Archive for August, 2010

‘Night’ by Eleanor Farjeon

Posted in POETRY with tags , on August 30, 2010 by echostains

Eleanor Farjeon (1881 – 1965) was a British poetess, author, playwright who liked to make history interesting for children.  She is mostly known for her hymn Morning has Broken (1931) which was written to the tune of an old Gaelic refrain.  I read some of her writings when I was a child (The Little Bookroom) and among her poems, this one has always haunted me.  What I like about this particular poem is that she seems to really understand the childs fears about night-time and the wild imaginings and terrors that can occur: the odd shapes of bedroom furniture that are transformed into all kinds of terrifying beings! (maybe it’s just me? :0).  She then couples the restlessness (which is when the child really starts imagining) with the soothing comforting queen in the blue velvet gown (compare this with the torn worn hood of the thieving gypsy).


Night can be a gypsy
In a torn worn hood,
And a rough gruff voice,
And a dark stark mood,
And holes in her hovel in a dank rank wood.
Lest she steal me away
To the wastes of the sky
I’ll hide from the gypsy
When the wind rides high.

Night can be a queen
In a blue velvet gown,
With a pearl on her brow
And diamonds in her crown,
And a silky silver train lined with swan-white

To sing and to play
In the courts of the sky
Til bow to the queen
When the moon rides high.

Video by poetryanimations Thanks! and there is an  interesting article about this author just under the video by Jim Clark that is well worth reading!

Just Click the Van Gogh image to take you to the video

Whilst we’re on the subject of poetry, opoetoo has just made a comment about my post  which shows some Van Gogh images morphing into each other.……………………………………..this gave me an idea for a challenge!  Are you up for it?  Write a poem about what you think Van Gogh might be saying through the painting, or what message you think he is trying to convey. Put it on your site and link to mine and  I’ll make a page putting all the poems dedicated to this on my blog with a link to yours.  Make as profound or just plain daft as you like!!

What next? Cake Britain?

Posted in ART, exhibitions with tags , , on August 28, 2010 by echostains

Futureheads 'The Chaos' lyrics vs Miss Cakehead (chocolate cookies)

A new exhibition called ‘Art you can eat – Cake Britain’  in the Future Gallery, 5 Great Newport street London  WC2 gallery will run from 27th August 2010 until 29th.  All the work is made from sugar and flour, cake and other sweet things and made by the UK’s creative bakers.  The work will be devoured by the public and the proceeds shall be donated to charity.   Tate and Lyle Sugars are the sponsors.  Here’s a very early echostains blog post featuring some of my miniature efforts and a sugarcraft exhibition

'Cloud Cuckoo wedding cake' Stuart Semple vs Paul Baker

I’ve always been an admirer of cake art – its amazing what you can make from sugar. I’ve made decorative dough art in the past and even miniature food from fimo clay, but I can’t ever remember decorating a cake.  this is probably down to me not being very good with cakes (they always come out soggy or sink in the middle).  I’m much better with pastry though – must have cool hands:)

edible MacDonalds - a novel idea

Art you can eat – Cake Britain images from here and here: read about the Madartist teaparty who contributed here

Electric Figures in the Landscape

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, SCULPTURE with tags , on August 26, 2010 by echostains

Angel of the North


I do like seeing figures in the landscape – these monuments. When Antony Gormley built his Angel of the North there was outcry at first.  But that statue has become part of the landscape and is a welcoming sight to travellers.  The material the artist used has aged and giving the statue  a lovely patina. But what about the millions of pylons which there are no outcry about – though they are in every green space?

transforming the pylons

Electricity pylons are everywhere – standing in our landscape, we don’t even notice them half the time.  They are not aesthetically pleasing to the eye – but we tolerate them or just pretend that they’re not there.  Architects Choi+Shine who are based in Massachuset have invented these figurative pylons whose gestures will correspond with the environment.  For example, a figure on a hill shall be made ‘climbing’ the hill etc.

I love the idea of these figures becoming part of the environment and was quite excited about the idea – until I came to the end of the article.  It has been decided by Landsnet  (the company who own the pylons) to NOT to go ahead with the project after all.  What a shame!  Who else would have liked to see these figures?

 Oh well, we will just have to keep pretending the pylons aren’t there….

Read the story with more images here

Angel of the North image from Here

Art I LOVE -Egon Schiele

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , on August 24, 2010 by echostains

Seated woman with bent knee

Austrian expressionist artist Egon Schiele b.1890 Tuln Austria was the first artist I researched when I was at University.  Doing lots of Life drawing and looking round to see which sort of art influenced me his work soon caught my eye.  Like many art students I bought the series of Taschen art books that were and still are  available.  I still have these books, they are excellent resources – and I have nearly all of them!  The books are so informative, the illustrations so clear and colourful, and very reasonably priced.

The Scornful Woman

I have meant to write about this artist for quite a while.  One of his paintings, stolen by the Nazis and in the centre of a 12 year dispute was reported in this article today.  It makes interesting reading.

