An Artist's Journeys in Nature

Alice in Wonderland – the Cartoon Comic and the Animated Movie

Cheshire Cat Disney ImageAt some point Mickey Mouse Weekly Comic began serializing Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” cartoon film on its back page.

Wow -I fell in love with that, of course.  It’s interesting that of all Disney’s works available at the time, “Alice in Wonderland” was richest in landscape, as well as characters.  And what a landscape it was!  Lush parks, deep forest, the Walrus and the Carpenter’s moonlit beach, the White Rabbit’s house and garden, the Mad Hatter’s tea party garden, the Queen’s maze and croquet lawn – what richness of imagery and color Disney unleashed on the world in that movie!

I know most people prefer “Cinderella”, but for me “Alice in Wonderland” was definitely the tops, and I think that had a lot to do with the landscape settings, especially Tulgey Wood, which somehow totally hooked me in.  Even today, pictures of the Tulgey Wood scenes have a powerful appeal and bring back some very strong memories.

Apart from Elleston Trevor’s “Deep Wood” tales which I loved, I didn’t have much experience of forests – none at all of real forests, that is. So there’s no obvious, immediate connection.  Perhaps it’s relevant that while the Tulgey Wood settings were based on forest reality, the colors and shapes of the trees had an other-worldliness that generated an enormous fascination.  And while they were kind of wild, they were also orderly and groomed. Not full-on wild, like the forests I came to know later in New Zealand.

Tulgey Wood Disney Cartoon Images

Tulgey Wood Disney Cartoon Images

Tulgey Wood invited further exploration, without being too threatening. You could see pathways and openings that beckoned. This forest has depth.  And of course the ‘extras’ – the owl, the frogs, the horn ducks and the momeraths – all of these added enormously to its appeal.  And the art was great.  The super-realism of this tree trunk setting is something else:

Tulgey Wood Owl - Disney

Tulgey Wood Owl – Disney Animation

And then – maybe it was the Elleston Trevor books, or even that old “Sherwood Forest” thing in the blood.    One of the meanings of the surname Howitt or Hewitt (we have a double dose – both surnames are in the family) is thought to be a topographic derivation from the Olde English ‘Hiewett’ – which translates as ‘a place where trees have been cut down’.

Forest dwellers?   Foresters?  Who knows?  I think we carry more programming from our ancestry than we give credit for.  Here’s something that surfaced from my subconscious many years later :

Forest Apparition - Patricia Howitt

Forest Apparition – Acrylic – Patricia Howitt

On top of my CD towers sits a little stuffed Disney Cheshire Cat toy that I found lying in the street a few years ago, shortly after our local McDonald’s opened its doors for the first time. They were giving away little toys to kids. Sadly, some child was the poorer for my gain – but I’d like to think he came into my hands because in the long run, he carries a whole lot more meaning for me than he could for any child in today’s world of ever-changing toy fads…

The cartoon movie stills in this post are all Copyright  Walt Disney Corporation.  Thanks mainly to Lenny at Alice in Wonderland.net .

Patricia

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One response

  1. Pingback: Art and School « Patricia Howitt Art Blog

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