Monday, November 9, 2009

New Weather

Today I had the opportunity to see the current exhibition at the USF CAM, entitled New Weather and featuring works by Diana Al-Hadid, Iva Gueorguieva, and Robyn O'Neil. I really enjoyed this show, particularly the works by Robyn O'Neil. Her works are predominantly large scale graphite on paper drawings and I was really intrigued by her technique of layering and working such a common medium to achieve such unusual effects. Even her small pieces are visually intriguing and emotionally evocative. There is very delicate line and eraser work involved that must be seen in person to fully appreciate.

Diana Al-Hadid's sculptures took me a little longer to respond to. Her sculpture Edge of Critical Density at first looked to me like it was comprised of the sausage casings my father uses during the holidays (if you're unaware, sausage casings are made from pig intestines). Upon further inspection I began to see other forms take shape until it looked more like a swirling ballgown. I liked it much better after that.

Iva Gueorguieva's huge abstract paintings are quite beautiful. I reacted to them less emotionally than the works by the other artists but I think I spent the most time examinging them. Looking at her pieces brought up a question that I've asked myself numberous times before: when I am seeing an object or idea in an abstract piece, does it say more about my own psychology or the artist's? My instructor, Ms. Baron-Robbins, buffered this with an example from her own experience. In an abstract piece, she used what she perceived as fingers. However, many viewers responded to these figures as phallic symbols, to the point of her frustration. She reassured me, though, that much of what I was seeing in Ms. Gueorguieva's work was actually what was intended.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Random Inspiration (Clara Bow)

Pulled out my old costume standby, the 1920's flapper dress. As Tim Gunn would say (WHO IS GOING TO BE SPEAKING AT USF ON THE 4TH, OMG!), "With a dress like this, styling is everything!" So, I looked up some silver screen starlets for makeup tips.

I went with Clara. I just. love. her.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Random Inspiration (Melissa Moss)

While at the Julie West show in Hollywood, FL, I came across a couple prints by Melissa Moss. We were on our way out the door and I didn't get to stop and examine them closely so I wrote her name down to look her up later. I'm so glad I did! Moss is an Asheville, NC based artist who has studied color psychology and utilizes this theory in her awesome work.

too happy
Acrylic on wood

the party's over
Acrylic on wood

Acrylic and gouache on wood

I ADORE that last one! I want a large print of that and I think it will probably factor heavily into my inspiration for the mural I'm doing on a friend's wall.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1 Song, 3 Pieces (C+P Project 3)

For the 3rd major project, the song I will be using is by my favorite cello-rock band, Rasputina. For the initial song => inspiration part of the project, I decided to use another of their songs to get into the right mindset.

AntiqueHighHeelRedDollShoes is the first and from there I also considered the song Gingerbread Coffin. Both of these songs use imagery relating to dolls. I understand why people often find dolls creepy or unsettling but I think that is what I like about them.

I like the dramatic lighting on this one.

Gift Wrapped Doll #37
James Rosenquist
Oil on canvas

I'm a big fan of buying handmade and I love sites like Etsy and ArtFire. This handmade doll reminds me of drawings of medieval plague doctors which are both frightening and fascinating.

Birdman from woods
Ree Gurova for Lime in Moloko
Polymer clay and fabric

My friend Brigitte is the artist behind a line of custom dolls called Zombuki. I really like her pieces.

Eulalia Dia Zombuki
Brigitte Coovert

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Julie West Show

Road tripped with a good friend over to Hollywood, FL, to meet Julie West at her solo show in Pink Ghost's gallery. She does beautiful work. Her colors are well chosen, her shapes and spaces are gentle while remaining definite. It's impressive that a lot of her work which requires a lot of geometrically correct shapes is hand done in acrylic and then mounted on brocade fabrics. It's really quite impressive. And it's all just so creepy-cute! I picked up some cool swag, a signed "chubby" book by the artist and a cool blind box Dunny so I'm happy. Plus I got to spend a lot of time with my friend Brigitte whom I had not seen in ages and who is now making a living as a working artist which is so inspirational I can't even begin to express. I'll post some of Ms. West's stuff later but for now it is goodnight.

Here are some of West's paintings:

West signed a postcard of this in my chubby book, under the bats with a text bubble coming from the girl. Awesome!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Clifton Burt

I'm not usually into text art but this one has the right elements. The haiku used, by John Maeda, is inspiring but not cheesy, and the road sign font is engaging without being totally abrasive or illegible, which is usually the case with text art.

In any case, I want a print of this in my face at all times. I think that would be good for me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Inspiration (And Keep Smiling)

This song came on my mp3 player as I drove home from school one night. There was tons of heat lightning over the bay and it looked pretty amazing. The song, by Rachel's, is called "And Keep Smiling" (which is a really great title) and I like it quite a bit.

