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Friday, March 29, 2013

Something Random This Way Comes...

Feeling some art musings just popping out every which way today. Here's a couple. Take 'em or leave'em. Just saying.

To all you art collectors, jurors, art makers, whoever else: Angst is over!!! Over, o.k? Enough already.
It's pretty much been over since the Simpsons did their rendition of The Scream on prime time
Y.E.S. I will concede that it had its flash of retro redux after 9/11, and that some folks still dig it.
Just not me. Like the grrrl in the altered comic, I'm OVER it.

To all you Steampunkers:
In my heart, I know that Steampunk is over, too. I know it...but then how can I explain that I’m the first to slam that Facebook “like” button whenever a friend posts
“When are they gonna bring Firefly back?”
The truth? I love everything Steampunk. Yeah. I do. 

To everybody, everywhere, even if you don't care:
My personal hero of heroes is and likely always will be, none other than that Steampunkesque Queen of the late last century, that Goddess of forever landfill treasure trovings, that extreme example of never say never,
Tank Girl!!!!
As long as there’s a desert on any planet, a water shortage somewhere, a military-industrial complex run-amok, and Rippers to save us, Tank Girl will NEVER be over. Never.
"I got just two words for you: brush your teeth."
"Now-everybody throw down your guns or I scrape off all her make-up."
     "To the Bat Tank!!!"
Tank Girl. As random as it gets. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Paper Lesson #2

My second lesson in Italian paper marbling occurred this past week while We were in Firenze at Il Papiro. The lesson this time was from the owner of Il Papiro. Not only was he a fine instructor, but a wealth of historical information, which I sucked right up.
Some websites say that paper marbling began in Turkey, others that it started earlier in China---about 2,000 years ago. The instructor at Il Papiro (whose family came from Turkey to Italy many generations ago) told us the history as he knew it, i.e. from when the technique got its Asian permutation in early 12th century Japan. There and then, the “floating ink” technique was more metaphysical in design, involving air currents to create each unique pattern.
From Japan, the technique was introduced to the Ottoman Empire, where as art styles will, it followed another path to become very representational. Hard to believe once I’d had my lesson. But artists do what they are inclined to, so I’m a believer.
From Turkey it arrived in Europe, and the beautiful marbled papers I came to think of as originating in Firenze got their start.
Entering Il Papiro for the lesson. Lots of temptation. I did succumb to it. LOL. Going home with some pretty amazing art paper.

The gel bath is made of 1/4th pre-mixed wall-paper paste and 3/4ths water, poured into their way cool and functional custom made tray. The gel keeps the colors afloat and prevents them from mixing in the subsequent steps.
Above, the owner is spattering colors onto the bath. He used a honey dipper to tap the paint off the brush and keep his hands clean. Why didn't I ever think of that?!?! The order in which the colors are splattered doesn't matter, since they don't mix.
A wooden stick is drawn back and forth through the floating colors about 4 times.
The colors are "combed", once only, with another  custom-made tool, this time metal comb with a wooden block handle. A metal hair pick would also work, so long as it's metal and not plastic.

Lay the blank paper down on the floating color. This step is tricky because you must not submerge the paper. At. All. 
He did it by placing one corner on the bath (in this case, the corner he's holding in his left hand), letting surface tension hold it, then gently dropping the rest of the paper. As soon as the whole sheet was down, he lifted it back up and out be taking just the opposite corner (held in his right hand) and pulling up.

Presto! You got marble paper.

Have fun. Hope it works for you.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Walking in the Original

Ceilings and Floors, Gardens and Rooftops
I decide to go to Italy to make art. In one shot, I see literally millennia of art carved into the marble, laid out in the tiles, applied to the frescoes, and in our time “repurposed” into garden sculpture. How do you spell humbling?
When I was in grammar school, we made a temple city one year, our teacher’s very creative way of instructing us about Roman and Greek history without boring us completely to death. We built our temples out of wood dowels and white paint. 

Fast forward and I am walking in the original concept. The mosaic floors and fresco-ed ceilings are just about overwhelming. 

At night, and during the famous Richetts’ Power naps, I find myself dreaming in Italian Art.  

 I am most sincerely grateful to the  Pacific Ackworth grammar-school teachers. May, John, Alice, Luann, Margo, Chloe: you set my visual stage for a lifetime of pure joy. Thank you.
Once again, the amazing J. Plummer gets credits for all photos in today's blog. Safe travels, Jen!

Friday, March 8, 2013

    Once upon a time there was a family named Medici who built the Italian city of Firenze aka Florence in English. They really did, along with making some Popes (4, but who's counting?) and probably the best family collection of art ever known in the western world even to this day. 
The family got to be mega-rich over time, in part, by establishing their own bank. Of course, having 4 Popes in the fam-bam line didn't hurt either.

Then one century (the 16th), the Family decided to engage in a land-grab. Specifically, they wanted Siena, big time. Well, not "they" precisely, rather Cosimo I. He conquered Siena, and since Siena is where I am typing this at the moment, I thought I'd share some pictures of the Fortress the Medici Family had to build in order to hold Siena.

On the ramparts, looking out at The World.

Ramparts so wide one could walk around on them and survey all one thought one owned. So wide in fact, that 10 fully armed occupiers from Florence could walk abreast doing aforementioned surveying.

For example, one could easily survey the beautiful Duomo, with its now-complete dome.

As well as to the south and west, from whence a tap at the Tuscany door by Spain might arrive at any time (Or so went the operative paranoia of the day).

Inside the fortress, life was austere, being as Siena was far from the Medici's central seat of power.

But not utterly without its small joys, as this mini grandstand will attest.

So, did the fortress and its garrison succeed in keeping Siena under the Medici rule? Maybe. 

Could it have been the many, many, many politically expedient Medici marriages that were to follow??
Google for yourself and you be the judge.

from Siena,
P.S. All photo credits go to J. Plummer who is rocking this picture-taking thing!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blogging from Italy now, and loving it. What's not to love?
For years, well since I hit 55, I've been saying that I'd really love to be swept up in a flash mob that I did not organize myself.
Story segue:
This is a shot of the Pantheon in Rome, from the inside, obviously. We visited it to see the beautiful art work, the tomb of some famous Roman kings, check out the dome and just generally enjoy that it was amazing and only 2 blocks from where we were staying.
Ah, so very lucky us. We enter and see that a free performance-art presentation of choral singing and poetry has just begun. The acoustics are wonderful. We wiggle our way up to within one row of the front. We are beyond enchanted. So much so, that even the very rude man in the black pants who walks in front of the poetry reader whilst blabbing on his cellie does not bother us...much...Guessed yet where this is going?
The reading ends and all of a sudden, people standing all around us, in everyday street clothes, all at the same time, break into song!!!. We've been flash-mobbed! Guy on cellie is the timing director. Song is in freaking Latin!!!!!!
Yeah. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it.