Tag Archives: winter

My Inspiration for January 2021

31 Jan

I cannot say that I am sad because January is over, I mean, it isn’t the most exciting month, but it did leave me a gift of some delightful violin music and a wonderful book “The Claiming of the Sleeping Beauty” by Anne Rice which I enjoyed immensely! It’s an erotic novel and most reviews I read were rather negative, but I found it a great read; I liked that it’s a classic and well-known fairy tale but with a twist. My aesthetic this month was partly very dreamy, princessy and snowy, and partly inspired by Marianne Stokes’s wonderful portraits of Slovak and Hungarian girls. Nature is still asleep but I am ardently awaiting it to awake once more, I can hardly contain my excitement when I imagine the meadows and gardens now covered with snow will be green and alive with the laughter of the primroses…

I treated Art as the supreme reality and life as a mere mode of fiction.”

(Oscar Wilde, De Profundis)

Chateau de Crazannes, France (by Mathias Doisne)

Picture found here.

Picture found here.

By: Victoria Chmel | victoriachmel

Drawing found here.

Pic by Stefany Alves

Picture found here.

My Inspiration for December 2020

31 Dec

This December my aesthetic was Greuze’s delicate and wistful girls, fairy tales, castles covered in snow, winter forests, skeletons and maidens, Polanski’s film Fearless Vampire Killers with the gorgeous Sharon Tate, 1990s fashion by Lolita Lempicka, white lace dresses and frosty red roses, troubadours and damsels, swans and sad brides, The Smiths, delicate watercolours by Susanna Duncombe (1725-1812), birches and wedding veils. I watched a wonderful and poignant Polish film “Brzezina” (The Birch Wood, 1970) which touched me deeply and I will surely watch it again. I also Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (finally, because I love the film!) and Bret Easton Ellis’ wonderful book of essays called “White” (2019); it was refreshing to read some common sense.

“Love life more than the meaning of it.”

(Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)

“My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking to suit other people! My manner of thinking stems straight from my considered reflections; it holds with my existence, with the way I am made. It is not in my power to alter it; and if were, I’d not do so.”
(Marquis de Sade (in a letter to his wife; 1783)
“We are all engaged in the task of peeling off the false selves , the programmed selves, the selves created by our families, our culture, our religion.”
(Anais Nin, In Favour of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays)

“Silver Birch” (c.2005) photograph by Adam Brock, via flickr.com

Brzezina (1970)

Picture found here.

Found here.

 

Château de la Bretesche by Night by Loïc Lagarde

Instagram: opheliesz

Inspiration: Castles, White Gowns, Roses and Snow

20 Dec

Cardinal in snow by Molly Dean.

Rose by Rein Nomm.

Picture found here.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany by 📸 Joonas Linkola

Picture found here.

Picture found here.

Frosty days...🦉niiloi

Lake Bled island in Slovenia

Harry Shokler: Waterfront – Brooklyn

13 Dec

The skyscrapers were beautiful. They did not seem like mere corporate shells. They were monuments to the arrogant yet philanthropic spirit of America. The character of each quadrant was invigorating and one felt the flux of its history. The old world and the emerging one served up in the brick and mortar of the artisan and the architects.”
(Patti Smith, Just Kids)

Harry Shokler, Waterfront – Brooklyn, ca. 1934

A big city is never as dreary, lonely and miserable as in winter months, and yet, in those desolate times, some artists are capable of finding a certain magic and these paintings of New York City in snow by American painter Harry Shokler are an example of such beauty. “Waterfront – Brooklyn” shows a Brooklyn port, busy despite the cold weather and snow. I bet there was nothing poetic about this scene in real life, just coldness and misery, but through the eyes of the artist the scene is transformed into a harmony of white, greys and browns. The drab industrial part of the city becomes a place where all hope is placed because the workers and the industry will pull the country out of the economic depression of the thirties. Streets, rooftops and cars are all covered with a layer of snow, but the workers are threading their way through the snow and the work has to continue despite the weather conditions. In the distance, through the fog and over the water, the skyscrapers of Manhattan look upright and elegant, at once their elongated form appears ghostly and intimidating. They can be see as visual symbols of hope and progress, they are like lighthouses in the depression, signaling the better times that are surely to come. Surely, I say, because hope stays the last. In Shokler’s another artwork called “Skyline” the skyscrapers appear again and this time they are the stars of the show. Again, in the foreground of the painting we see the snow-capped roofs of vibrantly coloured buildings of the industrial part of town, and then, over a visual layer of water, the skyscrapers appear, so otherworldly and awe-inspiring, like mirages almost, seen through the snowflakes that further brings a hint of magic into an otherwise drab scene.