(X-posted to C+P Blog)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

C+P Assignment 02

For my first project for Concepts and Practices, I will be creating an object that represents an aspect of my relationship with my family. I have chosen to create a terrarium. Throughout my life, much of my interaction with my family has involved the natural world. We have explored numerous forests and jungles together, and my parents have been avid gardeners for as long as I can remember. I feel that they instilled in me an appreciation for nature that I have carried into my adult life.

The first artist whose work shares a common element with my project is Paula Hayes.

Hayes' terrariums were very inspirational to me when I first started to build terrariums of my own. The organic shapes of her vessels enclosing small, bright plants of numerous varieties from myriad terrains remind us to consider the quieter pieces of the world we may overlook every day. This is part of why I enjoy terrariums as art. While at first glance they may seem like nothing much, on further viewing it is actually quite easy to lose oneself in the intricacies of an ecosystem in miniature.

Another artist that I feel relates to my project is Thomas Doyle.

Doyle makes dioramas, often encased in glass, that are able to evoke strong emotional reaction. While the feelings one gets from Doyle's work are often sinister or foreboding, and my intention is to express nearly the opposite of these emotions, I think it is important for me to explore why Doyle's pieces draw such reactions so that I might better understand how to elicit the desired reaction in my own pieces.

The third artist whose work I found relative to my project is Andrea Zittel.

Much of Zittel's work revolves around compacting large spaces into small spaces, and exploring the ideas of isolation and understanding the physical space one occupies. This is similar to the intention of terrariums, and I find her work conceptually appealing.

(X-posted at C+P Blog)

Monday, September 7, 2009

C+P Assignment 01

This past week I had the opportunity to view some of the artwork of Anthony Grajirena on display in the Green Room gallery of the Dunedin Brewery. Grajirena's strong suit seems to be creating pieces that are visually simple yet emotionally evocative, and he manages through his illustrations to blend playfulness with a more subtle implication of solemn reflection, perhaps a feeling of being out of place or even a feeling of loneliness. Two of Grajirena's pieces in particular stood out to me:

(X-posted at C+P Blog)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Well, it's been a while. I've finally left Daytona and I am now back in SH. I started at USF last week and so far I'm loving it. The days are long but all of my profs are great and I'm quite inspired by the material. I'm taking Drawing I and Concepts & Practices and two lecture classes, Greek and Roman Art and Northern Renaissance.

I'll be keeping a blog for various assignments as part of the curriculum for C&P but I'm planning on cross-posting those entries over here as well so expect to see at least a few entries! I'll try to get back into a more regular schedule but who knows!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Letter Time

Dear Land O' Lakes dairy product company,

Your supposedly new, easier-to-close zip pouches for sliced cheese are SO easy to close, if by "easy to close" you mean "not at all easy to close and actually quite difficult to close". So, thanks, I guess.

Also? Really past time to update the logo into something not racially insensitive. Come on, people. You can do better.

Keep up the good work on provolone.
Love, Karlen

Happy Birthday, Tiffany!

Today is my friend Tiffany's 24th birthday. Tiffany and I have been friends since we were twelve years old. We met in geography class in seventh grade. I remember her mouthing off to our teacher, which she was prone to doing, and I thought she was funny. We became fast friends and have been since.

I admire Tiffany. She is tough and smart, she is joyful and creative. She inspires me because she is brave and spontaneous. Life is not always kind and Tiffany has taken her share of lumps, but for as long as I've known her she has met adversity with her middle finger raised and a smile on her face because there's no way in hell she'd let anything get in the way of her good time. She is thoughtful and loving, she's a hard worker and a hard laugher, and she cracks me up on a regular basis.

Our friend Tyler once said to me that Tiffany is a prototype for the next evolution of better humans. She has that effect on people. I am so proud to call her my friend.

Happy birthday, Tiffany.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Belated 4th, Plus 150th Post!

Happy 4th of July several days late! I've always really loved the 4th. Between the awesome picnic food, the swimming, the fireworks, and the fact that it heralds the coming of my birthday, Independence Day is definitely in my top 3 holidays.

This year I was away from Kyle but I got to be with some of my most favorite people ever and I had a really wonderful time. The fireworks show in downtown SH was particularly good this year and the weather was sunny and dry all day (although Florida heat and humidity can be really uncomfortable). Here is a picture of Tiffany, me, and Jason at the fireworks show. Not pictured are Tim and Merissa, but they were an integral part to the enjoyability of the day.

P.S. This is my 150th post on Burnt Pages! Woo!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quick Link

From NPR: Top 10 Reasons Why the BMI is Bogus

Read it, yo, and don't talk to me about the "obesity epidemic" until you get some real facts.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Gift of Giving

I finally launched my Artfire store - Celadon Soap & Craft Co. is open for business! Please check it out here.

I was talking to Rachel and she mentioned that she (as a quite good knitter) liked being present when people received things she had made because she liked to see their faces. I totally agree. The expression of excitement or gratitude that someone gets when you give them a gift is always really pleasing, and that pleasure is increased tenfold when they are excited or grateful for something that you created especially for them. I suppose it's a bit selfish, but at the same time it's like feeling happy that you made someone else happy, and there's nothing wrong with that.

