Tag Archives: paint
Kjell Aukrust was a legendary artist, humourist and illustrator. He is most famous for his wacky stories from a particular part of rural Norway, full of bizarre and hilarious people, inventions and creatures. They make little sense to people from other countries, the Danes certainly do not get it at all. I grew up with […]
The Codex Borbonicus (or Codex Cihuacoatl) is a divinatory almanac inscribed in a single 14.2m long sheet of bark paper. A masterpiece of Aztec style, the codice is believed to have been made after the arrival of the Spanish. Its first section is an intricate divinatory calendar, one of the few surviving. Each page represents one of the 20 trecena or 13-day periods, […]
Audubon’s birds have been released to Public Domain! John James Audubon’s book Birds of America is usually listed among the rarest books in existence. The reason for this is that the French ornithologist used the laborious technique of hand-coloured etched and aquatint plates, which means that there only about 200 complete sets done. A set fetched £7.3m at auction […]
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 – 1717) was a remarkable woman in many ways. She was a very talented scientific illustrator and had a passion for insects. According to David Attenborough, she contributed immensely to taxonomy in entomology and the understanding of metamorphosis, and she was the first person who travelled on purely scientific grounds. Though she was […]
In a lot of medieval manuscripts, there are depictions of knights fighting snails. No one seems to know why this is. There are some theories, but so far nothing really conclusive. It might look like some sort of insider thing, maybe among scribes or illuminators. I love that sort of thing: mysteries in plain sight. Delightful. […]
A dutch artist – known only as A. Boogert – created a book of colour in 1692. Describing the use of colour in painting, s/he created an 800-page book with instructions on how to create hues and tones. It blows my mind, actually. The work, the meticulousness, the systematics, and not least: a book like that would […]
As mentioned in a previous post, I have dragged out some old tools and materials and started gilding again. In my previous life as a bookbinder, I bought a very old gilder’s cushion that actually sits on top of a drawer. I have not seen this anywhere else; it seems a well spent USD30. Supposedly, […]
I can’t talk about inspirational art for very long until I brush the subject of Magic: the Gathering. I’ve been playing this geekery-heavy card game for almost twenty years now. In that period, a humonguous amount of fantasy art has been produced by a myriad of artists. It was this art that drew me to […]
Thore Hansen was one of my childhood heroes. His drawings were magic then, and they are still magic now. The best known of his children’s books illustrations are the ones accompanying Thor Åge Bringsværd’s stories about Ruffen. Ruffen is a “small” sea dragon, and the books tells the story of his adventures. This post was […]
Since we are on a roll with old books and manuscripts, I give you the 240-page Voynich manuscript. It is an unsolved enigma: a manuscript found in Italy; the paper has been dated to between 1404-1438. It contains text in an unknown script, unknown language, and illustrations of non-existing plants, constellations and humans apparently doing inexplicable […]
Back in the mist of time, I did my apprenticeship in hand bookbinding. There are basically two directions; two different apprenticeships: literature binder, or ledger binder. I am a literature binder (also called publishing or library binding). But back then it was considered essential to have a broad understanding. So part of the apprenticeship was […]
Beatriz Aurora calls her drawings “painted stories”, and her subjects definitely have a lot to tell. The Chilean artist had to exile to Spain during the 70s. She knew she couldn’t go back to Chile, but there were other places in Latin America that could use her art, so from Spain she travelled to Nicaragua, then to El Salvador and finally […]
I bought a watercolour set to replace my measly pocket one. This one, in contrast, has 45 colours, as opposed to 12. I was never a painter, but playing is good. I have tried some “realistic” stuff that turned out far from just that. Nevermind; doodles are good too. There seems to be no doubt […]
William Buelow Gould (1801 – 1853) was an English artist convicted for stealing a coat and was sentenced to seven years of labour in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He constantly got into trouble, also in the penal colonies, and was regularly punished for offences such as drunkenness, petty theft and forgery. His talent, however, got him assigned as a house […]
During an extended period of the depression in USA (between 1935-1942), the US federal government supported artists by commissioning artwork for non-federal places and activities. Early on in the project, posters were painted by hand, each individually created. Later on, they were printed with silk screen. According to the US library of congress, “over two […]
Yisela Utopias. The no-places. I’ve always been attracted by them. The first utopia ever written could have been Plato’s Republic. Or the Genesis. However, the first one I discovered was Thomas More’s Utopia. I still can’t believe it was written 498 years ago, in 1516. Utopia is a strange book. Most scholars agree it’s a satire, a criticism […]
(I was horrified to discover that Wikipedia does not have an entry on Fritz Kahn in English. I was utterly unaware of how deep into obscurity this multitalented man had fallen. Update: my pigheaded ability to pester strangers have resulted in an solid entry on Kahn on Wikipedia. Many thanks to Yngvadottir ). Fritz Kahn (1888-1968) […]
Paul Graham has a background in computer science and art. He wrote on the connection between the two in the essay Hackers and painters. It begins: When I finished grad school in computer science I went to art school to study painting. A lot of people seemed surprised that someone interested in computers would also be […]
‘…qualities like quiveriness and vulnerability come to mind when I think of creativity… creativity requires a sense of smell, a palate to taste the scents that make brilliance. All life feeds upon the random. Creativity is the haute cuisine.’
