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Old 06-04-2017   #1
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Serene Corner: idyllic artwork, happy wildlife and nature, and more

This is a topic devoted to what many of us would take as serene. I read and watch a lot of children's artwork, and I enjoy watching videos of animals having fun. This is a topic devoted to this.

So far, my favorite children's book illustrators are ranked as follows:

1) Inga Moore (Six-Dinner Sid, A House in the Woods, Captain Cat, The Secret Garden)

Inga Moore's artwork is awe-inspiring. In Six-Dinner Sid, we follow the story of a rambunctious cat who takes advantage of villagers for a total of six dinners. However, they are oblivious of how he is a freeloader, clandestinely going from one house to another for more dinners.

The artwork is splendid and has Moore's signature use of cross-spacing in luminescent backgrounds. I highly recommend this story to people who love kitties!


A House in the Woods has my favorite artwork. It's about two anthropomorphic piglets, an adorable bear, and a lovable moose deciding to build a cabin in the cozy, misty woods! It has an oneiric atmosphere showing how one can find peace and contentment in the secluded corner of forests. The ending is cathartic in how the moose, piglets, and bear have a nice sip of tea coupled with a congenial discussion before heading off to bed for tranquil dreams. Highly recommended.

Captain Cat is about a sailor who loves bringing his furbabies on his adventures! Problem is, he doesn't bring back anything considered valuable; he simply barters antiques for more cats! Oh, how he dreams of reaching more mysterious lands! Eventually, he succumbs to his desires and heads out to distant uncharted islands. There he finds a village, and the denizens take keen interest in his cats. Without spoiling much, if you find the sea a vast and mysterious place, filled with many secrets, and love kitties, then this is the book for you!

Inga Moore's illustrations of Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic, The Secret Garden, is also masterful. She achieved recognition largely through this work, and honestly, there is no better way to read The Secret Garden! The illustrations of that robin are so cute.

2) Jim LaMarche (The Raft, Lost and Found: Three Dog Stories, The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye)

Jim LaMarche is an award-winning artist. My favorite story of his is The Raft, which is about a boy who takes a vacation to his auntie's cabin near a mesmerizing creek filled to the brim with wildlife! During his trip, he becomes bored, but eventually, his auntie shows him how to open his heart towards the wonders and beauties of nature. Along his journey, he comes across stunning animals, such as deer, and draws them on his raft, the accompanying text showing how we should take our inspirations of the natural world and channel it into our art, immortalizing the beauty forevermore!

I also loved Lost and Found: Three Dog Stories! If you are a dog lover, then definitely buy this. It's about three separate stories of children who find inner peace through their relationships with their dogs. Jim LaMarche really captures the nobility and inner divinity of doggies through his artwork. One can really feel the intense love for doggies of all breeds seep into their hearts. Whether Yorkie or Goldie, their heart is sparkling gold. Woof Woof!

The Day Tiger Rose made me cry. Woohoo. It made my heart wrench, but it also had a bitter-sweet message. Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, this is a story about a kitty near death's door. His human family recognizes this dismal fact and lets him pass away in peace in the woods. I felt this story showed how even a kitty can reach Buddhahood by accepting life with no regrets. The moribund cat walks to a snake and other natural phenomena, saying he accepts them all, and then he gives farewells to the world as he dissolves into Nirvana. A very powerful story that teaches men and children alike the importance of letting go and accepting all life for what it is.

3) Catherine Walters (Charlie and Tess, Sleep Tight Ginger Kitten, When Will It Be Spring?, Max and Minnie)
Look at these illustrations:

Catherine Walters illustrations

Just breath it in, soak it in, liquefy your spirit in its image. Ahhh, soul ascending to realms untainted by impurity.

Catherine Walters is a New Zealand illustrator of remarkable skill. Her painted landscapes tend to be littered with nuanced details and pop out much like Maxfield Parrish's vibrant artwork.

After rereading Charlie and Tess I feel a surge of energy and inspiration. It is time to write a poem from the bottom of my heart:

"Oh, great sheepdog,
who fell in love with a lamb,
that even Christ envied.

Heaven found,
in the reflection of sheepdog
on lamb's eyes,

Heaven found,
in the reflection of lamb
on sheepdog's eyes.

Friendship so divine,
that when blizzard hits,
their hearts remain

Max Minnie is so amazing that I have written a free-form poem from a cat's perspective. Keep in mind, it's not that great, but sometimes I find it can be more succinct:

"The light
In my heart,
I reach for thee.

Following the trail
of the mouse,
through a mysterious hole
towards vistas never before seen!

Copious birds
and scuffling voles
amidst bountiful streams
and susurrus of trees.

Oh no! lifted by the eagle
to lofty heights!
Struggling to be free!

Free at last...
but now blizzard besieges me,
'till a cat friend helps with escape.

Back at home,
with wonderful stories to tell!"


When Will It Be Spring moved the depths of my soul. Cioran said that Bach is the only proof of God's existence, but this story to me serves as better potential proof. I feel lost in the majestic last two paintings. It has immeasurable depth... infinity. It's about a baby bear and her mommie bear both sleeping until winter, but the baby bear keeps waking up tugging her mom, asking if it's spring yet. However, it sadly isn't, but the ending does lead to the bliss of spring.

Truly I have found the light through this story. I bow to its glory, its splendor, I sing hymns in devotion to its divinity. A gift from Ohrmazd. All of man's words are naught compared to the last 4 pages of this story.

