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October 30, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

The Fruitful Arts

Continuing this week’s fruity theme here at Zatista: Still-life paintings have been depicted in Art since the beginning of history. Often the fruits and flowers illustrated were assigned symbolic meanings. These meanings may vary across centuries and cultures, but fruit remains a prevalent motif. Below are some of the more popular meanings of fruit from Western Art History.

Perfect Slices by Susan Galick on Zatista.com

Oranges were sometimes used in art to represent the social status of a subject. The Dutch Renaissance painters depicted oranges to portray luxury. Citrus fruits were also commonly associated with marriage.

Konnie Kim_Lemons 2 by Konnie Kim on Zatista.com

Lemons were used to represent bitterness, a sour heart, or to call to mind exotic southern climates as a sign of prosperity. Citrus fruits were also associated with funerals and the hope of resurrection.

Pineapple by Stephanie Berry on Zatista.com

Pineapples have been used as symbol of fertility, and in American history, a symbol of hospitality. They were a popular design motif during the Colonial period.

Bartlett by Stephanie Berry on Zatista.com

Pears symbolize faith but also sensuality and temptation, sometimes representing the fruit of the forbidden tree.

Pomegranate Seeds by Faith Lefever on Zatista.com

Pomegranates were a universally esteemed fruit throughout the many cultures of the world. Generally, they symbolized bountiful fertility and eternal life.

Peaches by Laverne Chisan on Zatista.com

Peaches were a symbol of virtue and immortality, also widespread in Eastern Art.

Green on Green by Linda Yurgensen on Zatista.com

Apples held dual symbolism, significant of both the Fall of Man and the Redemption. It was also commonly used as an emblem of love and motherhood/fertility.

Five Green Kadota Figs by Raphael Sloane on Zatista.com

Figs were commonly linked to the Fall of Man, as Adam and Eve wore fig leaves to cover themselves upon being cast out of the Garden of Eden. They can also represent fertility and abundance.

So, as you savor the meaning of these succulent fruits throughout the year, think not only about what they represent and how they can improve your health, but think about how fruit can improve your walls, as well!

 

 

October 28, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

Fruit & You

Fruit is a painter’s best friend—and it could be yours, too! Not only is fruit a delicious and nutritious snack when eaten raw, but it can also enhance hearty meals and decadent desserts, replacing unhealthy staples like sugar, hydrogenated oil and eggs.

“Natural Color” by Cristina B. Velasquez on Zatista.com

Fruit vs. Dessert

For example, you can replace eggs with applesauce when baking cookies or some cakes, replacing over 100 percent of your daily cholesterol needs with a good source of fiber and vitamin C. If you’re looking for alternatives to heart-stopping (albeit mouthwatering) holiday treats like pecan pie and chocolate chip cookies, try making crisp-less fruit crisp: very ripe apples (or peaches or pear, or the fruit of your choice) with a bit of maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, butter, etc. Keep in mind the more fatty or sugary ingredients, the richer it will taste, but if your apples are ripe enough and especially if you’ve chosen a sweet kind like Gala or Golden Delicious, your ‘crisp’ will taste scrumptious and very satisfying, and even more comforting when served warm—perfect for the holidays.

“Summer Bouquet” by Stephanie Berry on Zatista.com

If cakes and pies aren’t your style and you simply can’t live without your nightly pint of ice cream, here’s some good news for you: blended bananas make the foundation for a great pseudo-ice cream sundae! Just take two very ripe frozen bananas and put them in the blender—you’ll see them become soft and whipped, yielding an ice cream-like texture. Many people recommend adding a small amount of almond milk or soymilk, and you can also add peanut or almond butter for extra flavor. Incorporate some toppings like carob chips (great alternatives to chocolate chips, with fiber and way less fat and sugar), granola, sprinkles and a dash of Nutella, and you’ve got yourself a sundae that won’t break the bank! Bananas are extremely accessible, available year-round everywhere and only cost about 30 to 80 cents per pound, depending on where you live and shop. As always, organic bananas are best: they cost only slightly more, and are usually much bigger, sweeter and less curved.

