Creature Feature: Ray Harryhausen’s Mythical Menagerie

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Ray Harryhausen Medusa Detail

They say there’s an exception to every rule. Normally, I would balk at this a little bit. But when it comes to my extreme dislike (okay, my sheer terror) of stop-motion animation, surprisingly, this is all too true.

My completely rational fear of stop-motion/Claymation all stems from one fateful Christmas time viewing of “The Little Drummer Boy” in grade 2. Seriously, the kid’s father gets knifed (er, sworded?) right in front of him. And ME. So while the rest of the class was all “Aww, he’s playing his drum for Jesus!”, I was sitting in the corner, crying and traumatized for the rest of my life. I’m 28 years old, and if you handed me $100 to watch that now? I’d emphatically decline your offer. You sick sadist.

But in that dark, disturbing world of creepy clay models, moving literally one frame at a time, lies something truly incredible. Something that I can’t help but like. And his name was Ray Harryhausen.

Harryhausen was a true pioneer. A legend in the realm of animation, his scale model creatures breathed life into a pre-CGI film world. Perhaps his most recognizable work (and my personal favourite) is the skeleton army from “Jason and Argonauts”.

Ray Harryhausen Skeleton Army

Ray Harryhausen’s skeleton army from “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963)

Omigosh, they’re so cool. Continue reading

Be Not Afraid Nor Ashamed

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Not a day goes by where I don’t cringe at what’s happening in the world. From the riots in Baltimore, to the hypocritical double standards of a crowdsourcing website; pastors who face jail time and fines for choosing to only marry certain people, and the redefining of words instead of just making new ones as has been done for hundreds of thousands of years. Even just seeing how freely people attack others online. Calling them names, uttering threats, acting like out of control animals instead of civilized human beings.

The Lord told us that things would get more and more wicked. But knowing that makes it no less difficult when we have to sit back and watch. In these times, it’s good to stay quiet and remember what’s truly important. Knowing Jesus.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.

~ Romans 1:16

Briton Rivière - Daniel in the Lion's Den, 1872

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.

Continue reading

To Clean, or Not to Clean… Pft, the Answer is ALWAYS to Clean!

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I found something the other day that put the biggest smile on my face. While going through some of my grandma’s old papers, this little gem was hidden away in a dresser drawer.

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Issued by the Canadian Department of Pensions and National Health, this “How to Manage Housework in Canada” booklet was published in 1933.

*sighs* I was in love. Continue reading

P-P-P-Puppy Power!

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Scooby and Scrappy

A grave injustice has been done, and I’m here to right it.

They say “haters gonna hate”, but oh ho ho, no, they ain’t. Not today, people.

I am taking to my blog this time in defense of the little cartoon puppy that never did no one no harm. No, not never.

The fact that someone else made this is proof we aren't ALL Scrappy haters.

The fact that someone else made this is proof that I’m not the only one with a soul.

Readers — and by readers I actually mean my dear-but-misguided best friend Paul — it’s time to stop all this misdirected hate. I ask you, how can there be so much hate for poor Crappy Doo, er, Doggy Doo, grrr, I mean SCRAPPY DOO!?

Now, I know, Scrappy Doo is not a popular character with the majority of the population. In fact, he’s been voted as the most annoying/hated cartoon character ever. Several times. And I myself am not exactly a, what would you call it… “fan” of Puppy Power. Yeah, I just admitted it. I’m not a fan of Scrappy Doo either. But I also don’t hate the little fella. How can I? Continue reading

The Renaissance Man

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I’ve always said that I was born too late. Usually I just mean that I’d be happiest as a 1950’s housewife. A real June Cleaver-type, you know? Vacuuming in heels? Heck, yeah, I’m there! But it’s even more accurate to say what my dad has told me.

“You were born in the wrong century.”

*sighs* Yep, he’s right. The 21st century just isn’t doing it for me. Now, the late 15th, early 16th century? When the art world was flourishing with incredible religious paintings and sculptures? YES. That’s where someone like me belongs.