Harry Shokler, Skyline, 1942

My Inspiration for January 2020

31 Jan

This January exceeded my expectations by far, what lovely and inspirational weeks these have been. Because it’s cold and grey outside, I tried occupying myself with my hobbies and pursuits instead of wasting time pining for spring and flowers. I started the new year and the new decade with the biography of Dora Maar written by Alicia Dujovne Ortiz; it was a wonderful window into the glamorous and tortured life of this photographer and the muse of Picasso, then I read a romanticised biography of Michelangelo called “Agony and Ecstasy” written by Irving Stone. I am not even a fan of Michelangelo or Renaissance, but Stone beautifully brought the time period and the artist’s feelings to life. I read a few fantastic novels: Hunger by Knut Hamsun, The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark which tells a story of a few schoolgirls in Edinburgh in the 1930s and their wildly romantical, stubborn, idealistic and kind of crazy teacher, Miss Jean Brodie. It made me daydream of the time period and reminisce of my grammar school days. Everything can serve as a springboard for nostalgia. And I am also more than halfway through reading the autobiography of my Hero; Morrissey and it is so wonderfully written, so witty and amusing, so vibrant and sincere… I truly cannot understand why people don’t like him, I never thought sincerity or vegetarianism which he promotes could be a crime?

“She was a romantic, sentimental child, with a preference for solitude, few friends, and a propensity to be moved to tears when the roses in the garden bloomed, when she smelled the rags and soap the nuns used as they bent over their tasks, and when she stayed behind to experience the melancholy stillness of the empty classrooms.”
(Isabel Allende, The House of The Spirits)

John Corbet, Anne writing a letter in winter, 2020, pastel and watercolour. Found here.

Pic found here.

Pic found here.

By: Andrea | dr_difilippo

Lough Key Ireland, by Max Malloy

Andrew Wyeth – Winter Corn Fields

21 Jan

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.

(Andrew Wyeth)

Andrew Wyeth, Winter Corn Fields, 1942, tempera on board

Despite having been born in July, in 1917, the American artist Andrew Wyeth wasn’t a child of summer’s warmth, flowers and golden sunlight. Winter was the season his soul felt most drawn to, as he said himself: “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” Wyeth mentions autumn as well, but the richness, colours and vibrancy of autumn haven’t truly found their way to his canvases. Instead, a lot of his landscapes, such as “Winter Corn Fields”, painted early in his career, when Wyeth was twenty four or twenty-five years old, show the gentle and whimsical beauty that hides under the seemingly harsh, bare and dead winter landscape. I love all the interesting layers in this painting that create a sort of visual rhythm that is thrilling and clearly comes from the artist’s deep dive into nature and attention to details. The fields are not entirely covered by a dreamy, serene, white veil of snow. It seems like the snow, kissed by the rare pale rays of winter sun had partially melted and then froze again. Hidden under the snow, the richly coloured reddish-brown chunks of wet soil are appearing, and so is the lush dark green grass. The colour palette is so minimal; lots of white, dark green, brown, pale beige and yellow; such earthy, subtle colours and yet so much vibrancy and life is portrayed with it. In the background, we see a rusty red shed and a grey house on which only one little attic window is seen. Who lives there, and do they miss seeing the fields around their house vibrantly green and alive, littered with yellow and silver dandelions, I wonder.

Andrew Wyeth, The Granary, 1961, watercolor on paper

Another beautiful, very dreamy painting by Wyeth, a watercolour this time called “The Granary”, which I recently discovered, shows a winter countryside scene with the granary during a full-blown snow blizzard. This is the kind of scene which is dreamy to gaze at, but only through the window, while one is cozy and warm inside, sipping tea and reading a book. No bird, or mouse or a bird would be out here in this magical yet horrible weather condition. But in the artwork such as this one, it simply looks mesmerising and unreal, and this is something that so much of Wyeth’s art has in common, with his poetic painterly vision he successfully transformed trivial, mundane, even boring everyday scenes into something lyrical and hauntingly beautiful.

