Monday, July 16, 2018

Winslow Homer and the Camera by Frank H. Goodyear, Dana E. Byrd

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Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting
by Frank H. Goodyear, Dana E. Byrd

ISBN-13: 9780300214550
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press
Released: July 10, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
One of the greatest American painters of the 19th century, Winslow Homer (1836–1910) also maintained a deep engagement with photography throughout his career. Focusing on the important, yet often-overlooked, role that photography played in Homer’s art, this volume exposes Homer’s own experiments with the camera (he first bought one in 1882). It also explores how the medium of photography and the larger visual economy influenced his work as a painter, watercolorist, and printmaker at a moment when new print technologies inundated the public with images.

Frank Goodyear and Dana Byrd demonstrate that photography offered Homer new ways of seeing and representing the world, from his early commercial engravings sourced from contemporary photographs to the complex relationship between his late-career paintings of life in the Bahamas, Florida, and Cuba and the emergent trend of tourist photography. The authors argue that Homer’s understanding of the camera’s ability to create an image that is simultaneously accurate and capable of deception was vitally important to his artistic practice in all media. Richly illustrated and full of exciting new discoveries, Winslow Homer and the Camera is a long-overdue examination of the ways in which photography shaped the vision of one of America’s most original painters.

My Review:
Winslow Homer and the Camera is basically two essays about Winslow Homer. The first was by Frank Goodyear, who looked at Homer's entire career with a focus on what influenced his artwork and especially at how photography influenced his art. The second essay was by Dana Byrd, who looked at how Homer captured the Bahamas, Cuba, and Florida in his art during his vacations in 1884-1886. She compared and contrasted his art with others who were painting or photographing these areas at that time. There were pages of pictures along with each essay showing the photographs and artwork that were mentioned in the essays.

The essays were informative and will probably be of most interest to fans of Homer's artwork. I was curious about how photography influenced American artwork at that time, and now I know as much as I care to. However, the authors assumed a previous knowledge of Homer's overall body of artwork, which I didn't have. While I could follow the specific references since pictures were provided, I couldn't fully appreciate their comments about his work in general.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty by Mimi Matthews

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A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty
by Mimi Matthews

ISBN-13: 9781526705044
Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword History
Released: July 2, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
What did a Victorian lady wear for a walk in the park? How did she style her hair for an evening at the theatre? And what products might she have used to soothe a sunburn or treat an unsightly blemish? Mimi Matthews answers these questions and more as she takes readers on a decade-by-decade journey through Victorian fashion and beauty history.

Women's clothing changed dramatically during the course of the Victorian era. Necklines rose, waistlines dropped, and Gothic severity gave way to flounces, frills, and an abundance of trimmings. Sleeves ballooned up and skirts billowed out. The crinoline morphed into the bustle and steam-moulded corsets cinched women's waists ever tighter.

As fashion was evolving, so too were trends in ladies' hair care and cosmetics. An era which began by prizing natural, barefaced beauty ended with women purchasing lip and cheek rouge, false hairpieces and pomades, and fashionable perfumes made with expensive spice oils and animal essences.

Using research from nineteenth century beauty books, fashion magazines, and lady's journals, Mimi Matthews brings the intricacies of a Victorian lady's toilette into modern day focus. In the process, she gives readers a glimpse of the social issues that influenced women's clothing and the societal outrage that was an all too frequent response to those bold females who used fashion and beauty as a means of asserting their individuality and independence.

My Review:
A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty provides an overview of women's fashion in England between 1840 to 1900. The author used information and quotes from 19th century beauty books, fashion magazines, and lady's journals. She also included some fashion plates. I'm not familiar with the fashion terms of the period. I would have enjoyed more illustrations or more detailed descriptions for commonly used words describing parts of the dress or accessories, but I still found the book very interesting and informative.

The first part of the book described the fashionable dress styles (and their underpinnings), hats, shoes, cloaks, gloves, jewelry, and such during each decade and how the fashions changed. The author also talked about how changes in society and technology caused changes in fashions.

Then the author discussed the various dresses that were worn: the morning dress, walking dress, afternoon dress, dinner dress, evening dress or ball gown. She talked about changes in riding habits, seaside holiday dresses, bathing costumes, sports wear (for lawn tennis, golf, and cycling), wedding dresses, maternity dress, and mourning dresses during the Victorian period. She also described beauty advice and attitudes, from soap and cold creams for the face to hair care and hairstyles to cosmetic usage (face powder, cheek rouge, lip rouge, perfumes, etc.).

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Complete Book of Arts Crafts, Grades K - 4 by Thinking Kids

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The Complete Book of Arts Crafts, Grades K - 4
by Thinking Kids

ISBN-13: 9781483826929
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Thinking Kids
Released: July 27, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The Complete Book of Arts & Crafts for kindergarten to fourth grade helps your child explore creative outlets in the following areas: painting, sculpting, drama, handmade toys, mixed materials, and holiday projects. This standards-based activity book builds a solid foundation in fun, hands-on learning! Filled with fun projects and detailed instructions, The Complete Book of Arts & Crafts engages children as they develop important creative skills. This child-friendly workbook promotes independent study by offering exciting and artistic projects.

Each comprehensive workbook engages children with full-color photographs and illustrations that hold their attention while they learn important concepts for success.

My Review:
The Complete Book of Arts Crafts, Grades K - 4 contains art and craft projects for grades kindergarten through 4th grade. The book "supports current state standards" according to a seal on the cover. Each project has a page that briefly describes what you're going to make and what you will need. Most of the things you need are easy to find around the house, like a cardboard roll, wax paper, rubber bands, crayons or markers, and scissors. The next page or two describes in simple steps how to make the project and has illustrations of the process.

The art projects use tempura or watercolor paint, markers, or pencils. The book includes several recipes for finger paint, air-drying or oven-drying clay, kid-safe playdough, and bubble solution for blowing bubbles. The book includes projects like: Tie-dying. Making musical instruments like a drum, kazoo, shakers, tambourine, etc. Making puppets of various sorts and costume masks. Making homemade toys and games, like a spider, a pine cone owl, or a tic-tac-toe board. Using pasta or yarn in making art. A pine cone bird feeder, bulletin board, treasure box, plate mirror, and pop-up cards. Making holiday-related crafts, like a felt wreath, snowman puppet, or craft stick snowflake. The projects are pretty easy to do, with some being easier than others for the younger kids.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.