Music and Art Monday, January 8th 2018: Go Check Out Drip Torch Studio!

wp-image-532743021jpg.jpg

About a month ago I quietly started my own WordPress art blog, named appropriately “Drip Torch Studio”.  Every day I post a bit of my visual art whether it be paintings or photos.

Fun Fact: Drip Torch Studio came into existence far before Drip Torch Press. But I have put far less energy into it. I intended to create a brand and an image and make loads of money. Sadly this has not happened. Part of my resolution to be more disciplined this year is to put some more energy into it.

Along with the new site, check out my Facebook page here.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy putting it together!

And while you’re over on Facebook don’t forget to like and follow the Drip Torch Press page as well!

Advertisements

Music and Art Monday, December 4th, 2017: Cezanne et Moi

Cezanneetmoi

This week instead of analysis, I have a movie recommendation.

Recently we decided to get a Roku box.  With a Roku box comes the temptation to watch entirely too much tv. Since it’s located in our bedroom, I tend to use folding laundry as an excuse to catch up on shows. Multi-tasking, go!

Last week, partly out of guilt and partly because I have binge watched every show I am actually interested in (hush), I was trying to make my tv watching more “educational”. To this end I watched a documentary about a photographer, since it was related to art and I could write about it here. Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend it here since the subject matter was a bit risque. And in all reality,  as far as documentaries go, it was a bit disappointing.

I can however recommend Cezanne et Moi, which is currently on Netflix. This French film follows the friendship between painter Paul Cezanne (with whom I identify entirely too much for comfort) and writer Emile Zola.

While I am sure it took great artistic license (see what I did there?) in telling the story, it isn’t light and fluffy and filled with positive nonsense. The movie is frequently dark and gritty, much like real life, especially the real lives of starving artists.

Being a movie about two artists, it is well shot in beautiful locations. Being French, it has only the most attractive actors and actresses. Since the dialog is in French, it matters not to English speakers how well they deliver the lines, although Zola’s character seemed a bit stiff and hard to read.

The biggest (only?) problem I had with this movie is that it is entirely in French and subtitled, which makes it a bit difficult to watch while folding laundry!

But if you can watch TV without feeling guilty for not multi-tasking, I highly recommend this for all the art lovers (especially Cezanne) out there.

Music And Art Monday, November 27th, 2017: Expressionists

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Female Rider [1931-32]
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Female Rider [1931-32]
I used to think of myself as a big big fan of the Impressionists. Van Gogh was one of my earliest experiences with real art. I love Monet, and I have yet to find a Degas that doesn’t draw and keep my attention.

But as I expanded my art appreciation I came to find myself much more attracted to the opposite of the Impressionists, I find more and more that I love the Expressionists.

Is it my personality? The Expressionists were far more concerned with emotional experience than the display of objective reality. As an ENFJ I find my mind concentrates far more on the deeper underlying feelings behind actions and less on the actions themselves.

While I appreciate the work that goes into realism in art, I much more appreciate the art of someone who can evoke feelings, good and bad.

The_Scream Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch – The Scream

Here are a few of my favorites of this genre:

 

Music and Arts Monday October 23, 2017

22790235_10106284190887943_1284004574_o
Mo at home in his cigar shop Holy Smokes

It’s been a long time since I did a M&A Monday, so I thought I would start anew with a good one.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting Holy Smokes Cigar and Pipe Shop during it’s weekly “Cigars and Guitars” night. It seems the turnout was a bit lower than normal, but that didn’t stop the shop’s owner Mo Leverett from treating us to a few of his songs.

I met Mo just before heading out on last year’s adventure to Arizona, and even from that brief meeting I knew I liked the man. Occasionally you meet someone who you just know has had an adventurous life, from his look, his manner, or his way with words. This is one of those men. That evening he told the men gathered at his shop  his testimony, and confirmed to me his interesting life. I remembered that much when walking in to Holy Smokes Friday night.

But I forgot about his music.

It’s not often that I get hooked on someone’s music from hearing a live performance of it,  possibly because I don’t get out that much, but largely because live music can often lack the quality and depth of music carefully manufactured in a studio. Mo proved to be one of the rare cases. His music almost begs to be performed live, just so he can pour his emotion into it time and time again.

So here’s my recommendation this week, go check out his videos on YouTube. In particular I really enjoy “Like Hell Inside“, “Florida“, “If You Know What I Mean“, “It’s Your Family”, and “His Claim To Fame“.

Then if you like what you hear, head on over to his site and purchase a CD or two. Or three.

You won’t be disappointed.

