Art General, Culture and Religion, Flight of Horace, illustration, People and Blogs, Uncategorized
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Ani y Catrina – Acrylic ink on papyrus (all rights reserved Mohammed Shamma)

I painted this piece for #Inktober and Dia de Los Muertos. I had originally wanted to call this the Book of the Dead meets the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) but that seemed like a mouthful.  And as I worked on it, I began to feel like the piece was more than just a mashup of the two traditions.

In this scene, Ani (a nobleman from Egypt in the 19th Dynasty – 1250 BCE) is escorting Catrina (see La Calavera Catrina) to the weighing of her heart.  The god Anubis presides over the scale that measures the weight of her heart to that of a feather.

The hieroglyphic text comes from Spell 30b of the Book of the Dead.  The most famous version of the Book of the Dead is The Papyrus of Ani (British Museum, London).  Here is the English translation:

O my heart of my mother! O my heart of my mother! O my heart of my different forms! Do not stand up as a witness against me, do not be opposed to me in the tribunal, do not be hostile to me in the presence of the Keeper of the Balance, for you are my ka which was in my body, the protector who made my members hale. Go forth to the happy place whereto we speed, do not make my name stink to the Entourage who make men. Do not tell lies about me in the present of the god. It is indeed well that you should hear!
                  — Book of the Dead, spell 30B

Here is a partial Spanish translation (of the English translation) which I used in the painting:

Oh Osiris, el escriba Ani dice: “Mi corazón, corazón de mi madre. Mi corazón, el corazón de mi madre, corazón de mi existencia!. No puede incurrir en ninguna resistencia sobre mí en mi juicio.”

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Ani y Catrina workspace (for perspective)

 

Ani y Catrina

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Art General, Culture and Religion, Flight of Horace, illustration, Watercolor

birdcatchers-daughter

I found my lover in the dawn
Birds chirped as his words flew to me
“Good morning my lovely”
My spirits lifted with the light of the sun
I touched his face and he came alive
“Where are you going today?”
I held him entirely in my hand
“Let’s wander the world together.”
The dove inside me spoke softly
“I’m going to a wonderful place,
Where my heart will be more than happy”
I’m going to be with you.

 

I was inspired by the poem of the Birdcatcher’s Daughter from the New Kingdom poem (or song) found in the Papyrus Harris 500.  A great source for the Egyptian text of this poem and many others is Love Songs of the New Kingdom and  The Literature of Ancient Egypt.

The Birdcatcher’s Daughter

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Advertising, Art General, illustration, Travel Journal, Uncategorized, Watercolor
Watercolor and ink on paper, All rights reserved to Mohammed Shamma

Watercolor and ink on paper, All rights reserved to Mohammed Shamma

Concept illustration that I made for a short story about a girl that responds to an ad about a correspondence art course and ends up on a whirlwind tour around the world.

Become an Artist in 30 Days or Less

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Flight of Horace, illustration, Uncategorized

Song of the Harper (Remix)

Song of the Harper (Remix)

Song of the Harper (Remix) – by Mohammed Shamma – India and acrylic ink on paper – October 10, 2016

Have you ever loved a song or poem so much that you wanted to be buried with it.  The Song of the Harper was exactly that for ancient Egyptians.  I have to admit, I was moved by it when I read the version that was written on Inerkhau’s tomb at Deir el-Medineh.

The waters flow north, the wind blows south,
and each man goes to his hour.
So, seize the day! Hold holiday!
Be unwearied, unceasing, alive,
you and your own true love;
Let not your heart be troubled
during your sojourn on earth,
but seize the day as it passes!

When I read that passage (full text available here) I immediately wanted to incorporate it into an illustration with a contemporary twist.  I decided to change up the subject first.  I’m a fan of standing poses, so I chose one of the musicians from Amenemhat’s Tomb.

الخوخه el-Khôkha

(Flickr photo by risotto al caviale) الخوخه el-Khôkha

I also wanted to incorporate the original hieroglyphs from the wall of Inherkhau’s tomb as seen below.  Unfortunately the song lyrics in the photo (on the left) are incomplete.

Tomb of Inherkau TT359 Pano

(Flickr photo by kairoinfo4u) Tomb of Inherkau TT359

The site OsirisNet.net (thanks to everyone listed here) has a very detailed description of the tomb along with panorama photos of the inside of the tomb.  The site also provides a transcribed copy of the text from Bernard Bruyere the French Egyptologist who published the first excavation of the site in 1927.

Now that I had the original text and English translation, I could begin work on finding the text corresponding to the English version above.  Full disclosure here, my wife is a trained Egyptologist, so I was able to get her help in isolating the correct text.

Once I had the text, it was a simple matter of layout.  I chose to place the hieroglyphs on the outside columns of the illustration and then add my own “remix” of the text (just as I did the musician) around him.

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Architecture and Urban Planning, Artists, Urban Sketching

I found this wonderful piece in the historic conservatory of the One Sansome Street building in the heart of the San Francisco financial district.  It is one of the many pieces by Stirling Calder (Alexander) created for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

The Star Girl - Stirling Calder (Alexander)

The Star Girl

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Urban Sketching, Watercolor

We took the kids to the Open House at Cloverleaf Ranch in Santa Rosa.  They had lots of fun.  I even had fun sketching this view of their barns from the pool.

Cloverleaf Ranch

May 15, 2016, Santa Rosa, California (watercolor on paper)

Cloverleaf Ranch

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Art General, Urban Sketching, Watercolor

I finally got the chance to sketch the giant Medusa head that’s been lurking behind wind-screens and barbed wire fences in the heart of Petaluma, California.  Before I set to work, I had a chance to meet the wizard behind this creation, Kevin Clark, a local artist known for his restaurant designs and the Rhino Redemption art car.

He graciously gave me a tour of his workshop and a detailed explanation of what this giant Medusa head really was.  It’s actually called Medusa Madness and it uses over 100 gallons of propane in full fire-breathing mode.  The snake bodies were made from over 800 steel barrels in construction and the face was based on a mold he took from his wife face.

Medusa Madness

“Medusa Madness” Petaluma, California May 17, 2016 (Watercolor and ink on paper)

Medusa Madness

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