Archive for February, 2011

Making a Present of the past

Posted in ART, DESIGN with tags , , on February 27, 2011 by echostains

It’s a long time since I posted any jewelry or artifacts posts on here.  The inspiration today for this post came from a piece I have just written on Bookstains, in celebration of the Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s birthday.  This video by Native American artist Harold Alfred Kwakwaka’wakw caught my eye.    This Canadian artist was born into the Namgis tribe which is located in the North Eastern Vancouver island.  He is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation (formerly Kwakiut)

Harold emulates past masters and continues in the tradition whilst maintaining  a high standard of workmanship that is an earmark of the Kwakwaka’wakw art form.  All his work is of very fine quality and he has given these traditional artifacts a contemporary twist – making them fresh and new whilst maintaining their  relevence and history.  The works are narratives, traditional storytelling that deserve to be passed down.   Jewelry, stained glass, Totem poles, masks, Lamps are just a few of the items this artist makes.   The rings and in particular, and also the humming birds necklace is delightful!   

Over on Bookstains is a celebration of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s birthday (the post which inspired this post) Just click the button to time travel!

PLUS  Some new poems have been added to the American Gothic Poetry challenge!  Just click the painting to be transported!

More about the artist here and here  

Video by  Thanks!

Musings

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by echostains

The purpose of the artist’s Muse is manifold.  That elusive being who showers  inspiration on man and bathes in the glory of the artists recreation.  The Pre Raphaelites had an eye for these beautiful women and celebrated their beauty with paint – if not always by deed (you know who you are Mr Rossetti).  I came across this video which is accompanied by the most wonderful music, featuring Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Morris (the more well-known of the Muses).  The artists include  Burne-Jones, Millais, Rossetti and Waterhouse: timeless art.

Video by  with thanks!

My previous post about the art of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood, featuring a poll to find the top Pre Raphaelite painting.

There’s now 4 poems in the American Gothic Poetry Challenge over on Bookstains

Grant Wood – Happy Birthday!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by echostains

Grant Wood

It’s American Regionalist artist Grant Wood’s birthday today.  As I have already celebrated this artist’s birthday (see this post) and wrote about him at some length, I thought it might be interesting to look at more of the artist’s most famous work – American Gothic.  Grant Wood was born on this day in Anamosa Iowa USA (1891 – 1942) and is famous for painting the American Midwest, along with fellow Regionalist artists Thomas Hart Benton (see this post) and John Steuart Currie.

American Gothic by Grant Wood 1930

Though known as a painter, Wood also worked in ceramics, wood and metal as well as producing lithographs, ink and charcoal drawings.  The Regionalism movement opposed European abstraction and promoted figurative painting in rural American , primarily the Midwest.   Associated American Artists marketed  Woods work for many years and he encouraged John Steuart Currie and Thomas  Hart Benton (see my post about this artist) to return to the Midwest in the 1930, finding teaching positions for them.

American Gothic (1930) is a national icon, it gave Wood recognition.  The painting has been interpreted as a satire against small town American ruralist, though Wood always rejected this interpretation.  He said that the painting, painted during the Depression, depicted the pioneer spirit.  This image  has been parodied, distorted, and borrowed from so many times – and here in this video are many different versions of the painting. Some are innovative, some silly, some thought-provoking and some – well just bizarre 🙂  One can only marvel at Grant Wood for inspiring these though!

To celebrate this birthday I am hosting another Bookstains Poetry Challenge –  you guessed it …..American Gothic what else!  Update;  Three poems have arrived for  the challege – just click the button to see 🙂

American Gothic by Grant Wood 1930

 

More about Grant Wood here and the Grant Wood Gallery here

American Gothic image here Grant Wood photo from here

Thanks to bestjonbon for the video!

Facing the Paint

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , on February 8, 2011 by echostains

Face painting has been around for thousands and thousands of years.  It has been used as camouflage, used in battle to frighten the opposition, sports and used at funfairs and circus’ and religious ritual and spiritual purposes.  Indeed, the’greasepaint’, the ‘slap’ and the ‘face’ still goes on (and on our faces).  In the 1960’s ‘hippies’, the ‘flower children’ used to paint symbols on their faces and bodies, usually representing ‘peace’ or protesting against war. 

Woad

In the 80’s face painting had a resurgence and became very popular with children at fairs and amusement park and even in shopping precincts.

In this video James Kuhn makes some very interesting faces.  Some are humourous, some incredible, some work better than others, – but all are highly original.   Hours of work must have gone into making up and actually planning  the faces in this video and it is to the artist’s credit that he has never repeated himself.  My favorites are the pineapple – which really made me smile 🙂  I like the ones with the hands upon the face, the Lichtenstein woman, I thought was excellent, and Kuhn also pays reference to Dali with the ‘eyes’ face.  I really like the way the artist has painted the popcorn and the bus – the Tutankhamun is amazing!

