Sunday, July 27, 2014

I ❤ Postcrossing, Finland

Time for another Sunday Stamps post, and a theme of 'anything you wish'...and NO, it won't be a train post :) When Viridian mentioned that we could maybe choose something that doesn't really fit into another theme, I don't know why but my choice fell on this Postcrossing FDC...yeah, I could probably squeeze it into a 'mail-related' subject, but who knows...I may miss that one time..and to admit, it is always really difficult for me to pick one thing when I have anything to choose from, so in order not to get stuck into an infinite loop here, I'll go with this one :)

This FDC was issued last year by the Finnish post, to commemorate the fantastic project of Postcrossing!. In case for whatever reason someone reading this is not really familiar with it, I highly recommend it that you check it out..if you've stumbled here than you probably love mail, and if you love mail, you will definitely love Postcrossing! I accidentally discovered it more than 6 years ago (yep, it's been that long), and I am not overreacting when I say that it is one of the best things that has happened to my life! Seriously!

Why I love it?  Well, I've always been into snail mail and after simply ceasing contact with my long-term penpals (that's both sides to blame, we just didn't have the time), I realized how much I actually miss stalking the postman, checking my mailbox dozen times a day and finding something inside that's not bills or commercial leaflets. And thanks to Postcrossing, my mailbox started feeling happy again...and me as well. Because it is not just about the cards you receive but also the fantastic people you meet on your way along...and I've had the greatest pleasure of meeting some of those people in person. And when I look back, I can't believe it how much this project has shaped and changed my life...for the better! May sound pathetic, but finding cards in your mailbox is one of the rare things sometimes that can brighten up your day and make you feel better instead wallow into your own misery...yeah, something so trivial can have such great powers :)

Btw, I am more than proud to be the number 1 postcrosser from Macedonia :D

Me at Postcrossing :)

Hope you are all having a nice Sunday...and enjoy the variety of stamps and themes today!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Modern Art in America - The 100th Anniversary of the Armory Show, USA

a very hot Sunday here...and cloudy...making it unbearable...esp for people like me with low blood pressure...I barely function on days like this...and all I do is sleep...but then it is also a perfect day to idle,  and dedicate your time on stamps and cards!

Today's subject is "Artists and Illustrators" and it took me a while to figure out what would fit...and I hope I nailed this one right...

Here I have a fantastic cover...sent by Bryon of course, featuring the set of stamps USPS issued last year to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armory Show.

The information I have come from the paper Bryon included (as he always does for which I am extremely grateful!)
Might be a long read since there is a short text on each and every stamp...but I hope you wont be too bored :)

After the International Exhibition of Modern Art known as the Armory Show, opened in New York on February 17, 1913, the work of Marcel Duchamp and other European artists greatly influenced their American counterparts. Like Duchamp, who became a U.S. citizen, modern art soon found a congenial home in America.

(in order of appearance on the cover)

Joseph Stella, Brooklyn Bridge (1919-20)
Joseph Stella, an Italian immigrant, painted multiple images of the Brooklyn Bridge and other New York icons. Brooklyn Bridge was inspired by Stella's experience standing late on night on its promenade. "I felt deeply moved", he later wrote, "as if on the threshold of a new religion or in the presence of a new divinity."
Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912).

Charles Demuth, I saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928)
Charles Demuth created a series of "poster portraits" of friends such as William Carlos Williams, whose poem, "The Great Figure" describes a speeding fire engine. Lines from that work gave Demuth his painting's title. The words "Bill" and "Carlos" appear - the latter on a marquee in the backgroun - and the poet's initials are painted at the bottom.

Marsden Hartley, Painting Number 5 (1914-15)
Marsden Hartley spent time in Germany during World War I, when he painted a series of works sometimes called the German Officer paintings. Painting Number 5 is a composite portrait of Karl von Freyburg, a young German officer who was killed in the war. Symbols related to his identity and personality combine like puzzle pieces.

Aaron Douglas, The Prodigal Son (1927)
Aaron Douglas's modernist illustrations, created for some of the most important books of the Harlem Renaissance - the flowering of African-American culture centered in New York during the 1920's - drew partly on African artistic traditions. His Paintings for James Weldon Johnson's book God's Trombones included The Prodigal Son, which imagines the biblical parable in terms of African-American experience.

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912)
Marcel Duchamp was famous in the US before he ever set foot here. His Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 was the most talked-about work at the Armory Show of 1913, an exhibit that introduced many Americans to modern art. Nudes were traditionally depicted bathing or reclining, not as abstract figures going down staircases!

Stuart Davis, House and Street (1931)
The paintings of Stuart Davis were heavily influenced by jazz. His vibrant depiction of contemporary commercial objects such as advertisements and cigarette packages made him an important precursor of the later Pop artists. House and Street presents a street in New York from two angles, forcing the viewer to be in two places at once.

