Tuesday, June 29

Dogs Throughout Art History

Young Woman and Bearded Collie with a Water Pitcher

Whistler's Mother and her Maltese

The Kiss

Mona's Boston

Creation of Adam with Strategically Placed Chihuahua

Basset Van Gogh

Father, Daughter, Basset

The Accolade with Weimaraners

Want More...? Check out the whole Masterpiece Dogs series by Jean Batzell Fitzgerald.

Thursday, June 24

Found on Etsy

I have a pretty big weakness when it comes to small, sweet watercolors. I could fill my whole house with them.

I also have a pretty big (okay, gigantic) weakness for all kinds of animals. So naturally, I am easy prey for shops like Eastwitching.

Get ready to say "awww."

Awww! How wonderful is that?! They are practically bouncing off the paper. I love the movement that the watermarks create. And those shadows are beautifully done, effortless really. They take the painting to the next level.

And these. Y'all know how much I love paintings of cows:

Awww (or should I say moo?).

And how handsome is he:

Awww. What a fabulous but regal bird, decked out head to toe in hot pink.

And even these lizards are cute!

And what's this, a rabbit in a tennis skirt?

Of course! And again with those beautiful shadows.

But here is the best part, the reason why Wales-based Eastwitching has me so spellbound:

She will paint a 8 x 10 watercolor portrait of your dog (or cat, or bunny) for $49.00!


Huckleberry the Basset, who turns six-years-old this July 12, is primping for his close up as we speak. He has requested that his handsome French mug be surrounded by a lots of those lovely little watermarks. Of course, I am more than happy to oblige and check into that for him.

Wednesday, June 23

Bad (but awesome) Craigslist Art

Just for kicks, I headed over to the arts and craft section of my local craigslist last night. (I know, exciting evening.)

Well... one thing let to another... and 10 minutes became an hour...and...well, let me just say that Craiglist never disappoints. Here are a few of my favs:

Laser Engraved Harry Houdini Wall Hanging - $250 (Advance)

"I have a Laser engraved wall hanging of Harry Houdini for sale. I made this for a customer that never paid for it . I am asking $250 OBO . If with in 50 miles i can deliver." listing

Honestly, why would anyone other than David Blaine commission this?

Can't decide between Neesie, Jaws or Godzilla for Halloween this year? Problem solved.

sea monster costume RAD- $100 (Red Hood)

"hand made paper mache sea monster/shark/godzilla costume....used for the Mermaid Parade and now want topass on this magicalness for a Halloween costume sure to scare little children. Asking $100 for the time and materials it took to make, but given its been used make an offer! Can deliver for an addition $10 otherwise pick up in Red Hook. (the "hair" in the back lays flat, it was just windy)" listing

Okay, this next one is weird. Not only is it weird because it is a 9 x 12 pencil drawing of "Chucky's Bride" but it appears to have been posted from inside of a prison.

Inmate Art for Bachelor Pad 35 for all or 20 each - $35 (Dallas)

"Will meet within reasonable distance. Will mail for 3.00. If you have a picture and would like the artist to draw it, that can be arranged as well. Will be great for a bachelor pad. " listing

His Snoop Dog portraits aren't bad, actually. He also has pole dancer portraits available too, just in case you are in the market.

And this last one has to be my favorite, even though I have no idea who or what a "Brak" is. I wouldn't want it in my house but, you know, artistically speaking... it is pretty good. Plus the listing is hilarious.

Handpainted Cardboard Life-sized BRAK! - $55 (Acworth/Kennesaw)

"Super awesome life-sized rendering of Brak, from Cartoon Planet and the Brak show. Approximately 65" tall, including sousaphone? Tuba? Instrument of glory? Ex-boyfriend HAND-PAINTED this guy for my birthday, and he just needs a good, loving home. This thing is one of a kind (i know, i just googled it). I'm pretty sure you can't buy a Brak this big anywhere else. Don't miss out!" listing

Tuesday, June 22

Art for Mac Nerds

1) Margritte's Son of Man.

2) An ode to the Apple nano:

Nano Chromatic via Cult of Mac

Virginia based industrial designer and sculptor Kyle Buckner did this while he was in design school. You can now pick one up for yourself on his website for $4800.00.

Thursday, June 17

Man Ray's Tragic Muse

Kiki de Montparnasse was Man Ray's model and lover. She was certaintly something. Take a look at this film, shot by Man Ray in the 1920's. You'll see what I mean. (Warning, there is are a few seconds of artistic nudity.)

