Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mirror images

A couple posts back, I asked if anyone knew the two images with incorrect mirrored reflections. The first one, the one my students drew a detail of as part of their test, is Ingres' Madame Moitessier. The students drew her hand on a grid; not a hard project, but it does tell me if they understand the concept. The second image is Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergerè. If you know of others, feel free to post them in hte comment section.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Art day

Working on deadline has its advantages. The biggest one that comes to my mind is that the project has to be finished by a specific date. Yes, you're likely thinking, "Well, duh!" Unfortunately I'm one of those people who can easily put a project down and leave it for waaay too long. So as I scratched my head and wondered what projects I could take with me to a teacher crafting get together yesterday, I was very pleased to find a couple small projects that I had put down and--well, you're with me now.

Some good conversation, an awesome cheeseball and five hours later--ta-da! Two finished projects that were both started last summer. (The ATC above was finished quite some time ago and was the inspiration for the lettering on the baby block below.)

Today, in between catching up on grading, I was able to add the finishing touches to a larger flower piece that I am debating putting in my Etsy store. Can I deal with it if it doesn't sell? asks the pessimist. Well, nothing is selling now, so what's the big deal? asks the pragmatist. I'll let you know if I put it there. The base is matboard collaged with calender pages and flower images, then gessoed and painted. The large flowers are painted with acrylics, then highlighted with stamps and water-soluble wax crayons (a favorite supply of mine). The butterfly is cut from a Somerset Studio page (never used one before!). The verse is Genesis 1:11 "And God said, "Let the earth bring forth".

The earth is bringing forth around here, too. I've seen some green grass and the return of robins. One day I listened to the calls of red-winged blackbirds, but they don't stay around our house because we don't have the watery terrain they like. I'll be watching for the first crocus, but it won't be at our house--we still have snow!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

In the spirit of taking our first art test

Oh the joys of teaching! I've been grading tests today, and one of the assigned tasks was to draw a detail from a famous painting on a grid. While looking at the little piece of the painting (24 times!) I pondered one of its elements, which brought to mind a fun little art history trivia question.

The painting we used has a reflection in it and it is one of two famous paintings that have mirrored reflections that are incorrect. Both were done purposely by the individual artists, but neither reflection is realistically possible. Anyone know which two paintings I'm talking about? (BTW, there may be more than two; I only know of these two--but I'm not an expert!)

Here's a hint: they are both 19th century works. Have fun!

And before you go ponder what paintings have mirrors, take a look at this lovely Botticelli, The Madonna of the Magnificat. I spend quite a bit of time looking for paintings that exemplify the concepts I'm teaching and/or testing on, so my nose was buried in art books for a while this week. I found a wonderful reproduction of this painting in a book about Mary in art. So many times the reproductions are small, or, frequently in the case of the internet, dark, but this image was full page in an oversize book. It made me long to stand in front of the real thing and see the surface: is it glassy, or can you see his brushstrokes? Does the translucent paint have that lovely glow that so many oil paintings do? Are the details fine? Maybe some day I can see for myself. In the meantime I must content myself with dreams and lots of books!

In case you're not familiar with the Magnificat, a beautiful passage from Luke 1:46-55, here it is:

And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."

Thanks to From Old Books for the scholar image at the top; Web Gallery for the Botticelli; and Biblegateway for the verse.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My bit for internet accuracy, or, go visit Peter Callesen right away!

I got that wonderful e-mail of the paper cutouts made from one sheet of paper again tonight. You may have seen it--it's the one with the bit about how these were for a contest for some New York Gallery. Well the cutouts, made by artist Peter Callesen, are real, but the story with it is not accurate. I don't know if he made those pieces for a contest, so I can't comment as to the truth there, but the story leads one to believe that they are all the work of different artists. Not true! Peter Callesen, I've never met you, but your artwork is amazing and this post is for you! Check out his site and see the amazing creations he makes, then pass this info on to anyone who sends you that e-mail, please, please, pretty please with sugar on top. As an artistic type I would think it might feel good to know that everyone is looking at your art. But it would NOT feel good to know that no one knows whose art it is, or worse, thinking it's the art of a bunch of other people. Here's my moment for internet accuracy! --L

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I love the detail in the wings in these very different pieces. The first is a drawing by Albrecht Durer. The second is a painting, St Michael and the Satan, whose authorship has some debate; some say it is Giulio Romano, some say Raphael.