Sunday, April 23, 2017

Airport abstraction

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). I submitted a photograph I took at Schiphol airport (the stairway to the train station), and Nicolas de Stael's Composition 1950 (link here). The result is not exactly what I was aiming for, but the abstracted image that resulted is a stunning Stael pastiche. The link leads to the original photograph.

Copyright statement: image created via the DeepArt site from one of my original images. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The girl and the bull

You may have seen images of the new statue of the little girl facing the Wall Street bull before, but the linked art-icle opens up an interesting discussion. Artist Arturo Di Modica, who created the Charging Bull sculpture in 1989, has asked for the new sculpture to be moved with the argument that it is taking use of his piece and therefore violates his copyright. See the link for the complete piece.

Copyright statement: image created by Anthony Quintano, licensed by creator under Creative Commons.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Turbo DeepArt

I have blogged before about the DeepArt site (here), which has become the basis of most of my digital art that I post on the blog. One of the few problems was the waiting time between submission and obtaining the result - which could take a few days. They have now started a turbo version where you can create artistic versions of your photographs with over three dozen of filters (rather than selecting an image of your own choice as a filter). Results are almost instantaneous. Above is my Facebook picture treated this way,

Copyright statement: image created by myself from a photograph by Lu Schaper. Copyright Lu Schaper.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cathedral Noir

My Flickr friend Ethan (known previously as Cormend) took this brilliant shot of the Cathedral of Leon in Nicaragua. A clear example how black and white shots benefit from extreme contrasts. There's another one in his stream with the same subject that is just as stunning.

Copyright statement: posted with explicit permission of the creator who retains all rights.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The one that got away

This century's chart hits usually don't do much for me, but this song is a positive exception. Katy Perry's The one that got away, accompanied by a good video, is a catchy pop tune that is worth to hear repeatedly. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

IJssel reflections

One of my most faved reflection shots of recent weeks. It is also the first picture I took with a Nikon mirror reflex (thanks to my father in law!). The kick-ass 18-300 mm lens allowed me to shoot this reflection of a restaurant boat in the river IJssel near our home.

Camera: Nikon D3200 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 24 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.0025 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 165 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Potpourri [2]

An overview of recent images that would have ended up in my parallel blog Art's Potpourri (now stopped). Clicking the icons  in the left side of the table takes you to the picture on the site where I found it in a new window. The text includes a link to the site.

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Genetics. This funny image by French photographer René Maltête is well worth checking out. Many other examples in the link are great as well (Just for fun). First seen here.
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Chocolate geodes. Stunning to look at, and probably great to eat as well, these huge geodes made from chocolate by Alex Yeatts and Abby Lee Wilcox (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Thanks Donald! One of many photographs in the link that show animals who really don't give a f.... This duck pair is my favourite (Just for fun). First seen here.
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Edible cactuses. Indonesian baking artist Ivenoven creates a large selection of desserts that are shaped like cactuses. Beautiful stuff (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Why? Just why? I don't care for dogs dressed up, but the expression of this cocker spaniel - who looks a lot like our Jazz - is priceless (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Aurora Australis. The Southern hemisphere equivalent of the northern lights is almost as spectacular as shown in a series of images in the link (Natural Beauty). First seen here.
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Ikeda's Rebirth. Manabu Ikeda‘s monumental Rebirth is a 13′ x 10′ pen and ink drawing that the artist worked on for 3.5 years, putting in 10 hours a day (Remarkable Art). First seen here.
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Fallen cherry blossoms. Japan is justly famous for its cherry blossoms, but this photograph is really special. Shot by a drone, it shows the petals having dropped into a lake (Natural Beauty). First seen here.

Copyright statement: image based on a photograph created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vogue January 1922

This Vogue cover already hints at the Art Deco years to come in its choice of dog breed to accompany the girl. The illustration is credited to the famous Helen Dryden.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Morning has broken

The impressive photostream of my Mexican Flickr friend Rodolfo Anzaldua is very varied, from macros to landscapes. This is one of the most impressive ones in the latter category, showing a church near his home town against the background of a towering volcano.

