-By Paul Bonner

John Bauer. Pretty much perfection here.

Another dank, grey morning in Denmark, heralding the arrival of several fronts that I find myself up against. So – I’m afraid I must spare you the cutting edge insights and relentless enquiry that I do on your behalf in the visual jungle that we are all explorers in.

This was intended to be another lengthy prose on the strange, arcane, and somewhat haphazard techniques that I throw together in the hope of eventually reaching a satisfying arrangement of marks upon a blank, white surface. But alas! Time and circumstances dictate that the rumblings of something epic must wait.

For now, to keep you from growing restless I have opened some of the lowest level dungeons and cellars that contain some of my oldest memories. Some things never fade, and I managed to find a few dusty hints of images that I remember from childhood that possibly set me off, albeit – unknowingly, upon the hazardous path to becoming an… Artist!

Ivan Bilibin. How ominous and forbidding is that?

I could have chosen lots more, but I kept it to those that required not too many mental pyrotechnics to bring them out into the light. And, they are from my childhood. From books bought for me. Books my responsible mother dug out from libraries, and a couple that I have no idea where I saw them. Just that I did, and that the first, shining, tingling pleasure of seeing them for the first time, is still there each time I see them now.

I could have included Frazetta, Froud and the Hilderbrandts, but they came a later. These are the ones that went deep and opened doors into my imagination that have been wedged open ever since then.

Kay Nielsen. How romantic is that.
Tove Janson. Moomintroll. Grew up with her haunting stories and pictures…. still read them sometimes.
Hours of my childhood – right there.
Still to young to be a teenage delinquent, but I remember seeing this as a “painting” first, and marvelling – as opposed to a window to look through. Henri Felix Emmanuel Philippoteux (Must have been a pain in the “derriere” signing his canvases!)
Harald Wiberg ,”The Tomten”. Very beautiful, haunting books. You can hear the muffled silence so loudly here.
From Lancelot du Lac by Roger Lancelyn Green. A book I  physically wore out.  And this dragon was the catalyst for many an afternoon scribbling and painting on the kitchen table.

I could pick many more. Many more by some of the artists here – but I really wanted to keep it to the ones that seemed to be there straight away, rather than having to be searched for. So, a little insight maybe into some sign posts that set me off at a tender age.

I’d love to see any similar sign posts from anyone out there; the ones from your earliest memories. Shouldn’t be difficult, with most of you not having to trawl so deeply!

Seasonal greetings to you all as well. Have a splendid Christmas, and be good!