Archive for October, 2010

Which Witch? (Hallowe’en Poll)

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, POLLS with tags , , on October 31, 2010 by echostains

Witches Flying by Goya

It’s Halloween tonight in England and if you look up into the darkened sky you will see that it is crowded with witches.  That’s not the sound of the traffic you can hear – that’s the witches cackling as they go about their business (whatever that is,,,) 

Witch-Riding-Backwards-On-A-Goat Albrecht DurerWitch riding backwards on a goat Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1578) engraving 1500

 Witches have been depicted in many paintings.  The old impression of a witch is of an old dear with a warty nose riding a broomstick.  But that has not always been the case, and today the Wicked Witch of the West persona has been replaced by a more sexy glamorous image.

The Witches Sabbath Arthur Rackham (original illustration but not used in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; 1924 Pen ink watercolour


 So, for a bit of fun and because it’s Halloween here are some random witches.  Which witch do you like best and why?

I have to admit – I like them all.  But there’s something distinctly creepy about the Goya painting.  Not only is it very well painted of course, but it seems to have a supernatural aura about it, as if Goya had actually witnessed these witches trying to fly:-0.  I get the impression that they tried several times before they actually took to the air.  I liken the impression to looking at a group of accrobats practising their performance:-D  Very unsettling indeed from the very dark Goya in his ‘Black’ paintings period’

Witchcraft by Jacques de Gheyn II


David Teniers the Younger


The Night Hag visiting the Lapland Witches by Fuseli 1796


Witches in the air Goya (1746 – 1828) painting 1797/98 here  Witch riding backwards on a goat Albrecht Durer (1471 – 1578) engraving 1500 here  The Witches Sabbath Arthur Rackham (1967 – 1939)  here  Jacques de Gheyn II image here  David Teniers the Younger here  Night hag visiting the Lapland witches here Fuseli here

PS There’s a lovely Memorial Haiku page over on the HAIKUDOODLE blog.  Please remember loved ones and contribute a Haiku 🙂

PPS Theres another wonderful poem on the Weeping Woman Why do you Weep? poetry challenge over on my Bookstains.  Just click the painting to read or maybe join in

Happy Belated Birthday Picasso! plus poetry challenge

Posted in ART, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, POEM CHALLENGES with tags , , on October 26, 2010 by echostains



 It was Pablo Picasso‘s birthday yesterday (25th October 2010).  Born 1881 Malaga Spain, Picasso is probably the most innovative, exciting and original artist to have lived.  He had a long life  (1881 –   1973, Mougins, France) filled with creative output and daring.  Some have called him a genius, but most agree that he was quite an opinionated, forceful  and sometimes difficult character.  Picasso had strong opinions about  art, life, politics – everything, and he wasn’t frightened of voicing them.   Here is just a few of the artist’s quotes and a few of my own observations.  please feel free to add your own.  For more about this artist please look at my earlier post (here)

Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?

(Picasso managed to carry out all three – see his cubism period)

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.

(I suppose by this, Picasso may mean that in order to create one has to throw away the maps and the rules and find your own way – tear down to build anew)

Everything you can imagine is real.

(imagination in itself is its own reality)

Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.

(being an extremely prolific artist – this was probably no idle boast 🙂

Bad artists copy. Good artists steal

(Well Picasso was certainly an individual – but then so was Matisse his closest rival – each fired up the other)


Joy of Life Matisse


Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.

La Celestina 1904 from the Blue Period

 (and colours affect the senses)

God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephantand the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.

(one can only imagine how this quote was interpreted…)

He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.

(well observed Pablo…. and it’s easy to see which camp the artist fall into)

I have a horror of people who speak about the beautiful. What is the beautiful? One must speak of problems in painting!

(It is this way of thinking that marks Picasso out as a seeker and a striver and tells us a lot about the way he approaches art)

If all the ways I have been along were marked on a map and joined up with a line, it might represent a minotaur.

(this remark is almost Dali like :-D). 

self portrait


My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.” Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.

(One of the things I most admire about Picasso is his belief in himself and it becomes obvious from where this belief sprang from…)

 Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.

(Picasso’s inquisitiveness, his search for knowledge and his wilfulness is a trademark of his)

Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.

(I quite like this emotive quote)

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.

( this is so true – inspiration can come from anything and anywhere, it is the ability to transform that makes us artists)

There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats.

(an unfortunate opinion – but true of the artist.  The muses start as Goddesses, but end as doormats as new muses are found)
When I die, it will be a shipwreck, and as when a huge ship sinks, many people all around will be sucked down with it.

 (this makes me smile – the idea of Picasso going down like a huge ship!  The artist’s own self-importance and self belief though egotistical never cease to amaze me! His ego and talent are of equal proportion!)

You mustn’t always believe what I say. Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer.

