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“Sailor's Delight” by the Florida artist Laurie Snow Heign

One of many grateful snaffles over the years from the fine pages of Jerry.

If you like this...

[Try clicking the boats tag - just a suggestion!]

“Synchronicity” by Mark Shasha

“Carpenteria Bluffs 2” by Rebecca Arguello

“Santiam River No.2” by Silvina Day

Thanks yet again for these to Jerry, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from him over the years.

When Marnie Was There (Movie and Novel)

I had never heard of this excellent Studio Ghibli animation (available on Netflix) until quite recently. (You can watch the movie trailer if you click any of these screenshots from it.)

Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who worked on many of Miyazaki's films, and based on the 1967 novel by Joan G. Robinson, it is unusual in several ways.

As a movie, the closest to it might be Whisper of the Heart, written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Yoshifumi Kondō, which is set in the very real world of Tokyo. Shizuku, its heroine, supported by a good family, wrestles with herself as she (often painfully) develops.

As a novel, the closest to it might be The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett's timeless classic of a lonely, introverted English girl from India brought slowly to life by the garden, its wildlife and by plain Yorkshire people unlike any she has met before.

Anna, the heroine of When Marnie Was There, is emotionally locked within herself, for reasons that only gradually become apparent. Sent to 'Little Overton', a small wetland village in Norfolk (transcribed to Japan in the movie, with startling resemblances) to stay with a plain, down-to-earth couple, she is rescued from herself by a very unusual set of circumstances.

The relationship between herself and the mysterious Marnie is both delightful and bitter-sweet, and turns out to be most unexpected.

The daughter of Robinson, Deborah Sheppard (also an author of children's books), said that the creation of When Marnie Was There began during a family summer holiday in the coastal village of Burnham Overy Staithe. Major natural features of the location include a creek and tidal marsh, with an isolated beach surrounded by sandhills.

When Marnie Was There was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 1968. Joan's fiction was always about girls who felt unloved - and she used to say of When Marnie Was There, "You can write books, but there's only every one book that's really you."

Kushiro Wetlands, in Hokkaido, Japan (image from Wikipedia)

These are extracts from the postscript to the book written by Joan's daughter in April 2002:

“Thirty years after the book was published, I heard how a Japanese man had recently arrived in the village looking for 'Little Overton'. Many years before, as a young teenager, he had read When Marnie Was There in Japanese. The book had made a great impression on him and he very much wanted to see the place where the story was set...

“He spoke very little English and he had no idea where 'Little Overton' was. All he had was a copy of the book as his guide. So he took the train to King's Lynn, as Anna had done; and finally caught the bus that goes along the coast....

“At each stop the passengers got off until he was the only person left. He began to get rather anxious. Then as the bus turned the corner he saw the windmill [which features in the book, transcribed to a large derelict silo in the movie].

“Stop, stop!” he said, “This must be it!” And he leapt off the bus. But the village wasn't 'Little Overton', it was Burnham Overy...

“He was thrilled to be here at last. To see the tide rising, the boats swinging at anchor, the wild marsh and birds and the house that been the start of it all.”

The old silo that appears in the film is based on Burnham Overy Staithe Windmill, Norfolk (image from Wikipedia).

BTW, we hope to visit this place soon, as it is not too far from where we now live (see my previous post if you are interested, follow the >> link below).

If you like this...

[Deep Inside My Heart, a music video by Priscilla Ahn, which contains many more scenes from When Marnie Was There than you will find in the official trailer. Interestingly, it opens with a short clip from Whisper of the Heart.]

[The Art of Animation: Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, my article which includes Whisper of the Heart]

[Or try clicking any of this article's tags - just a suggestion!]

Peder Severin Krøyer (P.S. Krøyer) - Painter of the “Skagen Light”

Krøyer often emphasized the special effects of the Skagen light (a link worth following), with several memorable works depicting beach scenes.

Click each image below for the source of the information in this post.

“Summer Day on South Beach at Skagen, 1884”, oil on canvas

“Summer Evening on Skagen's Southern Beach”, Anna Ancher and Marie Krøyer walking together at Skagen

“The Artist and His Wife”

“An Evening at Skagen”

“Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”

“One of the foremost Impressionist painters from Denmark, the artist Peder Severin Kroyer was born in Norway, but brought up in Copenhagen where he studied at the Royal Academy. Initially a keen student of Velazquez, he became the leading member of the Skagen artist colony, a group known as the 'painters of light'.

This group, which included Holger Drachmann and Carl Locher, was strongly influenced by French Impressionism. In particular, they sought to study and capture the effects of light at different times of the day. Kroyer's paintings from Skagen are lively and naturalistic, and were executed en plein air. The influence of Renoir and Whistler can be seen in his paintings Hip Hip Hurrah! Artists Party at Skagen (1888, Goteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden), and Summer Evening on Skagen's South Beach with Anna Ancher and Marie Kroyer (1893, Skagen Museum).”

—from Art Encyclopedia, one of the best art resources on the web

If you like this...

[Fairfield Light, my own photos of another special kind of light]

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Painter of Sunshine

“Buscando Mariscos (Looking for Seafod)”, Playa de Valencia, oil on canvas 1907

“El Pescador (The Fisherman)”, Playa del Cabañal, Valencia

“Mending the Sail”

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida was a Spanish painter. Sorolla excelled in the painting of portraits, landscapes and monumental works of social and historical themes. His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous representation of the people and landscape under the bright sunlight of Spain and sunlit water.” —Wikipedia

(Click an image above for its source and more information.)

If you like this...

[More Valencia beach scenes by this artist]

“Shepherd's Cottage, Firle” by the painter, designer, book illustrator, wood engraver and official WWII War Artist Eric Ravilious (click the image for more)

Landscape © by James Lynch, much of whose work is inspired by hang gliding in England's West Country, and who is often compared to Eric Ravilious

“100 Years” © by Steven White

Thanks yet again for this one to Jerry, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from him over the years.

Christmas Card Art

The best Christmas cards can have some great art. I particularly liked these two (click either image for more by the artist):

“Homeward Bound”, a digital painting © by Carla Vize-Martin

“Winter Run” © by Giuliana Lazzerini, much of whose work is influenced by the Tuscan landscape and her childhood memories

Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

“Monet's Playground” © by John White

John writes:

“This scene is from France in the town of Honfleur, in the Normandy region. This is a small fishing village where Monet frequented with his friends to paint the bright colors and vivid scenery that was so different from his home. I painted this early in the morning before the crowds made their way to this absolutely gorgeous spot.

“This was done on site en plein air and is an unframed 9"x12" original oil painting.”

Thanks yet again for this one to Jerry, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from him over the years.

If Michelangelo had created a hand-drawn computer art puzzle game...

Explanation further down... or click either of these screenshots

I don't need to add anything, except to say that this excellent video will help you get started and rescue you from places where your brain simply gives up!

This unique, multi-award-winning game is a real treat.

“View of the city of Lviv”, a beautiful watercolour © by Andrey Kovalik

(Lviv is the second largest city in Western Ukraine)

If you like this...

[The tags on this post are among my favourites... just a suggestion]

Fine work by the Algerian artist Faiza Maghni, whose other work is well worth checking out
(thanks to ThePhil51 and Gatorindo (David) for this one)

“Three Generations” by the realist painter Jie Wei Zhou, whose other work is well worth checking out

Thanks yet again for this one to Jerry, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from him over the years.

“Through the Barley to the Wide Open Plain” © by the collage artist Vanessa Stone

´Whirlpool´ embroidery detail by Annemieke Mein, a Dutch-born Australian textile artist
who specialises in depicting wildlife.

Found on another great art resource.

Beautiful art by Chen Huimin

Thanks yet again for this one (and for being led to this great art resource) to ensemble5, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from her over the years.

Some digital matte paintings by Yanick Dusseault - I have obviously seen much of his work at the cinema without realising it!

There are currently some 80 images on his site, mostly used to create scenes that you will recognize from Star Wars, but others including mattes for Black Panther and Avatar. Click either image above to see the vast range of his work and how it has been applied.

If you're interested in movie technology (e.g. CGI, massive crowd simulation) you may be interested in the links that I provide here (in the right-hand column of my movies web page).

“Mouse Dreaming”, a fine watercolour by the realist painter Jacquelyn Stein, whose other work is well worth checking out

Thanks yet again for this one to Jerry, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from him over the years.

Of all the works by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbour Totoro is undoubtedly the most loved. Children who grew up with it remember it as one of their favourite movies, and many love it even more as adults.

I never saw it as a child (I was a grown-up in 1988), but it is certainly now one of my all-time favourite movies. It's a gentle story of childhood joys and fears that celebrates kindness, a close relationship with Nature and (as one expects from Miyazaki) the Japanese tradition of respect for one's elders.

I recently had the pleasure of introducing it to my 7-year old granddaughter (not that I need an excuse to watch it), and was struck by what a wonderful antidote it is to the poisonous spirit emanating from the current US President.

I also recently discovered a marvellous retrospective of this great movie. I recommend clicking either image above to read it (the second image is actually my own screenshot). If you do, don't miss its link to an all-but-forgotten classic Disney animation called The Old Mill.

If you like this...

[The Art of Animation: Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli]

“Discover #7” © by Isabelle V. Lim, a Singapore artist who specializes in great pastels

Another grateful snaffle from the fine pages of Jerry.

If you like this...

[“Misty Morning” by Tom Dubbeldam]

Two fine watercolours of Venice © by Stan Miller (reproduced here with kind permission)

If you like this...

[One of my photos of the quiet Western Quarter of Venice]
[My photos of Venice in September 2001 - and what came after]
[Try clicking some of the tags at the top of this post... just a suggestion!]

Two of many fine watercolours © by Stan Miller (reproduced here with kind permission)

Some very nice watercolours by the South Korean artist Misulbu

There are several treats for art lovers here. If you click either image above you will go to Misulbu's own art gallery (watercolour section). His Korean home page is hard for English people to navigate but well worth exploring. His main sections are Watercolours, Pen, Oils and Acrylic/Airbrush.

I was introduced to Misulbu by the wonderful art blog of David Meldrum, who hails from Stockholm, Sweden. It features not only his own work, including some great watercolours, but also introductions to many other fine artists.

(Click the palette to visit David's great art resource.)

Beautiful watercolours by the Vietnamese artist Dang Can

If you like this...

[My collection of watercolours]

“Kaui Ferns”, a fine watercolour by Claudia Ihl, whose other work is well worth checking out

Thanks yet again for this one to Jerry, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from him over the years.

Jessie Willcox Smith - Vintage Book Illustrations

“I Love My Little Cat”

(click the image for I AM A CHILD - children in art history, a wonderful art resource for childhood)

“The Seven Ages of Childhood:
5. Then the Scholar, With Eyes Severe and Hair of Formal Cut”

(click the image to read a scanned online copy of the original vintage book!)

Jessie Willcox Smith, according to Wikipedia, “was a prominent female illustrator in the United States during the Golden Age of American illustration and ‘one of the greatest pure illustrators’”.

Thanks to Gatorindo (David) and ensemble5 for these!

If you like this...

[Try clicking the childhood tag - just a suggestion!]

“On Their Way” by Steven Hileman (click the image for more from the artist)

My second grateful snaffle in a row from Jerry's fine pages, but I couldn't resist the wonderful autumnal feel of this one.

“The Muse” by Jose Pardo

Thanks yet again for this one to Jerry, and for all these other treasures that I have gratefully snaffled from him over the years.

“Magpies in a Summer Field” by Rob Barnes (click the image for more from Rob)

The Bourneside Gallery, BTW, has an excellent online arts and crafts resource. Just a reminder too that if you're interested you can find my complete list of art sites here, or by going to the favourite tags section at the end of my "White Rabbit" Index.

Two lovely examples of Serge Marshennikov's paintings of beautiful women, which include many very fine nudes

Thanks to blacksock for discovering this artist for me!

Art meets Science: “The Circle of Life”

Clicking the above image will take you (as it took me) into the rather wonderful world of data visualization techniques, where the complexities of life (and of other things, e.g. communication networks) are being revealed in helpful and often beautiful ways.

The image above, BTW, was produced using Martin Krzywinski's open-source CIRCOS software.

“Moonlight Picnic” by Lucia Heffernan

“Crows and Gargoyles” by Brian Slawson

Another grateful snaffle from the fine pages of Jerry.

National Marc Chagall Museum, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France, September/October 2016

[Nice and Beaulieu-sur-Mer visit continued from Part 2]

The National Marc Chagall Museum, about a 15 minute walk uphill from central Nice, is the only museum dedicated to a famous artist that was opened by the artist himself (so far as I know). Many great artists, unfortunately, were not fully appreciated in their own life time. Marc Chagall is one of our favourite artists.

The images below are my own photos (photography without flash is permitted in this museum), processed to correct perspective etc.

Stained glass windows in the auditorium

If you like this, you might like...

[All of my art posts]
[My stained-glass posts]

[Index of all my photoblogs]

A very nice image by Vyacheslav Palacheva - it's a little like this in the UK, right now

Thanks mairem (and Jerry)!

Amy Purdy (a link well worth following) dancing at the Rio Paralympics Opening Ceremony...

with a KUKA industrial robot...

in a stunning 3D-printed dress.

Their bring-the-house-down routine (including a samba from Amy that was able to wow Brazilians) suggested the theme of “disability meets technology”.