Here is a poem:

"The heart cold,
but wait for the...

Butterflies, flowers,
Swallows, birds,
Brightness of sun,
warmness of air.

To find radiance
in thy heart

4) Demi (The Empty Pot, Conference of the Birds)

Demi is a great children's book illustrator of world folklore and spiritual classics. Her style tends to be simple and elegant. So far, I have only read those two and recommend them...

Empty Pot is about a Chinese emperor who challenges all of the little boys and girlies to grow flowers from seeds he proffered! Whoever is successful shall become the next emperor! All of the boys and girlies grow their plants except for the number one expert gardener. Why is that? Let us just say there is a profound allegorical message here. Read it and uncover aspects of yourself had never been foreseen. Truly a work that transforms one's mind, one's entire being, one's core. You will not remain the same.

The Conference of the Birds is based off a Persian poem by Mansur-al Hallaj. It's about gorgeous, divine birds journeying through the skies, led by a courageous hoopoe, to find the celestial Simurgh! Along their way, many falter, each signifying a vice hindering the path to self-realization. It is when they reach Simurgh an interesting turn of events occurs, which will I not spoil here. I love birds by the way!

5) Nicola Bayley (Patchwork Cat, Mousehole Cat, Katje the Windmill Cat)

And now, I must prostrate in deference to Nicola Bayley's amazing surrealist artwork.

Mousehole Cat is my personal favorite. Imagine this, you are a fisherman with a loyal kitty who accompanies you on fishing journeys, but lo and behold! a storm has blocked you from daily fishing! Villagers are starving and what are you left to do? You and kitty must venture onward for the good of the people, and of course other unlucky kitties.

When you come across the storm, it shall be shaped like that of a large, belligerent cat, but wait! wait...

Your kitty has an effulgence of divine spirit warding away the evil kitty! The storm vanishes and as the storm cat flees, he learns of a noble truth I shall utter now, for you my audience,

"The love of a furbaby knows no bounds!"

I am done for now...

Everyday, I shall talk more of the serene realm, of Ohrmazd's abode. I have many great children's books, many... I watch many good cartoons.

To hug a parrot, to hug a kitty, to hug a doggy, to hug a squirrely, to hug a piggy,
is to go beyond being human...
to go beyond the great beyond.

I have left off the greatest of goddesses like Beatrix Potter and Tove Jansson, but i shall discuss them on a later time. I bow and kiss the floor when I utter their names. Peter Rabbit and Moomin, you are my true selves, more real than the grossly flesh:

Numinous tranquility, post here of your favorite serene artwork or life-events.

Last edited by Joshu; 06-05-2017 at 04:44 AM..
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Old 06-04-2017   #2
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Re: Serene Corner: idyllic artwork, happy wildlife and nature, and more

Joshu, thanks for your hard work assembling all of this charming information, in contrast to the contentious threads we've had as of late.

Moore's artwork reminds me of the golden age of storybook illustration in the early 20th century, very talented. And the book collector in me wants copies of Beatrix Potter's original, privately circulated copies of her first 4 books, but the prices are beyond crazy.

Put your faith in God; he won't expect you.
Put your faith in death, because it's free.
If you believe in nothing, honey, it believes in you.
-Robyn Hitchcock
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Old 06-05-2017   #3
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Re: Serene Corner: idyllic artwork, happy wildlife and nature, and more

The Tale of Princess Kaguya is based on a classic Japanese tale and is my favorite Ghibli film. It is directed by Isao Takahata, who is responsible for the acclaimed Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and more. It is set during the Heian period of Japan and has few fantastical elements drawn from Buddhist and Shinto cosmology.

The film begins with an old man in a bamboo forest felling one stalk, and to his astonishment, he finds a little girl in a lotus flower inside it. Thinking this is a gift from the gods, he takes the girl to his wife, who expresses joy and a desire to rear her. They name her Kaguya. Thereby her growth proceeds at a faster rate, and we soon find her as a pure hearted teen. Kaguya forms bonds with the nearby villagers, delights in the sights and scents of nature, and more until her father bamboo-cutter finds gold inside another bamboo stalk!

The first 30 minutes of the film are about her life on the mountains, so a lot of time is spent showing the beautiful wildlife, children playing, customs of villagers and more. However, after the old man finds gold, he decides it is a message from the gods to take Kaguya to become a noblewoman in the city.

In the city, we find Kaguya does not like the rigid rules and expectations, and only a household cat, small garden, and the blooming cherry blossoms during spring provide consolation. She yearns to live on the mountains again. From having to deal with ostentatious ignoble noblemen wanting to marry her and the lost love of her childhood friend, the film has a sorrowful tinge at this point.

Without spoiling much, let's just say the ending involves a forced "having to let go" as Kaguya remembers her celestial origins, tied to a poem she frequently repeats. She remembers she lived on the moon among celestial beings, and what made her desire to travel onto earth was hearing a poem from a lady spirit. However, now she has to say bye to both noble and peasant life at the behest of the celestial Buddha by donning a cloak that makes her forget all! The woodcutter and his wife resist the Buddha's decree to no avail. Granted, it is implied Kaguya will continue cherishing and remembering that song, which repeats the cycle as another celestial girl hears it.

Innocence and love
Melancholy due to contingency
Forgetting or unsatisfactoriness

Cycle repeats!

Amitabha, Amitabha.

Last edited by Joshu; 06-05-2017 at 04:47 AM..
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artwork, corner, happy, idyllic, nature, serene, wildlife

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