Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Desktop Calendar

Smile! Because you're awesome and I missed you!
Click on this link or on the image below to download the desktop calendar.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Haile Selassie I

Haile Selassie I (July 23, 1892 – August 27, 1975)

Title: H.S. [i.e., Haile Selassie] in robe. Creator(s): American Colony (Jerusalem). Photo Dept., photographer. Date Created / Published: [1923?]. Medium: 1 negative : glass, dry plate ; 4 x 5 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-matpc-10374 (digital file from original photo)

Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Photographs in the G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection are in the public domain. By American Colony (Jerusalem). Photo Dept., photographer. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection is a rich source of historical images of the Middle East. The majority of the images depict Palestine (present day Israel and the West Bank) from 1898 to 1946. Most of the collection consists of over 22,000 glass and film photographic negatives and transparencies created by the American Colony Photo Department and its successor firm, the Matson Photo Service. Over 1,000 photographic prints and eleven albums are also part of this collection.

Digital images for the negatives and transparencies and a sample of the photographs are available online.

Haile Selassie ICall Number: LC-M32- 52465-x [P&P] Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Notes: Creator name based on date. Title from negative sleeve. Guide card: Balfour visit. On guide card: 1921. Gift; Episcopal Home; 1978.

Format: Dry plate negatives. Collections: Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph Collection. Part of: G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection.

Winged Migration Show

The Winged Migration group show curated by my dear friend Margie
at Bookhou in Toronto starts today!
There are 12 original watercolor of mine plus painted rocks
in collaboration with Margie and prints for sale along with
beautiful bird sculptures from Abigail Brown,
the cutest rookery of penguins by Abby Glassenberg,
amazing textile art by Arounna Khounnoraj
& exquisite hand stitched birdies by Margaret Oomen
I'll be attending the closing reception July 22, 6-9 pm,
I'd love to meet you if you're in the neighborhood!

All the gorgeous photos were taken by Margie

Ben Shahn: The Most Influential Illustrator of the 20th Century... or "just plain bad drawing"?

Recently a friend who shares my passion for illustration sent a note. He'd been perusing one of those massive volumes that collect and showcase "some of today's hottests young illustrators." In his opinion (and I have tremendous respect for this particular friend's opinion) he thought it was crap. Full of "faux naïve stuff, or just plain bad drawing."


This is a complaint I hear often - both in the comments section of this blog and from (commercial) artist friends I respect and admire. "What the hell is wrong with this generation of illustrators?" they ask. "Why have they not been taught the importance of learning how to draw well?"


Have art schools abandoned the teaching of fundamental skills and instead embraced that same b.s. 'anything goes' philosophy that has many of us rolling our eyes at the the pile of junk heaped on the floor of some gallery and called an "installation piece"?


Is it all about "expressing your feelings" these days - oh the angst of youth! - and craft be damned?


Of course this is nothing new. Bad drawing and artsy-fartsy touchy-feeliness has been an acceptable part of the commercial art scene for a very long time. The question is, when did it become acceptable and who was responsible for steering the ship into these uncharted waters? More than half a century ago an entire generation of illustrators - many of them with styles very firmly rooted in classical realism - were profoundly influenced by an artist named Ben Shahn. As you can see from all of the examples so far in today's post, Shahn couldn't (or chose not to) draw very well. At all.


Yet Shahn was described in an article in the January 13, 1953 issue of Look magazine as "one of the dominant influences in American art today and a major figure in the world of painting."


If you are, like my friend, of a certain mind, you may be understandably wary of "the world of art" - and might therefore be predisposed to reject Look magazine's glowing endorsement of Shahn. I ask then that you consider instead the many mid-century illustrators who reference Ben Shahn as a pivotal influence on their work - and on the field of illustration in general. For instance...

- Last week's subject, Merle Basset, told me in one breath, "I felt good drawing was the foundation for all excellent illustrations." and in the next, "I think I was influenced by many of the great artists at that time and Ben Shahn was one of my favorites."


- In his biography, Charles Wysoki (the artist we determined had done the 1960 Dodge Trucks illustrations we looked at a couple of weeks ago) says, "I was and am probably still greatly influenced by the paintings of Rousseau, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, Norman Rockwell and, of course, Grandma Moses."


- Bryn Havord wrote on this very blog about his friend Brian Sanders that he was, "heavily influenced by Ben Shahn..."