However, watching the athletes at Rio, and the many others all over the world that they inspire, we aren't seeing “disability” - just amazing ability.

If you like this, you might want to revisit...

[Breaking the Mold: The London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony]

[London 2012: The Beautiful Games]

The wonderful kinetic sculptures of Anthony Howe...

as shown on his web site

...and combined brilliantly with the Olympic Cauldron in Rio (click for more images)

Some Wall Art Along the Douro

[Portugal/Spain visit continued from Part 2]

I took photos of some of the wall art appearing in public places.

These pictures were on display in the dining area of Quinta da Roêda, one of the Douro Valley’s finest vineyards, owned by Croft Port. The artist is António Ervedeiro, but I haven't found any information about him online (yet).

I also took a small selection of the many tile murals at Pinhão's small railway station. The old-style baskets for collecting grapes weighed over 100lb when full.

Before the dams were built, the Douro was shallow with fast currents. Taking the loaded Port Wine boats downstream to Porto was relatively fast, perhaps a week or so, but it could take a month to bring the boats back up to the vineyards.

Things are much faster now!

[Portugal/Spain visit continues to Salamanca in Part 4]

Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, Salamanca, Spain, June 2016

[Portugal/Spain visit continued from Part 3]

We had a day trip into Spain to visit the beautiful city of Salamanca in Spain, where because of the heat (close to 100°F) we spent the majority of our free time in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, one of the finest collections of such art and sculpture in the world.

We weren't allowed to take photos there (except in its wonderful Art Nouveau café, see later in this post), but I found online some work by artists and sculptors that we really liked.

If you click any of the following images you will be taken to the source of that image.

“Les Girls” by Demetre Chiparus

“Coy Dancer”, an Art Deco chryséléphantine by Ferdinand Preiss

A “Spring Landscape” vase by the Daum Brothers (more of their work can also be found here)

A beautiful vase (housed in this museum) by Émile Gallé (more of his work can be found here)

An Arsall Cameo Glass vase - Arsall was a trade name (from Art+Allemand) of the VLG glass company

We were allowed to take photos in the museum's wonderful Art Nouveau café (you may want to follow that link to see many images of the place).

I couldn't resist taking photos of the “Belle Epoque” espresso coffee maker, a work of art in itself!

Click either image if you would like to know more about it

If you like this...

[Index of all my photoblogs]

“Summer’s End” by Marci Oleszkiewicz - thanks yet again, Jerry!

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice, France

We recently spent two very nice weeks in Nice, one of our favourite cities (if you are interested you can see a photoblog of our first trip to Nice here).

This time we stayed not far from this museum, where they allow you to take photographs without flash. These are my photos of some of my favourites, which feature the wonderful colours of Provence. The first picture is my kind of place... if you like it, you'll probably like some of the other nice places in this collection.

Click a label if you would like to see links about that artist.

“Autumn Light” by Cathy Hillegas, whose other work is well worth exploring

Snaffled gratefully (as so many others) from Jerry's fine pages.

“You blew me away” from a wonderful sculpture series by Penny Hardy

Click either image above for more on this amazing place, and there are lots more links about it here if you are interested.

If you like this...

[More about Giuliano Mauri]
[More about Bergamo]

“A warm Farewell” by Scott Ruthven - from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst

© Mary Engelbreit Enterprises, Inc.

Mary Engelbreit is a graphic artist and children's book illustrator who launched her own magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion in 1996. She writes:

“This is a variation of a card I did years ago for the St. Louis Art Museum. It featured a bench that is in the museum's fabulous collection (although I embellished this one a little!)”

Another great share by Sandy (overthetrail) (Sandy is nowadays mostly on Facebook, but click her tag for many more nice things that I have snaffled from her).

“Winter Skaters” (1906) by Wassily Kandinsky - one of my favourite paintings, kindly found for me by Ceara

© Lia Melia

Click either image above to see more of Lia Melia's Ocean Waves paintings

Thanks again to regtf1948 for this great find!

Nice, Côte d'Azur, France, November 2015

This was our second trip to Nice this year (our first trip in Feb/March can be found here if you are interested). We revisited many of our favourite places, so this time I am showing our visit to the Asian Arts Museum and Phoenix Park, both in a nicely redeveloped area near the airport.

Click the image above if you would like to see this visit, otherwise if you would like to skip the photoblog then (as usual) click the chevrons (>>) below to move on to my next “normal” post.

“Harbor Master's House” by Barbara Applegate, whose other work is well worth checking out

Gratefully snaffled (as so many others) from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst - thanks again, Jerry!

This is my photograph of a painting by the Portuguese artist António Neves, hanging in the lobby of the hotel in Lisbon where we stayed recently. (I took it from the side to avoid glass reflections, and then fixed perspective etc. with image processing.)

I have posted some photos of our Lisbon trip here.

“Emerald Morning”, an oil painting of an “absolutely classic PA barn” on the Granogue Estate, by Stephen White

Gratefully snaffled (as so many others) from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst - thanks again, Jerry!

If you like this...

["Autumn Frost", a very fine photograph by Alex Ugalnikov]
[...and try the jerzee55sst or autumn or landscape tags - just a suggestion!]

“Landscape with House and Ploughman, 1889” by Vincent van Gogh

From The Blessing of Autumn, one of a number of fine posts by Jonie combining inspirational paintings and poetry.

Jonie (if she's the same person, and I'm pretty sure she is) had a fine blog on SU. I can't find posts from her anywhere later than 2012, but this particular blog is a treasure trove. Don't miss it.

If you're interested...

[Some info about this painting]

Ceara is rebuilding her fine collection of art - a resource not to be missed, full of high quality images and high quality information.

Her collection is well tagged, too - for example you can easily see all of her collection of impressionist paintings.

(Click the palette for more good art sites.)

A beautiful animated tribute to Cecil, speedpainted by Aaron Blaise

Click the text below for a lot more...

Thanks to my younger daughter for this one!

“Playful Friends”, a watercolour by Christelle Grey, a South African now living in Australia

... featured on the site of The Wildlife Art Society of Australasia (also well worth visiting)

If you like this, click the text above for more about Annie, and please visit Chaotiqual, from whose beautiful and interesting pages this comes.

Parham House and Gardens, Sussex, July 22nd, 2015

My photoblog of our July visit to Parham House and Gardens appears below (or click the image to go there).

If you would like to skip the photoblog, then (as usual) click the chevrons (>>) below to move on to my next “normal” post

“Elle”, a watercolour by Cynthia Barlow Marrs - from her portfolio Sketch Portraits

I found this, as I have so many good things, on the always-beautiful pages of ensemble5 (if you click her tag at the top of this post, you'll see what I mean!).

“Woman with a Parasol” by Claude Monet

One of my favourite paintings, kindly found for me by Ceara - click the image for her original, fully-documented post

If you like this...

[Many other paintings by Claude Monet]
[Ceara's collection of Impressionist paintings]

“Summer Pastoral” by the British Columbia-born Canadian artist Don Li-Leger, whose other work is well worth exploring

One of many treasures to be found on the fine pages of Jerzee55sst - thanks, Jerry!

“Country Pub in Brannenburg” by Max Liebermann - my kind of place!

Another one from the wonderful art gallery of Ceara - click the image for her original, fully-documented post

“At the End of the Porch”, a beautiful picture by the American artist John Sharman

From the wonderful art gallery of Ceara - click the image for her original, fully-documented post

The Art of Animation: Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

I am a long time fan of Studio Ghibli, and I still consider Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away to be the finest animation ever made (a close runner-up being The Illusionist by Sylvain Chomet).

One reason that I am a fan is the beautiful environments (often urban) created in many of their films. These are works of art in their own right, and I have done my best to capture (with my own screenshots) some of the ones that I particularly like.

In order to keep this post a reasonable length, and because the art in many of the films can only be appreciated in animated form, I have chosen only three films (omitting, for example, the beautiful natural environment of My Neighbour Totoro along with many others). Click any image if you would like to see links about that film.

Kiki's Delivery Service

This charming story about the early difficulties of a trainee witch, based on a children's fantasy novel, would be worth watching just for the artwork of the beautiful Scandinavian-style landscape and city. When the weather is lousy or everything seems miserable, I watch this film again, thinking how much I would like to live here - and how much designers of modern architecture could learn from the film.

Kiki standing outside the bakery, overlooking the sea. Behind her is a glimpse of the lower part of the fictional city. The (apparently hand-painted) details of mortar, stones, plaster, tiles and so much else is incredible - the more you look, the more you see. As with so many of Miyazaki's urban environments, it is set on a hill, giving it added interest as a place and a wonderful three-dimensional feel as art.

The fictional city is “Koriko” or “Coriko”, although the characters don't mention it. Miyazaki's inspiration for it was the town of Visby on the island of Gotland, Sweden (worth looking at), although the fictional Koriko is a much larger place.

This is animation at its finest (no still images can convey how good it is), and one of my all-time favourite movies. (The version I have is in Japanese, with English subtitles, which I generally prefer.)

The bakery, with another glimpse of Koriko rising above it, lit (as often in Miyazaki's films) by a low sun. The room at the top of the stairs is a kind of storage loft, which Kiki can use free as her room (and have free use of the telephone for her delivery business) in exchange for helping out at the bakery.

The view from Kiki's room, as evening falls.

The bakery at night.

The Wind Rises

This is to be the last of Miyazaki's films (see here), and in many ways is very different from the others. A very good description of it can be found here.

It is a fictionalized version of the life of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Mitsubishi fighters that flew in WWII. It features many things: the love and mystique of aviation (and a repugnance for its use in war) that is Miyazaki's own, a stunning sequence covering the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, 7.9 on the Richter scale, that devastated Tokyo and the surrounding area, and a bittersweet story concerning his love for Nahoko, a girl whom he rescues during the earthquake and then doesn't see again for some time.

The story is fascinating from a historical point of view, but it also features some fine art work that somehow makes even factories and aircraft hangars things of beauty. I have selected just a few here.

A train journey during a period of tranquillity. Jiro is on his way to a hotel where he will again encounter Nahoko. Trains, and other means of transport, feature in many of Miyazaki's films with an extraordinary attention to realistic detail. (In Kiki's Delivery Service, when looking through the front window of an old-fashioned bus about to depart, we can see its nose rise as it is lifted by the torque of the engine, before setting off - a detail most people wouldn't even care about, or notice.)

The outfall from a beautiful spring pool, near the hotel where he encounters Nahoko.

Walking back to the hotel, caught in a sudden rain squall. Wind, rain and clouds are often major features of Miyazaki's films.

The hotel where Nahoko and Jiro meet.

Nahoko sadly dies of tuberculosis. They marry so that they can live together for the short time left, but Nahoko disappears one day, returning to the sanatorium so that he will remember her as she was. Together with other patients, she lies (well bundled up) on the verandah of the sanatorium, and in this beautiful short sequence she looks up at the sky as snow falls.

Whisper of the Heart

This is another great favourite of mine. It's a coming-of-age story set in modern Tokyo. Its heroine Shizuku is led on a journey that becomes more and more magical at it progresses - not, in this case, the magic of myths or legends, but a way of seeing the real world through the eyes of a young teenager that becomes a true voyage of enchantment.

The film was written by Miyazaki but directed by Yoshifumi Kondo, whom Miyazaki hoped would take over from him. Kondo's premature death shortly afterwards, apparently caused by overwork, seems to have led Miyazaki to announce his retirement, although (fortunately for us) he continued to work for a further 15 years but at a more relaxed pace.

The apartment block where Shizuku lives is far from luxurious...

The door is metal and the interior is very small and cluttered. Nevertheless Shizuku's family lives happily there, and apart from the expected occasional friction with Shizuku's older sister, is very supportive of her.

Shizuku's life is one of an ordinary young teenager. She attends a local school, remarkable only for the respect that Miyazaki always shows being given by children to their elders and teachers. Shizuku writes two translated versions of John Denver's “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (hilarious when translated back to English in subtitles) - she doesn't really understand the concept of a “home town”, and her second version is entitled “Take Me Home, Concrete Roads”.

Shizuku is a voracious reader, borrowing books from the library, and keeps encountering the name of a previous borrower, Seiji Amasawa. She encounters Seiji several times without realizing who he is, and is extremely cross when he teases her. But things will change...

One day when Shizuku travels on the local train, she is joined by an unusually independent cat. When they get off together she follows him...

...losing him...

...but discovering him again higher up the hill.

The cat leads her up a steep, narrow rubbish-strewn alley.

(Monitor test: you should be able to see considerable detail even on plain concrete walls.)

Shizuku emerges into what, to her, is a different world...

...and discovers an open, and apparently deserted, antique shop... which she will discover Seiji's grandfather, and learn that Seiji himself lives downstairs, learning to be a violin maker.

Here she also meets The Baron, an amazing statuette with crystal eyes, whose story links to an unfulfilled love in the grandfather's past life.

Seiji's grandfather shows her a marvellous clock that he is repairing, whose mechanisms include another depiction of unfulfilled love.

Shizuku later meets Seiji here, and learns that he hopes to leave schooling early for a career making violins - but first he will have to prove himself by becoming an apprentice to a strict violin-making master in Cremona, Italy.

