Peter’s Crazy Aunt #7

Edward G. Nilges, “Tryptch for Peter’s Crazy Aunt”, photographs of incomplete 20×30″ acrylic painting with Gimp modifications. Photo at left is original, photo in center is a detail, photo at right highlighted using Gimp.

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


Using Gimp I simulate an “old master” drawing technique that I learned, and applied without using Gimp, from a book that’s still in print, The Practice of Tempera Painting by Daniel V Thompson.

In the manual technique, you use dry pigment and rabbit skin glue to prepare sheets of tinted paper. On them you use the hardest pencil you can find or a silver needle to draw the design.

You then use a Chinese ink stick to shade.

Then comes the magic. You use Chinese white to highlight, creating a beautiful tension as seen in Watteau and the drawings of the Flemish masters.

Well, if you can’t get sheets of bunny skin glue or have compunctions about using cute bunnies you can use Gimp, a free photoshop, to simulate this technique.

The magic is that you must start with and be familiar with the ancient techniques before you can exploit them using the computer. When I got my first Mac in 1984, I thought wow. Then I tried to draw with the mouse.

Those new digitizing pads look cool.

She’s a Barbie doll and a fashion victim as I used to be a Ken Doll in the 1980s (a punkette once snarled at me in Seattle, “hey Ken, Barbie went that a way”). But it is a Jargon of Authenticity to assume that she’s not saying something unique with her fashion.

I love fashion conscious people! I had so much fun in Sep when in order to eat I was an extra, since I met all these starving cool thin people who’d stepped down from the fancy ads and turned out to be human, all too human. I felt like Mia Farrow in the Purple Rose of Cairo!


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