Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Month: August 2015 Page 1 of 2

Artdog Quote of the Week: Where is your Heart?

Truth. Dare to live it!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Robin Kish’s “Clever Turn of Phrase” Pinterest Page, which alerted me to this quote, and to “Just Short of Crazy’s Quotes,” which is where Robin got it!

Artdog Photo of Interest: Politicians Discussing Climate Change

This is a real sculpture in Berlin, Germany.

The sculptor is Isaac Cordal. The title is Follow the Leaders (2011), and it’s part of Cordal’s “Cement Eclipse” series.

IMAGE: Thanks for the image go first to Isaac Cordal’s website, and second to the Sierra Club’s Facebook Page, where I first saw it.

Artdog Quote of the Week: Cool? or Awesome?

Are you getting in some good practice sessions?

IMAGE: Many thanks to the Dump a Day Blog for this image.

Artdog Image of Interest: Science Literacy

In honor of school starting all over the country, here’s a thought to ponder:

More and more schools are requiring that kids be vaccinated before they can attend. But have you ever thought they could be “vaccinated” by attending and paying attention?

IMAGE: Man, this was a hard one to track down, even with help from TinEye Reverse Image Search. The original photo seems to have come from Time Magazine in 2008. If I put the clues together correctly, it first appeared on the Logic and Science Tumblr in this form, and was quickly picked up by the I F**king Love Science Facebook Page (at least, according to “The Best Page in the Universe“), though I could not locate it listed there now.

Why I Love Art Museums (Part Two)

Frightening furniture . . . a Wish-Granting Cow . . . and an 8th-Century multi-tasking mother: Just a few of the many reasons why I LOVE art museums! You never know what you’ll find.

Back in 2009, I kicked off my art-oriented blog, Artdog Observations, with a post called “Why I Love Art Museums.” I’m no longer juggling two blogs, but I still love art museums–especially our local Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, where I’m a member of Friends of Art. I had lunch there with a friend recently, and found some fun things to share with you.

Frightening Furniture 
There are many things about the Victorian Era that would make contemporary Americans scratch their heads. But the Nelson-Atkins has a couple of gorgeous pieces of mid-19th-Century furniture that would seem right at home in a horror flick, if you look at them right. 

Designed by Gustave Herter, carved by Ernst Plassmann, and manufactured by Bulkley and Herter, this magnificent bookcase dates to 1852-53, and resides in the Nelson’s Gallery 215.

The first is a fabulous carved bookcase with sumptuous wood carvings and leaded glass inserts. It is a fabulous piece of furniture . . . and, as my friend pointed out, it looks haunted. We think the leaded glass inserts look like ghostly Cookie Monsters, with wide-open mouths, white eyes, and an angry unibrow. We informally dubbed it the “Haunted Bookcase.”

Charles Baudouine’s 1855 settee is a striking piece of furniture in the American Art collection of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Gallery 215. Unfortunately, in this photo it’s not clear that the medallion at the center of the back-rest is a rather scary-looking face.

Then we turned around and realized the nearby settee also had a rather grotesque, goblin-like face in the medallion at the top center of the back-rest. We called it the “Scary Settee.”

I remember when I was a little kid, when lots of the family was at my grandparents’ house, my sister and I would sleep on the floor under the carved black Victorian dining table. We’d make up ghost stories or other tales. I think if we’d had the Haunted Bookcase and the Scary Settee to inspire us, our fictive collaborations would have been a lot spookier. 

A Wish-Granting Cow 

Kamadhenu, The Wish-Granting Cow

Upstairs in the South Asian galleries, I discovered an intricately carved, functional religious sculpture from Western Deccan, India. It depicts Kamadhenu, The Wish-Granting Cow. Kamadhenu not only has gorgeous, intricate carvings, with bells on (literally), she has a reservoir inside and little metal tubes in her udder that allow her to “give milk.” She’s beautiful, she’s ingenious, and she’s a wish-granting cow! What’s not to love?

An 8th-Century, Multi-tasking Momma
Then I walked into the Gallery 229, filled with funerary ceramics from ancient Chinese tombs.

The wealth of wonderful characters you can meet in this gallery boggles description. But the one who caught my eye on the latest trip was the multi-tasking momma on the camel.

In the middle of the room, I encountered someone who appears to be a consummate multi-tasker, and also something of a wish-granting milk-giver, herself. She is the Central Asian Caravan Woman Rousing her Camel while Nursing. She’s made of earthenware with unfired coloring, and she’s been frozen in time and mid-action since the 8th Century. 

Central Asian Caravan Woman Rousing her Camel while Nursing

I like this versatile momma. Central Asian women lived hard, stressful lives in her time period, yet this one seems to be balancing her life as adroitly as she balances on top of that camel. The camel doesn’t seem any too pleased, but Momma is clearly in charge. I bet her kids behaved, too!

IMAGES: The logo for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is from their website’s “Welcome” page. I took the photo of the “haunted bookcase” myself. The piece of furniture we called the “scary settee” is shown in a photo of the gallery on the Nelson-Atkins website. Kamadhenu’s photo is from her catalog page on the Museum’s website. The image of the main Chinese gallery is also from the Nelson-Atkins website. The Central Asian Caravan Woman’s image is from her catalog page. MANY thanks to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO–both for a fun afternoon with my friend, and for the images I used for this post.

Artdog Quote of the Week: If you don’t educate . . .

In honor of the start of school in many places around the nation and the world this month, here’s a thought to bear in mind:

Always true, even if you don’t like paying taxes. 
I would prefer not to think that manipulation is the plan of those who seek to slash education spending or shunt money away from public education, thereby creating even more obstacles to equality for the poor than already exist. 
I would like to be able to say with confidence that this is not the plan of those who would deny higher education to those who were brought as small children to my country, by parents seeking a better life. 
I would like to think that everywhere in the world, people are coming to the realization that educating girls is the best economic idea we’ve seen in ages, because of the predictably positive results, and that those who would rather kill or rape them than educate them are a dying minority.
I would like to. But I fear it would be a lie.
IMAGE: Many thanks to the Urban Drops Facebook Page, for this image!

Artdog Photos of Interest: Glowing Shadows

I did not know a shadow could glow.

I would have said one can’t.
I would have been wrong.
What is it?
Here is the source: 
These photos actually were taken almost exactly a year ago (so much for timely delivery), but I still think they make an interesting “Visual Experience.” I hope you do too.
IMAGES: All photos were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, on August 18, 2014. They are my work, though you have permission to use them, provided you don’t alter them, and give an attribution and link back to this blog! The car is a 2009 Cadillac CTS, in case you wondered.

Voice Actor Tribute: Robin Williams

Voices touch our lives in ways we may not even realize. For many of my friends, this is one of the voices of their childhood.

Gone a year. Still not forgotten.

IMAGE CREDIT: Many thanks to Sheila M. Gagne for this tribute collage. See more of her work on her Facebook Page. Thanks also to Ty’s Shufflings, for alerting me to this material.

Artdog Quote of the Week: What’s Behind the Words?

Here’s a good guideline for life . . . not to mention writing dialogue. 🙂

How well are you listening?

IMAGE: Many thanks to my friend and fellow writer Lynette M. Burrows for sharing this quote, and to the Wisdom Facebook Page for posting it!

Artdog Image of Interest: Brian Gordon, on How to be an Artist

Oh, God, how true. 

All of which is still no guarantee you’ll also, like . . . make money at it.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Brian Gordon’s wonderful Fowl Language Facebook Page. Go there–Officially “Like” it–Enjoy!

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