Having enjoyed looking at that video, another video by Kuhn caught my eye.  You have to watch it!  It only last a minute, but it really made me gasp (and laugh).  There’s something very Francis Bacon about the way the artist has painted this Pitbull dog 🙂 and the music…… well I won’t spoil it for you.   Amazing – and very well done!

Both excellent Videos by bibleartwork Thanks!

Woad image from here

PLUS There’s another fantastic poem over on my Bookstains blog – Just click the button!

Behind the paint ‘A Tale of Two Chairs’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BEHIND THE PAINT, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by echostains

Van Gogh Chair with pipe 1888

I’ve just put a poem on my other blog Bookstains, using Vincent Van Gogh‘s very famous chair to illustrate it.  A recent (virtual) trip to the Van Gogh Museum (see this post) gave me the opportunity of seeing his paintings up close.  I have seen Van Gogh’s chair before in The National Gallery London – however, this isn’t the only chair the artist painted.

Gauguin's armchair 1888

When Van Gogh’s hero Gauguin stayed with him at the Yellow House in Arles, the  artists initially did get on with each other.  All this was to change though. Van Gogh painted two chair picures – his own chair and Gauguin’s  (Gauguin’s being in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.)  The  chairs embody  the differences between the two artists temperaments and approaches to art.

Van Gogh has painted Gauguin’s more comfier  stylish chair and placed it upon a carpet of flowers.  A candle  illuminates some books which lie there: the green wall behind it is lit  by a blazing lamp.  Van Gogh’s own yellow chair sits in the kitchen on old brown kitchen tiles.  A box of onions lie in the background and the blue door in the picture is shut.  Upon this battered high-backed chair with its stout uneven legs, lies a pipe and some tobacco wrapped  in a scrap of  crumpled paper.

The-Empty-Chair by Luke Fildes

The empty chairs show the artists having left them of course – even perhaps to have departed from this earth.  The contrasts between the chairs do seem to illustrate the differences between the artists (from Van Gogh’s viewpoint).  Van Gogh more attuned to the ethics of the hard working peasants and Gauguin more worldly and sophisticated. What is known is that Van Gogh, who liked  English graphic art was inspired by an image which he saw  in a Victorian Magazine The Graphic by Luke Fildes The Empty Chair, Gad’s Hill’ in 1870, the year Charles Dickens died. 

The paintings also acts as a reminder of that fateful night in 1888 when Van Gogh and Gauguin’s relationship finally reached breaking point, culminating in him threatening Gauguin with a razor (the latter wisely decided to stay at a local hotel that night) and Van Gogh proffered his severed ear lobe to a prostitute.

 Google art Project – Virtual trips around 17 famous museums here

Lots of information about these two paintings here

Van Gogh Images from here

Luke Fildes image from here

A Room (or two) with quite a view (or two)

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, exhibitions with tags , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by echostains

Google has just launched their new Google Art project today (link at the bottom of post) and it’s rather exciting!  Now you can visit 17 famous art galleries around the world – without leaving your home!  Using the same technology as Google Street Maps you can ‘walk’ round the rooms of the buildings and zoom into the paintings!

Chris Ofili No woman no cry

The images are high-resolution and you can really see details AND the brushstrokes!  I’m very excited by this and have already had a peek in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and  Tate Britain where I zoomed into Chris Ofili’s ‘No woman No Cry’  among many.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Blake ‘Ghost of a Flea’

William Blake’s ‘Ghost of a Flea’ proved very interesting. Although I really like this idea, I do hope that this project will act as an aperitif and inspire people to actually visit these galleries;-

The National Gallery London
The Frick Collection New York City
Freer Gallery of Art. Smithsonian Washington DC
State Tretakov Gallery Moscow
Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin
The State Hermitage Museum St Petersburg
Palace of Versailles Versailles
MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art New York City
Rijksmuseum Amersterdam
Museo Reina Sofia Madrid
Mueo Thyssen Bornemisza Madrid
The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City
Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Museum Kampa Prague
Uffizi Gallery Florence
Tate Britain London
Germaldegalerie Berlin

In the far right of the screen there is a small plus sign near each painting – this will bring you really up close to the painting 🙂  Sometime this crashes, but don’t forget –  the project is brand new and millions of people will be virtually stampeding through these galleries (just had a quick look at Edouard Manet’s In the Conservatory in the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin myself, though I’m not too sure how I ended up there. I’m going to take my time visiting  these galleries  – which will take ages.  These are treasure houses full of art and do need to be savoured.

http://www.googleartproject.com/

Video by http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleArtProject with thanks!

Chris Ofili image from here and Blake image here