Archive for May, 2011

Happy Birthday J M W Turner Master of the Elements!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2011 by echostains

Today is the birthday of British Romantic Landscape, seascape, watercolourist and printmaker  Joseph Mallord William Turner(b. London 1775 – 1851).  Turner understood the elements, for example when in 1834 parliament caught fire, Turner witnessed it.  He also sketched shipwrecks, storms and other natural phenomena like fog, rain, storms and above all the light and strove to capture it .  He was fascinated by the way light acted upon the elements, giving them a sort of spiritual majesty. Turner loved the sea and it is said that he once had himself tied to a mast of a ship for a few hours to better understand storms.  A romantic tale which is  probably a myth and takes ‘method’ acting to new heights. 

Turner was a master of the elements and loved the Dutch seascapes.  He  conveys emotion through his paintings, and an incredible affinity with natures elements.  The sea was in his blood.  He was brought up by the Thames and it would prove to be a great source of inspiration to his work.  In this great video, Turner’s relationship wiith the natural elements is further explained.

A past birthday post about Turner by me here

Another of my posts featuring Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire   here

Video by

Her Aeolian Harp  with thanks!
 
Turner’s life here and website here

Weird and Wacky ‘Make it Snappy!’

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , on May 19, 2011 by echostains

We read so much about Spyware and CCTV cameras being installed as deterrents against crime.  Then there are numerous stories of stalking and identity theft, as well as court cases involving newspapers violating privacy laws.  Most people really value their privacy, but there is also a bit of voyeurism in us all that makes us just want to take a peek at what others are saying and doing (you’d be surprised at how many people you know on Facebook actually read your updates!). 

When I’m out and about and taking photo’s I am always aware that other people may inadvertently be in them.  Some are quite conscious of this and I must admit it’s quite fun to see them pretend they haven’t noticed as they rearrange themselves and turn so that their ‘best side’ will be snapped 😀  Others visibly squirm if they accidentally walk into the path of a video maker  (I definitely fall into this category  and want to run a mile).  But you never know where or when you may be ‘papped’ or by what!  These everyday items look so innocuous, but if you look closely you will spot their real purpose.  Yes – they are all camera’s!

OK, you probably wouldn’t get away with walking round pointing a tin of Spam at people, but what a fun item.  Pin hole cameras are relatively easy and cheap to make and lots of students make these at Uni.  Though the ones I’ve seen are usually made from a wooden box, there is a lot of scope to be creative  with pin hole cameras (like the Spam tin)  The owner/ inventor of this particular camera has taken some very cool photos with it that can be seen  here.  

There are also instructions about how to make one – all from http://chriskeeney.com/spamera

 But for the ultimate spy camera, try this tiny one for size!  There’s no examples of what sort of picture quality you would get with this unfortunately.  Well, it is a spy camera!

If you want inspiration for making pinhole cameras, then see this site here

Spy camera image and info here

Happy Birthday Salvador Dali – eccentric individualist

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , on May 11, 2011 by echostains

Today is the birthday of the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)  As I have already written a post about the artist (here) I thought it might be fun to take a look at the personality of Dali the man – the fun bits.   This video I think shows the artist’s very individuality.  Dali illustrates that he is all things to all people (and especially to himself) as he struggles slightly to understand the English language    There is also a childishness, a naivity which I find very charming about the artist.  I suspect that under all the bluster there may have been a rather shy, quiet person.

Dali is one of those people who can be unintentionally funny – though sometimes you are not quite sure what he intends (he was after all a surrealist so strange behaviour is almost compulsory)  The advertisers certainly got their money’s worth from the dramatic Dali in this short advertisement.  Who knew eating chocolate could be such a surreal experience 😀

The last video shows some of the prolific Dali’s paintings. Where did all the eccentric artists go?  There doesn’t seem to be any to measure up to Dali the man, for his sense of humour, his talent and his bizarre way of looking at things.  What a great artist and character he was!

Thanks to  and   and  for the videos!

Scream and Scream Again!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART with tags , , , , on May 7, 2011 by echostains

The Scream by Edvard Munch 1893

Today is the anniversary of when the famous painting ‘The Scream’ by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) was recovered undamaged where it was first stolen in February 1994 from the Oslo Museum.  It had been missing nearly 3 months.

Artist and printmaker Munch explored themes of madness, jealousy and sexual awakening, among other psychological states.  His childhood was tragic.  His sister and mother died of tuberculosis and there was mental instability in his family.  The Scream’ (also known as ‘the Shriek) or to give its original title Der Schrei der Natur   means ‘The Scream of Nature) and the painting was part of his ‘Frieze of Life’ which he painted in 1893.

A lot has been written about Munch’s tragic personal life as well as his art  (read two of my earlier posts here and here ).  Munch. although striking, tall and handsome to women was himself quite wary of the opposite sex.  He had a fear of marriage, convinced that any children he may have may be prone to depression and physical illness – a family trait.

My original print re assembled

The location in the painting has been identified as the road leading up to the mental hospital Munch’s sister Laura Catherine was a patient in at the time of the painting.  I once watched a programme about Munch and this painting and it was said that screams could be heard from the interns  by Munch and his family.

In a page in his diary headed Nice 22.01.1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image thus:

I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

This painting has inspired films, masks and other art – my own included.  The painting has been stolen a few times.  the first time was February 12th 1994 and recovered undamaged in May 1994. 

Final print

Another version of ‘The Scream’ (there are several) was stolen by gunmen in 2004 and recovered in 2006 (lots of details about the thefts here.

In 2004 I even ‘borrowed’ the painting myself, basing some lino prints on it.  The intention behind this was to show the alternative worlds between madness and sanity.  I did this by cutting my print up and re-assembling, then making  further prints.  The print is divided and has the line running down the middle to show the split personality of the self and other.  I have heightened the colours to show intensity and acuteness – but I have made one muddier and more nebular to show the hidden and less lucid mood.

Original Scream image from here

More about this painting here.

Munch Museum here

Art I LOVE – Pierre Bonnard

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , , on May 2, 2011 by echostains

French artist and printmaker  Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) was  one of the founding members of Les Nabis.  Les Nabis were a group of avant-garde Post Impressionists who distorted colour and composition to  decorative effect.  Bonnard was interested in unusual and unexpected angles and aerial perspectives – greatly influenced by Japanese prints. It is this which links him with Vuillard and the Nabis.  His interest in capturing the light is very impressionistic but his expressive use of paint  and his intense close brushwork give his work expression.  His wife Marthe features heavily in his work, often seen in the bath or eating a meal.  Bonnard didn’t paint from life but preferred to draw his subjects first, sometimes photographing them. He always made notes of the colours.  He would then translate these colours onto canvas from his notes.

Video by  with thanks!

Read more about the Nabis here