Monday, March 31, 2008

The april pages

Journal pages ready to be filled...


Spray Paint copyright Bruce Waldman
Spray Paint

Cello Players copyright Bruce Waldman

Cello Players

Bud Waldo copyright Bruce Waldman
Bud Waldo

All etchings above (posted here with permission) © Bruce Waldman,
a lecturer at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Day of the Dead papercut  made in San Salvador Huixcolotla, Mexico (1980s)

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) papercut motif produced in the 1980s by Maurilio Rojas from San Salvador Huixcolotla in Mexico. The image comes from the British Museum and the chisel/paper technique is referred to as Papel Picado.

A Skeleton by Alexander Mair 1605

"A skeleton; half-length; set in an oval frame with hourglasses and skulls and bones"

The Damned by Alexander Mair 1605

"The Damned; three bust-length male figures surrounded by
flames; set in an oval frame with bats, devils and seven-headed beasts"

From a series of six engravings of memento mori* by the German artist Alexander Mair, 1605. (these are definitely the best of the series) [British Museum]

Astronomisches Handbuch by Johann Rost 1718 Frontispiece (HAB)

Frontispiece featuring muses (?) from
'Astronomisches Handbuch' by Johann Rost*, 1718 from HAB.

Carebna Babushucka (Queen-Frog, Fairy Tales) by Bilibiu (illustr. HA Ghangnai) 1901 (PBA)

This is a cover from 'Carebna Babushucka' 'Carevna Lyagushka' (Queen-Frog, Fairy Tales) by Bilibiu (illustrated by HA Ghangnai) Ivan Bilibin, 1901 (the above image came from one of the catalogues at PBA Galleries) [see comments at the end of this post]

Cynographia Curiosa Seu Canis Descriptio by Christian Franz Paullini - 1685 (HAB)

Frontispiece from 'Cynographia Curiosa Seu Canis Descriptio' by Christian Franz Paullini - 1685 (HAB), a zoological treatise as the reliable Philological Museum advises (a great resource for finding online neo-latin texts).

Engraving of Solomon's Temple from 1660 King James Bible (pub. John Field) (PBA)

Solomon's Temple from a 1660 version of the King James Bible
(published by John Field) (from PBA Galleries)

Hydrodynamic rotsisseries - Gaspar Schott

Well height - Gaspar Schott

Gaspar Schott (previously) was an assistant to Athanasius Kircher. All of his works are fairly eccentric and most are derivatives or additives to Kircher's own large and eccentric body of work. The above two images were the more interesting examples from his 1667 book, 'Ioco-Seriorum Naturae Et Artis, Sive Magiae Naturalis Centuriae Tres', from HAB. The work is said to describe more then three hundred physical, chemical, alchemical and magical experiments and tricks.

Khamsah of Nizami  (U.Louisville)

'Khamsah of Nizami' - a 19th century copy of a 12th century Persian poem. We are told:
"Persian poetry, written in calligraphy on handmade paper. One of Persia's most famous poets, the twelfth century Nizam-uddin Abu Mahommed Ilyas bin Yusuf lived most of his life in Ganja, in what now is Azerbaijan. Nizami is best remembered for his Khamsah, or Quintet, which also is known as Panj Ganj or Five Treasures. Nizami wrote the five long narrative poems in couplets, using different meters for each. Three of the poems are romances and celebrated as the most important Persian language examples of the genre. This fragment of the Khamsah of Nizami was done in calligraphy in the mid-nineteenth century."
These pages come from the 'Illuminating the Manuscript Leaves' exhibition site at the University of Louisville, Kentucky.

Kunstliche Wolgerissene Figuren by Tobias Stimmer and Christoph Maurer 1605 (HAB)

Kunstliche Wolgerissene Figuren by Tobias Stimmer and Christoph Maurer 1605 a

Kunstliche Wolgerissene Figuren by Tobias Stimmer and Christoph Maurer 1605 b

Kunstliche Wolgerissene Figuren by Tobias Stimmer and Christoph Maurer 1605 c

A hunting (and less so, agriculture) book by the Swiss pair, Tobias Stimmer and Christoph Maurer, called: 'Künstliche Wolgerissene Figuren und Abbildunge Etlicher Jagdbahren Thieren' from 1605 (at HAB). There are about forty woodcuts; interesting to me for all the incidental details in the scenes.

Monogrammist FVB 1475 or so

"St Michael; the archangel standing on top of a devil,
piercing him with a lance; the demon holds onto a shield"

Samson rending the lion by Monogrammist FVB 1475

Samson rending the lion

Prints from between 1475 and 1500 by the Dutch
artist known as Monogrammist FVB [British Museum].

