Saturday Review: Naughty Girls Paper Dolls

Naughty Girls Paper Dolls (3)Naughty Girls Paper Dolls

Naughty Girls is a book of mature paper dolls styled after the pin art of the 1940’s and 50’s. The book contains 5 paper dolls and 35 costume choices for your titillating pleasure. As an enthusiast of paper dolls and pin-ups I fell in love when I saw this book and had to buy it. The artwork is very faithful to the calendar artwork of the pin-up era so flipping through this book will definitely put a smile on your face if you enjoy that era and the styling is bang on. However if you are viewing this book from a paper doll perspective it is disappointing. The biggest concern I have is the paper quality for the dolls as they are put them on the same paper as the outfits, simply meaning not cardstock. So if you did want to use these as proper paper dolls you will have to adhere them to a more stable cardstock or paper. That is a great disappointment for me to find out (damn online shopping). As well there is no way to remove the outfits or dolls besides carefully cutting out with scissors. Although this is not as big of a deal it is nice when makers of paper dolls put the extra effort into creating pages where you can pop out designs or at least put in an outline for easier cutting.  They do however use one sided pages only and have tabs drawn in so clearly they have intended for people cutting out the dolls and costumes. There is even instructions at the end of the book detailing how to make braces for the dolls, however it should be noted that there is not brace diagrams included merely the 1 example one. So my advice if you want to pick up this book make sure you are willing to do the extra work to make these into paper dolls otherwise you will find this book frustrating or like me simply leave it in its book form. For anyone into pinup art only, my advice is buy a book simply dedicated to that as this book is intended only for paper doll use and although the artwork is good it’s better to view the original work instead.

A closer look at the book:

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Saturday Review: Edward Burtynsky “ Manufactured Landscapes ”

manufactured landscapes (4)Edward Burtynsky ” Manufactured Landscapes “

Manufactured Landscapes is a 160 pages hard covered book that covers Edward Burtynsky career as a photographer. Burtynsky is a Canadian photographer who has travelled around Canada and the world capturing scenes that most people would be unfamiliar with. Whether it’s shooting ship stripping in Bangladesh or the results of mining in BC, Burtynsky gets access to places often hidden away from view and inaccessible to most. His work focus is the leftovers from man’s industrial relationship with nature.  And his photography is delivered in the style of grand landscapes so instead of nature’s mountains and rivers we are shown tire mountains and rivers of industrial waste. That isn’t to say his work cannot be haunting or that there isn’t beauty too it, the way he captures the shot it takes you a moment to see what it really is. I am obsessed with his work, the grandiose scale of the landscapes are within themselves such a feat and any photography buff or casual observe can see  the value of his contribution to photography. His work simply is breathtaking, but also disturbing for its implication about modern society and our current environmental crisis and almost denial that this is the reality. It’s an important book (and movie) for people to see but that doesn’t mean I don’t have uses with this book. As specular as the photography is the book presentation a less than ideal for viewing Burtynsky’s work. My biggest issue is for a book featuring literal waste the format seems to insist on there being a lot of wasted pages and you cannot help but think about that when you flipping through a book that seems to have empty pages over and over again (or maybe just me). I could easily see this book being 30 pages less if not more. The intros and essays and “Message from the Sponer” are really overbearing and take up the first 55 pages of the book and serve to add context to Burtynsky’s images but tend to be on the excessive side. I am not a big fan of art books that feel they require essays to explain the context of the artist and believe the images should speak for themselves. To give you a run down on a various portions of writting that start off the book we have: Message from the Sponser, Foreword, Auther’s Acknowlegements, Artist’s Acknowledgements, See the Big Picture, Edward Burtynsky: Traditions and Affinites, Form Versus Portent: Edward Burtynsky’s Endangered Landscapes, The Essentials Element: An Interview…I mean come on, it doesn’t help that there is more at the end of the book like List of Works, Chronolgogy, Selected Exhibitions, Public Collections, Selected Bibliography. I don’t believe I have EVER seen a book, art book or not that had in it “A Message from the Sponsers”, that alone literally just makes me cringe. I mean I could go on about the ridiculousness of it all but I wont, I will simply put it out there that this book has a really bad structure to it and even if they kept all of those sections they really should have put all of them at the end of the book and not required people interested in Burtynsky work to flip to page 55 to see his photography. As well I will point out that there is 61 photographs featured in this 160 page book, leaving there to be 66 pages of writing and 29 blank/heading pages. Regardless of the excessive written portion of the book, let us look at the photography portion. To begin with the flow of this book is very stop and start for me over all. They section off the book into various sets sometimes only containing 3 photographs and often only include 1 photo per two pages and never utilize the full two pages to show the largest possible representation of his work which would be ideal consider the scale at which his landscapes are. The size of the book is quiet large so that does help at being able to see the finer details of his work but in my opinion the pages could have been utilized far more and there was no reason that I can see to leave blank pages with nothing on them. Sometimes artist use pages to provide a break between different themes in their work and use the page to provide additional information however that is not the case in this book. I found the pages containing two images far more alluring to the eye than the contrast to the ones left on their own with a white page. His work as well carries one theme throught so the visual breaks are not needed. Despite the issues I have with this book, Burtynsky’s photography is a must see and it’s a really good book if you were interested in photography in general or the ideas that he explores. I have not had a change to look at his other book featuring his photography but I would recommend looking into those ones first before picking up this flawed book.

