Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keep calm and carry on, war propaganda posters

I love this short film explaining the origins of the iconic poster Keep Calm and Carry on. Especially since typeface played a role, lol.

From the Youtube page's summary:
A short film that tells the story behind the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster. Its origins at the beginning of WWII and its rediscovery in a bookshop in England in 2000, becoming one of the iconic images of the 21st century. Film, music, script and narration by Temujin Doran. 
The commission was to create posters-

--uniform in style
--with a handsome typeface difficult for the enemy to counterfeit
--minimal graphic devices, deciding upon the crown of George the 6th as the only one

Propaganda posters are interesting. I particularly like the old Russian propaganda posters from a design point of view. Some of the other British posters also are graphically interesting.

The poster was made in 1941 by Irakli Toidze, a socialist realism artist, during the early days of the Great Patriotic War which is what Russians called WWII. It says Motherland Calls!

Russian posters always managed to convey strength.

This one is from Britain in WWI. Even though Russian posters were very graphic and static with one dominant image, they also always managed to convey movement. Even though this poster from Britain in WWI depicts a moving horse, the sense of movement is strangely absent.

Russia/Soviets had the best posters. The coolest. I mean, really, Isn't this one below just sumptuous?! Talk about movement, strength and delicacy in one swoop! I was unable to discover what the promotion was, perhaps the space race?

And this is just gorgeous. See what I mean about movement? Using the piano cover as the graceful backdrop conveys immediately what the poster is about and the swoop of the cover gives that sense of movement even though pianos are heavy and black.

Russian/Soviet posters combined strength and delicacy all at once; an immediately identifiable message, and in good colors, without being garish.

As for Britain's Keep Calm & Carry On and their ilk, war posters in general, can you imagine a designer tapped to produce a message in print that will help the citizenry during war? What a high duty!

I am not a good designer but I love looking at good design. Posters are an incredible world of study, beauty, message, and history all at once. I wish I had lots more time to study them, but meanwhile, I'm glad I can just enjoy.

This one advertises, "books in all fields of knowledge", Lilya Brik in Alexander Rodchenko’s poster for the Soviet publisher Gosizdat, 1924.


Of course we all remember the gorgeous cruise line posters from the Art Deco period, those were luscious too. As were travel posters advertising skiing in the Alps, Dolomites, etc. But that's another chapter in the story of graphic design!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Mid summer update

I made a boo-boo. When I made paste paper on thick cardstock, it was fun. I did a passable job of making some attractive paste paper patterns. When it dries, the combed patterns have heights and valleys, making it even a bit thicker. Then I printed out some verses and pasted them on the back.

When all was said and done, the piece was too think to laminate. Oh, I laminated it all right, but almost right away the laminate peeled off. The paper etc. was too think to have properly sealed and the top layer came off. The plastic is still stuck to the bottom. Oh well, live and learn.

I scooted into town this morning to do a few errands, picked up a very few groceries and tried to get home before the heat hit. Nope. Didn't make it.

I saw the movie Last Holiday with Queen Latifah which was good, if light and slight on the plot, but serviceable for a feel-good movie. I also watched some of  Joyful Noise with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton but that was a terrible movie. There were a lot of famous people in it (Kris Krostofferson, Jesse L. Martin, Courtney Vance...) so acting was good but the plot was unrealistic and it just was generally unwatchable.

The UK cop show Line of Duty season 3 was out this past March and I binged on the show till the finale. Fortunately UK series only have 6 episodes or I might have just expired from the tension. It isn't a gory show or a bloody show or a sexual show. None of that. It's written in such a way that in genius fashion builds the tension from episode to episode. It really keeps you guessing. I mean, they aren't ashamed to do anything with any character. In one season, early on they threw a major character out a window. One guy who is the worst of the worst corrupt has gotten away with it for two seasons. So it isn't a given that any character you're attached to will or won't make it, or this one or that one might or not be be corrupt ("bent" in UK parlance).

I have also been enjoying the Nextflix presentation of Irish Castles. Not only are the castles gorgeous and the scenery scrumptious but the history they present is done in a seamless but educational way. VERY interesting. I'm trying to hurry up through it because my Netflix is going away in a few days. I canceled it. Though I do occasionally enjoy a documentary, I need to cut expenses and entertainment is the first to go. I really don't use Netflix enough to warrant the monthly bill. I got rid of Hulu a while ago.

We're halfway through summer and it has been a fabulous June so far. One more month and I will be back in the swing at school. August 1. I love summer, and I'm reveling in the 4 more weeks of vacation.

This summer I've been reading theology books as well as novels. I study the Bible, listen to sermons, and write. I am also investigating the world of ePublishing and formatting an eBook. It's not for the fainthearted.

I love that days and days go by and I don't have to talk to anybody or go where it's noisy or get exhausted just by being in public.

Lunch today was salmon salad on a brioche with a thick juicy tomato slice, green salad, dessert of fresh figs with bleu cheese crumbled on. Lemon water. Mmm.

Then, nap.

Some recent pics.

Have a great week everyone.

Friday, June 24, 2016

In praise of the tiny

I've always loved the tiny. Small is good. I live in a 350 sf apartment. I like macro photography, both viewing it and creating it. I prefer teaspoons to tablespoons. I like small journals. I've even made small journals:

The little journals are my creations. The smallest one is called a jelly bean book. The framed watercolor is done by artist Cathy Nash. Her watercolors are very small, and usually depict rural scenes. Here is another view of her work-

To that end, here is Rachel Beltz with her very tiny watercolors. In praise of the small! Definitely click on the link to see the rest of these tiny masterpieces of detail and charm.

