BgArt News Blog
Saturday, April 29, 2006
  Download Google Earth
google earth free downloadThe past few days I have been completely addicted to Google Earth. It's free to download and is probably the most interesting thing I've ever done online!
The faster your internet connection, the better the experience, but it would be worth waiting for on dial up too.
This weekend I have explored the outback of Australia, Paris, Istanbul, London, New York, the Grand Canyon, and California! Most major cities around the world have really detailed, high resolution satellite images, but even the unpopular, low resolution areas are fascinating. There's a list of high resolution places here.
You can download the Google Earth software for free here. Just be warned, it's very addictive!
The picture above was taken near Townsville in the Northern part of Queensland, Australia.
>> Website Reviews
Thursday, April 27, 2006
  Art Scams
I haven't been receiving any of them annoying email scams from people in Nigeria, China, or Russia looking to buy art lately, but they're obviously still out there.
Proxima has left a comment here, asking what to do. He has received a check (cheque) for the work, it's more than they agreed on, he can't contact the buyer, and now he's thinking of cashing it.
My advice would be to just throw it away (I'm guessing that he didn't send the painting yet). But I've never had any experience with them, apart from deleting their emails, so I can't really say I know much about it all.

Has anybody dealt with these people?
Here's Proxima's comment..
I received a check
Yes, it's more than we are agreed upon
Yes, the address is the same
Question: Is there any others that received a check and if the answer is yes, what happened after that - can I try to take cash or what? I am still thinking, and am trying to contact her but she has not answered me...what do you think ?
See also the previous art scams post.
>> Art Scams News
  Rich Artists = Bad Art?
Vincent struggled for his art, so did Modigliani, but artists like Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and more recently Damien Hirst could afford to pay an army of assistants to work for them.
Jonathan Jones of the Gurdian has asked if being rich makes you a bad artist? It's an interesting question, with arguments for and against being rich. Dali is a good example of great wealth making bad art (his later works are really bad), but Monet, Picasso, and Rubens kept doing good work even though they could afford to buy the landscapes they painted!
So it's probably more about the desire to keep pushing yourself, rather than getting too comfortable with your life or your work.
The British artist Damien Hirst is said to have an estimated 100 million pounds at the age of 40, but he seems to be getting too comfortable and has started repeating himself.
Do rich artists make bad art?
"The most brilliant concealer of wealth was Picasso. From his 30s onwards, the modern master could afford the best studios and houses. But when we look at his painting of his studio on his Cannes estate we don't think of him as rich in the same vulgar way as Dalí. This is because Picasso lived for work, and left it to his heirs to indulge the excesses and self-hatreds of the rich." Guardian
>> Being an Artist, Famous Artists, Damien Hirst, Pablo Picasso
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
  Artists Sue NYC over Anti-Graffiti Law
A group of seven artists and the fashion designer Marc Ecko are suing New York City for being too hard on graffiti artists, claiming that their "constitutional right to free speech" is being violated. People under the age of 21 are banned from possessing broad-tipped markers or spray paint cans.
I'm all for graffiti art, but why not buy your own boards or canvas like most other painters have to? Graffiti is art, but it's also vandalism if you're painting all over a building you don't own.
Artists sue New York City over anti-graffiti law
"City Councilman Peter Vallone, who sponsored the law and has sparred with Ecko over the issue, accused the designer of hiding behind free speech rights to promote his video game and brand name." MSN
>> Art News, Controversies
Sunday, April 23, 2006
  Web Hosting Fun!
I've been having web hosting problems the past few days. So BgArt News Blog is currently being hosted on my friend's account while I get a new account set up with a NEW host!
So if anybody has sent me an email the past few days, I won't receive it. I still haven't set up my email yet as I plan to move the site in the next day or two to another hosting account.
If you're looking around for a new web hosting company, save yourself some stress and avoid using affordablehost dot com. I used to recommend them to friends until new owners took it over, which is something I now regret!