“Tropical Fruit, Flowers and Candle” by Bernard Victor on Zatista.com

Here’s another idea for cookie lovers: try making your own macaroons. There are some extremely simple, extremely healthy recipes—like shredded coconuts, dates, vanilla and salt—and some more cookie-like ones, but with a healthier twist: with shredded coconut, brown rice syrup, soymilk, salt, vanilla, flour and sugar.

“Coconuts” by Valerie Vescovi on Zatista.com

Macaroons are optimal for satisfying even the most severe sweet tooth. And as a rule of thumb, you can sometimes replace sugar with pineapple juice, argave nectar or maple syrup for a less offensive alternative.

“Pineapple” by Bee Things on Zatista.com

What about those cocktail cravers out there? I haven’t forgotten about you—next time you crave a sugary surprise, try mixing your drink of choice with whole fruit (just pop it in the blender) instead of sugary, processed fruit juice cocktails.

“Pears” by Livia Mosanu on Zatista.com

It’s usually cheaper, and you still get the fiber and vitamins that fruit provides while tending to your holiday cocktail party needs. So sip away!

“Bin 333” by Stephanie Berry on Zatista.com

Why fruit?

Fruit is packed with fiber, regulating your digestive system and keeping you slim and healthy. Other health benefits depend on the kind of fruit.

“Orange in a Splash of Water” by Faith Lefever on Zatista.com

For example, bananas contain a high source of potassium, which helps combat muscle cramps, low blood sugar and strokes, and also strengthens bones while keeping your skin looking beautiful, promoting new skin cell growth. Your hair will soon be rivaling a Pantene model’s, as a potassium-rich diet will cause hair to grow faster and thicker.

“Banana Tree” by Cherry Brewer on Zatista.com

Apples, like bananas, are accessible and inexpensive, and are also rich in vitamins and health benefits. Research shows that apple consumption greatly reduces risk of diabetes, and even more serious illnesses like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and some cancers. Studies also show that people who eat apples regularly have a lesser chance of having a stroke. No wonder an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

“Two Grannies” by Konnie Kim on Zatista.com

Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, B-6 and potassium making its health benefits endless. Vitamin A is an essential ingredient in improving vision, and cantaloupe is also a natural defensive. If you don’t mind spending a bit more cash, try mango, which has most of the health benefits of cantaloupe, and is much, much sweeter.

“Fruit Drawer” by Stephanie Berry on Zatista.com

If you’re looking to stay smart and slim, try blueberries. Blueberries assist in burning belly fat, have anti-inflammatory agents, and they contain a plant nutrient which helps protect the brain from toxins. Blueberries also aid in preventing aging, and research shows that blueberries help reverse memory loss caused by aging. All berries contain great antioxidants, which will keep your immune system healthy and strong.

“The Strawberry” by Faith Lefever on Zatista.com

Strawberries in particular are great for weight loss, as they are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. Remember, carbohydrates in fruit are not fattening nor will they induce feelings of lethargy or low energy, and conversely, they will provide your body with energy.

Strawberry limited edition print by Bee Things on Zatista.com

So, if the holidays are coming up and you’re worried about weight gain or poor health, don’t fret. Fruit is a delicious alternative to many sugary baked goods. And baked goods can be incorporated into a healthy diet, complete with exercise. Just try to enjoy the pumpkin pies and pecan cookies in moderation, and remember that autumn is prime apple-picking season.

“Apple Pie A La Mode” by Konnie Kim on Zatista.com

Whether you’re looking for apples for your pie or to snack on raw, here is yet another incentive: fall foliage. Hurry before winter creeps up on us, as it does each year!

“Beginning of Autumn” by Cristina Stefan on Zatista.com

 

 

October 23, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

Pumpkin Nonsense

Blame it on Starbucks’ iconic seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte arriving before the teenage summer lifeguards traded in their buoys for backpacks, but America’s food industry has undergone full-blown pumpkin madness since before back-to-school supplies went on sale.