On the other hand, there are also times when the face a gift recipient makes is not quite what you had expected, and just as a positive reaction to a handmade gift is way more satisfying, a less-than-positive reaction can make a crafter feel pretty terrible. In the short while that I've been good enough at my crafts to give them as gifts, I've already got "Present Face" more than a couple times.

The first crochet project I ever completed was this truly hideous scarf in a mix of fluffy black mohair and squeaky acrylic maroon worsted weight. It curled. It was uneven. It buckled and had holes from skipped stitches. It was ugly. I didn't even bother to weave in the ends and I presented it to Kyle and told him I made it for him. He ohh'd and ahh'd and said "Cool! Thank you! I'll have to wait for a really cold day to wear it!", to which I responded, "Please don't wear that outside. I was kidding". He was quite relieved. And since I had actually never intended for him to treat it as a special gift, this instance of Present Face was amusing.

But I guess getting an unenthusiastic response to an item is just one of the woes of being a crafter, one of the perils of sharing one's hobby with another. The appreciative reactions are totally worth are worth the risk. That's the gift of giving.

ETA: Also, Rachel sent me this totally awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Twilight mash-up, in which Buffy kicks that lame-o Edward's ass. From the video info:
It's an example of transformative storytelling serving as a pro-feminist visual critique of Edward's character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy's eyes some of the more patriarchal gender roles and sexist Hollywood tropes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed in hilarious ways.

I don't know about all of that, but I do agree that (what I hear of) Edward's personality is pretty gross. Also, the video is just funny.

As huge BtVS fans, Rachel and I found this quite entertaining and I think we both need to own this shirt:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Troll Bingo

Often, in the comments on blogs or on forums and such, there are people that come along and leave ridiculous, offensive, or ignorant comments. These people are called "trolls". Trolls are not people who are genuinely interested in discourse, who politely disagree and seek to exchange ideas with people whose opinions differ from their own. Trolls are the type of people that go to feminist websites and leave comments demanding that the writers of the website get back in the kitchen and make them a sandwich. They are the people that read LGBT blogs and feel it necessary to point out that they personally find homosexuality yucky and heavens forfend they should just NOT read that particular blog. They have to make sure the people for whom the blog is written know that there are people who disapprove of their lives, just in case they weren't quite sure.

The website Feministe occasionally has a "Next Top Troll" contest in which readers (the real ones) vote on the best (worst?) troll comments. It's sort of a way to make light of the cruel and unenlightened things that people go out of their way to say. A "laugh to keep from crying" exercise. I was talking about a few of these to Kyle and I mentioned the Bingo cards that some of the sites I read have created for troll comments. He was interested so I compiled a list of Troll Bingos from around the blogs and since it took me several minutes, I decided I should post it here, too. Can't let all that hard work go to waste! So, next time you're reading the comments at a blog and some a-hole comes along to screw up the dialogue (or you're reading an email from a Token Conservative Friend/Family Member), just whip out your Bingo cards and have a ball!

Intelligent Design


Evolutionary Psychology

White Privilege Deniers

Trans Issues


Anti Fat Acceptance, Part One

Anti Fat Acceptance, Part Two

Anti-Feminism, Part One

Anti-Feminism, Part Two

Anti-Feminism, Part Three

Anti-Feminism, Part Four

Anti-Feminism, Part FIVE


Sexual Assault Deniers


Mommy Wars

General Jerk-waddery

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

1) I hate flossing. Apparently, I'm the only person in the world for whom flossing is not some sort of zen-like experience, or I'm the only one that will admit it, but I really hate flossing. The reason I bring it up is because when I was flossing this morning (hey, just because I hate it doesn't mean I don't DO it) I got caught up in a spot where my teeth are a little crowded and it feels like I nearly yanked out a molar. Yes, ten hours later, my mouth still hurts from flossing. Stupid flossing.

2) Why are people kind of assholes to kids? Birthday spanks, "a pinch to grow an inch", noogies; people are generally kind of nasty to children. I mean, I know WHY people act like that. It's because people have issues accepting the autonomy of children. People consider children more like property or pets and hey, the dog and the coffee maker never mind when you lay on hands without asking. If you don't see a child as a human being unto herself, why would you behave as though she were? This is also why people have such a hard time teaching their kids about healthy sexuality. Kids aren't people! People have needs and desires! Kids don't have needs and desires! That's just icky!

3) However, I will never, under any circumstance, understand people talking to children in third person. Why do we assume that children understand the third person perspective but not first person? And it's weird that when a child is born, people take on special names for that child to relate to them by (mom, dad, grandpa, etc.) and then talk about themselves using those special names as separate from themselves ("Mom, whatcha doin?" "Mommy is making spaghetti for dinner") and then act surprised when children think the world revolves around them [the children] and don't consider the parents as separate people. WTF? YOUR CHILD IS CONFUSED ENOUGH ABOUT THE WORLD! WHY ARE YOU MAKING IT WORSE?

