Category Archives: Art

Amazing Amsterdam Part 3

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Like many other European cities, Amsterdam has a wonderful collection of art – in particular, that of Van Gogh. Unfortunately for us, the Van Gogh Museum happened to be undergoing renovations during our visit, so many of the art pieces were housed at The Hermitage instead. We bought a combination ticket, to see Van Gogh’s artworks as well as the history of Impressionism.

It was interesting to learn about Van Gogh, his philosophy and how hardworking he was as an artist. The entire exhibit took us about 2 hours to walk through.

One thing you might not know about Amsterdam is that it’s world-famous for specialising in intricate diamond work.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith our tickets purchased, we entered the Diamant Museum, which was actually housed on a small villa on Paulus Potterstraat, accessible by Trams 2 and 5 and in walking distance from the Rijksmuseum.

Whilst the Museum had very enlightening information on the various types, cuts, shapes and history of diamonds, we were rather disappointed that almost all the diamonds on display were simply high quality replicas. It was however, interesting to note how misleading great quality fakes were. We couldn’t pick out with one was the real diamond!

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The Rijksmuseum was quite closeby, but given how neither of us were all that into art (and had been overwhelmed by the van gogh exibit), we decided to give it a miss.

Amsterdam also has a Madame Tussauds, but research online revealed that many find the main one in London was far more worth it to visit, so we skipped visiting the one in Amsterdam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Of all the museums, I have to say that the Ann Frank House was by far, the best and most engaging experience.

Set in the very same place where Ann Frank, her family and friends hid from the Nazis, it was definitely an eye-opener. I particularly enjoyed how they included short video interviews and excerpts from the book at various parts of the house, making it a really immersive experience. Without an online booking, the queue is long but definitely worth the experience.

The Ann Frank House is located at: Prinsengracht 263-267, a 20 min walk from Centraal station.

One point to note! The stairs are really narrow, so refrain from wearing heels and be careful about kicking the person behind you in the face. hahaha.

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Ben Heine: Pencil vs Camera

I haven’t been inspired by photography in a long time until I stumbled on Ben Heine’s flickr feed and saw his amazing work of combining sketches with photographs. It’s really quite a complex task because you need to capture the right angle and to portray something alittle extra in the frame while mimicking the same look and feel of the photograph and he does so in this seamless, effortless way. It’s pretty darn cool. These are some of my favourite shots.

 

What I really love about these pieces are that they blend reality with fantasy. I can imagine the first picture to be on the cover of a Hayley Williams single or a cover of a fantasy novel and I think the scene with the boat and people jumping and playing in the water was so amazing! It’s like a figment of his imagination came into the scene to liven it up! But of course being the absolute pet lover that I am, the picture of the dog and the cat showing affection is my all time favourite. Who says cats and dogs can’t be friends?

To view more of his amazing works, see Ben Heine’s flickr page. He actually shows a snippet of how he melds his vision of camera and pencil together. What an awesomely creative way to start a week!

Dream and Reality- Musee d’Orsay in Singapore

So I went to the National Museum on Sunday to check out the Dream and Reality exhibition to catch some of the works from the Musee d’Orsay and it was quite a breathtaking experience. I mean, just standing inches away from some of these iconic works like Cezanne’s Card Players or even Cabanel’s Birth of Venus was just amazing. I could scrutinize every tiny stroke of the brush and even little cracks of the paint from years of wear and tear. Here are some of the paintings that I really liked.

Before we stepped into the exhibition, we purchased an imagineering aid ($3) that narrates the story behind each painting. We just had to select the appropriate number and it provides you with enough background and insight and I think that made the experience even richer. For example, this painting of the Card Players is but one of a whole series on works that Cezanne did and he was most interested in depicting the architectural aspect of painting and focused mainly on strong lines and planes as well as simple forms. This could explain why the two cardplayers are so angular and square and how their bodies fill up the frame of the picture.

Another painting that I found so beautiful was Cabanel’s Birth of Venus. Nudes were very popular at the time and who else possessed greater beauty than that of Venus? So Cabanel sought to paint a realistic picture of the gorgeous Venus who was birthed in the waves with cherubs blowing on conch shells to welcome her arrival. Her half open eyes also suggest a kind of sensuality as well as the deliberate twist of her body that escentuates her curves and ample bust. If you look closely, every little detail is painted so accurately- her fingernails, each strand of hair. Truly life-like.

