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Archive for June, 2013

Late Sun Tomte Fox Dragon copy

The results are in. Spoiler alert: I GOT THIRD!!!  Pretty excited, considering the quality of first and second, and the fact that my entry was more tangentially related to Norse mythology (I didn’t have time to pull together a contest-specific entry, but thought maybe my recent Tomte and Friends Summer Sun pic would be appropriate enough).  Check out the winners for the different age groups (and awesome work by the other age groups!):

Kid Category

Teen Category

Adult Category

Sound like they are already gearing up for a Yule art contest, so get ready! Personally, I think it would be neat if people tried doing art in one of the Viking Age/Medieval Scandinavian styles, so I’ll try to (finally) get around to putting together a nice summary of Viking Age art for you all. Meanwhile, I know that Peter Foote’s The Viking Achievement has a good summary of Viking Age art, but it is out of print. Most larger introductions to the Vikings will probably have something on the art, but find one with pictures so that you understand what they are talking about!

My entry (which I first put up in this post) is part of what seems to be becoming a series, so keep coming back if you want to see the further adventures of Tomte and Friends. I cropped it to a wider size more suited for a mug from DeviantArt–I don’t know why, but I think the mugs are my favorite DA products…. though they do occasionally send you the wrong product, so watch out.

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Happy Father’s Day! I didn’t get a chance to hang out with my dad this weekend (being on the other side of the country), but I did get to do some traveling and detectiving with my brother to try and figure out where in Northern MN my great-grandfather Hjalmar worked (nothing confirmed, but we learned a lot about the area at the time he was there). To pair with my Mother’s Day post (and because I have an awesome dad as well as an awesome mother, and know many awesome dads), here are a handful of interesting fathers from the Old Norse sources. As I’ve mentioned before, the medieval Norse sources are pretty patriarchally oriented, so we actually get a larger number of fathers showing up as significant characters than mothers (though let me note that it was really a shame that I mentioned Laxdæla saga in my Mother’s Day post without mentioning Melkorka, the Irish princess-in-secret whose son and grandson figure quite prominently there…).

OK, just a few favorites here which highlight the father-child (usually father-son) relationship:

File:Egil Skallagrimsson 17c manuscript.jpgKveldulfr, Skallagrímr, and Egill in Egils saga Skallagrímssonar (The Saga of Egil the son of Baldy-Grim–free version here, current [and better] translation here). Like-father, like-son features prominently here, as the Berserkr + Werewolf (“Kveldulfr” = “Evening Wolf,” and he marries the daughter of a berserkr) characteristics of the first generation manifest in decreasingly supernatural ways in the next two generations (well, that is how I read the saga, anyway). While Kveldulfr is said to become a wolf in the evenings, his son Skallagrímr gets stronger, angrier, and completely unreasonable (ie, berserk-like) the later in the evening it gets (which, incidentally, leads to him nearly killing his son, and results in a little father-son mini-feud in true saga style). Egill is just plain ornery, but is certainly compared to a troll at least once, and in my own work (a conference paper and a field paper–need to polish it up one day so that it’s publishable and up-to-date) I have argued that Egill’s self-identification as a Viking (esp. taken with his close relationship w/ Óðinn and his magical skillz) associate him with the pagan past in a way similar to the more explicitly monstrous werewolf/berserkr angle, even if it’s a bit more watered down (he comes at a point deeper in the more historically/realistically portrayed Saga Age, after all). Well, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve worked on that, so I’ll put together a more thorough post w/ some notes on the relevant secondary lit some other time. Both Skallagrímr and Egill get particularly troublesome for their children in their old age, hiding gold rather than passing it on, threatening to cause a scene at the Alþingi, stuff like that– although the scene with his daughter Þorgerðr (who connects this narrative to Laxdæla and is also another significant mother in the sagas) after the death of his son (leading to the poem Sonatorrek) is quite touching (and funny). There is also a good amount of father-son advice, tragedy,revenge, and other touching moments during the first half of the saga, as the feud between Kveldulf’s sons and grandsons and the Norwegian royal family starts out, deepens, climaxes, and lingers.  Anyway, one of my favorite sagas, in case you haven’t noticed, so check it out!

Speaking of werewolves, let’s not forget the coming-of-age romp in the forest in chapter 8 of Völsunga saga. Start several chapters earlier with the death of Völsung for the full incestuous revenge narrative, but look, you should really just read the whole thing. I’ve linked to Finch’s combined edition/translation, so every other page will be in English. There is also a translation out there by Jesse Byock and one (that I believe is out of print and very expensive) by Kaaren Grimstad (oh, and one by GK Anderson–haven’t seen that one or the Grimstad one). I actually like the Finch one (which is part of the same series as the Tolkien edition/translation I mention below), so it’s nice that it’s available online now!

File:Hervør henter sværdet Tyrfing hos Angartyr.jpgAnd lest you think that only sons get any love from their heroic fathers, check out Christopher Tolkien’s (yes, THAT Christopher Tolkien) edition/translation of Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks,  in which warrior maiden Hervör rather forcibly convinces the ghost of her berserkr father Angantyr (killed, incidentally, by my great grandfather Hjalmar’s name-sake) to give her his sword Tyrfing. Later in the saga you also can find a nice antecedent to the riddling scene in a certain children’s book by Christopher’s father. See also the Eddic poem Hervararkviða (haven’t checked the translation–posting this pretty quickly as it is quite late now!).

