Or Fantasy, Reality, and the Places They Choose to Meet

You wouldn’t likely recognize the name Laurie Battle, but you’d be familiar with her work. Laurie has managed Tolkien Enterprises through thick and thin, storm and fair weather, for the last three decades, and probably knows more about the ins and outs of Tolkiendom than most.

So, of course when she replied enthusiatically to my slightly timid request concerning the eventual possibility of maybe considering the idea of one day doing a guest newsletter, I was delighted. Laurie has written about magical borders, clearly demonstrating that myth is never wholly a question of geographical boundaries. Continue reading “John Howe’s Journal: MAGICAL BORDERS”

John Howe Logo John Howe writes: As part of the launch of the French edition of Fantasy Art Workshop, there will be a little show in Paris, at the Galerie Arludik on the ÃŽle Saint-Louis, on April 17th. All the information is on the card below. This is also one of the extremely, very, exceedingly, exceptionally, extraordinarily, singularly, uncommonly, decidedly, particularly, remarkably, really, truly, awfully, fearfully, terribly, seriously few times I will have anything actually really for sale. Not a lot mind you, but at least I won’t be up to my usual tricks, which consist of nodding politely and replying “Of course, I’ll let you know as soon as that one is available.” and then forgetting entirely or losing the contact details… This time around it’s out of my hands and in far more capable ones. [More]

(Or Mountains and Molehills of the Mind)

John Howe writes: The other day, walking outdoors was like stepping into a picture. The lake and precocious moon were by Aivasovsky. Not turbulent enough to try as a Turner, but there was a hint of mist courtesy of Caspar David Friedrich. The woods nearby by Klimt, trees and fields below by Corot. A patch of sun by Bieler, a patch of grass by Durer. Mountains by Calame or l’Eplattenier in the distance. In Switzerland, they are never far away, mountains. On a good day, I can see them out the studio window (if they’re sharp, popular wisdom says the weather will turn bad, but there’s no such thing as bad weather, just a switch of painters and palettes.) From our place, it’s a hop, skip and jump, at least in fancy, across the lake and the plateau to the Alps. Remote enough to be a backdrop, sometimes startlingly clear or often near-invisible in the mist and cloud, they are only an hour and a bit by car, but far enough to be more routinely ideas of mountains than looming lumps of vertical rock (which do have a tendancy to tumble down on highways and railways, given that Switzerland’s mountains are very lived-in.) [More]

Chocolate Fish Cafe to Close? (Or An Alliterative Throwing-In of the Towel)

John Howe writes: Every now and then, a person just gets too busy to think. So, I confess. The following is an admission of failure – and a newsletter with little or nothing to say. (Which, it must be said in passing, has never been a reason sufficient to shut me up.) Am currently working on writing and illustrating two books and (distractedly) researching a third. Suddenly taking the time to write something else than what will go in one or the other seems no only unreasonable but treasonable. (This business of author-illustrator is rather like taking on two jobs at once.) An unexpected side-effect of writing a non-fiction book was that I naturally end up buying dozens of reference books, which all ended up stacked everywhere they could stack, until, finally fed up with stumbling over and bumping into piles of the things, new shelves seemed the only solution. I don’t know about you, but in this household, modest unassuming projects gradually assume colossal proportions and I ended up building a full wall of shelves. The books went in (there’s even still room, but rapidly shrinking) and suddenly a particular patch of wall seemed to call out for more home carpentry, so a drawing pulpit got itself made. Read the rest here…

John Howe's Journal: CANADIAN CELTICS Or Empires Within, Empires Without

Yes, I realize the title sounds like the name of a lacrosse team (but it’s only to insure that my compatriots read this.) Nevertheless…

A summer ago, I spent a few days in Toronto giving a little talk at IdeaCity and shooting a television program. Being in Toronto was akin to going back to a place one has never been before, one of those reassuring and slightly troubling moments where you realize that (of course) the superficiality of familiarity is enough to enhance any strange city, as long as you have some tenuous link (in this case, the entire population fiddling with their BlackBerries while walking.) So, in a way, back in a Canada to which I’d never been. Which, as it turns out, was very a propos…

In Queen’s Park*, on the way from the hotel farther downtown towards the Royal Ontario Museum, stand the Ontario Parliament Buildings. My hurried strides, and the most promising-looking shortcut on my free city map, carried me past there. Something about them was so unsettling, otherworldly and fascinating that I returned and spent two afternoons in their company. John Howe’s Journal: CANADIAN CELTICS