Scotia illustrata by Robert Sibbald 1684

A gannet, "a bird that was of enduring interest to Scots because its association with the Bass Rock gave it its Latin name, given here as Anser Bassensis, and in its modern form, Sula Bassana"

This illustration of a gannet comes from the 1684 publication: 'Scotia Illustrata' by Robert Sibbald. I did a very cursory search around (some weeks ago) and was disappointed only to find a couple of other poor quality animal drawings from this intriguing work. We are told:
"Sir Robert Sibbald (1641-1722) was appointed Geographer Royal to King Charles II. His description of Scotland begins with the peoples, geography and climate of the different regions, followed by an account of diet, diseases and the medicinal uses of Scotland's natural products. He then lists all known flora, fauna and minerals. His plan, outlined in his 1683 'Account of the Scottish Atlas, or the Description of Scotland', was to produce a two-volume work: 'Scotia Antiqua' and 'Scotia Moderna'. In the event, this Atlas was never completed. Only the natural history, 'Scotia Illustrata', was ever published. It is nevertheless a key work in establishing the absolute value of objective, empirical information in all fields."
I found the plate somewhere in the Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library.

Seder Hagadah shel Pesah, Venetsiah - 1609 - Jewish Theological Seminary

My notes say: "Seder Hagadah shel Pesah, Venetsiah - 1609 - Jewish Theological Seminary". Again, I found the various background details in the woodcuts that make up this titlepage intriguing.

Zhong Kui and a demon - 17th cent.

Zhong Kui and a demon with a vase of plum blossom

Zhong Kui assaulting a demon with an axe - 17th cent.

Zhong Kui assaulting a demon with an axe

Zhong Kui drawing his sword - 17th cent.

Zhong Kui drawing his sword, attended by a
demon carrying magic jewels on a tray on his head

These 17th century coloured woodblock prints come from the British Museum. The biography of the mythologoical Chinese figure, Zhong kui:
"God of Literature, vanquisher of demons. Zhong Kui excelled in the metropolitan examinations and was due to receive honours from the emperor. The emperor found Zhong Kui's ugly face repulsive and refused to give him the honours. Zhong Kui threw himself into the sea, but was saved by the ao-monster, which carried him to the surface on its back. Zhong Kui has come to be associated with the Kui-constellation, often regarded as his heavenly palace. His fame came after the Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty, during an illness, saw Zhong Kui in a dream, where he dispatched two demons tormenting the emperor and Yang Guifei. Upon awaking, the emperor was restored to health."

Zwey Nachdänckliche Traum-Gesichte 1684 (HAB)

'Zwey Nachdänckliche Traum-Gesichte' 1684 by Georg Speer, a travel book I believe. It comes from somewhere in the recesses of HAB.

french gothic ornament via glyphjockey

French gothic ornament

Glyph Jockey has uploaded some further scans from
'History of Architecture and Ornament', 1909. LINK. (previously)

Homer H. Boelter 1969 Portfolio of Hopi Kachinas (pba galleries)

Polik Mana and Mongwa - Homer H. Boelter - Hopi album 1969

These illustrations are presumably © the estate of Homer H Boelter.
In 1969 Boelter published an album of lithographs of Hopi Indians - 'Portfolio of Hopi Kachinas' - limited to one thousand copies. The first illustration above comes from PBA galleries. The paired image and the balance of the sixteen plates in the series - and background - can be found at Native American Links.

australia post advertisement

Bouquinosphère 3 was some sort of conference. I just liked the sentiment expressed in the picture which was found here a couple of months ago. I don't know if it's derivative and I spent way too much time unsuccessfully trying to work out its origin when I first found it. No, I couldn't find a larger version. Click on the image for larger original version (Australia Post advertisement) [Thanks Sveta!].

Other things...

For those that read via rss and don't visit the site, I've added a feed from my own bookmarks to the sidebar. It naturally gravitates towards the book, illustration, exhibition, library, gallery, manuscript kind of material, plus other bits and pieces. It also tends to be the place I accumulate links that may or may not end up on BibliOdyssey.
Some blogs:
  • Cartophilia - a lover of maps.
  • Notes for Bibliophiles - "The official blog of the Special Collections department of the Providence Public Library".
  • bookn3rd - "Book History and diversions therefrom."
  • Grain Edit - "Inspiration from vintage kids + rare graphic design books"
  • Publick Occurrences - "blog of historical and political punditry by the inimitable Common-place columnist and former History News Network blogger Jeffrey L. Pasley."
  • Library Preservation - Kevin Driedger on rare book conservation/preservation.
  • Le territoire des sens - art . architecture . design . nature . science

Spring Flowers, Purple Crocus, Yellow Daffodil, Glory of the Snow

Purple Crocus

Yellow Daffodil

Glory of the Snow
in time of daffodils (who know, the goal of living is to grow) forgetting why, remember how - e.e. cummings

Spring Flowers in Central Park New York City, New York, in the last week of march. Here we see Purple Crocus, the Yellow Daffodil or Narcissus and Chionodoxa forbesii or Glory of the Snow.

