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James Christensen - Once Upon a Time

James Christensen - Once Upon a Time (Drawing & Painting)

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Here a magical storyteller in the woods is telling fables to the characters who are usually in those fables. It's simple a reverse of what happens in everyday life.

I've made up characters, but I've also drawn some characters from literature and art. They were my favorites, things I especially enjoyed. What I would like to get across is the idea that there are hundreds of stories in this picture. I don't have specific stories for all of them, so maybe the viewer can create their own.

Specifically, that knight is patterned after Edward Bume-Jones' paintings, and he is a pre-Raphaelite, romantic painter that I quite liked. The woman next to the knight was inspired by The Lady of Shalott, a painting by William Waterhouse, which is in The Nationai Gallery in London. I took her out of the boat, in her costume, and had her come and sit down in the woods to be entranced with this story.

In fact the whole painting is reminiscent of some of the l9th Century fairy paintings of the magical things that happen in the woods. Many are based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. That's what I had in mind when I was creating all the little stories and sub-stories. -James Christensen

James pays tribute to lan Ballantine, the publisher who popularized The Lord of the Rings in the United States by releasing it in paperback. "He is the keybearer on the right. In a sense, he brought me this talisman."


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