'How to silence and change your baby at the same time'.
Actually, there was another book with a very similar illustration but it
was more in the way of clearing a choking child's mouth. However, the poses
and the faces here don't really project 'care' so much as rabid infanticide.

gozobanashi a

Gozobanashi (undated)


gyuzansenseikeirak a
Gyuzansenseikeirak (undated)


anpukuzukai a
Anpukuzukai, 1827

Geryohiroku (undated)

[click to enlarge images to full size]

This assembly of illustrations comes from the first half of the 112 rare Japanese medical texts online at Kuyshu University ('List of Titles'). The names above derive from the image URLs and are presumably the titles in english - I don't have an Asian language pack on this machine so I couldn't try to translate any of the notes.

Many of the 56 books are are more like short pamphlets and there are a couple of herbals and 2 or 3 books on devices such as instructions to build a humidifier. As you can see above, a lot of the pages have suffered extensive silverfish or other vermin damage, so it's a good thing they've digitized the collection. I'll look through the other half of the books in the future.

Addit: See Part Two.