The Italian Renaissance was a time when everything old was made new again, and creativity was abundant. The Renaissance effectively ended what is known as the Byzantine era. It pushed away the stiff, flat forms that had dominated art during the Middle Ages, replacing them with much more classical, realistic depictions of the human body, harkening back to the art of ancient Greece.

Now, I love Byzantine art. I mean for crying out loud, my Twitter bio says, I’m a “Commission artist specializing in Byzantine styled Bible symbolism.” But there is nothing more beautiful to me than the religious works that emerged from the hundred year period of about 1450 to 1550.

Many great artists came out of the Renaissance period. Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Titian, Fra Filippo Lippi, Carlo Crivelli, Raphael. But the greatest of these was arguably Leonardo Da Vinci.

Francesco Melzi's Portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci

Francesco Melzi’s Portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci

Born April 15, 1452, 563 years later, Da Vinci is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. He is the quintessential “Renaissance Man”. The artist was known primarily as a painter, but he was so much more than that. Continue reading

Easter: What is Love?

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What is love?

Is it words spoken?

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“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, and I lay down my life for the sheep. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
~ John 10:14-19

Is it seen in an expression?

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“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
~ John 13:34-36 Continue reading

The Sight of the Stars Makes Me Dream

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Van Gogh, The Starry Night

“The Starry Night” (1889)

For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

The above is a quote from Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh. One of the world’s most tragic artists was born on this day in 1853. In his short and troubled 37-year life, Van Gogh saw no recognition as an artist, selling only a single painting before he died. A man at constant war with his demons, he shot himself in the chest on July 27, 1890, and took his final breath in the arms of his beloved brother, Theo, two days later. Continue reading

Serling’s Advice to Writers

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Wendy Brydge:

Who better to give writing advice than Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling? The man was an absolute genius and artist with a pen. His stories are imaginative, poignant and continue to be relevant 50+ years after they were first put to paper.

For my first ever reblog, I want to share my favourite post of Paul’s, “Serling’s Advice to Writers”. This is advice that every blogger will benefit from.

Read, learn, and apply!

Originally posted on Shadow & Substance:

As most writers know, ideas often come in a flash of inspiration. You’re reading, or walking, or driving, and … click. A seemingly perfect premise or angle appears in your head.

And all too often, that’s where it dies. We overthink it or overanalyze it to death. Or we get distracted and forget all about it. Rod Serling, however, had a different approach:

Serling Typewriter

The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act, the physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence. Once you get that prod, that emotional jar, that “I have witnessed something.” Or “I have felt something.” Or “I have seen something.” Or, through observation, “I have been moved by an event.” I think the answer is, “Get it down. Get it down quickly. Write it down.”

View original 286 more words

The Art of the Pin-up II: Gil Elvgren

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Gil Elvgren - Illustration for a story in McCall's magazine, March 1946

Teaching art is like teaching mathematics or anything else. There are certain basic principles which anyone can learn. You can teach anyone to draw and paint, but you can’t make them an artist.

 ~ Bill Mosby

Were he still alive, pin-up artist extraordinaire Gil Elvgren would be 101 years old today. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota on March 15, 1914, Elvgren was a true master in the art world. His career began in the mid-1930s and lasted more than forty years. Dubbed “The Norman Rockwell of Cheesecake”, his pin-up girls still grace calendars to this very day. Continue reading

Understanding the Trinity

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1Botticelli,_Pala_della_Convertite

The Trinity is a basic foundation of Christianity. But for a lot of people, it’s one of the most difficult things to understand. I’ve heard a number of explanations, including the one about how God is like water — the same thing in three different forms. But that’s not how I understand the Trinity at all.

The Trinity is not three separate persons. The simplest way to understand this is to look at yourself first. As God is a Trinity, so are each and every one of us. The Bible says that we were made in God’s Image, Likeness and Form — three things that when united form a trinity. Continue reading

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