See even more of Rachel's work at her Instagram page.

Big or small, "Art is literacy of the heart" ~Elliot Eisner

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Fabriano find

I went to buy some Amish soap at the Second Time Around store and they were out. They called right on the spot and ordered some so I'll look for it when I go back. Meanwhile there was browsing to do!

I bought a bunch of stuff for my teacher's prize box for students. I got two sets of colored pencils and two pair of scissors for my teacher also, plus a long wooden thing like a scrabble tile holder. It has a slot in it to place a white board or chalk board, so we don't have to keep holding it up the whole time while teaching small group at a table. We never have enough hands! Hands-free white board display will be perfect.

I went there not only for the Amish soap but I needed a stencil, an artist's journal, and some tablespoon measuring things for the kitchen. I found those, but the


of the day, lol, was a Fabriano journal. Fabriano is a mill and also a brand of paper in Italy. Fabriano is also the name of the town in Italy where paper has been produced for 800 years. The Italians perfected paper making from the Asians, and also introduced the watermark, since the 1200's in Fabriano Italy. Fabriano paper is very expensive, smooth, easy to work with for artists and painters. The journal was only $2. SCOREEEEEEEE!!!! Here is their blurb:
Very few companies can claim a longer or more distinguished heritage than Fabriano. Dating back to 1264, the Fabriano mill’s fine arts papers were used and highly praised by Michelangelo. Fabrianese paper masters pioneered many of the processes now common in paper manufacture today, including the watermark and the technique of surface sheet gluing using gelatine. In 2002, Fabriano became part of the Fedrigoni Group
And my journal is made by the Fabriano Fedrigoni group. It's authentic, in other words. I'm so excited! I had wanted the stencil to try an art technique using paint and collage, and the journal to try the technique. So I'm tried it today and inaugurated my new Fabriano journal.

This is my art journal and the stencil, plus some line green polka dot tissue paper for collages just because it was there and only 89 cents!

See? Fabriano. For realz.

My collage in the journal was underway. The paper is so smooth the paint spread so easily. Ahhh.

I love thrift stores!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

50 channels and nothing on

TV. What're you going to do?

I'm on vacation for the summer. After a morning of study, an afternoon of chores, and a late afternoon of crafting, cooking, bird watching, or napping, I like to watch TV.

I tried to watch many different shows.

L.A. Law, which was an excellent show that began in 1988 and at least the first two seasons do hold up, which is all I watched. But its all about sex, sex, sex, court, I win, billable hours, sex, sex, I lost, smooch, I love you, smack, I hate you. When it got up to Douglas having an affair with his step-mother 1 Corinthians 5:1 kicked in and I quit.

Murphy Brown was another 1988 series, this one was a comedy. I remember it as being cutting edge and funny. Watching it now, Murphy is just a selfish, complaining harridan. She is really annoying.

New Girl is a new show. I read the reviews and the reviews at Common Sense Media said it was sweet and quirky. It's about some upper 20 somethings of mixed gender inhabiting a loft. The premise is problematic enough, but where LA Law they actually did have copious amounts of sex, in New Girl, it's all talk of sex. Talk of sex, drunk sex, drunk texting, sexting, boobs, sex, talk, dates, hookups, passed out, hoping for sex, drunk again. I really have to stop relying on Common Sense Media.

Odd Mom Out, another new show but after a few episodes it just seemed juvenile & perverted to me. There was always something just a bit off color and I just got sick of it. Cross that one of the list.

No Offence. A British show about cops. I like cop shows but not gore. I'm also leery of any and all British cop shows because they are all slightly odd with sickening story lines. I've had a lot of bad esperiences with them. Not sickening like NCIS, Criminal Minds, or Bones, that's just juvenile immature. But an odd chord of weirdness goes through UK cop stories that are more like Hannibal Lecter kind of sick. And sure enough the very opening scene of No Offence was terrible. Hoping they just did it once for the shock value, I tried to press on, but in short order, another terrible scene and I quickly turned it off. No more UK cop shows for me. I'm done. (New Tricks was the only great UK cop show I've watched. Hilarious! Line of Duty was great, too, I should say, and Foyle's War was great too as was Death in Paradise, but that one wasn't set in London, but in the Caribbean which makes a huge difference!). Broadchurch, Midsomer Murders, Happy Valley, Prime Suspect, Inspector Morse, Wallander, George Gently, been there, done that. Ew.

Where are the genteel shows like BBC's The Detectorists or The Cafe? THOSE were some good shows! Speaking of genteel,

The Great British Bake Off. Another British show and I loved it. I watched the current series on Youtube and enjoyed he light town, the great editing, the educational aspect, all the way through the entire competition...until the finale. That episode was absent from youtube and apparently online anywhere. Wah! I can't tell you how disappointing it was to have committed to these contestants and gone through 11 episodes only to have the final moment denied.

I really love shows like GBBO as the Bake Off is called. It's educational nice, nothing perverted, and it's progressive. I like counting down, I like that it's always the same. I just like it. But quality shows like GBBO are few and far between, and today's comedies and dramas are too corrupted. Shows of old like Murphy Brown and LA Law might be a bit better but in some ways the presentation of the 1980s man as the doormat while the rise of the feminist woman took over is just as depressing to watch. The era of the "Wimpy Man" had begun then and boy did the TV shows reflect it.

I really wish there was something good to watch.

Friday, June 03, 2016

MasterChef vs. The Great British Bake Off

The difference between watching Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off