The Badlands are a type of parched, sunbaked terrain characterized by jagged rock, cracked earth and, of course, minimal vegetation. It’s a harsh environment of lifeless wasteland but there is also good news to be found in the badlands. For the patient observer, like photographer Guy Tal, there is a delicate beauty that reveals itself only so often. “On rare years,” says Tal, describing his series of photos taken in the American West, “wildflowers burst into stunning display of color, transforming the desert into a veritable garden for just few precious days.” The reason, apparently, is that vegetation in the region has adapted to the climate. With just a tiny bit of moisture the desert can transform into a colorful garden of bright purple and yellow. You can see more photos on Tal’s website, or purchase his book More Than a Rock. (via Bored Panda)
Update: According to @happyhillers these are Scorpionweed and Beeplant flowers.
Brussels-based design and advertising firm TM led by Marc Thomasset, just released the second edition of their wildly popular Inspiration Pad. The ruled notebook plays with the traditional red and blue-lined design of notebooks, turning each spread into a different layout to “inspire people to unleash their own creativity.” The 48-page notebook is printed on sustainable paper and is available here. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
It has long been suspected that some of the old masters may have relied on optical devices such as the camera lucida to help with scale and proportion in their paintings, leading to more lifelike interpretations of landscapes and portraits. Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor and computer graphics specialist, became obsessed with one such painter: Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, who created such realistic paintings that they seemed to have more in common with photography than paint. Could Vermeer have created a system for replicating scenes in front of him using lenses and mirrors?
Jenison embarked on an experiment to recreate one of Vermeer’s most famous paintings, The Music Lesson. It’s an obsession that would consume five years of his life involving the actual construction of the entire room seen in the painting down to the most minute details, the (re)invention of a 17-century optical technology using period-appropriate tools and materials, and then seven months spent painting.
The entire endeavor was filmed and turned into a documentary titled Tim’s Vermeer, the trailer of which you can see above. The film began its theatrical run in January, but just became available as a Blu-ray combo pack and digital download today. Jenison also wrote a detailed article about the entire step-by-step process that was published yesterday on Boing Boing.
For the last 8 years the Pathe Foundation in Paris has worked with Pritzker-winning architect Renzo Piano to design and construct their new headquarters. Slated for a grand opening this September, photos have emerged that reveal, in the architect’s own words, “an unexpected presence”: a curved bulbous structure that looks like it’s been squeezed into an opening within a historic Parisian city block. “The art of inserting a new building into an historic city block,” says Piano, “means engaging in an open, physical dialogue with the existing city buildings.” In other words, it’s an exercise in reclaiming space.
Hidden mostly behind buildings, the new headquarters, which will promote the Pathe’s heritage in cinematography with office spaces, film archives and a screening room, pokes its head out above the neighbors, looking like a giant armadillo. Walking by, an unsuspecting visitor would have no idea was behind that street-side facade. (via Designboom)
Apropos of nothing, here’s a quick video of a Japanese illustrator who goes by the name Satsuma, working with a Northern white-faced owl perched on his hand. The clip is humourous in and of itself, but it’s especially fascinating to see the stabilization of the bird’s head and eyes while he works. Strangely mesmerizing. (via Tastefully Offensive)
California-based glass artist Loren Stump specializes in a form of glasswork called murrine, where rods of glass are melted together and then sliced to reveal elaborate patterns and forms. While the murrina process appeared in the Mideast some 4,000 years ago, Stump has perfected his own technique over the past 35 years to the point where he can now layer entire portraits and paintings in glass before slicing them to see the final results. His most complex piece to date is a detailed interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks, which involved hundreds of glass components that were melted into a final piece. You can see more of Stump’s 2D and 3D work over on his website. (via Lost at E Minor)
If you’re passionate about art and are interested in taking a course that is immersive, enriching and fits your personal schedule, then Sotheby’s Institute invites you to explore their range of 6-week online courses beginning June 23, 2014. Taught by leading scholars and professionals in the field, online courses at Sotheby’s Institute focus on important art world topics, including art history, art business, contemporary art, art writing, and more. Upcoming Online Courses include:
— Introduction to Art History: Movements that Mattered
— Giotto to Warhol: Understanding Painting’s Enduring Appeal
— Introduction to Contemporary Art
— Contemporary Chinese Art and Its Markets
— Art as a Global Business
— Understanding Legal Concepts in the Art World
— Writing for the Art World
— Artist’s Writings: Developing a Writer’s Voice