Tag Archives: van gogh

Treadmill, Sutures, and IKEA (41/365)

Oh, my – what a day! Started out very early without any breakfast (you’ll see why in a minute), some writing, then a trip to Calgary where I had a cardio stress test. No panic, but over the past few months I’ve been getting a little light-headed when I exert myself. Unfortunately, that usually happens either when I’m biking or tackling a harder climb (or, on a long hike in to a crag somewhere with a pack full of climbing stuff strapped to my back). I doubt it’s anything too serious, but we are getting it all checked out to make sure my ticker isn’t likely to explode  when I’m hanging from a cliff somewhere.

 

walter sickert 1922 study-for-the-wardrobe-1922

Study for “The Wardrobe” by Walter Sickert, 1922 (you’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute…)

 

 

Walter Sickert 1924the-wardrobe-1924.jpg!Large

The Wardrobe, by Walkter Sickert, 1924

 

The cardio thing was long and drawn out – first an IV (for the dye – hence no food after midnight last night), then hooking me up to a zillion leads to give an accurate idea of what my heart was doing when I was loaded onto a treadmill and told ‘keep going.’ Fearing I might come flying off, I gripped the safety bar until my knuckles turned white. As you can imagine, my heart rate was soon way up there and the kind woman who was charged with making sure I didn’t keel over before we were done took my blood pressure every 60 seconds and kept asking, “Are you dizzy yet?”

After all that, I was put into some sort of scanner and the dye injected into my vein, and they took 6 minutes worth of pictures of my thudding heart. There followed a CAT scan and after that, a 3.5 hour break during which time I was STILL NOT ALLOWED TO EAT!!

I was, however, allowed to go to IKEA. Which we did, right after I swung by the endodontist who tortured me so thoroughly last week. They yanked out my stitches and sent me on my way.

This virtual mosaic is titled, “Postmodern Study for The Wardrobe.”

At IKEA, we procured a couple of big wardrobe things in an attempt to deal with TOO MUCH STUFF in our bedroom/office space back in Canmore. Then it was back to the cardio torture place for another scan after which I was released and told to go have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

After a stop in Cochrane for groceries, we eventually got home and immediately began to assemble the basic frames of the wardrobes.

IMG_8249

As far as we got with the wardrobe project before our teenager demanded we turn down our music and stop with all the banging already… 

Tomorrow, I have to write in the morning, but after that we’ll get onto the finesse items like shelves and drawers, at which point we can tidy up!! Which will be lovely. More photos to follow… Meanwhile, though, here are a couple of paintings of bedrooms…

 

vincent-s-bedroom-in-arles-1888.jpg!Large

Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, 1888

bedroom-in-aintmillerstrasse-1909.jpg!Large

Bedroom in Aintmillerstrasse, by Wassily Kandinsky, 1909

Perhaps, once the wardrobes are finished and installed I’ll have a go at drawing our newly decluttered bedroom…

 

 

Lines (12/365)

The lines seemed to go a little better than the wobbly circles of yesterday… with the exception of trying to draw a square using a series of parallel diagonal lines. That was so not happening, especially when the lines angled down and to the right… clearly some neurological rewriting needs to happen before I get that right. My triangles are a bit asymmetrical and my straight, vertical lines all tend to have a bit of a leftward leaning tilt, but overall today’s exercise was not quite as painful as my efforts yesterday.

Mondrian Piet 1940 ish composition-no-10-1942

Composition No. 10, Piet Mondrian (1940-ish)

Piet Mondrian jumps to mind when I think of nice straight lines put to good use. What I didn’t expect was to see Van Gogh popping up in the Getty Museum’s handout intended for students learning about the elements of art. Line, of course, is one of those basic elements…

 

Van Gogh wheat-field-with-sheaves-and-arles-in-the-background-1888

Wheat Field with Sheaves and Arles in the Background, 1888 by Vincent van Gogh 

 

Check out all those lines!! There’s no real drawing going on here, per se… and yet… That’s a wheat field! And smoke from the factory chimneys! And stubble… and the impression of a real place made up of a bunch of short lines! Here’s a link to the handout, in case you want to have a go at filling in all the boxes with different types of lines.

