Review of Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

18659623Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. ★★★★★

Through the Woods is a hauntingly beautiful collection of five short stories told through Emily Carroll’s stunning artwork. I borrowed a copy from a friend, but this is the sort of book that I desperately want to go out and get my own copy of so that I can cherish it and spend hours pouring over the artwork.

The stories call to mind fairy tales of the darkest sort – blood, death, and the creeping shadows of the mysterious woods. The first story, “Our Neighbor’s House,” is about three girls who’s father tells them that if he is not back by sunset of the third day, they should immediately trek across the snow to the neighbors. “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold” is reminiscent of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale. “His Face All Red” is about a man who killed his brother in the woods. In “My Friend Janna,” a young woman pretends to speak to ghosts but becomes haunted herself. “The Nesting Place” is a horror story of a girl who goes to stay with her brother’s fiancee.

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Review of In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente

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I love this cover. It’s so beautifully rendered and fits the book so well.

In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente. ★★★★★

Catherynne M. Valente’s In the Night Garden is practically indescribable. It is a beautiful, wondrous book and undoubtedly one of the best I will read all year.

In the garden of a palace, there lives a cast out girl who says she has stories written upon her eyelids. Most of the other palace residents scorn her, but one young prince begins to come to her to hear the stories.

My initial impression was that In the Night Garden was a short story collection with framing device. However, this brute description does convey the intertwined and layered nature of the stories.

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Art Update (December 2014 and January 2015)

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This month has my fewest ever posts. Largely, it’s because I haven’t been reading much these past few weeks. I quit listening to the audio book of The Martian. I tried rereading In the Time of the Butterflies, but ultimately dropped it. Now I’m theoretically reading In the Garden of the Moon but am having trouble getting involved and haven’t picked it up in days. Ultimately, it’s hard to have posts on a book review blog when you aren’t reading.

However, I have done art since the last update!

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Development of my Art Through my Characters

For creative writing, I’m working on a piece about where characters come from. I asked the teacher if I could accompany what I write with some of the artwork I’ve done for the characters (she said yes).

Bit of an explanation here – I’ve had some of these characters since I was in fifth or sixth grade. I have art of these characters dating from the hazy mists of middle school. The characters have changed a lot since then, so sharing their development also shows how my skill as an artist has progressed (which is good if I get frustrated on something. I can always look back and think, Hey, I used to be even worse!).

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Art Update (October and November 2014)

I finished Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb a few days ago, so a review of that should be forthcoming soon. Right now I’m in the midst of schoolwork and college applications, so it’s a bit hard to get anything done. But I do have some more updates on my current art pieces, plus some other stuff I got back from the summer show. As always, there’s a lot of art. My moda operandi with these posts seems to be to let everything pile up in a gigantic heap and then tackle it in one huge post.

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Photographing Artwork: The Importance of Lighting

Yesterday I got all my pieces from the summer show back, so I’ve been busy photographing them. I usually take around seven or eight photos and then open them up into Photoshop to fix them up and chose the best one.

With one of these pieces, I actually have versions taken under three different lighting conditions. The first was taken at the art school with my iphone, the other two at home by windows at opposite sides of the house with a Cannon digital camera. There’s a noted difference between the colors of all three versions.

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