 

Yet another interesting painting for me was this portrait of Georges Clemenceau painted by Manet. Georges Clemenceau is a prominent statesman was served as the Prime Minister of France and was also known as ‘Le Tigre’ for being such an influential wartime leader. He looks imposing here what with Manet using his bold lines and muted colour palettes of grey and black. Definitely one of the more memorable personal portraits for me given its historical significance. And of course, another fun fact to note is that Clemenceau Avenue is named after him! (Apparently he has good relations with Singapore)

Last but not least, another art piece that deserves honorable mention is Monet’s Camille on her Deathbed. I know I should talk alittle about Van Gogh and Gaugain but their pieces while aesthetically pleasing did not have so much of an emotional impact on me. I felt that this particular Monet painting had alot of heart. I mean, this is Monet’s last painting of his wife before she died! Talk about sentimentality! But what I really loved about this is how it allows for different interpretations. Up close, it looks like a face amidst a winter storm. But from far, you can see an ailing woman in bed. It was quite amazing seeing it in person. Definitely one of my favourite art pieces in the whole exhibition!

Itching to immerse yourself in some art and culture? I highly recommend the Musee d’Orsay exhibition especially since it is free for all students (just show them your student pass) and only $11 for adults (I think HSBC has a discount) Well worth it imo.

Titanic @ Art Science Museum

So after reading the good reviews on the Straits Times and Today Newspaper, Mark and I went to see the Titanic Exhibition at Art Science Museum on its opening day. I was really quite anxious because the article on the newspaper said that we needed 2 hours to finish walking around and to see everything and we only got in at around 8.30pm (the museum closes at 10pm) so I was afraid that that wouldn’t be enough. But all in all, I think 2hours was a very generous estimate. We finished in 1 hour tops. Was it worth the $20 though? I would say yes.

If all you know about Titanic is Jack and Rose and this famous pose…

… then I think you will find the exhibit rather interesting. I mean from the get go you are already handed a boarding pass that is the exact replica of what passengers received years ago!

 

And at the back of the pass are personal travel details of your passenger. I was Mrs Harris otherwise known as Irene Welsh, a first class passenger that was holidaying in Europe with my husband and Mark was Mr J. Bruce Ismay, the chairman and director of White Star Line, the company that owns steamships such as the Titanic. It was pretty cool to be big wigs for a day and to view the 1st class cabin in all its glory. 

I couldn’t take pictures because photography wasn’t allowed so I took these images off the web. The room that is on exhibit looks something like this only there was a roomy queen size bed included. It’s pretty decadent with the mahogany furnishings, the gold fixtures and lush drapes but nothing beats the grand staircase.

It’s so ornate with the gold cherubs and the gleaming chandeliers. The museum curator said that this is probably the best replicas that he’s seen and that’s in comparison to major cities like Sydney, Chicago and Las Vegas so that alone is reason enough to go see it!

Of course there are other interesting documentaries and actual relics on display along with quotes from various survivors and even a little wall of ice to let you experience how the freezing temperatures was like though I felt that was alittle bit of a letdown. I mean, I felt it and it felt no different from the ice you find in a skating rink. But I did enjoy looking through a long list of names to see if my passenger did survive (she did!) All in all, it was quite a good exhibit that managed to capture the ghostly aura of this great tragedy. Mark enjoyed it more than the Salvador Dali one though I beg to differ but all in all, a great way to spend the Halloween weekend!

Titanic- The Artifact Exhibition will be on showcase from 29 October 2011 – 29 April 2012. For more information, click here.

Pieces of Thread – Art by Debbie Smyth

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. it kept repeating in my mind as I browsed through the beautiful art installations of Debbie Smyth. & to think that they were made of such simple materials! needles & thread.

Looking very much like pencil sketches, Debbie makes full use of the properties of thread – she shreds it at parts to make it more soft & dreamy, or she layers thread over thread to make it seem like one coloured a portion of the sketch.

I’m really liking the three-dimensional effect of it, especially when it’s suspended over the surface with needles. one can’t just do this on any wall though!

Kinda realistic, isn’t it? I love how she makes use of thread to convey the whole atmosphere of a rugged & weary ship, returning from its long journey with a sad, nostalgic sigh. It’s quite an evocative piece.

She doesn’t just use flat surfaces as some artists are prone to do (because it really is so much easier..) – & I think her innovative use of the wall corner to add on to the three dimensional effect of this installation is really fantastic! it makes it all the more realistic & interesting. I think it would be a talking centerpiece if I had something like this in my future home :) Plus, it would solve the problem of how to beautify a wall corner – which conventionally, always seems so hard to do.

stuff like this makes me feel that i need an artistic hobby of some sort, to engage myself in a therapeutic and satisfying activity that will take me away from the soul sucking abyss that my job seems to be at the moment. But day after day i return home lackluster & exhausted. :( It’s a bit of an adjustment & I need more stamina.

so. Inspired I returned from a good weekend’s rest & crossing my fingers, I find that rejuvenating outlet soon! (besides shopping) Have a great week everyone!

