Happy Eccentric Birthday Salvador Dali!

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 11, 2020 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 ūüėÄ

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!

Surreal Thing Happy Birthday Dali!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2020 by echostains

Dali is a superb draughtsman.  Some years ago I visited the Dali Universe, County Hall, London. salvador-dali-quotes-famous-best-sayings oneThis 3,000 square metre space housed sculptures, (1935 -1984), lithographs, drawings and wonderful  furniture inspired by Dali: gold and glass objects and  even copies of the famous lobster telephone and the Mae West lips sofa!

There were no major paintings on display, apart from the oil he did for Hitchcock’s¬†‘1945 film ‘Spellbound‘. ¬†I took great delight in looking through Dali’s drawings which are simply exquisite¬†and show not¬†only his draughtsmanship skills, but how exacting and precise his execution of drawing was.¬†His imagination may have been wild, but his skills¬†struck me as very honed and precise, not something I associate with Surrealism.¬† Surreal, I know!


Dali and his wild cat Babou


Too much has been written about this famous Spanish artist: some by myself (please see my earlier birthday posts here and for further Dali eccentricities here ).

Dali loved wild animals.  His favorite pet was a wildcat, an Ocelot, called Babou whom he would take to restaurants, tethering the animal to a table and causing alarm to fellow diners.

The surreal image below shows¬†Dali emerging from the Paris underground taking two Anteaters for a walk (1969). ¬†Andre Breton, (Founder of the Surrealist¬†movement) who was known¬† as ‘le tamanoir’ – ‘the anteater’)¬† used this image as bookplates for several books and Dali was to depict the style of the anteater in his famous 1929 painting ‘The Great Masturbator’

Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets


One of Dali’s famous stunts was staged¬†at London’s International Surrealist Exhibition, 1936 when he gave a lecture whilst wearing a deep-sea¬†diving suit. He very nearly suffocated.¬† His wild exaggerated gestures were mistaken for his usual amusing form of eccentricity.¬† Luckily for him a poet, David Gascoyne rescued Dali – with a spanner!

The Great Masturbator 1929


A mysterious fire broke out in the artist’s bedroom in 1984,¬†fortunately Dali was rescued¬†by a friend, Robert Descharnes.¬† Dali was returned¬†his beloved¬† Figueres , Spain¬†(his birthplace),¬†where¬†his friends and ¬†artists looked after him.¬†In November 1988 he went to hospital with heart failure.¬† On 23rd January 1989, the artist died of heart failure at the age of 84.¬† He is buried¬†in the crypt in his Teatro¬†Museo¬†in Figueres, much loved and much¬†admired by most¬†artists and non artists alike.


Images, with thanks are from here and here     the Ocelot image here, others from here    and here   

For historical characters with unusual pets here

Here’s some stuff you might not know about Dali here


Scream, Scream and Scream Again!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART with tags , , , , on May 7, 2020 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¬†‚Äď the sun was setting¬†‚Äď suddenly the sky turned blood red¬†‚Äď I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence¬†‚Äď there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city¬†‚Äď my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety¬†‚Äď and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

This painting has inspired films, masks and other art Рmy 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, 2020 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

Peggy Bacon –

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2020 by echostains

Margaret Frances (Peggy) Bacon


American print maker Margaret Frances Bacon aka Peggy Bacon b. 1895 Connecticut USA was known for her humorous drawings. Writings, illustrations and print making.

Her caricatures of famous people were both humorous and satirical.


peggy bacon self portrait 1934Both her parents were artists. They met at The Art Students league, went on to marry and had three children. Peggy was to survive her two younger brothers who died in infancy.

Bacons parents travelled and were always on the move. The family lived in New York, Paris and the Bahamas. Bacon had and unconventional childhood and was allowed to study only subjects she was interested in: subjects like Latin, the Ancient world, mythology.

Tired eyes 1935 drypoint on paper

In 1913 Bacon attended boarding school in New Jersey at the age of 14. Her father who suffered depression, killed himself in his studio the same year. She moved with her mother to New York and began formal art training after graduation from Kent Place School, New Jersey.  

She became interested printmaking and taught herself drypoint  etching  around 1917 her first drypoint caricatures were published in a satirical magazine called Bad News the following year. Although Bacon trained as a painter, she became  more known for her drawings and satirical prints.  Drypoint was to be her favourite media until 1945, when she switched to pastels.



