Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Of Metal and Stone

Perhaps it is a bit of an odd observation on my part but I have been noticing an increasing trend among various jewelry artisans on deviantART. With so many skilled craftsmen and women showing off their skills on the website, perhaps it's just me but I've been seeing much more in the way of wire wrapped jewelry items. The process is just as it sounds: the artisan uses a stone or jewel as either the focal point or accent of the piece in question which is an intricate curling of either copper or silver wire. Wandering around the site, I found some amazing examples of wire wrapping so that you can see what I mean.

"Purple Poison" by IMNIUM
A jewelry designer from Croatia, Ivona's gallery is filled with beautiful intricate works made mostly of silver wire and semi-precious gemstones. In the description to a pair of silver earrings she had given the name of Purple Poison, she lists off that she used black, red and purple spinel, rhodolite garnet, amethyst, labradorite, smoky quartz and pink tourmaline to be the colorful accents.

"Queen of the Night" by Magdalena Marszalik

Perhaps one of the more intricate necklaces that I've seen using this particular method, Queen of the night is an amazing work in itself not only for the emmense effort that went into it but it's size. In one of the various photos that is on Magdalena's Facebook page, she show's one with the pendant in her hand and it covers her entire palm.

"Cornflowers" by Joanna Watracz

Cornflowers is a lovely set of earrings made of Sterling and fine silver with marquise cobale blue quartz. Though simplistic in shape, Joanna's wire weaving techniques remind me of some of the impressive illuminated manuscripts I've had the joy of looking at.

"Ruby and Copper" by Black Currant Jewelry
Irina of Black Current Jewelry states in the description of her piece Ruby and Copper:
“I was commissioned to set ruby in copper wire. I've never before set in wire such a small stone without hole. It would by quite clumsy if I had to used round wire, but fortunately I made recently this flat wire. I flattened round wire with rolling mill and made it soft with torch. When it gets bent it hardens again.”

"BlueAntiquity Leaf Labradorite" by Nambroth
Nambroth.deviantart.com (United States)
Jennifer's jewelry is a wonderful example of how wire wrapping can be both simple and elegant at the same time. Her piece BlueAntiquity Leaf Labradorite is perhaps one of her most lovely pieces, the graceful curves of the wiring marrying perfectly to the shape and lines of the stone.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A common influence... maybe: Eugène Louis Boudin

While wandering the website for the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, California, what caught my eye was one of their current exhibits being titled Impressionists on the Water. The show itself started June 1st and is supposed to run until October 13th and is supposed to feature water themed works by artists who were well known during the Impressionistic movement and includes work from Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and several others. One name however caught my eye was Eugène Louis Boudin due to the fact that I am familiar with his work and have had him come up in my studies on various occasions when I was in college.

"Deauville le Bassin" by Eugène Louis Boudin
French landscape painter Eugène Louis Boudin (1824-1898) was one of the first to paint outdoors (en plein air). Specializing in marine themed pieces, he was heavily influenced by the Dutch masters of the 17th century. With his growing popularity after making connections within first the French art circles, he was able to travel to Belgium, the Netherlands and southern France. Mr. Boudin did win several awards during his career and was made a knight of the Legion d'honneur.

With that, it made me wonder if I could find any works that reminded me of Boudin's work so I hunted around deviantART. It did take a bit of searching before I found 5 artists to ask my question:

"I was looking through your work and was wondering if your seascape related pieces were inspired perhaps by the French landscape artist Eugène Louis Boudin."

"Seascape with Icebergs" by Dragarta
Dragarta.deviantart.com (Czech Republic)
A traditional artist located in the Czech Republic, Lucie Culková has a wonderful array of fantasy inspired works mostly focusing on dragons and other such mystical creatures. Even with this, I was surprised when I located a special gem she had titled as Seascape with icebergs hidden in her gallery. Though in the description, she states that her inspiration was William Bradford (1823-1892), I couldn't help but fine myself noticing the similarities between the two. It is perhaps due to the fact Bradford was part of the Hudson River School which encouraged plein air painting which was becoming popular in the United States at the time after its popularity in Europe spread with the artists traveling to seek out new subject matters. 

“Hey! Nope, none of them is I think. It's always written in the description if I am inspired by an artist. Most of my seascapes are referenced photos.”

"Seascape" by MountainInspirations

Traditional artist living in the United States, Lisa works mostly with pastels on sanded paper. Soft and inviting, her landscapes have very much an impressionistic feel to them which draws the viewer in.

“My inspiration comes from the reference photo and what kind of mood I'm in when I'm painting. I'm so flattered to be compared to one of the masters! Thank you!”

"Long Island Waves" Wulff-Arts
Wulff-Arts.deviantart.com (United States)
Working in a wide range of traditional mediums such as pastels and oils, US artist Joan Wulff's work is as varied- depicting landscapes, animals and imagined Victorian scenes.

