Archive for paintings

My 500th post


It’s not really my 500th post – that was yesterday, but I wanted to commemorate the Titanic.  I have been playing around with WordPress’ slide show tutorial and I thought what could be more fitting than to try to make a slide show of some of the items I have featured on my blog so far.  Starting in November 2008, I chose a few images from the monthly archives and made this slide show.  All the posts are still there in the archives, just type in the search facility or use the month and year as a clue.  I had great fun making it – it brought back many memories too.  I hope you enjoy watching it 🙂

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Update:  I have had to severely edit the slideshow as it was slowing everything down.  Hope this proves quicker.

On the Town

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions, HOME, OUT AND ABOUT MANCHESTER, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2010 by echostains

Manchester Art Gallery

It was National Museum day 1st February.  I followed the Tate Modern London, Tate Liverpool, Dox Prague and Beamish.  But you don’t have to wait for a special day to support museums – you can support them any time and the best way is to actually visit them.  I love popping into the Manchester City Gallery when ever I’m in town.  The last exhibition was ‘Women and Anarchy (women Surrealists) which I wrote about HERE.


The head of Mueck's 'Wild Man'

We went to the Manchester City Art Gallery today.  That is another museum that I follow on Twitter.  There are 3 works being exhibited by Hyper-Realist artist Ron Mueck  (4th Feb – April 10)  Artist’s Rooms and an exhibition called Facing East:  Recent work from China, India and Japan from the Frank Cohen Collection.  Mueck’s ‘Wild Man” is colossal and dominates the room.  the naked model sits down, a wild nervous look upon his face.  this has to be seen to be believed!  Mask 111 also huge, you can see each pore in the skin.  The Spooning couple’ was quite small,  deliberate so the viewer invades this private moment by their close scrutiny.

Following on from the enormous success of 2009, Manchester Art Gallery is one of 21 museums and galleries across the UK showing 25 ARTIST ROOMS displays drawn from the collection created by the dealer and collector, Anthony d’Offay, and acquired by the nation in February 2008.

ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund has been devised to enable this collection held by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people.

Behind the scene view of Mask 3

More Hyperealist artists HERE
There are some pretty amazing paintings and objects on display in Manchester City Art Gallery, including a very fine collection of Pre Raphaelite paintings and some unbelievable Adolphe Valette paintings and life drawings which I shall be writing about later.
There’s another post I wrote about Ron Mueck with more pics of his work HERE
Follow a museum HERE on Twitter or just…folow a museum!

Art I LOVE:The Sound of Silence – Vermeer

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , on September 23, 2009 by echostains

Vermeer milkmaid, even the milk is captured in mid flow

Vermeer milkmaid, even the milk is captured in mid flow

Sometimes the sound of silence can actually be very informative.  I’m talking of course about the sort of silent narrative that some of the old Master’s used to convey quietness, closeness and intimacy.  Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (c.1632 -1675) is a good example of capturing the private moment and sharing it with you.


vermeer-woman-in-blue, what are the contents of her letter? all the clues are in the picture

vermeer-woman-in-blue, what are the contents of her letter? all the clues are in the picture

When you look into his paintings, there is a feeling that you have just stepped into the room and have just missed something: some kind of activity or movement, and now all is still (until you leave…….)  It’s a bit like the childhood fancy about  toys coming alive whilst you are asleep and then going back to the inanimate objects they really are when you wake up.

the enigmatic Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer

the enigmatic Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer

Vermeer’s paintings look deceptively simple: a woman with a letter, a young woman at a virginal, another pouring a ewer of milk, a girl with a pearl earring: pictures of quite domesticity (or so it would seem on the face of it).  Vermeer was particularly outstanding in his use of light.  He loved to light his figures up by painting what looks like natural daylight.  This light illuminates  the figures, bringing them to life. 


lady atthe virginals with a gentleman

lady atthe virginals with a gentleman


It has been argued that Vermeer may have used a camera obscura to help him paint details: if he did he wasn’t the only artist (more about this later).

A complete catalogue of Vermeer’s paintings, some of them interactive too! HERE

There’s even a Vermeer blog HERE

To be continued tomorrow

‘Happy Birthday Dear Dali!’

Posted in ART with tags , , on May 11, 2009 by echostains

Dapper Dali!

Dapper Dali!

It’s legendary artist Salvador Dali’s birthday today!  He would have celebrated his 105th birthday (and been in the Guinness Book of Records) is he’d have lived!  He died in Figueres Spain (his birthplace) of heart failure in 1989, aged 84.

Salvador Dali MetamorphosisOf Narcissus.  Dali's paintings are full of Freudian symbolism

Salvador Dali MetamorphosisOf Narcissus. Dali's paintings are full of Freudian symbolism

He is in my opinion the  personification of a painter: talented, original and as mad as a hatter lol!  We went to the Dali Universe in London a few years ago. 

Salvador Dali Mae West sofa

There's something fishy going on with this lobster telephone

There's something fishy going on with this lobster telephone

 Apart from the easily recognised Dali sculptures (lobster telephones etc), the best bit was Dali’s actual drawings and illustrations: absolutely  exquisite pieces of work and lots of them.  Each one a marvel and absolute delight to gaze upon.  Dali was an excellent draughtsman and his sculptures are well…surreal like the man himself!