Daffodils, along with Crocuses and Snowdrops, are one of the earliest of spring flowers and are always a welcome sign that winter is finally over. - Central Park Flowers:

Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.
If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

Final Celebration Winner!

Congrats to Joy of Goddess Joy! You won the final Celebration prize, selected from all the entries this month in the Art Bead Scene Flickr pool! The necklace above, Celebrating Spring, features a handmade ceramic pendant from Red Crow Arts (from Etsy). You have won the prize shown below, a bead or two from each of the Art Bead Scene editors!Beads shown: Polymer clay lentil shape from Humblebeads, goddess bead from Elaine Ray, message stick from Earthenwood Studio

Beads shown: ceramic button from Creative Impressions in Clay, lampwork spiral bead from Cindy Gimbrone, and message stick link from Earthenwood Studio

Stop back later this week, when we will be announcing the new monthly challenge for April!

William A. Smith: "A fine painter" - Robert Fawcett

About the only thing I like better than sharing examples from my collection of mid-20th century illustrators with you is when you return the favour. That's why I was so pleased when Charlie Allen, whose career we learned about last September, began emailing me pieces by illustrators he admired and had clipped for his own reference and inspiration back in the day. Like these three beauties by William A. Smith.

Some of Smith's illustrations (the few I'd seen) reminded me a little of Robert Fawcett's work. So I particularly enjoyed this anecdote Charlie related to me about meeting Robert Fawcett:

"May have told you this, but about 1950 or '51 Haines Hall and Chet Patterson asked me to join them for dinner one evening at one of those old but posh SF eateries. The lure, RF would be joining us. Believe Stan Galli and Bruce Bomberger were there too. With no warning, they sat me next to RF (Haines' brother-in-law). In a lull, I ventured a question to the great one....'Do you know William A. Smith?' He did a double take, turned to Haines, and gesturing to me, said, 'who's this?' I think his actual words were 'who the hell is this?' Haines explained ( I was the favored new kid on the block), and RF reluctantly turned and said, 'yes, Bill is a good friend....and he's a fine painter'. He did not say 'illustrator'. That was the only conversation from him for the evening, with me at least. At the time I naturally was in awe of RF, but was also an admirer of Wm. A. Smith."

About these images, Charlie wrote:

"Smith had a heavy painterly hand....but could be oh-so subtle when the character or scene needed it. I could tell he had to 'behave himself' on the Coca Cola ad [above] ...had to hold back some of that 'horsepower' he possessed. He was not as inventive in style and technique as, say, Briggs, Parker, Fawcett, etc.....but he was rock solid on dramatic presentation."

Charlie went on to say, "He seemed a mystery....never heard much about him or his career, etc." - which I was unable to help with, since what I knew about the artist was no more than what was available in the short bio you can find in Walt Reed's "Illustrator in America".

Then, in one of those coincidences that make me think "there are no coincidences", a package arrived in the mail: a recent acquisition from ebay... two bound volumes of American Artist magazine, 1952 and 1953. And what should the June 1952 issue contain but a six-page article on William A. Smith!

That same issue contained this ad below, so now you know what the artist looked like around the time he painted these pieces.

With the generous assistance of Charlie Allen, who has provided virtually all the scans I'll be presenting, and with the benefit of the information in the American Artist article, it looks like we will get to spend this week learning about "a fine painter", William A. Smith.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Carousel Horses

Black Carousel Horse

Brown Carousel Horse

White Carousel Horse
Carousel Horses from The Central Park Carousel. New York City, New York.

One of the country's largest merry-go-rounds, it features fifty-eight hand-carved, brightly caparisoned horses and two ornate chariots. Wonderful examples of folk art, they were made by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein in 1908. - Carousel Horses

The original three-dimensional work shown in this image is free content because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain.