Bacon was a prolific artist.  She had over 30 solo exhibitions, including Alfred Stieglitz Intimate Gallery.

frenzied effor 1925 drypoint on woven paper

‚ÄėThe aim of a caricature is to heighten and intensify to the point of absurdity all the subject’s most striking attributes; a caricature should not necessarily stop at ridiculing the features but should include in its extravagant appraisal whatever of the figure may be needed to explain the personality, the whole drawing imparting a spicy and clairvoyant comment upon the subject’s peculiarities‚Äô.‚ÄĒ‚ÄČPeggy Bacon[2]

Bacon illustrated more than 60 books, as well as contributing to The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.  Her satirical sketches of the 1920s -1930s New York art world are both witty and humourous.  She also wrote novels and was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best novel of the year for her 1953 mystery novel The Inward Eye


Thanks to

The Smithsonian American Art Museum

More works here

More about Stieglitz and The Intimate Gallery here

Happy Birthday Yves Klein!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2020 by echostains

Yves Klein

French artist Yves Klein (b. 1928 – 1962 Nice France) isn’t easy to classify.¬† Some have said that he was a post-modernist others¬† a neo Dadaist.¬† Between the years of 1947 – 48 Klein ‘wrote’ a symphony which consisted of a 20 minute sustained chord followed by a 20 minutes silence.¬† From 1948 to 1952 he travelled to Italy, Spain and Britain.¬† Whilst in Japan he became a master of Judo, he was aged 25.¬† This was considered at the time a great achievement for a westerner’

Yves Klein blue (IKB)

He threw himself into art seriously and held his first private exhibitions of his monochromes in 1950.¬†¬† Some of his shows showed orange, pink, red, yellow and blue monchromes which Klein thought were misunderstood.¬† He decided to concentrate¬†only on¬†the colour blue.¬† Klein patented his own recipe.¬† This¬†was to become ‘International Klein Blue’ which resembled the blue of the Madonna’s robe¬† in Medieval paintings, originally made with lapis lazuli.

Klein making a Fire painting

Another show, in 1958 called  La spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée, Le Vide (The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, The Void consisted of an empty gallery space except for a large cabinet.  All surfaces were painted white and on the opening night 3000 people queued up to view the empty room, thanks to enormous publicity!

He decorated the Gelsenkirchen Opera House, Germany with vast blue murals and in 1958 collaborated with Jean Tinguely (Bas reliefs in a Sponge forest) using the sponges he had used to paint his canvases.  These were mounted on to steel rods and set in rocks from his parents garden.

Victory of Samothrace 1962

He¬†also ‘painted’ with gas burners by scorching¬†his canvas.¬† He ¬†made sculptures, like ‘Venus de Milo’ and ‘The Winged Victory of Samothrace’ ¬†which he painted in IKB.¬†¬† He also¬†made this photomontage called Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void) which shows appernetly him jumping off a wall.

Le Saut le Vide by Yves Klein

¬†But he is perhaps most well known for his performance art where he used models as paintbrushes as the formerly dressed audience watch and Klein’s Monotone symphony played!

Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue

¬†Here’s the artist himself amidst his symphony and his painted ladies:-

Lots of information about this artist here

and here

Source of images and information here

¬†Yves Klein becomes the latest artist to be celebrated – there’s many more in my Artists birthdays category!

Happy Birthday J M W Turner – Grand Master of the Elements – not all at Sea

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2020 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

Weep not for me

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2020 by echostains

Pablo Picasso b.(1881-1973 Spain) famous iconic painting ‘Weeping Woman’¬† is the artist’s protest about the bombing of Guernica.¬† It was completed in 1937 and ¬†depicts the horror , pain, fear, grief and emotion women were experiencing though the tragic loss of their loved ones in the war.¬† This is a poem I wrote for a completion that I was running¬† at the time.¬† I have plans to bring this feature ¬†back¬† on Bookstains as they were great fun!

Weeping Woman 1937 by Pablo Picasso 1881-1973

A Weepy Conversation


Weeping woman why do you cry?
Muse to genius such as I!
Your tears spill down and spoil my paint!
Too much emotion!  No restraint!

I give you fame ‚Äď yet still you weep!
A bottomless well that runs too deep!
No gratitude ‚Äď just endless tears
For sharing my creative years!

(Weeping woman)

My precious tears are not for you!
Do not suppose that they’re YOUR due!
Your latest muse usurps my place
These tears are JOY upon MY face!

Lynda M Roberts 2010


PS There’s a new poem over on Bookstains



My earlier posts about Picasso Picasso Pops up

Happy Birthday Dear Pablo Picasso

Happy Belated Birthday Picasso