“No, I was only inspired by myself. I don't know who Eugene Louis Boudin is, but I will look him up.”

There were 2 other artists that have yet to respond but it might be due to their busy schedules or the problem of a language barrier. So as always, I shall present them and let you decide if they were influenced in someway by Eugène Louis Boudin or not.
"148" by StudioUndertheMoon

Justyna Anna Kopania, traditional artist out of Poland, has her gallery filled with beautiful impressionistic oil paintings. With each one, she uses the thickness and texture of the paint to add to the piece making the work almost 3 dimensional. Though she has various subject matters, a topic she seems to keep coming back to are water/seascapes with fishing vessels. 

An oil painter from Israel, Roberto Simeroni's work is a beautiful nod to the classic works of the 19th century.
"Ship in a Storm" Roberto Simeroni
Writer's Note: There is a part of me that does wonder if Roberto's work that he has posted is his own (mimicing pieces by some of the masters) or altered/cropped pieces of well known works that are in museums. Of course I have no proof to go either way so with that, I will also leave it up to you to take a look of things. 

For those who are interested in visiting the Legion of Honor if you're going to be in San Francisco at some point between now and October and wanting to see the show: 

Legion of Honor
Lincoln Park at 100 34th Avenue (at Clement Street) 
San Francisco, California

Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 9:30am - 5:15pm
Monday - closed 

General Admission: 
Adults $10
Seniors 65+ $7
Youths 13-17 $6 
College Students with valid ID $6

Children 12 and Under Free

Writer's Note: For anyone who is interested in actually viewing the Impressionists on the Water show, please be warned that due to the names and the value of the collection of pieces that the admission to see it is quite a bit more then the General Admission and is as follows:
Adults $20
Seniors $17
Students with current ID $16
Youths 6-10 $10

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fires of Summer

With summer officially upon us, I couldn't help but notice a handful of my friends and followers wishing people a Happy Litha/Summer Solstice. Familiar with some of the basic practices due to my time living in Europe when I was younger and having many friends who are of the ancient beliefs, I had posted on my Facebook I would like to wish my followers a happy Summer Solstice, if you celebrate. What Midsummer art or festivities do you enjoy? Go ahead and share!” At that same moment I found myself wondering if I could share a look at what others around the world do for their Midsummer celebrations. 

'Kupala Night' by lemon66
Lemon66.deviantart.com (Poland) has a wonderful photo of a midsummer celebration that he took in 2011 for Kupala Night which is celebrated in the Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Russia. It originally started off as a pagan fertility rite which later was accepted into the Orthodox Christian calendar. Due to the fact that some of the blending of the ancient rites and Slavic religious belief, the use of water during the celebration was connected with fertility and ritual purification.

'Wizard of Midsummer Night' by Tiania

Tiaina.deviantart.com (Finland) proudly shows off her pyre from 2008 for her Midsummer celebration. Looking into it, I discovered that it is very common to have a bonfire burning at lakesides and by the sea along with having 2 young birch trees on either side of the front door of the home to welcome visitors. For them, the celebration is named after the god Ukko who was the god of the sky, weather, harvest and thunder.

Pagan-live-style.deviantart.com (Netherlands) has a wonderful collection of photos from 2011 of a Midsummer festival that was near the village of Aolphen a/d Rijn in the Netherlands. He ends up explaining to his viewers how the Summer Solstice is celebrated in various parts of the world in the description of the photos.
'MZF 2011 21' by pagan-live-style

So with that said, I offer you this chance to tell me what you do to celebrate Midsummer and the Summer Solstice (however you know it as since depending on your location, it's called by different names). Is there any art that you find represents the holiday? Feel free to let me know since for me, this is a wonderful way of being inspired for future pieces.

Interested in finding my work? Here's were you can find and follow me: 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Collaboration with Rebecca Tripp – Finale

After a little more then 6 months of collaborations between myself and my friend Rebecca, her project which marries her music with a collection of beautiful artworks by various artists has come to an end. Announcing the finale of the series, she sent a beautiful message to all of the artists with the link:

Hello to everyone! As some of you have already been told, I completed my "Flower Waltzes" album in December, and I got the final video up in the spring. I have already sent each of you all the videos in which your artwork was featured, but I have one final piece of music to share. It's sort of the finale to entire project. It's called Heavenly Light Flower Waltz.