Copyright statement: posted with explicit permission of the creator who retains all rights.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bach's St. John's Passion

A suitable post for the Friday before Easter. Bach's St. John's Passion is the second most beautiful passion ever composed, surpassed only by his St. Matthew's Passion. The linked video is a complete live performance of almost two hours by one of the leading Bach ensembles of the day: Bach Collegium Japan directed by Masaaki Suzuki. Simply beautiful.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Innerviews: Richard Barbieri - Exploring dualities

The linked art-icle from the excellent Innerviews site is an in-depth interview of Richard Barbieri by music journalist Anil Prasad. Barbieri was a key member of two of my all-time favourite bands: Japan and Porcupine Tree. Warmly recommended.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. The inserted photograph of Barbieri, taken from the linked site, is displayed in thumbnail format and therefore considered fair use.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Canal reflections

I have shot a number of abstract water reflections in recent weeks, and they received good responses on Flickr. This one is one of the most faved and it is my personal choice for the best of the bunch. Large yellow electricity coils reflected in the local canal (the Burgel) and flipped upside down.

Camera: Canon IXUS 170, 20 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 40.1 mm
ISO Speed: 125
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I'm tellin' you

A beautiful late Art Nouveau inspired sheet music cover, dating back to 1920. I could not find information on the song itself or the designer of this cover.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Monday, April 10, 2017

What was the first abstract artwork?

The title question is an interesting one for the history of fine arts, and like many others I would have thought that the answer was Kandinsky, around 1910. The linked art-icle digs deeper, and came up with the image above, a painting from 1907 by Swedish artist Hilma af Klint. Recommended reading.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Age is just a number

It's that time of the year again. When I shot this in January, I already had in mind to use it for the April 8th post. The numbers showing, although appropriate, are pure coincidence by the way - I found the measuring tape curled up like this. A very surprising hit on Flickr, hitting Explore (the 500 most interesting shots of the day world wide), my 76th photograph to do so (since then I had a 77th, which was posted here).

Camera: Canon IXUS 170, 20 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.05 sec (1/20)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 11.3 mm
ISO Speed: 640
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0, Tiltshift effect via on-line tool

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.


Friday, April 07, 2017

Unusual concertos 1-10: From Harmonica to Oud

The concerto for solo instrument(s) and orchestra is one of the most popular genres in classical music. However, I think 95+ % of all concertos have been composed for piano or violin. Previously I have run a series on concertos for less common instruments in this blog, reaching an amazing number of 100 in the end (all these posts were reset to draft end March). I will be summarizing these in ten posts in the course of the year, each covering ten unusual concertos, keeping the sequences the same as in the past.

[1] Harmonica or mouth organ. Hardly an instrument that evokes the classical concert halls, but still several composers of note have written concertos for it, more often than not inspired by harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler. The first one I could trace back is a piece I have not been able to get hold off, the 1940 Caribbean Concerto by Jean Berger. Better known names that have ventured into this rare type of concerto include Malcolm Arnold, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Arthur Benjamin. I have selected as example the 1951 concerto by Michael Spivakovsky, composed for Tommy Reilly. The recording is by Reilly himself with the Munich Radio Orchestra under Charles Gerhardt on a Chandos CD.

[2] Vibraphone. This is one of the tuneful members of the percussion group, similar to marimba and xylophone, but with aluminium bars instead of wooden bars. Dating back to the nineteen twenties, this is a relatively new addition to the family of musical instruments. It is mainly associated with jazz music, where it plays a prominent role, and indeed is rarely seen in classical music. I have selected as example the only concerto of this type in my collection. It is by Siegfried Fink and dates back to the second half of the 20th century. The recording is by Peter Sadlo with the Munich Chamber Orchestra under Gilbert Varga from a Koch Schwann CD.

[3] Viola. This is the first concerto in the series that features a regular instrument from the classical symphony orchestra. However, as popular as its siblings, the violin and more recently the cello, have become as concertante instruments, the poor viola has always lagged behind. It had some exposure in the baroque area (Telemann, Stamitz), faired very poorly in the classical and romantic periods, and only gained more ground in the 20th century, when composers like Hindemith, Bartok, Arnold, Walton, Milhaud, Nystroem and Penderecki composed concertos for this ugly duckling. I have opted for a relatively unknown masterpiece by the Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz. Her 1968 concerto in three movements highlights all the strong points of this instrument. The recording is by Stefan Kamasa with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra under Stanisław Wisłocki from an Olympia CD.

