Sunday, October 31, 2010

Haunted Graveyarrd

Haunted GraveyardHaunted Graveyard, skeletons, gravestones, Jack-o-Lanterns, haunted tree and twisted landscape.

Halloween window decorations on New york City's upper westside October 2010.
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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ghost Rising from the Grave with Haunted House and Jack-o-Lanterns

Ghost Rising from the GraveGhost Rising from the Grave with Haunted House and Jack-o-Lanterns in the corner antique store Halloween window at 77th street and Amsterdam avenue, New York City, New York. October 2010.
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.

Diptych

Map collage birds
Collage, watercolor & acrylic ink on Twinrocker handmade paper. 6" x 8"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crowd gathering on Wall Street after the 1929 crash

Crowd gathering on Wall Street after the 1929 crashCrowd gathers outside the Stock Exchange after the crash. Looking down Broad street from Wall street and Federal Hall. From an Social Security Administration poster.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office.
On Black Tuesday, the twenty-ninth, the market collapsed. In the words of a gray haired Stock Exchange guard, "They roared like a lot of lions and tigers. They hollered and screamed, they clawed at one another collars. It was like a bunch of crazy men. Every once in a while, when Radio or Steel or Auburn would take another tumble, you'd see some poor devil collapse and fall to the floor."

In a single day, sixteen million shares were traded--a record--and thirty billion dollars vanished into thin air. Westinghouse lost two thirds of its September value. DuPont dropped seventy points. The "Era of Get Rich Quick" was over. Jack Dempsey, America's first millionaire athlete, lost $3 million. Cynical New York hotel clerks asked incoming guests, "You want a room for sleeping or jumping?"

Refusing to accept the "natural" economic cycle in which a market crash was followed by cuts in business investment, production and wages, Hoover summoned industrialists to the White House on November 21, part of a round robin of conferences with business, labor, and farm leaders, and secured a promise to hold the line on wages. Henry Ford even agreed to increase workers' daily pay from six to seven dollars. From the nation's utilities, Hoover won commitments of $1.8 billion in new construction and repairs for 1930. Railroad executives made a similar pledge. Organized labor agreed to withdraw its latest wage demands.

The president ordered federal departments to speed up construction projects. He contacted all forty-eight state governors to make a similar appeal for expanded public works. He went to Congress with a $160 million tax cut, coupled with a doubling of resources for public buildings and dams, highways and harbors. In December of 1929, Hoover's friend Julius Barnes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presided over the first meeting of the National Business Survey Conference, a task force of four hundred leading businessmen designated to enforce the voluntary agreements. Looking back at the year, the "New York Times" judged Commander Richard Byrd's expedition to the South Pole-- not the Wall Street crash-- the biggest news story of 1929.

Praise for the President's intervention was widespread. "No one in his place could have done more," concluded the "New York Times" in the spring of 1930, by which time the Little Bull Market had restored a measure of confidence on Wall Street. "Very few of his predecessors could have done as much." On February 18 Hoover announced that the preliminary shock had passed, and that employment was again on the mend. In June, a delegation of bishops and bankers called at the White House to warn of spreading joblessness. Hoover reminded them of his successful conferences with business and labor, and the explosion of government activity and public works designed to alleviate suffering. "Gentlemen," he concluded, "you have come six weeks too late".

TEXT CREDIT: The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Daniel's blog!

Wild West
The Good, the Mouse and the Coyote"
Colored pencils and ink.
Daniel's Self Portrait
Self Portrait with Turbo. Chalk.
These two
After much pestering by me, my very talented son Daniel (age 12)
finally created his own blog, it's called Daniel Does :)
Check out his super cute ninja banner!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rev. Josiah Henson

Rev. Josiah Henson"Uncle Tom's story of his life." An autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson (Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom"). From 1789 to 1876 Author Josiah Henson
Editor John Lobb Publisher: Christian age office, 1876.

Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published works before 1923, in this case 1876, are now in the public domain.

Rev. Josiah Henson escaped to Canada on 28 October 1830.
"It was the 28th of October, 1830, in the morning, when my feet first touched the Canada shore. I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand, seized handfuls of it and kissed them, and danced around, till, in the eyes of several who were present, I passed for a madman. " He's some crazy fellow," said a Colonel Warren, who happened to be there. " Oh no, master ! don't you know ? I'm free !" He burst into a shout of laughter. " Well, I never knew freedom make a man roll in the sand in such a fashion." Still I could not control myself. I hugged and kissed my wife and children, and, until the first exuberant burst of feeling was over, went on as before." Excerpt From: "Uncle Tom's Story Of His Life": An autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson

Autumn On My Mind

Autumn
Remember this pencil sketch I did a couple of weeks while ago?
Well I finally watercolored it with a dark blackish indigo last night.
Autumn is just so inspiring to me!

