If you have been following this blog, you may remember a series of short posts about basic composition techniques in the Art-iculations category. These were written for beginners by a beginner (moi). My Flickr friend Rick (word artist), a very accomplished photographer with a brilliant sense of composition, has embarked upon a similar series for the Flickr group Learn Composition by Example, providing far more information and examples than I did. Previous posts on this subject can be found here: Leading lines Layers Borders Framing Triangles Anchoring Negative space The S-curve
Recently, he posted his thoughts on silhouettes as a composition technique, with 19 photographs as illustration of his points (also to be found in his blog), ranging as usual from the most basic to the advanced very subtle and thought provoking uses. For this topic I have picked a shot by my Flickr friend aftab (She did it), which Rick commented on as follows: "As a foreground silhouette can provide context in a scene without distracting from the main subject, so a series of silhouettes can be used to emphasise the visual depth of a scene. The trick here is that the eye sees light rather than dark. As such, the gaps are not seen, only inferred (you don't see the lack of information). This evening scene is naturally beautiful. The range of tones in both sky and water are so very peaceful. The addition - or, visually, subtraction - of the silhouetted pillars give context to the water's surface, very clearly showing just how fast it recedes into the distance. While the colours are nice, without the silhouetted structure, the depth would at best be guessed at. And, the eye never stops on the silhouettes themselves… they are the absence of information, so - while seen in the larger context - they are skipped over in the details." Like the others in this series, highly recommended to expand your compositional horizon.
The Polish design duo Homework (Joanna Gorska and Jerzy Skakun) excel in minimal posters of extremely high quality. I immediately fell in love with their version of the poster for the famous movie Last tango in Paris.
I have blogged about this interesting site three times before, but they keep on adding so many new features that I think another post is warranted - even more so, since the previous post is one of the most watched of the year in my blog. This website is an endless source of fun. It gives you the opportunity to see your own photographs in predestined surroundings, such as billboards, TV screens, or magazine covers. One of the features is face recognition, by which they can transpose the face of someone you select very professsionally in a chosen set-up. In this case, I took a photograph of my wife and had her transformed into Bond. Jane Bond.
One of my favourite Kate Bush singles, and one of my favourite Kate Bush covers, focusing on her beauty in a great colour scheme, and with title and artist included as if dedicated by the artist on a fan photograph. More about Kate Bush on the linked wikipedia page.
Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.
The eighth concerto deals with the alto saxophone, a member of the saxophone family of woodwind instruments invented by Belgian instrument designer Adolphe Sax in 1841. It is smaller than the tenor but larger than the soprano, and is the type most used in classical compositions - if the description of a concerto just says "saxophone" it will be the alto version. It took until 1934 before a major composer wrote a concerto for the instrument: Alexander Glazunov's Concerto in E flat major, which is still one of the finest in the repertoire. Later efforts include concertos by Creston, Denisov, Ibert, Aho and Larsson. I have selected the 1949 concerto by Ingolf Dahl as the example, in the version by John Harle with the New World Symphony under Tilson Thomas from a Phoenix CD.
An appropriate shot to mark the end of summer - quite possibly the worst summer I have ever experienced in terms of weather, wet and cold. I shot this one a few weeks ago at home, after another deluge. I quite like the outcome, and it got good reactions at Flickr as well.
As a child I was once given a small kaleidoscope by my parents - a real treasure. When I stumbled upon the linked web site, I was hooked for pure nostalgia. Not for everyone, but the way you create different moving kaleidoscopes by rearranging your mouse really made my day.
A fascinating photographer whom I disovered via the Illusion site. I particularly like his special project Kiss, depicting various couples kissing in a yin/yang shape against a black background. Well worth exploring his web site I link to.
Genetic portraits is a fascinating art project by Canadian photographer Ulric Collette. He combines portraits of family members into one new portrait, creating images that are sometimes disturbing, sometimes (like the one above) hauntingly realistic. The one I chose is of mother Francine (56) and daughter Catherine (23). More on the linked web site.
Chances are you have heard this story before, but if not, it is well worth reading it in the original version (see link). At the request of the Washington Post, one of the best violinists of the world, Joshua Bell, played some of the most beautiful pieces Bach ever composed for that instrument in the Washington subway - on a multimillion dollar violin. He hardly got any attention and collected a grand total of 32 USD from the rushing commuters, most of whom did not even bother to stand and listen for a while. It says a lot about our society.
Most buildings featured in the architecture series are relatively large: churches, libraries, museums, opera houses, and so on. Here we have a small house, but of such minimal modern elegance that I just had to share it. It was designed by Fran Silvestre Architects and can be admired in Valencia, Spain.
More on this building can be found in the link below.
Miscellaneous art was another tempting category to feature this in. The hand-made porcelain vases that Jennifer McCurdy creates are truly stunning, and none more than the one I selected, the so-called wind bowl.
A logical follow-up of the day before yesterday's post. The Kraftwerk album that heralded their breakthrough in Europe, with a gorgeous neo art deco cover. I think I recall a more simple one when the album was released in 1974, maybe this one was created for the CD version.
The only possible subject for today - ten years ago the world as we knew it changed forever with the cowardly attack on the twin towers in New York. The linked web site has a good collection of photographs of that day. May all its victims rest in peace.
This song, reflecting where we will be for six hours or so today, brings back memories of my late teens. A gigantic hit in the summer of 1974, that was a must to include on my holiday MP3 mix USB stick... Kraftwerk were far ahead of their time, for sure. And although I like the full 22 minutes album version even better, the single edit is well worth while.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)
We're off tomorrow for a break of a few weeks, starting in Freiburg, at the rim of the Black Forest. As usual I have pre-posted contributions to this blog, but comments may take a while before they are moderated. Auf Wiedersehen.
It's been far too long since I showed the other side of my wife's art: black and white drawings in Chinese ink. This is a unique procedure: every stroke has to be right first time. In these drawings she merges the ancient Chinese technique, which she studied at the Beijing University, with a more modern western approach of the choice of themes.
After my Flickr friend caeciliametella had posted four or five of these breathtaking Rothko-esque abstracts, I had planned to post them all - after all, I faved them all as well.... However, she keeps posting more and more of these gems (eight and counting), so in the end I decided to pick the one I liked best and let you look at the others in her stream.
The most beautiful collection of microscopy photos I have ever seen, thanks to their creator Ray Nelson. Please click the link and fully explore this treasure. The one I selected depicts crystallized nicotinamide at a magnification of 100x.
About me: Dutchman, married to a beautiful and highly talented artist from Shanghai. Although my education (PhD chemistry) is very much associated with the left side of the brain, I like to use my right side for my hobbies: music, art, photography.
About this blog: I started this blog in August 2006, just wanting to share what I considered interesting pieces of visual art and music. I suffered from blogging blues for most of 2008, but making a fresh start in October of that year has done wonders for my inspiration. In case you did not notice, most posts end with a small symbol... just click that for the relevant link. All pictures in my blog are hosted on blogger - if some do not show up (the red cross syndrome) it is a blogger hiccup. Right click and selecting "show picture" should do the trick.
My other main blogs: In December 2009 I started a parallel blog, Art's Potpourri, for subjects that I think are interesting, but not fitting for my main blog.
In January 2013 I revived an old music blog: Countdown to Ecstasy which lists my 100 favourite pop/rock/ballad songs from five decades.
Most of the images used in this blog are either mine, or they are used with explicit permission of the creators. Some of the images are sourced on the internet and I consider them common use for a non-profit blog (such as album covers), or I use them with a link to the site of the creator/owner.
If you find a picture on this blog that you are the copyright owner of, and object against the use, please drop me an email and I will remove it.