A selection of pages from the book:

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Saturday Review: Pictures by Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt (28)

Saturday Reivew: Pictures by Elliott Erwitt “Postcards”

Pictures by Elliot Erwitt is a 50 postcard set using 25 of his advertising and documentary photographs. Mr. Erwitt born in 1928, Paris is known for his black and white photography of everyday situations. A lot of his photographs have become iconic pieces of art. This collection captures all aspects of his photography career from his war-time shots to his everyday images of New York City and even two of the icon Marilyn Monroe. This set comes in a nicely contained box that is lined with the most beautiful red coloring. The postcards themselves are on good thick stock paper and the back although slightly generic have some personal details and described what the photograph on the front is. They are also larger postcards which is nice because you don’t lose any details of his original black and white photographs and can easily be used by the receiver afterwards as a mini-print. There is a few noted photographs of his body of work that are not featured in the set like the cover itself which I find very charming and for some reason isn’t actually contained in the set. As it comes with 50 postcards and only 25 photographs that means each is repeated once and this is really the most disappointing thing about this set. As a photography Mr. Erwitt’s body of work is vast and there is plenty of iconic photographs of his that are not included in this collection, it would have been very easy to make these 50 unique postcards. Beside this over sight I find these very charming and I love looking at them. I would recommend to any lover of photography or anyone who enjoys black and white film photography.

check out below for a look at each postcard from the series:


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October in Review

october in review

It’s already almost at the end of autumn this review for October is a little bittersweet because it means there will be no more fall leaves prancing around and vivid colors in every direction. I enjoyed every moment of it though. I have so much fun around Halloween decorating my house, carving pumpkins and working on postcards for my friends. It was a really quiet Halloween day for me but someday I’ll have a house where I can cover the lawn in spooky decorations and go all out and have kids ring my doorbell all night long. Beside Halloween though October had some really fun moments like picking apples with Zara and Victor and going for walks in our neighborhood. Home life is still a little stressful with Butter still having her aggressive outbursts once a week but I am hoping the days where she is her old self keep going for longer and longer. As for my photography, I am excited to be working on postcards that I should hopefully have in time for Christmas season. I am debating how or if I’ll be selling them, I’ve been debating opening an Etsy store for a few years now but never feel confident enough to do it. For the blog though there will be more recipes and I’ll be having Christmas gift guides for my Picks of the Week starting in November to December. I also have my color film developer kit now so I am hoping in the next few weeks to try for the first time developing my own colored 35 and 120 films – excited and scared all at the same time. Beside the freezing weather outside I am really looking forward to November!

a few select posts from October:

Prince Edward Island in Polaroids
Polaroid

Fall with Holga Close Up and Macro Lens
Fall-22

Montreal Botanical Garden
Botanical-Garden

Paint by the Numbers
self portrait

Walk Around Parc LaFontaine with Kodak Dualflex
kodak dualflex

How to Organize Negatives
How-to-organize-your-negatives

Apple Crumble Cupcakes Recipes
apple-crumble-cupcakes

What I Wore
what i wore

Featured Aritst: The White Deer & Ally Burke
the-white-deer
ally-burke

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Review: The Gashlycrumb Tinies

the gashlycrumb tiniesUntitled-5

The Gashlycrumb Tinies is a hard covered book by well-known illustrator Edward Gorey from 1963. The book tells the story of the untimely deaths of 26 children. The 26 children are represented of the 26 letters of the alphabet and paired with Gorey’s wonderful black and white illustrations. All of this while using rhyming dactylic couplets of course. Think back to when you were little and all those different alphabet books you had, this one is much more morbid take. It’s such a unique twist and Gorey’s simple illustrations are vivid and such fodder for creative interpretation. When I first read it I vowed to one day do a photo series of all children’s deaths re-enacting each illustrations meticulously. It’s a wonderful read and I thought perfect for the week before Halloween. The morbidness of the book is very much in the seemingly benign ways that they die.  The sort of everyday worries most parents have and not the outlandish fantasies of children. If you are new to Edward Gorey’s illustrations this is a great way to start and one of his most famous books. He has such an imagination for his time and wasn’t afraid to be outside what everyone expected of illustrators at the time, never afraid to be unsettling. I couldn’t do a review series about art books without featuring him, so check out below the Gashlycrumb Tinies!

