Music and Art Monday, January 29th, 2018: Just a Few of My Favorites

I had a pretty blah week this past week. And after racking my exhausted brain I couldn’t come up with anything except the idea to share a few of my favorite paintings. Plus all I have talked about lately is music, it’s about time I start looking at art again!

This is Matisse’s “Seated Odalisque With Left Knee Bent”. I’m not completely sure he picked the name, but it is definitely descriptive. He did several “odalisque” paintings, and all of them are quite good, but this is my favorite. An odalisque is a Turkish concubine by the way. They were popular subjects in 19th century Orientalism.

The Bedroom in Arles”, or as van Gogh titled it “The Bedroom” was painted in 1888 to depict his bedroom in Arles, France. I bought a print of this when I went to the van Gogh exhibit in DC in middle school and it hung on my wall all the way through college and beyond. I loved the colors and the simplicity of the objects in the room. He didn’t waste time with all with an over abundance of details.

“Cycles Gladiator” is actually a work of commercial art. It was designed by the printer G. Massias to promote a Parisian bicycle company during the late 19th century’s golden age of cycling. There are apparently only four originals left, but copies are abundant enough that I was able to purchase one in college.

Lucas Cranach the Elder is one of my favorites (and was friends with Luther, so he had to be a cool guy). There are many to choose from but I really love “The Fountain of Youth” because he didn’t shy away from “non-ideal” beauty. Artists, especially in that day, rarely paint “ugly” subjects, preferring instead to depict ideal human figures. I think his depiction of old women is beautiful and respectful.

“The Feast of St. John” by Jules Breton is something I wish I had a print of. What caught my eye about this first was his great execution of fire, the realism almost makes you feel its warmth. I also enjoy the way the women almost float, his capture of their movement is flawless.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. What are some of your favorite paintings?

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Music and Art Monday, Dec 25th, 2017: It’s Christmas 

Santa

No music and art this week.

It’s Christmas. Stop reading blogs you weirdos!

Music and Art Monday, December 11th,2017: What Was I Thinking?

I was sorting out a tub of crusty old stuff the other day and found some of my old cds. What a time capsule!

You know you are “old” when you have to make sure your cd drive is hooked up to the computer. Who listens to cd’s anymore?

So what was I listening to just a few short years ago?

The first oldie I popped in was Carla Werner’s first album “Departure“.

Daparture

Never heard of her? There’s probably a good reason. Her last album was released in 2009, and it was much better than the first. But not much better. Snooze fest and an anemic voice. What was I thinking back then?

Next up was a copy of Forest For The Trees’ “Planet Unknown“.

forthetrees

This isn’t a bad song for late 90’s electronica. But they aren’t on Spotify and judging by Google results, they probably aren’t around as a group anymore either. ‘Tis a shame.

Next into my cd drive was The Beatles “Anthology 2”. The middle anthology is personally my favorite. This is definitely the best period of the band. I’m actually quite glad to have found this one.

Anthology2

There was also a Paul McCartney live album, which is pretty meh. I saw him in concert, and after that there are very few good live albums that are worth it. Either be there or be square.

I stopped listening at this point. Sometimes nostalgia is not so fun. It just reminds you of better times or worse times, or just the fact that your taste in music isn’t always the most discerning. 

Also in the tub was some Norah Jones, a couple of compilation cd’s from record companies I used to get for free at the local record store, and a random Dave Matthews Band disc that I found in a whole case that some bro had dropped in the university parking lot. Nothing that I still listen to.

If I had continued I would have popped in Lily Allen’s “Alright Still“.

Alright

Which is actually my favorite of the bunch…

(except for the Anthology. But that’s not nostalgia, that’s timeless.)

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: Meet Mo

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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.

Music and Art Monday: February 6

Last week I discussed my musical past. This week I will address my art past.

Visual arts weren’t prolific in our home. Not like music was anyway. I can’t think of any art books lying around or even any major painter’s works on our walls.

When I was in 7th grade, Van Gogh came to the National Gallery of Art in DC. To be honest I had never actually seen a work by Van Gogh, but my friend Steve said he was his favorite, so of course I had to agree. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I did like it. So for awhile Van Gogh was my favorite artist. This was mostly a matter of not knowing any other artists.

Also in 7th grade we received a visit from Holocaust survivor Mark Strauss . He talked about his experience in the Warsaw Ghetto and displayed some of his works. This was my first introduction to art as political commentary. This was the painting of his that I purchased a print of:

finaldays1_fs
Final Days in Ghetto

I took a semester of art also in 7th grade. It was probably one of the worst classes I had. I didn’t have a natural talent for much of it, and my teacher wasn’t exactly helpful in molding skill. She critiqued me into giving up all drawing except for some very violent MSPaint works I did for Latin class in high school:

latin
Advertisements in a Latin “newspaper”. This would probably get me kicked out today.

After these brief exposures to art in middle school I did not get much more exposure to visual art until college. For my first semester I had to take an elective and I took the one everyone took, “Creativity and Aesthetic Experience”. This class had three components, one for theater, one for music, and one for visual art. I can’t say the sculptor we had to check out was very good, but the play we had to watch was something else!

I started getting into photography at that time, mostly because my brother was and I had to mimic. One of my favorite projects was for my English class, I went around town and took photos from certain vantage points and compared them to past photos. Sadly none of those are on my computer.

After college I got into digital photo manipulation, taking pictures and making them into something more interesting. I started a Flickr page and started posting stuff in the hopes someone would see them and perhaps offer me money for them. Alas, that did not happen, but it didn’t stop me from continuing.

city
City

My photography eventually got me thinking “I’d really like to try painting”. It seems that middle school art class hadn’t scarred me too badly. I told Nicole this desire and she surprised me with an acrylic paint set for Christmas. So I started painting. And when you start painting, you start to appreciate other painters.

Of course I started with Van Gogh, which is pretty much a style to himself. Then I pretty much went everywhere. My personal favorites right now are Matisse and the Fauvists, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and Lucas Cranach the Elder. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep a good dialog going with these artists and styles.

If not you’ll probably be seeing a lot of my paintings on this page.