Thursday, August 31, 2017

Talloires

A beautiful vintage travel poster for the French commune Talloires on the Lake Annecy - as stated, ten hours by train from Paris (now it is done in three and a half hours). It dates back to the 1910's, and was designed by brothers Paul and Robert Besnard.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pexels

Finding copyright-free images for the blog can be quite a hassle. Recently, I came across an excellent site that offers thousands of them. I found the gem shown above by searching for 'art'. A site I will be using more often in the future when I need a shot to illustrate a post in this blog.

Copyright statement: image from Pexels site, explicitly stated to be free for use (CC0 license).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Potpourri [10]

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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Jellyfish table. Or Sculpture Installation to use the official but clearly less memorable name. This type of glass-fusion table was designed by Italian artist Daniela Forti, and comes in a variety of shapes, each completely unique (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Scary Potter posters. American digital artist Dylan Pierpont is responsible for this impressive series of imaginary movie posters, depicting the various chapters of JK Rowlings'sHarry Potter saga as seven horror flicks (Remarkable Art). First seen here.
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Nighthawks. Photographer Derrick Lin is the artist who created this variation on the regular plastic people theme: using regular office supplies for the surrounding, he recreated Hopper's famous Nighthawks at the diner painting (Plastic People). First seen here.
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You know nothing, Donald Trump. This is such a brilliant headline from the Evening Standard during the recent Russian meeting scandal. Funny as hell, but the Game of Thrones connection in the quote qualifies it for bonus points (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Total eclipse of the sun. Predictably, last week's complete solar eclipse in large parts of the USA resulted in numerous special photographs. This airplane shot may well be the very best of the lot - you can sample more in the link (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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Welcome to my math palace. Taken from a post about unusual door mats. Many of them are fun variations on the same theme, playing with texts on standard format mats. This one stood out because of its deviating shape, even though it may be less practical (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Deal of the week. Anybody want to confess to ordering the French flag pillow from this (undisclosed) online company? Interesting fact: originally the Dutch flag was orange on top instead of red. It got changed around 1600 because orange tended to fade (Mixed Nuts). First seen here.
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I fought the law. This themed photography series by Olivia Locher is both brilliant and hilarious. She shot pictures based on the weirdest local laws in the USA .My selected example is based on the Ohio law that it is illegal to disrobed in front of a male portrait (Remarkable Art). First seen here.

Copyright statement: image based on a photograph created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper. The included images are thumbnail size and therefore considered fair use.

Flickr

Monday, August 28, 2017

All ablaze

Spectacular sunset skies are not exactly a rarity on Flickr, but this one stands out from the crowd, due to the silhouettes. A beautiful shot by my Flickr friend Peggy Reimchen (peggyhr).

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Rowing on a Sunday afternoon

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). In this case, I took a photograph of people rowing in a brook in Germany, and a painting by John Constable (Couple at the garden table). The result of this digital mixing is a nice romantic landscape painting.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, August 26, 2017

Mercy Street

Recently, I have played all my Peter Gabriel CDs (27discs) once more, and once more I was astonished at the consistent high quality of his work. For today's post, I've picked one of his most beautiful songs, Mercy street from the 1986 album So. Great minimal video as well. Art Rock score: 10/10, one of  200 best songs of all time.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. The video screenshot included in the image is thumbnail size and therefore considered fair use.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The pareidolia phenomenon

The pareidolia phenomenon is not the title of a new Ludlum novel...  it is the ability many humans have to immediately see faces in some inanimate objects. An example from my own portfolio is given above (link). The linked art-icle gives more background information on this interesting phenomenon, and speculates about the cause. I found it an interesting read.

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Kiwi shoe polish advertisements

A clever and well-executed artistic advertisement campaign for Kiwi shoe polish: iconic paintings were extended in a similar style to show the subjects' shoes. It was created by ad firm Ogilvy Chicago.

Copyright statement: image created by screenshot - all original images are thumbnail size and thus considered fair use .