[4] Biwa and shakuhachi, the first in a few posts that tackle more than one concertante instrument. Of course, in this case both solo instruments qualify as quite unusual - they are part of Japan's musical heritage. The shakuhachi is the Japanese bamboo equivalent of the western recorder, the biwa is the Japanese equivalent of the Western lute. I have opted for the only concerto I know for this combination of instruments, Toru Takemitsu's brilliant composition November steps (1967). The recording is by Kinshi Tsuruta and Katsuya Yokoyama with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Hiroshi Wakasugi on a Denon CD.

[5] Horn, also known as the French horn. It is a well-established orchestra instrument, but after the quartet of concertos by Mozart, it has featured surprisingly infrequently as concertante instruments. Richard Strauss composed two beautiful concertos early and late in his career (1883, 1942), but it is hard to find other notable composers who ventured into this terrain. Even entering the more contemporary time line, we only find a few horn concertos, including Reinhold Gliere (1951), two by Malcolm Arnold (1945, 1956), and Peter Maxwell Davies (2000). I have opted for a relatively recent concerto by Oliver Knussen (1994). The recording is by Barry Tuckwell with the London Sinfonietta under the composer from a DG CD.

[6] Prepared piano, a piano that has had its sound altered by placing objects (preparations) between or on the strings or on the hammers or dampers. Although John Cage was not the first to try this, he coined the term prepared piano and was undoubtedly the composer who made the instrument famous. Rather surprisingly, concertos for this instrument are rare - I only have the Cage concerto from 1951 in my collection. The recording is by Stephen Drury with the Callithumpian Concert of New England under Charles Peltz from a Mode CD.

[7] Balalaika, the famous Russian folk instrument. Concertos for this instrument are extremely rare - I only have the Eduard Tubin concerto from 1964 in my collection, and I doubt another one exists. Tubin, Estonian by birth and Swedish resident since 1944, composed it for a doctor annex balalaika specialist (Zwetnow) whom he had met. The recording is by Emanuil Sheynkman with the Swedish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Jarvi on a BIS CD.

[8] 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.

[9] Bassoon, a member of the regular woodwind section of the orchestra. Concertos for this "grumpy" instrument have always been rare, the best known examples dating back to the baroque and classical/early romantic periods (Vivaldi, Mozart, Hummel, Weber). The general revival of concertos in the 20th century has bypassed this instrument to a large extent, with very few composers of name trying their hand on it. The best known more recent bassoon concertos are probably by Gubaidulina and Maxwell Davies.  I have selected the 1947 concerto by Gordon Jacob as the example, in the version by John Downey with the London Symphony Orchestra under Simon on a Chandos CD.

[10] 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.

Copyright statement: image sourced from here, explicitly stated to be in the public domain.


Thursday, April 06, 2017

At the exhibition

An illustration for a fashion magazine that could have been a great painting. It was created in 1919 by George Paul Gaston Leonnec (French illustrator, 1881-1940).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Potpourri [1]

An overview of recent images that would have ended up in my parallel blog Art's Potpourri (now stopped). Clicking the icons  in the left side of the table takes you to the picture on the site where I found it in a new window. The text includes a link to the site.

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The IKEA experience. This funny image is spot on, and I would have found it even funnier had I not recently visited one and got annoyed about it once more (Just for fun). First seen here.
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There, I fixed it. An example of sheer stupidity taken from a collection 25+ Reasons Why Women Live Longer Than Men. Some well-known, some new (Mixed Nuts). First seen here.
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LEGO bird feeder. One of my favourite childhood toys was the big box full of LEGO pieces. I love this bird feeder, also because it's a great photograph (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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The world's largest artificial sun. The German organization DLR installed this in Juelich last month - 149 times the energy used for a large cinema screen (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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Butterfly wings scarves. Beautiful butterfly wings scarves designed and handpainted by Dorota Drzewiecka from Poland (Special Designs). First seen here.
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100 Game of Thrones memes. Literally, a hundred of them based on the TV series. Not every one is great, but I do love a lot of them, and can't wait for season 7 (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Dragon table. I've always had something with dragons for some reason - even using it in my internet names for years, This 400 dollars table is a beauty (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Give cyclists space.... The irony is strong in this one - just one example of a number of mind boggling stupid acts and designs in the link (Mixed Nuts). First seen here.
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Terra Ronca caves. These caves in Brazil are among the most beautiful in the world. The link includes many pictures of this awe inspiring place (Natural Beauty). First seen here.

Copyright statement: image based on a photograph created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.