Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Infinite Art Tournament, Left Bracket Second Round: Frink v. Frankenthaler!

Dame Elisabeth Frink
1930 - 1993

Lost quite substantially to Caspar F*cking Friedrich in Round 1.
Squeaked by Nicolas Froment in First Round Elimination by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

Helen Frankenthaler
1928 - 2011

Defeated Lucian Freud easily in Round 1.
Lost a tough one to Fragonard in Round 2.

Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cross-Country Running, December 2013

It has been a long time since we checked in with the running Avatar, and no wonder -- he's been deep in the wintry isolation of Idaho's Magruder Corridor, a four-wheel drive road through the notoriously daunting mountain ranges of the Gem State.  Over the Christmas holiday, he finally crossed the Montana line and descended down into, if not "civilization" per se, at least a paved highway with a number attached to it -- Montana Route 473, in fact.

Frankly, he'll be happy to get to a place where he can get a cup of coffee.

So, Montana!  Having got this far, he naturally begins to wonder where he'll head to next.  The general plan is to head southeast towards Yellowstone Park, and after that maybe south towards Western Colorado to visit the in-laws.  But if you've got other ideas, or suggestions for things to see along this route, he'd love to hear them. 

Speaking of Running

The Avatar can't run unless I'm running -- me, Michael5000 -- and on the whole, it has been a pretty good year for the tedious process of swinging one leg ahead of the other, over and over again, mile after long mile.  Lamentably, I'm not going to make my original goal of 960 miles.  I was already off pace when I got a little sick in October, and by the time I was back in trim the goal was way out of reach.

Part of the reason that I fell behind this year is that I did a lot more traveling then usual.  For the past few years, I've really enjoyed running while on the road, but it can be tricky to figure out issues of timing, route selection, diet, and personal hygiene during the continuous negotiations involved in moving from one place to another along with other human beings.  Still, I got some good out-of-town runs in.  My favorite visual (of many) from my running statistics this year is this one:

Thirteen states!  Pretty good, no?

My original goal was 960 miles, and I'm not going to get there.  My previous "best year" was 835.45 miles, and I'm way past that.  I'm writing this on the morning of December 30, and I'm at 897.03.  To me, this suggests an obvious short-term goal.  Round numbers are so satisfying.

Long term goal?  Part of me thinks "gosh, maybe I should cut back to 500 miles next year and spend my time doing more nurturing things such as learning to paint watercolors and volunteering in soup kitchens."  Looking at the Avatar and my (many) statistical visuals and feeling generally fit, on the other hand, makes me think LET'S GO FOR 1000, BABY!!!

The Avatar and I reserve the right to modify our running goals as we go.

"Runner" by Robin Weiss.  Oil on brown paper.
From www.dailypainters.com/paintings/47607/Runner-oil-on-brown-paper/Robin-Weiss

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One TIEBREAK: Dufy v. Ghiberti!

It's another IAT first today as we introduce the second of the two First-Round tie-break mechanisms. The artists who ended up in the first six ties have their second shot against the Play-In winners; the two artists meeting today are survivors of the seventh and eighth ties. Since there hasn't been a ninth tie yet, and these tiebreakers are supposed to wait on a three-month cooling-off period, it will be a while before we see another one like this.

Raoul Dufy
1877 - 1953

Tied with Marcel Duchamp in a January 2013 First-Round match.


Lorenzo Ghiberti
1378 - 1455

Tied with Domenico Ghirlandaio in a June 2013 First-Round match.


Vote for the artist of your choice!  Votes go in the comments.  Commentary and links to additional work are welcome.  Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Play-In Artist SubTournament: Phase 2, Flight 4

In Phase 2, you may cast votes for up to TWO artists.  One vote per artist per person.

Phase 2, Flight 3 will be open until January 18, 2014. 
Phase 2, Flight 4 will be open until February 21, 2014.

#2 Andy Goldsworthy
born 1956

Finished First in Phase 1, Flight 12, with a voting score of .923.

#7 Ernst Haeckel
1834 - 1919

Finished Second in Phase 1, Flight 1, with a voting score of .800.

#12 M.C. Escher
1898 - 1972

Tied for First in Phase 1, Flight 4, with a voting score of .733.

#19 Maskull Lasserre
born 1978

Tied for Second in Phase 1, Flight 7, with a voting score of .688.

#21 David Mach
born 1956

Tied for Second in Phase 1, Flight 8, with a voting score of .636.

#28 Dorothea Lange
1895 - 1965

Tied for Third in Phase 1, Flight 5, with a voting score of .538.

#38 Albert Namtjira
1902 - 1959

Tied for Third in Phase 1, Flight 12, with a voting score of .462.

Vote for up to two artists! Votes go in the comments. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. This poll will be open for approximately one and a half months past posting.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Cad

VII: Christmas Supper

It sounds easy to cook a Christmas goose, but gosh, it’s actually a lot of work.

I don’t mind, though. I like doing special things for my Christmas Cad when he asks for them!