- Also from the biography of Anthony Saris, presented here on the blog in November 2009, "Saris cited the work of Ben Shahn, Paul Klee, George Grosz among those he most admired and studied."


- When I asked Sandy Kossin about his important influences, he wrote back, "I do give a lot of credit for any drama and design I use to David Stone Martin and Ben Shahn. Shahn, who I never met, but was alive while I was in art school, opened my eyes to not only shape-making, but the use of 'layers' of color over underpainting, and the judicious use of color."


- Describing his early influences, Harry Borgman said, "I liked Paul Gauguin, Paul Klee, Ben Shahn..."


- And when Anita Virgil wrote about her husband Andy's career she said, "Andy was "weaned" on so many of the great names in illustration -- and even beyond. He admired the work of Ben Shahn who offered a kind of bridge from the fine arts to the commercial... and certainly many of Shahn’s potent design concepts for years influenced commercial illustration. "


- Then there's this compelling quote from none other than Murray Tinkelman, who told Peg Nocciolino that Ben Shahn was an "emblematic and pivotal illustrator ... responsible for the new look of illustration that started in the 50's."


- Finally, from Walt Reed's book, "The Illustrator in America": "Ben Shahn had a major impact on American illustration through his own work, and also by example through younger illustrators."

(It goes without saying that David Stone Martin could be considered the most prominent of those younger illustrators).

Stone Martin35

Taking all of these endorsements under consideration (and they are, I'm sure, only a small sample of what you could find with further research) one has to wonder...


If Ben Shahn really did play the pivotal role in changing the look of illustration as Murray Tinkelman declares...


If Shahn freed illustrators from the burden of craft (in other words, if he legitimized "bad drawing")...


... if he singlehandedly steered a generation of illustrators away from classical realism so they might explore other types of picture making - and in turn influence generation after generation of young illustrators to this day...


... wouldn't that make Ben Shahn the most influential illustrator of the 20th century?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2d Massachusetts Infantry on the grounds of Atlanta, Ga. City Hall

2d Massachusetts Infantry on the grounds of Atlanta, Ga. City Hall

IMAGE CREDIT: Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Hello Public Domain Clip Art Subscribers sookietex here. As twitter's @sookietex, please follow. i'm taking part in a promotion by, [great service] and the new TNT show "Falling Skies" [great show]. i was chosen, along with other tweeters, to receive swag, an ‘Alien Invasion Survival Kit’ and to be part of the Show's Army of Influence.

The goal for our Army of Tweeters is to inspire interest and watchers for Falling Skies using Social Media. Participants are listed on the "Army of Influence Leaderboard" and whomever is at the top of board at the end of the promotion wins a walk-on role in a upcoming episode of Falling Skies.

Now Gentle Readers here’s what I would like YOU TO DO:

During the promotion, i’ll be tweeting A LOT about alien invasion, Falling Skies and the Human resistance movement known as the 2nd Mass [because of their location in Boston, Mass.] using the #fsincentivized hashtag. Please Retweet [RT] those tweets. Or if that's not your thing, please tweet this for me:

I want @Sookietex to win a walk-on role in the new TNT show #FallingSkies #fsincentivized

Just click the above link and hit ‘Tweet’!

Thank You.

House of God (Application to the Department of City Planning - Ref: 13-3470/C)


Monday, June 27, 2011

1953 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Description: 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Date: September 1977. Source. Chevrolet promo photo scan. Author: Chevrolet. By Chevrolet (Chevrolet promo photo scan) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On June 28, 1953, workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, assembled the first Corvette. The first completed production car rolled off the assembly line two days later, The cars were hand-built and techniques evolved during the production cycle, so that each 1953 Corvette is slightly different. All 1953 models had Polo White exteriors, red interiors, and black canvas soft tops. Over two-hundred 1953 Corvettes are known to exist today.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice. Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States.

However this inage may not be in the public domain in countries that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works such as Canada (50 post mortem auctoris), Mainland China (50 pma, not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany (70 p.m.a.), Mexico (100 p.m.a.), Switzerland (70 p.m.a.), and other countries with individual treaties. If your use will be outside the United States please check your local law. and in PDF FORMAT

1953 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

TEXT RESOURCE: Chevrolet Corvette (C1)

The Book of Knighthood

Miniatures cropped from the ~1460 manuscript containing Christine Pizan's 'Épître d'Othéa' (Epistle to Hector; sometimes known as the Book of Knighthood) - Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, courtesy of the Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland [link].

