Friday’s Famous Artist is …… Egypt

I was wondering through my notes on who to pick for Friday’s Famous Artist and It occurred to me perhaps going forward is as good as going back.  So I chose Egypt.  It’s art is a fixed mythology in most people’s lives.  So incredible is it’s reach into our conscious mind, I doubt I could find a person who doesn’t know it.   That says a lot.


From reading about the previous Famous Artists (Kandinsky, Picasso, De Kooning) I can also say that Egypt’s art has also had an impact on those artists as well.  Many have studied their mythology and symbolism.


Egypt’s art and heritage was as close to me as the the large coffee table book my mother had of Egypt.  It mesmerized me.  All through my childhood I also knew of Egypt because our local museum had a really nice section dedicated to it with artifacts and renditions of temples; one of which was commissioned by my great grandfather and mother in the early 1900’s.  It’s still there to this day.

I also had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and see the Tutankhamen exhibit there.  That is where I saw the incredible funeral mask pictured above.  It is breath taking.


The Pigments used to paint these incredible fresco’s are made of crushed bone, chalk, charcoal, lapis lazuli, malachite, vegtables and plant material.  Before heading off to make them yourself be aware that many of the pigments they used were highly toxic and contained cadium (orange), sulpher (yellow), oxides of copper (green) naturally oxidized iron and red ocher(red), chalk and gypsum(white), soot, burnt animal bones(black).


Interestingly enough, you will notice as you view Egyptian art that there exists a uniformity to it throughout it’s 5000 plus year history.  That was done on purpose.  Most figures are painted with the torso facing forward and the face sideways with both feet on the ground.  Also Gods and pharaohs are painted much larger then a slave or subject to represent their importance in society.


And the final moment or the first is this picture of the pyramids, enough inspiration perhaps for 5000 years plus of history.



Friday’s Famous Artist is Ben Eine and Ed Rusha

Ahh the famous trade between president Obama and Britains Prime Minister Cameron….begins here.  First British Prime Minister Cameron gives Obama a painting by a well known Pop Artist Ben Eine and a while later President Obama returns the favor by gifting another Pop Art work by Ed Rusha.   Who do you like better?


Ben Eine – Graffiti Artist

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An Interview with Ben Eine


Or … Ed Rusha pop artist


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An Interview with Ed Ruscha From the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, Los Angeles, CA  90036


A little different then abstract art but no less important.  They both follow the post modern movement of Art. 

News From the Couch with coffee….

I’ve tweeted, linked and blogged and it’s not even 9am yet.  This is the moment when I realize it’s time to reflect a little about the weeks events.

I just finished a show outside of San Antonio that was Hot, Dusty and I was set up across from a guy selling Alligators on a stick.  Not the best place for my art I am thinking then behold Sunday comes and a whole crowd of wonderful people emerge.

Never say never.  That’s the news from the Couch, how’s your day going?

Friday’s Famous Artist is Kandinsky

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Wassily Kandinsky (Dec 1866 – Dec 1944) was a Russian painter and is credited with painting the first modern abstract works.

“In Kandinsky’s work, some characteristics are obvious while certain touches are more discrete and veiled; that is to say they reveal themselves only progressively to those who make the effort to deepen their connection with his work. He intended his forms, which he subtly harmonized and placed, to resonate with the observer’s own soul.”

That is such a poignant statement to me.  I have been mesmerized by Kandinsky’s works from the age of 12 and my first visit to the Art Museum in which hung 2 of his works.  At that time I did not know who it was that offered such a unique view of the struggle between color, shape and definition.


That struggle I later found was with purpose.  Long after I had started my own journey with paint and canvas and found myself working with many of the same ideas and concepts, I chanced upon an article about Kandinsky and was stunned to hear words put to thoughts and emotions I myself have had.

I find expressing with words what I am doing on the canvas far more difficult.  For me the minute I pick up my paint brush I am in a totally in a different world.  Putting words to the motions and interaction that occurs with my work has been far more difficult.

Kandinsky settled in Munich in 1886 and studied first in the private school of Anton Ažbe and then at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. He went back to Moscow in 1914, after World War I started. He was unsympathetic to the official theories on art in Moscow and returned to Germany in 1921. There, he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France where he lived the rest of his life, and became a French citizen in 1939. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.

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It is amazing to me how circumstances at the time of his life greatly shaped his work and his reasoning.   Kandinsky was deeply spiritual and studied symbols.  He was also deeply moved by the biblical implications of the apocalypse.  Many of his pieces were an attempt to translate the difficult metaphorical map that the Bible laid down. 


Kandinsky is credited with providing  a Rosetta stone on which the meaning of these mysterious figures is inscribed.  He left a legacy and a primer of abstract art. 