Ben Stahl's Beginnings

Ben Stahl was a self-taught artist. He was born in 1910 in Chicago. At age 16, Stahl was exhibiting in the International Watercolor Show at the Art Institute of Chicago (where he later taught and lectured). At age 17 he got his first job in a Chicago art studio as an errand boy.

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Like a freight train hurtling down the track, Ben Stahl's early career sped along with singular purpose. Within 5 years he went from errand boy to apprentice to full-fledged advertising illustrator at one of Chicago's top art studios.

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In 1937 one of Stahl's advertising illustrations was noticed by the art director of the Saturday Evening Post. Stahl was subsequently offered the first of what would become over 750 assignments spanning thirty years.

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Ten years later in 1947, when the piece below was included in the NY Art Director's Annual, Ben Stahl had moved to Westport, Connecticut where he lived and worked alongside many of America's most successful and well-known illustrators.

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(Here's the same piece in colour as it appeared in magazines that year)

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To say the self-taught, former Chicago art studio errand boy had arrived would be something of an understatement.

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By the time he moved to Westport, Stahl could afford to build a studio behind his house that most illustrators today could only dream of.

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It included a shipping room, photographic dark room, library, a separate studio for his assistant, a screened-in sun deck...

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... and a built-in doghouse larger than Stahl's former workroom itself.

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For his profile in Ashley Halsey Jr.'s 1951 book, Illustrating for the Saturday Evening Post, Stahl remarked, "The carpenters who did the job told me that if the doghouse alone were built in New York City, I could have rented it for $100 a month at the time."

* My Ben Stahl Flickr set

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not So Itsy Bitsy Spider

Not So Itsy Bitsy SpiderNot So Itsy Bitsy Spider and reflection in a Halloween store window on New York City's upper westside, Amsterdam Avenue at 78th street, October 2010.
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.

Wings

Fly away birdie!
The birdie on the wall is almost finished, I painted the wings a couple of days ago
and I'm waiting for it to dry completely before adding all the white details.
My finger is completely healed, the mud worked like a charm. Manolo was right :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wyatt Barry Stapp Earp

Wyatt EarpDescription: Wyatt Barry Stapp Earp p (March 19, 1848 – January 13, 1929) circa 1869, at about age 21.

On October 26, 1881, Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil Earp along with Doc Holliday shoot it out at the OK Corral with outlaws Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and Billy Claiborne in Tombstone, Arizona, leaving three men dead and three more wounded.
This image is in the public domain in the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain.

Plumeria

Flower study
Watercolor sketch
Flower study
I went with Manolo to buy some things from a little hardware store near here
yesterday afternoon and there was the most beautiful Red Plumeria tree in bloom
just outside the shop. I brought a couple of buds home and made a quick watercolor sketch with a dark navy background on my new handbook journal.

Cranach's Saxon Nobility

Saxony lineage



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Saxony lineage i



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Saxony lineage k



Saxony lineage c



Saxony lineage f



Saxony lineage o


[all of these images have been background cleaned to one degree or another and the
colour saturation has been slightly boosted -- click through to see much larger versions]


'Das Sächsische Stammbuch' [subtitled as:] 'Sammlung von Bildnissen sächsischer Fürsten, mit gereimtem Text; aus der Zeit von 1500 - 1546' is available online from the State University Library in Dresden (click the book icon for thumbnail pages).

The Saxon pedigree book OR Collection of Saxon Prince portraits with rhyming verse from 1500 to 1546, contains sketches of some two hundred members of he nobility from the German state of Saxony, accompanied by the family or town crests and a snatch of descriptive text.

This is a significant manuscript for a couple of reasons. The charming sketches often present the people in informal poses, as though they are chatting with their friends. That lends the work a certain authenticity: it's more likely that the subjects have been drawn faithfully as opposed to the work being overly embellished to curry favour with the royal court for instance. So beyond tracking the nobility of the period, the sketch album offers a useful resource for historical costume research and particularly so because the figures are presented in full, half and three-quarter views.

What really marks this portrait and coats of arms series as a work of considerable distinction, however, is the belief that the figures were painted by none other than Lucas Cranach the Elder (d. 1553). Along with Albrecht Dürer, Hans Burgkmair, Albrecht Altdorfer and Hans Holbein, Cranach was one of the great German artists of the northern Renaissance during the first half of the 16th century.
"He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known for his portraits, both of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, whose cause he embraced with enthusiasm, becoming a close friend of Martin Luther. He also painted religious subjects, first in the Catholic tradition, and later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran religious concerns in art. He continued throughout his career to paint nude subjects drawn from mythology and religion." [W]

Monday, October 25, 2010

WHEN AN ARTIST FALLS IN A FOREST AND NO ONE IS AROUND TO HEAR IT...



