Category: Art of WDS II


The Unique Weirdness Beyond the Strange Boundary

by Walton Stowell

 Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allan Poe, one of America’s greatest poets, short-story writers, and literary critics; wrote such famous stories as The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death, The Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Fall of the House of Usher. In most of his works, Poe used first-person narrative to pull the reader into a weird, and strange world; where the reader is forced to use their powers of deduction. The reader must make their own way through the mystical and gothic-romantic atmosphere.

Taken from The Haunted Palace:

And all with pearl and ruby glowing, was the fair palace door; through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, and sparkling evermore, a troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty was but to sing, in voices of surprising beauty, the wit and wisdom of their King.”

Born in poverty in Boston, January 19, 1809; dying under unfortunate circumstances in Baltimore, October 7, 1849; Poe’s whole literary career of scarcely fifteen years appeared a pitiful struggle for mere substance. His memory was initially malignantly misrepresented by his earliest biographer, Griswold. Poe the half-starved poet only received $10 for The Raven.

At a young age, Edgar Poe was adopted by John Allan (where Poe’s middle name comes from), and taken from a life of poverty, into an adopted life of luxuries and advantages that having more money could provide. Edgar was spoiled and shown off to strangers.

From his 8th to 13th year, Edgar attended the Manor House School at Stoke-Newington near London, when his adopted family lived in England. Edgar did will in school. Returning to Richmond, Virginia in 1820, Edgar was sent to the school of Professor Joseph Clarke; who said this of the young Poe: “While other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine poetry; the boy was a born poet.” It was also said that Poe was sensitive, tender of heart, and would do anything for a friend; he was void of selfishness.

Here is an example of some of Poe’s short poem work at age 13: “Helen thy beauty is to me, like those Nicean barks of yore; that gently o’er a perfumed sea, the weary way-worn wanderer bore to his own native shore. On desperate seas long wont to roam. Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, thy Naiad airs have brought me home, to the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome.”

Poe entered West Point, but obtained a dismissal upon hearing of the birth of a son to his adopted father (who had remarried). This event cut off his expectations as an heir to his adopted father’s estate. When Mr. Allan died, Poe committed himself at once to authorship for his own support. In 1827 Poe published a small volume of poems, which soon ran through three editions, and excited high expectations in the minds of many learned critics, who saw future distinction for the young author.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote this to tell of the sorrow he felt from the loss of this child-wife: “I was a child and she was a child, in a kingdom by the sea; but we loved with a love that was more than love – I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me. And this was the reason that long ago, in this kingdom by the sea; a wind blew out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful Annabel Lee; so that her high-born kinsmen came and bore her away from me, to shut her up in a sepulcher in this kingdom by the sea.”

Poe was a genius with poetry. He had an indescribable oneness with a Shakespearean style with the English language, with a knack for melancholy. He used two great qualities; vigorous minute analysis details, and incredible fantastic imagination. The analysis aspect is needed for plot and setting descriptions using words. The imagination aspect is the vision and feeling that spawns and feeds everything in the story.

Poe chose to focus his power mainly on the dark-side of reality, which extends from the very fringe limits of the probable, to the weirdness of superstitions that are inexplicable and unreal. In his writings he was able to inject a mysterious influence, that is extracted from the shadows by the reader upon reading. Death, fear, and suffering are natural evils, but to dwell on them often seems strange to people; because we are usually encouraged in life to do the opposite. These negative feelings that his writing evoke, are almost mathematically bizarre, compared to our mundane literature. Poe’s writing are mystical.

Poe as a maverick, seemed to have tapped into an immortal pulse. Often our imagination is left to finish the picture that he started in his tales. The reader is called upon to settle endings, which are quite unsettling. Creativity is allowed freedom in his work, beyond any superficial boundary. Our consciousness and subconsciousness are challenged to meet, and settle their differences. Human morbidity is a truth that resonates within us, hidden by our fears. His monsters are demons of humanity; physically and mentally. Facing evil and danger is thrilling.

His poem, The Raven, was about his own life. Poe was the master of that bird. The bird was a voice in his head. His consciousness is the main character that tries to understand why the bird is saying “Evermore.” The gloomy solemness, and frantic repetition is intriguing as evidence of a peculiar intellect. Despite the gloom, despite the eerie strangeness, there was also a basis in goodness and normality.

Before his second wedding, Poe stopped in Baltimore for a few days. The events that followed are mysterious, but Poe was found lying outside a voting place on October 3, 1849. He died in a hospital bed four days later, while in a coma. Poe never woke up, and his killer remains unknown.

Behind the melancholy, there was some humility, and a willingness to preserve belief in another’s friendship and love. There is even gratitude for cordial friendship, in characters. Many events were grotesque, but his brilliant detail and romantic prose off-set much of the horror. Poe lived between William Shakespeare and Stephen King, not only in time period, but also in linguistic style. After Elizabethan England, and before modern America, he lived from 1809 to 1849. William Winter’s poem, read at the dedication for the monument to Poe in 1885:

Edgar Allan Poe;

He was the voice of beauty, and of woe.

Passion and mystery and the dread unknown;

Pure as the mountains of perpetual snow,

Cold as the icy winds that round them moan,

Dark as the caves where in earth, thunders groan,

Wild as the tempests of the upper sky,

Sweet as the faint, far-off celestial tone of

angel whispers, fluttering from on high,

And tender as loves tear when youth and beauty die.

Cave Creatures

drawn from an original elementary school drawing

Cave Creatures

Is this a mirage?  – redrawn from original drawn in elementary school

Oasis Monster

I drew these cartoons for Dad when I was in elementary grade school.

Super Architect

 

Super Architect 2

* (missing several)

Green Spider

Green Spider created by WDS2 in 1986.

Originally drawn in 1991 as “Green Spider Lurks”

Green Spider Lurks A

Green Spider Lurks B

Green Spider Lurks C

Green Spider Lurks 1k

This was not actually the first Green Spider Comic. The first was drawn as a flip book in 5th Grade 1986, and traded in class with other students.

*

Cartoon Style Portraits from Photos

FILMATION style portraits = starting at only $20 per portrait (based on $20 per hour)! Pay by check in the mail. Email the artist for details:  stowellgalleries@gmail.com

(see information at top to contact artist directly with email for more details)

*

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Live!

This is my portrait of the two main characters from Tom Stoppard’s play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” as acted by Gary Oldman and Tim Roth in the film; based on Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”.

Originally drawn in 1993.

Three Simple Mazes

These basic maze types are pre-historic, and simple enough anyone can draw and make landscape designs from. Circle Maze A1, A2, and A3 with the corresponding number of destinations upon entering.

Famous Super Heroes in Harpers Ferry

As a kid in Harpers Ferry, I read and drew alot of Super Hero comics. I cut-out paper dolls of my favorite characters, so they actually came to life off the pages that i drew them on!

In fact Nancy Reagan did bring the Super Heroes known as “The Defenders of the Earth” in 1986 to the Harpers Ferry trainstation downtown. All of Shipley School went to see them tell us to “Just Say No to Drugs”. Flash Gordon was the most famous of that group. Thursday, Sept. 11, 1986. The rally was part of a cross country journey “Whistlestop Tour for the Prevention of Drug Abuse,” targeted at getting elementary school-aged children to say no to drugs: Mrs. Reagan declared the city the first “Just say no” town in America.

Here I have drawn fan art, in the style of my youth to show 4 of the most famous heroes: Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Superman, Captain America, and Batman (DC, Marvel, DC, Marvel, DC). The photo background house is 1989, at the height of my comic collecting. Harpers Ferry itself is a perfect setting for heroes and villains of all kinds.