Well, those are the fatherly moments that came to my mind. I’m posting this pretty late on Father’s Day, I’m afraid, but hey, I spent most of the day driving from Northern to Southern Minnesota. OK, will drive faster next time…

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Looks like I’ve got kind of a series going now. After resorting to my old Bamboo tablet (after unsuccessfully trying to get my Intuos to work without the stylus that came with it), and after dealing with all sorts of frustrating glitches while trying to draw w/o my usual 2-fingered drawing glove (at times it felt like a digital ghost was trying to take over the pic), I have another speedpaint (kinda–over 2 hours tho)/landscape/critter pic up. And here it is (click the picture to be linked to the pic and description on DeviantArt):

Late Sun Tomte Fox Dragon copy

Tomten again, and this time he and Herr Räv (Mr Fox) seem a bit more friendly. Not sure where Tomten’s faithful bunny steed went, though it looks like we might have a new ‘friend’ hidden in the picture to take his place…

After fiddling around not knowing what I would draw, it turned into a sort of sunset/late-night summer sun sort of a pic–not sure if it fits the bill of “capturing the spirit of Norse Mythology” for the art contest I posted about earlier, but if I don’t manage to pull anything else together in time, I may just submit this. Or I may just let it be. I enjoy it well enough just on it’s own (though if I had more time, there is a lot I would like to clean up and polish in this picture… but that goes for all my pics).

For those who don’t know what a tomte is, well, Wikipedia gives a decent enough intro.  My portrayal is basically a combination of the portrayal in Astrid Lindgren’s picture book (based on the poem by Rydberg, though I can’t remember who the illustrator was) and the animated series David the Gnome from when I was a kid (though it came out at a time when I wasn’t watching cartoons so much any more). OK, David the Gnome isn’t Scandinavian, but the image was pretty close to how I’d seen Tomten portrayed as a child. I’m enjoying this series so far, even if the first pic and this latest one just started out as free-painting exercises rather than intentional entries in “a series.” Will plan on getting back to this more.  I’m putting all three below in the order they were painted. What do you think is happening in the pictures? What happens in-between the pictures, and what will happen next? Feel free to comment if you have ideas (I don’t get many comments!), though I do have to approve all comments before hand, so nothing mean or nasty please…

As always, click on the pics to go to the DeviantArt page for them, where you can see larger versions and also buy downloads (for REALLY cheap) or prints! Prints and cards also available on Redbubble, which is easier to buy from. I’m currently an unemployed mythologist (again!), so feel free to help me out here!

Vitsippor

God Jul 2012 Winter Night

Late Sun Tomte Fox Dragon copy

And if you just can’t get enough of Tomten and don’t mind hastily drawn scribbles, here are some exercises from tests and homework that I gave Fall semester at Gustavus–I usually could barely fit them in, which is why they are a pretty sloppy, as well as why I didn’t do that this past spring semester–but I wish I could have spent some more time on this. Hopefully the poor quality of the pics didn’t cause too much trouble for my students…

From the final for my first semester beginning Swedish course, testing their classroom vocab as well as spatial prepositions.

From the final for my first semester beginning Swedish course, testing their classroom vocab as well as spatial prepositions.

I had really wanted to turn this into something more polished, but the end of Fall semester was just too crazy, and I ended up with this sloppy thing. Testing landscape vocabulary as well as spatial prepositions for my first semester intermediate Swedish course.

I had really wanted to turn this into something more polished, but the end of Fall semester was just too crazy, and I ended up with this sloppy thing. Testing landscape and occupational vocabulary as well as spatial prepositions for my first semester intermediate Swedish course.

Normally I try to flip a picture to its mirror image to double check whether it actually "works" or not--should have done that with some of these sketches.  Gr.  Anyway, this was an exercise in telling talking about what a person does during the day. Didn't even make it through an entire day, alas...

Normally I try to flip a picture to its mirror image to double check whether it actually “works” or not–should have done that with some of these sketches. Gr. Anyway, this was an exercise in telling talking about what a person does during the day. Didn’t even make it through an entire day, alas…

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Aaaarrrgggghhhhh, I can’t get my Wacom tablet working right! I was hoping to do a lot more art to make up for the fact that I haven’t posted anything new art-wise here since Christmas, but looks like it’s a no-go for now. By way of apology, here are some old sketches from my iPad (which, after several days of tinkering, I was finally able to get from my first-gen iPad to my computer…)  The first one was a webcomic idea which I may resurrect one day, if I can pull it together into a more coherent concept (and the character designs together into something more coherent as well…). I doodled on that theme off and on for a few months, but never got back to it after switching to PS. After that… OK, the next one was actually started on my iPad, but I’m putting a much later version here just because I haven’t yet. Really want to finish it and put it in a blog post on my favorite eddic poem, but for now you can see where I’d brought it to over 1/2 a year ago. After that, just a couple free drawings I did when bored at some point between Summer 2011 and Summer 2012–after I started using PS and a Wacom tablet, my iPad became a place for random doodles (like what you see here) rather than anything more polished (all the drawings from the first several months of this blog were on iPad w/ apps like Brushes, Art Studio, and Sketchbook Pro). 

Click the picture to see the description on DeviantArt.

Click the picture to see the description on DeviantArt.

 

Click the picture to go to the description on DeviantArt.

Click the picture to go to the description on DeviantArt.

 

Click the picture to go to a description on DeviantArt.

Click the picture to go to a description on DeviantArt.

 

Click on the picture to go to a description on DeviantArt.

Click on the picture to go to a description on DeviantArt.

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