In 1923, C.B. Dodson of Richmond Virginia entered this painting in a competition for young illustrators:



Alas, he came in second and nobody ever heard of him again. Of course, nobody ever heard of the first place winner either:



C.B. and Florence took their places in that long, long line of anonymous artists who yearned for a whiff of artistic immortality.



It is easy to spot such artists. They're the ones who remain hunched over a drawing board or computer, continuing to work on a picture even after someone was willing to buy it.

For some, this dedication paid off.  Norman Rockwell traded away his personal life for his art, often working twelve hours a day, six days a week on his paintings. Near the end of his life he observed, "The story of my life is, really, the story of my pictures." Rockwell may not have spent much time playing with his kids or lingering in bed with his wife on cold New England mornings, but he could feel warmed by the knowledge that future generations would remember his name and respect his achievement.

Rockwell's fame is the exception, not the rule.  For most artists,  every artistic decision that seemed so important at the time-- every crucial brush stroke or color choice-- will be erased forever.  When artists arrive at that final destination, they understand that all those extra hours they robbed from life to invest in their craft, hoping for some future return on their investment, is equity that will never be repaid.

It's not as if the gods hid the price of glory. Long ago, the gods made it clear to Achilles that if he wanted to be remembered, he would have to sacrifice his life.

From The Iliad by the Provensens

If he fought in the Trojan war, he would be killed but his name would live forever in glory. On the other hand, if he turned and sailed for home he could enjoy a long, happy life surfing internet porn and playing Wii in his bathrobe but no one would remember his name.

You can bet that Achilles loved playing Wii just as much as you or I, so he raged against the unfairness of this choice. The pain in his famous soliloquy remains fresh today, thousands of years later:

The same honor waits for the coward and the brave. They both go down to Death, the fighter who shirks and the one who works to exhaustion.... Two fates bear me on to the day of my death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy my journey back home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the home I love, my pride, my glory dies, true, but the life that's left me will be long....
When his hour of decision arrived, Achilles chose to sacrifice his life on the hardscrabble soil of Troy. (If he hadn't, we wouldn't still be talking about him now).

In some ways, Achilles got a better deal than poor C.B. Dodson. At least Achilles received a guarantee from the gods that his sacrifice would be repaid with eternal glory. Artists get no such guarantee. They must gamble their lives away like a poker chip at the Casino d'Art. There are plenty of talented, hard working artists who die anonymous deaths, and plenty of untalented hacks who hit the jackpot and become legends. Who would play a slot machine with such terrible odds?

Unlike the fortunate Achilles, our choice is beset by our human limitations. We are surrounded by our mortality on one side, which requires us to make haste with our commitments, and total uncertainty on the other side about whether those commitments (and their accompanying sacrifices) will have any meaning whatsoever.

As a result, we are forced to work harder to find solace than Achilles did. The glory of our work is different from the glory earned by Achilles. Ours is sadder, more poignant and more fragile. But I am convinced it is no less glorious.



Cholera bacteria Vibrio cholerae bacteria

Cholera bacteria Vibrio cholerae bacteriaCaption: Scanning electron microscope image of Vibrio cholerae bacteria, which infect the digestive system.

Zeiss DSM 962 SEM

T.J. Kirn, M.J. Lafferty, C.M.P Sandoe and R.K. Taylor, 2000, "Delineation of pilin domains required for bacterial association into microcolonies and intestinal colonization", Molecular Microbiology, Vol. 35(4):896-910
From the Image creator: These images are in the public domain. Do with them what you will. If you have questions about the images or the microscopy and specimen preparation used to obtain images contact Louisa Howard . For questions regarding the research on the specimens, contact the person noted in the caption of the images. remf.dartmouth.edu

Blackboard Inauguration

Chalk Turbo
Daniel did the honors of inaugurating the new blackboard
with a portrait of the furry one.

Ben Stahl, Master of Moods

What with it being so close to Hallowe'en, my thoughts turned to Ben Stahl and this wonderful interpretation of The Haunting of Hill House he illustrated in 1960 for Reader's Digest Condensed Books.

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Stahl certainly had a flair for creating a moody, atmospheric sense of foreboding in his work, didn't he?

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Ben Stahl's expertise at creating mood made him the obvious choice to provide that particular lesson in the Famous Artists Course.

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This week we'll take a closer look at the life and work - and many moods - of Ben Stahl.

* my Ben Stahl Flickr set