Monday, September 24, 2012

Cathy Liu Ideas for Show at Louis Meager Art Gallery in Fremont

Here are some further thoughts about my work that I’d like to share with the class.  Today I talked about working towards more clarity in my work, so I hope to add some clarity in explaining it.


In addition to distilling my shapes and forms into their most purest and simple selves for the past 16 years, I also want to emphasize that tension and balance play a huge part in every piece. I spoke a little bit about that tension when I talked about starting to play music in my forties.  That challenge causes tension.  Also, even though I listen to NPR while painting, it’s almost like a weight that grounds me as I go into a peaceful, meditative painting state.  Somehow it gives me sense of balance.  It’s similar to the heaviness of working for Mother Jones and my husband’s injury that catapulted me into these happy paintings.  In every one of my paintings there is tension between the shapes––mostly seen as lines and forms that barely touch or are about to touch which is probably easiest to see in the lettering on cards–– as well as with the colors which are on the extreme end of complementary in many cases.

I consider my work abstract organic.  Organisms adapt and evolve.  The organic nature of my paintings are attempting to illustrate that growth, life and development. Though the titles of the paintings will give a hint to the basic idea I was trying to convey, it’s important to remember that an abstract painting is meant to be interpreted by the viewer.  A neighbor of ours was a Jungian psychotherapist and he thought all of the paintings were definitely sexual.  A friend in medicine felt they were all very biological. Several friends who were trying to get pregnant were convinced that they are all about fertility.  You see what you want to see and hopefully it’s something good and inspiring.
When I hear a great song, read a well written story, see a well made movie, or see/hear anything that is done with somebody’s best self, their truest self, I’m always inspired to do better work.  I’m hoping to bring out the playful spirit in viewers of my work. There is a focused flow of positive energy that goes into all the artwork I put out in the world––be it a painting, a rock or a birthday card.  I really want the receiver to feel it. .  The best compliment I get from friends who own my paintings is, “I don’t know why, but just looking at your painting makes me happy.” All personal pieces for friends and family are marked with a “made with aloha” stamp from me.  It’s true that a lot of love goes into everything I put my name on. It’s almost a miracle to me when people I don’t know love my work, which is really what makes gallery shows fun for me.  I figure, making a complete stranger feel happy can only make the world a better place. Some basic Buddhist tenets guide my work: Is it true?  Is it kind?  Is it necessary?

Art inspirations:
Jean Arp
Art inspirations:
Jean Arp
Joan Miro
Isamu Noguchi
Emilio Pucci

Talk to you soon.
Thanks again for this opportunity to share my work.

Hi Kenney,
Thanks again for the opportunity to meet with your students as well as providing lunch for everyone.  I appreciate how easy you've made the process so far.  Now that I've taken a better look at the gallery, I will decide which paintings and objects I'd like to include in the show.  Once I've got a list, I'll send it to you so your students can access just the photos they need to do the catalog and not have to go through everyone of them.  Maybe a page with a couple of cards and a page with rocks and driftwood would also be nice to include.
Talk to you soon.

Cathy Liu


Hi Kenney,
I was thinking more about the catalog and I was wondering what you thought about doing a poster instead.  That way people could hang them up at home.  It could be the standard 8 1/2 x 11 size that folds out and would have the images of the paintings in the show and maybe a few objects.  There could be a smallish bio or statement at the bottom of the poster.  I think this could be really fun to design. We could then keep the actual show pretty simple.
Let me know.
Any ideas about Cathy's proposal?
Do you have any strong feelings on how her art should be show?  
Think about the things we talked about last class.
Do you have any new ideas for showing Cathy's art?

Discussion: How might this image relate to the ideas expressed in Martin Luther’s “An Open Letter to The Christian Nobility” 1520?

How might this image relate to the ideas expressed in Martin Luther’s “An Open Letter to The Christian Nobility” 1520?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gage Opdenbrouw a really great artist!

