#86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog & Tail of Ampersand

Happy Halloween

 #86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog
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So, what’s for dinner?

Eye of newt, & toe of frog,
Wool of bat, & tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, & blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, & owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil & bubble.
Double, double toil & trouble;
Fire burn, & caldron bubble.

― William Shakespeare, Macbeth


This line, uttered by the three ugly witches in Macbeth as they stir their boiling cauldron*, is one of the most familiar phrases associated with traditional witchcraft.

Newt?

About that newt—is there such a thing? Were there poor little critters hopping about without eyes?

Actually, all of the ingredients in the witches brew are ancient terms for herbs, flowers and plants. Some say witches gave these items gross & disturbing names to deter other people from practicing witchcraft.

Shopping list

Here’s the modern-day grocery list of what’s really in Shakespeare’s cauldron. You might have to seek out a real specialty shop for some of these items, but they do exist:

  • Eye of newt—mustard seed
  • Toe of frog—buttercup
  • Wool of bat—holly leaves
  • Tongue of dog—houndstongue
  • Adders fork—adders tongue
  • Blind-worm—an actual tiny snake thought to be venomous
  • Tail of ampersand—a curly little friend of ours (You don’t mind, do you, Bill?)

When practicing black magic, mustard seeds (particularly the black seeds) cast a spell of strife, confusion, discord & disruption. Interestingly enough, though, other types of mustard seeds are thought to provide protection against witches. Legend goes that witches are predisposed to counting & picking up things, so if you scatter mustard seeds around your front door, bed & property, the witch will never have time to get to you as she will be busy counting mustard seeds.

It turns out “eye of newt” is simply the seeds for a popular hot dog mustard. However, the classic scene from Macbeth just wouldn’t be the same if his characters spoke of boiling mustard seeds, buttercups & holly leaves.  Adapted from http://people.howstuffworks.com/is-eye-of-newt-real-thing.htm

*Speaking of spell, note the spelling of “caldron” in the work of Shakespeare, in contrast to the American English “cauldron.” Sans-“u” is also common among British. Earlier, however, there was no “l” either: in Middle English literature c. 1250-1300 you’ll read “cauderon.” Basically, it means “warm” from the Late Latin “caldāria.”


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Please comment here.

Awaken Past Halloween AmperArt:
Ghosts & Goblins
(2011)
Bats Rats & Black Cats (2012)
Deep Dark & Mysterious (2013)
Creak & Quake (2014)
Creepy & Crawly (2015)

:::::::::::::: OR & TREAT ::::::::::::::


happyoktoberfest500x100(In other words, happy Oktoberfest.)

If you missed AmperArt #88, Brats & Beer, drink up here.

Here’s a fun list of “18 Essential Words for Octoberfest
from the Oxford Dictionaries website.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.


Production notes for #86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch, Park Avenue, Arnold Böcklin
Ampersand: Arnold Böcklin
Images: dreamstime.com (manipulated)
You may repost the image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#74 Creak & Quake

AmperArt 74 Creak & Quake


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This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Greetings, mortals.

This morbid installment of my AmperArt series could have been entitled “Crypt Doors & Tombstones” but I chose the just-as-eerie verbs over the nouns “Creak & Quake.” These words are all from the first stanza of Grim Grinning Ghosts, the theme song permeating Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion. 

Truth be told, I’m still only 99% sure that the song starts with 

“When the crypt doors creak & the tombstones quake…” or
“When the crypt goes creak & the tombstones quake…”

Why? Because after visiting several websites to make sure I got the lyrics right (even though I’ve heard the song hundreds of times, it’s not embedded into the skull like “It’s a Small World”) there were discrepancies. The first site which sounded like an official lyrics site is what threw me off: It read “…goes creak” which was surprising, as I’ve always heard, so I thought, “When the crypt doors creak…” The original songwriters—Buddy Baker, melody, and lyrics by Xavier “X” Atencio, the Disney legend—were listed, along with dates and other information.  So I figured that was what they wrote, and everyone just adapted what they thought they heard. 

Until I visited a few more sites. Everywhere else the song goes “…doors creak…” which sounds so much better; is part of the Disney fans’ venacular; and what I chose to use in my piece of artwork. (It’s probably the correct choice.)

William Shakespeare & his poem, Venus & Adonis, influenced the title of the Haunted Mansion’s theme song:

Look, how the world’s poor people are amaz’d
At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,
Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gaz’d,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies;

So she at these sad sighs draws up her breath,
And, sighing it again, exclaims on Death.
‘Hard-favour’d tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean,
Hateful divorce of love,’—thus chides she Death,—
Grim-grinning ghost, earth’s worm, what dost thou mean
To stifle beauty and to steal his breath,

Who when he liv’d, his breath and beauty set
Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet?

The tombstone and graveyard in this piece really do exist: The Granary Cemetery, Boston, Mass. Well, almost. The top and borders of the tombstone are authentic (except for the iconic “D” under the skull); I elongated the entire monument and replaced the somber inscription with silly lyrics. So much for reverence. I wish to give credit to an incredible photographer, whose image I came across on the Internet and used as reference for this piece. Her name is Della Huff. Her photography is spectacular. See it at http://dellahuffphoto.zenfolio.com/ I had no idea such morbid tombstones actually existed. The graveyard, though heavily distorted by my twisted mind, is among many wonderful photographs I found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbdezines/sets/72157607857008082/


listen up!

As much as I detest innacuracy (why can’t others do a little research like I did, even though it took longer than the artwork?) it led me to several interesting haunts:

I discovered alternate, highly entertaining versions of Grim Grinning Ghosts; a great video for the kids (and the grown-up kids); and of course it was hauntingly wonderful to hear the original soundtrack again (where I could swear they enunciate “doors”). Here are those sites:

Turn off the lights and turn up the sound:

Entertaining a capella from VoicePlay:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpw0yQpvb_c

Here’s the original soundtrack followed by a cool alternate version (which seems to have been produced by James Presley) and some of the beginning and ending narrative:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaqSVi–Ms

The kids will enjoy this singalong video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eavo08IXduQ (I like it very much myself.)

And something really entertaining — spooky at first with organ and choir, then wildly zany with unique voices, and all sorts of other sounds…produced by James Presley:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI_4vzqevLg


Production notes:
Original size: 10×15 inches
Program: Photoshop, Illustrator (for the dingbats)
Fonts: Willow, Eccentric, Harrington
Ampersand: Harrington (line shadow added)
Images:
Tombstone & graveyard  reference: Granary Cemetery, Boston, Massachussetts, USA

Della Huff is the photographer whose tombstone photo was used for reference and sampling by the artist. See her spectacular fine art photography at http://dellahuffphoto.zenfolio.com/  Della’s original photo that made this AmperArt piece possible:
http://www.pbase.com/dellybean/image/40946116
Graveyard background: mbdezines Image modified so extensively it does not resemble the original photograph…but the background would  not be “authentic” without this photographer’s contribution.
Artist discovered that crypts do have doors at:
http://idiotphotographer.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/the-crypt-doors-of-ricoleta/
Music and lyrics sites visited for reference:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpw0yQpvb_c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaqSVi–Ms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eavo08IXduQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI_4vzqevLg

H u r r y  b a c k . . .