Facts about Dali here

Here is a list of links to post I have made so far concerning artist’s birthday.  I have tried to make it a rule that I actually LIKE the artists’ work!   Some artists I do like, I have not included so far, as their birthdays have clashed with something else I was writing about. Some birthdays I have only found out about when it was too late to include them , I mean to rectify this at a later date.

Dali Soft construction with boiled beens

More of my posts that feature Surrealism;-

‘Sleight of Mind  and Psychic Art’

And what about the Women Surrealists?  Read my review of the ‘Angels of Anarchy’ exhibition HERE

Fellow Surrealist Marcel Duchamp HERE and Photographer Man Ray HERE

The Latest artist’s birthday  is Pable Picasso



Leonardo da Vinci

Hart Benton


Van Gogh













Art and the Subconscious: Sleight of mind

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2009 by echostains


dali persistence of time


Being fascinated with the subconscious and the art associated with it, starting with the Surrealists (see Max Ernst) and earlier post: ‘Altered book page 10 Freefalling Snake in the Grass’ and  ‘Altered art book page 4 A Qustion of Life and Death’   you will see what I mean.  Artist have used many different means to tap the subconscious.  Methods of producing paintings and drawings, writings and other works where the artist supresses conscious control over the movement of the hand, allowing the subconscious mind to take over is called automatism.



Automatism in its fully developed form is a 20th Century phenomenon.  The Dadaists made use of the basic idea, though they were more interested in chance effects than automatism as such.  For example, Dali after working in a variety of styles influenced by Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical painting, turned to Surrealsm in 1929 and never looked back.  He transformed automatism into a more positive method which he called ‘Critical Paranoia’, eleaborating on images in his dreams and fantasies and merging them with the natural world.



 There are many paths into the subconscious though…….

To be continued




A Little Light relief: Euphoria Borealis

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, HISTORY, HOME with tags , , , , , , , on December 30, 2008 by echostains
northern ights (Aurora Borealis) over the fjords

northern ights (Aurora Borealis) over the fjords

Having recently watched a programme about the Northern Lights, (it’s one of my ambitions to see this strange phenomena one day).  It put me in mind of a painting I did in my final year at Uni.  It was the last painting I completed for my degree.  I had done a massive Art History dissertation,  two 1.500 word essays and a 2,500 dissertation on my Personal Project (Echostains) as well as all my paintings.   It is no wonder the final painting came to be named ‘Euphoria Borealis’!  This summed up the feeling of pure relief  (a belly laugh) at having actually completed such a workload on time!



A Bohemian at heart? or an Ass in Bohemia?

Posted in LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by echostains

French House pub and restaurant

Boho’s that we are (at heart) we were Pottering round Soho and popped into the French Bar, Dean Street. Packed out of course. The smokey atmosphere may be gone, thanks to the ban, but the pub still a kind of ‘aura’ lingering over it. This bar has a great history and some very interesting photo’s and art on the wall of bygone customers: all characters, nearly all dead.

The pub itself is lively enough though, full of all different ‘types’. Lol! Wonder what ‘type’ people would call us? (hence the title). Not keen on stereotyping myself: do not wish to join. However, one of the barmen was NOT very pleased about us taking pictures at all, he told us so in no uncertain terms-

‘Do you know, there are actors in here who don’t want to be recognised or photographed’ he said (in a very loud stage whisper lol!)

Actors who don’t want to be photographed or recognised! A novel concept eh …… The beggers should take their chances the same as everyone else! After all it’s a pub, not an exclusive club (like the Colony Rooms, which we tried to gatecrash once… and failed). You’d have to be EXTREMELY ‘recognised’ by the owner to get in there: disguises must NOT be worn



The offended man himself was sporting a large handle bar ginger moustache, glasses and curly hair: a cross between Mr Pastry and Billy Childish (and yes, we have got a pic of him, it would be rude of me to put it on this blog though.. … oh OK then, if you insist: it’s not like anyone is going to see it..)


We did ask him if he WAS Billy, he said he wished he was. So did we. We like Billy, both as an artist (Stuckist) and a songwriter. In fact I must write about Childish later. But I digress as usual.



Earlier on we had gone to Fitzrovia. Now we ADORE Fitzrovia! I prefer it to Soho. All the interesting characters that used to hang round there. So many to write about, so many talented and interesting lives. Favorites include Bacon of course (got to write about the exhibition yet), John Deakin, FANTASTIC photographer and a well, not a nice character, but a character. John Minton, tragic artist. Nina Hamnett: artist in her own right and Queen of Bohemia, Jeffrey Bernard, the journalist.


We went in the Wheatchief which was one of Dylan Thomas’s haunts, though you wouldn’t know it as they don’t exactly draw attention to the fact. I’m sure there used to be a plaque or something over the seats called ‘Poets Corner’ , but that’s gone now. Him and Caitlin had many a Ding Dong in this pub. But then they had rows any time, anywhere.

Back at the French House, before we were interupted by the barman, this is what we were trying to taking photos of.

past customers

Amongst all the memorabilia on the walls, I was rather quite taken with these. Now I don’t know if they are actual little watercolour sketches, pen and ink drawings or just pieces of wall paper, but I just LOVE them and had to snap em! I can recognise a few of the artists in the drawings/paintings.  And I am sure that a lot of them would be really pleased to be remembered…….. and recognised.

gone but not forgotten