On a more positive note, I love Yahoo Hosting because it's always online, and MidPhase hosting is also reliable and offers some good affordable hosting plans.
>> Internet News
Friday, April 21, 2006
  Joan Miro and Copyright Insanity
The Joan Miro logo that Google had on their homepage yesterday to celebrate the birthday of the Spanish artist was taken down early because of "copyright violation". The Artists Rights Society represents the family of Miro (along with a bunch of other artists) and asked Google to take it down because "It's a distortion of the original works and in that respect it violates the moral rights of the artist".
It's right to protect the rights of an artist if people are profiting from it or are using their image inappropriately, but is this just being silly? It's not like Google were profiting from the logo, it was a tribute to Miro. The logo also linked to the search results of "Joan Miro", which looks like free advertising for the name of the artist to me.
I seriously cannot see any reason for the Artists Rights Society to ask Google to do such a thing. They're actually working against the promotion of the life and work of the artist.
There's more on the story here.
>> Famous Artists, Controversy
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
  Joan Miro Google Logo
miro - google logoThe Spanish artist Joan Miro is having a birthday on the 20th of April, so Google is celebrating the occasion with a Miro-esque Google Logo.
I think it's probably one of the best logos they have done, even though Miro isn't one of my favorite artists. It doesn't stick to the Google logo so rigidly, like the Vincent, Lloyd Wright, or other attempts.
United Kingdom kids can also enter the Google Doodle competition to have their logo featured on the Google UK homepage, which will give Dennis Hwang a day off.
Would be nice to have an international competition, with no age barriers. With the winner having their homepage featured on for a day.
The winner would definitely have to upgrade their webhost for the day!
>> Famous Artists, Internet News
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
  Being an Artist
Karl Zipser has started a new blog on all things art and has started a series of posts on being an artist. He has started with two steps so far..

I'm not sure how much further Karl will take his series on being an artist, but it's definitely not as easy as walking in the studio and picking up a brush each day. See his blog here.
>> Being an Artist, Art Blogs

Monday, April 17, 2006
  Artists and Buddhist Monks
A friend and I was talking about what it's like to be an artist and how it can be a really tough way to live. One issue that came up was dealing with emotions and sensitivity. I said that I often walk out of the studio feeling very vulnerable, very sensitive to everyone and everything around me. Then that slowly fades after an hour or so, before I start feeling more "normal".
My artist friend had this more dramatic description of the same kind of situation..
"Buddhist monks seek deeply but need the padded comfort of a monastery and fellow seekers surrounding them, yet the poor artist seeks just as deeply and is bombarded with the harshness of everyday society. We walk around with our fragile fronts, trying to readjust to society, even though another layer is taken off the onion each day.
Our everyday human defenses are taken down in order to seek that which can't be seen with the leather jacketed skin needed to operate in society. One cannot paint with a leather jacket on. One must paint with naked abandon and submission."
>> Being an Artist
Sunday, April 16, 2006
  Most Expensive Australian Painting - John Brack
the bar by john brackAfter recently mentioning the most expensive British painting to be sold at auction ($35.8 million US dollars), Australia's most expensive painting that sold recently by John Brack doesn't sound that impressive.
"The Bar" painted in 1954 by John Brack sold last week at Sotheby's auction house in Melbourne for
$3,120,000 Australian dollars (roughly $2.2 million US dollars). The previous high was Frederick McCubbin's $2.2 million AUD painting, "Bush Idyll" that sold in 2002.
The painting sold to a Sydney businessman after 6 keen bidders fought for the work, with 5 of them still bidding past $2.5 million. One of the bidders was the National Gallery of Victoria that had publicly announced its intentions to buy the work. It walked away empty handed though as it only managed to raise $2.8 million for the purchase.
Sotheby's head of Australian art Geoff Cassidy said "It is an outstanding result for a truly outstanding painting and dare I say The Bar has raised the bar for prices in the Australian Art market." Sothebys
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
  Caroline Magerl Artist Profile
Caroline Magerl - australian painterA new artist profile has been added over at The Australian painter and illustrator Caroline Magerl paints quirky, expressive works that seem to capture emotion more than the person being painted. Her figures are playful and fun, but also contemplative and serious at the same time.
There's a selection of figurative paintings, an interview, and contact deals.
Here's a few artist quotes from the interview with Caroline..

