Thursday, May 31, 2012

Up the drain

Two weeks ago, we met Rick Yagodich, one of my first Flickr friends from way back (known in Flickr as word artist), when he visited us in Kampen. This is the most special of three favourites of mine in his stream that came out of this short visit. In his own words: "Do you sometimes feel the whole world is going down the drain, only to discover that the drain itself is going the wrong way?". For me, everything comes together here, the stunning optical illusion, the scale of grey tones, the fading at the borders. A perfect shot. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Gone with the wind

When I met my wife-to-be in Singapore in 1999, the first few weeks we were just artist and customer. This painting of hers dates back to that period, it was commissioned by me for my office. After our move to Kampen earlier this month, my wife used her Feng Shui knowledge for the decoration of the house. I was pleased to see this one being selected for a corner of the living room, courtesy of the subject and colours. And it brought back memories.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The legend of Merlin became the subject of two albums by the Dutch group Kayak. The first album from 1981, entitled Merlin, dedicated one side to this subject, the later album from 2003 (Merlin - Bard of the Unseen) took the original five songs, and added seven more. Both albums open with the title song Merlin. This energetic epic is without doubt the most powerful progrock composition in Kayak's repertoire. In true Wagnerian style, this overture already contains many musical themes used in other songs later. I have a slight preference to the original version, although the remake (which is used in the fan video) is frankly just as good. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time).


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The painting that launched a thousand lawsuits

Egon Schiele has featured before in the blog under paintings, but here we have a great article at the Hyperallergic site about the history of his 1912 painting Portrait of Wally, which pitted the art world against heirs of the painting’s pre-World War II owners and the US government. Fascinating read, highly recommended.

web site

Monday, May 28, 2012


Here we have another brilliant shot by my Flickr friend jenny downing. It is a perfect abstraction with lots of compositional details, as pointed out in an excellent review by my Flickr friend Rick in his blog The image composer. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Aldar headquarters Abu Dhabi

Skyscrapers come in all kinds of shapes, but this is the first one I have seen that looks like a coin (image source). It is the Aldar headquarters in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), completed in 2010, and 110 m high. Like many modern architecture, it is controversial, both having won the “Best Futuristic Design” award by The Building Exchange (BEX) Conference held in Spain a few years ago, and being included in many lists of the ugliest buildings in the world. Personally, I like it very much. More on this building can be found in the wikipedia link below.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kampen snapshots

We have been living in our new home town of Kampen for 3 weeks now - and we love it. To give people an impression of what it looks like I have collected typical snapshots of Kampen scenery that I have been taking in a special Flickr set, that is ever expanding (see link).


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dogs in window in Hungary

I came across this beauty by fellow Flickrite LightShaper (jwillis) a few weeks ago. The setting itself is worth a shot, with the window frame in the weathered wall. The dogs make it into a high-class shot, with their lovely pose and expression. And the fact that they are cocker spaniels clinches it for me. A gem. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Links [20]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently, but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by myself.

Turner Prize 2012 Nominees in Pictures.
Photographer Sues Street Artist and Google Music.
Vintage Red Cross Posters from WWI.
Stockholm Metro: the World’s Longest Art Gallery.
Robin Gibb: Life in Pictures.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wiek bei Greifswald

Yesterday I came across an artist I had never heard of, and whose work immediately connected with me. Paul Adolf Seehaus (1891-1919) was a German expressionist of considerable talent, having studied with August Macke. Pneumonia cut his life short at the age of only 27, just after he had survived the war. The painting shown above dates back to 1916 and is a good example of his style. More on Seehaus in the German wikipedia article linked to below (there is no English version).

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Here we have another one of those breathtaking abstract beauties that are so prominent in the photostream of my Flickr friend Lorraine Kerr (caeciliametella). Rust tends to be amazingly photogenic, but this detail of a ferry landing is different from any other I have seen. And the bubbles are simply amazing. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Urban forms

This is photo art unlike any other I have seen. Artist Xavier Delory creates these paper-thin skyscrapers by photoshopping existing images, using them as a symbol of vanity and fragility, with an implicit critique on modern architecture. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ivory Satin

The model photography by my Flickr friend andy_57 is second to none, and when he uses his Michele as his model, the results are always great. That said, he surpassed his own high standards with the photo shoot of Michele that he collected in the set Ivory Satin. All of them masterpieces, and I had a hard time picking my own favourite from this embarrassment of riches. But here it is, the shot that gave the set its title. Do explore the others as well though! As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Proof that an excellent creative logo does not have to be elaborate. This gem by Abdul Musavir from India is created simply by changing the font size of the two O's to marvellous effect.

web site

Monday, May 21, 2012

Massachusetts (RIP Robin Gibb)

Unfortunately, the Grim Reaper appears to be in a musical mood these last few days. After Donna Summer and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, it is now the turn of Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Cancer takes another victim. For the occasion, one of their best songs, sung by Robin himself, the 1967 hit Massachusetts. Rest in peace. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).