I've shown Gage Opdenbrouw art at the Ohlone College Louis Meager Art Gallery and he posted this on face book.  I think it's great!  It evokes a time and a place with the faded image.  The colors, warm sepia oranges and grays adds the the overall feeling.  The color, the blurred way it's painted and the image itself all really work together.
Gage Opdenbrouw "Family in Strong Light", oil on canvas, 30"x40", 2010-2011

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cave paintings were Stone Age animations


Archaeologist Marc Azéma thinks that Stone Age artists may have fashioned their cave paintings in such a way as to suggest movement, crude movies that came to life as the flickering light from a fire danced on the walls.

Not only that, Paleolithic artists may have also have invented the thaumatrope thousands of years before the Victorians in the 1800s.
  • Consisting of a card or disk with different designs on either side, the device demonstrates the persistence of vision: When the card or disk is twirled, the designs appear to blend into one.
  • Rivère discovered that Paleolithic artists used similar optical toys well in advance of their 19th-century descendants.
  • The artist examined Magdalenian bone discs -- objects found in the Pyrenees, the north of Spain and the Dordogne, which measure about 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Often pierced in their center, the discs have been generally interpreted as buttons or pendants.
  • "Given that some are decorated on both sides with animals shown in different positions, we realized that another type of use, relating to sequential animation, was possible," the researchers said.
  • They mentioned one of the most convincing cases, a bone disc found in 1868 in the Dordogne. On one side, the disc features a standing doe or a chamois. On the other side, the animal is lying down.
  • Azéma and Rivère discovered if a string was threaded through the central hole and then stretched tight to make the disc rotate about its lateral axis, the result was a superimposition of the two pictures on the retina.
Incredible that moviemaking is tens of thousands of years old instead of just a couple hundred.

Chalk Drawings with Dad

I was walking Chuck this morning and we walked by a dad decorating the sidewalk with his little boy.

It made me remember when I was a little boy my dad once took out a giant newsprint pad and a metal cigar case filled with vine charcoal.  He put a recording of "The Little Train that Could" and began to draw the scene with me. He handed me a piece of the charcoal and as he drew the train and the tracks I drew the mountains and trees.  It's a good memory and it made me happy for myself and the people who were drawing on the sidewalk.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Discussion: Very Judgmental!

When writing this essay you should be able to provide specific facts about who is represented in each painting and things such as titles, artists, and dates. 

Try to develop a main idea and use it to describe the evolution of the iconography and form concerning the depiction of this scene.  Use these works as specific examples, do some comparisons.  Point out specific symbols in each work.  Discuss where they are and what they mean.  Use as many facts as you can to support your ideas.  A good answer will be a minimum of five sentences a better answer will be much longer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Compare and contrast Christine de Pizan’s writings with Castiliogne’s. How do they view male and female roles? How are they alike and how are they different?

Christine de Pisan's The Book of the City of Ladies 1405

Christine de Pisan (also spelled Pizan) was one of the first feminists ever to right a treatise on women's rights. Her text is a response to the earlier the misogynic doctrines of the popular Roman de La Rose by Guillaume de Lorris. Although a response to Roman de La Rose it is not surprising, because of the early date of her text, that although she argues for equality she is still careful to preserve some elements of the status quo. The City of Women's arguments for equality are written as a series of imaginary or perhaps divinely inspired questions in which she speaks with "Lady Reason" who serves as the work's guide to the questions Christine poses.


"Most high and honored lady, your fair words amply satisfy my thinking. But tell me still, if you please, why women do not plead law cases in the courts of justice,
are unfamiliar with legal disputes, and do not hand down judgments? For these men say that it is because of some woman (whom I don 't know) who governed
unwisely from the seat of justice."