Shizuku realises how much she will miss him, and decides to challenge herself while he is away by writing a long story, which she calls Whisper of the Heart, inspired by the story of The Baron.

Seiji's grandfather wants to be the first to read her story, and Shizuku waits for hours on his lower verandah while he does so, in an agony of suspense. He finally appears and tells her that her story is a little rough, like any craftsman's first work, but she has dug out some real gems from her heart - and makes the hugely relieved Shizuku a supper of Ramen noodles.

Early one cold morning Seiji returns, and calls to Shizuku to come down.

He takes her high up to one of his favourite places... watch a magical sunrise above Tokyo

If you like this...

[Wingsee, a delightful site dedicated to the work of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki]
[The painting "Ship Flying Over The Rainbow" from "Kiki's Delivery Service"]
[Joe Hisaishi plays his piano music from "Spirited Away"]
[The Art of Animation: Disney's “Tangled”]

La droguerie de limandes, Scheveningen, 1882 aka “The fish-drying barn" by Vincent van Gogh

A particularly nice picture that I hadn't seen before - thanks so much to Betty-Boop for this one!

Hand-painted stones, examples of what the artist calls “dotillism art”, by Elspeth McLean, a painter and art therapist from Australia, who writes:

“Painting is my way to find my “happy place” and colour is a way to express and celebrate the colours of my soul. By using bright and vivid colours and intricate dot work style, the artwork I create becomes a direct expression of my experience of life. I tend to focus on the more uplifting and beautiful aspects of this world because I think there is already enough darkness.”

I can certainly relate to that...

One of many delights to found on the pages of regtf1948.

“Red Dinghy”, acrylic on canvas, by John Mansueto, whose other work is well worth checking out

Another one gratefully snaffled from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst - thanks, Jerry!

Silk: Interactive Generative Art

“Draw something...”

A simple and brilliant App that lets even people like me produce some wonderful coloured patterns. This was my first attempt, and not so wonderful, but you can change colours on a blend chart, alter the symmetry, add spiral effects, and of course save and share your artwork.

Click the image to try it!

Thanks to Ceara (who has a wonderful art gallery on Categorian) for this one.

Illustration Art

“Many talented illustrators develop a style, find an audience, and enjoy a long, successful career catering to that audience. But there is a special place in my heart for illustrators who take their initial success and re-invest it in new challenges. In my view, that's the highest use for success.”Gregory Manchess

Click the image to see Gatorindo's original post, one of literally thousands of great posts that he has produced over the years containing music, art, humour and so much more.

He has shared (and I have gratefully snaffled) some wonderful stuff, as you will see if you click his tag above.

Johanna Basford's work (see here) is well worth exploring.

Another item gratefully snaffled from the fine pages of batchbatcharak!

“To create new art, Brian Dettmer trashes old books. The painter-turned-sculptor (TED Talk: Old books reborn as art) takes outdated reference materials such as textbooks and encyclopedias, seals them with varnish, then carves away at their pages with an X-Acto knife. Dettmer knifes through books swiftly from cover to cover to reveal images that explore our relationship to information. He adds no color or text; it’s all what he calls “a subtractive sculptural process.” Take a look at some of the amazing results.”

“The Art of Snacking” © by Trisha Selgrath, whose other work is well worth exploring

“Implement Blue” by Margaret Preston

“Margaret Preston was an Australian artist. She was highly influential during the 1920s to 1940s for her modernist works as a painter and printmaker and for introducing Aboriginal motifs into contemporary art.”Wikipedia

If you like this, you may enjoy exploring the various links above (including clicking the image for info about the painting).

The Art of Animation: Disney's “Tangled”

Alan Jones, writing in the UK's historically-named Radio Times (now our leading TV and Radio magazine):

“This deft vrsion of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale find Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) trapped in a tower by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who uses the princes's long magical hair to stay forever young. Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) is the handsome, cocksure thief who provides the kidnapped royal with a possible escape route. It's a smart, snappy and sparkling tale, which uses Rapuzel's multitasking flowing tresses to great effect.”

Frozen is (to date) the most successful animation feature ever made, and I really enjoyed it. However Tangled is still my favourite production from Walt Disney Animation Studios, thanks in no small part to Glen Keane, Disney's master character animator, who subsequently left Disney (more on that here if you're interested).

Pascal and Rapunzel (click the image for many more)

Click this image for the full-size HD wallpaper, which also shows several of the new animation features used in the production

Flynn, beginning a long process of personality improvement...

Maximus, a horse with serious attitude, and a real masterpiece of character animation... definitely worth clicking on this one...

A particularly beautiful animation sequence (click the image for many more)

It seems that Tangled was produced at a critical time for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Recent productions had not been a success, and they were losing out to studios like Pixar Animation Studios and Dreamworks Animation. The turning point for Disney animation was Glen Keane's seminar to his colleagues, many of them wedded to old-style animation, reported here in The New York Times.

From Wikipedia's article on Tangled (worth reading):

Technical and artistic brilliance wouldn't have been enough in themselves to make Tangled as successful as it was. As Alan Jones wrote, it's a “smart, snappy and sparkling tale”, with a strong story line and many really hilarious moments. Many people were involved with that, but without Glen Keane it would have been a different tale altogether.

If you like this...

[Watch “Duet”, a wonderful animation short by Glen Keane]
[Superb animation that was NOT done by motion capture: the Tiger in “Life of Pi”]

Untitled picture © Jean-Michel Priaux, a photographer who transforms landscapes into art with expert photomanipulation.
Click the image for many examples of his work (highly recommended).

Thanks once again to Chaotiqual for this one!

“Racing for the Cup” by Poppy Balser, a fine watercolour painter living on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada. You can see many images of her other paintings (recommended!) if you click the picture above.

Another gem gratefully snaffled from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst - thanks, Jerry!

If you like this...

[Try clicking the boats tag... or some of the other tags... just a suggestion!]

“Downs in Winter”


Marvellous watercolours by the painter, designer, book illustrator, wood engraver and official War Artist (1940) Eric Ravilious, whose other work is well worth exploring (click either image above if you're interested).

For me, the spirit of Granny Aching still watches over these scenes of “The Chalk”. If you know what I mean then you might also be a fan of Terry Pratchett's wonderful books about Tiffany Aching (trainee witch) and The Wee Free Men (a bunch of tiny Caledonian hooligans), set in a mirror of this countryside (and assorted interconnecting worlds). The books are a unique combination of deep humanity, earthy wisdom and hilarious dialogue - if you have yet to try them, you might enjoy taking a look here.


“Little Fishes”

From “Slater's Sussex, the colour woodcuts of Eric Slater” by James Trollope, the first study of a British colour woodcut artist since Malcolm Salaman's William Giles as far back as 1928.

“The Gotheborg”, an acrylic painting by the Canadian artist Neil Hamelin, who writes:

Another one gratefully snaffled from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst (Jerry).

Nuenen, a city in the Netherlands, has a new extraordinary attraction – a dreamy solar-powered bicycle path that glows in the dark. The path, created by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde, looks just like a river of stars, fallen down from Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” And it is, in fact, inspired by the great artist, who lived in Nuenen from 1883 to 1885.”

Thanks to my younger daughter for this find!

The other work of artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is well worth checking out - click the panel below for an example.

It seems that all over the world, inventive people are rethinking the possibilities of our roads - for another example, see my post on Solar Roadways.

“Vessels” by the realist painter Patrick Nevins

Thanks yet again, Jerry!

If you like this...

[Try the jerzee55sst or realist-painting or still-life tags]

A beautiful Orivit Art Nouveau vase, from a blog well worth visiting

Discovered for me by Tamarlass, whose pages are also a treasure trove of beautiful things and well worth visiting!

Watercolours by Edward Seago   (click images for sources and related pictures, click other links for place info)

“Cattle on the Marshes, Norfolk

“Behind the Dunes, Sea Palling

“Shrimp boats on the Suffolk coast”

Brancaster Staithe

If you like this...

[Try clicking the watercolour tag (just a suggestion!)]

"Jeune femme allongée sur un banc, 1913 (The blue lantern)" by Carl Larsson

From the always-beautiful pages of ensemble5, who got it from this very nice Carl Larsson art blog.

If you saw that wonderful “life is good” movie Enchanted April, you will remember the lovely theme tune that George Briggs (Michael Kitchen, perhaps best known for Foyle's War) plays on the oboe.

The tune is Elgar's Chanson de Matin, which you can listen to on this video in an orchestral version, accompanied by many of my favourite paintings by J.M.W. Turner.

“Today the account of an extraordinary encounter with an extraordinary woman, leading me from Erfurt in Germany to Wessex in Britain, Simiane in the Provence and Orsalina near Locarno in Switzerland” —Gerbrand Caspers

A modern view of Simiane-la-Rotonde, Provence

“View of Simiane”, probably 8th century

If you're interested in art and/or history, click either image for a typically fascinating entry (one of very many) in Gerbrand's Linosaurus Blog - a detective story behind just one of thousands of linoleum and woodblock prints.

(Gerbrand hails from the Netherlands, but he is kind enough to present most of his treasure-trove in English.)

Gatorindo writes:

“Great art site full of prints and etchings from all over the world with comments and facts about the works - lots of stuff to see and use here...”

For an example of what you might find here, see my next post.

Thanks again, David!

(BTW, this site is written mostly in English, but a few parts are in Dutch. If you didn't know already: the Chrome browser is great for viewing pages in foreign languages, since it has an automatic translation facility.)

"Bearrr" by Leticia Reinaldo, a very talented Brazilian 3D modelling and texturing artist now living in Los Angeles

(BTW: you can spend hours on the Pondly site, a treasure trove for great images... worth taking time to check it out)

If you like this...

[Lots more images by Leticia]

[...and if, like me, you have a weakness for bears, you might like these]

From the page:

If you're a Miyazaki fan, click the image below to see all the artist's work full size (and see how many details you recognize)... and please visit batchbatcharak, from whose fine pages this comes!

If you like this...

[Japanese animation at its finest: the master-works of Hayao Miyazaki]
[The painting "Ship Flying Over The Rainbow" from "Kiki's Delivery Service"]
[Joe Hisaishi plays his piano music from "Spirited Away"]

and maybe also...

[Beautiful stained glass by Rober Oddy]

A site that promotes the best visual artists and graphic designers, and is a real treasure trove for fine images of all kinds.

(Click the palette for more good art sites.)

Yet another great share by Gatorindo.

Some wonderful surreal images by Caras Ionut - click the image for more, which are well worth seeing. Thanks, saboma!

If you like Japanese culture, this Facebook page is well worth checking out (and you might like my Japan tag also)

“Other Places” (1 of 2)

My screenshots below are from one of my favourites of these videos - Skyrim (The Elder Scrolls V). Click any image below to enjoy the landscapes, set to nice music.

You can find all of ultrabrilliant's Other Worlds videos here, and another set of screenshots (urbanscape, for a change) in my previous post below.

If you like this...

[Another post on Skyrim]

“Other Places” (2 of 2)
[continued from Part 1]

My screenshots below are from another of my favourites of these videos - Empire Bay (Mafia II). Click any image below to enjoy the cityscape, set to nice music.

You can find all of ultrabrilliant's Other Worlds videos here, and another set of screenshots (landscape, for a change) in my next post above.

If you like this...

[... and try clicking the urbanscape tag above...]

It's wonderful how kids' clubs are introducing children less than 3 years old to art, in a practical and fun way, using great masters as inspiration.

This is an example from a place that my grandchild goes to. The first two were used in the session Paul Klee - Taking a Line for a Walk:

"A Young Lady's Adventure" by Paul Klee

"Castle and Sun " by Paul Klee

The next two come from the session Kandinsky - All About Colour:

"Concentric Circles" by Wassily (Vasili) Kandinsky

A masterpiece by very young children!

Click any image to visit the club activities page.

If you like this...

["Rainbow Fish", from Mrs. Bearden's Art Room at Euharlee Elementary, Georgia]

"Lazy Sunday Afternoon With a Glass of California Chardonnay" by Alexander Orlov, a Russian artist who died in 1979

Thanks, Jerzee55sst (Jerry) (lots more good stuff on his pages!)

"Seascape around Naples c1866" - Wikimedia Commons

"Across the Apennines (1867)" - Naples, Capodimonte Museum

Two wonderful paintings by Giuseppe De Nittis (1846-1887), an Italian painter who fell in love with Paris and whose work merges the styles of Salon art and Impressionism. An excellent article on his life and works will be found here.

If you like this...

[Slideshow of some other works by Giuseppe de Nittis, with nice music]
["Aux beaux jours, 1889" by Jules-Alexis Muenier (1863-1942)]
["Conversations in the Garden of Luxembourg" by Vittorio Matteo Corcos]
["Girl With Guitar", a beautiful example of Decorative Impressionism by Richard Edwardl Miller]

BTW: seascapes are one of my favourite categories... if you like them too, try clicking the seascape tag...

From the National Trust Knightshayes:

“Some of the lovely wild art created over the weekend in one of our 50 things before you're 11¾ themed acivities:”

Click the picture, or go here, to see the rest of the wild art from these activities

(the "50 Things" referred to are featured in my previous post)

My photo of the immense glass roof of the British Museum, from the stairs leading up to what is now the Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind exhibition (see below).

