Archive | Jul, 2015

My Inspiration for July II

30 Jul

This month has been the least inspirational month of the year, I just really don’t like summer, and warm weather, but in return I’ve read quite a lot of books. What else can you do when you’re bored? I’ve read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, Slowness by Milan Kundera, Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre, The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and two plays by Tennessee Williams – A Streetcar named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. All of these were very interesting and I recommend them, especially The Outsiders. I’ve watched three good films as well: Singles (1992) – with a young and handsome Matt Dillon as a grundge rock musician , The Outsiders (1983) (also Matt Dillon), and Me Without You (2001). I’ve also watched the new film ‘Madame Bovary’ (2014) starring Mia Wasikowska but it wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be, maybe that’s because I feel strongly about the subject.

I simply have to share with you a few TV series that I’ve watched. Firstly, The Fall, crime drama television series set in Belfast, secondly Terry Jones’ documentary Medieval Lives – very interesting, presented in an amusing way, you can watch it on youtube. It’s thematically divided into episodes titled Knight, Damsel, Peasant etc. so you can watch only the specific episode that interests you. And finally, a new American tv-series Wayward Pines starring Matt Dillon.

Karen Gillan and Aneurin Barnard as Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey celtic nations 5 Merlin Guinevere 6

Merlin Morgana Dress 16

The lady of the lake Castle, Camelot Aby lan Lee knights of the round table Merlin Eoin Macken as Gawain The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim 1877-78. Two Dancers Entering the Stage - Edgar Degas 1874. Edgar Degas, Two Dancers on a Stage 1879. Three Ballet Dancers - Edgar Degas ballerina 148 ballerina 149 fairy drawing Autumn Treehouses ~ Becca Stadtlander Kay Nielsen’s interpretation of Bluebeard for London Illustrated News, 1913 Kay Nielson 7

1910s Umberto Brunelleschi Illustration 4 1910s Umberto Brunelleschi Illustration 2 1924. Vintage Vogue ⍌ art and illustration for vogue magazine covers - Vogue, May 1, 1924 medieval lives 1940s Lauren Bacall reading a book 1970s Harlem 1 sharon tate 122 europe map

Edgar Degas – Lost in Reveries

27 Jul

Again Degas. Again one of his lesser known works which I’ve chosen just to prove that even the most ordinary paintings have a story of their own and a deeper meaning.

1865. Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers - Degas1865 Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers

In this very interesting painting, the woman and flowers are competing for the viewer’s attention. Well, ‘competing’ is maybe a harsh word because the woman seems utterly uninterested in anything and she’s in fact looking into the distance, focused on something we cannot see, though I wonder what could it be. On the other hand, flowers, beautiful chrysanthemums if I’m not mistaken, have taken most of the space on canvas, totally pushing the woman out of the focus. Conventionally, we are taught to look at a human figure in art as the centre, but here the chrysanthemums serve as a central part of the painting, and this is not Degas’ mistake or miscalculation, it holds a significance.

By placing the woman on the side Degas actually directs our thoughts towards the true meaning and idea behind the, at the first sight, ordinary scene and subject. In addition to her corner position, the woman also hides her face with a hand. This asymmetrical composition contributes to the directness and strong impact the painting leaves on the viewer. Equalisation of woman and flowers provides an opportunity for us to compare the physical presents of chrysanthemums and the spiritual absence of the woman. This painting is a simple scene from everyday life. The woman is lost in her reveries, most likely bitter and disappointed with the banalities of everyday life, just like the tragic heroine of Flaubert’s novel ‘Madame Bovary’. She doesn’t appear to be as romantic as Emma Bovary or as idealistic, but after looking at this painting, this agonising detail of everyday life, the boredom and despair is becoming more and more visible. Look at the colours; brown, orange, grey and utterly boring. Woman’s dress and the tablecloth are almost the same colour. Everyday life is coloured in boredom. If this would be a scene from the film, you could here the monotonous clock ticks, soft light of the day on the wane, attention-seeking chrysanthemums could be a gift from a lover just like in Madame Bovary’s case. But the flowers wither, the lover is far away, and days go by nevertheless.

Degas’ portraits in general are all witnesses to the impossibility of conjuring any kind of individuality in the changeable environment of modern life.

