Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Music Post

In reading several posts in the past few days (e.g. Vic's band post and mjenks ), I've noticed many were about music in one form or another. Before college, I was a fairly decent trumpet player (all state, etc), and even now can play the solo from the Pulp Fiction theme song. Plus, I thought I would do honor by posting a video-ish thing for Anna Russell who got off her lazy duff long enough to post some excellent Scottish girl speak.

Where is all this going, you might wonder? It had me thinking about a fugue classical-type sketch that I was working on about 6 years ago, but never finished (maybe it was going nowhere). Anyway, it was through an Alesis synth and Proteus for strings, so not super high production values. Does anyone have a good ending for it? Please don't laugh too hard or throw tomatoes.

Also, to keep the neo-classical vibe going, please consider these knockers as you listen.

Italia: Ho musica incompiuta, per favore aiutame. Inoltre, ti piace la battenti?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fun with Statues

While I was working into the early hours of the morning last night on the sculpture head of my dad, I noticed it was taking on an uncanny and unwanted resemblance to Christopher Walken... *scrape* *scrape*, then it was back on the right track. One trick I've found that's kind of neat when sculpting is to squint your eyes (intentionally fuzz out detail) to get the bigger shape elements right. Then for middle of the road detail and fine details, keep your eyes open as long as possible while looking at it and your mind will fill in detail which is not even there! It's really scary when you see what you are doing looking back at you. Its the same for me with portrait mosaics, I start with the nose, eyes and eventually, it is a face that seems to be peeking through a white sheet of lime plaster with a mind of its own.

If you have some time to kill, related to all this sculpture stuff this is a fun trick you all can try at the museum, park or somewhere like that where realistic sculpture is present. Stare at a statue face (preferably marble or light colored stone) and eventually it will seem to move or shift its eyes. I'm talking about the kind of unblinking stare that causes your eyes to water, you know like you are in a staring contest with a cat. Then hold it for 30 seconds more... I've even seen lips move on my Thalia Muse bust, but was unsure of what it was saying to me exactly. I think low lighting works best.

By the way, this is not my statue, in case there was any confusion.

Se stare in un volto di statua, per un periodo sufficiente, sembra di essere vivo.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wine Tasting (degustazione di vini)

I was thinking of going to a wine tasting soon and came across a suitably neo-classical legend.

Apparently, Romans believed that drinking from a cup made of amethyst (amethustos) prevents innebriation. Aristotle wrote it was the name of a nymph that Diana was protecting from Dionysus. Unexpectedly, as is the case with most mythological stories, she was changed into a gem to enact the said protection. So then Dionysus changes the gem color to purple in rememberance, thereby making it the antidote to the bad effects of drunkeness, or maybe hangovers? I have some great amethyst slabs for the mosaics, so maybe I could pour some wine off those and deflect into the mouth? If only I had a piece large enough to hollow out a damned shot glass!

Besides amethyst, another material I'm looking for is Blue John as in the Crawford Cup in London. Apparently they sculpted this, and it was among the most prized drinking vessels of the emperors.

Speaking of Dionysus, I think I'll re-read Euripides translated account of the Bacchantes to get into the wine tasting mood.

What do you all think of this mosaic design for a table on the schedule? It would probably use lots of amethyst...

Per Italiana:
Stavo pensando di andare a una degustazione di vino e leggere una leggenda neo-classica ottimo.I romani credevano che bere da una tazza fatta di ametista (amethustos) impedisce innebriation. Aristotele è stato scritto il nome di una ninfa che Diana era la protezione da Dioniso. Inaspettatamente, come avviene con la maggior parte delle storie mitologiche, fu trasformato in un gioiello a costruire il protezione. Allora Dioniso cambia il colore al gioiello a viola in memoria de lei, così da rendere l'antidoto al male di drunkeness effetti, o forse dei postumi della sbornia?

Ho una tegola ametista grande per i mosaici, forse ho decantare versare un po 'di vino e coloro deviare in bocca? Se solo avessi un pezzo abbastanza grande da intagliare un biccierine! :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Venezia Love

In 2006 I was lucky enough to stay for a September week in Venice before travelling to points further South. The actual people that lived there were back from holiday and it was the most gorgeous architecture I've ever seen. I can appreciate buildings that are a few hundred years old and still standing (since in Texas, almost everything has been built in the past 150 years), but in Venice even the mundane apartment buildings and storage spaces usually have awe inspiring histories. If you go, don't miss the Correr museum for an awesome Roman statuary collection. They recently opened a new interesting museum about plague victims found on Lazzaretto Vecchio, so much history here.

