Tuesday, April 29, 2014

She Sells Sea Shells By the.....

Whenever I see this image of shells from a visit one early spring at Nags Head, NC it calls to me whispering it's ocean sounds making me nostalgic for the time I spent there. I spend a lot of time walking up and down the beach.  The beaches are wider than the ones at Cape Cod and further North.  Because of it's size it seems to have it's own culture and events, a constant flow of wildlife from birds to crabs playing to humans doing various activities. I'm grown now and no longer drawn to sun worshiping and going into the water, 

now I like observing what comes out of the water, not so much the human kind, but the animal kind.  Going in early spring was different, no crowds only the locals walking the beach with the occasional visitor. It always seemed like a idyllic dream to go beach combing and sell sea shells or things made with them by the sea staying all summer, becoming familiar with the sea and its rhythm of life.

What makes the ocean so compelling, is it the constant motion of the waves and water  pulled by the moon?  Sea creatures come out of the water scuttling around digging into the sand, some marooned of ancient heritage, living fossils.  Passing visitors peer at animals that exist only in the deep ocean.   Not having grown up around water what the ocean has to offer seems a bit mysterious...

Every early morning on the beach is like a new event there are  always lots of things to see before people come to treasure hunt; what will show up?...will there be a conch shell or unfamiliar  sea life rolling in with the waves?...will my new found friend be there too? 

I stayed near one of the National Data Buoy System stations which coordinates monitoring of water temperature, atmospheric pressure, and many other things in the US and other international locations.  There is a live video cam there, if you walk nearby  it will pick you up and you will appear on their website. 

I have photos from my visit last summer to Cape Cod, I didn't have the photography bug yet when I visited Nags Head.

Small shells are heaped up in piles at Red River Beach, Harwich, Cape Cod, MA. 

 Sea Wall, Providence MA

There wasn't much sand in Providence but lot's of stone seawalls and seaweed with an inlet, the Atlantic Ocean beyond. 

Originally built in 1828, Nobska Light was rebuilt in 1876. The structure on the National Register of Historic Places.  The home adjacent to the light serves as the residence for the Commanding Officer of United States Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.

Visitors On The Lawn At Knobska Point Light

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Art Of Books And Things

Continuing on the theme of book art from my last post this showcases artists from Fine Art America, an established on line art gallery representing many well known artists.  Bob Orsillo's image above shows an old book and other "things" or objects which appears to be dried leaves or flower petals.  He uses the close-up to reveal lots of detail creating a visual feast for the eyes.

Contrasting his own art, Orsillo with another take on books and a John Malkovich matryoshka doll that he found behind a bar on a bookshelf he calls "found art."  I hope that is not a statement about Mr. Malkovich and symbolism of failure of some sort!  It is an interesting and compelling composition.

On a lighter note photographer Carol Leigh's Japanese book, although I can't read Japanese characters, with what seems to be layers of attached papers with fading inks gives wonderful textural depth.

Amy Weiss's violet tinged vignette with a layer of old books, clock, letters, newspaper and purple tulip recalls long past events and places.

I love the textural quality of the old leather books, keys and rough wood in the image above by Gary Gay. 

  Gary Gay

I am drawn to Gary Gay's image of old stacked leather books with sea shells recalling classic sea faring stories like 'Treasure Island,' '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea,' 'Robinson Crusoe' and others.

This image also by Gay looks like stock photography and art, the rich color and almost microscopic detail, the result of either an expensive lens, full frame camera or both.

Lovely composition, photography turned into a painting of an 18th century lawyers desk with books and papers by Susan Savad.  This table looks like where the lawyer would meet with his client to have papers looked over and signatures signed.

A fantasy image by Matthew Gibson of lavender fields running out of a book revealing that books are magic! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Beautiful Book Art

Books are beautiful magical things that can take you places you've never been and teach you things you couldn't have dreamed.  Artists are showing us that books can do even more in a physical way than be read and sit on a shelf, called "Altered Book Art."

Here is the wiki definition for "altered book":
An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning.
An altered book artist takes a book (old, new, recycled or multiple) and cuts, tears, glues, burns, folds, paints, adds to, collages, rebinds, gold-leafs, creates pop-ups, rubber-stamps, drills, bolts, and/or be-ribbons it. The artist may add pockets and niches to hold tags, rocks, ephemera, or other three-dimensional objects. Some change the shape of the book, or use multiple books in the creation of the finished piece of art.
Altered books may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture. Antique or Victorian art is frequently used, probably because it is easier to avoid copyright issues. Altered books are shown and sold in art galleries and on the Internet.

Alexander Korzer-Robinson

How about this for some fun book art!  I really like the vintage look and the unexpected objects and scenes.  It could be an image of what our memory looks like with our thoughts layered in our sub-conscience.  Alexander uses old books, selects and cuts around the illustrations of the book leaving them on their original page!

Cara Barer, Houston Artist

Cara Barer has done a colorful work creating a beautiful butterfly with bending and folding a book.

The Butterfly by Rachel Ashe

Rachel's work has a "found art" kind of theme.

