Tag Archives: art

Who Does She Think She Is?

Heidi over at there is grace recently posted about this wonderful documentary about the struggles women have in modern society in balancing their need for artistic creativity and the demands of motherhood.

I haven’t seen the film yet, but something in the trailer caught my attention: people on the street were asked if they could name five female artists. They couldn’t even name one!

At first I was self-righteously disgusted. These were people on the steps of the Met Museum in New York, for heaven’s sake, and they couldn’t even name ONE woman artist? I could name a dozen right off the top of my head, right?

Hmmm. . . .


This one is easy for me:

Ursula K. LeGuin
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Edith Wharton
Christine de Pisan
Jane Austen

Susanna Clarke
Judy Grahn
Mary Balogh
Christina Rossetti

Margaret Atwood
Mary Stewart
A.S. Byatt

J.K. Rowling
Zadie Smith
Jane Yolen
(and I could go on.)

Visual artists

Hmm . . . getting a little harder:

Frida Kahlo
Liane Collot d’Herbois
Tove Jansson

Mary Cassatt
Diane Arbus
Annie Leibovitz

Georgia O’Keefe
Elsa Beskow
(I had to reach into anthroposophy land to find two of them!)

Now, I’m not going to do actresses, as that’s too easy, as is musicians/singers. And of course there are quite a few writers and artists in my own blogroll! But it was interesting to realize that while I can name many female writers, it wasn’t that easy to name more than five visual artists.

As I mentioned to Heidi, I don’t know if that’s a reflection of poor arts education or the patriarchy of the art world. Even if artistic work is easier for women without children (if only because they have more time!), why aren’t more women prominent in the visual arts? Why can I think of fifteen male visual artists in a few seconds and struggle to think of that many women?

Patriarchy certainly plays in there — notice all of the female artists I thought of date from the late nineteenth century at the earliest, but I can think of male artists dating back to the early middle ages. On the other hand, apparently writing has been an “acceptable” female activity for much longer. I wonder why that is?

Try it — how many can you name?

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Filed under art, Blogging, movies, Rants, Writing

When Crafters Get Riled Up

I get a daily email from Craftzine.com’s blog with all kinds of crafty goodness. Today’s edition contained something of a bombshell:

Earrings made from squirrel feet.

Normally very few people put comments on these posts, but this one has received over 50 comments so far. Some people are mightily offended, some people are so offended that they are canceling their subscriptions. Others think it’s an artistic expression, not something they specifically like, but neutral as an art piece. Others have pointed out the hypocrisy in the unlikelihood that the offended people are also vegans and therefore never consume or use animal products. Several people also pointed out the hypocrisy in speciesism: only the ugly animals are OK to consume.

My thought? If you don’t like it, scroll down. Or unsubscribe, if you feel compelled to do so. But don’t knock Craftzine or the artist for doing something you don’t like. Unless you’re the artist’s patron, you got nothin’ to say about what they choose to do.

Craftzine is full of crafty, artistic goodness. Today’s edition also included a birdseed skull, Japanese temari balls, felted oven mitts, and a stuffed cloth turkey. And squirrel feet.

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Filed under art, Crafting, Nature, Rants, Silliness and Mayhem

A Late Realization

A few weeks ago I was reading a book about Albrecht Dürer, one of the most prominent German artists of the Northern Renaissance. I came upon this painting, his self-portrait at age twenty-eight.

I had seen this many times before, but for some reason it totally stopped me this time.

I noticed the fingers, entwined in the fur of his robe, the rich folds in the sleeves, the shining coils of his hair, and the soft texture of his beard. The picture seemed so sensual!

Now, I’ve always thought of this as “that painting Dürer made of himself as Jesus” — the opposite of earthly and sensual — and the text of the art history book bore that out. But the author pointed out that it was not hubris for Dürer to depict himself in the manner of paintings of Jesus of his day, but could be seen rather as a meditation on the incarnation. Also as an expression of every person’s striving for perfection. And that his previous self-portraits seem almost dandified, whereas this one shows a serious study of proportion as well as an intentional symmetry reminiscent of images of the “true Christ”.

All of this brought home to me yet again how much I love to study art and art history. There is the simple enjoyment and appreciation of beautiful images, and then the added fascination of the back story: Who was this artist? What was his or her life like, and how did that life affect how the image was created? What was going on in the artist’s life and environment that might have inspired the work? Where are the similarities to other artists of the time and place, and where are the differences?

Did you know Dürer was initially trained in his father’s trade of goldsmithing? That his father was Hungarian? That he created the first real landscape studies in Western art?

Now why didn’t I realize all this was so interesting back when I majored in English Literature? Darn.

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Filed under art, Books

Visit the Hermitage

Have you ever discovered a place, in your wanderings along the busy highways and leafy byways of the internet, a place so intriguing and beguiling, so full of wonders and mysteries, that you never want to leave for fear of missing some new delight?

I have.

Far away and long ago, there was a place that is also close by and right now.

To get there you must step around the corner of everything that you hold to be real, and yield to an odd world which will take you in hand and tell you stories so strange and beautiful that you will be sorry to leave.

Welcome to The Hermitage…A little cottage in the forest, a stopping place on your journey.

Please come inside, stay awhile and wander through rooms of curiosities….

A recent comment on Scribbler‘s blog led me to the world of Rima Staines and her blog, Into the Hermitage. (Warning–image heavy!)

Not only does Rima create whimsical drawings, photographs, and paintings full of myth and melancholy, she also makes books, beautiful things from wood, illustrates online magazines, creates stop animation films, and has a very cool home on wheels. She graciously gave me permission to share some of her work with you here.

Rima and her partner Tui make their home in Scotland, and kindly share beautiful photos of the countryside with us throughout her blog. Tui is a musician, and Rima grew up in a family of artists. They are very inspiring!

Amid all the whimsical and haunting images and words, I found a link to Rima’s Etsy shop, where I immediately purchased two prints — “Soup and Pipe,” top (for me — so cozy and comforting) and “A Button House for a Button Mouse,” left, for the kids’ room (they love it!) I’ve got my eye on several others, as well.

All images and blockquote courtesy Rima Staines.


Filed under art, Blogging, Crafting, Uncategorized