Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Canadian Japanese Viking Fantasy

Long, long ago, in 1977 when things were fresh and exciting, I was holed up in a Harvard graduate school dormitory waiting out the summer until I could start up my academic work again. Among the summer people at this place were a number of people studying for a session at various programs including business school. These folk were staying in the dormitory socializing, eating, and drinking, and I got to be friends with some of them. For some unexplainable reason, many of them were Canadians and also fantasy fans. I was already doing fantasy art and one of them saw my work and offered me a commission. He claimed he was of Viking ancestry, though he had always been Canadian living in Alberta. He said that there was territory in British Columbia that matched the fjord lands of Norway and he wanted a fantasy picture of a Viking ship sailing down these waters, guided by whales. He wanted a full moon as well as the Big Dipper constellation in the sky (fantasy, because the full moon and the Dipper never appear in the sky side by side). To add to the cultural mash-up, I painted the scene in watercolor in a pseudo-Japanese-print style. If you look very closely you can see the lights of a village ready to welcome the Vikings home. The ship and three whales are in the lower center.

This photo and any records I have of this piece are barely visible so what you are seeing is heavily restored, in rather the same process as my Roman ruin pictures.

Watercolor and acrylic on Fabriano illustration paper, 7" x 10", summer 1977.

1 comment:

Tristan Alexander said...

Very moody and dark, I love it!