Scrapbook …. Leaving Comfortable

This is part 1 of a series on travels to the Southwest
I packed up my duffle bag with lightweight cooking pots, sleeping bag, tent, first aid kit grabbed a flight to New Mexico and drove the rental car out of the airport parking lot and into the dessert.  I went West to a Canyon that had an ancient archeological site listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. 

I stopped at the grocery store and piled my trunk with wood,  water, lighter fluid, charcoal and packed a Styrofoam cooler with ice and food.  I had no idea where I was headed other than the map and a destination.
The road into the Canyon is 30 miles so I made sure I gassed up at the only gas station around for 100 miles before heading down it.  

The scene before me looked like burnt food.  Big mounds of sand packed down from years of weight and weather.  Black edges tinge the rocks while the sun beat down relentlessly. 
welcome to chaco I took a left onto the road and saw the Sign for Chaco Canyon Historical Park and made my way down the dusty road.  Later I learned that if it does rain … the road turns into a giant clay slick and you can’t enter or leave the park for days until the road dries out again.

The long ride to the campsite only emphasizes the distance between you and the world you have now left behind.  The road enveloped me like a story that takes you away from your daily reality. 

The flavor of my surroundings is more of the same, I glimpse for some strong emphasis of stunning but am disappointed to see only these burnt loaves of rocks first on one side of my vehicle then rising up on the next. 
Still the air crackles with mystery.  I drive on leaving behind the remnants of civilization.  I pass the mile marker and head to the camp site. 
sundagger Before me rises a giant bluff.  This is the site of the sun dagger that was this worlds way of marking the phases of the moon.  The bluff is standard really to the layout of this world, nothing much but the highest point around and made of shear rock.  There is I hear a toe and foot trail that winds up to the top but for the life of me I couldn’t get there and besides you can’t without a permit from the visitors center. 

I pull into the campsite and see a small number of tents hugging the wall of the canyon.  I drive forward pick out a spot close to a trail head and walk back to the registry box to dump my payment in the slot.  I clip my tag to the wooden stick in front of my site with my name and phone number on it and the number of nights I am staying and walk to my car, back it in and start unloading  my wood. 
chaco-sunset-74.1 Build a Fire.  It’s hotter than hell now, about 110 but in about 2 hours after the sun sets it will go down to probably 40 degrees if I am lucky.  I pull out the first layer of fleece.  It’s too hot to start now and I pop a baseball cap on my head as I am in the blazing sun and burn easily. 

Stacking wood is an art.  For those who have done it, you know.  It’s an art; setting the kindling in and layering the wood so the most consumable piece starts the fire and then as it builds heat, layering it with hard wood or cedar.  Makes a nice smell. 

I grab the frying pan and pull out my 1/2 pound of meat, some butter and a bun and cover the whole deal with aluminum while the fire stokes up. 

A moment of rest.  I stare at the empty world around me.  All I see is a beetle on the ground .  There is a cloud every now and then and a grateful breeze intermittently.   The grass is prickly but grows up in patches here and there.  I glance a  purple flower amongst the dry parched world and a brown chameleon darting here and there.    

There are these weird cylindrical red chunks on the earth and I pick one up and stare at it.  It’s a 600,000 year old root of a plant.  They liter the camp site. 

It’s getting dark.  People are coming back to the campsite from the trails.  I wave at a person across the brush, shake their hand, find out where they are from and we discuss beer and an invitation to join in with the conversation around the fire 6 spaces down. 

As the sun sets behind the Canyon wall and my eyes adjust to the night, I grabbed my fleece top and gently lift it over my head.  The goose bumps on my skin alert me to the drastic drop in temperature and a patch of sun burned skin.

My tent is slightly to the left of me on a flat 8 x 8 area that is edged with wood planks.  The ground is not level at all so I rearrange my tent so my head will lay at the top of the slope.  I checked the ground for rocks and sharper objects.  There is nothing worse then rolling around on jagged rocks while your sleeping at night. 
It’s a clear night and the stars are magnificent.  I stay by my campsite and enjoy the peace and quiet of the evening. 


Friday’s Famous Artist … Picasso

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“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”
— Pablo Picasso [32]
Famous Picasso,  studied and painted since his early teens.  Only this commitment could net the unbelievable achievement that comes from such a span of  time , October 1881 – April 1973.    From his Blue Period to the Rose Period to the African influences then to Cubism, Classicism, Surrealism, and more.
I was exposed to Picasso’s work at the Tate Gallery in London.  The curator there in fact owned one of his works and taught several classes.  Picasso was one of his absolute favorite artists and I spent many months studying the directions of his life. 
Not mentioned but very important is Picasso’s many relationship with artists he influenced and movements such as “DaDa” art with the likes of Georges Braque. 
Picasso also like many artists of that time created commissioned sculptures …
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Picasso was also well know for his many relationships, marriages, break ups, and was strongly influenced by the women in his life … who it appears may have shaped the many directions of his art and career.
Picasso is timeless and timely to this day his influence is felt.