She was a beautiful, talented mess. A woman not unlike other famous messes of the time. Like Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, she was on a collision course with life and naturally, she found herself an artist to document it all.

Photo by Man Ray
Circa 1920

While she is portrayed in art as a beautiful and carefree creature (thanks largely to shameless self-promotion), her life was in reality very different. Abandoned by her mother and raised by relatives, Kiki (born Alice Prin) made her own way in the world from a very young age. She worked odd jobs as a girl and became a nude model at age 14 in Paris. There she met the artist known as Man Ray.

Man Ray was born in Pennsylvania. The son of Russian-Jews, his name was changed from Emmanuel Radnitzky to Ray by his family when he was 22. He began his career in the US, married, divorced and moved to Paris after WWI.

When Kiki met Man Ray he had already made the transition towards a new form of expression, created by his friend Duchamp. As a champion of Da Da, Man Ray rejected traditional art. He turned his focus to found objects, photography and shock for shock's sake.

Kiki worked with and loved Man Ray for over half a decade, only to have her heart broken by the artist when he left her for another woman. She went on to become both a dancer and a painter but her career fizzled as war reignited in Europe. Her life turned dark and she died at age 52, broke and addicted.

Man Ray's most famous work, Le Violon d'Ingres features Kiki with her back towards the viewer. Man Ray (who really invented what we now call"photoshopping") superimposed two f-holes on her back, making her curves look like the body of a violin.

Le Violon d'Ingres by Man Ray
circa 1924
The Getty Center, Los Angeles

This work is very telling. It sums up her relationship with Man Ray and sadly, her life. Kiki literally becomes an instrument to be played by men.

There is now a very expensive chain of lingerie boutiques named after Kiki de Montparnasse. And while I'm sure the store's owners found it clever, I think their choice in name is rather sad. Sadder is that the store's website says nothing about where they got their name. The woman, who died young after a life of drugs, burlesque shows and exploitation by bohemian artists is used as an instument again, this time to sell underwear.

Monday, June 14

Not Art (well...that depends)

This post is not about art, it is about home decorating. Of course, home decorating can definitely be art, depending who's doing it.

Take Dorothy Draper for example. The woman was without a doubt a brilliant artist. Her use of pattern, color and sculptural furniture will make you stop, stare, gasp, scratch your chin and shake your head in disbelief all at the same time. I'll confess that my reaction to seeing Draper's work in person was kind of similar to the reaction I had when I first saw Sistine Chapel. Amazement.

The Greenbrier
White Sulfer Springs, West Virginia

(Yes, I just compared Draper to Michelangelo and the Greenbrier to the Vatican. Shall I grab you a paper bag to breathe into?)

Now, let's get something straight before I get to the heart of this post. I am no Draper. My house is not art. Got that? Good.

So, my friend Catherine recently posted about making a skirted table for her office:

Catherine's Office

Isn't that the prettiest shade of green? It would be dangerous for me to work in this room. I would want guacamole all of time.

She was inspired by this lovely table she saw over at Little Green Notebook:

Jenny's perfectly balanced console table

She asked me to share a few pictures of my own no-sew skirted table project, which was thrown together in about an hour with some canvas, fabric glue and a good deal of inspiration from my friend Jennifer. It is not nearly as pretty as Jenny's or Jennifer's, but it gets the job done, hiding baskets of dish towels, candles and cocktail napkins.

Here is it is the day I made it, the silver mirror was temporary:

And here it is today. The faux bamboo mirror is much better and the peonies are from my yard:

See, I told you! It all depends on who's doing the designing. My apologies to my shelter blogging friends. I promise, I'll stick to what I know from now on. :)

Saturday, June 12

Found on Etsy

I try my best not to feature artists who have already been written about on Etsy's blog. However, I couldn't resist showing you these wonderfully whimsical string instruments by Asheville, NC based artist Paul Celentano.

Apple Ukulele

Wine Bottle Guitar

Avocado Guitar

I wouldn't know the first thing about strumming one of these beauties if I had one. But...

I wonder where I could put an avocado guitar? For more, visit Celentano Woodworks.

Wednesday, June 9

My inner (and quite weak) feminist...

Unless you've seen it in person (which can't compare), see the Sistine Chapel like you've never seen it before in photographs here.

Now, I've always had a bone to pick with whoever chose to have the serpent (devil) in the Chapel ceiling depicted as a woman and not as an androgyne...

Serpent (detail)
c. 1500s, by Michelangelo
Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Italy

The man who commissioned the Sistine Chapel was Pope Julius II:

Julius II
c. 1500s by Raphael
National Gallery, London

Did he mandate for the devil to be seen as a woman, or did Michelangelo?