Beauty and the Eyes of The Beholder 

Beauty 2/24/00

Beauty they say,                                         Is in the eye of the beholder, Something only skin deep.                   But why do those who lack it,           Hold their eyes and weep?
Sympathy passes on,                             into the life of the pained,               Lifting its head from the few who pass, Without knowing gain,                         But why do those who get it,             Wish to the skies for more?                 Life is filled with everything,             And everything is beautiful,               Life is dealt without sympathy,           And sympathy is alone,             Wondering,                                       Through black streets,                           And dark roads,                                   Lying in lonely disarray,                   While beauty is admired.

Is “beauty in the eye of the beholder” as the common phrase says?  Or is beauty objective and determined by fixed rules? 

When I hear someone say there are objective standards for beauty I often get the impression that what they really mean is “everyone should agree with my subjective opinion about what is beautiful.”  When pressed about these objective standards, most people who claim an objectivity about beauty will point to some cultural standard or some past expression of beauty that they personally find timeless and standard. These are obviously just subjective opinions held by the majority, not a truly objective set of standards. 

Is there an objective standard of beauty? Sure: God Himself. 

God is the only objective measure of all things. Since nothing is beautiful compared to the perfect God, it can be argued that nothing is truly beautiful. If this is true it can be argued that mankind is incapable of producing anything objectively beautiful. We merely produce ugly things and insist that they be called beautiful. 

That view is too pessimistic in my opinion.

God gave mankind a cognizance of beauty, therefore we can find beauty in nature. We know there is beauty because we know that a beautiful God created the universe and imparted beauty to it. Not only can we recognize beauty, we are part of that beauty, because we are made in His image.

If God made all things, does this make all things beautiful? In a sense everything God has made is beautiful. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” There isn’t anything ugly which God has made. So where does ugliness come from? 

The simple answer is this: sin. 

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” – Isaiah 52:7

Good news is beautiful, the Gospel is beautiful, and news of happiness is beautiful.  In a sense beauty is truth: that which corresponds to reality. 

Sin both corrupts the beauty of God’s creation and distorts our ability to see it correctly. Sin distorts our mind’s interpretation of reality and therefore our ability to comprehend beauty is corrupt as well. The corruption of our souls often leads us to miss true beauty. Often we instead perceive true ugliness (sin) as beauty.

Does sin destroy our ability to see beauty at all? Some might say that we cannot truly see beauty because of our sin. I think we are capable of seeing beauty, but our minds corrupt and darken the beauty we see (see Romans 1).

So what is the objective standard, if any, for beauty?  I can only define beauty by what it is not. Anything which violates the Holy will of the Holy God is NOT beauty. Sin is not beautiful. Violence, lying, theft, illicit sex, idolatry, covetousness, and blasphemy are not beauty. Anything which is untrue is not beauty.

Objectively speaking then, anything which is not sinful can be considered beautiful. 

But what about subjectivity? Is beauty inherent in things or is it “in the eye of the beholder?”

To those with natural senses there are at least two things that I would say are universally considered beautiful: sunrises and stars. No one looks at either and says “that’s ugly!”  Other natural wonders could be added to this list, but every other one I can think of may be tainted by cultural perspectives, i.e. the ocean may be beautiful to islanders, but to inland folk it could be considered mysterious and terrifying. Perhaps even these cultural perspectives are tainted by sin (fear). 

The common thread through all of these beautiful things, whether they be natural things or Gospel things, is that they all point us to God. So if I was to answer the question “What is the objective standard for beauty?” I would say “That which is truth and that which points to God.”

And to me, that can take many forms. 

Music and Art Monday, February 20th 2017

Well, I’m a little late this week. We’re in the process of moving so life has been a bit of a whirlwind.

Here are two short recommendations for this week:

Kopecky was a band I discovered while working as a road guard on a fire in Northern Idaho. There wasn’t much traffic but there was XM radio in the rental truck!

“Drug For The Modern Age ” is my favorite of the two albums I have heard by them. It has a pretty nifty 80’s vibe and I enjoy the vocals by both male and female singers. It’s not often that bands will switch up singers like that and have it work out well, in my humble opinion.

The two songs that get stuck in my head the most are “Quarterback” and “Better Luck Next Time”. Probably my least favorite is the title track. But they are all good for hanging out or driving, so check them out next time you need something just a little bit different.

For my art this week, I recommend you check out The Feast of St.John by Jules Adolphe Breton.

There aren’t too many copies of it floating around the internet, though I believe if you dig long enough you’ll find it in Gandalf’s Gallery.  I won’t talk too much about it but I will say I liked it so much that it inspired me to make a horrible version of my own:

::Shutters::

Those were my early days. I’d like to think that I would do better next time.

Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully next week I will be sitting still long enough to write something better.