See the full profile and interview art or visit Caroline's website here.
>> Contemporary Artists, Websites

Monday, April 10, 2006
  Google Doodles Competition
google doodle competition winner 2005Google in the United Kingdom is holding a competition for British school kids to have their art featured on the Google UK homepage for a day. Kids between 4 and 18 are asked to create a logo that represents what it means to be British. They will also get to travel to Google offices in California to help Dennis Hwang design a logo for the Google homepage.
Previous doodles by Hwang have celebrated the birthday of Vincent van Gogh, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many more here.
I think the logos are rather cool. It shows that a multi-billion dollar company can remain a little quirky and not take everything so seriously.
Dennis Hwang, Google's Master Doodler, said: "British kids are already using Google as a research and education tool. Now we are giving them the chance to use our homepage to talk to the rest of the world about their country and its values. I'm hoping we'll see some extremely imaginative and expressive designs. We certainly did last year."
See more information about the Google Doodle Competition here.
>> Art Competitions, Internet News
  Painting from Photographs Update
The recent post about painting from photographs created some friendly debate. Some believe it is fine to use photographs as they're just another useful tool for the artist, while others believe it's almost cheating, or certainly taking a shortcut.
My opinion is somewhere in between as I think both should be used. I think you should be there in front of your subject to get a feel for it, but I also think it's fine to take a photo of that subject to complete the painting in the studio.
Here's a few opinions of visitors to buygazette.. (See all the comments here and here.)

I think generally artists are accepting of the camera. Some may be closet camera users, but there are probably very few purists that never use photography as a tool to paint. Unless of course you're an abstract painter.
>> Photography, Art News

Saturday, April 08, 2006
  Da Vinci Code Trial Over
A British High Court judge has ruled against the copyright infringement claims by the authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" against the Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown.
Although the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh) may have to pay 85% of the £1.3 million in court costs, they've received a ton of worldwide media coverage for the book. Since the Da Vinci Code Trial started they have sold more than 90,000 copies of their 1982 book.
Dan Brown's sales have also increased and the Da Vinci Code movie is coming out soon, so I guess everyone wins.
'Da Vinci Code' publisher triumphs
"The judgment, however, did not go entirely in Random House's favor. Mr Justice Smith did find that Dan Brown and Blythe, his researcher wife, had acquired and read "Holy Blood" earlier in the writing process than the author stated - and that it was the primary book used when Sir Leigh Teabing, one of The Da Vinci Code characters, lectures on what he terms "the greatest cover-up in human history". Leigh Teabing was admitted to be an anagramof thee "Holy Blood" authors' surnames, which Mr Brown, an American, described as "a playful tribute". Financial Times
>> Book News, Controversies
Friday, April 07, 2006
  Pablo Picasso Dies
On the 8th of April, 1973 the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso passed away. It was interesting reading the article that the BBC wrote at the time. It kind of makes Picasso more of a man and less of a myth, knowing that the artist lived a regular life too.
1973: Art master Picasso dies
"The artist Pablo Picasso has died of a heart attack at his chateau near Cannes on the French Riviera.
He suffered the fatal seizure at approximately 1100 local time (1000GMT).
His wife, Jacqueline, and son, Paolo, were with him when he died.
The artist who had lived in seclusion for some years is reported to have suffered from influenza during the winter but continued to paint."
Read the full article
>> Pablo Picasso, Artist Obituaries
Thursday, April 06, 2006
  Most Expensive British Painting by JMW Turner
most expensive british paintingJoseph Mallord William Turner's painting of Venice has become the most expensive British painting to be sold at auction. The work titled "Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio", sold at Christies in New York for $35.8 million (£20.5 million), breaking the previous record for a British painting by almost $15 million. JMW Turner broke his own auction record by about $25 million, with his "Seascape" painting selling for $10 million back in 1984.
Turner's vision of Venice sells for £20m to become most expensive British painting
Nicholas Hall, Christie's international director for old masters, who took the buyer's bids, said: "This is a great painting. It's an incredibly rare painting and it fully deserved to make this record for the artist which is more than three times the previous amount ever achieved by a Turner at auction. "In my personal view, Turner is the greatest of all British artists. This was a perfectly preserved example of his work and an absolutely beautiful composition." The Independent
>> Art Auctions, Famous Artists
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
  Chuck Close Interview
chuck close interviewRobert Ayers over at Artinfo has interviewed the contemporary American painter and printmaker Chuck Close. The artist also has two exhibitions on at the moment. One over at the High Museum of Art Atlanta, of self portrait paintings, and the other is an exhibition of print works at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (begins April 9).