Not having my camera with me, I took this with my Kindle Fire HD's front-facing webcam, which is really only designed for things like Skype. It was a case of point in several directions, take lots of shots, and hope for the best... We have only seen the sun a few times so far in 2013, so this was a lucky day!

From the British Museum's Facebook Page:
Here’s a sneak preview of an object being installed. It shows a reindeer engraved on bone and is around 13,000 years old.

We saw this exhibition yesterday... truly wonderful. The careful, intricate work and artistic imagination of people in those times (going back 40,000+ years) is amazing.

Click the picture for a very good review of the Exhibition, which runs until 26 May 2013.

Looking at the achievements of people who lived so long ago, I couldn't help imagining the title of a hypothetical future exhibition, part of which would read "departure of the modern mind". But that's another story.

Prize-winning illustration by the Korean illustrator Jae-Hong Kim, whose other work is well worth checking out

Original illustration by E.H. Shepard for the chapter in Winnie-the-Pooh "In which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water"
...a feeling known to all too many people in the UK this year!

Two samples from the post Rainy Day Kids, from Shelley Davies & Julie Fortenberry's wonderful blog Children's Illustration, a treasure trove for those who love the magical ways in which children see the world.

If you like this...

[Try clicking some of the tags at the top of this post!]

"Who goes there?" from an original painting by the wildlife artist Roy Chaffin

Roy sent me this picture recently as an electronic Christmas Card. I am lucky enough to receive one of his paintings each year in this way, and thereby hangs a tale (which you can read here if you are interested, especially if you like aircraft or flight simulation).

(Meerkats, BTW, feature in a surreal and beautiful sequence in that awesome movie, Life of Pi - if you haven't seen it then I highly recommend it!)

"House in Winter" by Scott Prior, one of my favourite artists

Found on the always beautiful pages of expressioniste (Aline) (I always love her Christmas posts).

"Surviving Winter" by Amy Bennett

Thanks to Gatorindo (David) for finding this picture, and to bristol3 (Sharon) for tracking down the artist!

(Two people whose pages are well worth visiting, BTW.)

"Aux beaux jours, 1889" by Jules-Alexis Muenier (1863-1942)

One of many beautiful works of art to be found (among other things) on the fine pages of Toetie.

"Shorelines", one of many beautiful photographs © by our very own Fourteenth, whose art blog is well worth visiting

"October" by James Tissot (1836-1902)

Found on the beautiful pages of ensemble5 - a visit to her pages is highly recommended (and so is clicking her tag at the top of this post!)

(The linked page is a great art resource, BTW... click the palette below if you would like to see a list of more art sites featured on my pages.)

"Monet’s Water Garden in the Rain", photographed at Giverny by Robert Mack

Channel 5 recently screened a restored version of Disney's animated version of "Robin Hood". It was a very long time since I had last seen it, and I had forgotten what an entertaining movie it is (in spite of importing lots of Americana into Sherwood Forest and recycling so much from Disney's "The Jungle Book"!). It's actually one of my Disney favourites.

It features some nice songs, and artwork like this. It happened that I paused the movie on this frame when my spouse returned with a friend from an afternoon's shopping. When the friend noticed it she thought it was a nice screensaver. Guessing what movie it came from would be quite tricky, I think!

A fragment of a rather wonderful embroidered bookmark created by Sonya Walker

Click the image to see the whole thing, which includes a quote from Dr. Seuss' book "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut"

"Aftertase" by the Taiwanese artist Jungshan (whose other work is well worth checking out)

Found on the always-beautiful pages of ensemble5

If you like this...

[The work of Hu Jundi]

"Winter Torn" by the Australian digital/fractal artist Isis44 (Catherine)

Thanks to Jerzee55sst (Jerry) for this one!

"In The Garden", a wonderful fractal image (author unknown) available as desktop wallpaper
(needs to be seen full size)

"Close to Home" by the ever-popular Pino Daeni, born Giuseppe Dangelico and often known simply as Pino, who died on May 25th, 2010

"Light and Dark", Brazilian agate sculpture by Perry Brent Davis

One of many gems to be found on the pages of Louvain95 (Lou) (click her tag above for more of her posts featured here).

"Rainy dusk in Paris" by Thomas Kinkade (painting as Robert Girrard)

Thomas Kinkade, who died unexpectedly on April 6th, was a self-styled "painter of light" whose idyllic cottages and other works are very popular, although not considered great art by critics.

I do like this painting, done under his pseudonym of Robert Girrard, which he used when exploring the style of French Impressionism.

La Venise Verte (The Green Venice) from a visit to the Vendée, Western France in 1996

"Gust of wind" (small detail from "The Bedroom", 1998)

Lovely watercolours by Bottletop, whose Categorian blog is well worth visiting (for many reasons)

"Starry Night Picture" by Alex Ruiz

Alex writes:

I've often wondered about how the night sky looked to Van Gogh when he painted 'Starry Night.'

This is an homage to him, and to his painting, one of my all time favorites. We see him standing here, looking up at the night sky...probably in awe, as he wondered how he would capture the beauty he saw. As well, this was the view from the sanitarium he was staying at, as it's well known that the poor guy was quite mentally troubled.

I wanted this piece to be somewhat magical and fantastic, not just a normal night painting. Hence the large moon, large stars, transparent clouds etc., yet keeping a mostly realistic feel to it.

If you like this...

[All of my posts on Vincent Van Gogh]
[A great digital art site]

"Nocturne in Stramberk" by the Czech artist Tavik František Šimon (T.F. Šimon)

(Stramberk is a small mountain town in the Czech Republic, described here)

Thanks to Betty-Boop for this one!

From the page:

"Thirty five years ago I had yet to be born, but artist Scott Weaver had already begun work on this insanely complex kinetic sculpture, Rolling through the Bay, that he continues to modify and expand even today. The elaborate sculpture is comprised of multiple “tours” that move ping-pong balls through neighborhoods, historical locations, and iconic symbols of San Francisco, all recreated with a little glue, some toothpicks, and an incredible amount of ingenuity. He admits in the video that there are several toothpick sculptures even larger than his, but none has the unique kinetic components he’s constructed. Via his website Weaver estimates he’s spent over 3,000 hours on the project, and the toothpicks have been sourced from around the world..."

Thanks to Elegantlady (Roberta) for another of her excellent and generous shares!.

"Bookstalls in Paris"

"Marchande des Primeurs (first fruit and vegetables of the season)"

Two of my favourite paintings by the Czech artist Tavik František Šimon (T.F. Šimon)

This is simply one of the best art resources on the Internet.

Great watercolours by the Australian artist Joseph Zbukvic, whom I discovered on the very fine pages of Trrrei

"Cerebral Cortex"

"Retina I"

Greg Dunn, the artist, writes:

I enjoy Asian art. I particularly love minimalist scroll and screen painting from the Edo period in Japan. I am also a fan of neuroscience. Therefore, it was a fine day when two of my passions came together upon the realization that the elegant forms of neurons (the cells that comprise your brain) can be painted expressively in the Asian sumi-e style. Neurons may be tiny in scale, but they possess the same beauty seen in traditional forms of the medium (trees, flowers, and animals).

I admire the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean masters because of their confidence in simplicity. I try to emulate this idea.

When I’m not doing this I’m working on a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, to which I give a thumbs up.

Thanks, CookItaly!

[Greg Dunn's Web Site]

One of many beautiful pieces by Preston Singletary and Dante Marioni, melding Tlingit glass design with classic Italian cane work - click the image for more.

Found on the beautiful pages of Toetie.

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) artist currently unknown

Not many people change the way we see the world, but Steve certainly did. He was a genius with an obsessive belief that people would pay extra for engineering quality, and had the ability to create and maintain a range of closely integrated products that had that quality.

Sadly, I still don't own one of his computers or mobile phones, but I am eternally grateful to him every time that I watch a Pixar animation, since without his belief and financial support many of my favourite movies would never have been made.

I loved the comment from a mother who was resignedly watching her toddler who, with sticky fingers, was trying to wipe pictures across the family's TV screen. In so many ways, Steve is still with us...

"Farm near Duivendrecht" by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian

Thanks to horseyoucameinon for the introduction to Piet Mondrian (here) and Alexandre de Riquer (below).

"Trivium is an online art history book, an ongoing project to catalog, crosslink, and make freely available artworks and information. Navigate through chapters and images using the left and right arrow keys, or swipe left and right on touch sensitive devices."

Well worth visiting.

Some nice art by Louis Ashton Knight, and nice music to go with it - thanks again, Elegantlady (Roberta)!

From the page:

Born in Moscow and now living and working in London, Tviga is a photographer and installation artist making interactive audio – visual work. Tviga makes sound visible. Her Sound Light and Sound Still projects are conceived in the knowledge that only 8% of the earth’s ancient forests are protected, and that destructive logging is threatening vast areas. She set about recording the sounds of the Silger forest along the border of Russia with Finland – she captured the voices of trees about to be felled - and then made them both audible and visible. In the process she created a series of hauntingly beautiful sounds and of compelling, striking images...

The white forms in these photographs are the sculptural manifestations of audio footage that was recorded along the border between Russia and Finland. Here the unique old-growth forests stand, The Green Belt of Fennoscandia. Recently these ancient trees are being logged for their valuable timber. There are only few remaining areas of ancient forest in Europe with the vast majority of the vanishing old-growth forests remaining in the North of European Russia.

The soundwaves are actual objects, each is 6 metres high, reminiscent of the height of a tree, despite looking like digital intervention...

Tviga recorded the sounds of the trees in the Silger forest in the Novrogod region of the Russian federation and then amplified them 250 times. Listen to their voices at her other site Vanished: Forest Studies.

A great share from my SU friend Cookitaly (Carmelita).

From the page:

This young barn owl is one in a million after being born with a rare genetic condition that has made her feathers jet black.

Sable, who is two years old, suffers from melanism, a 100,000-to-one gene mutation that makes her the exact opposite to an albino.

Dark-hued owls are normally killed at birth by their confused mothers but Sable was born in captivity and so she survived, meaning she is one of only three in existence in Britain.


This is the current avatar of Toetie, a lady from the Netherlands (and another SU refugee) whose pages are filled with great art.

"Venice" (which the artist says he drew from this photo by Monika)

"Milano - Santa Maria Nascente"

"Szczytno in the Rain"

Some of many beautiful watercolours by the Polish-resident artist Minh Dam

Found via this site recommended by Cyrion, who has so many beautiful things on her pages.

"Sunset in Central Park"

"Magic Evening"

Evgeny Lushpin is something of a "formula" artist, but I really like these - thanks, Carouselle!

© by Lelik Francuz

The best way of curing insomnia that I know!

Thanks to (of course) johnshaven (Alison) for this one.

"Morning" by Nikolay Popov (tooDee)

I am one of those rare people who are almost immune to caffeine, but after a working life of early starts I recognize the feeling!

Found on the fine pages of batchbatcharak.

Some fine work © by Robert Alvarado, who has made retro pinup art a real art form - thanks to sezlez369 (Les) for this one!

[More from Robert Alvarado]

Wonderful photography © by the Russian photographer and artist Anka Zhuravleva

I found Anka here on the beautiful pages of SansMots.

Peregrine Heathcote (born in London in 1973) paints a world of the past in which both travel and women were truly glamorous.
I really like the best of his work - this picture, for example, and also this.

One of many works of fractal, abstract and 3D art by Iwona Fido, a.k.a. Fiery-Fire , whose other work is well worth exploring.

"Carpenter's Workshop, Seen from the Artist's Studio" by Vincent van Gogh

From another great share by aldchronicle56 (Allan) (click his tag to see others).

"Detail of Lily with Rose (BloomIV)" © by the British artist Mary Jane Ansell

"Boltenharrers laboratory"

"Flying Rigmor"

"Rogerson and the Diving Bell"

A small sample of the wonderful work by Swedish illustrator Alexander Jansson

I found this artist on the pages of my friend Borderline, who has recently updated her really useful Categorian help information - don't miss it!

One of most beautiful videos I have seen for a long time (my screenshots):

Midnight Sun: A natural phenomenon occurring in the summer months north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle where the sun never fully sets and remains visible 24 hours a day.

This short time lapse film (by SCIENTIFANTASTIC) was shot during the Icelandic Midnight Sun in June of 2011.

Thanks again, aldchronicle56 (Allan)!

If you like this...

["Home", HD movie of the Earth taken from the air by Yann Arthus-Bertrand]

"Passing by" by E. Martin Hennings

I came across this beautiful painting (which cannot be reproduced here) long ago on a poster from Art in New Mexico, 1900-45: Paths to Taos and Santa Fe, an exhibition at the National Museum of American Art way back in 1986 (and still a book of the same name).

Epping Forest in autumn, a photo I took many moons ago when it was our favourite walking spot.
I was somehow reminded of it when I came across these rather lovely walking sticks carved by the Kansas woodcarver Millard Harrell:

I think that the reason I linked the two must have been a mental picture of Ents, and the choice of Epping Forest as a filming location for Kate Madison's prequel to The Lord of the Rings, "Born of Hope", an astonishingly good amateur movie (released free on the Internet) produced on a budget that would have paid for one day's canteen bill for Peter Jackson's crew.

If you have never heard of it, don't make the mistake of thinking that "amateur" = "naff". See here.

"Shangri-La Girls School: A Thousand Stairs, 2010" by the Californian artist Narangkar Glover - thanks to cookItaly (Carmelita) for this one!

