ART – not deliberate, not random, something in between – Jackson Pollock (Art Philosophy) – What do you see?

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convergencePerhaps his most famous work was a painting entitled Convergence, which was a collage of colors splattered on a canvas that created masterful shapes and lines that evoke emotions and attack the eye. The painting was created in 1952, and is oil on canvas; 93.5 inches by 155 inches (Karmel, 1999). With Pollock’s brushstrokes he was able to make handy use of colors, lines, textures, lights, and contrasting shapes. This painting is enormous and its size can only really be appreciated in person. In 1964, puzzle producing company, Springbok Editions, released Convergence (Inspired by Pollock’s painting) the jigsaw puzzle. It was a 340-piece puzzle that they promoted as “the world’s most difficult puzzle”. The impact of Pollock’s Convergence was evident in 1965 when hundreds of thousands of Americans purchased the jigsaw puzzle.

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Jackson Pollock’s style of painting, as exemplified by Convergence, is an important, innovative development in the history of painting. At the time of the painting, the United States took very seriously the threat of Communism and the cold war with Russia. Convergence was the embodiment of free speech and freedom of expression. Pollock threw mud in the face of convention and rebelled against the constraints of societies oppressions. It was everything that America stood for all rapped up in a messy, but deep package. On that same note, some of Pollock’s works were even sponsored by the Congress for Cultural Freedom (an anti-communist advocacy group founded in 1950), which was backed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (Karmel, 1999). The CIA appreciated Pollock’s style, because it steered clear of social realism and overt political gestures. Pollock’s abstract work was hard to decipher, but his rebellious nature and expressions of freedom were clearly evident.

What do you see?

ART – NOT DELIBERATE, NOT RANDOM, SOMETHING IN BETWEEN

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The Miniatures of Joshua Smith 

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Joshua Smith is a miniaturist and former stencil artist based in Norwood, South Australia. With a career spanning 17 years he has showcased his work in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Japan and all over Australia in over 100 exhibitions. Formerly a self taught stencil artist Josh refocused his career to establishing Espionage Gallery, an Art Gallery based in Adelaide, South Australia showcasing both emerging and well established local, interstate and international artists. For 4 years he showcased over 600 artists from over 20 countries.

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In 2015 after the closure of Espionage Gallery Josh refocused back onto his own career this time as a self taught miniaturist. His miniature works primarily focus on the often overlooked aspects of the urban environment such as grime, rust, decay to discarded cigarettes and graffiti perfectly recreated in 1:20 scale miniatures.

miniature-urban-architecture-joshua-smith-7See more of his work here.

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Relax, Relate and Release into Spring

THE FRENCH YAM

Relax, Relate, Release !

With Spring finally upon us, the time has come for us to cleanseand recharge our batteries.Here are 4 ways to ease into spring:

#1 Meditation

Empty your mind from all of the holiday buzz and winter blueswith a simplemeditation routine. Sit or lie comfortably in a relaxed position and repeat the AUM mantra out loud for 15 – 20 minutes. Repeating this mantra helps to calm the mind while relaxing facial muscles and releasing stress. Consistent practice leads to greater mental clarity, emotional stability and increased energy.

#2 Morning Smoothies

Say good-bye to heavy winter porridges. And say hello to light breakfast smoothies. Start each morning with homemade fruit and veggie smoothies packed with nourishing vitamins and minerals. Add a dose of delicious wheat grass, chlorella, or spirulinapowders for added benefits.

#3 Herbal Tisane

Now is the time to swap the usual morning caffeine kick of…

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Artsy Fartsy – Wall Street’s ‘Fearless Girl’ statue – What are your thoughts?

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According  to CNN, “Fearless Girl” was installed Tuesday by State Street Global Advisors as part of the asset-manager’s campaign to increase the number of women on their clients’ corporate boards. 

A group of women who work together also came to the financial district to see the statue on International Women’s Day. “We really like the little girl standing up to the bull,” one said. 

A man who works nearby said, “I have two daughters and I thought it was pretty impressive that they have this up here.”

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“Fearless Girl” wasn’t the only one overwhelmed by attention. The woman who created her, artist Kristen Visbal, says she’s been inundated with calls and emails from fans. 

Visbal said that team behind the campaign,which includes the advertising agency McCann NY, approached her to design a statue of a young girl. “We were focusing on making a statement about the future of Wall Street,” she said. “We wanted this wonderful contrast,” she said, between the delicate child and the aggressive bull. 

“I think the fact that she’s a child makes the figure much more endearing.” 

Visbal was particularly moved by an image of young girl wearing a cape and posing beside the statue. 