I confess I was inspired and decided to give the line-making another go, this time based on the little boxes on the Getty handout…

More lines IMG_0189

It’s no wheat field, no Arles, but I can see how mastering some of these basic elements could prove useful someday.

Dad concurs. Right under the greeting ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ he texted, “Lines are really neat…” and then went on to illustrate with some quick examples. They were a little different to the Getty categories… Dad’s examples were:

  1. static straight lines
  2. straight lines showing slight movement
  3. more interesting/complex movement, still using only straight line
  4. quite a complex pattern, though not using many more lines (just varying length, angle, relative positions). Here’s my rendition of Dad’s example…

IMG_4504

No wonder I was having such trouble with circles! I was running before I could walk… I’m thinking maybe tomorrow I need to go back a step farther and maybe try a plain dot. I’d ask, ‘How hard could that be?’ but I am thinking even a dot could present mysterious challenges I can’t even imagine…

L is for Landscape, Leonardo, Liu, Lowry, Lichtenstein and Lots more…

 

ECW Mountain and River.JPG

Mountain and River by E. Colin Williams. Yes, I’m lucky enough to live inside a landscape that looks a lot like this painting done by my father. 

Growing up I looked at a lot of landscapes – not just the ones we lived in and drove through but also the ones my father painted and my mother photographed. In a way, I got to see everything at least twice – once as a fleeting impression as I moved through the landscape and again, later after it had been filtered and transformed on its way to becoming a painting or a photograph.

Maybe because of that I love seeing how artists interpret the world we live in, how they try to capture the essence of a place on a two-dimensional surface.

 

da vinci bird-s-eye-view-of-sea-coast

Leonardo (da Vinci) is not the first artist that jumps to my mind when I think of landscape painters. This painting is called Bird’s Eye View of Sea Coast and was painted in 1515. I find it fascinating because it feels quite abstract and clean in its execution, features the strangest composition, and shows the world from a perspective Leonardo could not have experienced firsthand. It’s a strange blend of cartography, art, and imagination. 

 

 

Lautrec painted lots of outdoorsy scenes, but generally they include people, horses, or both… This is very different to my father’s paintings which rarely included humans, birds or animals. Until recently, that is, when Dad has been exploring subjects he spent little time with earlier in his career (a topic I’ll explore in more depth in a later post).

 

Lautrec fishing-boat-1880

Fishing Boat by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1880

 

In the literary arts department, Jack London had a gift for capturing the landscape on the page. The Call of the Wild certainly evokes the brutality of the Yukon and the impact the landscape has on its inhabitants.

 

Roerich snowy-lift-1924.jpeg

Jack London was not the only one inspired by images of the frozen north. The Russian painter Nicholas Roerich often turned to the mountains in winter for inspiration. This is Snowy Lift (1924), by Nicholas Roerich

 

 

lichtenstein arctic-landscape-1964

Here’s Roy Lichtenstein’s take on the northern landscape. Arctic Landscape, 1964

 

 

lowry clifton-junction-morning-1910.jpg!Large

L. S. Lowry’s dull as mud colours were typical of his early landscapes, this one from 1910. Though it’s titled Clifton Junction, Morning this hardly screams ‘morning light’ to me. 

 

 

van gogh enclosed-field-with-rising-sun-1889(1).jpg!Large

Compare Lowry’s somber morning with this exuberant sunburst by van Gogh. Enclosed Field with Rising Sun, 1889. 

 

And, finally, here’s a landscape by Georgia O’Keeffe… It may be abstract, but I can still see the landscape in the colours and natural forms.

 

okeeffe from-the-lake.jpg!Large

From the Lake, 1924 by Georgia O’Keeffe

 

Today I was priviledged to watch the amazing photographer Amy Liu at work. She was taking some photos of Ally Lacentra, super-talented young actor (and my step-daughter who, as luck would have it, has an abundance of Ls in her name).