Of course, what the hell do I know, because I don't have a baby.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What I Learned Today

They say you learn something new every day. I think that's probably true if you're going by averages, but not true in the literal sense. I know there are days when I'm bumming around watching Golden Girls and making crocheted flowers and I don't learn anything. On any day that I listen to Republican talk radio I'm pretty sure the opposite of learning is happening.

However, today I did learn things. I learned that deconstructing tee shirts is not as easy as one might assume. I also learned a few interesting tidbits about Johnny Appleseed and the history of apples in America:

But there’s a little detail the Disney movie and all the kids’ books about Johnny Appleseed got wrong. His apples weren’t for eating. They were for liquor. Apples don’t grow “true” from seeds–that is, if you plant a Granny Smith apple seed, the tree that grows will not produce Granny Smith apples (the vast majority of the time, anyway). The only way to be sure what kind of apples a tree will produce is to graft limbs onto it from another apple tree that has the kind of apples you want. Most trees that grow from seeds produce smallish apples that are bitter and very much unlike the glowing waxed fruit we’ve come to associate with health and a good diet. People would not want to eat those apples. But what they could do with them is turn them into apple cider, as the Junior Ecology Club mentions, but not the kind you buy at the grocery store around Thanksgiving. It was alcoholic apple cider.

For much of American history, alcoholic beverages were widely consumed by both adults and children. Before clean water was necessarily available, it was safer to drink alcohol, particularly in cities.

(from Sociological Images)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Who're YOU Calling Mac & Cheese?

Ok, ok, I know I've talked about The Da Vinci Code being kind of ridiculous before but I just watched the movie and was wondering if Dan Brown had ever recanted on his insistence that the Priory of Sion was real instead of being a scam created in the 50's by that Plantard guy. So, I moseyed on over to the Wikipedia page about The Da Vinci Code and I was reading some of the criticisms of Dan Brown and found this gem:

In his 2005 University of Maine Commencement Address, best-selling author Stephen King put Dan Brown's work and "Jokes for the John" on the same level, calling such literature the "intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese."

Hey, Stephen King, way to be the pot calling the kettle a bad writer!

ETA: I just wanted to add that Stephen King is totally right and I am in no way defending Dan Brown. That guy can suck it!

On Dr. Tiller

Things are getting out of control. You know what needs to end now? The abortion debate. I'm over it, I'm sick of hearing about it, I'm sick of churches posting huge banners on public streets about boo-hoo the children, I'm sick of my boyfriend's sister sticking her fat baby albatross in my face and telling me that abortion is equivalent to SIX MILLION ACTUAL LIVING PEOPLE being maimed, mutilated, and murdered during the Holocaust. I'm desperately tired of people having to die over it. Seriously, anti-choicers, it's time to let it go.

I don't really have anything to say about the murder of Dr. George Tiller. I do want to share a few things others have said though.

From Alas, A Blog:
He was a doctor, one who helped women through a difficult procedure. He sacrificed his life today because he was unwilling to step aside, to let women’s rights die at the threat of violence. May all of us who believe in a woman’s right to choose honor Dr. Tiller with the same steadfast resolve; terrorism works only when we surrender to fear. And the terrorist who committed this act (and the anti-choice cheerleaders who encouraged and endore it) must not be allowed victory.

From Shapely Prose:
Most pro-life organizations, including Operation Rescue, have tried to distance themselves from the assassination, and of course the vast majority of pro-life people would and do condemn murder. Nevertheless, the reality is, words have consequences. Publishing the home address and church of someone you call “America’s doctor of death” has consequences.

From Huffington Post:
Battered women are at greatest danger of being killed by their abusers when they are most strong -- that is, when they muster the courage to leave. The same phenomenon may be true in the abusive political abortion debate. The pro-choice movement, specifically our abortion providers, are in the greatest danger of violence when we take power. When the anti-abortion movement loses power, their most extreme elements appear to move to the fore and take control. The murder of Dr. Tiller suggests that violence against abortion providers may be far more linked to the power, or lack thereof, anti-abortion groups have politically than to laws designed to increase penalties against such acts.

History has another disturbing lesson for us. The escalation of anti-abortion rhetoric plays a direct role in instigating violence. When anti-abortion groups ratchet up the rhetoric, they know exactly what they're doing and the results it will have. Even if they maintain deniability, as Operation Rescue recently did saying, in effect, we wanted Tiller gone, but didn't want him murdered, they have inflamed the rhetoric. And suddenly people Like Dr. Tiller's murderer become inspired.