 Frank Halman

Frank Halman treats books as architecture often carving out the inside of a set of books so that the viewer can peek in and see a space inside.  Below is another of his works showing stairs that are descending mysteriously down into a book.

As a child I loved reading a collection of mysteries presented by Alfred Hitchcock, one of the stories was about little people that came suddenly one day to live in a house inhabited by the narrator.  

The little people were never actually seen only noises or movement of things like a shade suddenly being pulled down in a doll house they were inhabiting. 

The little people brought the narrator good luck but apparently their privacy was violated somehow, I think consequently they left and the good luck with them!  The staircase reminds me of the evidence of their existence but never actually seeing them.

Guy Laramee

More great altered books, this scene is so atmospheric and looks like an archeological diorama of a lost city in a museum only it's in a book, literally!

Guy Laramee

This one reminds me of the lost ancient Minoan civilization in Crete.  I like how the entrance walls look like they are on two different planes.  The clever carving makes it look like it is dug out of a cliff.

Long Ben Chen

How about this for someone that is "bookish!"  Long Ben Chen carves faces out of books that look amazingly life-like.

Library of Alexandria detail by Ania Gilmore

I love the detail and texture in this image, it is from a theological blog 

 The Girl In The Wood, Su Blackwell

I saved my favorite for last, fairytale like work of Su Blackwell is fascinating.  Su says of her work:

"I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore.  I began making a series of book sculpture cutting out images of old books to create three-dimensional dioramas, and displaying them inside wooden boxes. 

For the cut-out illustrations, I tend to lean towards the young girl characters, placing them in haunting fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder.  There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and the use of subtle color." 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fantasy Architecture

Architecture is a way to interpret fantasy using details and parts used in the composition.  I find it fascinating to use architectural details or parts in a way that is fantastic as in the somewhat mysterious Gothic image above with birds flying around building copulas formed in a square (it made sense to me at the time, copulas are at the very top of buildings where birds sometimes roost), galactic stars, spaceships or patterns.

The choices are endless as are the building styles for exteriors and interiors.  

In the above image I have incorporated cathedral ceilings and spires for the image above which is a pattern of sorts, almost like looking through a kaleidoscope.

I would not have considered doing outer space art but became inspired when putting the church roofs of the image below in position and finding it looking very much like a space ship suspended in space heading somewhere.  Bring on Star Wars VIII!!

If cathedral dome roofs made into space ships are not your cup of tea, how about Victorian conical roofs with a Gothic rose window or Catherine window in stone made into galactic stars?!  

Named after St. Catherine of Alexandra who was executed on a spiked wheel, ouch!  It is from the 17th century and used in Medieval cathedrals.  All the major cathedrals from that period in France have these windows.  The Gothic revival period in the 19th century also used these windows.

You say blue is not your favorite color, too conservative how about a galactic star in shocking pink?!!  

Real stars are probably very colorful burning otherworldly metals and rocks.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see one up close.  Some stars and their colors can be seen from earth.

It is possible the origin of the rose window is found in the Roman oculous. These large circular openings let in both light and air.  The image below a sort of time capsule I believe is the dome of the Pantheon where the oculi is at the top, the best known example.  Early Christian and Byzantine architecture also made use of the use of circular oculi.

Iniquity too early of a time period how about Henri Toulous-Lautrec's Paris and the Eiffel Tower.  Here is how it might appear as a star.

Some interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower it was built to sway slightly and on the sunny side it will grow as much as seven inches away from the sun.

The Tower was originally made to be taken down in twenty years. When it went up there was a petition of 300 architects, sculptors, artists and writers asking the Commissioner of the Paris Exhibition to halt the construction.  Trying to save it, Gustave Eiffel, who's firm designed it, made a meteorology laboratory on the third floor right after it's construction encouraging scientists to use it for their experiments.  Studies were performed there from gravity to electricity.

It was the tallest man made building until the Chrysler Building was built in 1930.

Ultimately what saved the Tower was it's usefulness as a wireless telegraph transmitter, enabling the military to communicate with ships during WWI.  Today it is still used as a transmission tower with more than 120 radio and television antennas.  

It is also home to two restaurants, several buffets, a champagne bar banquet hall and gift shops!  You can't get married on the Eiffel Tower but you can have your reception dinner there.

You say "So what can top the Eiffel Tower?"   They say two is better than one, two iconic buildings of New York, the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings combined!

Taller is better, only kidding!  The Chrysler Building has some nice assets one of them being the wood inlay and chrome steel detailing in the elevator.

     Chrysler Elevator by Dogears

The lobby is a contemporary abstraction of African marble and chrome steel.  The marble is not only on the floor it is on the walls and ceiling.  Like the elevator everything looks like it is in tones of medium to dark brown.

Chrysler Building by WestportWiki

 Chrysler Building by Norbert Nagel

This is one of the radiator-cap gargoyles, there is also a band of abstract automobiles on the building.  Patterned brickwork is used extensively.  

The Empire State Building was the tallest building for almost forty years and was topped by the North World Trade Center building in 1970.  To date it is the forth tallest building in the world.  Pretty impressive for being built in 1931.

Suzanne Powers gallery: