Although originating from a bit later than most posters in this category, the nostalgic feeling is clear - and the subject suitable for New Year's Eve. The use of a young Grace Kelly as the model behind the champagne glass dates this one back to the early fifties. Anyway, cheers!
With the year coming to an end, I thought it might be fun to look at the statistics of this blog and see which are the most viewed posts per category over the past 12 months. I realize that most viewed does not equal most popular as other factors (such as showing up in Google searches) definitely play a role here. Still, here they are (image sourced from here).
Picking my 12 favourite photographs of the year has become a yearly custom. It was triggered by a group at Flickr (Keeper Dozen), which was inspired by an Ansel Adams quote: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." Here is the 2012 countdown from 12 to 1.
A shot of mine that appeals to me far more than to most viewers on Flickr. In May, we took a jazz boat tour on the river IJssel. Especially the Kampen based saxophone quartet Saxozie was a delight to listen to. The lighting conditions were sub-optimal, but I like what I got here in a close-up of one of their instruments. Extreme use of dof, and placement of the mouth piece on a golden ratio point, for those interested in composition.
This shot, a souvenir from our September trip to Paris, did not get as many positive responses as I had hoped for when I posted it on Flickr. Still, it is one of my own favourites of the year. Pushed the contrast to extremes in the post-processing to emphasize the silhouette effect.
One of my most popular shots of the year in terms of faves. It is a straightforward flipped reflection of Kampen houses mirrored in one of the canals near our home. It is sufficiently different from my usual water reflections to warrant including it.
This is a detail of a paper art work by Elsa Visser that we saw during the Kampen Art Route, a 2-day tour in April to explore the various artists our new home town has to offer. From a composition point of view, the important characteristics here are the plethora of leading lines and the golden ratio (placement of the "eye of the storm" on a golden ratio focal point). And of course the conversion to black and white to further emphasize the line play.
My colourful water reflections series, usually shot at the canal near our home, turned out to be among the most popular of my photographs, as well as scoring high on my personal list of favourites. It was difficult to choose only a few for this list. Composition-wise, this is strong on the diagonals, creating a great feeling of depth as well.
Another water reflection, which is quite different from most of them. It shows the leafless trees reflecting in the canal near our home, with the yellow leaves drifting on the water - flipped upside down for more effect.
In April, we enjoyed the Kampen Art Route, a 2-day tour to explore the various artists our new home town has to offer. This photograph is a close-up of a paper sculpture by Elsa Visser. From a composition point of view, the important characteristics here are the use of negative space and the golden ratio (placement of the eye on a golden ratio focal point).
This water reflection shot, taken as usual at the Kampen canal, is my most faved photograph of the year, and scored high in Explore (the other three shots to reach Explore did not come close to my list of 12 favourites). It is also one of my own favourites of all time.
This is my favourite shot of the year, and one of the best I have ever created in my opinion. It is actually not what many people think: there is no shadow play at work here at all. The shape I captured and cropped like this is the decoration of the Kampen harbor.
The long exposure photography of Lincoln Harrison is probably the best I have ever seen. He captures landscapes with colourful star swirls in the night sky, creating images that seem to come straight out of a fantasy novel. Do click the link to sample more of this special art. As always, all rights retained by the creator.
A re-post from the artchives (original posting date 25 December 2009) - with the blog in its current form over four years old, I intend to dig up some of the older posts once in a while.
For Christmas a special piece of photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member castiza for the Weird Holiday Traditions 3 contest. The scary part is of course that within a few years this may become reality....As usual, all rights retained by the creator.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. A beautiful "flappers Christmas dance" Art Deco style illustration for the occasion - reminds me of dancers during the Christmas in Old Kampen festivities last weekend.
Last weekend was the yearly celebration of Christmas in Old Kampen, our new home city. Two days of nostalgic fun, ranging from the thirties down to the middle ages. My wife shot this beautiful moody picture, demonstrating once more that the combination of a real artist and a camera leads to amazing artistic results.
A truly stunning piece of photoart by Canadian photographer Tom Ryaboi. He took two shots of Toronto from a hiugh rise building and in a stroke of genius, pasted the second one inverted on top of the first. The result is a mind-bending image that seems to come straight from a Science Fiction movie. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.