These 3-D works may however not be in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris), in this case Solomon Stein (1882–1937) and Harry Goldstein (1867–1945, and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from that date. If your use will be outside the United States please check your local law.
Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

Anniversary Winner #5

The winner of Heather Power's prize of a set of Spring Branches Beads is Nicole of Sativa Studios, who made this fresh blossoming pair of earrings. Congrats to you! Please contact us using the suggestion box in the sidebar with your address so Heather can send you your prize.

We have one final surprise prize to give out! It is a collection of beads from all five of the editors here. So that means one final day to post your Celebrate entries to the ABS Flickr Pool. We will be drawing the name randomly from ALL of this month's entries, so come back tomorrow to see the prize and find out the winner!

As the Bead Turns: March 30, 2008

Bringing you all the dirt and drama from the beading blog world...

Spotted in the Art Bead Scene Flickr pool as an entry for this month's challenge

A lovely pink bracelet by Melissa Lee using her handmade PMC koi focal. Jewelry Making
Learn to "make it yours" from this latest issue of Make It Mine magazine. You'll find lots of crafty goodness including some fun jewelry articles, one even from our very own bead buddy, Candie Cooper!

Art Bead Scene
Is it time to get organized? Art Bead Scene has storage ideas to help you get organized.

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Jennifer shows two bright and fabulous projects featured in Simply Beads this month.

Jewelry & Beading
Glass bead curtains?? Come and see Denise Perreault's sun-catching masterpieces!

Katie's Beading Blog
Bead embroidery doesn't have to be hard! Check out Katie's embellished felt flower. It's just right for spring!

Naughty Secretary Club
Win a free copy of the spring issue of Make It Mine Magazine that includes painting projects by Jen’s younger sister Hope Perkins!

Savvy Crafter
It's a plane! No! It' a Felty Bird just in time to hang out on your spring jacket.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
I had such a good time with Naomi Fujimoto that I wanted to repost our story of our trip to NYC!

The Impatient Blogger
Ornament Thursday returns with the theme of Sprout. Madge dips into her new stash of vintage French postcards to make a charming little collaged pendant with metal mesh accents. Art is sprouting all over blogland with the wonderful creations of the OT Gang.

Did you read or write any good dirt on a bead blog this week? Did you remember to stop by yesterday and read Studio Saturdays? What other good bead-blog things did you read this week? Leave us a comment and a link and tell us the latest scoop!


If Beethoven had gone deaf all at once, he might not have developed into Beethoven. He might simply have adapted to the loss, as many others have.

But Beethoven's hearing gradually slipped away over 25 years, coming and going unpredictably. It faded tantalizingly in and out of reach as he was trying to realize his artistic visions. This slow torture caused him daily anguish. He could never be certain whether he would be capable of conducting a concert. Worse, he never knew which precious sound would be his last.

Beethoven didn't dare tell the world about his disability but he wrote of his despair in a private testament, agonizing that when other people heard a sound,

I heard nothing... such incidents brought me to the verge of despair.... I would have put an end to my life -- only... it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon me to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence.
Historians such as Robert Greenberg and Maynard Solomon believe Beethoven was able to reach new heights because of the spiritual and physical isolation he suffered during his prolonged struggle with his hearing. Perhaps his seclusion from the sounds of the world freed him from convention and allowed him to create new musical forms.

Beethoven's tragic burden is an example of what Peter Viereck calls "the weight that tortures diamonds out of coal."

Which brings us to the artist Degas.

Degas started out as a meticulous craftsman, carefully trained in traditional drawing and painting methods.

However, he suffered from increasingly poor vision his entire adult life. As John Updike reported, "by his forties he was virtually blind in his right eye; and by the 1890s he periodically donned corrective spectacles blacked out except for a small slit in the left lens."

Over the years as his eyesight dimmed, Degas developed a looser, more energetic style:

He lived in dread of his oncoming blindness, but as the artist David Levine noted,

It didn’t stop Degas.... He went on to change his way of seeing. He just moved into a rhythm of color and bigger generalities in the way he saw things like hands or faces.
Just as with Beethoven, some of Degas' most beautiful work resulted from his enormous talent twisting and turning to escape being smothered by the artist's physical disability:

Green Landscape

Wooded Landscape

Tantalus was the character from Greek mythology who stole ambrosia from Zeus' table and brought it back to his people, revealing the secrets of the gods.

His punishment was terrible: he spent eternity in a pool of water beneath a bountiful fruit tree. But whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised above his grasp. Whenever he bent down to try to drink, the water receded. (We get the word "tantalize" from poor Tantalus.) And while all that food and drink hovered beyond his reach, the gods placed a threatening boulder over his head.

The price of ambrosia comes high.