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Friday, June 02, 2006

Illustration Friday: Portrait


When you say the word "portrait," this is the first thing that comes to my mind: some snotty guy in a ruff, staring down his nose at the painter. (Side note: It's 10:17 am on Friday and at least fifty-one IF'ers have posted before me. I guess they just draw faster than I do.)

Of course, the most famous portrait of all time is the Mona Lisa, which no one can mention these days without bringing to mind The DaVinci Code. I have to say the book didn't impress me. It's written for a sixth-grade reading level, and if it hadn't been so deliberately controversial, it would have wound up in the bargain bin with all of Dan Brown's previous works. A far better Mona Lisa story is the Doctor Who episode "City of Death" penned by Douglass Adams (though under a different name.) He later used certain elements of this story in his book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, along with a character from another Doctor Who episode of his, "Shada."

I once made the mistake of buying a book called How to Write a Bestseller, or something like that. The first half of the book was full of scare tactics to convince the reader that unless they followed the author's instructions, they would never sell a story, much less make any money off it. The rest of the book was patterned after, yes, The DaVinci Code. It basically said to write at a sixth-grade level and be as controversial as possible. I threw it out.

But I digress.

I have, at the moment, two photographs hanging in my apartment. One is my wedding picture, the other is one of Joe "graduating" Kindergarten. (There's a great line in The Incredibles about the phenomenon of celebrating mediocrity) I'm a bad father, I guess, because I haven't put up any pictures of Mandy yet. But it just never occurs to me, because I see the wife and kids every day. Maybe I'm supposed to decorate my home for other people, who might come in some time when my wife and kids aren't home. I don't get it.

TTFN
-Tony

21 comments:

Karen Jinks said...

Is it meant to be anyone in particular!? He's a very strong looking character, a bit grumpy perhaps, not someone I'd want to upset - Great drawing! Know what you mean about pictures of the kids, I don't have any up of mine either, too busy running around after them. Any photos are either stashed in a box or still on my computer waiting to be printed. Might have to wait until they have left home before I fill the albums and picture frames!

arvindh said...

Great one! I like your explanation too!

Lou said...

Very gruff, indeed.

Whistler's Mother is also a pretty famous portrait.

My wife is the one who keeps up with the pictures. Otherwise, I'd have nothing up.

Studio Zuga said...

i think you captured this guys snootiness to a T

haze mcelhenny said...

you have an intriguing sense of humor that somehow manages to sneek itself into everything - true?

this is a great addition to the topic BTW - moreso because of its immediate nature.

As for the DaVinci Code:
you just put into blog-o-phyte words what has been going through my head since I read it. personally, it's not a strong enough work to cause that much controversy. It is just a story - and a rather blase one at that.

Rayne said...

Douglas Adams did some Doctor Who's? Are they still available? Under what name? I am still so mad at that man for dying, I loved his books.
What is your snooty guy's name?

Tony LaRocca said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. To respond…

Kala- no, he's not anyone in particular, just a grumpy Renaissance era guy. Of course, who knows what's filtered through my subconscious…

Gerald- (This response has been removed by the author)

Robin- DNA (Douglas Adams) was a script editor for Dr. Who in the late 70s. In fact, Life the Universe & Everything was originally supposed to be a Dr. Who movie, but for some reason the BBC decided it was too silly. The three episodes he wrote were City of Death, The Pirate Planet, and Shada. The only problem was that due to a strike at the BBC, Shada was never completed, and DNA refused to novelize his episodes. So you can either get the VHS of the episode, which has the missing parts narrated by Tom Baker, or you can watch the audio drama version (with badly animated cutouts) on the BBC's website (click on Shada in the above post.) Sadly, Tom Baker has no interest in doing the Big Finish audio dramas, so his part was played by the 8th Doctor, Paul McGann. This results in a bit of clunky exposition/ explanation as to why the 8th Doctor is re-living a 4th Doctor story. Also, DNA's style of humor worked great for Tom Baker, Paul McGann just doesn't have the presence to pull it off.

