Friday, August 01, 2014

Stoffel Brinkerhoff, The Breaker of Heads

“The Triumph of Stoffel Brinkerhoff, on His Return from His Conquests in the East” painted by John Gadsby Chapman in 1835
My father once told me a tale about our relative Stoffel Brinkerhoff called the Head-Breaker who supposedly instigated a riot against the Red Coats as they invaded the New York harbor.  According to dad, once the fighting began, Stoffel hid away in a tavern and drank while the fighting raged on.
I lived with this story for years thinking it was true and then ran across two articles that changed my perception.  One was a painting called “The Triumph of Stoffel Brinkerhoff, on His Return from His Conquests in the East” painted by John Gadsby Chapman in 1835.  The other was an article online about an oyster war fought in New Amsterdam written by Washington Irving.

This was the true story of Stoffel Brinkerhoff who was famous throughout the province for strength of arm and skill at quarter-staff, and hence was named Stoffel Brinkerhoff; or rather, Brinkerhoofd; that is to say, Stoffel the Head-breaker.  Apparently he put down a group of men who had laid claim to the local oyster beds, thus allowing everyone to enjoy the delicious seafood once again.

Not quite the story I grew up with but the colorful wording and outrageous names made this a delightful alternative. This snippet tells a part of the triumphant victory as told by Irving.

Here he was encountered by a host of Yankee warriors, headed by Preserved Fish, and Habakkuk Nutter, and Return Strong, and Zerubbabel Fisk, and Determined Cock! at the sound of whose names Stoffel Brinkerhoff verily believed the whole parliament of Praise-God Barebones had been let loose upon him. He soon found, however, that they were merely the "select men" of the settlement, armed with no weapon but the tongue, and disposed only to meet him on the field of argument. Stoffel had but one mode of arguing--that was with the cudgel; but he used it with such effect that he routed his antagonists, broke up the settlement, and would have driven the inhabitants into the sea, if they had not managed to escape across the Sound to the mainland by the Devil's Stepping-stones, which remain to this day monuments of this great Dutch victory over the Yankees.
Stoffel Brinkerhoff made great spoil of oysters and clams, coined and uncoined, and then set out on his return to the Manhattoes. A grand triumph, after the manner of the ancients, was prepared for him by William the Testy. He entered New Amsterdam as a conqueror, mounted on a Narraganset pacer. Five dried codfish on poles, standards taken from the enemy, were borne before him; and an immense store of oysters and clams, Weathersfield onions, and Yankee "notions" formed the spolia opima; while several coiners of oyster-shells were led captive to grace the hero's triumph.
The procession was accompanied by a full band of boys and negroes, performing on the popular instruments of rattle-bones and clam-shells, while Anthony Van Corlear sounded his trumpet from the ramparts.

I kind of liked my fathers’ version better, but if you feel inclined you can read the rest here:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mouse Mouse House by Joel Brinkerhoff

Well, here's a book I did and almost sold.  The deal fell through after they decided they couldn't endorse housing fraud.  Oh well, I hope you enjoy it and can find the humor non threatening.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ride the Dino

My grand kids and I visited the Walking with Dinosaurs exhibit at Omsi.  My grand-son wanted me to do a picture of him riding one.  Hope he likes it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Scribble Game

Here's a little game I would play with my kids when they were old enough to scribble.  My sister and I would play it when we were young and we evolved some rules along the way.  We would take turns with the first person making a scribble.  The second person had to make something out of it that included the entire scribble or as much as one could to make a picture from it.  You could turn the scribble around for a better angle and you could add lines but it was preferred to use the scribble as is.

These are some samples I did just for fun.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Animation Input Devices

Tangible and Modular Input Device
While I'm on the subject of digital imaging today as opposed to early on, I came across this device for inputting motion for animated c.g. rigs.  It's called a Tangible and Modular Input Device for Character Articulation.  And you can read about it at the links below.

There's also a movie here:

This thing  reminds me of something called the Monkey which was used early on as a way of helping stop-motion animators to switch over to c.g.

We had one at the old Will Vinton Studios but I don't recall it having worked too well.  It's is very cool looking though.

Digital Scuplting

I've started exploring digital sculpting and feel like I'm late to the table where it's concerned.  There are so many splendidly talented artists using the latest technologies and having wonderfully photo-real looking results that I'm completely intimidated by the whole thing.

To put things in perspective I've seen the evolution of computer graphics and the rapid increase in what one can do today as opposed to way back then.  I recall the method of sculpting a mesh was either with 'nurbs' or 'polygons' and I never fully mastered either one.  Now there are programs with names like Mudbox and ZBrush that can give you the most remarkable digital sculptures.

There is a whole new set of tools to learn and hoops to jump through.  I'm approaching this like a hobbyist and not ever thinking of doing this professionally.     

Here are some meager first attempts of mine.  That's supposed to be John Lennon in the later years and Paul in the early years.  Neither one is finished yet but I'm learning things along the way.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Delightful Designs

Hello, anybody out there?  Wow, it's been a long time between posts but I just haven't felt the desire till now.
Check out these sculptures by French artist Gilbert Legrand as he lets his active imagination soar by painting small details onto these everyday objects to help us see them the way he does. With the addition of a face and maybe some arms and legs, a paintbrush can become a mangled fox, a hinge can become a shady salesman, and a juicer becomes a woman emerging from a pool.

I find these incredibly inspiring and they remind me of a game my sister and I would play where one of us would draw a scribble and it was up to the other to make something from it.

Somewhere I blogged about seeing things, (it may be called Seeing Things), in the woodwork of a door or pattern in a tabletop.  This is a great extension of that idea and I plan to use it if I'm stumped for character designs.  

Sunday, October 06, 2013

October is Here!

Yes, it's time for the Pumpkin Queen to wake up soon and make her Halloween presents known.

I thought I would try to make color separations from a black and white picture, and try to recombine them into a quasi color picture. This one of my grand daughter taken by her Aunt Joanna Zarzan and tricked out with kittens that I added is one of my favorites.  I knew if you had a blue and yellow plate you would get a green and red and yellow would make orange.  It only worked so so and the end result reminds me of those early National Geographics where the color was leaning toward sepia and looked like tinted prints.

It's got an old fashioned feel which is okay with me so Happy Halloween everybody!