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September in Review

september in review

            September is always one of those months for me that goes by really quickly, and I never mind that it does. It’s one of those in between months that is neither Summer nor Fall and it’s just a good transition month. I’ve had a fairly up and down month, mostly just the last two weeks which have been just really strange. Butter has developed some sort of aggression/fear towards both me and Victor which has made it hard to even walk around our house without having to deal with her hissing and preventing access to the part of the house she’s in. The vet has identified that it’s purely behavioural at this point so we are just trying to work with her as best as we can to get her back to her old self. It’s difficult, I have been very emotional as Butter has been with me for all the major years of my life and is more to me than just a cat. I am looking forward though and feel like the last few days have been progress.

One thing that has been with me for weeks and been a great distracting from what’s going at home has been my friend Derek’s mix tape, its fucking killer. If you like melodic and chill music check him out here! He even included a mix of one of Victor’s songs. In other news I’ve started to decorate my bedroom, got it painted this amazing pale teal color with a light blue accent wall. I’ve just completed my new jewelry organizer (DIY of it here) and hung up a few prints. It’s going really well, we just need to finish hanging up prints and get a new bedspread to replace or mix and match ones. For October I want to finish off the living room and maybe get some paint on our dining room that we never use.

For the blog the most exciting news I have is there will more recipes! I loved doing the Popsicle of the Week all summer long so I thought for the next few months I’d try out various recipes and do some of my own classic recipes. I am still deciding if it will be a complete cooking guide to that recipe or more loose (better hurry up and decide the first one will be out on Tuesday). I find in this day and age it’s really better to watch videos if you really want to know how to make something and I am a little too shy to do a video of myself cooking. I have a few more “how to’s” for Vintage Tuesday and Lomography Wednesday coming up this month. I realized it’s been a straight summer of just photos for both days so I thought I’d change it up, although probably will not have any reviews until November. Let me know if there is anything you want to see on the blog or recipe you’d like me to try in the comments or send me an email. I am so excited already for Halloween and falling leaves. October, I am so ready for you!

a few select posts from September:

Vintage Tuesday: Polaroids from VancouverSeptember in Review (1)

Zara in Wonderland: Prince Edward IslandSeptember in Review (3)

Butter of the Week: 6th BirthdaySeptember in Review (4)

The First Time I Took Your Photo….September in Review (6)

Lomography Wednesday: Fishnet Stocking w/ Holga close up lensSeptember in Review (7)

Self Portrait Sunday: And then comes AutumnSeptember in Review (2)

Popsicle of the Week: Summer Round UpSeptember in Review (5)

Featured Artists: Busy Mockingbird & Zina Nedelcheva
Zina Nedelcheva6056854_7560813_b
* this is my new feature for the Fall and I am loving putting it together, there are so many amazing artists to discover!

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Review: The Last Unicorn

the last unicorn

Saturday Review: The Last Unicorn

(graphic novel)

The Last Unicorn is the classic book by Peter B. Gillis transformed into a graphic novel by illustrator Renae De Liz and Ray Dillion. This luscious 167 paged hard covered graphic novel marries the illustrator’s vision with Gillis’s story of the last unicorn on earth. It’s a wonder adaptation of this already amazing tale and brings to life the original work is such a way to heighten the source material. I may be a little bias when it comes to this graphic novel because this happens to be my favourite movie and one of my favourite stories so bare that in mind. For anyone familiar with the 1982 movie it will be easy to draw the similarities between the art style used in the movie with the one used in the graphic novel. I find these similarities soothing as a fan of the movie as that was my first experience with The Last Unicorn and this is tends to be true for many people. It would have been much harder to get into the novel with an art style that was a major department from the movie. Although with that said the similarities are mostly with the red bull and the last unicorn. The human characters of the story have a much more modern look to their face and all in all the feel is much darker then the movie was. I love the use of color in the illustrations, they use color wonderfully to convey the overall mode changes in the story and it’s very effective. It’s very cohesive considering there are multiple illustrators working on it and they put a lot of thought into the characters and the foreground. It appears not small detailed was over looked and the illustrations are spectacular – it is a pleasure to turn the page and be surprised at the beauty of the next scene. Probably one of the most breathtaking graphic novels I’ve read. They have added an interview with the author Peter B. Gillis at the end, as well as a biography which is a nice touch. For anyone who has seen the movie or read the original novel this is still an amazing read and stands out on its own merits. If you are new to The Last Unicorn tale I would advise picking up the graphic novel first as it’s a wonderful way to read to the story and the illustrations adds so much dimension to the already rich story (watch the movie though – the music is irreplaceable). I am personally in love with this book and am tempted to use the artwork for a tattoo that’s how much I adore it. I’ve included a selection of the artwork below from the book but keep in mind it’s a 167 pages so this is only a peak.

