Tag: art

pablo neruda 100 love sonnets poetry spanish chile love relationships

Pablo Neruda — Poet Of The Day

Pablo Neruda — Poet Of The Day

I love Pablo Neruda because he’s real. Even his most famous poem: ‘I love without know how, nor when, nor from where’ is the most sugar-coated of all his work — it still doesn’t sound perfect.

His relationship with Matilde was very complex. He was married to his second wife when they met and they could not be together publicly until fifteen years later. He was already a public figure at this time, and she had a life of her own. She was an amazing woman who was the first ever female physical therapist in Chile. They both couldn’t go public with their affair and Neruda didn’t want to hurt his wife. He held off publishing his famous 100 love sonnets until years later.

pablo neruda 100 love sonnets poetry spanish chile love relationships

This poem is incredible. Oftentimes these ‘relationship goals’ we set for ourselves are unrealistic. Pablo Neruda paints a very real portrait of the complexities of connections between people.

I love that about his poetry. It shows how real life is. Nothing is so cut and dried, and nice and tidy, tied up with a bow. We always think we will meet our soul mate in the simplest way. But life can be messy. I hope you all meet the love of your life when you are willing and able to be with them. But it might not always work out that way. When things seem too complicated, just remember, Neruda wouldn’t have been able to give us this poetry if his life was easy and simple.

john ashbery some trees new york school poet poem poetry

John Ashbery

John Ashbery

Today’s poet of the day is John Ashbery, who passed away Sunday at age 90.

I am so sad I never got to meet him. He was one of my favourite poets of all time, and he’s the reason for my love of all New York School poetry.

john Ashbery’s poem ‘Some Trees‘ is one of the most amazing works of modern poetry. Although I talked about it in the linked post, I wanted to revisit this beautiful poem. I think they are different every time we read them.

john ashbery some trees new york school poet poem poetry

Someone asked me to read this poem at a wedding once. I had to say no, I don’t really believe this is a love poem. John Ashbery was very young when he wrote this, and instead of reflecting the blind idealism some associate with youth, this poem shows us a sense of disillusion. It’s almost as if he already knows that no matter how amazing something is, in the end reluctance always creeps in.

When I first read it, I thought this poem was about meeting someone who saw the world the same way you did. And I still think it is about that, only now I can’t help but think it is about settling as well. Eventually, no matter what a whirlwind something was, it all must settle down.

I’m sure in the future I will have a different interpretation for this poem, but in the mean time, share your thoughts with me.

Rest In Peace John Ashbery

Bernard Boutet de Monvel -- Art Of The Day

Bernard Boutet de Monvel — Art Of The Day

Bernard Boutet de Monvel — Art Of The Day

Today’s art of the day is from Bernard Boutet de Monvel.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel -- Art Of The Day art deco mrs warren pershing painting portrait design architecture rectilinear style nature background

Bernard Boutet de Monvel was the father of the ‘profile picture.’ See what I did there? A lot of his paintings of people were done in profile. His style was the precursor for the Art Deco movement in art and design. It’s something known now as ‘rectilinear’ painting. It’s a term reserved for architecture and drafting. If you remember my earlier posts, I’ve talked a bit about the bridging of the gap between art, science, and engineering.

What Bernard Boutet de Monvel did was bridge the gap between art, design, and architecture — a natural procession in my opinion. Art and design are very closely related, and the connection he made helped solidify him as an imperative figure in the art world.

The above portrait of Mrs. Warren Pershing is very seamless in my opinion. The background is further away, and it looks almost like she stepped into the shot, ‘photobombing’ this picture of a landscape. There is something very interesting about that. However, it doesn’t look forced or awkward. She seems to belong and fit in right where she’s standing.

There’s a lot of detail in the background, making it just as important as the subject. This confirms my earlier statement that Bernard Boutet de Monvel sought to connect art and design.

London calling Lucian Frdud kitty garman

London Calling — Art Of The Day

London Calling — Art Of The Day

For today’s art of the day, I wanted to take it back to the London Calling exhibit I saw at the Getty last summer. I loved his exhibit, all the artists were incredible. But what really grabbed my attention are the changes I noticed in Lucian Freud’s work.

London calling Lucian Freud kitty garman

London calling Lucie Freud portrait of bowery

The painting of Kitty Garman with her cat was painted in 1947, one of Freud’s earlier works. The portrait of Bowery was painted in 1991. Lucian Freud was a painter who questioned sexual identity and chose subjects whose sexuality was inconsistent or ‘fluid.’ Leigh Bowery was a gay icon who died shortly after this painting was made, from complications from AIDS. Freud himself was involved with both men and women throughout his life. What all of this says about Freud’s own sexuality is something his grandfather Sigmund would have to answer.