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Landscape with a watermill

Once more a painting that is not in my usually preferred style. I post it because I recently bought a second-hand vinyl disc with this image as its cover (Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin in the version by Fritz Wunderlich and Hubert Giesen), and in addition we visited a German watermill last week. This painting from about 1665 is by Dutch painter Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709), perhaps best known for his Avenue at Middelharnis. More about Hobbema in the linked Wikipedia article.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Monday, August 21, 2017

In Watford

Taken from a blog post on London Transport posters. This one caught my eyes for the subtle influences of expressionism and oriental art. It was created by Edward McKnight Kauffer in 1915.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Princess

Digital art of a different kind. I used the most recent addition to the extensive PhotoFunia on-line options (Watercolour Splash) to create a watercolour image of my wife, based on one of my own photographs. The link is to the original image.

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The windmills of your mind

Michel Legrand's immortal ballad The windmills of your mind has been a life-long favourite of mine, but it turned out to be very difficult to find a definitive version - in fact the best one for me was the Dutch version (Cirkels) by Herman van Veen. A week ago, I stumbled on the version by Alison Moyet from 2004. She nailed it. Perfect. Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 1000 best songs of all time).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Friday, August 18, 2017

End

This is one of the best architecture abstracts I have seen in a very, very long time. Amazing how simply turning a picture 90 degrees can make such a difference. Fantastic work by my Flickr friend Sibilla Horst.

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Long exposure photographs

Long exposure photography is a specialized subject that I have not tried out myself, but which can lead to stunning result. One of the best examples is shown above, but the link has many more. Well worth exploring.

Copyright statement: image created by Viktor Varga who retains copyright under CC licence.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Unusual concertos 51-60: From soprano saxophone to iPad

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.

[51] Soprano saxophone. We have encountered concertos for two other members of the saxophone family before (alto and baritone), now it is the turn for the highest-pitched instrument of the group. Its most famous use in classical music is probably Ravel's Bolero. There are a few concertos for it, though hardly any by a composer who is at least a bit known. I have selected my favourite of them, composed by Takashi Yoshimatsu. It is played by Nobuya Sugawa and the BBC Philharmonic under Yutaka Sado, available on a Chandos CD.

[52] Banjo. Originating from African-American musical heritage, the instrument is now mostly associated with American folk music. Its use in classical music is obviously limited, but banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck composed a Concerto for Banjo, which was premiered in 2011, with Fleck performing with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. As far as I know, there are no commercial recordings yet, and the reviews of the concert were not very positive - but for completion sake I include it in the list.

[53] Euphonium. This brass instrument is a regular feature in brass bands, but its use in classical music is limited, although it has been used as a substitute for Wagner tubas. There are a few concertos for it, though hardly any by a composer who is at least a bit known. I have selected one composed by David Gaines. It is played by Jiri Vydra and the Moravian Philharmonic under Vit Micka, available on an MMC CD.

[54] Harmonium. Also known as the pump organ, this instrument was widely used in smaller churches and in private homes in the 19th century, but it is not regularly seen in classical music, for the obvious reason that larger and more capable organs are at hand in concert halls and churches. I am aware of only one concerto for it, by Dutch composer Martijn Padding. It is played by Dirk Luijmes and the Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble under Etienne Siebens, available on an Etcetera CD.

[55] Paper. One of the most unlikely concertante "instruments" - a once-off experiment by the famous contemporary composer Tan Dun, and a pendant to his water concerto that I posted before here. Both can be viewed as special percussion instruments. This concerto is available on DVD only, played by Haruka Fujii and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra under Heln Elmquist.

[56] Electronic valve instrument. This instrument was developed by Neil Styner around 1975. Its main use so far has been in jazz/rock and new age recordings, but Maurice Jarre (best known for his movie soundtracks) composed a concerto for it. This is available on a BBC CD, in a performance by Neil Styner himself with the BBC Concert Orchestra under the composer.

