all illustrations by Kevin Sprouls
I was first introduced to the civilization of ancient Greece in Grade 2 of the local catholic school I attended. It was the Golden Age of my educational experience! A very kindly and intelligent teacher by the name of Mrs. Grady, who we all thought the world of, presided over our class. At the knee of Mrs. Grady, we (all 30 of us) learned about peace-loving Athens, the Spartans, and the various styles of Columns— ok, not strictly Greek! Drawing all my life-long, I particularly enjoyed creating images of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian styles of column capitals as a very young grade school kid.
Â Untitled, ca.1975
I still carry a love and vision of the classical world with me to this day, thanks to that exemplary teacher. Surely, early education is a profound formative force in each life. I hope that, with the philosophical shift our country is now experiencing, more emphasis will be placed on arts and cultural education at all levels.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, 2006
New Yorker, 1990, announcing Met exhibit, “Pompeii”
book cover illustration, young person’s fiction, ca. 2005
My next love, after the golden Age of Greece, was All Things Gothic. I love the romance of the Middle Ages, having been heavily influenced by loiterings with C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Aside from these literary stalwarts, I was drawn to a film I happened upon in the teen years, a silent one called “The Beloved Rogue”, starring John Barrymore, which glories in the adventures of Medieval French Poet Francois Villon. This is a truly well done flick, sadly unavailable in any kind of restored quality. I have also been a fan of the films “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and, particularly (for its graphic realism) “The Name of the Rose”. My love of this era has attracted me, and occasioned many excursions to the fair isle of Ireland, beginning in 1974. Although she has recently succumbed to modernity, and is on par with all so-called first world nations, Ireland still holds fast to her deep spiritual and historical roots.
The abbey ruin and fountain is located in the small town of Quin, County Clare, female visage is of Maureen O’Hara, taken from a still of, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Â ca. late 80’s