Gerald Murphy, Razor (1924)
In his brief career as an artist, Gerald Murphy produced slightly more than a dozen works, about half of them now lost. His first surviving picture, Razor, presents a razor and other items seen from multiple angles. It is typical of Murphy's work in its flat, stylized depiction of commonplace objects, presented at a larger scale.

John Marin, Sunset, Maine Coast (1919)
John Marin was the preeminent watercolorist of his era. He spent most summers on the rocky coast of Maine, where he painted the sea and sky in their many moods. Marin once wrote in a letter that sunsets on the coast were "the kind - No Artist can paint." But that didn't stop him from trying.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie's II (1930)
Georgia O'Keeffe loved the New Mexico landscape. She spent some time in the upper Rio Grande Valley near the village of Alcalde, visiting her friend Marie Garland, and made several paintings there. "It was the shapes of the hills there that fascinated me," O'Keeffe said. "The reddish sand hills with the dark mesas behind them."

Arthur Dove, Fog Horns (1929)
Arthur Dove was one of modern art's earliest abstract painters. Fog Horns shows his interest in synesthesia, the phenomenon of stimulating one sense by means of another. The gray background suggests the ocean, while concentric rings of paint grow progressively lighter as they emanate outward from the center, conjuring foghorns blaring in the mist.

Charles Sheeler, American Landscape (1930)
In 1927, when Charles Sheeler received a commission from an advertising agency to photograph the Ford Motor Company plant in River Rouge, Michigan, he concentrated on the power of the machines and the plant architecture, emphasizing the impersonal grandeur of the scene. He went on to explore this vision in several paintings, including American Landscape.

Man Ray, Noire et Blanche (1926)
In Paris, American artist Man Ray made several iconic images of a woman known as Kiki di Montparnasse. Noire de Blanche is from a series of photographs juxtaposing Kiki's face with a West African mask. Man Ray and his contemporaries turned to African artifacts partly from a sense that Western art had exhausted its possibilities.

well, hope you liked at least some of the paintings!

for more artistic stuff, visit Viridian's page! And I apologize in advance that I will take at all the posts and leave my comments later today or tomorrow

Sunday, July 13, 2014

World Natural Heritage of Russia - Republic of Tyva, Russia

I've been feeling so sick all day long that I almost missed today's Sunday Stamps' episode...but thanks to the different time zones, the deadline is convenient, so here is my contribution for today's theme on Landscapes :)

I've chosen this Russian FDC - Russian stamps often feature some beautiful landscapes, though unfortunately I do not have many of those in my collection.

Here you can see the Uvs Nuur Basin, , which is a UNESCO whs and is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia (on the territorial border of Mongolia and the Republic of Tuva in the Russian Federation). It takes its name from Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds.

Enjoy more breathtaking views over at Viridian's!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

British F1 World Champions, Guernsey

when the subject of sports was announced for Sunday Stamps, I somehow knew my post was going to be something about Formula 1...and since today it is Silverstone on the schedule, it does seem appropriate to go with an F1 post.....that though not related to Silverstone in particular, is about something British :)

well, I wont be watching the race today...with Raikkonen doing sooo terribly this season, I've barely followed a race, and with just 19 points in total and holding the miserable 12th position in the overall standings, I think that watching F1 for the rest of the year would be on stand-by...hopefully, next year he'll do better :)

anyways, today's FDC comes from Guernsey...yay, first time to post something from Guernsey here! And here you can take a look at the career highlights to date of the 2008 and 2009 British Formula 1 World Champions, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

Lewis Hamilton was born in Stevenage, Kent on 7th January 1985. After graduating from karting to single-seaters, Hamilton then rose through the ranks of Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries and the GP2 championship eventually earning his maiden Formula 1 test and a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race seat for 2007. His debut season was stunning and he appeared on the podium for his first nine races he ended 2nd in the Drivers' Championship by a single point. In 2008, aged just 23, Hamilton became the youngest World Champion in Formula 1's history.

Jenson Button was born in Frome, Somerset on 19th January 1980. One of his first major racing achievements was taking first place in the Karting British Super Prix aged just nine. His journey to Formula 1 saw him compete in the British Formula Ford and British Formula Three Championships. Button made his Formula 1 debut with Williams in 2000, and went on to drive for Benetton, later renamed Renault, BAR subsequently renamed Honda and then following a management buyout : Brawn. After a number of difficult seasons, his talent and tenacity paid off as he won six of his first seven races during the 2009 season and ultimately became a World Champion.

well, we know well enough that in the last few years it's been all about Sebastian Vettel, having won all the last 4 championships (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)...however, the prospects for 2014 are not so promising for him, so we'll see what happens until the end.

Btw, when ordering this FDC, there were also two with just the stamps, not the sheet, signed by Hamilton and Button...but of course, they were sold out, so I had to comfort myself with this one....

for more sports entertainment, check out today's post at Viridian's!