Carl Holsøe – Gateway to Infinity

22 Jul

Carl Vilhelm Holsøe is a somewhat undervalued artist. His paintings aren’t really colourful or daring, his brushstrokes aren’t too decadent or passionate, his themes are already seen but there is something about these paintings that keeps puzzling me ever since that morning of 19th June. I remember it clearly; the rapture I felt because I’ve re-discovered some interesting artists, and full of enthusiasm I spent the entire morning half-mesmerised half-intrigued by Holsøe’s paintings, amongst other things. A month has passed, and these paintings continue to intrigue me.

1900s Carl Holsoe (Danish, 1863-1935) - Girl standing on a Balcony Carl Holsoe (Danish, 1863-1935) – Girl standing on a Balcony

Carl Vilhelm Holsøe was a Danish artist, famous for his interior scenes. A son of an architect, Carl attended Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He was famous during his lifetime not only in Denmark, but also in other Scandinavian countries. His paintings are often seen as brilliant extensions of the works of the seventeenth century masters, Vermeer most notably.

Holsoe’s paintings all follow a similar pattern: they’re usually very light, radiating the simplicity and bourgeois tastes in furniture and decoration, women or children bathed in soft daylight coming through the windows, dark and serious mahogany chests, chairs or tables, soft lights curtains, and modest details such as books, teapots, picture frames, and flowers. These domestic interiors radiate serenity, peacefulness and mystery. Doors and windows play a great role in most of his paintings.

I thinks they’re something more than just doors; they are passage ways, a transition, connection between two opposites. Aldous Huxley wrote “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Holsøe’s doors and windows suggest a new worlds outside the domestic comfort of his clean Scandinavian living rooms and corridors, but he leaves the viewer with only a hint for we do not know what wonders or troubles hide behind those wide white doors to unknown.

1900s Carl Holsoe - Interior with GardenCarl Holsoe – Interior with Garden

1900s Carl Holsoe 5Carl Holsoe – The Open Window

1900s Carl Holsoe 4

Holsøe places a major emphasis on the play of lights and shadows and he is very detailed in that aspect. Just notice how carefully and gently he painted those white curtains, white is also the hardest colours to paint, and the soft yellowish light peeking through the curtains. In some paintings, the painter gives us a hint of the sunny day outside, flowers and exuberant nature, while the others show a brown and dull scenery, possibly Autumn. In the last painting I’ve presented here, Holsoe again indulged himself with lights and shadows, and painted one of those calm days when the sky is not engulfed in threatening grey clouds but it’s not sunny either, and the light in the house takes greenish shades, especially against the wonderful white walls and doors.

1900s Carl Vilhelm Holsøe (Danish, 1863-1935) Interior Carl Vilhelm Holsøe (Danish, 1863-1935) Interior

1900s Carl Holsoe - Interior with a CelloCarl Holsoe – Interior with a Cello

The figures in his paintings are mostly women and children, but they’re unimportant in this context which we can assume by the way he painted them – very blurry, turning their back on the viewer. His women are engrossed in their own activities; they are shown reading books, writing letters or simply sitting by the window and looking outside, or waiting by the white doors in a greenish light of a serene day. Their face expressions, their thoughts or feelings are unknown to us for they are irrelevant in these paintings, and like the furniture their role is to beautify the interior and bring focus to a subject that matters – doors and windows. In the painting Interior with Garden Holsoe used an interesting composition: we see a window but only through the open doors.

1900s Carl Holsoe 8

1900s Carl Vilhelm Holsoe 1

1900s Carl Holsoe 6

But again that magic and uncertainty of the unknown puzzles me. What hides behind these windows? What is their purpose in all of these paintings? Maybe what lies behind these windows and doors is the infinity itself. Mysteries, secrets, and a gateway. William Blake said ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.

I Live My Life in Widening Circles – Rainer Maria Rilke

17 Jul

1930s Several Circles, Vasily Kandinsky1930s Several Circles – Vasily Kandinsky

”I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not ever complete the last one,
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, that primordial tower.
I have been circling for thousands of years,
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?”

1913. Vassily Kandinsky - Color Study, Squares with Concentric Circles1913. Vassily Kandinsky – Color Study Squares with Concentric Circles

Artworks I’ve Discovered This Morning

14 Jul

I won’t even try to express my excitement, joy and rapture because of the massive amount of artists and artworks I’ve stumbled upon this morning on Pinterest. But I did have a need to share all these beautiful paintings with you. I’m sure you’ll like some of them because the variety is incredible; different styles, colours, nations, time periods, and yet I like them all. I’m overwhelmed. One more painting and my mind would explode.