What on earth is it? No one can give a vaguely sensible answer to what goes on in my brain. It is non-stop, it goes on every waking hour, and, I suspect, when I sleep as well. It is a constant rattling, a background noise: constantly having new ideas, judging colours, angles, texture, making connections, soaking up words or phrases in any situation. Connecting bizarre things together; finding some hue, taste or sound that bring unrelated things together in my head, spanning languages, centuries, words, colours, poetry, sounds, materials, buildings, life forms; from teaspoons to magma. It is exhausting, in a way, but it’s been going on my whole life, so I have no idea what it would be like without it.
It makes me able to make metaphors no one understands. How admirable.
Bits of paper, books with notes in the margins, or the last blank pages missing to some long forgotten desperate need for scribbling something. Piles of notebooks half filled out with unidentifiable ideas, but sometimes, sometimes a notebook contains a tiny little doodle that have it. Some magic little quality. And there it is – a perfect little doodle or a surprising combination of letters or words. Something that it would be impossible to improve on. Adding something would ruin it. A doodle; born perfect. An interaction of letterforms in perfect balance and meaning. Trying to do it again would not work. Magic.
I can track a meeting through the doodles I make. I remember what was said from little squiggles. People who have not seen my meeting-doodles show me endless post-its with circles repeated endlessly and say, I do it too! No you don’t. Because my doodles – unconsciously – covers and span universes. They are bizarre, funny, sometimes scary, sometimes awful. often abstract. I am sure a psychologist would have a field day, but at least it keeps me awake through boring meetings. The doodles are an illustration of the noise that goes on in my head – forced to sit still and listen to some boring twat go on about strategies for the future and how to fix something that is not broken – the endless connecting process bursts out on paper.
And I am beginning slowly to realise that not everybody have this racket going on. In fact, very few people have the faintest idea what I am talking about.
So I wonder what goes in their heads.
(These are just fragments; that is the whole point. More of my more deliberate, elaborate work here.)
Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) was what we call a renaissance man. He was a professor, biologist, philosopher, physician, naturalist and artist. His contribution to biology, evolutionary theory and art is still mind-boggling; we owe a great deal of biological understanding and terminology to him. He was a great promoter of Darwin’s theory of evolution, […]
David Rumsey’s gigantic collection of historical and modern maps, schematics, timelines, data visualisations, diagrams, history, time, sciences, religion is a never-ending source of wonder and inspirations. It is a bit of a trap, as I can spend days wandering around in the magical world of visualisations of history, science, culture, religion. Looking at the older […]
Today, blue is probably the most popular colour around. We associate good things with it, it represents all sorts of positive things: air, sea, freshness, calm, and a few not so; feeling blue, blue monday. At least in this day and age, blue get a good deal of attention. But it was not always so. Prehistory […]
Guerrilla communication is a form of streetart, or simply a sense of humour that uses objects around us and makes us see a little differently. Here are some examples I have collected over the years. You might have to look close to see it… Certain forms of graffiti and scribbling on walls have been described […]