Marc Dennis

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(Click thumbnails to enlarge them.)

New York painter Marc Dennis stretches botanical Latin to breaking point, while producing some beautifully witty paintings. His work is highly skilled and hugely enjoyable. I particularly like the subtle references to Looney Tunes characters in his series of flower paintings.

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Hybrid # 16, Florigium Loonus Toonus # 2

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Hybrid # 50, Florigium Clownus Smackus (Enlarge this one for wonderful detail!)

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Hybrid # 19, Florigium Bling Bling

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Hybrid # 15, Florigium Loonus Toonus # 1

There’s a great series of drawings on his website. Marc is skilled draughtsman with top skills in comic style illustration.

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Assholes on cellphones # 4 (I can’t explain. OK)

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Jesus F*cking Christ #1 IRAQ

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World Trade Center #5 Madre De Dios

The only drawback to his site is #6 In Charley Parker’s list:

Use tiny, square thumbnails with a nondescript crop from some obscure corner of the artwork.

… and (worse), big images that vanish when you move your mouse from the thumbnail, to prevent you saving the image. This obviously does not work, otherwise I would not have been able to present you Marc Dennis’ work today.

Ah well. Enjoy.

Art & Design in The British Film # 8 Edward Carrick

Continuing a series about Art Directors in the British film industry up to 1948, when the book containing these articles was published.

This chapter deals with Edward Carrick, (1905 – 1998) who said:

“I believe that the film in the hands of the artist could be the greatest medium of expression of all time”.

( I have to say that I echo and cheer that statement wholeheartedly.)

Click the images to enlarge them
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Captain Boycott, 1947 This film launched Stewart Granger’s career.

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Fires Were Started, 1943 (Sorry for the quality of this image, it was a very small original.)

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Captain Boycott

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(Another small original.)

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Accused, 1936
This picture starred Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Dolores Del Rio.

The full text of the chapter is below the fold…. Continue reading

How to Install WordPress in Your Own Web Space – Video

If you are installing WordPress for the first time, and all you’ve known about website design so far has been based on Dreamweaver and HTML, then it might seem a bit strange, or even daunting, when the time comes to get WordPress up and running on your site.

Show In A Box have made a great video that explains the whole process in easy steps.

Even though the installation instructions at WordPress.org are very clear, it’s when you look at the detailed version of the instructions that your head can start to buzz with technical terms you’ve never encountered before. I wish I had seen this video before I installed WordPress on my website 15 months ago. It would have removed a lot of my noob style uncertainty about the whole process.

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If your website is hosted by 1&1 webhosting (as mine is), then this video has extra value for you because it focusses on setting up the (required) MySQL database within the 1&1 control panel. It makes the whole business look so easy.

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The 1&1 Control Panel – setting up the database for WordPress

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Success!

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Now Get Blogging!

This is the default theme, called “Kubrick”. There are thousands of other themes to choose from, and most of them are free. This site uses a minimalistic styling called Plaintxtblog, designed by Scott Wallick a clean theme called “Shades of Gray, designed by Leslie Franke to work with the “Sandbox” framework, in collaboration with Scott Wallick..

WordPress can import all your old posts from other blogging platforms like Blogger, and a long list of others.

The feature of WordPress that appeals most to me is the ability to have static pages that work just like a regular website, as well as the journal style blog.

And then of course there’s the thousands of plugins…..

Via Matt

Painters I Should Have Known About (009) Santiago Rusiňol, Part 1

I posted a teaser question about this mystery painter way back in March. I really didn’t imagine that it would be quite so long before you’d see the answer to my question: The painter was Santiago Rusiňol i Prats, to give him his full title.

I’ve unearthed so much material about Rusiňol, that I’m going to split his story into a few parts so as to avoid creating one humungous and indigestible post that people will just want to skim over when they see the size of the scrollbar on the right.

Anyway, here’s the original teaser picture again, please click the thumbnails to enlarge.:

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The scene shows a beautiful terraced garden in a valley in Majorca, just as the almond trees begin to blossom in Spring. Rusiňol painted this view in 1904 and returned in 1911 to paint the same view from a little higher up the hill.

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We’ll come back to Rusiňol’s love of landscape (and particularly to his relationship with flowers and gardens) later.

Allow me to first show you the Rusiňol picture that originally stopped me dead in my tracks for long enough to wonder “Who the heck painted that!!!

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This evening light view was painted in Sóller on the north coast of Mallorca (=Majorca) in 1905

I was knocked sideways by the bold and luminous colour scheme that combined so well with the temperature contrasts between foreground and background. The picture is bursting with contrasts; of tone, temperature, texture and saturation.

Rusiňol and his contemporaries effectively brought modernism to Catalonia at the turn of the 19th Century. Needless to say, they picked up the modernism bug in Paris.

But first, a little geography 101 for those who are unfamiliar with the smaller European states and provinces. Click the map to orient yourself in Rusiňol’s world.
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The Balearic Islands, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, do not strictly belong to the autonomous community of Catalonia (=Catalunya), but there are a lot of similarities in dialect and outlook.

I hope that gives a clear picture of where he came from, but what is more significant from our point of view is the times that he lived in.

Here are his dates: Born in Barcelona, Spain, on the 25th of Feb 1861, and died in Aranjuez, Castile, Spain on the 13th of July 1931. He is still fondly remembered and respected in his land, not just as an innovative painter, but also as a writer and playwright. He was a true polymath.

