Monday, February 29, 2016

Who is at our mercy? The Artdog Quote of the Week

Here is a fundamental precept of justice, extended to nonhumans. How do we treat those at our mercy--the helpless children or animals over whose lives we have power?

This image was created by vegans, and it speaks to the ethics of meat production. But I am a Kansan, so I've also unfortunately seen this principle in operation with humans who are disadvantaged (Sadly, you don't have to live in "Brownbackistan" to see it).

When generational poverty is somehow perceived to be the sufferer's "fault," there is a fundamental disconnect that discounts experience, culture, and socialization. When the abused "asked for it," when the mentally ill are somehow "lesser" beings--that is where our ethics are found to be in eclipse.

When those who suffer are "other," then who or what are we?

IMAGE: Many thanks to the Fluff2BuffMom blog.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Art Fair Delights: Phil Schmidt and Denny Dowdy

I recently found a couple of talented watercolorists at the 53rd Mid Winter Art Fair at the Ward Parkway Shopping Center in Kansas City, MO.
This year's Mid Winter Ward Parkway Art Fair was well-attended.
Phil Schmidt and Denny Dowdy both have been painting for several years, and neither is a stranger to Kansas City or this show. Both are masters of their demanding medium, and both have excellent websites where you can see much more of their work (see embedded links). 
Denny Dowdy's V-Highway Creek brilliantly demonstrates his command of the transparent watercolor medium.
Not surprisingly for watercolorists based in the Kansas City area, both men have been attracted to natural subjects. Dowdy seem more attuned to natural landscapes and river scenes. 
Same Creek-Different Place gives another virtuoso demonstration of Denny Dowdy's mastery of watercolor.
Schmidt is more drawn to wildlife (though natural beauty-spots form the background for most of his paintings).
Phil Schmidt captures a blue heron and its riverbank home, in his luminous painting Invasion of Privacy.
Schmidt's love of flying things extends beyond birds. He also has an entire collection of aviation subjects. 
Watch Your Six is a great example of Schmidt's aviation imagery, and also demonstrates his ability to compose dynamic action.
And you'll miss a treat if you don't also take a good look at Schmidt's nautical subjects. 
Phil Schmidt's flair for the dynamic surfaces with gusto in Hold on Tight.
Dowdy prefers subjects that move around less. In addition to his paintings of natural subjects, he also offers thoughtful images that turn relatively mundane architecture into objects of interest and beauty.
In Balconies, Dowdy uses rhythm and skill to portray a mundane subject in a pensive, lyrical way.
Asymmetrical balance and well-chosen details give Dowdy's Missouri Farmhouse an almost mystical feel.
As noted above, both painters have excellent websites with large galleries of images to explore. Both also exhibit their work in shows all over the Midwest. Please consult the calendars on their websites for more details.

IMAGES: The photo of the crowd and artists' displays at the 2016 Mid Winter Ward Parkway Art Fair is by Jan S. Gephardt (taken 2/14/16). Many thanks to the Watercolors by Denny Dowdy website for the photos of his paintings, and to the Phil Schmidt Watercolors website for the photos of his paintings.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Artdog Quote of the Week: Stand Up

Social Justice February continues with a timely quote about having the courage:

It's really hard to do, sometimes. Stay strong.

IMAGE: Many thanks to the "Social Justice Quotes" Pinterest Board

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Artdog Image of Interest: Dignity and Justice

All of us? How do we understand this idea?

Is this truly an ideal we extend to everyone? Alas, most of us do have an "other" category, who exist beyond redemption. How far are we willing extend our mercy?

IMAGE: Many thanks to the "Social Justice" Pinterest Board.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

10 Ideas about Future Tech that may change our lives

What does the future hold?
As a reader and writer of science fiction, I like to keep an eye on what people are saying about the technological innovations that may fundamentally re-shape our world in the future. 

Science fiction itself has opened windows on many ideas that later became reality--think about Arthur C. Clarke writing about geostationary satellites, for example.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke was one of many sf authors who have correctly predicted future innovations.
Other things apparently were less predicted. Few people really seemed to foresee and understand the potential for massive changes that would ripple out from the advent of personal computers, the Internet, wireless technology, and smart phones, before they our lives forever.
Few of us realized what a revolution these represented, when they first came on the scene.
Nowhere is the wireless revolution and the advent of smart phones having a greater impact than in the developing world. Here's an image from rural Bihar, India.
I've been looking at recent videos on YouTube that attempt to answer this "what future tech is being developed?" question. I shared one in Bionic Sensory Enhancements that I thought looked interesting. 

Here's a video that explores "The Top 10 Future Technology That's Here Right Now." Published in early October by the Top Ten Archive, it predicts a range of innovations from sunscreen pills to personal nanotech factories.

The video's show notes include a full list of the ten technological developments profiled, as well as links that offer more detailed information about each.

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Telegraph Media Group for the image of Sir Arthur (unfortunately on his obituary). The photo of popular smart phone brands is from a TechReviewPro article about the top smart phones of 2015. The photo of mobile phone users in Bihar, India, is from an excellent article on the Design Public Blog. The video is from Top 10 Archives on YouTube.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Artdog Quote of the Week: ALL Humans

Social Justice February continues. And this week, we're on time. :-)

Race, politics, and wealth disparity are three American weaknesses. Overcoming them--building bridges, seeing the positive value of diversity, and celebrating our differences--will make us stronger.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Instagram, via the "Justice" Pinterest Board.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Artdog Image of Interest: Perception

How do you perceive others? Are first impressions colored by unconscious stereotypes, or tempered by experience?

I'm unfortunately familiar with the experience of seeing a group of individuals and realizing that my perception was radically different from those of the people I was with.

I'd see a group of teenagers who looked a lot like my students, while others would see a potentially dangerous and frightening gang.

I would see a group of people with long experience, while others saw only a bunch of boring old people.

I would see interesting people from other cultures with fascinating new ideas, while others saw only the strange, the exotic, or the bizarre.

"They're not like us," is too often a call to fear, not to embrace and explore and share. I'm just saying . . . Be careful who you stereotype. Instead, listen. Learn. Grow.

IMAGE: Many thanks to the "Social Justice" Pinterest Board.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Artdog Quote of the Week: Humanity

It's late this week--my apologies! But I thought we still needed our quote of the week. This is a good one, for Social Justice February.

Worth waiting for, in my opinion.

I hope you agree!

IMAGE: From the "Justice" Pinterest Board