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Entries in illustrations (5)


Charles Livingston Bull, Naturalist Illustrator


The USPS has partnered with The Ringling Museum and issued a new series of limited edition stamps "Vintage Circus Posters". They caught my eye at the post office because of some research I am doing for a project. 

According to the USPS, "The new Vintage Circus Posters Forever stamps are modeled after original circus posters — including those promoting the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus — and are now part of the Tibbals Digital Collection at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art." These were large posters (42 x 28) and sometimes covered whole sides of buildings in hundreds of sheets..

I turned over the sheet to find out more about the artists who produced them and was disappointed to see that no information was included about the artists. Maybe there were just too many different artists to list and some were anonymous as I found out later. One though was Charles Livingston Bull, from nearby Rochester and who was "never without a pencil" sketching at Zoos regularly. The man was prolific producing thousands of natural science illustrations before he died at age 57. PT Barnum hired him to do the poster illustration below.

Here is an interesting slide show on his life.

Never really a circus lover these posters though make me happy. But I have given lots of thought as to how unhappy the animals may be...I guess PT Barnum wasn't thinking of the animals when he said... " The noblest art is that of making others happy." 

This from the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo, 

Charles Livingston Bull was an American illustrator widely known for his depictions of wildlife. Born in West Walworth, N.Y. in 1874, he moved with his family to nearby Rochester, N.Y. as a youth. After his father discouraged him from pursuing a career in art, he turned instead to taxidermy, a craft which ironically proved to be a great influence on his later artistic production. While still a teenager he began working for Ward’s Museum of Natural History in Rochester, then accepted a position at the National Museum in Washington, D.C., in the early 1890s, during which time he also studied art at the Corcoran Gallery. A commission brought him to Buffalo for the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition; when he was done there, he and his wife Fannie Seymour returned to Rochester and then relocated to New York City.

Bull soon became an in-demand illustrator whose work appeared in the Saturday Evening PostLadies Home Journal, and Boy’s Life, among many other magazines, and in over 125 books, including those by such authors as Jack London, Frank Baum, and Rudyard Kipling. One of his best-known images, that of a leaping tiger, was commissioned in 1920 by Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey for a circus poster. In an era marked by improved color reproduction in publications, Bull was one of the best-known and most prolific wildlife artists of his day. Among the many younger artists influenced by his work was Charles Burchfield, who copied some of Bull’s illustrations while learning his craft.



Summer Begins

Summer begins.
Am loving the Christopher Silas Neal illustration on the cover and spots inside of the NYT Book Review "Summer Reading". What are you reading this summer? Right now I am reading this book...a graphic novel. It's now peony time in the garden.


Weekend in the Finger Lakes

Back from a great weekend in the Finger Lakes region of NY State. A perfect weekend weather wise. It was Parent's Weekend at Cornell for some of the fraternities and sororities. Here's a peek inside Psi Upsilon . A nice surprise in the basement were murals on the walls done by one the fraternity brothers (not sure of the date), a hallway off the main foyer and living room that boasts signed color lithographs by Frederic Remington (I advised to move out of the sunlight:), a dining room filled with 100 year old furniture and a squash court! The boys look a lot different than they did in 1883:) but all were gentlemen! Spring was just busting out all over. Weeping cherry from the Cayuga Lake winery tour at Knapp winery where we had lunch. It was also Wine and Herb Festival Weekend, so there were tasters everywhere. Wonderful (a little pricey) dinner at The Heights Cafe and Grill ( falls into the " art on a plate that taste divine" category) and brunch at my favorite The Carriage House. Perfect! Then it was off for my first experience at the infamous Flax Barn Sale. Well, as one woman said to me "..This is a study in women's psychology!" Great sale! Prices ranged from $5 to $15 !! Everyone said prices this year were way down:) Thank you Flax.


Inspirations and Encounters

I am a huge fan of David Lance Goines and have been for many years. His posters for Alice Waters restaurant, and his illustrations for the Chez Panisse cookbooks (which I have been using lately) are perfect and unique. I recently tried emailing Hieronymus Press to find out about his latest poster, "Grow What You Eat". To my surprise, David Lance Goines emailed me back himself saying they were available signed from St. Hieronymus Press for $175, and unsigned $35 from Chez Panisse,
although this 2008 poster is not yet on their site. You can see all the posters and more here. Here is another link to see the posters including the Ravenswood Wines one. I didn't really know a lot about him, but found this in Wikipedia to share...

David Lance Goines (born May 29, 1945) is an American artist, calligrapher, typographer, printing entrepreneur, and author. He was born in Grants Pass, Oregon, the oldest of eight children. His father was a civil engineer and his mother a calligrapher and artist.

Durng the 1960s, Goines enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley as a Classics major. While a student in classical literature at the University of California, Berkeley he participated in the Free Speech Movement of late 1964, which led to his expulsion. Though soon re-admitted, he again left the University in 1965, this time to apprentice as a printer in Berkeley. In 1968 he founded Saint Hieronymus Press there. The major output of the press consists of Goines' limited edition poster and calendar art. [1]

In 1982, Goines published the calligraphic classic A Constructed Roman Alphabet, which won him the 1983 American Book Award. Several books collecting his poster art have been published as well.

In addition to his artistc and calligraphic work, Goines is also a non-fiction author who has written about political activism. His book The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s, was published in 1993.

Goines has enjoyed a friendship with the restaurateur Alice Waters since they were both teenagers. Every year Goines creates a Chez Panisse anniversary poster and has illustrated many Chez Panisse cookbooks. He also designed the logotype and lettering for a number of Berkeley-based businesses, past and present, including Velo-Sport (a bicycle company) and the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Company. The logo he created for Ravenswood wines is known throughout America.

A strong advocate of the voluntary blood donor system, Goines claims to have donated a cumulative total of 17 gallons of blood so far during his life. (Wikipedia)

On a sad note, I just became aware that Andrew Wyeth ( 91) died in his sleep Jan 16. Here is the New York Times' obit. I went to the Brandywine Museum once while in school in Philadelphia. My friend and I were in the gift shop later and he walked in. I only remember that he was tall and had really long fingers. A reproduction of his work hung at the top of the stairs in our house while growing up. It was one of his hauntingly beautiful interiors that held a great story, which I imagined myself.



I have been experimenting with putting some old illustrations into Illustrator CS2. This illustration was done long ago for an invitation to a political fundraising breakfast held at a restaurant called Tiffanys that occupied an old bank (adaptive reuse at its best).