Born into a well to do bourgeois family, he was orphaned when quite young and was raised by his grandparents.

He trained alongside his grandfather in the successful family textile business. At the age of 20 he set off with his close friend, the painter Ramon Casas, on a prolonged journey through the picturesque countryside of Catalonia on foot and by horse drawn wagon, writing up their experiences in a book.

Here’s a picture of Ramon Casas by Rusiňol –
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And here’s Rusiňol painted by Casas –
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The distant call of Paris, centre of all that was exciting in the art universe at that time, became irresistible to Rusiňol and Casas, so in the early 1890s they decided to get away from the provincial scene in Catalonia and strike out with Miguel Utrillo for where the action was.

Just for fun, here’s the little landscape behind Rusiňol in the picture above: –
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The trio spent a huge amount of time at a pleasure palace called “Moulin de la Galette”, which was a sort of fairground, dance hall, and cabaret all rolled into one. It was situated in the up and coming suburb of Montmartre, where the astonishing cathedral of Sacré Cœur was under construction at the time. (If my shaky grasp of Spanish serves me, I believe that the three painters actually lived within the grounds of the Moulin for a while.)
(The “Moulin” in the name means Windmill. At that time there were actually two windmills in the pleasure grounds. It was high on a hill.)
Some pictures:

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This camera view was taken in the late 1890’s

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Painted by Rusiňol, Circa 1891

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An assortment of characters standing at the entrance of the pleasure gardens. Fine looking hat on the chap on the left.
This looks fairly shabby from today’s perspective, but we must presume that it looked fantastic at night when all those lamps were lit and the partying began in earnest.

It was establishments like this that gave Montmartre its bohemian reputation in the era of the Belle Epoque.

Little remains of it today except for a rather well preserved but non-functioning windmill and part of the entrance way.
thumbnail of The Moulin today
Today’s tourists tick it off their lists, and move on.

The picture below gives an indication of the party atmosphere at the Moulin in the 1890’s.
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There was a very rich mix of clients, and all manner of entertainment on offer.

Slightly off topic here, but this next picture of the nightlife at Moulin de la Galette was painted by an extremely youthful compatriot of Rusiňol….
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…The nineteen year old Pablo Picasso.

Renoir was there making it look pretty –
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And wherever there was drink, dancing and decadence you were sure to find that other famous party animal –
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Henri, the wayward scion of the Toulouse-Lautrec family.
(He should really remove his hat in the presence of a lady. After all, she has been polite enough to remove hers.)

A couple more pictures of Rusiňol and his mates –
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Looking rather dapper in a big top hat.

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Posing as down and outs with (Left to right) Santiago Rusiňol, Ramón Canudas. Miguel Utrillo, and the sculptor, Enric Claraso. (google ‘em)

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Rusiňol and his fellow Catalan expatriates horsing about with an unnamed female.

Back to Rusiňol… Although he seems to have had a whale of a time larking about with the demi-monde of bohemian Paris, he began to focus on the deserted and rather desolate daytime aspect of the amusement park as a subject for his paintings.

I’ll show you some of these haunting paintings in my next post.

Site Maintenance This Weekend – Slight Pause During Upgrade

I’ll be upgrading my web hosting over the weekend, so there might be an interruption of service.
I hope it all goes as smoothly as 1 and 1 predict.

The good news is that I’ll have the use of a second MySQL database.

(Later) That all seemed to go very smoothly. Congratulations to the team at 1&1.
You might notice some changes round here that are a direct result of gaining that extra database.
There again, you might not! (Pay attention at the back, please).

One for Luc Desmarchelier

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(Cliquez l’image minuscule pour l’agrandir)
There’s a less scabrous version here, albeit with terrible pincushion distortion.

Rummaging around on the Onslow auction site for some posters by Eric Kennington, I came across this little gem by a French poster artist that I’d never heard of before; Jean d’Ylen. Socks were blown off. Have a look at this next one:

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Is this boy the boss of poster composition, or what? There’s only one place your eye can possibly focus.

I found the Kennington posters I was after, but just before I left the site, I was abruptly pulled up by this poster design that’s frankly so weird and whacked out that I believe the artist must have been paid in kind by the Gilbeys company.

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(Click to embiggen)

wow.

D’Ylen wasn’t just a very competent poster designer. In true French tradition, he placed enormous emphasis on the theory behind his practice, and wrote a book on the economics of poster advertising.
He was way ahead of his time.

Fantasy / Reality Barrier Leaking Again

The fragile borderline between fantasy and reality suffered another major rupture yesterday as a sizeable chunk of the totally fictitious town of Springfield surfaced in downtown Burbank.

Where once had stood a perfectly normal 7-11 store, there’s now a Kwik-E-Mart.

thumbnail of Burbank Kwik-E-Mart

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The detail on the fascia board looks very, er, realistic.
(Click to enlarge)

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Genuine Springfield foodstuffs were on sale, including Squishees and Krusty O´s

Fortunately, several sharp eyed photographers were at hand to report on this weird event that has apparently happened elsewhere in the USA.

To demonstrate that the reality / fantasy breech is a two way portal, it was announced that passers by could just as suddenly appear in the fantasy world, if they so chose.
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Apparently there’s a movie opening soon, and there was me just thinking that they were all on some crazy new reality bending drug.
Here’s the reality bit.