Tag Archives: art

October 2022 Literary Calendar

Events in the month of October for writers and readers

  • National Book Month
  • National Reading Group Month
  • October 1 – International Coffee Day
  • October 2 – Name Your Car Day
  • October 3 – Techies Day
  • October 7 – World Smile Day
  • October 6 – Mad Hatter Day
  • October 9 – Curious Events Day
  • October 10 – Indigenous People’s Day
  • October 11 – Myth and Legends Day; National Coming Out Day
  • October 12 – Cookbook Launch Day; Moment of Frustration Day
  • October 13 – International Skeptic’s Day
  • October 15 – Mario Puzo’s Birthday
  • October 16 – Noah Webster’s Birthday; Oscar Wilde’s Birthday; Dictionary Day
  • October 16-22 – National Friends of Libraries Week
  • October 19 – Evaluate Your Life Day
  • October 20 – National Day on Writing
  • October 21 – Alfred Nobel’s Birthday; Babbling Day
  • October 22 – Smart Is Cool Day
  • October 25 – Pablo Picasso’s Birthday; Howl at the Moon Night
  • October 27 – National Tell a Story Day (Scotland; U.K.)
  • October 29 – Hermit Day
  • October 31 – Increase Your Psychic Powers Day

Famous October Birthdays

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Falling Fail

Some projects are just doomed to fail from the start.  Many of those ventures are poorly-conceived and executed, while others are just plain stupid.  In the case of the “Falling Man NFT”, it’s one of the worst ideas anyone could have envisioned.

I still don’t really understand what an NFT is, but the concept has become a curious part of the digital art world in recent months.  The “Falling Man NFT” comes nowhere near artistic or humorous.  It’s a pathetic remake of the photo of one of the 9/11 victims plummeting from a World Trade Center Tower.  Many people either fell or leapt to their deaths from those massive buildings on that fateful day.  Richard Drew, an Associated Press photojournalist, captured the image that has become an iconic and painful memento of the tragedy.

GameStop had placed the NFT – created by someone named Jules – with the caption “This one probably fell from the MIR space station”; perhaps a reference to the Russian structure that operated from 1986 to 2001.  After the outcry, GameStop removed the NFT from its marketplace.  The company had already experienced some financial setbacks as the pandemic ravaged the U.S. economy and closed a large number of stores in 2021.

This certainly won’t help them rebuild their reputation.

As a writer and blogger, I know full well that artists are always broaching unknown territory to stun people out of complacency or into some sort of awareness.  Yet, some things are still too sensitive to mock, especially for profit.

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Alan Melson – “Butterfly Bush”

“Painting for me is about finding that scene or still life or person that moves me to paint.  The passion of the subject matter whatever it is.  The contrast of light and dark.  It’s all about the light for me really.  Nature gives me so many beautiful scenes to try and capture and I hope the viewer of the painting can experience the same joy.  It’s a journey that takes me to constant challenges and different techniques.  Often I found my greatest freedom to explore when I paint over old canvases realizing I have nothing else to lose so why not go for it or do something different.”

Alan Melson

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Relief Art

Feeling anxious or upset?  A number of things exist to help you out – reading, walking, meditation, exercise.  But have you ever thought of visiting a museum to ease that apprehension?  Turns out that patronizing a museum might be one avenue of relief for anguished souls.  A University of Pennsylvania study entitled “Art Museums as Institutions for Human Flourishing” published in the Journal of Positive Psychology indicates as much.

The relatively new field of “positive psychology” studies “the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.”  It draws on research from a variety of academic disciplines while examining how the arts and humanities affect the human condition.

“We believe our collaborative and interdisciplinary work is all the more vital at a time when so many individuals and communities lack the levels of well-being they need to thrive,” said James O. Pawelski of UPenn.

Pawelski and colleague Katherine Cotter had already planned to study the effects of museums on people’s mental health when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  Since so many museums were forced to shut down, the duo compiled and reviewed over 100 research articles and government and foundation reports.

They discovered that visiting a museum reduced stress levels, frequent visits decreased anxiety, and viewing figurative art lowered blood pressure. They also found that museum visits lowered the intensity of chronic pain, increased a person’s life span, and lessened the likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia.  And those living with dementia saw mental and physical benefits as well: Spending time in a museum induced more dynamic stress responses, higher cognitive function, and improvements in the symptoms of depression.

Going to a museum also left elementary schoolers feeling “restored” and even made medical residents feel less emotionally exhausted.