"In a Dream"


Some beautiful macro photography by Katsumi Oyamada

"Starry Night Over the Rhone" by Vincent van Gogh - found on the always-beautiful pages of Cyrion

If you like this...

[Starry Starry Night]

"Torus knot fun" by zipper

I couldn't resist snaffling this from ToeTagJaneDoe (Sofie)'s fine pages (now on Categorian).

It took a while to track down the original, but I eventually discovered it on this very fine mathematical art page, which is worth visiting in its own right.

A great page for all kinds of mathematical art.

Untitled picture © by the British artist Mary Jane Ansell

"Sic Transit Gloria" by contraomnes

Image by Yana Moskaluk

Holyfingers (Nick) had some very fine StumbleUpon pages, and now he has an equally fine blog on Tumblr (from which these examples are taken). Nick posts relatively infrequently (he goes for quality not quantity), but has great art on his site - don't miss it!

[Click the 'holyfingers' tag at the top of this post for more posts about Nick]

"Murmure de la Rue" by Claude Lazar, an extraordinary artist who finds beauty in bleak and lonely scenes

One of many treasures to be found on the fine pages of my friend Louvain95 (Lou) - this one found here

A very nice video featuring the work of Patricia van Lubeck, set to some glorious music which I am pretty sure is by Karl Jenkins - it is very like (but isn't) one of the tracks on "Adiemus"

"Patricia van Lubeck is a self-taught artist. Born in Amsterdam in 1965, she was a bookeeper until 2000 when she started the 21st century by becoming a fulltime professional artist. She moved to the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand in 2005 and since then her work has taken a new and exciting direction. Her works in recent years show landscapes and weird plant species which she calls her psychedelic gardens."

Patricia van Lubeck was one of Ritas's favourite artists, and you can listen to more of Karl Jenkins' beautiful music here.

Thanks to my friend Catcaley for this one!

"Earth Colossus", wonderful fantasy art by the illustrator Chase Stone

"Grandma", wonderful fantasy art by the illustrator Chase Stone

(Full size view recommended)

(Original post: September 15th, 2011)

Autumn arrived early this year! Found on the nice pages of Ayrabella.

Another fine landscape painting by Jian Chongmin (Jian Chong Min) - see also my earlier post on this artist here

"Sweet Halloween Dreams", a.k.a. "Why a child NEEDS to sleep with a teddy-bear", a wonderful fantasy by begemott

Found on MadMadamMim (Dunja)'s fine pages (and also sent to me by several friends, who obviously know my sense of humour!)

If you like this...

["The Exchange of Flowers", by the same artist]

"The maestro rests" by Bezruchko Oleg

I could use one of these right now... don't think my keyboard would make quite such a good resting place, though (or look as good)

"Conversations in the Garden of Luxembourg" by Vittorio Matteo Corcos

I found this on Jonie's delightful SU pages. Jonie, who hails from Spain, also has a very attractive art blog - don't miss it! And if you click on the above image, you'll be taken to yet another good art blog that she led me to.

Three reviews for the price of one, as it were...

(Sadly, as of August 2015, Jonie's links have gone - but click her tag above.)

Netsuke: Autumn grasses with praying mantis, 18th century, Japanese, carved ivory - one of many beautiful and interesting things to be found on Za-J's fine pages

"Still life with blue bowl" by Lena Friess

One of many beautiful images created by the Japanese photographer Katsumi Oyamada, whom I was introduced to by Nightsky4520 - thanks, Deb!

Theo Jansen creates the most amazing kinetic sculptures that literally have a life of their own. He hopes that when he passes on, his creations will still be wandering the sand dunes of Holland, powered entirely by the wind. Thanks, aldchronicle56 (Allan)!

Native American art by Darryl L. Brown, a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

I came across this artist in a wonderful video by Joseph Firecrow called "Wind in My Mind", which sadly is now unavailable (at least in its original location).

"Chromatella", an oil painting by the illustrator and concept artist Sergio Lopez, whose other work is well worth exploring

(This particular image will be found in his "Painted Roses" portfolio, which you can find if you click the above picture and then select page 2 near the bottom left...there's no direct link!)

"Meeting Place" by the Indonesian artist Tessar Lo, now living in Canada (and see more of him here)

One of many great things to be found on holyfingers (Nick)'s fine pages. Nick posts relatively infrequently (he goes for quality not quantity), but has great art on his site - don't miss it!

I am pleased to say that Nick has moved to Tumblr, and can be found here.

"Moonstruck" (my free translation) by the Spanish photographer Luis Beltran, whose other work is well worth checking out

Is that a Categorian that I see in the distance?

(found on the very fine SU pages of Stargazer902, whom I reviewed here - she is on Categorian now!)

A lovely painting by Nancy Macek, whose other work is well worth checking out

(snaffled gratefully from ToeTagJaneDoe (Sofie)'s fine pages)

From the page:

My work and my method of thinking have been my search for the living word.
-Xu Bing

A reflection on language and the nature of writing has been at the core of Xu Bing's art since the beginning of his career in China during the mid-1980s. It is therefore particularly fitting that the Morgan, a library as well as a museum, should present his spectacular installation, The Living Word, a poetic evocation of the relationship between the written word and its meaning.

"In The Living Word," Xu Bing explained, "the dictionary definition of niao (bird) is written on the gallery floor in the simplified text created by Mao. The niao characters then break away from the confines of the literal definition and take flight through the installation space. As they rise into the air, the characters gradually change from the simplified text to standardized Chinese text and finally to the ancient Chinese pictograph for 'bird.' The characters are rainbow colored to create a magical, fairy-tale quality."

The elegance of the shimmering characters that gradually metamorphose into birds as they ascend masks the subversive nature of the work. While the modern, simplified Chinese characters are fixed to the floor, their form and meaning set, earlier forms of scripts embody an increasing sense of freedom as one moves back in time, from traditional calligraphy to the original pictographs based on images of nature. Xu Bing said that he chose the bird to suggest "escaping the confines of human written definition."

The title of the installation points to the Buddhist inspiration that informs Xu Bing's work. "Buddhists believe," the artist wrote, "that 'if you look for harmony in the living word, then you will be able to reach Buddha; if you look for harmony in lifeless sentences, you will be unable to save yourself.' . . . My work and my method of thinking have been my search for the living word."

Click any picture for more.

Thanks to gladsdotter (Jane) and anitab (Ani) for this one!

A very nice coloured version of his drawing by begemott

(who also produced the amazingly popular Sweet Halloween Dreams, or why a child needs to sleep with a teddy bear)

"The Future"


"Crossing the Medway"

"Against a Crumbling Wall"

Fine oil paintings by the Nova Scotian artist Paul Kelley, with an amazing attention to detail

(I have seen Nova Scotia many times, but only from an altitude of something like 31,000 feet... I always wondered what was down there...)

A beautiful untitled pastel by Vicente Romero - one of many beautiful things to be found on sezlez369 (Les)'s fine pages

"Portrait of Chelsea"


Esao Andrews is a multi-talented artist who works exclusively in oil on wood panels. His work is sometimes comic, often surreal and dark. Not everything he does is to my taste, but I liked these in particular.

Thanks, expressioniste (Aline)!

"Like Summer", a particularly fine example of animation art by the Portuguese CG artist and video game creator Luis Melo

"Prague", a wonderful watercolour by the Russian artists Sabir and Svetlana Gadzhiev, who (very unusually for painters) always work as a team

Thanks, Inga!

"In The Elbank, Hamburg 1886" by the Norwegian impressionistic artist Frits Thaulow

"Boardwalk Northern Italy"

"Evening stroll, Italy"

Paintings by C T Wicke (no information about the artist found yet!)

"Club Penguin" by the Canadian artist Mark Heine (really needs to be seen full size)

"Vineyards of Tuscany" by the Canadian artist Bill Saunders

One of my favourite parts of the world!

From my web site...

[Places to enjoy life... in Italy]

Yente has (among other things) some great art and music on her beautiful and thoughtful pages. A long visit is highly recommended!

I really liked these:

"Bird" by the Polish artist Leszek Andrzej Kostuj

"Birdie" by the Brazilian artist Caroline J. (~aeryael)

"Winter Hydrangea", oil on linen, one of many wonderful paintings by Paula Martiesian

Thanks, Inga!

The "gentle surrealism" of the Spanish artist Chelin Sanjuan Piquero

Edited from various sources:

Chelin Sanjuan Piquero was born on May 1, 1967 in Zaragoza, Spain. Her parents moved to Chile where she lived for five years before moving to Venezuela. In 1987 she returned to Spain to enter the College of Fine Arts in Barcelona. In 1992, Sanjuan Chelin opened an art studio in her native city, where she teaches drawing and painting in "Studio Canfran" and does Jewelry Sketches workshops, for the students of the "Escuela de Joyeria Bazan".

She currently lives in Valencia, Spain.


From the page:

"This painting was created for the Federal Art Project, a branch of the Works Progress Administration developed to give financial and moral support to artists during the Depression.

"There is no information about who the painter was, but in 1981 a visitor to the Museum recognized the underpass as one near his home in Binghamton, New York. The artist printed a photograph of the scene onto the canvas, then painted over it in careful detail. The glowing streetlights are like stars brought down to earth from the distant skies, drawing the viewer into the image and through the brightly lit tunnel. The road seems less like an ordinary street in the city and more like a portal into the great empty blackness above."

Found via the superb art gallery (and labour of love) that was the SU pages of Ceanna (now on Categorian!)

"La Tache de Safi. 2007, oil on canvas" by the Hungarian hyper-realistic artist Istvan Sandorfi, who died in 2007

Found on the wonderful pages of fourteenth

"Courageous" by the Danish graphic designer Jonas Ranum Brand - gratefully snaffled from my friend Chaotiqual, whom I am delighted to say is now here on Categorian

This is the most beautiful and enjoyable arts programme that I have ever seen - with the added bonus of having been filmed in HD - don't miss it if it eventually comes round to your TV networks.

This was Sheila's own programme (only some of which is reflected here), and it is about more than painting; it is about a way of looking at life.

A scene from the English Lake District, one of many beautiful locations featured in this film.

Sheila Hancock is the widow of John Thaw (best known for Inspector Morse), and is a wonderful person and actress in her own right.

Venice has inspired many watercolour artists...

...from J.M.W. Turner, who had a rough time getting his style of painting acknowledged... modern watercolour artists like the Venetian painter Nicola Tenderini (Nicola is a man's name in Italian!) who still use Turner's techniques today

Some amateur watercolour artists are better known than others, although not always for their artistic work. This Scottish landscape is by Queen Victoria.

Sheila also looked at the sombre and modern side of watercolour art. This is a winter landscape by the English artist Paul Nash...

...who also recorded many images of WWI, both haunting and horrific

Sheila also met (among others) Douglas Farthing, a soldier for 23 years, who used watercolours to record scenes in Iraq and Afghanistan (often painted on crate lids) as well as keeping an illustrated diary. His work is well worth following up.

With segments on the Alps and India, Sheila's programme also featured work by Alexander Cozens and by Charlotte Canning. The latter had a rather sad life married to the Governor-General of India but was a talented and prolific watercolour artist.

"Rainy Clouds"

"From Hillhead"

"Feeding the Birds"

"Birch and Snow"

Some wonderful Scottish contemporary art by David Body, discovered for me (as she does so often) by Johnshaven (Alison)

  • 29th May 2013:

  • Sadly (from our point of view) Alison has withdrawn from blogging now, but I featured her many times here on my own blog, and if you click the johnshaven tag above (or go here) you will still see some of her delightful output.

"QiQi by the Door"

"The Cellist"

Nice work by the modern Chinese painter Zhao Kailin - thanks, Catcaley!

"Mezzo Goddess", from Art Nouveau Carnival by Emily Balivet

Gratefully snaffled from the always-delightful pages of Njoistumblin (click her name in the tags at the top of this post for more snaffles from her).

"Froufrou", one of many masterpieces of paper folding by Vincent Floderer

From the wonderful SU pages of my friend Lou, now here on Categorian!



Some beautiful work by Hu Jundi

From this page:

Hu Jundi was born in 1962 in Juilin Province, China. He graduated from Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 1984. Hu's work has been exhibited and collected in China and other Asian countries as well as in Europe and America.

His work is different from the oil paintings that we often see. His brilliance is in the harmonious blend of traditional Chinese brushwork with the unmatched depth of oils. His paintings are completely Chinese, with colors of the Sichuan environment...

He paints elegant, serene and beautiful Sichuan women. The attire is classical Sichuan Chinese, but there is an appeal that goes beyond...


Thanks to endtimes for introducing me to this artist.

If you like this...

[The work of Feng Chang Jiang]

"The White Rabbit"

"The March Hare"

Characters created by Michael Kutsche for Tim Burton's movie "Alice in Wonderland"

From Michael's home page:

"Michael Kutsche is an award-winning German artist based in Los Angeles, California. He is a self taught artist who works both in traditional and digital media. His work is best described as an astoundingly lifelike depiction of parallel realities, populated by odd characters reminiscent of movies, comics but also Flemish Renaissance Painting.

"His unique approach of imaginative character creation has led him to become a character designer on Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" in 2008, "John Carter of Mars", directed by Andrew Stanton and "Thor", directed by Kenneth Branagh..."