 

IMG_2236

Amy and Ally at work – I felt bad for them as it was brisk outside today! Poor Ally had to try and look relaxed even when the chilly spring breeze blew down from the mountains! 

 

IMG_2237

One of the many gorgeous shots Amy Liu captured during the shoot today. Lovely!

 

 

And on that note, off I go to get back to work on the current work in progress. Let me know in the comments below if you have a favourite landscape painter…

Catch you later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G is for Goya, Guernica, Gaugin and van Gogh (AtoZChallenge)

 

1024px-Vicente_López_Portaña_-_el_pintor_Francisco_de_Goya

This portrait of the Spanish painter, Goya by Vicente Lopez Portaña was completed in 1826. Though it’s in the collection of the Prado Museum in Madrid, I don’t remember seeing it… Hardly surprising considering just how overwhelming that museum is. 

It has been said that Goya was the last of the great masters and the first of the modern painters which makes him a transition, of sorts. (If you haven’t been following along this month, my theme for the AtoZ Blogging Challenge is Travel, Transitions, and Transformations… ).

 

El_dos_de_mayo_de_1808_en_Madrid.jpg

I’m including this painting by Goya because of its title, The Second of May, 1808 (my birthday is on May 2nd… and isn’t a birthday often a time of transition?) The French invaded Spain and the two nations battled during the Peninsular War (1808-1914). The painting is rather gory, gruesome, and grim…

Goya, like a number of Spanish painters, spent time in France (he hung out in Bordeaux for a number of years). Picasso is another with strong ties to both nations.

 

PicassoGuernica

Picassos’s Guernica (1937)   Guernica is a Basque town in Spain that was bombed on April 26, 1937 by Germany as a means of lending a hand to the Spanish Nationalists.                                                                     (La exposición del Reina-Prado. Guernica is in the collection of Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid.Source page: http://www.picassotradicionyvanguardia.com/08R.php (archive.org), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1683114)

While I was in Paris I went to a lecture which I thought was going to be about Picasso’s painting, Guernica. I imagined slides that would focus on specific details and then describe how and why Picasso chose the imagery he did.

The talk (in the basement of the Picasso Museum) was all in French, so I only caught bits and pieces, but it seemed to be more about Picasso’s role in the Spanish ex-pat artist community in Paris and his involvement with bringing what was going on during the Spanish Civil War to a broader audience than it was about deconstructing the painting in great detail. Despite the fact I struggled to follow along, it was a pretty cool experience to attend the lecture and doing so made me all the more determined to PRACTICE MY FRENCH between trips.

 

Paul_Gauguin_-_Jug_in_the_Form_of_a_Head

Jug in the Form of a Head, Self Portrait by Paul Gaugin

I am including this jug by the French artist Gaugin because of the macabre story behind its creation. Gaugin had been visiting with Vincent van Gogh when Vincent lopped off part of his left ear. I’m not sure why, but Vincent left the ear at a brothel both he and Gaugin liked to visit. What does seem to be clear is that all of this ear-lopping upset Gaugin, who left town shortly after the incident. Back in Paris, Gaugin was unfortunate enough to witness the beheading of a criminal. This jug/self-portrait makes reference to both these traumatic incidents and goes to show that no experience in life is wasted when one is an artist. It’s a great example of transforming trauma into something compelling (I was going to say beautiful, but I don’t find the jug to be beautiful… but yes, compelling).

 

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Paul_Gauguin_(Man_in_a_Red_Beret).jpg

Vincent van Gogh painted this portrait of Gaugin in 1888  ( Man in a Red Beret)

 

 

I hadn’t planned to include so many works of art in these posts, but art really is transformative in the way it can make us take another look at pretty much anything we experience (or can imagine). From some initial spark or idea or observation, artists create something worthy of our attention. Then we consumers of art respond and dissect and analyze and are moved by the product of their labours, which is a strange kind of alchemy indeed.