"My daughter, everything told about this woman is frivolous and contrived out of deception. But whoever would ask the causes and reasons of all things would have to answer for too much in this question, nor would Aristotle be at all sufficient, in spite of all the many reasons which he gives in his Problemata and Categoriae. Now, as to this particular question, dear friend, one could just as well ask why God did not ordain that men fulfill the offices of women, and women the offices of men. So I must answer this question by saying that just as a wise and well ordered lord organizes his domain so that one servant accomplishes one task and another servant another task, and that what the one does the other does not do, God has similarly ordained man and woman to serve Him in different offices and also to aid and comfort one another, each in their ordained task, and to each sex has given a fitting and appropriate nature and inclination to fulfill their offices. Inasmuch as the human species often errs in what it is supposed to do, God gives men strong and hardy bodies for coming and going as well as for speaking boldly. And for this reason, men with this nature learn the laws - and must do so - in order to keep the world under the rule of justice and, in case anyone does not wish to obey the statutes which have been ordained and established by reason of law, are required to make them obey with physical constraint and force of arms, a task which women could never accomplish. Nevertheless, though God has given women great understanding - and there are many such women - because of the integrity to which women are inclined, it would not be at all appropriate for them to go and appear so brazenly in the court like men, for there are enough men who do so. What would be accomplished by sending three men to lift a burden which two can carry easily? But if anyone maintained that women do not possess enough understanding to learn the laws, the opposite is obvious from the proof afforded by experience, which is manifest and has been manifested in many women -just as I will soon tell - who have been very great philosophers and have mastered fields far more complicated, subtle, and lofty than written laws and man-made institutions. Moreover, in case anyone says that women do not have a natural sense for politics and government, I will give you examples of several great women rulers who have lived in past times. And so that you will better know my truth, I will remind you of some women of your own time who remained widows and those skill govern - both past and present - in all their affairs following the deaths of their husbands provides obvious demonstration that a woman with a mind is fit for all tasks.


Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529)

Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) was a diplomat, poet, composer and author served at the court of the Duke of Urbino in Italy. Castiglione was a noble who was highly educated in the humanist tradition and was attached to the courts of such famous Renaissance figures as Ludovico Sforza of Milan, Francesco Gonzaga of Milan, and Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, the duke of Urbino.

The world that Castiglione lived in was one in which the new found wealth of the Italian noble and the growth of a new upper merchant class created new social arenas. Formerly isolated city-states now interacted economically and socially. This new social configuration created the need for fresh or revised rules governing etiquette.

While in service at the court of Urbino, a court famous for its enlightenment, Castiglione composed his handbook of Renaissance decorum, Il Cortegiano (The Courtier). Written in a "question and answer" format passed down from the classical age, through the medieval period, Castiglione's text is made up of a series of debate like conversations. These discussions were based on conversations Castiglione either participated in or was witness too.

Il Cortegiano is organized in four sections. The first book characterizes the principal characteristics of a courtier, his temperament, breeding, intellect, and physical abilities. The second describes the courtier's social interactions and etiquette. Book three is devoted to characterizing the female role in society and the fourth book discusses the role of the courtier in his responsibility to nobles he serves and to his homeland. Castiglione describes the prerequisite education necessary for those of noble and describes Castiglione's view of a perfect government. The book ends in an oration on the joys of Platonic Love.

The following excerpts are based on an English translation of The Book of the Courtier by Sir Thomas Hoby (1561) as edited by Walter Raleigh for David Nutt,
Publisher, London, 1900. It has been further revised and the spelling modernized for clarity.

Il Cortegiano (The Courtier)
Excerpts from "The First Book of the Courtier"
By Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529)

This I say: in every thing it is so hard a matter to know the true perfection, that it is almost impossible, and that by reason of the variety of judgments. Therefore many there are, that delight in a man of much talk, and they call him a pleasant fellow. Some will delight more in modesty, some other will fancy a man that is active and always working: others, one that shows a quietness and a respect in every thing. And thus does every man praise or blame according to his fancy, always camouflaging a vice with the name of virtue, and a virtue with the name of the next vice: as in calling him that is saucy, bold: him that is sober, boring: him that is childish, good: him that is sarcastic, witty: and likewise in the rest.

I will have this our Courtier therefore to be a Gentleman borne and of a good house. For it is a great deal less befitting for him that is not born a gentleman to fail in the acts of virtue then for a gentleman. If he swerves from the steps of his ancestors, he stains the name of his family, and loses his honor. For nobility of birth is a clear lamp that shows forth and brings into light, works both good and bad, and enflames and provokes us to virtuousness, with the fear of slander, as also with the hope of praise. . . Therefore it is not by chance that both in arms and in all other virtuous acts, that the most famous men are gentlemen. Because nobility sows a privileged seed . . . As we see by example not only in the race of horses and other beasts, but also in trees, whose leaves and branches always for the most part are like unto the stock of the tree they came from: and if at any time they grow out of kind, the fault is in the breeder.