Night scenes, explosion of colours, spring meadows, roosters, Ohara Koson’s beautiful nature scenes, wild and surrealist street scenes, some Welsh artists, a peacock, Belgrade after the rain, romantic flowers and picturesque seaside towns, Spanish beauties, 18th century Asian lady awaiting her lover in the forest, Polynesian sky and sea, Montmartre stairs, purples and yellows; if your taste inclines towards some of these things, you’ll enjoy these eye-candies as much as I have.

P.S. Gustav Klimt was born on this day in 1862. He is always in my thoughts…

1938-45. Dancer and Reclining Man Emil Nolde1938-45. Dancer and Reclining Man Emil Nolde

Paris Montmartre - pastel by Yuriy ShevchukParis Montmartre – pastel by Yuriy Shevchuk

Polynesia, The Sea ~ Henri MatissePolynesia, The Sea ~ Henri Matisse

Polynesia, The Sky ~ Henri MatissePolynesia, The Sky ~ Henri Matisse

Rainy day in Belgrade by Dusan DjukaricRainy day in Belgrade by Dusan Djukaric

Dusan Djukaric. After the RainDusan Djukaric. After the Rain

Dusan Djukaric - Belgrade tramDusan Djukaric – Belgrade tram

1889. Childe Hassam - Mrs. Hassam and Her Sister1889. Childe Hassam – Mrs. Hassam and Her Sister

1890s Childe Hassam~ such beautiful light & movement...1890s Childe Hassam~ such beautiful light & movement…

Tetsuo Aoki 1Tetsuo Aoki

Dan McCaw. This reminds me of a rainy day, makes me want to curl up with a good bookDan McCaw

1907. Kees Van Dongen - Houses in Amsterdam1907. Kees Van Dongen – Houses in Amsterdam

1905. Joan Brull 'Dream'1905. Joan Brull ‘Dream’

Kinuko Y. Craft - GaladrielKinuko Y. Craft – Galadriel

Egon SchieleEgon Schiele

1893. By the Window - Konstantin Korovin (Russian, 1861-1939) Impressionism1893. By the Window – Konstantin Korovin (Russian, 1861-1939) Impressionism

1915. Sergiev Posad - Konstantin Gorbatov1915. Sergiev Posad – Konstantin Gorbatov

(c) Henrietta Garnett; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation1945-46. Vanessa Bell(1879-1961), lady with a book

1873. John Atkinson Grimshaw, Moonlit Lane1873. John Atkinson Grimshaw, Moonlit Lane

1893. Edvard Munch - Girl Looking out the Window1893. Edvard Munch – Girl Looking out the Window

1898. Henri Matisse (1869-1954)Woman Reading in a Violet Dress (1898)1898. Henri Matisse (1869-1954)Woman Reading in a Violet Dress

1860. Edgar Degas Le Fauteuil [The armchair], Pencil and watercolour on paper.1860. Edgar Degas Le Fauteuil [The armchair], Pencil and watercolour on paper

1775-80. Utka Nayika - A lady awaits her lover in the forest1775-80. Utka Nayika – A lady awaits her lover in the forest

1922. Hermen Anglada Camarasa (Spanish, 1872-1959) - Portrait of Jennifer Bosch, Duchess of Durcal1922. Hermen Anglada Camarasa (Spanish, 1872-1959) – Portrait of Jennifer Bosch, Duchess of Durcal

1914. Granada - Hermen Anglada Camarasa. Spanish (1871 - 1959)1914. Granada – Hermen Anglada Camarasa. Spanish (1871 – 1959)

Joan Miro 1 Joan Miro 2Joan Miro

1925. Joan Miró - This is the Colour of My Dreams1925. Joan Miró – This is the Colour of My Dreams

1902. The Happy Quartet - Henri Rousseau1902. The Happy Quartet – Henri Rousseau

1919.  Henri Matisse, Interior at Nice1919. Henri Matisse, Interior at Nice

1914. Subway riders, New York City, Francis Luis Mora. American Painter, born in Uruguay (1874 - 1940)1914. Subway riders, New York City, Francis Luis Mora. American Painter, born in Uruguay (1874 – 1940)

The Black Sea at night - Ivan AivazovskyThe Black Sea at night – Ivan Aivazovsky

Painting by Vladimir Dunjic Serbian ArtistPainting by Vladimir Dunjic Serbian Artist

OHARA Koson (1877-1945), JapanOhara Koson (1877-1945), Japan

Ohara Koson, Grasshoper and Fool Moon, c.1910Ohara Koson, Grasshoper and Fool Moon, c.1910