Here's a few quotes from the interview..

Read the full Chuck Close interview over at Art Info.
>> Art News, Famous Artists

Tuesday, April 04, 2006
  Painting from Photographs
The ARTnews magazine has asked a question that has been around for a while now.. "Why should a painting based on a photograph be considered a less legitimate work of art than one painted from observation or one that is simply abstract?"
Everyone from Edgar Degas through to David Hockney does it, so why do artists sometimes hide the fact that they paint from photographs?
I think it's because of the romantic idea of an artist sitting in the landscape or in front of the model, trying to capture the life of the subject before them.
It's like replacing wine corks with screw caps. Easily twisting a new cap off a wine bottle is just not as romantic as using a corkscrew to to get the old cork out of the bottle of fine wine. Even though the new screw caps prevent the wine from ever going bad, they're just not as cool as a cork.
That analogy probably isn't the best one, but the fact is that photographs are a great tool for artists. I know I don't advertise the fact that I use photographs to paint, but I also don't hide it. It just makes sense. Especially if you work in oils and build your paintings up over several weeks or months. It's not going to be very practical to plonk your giant canvas on the sidewalk in a big city everyday for two months if you paint cityscapes.
The thing that I can't understand is artists using projectors to trace a photograph onto the canvas. Not because the finished work would look like a photograph, but because it takes all the fun out of creating the work in the first place. I can't see why someone would waste their time on such an activity.
Slides and Prejudice
Over the last few years, artists have made increasing use of Photoshop. Eric Fischl, for example, who is best known for his voyeuristic, psychologically charged paintings of amorous couples, employs it to collage together different images until they register as something he wants to paint. "I am part of a generation that was schooled in the belief that discovery and execution should occur simultaneously on the canvas," he says. "For nearly 25 years I had held on to that belief, feeling that were I to know what I wanted to paint before I discovered it, the painting would lose its vitality. When I began working in Photoshop, essentially separating the discovery process from the execution, I feared it would kill the painting. What I discovered instead was that it freed me to explore painting itself." ARTnews
>> Art News, Photography News
Sunday, April 02, 2006
  Anti-Abortion Cartoon Auction
cartoon auctionThis cartoon (to the left) has been posted on quite a few blogs recently, and has now been put up for auction on E-Bay. The highest bidder is currently $1,725 USD and it still has about two and half days left.
It's a 9.5”x3” original cartoon by Stephanie McMillan on a piece of printer paper, drawn with Micron and Faber-Castell Pitt pens, and has a little liquid paper used on it too. So even if the artist was quite famous, it would still be a very good price for a small black and white cartoon.
But it's no ordinary cartoon. Here's why I think the price will keep going up over the next couple days on Ebay.

1. It's funny and cute
2. It discusses a cause that many women feel very passionate about
3. It went viral on the Internet, being shown on many popular websites like BoingBoing and
4. All the money from the auction will go to a couple selected charitable organizations.

I think people are naturally generous and sharing creatures. So if you give them a reason to be generous, they will give big. If you throw in a cartoon and the potential publicity that the purchase could generate, the sky is the limit.
If you feel like being generous and purchasing a funny little cartoon with Bill Napoli's phone number on it, go place a bid on E-bay. Stephanie McMillan's website can be found here too.
>> Cartoon News, Buying Art News, Auction News
Saturday, April 01, 2006
  Contemporary Artists Online
Here's a selection of some super-fantastic contemporary artists online. I browse the Internet quite a bit, and am always bookmarking sites in my favorites, so I thought I might share a few. I mostly like figurative, expressionists artists but also like everything from completely abstract works through to tight, detailed illustrative type works.

The great thing about the Internet is that you get to discover all kinds of amazing artists from all over the world that you would have never seen if it wasn't for the web. Artists no longer have to rely solely on the art gallery to establish a presence.
>> Contemporary Artists, Websites

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