My Inspiration for December 2019

31 Dec

Pierrots, carnivals, dreams, Chagall’s blue, his love and his lovers, Chet Baker’s melancholy jazz… I reread Patti Smith’s book “Just Kids” and watched the film about Morrissey “England is Mine” (2016) and both deal with the artist’s struggles on the way to fame and both of them comforted me and reminded me of what my values have been since the first time I felt like I want to create, and it made me inspired and that is all one needs from time to time, a dose of inspiration. I feel very optimistic about 2020 for some reason. We’ll see what I have to say at the end of it…. A new year, like a new white sheet of paper with no ink blots, no mistakes, no regrets, no what if-s… And an infinity of Beauty and ecstasy and joy to fill the page with. I hope to paint more, love more, discover more things, feel the nature more deeply, practice the art of indolence more persistently, steal more flowers from my neighbours’ gardens, read some fantastic books, defeat some of my fears and anxieties, and I wish the best 2020 to all of my readers too!

“The trees you planted in childhood have grown too heavy. You cannot bring them along. Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.”

(Rainer Maria Rilke, Part One IV, from “Sonnets to Orpheus”)

Picture found here.

Warsaw, Poland (by Greg Weeks)

Harlem, New York City – May 17th, 2019, Instagram: @matthewgrantanson

 

By Stefany Alves

 

The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (1986)by Arthur Viera

Laurits Andersen Ring – Young Girl Looking Out a Window

4 Dec

“City of swarming, city full of dreams
Where ghosts in daylight tug the stroller’s sleeve!
Mysteries everywhere run like the sap
That fills this great colossus’ conduits.

One morning, while along the sombre street
The houses, rendered taller by the mist….”

(Baudelaire, Seven Old Men)

Laurits Andersen Ring, Young Girl Looking Out a Window, 1885

A young girl is standing by the window and looking out at the urban grey cityscape; grey skies and old roofs gradually disappearing in the mist. Their brown and fading brick red shades are the only colour in this sea of greyness. Then there’s also the soft pink of the girl’s cheek, perhaps from the cold winter air, or perhaps thoughts of distant beloved someone have turned her cheek into a summer’s garden of pink roses. She is dressed in simple, somber attire, and we see so little of her face that it is hard to tell what she is feeling, but we can imagine. She’s clearly a poor, working class girl, yearning for more. Perhaps she moved from the countryside as many have at the time, including the painter himself, and now, looking out of her small attic window at the “swarming city, city full of dreams” she doesn’t see the things that were promised to her. Even though it isn’t shown on the painting, we can imagine the rest of the scene; a poorly furnished cold little room, with old wooden floor, a tattered worn-out wooden furniture, little comfort and little brightness and little warmth, a perfect background for a Joy Division song to play in the background and flood the space and the girl’s life with an even greater sea of misery. It must be a singularly dreary late autumn day, for if it was a winter day, the roofs of Copenhagen would have probably been covered in a layer of snow. These verses seem as if they were directed to this girl looking out of her window:

Tell me, does your heart sometimes fly away, Agatha,
Far from the black ocean of the filthy city,
Toward another ocean where splendor glitters,
Blue, clear, profound, as is virginity?
Tell me, does your heart sometimes fly away, Agatha?

(Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil, translated by William Aggeler, 1954)

Born as Laurits Andersen in 1854 in a little village of Ring, as a carpenter’s son, the ambitious Danish painter added “Ring” to his name as a way to differentiate himself from a fellow painter Hans Andersen Brendekilde (who added Bredenkiled himself out of the same reason) because they both exhibited their paintings at a joint exhibition in 1881. Ring began his art journey as a painter’s apprentice in his village, took some private classes in painting while working in Copenhagen in 1873, until he was accepted as a student at the Danish Academy of Arts and for a while studied under Peder Severin Krøyer, but he never liked the discipline and themes promoted by the Academy. You know someone is a great painter if they rebel against the Academy. The painting “Young Girl Looking Out a Window” is a fairly early and a fairly unknown work, at least compared to his more famous paintings, such as his Northern landscapes and village scenes which tackle the difficult aspects of poor people’s lives. Ring was very interested in the social justice and portraying realism in art, real things and real people, and not mythological fantasy themes. He didn’t want to escape reality, he wanted to tame it and transform it into colours and forms on his canvases. And this painting of a sad-looking girl gazing out the window was painted at the time when Ring himself was struggling financially and artistically, and spent a winter in an attic room in Copenhagen, living more on his ambitions than on bread and butter. Also, the way she was painted, seen from the profile and crammed into the very corner of the canvas, is something he typically did.