If you like this...

[My movies page]

"Butterfly" by Andy Warhol

Click the picture for a great on-line resource for this artist.

"St. Francis' Towers, Santa Fe, 1925", a work with a typically bleak edge by Edward Hopper (1882-1967)

If you like this...

[Edward Hopper: Cape Cod Afternoon]

"Moonlight - Maritime Alps, undated"

"Azopardo River, 1922"

"The Road Roller, 1909" (I love the dynamic quality of this one)

Paintings by Rockwell Kent (1882-1971)

Diana has some great stuff on her SumbleUpon pages. She introduced me to this artist and also to a great art site - thanks, Diana!

(When I find out where she has moved to, I'll update this!)

"Snow Blowing in the Pass, 1940" by Harold Weston (1894-1972)

I can almost feel my ears tingling...

"A complete catalogue of all works of art in this program is accessible through the indexes on this screen. You may search the entire program by artist, by medium, or by date.

"Searching through these indexes will take you to images of each work of art selected and to other works of art by the same artist, to information about many of the works, to biographies of all artists represented in the program, and to the Learning Activities associated with selected works of art, including all images appearing on the Timeline."

A superb art resource, giving access to 150 years of American art from The Phillips Collection. Thanks to Diana for this one!

If you like this, you might also like...

[American Gallery: Greatest American Painters]

Spray and acrylic painting by the French street artist Liliwenn, the title of which comes from the first line of this poem:

Give yourself a treat and click on the text above, which will take you a page where you can listen to this poem being read in the beautiful French language.

If you like this, you might like...

[Samba Saravah, from "Un Homme Et Une Femme"]

"LeS LiOnNeS eN cAgE" by the French street artist Liliwenn, on the wall of the Leake Street Tunnel in London,
famous as a semi-official graffiti showcase

[The artist at work in Paris]
["Escape" - more delightful street art by Zach Blume]

"Bygone Summers" by the English surreal artist Josephine Wall, who describes this on her web site:

"On a warm midsummer day, the young girl enjoys the sun on her face, while her shady hat is filled with the essence of summer times. The straw becomes a cornfield abounding with wild flowers and butterflies, and little scenes of idyllic rural life."

From "Soul Searching Winter", a collection of 11 paintings and a video by Nate Frizzell

I found these among many other delights on Betty's fine pages. If you haven't visited her yet, please do!

(When I find out where she has moved to, I'll update this!)

"Feeling blue", digital art by ~microUgly (Charles Worm)

Desktop wallpaper is not a very well-recognized art category, but I found this one particularly tasteful and attractive
(it needs to be seen full-size) - thanks to my friend Ed for this one!

Starry Starry Night...

"Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh could hardly have imagined how many people would be inspired by his painting.

I shall always associate it with Don McLean and (seriously) Vincent's appearances in Doctor Who.

If you like this, you might like...

[The Vincent van Gogh Gallery]
[Starry Night Over the Rhone, by Vincent van Gogh]
[Ship Flying Over The Rainbow]
[My photoblog of Provence]

"Painting in La Miroiterie (Paris 20e, 88 rue de Menilmontant) - Oct 2010" by Liliwenn, who writes:

"This alive and artistic place will be destroyed in March 2011. A big shame..."

Liliwenn produces some amazing street art, among other things. Her Flickr site is full of wonderful stuff.

I discovered her on the fabulous pages of DaysEye.

"The Old Hall Under Moonlight"

"Liverpool from Wapping"

"November Moonlight"

Works by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-93) - thanks to my friend David for the introduction!

"Autumn in JongMyo (Mausoleum of the Fall)", beautiful digital art by 97bzo (Eun Hee Choi)

You will find this here in the Gallery, in the section "Personal works of 97bzo", 4th row of thumbnails...

More about Eun Hee Choi here

This is from the stunningly beautiful and interesting pages of ensemble5 (her old pages on SU, but she's here on Categorian now!)

If you like this...

["Healing", an absolutely beautiful work of digital art by Eun Hee Choi's husband Hyung Jun Kim]

Cynthia Decker Digital Art 3D



Cynthia Decker writes:

"...The images in this gallery are not photographs, nor did they begin as photographs. They are 2-dimensional still images that have been rendered from 3-dimensional digital environments that I created. The places and ideas depicted in my gallery exist only in my imagination, and hopefully now, in yours as well.

"The art of 3D rendering incorporates various traditional artistic techniques, but relies on pixels instead of paint, a computer mouse instead of a brush, and digital geometry instead of clay..."

Read the full description...

Thanks to ensemble5 for introducing me to this artist.

[More from Cynthia Decker]

"Black Spruce in Autumn" was inspired by an oil painting by Tom Thomson, an honorary member of the Canadian Group of Seven. The scene is from his travels in the Lake Superior region.

"Stillness of Autumn" was inspired by an oil painting by Lawren Harris, a member of the Canadian Group of Seven. Many of his paintings took the landscape of Lake Superior and the surrounding region for subject matter.

Woodblock prints by Jim Meyer, found on the wonderful pages of Shitao via OliviaB, two great Stumblers.

(When I find out where they moved to, I'll update this!)

One of many beautiful works by the Japanese artist Jun Kumaori (KMR) - thanks to Tortrix for this one!

An example of the beautiful work of Anke Merzbach, a female photoartist from Bremen, Germany

Check out more of this artist's work - it's stunningly good

I found this gem on the delightful pages of Terrec. It took a long time to find the name of the artist and one of its original locations, but it was worth it if only because the original image filename contained the text Amelie's Welt (Amelie's World), which turns out to be one of the nicest blogs (mostly a photoblog) that I have encountered in a long time.

(When I find out where Terrec has moved to, I'll update this!)

"The sun" by `greenfeed, who also does some excellent fantasy art and photomanipulation work

"Vietnamese Landscape", painted by our very own Eftychia

"Izabella and the Pot of Basil" by John White Alexander

Field-Daisy has one of the most (literally) delightful blogs that I have found so far on SU.

"Beauty" is an over-worked word, but you could apply it to any of the images, thoughts and poetry that fill her pages.

In addition, she really cares about the quality of what she does - click the image for just one example.

A visit to her pages is strongly recommended.

(When I find out where she has moved to, I'll update this!)

"Goddess of Water" by Ronnie Biccard, an artist whose work is well worth exploring

"Water is the element of purification, the subconscious mind. It is love and emotions. Water is the element of absorption and production. It saturates all life forms and within us we flow with the "tide" of our feelings. It involves intuition, insight, conception and pregnancy, fertility, the womb, health, beauty and divination."

From the delightful pages of my friend Fairydost (Banu), where many other beautiful things are to be found.

I am delighted to say that Banu is now Bumblebee here on Categorian (but sadly, from my point of view, her blog is private).

(Original post: August 25th, 2010)

"Catching The Rain" by Steve Hanks

This is for my dear friend Chaotiqual, hoping that the rain stops soon

The beautiful South African actress, film producer and former fashion model Charlize Theron

The beautiful Israeli model Bar Refaeli (and see my next post)

Fine drawings by the Oregon-based artist Michael W Ford

"Velvet Dress", a fine drawing by the Oregon-based artist Michael W Ford, whose other work is well worth checking out

Gratefully snaffled from the always-beautiful pages of my friend Chaotiqual

"The Night of Quijote" by Mariano Villalba

Stargazer902's SU pages are a true delight to visit. They are full of fine music, art, poetry, science and much else besides, beautifully presented. What is harder to describe (you need to go there) is the beautiful spirit behind it all.

PS She's here on Categorian now!

Farewell to Rita (Succes) - August 12th 2010

"Never Morning Wore to Evening but Some Heart Did Break" by Walter Langley

This was one of Rita's last posts. I heard the heart-breaking news today from Sharon that Rita (whom you may know as Succes or Renée) has passed away. People have lost a good friend, and SU has lost one of its best Stumblers.

On October 24th, 2011 Rita's SU blog, which her friends will feel is a kind of memorial of her, was trashed by SU. Before that happened I saved her last 117 pages, from August 30th 2009 until her last post on June 21st, 2010, to my local hard drive.

I will occasionally repost some of her stuff on my Categorian blog (with tag succes), and if you were a friend of Rita's and would like a copy of what I have saved, just let me know.

Some other surviving SU farewells to Rita that I have found since (which may sadly time-expire also)...

[From Johnshaven]
[From Druidgirl]
[From Expressioniste]

If you know of others please let me know (and apologies for any mislaid).

"The Flying Cloud" (1926) by Montague Dawson

"Evening Light at the Port of Camaret" (1892) by Charles Cottet

Ceanna had what was probably the best art gallery on SU, which was where I found the two paintings above, together with Ceanna's usual excellent summary of each. The good news is that she is now here on Categorian (as Ceara)!

"Black Moor" by =PinkParasol

Tortrix (Cat)'s SU blog has many beautiful, interesting, dark, strange and other things on her pages - one selection is not nearly enough to do her justice. On October 24th 2011 they will all disappear - luckily she has moved here and her new Pinterest home is no disappointment!

"May I Have One Too" by Emile Munier (1840-1895), a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau

"Calinerie" [A Little Coaxing] by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)

Thanks to Njoistumblin for finding these for me!

An item gratefully snaffled from the beautiful and interesting pages of Marie-Awakening.

If you like art, music and beautiful images, a visit to Marie-Awakening's pages is highly recommended.

"Gentle Spirit" by Lee Bogle


If you like this, don't miss the wonderful nature art of:

[Judy Larson]

"Imagination" by syncaidia, a great image of childhood and the joys of reading

Thanks to my friend Alison for tracking down the artist for me!

If you like this...

[My books page]

"Japanese Girls"


Some beautiful work by the Dutch artist Chrstiaan Lieverse

I was introduced to this artist a long time ago by Cyrion - many thanks!

"Benzaiten", a fine art print by the Melbourne artist and illustrator Nadia Turner

("Benzaiten" is the Japanese name for the goddess Saraswati:

Goddess of Music, Poetry, Learning, & Art
River Goddess, Patron of Children, Protector of the Nation...
and a few other things!)

Thanks to Anne for this one!

"The House on the Hill" by Barry Hilton - gratefully snaffled from Alison

"Petergate" (York, England)


"Spring City"

"Nantahala" (North Carolina)

Beautiful art quilts by Elizabeth Barton

"In my work I attempt to address both conceptual and formal issues. I wish to explore the beauty of everyday environments; in troubled times it is especially important to be aware of beauty and wonder. I want to reference archetypal memories to assess our own place in the history of time. I want to create a sense of place but also reveal the dynamic bones of the scene.

"Reflected light, translucency and the effects of time are recurring themes; I strive to translate into fiber the marvelous effects of light and color. Repeated patterns of windows and architectural forms are a leifmotif. Recently more ephemeral patterns such as those created by water and shadow have become a source of inspiration. The aim is to make work that glows with light and is rich with color and nuance; a work in which the unified composition is satisfying, but the details are fascinating..."

Thanks to bluluuluu for introducing me to this artist.

If you liked this...

[Watercolours by Elizabeth Barton a.k.a. Irene Spindler)]
[Art quilts by Linda Gass]

"Impression, Soleil Levant", Giclee on Canvas, by Ton Dubbeldam

StumbleUpon was lucky to have a number of stumblers whose pages are (among other things) superb art galleries in their own right, with great information as well as beautiful images. I found this work of art here on the pages of hhj.

I am pleased to say that hhj is now here on Categorian!

(Original post: May 1st, 2010)

We are lucky to live near Cambridge, but it almost always seems to rain when we go there! Luckily, the Fitzwilliam Museum is a great place to visit in any weather.

On this occasion there was a free exhibition of the works of three of the most original painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), Walter Sickert (1860-1942) and Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), together with some of their contemporaries.

I really liked these:

"Scene from Lee, North Devon" by Samuel Palmer

"94 degrees in the shade", a self-portrait by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

"Guidecca", Rio della Convertite on Guidecca Island, watercolour over traces of graphite on paper, by John Singer Sargent
This was my favourite work in the Exhibition. Painted from close to the water-line, it seemed to me to have perfect proportions.

"Sletching on the Guidecca", watercolour by John Singer Sargent
This wasn't shown at the Exhibition, but it's one of my favourites so I'm including it anyway!

In another part of the Museum I couldn't resist taking a photo of this beautiful item:

Plate: the Elements of Earth, Fire, Air and Water
London, 2000
Enamelled by Jane Short (b. 1954)
Silver, spun, engraved and decorated with champleve and basse taille enamels

(BTW: This photo was taken without a flash - I just darkened the background and lifted the colours a bit)

If you liked this...

[My previous post on John Singer Sargent]
[The Corpus Clock in Cambridge (my previous post below)]

Not far from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (see my next post above) we saw this amazing clock in the Taylor Library window, with a crowd gathered around it. Afterwards I looked it up in Wikipedia. Here's a short extract from a fascinating article about it (click the picture for the full article, well worth reading):

"The Corpus Clock is a large sculptural clock at street level on the outside of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, England at the junction of Bene't Street and Trumpington Street, looking out over King's Parade. It was conceived and funded by John C. Taylor, an old member of the college...

"The clock's face is a rippling 24-carat gold-plated stainless steel disc, about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) in diameter. It has no hands or numbers, but displays the time by opening individual slits in the clock face backlit with blue LEDs; these slits are arranged in three concentric rings displaying hours, minutes, and seconds.