What grabbed my attention is the insane attention to detail in the portrait of Kitty, versus the harsh rendering of Bowery. The first painting was done in 1947, and other paintings of Kitty in the years to come were also done in the same style as the portraits of Bowery. It could be argued that Freud was just discovering his style. However, I think this was something more; perhaps another question for Freud’s grandfather. The ‘unflattering’ way he drew his later subjects is in direct juxtaposition with the almost manic attention to detail in his earlier works. I wonder what goes through an artist’s mind when they make these kinds of changes.

I can say that London Calling was one of the best exhibits of modern art that I have ever seen.

five life-changing books Solzhenitsyn Hemingway Memoirs of a geisha herman hesse glass bead game albert camus a happy death

Five Life-Changing Books

Five Life-Changing Books

No longer able to choose just one book to talk about, I bring to you five life-changing books to read this summer. Yes, I know it’s almost August, you better get started!

five life-changing books Solzhenitsyn Hemingway Memoirs of a geisha herman hesse glass bead game albert camus a happy death

Cancer Ward – Solzhenitsyn.

The ultimate allegory, Cancer Ward uses cancer as an analogy for the sweeping effects of Stalinism. It affects everyone, doctors, high-ranking officials, and the common man. The reason this book is number one on the list of books that have changed my life is because I am tremendously touched by Solzhenitsyn’s lack of anger. Cancer Ward is basically a memoir of his life after imprisonment in Stalin’s gulag. Solzhenitsyn has every right to be bitter, resentful, and downright furious at this point in his life. He was imprisoned for no reason, and now, once ‘free’ (or as free as possible, living in exile), he has cancer. However, the main character, Kostoglotov, has so many tender and gentle qualities.

Once he is free (from cancer this time), he walks around town and sees the world in a different light. This ending taught me a lot about seeing everything from a different perspective. Once you let go of anger, everything is seen anew. I hope to carry that lesson with me for the rest of my life.

The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway.

Every Hemingway book has had a tremendous effect on me. The Sun Also Rises was yet another lesson on how to see things from a different perspective. This book was a close tie with Number one on my list of five life-changing books. I’ve read Hemingway’s works many times over, and each time they affected me differently. Most recently, I saw his endings as not a loss, but a chance to start over. Many people believe he is depressing, but he doesn’t portray emotions. Hemingway is the father of showing without telling. He just writes words, what you perceive as ‘the meaning’ is a reflection of yourself.

The beautiful scene of the bulls goring the steers, with Bill constantly repeating, “must be no fun to be a steer,” was yet another allegory – my favorite rhetorical device. The whole book is filled with opportunities to add your own interpretation to what’s happened. This book taught me to find hope and faith in a situation where it seemed there was none. This is something I have used time and time again throughout my life.

A Happy Death (La morte heureuse) – Camus

I never read Camus knowing full well he was an Existentialist writer. Later on, I sought out to read Camus to learn more about Existentialism and to become more philosophically advanced. I never knew A Happy Death was his first book either. Turns out, it is a study of the Existentialist concept of creating your own happiness. In a way, this book was a kind of prediction for my future behavior (or maybe my behavior is a result of having read it?). I always believed that happiness is something you need to make for yourself, will for yourself.

Another aspect of Camus’s books that always stays with me is his descriptions. He is an excellent painter of landscapes. I constantly learn from him how to describe surroundings to make the reader genuinely see the places around him.

The Glass Bead Game – Herman Hesse

If you’ve never read anything by Hesse, The Glass Bead Game is a compilation of all his most famous themes: the meaning of life, following your heart, and the harmony and flow of life. There are a lot of allusions with the names of the characters, and in the German language, a lot of word play. For me, the concept of the main character leaving his post to pursue what he feels he really is destined to do, is invaluable. In this book, music works to create a sense of harmony between the mathematical and artistic aspects of the Glass Bead game. It’s a beautiful foray into a fantasy world where intellectualism is of greatest reverence.

Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

Probably the only modern book I actually like. I read this book at a time in my life when I was “in love” with someone who did not love me back. This book, taking place in Japan at the cusp of – and during – World War II, made me feel like it is possible for me to have true love. It was one of those Romeo and Juliet type things, where it seemed like so much stands in their way, it will never work out. But it did. This book filled me with hope, and even though now I realize how silly my little crush was, the hope is something I chose to keep with me.


I hope this post didn’t bore you to tears, and I urge you to check out one of these five life-changing books if you haven’t already!

Mapplethorpe orchid shadows flowers

Some More Mapplethorpe

Some More Mapplethorpe

Today’s art of the day is some more Mapplethorpe. In my last post about him, I talked about his balance of delicacy and toughness by using flowers to render phallic objects. This photograph is from the same series. Mapplethorpe shows the delicacy of the flower, and it’s toughness in the shadow.

Mapplethorpe lily shadows flowers

It is amazing how something can look so different in the shadow.