Halloween Makeup!

It’s sad that the Night Safari no longer has its Halloween festivities and it is replaced with some strange Halloween Night at the Singapore Flyer (I don’t understand how the two go together. Sounds gimmicky imo) but despite the rather blah events and parties, Ruth and I won’t have our spirits dampened! We love Halloween. The candy corn, the costumes, the crazy makeup. It is all about artistic expression and just for one day, you can be anything you want to be! A ghoul. A Vampire. (Ruth went as a goth girl once). It is time to let your creative juices run wild!

But of course, executing a brilliant idea takes skill and here are some step-by-step guides to help you achieve your look.

Xteeener does a pretty good zombie look here. The awesome thing about coming as a zombie is that it isn’t take much precision in applying the makeup cos hey, they aren’t supposed to look put together but messy, splotchy and fierce. You don’t even need to curl your hair. Just leave it messy and frazzled! The downside? Removing all that body paint is gonna be a real pain! Be sure to cleanse thoroughly and use moisturiser after.

This Zombie look too mild for you? Unlimited Elizabeth offers a more elaborate, scary rendition.

And of course with Twilight and Vampire Diaries being all the craze, how can I not include a Vampire makeup tutorial? Jessica Harlow has a sexy, sultry interpretation that is bound to make you look hot. Boys, better watch out.

But of course if the vampy bad girl isn’t quite your thing or you think vampires are so passe, then perhaps you can go for something mysterious and whimsical. I like MissChievous Black Widow Spider Queen and this Pop Art Girl tutorial by iwanted2c1video.

 

Or if you want something girly and princessy, then nothing beats being a Disney Princess. frmheadtotoe does a wonderful replica of Princess Jasmine and Belle.

So what will you go as this Halloween? Hope this post gave you some inspiration!

Bra Shopping: Theory vs Reality

The last time I talked about bras, I gave a quick one-over review of what designs are out there and how each bra could suit your different needs. Today, I came across this hilarious graphic representation of what it is like to go bra shopping that is completely opposite to what is represented in print ads that we see so often in Victoria’s Secret, La Senza, Triumph et al. Really, the reason why it is funny is cos it is so true. Pardon the language.

She goes on with the funny anecdotes with front clasp bras and balconette bras. You can see more of it here. It makes me wonder sometimes why we even really care about the lace and the ribbons and the cut and fit. I guess for me, it’s all about looking and feeling good (I think to some extent, we have the male gaze to blame for this) but we’ve gotta admit it, it feels good to wear a well supported bra so take some time to get yourself fitted and measured by a professional in a department store. So do your boobs a favor, stop wearing ill-fitted bras today!

Kristian Schuller’s Fashion Fantasies

I previously blogged about Water for Elephants and how much I loved the novel, well, surprise surprise. It seems that part of that circus fantasy has come true and it has been immortalized in photographs courtesy of Kristian Schuller’s book, 90 Days One Dream. What’s really unique about this book is how he travels to these exotic locations and captures the beauty of it over the course of 90 days. As a result? Imaginative photography was born. Behold.

Flutter flutter

This feels so ANTM. I think they tried a harness challenge before!

Trapeze artists?

Elephantastic!

Dramatic with a capital D

To purchase this 219 page e-book, check out iTunes. And to find out more about Schuller’s works, check out his website.

Inked.

While I do not possess the guts to actually get myself inked mainly due to my low pain threshold, I definitely can appreciate a nice tattoo. Gone are the days where tattoos are associated with skulls, butterflies and hearts. Now tattoos are considered by many to be a work of art especially since each tattoo tells a story.

This gothic inspired tattoo is just sublime. The attention to detail… you can see the little bats, the cemetery, every little twig on the tree and somehow, that matches the fiery redness of her hair beautifully.

I actually think that she’s pretty gutsy to have been able to tattoo this. It must hurt so much especially since there are so many nerve endings on the finger. Love the font and how unexpected the placement of the tattoo is.

Yet another interesting placement for a tattoo. Usually it is near the ankle but having this on the feet… well, that’s pretty quirky and kinda fashion forward. I mean, it definitely beats wearing flower patterned tights and such. This feels more real and authentic.

This is my favourite shot of the lot. This is literally an art piece! Inspired by The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Whoever said that tattoos are outrageous and unladylike? I love how demure and subtle this is.

Time to change our mindset about tattoos? I sure think so.

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