Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bethany's Favorite Art

Ready or not, here come my (Bethany's) favorite ArtPrize 8 entries!

Lake Superior Rocks III
This is a watercolor painting, not a photo! You sure could've fooled me, as real as the rocks look and the way the artist has captured the faint reflections of the ripples. I wonder what Lake Superior Rocks I and II look like?

4 different types of wood (flame birch, walnut, birdseye maple, and cherry) were cut and laminated into each other to create this piece. No computers or lasers were used,  just standard woodworking equipment. They look so beautiful displayed together! My favorite detail: the tiny, artistically placed circles.

Spirit of the Night
The nighttime color palette going on in this painting adds a mystical feeling to the tranquil scene. I wonder what's making it glow over on the right side?

These giants ("CHAIRMen") are made entirely of chairs and chair parts! The chairs used come from all over the world. Here's part of the statement from the artist that helps explain what they are all about: 
We are all broken at one time or another and we need that helping hand to put the pieces back together. And that's what the soldiers of "Victory" are doing. Helping one another. To reassemble, to resurrect, to celebrate life. 

and on her horse she flies
The horse and rider were created by layering various fabrics, which were then colored by layer after layer of colored pencil. Finally, they were fused to a painted canvas background. I think it turned out beautifully, and as far as I'm concerned the artist couldn't have picked better subject matter. I do kind of wish we could see all of the horse's hind legs, though.

This piece is a wall of hearts: a collage of 150 8"x8" photos mounted on wood blocks. All the "hearts" were serendipitously found in nature. So I'm not the only one who notices and appreciates stuff like this!

Folding Prince Charming
Ever hear of the Japanese myth that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will be granted? This artist morphed that idea with the fairy tale of The Frog Prince. She ended up folding 2,106 origami frogs (since it's ArtPrize 2016), kissed each one, and installed them into this elaborate pattern. Her wish: that her younger sister, who has apparently been unlucky in love, will find her prince charming. Aw! <3

Kinetic Sculpture #822

Okay, if this artist has really made 822 sculptures, whoa! He's been busy. (Far too busy to come up with creative titles. ;)) Watch the video to see it in action - the sculpture's a lot more fun than the title suggests. It reminds me of those tower things kids set up to make winding slides for marbles.

There you have them! I hope you enjoyed! Up next: Julie's favorites.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lily's Favorite Art

As promised, my sisters and I have been getting to work choosing our favorite ArtPrize entries. Because 2016 was ArtPrize's eighth year, we've each decided to write a separate post about 8 of our favorites. Since it's my birthday today (yay, a Saturday birthday!) I have decided to go first. You can click on any of the images to see them larger. 

Make A Wish
Wow, just look at this color and texture! The artist dripped layer after layer of house paint on canvas to create this masterpiece.

Birth of an Idea
Tons of small strips of paper were rolled, shaped, and glued together to form this beautiful mandala design. (This artistic method is called "paper quilling.") I really appreciate the symbolism here. Need I say more?

While "Urn-E" sort of makes sense as a name, since it's shaped like big urn, I think I'd have picked a more feminine name. There is something very elegant about it, and I love the contrast of the silver flowers against the rust.

Good As Gold
A Michigan native snapped this photo on the shores of Lake Michigan: a crashing wave frozen in time, reflecting a brilliant sunset sky. When Mom saw the full-size print in person, the proud photographer was there talking about it. It was apparently a very cold day when this was taken, and he got wet in the process. So worth it, though! 

Mirror of Heaven
This painting depicts a little slice of what you might see if you look into the waters of a deep, crystal clear spring in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Native Americans gave the spring its name, Kitch-iti-kipi, which translates into "Mirror of Heaven" in English.

The blue owl on the left and also a red-toned owl (not picture here) were already finished and hanging on the wall when ArtPrize began. A third owl painting was also created during ArtPrize itself - a collaborative effort of the artist and ArtPrize-goers. Mom didn't contribute any strokes to it, as the artist wasn't there when she went to see them. At that point (only a few days into the competition) it just looked like a mess of pattern and color - she couldn't tell it would eventually become an owl. All the random texture ends up adding something really cool to the final product, though. Hoot took 3rd place in the Time-Based category. I sure wish it had won instead of that boring Sweeper's Clock!

