"The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Jack Rickard

Artist: Jack Rickard
The Garden of Earthly Delights
Edition Size: Original
Medium: Mixed
Framed Dimensions: 40" x 40"

Retail Price: $3,600.00

About the Art: Original on canvas

About the Artist:

The flickering blue flame from the gas stove gave off just

enough light to read. Kansas farms had electricity by the

1950's, and with a flip of a switch, the room could have been

illuminated; however, when the rest of the family had gone to

bed, I turned off the lights throughout the house. In the firelight,

it was easy to imagine myself as Abe Lincoln reading by his

fireplace, or perhaps Jeddiah Smith beyond the fringes of the

frontier, fingering his crumpled maps. I read The Deerslayer,

The Last of the Mohicans, and The Pathfinder, frayed pages

packed with valiant heroes, cruel villains, Indian raids, and

stories of courage, rescue, love and death. I saw Natty

Bumppo, not in "the drab hues of reality”, but as one who ran

full speed alongside Chingachgook through the dense green

pageantry of books. However, it was not just the stories that

illuminated my childhood nights. The illustrations of NC Wyeth

and Howard Pyle are what made the stories truly memorable.

In that room in front of the fire, the images came night after

night to assault my being with painted warriors and leather-clad

frontiersmen. It was a world within a world, and they passed

through mine as easily as a tomahawk through a pumpkin. I

kept reading because I loved the fire and the illustrations, and

how they carried me beyond the plains where a cold wind that

smacked of snow dulled the edges of my childish heart. The

books and pictures filled the gaping holes of my education. I

read them slowly, the firelight flickering on every page.

I can say exactly when I became a writer, but being an artist

was something that just evolved over a lifetime. As a boy, I was

interested in art, and on the farm it served as a diversion and

an outlet to pass the time when my younger brother, Roger,

and I were not playing in the creek. We enjoyed the pleasures

that Boy's Life brought to our farm with the illustrations and the

cartoons that offered entertainment in addition to our comic

books. I copied characters in pen and ink on a bed sheet from

Sunday "funnies" such as Dick Tracy, Dagwood and Blondie,

Smilin' Jack, Joe Palooka, Red Ryder, Little Beaver, and

others. Mother saved it as Mother's do, and today I still have it,

tucked away in a drawer, seventy years old and growing older.

When I become famous, my grandchildren can take it on

Antiques Roadshow and when told it is worth thousands, they

can say, "Well, I never would have guessed."

I had a hideaway in the loft of the barn, and there among the

bales of hay, I copied photographs of places I knew only

through the pages of Collier's Magazine. I sent cartoons to

Boy's Life but nothing ever became of them. World War II was

on, and it was the comic book era. I grew up infatuated with

comic book heroes, Superman, Batman, and the Flash, but

Terry and the Pirates was my favorite. I could say that Milton

Caniff gave me my first big start being an artist without either

one of us ever knowing it. During the war I copied Walt Disney

squadron insignias onto the footlockers Uncle Homer sent

home from the Pacific and painted them on anything that would

stand still, even the seat of Gerald Harding's motor scooter.

It has been a long way from the comic books, Cub Scout kites,

a junior high comic strip, high school art class, the cartoon for

uncle Bob's water truck, the Marine Corps company emblem,

designing our college mascot, holiday backyard art shows, and

illustrating book covers, to the one-man- shows in Beverly Hills,

Laguna Hills, Sedona, and Scottsdale, and it has been one

great adventure, a lifetime filled with the kind of events that

make great memoirs.

Through most of my life I had two careers - teaching history

during the week and being an artist on weekends. Somehow it

worked. With each passing year, my art career expanded. Then

I took a fifteen year hiatus to write but never entirely left the art

behind. When my neighbors from London asked if I had any

paintings at home left over from my gallery shows, I decided it

was time to resume my art career.

I like to fill my artwork with mystery and symbolism. I draw

inspiration from Native American connections, folk tales,

legends, mythology, fairy tales, fantasies, Japanese kimono

design, rock formations of Lake Powell, Kabuki drama, the

ocean, and historical photographs: images that symbolize

connections with our past as well as our future. I prefer the

enigma of the abstract, the unfinished line, suggestions instead

of definitions, an ever-changing combination of elements that

are ever evolving so viewers can discover something new

today that they didn't notice yesterday.

I choose to be a teller of tales, a singer, a philosopher, a

magician, a master of make believe, a guide to spiritual

connections that reveal mysterious worlds far beyond selfimposed

boundaries. I desire to give voyagers a new way of

seeing their world, travel to a place where they encounter their

dreams, open the inner sanctum and fly. I wander through the

Museum of Time searching for images that will do this.

Sometimes I get lucky.

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