Monthly Archives: February 2010

Chuck Jones Quote of the Day: Haplessly and Hopelessly Hopeful

"We are all haplessly and hopelessly hopeful. We are all to some extent avaricious, mean, traitorous, envious, jealous, but most of these charming characteristics we manage to keep fairly well buried and under control. If one breaks out, we become tragedians. If we keep it under control, we remain comedians. If we are not all of us incipient comedians, why do we laugh at comedy?"

–Chuck Jones

08 copy

Stroke of Genius: A Collection of Paintings & Musings on Life, Love and Art by Chuck Jones


This coffee-table art book is 'Chuck-ful' of delightful
paintings and pithy quotes from America's master of animation.  With
insightful forewords by his wife Marian and daughter Linda (accompanied by his
portraits of each) "Stroke of Genius" delivers a refreshing take on
the Mark Twain of cartoons.  With over 50 oil paintings depicting the
characters Jones created or developed with the other animators at Warner Bros.,
the book gives you the opportunity to witness his off-camera style and
sensibility.  Although the quotes were chosen for their content and then
paired with a painting, many deliver a one-two punch of appropriateness — for
instance, an oil painting depicting Daffy cavorting in a sea of gold and jewels
is accompanied by a quote "Be yourself is about the worst advice you can
give some people."  Repeated viewings of "Stroke of Genius"
do not dim the delight one receives from Jones' astute commentary and masterful
painting style.  This book is a must have for the art connoisseur, the
avid cinephile and those who remember the Warner Bros. cartoons as some of the
happiest moments of their lives. A bonus feature is the flip book design
element that travels up and down the outside edge of the pages—a truly
innovative touch that firmly grounds the book in the fine art of

Image of the Day: What’s Opera, Doc?

WOD layout bugs horse 72 dpi

"What's Opera, Doc?" Chuck Jones' masterpiece of animated film-making is arguably the most famous and oft-cited cartoon in history.  As Jones tells it, his crew 'stole' time from other concurrent productions in order to produce this film.  With its magnificent scene design by the incomparable Maurice Noble and layout drawings, such as this one, by Chuck Jones, "What's Opera, Doc?" rode into theaters (and the hearts and souls of millions) on July 6, 1957. 

This layout drawing is part of Chuck Amuck, A Legacy of Laughter, opening Friday, February 26th at the Tempe Center for the Arts. 

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


Image of the Day: Super Rabbit

SURA-01-001 copy

Original layout drawing on two-hole punch 12 field animation paper by Chuck Jones for his 1943 short animated film, "Super Rabbit."  This is one of the original works of animation art that will be on display at the Tempe Center for the Arts' exhibit "Chuck Amuck, A Legacy of Laughter" opening Friday, February 26, 2010.  Read more about the exhibit here.

Artist of Note: Mackenzie Thorpe

This Is All My Love1cropped for web
This Is All My Love by Mackenzie Thorpe

The Chuck Jones Galleries will be hosting a trunk show of rare & sold-out limited edition lithographs, serigraphs and sculpture by the internationally acclaimed British artist, Mackenzie Thorpe, on Saturday, March 27th from noon until 6 PM.  Our special guest will be Kari Guhl, Thorpe's publisher and collaborator.  Please join us with your RSVP at or by phone at 888-294-9880.

Mackenzie Thorpe was born and raised in the British industrial town of Middlesbrough in the 1950s where his father worked as a laborer and his mother as an auxiliary nurse.  With mixed emotions Thorpe recalls the strong feeling of community spirit, the warmth and humor that flourished in the face of adversity, as well as the loneliness and isolation.

Struggling with dyslexia throughout his childhood, Thorpe found confidence in painting and drawing.  He sought out whatever raw materials he could find in order to express himself; drawing on cigarette packs with stubs of pencils, or using eye-shadow and lipstick cribbed from his mum's makeup bag.   Thorpe quit school with formal qualifications, taking on a variety of manual, unskilled jobs while continuing to draw and paint. 

Bearer of Love
Bearer of Love, fine art serigraph on paper by Mackenzie Thorpe

Thorpe eventually gathered up the courage and entered the local art college.  His lack of education and an barely legible application did nothing to warrant support, but the strength and volume of work that he presented, coupled with his enthusiasm and commitment, won him a place at the Middlesbrough College of Art and subsequently, the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. 

After art school, Thorpe spent several years working with inner-city children in London.  Eventually Thorpe left London and with his wife, Susan and children, Owen and Chloe, set up a home and studio in North Yorkshire where he resides today.  His work expresses an entire range of human emotion, from the special bonds of love and friendship to the importance of self-reflection and individual triumphs.  His works are a tribute to the creativity within all of us and are a vivid expression of hope and the ascendancy of the human spirit.

Walking on Love
Walking on Love, a fine art serigraph on paper by Mackenzie Thorpe

Thorpe's perspective on life is clear.  He doesn't hid the fact that often life is a struggle, a dark tunnel which, at times, can seem endless.  However, he passionately believes that our frail dreams are worth nurturing and that love and honesty will triumph over adversity.  Throughout his artistic working years, an iconography (symbolic references) has emerged, some of the more prominent are:

CHILDREN WITH FLOWERS: "Children are the source of love; they plant it at our feet, nurture it and help it grow throughout our lives."

BIG FEET:  "The big feet symbolize that I never want to forget where I came from, no matter how different my life has become.  It can be dangerous to forget your roots.  Your ego takes over, and you've got wings on your feet suddenly.  If I got to full of myself, I wouldn't be the man Susan fell in love with and married.  I wouldn't be the father of my children.  My feet are firmly planted on the ground and that's where I want them to stay, totally grounded.  It's important never to become bigger than your shoes."

Out for a Walk
Out for a Walk, fine art lithograph by Mackenzie Thorpe

SQUARE ANIMALS:  "When I started drawing the square sheep they represented society's narrow-mindedness and rejection of things new or different.  But after I had a near-fatal car accident, the sheep came to mean something different to me, more to do with my wife and kids.  My family is one of the biggest influences on me now, I love them with all my heart.  So now, these big square animals are about love and closeness we are so privileged to share.  They fill the entire space of the canvas, as if the feelings we share for each other stretch to the very edge of our world."

Taking Them Home
Taking Them Home, fine art serigraph by Mackenzie Thorpe

To learn more about Mackenzie Thorpe, his art & iconography and to preview the trunk show, please contact your Chuck Jones Gallery art consultant.  San Diego: 888-294-9880, Santa Fe: 800-290-5999 and Tustin: 800-959-7175.