It’s too bad his buddies chose Christmas Eve of all nights to go bowling, but what could he do?

I don’t know how all of this leftover goose is going to fit in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Infinite Art Tournament Second-Round Elimination: Denis v. Brancusi!

Paul Delvaux snuck by Maurice Denis in the First Round, but then lost to Richard Diebenkorn and Constantin Brancusi to leave us this week with a record of 1-2 (14 cumulative votes for, 22 against).  Also leaving us this week is Otto Dix (14-22), who beat Jim Dine but fell to Georges Braque and then Denis.

That means that this contest is between a painter who
lost to Delvaux and a sculptor that beat him. Does that mean that Brancusi will coast unhindered to Round 3? Let's find out!

Maurice Denis
1870 - 1943

Constantin Brancusi
1876 - 1956
Romanian; worked in France.
  • Lost an early lead and lost to Cubist master Georges Braque by a single vote in Round 1! YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!
  • Languished for the better part of a year after the victory was miscalculated as a tie.
  • Broke living American Jim Dine's heart in First Round Elimination.
  • Bumped Paul Delvaux, Belgium's other famous painter, in Left Bracket Round 2.

Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Christmas Cad

VI: The Nutcracker

I was so excited to see my Christmas Cad dance in the Nutcracker!

I took the whole family so they could see how marvelous he is.

My dad gets so confused. He kept saying we were there to see the Rat King, but he had it all backwards. My Christmas Cad was the actual Nutcracker!

I couldn’t wait to go backstage and tell him how wonderful he was, but I guess there’s a tradition that the important dancers leave right away for the cast party.

I guess I’ll just put this bouquet in a vase.

Wednesday -- VII: Christmas Supper

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One: Hogarth v. Hokusai!

William Hogarth
1697 - 1764


Katsushika Hokusai
1760 - 1849


Vote for the artist of your choice!  Votes go in the comments.  Commentary and links to additional work are welcome.  Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter: The State of Play

It's Solstice Eve! In many ways we've passed the worst of this purgatory called "winter" through which we must languish between the mellow fruitfulness of autumn and the giddy intoxication of spring.

But what, exactly, are the grounds for hope? Well, here in the City of Roses, where Infinite Art Tournament is published, tomorrow will be a mere 1.5 seconds shorter than today, sunrise to sunset.  The 22nd will add close to three seconds of daylight over what we experience on the 21st, and from there there will be months of accelerating daylight, with the increase progressing at roughly five seconds/day/day.

You heard me.  Five seconds/day/day.  It's a measure of acceleration.

Of course, the situation at the end of the work day has already palpably improved.  The earliest sunset of the season is already ten days behind us, and we've already gained back three minutes on that front.  On the other hand, it is still some time before we will leap from bed kissed by the gentle rays of the rising sun.  The latest sunrise of winter won't come until January 2, an objectionable deferment of winteryness into the new year.

The grimness of the season is however not merely a function of day length.  No, there is also the tedium of eternal soot-grey skies.  December in Portland is the worst month for overcast (69.9% of the time) but I must warn you that January isn't much better (67.9%).   Lamentably, this figure doesn't fall below 50% until May.  On the other hand, the meager 3772 minutes of sunshine that a Portlander can expect in December will increase to 4800 in January (for a point of comparison, a civilized month like July offers 19596).

If the damp gets to you most, I'm happy to tell you that we are well past the statistically wettest day of the year, November 30th.  Rain tails off considerably over the course of December, although it then plateaus through January and February before resuming its tapering.

Meanwhile, in the temperature department, we are as statistically cold as we're going to get.  PDX average highs bottom out at a mild 45 Fahrenheit on December 14 and stay there until January 5; the lows hit a bottom of 35 F on December 10 and stay there until January 8. 

However!  While the average highs and lows head upward in January and February, there is always the chance of some serious late-winter air dropping down out of the arctic and making things interesting.  This is why the chance of significant snow is highest -- although not particularly high -- through the month of January.  The potential for really extreme lows, which around here means temperatures below 20 F, is greatest in the last half of January and the first week of February, after which it vanishes.

If you do not live in Portland, your local conditions will of course vary.  If you do not live in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, this entire discussion has been purely academic.  If you live in Australia, here's wishing you a sun-soaked Christmas holiday!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Infinite Art Tournament, Left Bracket Second Round: Francis v. Gabo!

After the Second Round Gainsborough/Gauguin tie, my attempt to push things along to have a Fourth Round match ready for February has resulted in... a Second Round Goya/El Greco tie!  NEVER A DULL MOMENT!  So, we'll chip away at the left bracket for a few weeks.

Sam Francis
1923 - 1994

Lost quite substantially to Jean-Honoré Fragonard in Round 1.
Scored an upset against Lucian Freud in First Round Elimination.

Naum Gabo
1890 - 1977

Thumped on 15th century French guy Nicolas Froment in Round 1.
Took a drubbing from Caspar David Friedrich in Round 2.

Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.