Ohara Koson - Moon and Blue flowers, JapanOhara Koson – Moon and Blue flowers, Japan

Paintings by French Naive Artist Cellia Saubry 1Paintings by French Naive Artist Cellia Saubry

Peacock, 17th century. Edo period (1615–1868). Japan. The Metropolitan Museum of Art,Peacock, 17th century. Edo period (1615–1868). Japan. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chris Neale, Pembrokeshire Artist

Chris Neale, Welsh artistChris Neale, Pembrokeshire Artist

Sir John 'Kyffin' Williams, May 1918 – 1 September 2006) was a Welsh landscape painter who lived at Pwllfanogl, Llanfairpwll on the Island of Anglesey.Sir John ‘Kyffin’ Williams, May 1918 – 1 September 2006) was a Welsh landscape painter who lived at Pwllfanogl, Llanfairpwll on the Island of Anglesey.

Autumn Treehouses ~ Becca StadtlanderAutumn Treehouses ~ Becca Stadtlander

Gary Bunt, The Sleeping GardenerGary Bunt, The Sleeping Gardener

Miguel Freitas  The naive impressions and memoriesMiguel Freitas

Valériane Leblond, Llanrhystyd, Wales 1 Valeraine Leblond. French and Quebecker artist who has lived in Wales since 2007. Valériane Leblond, Llanrhystyd, Wales 4Valériane Leblond, Llanrhystyd, Wales

Lucy Grossmith art 2 Lucy Grossmith art 1Lucy Grossmith

Kubo Shunman (Edo Period) ( Antique Japan Butterfly Illustration )Kubo Shunman (Edo Period) ( Antique Japan Butterfly Illustration )

Carlos Nadal (Spanish, 1917-1998)Carlos Nadal (Spanish, 1917-1998)

lovely tree on print

cat collage Higuchi YukoHiguchi Yuko

Gnome 1

1938. A rooster - Pablo Picasso1938. A rooster – Pablo Picasso

1938. Picasso - Rooster1938. Picasso – Rooster

Edgar Degas – Star of the Ballet

9 Jul

Edgar Degas is my favourite Impressionist painter. He’d probably turn in his grave if he knew I called him an Impressionist because he hated the term, preferring to call himself a ‘Realist’ or ‘Independent’. I’ve written about him only once, but I adore his work so much that I don’t even feel the need to express how deeply I admire and love his ballerinas and theatre scenes.

1878. Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers by degas1878 Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers (Star of the Ballet)

Degas’ name in art is almost inseparable with ballerinas, in the same way that Monet’s name is inseparable with waterlilies or the Sainte-Victoire mountain with Cezanne. Degas started painting ballerinas and subjects connected to ballet around 1870 when his family bankrupted. These paintings were appealing to the audience and possible buyers.

Painting Star of the Ballet is not my favourite Degas’ painting but it’s certainly very interesting. The paintings shows the ‘star of the ballet’ as the title suggests during her solo-performance on an empty stage. Other ballerinas can be seen peeking behind the curtains. The star is finishing her dance movement which Degas captured very accurately; one leg is visible, her hands are elegantly harmonised, and her head is slightly inclined to her right. One feels that one is truly witnessing this beautiful passing moment, and Degas highlighted this dynamic and fleeting mood even more by painting the skirt so fluttering, and the plush black bow around her neck flying around. The ballerina is placed in the right corner of the canvas, while the empty part of the stage occupies the largest part. This interesting asymmetry of the composition (all due to Degas’ interest in Japanese art) only enhances the sense of this fleeting moment. Still, her movement seems strangely frozen at the same time. Like the characters on Keats’ Grecian urn, the ballerina cannot travel through time, it even seems like she’s going to fall because of the lopsidedness of the composition. Degas hasn’t painted the duration of the movement, but rather the ‘eternity’ of the captured movement. His ballerina is eternally incomplete, her leg is invisible due to the dance position, and she’s balancing on the other leg like a flower.

The model for the painting was a very popular nineteenth century ballerina of Catalan origin – Rosita Mauri, famous for her ballet skills, her beauty and fierce temper. She captured the attention of many artists of the day. Degas’ brush is not the only one in Paris that wanted to capture her gracefulness on canvas, other painters such as Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir and Leon Comerre painted her too. She even caught the attention of the symbolis poet Stéphane Mallarmé with her performance in Andre Messager’s ballet Les Deux Pigeons. He wrote he was impressed with her ‘ritualistic animality’ because she performed the lead role with her long black hair loose.