Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Happy Birthday Mark Twain

If you have been on google today, you may notice a fun little illustration commemorating Mark Twain. Mark Twain is a famous and brilliant writer, born Nov 30th 1835 under the name Samuel Langhorne Clemens. While some people may not be keen on his books, they still know who he is. He is known for his most famous works - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I have mentioned him previously in my Friday's Five due to the fact he wrote one of my favourite books, Pudd'nhead Wilson. If you haven't read any of his books, I suggest you pick one up, they are great classics that always appear to have some truth in them, knowing some of what he writes about has probably happened. Mark Twain (I use his pen name as that is how he is remembered) was famous for his wit and satire, and his personal life alone was as much of a story as his stories.

On a final note, I have always been fond of the things he has said and you can find me quoting his words on my facebook page. Some of my favourites include:
  • A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
  • 'Classic'. A book which people praise and don't read.
  • Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
  • Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
  • Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
If you can think of any other quotes or would like to share your views on Mark Twain and any of his stories, please do so. I would love to hear what everyone else thinks.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Brief Hiatus

Apologies for the silent treatment... I have been very sick for the past month that I havent had the chance to read or stare at the computer. Thankfully it appears I am recovering just in time for Thanksgiving... even though I am not American. On that note... Happy Thanksgiving to you all, enjoy the parade in NYC, your yummy turkey and a beautiful night with your fabulous families or university roomates. I look forward to blogging and chatting with you all next week with a new review :D


Friday, 4 November 2011

Review: The Art of the Hlebine School

The Art of the Hlebine School by Vladimir Crnkovic is an illustrated book detailing the project and history of the art from the Hlebine School and the Croatian Museum of Naive Art. It discusses the genre, the art and the life of the artists. If you are interested in culture, art, Europe or learning something new, while you don't need to go out and buy the book, I highly recommend you read on and check out some artwork. It's something nice and light for the weekend.

I have always loved art. I have exhibited work and regularly paint and draw. For my highschool art final, I made a series of paintings in a very unknown genre, Naive Art. Naive art is a concept, known as a modern primitive art of the 20th century. It follows an unique and poetic style that enhances emotional stories and still to this day is very difficult to define. Artists paint nature, their lost childhood, stories and dreams, no matter how joyous or dark. As long as they had an imagination and were curious about the world, anything was possible.
Originally in Croatia it was created by peasants, artisans, clerks and ordinary people from the village. Over time, the most successful of these became professional artists and are cultural icons in their countries.

The great thing about Naive Art is that everyone can paint what they want. Artists have been known to paint in watercolour, oil on canvas, wood and glass. The extremely amazing thing about Naive Art is the glass painting. I myself spent a week with professional artists in Osijek, Croatia to learn how this complicated technique works.

I won't go into detail for the technique, but to put it simply, you paint back to front. You use oil on the back of a glass panel and start with the details, such as eyes, facial features, accessories, highlights on trees etc, move on to hair, clothing and finish with the background (sky and grass). Once you are finished, as long as you place a protective sheet on the back where you painted, the front will always be safe from harm.

To the left is my first attempt. It is an oil on glass work that represents my life with my brother when we were children. We were involved with Folkoric dancing and this became the first time we put sibling issues aside and became friends.

Here are some examples of Naive Art from the book:

Landscape; Oil on Glass - Ivan Generalić

Flood; Oil on Glass - Ivan Generalić

On The Hills - Primeval Forest; Oil on Glass - Ivan Rabuzin

Woodcutters; Oil on Glass - Mijo Kovačić

Final Comments
For lovers of art and culture, this is not a book to miss. It describes an international art which can now be found across Europe, Asia and the US. Different artists have their own style and colour palettes, each unique in their own way and full of drama and emotion.
Unfortunately, this book is extremely impossible to find online as it is one of those special edition art books sold at museums. As I bought it at the museum it was an easy find. If you are interested, I have found a link here. Or if you are ever on holiday and are visiting Croatia, by all means stop off at the museum in Zagreb and take a look at the amazing art. It is in a quaint space hidden in a beautiful building in the heart of the city.

Release Date: 2006
Publisher: Izdavač
Author: Vladimir Crnkovic

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Have you heard of GetGlue?

We all love reading a great book, entering an awesome giveaway and getting freebies in the mail... nothing is better than being rewarded for something you love to do. I am always on the lookout for interesting social networks that allows readers to rate books. Obviously we have Goodreads to share our reviews, rate and recommend to others, but we don't get anything in return, which is why I wanted to introduce you to GetGlue.

For those of you that haven't heard of GetGlue, it is a social network for entertainment, where you can "check in" to the book you are reading, shows or movies you are watching. You can "like", rate and engage with other users who have also checked in to the same book. The reward for using GetGlue is stickers, discounts off products and various other freebies. With every few check ins, you receive a fan sticker, and for some books, you receive a personal sticker for that book. It is a great way to show how much you love a book or movie and unlike Foursquare and Gowalla, you don't have to share your location, you just share what you are enjoying.

The bonus part... while the stickers do save on your phone, you can request for them to be printed into stickers and be sent FREE of charge to your home. No strings attached. Here is my sticker sheet:

You can sign up online at GetGlue or download the app for your phone. Watch the stickers roll in!