Archive for the ‘Neat Stuff’ Category

I am busy this morning and thought I would replay a post from several years ago. No reason except that I came across it yesterday and it really caught my eye again. The work of Arcimboldo always does.  But I did add a video that shows more of his work so it’s really a replay plus. Take a look– I think you’ll like it.


You don’t often think of work of art from an Italian Renaissance painter as being whimsical. Generally, they seem to focus on themes of religion and myth or on portraiture of wealthy patrons of the time, most beautifully painted.  Then there is the work of Guiseppe Arcimboldo, who was born in Milan in 1527 and died there in 1593, although much of life was spent in the service of  the Hapsburg courts of Vienna and Prague.

Arcimboldo was trained as stained glass designer and painter and initially worked in these fields in a traditional manner.  Much of the work from this time has faded into oblivion, although there are examples of his windows and a fresco or two.  However, it was his other work that gained him fame in his time and which has came through the ages as a constant source of fascination.

Arcimboldo-Winter 1573

Arcimboldo- Winter 1573

The other work was creating portraits, sometimes of his patrons such as the portrait at the top of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1576 until 1612 , that are composed using all sorts of objects to create the figure and features of the subject.  He used fruits, vegetables, birds, books, fish and many other objects in creating these unusual figures.  The final result was always striking, colorful and whimsically imaginative.  And sometimes grotesque, even a bit spooky– I’m thinking here of a series of pieces that Arcimboldo created portraying the Winter season as a person, such as this example on the right, painted in 1573.

Arcimboldo’s work always brings a smile to my face while also stirring my interest in how he must have worked at the time and how he was perceived in that era.  I am sure he was both admired and disliked for his unique work.  Whatever the case, the work remains a fascination.  I am showing several example here but you can go  a site– Guiseppe Arcimboldo: The Complete Works— that features a broader view of his work.  Very interesting.

Arcimboldo-TierraArcimboldo-The WaiterArcimboldo-AirArcimboldo- The LibrarianArcimboldo- The Admiralarcimboldo-winter_1563


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The other day I received the new Summer issue of Acrylic Artist magazine that hits the newsstands and bookstores on June 6.  It contains an article featuring my work and how I arrived at my “signature style.”

I have to say that I am pleased at the way it came out. Writer Zack Hatfield did a great job transforming our interview into a well written article covering ten pages along with numerous images. Many thanks to Zack and the editors at Acrylic Artist for being such pros and for a job well done.

The magazine is available at newsstands on June 6 but if you would like a copy you can order a print or downloaded copy by clicking on the magazine cover shown here on the right.

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I came across this unusual short animation and it caught my eye.  It’s made by Australian cartoonist/artist/animator/whatever Felix Colgrave and it’s called Double King. Colgrave describes it simply as “A film about love and regicide.

For me, it reminded me of the unrelenting greed of so many. I think back to the financial crisis of 2008, the Great Recession caused by housing derivatives that seems to have slipped from so many folks’ minds already. I remember hearing an interview with a hedge fund manager at that time. He admitted that he had enough money and wealth to sustain his family at a high comfort level for many generations to come. The interviewer asked if he ever thought that it was enough.

He laughed and said that it was never enough, that it only created a drive in him to get more.

That comment stuck with me. It spooked me. It served as evidence for my belief that supply side, trickle down economics was a sham and that the wealthiest of us would never willingly share or help the impoverished masses rise out of that state. They would, with a few exceptions, rather strive to gain more and more and more.

And that’s what this great little film brings to my mind.  You might see something other than that. I hope you do.  But it’s definitely worth several minutes of your time, if only to take in Colgrave’s imaginative animations and great illustrations. Take a look.

You can learn more about Felix Colgrave by clicking here.

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I think I have seen this before but it caught my eye this morning.  It’s a video of Turkish artist Garip Ay who works in the art of ebru, known to us as paper marbling.  In this video he takes on Van Gogh’s Starry Night but that is only the start. What turns out in the end is a bit of a surprise although you may see it coming in the process.  Just a neat video and a wonderful display of total craftmanship.

