Archive | June, 2016

Animated Van Gogh

17 Jun

A Polish film currently in the works features an animated treatment of the life of Van Gogh. The film, entitled Loving Vincent, features more than 63,000 paintings created in the artist’s style, rendered by a total of 80 artists.

It’s interesting that I turned up an item about both Van Gogh and Gauguin today. How many people know that they were once roommates? And that Gauguin thought Van Gogh’s famous impasto style was a shameful waste of expensive paint?

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Lost Gauguin Found

17 Jun

A lost Gauguin still life, worth an estimated $1.2 million, has been found in Connecticut.

This seems rather cheap for a Gauguin, but maybe it is a small painting.

Study Shows Making Art Reduces Stress

15 Jun

Making art reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body, according to a study from Drexel University. And it doesn’t matter if your art is “good” or not — just that you do it. Says Science Daily:

Whether you’re Van Gogh or a stick-figure sketcher, a new Drexel University study found that making art can significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body.

Although the researchers from Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions believed that past experience in creating art might amplify the activity’s stress-reducing effects, their study found that everyone seems to benefit equally.

According to Amazon rankings, adult coloring books are one of the site’s biggest sellers.

 

New Look At Beardsley

14 Jun

My fondness for the work of the late 19th Century British illustrator Aubrey Beardsley has little to do with the subject matter; more to do with the fantastic, unique line quality of his pen-and-ink drawings. Here is a short but sweet article in The New Yorker about a current Beardsley mini-revival. 

Mentions of Beardsley always remind me of the late ’70s tune by Rod Stewart, You’re In My Heart. The lyrics, which reference “Your fashion sense, your Beardsley prints,”  are the main reason why I don’t agree with people who think that Stewart is a schmaltzy hack as a songwriter. Anybody who knows who Aubrey Beardsley is can’t possibly be a hack.

One of My Books is Live!

14 Jun

My book Foleytown  is finally on sale online, although the ebook hasn’t shown up at Amazon yet and I’m trying to iron that out with the publisher. But you can order the physical book for $13.99 and the ebook for $3.99 at Authorhouse; the dead-tree version is also $13.99 Amazon. Note: If you buy it from Authorhouse I get a few more shekels than if you buy it from Amazon.

Here’s a description of the book:

Foleytown is a special place…a place where there is always a shortage of money but never a shortage of laughs. Follow the children of the large, financially struggling Foley clan as they navigate through “bloody” pomegranate fights, epic games of Christmas Card War, homemade bridesmaid dresses, fears of itinerant serial killers, and the cherished summer tradition they called “Prune-Why-Oh” – all while learning how to grow up in a very unfashionable part of California.

If you order it, please leave me a review at either Authorhouse or Amazon. Thanks!

Nonfiction Work Traces Lost Velazquez

10 Jun

The great 17th-Century Spanish court painter, Diego Velazquez, once painted a portrait of the future King Charles I of Great Britain as a young prince; then the painting disappeared. In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, there’s a review of a book by Laura Cummings which investigates a 19th Century English bookseller’s life-long association with the missing masterpiece.

The book is entitled The Vanishing Velazquez: A 19th Century Bookseller’s Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece.   According to the newspaper, it “captivates as detective story, art criticism and page-turning entertainment.”

This title sounds interesting. I don’t know that much about Spanish painters, so I put it on my Amazon wish list. Here’s a little bit about Velazquez.

Poem

9 Jun

I wrote this poem many years ago in tribute to the great early 19th Century English landscape and seascape painter, J. M. W. Turner, classified as a Romantic painter but who could also be termed one of the fathers of Impressionism, Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism, if not the father. The poem references one of Turner’s most famous watercolor paintings, called “Pink Sky Above a Grey Sea” , painted in 1822 but looking very much like it belongs in a mid-20th Century Gallery next to a painting by Mark Rothko:

Pink Sky (After Turner)

Thin paste of rosepetals
Sticks fast  a new sky
Pale sun creeping over the sludged waters
Pale moon fading, blind, a drowned eye
Lost in the lonely dawn. 

No bird speaks, yet an unheard song
Trills over the steely sea
Through which dank prison no flailing oar
Nor silver fin has flashed
To break the still of the lonely dawn

What great regard that God has shown
To have made for us this perfect Eye
This perfect Hand that limns the Earth’s great mould
And envies not His creation’s dazzled reply
To the birth of the lonely dawn. 

Looking at this poem after all these years, I realize that I didn’t know at the time whether it was a depiction of the horizon at dawn or at sunset; I assumed dawn. But the Tate Museum, which owns the painting, says it’s sunset, rendering my poem useless. But I still like it! I guess I could find another Turner painting about dawn and change the title.

Here’s some background on Turner from Biography.com.