Friday, February 25, 2011

The Friday Evening Nudes (and Happy Hour)

Tonight's nudes feature contains images I found just today, so I am displaying them with no particular theme, mood or common thread.  There is smattering of Modigliani.

Arthur B. Davies,
Rhythms, ca. 1910
Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum

Robert Henri
 Another of The Eight 
Milwaukee Art Museum

The Eight- A group of American painters who united to oppose various traditions upheld by the National Academy. They exhibited together only once — in 1908, but the effect of their gesture was to strengthen the advance of modernism in the United States. The Eight included five painters associated with the Ashcan school: Robert Henri (1865-1929), George Luks (1867-1933), William Glackens (1870-1938), John Sloan (1871-1951), and Everett Shinn (1876-1953), along with Maurice Prendergast (1859-1924), Ernest Lawson (1873-1939), and Arthur Bowen Davies (1862-1928).

Akseli Valdemar Gallen-Kallela


And there you have it. A melange of nudes. Enjoy your Friday night and be sure to scroll down this post for tonight Happy Hour.

Happy Hour Friday

My favorite American Diva, Emmylou Harris, singing the Neil Young song, Wrecking Ball.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Artist Birthdays in February

At the beginning of this year I had a goal for the blog that I would try to post about artists' birthdays each month. So before the month of February (blasted February, I tell you) is over (can't wait),
Here are some artists, all American, who have birthdays this month. I am very patriotic about the arts, if not at all about most other things! 

One of my favorite American artists, Grant Wood's birthday was the 13th.  He was born in 1891.

American Gothic
this one lives in Gallery 263,
The Art Institute of Chicago

Winslow Homer's birthday will be tomorrow, February 25. 

Sleigh Ride
Sleigh Ride lives in my neck of the woods, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

And another neighbor, Norman Rockwell, born in New York on February 3, 1894.

Another good Norman Rockwell bio here

The world of these men isn't anything like what I've experienced as a naturalized American. But having lived in The Berkshires (Norman Rockwell country), I can easily imagine the postcard quality of that era applied to the place.

Rockwell's son Jarvis does the Berkshires no justice but his artworks are mildly amusing.  Here is a video of Jarvis Rockwell playing with the small plastic toys which made a pyramid "sculpture" entitled Maya, at Mass MoCA. The Girls loved it! A collection, yes but art, hmmm, not sure!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ABC Wednesday - F

F is for Freud
 British painter, born 1922
Lucian Freud bio

"A painter's tastes must grow out of what so obsesses him in life that he never has to ask himself what it is suitable for him to do in art."
- Lucian Freud 


Lucian Freud’s tireless exploration of the human form, removed from the romantic pedestal, and examined in the most minute and disturbing detail, makes him the most interesting British painter of his generation.
Freud has produced stunning figurative paintings and portraits for over sixty years, but these lesser known etchings reveal a much more delicate approach to his subjects than his oil paintings. In this interesting mix of paintings and prints spanning six decades, Starr Figura, the curator, has engineered a fascinating glimpse at the bones behind Freud’s paintings. His first etchings were produced in the 1940’s after which he abandoned the technique for over thirty years, returning to the plates in the 1980’s. In spite of Freud’s use of color in his oil paintings, his subjects are always bleak. For Freud, the hard reality of an image is far more interesting than anything imagined. Etching, a process in which a reverse image is scratched with special needles on copper plates, is a technique that lends itself to Freud’s relentless eye. His vision is as exact and uncompromising as the hairline etches in these black and white prints. The result is powerful and a little disturbing, as though things are being magnified when we asked for no such thing. Freud is foremost a portraitist, and his unerring and often unflattering images speak of the immense depths behind the simplest objects and things. Few contemporary artists can claim the ability to capture a human emotion so precisely and so unflinchingly. His occasional forays into non human subjects show similar ability, whether it is the dense flora of his garden or the exquisite form of his dog, Pluto, which is one of the finest etchings on display.

