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Category: Arts and Aesthetics

All things creative. All things beautiful, profound, and moving.


Tamara de Lempicka, one of the twentieth century’s fabulous forgotten figures. A very Art Deco person. This is also always what I’ve imagined Dagny Taggart looking like. Pencil on Stonehenge paper. Light background color added to the scanned image. One of these times, I might try taking on the full image (from the link) rather than just head and shoulders. Ms. Lempicka seems to have been an awful bitch. But talented. And definitely fabulous, at least in that oh-so-dramatic photo. I’m particularly pleased with how her face turned out. 3+

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A Friday ramble

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. Leave it to the Mises Institute to “celebrate” by reprinting a piece on the causes of the potato famine I’ve never understood the saying “the luck of the Irish.” The Irish have had total crap luck. Irish history has been one long chain of famines, massacres, attempted genocides, and cruel (religious, economic, and intellectual) suppressions at the hand of the “civilized” English. It’s kind of like saying “the luck of the Jewish.” (And as Aaron Zelman used to remind me, “Imagine being both Irish and Jewish.”) —– I know some people won’t like the current, more…



“Colors of the Palouse.” Inspired by Commentariat member FishOrMan — though it’s most likely not what he had in mind. Pastel on terra cotta colored board with a thin acrylic underpainting. As with everything else I’m doing right now, this is a small, fairly quick study. About three hours for this one, I think, though I lost track of time. Here’s the underpainting, which I thought was pleasant in itself because of those swoopy rhythms. The Palouse is a region shared by southeast Washington and southwest Idaho. It’s a very complicated place. Basically it’s sand dunes — only not made…


Midweek links

  • A (semi) mainstreamer observes that there really is a liberal media bubble and tries to understand why.
  • The residents of Trier, Germany, don’t seem to want that gift statue of Karl Marx. But not because … well, you know, Marx. And the hundreds of millions of deaths his ideas led to. But because they don’t like the giver.
  • Which is more unjust? That a possible war criminal got away with it for decades? Or that “justice” now calls for extraditing a 98-year-old man?… 11 Comments
  • Sophia

    Same as the other day with the “Maria” drawing. Colored pencil on black construction paper. So essentially working the light areas more than the shadows. This time I wanted more blending and refinement in the skin. Impossible to get natural skin tones with the black paper showing through, though. I fought green ghoulishness to the end. Still need to work the skin tones on the hand (unfinished as of this scan) on which “Sophia” is resting her chin and to smooth out the background a bit. This color-on-black technique works well for sad, spooky, or pensive. Possibly spiritual. Not a…



    After painting rocks (difficult), I decided to do something more natural to me — a face. But to do it in a hard, or at least non-intuitive, way, by working dark to light. So here’s “Maria.” She’s done with colored pencil on black construction paper (yes, the stuff you probably used liberally in the second grade). This was my reference photo. I wasn’t trying to make Maria look like her; just referring to her for general shapes and patterns. Maria is a slightly shopworn virgin with much on her mind. One of the challenges I set for myself was to…


    Abject failure

    No, not really an abject failure. So don’t jump in and tell me not to beat up on myself. I’m not beating up on myself. This was another experiment, only partially successful. I was aiming to work on creating cast shadows — a tricky business I’ve gone out of my way to avoid. This was only a learning experience, and partial success is fine. If you feel slight discomfort looking at this but can’t pin it down, it’s because the sun is shining from two different directions. And no, this isn’t a beach in some binary solar system (nice try,…



    It’s another heap o’ rocks in progress. It reflects today’s theme, which is balance. It’s not farther along because … balance. Or the tipping, shifting nature thereof. —– You know how hard it was, not to jump in yesterday (or today for that matter) and blog about WikiLeaks latest? Ohhhh, the temptation! Despite cynical freedomista proclamations that Assange and his glorious company have merely told us what we already knew, there is soooooo much here that’s truly new. From CIA hacking tools sloppily revealed to insider details on the power shift from NSA to CIA to the degree of Congress’…



    Reverberation 1 My friend has been going through hard times. My friend has also stepped foot on an intriguing spiritual path. My friend’s planned event fell through and his deposit was returned. He discovered a different event. Not for him. He turned around and sent the deposit money for the new event, an icon-painting workshop, to me. In a million years I’d have never come up with the thought of attending an icon-painting workshop. But I knew before I even finished reading his letter that I would. When Old Blue and Amazon fell apart in short order and I knew…