I have posted this seasonally appropriate song before in 2008, but here is the official video. The fragile ballad Winter from her phenomenal album Little Earthquakes is one of the best Tori Amos ever recorded. In this song she goes back to her childhood days, and her relationship with her father, dealing with growing up and getting sufficient self-esteem, knowing her father will not always be there to support her. The lyrics are poetic and extraordinarily image provoking ("Skating around the truth who I am, but I know Dad, the ice is getting thin"), climaxing in the recurring image of the wild horses. The beautiful piano work that drifts through the song couldn't have been more effective and mood setting. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time).
With the world coming to an end today - at least according to the Maya calendar and hordes who believe in it - this seems a suitable post. Blackfield is a fascinating pop/rock formation with the founder of Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, and Israeli rock singer Aviv Geffen. Like most Steven Wilson projects, the quality of the covers is (almost) as high as the quality of the music, and this is no exception. More about Blackfield on the linked wikipedia page.
My Flickr friend andy_57 excels in any photographic genre he tackles, but his specialty remains model shoots. This is a recent favourite of mine, and one that he picked himself as one of his twelve best of the year (do check out that amazing dozen, here). Taking her place in front of the camera is his own daughter Laura, and she shows that she can model like the best of them. The smile, extended to her eyes, is a ray of light in these dark days, the red hat is a touch of brilliance, the lighting is as great as always with Andy, and the composition is excellent, in particular in terms of anchoring (wall to the left), negative space, and use of golden ratio. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.
I can imagine that the first time someone at the BBC launched the idea to create a web site that included all fine art paintings in the UK, in public museums, galleries, and private collections, he or she was ridiculed. Surely that would be an impossible task. Well, here we are, and it has gone live, with 210,000 paintings by over 37,000 artists made available for perusal behind your PC. An incredible treasure trove for sure.
From a time that even illustrations for sheet music were little pieces of art. I picked this one up at the excellent tumblr blog by The Flapper Girl a few days ago. In your green hat is a 1926 foxtrot, best known in the rendition by The Little Ramblers.
The linked Hyperallergic article deals with an important philosophical art question: is the copying of someone else's work into a new medium without accreditation allowed or not? It is an extensive interview with an artist who found out that his photographs were copied almost exactly as paintings by another artist - and was not amused. Recommended reading.
Hilde Louise (Asbjornsen) is a Norwegian jazz singer whom I came across for the first time a few months ago. Her style is in-between straight jazz and cabaret, and very engaging. The cover of her 2004 debut album Eleven nights is stunningly effective in its simplicity, a monochrome portrait with her lips and eyes in colour. The use of red font was a great choice as well.
His brilliant series of photographs from Myanmar (Burma) may have finished some time ago, but that does not stop my Flickr friend cormend from posting high quality pictures taken at other locations. This is my favourite from recent weeks, a beautiful black and white study of the Norris Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.
Between 1986 and 1999 I built up a considerable collection of classical music CD's (exceeding 2000 CD's in total). For various reasons I have played them a lot less in the past decade, but I am embarking on a rediscovery tour that I intend to share in this blog. In the seventeenth installment, I re-examine the organ concertos by German/English composer, Georg Friedrich Handel (1658 - 1759). Invariably, this composer scores high in all-time favourite lists, usually making the top 10, whereas my recollection of his works was far less positive. To give him the best chance, I chose the organ concertos (my favourite instrument in my favourite type of orchestral music), in excellent versions.
Well, I tried. I listened twice to all four CD's. And after that I listened to five other Handel CD's from my collection, including the later concerti grossi, water music and royal fireworks music. I don't get it. It's all musical wall paper to me, pleasant background music, but it does not engage me at all. From the baroque period, I'd prefer Vivaldi and Telemann over Handel any day, let alone JS Bach, who I rank as my all-time favourite composer. Oh well. If I ever have to start collecting again, Handel will not make the cut.
Summarizing recommendation, based on my own taste:
Hors concours: None.
Good to have: None.
Not required: All organ concertos.
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 blog: 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. A few other blogs have come and gone - I list them here for reference.
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.