Sunday, December 27, 2009

NINE gets 8 1/2

I've been following the press and awaiting the Christmas release of NINE. In preparation for seeing the film, I wondered if the film comparatively would stand up to or equal Chicago or Moulin Rouge? Midway through viewing the film, I realized the answer to my question would be No... however, by the end of the film, I too realized I had became too quick in judging or comparing it with either of those earlier films. NINE certainly stands on it's own merit, looking and feeling like a gritty foreign film and not just another flashy song and dance musical. NINE also tips the hat to it's long running stage version... and it does both extremely well.

The film's best song goes to Kate Hudson's performance of "Cinema Italiano". Hudson is delightful in the wonderful and playful role as Stephanie, an opinionated film critic for Vogue Magazine. Her center stage song number is truly fab and extremely well presented with lavish colorful sets paired with gorgeous black and white Italian film references. "Be Italian", Fergie's Saraghina number runs a very close second. As good as the songs are, my biggest criticism for this musical would be that the songs are less memorable those of the prior blockbusters mentioned. However, the combination of the songs and choreography, storyline, and the beautiful creative cinematography hold the film together nicely.

Daniel Day Lewis was a phenomenal choice for Guido Contini and Lewis pours himself into the character. Judy Dench was a perfect pick for Lilli, as was Penelope Cruise for the sexy and sensual Carla. Sophia Loren as Mamma, the mother and influence on the young Guido, really worked for me. Casting her in the film is certainly a tribute to her era of stardom as well as to the heyday of 50s and 60s European cinema. Well done, Mr. Marshall.

The art direction and visuals were perfect for the big screen... truly sensual, inspiring, and greatly artistic. As an artist, I was drawn to the creative direction of the film and I also saw a bit of myself as I watched Guido attempt to balance his creative genius with his day-to-day life. While Chicago and Moulin Rouge may have been better entertainment films, NINE clearly holds it's own. As an artist, I found a great message in NINE and especially in it's artistry. Past inspirations are always grounded in the artist' soul... even when reinventing himself. NINE works for me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

dear santa letter or uhhh.. font?

Dear Santa,
I know with my being a finicky artist and designer, I'm sometimes REALLY difficult to please... so finding that perfect gift is always a task. Please, pleeeease do not fill my stocking with horrible fonts. I'd much rather have coal instead. At least I can draw with that.

I think this pretty much says it... all. Size XL.

Thanks Santa ...I hope you enjoy the freshly baked nachos and cold cervezas I left for you... limes are in the frig.

love, me...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

painting with words

For as long as I can recall, music has always been one of the most inspiring forces in my life. The lyrics to my favorite songs paint an inevitable image of hope, remembrance, and inspiring emotion on my soul. Many of those lyrics have layered their spirit into my paintings. If ever there were a film capturing my private time in my art studio, the footage would certainly capture the emotion that three and a half minutes of words supported by a few guitar chords and rhythm uniquely have on my work.

I tip my hat to the songwriters who are poets and the poets who sing the songs.

Shown above: "Three Sisters", mixed media on paper, © 2009 Gary Garbett.

Friday, December 4, 2009

finding focus on a thesis

Reflecting Betty © 2009 Gary Garbett
Finalizing yet another semester in my graduate program, I'm finding myself turning a corner as I prepare for my final push in the fine art Master's degree program at VCU. My creative direction and focus continues to become more refined in preparation for setting the stage for my thesis exhibit in 2010.


A visual meld and marriage of painting, video, and photography will become the canvas in my mixed media pop infused collection of the figure.

the fine art of eggs, cheese, and onions

When I'm not in my art studio, you're likely to find me in my other studio... the kitchen. For me, working with food is very similar to working with paint, sculpture, or photography. It's all about preparation and visual presentation.

Someday I'd like to create an art book focusing on my recipes, writings and artwork. 

(photo © 2009 Gary Garbett)

Quiche d' Art

This is a fave and the variations are endless. Again, presentation is everything. Serve this with oven roasted potatoes or a fruit salad with a fresh pot of ground coffee or mimosas for a delicious adventure. Frozen deep dish pie shells come 2 to a package, so I generally double the recipe for two beautiful pies.

2 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3-6 slices of bacon (alternate 1/2 cup chopped turkey)
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 to 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 cup shredded mixed cheeses (I prefer sharper blends)
1 cup half and half
3 eggs beaten
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
sprinkling of chopped sweet basil (preferably fresh)
1 deep dish frozen pie shell (if you have the time to make you own... go for it)

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Bake empty shells in oven for 8-10 minutes to stiffen crust. Remove and set aside. This will prevent the bottom of your quiche from being soft and soggy.

Fry bacon. Set aside to cool. If using turkey, move forward to next step.

In skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil and butter, melt. Add onion and saute till clear, add mushrooms and cook till tender and onions are browned. Add spinach and stir mixture till spinach becomes wilted (add a splash more olive oil if needed). Add crumbled bacon or chopped turkey. Stir together and remove from heat.

Pour skillet mixture into pie shell. Top with cheese.

Combine half and half and eggs, beat thoroughly and pour overtop mixture in shell. With blade of knife, lightly stir contents to evenly distribute in shell.

With a brush or clean finger, dip into egg mixture and brush across the top of the crust edge. This will create a wonderful sweet browned crust.

Lastly top the pie with grated parmesan and a sprinkling of sweet basil for visual and taste.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until filling is golden and set. Test center with clean sharp knife to make sure the center is done and not wet.

Voila!... Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

artistry of model, muse, and life. a bidding farewell.

I recently watched a beautiful documentary film on art photographer Edward Weston. The film, Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson is a warm and touching look at the artistry of Weston and the long relationship he shared with his model, muse, writer, and wife, Charis Wilson. The story is told with impeccable personal accounts of their life as artists and lovers by Charis. The interview portions were filmed prior to the 2007 release of the film, when Charis was well into 90's. Her recollections are incredibly sharp and highly personal.

Sadly, Charis died just last month at the age of 95.