(There we have it – Picasso cannot resist having his say, sometimes just for the sake of saying something.  However, there is a lot of truth in some of his comments and he has left us this legacy (….and the task of sorting the wheat from the chaff)


To commemorate Picasso’s birthday there is another Poetry Challenge over on Bookstains!  This time the inspiration comes from Picasso’s Weeping Woman.  Please click the woman for details of how to join in! 


Weeping woman 1937 by Picasso

Quotes from this website – with thanks!
Images from here  here and here and here and here and here with thanks!

PS There’s a lovely Memorial Haiku page over on the HAIKUDOODLE blog.  Please remember loved ones and contribute a Haiku 🙂

The Canvas Pavement

Posted in ART, POEM CHALLENGES, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , on October 23, 2010 by echostains

'Chaff' Covent Garden

Everyone has seen pavement artists at work from time to time in their city .  Usuall, they will painstakingly chalk a famous and instantly recognisable painting onto the pavement for passers by to admire and donate money to.  But in recent times there has been a spate of breathtaking ‘3D’ optical chalk drawings that are refeshingly new and innovative  – drawings that trick the eye and make you gasp.

the magic of 3D

The art of 3D street art is an exacting one.   It is a kind of trompe l’oeil, (which means to deceive the eye) and it is optical illusion that appears in 3D form.  

Easy Jet also by Manfred Stader

Manfred Stader began pavement painting during his artistic studies at the Städel Art school in Frankfurt at the beginning of the 1980s .   In 1985 he became a Master Modonnaro (master street painter).  This title was awarded to him in the largest international Street painting and Pavement Painting Contest.competition in Grazie di Curtatone in Italy.

Using pastel chalks, Stader recently created this 9ft x 13ft painting in London’s Covent garden – with great effect!  The ‘frog’ is made from a kind of dry grain.  The painting is called appropriately(after the grain)  – ‘Chaff’.  I think it’s  fantastic –  a real crowd stopper…also a good advert for Costa coffee! There is a sequential video of the painting on Manfred Stader’s website here

the frog floats on top

Manfred Stader’s website and Chaff painting  here  Easy jet painting here

image info here


Theres another GREAT poem AND a new Haiku over on Bookstains!  The Van Gogh poetry challenge is till open (just click Vincent to read the poems and participate)

Ai Weiwei – Seeds of change?

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, exhibitions with tags , , , on October 19, 2010 by echostains


Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957 Beijing) is the latest artist to exhibit in the gigantic space of the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern gallery London. The commission, the latest in the Unilever series  called ‘Sunflower Seeds’ has only been running  a few days, yet it has already experienced some problems.

an aerial view of the sunflower installation

A 100 million seeds cover 1000 meters of the Turbine hall.  The seeds, made individually,  are porcelain, painted with black slip and then fired, and the matte surface left unglazed (whilst unusual for porcelain, it does – but make the seeds look realistic though the finish is more like Stoneware – which uses slip without glaze).  

other 'sunflowers'

The Chinese invented ‘porcelain’ and  whole villages at a time would contribute in supplying porcelain to the imperial courts.  The  artist wanted to highlight the cultural connection.  This has presented the artist with a problem though: to glaze and not only lose authenticity – but make the seeds slippery and dangerous to walk on – or leave unglazed and risk a health hazard to the lungs because unfortunately, a few days into the exhibition, the public had to be prevented from walking on or handling the seeds as the dust created from friction and handling posed this health hazard.  the installation is now protected by a rope.

 The cultural revolution of 1966 – 1976 China, saw people stripped of their individuality.  Posters of Mao depicted as the sun and the masses as sunflowers leaning towards him, abounded.  Sunflower seeds, a common snack for the Chinese became a symbol of community, pleasure and reassurance in those dark times.  The juxtaposing of mass production and traditional craftsmanship invite us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’  stamp – one of the worlds most recognisable labels.

Beijing National Stadium

Ai Weiwei is a fascinating artist whose art (a collaboration with architects in this case) includes the controversial Olympic Stadium in China (also known as ‘Birds Nest: read about it here) and ‘Remembering’ 2009 for the Haus der Kunst’s façade in Germany.  This installation consisted of 9,000 backpacks (especially made), which stand as a commemorative symbol for the children who died in the earthquake in Sichuan. 

Ai Weiwei 'So sorry'

A lot  the children’ backpacks were found under collapsed schools and these specially constructed ones in five colours spell out the poignant words  ‘She lived happily for seven years in this world’ in Chinese characters on the facade.

Thereis more to be read about this fascinating artist here and here

Ai Weiwei blog and backpack image from here, Soft Ground image and info here
More about this installation here
Sunflower Seeds images from here
Made in China definition here
China Olympic Stadium image from here
The exhibition runs Monday 11 October 2010 – Monday 2 May 2011

Sunflower poster from Here

Lurking behind the sofa…

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , on October 14, 2010 by echostains


michelangelo Buonarotti

Have you had a look behind that sofa recently?   I must admit – I haven’t.  I’m much too busy than to bother with these mundane things…;)  It may be worth actually having a look though because I may be lucky and find a long-lost painting by Michelangelo!  Farfetched?  I don’t know so much – judging by this story.