I have featured one or more of your beautiful pieces in this video. Of everything I've ever written for the 13 years I've been composing (I'm 25 now if you were ever wondering), this is the one composition I am most proud of. In this song and video, I have attempted to communicate "heaven on earth" through art and music. Please listen to this song all the way through; it is my last request of you. I want you to enjoy its peaceful melody with a cup of tea or when you have a spare minute to relax and really take in its loving, joyful message. I thank you all personally, because you have participated in the spreading of love and kindness that I'm striving to uphold by creating such vibrantly beautiful, joyous works of art, and now, I wish to return some of the happiness that you have all given me in art via music. I wrote this FOR you and for no other reason. That's right! This song is dedicated to each of you! I'm not exaggerating when I say that I gave thought to every single one of the 1158 artists I worked with individually when I wrote this, hoping that at least one person could share in the immense gratitude, satisfaction and fun it has given me. Many of you have become my friends over the last year, some of whom I've been corresponding with over Facebook or email, talking about philosophy, written work, video games, art styles or just making small talk about gardens, animals and nature. As artists, you all understand the joys of creativity well, so to finally complete something that has taken me countless hours- a full year's worth of work- is one of the greatest joys. Please leave a comment and share this with as many people as you can, because I want to celebrate art and music one last time before I move on to the next project. Thank you sincerely, with love, flower petals and a hot cup tea (or coffee, as some of you have expressed your preference for),

Rebecca E. Tripp

Completely touched by her words, I had to smile and salute my computer screen with my cup of coffee before I went to check out the video. 

'Sacred Vessel' by Dawn Star Wood

Watching the video, the amazing amount of peace and joy that was in the music warmed my heart. It was certainly a wonderful way for Rebecca to say 'Thank You' to all of us who helped her with her vision. There seemed to be a mix of Comptine D'un Autre Ete L'apres Midi by Yann Tiersen (1970 - ) for the film Amélie (2001), Lothlórien by Enya (1961 - )for the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, and Light from the sound track to The Thin Red Line (1998)composed by Hans Zimmer (1957 - ). The way that the swells in the piece were subtle and the use of harp and bells within the piece wasn't jarring was wonderfully done and seemed to enhance the various pieces of work featured in the video.

'Vertical Aspirations' by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
What brought an even larger smile on my face was that not only did she use one of my recent paintings titled Sacred Vessel, but also featured 2 pieces by my friend Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (one of which titled Vertical Aspirations was part of the inspiration to Sacred Vessel). The painting itself was one of those 'this photo has instantly given me an idea' sort of things where my muse demanded that I create the collection of images that spontaneously popped up into my mind into one piece. It rarely happens that I have something like that happen but when such sparks of inspiration and creativity occurs, it often tells me to make the painting right then and there which usually causes me to toss other projects aside until I get the piece done. The main body of the painting was based off of a photo by Dxlogic.deviantart.com (Canada) titled  Girl Stock

If you would like to see more from Rebecca and give her a message, here's where you can find her work:

Interested in finding my work? Here's were you can find and follow me: 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A common influence... maybe: Color Edition

As of late, I have been finding myself completely fascinated by pieces of work that have 2 traits common with them: wide use of colors and massive amount of detail. This is one of those times where I'm actually not sure if there could be an artist that could have influenced all of these artists at the same time. Instead, I feel that the theme for this set of artists I've come across should be how they're use of color and details into their pieces. Just like my other installments of A common influence... maybe, I picked 5 artists and sent them the following message:

I have enjoyed the way you've put so much detail into your pieces and the use of color to get a certain feeling across, especially in your piece __________________________. I was curious as to what was your inspiration.

theirison.deviantart.com (United States)
Mixed media artist Erik Jones creates amazing illustrations which marries realistic imagery with geometric shapes and a rainbow of colors. Such a combination delight the senses and makes the viewer think about the process of what he had done. With his piece Rose Systyla which he created in December 2011, he states in the description:
'Rose Systyla' by Erik Jones 

Here is the final piece along with some of the process. I used water-soluble wax pastels, prismacolor pencils, nue pastels and acrylics, on Rives bfk paper. In the process shots, you're seeing more of the flower process. I hadn't intended on painting the bees in there until the last minute. So I made some in photoshop, printed them out, cut them up and moved the cut out bees around the painting to try and find nice spots for them to be painted in. When I found a fitting place, I took a yellow pencil, sketched the bees in and used mostly the wax pastels to paint the bees on there. In the 4th panel of the process shots you'll see the cut out and the painted bee. I used Prismacolor nue pastels and acrylics to dirty up the flowers. I really enjoy that process, it feels good to "mess up" the painting after spending so many hours trying to make everything perfect. This and the other painting "the Pride" will be shown at the Supersonic Electronic show at Spoke Art Gallery on the 5th of January. If you're around those parts, check out the show, it will be a good one for sure!

After asking him about his inspiration, his response was:
"Not sure really, I just paint what comes to my head."

