Thursday, 27 February 2014

Meet the Artist: PABLO PICASSO

If you read the last SukasaStyle post (Re: 149 Paintings You Really Need To See In Europe), you’ll no doubt have assumed that Pablo Picasso is one of my favourite artists. And you would be right. Recently while attending the The Guggenheim exhibition at the AGO, I stumbled upon a book in their bookshop called Meet the Artist! Pablo Picasso” by Patricia Geis, and I was absolutely flabbergasted.

Granted, it really is more of a book for children, but the child in me was giddy with glee. (Secretly, I’d prefer to read this fun edition of Picasso’s life, rather than a dry, boring textbook that is academic in scope devoid of the passion that is Picasso.)

The book is engaging and interactive: lots of flaps, cutouts, and pull tabs to explain how Pablo Picasso’s life evolved over his lifetime – from his earliest painting at age seven to the great masterworks of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Geurnica.

Picasso learnt to draw before he had learned how to talk, and he immediately realized that he could get what he wanted through drawing. For instance, he could draw a spiral to say “I want churros!”

If I wondered why I enjoy the work of this legendary Spanish painter so much, I now realized it could be because I employ a childlike curiosity in my own outlook. And, when I read that Picasso shares in my creative sensibilities, I feel even more inspired.
Often, when we look at a painting by Picasso, we think: “But it looks like it was done by a child!” 
And that is because Picasso wanted to paint like a child, he wanted to see things as a child sees them: without preconceived ideas, without being influenced by how we’re supposed to see things.

If I had a young child, I would indulge him/her in all things artistic and creative. And so without a doubt, I can see myself passing on my love for Picasso, during playtime (with painting activities) and bedtime story (with this wonderful book by Patricia Geis). 

There’s another book in this “Meet the Artist” series for Alexander Calder. Just as delightful as Picasso’s book, it includes an interactive element, which has even more impressive 3D cutouts that will delight curious minds. I’ll cover this in the next SukasaStyle post.

Meet the Artist by Patricia Geis, is published by Princeton Architectural Press and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books.

Post by @ShilpaRaikar

Friday, 21 February 2014

149 Paintings You Really Need To See In Europe

It was about five years ago that I realized my great love of paintings. I happened to be visiting my dear friends in Chicago for a few days and managed (mainly at their insistence) to squeeze in a visit to the famous Art Institute of Chicago. Now, don't get me wrong, I've always loved paintings, but coming face-to-face with ten-foot canvases infused with colour and emotion and history was mesmerizing. 

And so when I came across this book: 149 Paintings You Really Need to See in Europe by Julian Porter, I had to pay attention. Travelling can be fun, but travelling on a time schedule makes things difficult to plan. On my last trip to Barcelona a few years ago, I made it a special point to see the Picasso Museum. Yes, Pablo Picasso is one of my favourite modern abstract artists, and despite the hour long line up, this display of some of the finest works of a brilliant artist did not disappoint. The book unfortunately focuses on the best paintings by artists during the period 1298 to 1937, and so a lot of Picasso's newer works have not been included. Regardless, I look forward to a new book in the near future by the author who acknowledges this limitation. 
149 Painting
You Really Need to
See in Europe

I digress from my point: I love paintings. But I don't know enough of their history, much less the history of the times when they were created. But, I'd love to know. And because I have a terrible memory for these kinds of things, it's nice to have a bit of a guide. Even more importantly, I know that when I travel to Europe again, I have only a limited amount of time allotted to sightseeing. After all, I've lots of other great things to do. The foodie in my won't let me leave without trying out the local cuisine, and the shopaholic in me won't let me leave without browsing for hours. So, I must be prepared to cram all the art I can into my limited time, and 149 Paintings You Really Need To See in Europe is the perfect companion to help me paint my perfect vacation canvas.

Did you know the Guernica was done in only four weeks? Twenty-seven metres of canvas, all black, white and grey. He experimented with colour but the final work eliminated it. It was Picasso's contribution to the Republican cause and paid for by the government.
"The painting is a black and white image of torture, LSD dreams, and electric shock, your mental finger wetted up and jammed into the live socket white your feet are in water. The figures are unrealistic, part absurd. Is war anything but?"

To really look at a painting takes time and knowing a bit about the story behind the painting offers great understanding and satisfaction. Wish I had researched a bit more about the artists and history during my recent visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario to witness The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918. 

If you happen to be in Toronto, you only have until March 1st to check out The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918. You won't be disappointed with these paintings featuring Constantin Brancusi, Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, among others. The exhibition chronologically traces the achievements of these tumultuous years as artists experimented with new ways to create art while launching such movements as expressionism, futurism and cubism. 

149 Paintings You Really Need to See in Europe by Julian Porter, is published by Dundurn Press

Post by @ShilpaRaikar 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Cave de Ortas Rasteau Prestige 2009 Review

This Wine Wednesday your friends at SukasaStyle return to one of our favourite regions, Southern Rhône, but this time we are recommending you go down market from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and pick up something from Rasteau.

Priced at 19.95 per 750 ml bottle           
14.5% Alcohol/Vol.  Style: Dry,
Full-bodied & Smooth   

The Terroir of the Rhône Valley
Why Rasteau?
It's all about the terroir of the Rhône ValleyRasteau soils are varied: clay and limestone composition include skeletal soil on marl and red sandstone soils. At Cave de Ortas each rootstock is selected according to the type of terrain to coax the growth of grapes in the best conditions for fine wine.
Many of the pebble covered plots for Cave de Ortas were formed by the Alps courtesy of glaciers that melted over 18 million years ago. The soil is perfect for old vines as the soil composition accumulates heat during the day while concentrating flavor into the grapes by night.

During summer months the vines are forced to dig deeper in order to develop. Due to the combination of an extended root system, lower water stress, and optimal ripening of the grapes the "poor" Rasteau soils "force" the development of high quality wines.

According to the winery this diversity of soil added to different varietals give the wines of Rasteau their great aroma and flavour combining power, finesse and elegance complexity.

Cave de Ortas Rasteau Prestige 2009
Tasting Notes
An intense ruby ​​red upon uncorking the bottle, with inviting aromas of red strawberries, hints of spices and a touch licorice, supported by a simple yet balanced structure and soft tannins. This is the classic Grenache - Syrah - Mourvèdre combination that is the hallmark of Rhône.

Suggested Food Pairings
Veal sandwich, poultry roast, stew, chilli, goat curry and rack of lamb.

Drink now or age till 2016.
Serving temperature: 16°C - 17°C
Sukasa Stars (out of 5): 4.5
Quality Price Ratio: Excellent