Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Hitch", My Alfred Hitchcock/Birds Tribute for Feb's Nibbefest Art Contest

My February Nibblefest entry, 5x7, entitled "Hitch"..

The say there are no guarantees in life besides Death and Taxes.  This may be true, and yet I want to add one more thing to that short list:  The Nibblefest Art Contest.  For over a decade now, Nibblefest has transpired, on schedule, month in and month out, beginning as always on the 20th.  This month is no exception, with   February's NFAC theme is 'Black and White'  -- I'm participating, and this is my entry....

It didn't take long, when reflecting upon this month's 'Black and White' theme, for The Hitch to come to mind. Such a groundbreaking film-maker, having truly mastered the technique for filming in black-and-white, I've long been a fan.  Growing up, we had an old copy of his album, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents:  Ghost Stories for Young People", around the house.  Who knows where it came from -- I suspect my mom picked it up at some garage sale or other.  But I loved listening to it as a kid -- and must have done so a thousand times.  I can still remember the theme music -- da da da da dum di dah, da da da de dum di dah (I since learned it was called 'Funeral March for a Marionette', by Charles Gounod).  The stories were very tame indeed (in fact, I just listened to them online as inspiration while painting this piece -- lol, what a hoot....!), but my imagination was vivid enough back then to enhance the tales in my mind to set off a few chills. Plus I can recall studying the album cover art for long stretches of time.  It looked like this...:

Cover of the album I must have listened the groves off of in my youth

And so, when I decided to do for my entry a little wee homage to this Master Director, it was the above image in my head (though I switched it up a bit, as you can see):

"Hitch", painted in acrylics on a 5x7 then, found wooden plaque

Of course, I had to do my own ever-so-slightly irreverently cheeky twist on things (no offense, Hitch...!)....

The following is my auction description..:


My entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC),  the theme for February being 'Black and White', features a portrait painted in tribute to the legendary British film director, Alfred Hitchcock.  Painted in acrylics upon a 5"x7" very lightweight, thin wooden plaque, this original, entitled "Hitch", is signed and ready to hang....

When reflecting upon this month's 'Black and White' theme, some of the first things to come to my mind were vintage movie classics by the esteemed British director, Alfred Hitchcock.  Though he did go on to make some of his finest films in brilliant Technicolor, he had fully mastered the art of black-and-white film making, with remarkably endearing cinematic treasures that continue to fascinate us to this day.  For my homage, I painted the master in classic black-and-white (along with a cheeky, wee nod to one of his most beloved movie classics of all time).....



Personally, I love so many of his films: "Rear Window", "Rebecca", "Psycho", and of course, "The Birds"But I think the one at the very tippy (heh, no pun intended) top of my list, is "Vertigo".  So ironic and haunting, both visually and emotionally, and so expertly filmed, that I have to go back to watch it again from time to time 
So which is your favorite...?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Entry for EBSQ's January 'Winter Landscapes' Exhibit, 'Dust of Snow' (Robert Frost)

"Dust of Snow"

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued. 

~Robert Frost

'Dust of Snow', Acrylics on 6"x16" found wood....

Such reads the poem that helped inspire my EBSQ's January "Winter Landscapes" online art exhibit entry...(to view my entry on EBSQ, click here)

For their 2015 exhibit schedule, EBSQ, (the online community of self-represting artists I've long been a member of), has reduced their monthly themes from two or three options to choose from, to one theme per month.  I do understand why -- to streamline for one thing, while helping to keep entries up by funneling them into one monthly show as opposed to spreading entries across several shows.  I get it, though I must admit I did like having options.  Nevertheless, the way things are, is the way things are.  I can certainly work with a single theme if need be..., and so we have here my entry for EBSQ's only January theme, "Winter Landscapes"....:

My "Winter Landscape"-themed entry, entitled 'Dust of Snow (Robert Frost)'.....

Anyone familiar with my artwork must surely know my ongoing fascination with people.  I adore nature, things, animals and critters of all ilk, and I'll paint that too sometimes.  And yet, almost always, my most preferred subject matter of all typically filters down to People.   Famous people, strangers, family, friends -- doesn't matter really, when it comes to my subjects, I usually find myself  defaulting to that ever familiar map of the human face.  And so, upon contemplating my entry for a "Landscape" show, I knew it would HAVE to involve a person one way or another.....

