Monday, October 31, 2011

Froggy Halloween

Taken from a series of excellent Halloween themed animal photographs. I particularly liked this one for its photographic qualities. The frog is not as monstrous as you might think - it is perched on a miniature pumpkin.

All rights retained by the photographer (Grant Kother/ZSL London Zoo/PA).

web site

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Mousetrap

A bit off-topic, but I would like to share the great experience we had in London, attending the famous performance of Agatha Christie' The Mousetrap in the dedicated venue of St. Martin's Theatre near Cambridge Circus. A fascinating tradition: this play is now in its 59th year during which time over 23,000 performances have been given. The theatre itself is well worth a visit too, and the play is fun and thrilling even if you know the outcome. Warmly recommended.

web site

Links [12]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently (some undoubtedly via a Jenny Downing buzz), but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by myself.

Top 10 Controversial Pieces of Music.
UK in 3D: Pictures from England.
Photographs of Objects Exploding.
What is so Asian About Asian Art Today?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Homeward bound

Technically I am posting this in my blog one day too late, as we came back home from our London trip last night, but who cares. A wonderful shot by my Flickr friend word artist of a Scottish castle at sunset. As usual, excellent composition with a curved leading line taking us through the shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Bye London

We are leaving London today, so a well-meant cheerio and pip pip to that great city. For the occasion, a vintage Delta Airlines travel poster dating back to the seventies, with a lovely impressionist feeling.

Vintage Posters

Thursday, October 27, 2011

London Opinion March 1933

Continuing the London/UK theme of this week in the blog, here is a great vintage cover of the magazine London Opinion of 1933. I particularly like the colour scheme in this one.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Swiss Re Building (Gherkin) London

One of London's modern architecture landmarks must appear in the blog this week. Love it or hate it, the "Gherkin" is a daring construction to erect in the centre of London. Completed in 2003, the tower with its remarkable shape stands 180 m tall (after earlier plans for a 286 m millennium tower had been abandoned). The design is by Foster and Parents. The gherkin is the obvious nickname that stuck with the building - other nicknames have focused on the phallic appearance, such as the Towering Innuendo and the Crystal Phallus.

More on this building can be found in the wikipedia link below.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Streets of London

This marvelous song of course has to be featured this week, as my wife and I will be strolling the streets of London ourselves. Folk singer Ralph McTell will always be linked to this touching ballad, which has been recorded more than 200 times by artists ranging from soul diva Aretha Franklin to the punk group Anti-Nowhere League. Five years after the release of the first acoustic version on the 1969 Spiral Staircase album, a re-recording of the song reached the #2 spot in the UK top40.
Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 650 best songs of all time)


Monday, October 24, 2011

Charing Cross Bridge

Continuing the London/UK theme of this week. I was surprised that I had not featured Andre Derain (1880-1954) yet in my blog. He was a prominent French artist, and co-founder of the fauvist movement with Matisse. This painting, depicting London's Charing Cross Bridge, dates back to 1906, around the start of that movement - and is one of the best in my opinion. More on Derain in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Doctor Who

The long running BBC SF TV series Doctor Who never appealed to me - until its most recent incarnation. Excellent acting, interesting scripts, and a real stunner as the new assistant (Karen Gillan as Amy Pond). For the purpose of this blog though, emphasis is on the logo. Stylish, with the main title's initials shaped like the Tardis time machine/police box.

web site

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Repost: Beat breast cancer

A re-post from the artchives (original posting date 1 Oct 2010) - with the blog in its current form over three years old, I intend to dig up some of the older posts once in a while.

October is breast cancer awareness month. For the occasion a delightfully clever and simple word play advertisement on that subject.

From the artchives

Three years since the restart

Amazing but true - three years have gone by since I decided to delete all blog entries and start afresh. Here's to more years coming.

Friday, October 21, 2011


A classic beauty to mark our short trip to London starting tomorrow - as usual, I have pre-posted blog contributions for the coming week. Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals becomes better every time you hear it, and the cover is an absolute classic. It depicts the Art Deco structure of London's Battersea Power Station, with a flying pig superimposed. Although credited to the famous Hipgnosis company, the design was ultimately by Roger Waters himself.

All Music

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Unusual concertos [10]: Oud

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 tenth concerto deals with the oud, a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern music. Not surprisingly, there are very few classical music compositions for this highly unusual concert hall instrument. I am aware of only one concerto for oud and orchestra, composed by Alaa Hussein Saber in 1983. I came across this rarity in a 4CD box on oud music from jazz label Enja. It is played by Ammar El-Sherei and the Royal Oman Symphony. Honestly, the music is not brilliant and the oud is not an obvious concertante instrument, but it is fun to listen to something so off the beaten path.