Of course, the Romans had not settled here, they were further to the South in Araminium (Rimini, the Adriatic port with ocean water as silty and disgusting as the Texas coast unfortunately). But, many places I looked at in Venice showed a nod to the neo-classical and Roman influences. A marble sculpted statue head over a doorway, ancient style cornices, mosaics and reliefs... And, it is amazing to walk the streets at night without car noise or exhaust, everyone walking.

If anyone wants to rent a second floor out on an old palazzo, call me, I'll quit my day job and be on the first flight out, for real!!

Venice to me is fragile in its aging beauty. It won't last another 100 years because of the rising sea levels, and despite the bluster from the citizens about the sea of tourists and typical local government squabbles, I saw in some of the citizens there the sad awareness of how things will go. I could live here making art and making trades forever and be happy, I think.

For Soda and Candy, I promised a post of the most bizarre shoes I have ever seen anywhere created at a shop in San Marco. I was passing by back to the hotel and had to take a picture.

Mi Amo Venezia!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's Cooking (che cosa griglia? non pietre)

Super busy at the day job this week, so today it's about cooking (which I'll be doing this weekend).

But of course not just any cooking! I bring to the esteemed readers' attention the 'De re coquinaria' (on the subject of cooking) by Marcus Gavius Apicus.

*Warning - Only click on the link if you are not about to (or just have) eaten.

After reading the hundreds of suggestion type recipies, it pains me to say it but I can only conclude that Roman cooking was total B.S. by today's standards. Just wine and bread for me, thanks...

Here is a recipe that might have gone over well in antiquity (non-vegetarian, but if you just read all that other stuff, you've got some thick skin) :

Instead of a Dormouse fillet, start with 4 lbs flank or skirt steak (most all fat trimmed off), place on cutting board, salt lightly, and then pound out with a hammer (not the one you use for chiselling stone like exhibit 13, or the weird kind with the sadistic tendorizing spikes). Pour on the lime juice from the typical green plastic containers. When you think you have too much lime, just a little more. Then very lightly dust with cumin and a bit of oregano. Next a 2 tablespoons of silver tequila (then drink some so you are in more of a 'fajita-y mood'). Grind pepper over it and then about 1 cup of dark soy sauce. Work all the ingredients into the meat, and grill to just on the well side of medium.
Serve with sauteed onion / bell pepper and flour tortillas, oh yeah, and beer (or tequila since it is still out and you are probably tipsy).

Italiana -

Romani sono incapace di cucinare bene, il libro lo dimostra :)

Così ecco la mia ricetta per fajita:

1.7 kg di bistecca (sale poco, poi colpito con martello),

.2 liter succo di lime

poco cumin,

poco oregano,

30 ml tequila argento,

.2 liter salsa di soia

Griglia!!! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Drawing (disegnare artisticamente)

After thinking about Chaka's thought provoking post on left vs. right brain thinking, I'm compelled to sing the praises of the book 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain'.

Before reading this book my scribbles were really pathetic. But after working through all the exercises, my painting and drafting skills are at least twice as good (have to accept the fact that I'll never be an Albrecht Durer, but maybe good enough for my purposes).

So if you find yourself with some time and a pencil, paper, spray paint, or maybe even some old rocks and a cave wall, be sure to get a copy of this book and work through it if you want to draw like the wind (not sure, but that sounded inspiring)...

Here is a completed? exercise from the book where you have to draw upside down. I wonder what that guy is thinking?

Qui è un disegno pratica del libro 'Disegno sul cervello a destra'. Il libro è meraviglioso per aumentare la capacità di disegno. cia-ciaooooo...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ft. Worth Art Fair (fiera d'arte di Ft. Worth)

I was out this weekend scouring the best paintings and what-nots that the area had to offer. In terms of realism painting, it was kind of disappointing. There were some quirky ones with indoor views that focused mostly on walls and windows out to boring landscape and a guy that did a nice surreal white rabbit from 'Alice in Wonderland', but he wanted too much for what it was. Most of it was the giclee computer generated crud that looks great from say, a football field away. Thinking about blogging friends, I imagined that Mo would appreciate this bizarre sculpture because of his affinity to early morning disturbances.

(All in all, it was a very weak showing for realism / neoclassic subject matter)

On a tangent, tonight I put on the old 'inconspicuous' clothing and went to a disreputable establishment of 'convenience'. In said location, I proceeded to purchase several thousand Texas Lottery tickets in hopes of helping out fun blog friend Girl Interrupted who is awesome, gorgeous, learns Latin at MJenks place, and so perfect (especially if she is reading this).