[57] Oboe. Back to a common orchestral instrument, but still not that common in concertos, when compared to piano and violin. I have selected Bruno Maderna's second of three concertos as my example. All three are available on a Philips CD, in a performance by Heinz Holliger with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra under Bertini.

[58] Great Highland Bagpipe. This is the instrument commonly referred to as bagpipe(s). One of the more unlikely instruments to be associated with classical music, I know of only one composer of note who used it in one of his scores: Peter Maxwell Davies in his Orkney wedding, with sunrise. We have to look to less common names to find an actual concerto for this instrument. Kevin Weed is one of them (actually the only one I found) - his 20 minutes concerto with the composer as soloist and an unnamed orchestra/conductor can be found on YouTube. Predictably perhaps, it has not reached the CD medium yet.

[59] Classical guitar. Its relatively low volume caused it to fall out of favour as concertante instrument in the romantic period, but 20th century composers have taken up the challenge once more. Most famous of all is of course Rodrigo's Concerto d'Aranjuez, but other notable composers of guitar concertos include Villa-Lobos, Hovhaness and Arnold. I have selected Malcolm Arnolds guitar concerto from 1959 as my example. The version I have is on an RCA CD, in a performance by Julian Bream with the Melos Ensemble under the composer.

[60] iPad. Surely one of the most unlikely concertante instruments. Still, composer Ned McGowan composed a substantial 25 minutes concerto for the tablet and orchestra, utilizing eight apps with graphical interfaces where one can control sound through gestures on the touchscreen (more information here). A performance of the concerto (Keiko Shichijo on the iPad with the Sinfonia Rotterdam, conducted by Conrad van Alphen) can be found on YouTube.

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

Flickr

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mirror rooms by Yayoi Kusama

The Mirror rooms series by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is among the best of contemporary art installations. The linked site gives a good overview of her work, now totaling 20 creations since her first in the sixties. Beautiful work, and inviting participation by the audience - practically forcing one to take selfies.

Copyright statement: image created from screenshot - all original pictures are thumbnail size and considered fair use.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Potpourri [9]

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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Artistic Friends. Part of a fascinating series of montages, showing figures from classic paintings in modern day pop culture situations or vice versa. I love their take on the TV sitcom Friends, which looks stunningly natural to me (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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Politics 2016/2017. This beautiful piece of graffiti by an artist who works under the name Mogul (shades of Banksy) would be even more fun, if it would not be so true, given what's been happening with Brexit and the US elections (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Bohol Island Chocolate Hills. This Philippines landscape is one of the weirdest and most beautiful that I've seen - on photographs that is. Maybe one day in reality as well. It is also an excellent shot by Per-Andre Hoffmann (Natural Beauty). First seen here.
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Akoya plane. This design by LISA airplanes is of exceptional beauty, as well as amazingly practical: it can land on water, snow, and land. It would be fun to fly one - if I could fly, that is. What we used to call a minor technical detail (Special Designs). First seen here.
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Bologna, Bologna. In the 13th century, the skyline of the central Italian city Bologna, sporting over 180 high-rise towers, must have been as impressive as that of New York seven centuries later. It's a pity so few are still standing today (Amazing Stuff). First seen here.
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Movie pawsters. This is a nice and fun piece of photoshopping: an imgur user called lamirene photoshops his or her dog into famous movie posters, with adjusted titles. My favourite is the American beauty/cutie combination (Just for Fun). First seen here.
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Banana! Provided that the image is not Photoshopped (a proviso one has to make all the time nowadays), this is one of the most stupid mistakes I've seen for quite a while. And to include it in an education book for children... (Mixed Nuts). First seen here.
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Antelope Canyon. The linked post in MyModernMet is well worthwhile clicking. You will find a whole series of beautiful photographs of stunning canyons in the USA. this one of the colourful Antelope Canyon is my favourite (Natural Beauty). First seen here.

Copyright statement: image based on a photograph created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.  The included images are thumbnail size and therefore considered fair use.

Flickr