An illustrator and graphic designer from India, Mukesh Singh's pieces are an array of comic pages, fantasy art and original characters. With action, wonderful use of colors to help emphasize a mood and the intricate pieces that he draws out. For his piece MBX Vol 01 01Brahma Cosmos, Mukesh answers my question with:
'MBX Vol 01 01 Brahma Cosmos' by Mukesh Singh

"Thanks !

The Brahma cosmos image was sitting in my head for a long while even before the 18 days project was created.

I repeat here what I mentioned in my notes at the end of the book : I imagine him as an infinite scientist in his infinite lab, creating the universe. His 3 heads looking at time in its entirety - past, present and the future ( Traditionally Brahma is shown as having four heads, at times five )

I imagined a furious picture with Brahma at its centre as matter and antimatter collide endlessly, fuelling his creations.

On hindsight, perhaps he is shown as an artist too...painting his imagination in a riot of stars and galaxies and nebulae..."

The remaining 3 artists weren't able to respond as of yet but I want to share their pieces with you all so that you can make your own decisions.

Seasonal Muertita series by Krisztianna
Krisztianna.deviantart.com (United States)
An advertising designer and illustrator from the United States, Krisztianna does a bit of everything- from fantastical abstract illustrations to sculptures. She is perhaps better known on deviantART for her Muertita series which is much more expanded on her website.

'Lithium' by NekroXIII

A digital artist located in Spain, Nekro specializes in dark imagery which blends photo-manipulation with his own graphic designs to create memorizing other worldly pieces. Working with mostly a black and white color pallet, he often adds one or two other colors to draw the viewer in. His piece titled Lithium was actually a personal work of his done in 2011 but is a prime example for his eye for detail and attention to colors.

'Florist' by bcnyART

Known as B.c.N.y., this young man is a digital artist originally from Taiwan but now studies in New York who specializes in freelance illustrations. Highly detailed and not afraid of color, his works have been quickly gaining notice by the deviantART community thanks to his piece titled Florist which he also has an alternate color version of which he's called Florist-Golden Praise-

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Coffee Review: Millstone – Bed & Breakfast Blend

While digging through my filing cabinet drawer where I keep the various coffees I've either received as gifts or that I've bought, I discovered one that I hadn't tried yet and off of the top of my head can't remember how or where I got it. As I studied the gold and red packaging for the 10oz (283.5g) bag of Millstone Bed & Breakfast Blend, I figure that it was a good time to try it out. Opening up the bag, my nose was greeted by the dark, rich aroma of coffee. There was something familiar about it. Could it be a dark roast? I hadn't even checked the bag yet. Taking a look at the packaging while I brew up a pot of the aromatic liquid, I discovered that it was labeled as a medium-dark roast.

Taking a sip of the deep amber liquid as steam curled from my mug, I found the flavor was as rich as it's scent. Not on an overpowering way but for those of you who don't want something fancy and enjoy a straight cup of coffee, this would be perfect. As I mull over the flavor, I was surprised by the low bitterness of the brew but noticed the subtle floral notes.

Taking a look at the Millstone Coffee Company, I was surprised to find that the company is out of Orrville, Ohio. Wandering the website, I was pleased to find that they have the option of bags or K-cup packs. A fantastic balance between those of us who brew by the pot and those who only want only a cup for the day. They also have the option of finding a store near you (perhaps a feature only for US residents) that carries their product or you can order in bulk online. With a variety of roasts, flavors and even organic blends, there seems to be something for everyone. If you're interested in trying this out for yourself, it would be best to check your local store for availability and prices. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A cocktail of realities

Ever so often, while I wait for another video to load on Youtube, there is a commercial or music video that I find myself completely captivated by that I have the great desire to share with others. This has happened on several occasions and so this is just the newest.

Not only is the song and beat very catchy but the mix of imagery makes me think of so many things; from some of the pieces in Animatrix (2003) and Robot Carnival (1987) to the Dungeons & Dragons film (2000) and even the music video for Dooh Dooh by Danish trance-duo Barcode Brothers. Perhaps a bit of a strange combination of sources and thoughts but I think it stems from the fact that the music video has such a blend of symbolism and imagery that it's a bit difficult to pinpoint an actual 'story line' but it causes you to come up with your own conclusion. Especially at the very end of the video, the viewer is forced to wonder what part of it all was an illusion and what was reality. This, to me anyways, mirrors the end of the Dungeons & Dragons film where it was left opened to continue but as far as I know there was no film that actually continued that particular story line. If you haven't seen it, I suggest that you go ahead and take the film for what it is: a low budget translation of a bit of geek/nerd culture with average acting but I do appreciate it for the story line though in all honesty it could have been fleshed out a little better. I think for the music video, it is open for interpretation. How it goes with the actual song, I'm not too sure but I think it's worth sharing with my readers to see their thoughts on the whole thing.