“Autumn Harvest” by Robert LeMar on Zatista.com

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte: Culprit or Scapegoat?

Though the Pumpkin Spice Latte—now, due to its ubiquity, is simply referred to as “#PSL” in twitter talk—may be the ringleader of all unnecessarily pumpkin-infused sweets and condiments, it can’t be totally to blame for the recent pumpkin takeover. In fact, the beloved beverage was introduced over eleven years ago, but, according to CNBC, sales somewhat recently increased by 234% from 2008 to 2012.

“Harvest” by Anne Lively on Zatista.com

Before the Chaos & The Method Behind the Madness

There was a time when pumpkin flavor was reserved for pies, muffins, bread and the occasional coffee creamer. Now pumpkin flavoring extends beyond enhancing already-sweet desserts and baked goods; there is pumpkin spaghetti, pumpkin beer and pumpkin soy milk. Clearly, Starbucks’ supreme influence may have lit the match, but the rest of the food industry quickly caught on to the appeal—as the PSL proved, artificial pumpkin flavoring not only sweetens even the most bitter coffee, but it also invokes positive emotions and nostalgia within the consumer.

“Fatty Pumpkin” by Bronle Crosby on Zatista.com

Pumpkin means autumn, which means changing leaves and changing seasons, and, ultimately, excitement for the new. Not only that, but pumpkin is reminiscent of comfort food in a happy environment, namely pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. Starbucks had the idea of bottling up Thanksgiving dessert while providing a daily caffeine kick, and the rest of the food industry caught on as more coffee lovers slurped it up.

Repeat Offenders & Nonsensical Snacks

No food trend is complete without McDonald’s joining in on the fun. Last fall, McDonald’s introduced their very own McCafé Pumpkin Spice Latte, perhaps marking the official start of the pumpkin craze. Then, among the standard pumpkin-flavored bread products and perhaps the occasional few (usually specialty or organic) brands offering pumpkin butter or pumpkin cider, came dozens of odd-sounding pumpkin-infused snacks.

“Pumpkin” by Anthony Dunphy

For example, Whole Foods gave up their usual entrance display of sale items and flowers for a pumpkin shrine featuring dozens of ripe pumpkins along with pumpkin soda and pumpkin tortilla chips. Next time you stop by the health food store chain, pay extra attention as you walk in—you might see your favorite snack with a pumpkin twist.

“Still Life with Pumpkins” by Pavel Kasparek on Zatista.com

Pumpkin Flavor: Friend or Foe?

Overall, there isn’t any harm in this pumpkin craze—just commercialism milking the trend for all its worth. So, besides consumers knowingly succumbing to a silly (albeit delicious) food trend, pumpkin-flavored foods pose no threat. They just promote another way to celebrate the changing of seasons. God ahead and dig out your “ten extra pounds” jeans from the back of the closet!

October 21, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

Movement

Movement draws the eye. In art, it requires a more active participation from the viewer. Whether it is the depiction or anticipation of movement, artists can convey motion in their work in a variety of ways.

This early abstracted work by Marcel Duchamp depicts a figure in motion. The repetitive shapes and angles lead the eye forward in a blur of movement:

Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) by Marcel Duchamp

Using soft lines and figural positioning, the graceful, pastel dancers flutter and twirl across the stage in this Impressionist work by Edgar Degas:

Dancers by Edgar Degas

The multiple diagonals and varied angles in this lively painting lead the eye rapidly across the canvas, mimicking a frenzy of movement:

movement

Hot Salsa by Valerie Vescovi on Zatista.com

The flowing, winding lines of this sculpture simulate graceful, sensual movement as the curves and flares lead the eye slowly upward:

“Captivated” by Daryl Stokes on Zatista.com

This unique aerial perspective and blurred outline give the motion of a brisk stride to the central figure:

Parisian Woman With Shopping Bag by Warren Keating on Zatista.com

Contrasted with the stable stone base, the twisting metal spiral holds kinetic energy. It appears to burst forth from the stone in a swirl of motion:

movement3

Twister IV by David Smalley on Zatista.com

Motion can also be captured in a photograph. This stunning work creates the sensation of a feathery mass of clouds rushing towards you:

movement4

Clouds over the San Juan by Tom Reed on Zatista.com

With a few simple strokes, the artist constructs the erratic flight path of the tiny hummingbird, imbuing this abstract work with energy:

Hummingbird by Charles E. Hellwig on Zatista.com

The flowing lines and subtle blues give this work the soothing sensation of an underwater plant rippling gently in the current:

movement5

Coldwater 106 by Chase Longford on Zatista.com

Liven up any space with an artwork full of energy and movement. There are endless possibilities!

