Friday, November 28, 2008

Poetic Miscellany

Poetic Miscellany this week!

MTV's Poet Laureate

Did you know my favorite football team is named for a poem? Their mascot is named Poe.

Also, Whittier College is known as the Poets.

Our president-elect was spotted with a book of poetry.

Poetraits (I thought I just made up that word, but I found it had already been used here)...poetry and portraits by Evan Bissell.

Cool bookmarks with poems on them

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bruegel's Hunters in the Snow

This week, we're just looking at one painting, but we're looking at it closely. The painting is Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel, 16th century.

Wish I could see it in person!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Masaoka Shiki

Japanese poet Masaoka Shiki is said to have breathed new life into the traditional art forms of haiku and tanka during his short lifetime (1867-1902).

Poems By Masaoki Shiki

on the pine needles,
each of the slender needles,
a dewdrop rests—
a thousand pearls lie
quivering, yet never fall

On how to sing
the frog school and the skylark school
are arguing.

Here is the dark tree
Denuded now
Of leafage...
But a million stars

entangled with
the scattering cherry blossoms-
the wings of birds!

far away
under the skies of America
they began
I could watch it forever!

Visit a monthly haiku contest named in Shiki's honor.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anatomical Art

You just don't know what to expect from me, do you? To illustrate that, this week we've got anatomical art.

By Simon Renard de Saint-André, 1613-1677

I like street art, and this "rib cage in Paris" pleased me with its imaginativeness. How nice to be able to see something ordinary and envision it as something else.

I saw the rib cage on Vanessa Ruiz's Street Anatomy site, which also had this charming couple:

Muscles and Brain
By Alesha Sivartha (1834-1915)

By Alesha Sivartha

Artnatomy is a pretty amazing tool by Victoria Contreras Flores for artists, students, and others. The official description says "Anatomical Basis of Facial Expression Tool," but just go fiddle around with the faces and see what's underneath.

For a historical look at anatomical art, read the article "The Fine Art of Anatomy" by medical student Rohin Francis.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Delicious Autumn!

Ah, autumn! "The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn." ~ John Muir.

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~George Eliot

Before you think I'm getting too carried away with the beauty of fall, I'll take a moment to offer this Simpson's animated video version of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. (I wonder if they have videos for other poems?)


Come Little Leaves
By George Cooper

Come, little leaves,
Said the wind one day;
Come to the meadows
With me and play.
Put on your dresses
Of red and gold;
For summer is past,
And the days grow cold.

Soon as the leaves
Heard the wind's loud call,
Down they came fluttering,
One and all.
Over the meadows
They danced and flew,
All singing the soft
Little songs they knew.

Dancing and flying,
The leaves went along,
Til Winter called them
To end their sweet song.
Soon, fast asleep
In their earthy beds,
The snow lay a coverlet
O'er their heads.


From The Milkweed
By Cecil Cavendish

The milkweed pods are breaking,
And the bits of silken down
Float off upon the autumn breeze
Across the meadows brown.

How To Make an Autumn Leaf Bookmark

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We've Got The Whole World In Our Hands

We're up to our eyeballs in globes this week. I think there's something inherently beautiful about globes, and apparently I'm not the only one. (I like maps, too, but that will have to be another week.)

The Astronomer
By Jan Vermeer

Celestial Globe (detail)
By Giuseppe de Rossi, 1615

Detail from a painting of St. Augustine, c. 1480
by Sandro Botticelli
Some info from Wikipedia about armillary spheres:
"Renaissance scientists and public figures often had their portraits painted showing them with one hand on an armillary sphere, which represented the height of wisdom and knowledge. Armillary spheres were among the first complex mechanical devices. Their development led to many improvements in techniques and design of all mechanical devices. The armillary sphere survives as useful for teaching, and may be described as a skeleton celestial globe, the series of rings representing the great circles of the heavens, and revolving on an axis within a horizon."

The Globe of Found Objects
By Holly Hughes

This 1996 community collaboration was designed and built by Holly Hughes with the help of 2000 volunteers, including artists from 17 countries. It is made entirely of recycled items.

More globes, plus some "do it yourself" sites:

~ Simeon Solomon's The Vision in the Crystal Globe
~ Frank Meisler's Large Jerusalem Sphere
~ Artistic Globes by Sabine Réthoré
~ A self-portrait in a reflecting globe by Maurits Cornelis (M.C.) Escher
~ The nonprofit organization, Cool Globes, is using art to raise awareness and inspire individuals and community leaders to embrace solutions regarding global warming.
~ How To Make a Paper Mache Earth
~ How To Make an Armillary Sphere

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Guess That Sums It Up

from a t-shirt

Pat Schneider

Poet Pat Schneider offers up some good advice to young writers on her web site. Among other things, she says, "A writer is not someone who is published, or someone who is famous. A writer is someone who writes...All important things need practice. Writing is like dancing or painting or sports -- the more you do it, the deeper and better the work will be."

(You can read the rest of her advice here under "Poems for Young Writers.")

I especially like the last line of the poem below.

The Patience of Ordinary Things
By Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Theme or No Theme?

Before we get to this week's art, let me tell you about the free online games on Artsology. There's so much there!!

And one more thing... if you live near our nation's capital, you might want to check out FotoWeek, a celebration of photography taking place during November 15-22, 2008.

There's no theme for this week (unless you can spot one).
The Fish Bucket
by Gifford Beal, 1924

Alma Sewing
by Francis Criss, ca. 1935

Legend and Fact
by Willem de Kooning, 1940

A detail

(OK, it's not exactly a theme, but they were all painted in the U.S. during the first half of the 20th century. Both Criss and de Kooning were born in England but moved to the U.S. I can think of a couple other things two out of the three paintings have in common. You?)