fun friday: the art of google

I love Google.  Yeah, there are other search engines — yahoo, ask and the more recently advertised bing, are some of the most commonly used.  Dogpile used to be one of my favorites when I was working in the Elementary School library, and I just read that it is making a comeback. When you plug in your question or search, you tell it to Fetch!

But not as fun as Google, with its clean, blank search page, just waiting for you to plug in your every search need. Good old Google, with its bright, elementary, happy color palette.

And Google goes the extra mile — specially designed art-inspired pages – Wow!  Here are some of the classics:

Google Page:  Audobon226th Birthday of John James Audubon – Apr 26, 2011 (Global)

I think it’s a little hard to see the G – O -O -G – L -E in this one, but that’s ok because I love Audubon’s illustrations. For half a century he was America’s wildlife artist, and his work is still a standard against which modern day bird artists are measured.

Google art:  MuchaAlfons Mucha’s 150th Birthday – Jul 24, 2010 (Selected Countries)

Alphonse Mucha, born in the Czech Republic, was reportedly drawing before he was walking. Eventually he became a painter, and moved to Paris, where he studied at the Academie Julian. In 1895 he presented his new style to Paris, which began the movement called Art Nouveau.

I love springD4G Nordics Winner Hilde Lorentzon’s ‘I Love Spring’ – (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden)

Not only are famous artists represented, but current google doodlers are featured with imaginative new ways to express the spirit of google.

Google art:  WildebeastsCelebrating the Wildebeest Migration. Doodle by Samuel Githui. – (Kenya, Tanzania)

So creative, and a little thing to brighten up your computer day.  See more Google Doodles here.


native carving

I love the strong forms and lines found in Inuit art, and I came across a great museum that has earned a reputation for finding gifted artists who are redefining this legendary art form. The Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery is located in Vancouver, Canada, and showcases Northwest Coast and Inuit artwork.

Inuit People are the Native Americans that are from the area around the Arctic Circle. Harsh climate and stark landscapes influence their way of life as well as their artwork.

Walking Bear Peter Parr Cape DorsetWalking Bear, Peter Parr, serpentine
Cape Dorset

I just want to touch it.

Serpentine is a green stone that takes a nice polish and is suitable for carving.  Sometimes it is used as a substitute for jade.

Orca Chester (Chaz) Patrick Gitksan NationOrca, Chester (Chaz) Patrick, etched and sandblasted glass
Gitksan Nation

Sandhill Crane I April White Haida Nation Sandhill Crane I, April White, Hand pulled serigraph
Haida Nation

Killerwhale Ring Landon Gunn Killerwhale Ring, Landon Gunn, Sterling Silver, Engraved

This gallery is recognized for representing British Columbia’s master carvers.  There are two locations, set in historic warehouse spaces in an area that has been revitalized as an eclectic art district.  Put this on the list of places to visit:  The Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery.  Go to their website to see more art and their latest acquisitions.

paper mystery

It started at the Scottish Poetry Library.

Sculpture at the Scottish Poetry LibrarySculpture, carved from paper and mounted on a book with a tag attached. The tag reads:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…
… We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…
This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

An anonymous gift from a talented artist. “@byleaveswelive” is the name of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Twitter account.  Here is a close-up of the egg that is sitting under the tree:

Paper sculptures in EdinburghThe paper egg contains slips of paper with phrases that together make up the poem “A Trace of Wings” by Edwin Morgan. As the summer went on, more paper treasure popped up, all over the city. Sculpture number 2 appeared at the National Library of Scotland:

Paper Sculpture in ScotlandTag reads:  For @natlibscot – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. (& against their exit).

Paper sculptures in ScotlandThe Story Dragon was left on a windowsill in the Scottish Storytelling Centre

For @scotstorycenter

A gift in support of libraries, books, works, ideas…..

Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest
and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon
and in the dragon was a story…..

I couldn’t find any news stories about finding the sculptor, so as far as I can tell, the mystery remains, along with some truly beautiful sculptural pieces and simple poetic statements in support of the written word. Read more, and see more of the sculptures here.

The photos on this page were taken by Chrisdonia.

ah, the smell of art is in the air

There are quite a few 20th century art works that incorporate the viewer’s sense of smell when experiencing the exhibit. I’m not quite sure I would enjoy all of them, but I can say I find them interesting.

The BeaneryEdward Kienholz, The Beanery, 1965, Collection Stedelijk Museum

Kienholz lived near The Beanery, a cafe in Los Angeles, in the 50’s. He re-created the bar with many authentic pieces, as well as authentic smells, apparently.  The strange odor circulated in this exhibit smells of alcohol, smoke, and even the artist’s own urine to evoke the feeling of being in a bar. (yuk!)

Federico DiazFederico Dí­az, LacrimAu

Dí­az, a Czech artist and architect, featured his golden teardrop at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.  “Looking at the golden tear drop, the visitor will be instructed how to be part of creating their own personal fragrance. The chair interacts with the body heat and EEG brain waves activity etc. This complex information will serve to create the unique Golden Fragrance for every five hundredth visitor of The Czech Pavilion at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.” – from

Peter DeCupere

Peter DeCupere, Olfactory Tree

DeCupere’s sculpture is made from epoxy and plastic foam, with the fragrances of wood, cedar, pine, mushrooms and grass. Smell works directly on our memories and emotions. His aim is to convince us that smell can be the source of a genuine aesthetic experience.