Cherry Waltz
Now this is an end table! The artist says a twirling dress was his inspiration for the design. Could we take this one home, please, Mr. Artist? Or could you perhaps create a doll-sized one for us?

Worlds Turning
Take a look at this video clip! As the various separate clusters of random objects rotate, their shadows mingle and dance on the walls behind them. Very cool! If I understand right, each separate cluster is supposed to represent a different culture, which symbolically cast overlapping shadows on our world.

There you have my favorites (not counting Wounded Warrior Dogs or Imagine If, as you've already seen those.) Up next, Bethany will share her favorites.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

ArtPrize 2016 Winners

ArtPrize 2016 wrapped up today. This 3-week long art competition takes place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan each fall. Tons of art was on display in a wide variety of venues, from restaurants to museums to bridges, and it was all open to the public to view for free. $500,000 in prize money was divided up between winners of both a public vote and the winners according art jurors, a panel of "art experts."

This year, as is usual, I am still scratching my head over the art juror's picks. I'm not going to bother to picture them here. (Honestly, if nude people wearing animal costumes on their heads is great art, count me out. XD) I will share the public vote winners here though.

Time-Based Winner:
Sweeper's Clock by Maarten Baas

I've listed this winner first because it is, in my opinion, the most anticlimactic. I'm not sure why this was so popular. It's a honking long video of two dudes pushing two lines of trash slowly around in a circle with brooms to resemble the hands of a clock. Yawn.

According to ArtPrize's website, "Sweeper's Clock is part of (Baas's) Real Time series of 12 hour films, a set of four works in which people's actions, rather than traditional clocks, present the passage of time as a highly physical, even labor-intensive process." 

*Blinks* Okay, then. Sorry, I still think it's lame.  

Installation Winner: 
The Butterfly Effect by Bryce Pettit and Allison Smith

1,234 handmade bronze Monarch butterflies took over an entire room in DeVos Place: on the walls, dangling from the ceiling, even perched on the emergency exit sign. It's meant to depict the annual Monarch butterfly migration (they spend summers in North America, then migrate south for the winter before returning again in spring. The artists are trying to raise awareness of the serious decline in the Monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. 

2D Winner:
Portraits of Light and Shadow by Joao Paulo Goncalves

To quote the ArtPrize website again, "Paulo harnesses light and shadows into this pixel-portrait which is created by deliberately angled wood pieces placed in relationship to a mounted light." The first portrait is of Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring, the second is of Martin Luther King Jr., and the third is of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. As you can see, when the mounted light is off, you don't see much of anything. Turn the light on, however, and the shadows do their thing dramatically. Very unique and very cool. I can see why voters liked them so much, though my favorite of the 2D top 5 was actually this painting, Ashes to Ashes.

Ashes to Ashes took third in the 2D category
Though it depicts a forest fire, which is rather negative subject matter, the texture on this was gorgeous. Mom says the the light they had shining on it made it seem to glow.

3D and Grand Prize Winner: 
Wounded Warrior Dogs by James Mellick

These life-size wooden dog sculptures symbolize dogs of the US military who have served in various wars. Six of them are wounded survivors, while the seventh dog made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Even though my first choice for the 3D prize would've been this sculpture, Imagine If, for obvious reasons, 

Imagine If took 3rd place in the 3D category
Wounded Warrior Dogs was a close second in my book. I am so pleased it took home the grand prize, as it was by far my favorite of the 4 public vote winners!

That's it for now, but this year we promise we really will post about our favorite entries. (Last year it never happened. Oops.) Watch for them later this month!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Estonian Native Horse

HI2 has introduced a new horse breed once again! It's another one of those breeds that wasn't even on our radar, the Estonian Native Horse. I think of Estonia as one of a trio of small countries in extreme northeastern Europe: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. I tend to get them confused, but as it turns out they proceed in alphabetical order from north to south, with Estonia the northernmost of the three. 

My sisters and I are all in agreement that these small, sturdy horses are a worthwhile addition to the game. Their artwork doesn't blow us away or anything, but we think they grow on you the more you look at them. As an added bonus, they come in lots fun colors. 

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some Estonians we admired in the BBB.