As a child Schiele was not academically inclined but his uncle, who became his guardian recognised his talent for art and sent him to the Vienna Academy of Fine arts when he was 16.  He became a good friend of Gustave Klimt whose work influenced and inspired him.  Schiele explored sexuality through the human form, using expressionistic body shapes in twisting and contorted positions.

standing male nude with red loincloth

When Shciele moved to Neulengbach he was arrested and jailed briefly for seducing an underage girl.  The artist seems to have courted controversy throughout his life style through his art his lifestyle and his choice of young models.  He did serve in World War 1 and was well respected as an artist, though he never saw any fighting.  He continued his career after the war and exhibited  50 works for the 49th Secession exhibition in Vienna 1917.  He died of the Spanish epidemic in 1918, he was only 28 years old.  I often wonder what sort of art he would have produced if he had lived longer.  He was a prolific worker and has left us a legacy of his fine work.

All images from the Egon Shiele excellent website  Here

Mini biography of this artist here

A Living Likeness

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED with tags , , , on August 22, 2010 by echostains


acrylic on a flesh canvas

A long time ago I came across camouflage artist  Emma Hack whose work I found innovative and impressive (see my post ‘Discovered and Recovered).  Another post featured camouflage artist Lui Bolin.  This artist played with the idea of invisibility to make political statements  here .   Alexa Meade is different type of artist though – one whose art that I have yet to come across.  She likes to paint  people to look like paintings –  the results, I think are pretty impressive! 

a brush with time

Sometimes the ‘painting’ will sit in front of a painting.  It’s hard to see where the person starts and the painting ends.  The model becomes a living trompe l’oeil (realistic imagery to create an optic illusion).

The work is multi layered, a mixture of painting, video performance and installation and the results spectacular.  I especially like the ones in the gallery setting.  The model is given a new ‘skin’ to wear which she or he  can inhabit for a few hours – here today and gone tomorrow. This plays with our sense of permanence and impermanence and also, I suppose it leads us to question our own mortality and our place on life’s canvas – when we are ourselves the canvas on which life is written on. 

 There are a lot of questions to be asked and addressed – which I think makes for very interesting art which is both visually stunning and mentally challenging.

There’s a lot more of these ‘paintings’  each one more astounding than the other from Alexa Meade’s website here and also from here .   Final image from here

Reflected in Lifes Mirror

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , on August 20, 2010 by echostains

Which artist hasn’t tried to do a self-portrait? I know I have – many times and I never could get it right!  Mind, you though, neither could anyone else.  I have an odd face – with no really distinguishing features: nothing that stands out.   The master of the self-portrait was Rembrandt van Rijn, he painted his every year.  But Vincent Van Gogh also painted a lot of self portraits in his life time too.  His portraits are mirror images of how his face appeared reflected in his mirror. This video is a wonderful chronicle of his self portraits, and there are also lots of them here.  I don’t have a particular favorite – but I do like the ones where he is wearing the straw hat and the ones where you can see lots of brushstrokes (in other words – most of them:))  Which ones do you like the most and why?

Self Portraits”

by Philip Scott Johnson

video by eggman913 Thanks!

A brush with Genius

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , on August 18, 2010 by echostains

O Connel lbridge

John (or ‘Jack’  Butler Yeats b. 1861 – 1957, London  was the brother of the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats.  His romantic expressionistic art  explored the Irish way of life, horse racing and Celtic myth.  He started his artistic career  at 17 and over his lifetime he produced over a thousand works.

He sings to the night

His early work was realistic but after 1920s onwards  his work became more expressive and went from the more graphic to the use of thickly applied impasto, which seems to have become a trademark of his. Yeats’s use of this medium, thickly applied does not translate  to screen very well, though it does give you a slight hint of the lyrical way he applies oil.  In my opinion the paintings are better seen in a gallery setting.

Queen Maeve walked upon this Strand

Yeats’s  later work was inspired by Austrian expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka (b. 1886 – 1980) who was also a poet and writer and playwright  like Yeats.  I shall be doing a post about this fabulous artist whom I greatly admire at a later date

There is a wonderful website of information and images here  Morning after rain image from here, Queen Maeve here and He sings to the Night here

Disappearing Trick

Posted in RANTINGS, WORDS AND COMMUNICATIONS, WRITING AND BLOGGING with tags , , on August 16, 2010 by echostains

I bet Harry couldn't do this trick

A few minutes ago I typed a post about Jack Butler Yeats with images.  Now I thought it was weird when there was no ‘post tags’ area, – but still, I saved it  thinking that  I could tag it through the ‘quick edit’.  Needless to say, I lost it, BUT I did manage to get it back in the ‘revisions’ (but with no images).  I closed my blog without saving the post and when I returned it was as if this post had never happened.  It was not in my drafts.  I’m a bit cheesed off with it really!  I’m only posting every other day now – but even so, the thought of trying to go back over what is already prepared is daunting to say the least:(  I will post something else tomorrow and call it a day (or…er something).

Houdini imaged from here