Go here

The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive

An incredible source of information - this site lists the texts of numerous poems/songs used in classical music, with footnotes and options for translation. Indispensable for classical music lovers like myself.

web site

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eye contact

It;s been far too long since I posted a shot by my Flickr friend Renee Rocket. This is one of two similar shots I faved a few weeks ago (the other is here). Gorgeous model, wonderful post processing, fabulous art deco atmosphere. A masterpiece. I improvised the title for this photograph by the way.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Happy Birthday Dad!

My father turns 84 today. I sourced this chess motive birthday card (given his past achievements, including correspondence chess champion of the Netherlands) from here. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Learn composition by example: The diagonal

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
Negative space
The S-curve
Recently, he posted his thoughts on the diagonal 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 Andy57 (Like no other), which Rick commented on as follows: "Placing the longer axis of a subject along the image’s diagonal does more than simply fill the frame. Depending on the subject, the angle required to achieve this can create an additional sense of dynamism. What is the reality here? Does hair really fall in that way (even if assisted by wind)? Or is this portrait shot from an angle that allows the subject to fly across the frame, removing negative space and taking on a vibrancy far more impactful that would exist if the image were straight? The use of the unconventional angle creates that sense of motion – it no longer matters whether the model is really leaning forward like that, or whether the camera is simply above her. There is life in the motion." Like the others in this series, highly recommended to expand your compositional horizon.

web site

Monday, October 17, 2011

Theatre Magazine August 1923

A new magazine for this section of the blog: Theatre Magazine, which I discovered via the fascinating Retronaut blog (see link). Wonderful piece of early Art Deco. Another magazine you will be seeing far more of in the coming months.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Disney Parks [4]

World famous photographer Annie Leibovitz embarked on a campaign for Disney Parks that lasted several years, visualizing famous Disney scenes with celebrities playing the main parts. I intend to show a few of these in the course of the year. The fourth one features actress Rachel Weisz as Snow White.

Creative Ads

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Heinrich van den Berg

South African photographer Heinrich van den Berg may not be a household name yet, but he sure deserves to be. I came across hiw amazing black and white wildlife shots in a Telegraph contribution, and was stunned by the power of these shots... and none more than the hippo depicted above. The choice for black and white in that series may be counter-intuitive but works remarkably well - but his other works show that he is a very creative and capable wildlife photographer in colour as well. Not listed in wikipedia yet, so I link to his web site.

All rights retained by the artist.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Cuore carafe

It will not be everybody's taste, but I love the idea and execution too much to feature it in the Potpourri blog. Designed by Liviana Osti, this was part of a design contest put forward by Milan based group Paolo C, to make a dinnerware piece that reflected our food and health habits. Osti's Cuore carafe is a beautiful pyrex human heart-shape made up of two separate carafes, one filled with water and the other with wine. It serves as a reminder for us to drink just both water and wine to keep a healthy heart - something I have a personal interest in of course.

web site

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Weathered faces in the street by Artisme

I have put this under miscellaneous art, as it is conceptually so much more than just the portraits themselves. Artisme, a group of French street artists, have portrayed the homeless people in their area, forcing people to look at them and their weathered faces on cities' exposed walls. Each portrait has text printed underneath it, but it is so small that the viewer has to get in close and in the process become conscious of every crease in the men's faces that blend in with the cracks of the surrounding structures. A challenging artistic statement about men who usually go unnoticed, and the hardships they endure every day.

web site

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Autumn water colours

It is high time that my Flickr friend peggyhr, the queen of water reflection shots, makes another appearance in my blog. Very seasonal, this explosion of autumn colours. One of her best, for sure.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

M Seth Jones on Retouching

A fascinating if slightly disturbing overview of the type of retouching going on in publications, by one of its masters (M Seth Jones). We all know we get fooled all the time in magazine photographs, but it is amazing to see to what extent. I have created an animated gif of one of the examples to illustrate today's post.

web site

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vogue December 1938

A very special Vogue cover of years gone by - desgined by none other than Salvador Dali in his directly recognizable style. One of three he made over the years.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Links [11]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently (some undoubtedly via a Jenny Downing buzz), but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by myself.

Iceland at Night Photography.
A Rare Glimpse of North Korea.
Corner Portraits by Irving Penn.
Bob Dylan Accused of Plagiarizing Photographs.
London Based Album Covers.
Mountain Reflections by Jack Brauer.
15 Beautiful Libraries Around the World.
Fully Flowered Faces (Sundsbo for Vogue Japan).