What we don't think about when we look at older paintings by the masters is that they (or a tireless apprentice) mixed the paint using ground pigment and oil and egg (for tempera). Here, a beautiful French travel case of pigments in original tubes. Note the graceful penmanship on the labels...so lovely!
Friday, February 7, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Saturday, January 18, 2014
There are countless images of the Eiffel Tower, but I love when it appears like an imposing spaceship from a faraway place, no doubt struggling with French to warn anyone looking up from their déjeuner.
Rene-Jacques, Tour Eiffel 1947
George Garen, La Tour Eiffel 1889
The airship Le Jaune by the LeBaudy brothers glides by the Eiffel Tower in 1903
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Coming in May 2014 (I can't wait!)...
Described on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for pre-order customers: Girls Standing on Lawns is a unique collaboration between renowned artist and bestselling children’s book author Maira Kalman and New York Times bestselling writer Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket. This clever book contains 40 vintage photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, more than a dozen original paintings by Kalman inspired by the photographs, and brief, lyrical texts by Handler. Poetic and thought-provoking, Girls Standing on Lawns is a meditation on memories, childhood, nostalgia, home, family, and the act of seeing. The gorgeous visual material sets the stage for what Handler succinctly describes as “a photograph, a painting, a sentence, a pose.” Girls, women, families, and even pets from days gone by grace the pages, looking out at us, enticing readers to imagine these people, their lives—and where they have gone.
I love the idea that a picture (photograph or painting) often contains a moment, a story, an entire world. I bought a book years ago, Transforming Vision: Writers on Art, a delightful collection (pub. 1994) of poems and prose, inspired by familiar art from our country's finest museums. Joyce Carol Oates wrote a wonderful piece on Edward Hopper's painting, Nighthawks:
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Five hours after their launch into the Apollo 17 mission, the crew of the spacecraft took a photo of our humble planet. It wasn't the first photo of Earth seen from space, but it was spectacular in its beauty and familiarity. There's Africa, Saudi Arabia and Madagascar suprisingly huge amid all the cloud swirls. Apparently, there's a cyclone visible in the Indian Ocean, a storm that brought flooding and havoc to Tamil Nadu in India several days later.
Apollo 17 crew, Blue Marble (1972)
In Night View, Berenice Abbott's lens becomes a bird's eye over a Manhattan cityscape that is pure magic. We are floating high above the cacophony of honking horns, sirens, squealing elevated trains, wailing musicians and buzzing neon lights.
Berenice Abbott, Night View (1932)
How does a thing so complex, with parts so at odds with itself, with so many random bits and pieces, so much noise and drama and absurdity, and devastation and need and mystery....how can it even function? It helps to see a bigger picture....with a telescopic lens if possible. How is Night View like Blue Marble? They are awe-inspiring. Awe is a good way to start a new year.
Happy New Year!