Animation &Animation Artifacts 28 Aug 2013 06:14 am

Only God Can Make a Tree

Given the holiday celebration of Martin Luther Kings’ elloquent statement re this subject, I’ve opted to post these images from Dick Kelsey. Richard Kelsey was one of those visual poets of the Disney studio. He’d probably have been the only one who could successfully tackle Joyce Kilmer‘s poem, Trees. He also brought Hiawatha to life with his strong beautiful watercolor and in sketches. (Needless to say, the sketches of one film often end up mixed in with the Hiawatha pictures.) Unfortunately, the film never completed production. We ;sten to third rate rate newcsasters give thier own fourth rate unditry of the day. Ricard Kelsey couldn’t offer much better than these images.

Trees was a seqment of the 1948 package film, Melody Time and blended in with a never-completed piece based on Longfellow’s poem. Hiawatha was never complete but was an amazing gift for sore eyes.


a13 9

a14 10-21





ab16 20-7

b18 1-6

The art in these two pieces is often as touching as Eyvind Earle‘s majestic work for Sleeping Beauty. You can see how some slight grace and a more assured pen would have brought the backgrounds to Pocahontas closer to Sleeping Beauty.

They certainly had artists of character working for Disney back then (as do they do today; it’s just that today everyone seems to smell of fear. You also have to know how to keep the beauty of the art from dissipating after a few shallow and solo comments.

4 Responses to “Only God Can Make a Tree”

  1. on 28 Aug 2013 at 1:19 pm 1.Nat said …

    These are breathtakingly beautiful. I would love to see Disney put out work like this again, but only time will tell.

  2. on 28 Aug 2013 at 2:50 pm 2.Shane (Fighting Seraph) said …

    I have to concur with Nat on those backgrounds, especially their use of color and texture.

  3. on 28 Aug 2013 at 5:08 pm 3.Floyd Norman said …

    Disney is not the same company it was back then. That’s sure to have an effect on both the art and the artists.

  4. on 04 Sep 2013 at 8:33 pm 4.Janet Benn said …

    The black and white sequences are so moving, and do move, in a cinematic language. The more I look, the more I see.

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