Watercolor archive reveals stark image of the change brought by human activity

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In the 18th century, watercolors became a popular way for professional and amateur artists alike to document the landscapes, animals and plants that were important to them. Portable and aesthetically pleasing, watercolors helped bring painters’ worlds to life. Today, these works are precious and unwitting documents of a world altered by the ravages of climate change, overhunting, urbanization and other human activity. The Watercolour World, financed by the London-based Marandi Foundation, is a free online database of watercolors painted before 1900.
View More It’s the brainchild of Fred Hohler, a former British diplomat devoted to art preservation. His last project, the Public Catalogue Foundation, a charity that is also called Art UK, cataloged all of Britain’s publicly owned oil paintings. This project brings together tens of thousands of art online. The nonprofit organization works with collectors around the world to find and digitize watercolors. It is on the hunt for other pre-1900 watercolors that document animals, places, plants or events. So far, it has collected about 80,000 images. The point isn’t just to preserve them — it’s to provide their documentary power to researchers. “With the world at risk from climate change, rising sea levels, and worse, the project will provide scientists and environmentalists with an accurate visual account of much of the natural world as it used to be,” Hohler said in a statement. That visual testimony can be strikingly different from today’s world. For example, a search for “ice” shows chilly landscapes in the Hudson Strait, the Swiss Alps and Antarctica — three places whose ice has waned with the warming climate. The site’s founders hope scientists will use the paintings as comparison points as they study phenomena such as coastal erosion and glacial retreat. The watercolors offer other glimpses into the past, such as a circa 1638 painting of a dodo, a circa 1837 painting of a quagga zebra and an 1885 painting of a huia bird. All are extinct. 22498169

As lawsuits over climate change heat up, oil industry steps up attacks on its critics

The plaintiffs assert that the companies freely promoted the use of their products even though they were aware of the products’ effect on global warming — information the industry allegedly suppressed for years. The municipalities are asking that the companies be forced to help pay for the damage wreaked by climate change, including drought, wildfires, sea level rise and extremes of heat and precipitation. Since the filing of the California cases, similar lawsuits have been filed by Rhode Island, Washington’s King County (that is, Seattle), Baltimore and New York City.

Awesome New Art Shows Us Zac Efron As The Next Wolverine

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Zac Efron may have permanently shattered his old persona as a Disney Channel heartthrob with his recent turn as serial killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, but in a new post from BossLogic, the fan artist imagines what it would look like if the actor returned to the Mouse House in a very different role.

The image comes in response to last week’s news that Efron has undergone surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament. In the caption, BossLogic writes that he wishes the star “a speedy recovery from his ACL injury,” and to stress this point, the illustration shows Efron as one of the speediest healers of them all, Wolverine, complete with dog tags, facial hair, and those famous adamantium claws.

Zac Efron Makes A Speedy Recovery In New Wolverine Fan Art
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    Earlier this month, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner mentioned that Marvel is looking for a younger actor to fill Hugh Jackman’s shoes as the next Wolverine, and while it could be a long wait before we find out who lands the part, the internet is having plenty of fun speculating.

    Lately, for instance, there’s been some less-than-serious talk of Daniel Radcliffe being a candidate for the role after the Harry Potter actor joked about the possibility. Keanu Reeves, meanwhile, has expressed an interest in playing Logan on more than one occasion, though the John Wick star’s age presumably makes him an even less likely candidate than Radcliffe.

    Regardless, we’re unlikely to get any official news on the next Wolverine at least until the Disney/Fox deal comes into effect in a few months from now. In the meantime, though, the current incarnation of the X-Men universe soldiers on with the release of Dark Phoenix on June 7th, 2019.

    Source: Instagram

    Meet Ai-Da, the world’s first humanoid robot portrait artist

    A life-like robot capable of drawing portraits from real life, Ai-Da is an artist and a work of art. Ai-Da ‘sees’ through a camera in her eye and responds without human intervention, isolating her subject from the background, interpreting it and drawing it by hand. Her preferred medium is pencil or ink (and her creators hope she’ll soon be able to paint as well).

    “I didn’t have an epiphany,” Ai-Da’s creator, art director Aidan Meller, tells TechRadar. “It came out of a number of things. I’ve been involved in the art world for years, but one thing I wasn’t involved in was the creation of art. I decided that on the 20th anniversary of my involvement in art, I wanted to get involved in creating it.”

    Meller began considering the idea of an AI artist while playing with Lego with his 11-year-old son. 

    “There I was, holding a machine in my hand, and it made me wonder if it was possible for them to be creative,” he says.