I’ve also included another video of Garip Ay at work.  Just seeing the process and the manipulation of the colors and the way they move on the dark water is fascinating. Mesmerizing.

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Tony Sorby- Journey Tracks to Sacred Sites

Whenever I come across a piece of Australian Aboriginal art online it just stops me cold. I am immediately pulled in amid the dots and forms and earthy colors.  There seems to be something beyond what I am looking at, something deeply rhythmic and pulsing, something that connects me to a bigger pattern.

And that makes sense as even the most contemporary of this art is directly connected to the very beginnings of these people, documenting their paths, ceremonies and customs through the ages. It tells who they are as a people and perhaps, in its own way, does the same for even us non-aboriginals, connecting us in our humanity.

It has an organic authenticity that artists in other genres strive to capture in the voice of their own work. It is new and ancient at the same time. It has a modern abstract feel yet has representational symbology that comes through. As has been said, most of this work could hang in a modern art museum or in a museum devoted to anthropology– it is art and history.

I just find it fascinating and have nothing but great respect for these artists. I spent about an hour looking at the site of  a wonderful gallery devoted to Aboriginal art, the Kate Owen Gallery, based in the Sydney area of Australia. I could have spent many more hours on the site.  I urge you to take a look.

I’m showing a few pieces that jumped out at me and I barely scratched the surface of all the great work there


Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty-Awurrapun


Eileen Napaltjarri-Tjiturrupa


Alma Nungurrayi Granites-Yanjirlpirri


Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty-Family Tree


Christine Nakamarra Curtis-Mina Mina Jukurrpa


Joylene Napangardi Reid-Women’s Ceremony

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false-news-1903I’ve been saying for while that fake news is a dangerous thing.  And it turns out that it has been killing people for over a century.

And I have the proof.

While going through some old family genealogy, I came across this story about a great-uncle of mine from three generations back.  His name was Sylvester Odell and he was a fairly well-to-do farmer in Central NY  who was about 77 years old in 1903.   Like the Britney Spears item from earlier this week, a rumor began and spread through social media that Sylvester had died. Of course, social media at that time consisted of the mail, telegraph, an occasional telephone and yelling out to your neighbor.

But even so, the rumor spread quickly.

Friends and family gathered and headed out to Sylvester’s farm where they found him alive and well.  In fact, he was doing his normal chores in his barn.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief then shared a big laugh.  A few hours after everyone in the party had left, a still surprised Sylvester sat in his chair and passed away.

He just couldn’t take the news of his own death.

Damn fake news!

The news of his actual death after the false report made all of the newspapers around the state.  Even when reporting the facts, some of the newspapers still got parts of the story wrong.  For example, the item above is from the Syracuse Telegram.  It gives the location of the story as Dresden when in fact Sylvester lived ( and died!) in Dryden. False or not, we seem to have trouble getting the story straight.

So there you have it, proof positive that fake news kills.  Be careful out there, folks.


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yayoi-kusama-all-the-eternal-love-i-have-for-the-pumpkins-2016Well, October is the time for pumpkins.

Over the last day or so I keep coming back to the photo above after seeing it on the I Require Art page.  Titled  All the Eternal Love I Have For the Pumpkins, it’s from an installation from the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  Now 87 years old and still highly  productive, she has long been at the forefront of the avant-garde and conceptual art movements.

yayoi-kusama-portrait-w-pumpkinI can’t write much about her as I don’t know much about her.  But the imagery I have come across with all its densely packed patterns consisting often of her trademark polka dots swirling and twisting on multiple surfaces.  Like the pumpkins above or the photo here on the left  with her becoming part of the installation in a most wonderful way.  It’s mesmerizing.

One of the ways I quickly judge the direction of an artist’s work is to do a Google image search.  Below is a quick shot of a search done with her name and the word pumpkin and below that is one just using her name.  Great continuity, great pop off the screen.  I just love the look of this work.

I urge you to look more into the work and life of Yayoi Kusama.  I know I will look further.


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