"The dominating visual feature of the clock is a sculpture of a grim-looking, devouring, metal insect similar to a grasshopper or locust. The sculpture is actually the clock's escapement... Taylor calls this beast the Chronophage... It moves its mouth, appearing to "eat up" the seconds as they pass, and occasionally it "blinks" in seeming satisfaction. The creature's constant motion produces an eerie grinding sound that suits its task. The hour is tolled by the sound of a chain clanking into a small wooden coffin hidden in the back of the clock...

"The Corpus Clock's clockwork is entirely mechanically controlled, without any computer programming, and electricity is used only to power a motor, which winds up the mechanism, and to power the blue LEDs that shine behind the slits in the clock's face. The clock has many unexpected and innovative features; for example, the pendulum briefly stops at apparently irregular intervals, and the Chronophage moves its mouth and blinks its eyes. Taylor explains it as follows:

"The gold eyelids travel across the eye and disappear again in an instant; if you are not watching carefully you will not even notice... Sometimes you will even see two blinks in quick succession. The Blink is performed by a hidden spring drive, controlled in the best tradition of seventeenth century clockmakers of London. The spring is coiled up inside a housing that can be seen mounted on the large gearwheel visibly protruding from the bottom of the mechanism. As the huge pendulum below the Clock rocks the Chronophage as he steps round the great escapewheel, each backward and forward movement is used by sprag clutches to wind up the drive spring. A position step prevents the spring from being overwound yet allows the spring to be ready at an instant to drive the Blink. The mechanism is released by a countwheel with semi random spacing so the Blink takes place at any position in the to- and fro- motion of the pendulum. A further countwheel mechanism chooses a single or a double blink whilst the air damper at the top of the gear train slows the action to a realistic pace..."

The glass reflections made it hard to take clear photos of the clock itself, but a couple of my attempts turned out OK (rescued and improved somewhat with the help of Photoshop):

The clock face, with reflections of King's College

The pendulum weight, a small part of a larger picture that when expanded turned out to be unexpectedly interesting (and an accidental self-portrait!)

Untitled work by the Polish artist Henryk Radziszewski

Click the image for many more beautiful paintings by this artist

"Leda and the Swan", an acrylic painting by Thomas Andersen, inspired by this story from Greek mythology

"Winter wish" by InertiaK

Yet another item gratefully snaffled from the beautiful pages of my friend chaotiqual

“St Giles in the Rain” by Francis Hamel

A place that brings back many memories for me. The Eagle & Child pub (AKA The Bird & Baby) on St Giles was the hangout of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis among others, who created many memories for many people.

(Original post: October 8th, 2009)

From the page:

In Gleaming Lights of the Souls [by Yayoi Kusama visitors are invited to enter a Tardis-like chamber, whose small interior unfolds into a magical encounter with infinity. The small room is mirrored on all four sides, with a shallow pool of water on the floor. A changing constellation of small LED lights hung from the ceiling produce an infinite chain of endless reflections, transforming the small white cube into a distinctly otherworldly place.

This obsessive patterning began on the canvas with the infinity net paintings of the 1960's, but quickly evolved into large scale installations where every available surface was colonised by the same pattern. Sometimes associated with the psychedelic art movement, Kusama herself traces her obsessive patterning back to the hallucinations which she began to experience as a young child in the 1930's, and which continue to this day. Her work often incorporates mirrors to multiply the obsessively repeated patterns to infinity. In her infinity mirror rooms, at once joyful and terrifying, we the viewer, like the artist herself, experience the universe and ourselves obliterated in the endlessly recurring forms...

Beach House in Fog

Summer Cabin Kitchen

Wonderful examples of the use of light in painting by Scott Prior, one of my favourite artists

[More from this artist if you click the tag with his name at the top of this post]

"Brainstorm" by Thomas Dodd

"Atlanta based photographer/Digital artist Thomas Dodd has been called everything from a Pre-Raphaelite with a camera to a modern day Rembrandt or Giuseppe Arcimboldo . His lavishly-textured creations have an ancient Old Masters look about them and yet are created in modern mediums such as Digital Photography and Adobe Photoshop..."

Snaffled gratefully from the very nice pages of DaysEye (whose new home I will hopefully find after October 24th).

If you like this...

[J.W. Waterhouse, the Modern Pre-Raphaelite]

"Rocking horse logic" - pencils, acrylics, Photoshop

"Cross bones style" - photomanipulation, Photoshop

Very imaginative artwork © by Sara Vandermeulen - thanks to tonesofhome for leading me to these.

"Farm by Stream and Bamboo Grove" by S. Ishida

One of many pre-war Japanese watercolours at this excellent site - thanks, Alison!

(Original post: August 8th, 2009)

The Lady of Shalott [on boat] (1888)

Juliet (1898)

Hylas and the Nymphs (1896)

A Mermaid (detail) (1901)

Windflowers (1903)

Some of my favourite paintings by J.W. Waterhouse, the "Modern Pre-Raphaelite", found on this excellent web site.

My wife recently visited an exhibition of his work at the The Royal Academy of Arts in London, which includes these paintings among many others. She tells me that the originals have a kind of lustrous beauty that doesn't show up in reproductions (as I found out for myself when I later visited the exhibition).

[More links on J.W. Waterhouse]

The artist, Kenny Henson, writes:

A few miles from here [Florence, Oregon] is a small town called Gardner. At this place there was a large sawmill, and cardboard manufacturing plant. Both of these places no longer exist, as they are closed and torn down. The rail line that was used to transport product from here and is now all that remains, now in a state of decay.

"Brandywine Valley" by the American contemporary realist painter Andrew Wyeth - thanks, Judy!

"A street scene from the paintbrush of a child usually involves triangle-topped boxes for houses. And often an unnaturally large dog.

"But Kieron Williamson's attempts are so beautifully rendered that artists ten times his age will be filled with envy.

"Experts have said that the six-year-old's atmospheric paintings, which began with harbour scenes and expanded to include rural vistas, animal portraits and landmarks, have perspective, shadow and reflections that demonstrate an ability well beyond his years...."

Thanks again to lauriebox for this find!

"Surfboards on Inch Beach" by the Irish artist John Morris

John Morris is a master of reflected light. I found this great example of his work on the wonderful pages of my StumbleUpon friend lauriebox, who I hope will move to a new online home soon!

The essence of a hot eastern Mediterranean summer, captured by Doug Dourgarian, who writes:

The technique you see on my art today is the result of years of experimenting and I call it Brush Stroke Photography because of the resemblance to hand painted media. All my camera work is digital and my "darkroom" is my computer. Often I'm asked if I use Adobe's Photoshop and I don't, but I do use about four other software products not nearly as well known but specially geared for my purposes. I hope you like my artwork as much as I enjoy creating it.

I found this picture (which is of Santorini) some time ago on the always-beautiful pages of expressioniste.

Magnolia Moonrise by Phil Lewis

As you drive west from Boulder into the canyon, there are two turnoffs about halfway up. To the north is Sugarloaf Rd., where I lived for the past two years, and to the south is Magnolia Rd. Us Sugarloafians used to jokingly refer to Magnolia as "The Dark Side". The road is steeper, the turns are sharper, the cliffs are more vertical, and the ice in the winter is beyond treacherous. Overall, Magnolia is just burly, but always worth the voyage when you reached the top. Just as the road levels off, some friends of mine had a house overlooking the Twin Sisters and Forsythe Mountain. They used to host mini festivals with bands, beer, and all-around good times for all. I can remember several nights watching the moon rise from the east with the gentle glow of Boulder far below... always a soothing sight.

Phil Lewis also writes:

"Throughout my life I have felt a special connection with nature, and being outdoors inspires me to create. The amazing scenery in Colorado has certainly fueled this inspiration, and the surrounding landscapes appear frequently in my work. In addition to drawing the things I see around me, I also like to draw the things I come up with on my own. To imagine is the most fun.

"Lately I have been developing a style of artwork that combines pen drawings and digital design. I have always appreciated the raw nature of pens on paper, but I am also intrigued with the endless possibilities that the digital canvas provides. By combining the two I feel it is possible to create images that feel both organic, and state-of-the-art at the same time."

"Always Half Full", a beautiful Photoshop composition by Anji Johnston

If this optimistic outlook appeals to you...

["The Bright Side"]

London-based artist Arabella Dorman was invited to join British troops in southern Iraq before they pulled out of the country. Here - as her work goes on public display - she explains the inspiration behind her drawings and paintings...

Click any picture to view an excellent slide-show of her work, with her own narration. What she says is worth listening to.

(Original post: May 16th, 2009)

"Spirit of the Jaguar" by the wildlife artist Roy Chaffin

Roy sent me this picture last year as an electronic Christmas Card. I am lucky enough to receive one of his paintings each year in this way, and thereby hangs a tale.

Roy is not only a talented wildlife artist, he is also one of the brightest stars on the Flight Simulator horizon. He and a small team of equally talented people, collectively R.C.S. Panels, produced among other things one of the best aircraft/panel combinations for Microsoft Flight Simulator that there have ever been.

The picture below is not a painting. It is the flight sim model of the R4D, a military version of the DC-3 aircraft. You can walk around it, get in it and sit down in one of the most amazingly realistic cockpits ever produced for the flight sim, and fly it. Whether you view it from inside or outside as you fly, it looks, sounds and behaves like the real plane. And it is freeware - a true labour of love, the result of countless hours of dedicated, unpaid work.

Roy and his team supported aircraft restoration projects at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum (MAAM), Pennsylvania, with a "donationware" CD containing a special collection of flight sim models. I made a small donation... and have received a wonderful Christmas card from Roy ever since.

BTW: Roy has some interesting views on what has happened recently to Microsoft, which you can read if you click the aircraft picture.

[MAAM's "World War II Weekend" with restored aircraft, attended by Roy Chaffin]
[The R4D flight sim package with details of cockpits]
["Fantasy of Flight", Florida, an amazing collection of privately restored aircraft]
[My "Flight Simulator" page]

An untitled work by Ludmila Curilova, an artist born in Moldova who now lives in Canada

"Two Girls With An Oleander (detail)" by Gustav Klimt

I came across this wonderful painting in a huge book about the artist provided to visitors to the "Spirit of Klimt" room at Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House in the English Lake District.

If you like Klimt...

[Gustav Klimt Virtual Museum]
[More Gustav Klimt links]

"Queen for a Day" by the Estonian artist Kadri Umbleja

Gratefully swiped from the lovely pages of chaotiqual

If you like this...

["Elixir" by Melanie Delon]
["Healing" by Hyung Jun Kim]

A very imaginative and beautiful CGI work (with great music) by Bruce Branit - click either picture to play

"This award winning short was created by filmmaker Bruce Branit, widely known as the co-creator of '405'. World Builder was shot in a single day followed by about 2 years of post production. Branit is the owner of Branit VFX based in Kansas City."

You find out what this video is about only at the end... I won't spoil it for you.

Thanks so much to green-eyedlady (Kadi) (no forwarding address at present) for sending me this one.

Some wonderful work by the realist artist Pat Bailey, who writes:

"A painting is a response to the experience of being alive. To me, the difference between a nonobjective abstract and a painting of known objects is the same as the difference between music without lyrics or music with lyrics. They are both inspired from emotions and a desire to communicate. They both can be wonderful and they both succeed, or not, on their merits. I've never understood any argument between the two camps. As for subjects, I paint anything that evokes an emotion, anything that speaks to me. I see sensuality in the shapes of a flower or an automobile. I see romance in a barn, a diner, a carnival, a road, or a face."

Thanks to my friend Bonnie for introducing me to this artist.

I really like these Lumina clay leaves by Camille Young. She starts by mixing acrylic paint into a little Lumina polymer clay, and then rolls the clay through a pasta machine at thickness setting 4-5.

Click the picture if you are interested in the rest of the process!

I love this wonderful fantasy by the Turkish artist Yusuf Artun.

When I saw it I was strongly reminded of a production of Rimsky Korsakov's little-known opera Chrismas Eve that I once saw in London. It had a wonderful Russian fairy-tale atmosphere to it. The proscenium arching over the stage had old houses set at odd angles - almost like a rainbow of houses - their windows glowing with light or opening to show villagers leaning out to watch the proceedings below.

Many children came to watch it, and for them it must have been a truly magical experience, the kind that stays with you for your whole life, especially as the cast (in full costume and character) mingled with the audience before and after the show and in the intervals, particularly to meet the children.

Even for an adult it had a very magical quality. I keep hoping that one day it will reappear somewhere that I can see it again.

One of my favourite landscapes by Camille Pissarro

My kind of place... and this is a great art web site, too.

Extraordinarily graceful and beautiful paintings by the contemporary Chinese artist Feng Chang Jiang

Artist found in the wonderful art collection of artisthaven - many thanks!

A memory of magical summer days, long ago...
"On the stile" by Winslow Homer

(from the National Gallery of Art's Winslow Homer collection, a great resource for this artist

(Original post: February 25th, 2009)

Paintings by Michael James Smith that make me look forward to summer in England...

"Wandering besides the River Wye, Wales"

"Upper Slaughter, Cotswolds"

"Twilight" by Jimmy Lawlor, beautifully capturing the magic of childhood

If you like this...