Lily's favorites:
black silver
chocolate sorrel

Julie's favorites:
dun roan
yellow dun

Felicity's favorites:
seal silver
bay-black mosaic

And finally, my favorites:
liver roan
dark dapple gray
So much cuteness! <3

Julie also has news that I will share here while I'm at it. That buddy who asked for Phoenix back? Well, she changed her mind again. We should've seen that coming. XD Phoenix and his trio of companions have returned to us from their adventure, and Julie is delighted to have them all back. Phoenix has already shed the rainbow unicorn horn and the 4-leaf clover mane decor he returned to us with and is back in his old, familiar red and gray attire.

Now we're down another horse slot again and will have to rework the horse numbering all over again, but this is for a much happier reason! Welcome home, buddy. <3

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Romeo and Juliet

Last Saturday, I overlapped online again with that same buddy who bought back Phoenix the Paso Fino. (Phoenix seems to be doing fine there, by the way.) This buddy happens to be quite into Paso Finos at the moment, and she bought a pack of regular horse tokens so that she could create a few in her favorite colors. I admired her first creation, a grulla mare named Storm, and this led to us checking out all the colors of Paso Finos together in the BBB. She was most seriously considering a flaxen liver chestnut or a blood bay as her next one, which are both lovely. My two personal favorites on the Paso Fino are red roan and red dun. They not only look cool in their profiles but also have unexpectedly bright avatars - their bodies are an intense pinkish orange!

red roan
red dun
Then our buddy asked us if we'd like a token of our own to make a Paso Fino with, since she didn't need all of hers. I couldn't refuse - none of us have ever had a horse token before, and I figured it's an experience we just couldn't pass up!

So, I bought the token. Yeah, I know I then had the freedom to create whatever horse I wanted, including either Bethany's dream Florida Cracker or my dream Manga. But I didn't want to have to choose between them, and our buddy specifically had Pasos in mind. So a Paso it was! And obviously, it would be a mare, for maximum long, wavy mane visible and to help out our mare:stallion ratio.

Our buddy and I decided it would be really fun to get a mare-stallion pair of the same color. 
While I was busy debating which color we should get (she left it up to me), our buddy went ahead and bought a red roan mare. Well, since I wanted to have the mare of our pair, that took red roan out of the running and made the choice obvious. 

Our buddy created her red dun Paso first. Here's how her Romeo turned out:

Pretty cute, right? I really like how his leg markings alternate in height. He wasn't super tall, so we were a bit nervous that my mare would end up taller than him. XD

I carefully used Pepsi's token then, all 3 of my sisters watching over my shoulder. Here's what the screen looks like for regular tokens and what my selections were:

I figured I'd better have her be easygoing so that she could put up with Romeo's bossiness, and to play it safe I selected "short to average" for her desired height. 

Here she is, the beautiful Juliet!

Yay! Lots of pretty markings and a good two inches shorter than Romeo. She is 6/6 and +35, which is slightly better than average when you consider the best stats she could possibly have had would've been +60 and the worst would've been +0. (She has Romeo beat - he's +22. Don't tell him that though, lol.)

Somehow Juliet ended up as an easygoing Drill Sergeant, which wasn't exactly what I had expected. (It is quite appropriate, though, come to think of it, since our first equine, Ophelia, also has the Drill Sergeant persona.) Ha ha, what a power couple these two are! Good thing Romeo's brave and social, because I doubt Juliet would ever have dared approach him on her own.

And here Pepsi is riding Juliet for the first time. As you can see, compared to chestnuts, she has a definite pink tinge!

Juliet and Tabasco, our chestnut pinto Grade Pony retiree
Finally, here is Juliet in all her tack! I tried a bunch of different colors on her. Even though "Juliet" makes me think of red or pink for some reason, neither color looked nearly as nice on her as sea foam green.

Here's hoping that this Romeo and Juliet have a long, happy romance rather than a tragically short one! XD Overall I am really pleased with how Juliet turned out, and I am so glad to have a Paso of my own again!

What a month of firsts this has been! We bought our first horse for our herd from a ranch store, we sold a horse from our herd for the first time, and now we've created our first horse with a token!

In other news, these two finally have names! Let me introduce you to Parallax and Myth!

I've chosen Parallax to be mine. Parallax is a term for when an object appears to be in different places depending on the point of view. I think it sounds cool, and because of the last syllable it seems to suit a very lazy horse like him. 

In the end, we decided that "Myth" suited this guy better than any of the other names we came up with: simple but still special. We're still not sure which one of us will be his owner, but we are sure that he is staying!