DNA's "touch" can also be felt throughout the 4th Doctor's episodes. For example, in Destiny of the Daleks, there's a shot where the Doctor is reading an Oolon Colluphid book.

Caroline said...

Love the drawing - you captured snotty really well.. and I've never clearly got the connection between snotty and looking down ones nose before... hee hee...

Seems like the "how to write a bestseller" person knew there stuff afterall... I've always assumed if a how to write book is written by someone I've never read anything else by that its unlikely to be worth reading... maybe that's wrong... (except Dorothea Brande's excellent "How to be a Writer")

We have no photos of each other up - or of anyone else... I think about other people enough without having to have them watching me!

Rayne said...

I never knew, probably because I never paid much attention to Dr. Who. As soon as I heard Douglas Adams though, I became interested. Now I need to go check it out. Thank you for taking the time to tell me all of that.
8 dr. who's? Really? How long was that show on?

Tony LaRocca said...

Robin:
The original series ran from 1963 to 1989 (Doctors 1-7) There was a VERY bad TV movie in 1996 with Doctor #8 (an attempted pilot for an American version of the show.) The new series (2005- present) Has covered Doctors 9 & 10. Am I a geek or what?

Anonymous said...

Yes.

Teehee.

TXArtcGal said...

Definitely looks snooty!! Very nice!

I have photos up of my family around the house...not big ones on the wall, however. But, the ones I have up are when my daughter was younger, when my husband had more hair, or when I was thinner! I guess I hope I can turn back the clock and be thinner and not so old? LOL! Or, I look at the photos of my daughter and think, "gee...this is what she looked like before she went all goth on me." Seriously...she's not goth...but, some days I worry she is headed that way! LOL!

As far as The Davinci Code?...I never read it because I heard it was bad. Now that the movie is out...I most likely won't see it either because movies are usually worse than the book anyway, so what would be the point?

Robert McLaughlin said...

Thanks for the art and philosophy. Quite enlightening.

kat@ohmtastic said...

reminds me of the art at the getty center...lots of 16th-18th c english/french/dutch royalty.

well-thought out, complex books don't become best-sellers in this country. i also can't stand the glib management-theory-of-the-moment books that white-collar types seem to lap up.

carla said...

Tony, Tony...you are eternally amusing, sir! I'm actually impressed that you made it to number 52. I didn't post until Sunday night, and by then I ended up at #495. Oh well... Anyway, your guy here looks rather grouchy and curmudgeon-like. You have the perspective perfect...from slightly below. I think you should have added some nasal hair though:> Hey - don't feel bad about the pictures on the wall...all mine are in a box somewhere up in an attic. I carry the pictures of my son's growing up in my mind's eye and my heart, but someday I might make an album for him to pass on to his kids.

Tony LaRocca said...

Carla-
My comment was made for those who seem to think that they'll win a Corvette if they're the first ones to post. They hover, like birds of prey, checking the IF website over and over again Friday morning, desperate to be the first one to put up something from their "My Pictures" folder.

Tony LaRocca said...

Carla 2-
Replying to your comment from "Sorry" - feel free to tell me you "blog-love" me anytime!

Gonowurforgiven said...

yea its actually gary coleman, you know what you talking about willis? haha nice illo.

scarecrow said...

Hey Tony! Havent you heard
"There will be, no Tony bashing today"

Everythig I do is aimed at the 6th grade mentality.

Later

french toast girl said...

"The BBC thought it was too silly"?! Interesting. (sigh) I miss Douglas Adams.

Don't feel bad about the pics, we only had a pic up of P & A around Christmas, which would make them practically 2. You still have a chance before Amanda is 3... barely. Even I have a pic of Amanda and Joe in our living room! ;)

love, me

Ian T. said...

Thanks for the memory! Romana has a great outfit in that one and all the Tom Baker's are good.