Friday, September 6, 2019

Artist Friday Feature

Sir Peter Paul Rubens

28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish artist. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens's highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation. Rubens specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. Rubens was a prolific artist. The catalogue of his works by Michael Jaffé lists 1,403 pieces, excluding numerous copies made in his workshop.[2]
His commissioned works were mostly "history paintings", which included religious and mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the royal entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria in 1635.
His drawings are predominantly very forceful and without great detail. He also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems.

Early life[edit]

The garden designed by Rubens at the Rubenshuis in Antwerpen

Rubens was born in the city of Siegen to Jan Rubens and Maria Pypelincks. He was named in honour of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, because he was born on their solemnity.[3] His father, a Calvinist, and mother fled Antwerp for Cologne in 1568, after increased religious turmoil and persecution of Protestants during the rule of the Habsburg Netherlands by the Duke of Alba.
Jan Rubens became the legal adviser (and lover) of Anna of Saxony, the second wife of William I of Orange, and settled at her court in Siegen in 1570, fathering her daughter Christine who was born in 1571.[4]
Following Jan Rubens's imprisonment for the affair, Peter Paul Rubens was born in 1577. The family returned to Cologne the next year. In 1589, two years after his father's death, Rubens moved with his mother Maria Pypelincks to Antwerp, where he was raised as a Catholic.
Religion figured prominently in much of his work, and Rubens later became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting[5] (he had said "My passion comes from the heavens, not from earthly musings").[citation needed]


Portrait of a Young Scholar, from 1597

In Antwerp, Rubens received a Renaissance humanist education, studying Latin and classical literature. By fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the city's leading painters of the time, the late Mannerist artists Adam van Noort and Otto van Veen.[6] Much of his earliest training involved copying earlier artists' works, such as woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi's engravings after Raphael. Rubens completed his education in 1598, at which time he entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master.[7

Italy (1600–1608)[edit]

In 1600 Rubens travelled to Italy. He stopped first in Venice, where he saw paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, before settling in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga. The colouring and compositions of Veronese and Tintoretto had an immediate effect on Rubens's painting, and his later, mature style was profoundly influenced by Titian.[8] With financial support from the Duke, Rubens travelled to Rome by way of Florence in 1601. There, he studied classical Greek and Roman art and copied works of the Italian masters. The Hellenistic sculpture Laocoön and His Sons was especially influential on him, as was the art of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci.[9] He was also influenced by the recent, highly naturalistic paintings by Caravaggio.

The Fall of Phaeton, 1604, in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Rubens later made a copy of Caravaggio's Entombment of Christ and recommended his patron, the Duke of Mantua, to purchase The Death of the Virgin (Louvre).[10] After his return to Antwerp he was instrumental in the acquisition of The Madonna of the Rosary (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) for the St. Paul's Church in Antwerp.[11] During this first stay in Rome, Rubens completed his first altarpiece commission, St. Helena with the True Cross for the Roman church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
Rubens travelled to Spain on a diplomatic mission in 1603, delivering gifts from the Gonzagas to the court of Philip III.[12] While there, he studied the extensive collections of Raphael and Titian that had been collected by Philip II.[13] He also painted an equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma during his stay (Prado, Madrid) that demonstrates the influence of works like Titian's Charles V at Mühlberg (1548; Prado, Madrid). This journey marked the first of many during his career that combined art and diplomacy.
He returned to Italy in 1604, where he remained for the next four years, first in Mantua and then in Genoa and Rome. In Genoa, Rubens painted numerous portraits, such as the Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), and the portrait of Maria di Antonio Serra Pallavicini, in a style that influenced later paintings by Anthony van Dyck, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.[14]

Madonna on Floral Wreath, together with Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1619

He also began a book illustrating the palaces in the city, which was published in 1622 as Palazzi di Genova. From 1606 to 1608, he was mostly in Rome. During this period Rubens received, with the assistance of Cardinal Jacopo Serra (the brother of Maria Pallavicini), his most important commission to date for the High Altar of the city's most fashionable new church, Santa Maria in Vallicella also known as the Chiesa Nuova.
The subject was to be St. Gregory the Great and important local saints adoring an icon of the Virgin and Child. The first version, a single canvas (now at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble), was immediately replaced by a second version on three slate panels that permits the actual miraculous holy image of the "Santa Maria in Vallicella" to be revealed on important feast days by a removable copper cover, also painted by the artist.[15]
Rubens's experiences in Italy continued to influence his work. He continued to write many of his letters and correspondences in Italian, signed his name as "Pietro Paolo Rubens", and spoke longingly of returning to the peninsula—a hope that never materialized.[16]

He was one of the most beautiful artists I remember while in my Art History classes in college and one of the focal points I recall is my 
instructor showing us how to be invited into a painting.  Do you see something red in the painting? It invites the eye in, and lets it explore the other details of line, color, form and unity.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Mining For Characters

You have a plot in search of a cast. Ever notice how so many story folks sound alike? It's the same way comic books denizens look like brother and sister; the artist draws them with the same consistency as he signs his signature. We need to mine a little deeper for characters who've left their marks on us.

Real People  Here you get a unique vocabulary, pet words, mannerisms, style and slang. But don't let your character become this person to the detriment of his role in the story. Shy away from celebrities and those who might recognize themselves. And we don't want our cast too real, nattering off down side streets the way we do, because they have to stay on script. A surprising number of authors on the Amazon forum admit to doing this (what, me?), though it has to be disclaimed on the copyright page.