Thinking about my medium, I wonder what smells I would pair with my glass sculpture. There is something to be said for clean and pure air.  I think maybe I’ll pass, and leave the olfactory art to the artists who specialize in that field. Read more in ARTnews.

stellar event at the starline

The Art of the Land Benefit at the Starline Factory Gallery in Harvard this past weekend was a first class event.  The caliber of art was high, delicious food abounded, and I think the Land Conservancy of McHenry County pulled in some well-deserved funds for their cause, helping protect over 1800 acres of McHenry County’s prairies, wetlands and woodlands.  The art was truly a reflection of the beauty of the land we take for granted in this part of the Midwest.

setup at the starline factorySetting up for the event at the Starline Factory Gallery. 

Owner Orrin Kinney has been renovating this enormous space, and is extremely supportive of the artists who are working here.  He provided these blocks, cut from original building timber, for use as display pedestals.  Featured here, Mary Jean Deja’s pottery.

Mary MariiuttoMary Mariutto, Magic Mushroom Series

I love Mariutto’s work, delving into the intricate mysteries that are found beneath the surface of the land.

Kelly BissellKelly Bissell, Global Warming

Bissell takes the art of crafting with wood to the highest level.  His finished and polished pieces were jaw-dropping.

Doug DeWittDoug DeWitt, Shred

DeWitt’s pieces contain items found in nature, things from old construction sites.  Some of them also contain his photos, and journal entries that detail the work done on the many little jobs it takes to maintain a property.  They had a unique, rustic flavor.

Yvonne BeckwayYvonne Beckway

This is one of my very favorites, and I have to apologize for not getting the name of this piece.  Yvonne Beckway creates these beautiful, mystical scenes, using ash from plants she has burned. It is an involved process, done out of doors, with nature’s whimsy taking a hand in the creation.

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Meadow

This piece of mine sold in the last 5 minutes of the show.

Another interesting part of this event was a photo contest, held to showcase the land around McHenry County.  Amateur photographers are assigned a site location, one of the dedicated land areas.  They take pictures and submit their five best to the contest.  One final photo is selected, and approx. 40 finals are then displayed at the Art of the Land.  What a great way to share these special places!

I also have to mention the Friday night event at this Benefit, Voices of the Land,  led by renowned storyteller Jim May.  Friday night’s “coffeehouse” show included musicians, poets, and people that shared their love of the land through the spoken medium. Attendees could wander about the space, perusing the art while listening, and then also take a seat for a closer spot, and participate if they so chose.

I look forward to applying as an artist again next year.  An unforgettable event with an interesting crowd and a notable group of artists, put on by an outstanding group of people.  Put it on your calendar.

more than a glimpse

Often when I search the internet for interesting art, I find links to various museums, which will give me only bits and pieces of what they are displaying.  The Akron Art Museum in Ohio has recently made the announcement that their collections are available for viewing online.

Ansel Adams

How wonderful to be able to stroll through the virtual gallery of an entire museum. For now, only part of their 5,000 item collection is available for viewing. The site will eventually feature all of their art.

Frederick C. Frieseke

The museum has an interesting history.It opened in 1922 as the Akron Art Institute, housed in two borrowed rooms in the basement of the public library. It functioned as an art center, and eventually moved into a historic mansion, which was destroyed by fire four years later.

Vera WinsorVera Winsor, #2 Copper, 1976

After World War II, the museum acquired a professional staff and a new focus on fine art and design. In 1980, they changed the name from the Art Institute to the Art Museum.  It has been a long journey, and now so many benefit from their vision and dedication.  Nothing to do today?  How about going to a museum?  It’s just a click away:  The Akron Art Museum.


I am sure you have seen some famous art piece and wondered how the heck the person every became famous or sold it. Art is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.  Sometimes its just a mystery to me.

Today are some of my picks for this topic.  Really?

Henk HofstraHenk Hofstra, “Art Eggcident”, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 2008

Oliver RossOliver Ross, Riesen-Nixe (Grand Mermaid), Alster Lake, Hamburg Germany, 2011

Annika StromAnnika Strom, Ten Embarrassed Men

This piece took place at the Frieze Art Fair in 2010 in London.  The artist hired 10 actors to wander about the fair looking embarrassed about the state of the art world.  For some odd reason, I find this kind of funny.  They DO look embarrassed.

Non-visible artFresh Air

And the grand prize winner for today . . . Non-Visible Art. There is actually a Museum on Non-Visible Art, MONA.  Here the artwork consists of an artist’s description of the art, and the viewer’s imagination.  Someone actually paid $10,000 for a masterpiece like the one above. You can buy one too!  You get a card, with a description by the author, and a letter of authenticity.  Then you can put that card on your wall in a prominent spot in your home, and your guests can enjoy it as well. Have fun with this one . . .
 (read more in the article by NPR)