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Review: Twinkles by Miss Van

miss van twinkles (2)
Miss Van “Twinkles

Miss Van’s first book “Twinkles” is a 88 paged hard covered book featuring her paintings from the art show of the same name as well as others.   Miss Van or Vanessa Alice Bensimon started out as a graffiti artist in France before moving into paintings around 2004. Her feminine characters have taken a departure from the cartoonish quality of her street art into more mature and refined area and the colors this time around seem to be more dark and intense but as always they remain the focus of her work. “Twinkles” is filled with her known coy and mischievous feminine figures as well as exploring the themes of masks, animals, and the circus/cabaret.   The work is presented in the book almost always on its own with some spanning across both pages and a few side by side. I love the order of her work and how it moves you along to the different ideas she is exploring, dipping in to the brighter paintings before bring you back into the moodier pieces. However the physical layout doesn’t work as much as it could, the paintings spanning across to pages frequently are left with the usual awkward placement of the focus being concealed in the spine of the book. And as most paintings are left simply on one side, I grew a little weary of the bright white page beside it taking me out of her tone. I think they would have been better off doubling up the pages as it works wonderfully when they do and kept me more immersed. They added information of each work to the page with name, year, and material – always a nice touch. The quality of the book is very good and I always enjoy books on the large scale, measuring at 25cm by 32cm. There is a brief intro in the beginning of the book that servers are highlighting the progression of her work and add more context to the paintings. I would have liked to have had something written in her own words instead. All in all “Twinkles” shows a move in her work to a darker tone and it does a great job of showing the reader her work from around that time (2010). This is book for the fan of her later painting work, much like her newer book “Wild at Heart”. It must be said that it is still a great book to pick up even if you are more a fan of her graffiti or earlier brighter colorful paintings. Her work absolutely captures my attention and I am pleased to have added this to my collection.

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August in Review

august in review2Did you manage to squeeze in the last moments of summer? I feel like I’ve had a great August. It was nice and relaxing and I managed to get in one last summer adventure with my trip to Prince Edward Island. I feel like I ended the summer last weekend, camping and dipping my feet into the ocean. I still have a stack of photos to share from my adventures in Vancouver and PEI so there will still be lots of sunny summer posts coming your way and Fall things too as I am very excited to go apple picking again this year.  I have new things planned for fall on the blog too so look out for that. One big change you’ll notice next week is I’ve decided to be a bit more creative with my post names. There will be 3 more recipes for popsicles coming your way to ease you into the fall as well. I will be spending my long weekend listening to my summer anthem Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and enjoying the sun (if the weather will agree).

a few select posts from August:

Quebec City: Holga Lens for Nikon
lomography-holga-adapter-nikon-36
Wedding Bouquets: Holga close up lenswedding-bouquet-68-800x530Self-Portrait Sunday: The thing that leaves you in the darkness is herDSC_0617-Copy-e1376828397275Vintage Tuesday: Best Friendspolaroid-42Talula and her moustachesDSC_3424-e1376461966399Saturday Review: Mark Ryden Postcardsmark-ryden-e1376105457674Popsicle of the Week
pink-lemonade-popsicledulce de leche (9)

 

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Saturday Review: Mark Ryden Postcards

mark rydenMark Ryden’s “Tree Show” Microportfolio

This is Mark Ryden’s 5th microportfolio with images taken from his 2009 solo exhibit “Tree Show” at the Michael Kohn Gallery. It contains 15 postcards of his beautiful paintings (Allegory of the Four Elements, The Apology, Fetal Trapping in North America, Logging Truck, Yoshi, Tree of Life, California Brown Bear, Ghost Girl, Goodbye Bear, General Sherman, Squirrel Girl, Bear Girl, Stump Baby, and Nurse Sue). These are high quality postcards with a lot of care put towards them and at roughly 5 by 7 inches they can make great mini prints as well. The paintings featured in the microportfolio were very well chosen from the exhibit and there are no real duds in the mix if you are a fan of his unique pop surrealism style. My favourite detail about them is the edge work. Besides that they have a pretty standard postcard back with some stylized detail like the “Tree Show” icon on the bottom corner, and the name of the painting, as well the coloring of older paper (a nice change from the obligatory white). The cost depending on where you pick them up can be a bit pricing for postcards however when you consider that these can easy be used as mini prints that doesn’t seem to be an issue. I for one love artist postcards and find that artists who try and make their work easy available and affordable to fans stand ahead of the pack. “The Tree Show” postcards are engaging with some wonderful pieces of art, and a great pick up for any postcard enthusiast or any fan of pop surrealism.

check out below for a look at each postcard from the series:


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