Self-portrait with Black Eye 
c. 1978
(This self-portrait by Lucian Freud nursing a black eye after a brawl with a taxi driver has sold for £2.8 million at auction)

Lucian Freud's paintings are not easy met up-close and personal, as they mostly found in private collections. People appear to want to keep Freud's work close to them. They are profoundly personal and original images. Freud's viewpoint on the human figures he captures on canvas certainly makes him, in my book, one of the greatest living figurative painters in the world. PS

Girl With a White Dog

 Double Portrait

"I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be."
Lucian Freud

"Full, saturated colours have an emotional significance I want to avoid."
Lucian Freud


"I am only interested in painting the actual person, in doing a painting of them, not in using them to some ulterior end of art. For me, to use someone doing something not native to them would be wrong. "
Lucian Freud

Interior A

 "When I make a painting, I paint as if it is the only painting I am working on.  Or, further, I paint as if it is the only painting that I have ever made.  Or, even further still, I paint as if it is the only painting that anyone ever has made."
- Lucian Freud

 Two Men

Lying by the Rags1989-90

"The paintings that really excite me have an erotic element or side to them irrespective of subject matter. "
Lucian Freud

 The Artist's Daughter and her Husband

 Portrait of Bruce Bernard
"The aura given out by a person or object is as much a part of them as their flesh."  
Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud's paintings are not easy met up-close and personal, as they are mostly found in private collections. People appear to want to keep Freud's work close to them. They are profoundly personal and original images. Freud's viewpoint on the human figures he captures on canvas certainly makes him, in my book, one of the greatest living figurative painters in the world.


WhiteHot Magazine
The Artchive
Brainy Quotes
Transposition Blog
 Web Art Academy

ABC Wednesday

Monday, February 21, 2011

Three Years

Some days I don't even know who I am and about this, I am quite uncertain. However, I do know that about three years ago, during a particularly mixed bag of ongoing drama (some of it was good), I started a blog. I knew what to call it and why. But I knew little else about how this thing would march forward, for better or for worse.

Three years later, Pagan Sphinx thinks she knows a little bit more about who she is. This could be terrifying but it's also kind of exciting. No confetti thrown, no cake served. Maybe some tambourine shaking and singing. Definitely no human sacrifices.  ;-)  Just a hello and thank you and I love you to those of you who have come here often, some over the three years. Including and especially WP (the future Mr. Pagan Sphinx), The Girls (super, super girls) and CR. 

Love all; trust a few; do wrong to none.
William Shakespeare 

I think that qualifies as the blog's official quote. Now to find room to put it somewhere.  ;-)

It's almost March!!

Much love,
Pagan Sphinx

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Snippet

'Erotic is using a feather,'' she said. ''Pornography is when you use the whole bird.''
Isabel Allende 

This is the third snippet I've taken from the book Aphrodite - A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende. If you're coming upon this series for the first time, you can click here and here for the two previous snippets.

In the recipe section on Hors d'Oeuvres Allende writes this...

Tidbits are to the table
what kisses are
to lovers: a delicate demonstration
of what is to come later,
when you slip into something more
comfortable. They are served to accompany a cocktail
or glass of white wine before moving
to the table. Or, in some cases,
when the urgency to make love
is so strong that
there is no time to lose,
they can take the place of a meal.

and includes several fine recipes. I have chose the one with figs, as I am a lover of figs. Specifically, figs bring me back to my childhood in Portugal, where fig trees are as abundant as apple trees in the Northeastern U.S. So for me, a fig is not just an item I can pick up at the grocery store for $2.50 per piece but the fruit I once picked in a friend's cultivated fig orchard in Portugal, along with my cousins, on a hot summer day in the late 90's. There were so many spoiling figs on the ground beneath each tree that our hostess insisted on getting us bags to take as many home as we wanted. I would have collected more, had I not been so busy eating them as I walked along, content to be in the moment with an abundance of my favorite fruit and the hot sunshine on my bare arms and neck. What a feeling!

I wish I'd known about this recipe then.

Widower's Figs
pg. 230
These tidbits lead to sin, and you always want more. The bursting figs suggest a certain urgency, and everyone appreciates the sensuality of the sweet and spicy combination.


 1 scant cup (8 ounces) semi-hard white cheese,                    
such asgoat cheese
1 tablespoon Salsa Picante
1 large apple or grapefruit 
4 large ripe figs


Cut the cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and coat in the salsa picante. Spear on cocktail picks and insert into the apple or grapefruit (I prefer the grapefruit). Place in the center of a round plate and surround with peeled and quartered figs.

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