I judge the principal and true profession of a Courtier ought to be that of arms, that which above all I will have him to practice lively, and to be known among other for his hardiness, for his achieving of enterprises, and for his fidelity toward him whom he serves. And he shall get himself a name with these good conditions, in doing the deeds in every time and place: for it is not for him to be cowardly at any time in this behalf without a extraordinary criticisms. And even as in women honesty once stained does not ever return again to the former state: so the fame of a gentleman that carries weapon.

The Courtier therefore that we seek, as far as his enemies are concerned, shall show himself most fierce, bitter, and evermore ready to battle. However, at every other time he should be, humble, sober, and circumspect, avoiding above all things bragging and shameless boasting. For therewith a man always purchases himself the hatred and ill will of the hearers.
Here the Count respecting a while, M. Bernard Bibiana said merely: I remember you said before, that this our Courtier ought of nature to have a pleasant appearance of his name and person, with the grace that ought to make him so amiable. As for the grace and beauty of his name, I think not the contrary but they are in me, and therefore do so many women burn for the love of me, as you know. But for the comeliness of person, I stand somewhat in doubt, and especially by reason of my legs here, for me think in deed they are not so well made as I could wish they were: the body and the rest is merely well. Therefore declare somewhat more particularly this comeliness of person, what it should be, that I may be out of this doubt and set my heart at rest.
When they had a while laughed at this, the Count said: Certes, your countenance is most acceptable and pleasant to behold unto every man, although the proportion and draughts of it be not very delicate, but it is manly and has a good grace . . . And such a countenance as this is, will I have our Courtier to have, and not be so soft and womanish as many procure to have: that do not only curl the hair, and pick the brows, but also pamper themselves in every point like the most wanton and dishonest women in the world. One would think that in the way they walk, stand, and in all their gestures so tender and weak, that their limbs were ready to fall apart. Their pronunciation and language are effeminate. These men, seeing that nature has not made them women, ought not to be esteemed in place of good women, but like common Harlots to be banished, not only out of princes’ courts, but also out of the company of Gentlemen. To come therefore to the quality of the person,

And therefore will I have him to be of a good shape, and well proportioned in his limbs, and to show strength, lightness, and quickness, and to have understanding in all exercises of the body, that belong to a man of war. And herein I think the chief point is to handle well all kinds of weapons both for the footman and horseman, and to know the advantages in it. And especially to be skillful on those weapons that are used ordinarily among gentlemen, for beside the use that he shall have of them in war, where adventure needs no great coining, there happen often times variances between one gentleman and an other, whereupon ensues a combat.

Then said the Count: At the combat a man would have thought them natural brethren, then he went forward. Also men occupy their weapon oftentimes in time of peace about sundry exercises, and gentlemen are seen in open shows in the presence of people, women and Princes. Therefore will I have our Courtier a perfect horseman for every saddle. And beside the skill in horses and in whatsoever belongs to a horseman, let him set all his delight and diligence to wade in every thing a little farther then other men, so that he may be known among all men for one that is excellent.

There be also many other exercises, the which though they depend not thoroughly upon arms, yet have they a great agreement with them, and have in them much manly activity. And of them me think hunting is one of the chiefest, for it have a certain likeness with war, and truly a pastime for great men, and fit for one living in court. And it is found that it have also been much used among them of old time. It is meet for him also to have the art of swimming, to leap, to run, to cast the stone: for beside the profit that he may receive of this in the wars, it happens to him many times to make proof of himself in such things, whereby he gets him a reputation, especially among the multitude, unto whom a man must sometime apply himself. Also it is a noble exercise and meet for one living in court to play at tennis, where the disposition of the body, the quickness and nimbleness of every member is much perceived, and almost whatsoever a man can see in all other exercises.