Books and Magazines Lorna Doone was the model for my virtuous wizardress, but being wimpy and boring, the Lorna model needed a dash of fire and determination. Sometimes a face in a magazine will be just the look you've pictured for a character, whether major or minor. When an enigmatic wallet photo of a woman fell out of a library book, a forgotten bookmark, I was off and running with a story about a succubus who snares victims with a cursed photo. Sort of how the curse was passed on in the film Night of the Demon. You have to get some other chump to accept it. For the record--no, she didn't get me.

Video Games Funny glitches in the PS2 game Summoner prompted the model for my quirky sorceress. This gal threw fireballs that clipped her own teammates, got left behind when doors closed on her, and disrupted cut scenes with noisy and spectacular healing spells. Oddly, the king didn't seem to notice this disrespect.

TV, Film, Occupations  Science types are precise and logical; foreigners may pause to search for the right word (for accents, a little dab'll do ya); and let's not forget your own skills and experience. In the ghost story The Invited, Jennifer McMahon's protagonists Helen and Nate carry out much of their dialog while building a house. The author creates a married couple imbued with her own skill set, which grounds them in their DIY personas. The wife's quest for haunted building materials is a major subplot. Find the characters hiding in your own attic for memorable stories.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Art: Approach To Locklor Castle

Particulars  Acrylic, 7x10 inch on canvatex.

Where's the castle? you ask. It's the gray silhouette at the V of the mountain valley. Nope, that's no castle at upper right. It's a happy accident I'm calling an abandoned Roman fort. It's already a thousand years old in the scene, set in the year 1099, when the First Crusade is winding down. There's a signpost up ahead--not the Twilight Zone, but a fictional locale on the Dalmatian Plateau, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. The castle and its school of magic is the launch point to a parallel world, courtesy of the dimensional gate at the lower frontier of its haunted labyrinth.

We've established that clouds must have soft edges. One way is a wet blend, working fast because of acrylic's short drying time. An easier and more painterly way is dragging a nearly dry brush along the edge, coaxing pigment along the grainy canvas surface.

Now the real fun! Low light here obviates the need for fussy detail in the rocks. Load the brush with several colors (don't forget blue), then apply in a stippling method for clusters of unpredictable shapes. Brush it for instant wet blends where you want subtle shadows. This necessarily creates an impasto technique with raised whorls and ridges, though it's only visible on the original.

Another fun touch is allowing some peaks of white canvas to show through. These make additional shapes, maybe patches of snow, or just random glints that sparkle for added interest--just one more mystery luring the viewer into your world. Take these techniques for a spin to see if they work for you.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Honorable vs. Dishonorable Journalism

Five Core Principles of Journalism

1. Truth and Accuracy

Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. We should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts we have and ensure that they have been checked. When we cannot corroborate information we should say so.

2. Independence

Journalists must be independent voices; we should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural. We should declare to our editors – or the audience – any of our political affiliations, financial arrangements or other personal information that might constitute a conflict of interest.

3. Fairness and Impartiality

Most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, stories should be balanced and add context. Objectivity is not always possible, and may not always be desirable (in the face for example of brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.

4. Humanity

Journalists should do no harm. What we publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.

5. Accountability

A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold ourselves accountable. When we commit errors we must correct them and our expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical. We listen to the concerns of our audience. We may not change what readers write or say but we will always provide remedies when we are unfair.

Does journalism need new guidelines?

EJN supporters do not believe that we need to add new rules to regulate journalists and their work in addition to the responsibilities outlined above, but we do support the creation of a legal and social framework, that encourages journalists to respect and follow the established values of their craft.
In doing so, journalists and traditional media, will put themselves in a position to be provide leadership about what constitutes ethical freedom of expression. What is good for journalism is also good for others who use the Internet or online media for public communications.

Accountable Journalism

This collaborative project aims to be the world’s largest collection of ethical codes of conduct and press organisations.
The website has been developed as a resource to on global media ethics and regulation systems, and provides advice on ethical reporting and dealing with hate speech.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

From Whence Post Ideas?

Insightful ideas make us bloggers more than pedestrian key bashers. Okay, so we type just south of 100 WPM on Keyboards worn to ghostly letter fragments. We strive to both inform and entertain. If some unexpected wit causes you to snort coffee on the screen, then pardone, monsewer! Mission accomplished. Lets' mine three of the most popular fields.

Books  Your review style might be influenced by your favorite writers. Former poet laureate Ted Kooser's hometown anecdotes were the soul of his book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual. In one story, he describes setting a super-heavy post for a shed. It's a one-man operation, and he has no lifting tools like a chain fall. His solution did our primitive forebears proud.

The late Lester Bangs, once active on the rock 'n' roll scene, defined the term "hipster irreverence". When he needed just the right word, he invented one. See his coffee table book Blondie. At the very least, you can't complain about all the gorgeous pics of Debbie Harry.

Art  Every picture both tells a story and has a story, in terms of background and technique. If reviewing another artist's work, some common ground will have resonated with your muse. Maybe it's how some of the Impressionists did multiple takes, like Monet's Haystack series or his views of Rouen Cathedral. Ol' Nick once did six versions of the same sunset, ranging from straightlaced to gonzo.

Writing  We all have our favorites among the plethora of topics on the craft. For me, it's characters and dialog. But that's another post.