From Pandagon:
He didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to put his life and his family’s life on the line every day to tend to women going through a little-understood trauma. He didn’t have to go through a sea of protesters who hate women so much they actually think that women are lying about their problems so they “get” to have later term abortions. He didn’t have to suffer through relentless legal abuse at the hands of fundamentalist misogynists who obtain political power by exploiting voter ignorance about abortion. He didn’t have to make himself the target for this murder to help women, but for whatever reason, he rose to this challenge, and that makes him a real hero.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Backup Plans

If the Art History thing doesn't work out and I never follow through with the Astronomy thing (which I probably wouldn't) and I decide that I DON'T actually want to end up as a high school English teacher, I think I would like to open a restaurant. Nothing fancy, just a little place where I can offer to people like me the things that I can not find in a restaurant.

Karlen: Where would you like to eat tonight?
Kyle: I don't know. Somewhere with vegetarian options and drink specials.
Karlen: Um, TFB, bro.
Kyle: Yeah, I just severely limited our options down to none.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Zombie Apocalypse

Five items I would want to have if I survived the Zombie Apocalypse:

1) A ball-peen hammer. Hammers are great close-range weapons. During a zombie attack, you don't want to only have a gun because it makes too much noise and would only serve to attract more zombies. Also, if I was being attacked by zombies I would not trust myself with a firearm, so I'll leave that to others with more gun experience. Claw hammers may get stuck in necrotic flesh, so the ball-peen is really the way to go. Kyle will have his rifle for emergency situations and a FUBAR (no, that's really what it's called) so I think between the two of us, we'll be able to handle at least a few of the undead horde.

2) My Doc Marten steel-toed boots. I actually decided I wanted a pair of these not long after I read The Zombie Survival Guide and received a pair from my Aunt Anne for Christmas of 2007. Not only are they awesome and stylish, they're also good for running from flesh-eaters, water resistant, and the steel-toes make them durable and protective. Your feet will be very important after the zombie apocalypse. Invest in excellent shoes. Note: I feel that everyone, especially my mother, should adopt this as a life motto and then apply it every time a fantastic pair of Skechers or Rocket Dogs pops out at her.

3) A size H crochet hook. This probably needs some explanation. While trying to come up with my personal five items, I tried to think of items I could use to really contribute to life after civilization. With a crochet hook, I can recycle pretty much any textile into clothes, blankets, socks, passable ropes, etc. A size H hook is a great all-purpose hook and my personal size H is the only hook I have that has a squishy thumb rest addition so I can use it for much longer periods of time because it's so comfy!

4) Duct tape. I hear it's very useful. I have a roll that I bought when my glove compartment fell off and I tried to duct tape it back on (which didn't actually work - way to not live up to it, duct tape) but I HEAR it's very useful so I would bring that roll.

5) My emergency backpack. I don't know if this is cheating since it contains WAY more than 5 items but it is something I keep available at all times so I'm going to count it because, um, what's a bigger emergency than the dead rising to destroy us all? I have an old backpack that contains items such as:
-adhesive bandages and Neosporin
-vitamins, antacids, Dramamine, ibuprofen, Imodium, No-Doze, and breath mints (they were just there)
-travel toothbrush and toothpaste
-a few bars of hotel soap

...and that's just the things I can recall at the moment. Obviously, a backpack would also be good for carrying other things but doesn't that sound like a pretty good kit? Also, this is basically a list of things I carried in my purse in high school because I've been becoming my mother since I hit puberty. Preparedness!

And that's my list. I'm assuming there will be lots of other survivors whose lists include USEFUL things like canned foods or water (or those water cleaning tablets) or matches, lighters, sticks and flint rocks, fire blankets and tarps, containers of gasoline, pocket knives, toilet paper, etc. Maybe I can barter with my lovely crocheted socks and my antacids. We'll make it, guys.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"She's a Rascal I Wouldn't Trust an Inch"

I read a blog called Alberti's Window and today there was a post on images of washer women. There's an amusing story about how the author came up with the idea for a post on such an unusual topic but even better is the art itself. I particularly like this one:

Go on over and check out the rest of the post!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Welcome to the Club. We Have Jackets.

Kyle: While I was out running this nasty old woman comes staggering towards me, hocks this huge loogie, and then yells "Hey, baby, you want a little of this?"
Karlen: Wow, that's pretty much what women put up with regularly!
Kyle: ...I have to take a shower.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Guernica by Picasso

Name: Guernica
Artist's Name: Pablo Picasso
Date: 1937
Period: Cubist
Material: Oil on canvas

Compelled by the worldwide outcry after the bombing of the town of Guernica, Spain, by Nazi planes acting on behalf of rebel general Francisco Franco, Picasso completed the huge 11 1/2' X 25 1/2' Guernica in less than two months. This monumental painting condemns the senseless bombing without specific reference to the event - depicting no bombs or German planes. The collection of figures creates a visceral feeling of grief and terror. In the center, along the lower edge, a figure lies slain and holding a broken sword. A wounded horse tramples the fiure and rears back in fright as it dies. On the left, a woman shrieks in anguish as she cradles the body of her dead child. Women flee from burning buildings. One holds a light to survey the damage. The head of a bull overlooks the death and destruction. According to the artist, the bull represents "brutality and darkness". The use of only black, white & gray gives the painting the feeling of a newspaper article.