After filling up two garbage bins with 'scratch off shavings', I couldn't believe my eyes. A winner... 20 USD!!! Not quite the return I had hoped for; maybe some currency contract straddles next month would be better?

Sono andata ad una fiera d'arte di questo fine settimana. La maggior parte delle opere d'arte è stata molto deludente (o troppo costose).
Ehi! Ho anche acquistato un biglietti che hanno vinto... ahahaa

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dallas / Ft Worth Art (arte a Dallas/Fort Worth)

Here is the wonderful Dallas Museum of Art where today I saw a

lovely pair of Tuts...

So I'm invited here for a 'mock' auction, or 'mocktion' I guess, put on by Sotheby's. It's like they are training the donors, bleh. Anyhow, the after-parties are always good I guess.

Much more exciting, is the Fort Worth art festival all this weekend. I might pick up some quality neo-classic goods, there should be about 250 artists with booths if it's like last time.

Wish me luck :)


per Italia:
Il presentazione di 'King Tut' è ancora in Dallas. Il museo vuole a tutti di andare offerta in un'asta. Domani, spero di acquisto presso la fiera d'arte in Ft. Worth.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New sculpture started, and it's got me short stacked (nuova scultura)

...and the faceless bastard didn't reraise into my flush chasing after the flop just now. I think I know his tell though, so he's on the ropes.

Ok, the tie-in to neoclassical stuff and art is tenuous, but I had to show off my chips because Kimmizzie and Lopez like poker. And, the clay bust will be one of my dad, not some sort of weird 'modern art' thing like a mannequin sculpture or something.

And here is a closer shot of the Paulsons. Does anyone read Spanish well? I designed the logo / layout, so don't tell me if I screwed up the translation at the bottom (I don't want to know).

Italiana --- Ecco alcune poker chips fatto che una ditta per me. La nuova scultura sarà di mio padre. Non è completo, ma è vincente. Ciao...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ancient Betting (scommesse antica)

So I was playing Texas Hold 'Em the other day (as people in Texas do, yuk yuk), and was thinking about what kind of procedures the folks in antiquity followed when placing bets. It appears from this ancient mosaic (not mine) that they placed the money on a table with a caduceus (symbol of god 'Mercury') and a palm leaf (symbol of victory)...

From this, I can only draw the conclusion that 'Mercury' was a loser. In retrospect, not having the pagan symbols is probably why I lost the big pot with 'trip hooks'...

On a completely different subject, I love Christie's auction house. Here is a painting in a lot that speaks to me (figuratively). Just nice neoclassical landscape, ahhh they don't make them like this much anymore. But if someone does, please send me a catalogue.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mosaic Portrait of Shelly (ritratto a mosaico di conchiglie)

This weekend, I started a new ambitious project based on a personification of 'Spring' in El Djem (Tunisia, second century Roman portraiture), but pictures aren't ready to go walking just yet. So instead, here is a boring sea shell work in marbles I did for my bath area about a year and a half ago.

It's weird to wonder whether most sea shells looked exactly the same 2000 years ago. Maybe they seemed larger because people were proportionately smaller? Jack Handey also mentions that probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than a striking surface attached to some sort of stick, but I digress.

Here is the same mosaic In-Situ (academic-sounding fancy-talk for 'installed').


versione italiana...

Di cui sopra sono i miei mosaici conchiglie per la zona bagno. Ho iniziato un nuovo mosaico di questo fine settimana, il soggetto è Girl Interrupted belissima come 'Primavera' di El Djem (Tunisia, Sec. II). Un giorno senza amore è proprio una perdita di tempo.

Ciao a tutti!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Non-artistic post

Completely off the wall subject, but am I the only one that sees that Sarah Alexander (Coupling, etc.) has an uncomfortable resemblance to Hugo Weaving (Elrond in LOTR, Agent Smith in Matrix)? I can't watch any of those movies without hearing Jack Davenport going 'Oh, but Elrond...' I would advise against them ever dating just to be safe.
As a nod to what the blog is about, here are some pretty marbles from antiquity (not mine).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Niche Market? (questione di nicchia per l'arte)

I need some aesthetic opinions from the artful or at least the opinionated about my art niche. A while back I carved out a typical ovolo molding from a piece of marble to fit over the bare sheetrock that was the base of my art niche.

Here it was in process... I'd recommend using a zinc cutout of the profile taped on if you try this at home.

And, here is how it looks at the moment (with tiles stacked precariously).

