Category Archives: Art objects

Painted Frog Rock

People love finding rock formations that, from a particular angle, look like something else, especially an animal or human. The Internet has many examples of rock formations that look like a fox, rabbit, elephant, dog, penguin, bear, porcupine, fish, horse, camel, dinosaur, rhino, or human face. There are of course many examples of human breasts and buttocks as well as human genitals in rocks. Here is a rock formation that looks somewhat like a frog located in the Western Cape alongside the road between Betty’s Bay and Rooi Els.


The last time someone updated the paint job on this rock was in the early 1990s I’m told. It used to be cool to paint on rock formations if they were small enough, however these days one doesn’t see it often. It’s not cool anymore to paint on a natural feature. Instead people do it virtually in Photoshop; some of the examples I’ve seen in Google look like they might just start walking!


Carnaby Street Coolness

Lord John was a Mod Look clothing store and then clothing chain success story in 1960’s swinging London. The owner drove around the city in his Rolls Royce and cultivated a gangster image. He was once interviewed wearing a see-through body shirt over a golden-tanned spare-tyre and said in a thick London accent “Let’s make this fast, young man – I’ve got a very busy day”. In 1967 he commissioned a huge hippy mural on one of his two Carnaby Street stores. It was very daring at the time.


Before and after

This was a cheap souvineer slide so had completely lost color. I went for a black and white tint with light edges.




Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Art objects, City street, Europe

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Two-headed griffin stands the test of time

This two-headed griffin was probably photographed in the ruins of the ancient Persian city of Persepolis, in modern day Iran. Persepolis dates back to 500BC and was a large complex of buildings. At that time, griffins had been around in human culture for about 1000 years. With the head of an eagle and the body of a lion, they are a mix of the two most powerful beasts in nature – one that ruled the air and the other the land. The Griffin was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of worldly and divine possessions. Read here about griffins and here about the ancient city of Persepolis.


After the usual restoration tricks, which in this case included the removal of a shadow, I decided to introduce a strong motion blur to the background and the boy. This tells the story of how fast time has moved and relatively, how fleeting human culture is. The griffin still looks fabulous today while all around it the world has changed.

Before and afterTwo-headed-bird-cropped

Click for big.


Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Art objects, Middle East, Ruins, Statue

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A Lavish Facade Somewhere in Italy

I came across a little stash of slides taken on a trip to Italy in the late 1950s. Here is the first of many treasures. The traveler was in Rome and Florence but I have been unable to confirm the location of this building. Somewhere in a small, rustic courtyard stands this lavish, almost silly facade. The moldings look like cake icing or candle wax but I think they represent grapes or leaves. If we could identify the mythical figures I’m sure it would help. Please do get in touch if you know where this is.

Straightening immediately gave the building more weight. I then reworked the color a little and sharpened it.

Before and after. Click for big.


Chagal Windows Israel

This small synagogue is at Hadassah Medical Centre in Israel. The arches contain famous stained glass windows by Chagal. This pic from 1964 was taken only 2 years after they were installed. Hadassah is a large medical complex, and campus. The role of art in healing is part of their philosophy hence the investment in a Chagal masterpiece. The windows depict the 12 tribes of Israel; go here to see what they look like from inside and at night, when illuminated.

I love the shapes in this image and the walking man. One of the challenges of the original was reducing the window reflections while keeping the detail of the stained glass sections. In the end a smooth, stylised look worked best for me as it got rid of all detail and left only the essentials – shape, colour and form.



Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Art objects, Church&religion, Man, Middle East

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Greek Men of Stone

Photographed in 1964, these statues of Greek heroes stood in the museum at Delphi, in Greece, and probably still do. Their noses and penises have unfortunately been removed by vandals at some time in the past. I love the way the two women stand in their shadow, such lesser beings, despite being alive.

 This cleaned up beautifully after I removed the yellow indoor light and cleaned up some purplish mold. I love the sharpened texture of the stone in contrast to the smooth background and the two women.


Before and after. Click for big.


Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Art objects, Europe, Museum, People, Statue

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Street Art of the 1950’s

In this image an NYU art student is putting out his paintings for ‘show’ on the street. Its art on the street – literally. Its 1961 and avant-garde. Back in the day that term really meant something.

The quality of Kodachrome slide film was superb. So good in fact I should not even use the past tense. I hardly had to do anything to this image, as the colors had been preserved so well. I will admit however to sneakily brightening each painting individually. Imagine if the artist had known that one day someone would sit at a computer screen and use a mouse(!) to select each painting and magically deepen the saturation of the pixels(!). The digital age was not even a dream when this student made his work.

Before and after (its subtle). Click for big.


Posted by on October 28, 2012 in America, Art objects, City street

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