Color’s illusions…

August 13, 2018


Ancient European 9, circa 12th century illustrates the illusion of transparence when color mixture leads to a loss of opacity so that it appears transparent or translucent. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Greek 10 shows that transparent illusions occur as color gains light only in direct color.


Roman 11 illustrates color boundaries and plastic action, a space-illusion employed by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


17 features letterform “Q” with eye bead motif, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Shakespeare’s ability to create linguistic imagery established a symbolic connection between the color of green and the emotion of envy, yet green is also the color of paradise… the garden… growth… and the emergence of spring:

Merchant of Venice (II,ii,108) “How all the other passions fleet to air, As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair, And shuddering fear, the green-ey’d jealousy.”

Iago in Othello (III,iii,165) “O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-et’d monster which doth mock The meat feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger; But, O! what damned minute tells he o’er Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet soundly loves.”


18 features Yerushalmi letterform of “tzadi” with trail bead motif, designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


19 features Sephardi letterform of ‘kopf” with ancient eye bead designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


20 features Tibetan letterform of “tsa” with ancient eye bead motif designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

hungry rooster

“Hongry rooster don’t cackle w’en he fine a wum.” Words from “Uncle Remus and his Friends”(1892) and drawing by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, one clover and one bee, and revery. The revery alone will do, if bees are few.” Words by Emily Dickenson, No. 1755, design with one four-leaf clover by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

3 ravens

Nevermore and two companions followed me to work, asking, Where shall we our breakfast take? I thought about it for a moment and recommended the fried rice at our neighborhood take-away in honor of Chinese new year… they agreed and took flight. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

frogs rock

Two frogs dodging rocks… design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Some boys were playing by the edge of a pond. Unaware that there was a group of frogs living there, they amused themselves by throwing stones into the pond to make them skip across the water. The stones were flying so thick and fast and the boys were enjoying themselves very much that they did not notice that the poor frogs in the pond were dodging the stones or trembling with fear amidst the grasses.

old frog

At last, the oldest and bravest of the frogs made a stand, and said: “Oh, please, dear boys, stop your cruel play! Though it may be fun for you, it means death to us!” Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Always stop to think whether your fun may not be the cause of another’s unhappiness.


A poor woodcutter, hard at work all day cutting down trees to sell for firewood, wanted to cut down one last tree before going home for the evening. He spotted a sturdy elm beside a deep pool and set to work. After a long day, he was so tired that after a few strokes, the ax slipped from his hands and fell with a splash into the deep murky water.


Woodcutter in the forest… designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

How could I be so careless!” the woodcutter lamented. “I’ll never see my ax again!”

He despaired. A mermaid heard the woodcutter’s lamentations and appeared before him to inquire about what was wrong.

“I’ve lost my only ax in the water,” the woodcutter groaned. “And I can’t afford to buy another. Now my children will go hungry. What can I do?”

“Wait here,” the mermaid replied, and she dove down. When she resurfaced, she held an ax made of pure gold in her hand.

“Is this the ax you lost?” the mermaid asked.

“No, that one isn’t mine,” he responded.

The mermaid dove again to the bottom of the pool and returned this time with a shining silver ax. She asserted: “Then this one must be yours.”

“No, no! That one’s not mine, either,” sighed the woodcutter. “Mine was just a plain iron ax with a wooden handle.”

For the third time the mermaid dove to the bottom and this time she came up with an old, worn iron ax.

“That’s the one!” cried the woodcutter joyfully.  “How can I ever thank you?”

“My friend,” said the mermaid, “your honesty deserves a reward. Take all three axes home with you, and your children will never go hungry again.”


Mermaid design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Delighted, the woodcutter went home and told his family what had happened.

The woodcutter had a wily brother who, upon hearing the story, thought to himself, “Why should my silly brother have better luck than me? Tomorrow I’ll try the same trick, and I’ll bring treasure home too!”

The next day the woodcutter’s brother went to the spot where the elm tree was and threw his ax into the water. He wept and wailed, summoning on the mermaid to help him. She appeared and after listening to his tale of woe, dove to the bottom of the pool. She returned with a golden ax and asked, “Is this the one you lost?”

“That’s the one!” the woodcutter’s brother cried.

Sensing his dishonesty, the mermaid let the golden ax fall back beneath the water. “For your dishonesty,” she stated, “you’ll have no ax at all.” The mermaid vanished, leaving the woodcutter’s brother poorer than ever.

owl moral

Honesty is the best policy. Owl design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.



December 13, 2017

dove and laurel

Dove offering laurel branch design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Season’s Greetings card

The Country Mouse

November 16, 2017

A Town Mouse went on a visit to his cousin in the country. Country Mouse loved his town friend and offered him heartily welcome. Beans and bacon, cheese and bread, were all that Country Mouse had to offer, but he offered them freely. Town Mouse rather turned up his long nose at this country fare, and said: “I cannot understand, Cousin, how you can put up with such poor food as this.” He continued, “but of course you cannot expect anything better in the country.”

Country mouse

Country Mouse design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Country Mouse scurried about beneath some nearby ferns trying to find some more elegant provisions. Then his urban cousin suggested, “Come you with me and I will show you how to live. When you have been in town a week you will wonder how you could ever have stood a country life for so long.”

No sooner said than done: the two mice set off for the town and arrived at the Town Mouse’s residence late in the evening. The polite Town Mouse offered, “You will want some refreshment after our long journey.”

He led his rough and ready cousin into the grand dining room where they found the remains of a fine feast. Soon the two mice were eating up jellies and cakes and all that was nice.

Suddenly they heard growling and barking.

Country Mouse asked, “Ieck!!! What is that?”

“It is only the dogs of the house,” his companion responded.

“Only!” squeaked the Country Mouse. “I do not like that kind of music at my dinner.”

Just at that moment the door flew open. In ran two huge mastiffs, and the two mice had to scamper down from the table and run off.

“Good-bye, Cousin,” said the Country Mouse.

“What! Going so soon?” said the other.


Happy Thanksgiving!


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish dramatist who transformed the Victorian theater by rejecting melodrama for social consciousness that express his radical views and philosophies in the theater. His play Pygmalion (1913) was adapted into a musical called My Fair Lady in 1956.


Drawing of Pygmalion the Parrot by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

The Wizard was wise – but he knew nothing.

The Wizard was kind – but he cared nothing.

The Wizard did good – but he did nothing.

He was just himself.

And the Parrot, apparently, was only a dirty, stupid, squawking She-parrot; but the Wizard took her, and taught her, and turned her squawk into the most beautiful voice, and turned her into a most beautiful… but I mustn’t tell you that until the end of my story.

(This image was inspired by the designs of Phyllis A. Trery and the introductory words from a retelling of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” in Tales from Bernard Shaw told in the Jungle by Gwladys Evan Morris and illustrated by Phyllis A. Trery, London: George G. Harrap & Co., 1929.)