To most artists, this shouldn’t be surprising.  Writers, painters, musicians and the like have always had the ability to unite people when politicians couldn’t.  And now, our desires to make people’s lives better has been vindicated once again.

Image: Dallas Museum of Art

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Nicolas V. Sánchez – “Untitled” (2022)

“The importance of family led me to explore ideas of inheritance and the identity that is simultaneously lost and gained through preserving a legacy. Of course, where I’m from plays a big part of who I am, but whether its pride, loyalty, pressure, or a sense of responsibility, family history finds a way to influence the present and future.”

Nicolas V. Sánchez

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“The Chair” by Bruce Strickland

“The chair is where you crash out when the best seat is already taken, that being the window seat. In this shot, Zoey has already claimed the window, so Kitty Girl is quite content with the more spacious option.  I painted this particular painting in October, or as cat owners know it – Black Cat Awareness Month.  Black cats sometimes get ignored for more colorful cats and they tend to be adopted less than other cats.  Although Kitty Girl is almost total black, the sunlight is enhancing her beauty even more.  She is so gentle and loving.  She was brought her in as a kitten.  She likes the indoor life and being on this side of the window, so this is where she is often found.  Fortunately for her October is just another month. This painting is titled “The Chair”.  If you own cats you might notice the frays in the curtain under the chair that are catching just a glimmer of sunlight.  The detail was challenging in this painting but I really enjoyed the challenge.  I hope you like it as well. And the next time you visit the shelter, please don’t forget the black cats.”

Bruce Strickland

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Retro Quote – Claes Oldenburg

“I am for an artist that is political-erotical-mystical; that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.”

Claes Oldenburg

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“The Professional” – Abigail Gutting

Abigail Gutting

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The Bernie Mitten Look

Supposedly imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Do Internet memes fall into that same category?  I guess we could ask Bernie Sanders, the independent-leaning senator from Vermont.  When he arrived at the presidential inauguration last week, Sanders maintained pandemic protocol and sat a few feet from others and wore the appropriate face mask.  But he also wore a pair of thick mittens hand-made by Vermont school teacher Jen Ellis.  Along with a thick parka, he was obviously prepared for the cold New England weather.  Nothing is extraordinary about those mittens, but sometimes there’s just no reason something or someone becomes popular.

Sanders’ mitten fashion has sparked plenty of creative imitators in the cyber-world.

Now Tobey Times Crochet has gone further by designing and creating a “Bernie Sanders crochet doll”, complete with parka, mask and mittens.  Measuring approximately 9” (22.9 cm), the figure is seated and bears wire-frame glasses and unkempt white hair on a balding scalp.

Ever the good sport, Sanders is using his new-found fame to raise money for charity.  And who doesn’t think an old seated alone in a chair during winter is adorable?

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New Blue

For the first time in 200 years, a new shade of blue is on sale.  In 2009, scientists developed YInMn Blue, which derives its name from its chemical components: indium, manganese and yttrium.  It absorbs red and green wavelengths to produce the bright azure shade, which is unique because it’s a hybrid of ultramarine and cobalt blue.

Even though it’s been over a decade, consumer access to the pigment had to process through the usual myriad of government regulations – particularly the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In 2016, the Shepherd Color Company received a license to sell YInMn Blue and sees the color’s potential industrial usages.  The pigment reflects most infrared radiation; thus, keeping building exteriors cool.

The color blue has a lengthy history of discovery and innovation.  It is the first human-made pigment; dating to roughly 2,200 B.C.E., when Egyptians created cuprorivaite, known simply as Egyptian blue.  Its developers ground limestone mixed with sand and a copper-containing mineral, such as azurite or malachite, then heated it between 1470 and 1650°F.  This produced an opaque blue glass, which then had to be crushed and combined with thickening agents such as egg whites to create a long-lasting paint or glaze.

Thousands of years ago the ancient Maya developed their own shade of blue.  Known simply as Mayan blue, it’s a vibrant, durable and fade-resistant blue extracted from the leaves of the indigo plant (Indigofera) and palygorskite, a clay mineral.  Researchers believe Mayan blue was used in more ceremonial situations than artistic.

YInMn Blue is available to American consumers only through Golden Paints and Italian Arts Store.  Now anyone can purchase a tube of it for USD 179.40.  I don’t know if that’s retail or wholesale, but artists have another reason to struggle in the name of their craft.

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