The Red Room by Matisse

Name: The Red Room (Harmony in Red)
Artist's Name: Henri Matisse
Date: 1908-1909
Period: Fauvism
Material: Oil on canvas

For Matisse and the Fauves color was the formal element most responsible for pictorial coherence and the primary conveyor of meaning. The theory behind these color discoveries can be found in Red Room. The scene is the interior of a comfortable, prosperous household with a maid setting a table with wine and fruit. The color selections generate a feeling of warmth and comfort, while contrasting richly and intensely. This painting was originally done in green and then blue before being covered with the red that fit Matisse's intention of provoking an emotional resonance in the viewer.

Akua'ba by Bonsu

Name: Akua'ba
Artist's Name: Osei Bonsu
Date: ca. 1935
Period: 20th century African
Material: Wood, beads, and pigment

These small dolls acted as fertility tokens for Akan women. The simplified wood sculptures were consecrated at a shrine, then carried by a woman hoping to conceive. Once pregnant, the woman continued to carry the figure to ensure the safe delivery of a healthy and handsome child, preferably a girl. Each akua'ba is different and this one reflects aspects of Bonsu's style: a more naturalistic rendering of the face and crosshatched eyebrows.

Note: I couldn't find a picture on the internet of the specific akua'ba in my book. This one is similar in shape and general idea but the one in my book is much cooler.

Burghers of Calais by Rodin

Name: Burghers of Calais
Artist's Name: Auguste Rodin
Date: 1884-1889
Period: Realist
Material: Bronze
Purpose: Commission for public monument, Calais, France

During the English siege of Calais in 1347, six of the city's leading citizens offered their lives to lift the siege and spare the rest of the populace. Rodin shows these six figures in a convincing study of despair, resignation, or quiet defiance. The burghers seem to wander aimlessly and the roughly textured surfaces make them look bedraggled and compel the viewer. Rodin designed the monument without the traditional high base so that the citizens of Calais could be eye-level with their ancestors as they prepare eternally to set off on their sacrificial journey.

The Bath by Cassatt

Name: The Bath
Artist's Name: Mary Cassatt
Date: ca. 1892
Period: Post-Impressionism
Material: Oil on canvas

Although Cassatt was a close friend to Degas and frequently exhibited with the Impressionists, because she was a woman her choice of subject matter was quite limited. Her subjects were typically women and children, whom she presented with a combination of objectivity and genuine sentiment. Her work, The Bath owes much to the compositional devices of Degas and of Japanese prints. The visual solidity of the mother and child contrasts with the flattened patterning of the wallpaper and rug.

The Third-Class Carriage by Daumier

Name: The Third-Class Carriage
Artist's Name: Honore Daumier
Date: ca. 1862
Period: Modernism
Material: Oil on canvas

Daumier was known as a champion of the urban working class, the disinherited masses of 19th-century industrialism. Third-Class Carriage shows the viewer into the cramped and grimy railway carriage of the 1860's. The scene is painted candidly, the faces of his figures blank and dumbly patient. The painting is sketchy and incomplete, which lends well to the vague and impersonal subject matter.

Third of May, 1808 by Goya

Name: The Third of May, 1808
Artist's Name: Francisco Goya
Date: 1814
Period: Spanish Romanticism
Material: Oil on canvas

The tragic events of May 3rd, 1808, became the subject of one of Goya's most famous paintings. On May 2nd, Spanish soldiers attacked the invading Napoleonic troops in a chaotic and violent clash. The next day, French soldiers responded by executing numerous Spanish citizens. Goya's painting depicts the faceless French soldiers murdering terrified and unarmed Spanish peasants. Their expressions are horrified and anguished and one peasant about to be shot throws his arms out in a gesture referring to Christ's position on the cross. Goya's use of high contrast darks and lights add drama to this piece. Other peasants, their blood staining the soil, lay dead at the man's feet on one side and more waiting execution are at his other side.

Grande Odalisque by Ingres

Name: Grande Odalisque
Artist's Name: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Date: 1814
Period: Neoclassicism
Material: Oil on canvas

Although Ingres was firmly planted in the Neoclassical style, some of his works made strong concessions to the influence of movements past and contemporary. Ingres' Grande Odalisque was homage to the reclining nudes of Titian and Giorgione and the woman's head and face borrow heavily from the women of Raphael's work. Her small head and elongated limbs, her languid pose and the subtle, cool color scheme hearken to the Mannerists, such as Parmigianino. By making the figure a Turkish odalisque, the artist gave a nod to the contemporary Romantic movement.