I can't decide if I want to
1) put matching tile marbles cut in hundreds of rectangles with carved stone on the front edges, giving it a solid stone appearance OR
2) put carved stone on the front edges all the way around the perimiter and just plaster the back with a fresco (no designs, just antiquated color).
Does the marble tile approach remind of a WC?
I also was thinking of incorporating some gold Orsoni tile, but I'm not sure of how to make that look good unless the entire thing was mosaic...
Non riesco a decidere se voglio
1) mettere tegola marmi tagliati corrispondenti in rettangoli con pietra intagliata sul fronte bordi, dandogli l'aspetto di una solida pietra ...
2) mettere in pietra scolpita sul fronte tutti i bordi modo per aggirare il perimiter e solo la parte posteriore con un affresco (non i disegni, antiquato colore solamente).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Roman Stones (pietre di Roma)?

So last fall I was swimming just off the shore of a small town in the Var (France in case anyone's not up on Jeopardy world geography category). My foot bumped up against a strangely shaped stone so I dove down to pick it up. It looks kind of like a thumb or big toe from a statue(no jokes here please), but I'm not sure enough to have the museum do a TL or something to see if it's authentic. It seems to be a worked piece of stone because of the straight angle underneath that it is cut at (not visible in the photo). If it is from a statue, it would have had to been huge.

What do any readers think? 1) Artifact or 2) What, it's a rock you goof...

Recently, I've read 'Understanding Roman Inscriptions' by Lawrence Keppie which is a comprehensive survey into reading all those wordy pats on the back that the Romans were so fond of. Hopefully, I can apply some of this in abbreviating carvings for the pool area in a realistic way. I was thinking of using the unpolished side of the slab here (cut to golden rectangle on the right side) and typical name dedication in small letters, but large letters for the Latin phrase for 'Relax and Play', which will involve carving a 'u' as a 'v' which is almost as cool as carving one of those combination 'ae' letters. I'm thinking gilding on the inside of these letters, but maybe bronze cast after taking a mold.

Speaking of bronze, I wish the foundry I emailed would get back with me about the cost of casting lectus couch legs given the plaster models... Maybe they are waiting for copper prices to go back up?


Nell'autunno scorso mi è stato nuoto vicino alla Var (Francia). Mio piede urtato contro una strana tipo di pietra, così ho colomba a venire a ritirarlo.Sembra come una sorta di grande dito per una statua?

Che cosa qualsiasi lettori pensano? 1) Artefatto o 2) è una roccia, che l'uomo è un pazzo! ...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Resin cast complete (Medusa resina è finito)

Finally, after reading Louis Slobodkin's nice book on sculpture with all the handy tips about plaster casting, I have a resin and marble dust copy. This is still not the end product, but will be used to get reference points for drilling into real stone. One cool tip picked up from that book is when you are making the plaster mold over a clay original, pick an odd color like blue pigment powder mixed in with the first thin layer of plaster. Then proceed with white for the rest of it. So, when you are chipping off the mold from your casting, you see the blue when you get close to the cast part. Otherwise, this face might be missing a nose or something... Maybe that would have made it more real looking (ancient)?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bar Like a Temple Floor (Tempio Piano Birra)

My Medusa mold is done and I have the positive in resin and marble dust finally. But, it is not photoworthy yet, so here is a project from last year. I was impressed very thoroughly with the interesting stonework in ancient Pompeii and wanted something other than plywood for the top of the bar. So, I settled on a marble square in square pattern with a raised lip around the sink. I still need to do a relief and mosaic combo in the background, but it's like a blank page and I have writers' block.
Qui ho fatto la quadrata in quadrata di marma per il bar... è ispirato da Pompei. Mmmm, birra :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Everyone Just Back Away from the Window (Si prega di ritornare fuori dalla finestra)

Sorry for the off topic (non-neoclassical or artistically related) post. Things are not as bad as they seem, so hopefully the folks outside the G20 meeting can just settle down a bit and stop the ridiculous rioting. I'm at the window, but I'm not jumping.

This from an employee of Lehman during the collapse... I'm proud that the company didn't get bailout money from the US. Life in a free market goes on... But, not if the government takes over everything and spends us to oblivion. I sincerely hope the EU won't cave to the pressure from our goofy administration. And getting rid of 'mark-to-market'? Right, if we ignore the trouble it goes away? That really is some Hope(tm).

Update... they didn't cave to the excessive spending (except the IMF increases).


Mi auguro che la E.U. non ascoltare Obama's motivi a spendere di più. Grandi problemi che succede se (Per Lehman, ho lavorato in private equity, non fare problemi come in NY, ahaha).