I'm going to research and find out who chose for this and why...stay tuned for an answer!

Tuesday, June 8

I don't think you're ready for this jelly

This past week (pre-flu) I got creative for my friend Kelly's wedding festivities. She is getting married soon so we threw a little shower for her this past weekend at Fripp Island (former pirate hideout, shooting location for Forest Gump's Vietnam scenes and so-southern-pretty-it-will-make-you-sick island in Low Country SC.) My friend, and Kelly's sister-in-law, Catherine has a family house down there that I could just move right into and never leave.

Anyways, here is a little of my creativity at work. I used my favorite artistic medium... the cookie.

Aren't they cute? They tasted good too. Very butt-ery.

(Sorry, I couldn't help it.)

I also made menu cards. We had fun naming all of the food for the "classy bootylicious" theme.

(Yes, I know those two words very rarely go together.)

Katie's "Baby Got Blue Crab Dip"

My "Booty Shaking Chicken Salad"

Johanna's "Strawbooty & Brief Salad"

Annie's "Fruity Patootie Booty Fruit Salad"

But the pièce de résistance had to be Mary Beth's "Red Velvet Badonkadonk."

Talk about creativity. Girlfriend used a real thong. (It was new so no worries. All of you germaphobes can stop gagging now)

And I think Kell liked her giant name tag featuring crushed velvet, a crystal fleur de lis and calligraphy tramp stamp of her fiance's name.

"Don't put this on Facebook"

Speaking of bootylicious. Here's a throw back to 2001 for ya. Make that booty touch the ground art hearters.

Monday, June 7

Bad timing, Snakes in the Basement & Drunk Naked Girls

I have been on vacation. I'm back.

I also have the flu.

Both things happened simultaneously, which was not cool.

Also not cool is the fact that I'm on my lunch break now, waiting for the critter control man to come deal with the small snake problem in our basement. You see, I recently I killed a foot long snake with a floor squeegee while my husband was at work. It took a few 'make sure you cut off its head' texts but I got the stupid thing.

Anyways, since I have the flu this post is going to be a bit stream of consciousness. Okay?

I just heard this song on the radio. I love this song because it is about men not being metro. I do not go for metro-sexual. Straight men should not wear sandals, get facials, drink $6.00 iced coffees or attend wedding showers. Brad Paisely and I clearly are in agreement.

I also like this song because the first time I heard it in the car with my husband (who, on a side note, looks a lot like Brad Paisely, especially when he wears a cowboy hat) he laughed and said "I know that painting!" when he heard the line at 0:51.

I hate to break it to ya honey, but if I had a nickel for every drunk naked girl featured in a priceless French painting we could hire a professional to sit in our basement 24 hours a day to kill snakes for the rest of the year.

But, I do I think I know the painting that Brad and his look-a-like have in mind. Say hello to Olympia:

Olympia by Edourad Manet
circia 1863
Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France

Olympia (who was portrayed by model Victorine Meurent) is perhaps the most famous French prostitute ever. (That's saying a lot, France has produced many famous prostitutes!) When Edourad Manet painted this in 1863 he knew he was going to ruffle some fussy Parisian feathers. The French, who were no strangers to nudity and loose women, were caught off guard by this very direct work. In fact, when Olympia was first shown at a Parisian Salon in 1865, it was flanked by 2 policemen! (1)

Apparently, the French did not like being confronted with reality. (I know, shocking.) Olympia is clearly a part of the world's oldest profession. She is staring straight at the viewer saying "Hey there viewer, I have sex for money." This made the upper-crust salon going French very uncomfortable. While they loved to have sex for money, they did not love to talk about it so bluntly. (2) They didn't want to get into the nitty gritty details of the transaction if you know what I mean. For example, the fact that Olympia is receiving flowers as a gift from her next appointment would have sent the French salon ladies into a brie and wine glass throwing fit. 'How dare he paint that! Our men do not send flowers to hookers!'

As controversial as this work was, Manet safe guarded himself against censorship by quoting another famous work by Venetian master, Titian. Olympia's classical pose mimics that of Titian's Venus of Urbino.

Venus of Urbino by Tiziano Vecellio aka Titian
circa 1538
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Venus is alittle more relaxed and her glance, while at the viewer, is more coquettish. She may be naked but she is definitely not a hooker. Nope, she's just finished her bath.

Her nudity was perfectly acceptable, while Olympia's was scandalous. All because of profession. Sometimes the devil is in the details.

1) The Shock of the Nude: Manet's Olympia, PBS
2) ibid