From Shakesville: "Fran & Marlo Cowan, who have been married for 62 years, play an impromptu recital together in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic, September 2008."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt

Name: The Return of the Prodigal Son
Artist's Name: Rembrandt
Date: ca. 1620
Period: Baroque
Material: Oil on canvas

Rembrandt depicted biblical scenes and religious works that were quiet and introspective, unlike most other religious painting of the time that intended to glorify the church with grandiose, highly decorated paintings. In Return of the Prodigal Son, the father embraces the son in forgiveness while the son kneels in contrition. They are placed forward in the frame and highlighted against a dark backdrop. The doubtful bystanders are veiled to varying degrees in shadow and set back from the major action of the scene.

Judith Slaying Holofernes by Gentileschi

Name: Judith Slaying Holofernes
Artist's Name: Artemisia Gentileschi
Date: ca. 1614
Period: Baroque
Material: Oil on canvas

Gentileschi was greatly inspired by Caravaggio and this fact is obvious in Judith Slaying Holofernes. The highly theatrical lighting and placement of the figures close to the viewer against a darkened background, and the dark subject matter make this painting very much like a Caravaggio. There is a lot of drama and emotion in this piece: the fear and pain on Holofernes' face while he struggles to push the women off him, the determination in the faces of Judith and her maid as they hold the man down and remove his head, the blood spurting and staining the bedsheets. Gentileschi was also adept at the use of color. The red of Holofernes' blanket mirrors the spraying blood and the trim of Judith's dress.

Death of Sardanapalus by Delacroix

Name: The Death of Sardanapalus
Artist's Name: Eugene Delocroix
Date: 1826
Period: Romantic
Material: Oil on canvas

This painting was inspired by the Lord Byron poem but the ending is shown quite differently. Sardanapalus hears that he is under siege and there is no hope for fighting back so he watches as everything he "loves" is destroyed before he burns to death on his funeral pyre. This isn't so much the death of Sardanapalus as it is the death of his servants, concubines and horse. For some reason, the authors of the book [Gardner's Art Through the Ages, 12th Ed. Vol. II] thought it necessary to emphasize how "sexy" this painting is, using words like "orgiastic" and "erotic". They don't say why they suppose that this is a "fantasy of the artist" but it really makes me question their interpretation rather than the artist's intention. The Romantic period focused on telling exotic stories to take the viewer away from their regular lives.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

David by Bernini

Name: David
Artist's Name: Bernini
Date: 1623
Period: Baroque
Material: Marble
Purpose: Commission for Cardinal Borghese

Unlike the Davids of the Renaissance, Bernini's David is shown in action, rather than in repose after action. His hips swivel and his shoulders turn in preparation to release the stone from his sling and take down Goliath. Also unlike Renaissance sculpture, Bernini's David is not "self-sufficient". He requires more physical space to move into and directs attention away from himself to the imagined approaching giant. His twisting body and the intense expression on his face add drama along with the theatrical billowing of his garment.

The Swing by Fragonard

Name: The Swing
Artist's Name: Jean-Honore Fragonard
Date: 1766
Period: Rococo
Material: Oil on canvas
Purpose: Private "intrigue" picture

Rococo themes centered on love, pursued through erotic frivolity and playful intrigue. Artful fantasy paintings became ornamental reflections on the cherished pastimes or the wealthy French. Fragonard's The Swing is typical of this personal keepsake style. An unsuspecting old bishop pushes a pretty young woman on a swing. In front of her lies her lover, the work's patron, strategically positioned. As the swing reaches its full height, the woman kicks off her shoe at the statue of Cupid holding a finger to his lips, boldly and flirtatiously lifting her skirt in the process. The glowing pastel colors and soft light convey the theme's sensuality.

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Galerie des Glaces at Versailles

Name: Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) at Versailles
Artist's Name: designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Charles Le Brun
Date: ca. 1680
Period: French Baroque
Purpose: Overlooks the park from the second floor and extends alomg most of the width of the central block.

When Louis XIV gathered together a veritable army of architects, decorators, sculptors, painters and landscape architects to convert a royal hunting lodge into a palace, it because the greatest architectural project of the age. The Galerie des Glaces is probably the most famous of the richly decorated rooms and halls at Versailes. Its original furniture, including gold and silver chairs and bejeweled trees, has been removed but the halls splendor is retained by the hundreds of mirrors set into the wall opposite the windows, which gives the room an expansive quality.

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Friday, May 1, 2009


Wow, it's been nearly a month since I posted last. Sorry for that! There's been a lot happening here at BP HQ:

1) My no-product experiment lasted about a week. Perhaps I'll try this again in winter after I cut a good deal of my hair off. Trying this on hair as long and thick as mine in a Florida summer when the a/c in your car doesn't work? Nahhh...