There is a wee back-story behind the planning of this painting.  In a way, this entry came to be as actually a sort of collaboration between a couple of folks.....  

A number of months ago, a FB friend posted a new picture as her profile photo, one that I found myself really taken with.  An attractive lady (with amazing bone structure) to be sure -- and yet there was more to it than that.  I was quite struck by the photo overall...the angle of the shot, the tilt of the head, the striking countenance, the classic proportions, the expressive eyes.  As a visual person, I found it all particularly arresting.  I asked my friend if she might give me permission to paint her photo -- not knowing at the time exactly how or when, only that I simply wanted to.... someday. 

And then I have another friend with whom I correspond, who has an interest in the reading and writing of poetry.  We were discussing potential themes for February's Nibblefest Art Contest theme of 'Black and White', when she mentioned her research into info regarding crows for a poem she is in the process of writing.   She brought up the universal symbolism of crows, as well as the mythology involving the colors of Black and White as representing life and death .  She sent me the following passage that she had found somewhere...:

"....In Irish mythology, crows are associated with Morrigan, the goddess of war and death.
The god Bran the Blessed – whose name means "crow" or "raven" — is associated with corvids and death; tradition holds that Bran's severed head is buried under the Tower of London, facing France — a possible genesis for the practice of keeping ravens in the Tower, said to protect the fortunes of Britain. In Cornish folklore, crows — magpiesparticularly — are associated with death and the "otherworld", and proscribes respectful greeting. The origin of "counting crows" as augury is British; however, the British version rather is to "count magpies" — their black and white pied colouring alluding to the realms of the living and dead...."

Plenty of food for thought...!  Fascinating indeed, and so I was ruminating upon all this for Nibblfest..., when it was also time to begin thinking about my 'Winter Landscapes' entry.  After a few snow storms in my neck of the woods, the views outside my window are all about "winter landscapes' right now (with it snowing yet more as I type).  Plenty of white, plenty of snow, ice, and frost.  Well, 'snow' and 'frost' got me to thinking of 'Robert Frost'..., plus 'crows', and 'black and white'.  It wasn't long before I was struck with the recollection of a few winter verses by this most esteemed poet.  Sure enough, a quick search had me finding exactly what I was looking for..., the poem, 'Dust of Snow", by Robert Frost (and really could his name be more perfect for a subject of "Winter Landscapes", lol???), and I was set.  It was then that my friend's FB pic popped into mind, and that's when it all gelled -- I knew exaclty where I was going, with the piece practically painting itself (always lovely when that happens -- very zen!).  So here's a big thanks to my fellow 'collaborators', L. and V., for providing me with such great inspiration.....

Now, not to bore anyone to death, I do have just one last little tidbit of random aside here.  As stated, my painting support for this piece is found wood. I do enjoy working with unusual canvas sizes, which this certainly is, being as that it is approximately 6" by 16".  I like how weirdo proportions can challenge me to play with compositions, while forcing me to think outside the box.  As for this chunk of found wood, let me explain exactly how I came to 'find' it.  I'd been holding onto it for some time -- ever since dumpster diving it from a neighbor's home renovation project many moons ago (shocking, no?).  It sits directly behind our lot, an old house that's probably closing in on a 100 years (if not already).  A stately, large Craftsman, it had seen insult after injury and then some over the years, thanks to the fact I live in a university town, with a high student population and the many urban planning pressures that come with trying to house them all.  The home had been subdivided and re-subdivied into who knows how many individual apartments (I think it was something like 7 by the end, including roomers in the attic and basement).  Let's face it, students don't exactly have the reputation for being the most conscientious of renters.  Then add to that a few absentee landlords and you can imagine the state of the house after a few unfriendly decades.  Ugh, so derelict and run down (like, even more so that my own, and that's saying something)...!  Happily, another neighbor, with an eye to the interests of the neighborhood, and the resources to get things done, bought the house and completely rehabbed it, into what is today a lovely vintage, American Foursquare, single family showplace.  While this work was underway, I had quietly helped myself to a few of the chunks of wood I spied sticking out of the dumpster that was parked behind my house for months (hopefully no one would have minded!).  Perhaps it from the original construction of the house (?) -- if so it would be near a century old or more.  I like thinking of the long gone tree it potentially came from.   In any case, I may be practical to a fault at times, but I knew it could come in handy on day (plus it just goes to show how 'making something from nothing' never, NEVER fails to tickle me.  To no end!).....