The owners have had ‘Mike’ as they call him, behind their sofa for a several years.  he used to hang on the wall until a tennis ball knocked him off  and they wrapped him up, tucked him behind the sofa and forgot about him.  The painting owned by the Kober family in Buffalo was passed on to Italian art restorer and Historian Antonio Forcellino, who assumed it was going to be a copy – he was wrong!

The Pieta

“In reality, this painting was even more beautiful than the versions hanging in Rome and Florence. The truth was this painting was better than the ones they had. I had visions of telling them that there was this crazy guy in America telling everyone he had a Michelangelo at home,” Forcellino said.

The lost Pieta which measures 29 x 19 inch and is on a wooden panel has been x rayed and shows some alterations.   Its journey from Michelangelo’s easel in 1545 to the back of the Kober family’s sofa and onwards to a vault somewhere is fascinating to read!  It awaits more experts to lend their weight in proving it really is the real thing!


Read more: HERE
Self portrait from here

I cannot argue with another Great Master –  Leonardo Da Vinci when he’s said  that painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt – and poetry is felt rather than seen.  See for yourself by pressing Mona Lisa, reading the poems dedicated to her – and maybe take part yourself:)

PS  More have  been added today!




‘Poll – Never a Truer word was said..’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART QUOTES, POEM CHALLENGES, POETRY, POLLS with tags , , , , on October 10, 2010 by echostains

There are lots of wonderful art quotes around.  Some artists are more eloquent and verbose or wittier than others – Picasso, for example could fill a book with his quotes (but more on this artist coming soon….). 


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 Without letting the art work influence you, I would like you to pick your favorite ‘truth’ from these 6 quotes.  Although all true, the one that I like the most has to be Camille Pissarro as this shows the artist’s eye to see beauty in everyday things and elevates them from the mundane into the profound.

But, then again – who could disagree with Chagall‘s reasoning about art picking up where nature ends – like it’s a natural progression?

I also like the idea of Matisse painting the ‘difference’ between things rather than the object.  It is this difference which makes great art.

 I cannot argue with a Leonardo Da Vinci quote (which isnt in the poll) when he’s says that painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt – and poetry is felt rather than seen.  See for yourself by pressing Mona Lisa, reading the poems dedicated to her – and maybe take part yourself:)

PS  Another has been added today!


Quotes from Here and Here.

Pissarro image here Chagall image here Dali image here  Matisse image from here
Blake image here


Barcode Messages

Posted in DESIGN with tags , , on October 6, 2010 by echostains


Red Dragon by William Blake


Barcodes are on more or less everything we buy.  They are an optical  machine readable representation of data (the Wikipedia definition).  There are many types of bar codes and lots of combinations.  Some think bar codes are the mark of the Beast 666, mentioned in the bible (here).

As usual though, I am only interested in what can be done artistically with these codes.  Unlike an earlier post about pylons, (the idea did not catch on) in Japan the elevation of bar codes into decorative and interesting design has caught on.  How much nicer it would be if this was done all over the world!  We might start looking at our product a little more carefully whilst we are queuing at the checkout (and start thinking about what we are actually buying – and asking ourself do we really need it, and put it back!:)). 

 Then again…we might just buy anything because it has a great bar code on which we haven’t yet got in our collection:D  Yes!  Our collection!  Maybe these will eventually become collectible:D

Bar code images from HERE and HERE and if you want to have your own exclusive one made HERE

Some have linked barcodes with biblical

Meanwhile, over on Bookstains…

The Mona Lisa Poetry Challenge is still on my other blog Bookstains and open to all!  (6 poems now)Just click Mona







The Van Gogh poetry Challenge is still going on – read them all  (theres 10  poems now) and contribute by clicking Vincent

Rib painting….

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , on October 4, 2010 by echostains

I wonder what our ancestors did with the bones from the animals they killed after they’d eaten them?  Just threw them in the dust to be found by us I suppose.  I suspect that if they painted with sticks they may have used the odd animal or even human bone as a drawing or painting tool.  We’ve seen how it’s possible to draw with almost anything – including Cheetos and MacDonald’s and other foods – here is another entertaining video by EclecticAsylumArt, – this time he’s painting with barbecued ribs….and making a fine job of it:) I  really enjoy watching artists paint (if you remember this particular artist also did Elvis with cheese puffs and Bette Davis in mascara!)   Not only do I like the finished art – I also enjoy watching this artist work deftly and with confidence with some very unusual media indeed:D

Meanwhile, over on Bookstains…

The Mona Lisa Poetry Challenge is still on my other blog Bookstains and open to all!  Just click Mona



The Van Gogh poetry Challenge is still going on – read them all  (theres 6 poems now) and contribute by clicking Vincent