Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fuzzy Creature Tea Time

This begins what will be a long series of images retrieved from what is now considered the "distant past," the Internet-free later decades of the mid-20th century. From 1976 to 1978 I was a Harvard graduate student in Greek and Latin classics, but I ignored Herodotus and Plutarch in favor of science fiction and fantasy. In 1976 I was introduced to the Boston science fiction fan community, a bunch of eccentric and fascinating people.

I quickly began taking commissions from them for portraits of their favorite characters. This piece was done in 1977 for some friends in Boston who wanted a scene where "Little Fuzzies" were sitting at tea with a "tormal" monkey. The "Little Fuzzies," which I portrayed as my couple of friends, were from the H.Beam Piper books about tiny sentient furry folk on a distant planet. The "tormal" was the monkey companion of science fiction author Murray Leinster's interstellar doctor and adventurer "Calhoun." The tormal likes coffee in the books. I thought of the tormal as being me.

Most of the work I did while avoiding my graduate studies was quite small, as I didn't have much room to paint in. I did them on the desk of my dorm room.

This image took a lot of rescuing. My slides from the late '70s were never very good, and now are faded and dusty. Photoshop to the rescue, I've managed to retrieve enough of an image to post here.

"Little Fuzzies at Tea with Tormal" is watercolor on Fabriano watercolor paper, 7" x 5", March 1977.

1 comment:

Tristan Alexander said...

Wow, I love this. It has a real good illustrative feel and the details are wonderful!