2) Started, freaked out over, and completed my final paper for Art History. I went to class one day when I was about half way through and my teacher says, "Oh, by the way, your papers only have to be 1,500 words!" Everyone cheered! ...Except for me. I was already at 1,800 and assumed I was heading for 3,000. Seriously cut down on the amount of analysis I was planning. I think after all the editing and rearranging my argument to fit a smaller word count, I still ended up with about 1,800 words. Anyway, I'm pretty proud of it, considering, and if Blogger would ever make it so that I could put things behind a cut in a post, I would post it here. In the meantime...

3) I still have my final exam which means ten pieces to study and I might end up with a few of them on this blog, as I have done before. I skipped posting for my last test but may throw in a couple of those anyway. I'll have to go back and look to see if any of them were really interesting. The reason I didn't post them is because...

4) My laptop got broken. I don't know exactly how. It wasn't with me at the time. All I know is that the LCD screen was WAY cracked and that Kyle isn't allowed to take it to school anymore. My laptop is a MacBook and I really, REALLY could not afford to get it fixed professionally so we figured out how to fix it ourselves, ordered the part, and did so. The only problem was when we tried to put the hinge cover back on, we may have accidentally ripped the data display cable just a weensy bit. We ordered that part and it's here now, waiting to be installed, but because of finals and fear, we haven't quite gotten around to it. But hopefully once we get that all slapped together my computer will be good as new again, which was actually not all that good and I seriously doubt I'll ever be buying another Apple computer. It's Just. Not. Worth it.

Yesterday, I got my copy of the Fiction Writing class anthology. It's...actually a little embarrassing. Either the copy editors really dropped the ball on a lot of this stuff or the writers themselves didn't bother to make the necessary edits but in either case, the grammar and punctuation alone are pretty painful. I really enjoyed the class though, and I really enjoyed having a deadline that required that I sit down and write creatively. I'm glad I took it.

Today I need to make up a grocery list and whenever Kyle gets home from studying at the library we'll head to the store. I think tomorrow his grandparents are going to be stopping by for dinner and their way out of Florida back to North Carolina. My Art History final is Wednesday morning and then I'm done, baby!

I'll be updating again soon with a few AH snippets. Baroque to Modern, yay!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Derailing for Dummies

I posted this on my Facebook (*eye roll*) but I'm posting it here for posterity's sake.

In face to face conversations, people will use these tactics but somehow usually manage to have a little more tact about it. On the internet, however, forget about it. Anonymity and the opportunity to experience other people as textual blurbs on a personal computer screen give one near absolute permission to behave like a tremendous dickwad.

This lovely satirical piece (which is also dead serious) outlines how you, too, can marginalize and insult practically anyone!

Derailing for Dummies

Saturday, April 4, 2009

No 'Poo

I have been hearing about this "No 'Poo" regimen for a while now. I've decided to try it out because I like the idea of not spending so much money on hair care products, not creating so much waste (think of all the shampoo bottles alone you've used up in your life, not to mention conditioner, hairspray, and other products), and letting my hair do what it wants to do naturally (a lesson I learned begrudgingly after many years of fighting with it). I'm going to try the baking soda washes and apple cider vinegar rinses at first instead of just quitting cold turkey. I don't think I could handle the oil overload that would arise from just rinsing with water at first. If, later on, I feel that it's working out for me, I'll try to use baking soda and vinegar less until perhaps I won't use them at all. That is, IF I get very far. There's a possibility I'll cave and go running back to my Herbal Essences shampoo for long hair like I'm on fire and it's the only pond in town. There's also the possibility that this will ruin the ends of my hair, drying and snapping my strands like a Slim-Jim. Since I sort of expect this to happen, I feel this is a good time to attempt this experiment since I've been thinking of cutting my hair a little bit anyway. I haven't even had a trim since last July and my hair is down to my shoulder blades. I can afford at this point to lose an inch or two. I haven't quite decided what to do about my patron saint, St. Fructis of Leave-In Conditioner. It's the only styling product I use. I guess I'll just have to figure it out as I go.

Anyway, I'll be updating about my progress, probably with little regularity. If anyone wants to join me in this, that would be cool too!

BTW, I probably will not be calling it the "No 'Poo" trial because I think that is a ridiculously stupid name. I'll probably call it "not washing my hair" or "not using product."

No Product, Day 1:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Your Plot Points Suck Too

Dear everybody in my Fiction Writing class,


Love, Karlen

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Porch Garden Season 2 Episode 2

I took some more pictures of my porch garden the day before yesterday. I had finally remembered to charge the battery for my D200 so they're much fancier than the last set.

Oh, but first! That morning, Kyle and I made veggie Benedict. Toasted croissant, sliced tomato, poached egg (huge hassle!) and homemade Hollandaise (I'm a fantastic saucier, by the way):

Convolvulus sprouts:

Oregano and Tarragon:

Morning Glory:

Phlox sprouts:

Fiddle Leaf Fig:


Everything is doing really well. Sometime this week I need to get more soil and put the Convolvulus and tomato sprouts in a pot. The Morning Glory is going crazy! I can't wait until it blooms.