October 16, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

City Life

There are a lot of advantages to living life as a Big-city Dweller; Seamless is a religion (it’s not just pizza at 3 a.m. anymore….it can be sushi, steak, salad, or even a meatball sub delivered to your door!), “mowing the lawn” is a foreign concept, and the cable guy doesn’t have the “you’re too far away” excuse. However, some big cities tend to catch a lot of flak for being menacing, bustling, smelly eyesores to their inhabitants.

“New York Reflections” by Richard Silver on Zatista.com

A city setting can be an artist’s greatest fantasy or worst nightmare. It’s true that metropolises lack lush forests and babbling brooks, but there’s always something to pay attention to, whether it’s a teenage girl decked out in head-to-toe retro:

“North Side Kids, Pittsburgh, PA” by Joel Degrand on Zatista.com

A cluster of fallen leaves on the sidewalk, marking the beginning of Autumn:

“Autumn & 84th” by Lorenzo Laiken on Zatista.com

Or a scowling woman braving the city’s whistling winter winds on a dreary weekday morning.

“Commute” by Debbie Pacheco on Zatista.com

Besides, now that Fall has officially arrived, long gone are the days of lounging by the beach or hiking in the mountains. People are locking up their rural-setting summer homes and throwing away the keys—until May, that is. Life will resume as normal September-May, so cities are back in the spotlight until the temperature hits 75 degrees again.

“Soft City: Broadway Windows” by Marilyn Henrion on Zatista.com

The opportunities for city inhabitants are endless. You never know who you’ll run into on your way to work, Starbucks, or the local bar. There’s never a shortage of events to attend or movie theaters to inhabit on rainy Saturday afternoons. If your favorite band is touring, they’re bound to make a stop in your city. And there’s no such thing as “driving two hours to the big mall to shop at Nordstrom or Saks”; you have every coveted retailer at your fingertips—or just a subway ride or bus stop away.

“Los Angeles Golden Bridge” by Anyes Galleani on Zatista.com

“Parisian Woman with Shopping Bag” by Warren Keating on Zatista.com

Other “perks” aren’t so enticing to some country-lovers. Many necessary evils of city life may seem like dreams come true to some, and torture to others. Public transportation, for example, has pros and cons. Pros? No car payments, sky-high gas prices, or worries about car accidents. Cons? Unreliability, commuters with B.O., and rising subway prices.

“Underground Beauty” by Gordon Webb on Zatista.com

At times, it’s almost impossible to escape loneliness in the big city. The buildings are vast, the streets are never-ending, and the monuments are menacing. It’s easy to feel insignificant and overlooked among the watch-gleaming investment bankers, stick-thin runway models and aggravated, exhausted service industry workers.

“Still” by Sarah Lapp on Zatista.com

But, it’s just as easy to find your niche, that place where you belong. Somewhere among the millions and millions of city-dwellers, commuters, and tourists lies a group of trustworthy, like-minded friends who will make you feel right at home in the otherwise-intimidating city.

“MOMA” by Kevin Brewerton on Zatista.com

Lastly, for the artist within us all: the city has more to offer than one might think. Though there won’t be miles and miles of blooming meadows come Spring, a bright city evening is a breathtaking, nightly occurrence. If you’re ever feeling out-of-touch or overwhelmed, try taking a trip to a borough to see the city for what it truly is—beautiful, boundless, and, above all, your home.

“Skyscrapers in Montreal- Cityscape” by Cristina Stefan on Zatista.com

 

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