“The whole project is about girl power,” she said. “I love that phrase, because it makes us a lot stronger if we are in unison.” 

Anne McNally, SSGA’s head of public relations for North America, told CNNMoney that the group has a permit that allows the statue to remain in place for one week, but that they are seeking an extension that would keep “Fearless Girl” in place for a month. 

“After that, it’s up to the city,” she said. “We would be very supportive of a permanent installation as a piece of art.”

What are your thoughts on the statue?

Survival of the Fittest – Benefits of Eating Apples

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  1. Get whiter, healthier teeth

An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

  1. Avoid Alzheimer’s

A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

  1. Protect against Parkinson’s

Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fibre foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

  1. Curb all sorts of cancers

Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumours in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fibre intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

  1. Decrease your risk of diabetes

Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

  1. Reduce cholesterol

The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

  1. Get a healthier heart

An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

  1. Prevent gallstones

Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

  1. Beat diarrhea and constipation

Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

  1. Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet.

  1. Avert hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

  1. Control your weight

Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

  1. Detoxify your liver 

We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples.

  1. Boost your immune system

Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.

  1. Prevent cataracts

Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

Credit: Best Health Mag

Artsy Fartsy – Freedom from want by Norman Rockwell

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Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture or I’ll Be Home for Christmas, is the third of the Four Freedoms series of four oil paintings by American artist Norman Rockwell. The works were inspired by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms.

The painting was created in November 1942 and published in the March 6, 1943 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. All of the people in the picture were friends and family of Rockwell in ArlingtonVermont, who were photographed individually and painted into the scene. The work depicts a group of people gathered around a dinner table for a holiday meal. Having been partially created on Thanksgiving Day to depict the celebration, it has become an iconic representation of the Thanksgiving holiday and family holiday gatherings in general.

Three generations circle the food—a nuclear family more rarely seen today, but still existing in some hearts and minds as an ideal. (If Rockwell were painting now in 2013, what might that modern American family look like racially or even in terms of sexual orientation?) From the lower right corner, in the finest Renaissance tradition of painting, a young man looks out at you directly—the classic challenge to the viewer posed by the painter and his painting. His smile asks you to join in with the wonder at the bounty set before them, but is that all it asks? After more than a decade of overseas wars draining of us blood and treasure and an economic downturn further depleting our reserves of good will and thankfulness, that young man’s smile reminds us that the Thanksgiving thanks are not necessarily for abundant protein and four kinds of vegetables. Instead, the thankfulness is for having each other and the enduring capacity of people to free one another from all kinds of want—physical, emotional, and even spiritual.

Credit: Wikipedia

Inside the Agora – The Power of Belief

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The Super Moon!!! – November 14 Supermoon Will Be the Largest Since 1948 (Science is Awesome)

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The moon will make its closest distance to Earth in 68 years later this month.November 14 ,2016 Beaver Moon

The full moon will rise in the east after sunset. It will be the largest and and closest to Earth since 1948. NASA says the full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until Nov. 25, 2034.

“A supermoon, or perigee full moon can be as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an apogee full moon.,” NASA says.

Artsy Fartsy – Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth – What are your thoughts on the piece?

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Christina’s World is a 1948 painting by American painter Andrew Wyeth, and one of the best-known American paintings of the middle 20th century. It depicts a woman lying on the ground in a treeless, mostly tawny field, looking up at a gray house on the horizon; a barn and various other small outbuildings are adjacent to the house.

This tempera work, done in a realist style called magic realism, is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as a part of its permanent collection.

Many people think it is a story of pain and struggle. I chose to believe she is looking for hope trying to get up and carry on.

What are your thoughts on the piece?

Fun Facts:

1. THERE WAS A REAL CHRISTINA. 

The 31-year-old Wyeth modeled the painting’s frail-looking brunette after his neighbor in South Cushing, Maine. Anna Christina Olson suffered from a degenerative muscular disorder that prevented her from walking. Rather than using a wheelchair, Olson crawled around her home and the surrounding grounds, as seen in Christina’s World

2. OLSON’S SPIRIT INSPIRED WYETH’S MOST POPULAR PIECE. 

The neighbors first met in 1939 when Wyeth was just 22 and courting 17-year-old Betsy James, who would later become his wife and muse. It was James who introduced to Wyeth to the 45-year-old Olson, kicking off a friendship that would last the rest of their lives. The sight of Olson picking blueberries while crawling through her fields “like a crab on a New England shore” inspired Wyeth to paint Christina’s World

“The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless,” he wrote. “If in some small way I have been able in paint to make the viewer sense that her world may be limited physically but by no means spiritually, then I have achieved what I set out to do.” 

Credit: Mental Floss

Inside the Agora – Is there virture in being nothing?

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