[Tatik - images of childhood]

Some very fine work with a graphite pencil by Linda Huber

Thanks for introducing me to this artist, Aline!

Carl Larsson, 1853-1919, Swedish painter and illustrator

I love this. Thanks again to Aline for this one... click the picture for more work from this great artist!

"Into the night", by Alexander Volkov

(rediscovered for me by expressioniste - thanks again, Aline!)

Saint-Jean street in Quebec city, by Gaetan Chevalier

"Old Friends", one of several nice dog paintings by John Weiss

I couldn't resist swiping these from my friend expressioniste. Thanks, Aline!

If you like "Old Friends"...

["A Family Album Portrait" by Nadya Kulagina]

Ceanna's pages on StumbleUpon (until October 24th 2011, when SU will effectively tear them down) are a truly wonderful art gallery, where each item that you see is accompanied by full and painstakingly assembled information.

Here is just one item from her vast and varied collection.

The Goldsmith Ladies At Bois de Boulogne in a Peugeot, 1897 - Julius Stewart

Update: the good news is that Ceanna is now here on Categorian!

Wonderfully artistic photography by August Bradley

A small excerpt from the excellent biographical details for August Bradley provided on this site:

"I was increasingly drawn to crafting scenes out of my imagination," Bradley explains of his early transition from adventure and sports photography to a more fantastical subject matter. "I wanted to create stories, rather than capture events unfolding before me. I've always been a big reader, and I've found that there's every bit as much truth and insight in the best literary fiction as in nonfiction works. I try to bring a literary sensibility to my graphic images. My work has been influenced as much by authors such as Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace as by any photographer."

If you're familiar with the works of Pynchon and Wallace, then you expect a densely nuanced twist on the typical photographic fare. Sure enough, Bradley's images are often surreal and conceptual--as much illustrations as photographs...

Thanks again to my friend Alison for introducing me to this great photographer.

Gold and yellow jellyfish - some very attractive hand-blown glass by Chris Lowry and Chris Richards, from Hot Island Glass in Maui, Hawaii.

"Rainy day", one of many beautiful pictures by Alexander Volkov

Another one gratefully swiped from the excellent pages of aquieterstorm. Thanks, Cheryl!

"Rockface Descent"

"Ocean Rhapsody - Killer Whale"

Wonderful wildlife paintings by Robert Bateman

There is some excellent information from the artist that goes with each of these pictures - click the images and you will see what I mean.

Bio details of the artist [from]:

"Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1930, Robert Bateman was a keen artist and naturalist from his early days. Bateman painted wildlife and wilderness in a representational style until his teens when he began to interpret nature using a variety of contemporary styles including post-impressionism and abstract expressionism. In the early 60s, Bateman rediscovered realism and began to develop the style that would make him one of the foremost artists depicting the world of nature. In the 70s and early 80s, Bateman's work began to receive critical acclaim and to attract an enormous following...

"He was commissioned by the Governor General of Canada to do a painting as the wedding gift for HRH The Prince Charles from the people of Canada. His work is also included in the collections HRH The Prince Philip, the late Princess Grace of Monaco and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands..."

I was introduced to this artist by my friend bonbonnie (Bonnie) - see here for her own choice from this artist. Thanks, Bonnie!

"Winter Rain", a watercolour by Susan Adams

One of many interesting and beautiful items to be found on the pages of chaotiqual.

"I Went to a Marvelous Party with Noonoo, Nada and Nell"

"The Touzie Tyke"

"St Cutherbert's Prayer (Detail)"

Some wonderful artistry by Kate Leiper (thanks, Alison!)

From the Red Dot Gallery:

"Creatures, great and small, are the focus of Kate Leiper's immaculate mixed media works in ink and pastel on a variety of papers.

"Using mythology, legend, poetry and ballad as her cue, Kate Leiper frequently casts the feathered or furry in character role. Sometimes at rest, in sleep or musing, these images convey a peace and certain contentment. Other times alert and bright of eye, ready.....

"Kate Leiper graduated in Aberdeen (BA Hons - Fine Art) in 1996, since then exhibiting her work in London and thoughout Scotland, gaining a loyal and enthusiastic following. The works she creates have a style all of their own, instantly recognisable, highly desirable.

"During travels in Canada (1997) the artist became involved in theatre set design and painting. The influence of this is evident in the extensive colour palette, design element and 'staging' of her work; rich materials and pattern frequently form the backdrop for the characters observed."

[Lake District visit continued from above]

Blackwell, "an architectural jewel in the heart of the Lake District", was designed by M H Baillie Scott (1865-1945) as a holiday home for a wealthy Manchester brewery owner, and is "one of the country's most important examples of Arts and Crafts architecture".

Blackwell is one of the most beautiful houses that I have ever visited, and is also one of the most frustrating to describe properly to someone who has not been there. Photography is forbidden indoors, and neither the official web site nor any other site that I have found shows photographs that come anywhere near conveying the beautiful atmosphere of the real place.

However if you would like a really good written review of the place (not mine), go here.

Blackwell (top of picture) seen from Windermere

The view from Blackwell across Windermere. Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's retreat, is on the other side of Windermere, somewhere off to the right. In the distance are the fells behind Coniston Water.

One of the many nice things about Blackwell is that it has alcoves with window seats and cushions that visitors are allowed to sit in. This view is one of several that can be enjoyed from such a seat in the beautiful White Drawing Room - I must have spent over 20 minutes doing just that.

[Location of Blackwell on my England Map]
[The Arts and Crafts Movement (Overview)]
[The Arts and Crafts Movement (Wikipedia)]
[The Arts and Crafts Home - A Design Resource for Home Decoration]
[Places to enjoy life... in England]

"Solitude" - a very nice still-life composition by Von McKnelly, an artistic photographer whose other work is well worth checking out.

[An introduction to RedBubble]

(Original post: August 27th, 2008)

A couple of days ago we visited the Craft and Design Fair at Wrest Park, and saw a full-size print of the above picture of Victoria Station, Manchester, by John S. Gibb, among many prints (and an original) being exhibited by the artist's wife.

The full-size print looks like a historical photograph, but it isn't: it's actually a pencil drawing that took 10 months to create. The artist's main tools are a .03 3H pencil (applied patiently in many layers to get darker tones) and two erasers, one for removing graphite to create white space, and one for correcting mistakes.

As we looked at the prints being exhibited we were amazed by the attention to detail and by the skill and knowledge that the artist possesses. The images shown here are poor, fuzzy substitutes for the real thing. Play the excellent video (right) to get a much better idea!

The pictures above are some of the prints currently available at John's web site. He charges a very modest amount for work that takes him so much time to produce.

The picture below is my own photo of a framed print of his American Screech Owl that we couldn't resist buying that day. It gives a (slightly) better idea of what his prints actually look like.

John Gibb was born in 1939 at Dalton-in-Furness on the edge of the English Lake District. He has been a keen mountaineer and (until a bad accident forced him to turn to art) skiier. He worked for a time as a lumberjack in Sweden, and as a seaman in the Norwegian Merchant Marine. He became a yacht master, on one occasion crossing the Atlantic under sail.

John Gibb seems to share many characteristics (not least an obsession for accurate detail in portraying what he loves) with another better-known figure of the Lake District, the late Alfred Wainwright, creator of the famous hand-written and hand-drawn guides to the Lake District (but that's another story).

"Morning light" - watercolor painting of a lighthouse in Twin Lights Park, near Portland, Maine

"Beach path" - watercolor painting of a beach scene in Maine

"Miss Marie" - candid photo of the artist's daughter on a school trip

Some very nice work by Lora Garcelon. I love the colours!

[An introduction to RedBubble]



"Guitar Man"

Wonderful naturalistic paintings by Morgan Weistling

"...Morgan studied art at an early age with his father, a former art student. His parents both met at art school. His father, Howard, a POW in Germany, entertained his fellow American prisoners in Stalag 1 with a daily comic strip that he created and drew to keep morale up. Drawn on scraps of paper found on the prison grounds, he crafted a humorous world of characters that managed to bring a smile to imprisoned soldiers. In the last days of the war and feeling the Russians would be coming, his talents with painting saved his life. Using some paints supplied by the Geneva Convention, he painted a American Flag on the shoulder of his prisoner uniform so that the Russians invading Germany would identify him and not shoot him. It worked..."

More bio details...

Thanks to my friend overthetrail (Sandy) for introducing me to this artist.

"Community Garden in the Rain"

"Dunes at Sunrise"

"Autumn Still Life"

I love the light in the beautiful landscape and still-life paintings of Scott Prior.

Thanks so much to my friend johnshaven (Alison) for introducing me to this artist.

"Autumn Leaves"

"A Room With A View"

"A Chance Meeting"

Some nice work by Alexei Butirskiy. I like the light effects.

"Bonded", one of many beautiful works by the digital/fantasy artist Ivy Izzard

Found at RedBubble, one of my favourite sites

There is so much more to this site than the title suggests!

From the intro:

"RedBubble is a forum for self expression, an inclusive art gallery and a supportive and welcoming community...

"The RedBubble community exists to challenge the elitism of the traditional art world."

Among other things, RedBubble is a place to easily find many great photos and paintings. You can search RedBubble for images with any characteristics you want, e.g. the following:

nature fog water lake boat light sunrise sunset wildlife still-life

abstract bubbles crystals fractals

people portraits glamour children

France Provence Italy Tuscany Umbria Switzerland

oil acrylic pastel watercolour watercolor stained-glass

You won't actually find a list like this at RedBubble. These are searches I thought up that produce good results for me (they open in a separate window, just close it when you're done). If (like me) you're new to RedBubble, why not try a few of these and then "roll your own"?

Note that RedBubble no longer has an "advanced search", but you can search for two or more tags separated by spaces, which it treats as an 'AND' combination.


"Sisters and a book"

"Memory of that house"

Some great work by Iman Maleki, an Iranian artist who paints modern scenes of his country
with what seems to me like more than a touch of an old Dutch master.

I sent this to my friend persiana (Shireen), who wrote back with this very interesting information:

"He's a wonderful painter :) Some months ago a friend, Saline, wrote me that Iran has a larger than life painter in Maleki. I, too, think his paintings are full of vibrancy and life, yet in an incredibly muted style....

"Of course many of his paintings reflect real life scenes. So they are not just life like. For instance, "Composing music secretly" shows master singer Shajarian, tar player Alizadeh and others. Iranians love these musicians. Then the painting "Emigrant" shows Afghans who fled their country to Iran in millions over decades, but never granted citizenship and being returned back currently. "Fishmonger" reflects scenes before the New Year. The goldfish is one of the seven articles set on our new year tables. My favorite is "Omens of Hafez" which is what Iranians do to find inspiration, guidance in good or bad times. Hafez poems are consulted as an oracle in Iran and many other places where people were historically connected to the culture. That's what I meant by his paintings being full of life and vibrancy."

Thanks, Shireen!

"Weeding the Garden", by Todd Reifers

Another gorgeous painting gratefully swiped from the wonderful pages of my friend johnshaven (Alison)!

"Dreamed Brook"
Interstate 495, Littleton, Massachusetts

"Milkweed II"
Granby, Connecticut

"Song Of The Earth"
Littleton, Massachusetts

Some wonderful photography of New England by John Wawrzonek

A wonderful picture by Judy Larson.

From her web page:

"Her unique approach to her work is through the use of scratch board--a technique that can render magnificent detail but one requiring infinite patience.

"Scratch board, an old, but little used medium, consists of a smooth, thin surface of hardened China clay applied to a board. The subject is then painted solidly with black India ink to create a silhouette.

"Now the exacting work begins, engraving the image into the surface of the artwork. While many artists use steel nibs or engraving tools, Judy prefers to work with X-acto blades, changing them ever few minutes to produce as fine a line as possible. Once the subject has been totally scratched, it is a finished black and white illustration, ready for the artist to add color. The methods of adding color are diverse. Judy prefers a combination of airbrush, gouache or acrylics for finishing, with frequent rescratching for detail."

There is more to Judy's pictures (including the one above) than first meets the eye: if you missed it, check out her Image Key (mouse-over the images)!

This is another great find from the pages of my friend skip2mylou (one of the most under-rated stumblers on SU). Thanks again!

A great composition by Antonio Capel, from the Luis Sebastian Guzman Capel Gallery, Barcelona.

"Harmony 2002" by Jack Dollhausen

From when I first saw this interesting image on a different web site, it took a long time to track down what it actually was!

Here's a clue: "Harmony responds to motion with a color dance, sleeps and composes a new dance if undisturbed."

If you are still intrigued, go check it out! More work by Jack Dollhausen will be found here.

An unusually beautiful example of this kind of fantasy art. The artist isn't credited on the site where this was originally found - but I have finally tracked her down, she is the French digital artist Melanie Delon, and this picture is titled "Elixir".

According to Melanie, it takes her about two weeks to create a painting like this. For more information, do visit her site.

Very beautiful children's book illustrations by Jean-Baptiste Monge.
(Click here for English language translation of his site.)

Some digital matte paintings by Yanic Dusseault - I have obviously seen much of his work at the cinema without realising it!

There is lots of other interesting work at this site.

An attractive acrylic painting by Wes Hyde - my kind of place!

A wonderful portrait of old age by Paul Dzik.

A life-time of experiences, some good, some bad, many of them fascinating... waiting for people who want to listen.