The shadow of the orchid is so different in character from the original object.

Seeing this, I am reminded of perspective. Sometimes we get so lost in our thoughts, we get tunnel vision. Our problems seem unsolvable. Seeing this photograph reminds me to look at things from a different angle. There’s something quite beautiful casting this menacing shadow.

Things are not always as they seem.

michel leiris alberto Giacometti art drawing sketches

Alberto Giacometti — Art Of The Day

Alberto Giacometti — Art Of The Day

Today’s art of the day is Michel Leiris Frontal View, by Alberto Giacometti.

michel leiris alberto Giacometti art drawing sketches

Michel Leiris was a surrealist writer and later published magazine articles on his friends, one of whom was Alberto Giacometti. It’s interesting how the two friends ‘paid each other back.’ Leiris by sitting for him, and Giacometti for letting himself be interviewed.

Giacometti was a draughtsman and I find it interesting how he chose to render the face. He treated this sketch as a draft with all the horizontal and vertical lines. This drawing is dissecting. Like my last post about Harold Edgerton, this drawing once again makes me think of a bridged gap between art and science, engineering.

The face is not something traditionally drawn with science in mind. A portrait is traditionally artistic, and conveys emotion. Giacometti showed a more scientific approach to portraiture. Even the title of the painting, “Frontal View,” conveys a scientific approach. This is the title of building drafts. Yet the artistry is not sacrificed. The emotion is still conveyed on Leiris’ face.

I think bridging the gap between science and art is an artist’s greatest strength.

on the beach at night walt whitman poetry poet view trees

On The Beach At Night

On The Beach At Night — Walt Whitman

Today’s poem of the day is Walt Whitman’s On The Beach At Night.

on the beach at night walt whitman poetry poet view trees

I probably should have taken this photo on the beach at night, but the light might not be too good :PPP

One of m favourite lines in poetry is found in this poem:

‘They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden
shall shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again, they

Lately, I’ve been thinking aout how we feel we’re not getting what we want, like we’re not even close. I’ve had that feeling a lot, and I always remember that I don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. Everything we get can be thrown away if we think it’s not what we want. Or we can take everything we receive with gratitude and trust that it is a component of something much greater. And we will see only in the future how it all comes together.

I love that about art. How it makes us think and puts our lives in perspective.

Later on in the poem Walt Whitman changes his tone and style of the poem. He goes on to say that there is something much greater than all the stars, planets, and moons. What do you think he was talking about?

harold edgerton papa flash photography art motion critical moment

Harold Edgerton — Photo Of The Day

Harold Edgerton — Photo Of The Day

Today’s photo of the day is from none other than Harold Edgerton, the father of the flash. He was an engineer at MIT and created his photographs using cameras and flashes of his own invention. Without him, the compact flash we know and love today, would not exist.

harold edgerton papa flash photography art motion critical moment

It is always interesting to me when someone of a science background bridges the gap with art. It shows how close the two really are. This photo captures the ‘critical moment’ of photography. A lot of Harold Edgerton’s photographs deal with capturing motion. From an engineer’s perspective I can see the need to view motion broken down into separate parts.

But looking at this from an ‘art’ perspective I’m always interested in the photographer’s desire to capture this. Is it really necessary to see something as swift as motion or action broken down into small, digestible parts? And furthermore, why do people in general have a desire to have things explained and made clear to them?

I love reading too far into photography, and Harold Edgerton and his photos always make me think of the human need to know and understand the world around us. Is it a healthy desire or is it the hubris of humans to feel like we are superior?

There are so many unexplainable things around us every day. Just like the other day, we were talking about the Mandela effect and false memories. Sometimes it might be best to shrug and say, ‘This is just how it is.”

Just Kids Patti Smith Robert Mapplethorpe book art photography history musician

Just Kids — Book Of The Day

Just Kids — Book Of The Day

Today’s book of the day is Just Kids by Patti Smith.Just Kids Patti Smith Robert Mapplethorpe book art photography history musician

Okay, can I just say, it took me two days to finish this book AND I was at work the entire time. Just Kids grabbed me and totally pulled me in. I love Mapplethorpe, so it was a no brainer why I would read this. But if you’re interested in history, how our modern culture came to be, pick up this book.

I usually just walk through a bookstore and read titles and take whatever gets my attention. I trust some other higher power to direct me to the book I need to read. There was something about this book that made me pick it up. Just the title alone is absolutely perfect. It’s about when Patti Smith came to New York with just the clothes on her back, and met Robert Mapplethorpe. They were just a couple of kids.

I seriously can’t explain how much this book touched me. It wasn’t anything in particular, but I felt like her depiction of Mapplethorpe was exactly how I’ve imagined him to be. It is amazing that he was able to project himself so clearly through his photography, that I felt like I knew him.