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 7r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 17r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 20v

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 27v

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 36r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 46r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 51r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 82v

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 84r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 91r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 113r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 119v

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 137v

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 139r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 143r

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 49, 146r

Christine de Pizan (Pisan) (c.1363-1430) was raised among the nobility of Paris and pursued intensive studies in literature, history, languages and the sciences.

Towards the end of the 14th century, Pizan took up writing to support her three children, following the death of her husband. She is widely credited with being both the first professional female writer, and first feminist to advocate for her sex, in all of Europe.

Her writing career might be considered to have had two phases: poetry, then prose; and she achieved great renown during her lifetime. Between 1393 and 1412, Pizan composed more than three hundred ballads, and even more shorter poems. She was similarly prolific in longer form, having written some fifteen books and numerous essays by 1403.

"Her poetic work is notable both for its technical mastery of the accepted forms of her time, and for its innovativeness. Christine excelled in the complex metrical forms of courtly poetry: ballads, lays, and rondeaux. She also went well beyond the conventions of her time by integrating personal, political, moral, religious, and feminist themes within those structures. [..]

[Pizan] combined extensive historical knowledge with a deep concern for the political and social issues of her day [and she] expanded and developed many of the themes first introduced in her poetry. The importance of responsible government and political ethics; women's rights and accomplishments; and religious devotion, appear consistently as themes throughout Christine de Pizan's writing."
Othea's Epistle to Hector (the Book of Knighthood) is a work of moral instruction in both verse and prose. It describes the spiritual and moral education of a young knight, Hector, in the form of an allegorical story.

"'Épître d'Othéa' takes the form of a letter written by Othea (a goddess who symbolizes wisdom and prudence) to the Trojan hero Hector. The letter is divided up into 100 chapters, each consisting of a miniature illustration and a verse text recounting a story from classical mythology, a prose explanation designed to expound the moral significance of the story, and finally a prose allegory expounding its underlying spiritual/Christian interpretation." [source]
The present parchment manuscript of 'Épître d'Othéa' was commissioned by the bibliophile Antoine de Bourgogne in 1460 and was written in Middle French, with the full complement of exquisite miniatures. Gold highlights can be seen in (at least) the opening full page decorations: the first image up above.

Incidentally, Pizan retired to a convent for the last twelve or so years of her life emerging only once - in the writing sense - when she circulated a poem in 1429 in support of Joan of Arc (d. 1431).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scanning Electron Micrograph of a Flea

Description: Scanning Electron Micrograph of a Flea. See PHIL 11436 for a colorized version of this image. Fleas are known to carry a number of diseases that are transferable to human beings through their bites. Included in this infections is the plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

Fleas, like other holometabolous insects, have a four-part life cycle consisting of eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. Eggs are shed by the female in the enviroment . Eggs hatch into larvae in about 3-4 days and feed on organic debris in the environment. The number of larval instars varies among the species. Larvae eventually form pupae , which are in cocoons that are often covered with debris from the environment (sand, pebbles, etc). The larval and pupal stages take about 3-4 weeks to complete. Afterwards, adults hatch from pupae and seek out a warm-blooded host for blood meals.

The primary hosts for Ctenocephalides felis and C. canis are cats and dogs, respectively, although other mammals, including humans, may be fed upon. The primary hosts for Xenopsylla cheopis are rodents, especially rats. In North America, plague (Yersinia pestis) is cycled between X. cheopis and prairie dogs. Humans are the primary host for Pulex irritans.

Scanning Electron Micrograph of a FleaContent Providers(s): CDC Creation Date: Photo Credit: Janice Haney Carr. By CDC/Janice Haney Carr [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

None - This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.

This image or file is a work of an employee of the United States Federal Government (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

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.

TEXT CREDIT: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Saturday, June 25, 2011

F6F Hellcat fighter

In 1942, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation began mass production of the F6F "Hellcat" fighter as replacement for the F4F. Grumman installed the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) estimating a 25% increase in performance would result. The first Cyclone-equipped prototype (02981) flew on 26 June 1942 while the first Double Wasp-equipped aircraft, the XF6F-3 (02982) had its first flight on 30 July 1942.

Credits - U.S. Navy Photo. U.S. Centennial of Flight

This image or file is a work of an employee of the United States Federal Government, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

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.

Grumman F6F-3 Hellcats in tricolor camouflage, sea blue, intermediate blue and insignia white.

F6F Hellcat fighter