The most beautiful napkin holder I have ever seen: the Lecygne, designed by Kim Katinis from Greece. Its fluent shapes in silver would grace any table, with or without napkins inside.

web site

Sunday, May 20, 2012

No need for an umbrella

I need to catch up with this subject - there is a large queue of fairly recent Flickr favourites I have not shared yet. This beauty by my Flickr friend peggyhr was actually posted and faved early April. It is one of her specialities, a flipped water reflection, and it may well be the best in that excellent series. And with summer finally arriving here, the subject is topical. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Unusual concertos [29]: Duduk

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 twenty-ninth concerto deals with the duduk, a traditional Armenian woodwind instrument that is used in the Middle East and Central Asia (image sourced from here). Its use in Western classical music is predictably rare, although it has featured in several movie soundtracks, including Peter Gabriel's beautiful score for Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. I have found one concerto for duduk and orchestra, on YouTube (part 1, part 2, part 3), from which I downloaded the mp3 files. It was composed by Henrik Anassian, and is played by Pedro Eustache and the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Juventud Venezolana "Simon Bolívar" under Alfredo Rugeles.

Go here

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (RIP DFD)

The blog is turning into a morgue these days, but I cannot let this one pass by without making a post. Yesterday Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for me the greatest Lieder singer of the 20th century, passed away at the age of 86. He excelled in everything he tackled, from Bach cantatas, to the brilliant songs of the romantic period, to contemporary composers. I especially like his takes on Schubert, Mahler, and Richard Strauss. For this post I have selected that gorgeous - and very appropriate - song by Gustav Mahler, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. Rest in piece maestro. You will be sorely missed.



The eighties' Marillion cover designs, be it for their albums or singles, were among the best of the decade. Here we have their greatest hit Kayleigh, and my favourite 45rpm record of all time. Wonderful cover, playing on the video and the lyrics of the song. More about Marillion on the linked wikipedia page.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I feel love (RIP Donna Summer)

And another artist that was prominently present in my teenage years and beyond has passed away: disco queen Donna Summer succumbed to cancer yesterday. I would like to honour her with I feel love, a song on which Lucy Jones in the Telegraph today wrote a fascinating article today (link). Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).


Herb Ritts

Herb Ritts (1952-2002) was an American photographer who specialized in black and white fashion photography, often inspired by Greek sculptures, as well as predecessors like Avedon. I came across his work recently in an excellent My Modern Met post. The example I have selected of Christy Turlington in a Versace dress is very representative for his style. More on Ritts in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The termites of relationship

The album cover says it all: Ireland's number one singer/songwriter Connie Murphy has taken her dog and is walking away into a new life, abandoning yet another relationship. This is an album that will probably appeal more to her female fans due to the general theme, but the music is as strong and unique as in the two predecessors, which sold well for an independent label. And you just have to love the image invoked by the title song. Strongly recommended, no matter what gender you happen to be.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Connie Murphy.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album. The random quote that came up was by Henry Winkler: Assumptions are the termites of relationships.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Walking the dog, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were AppleJuiced 45 BlueViolet and CatholicSchool 35 Gold, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kanis & Gunnink coffee and tea

Sporting a smiling Dutch girl in traditional costume, this is a rare vintage poster that has a connection with our new home town of Kampen. Kanis & Gunnink used to produce coffee and tea here, and I still remember their TV advertisements in the seventies, when they were among the biggest selling coffee brands in the Netherlands. This poster dates back to 1947.

Vintage Posters

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Embroidered collages by Jose Romussi

This is a type of art unlike any other I have seen - and I love it. Chilean artist Jose Romussi takes old photographs of dancers and embroiders colorful threads onto their skirts and dresses. The result is a rare combination of old and new, whilst emphasizing the inherent movement in the still pictures.