Therefore will I have our Courtier to descend many times to more easy and pleasant exercises. And to avoid envy and to keep company pleasantly with every man, let him do whatsoever other men do: so he decline not at any time from commendable deeds, but governs himself with that good judgement that will not suffer him to enter into any folly: but let him laugh, dally, jest, and dance, yet in such wise that he may always declare himself to be witty and discrete, and every thing that he does or speaks, let him do it with a grace.

That therefore which is the principal matter and necessary for a Courtier to speak and write well, I believe is knowledge. For he that have not knowledge and the thing in his mind that deserves to be understood, can neither speak nor write it. He must have knowledge so that he is able to speak or to write, and afterward express it well with words. His words ought to be apt, chosen, clear, and well applied, and (above all) in use also among the people: for very such make the greatness and beauty of an oration, so he that speaks have a good judgement and heedfulness with all.

  1. Explain some of the main ideas expressed in The Book of the Courtier by Baldesar Castiglione.
  2. In what ways does the readings Castiglione echo the form or structure of the text by Thomas Aquinas? What qualities do they both share?
  3. Choose a work of art made after 1520 and explain how it expresses the main ideas presented in Castiglione's treatise. 
  4. Compare and contrast Christine de Pizan’s writings with Castiliogne’s. How do they view male and female roles? How are they alike and how are they different?

Discussion of Perspectives


How is this painting a good example of St. Augustine's ideas concerning the "City of Man and the City of God?"

How do these terms relate to the paintings above?
linear perspective
atmospheric perspective
aerial perspective


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Video and Discussion: Iconography: Pisano, Martini, Duccio, Giotto and Lorenzetti

How did Lorenzetti build on the earlier works?

How to make a transcript using Camtasia and Dragonspeak

  • I know that a hot topic right now at our college is to generate transcripts for students who need them, depending on their disabilities.  I just wanted to show everybody how to use Camtasia and to create a transcript with the Dragonspeak the program.
  • So I just recorded the lecture.  Now that I have the lecture recorded the next thing I’m going in a do is save the document so that I can edit it.
  • I’ll just call this how to make a transcript.  I guess I should spell it right.  Okay, now that I have the documents saved what I’m gonna do is export it as an audio file. 
  • I can use this audio file to generate a transcript in Dragonspeak.
  • In order to do that go to
  • FILE
  • and then you
  • Then you pull down to
  • It’s gonna make up a wave file (.WAV) which will be fine for whatever you’re doing.
  • I’m going to call it transcript.wav
  • Open Dragonspeak, and to go up to
  • TOOLS in the right-hand corner.
  • I’m going to
  • You can transcribe into Dragonspeak or DragonPad or you can put it in a window.
  • Open up Microsoft Word.
  • I’m gonna transcribe it into Word
  • Choose the window, which is on here.
  • Browse to locate the file. I put mine in my documents folder, I’m using the transcript.wav file that I generated
  • Click on transcript.wav
  • Click on the window in Microsoft Word that you are using.
  • Wait for it to generate the transcript.  DO NOT TOUCH THE KEYBOARD OR MOUSE UNTIL IT FINISHES
  • I want you notices it’s kind of inaccurate, but it’s also accurate enough for me to edit it and use it
  • Save the document.
  • It will be less accurate if you slur your words or you are not a very clear speaker. 
  • I hope that this helps some of you.
  • See you around campus.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Discussion: Prehistoric Art in Europe and Native American Art

How do you think these two things were used.  Do you think these two objects were used for the same thing.  Support your answer with other people's ideas and information from the lecture.

Explain where and how haute and bas relief are used on these two sculptures.
Compare and contrast the symbols and iconography used.  Explain how they are similar or different.

Discussion: Romanesque and Late Gothic Styles with Transition to ProtoRenaissance

What things about Giotto's painting made it more interesting and more attractive to Early Renaissance patrons?  Try to discuss all three planes of analysis, form, iconography, and context.

How is Gislebertus's sculpture a good example of the Romanesque style?  How and where does the sculpture depart from the classical Roman schema?

What kinds of things does Giotto's version of the Last Judgment share with Gislebertus's.  How does Giotto improve or "correct" Gislebertus?

Thursday, September 6, 2012