Tag Archives: Mark Twain

From Crickets to Coyotes and Everything In-between! Red Dot Auction Update!

So much awesomeness! Artists, where do you get all of your ideas? The theme this year, as it has been in the past, was “The Life and Times of Chuck Jones”. Chuck was born in 1912 and passed away in 2002; his nine decade life spanned most of the 20th century as well as the history of the animated film. He was interested in, no, let me put that another way, he was fascinated by everything in the world around him. A voracious reader, Chuck Jones cited influences as diverse as Mark Twain and Carlos Santayana; and from the actor and director Charlie Chaplin to the grapefruit-loving Johnson the Cat.  Nothing was too small not to catch his attention.

That gave our artists for this year’s Red Dot Auction a lot to consider and to be inspired by as witnessed in the works below.

What’s that you say? You haven’t bought your tickets for the Red Dot Auction on Friday, May 1 from 7 to 10 PM? What are you waiting for? They’re just $25 per person online (click here) or $35 per at the door. Be there or be square (just like the canvases!)

Mel Blanc, pyrography (wood burning) on wood, 12" square.

Mel Blanc, pyrography (wood burning) on wood, 12″ square.

Claude and Frisky Puppy, colored pencil on canvas,

Claude and Frisky Puppy, colored pencil on canvas, 12″ square.

"Roughing It" acrylic on canvas, 12" square.

“Roughing It” acrylic on canvas, 12″ square.

Cricket and Kandinsky, digital art on paper, 12" square.

Cricket and Kandinsky, digital art on paper, 12″ square.

 

The Difference Between Truth and Falsity

We stumbled upon this note from Chuck Jones the other day as we do and thought it was worth sharing with you.  His hand-writing has been translated below for your easy reading pleasure. 

Difference Between Truth and Falsity copy
The dot makes the line.

"My little dot goes for a walk." Kandinski [sic]  (editor's note: this paraphrases a quote by artist Paul Klee, "A line is a dot that went for a walk.")

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -Mark Twain

And the difference between the right line and the almost right line is the difference between truth and falsity.

Jones Family Gathering Welcomes a Special Guest!

At last night's gala dinner on the patio of Lou & Mickey's (at the very heart of San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter–previously known as the "Stingaree"), the Jones Family Gathering welcomed a very special guest, one of Chuck Jones's favorite authors and wits.

HPIM8645
This author has been gone from this world for over a century, so our 'reception' was at times a little blurry, but we kept fiddling with the knobs and dials of our "Way Back Machine" (not to be confused with Peabody & Sherman's WABAC machine), and he eventually came into clearer focus.  

HPIM8644
To everyone's amazement and delight it was that rascal and raconteur, the inimitable Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).  Mr. Twain was gracious enough to stroll among us, delighting us with bits and pieces of his encyclopedic knowledge of all things west of the Mississippi (and some things east of it too!)

Chuck Jones began reading at age three and around the age of seven (circa 1919) discovered the writings of Mark Twain, in particular a book Twain wrote about his and his brother's trip by stagecoach out to the gold fields of the Sacramento basin in 1849 ("a miner, a 'forty-niner', oh my darlin' Clementine…"), titled "Roughing It".  One particular passage stuck with Chuck, and it was Twain's description of the coyote (which is repeated below for your edification); it was a description, Chuck said, that resonated with a scrawny, seven-year-old, and one that when needed about 20 years later, provided much of the characterization of one of Jones's most enduring and popular characters.  Let's see, who could that be?

Twain wrote: 

"Along about an hour after breakfast we saw the first prairie dog villages, the first antelope, and the first wolf. If I remember rightly, this latter was the regular coyote (pronounced ky-o-te) of the farther deserts. And if it was, he was not a pretty creature or respectable either, for I got well acquanited with his race afterward, and can speak with confidence.

The coyote is a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton, with a gray wolfskin stretched over it, a tolerably bushy tail that forever sags down with a despairing expression of forsakenness and misery, a furtive and evil eye, and a long, sharp face, with slightly lifted lip and exposed teeth. He has a general slinking expression all over. The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede. He is so spirtless and cowardly that even while his exposed teeth are pretending a threat, the rest of his face is apologizing for it. And he is so homely! -so scrawny, and ribby, and coarse-haired, and pitiful."

Choosing the Right Word

"The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a
large matter — it's the difference between the lightning-bug and the
lightning." –Mark Twain

Twain-1 72 dpi clean copy 

Original drawing of Mark Twain by Chuck Jones, graphite on 12 field (10.5" x 12.5") animation paper.

MARK TWAIN SIGNATURE PHOTO
Mark Twain original signature with photograph from the archives of Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and now on view through August 1, 2010 at the Get Animated! pavilion at the California State Fair in Sacramento. 

Chuck Jones, September 21, 1912 — February 22, 2002

Today is eight years since my Grandfather, Chuck Jones, passed away.

It was eight years and three days ago that I went down to say goodbye to him.

He wasn't conscious, at least as far as I could tell as I sat by his bed at his home in Corona del Mar.  But I believed that at some level he was aware of me by his side.  It was just the two of us in the room and I sat quietly for a long time.

For some reason, I brought "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain.  After sitting there for a while, I opened the book and just started to read.  The only part that I remember distinctly from the few pages that I read was:

"We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife without any handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any store, and a lot of tallow candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and a reticule with needles and pins and beeswax and buttons and thread and all such truck in it, and a hatchet and some nails, and a fishline as thick as my little finger with some monstrous hooks on it, and a roll of buckskin, and a leather dog-collar, and a horseshoe, and some vials of medicine that didn't have no label on them; and just as we was leaving I found a tolerable good curry-comb, and Jim he found a ratty old fiddle-bow, and a wooden leg.  The straps was broke off of it, but barring that, it was a good enough leg, though it was too long for me and not long enough for Jim, and we couldn't find the other one, though we hunted all around."

I laughed out loud when I got to the end of this paragraph (as I always do) at the discontinuity and yet logic of looking for a matching wooden leg.

Chuck breathed a little more sporadically and a little deeper for a few moments then, I suppose due to my outburst of laughter.

Each and every February 22nd I make a specific intention to laugh more, to live more deeply, and to be more grateful for the things I have and have had in my life, including Chuck.

Today is no different as we've told some stories, had many laughs about the absurdities of life, and thoroughly enjoyed the day; just as I know Chuck is doing as he discusses the poetic nature of the written word with Mark Twain.

I hope that each person that loved him and his work will laugh an extra laugh in Chuck's honor today.  –Craig Kausen

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