30 July 2008
According to the present form of the tale (dating to the Edo Period), Momotarō came to Earth inside a giant peach, which was found floating down a river by an old, childless woman who was washing clothes there. The woman and her husband discovered the child when they tried to open the peach to eat it. The child explained that he had been sent by Heaven to be their son. The couple named him Momotarō, from momo (peach) and tarō (eldest son in the family). Years later, Momotarō left his parents for an island called Onigashima to destroy the marauding oni (demons or ogres) that dwelt there. En route, Momotarō met and befriended a talking dog, monkey, and pheasant, who agreed to help him in his quest. At the island, Momotarō and his animal friends penetrated the demons' fort and beat the demons' leader, Ura, as well as his army, into surrendering. Momotarō returned home with his new friends, and his family lived comfortably from then on.
My latest job is to illustrate this ancient tale. We're only in the sketch stage but it has been fun!
18 July 2008
17 July 2008
16 July 2008
So awhile back, after painting months and months of horses, the impossible happened. I, Kelly Murphy, sickened of these four legged creatures. It wasn't anything they did personally, it was just the day in and day out of smiling. prancing horses... I simply broke. That was two summers ago. I have finally overcome the pony disgust. Look at this ridiculous animal. I admit, I even smiled while I painting it. The pony has again, brought a grin to my face. This piece is for Peaceable Kingdom Press 2009.
06 July 2008
Marblehead Massachusetts is what I would describe as quintessential coastal New England. I had never been there until this past Friday, and it's quite lovely. Avoiding gross commercialization, the town has made a concerted effort to retain its authentic historical setting. Here's a bit of history:
Marblehead was first settled as a plantation of Salem in 1629 by John Peach Sr., then set off and incorporated in 1639. Originally called Massebequash after the river which ran between it and Salem, the land was inhabited by the Naumkeag Indians under the sachem, Nanepashemet. At times called Marvell Head, Marble Harbour (by Captain John Smith) and Foy (by immigrants from Fowey, Cornwall), the town would be named Marblehead by settlers who mistook its granite ledges for marble. It began as a fishing village with narrow, crooked streets, and grew inland from the harbor. The shoreline smelled of drying fish, typically cod, which were exported abroad and to Salem. The town peaked economically just prior to the Revolution, as locally financed privateering vessels pirated the seas for bounty from large European ships. Much early architecture survives from the era. A large percentage of residents became involved early in the fight for American freedom, and the sailors of Marblehead, under General John Glover, are generally recognized by scholars as forerunners of the American Navy. The town tradition holds that Marblehead men ferried George Washington across the Delaware River for his attack on Trenton. Many who set out for war, however, did not return. Indeed, the community lost a substantial portion of its population and economy. Additionally a gale or hurricane at the Grand Banks of Newfoundland on September 19, 1846 sank 11 vessels and damaged others. With 65 men and boys lost in the storm, the town's fishing industry began a decline.
After World War II, the town enjoyed a population boom, as a bedroom community for Boston, Lynn and Salem. This boom ended around 1970 when the town became built out.
Another fun fact about the day... my mother and I enjoy visiting cemeteries, not only for the stones, but for the flora and names of past times (we get a kick out of how strange the idea is too). I love to research the different kinds of symbols that are found in the older sections. I came across a link of three chains. I had NEVER seen this. After some research, I discovered it's the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Whaaaaa??? If you want to learn a bit about them, follow this link. It's pretty interesting. I think I need to find out more about these odd fellows. All in all, I highly recommend a drive through this "North Shore" area.
03 July 2008
I've been getting away from environment in my work lately. Decided on a beach scene, with a burning ship! Why not! Reminiscent of the Gaspée, an historic site off Namquid Drive in Warwick, Rhode Island.
The Gaspée Affair was an important incident in the course of the American Revolution. HMS Gaspée, a British revenue schooner that had been vigorously enforcing unpopular trade regulations, ran aground in shallow water, on June 9, 1772 near what is now known as Gaspee Point in the city of Warwick, Rhode Island while chasing the packet boat Hannah. In an act of defiance that gained considerable notoriety, the ship was attacked, boarded, stripped of valuables and torched by American patriots led by Abraham Whipple.
01 July 2008
My favorite holiday is coming up. Most people tend to fancy Christmas or New Years time, or you have those spooky Halloween lovers. Although I loathe the hot weather, there is one day where I relish it. A warm Fourth of July, complete with burgers and dogs, wiffle ball, bocce, and some good firework action is my idea of relaxation. No need to buy any presents, dress fancy, travel long distances... it's all about being comfortable and having fun. Some of the funnest memories have been on the Fourth. Murphy celebrations tend to be wild.
This was one year's homemade pirate ship. The HMS PinkChicken. This was also the canoe mentioned in the following tale.
Many years ago, we had most of our extended family for a big cookout. We're talking Irish Catholic family, so this was bigger than most people's wedding. By the end of the afternoon, we had taken bricks of bottle rockets my brothers bought and started the war to end all wars.Screaming rockets were flying from every direction. I recall seeing two cousins carrying a canoe, running with it for protection as multiple rockets ricocheted off the top. We cracked the neighbor's vinyl siding, ripped wire screen, set curtains on fire, and almost blew up Aunt Mary's face. It was pretty awesome. Well not blowing up Aunt Mary's face... My family home has moved since last year, so the traditions of a certain backyard are changing. Regardless, I am still eagerly waiting for this years festivities.