My Inspiration for December 2018

31 Dec

This time I will let the pictures speak for themselves…

Picture by Natalia Drepina.

Photo found here.

pic found here.

pic found here.

pic found here.

photo by Natalia Drepina, found here.

Roses, found here.

Photo by Natalia Drepina

George Bellows – The Lone Tenement

22 Jan

The first thing I love about this painting is the title: The Lone Tenement. Doesn’t it sound so evocative of someone lonely, solitary, sad and abandoned? I say “someone” because both the title and the painting awake strong feelings in my heart; I almost want to hug the lonesome tenement and make its loneliness go away. I like to imagine that this is exactly what George Bellows did in his own way; by painting the tenement he preserved a memory of it for all times.

George Bellows, The Lone Tenement, December 1909

George Bellows’s painting shows a lonely building which stands as a relic surviving from an old neighbourhood block. The sight of the tall isolated building reminds me of a misunderstood, melancholy human figure from one of Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings. In a cold December twilight, the lonely building stands on the outskirts of New York City as the sad witness of the urban expansion and progress and the last relic of the old. Thickly, richly applied paint and those dazzling orange and lavender shades somewhat oppose the sombre subject. If there is an expression ‘Living in the moment’, than I’m calling this painting ‘Painting in the moment’ because this building stood there lonely and vulnerable in December 1909 when Bellows painted this, but perhaps if he’d waited a month longer it wouldn’t have been there at all. And a month earlier, two more buildings would have been there too. In this painting, Bellows turned an ugly sight that most people wouldn’t even notice into something beautiful, lyrical and able to awake strong emotions.

George Bellows (1882-1925) was an American painter connected with the group of painters called The Ashcan School who concentrated on portraying the everyday reality of the city that never sleeps: New York City. In his last years, Bellows focused on domestic scenes and portraits of his wife and two daughters, but early in his career he painted urban New York and some very well known boxing scenes. Bellows was the City’s greatest portraitist in the beginning of the twentieth century; he portrayed the disappearance of the old and intimate New York and scenes that interested him were the demolitions of old neighbourhoods, building of new bridges and train stations, construction sites, and places where the urban meets the wild nature surrounding the City. Each of his paintings has a distinct mood and if you concentrate you can almost hear the sounds in the distance and smell the air. Bellows observed and painted meticulously the City’s rapid change, its vivacious energy, its joys, sorrows and struggles for a sense of identity in a never ending flow of change. Here is a quote from the magazine Harper’s Weekly from 1869 in connection to Bellows’s portrayal of a culture that is always rushing and always changing: “In London or Paris you may see some relic of past centuries; these are reverenced and preserved as long as they endure, but New York is a series of experiments, and every thing which has lived its life and played its part is held to be dead, and is buried, and over it grows a new world.”

When I daydream of New York, my visions are pink and soft-edged like clouds and shaped by Lou Reed’s songs and the street-wise groovy rock ‘n’ roll of Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe’s romance as artists working side by side, Edie Sedgwick on one of the legendary parties wearing huge earrings and talking to Andy Warhol, Sid Vicious and Nancy kissing in an alleyway in the film “Sid and Nancy” (1986), Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane walking hand in hand with Katrina in the last scene of “The Sleepy Hollow” (1999) as snow starts falling gently… so being introduced to Bellows’s art and gazing through New York City through his eyes is just adding to the richness of my daydreams!

Rembrandt, The Mill, 1645-48

In connection to the sentiment of seeing the building in the full scale of emotions that you would see a human being with, I will mention Rembrandt’s darkly romantic and hauntingly beautiful “The Mill” which shows a scenery and a mill bursting with emotions. It’s more than a landscape and the Mill appears more like a melancholy loner than just a mill.