    Ai-Da, named after computer programmer Ada Lovelace, is the result. 

    “She interrogates the subject that she sees, and we can vary that algorithm tremendously,” Meller says. “The style can be very experimental, or it can create very tight drawings, or it can be quite abstract.”

    Building Ai-Da

    Ai-Da doesn’t just draw – she’s also a performance artist. Her body was built by UK-based robotics company Engineered Arts, using the company’s expressive RoboThespian robot body, which is specifically designed for performances in public spaces. Her Mesmer head is finished with silicone skin, 3D-printed teeth and gums, and integrated eye cameras.

    Ai-Da

    Ai-Da uses Engineered Arts’ Robothespian hardware. Image Credit: Guy Bell

    (Image: © Guy Bell)

    The seven-month build was an intense process – and an expensive one. Meller put his own money into the project, but it was also funded by pre-selling art for her first show, Unsecured Futures. 

    “We’ve sold over £1 million worth of artwork,” Meller says.

    “There were 10 people at Engineered Arts, 15 people programming the AI for creating art at Oxford University and Goldsmith’s College in London, and two people at the University of Leeds doing the arm,” says Meller.

    Speaking for herself

    Ai-Da’s first exhibition will launch on May 9, but first she’ll take to the stage at Oxford University to give her own press conference – responding to questions and interacting with the audience. She will also perform an homage to Yoko Ono’s performance work Cut Piece.  

    “She did a very influential piece where she sat on the stage, and people came up and cut pieces of her clothing away in a statement about the perception of the female body,” Meller says

    Ai-Da’s performance will be the opposite: “Ai-Da will be on stage, and people will put clothes on her until you can’t see her at all.”

    Ai-Da

    Ai-Da has been in construction for seven months. Image Credit: Guy Bell

    (Image: © Guy Bell)

    The aim is to highlight how little we understand the AI systems we’re coming to rely on, which are often black boxes.

    “We want to push the boundaries of what AI can do,” says Meller. “We’re using her to question how we are using AI today – are we just using it for profit, where it can have a damaging impact on humans and lower the quality of life for animals, for example, or are we using it for good?”

    A window on the world in watercolour

    The Kodak, the first commercial camera with flexible film rolls, was released in 1888, allowing more people than ever to record their surroundings with results that could be mechanically reproduced. Even now it is easy to dismiss some of the methods of documenting life that photography replaced. Perhaps especially watercolour – at one time the obvious choice for a reliable, portable lens on the world in an age of industrialisation, travel and discovery.

    The Watercolour World, which launched on 31 January, is a new online platform dedicated to preserving this legacy. It houses a growing library of works in the medium, many of which have been digitised for the very first time for the project. The results have been made searchable by keyword or location. The team behind the non-profit organisation, founded by the former diplomat Fred Hohler, has spent the past few years moving between public and private collections in search of largely unknown works, some extremely fragile, which they feared would otherwise be lost. The emphasis was less on technical ability or an artist’s eminence than on the importance of what had been depicted. This approach has allowed the work of many ‘amateur’ women artists to be more seriously considered for the first time, alongside that of better-known figures like Queen Victoria, Maria Sibylla Merian and Susan Fereday.

    Untitled (Toucan) From an album entitled 'Merian's Drawings of Surinam Insects &c’ (c. 1701–05), Maria Sibylla Merian.

    Untitled (Toucan), from an album entitled ‘Merian’s Drawings of Surinam Insects &c’ (c. 1701–05), Maria Sibylla Merian. © Trustees of the British Museum

    For Hohler, the period of interest begins in 1750, soon after Thomas Sandby was appointed private secretary and draughtsman under William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. Sandby began sketching battle scenes and other cartographical studies, which helped the Jacobites develop a more sophisticated understanding of the lay of the land. His success led to a rise in watercolourists within the military and dovetailed with James Whatman’s invention of wove paper, which was of a high enough quality that watercolour paints would not run and scenes could be clear and naturalistic. The window of 1750 to 1900 is one of growing interest, not just from a purely art-historical perspective; Hohler and his team envisage the Watercolour World as a resource for research in all fields.

    The subjects of the images so far uploaded to the site – around 80,000 at the latest count – are mostly natural landscapes, flora and fauna. Many of these works are expected to play a key role in revealing the long-term effects of climate change. A few of the locations no longer exist, and others can be compared with contemporary photographs to show clear signs of glacial retreat and coastal erosion. There are interesting precedents for the use of watercolours in conservation projects – Eugene von Guérard’s 1855 depictions of Tower Hill in Victoria, Australia were referred to during revegetation efforts in the 1990s. The Watercolour World believes that a leap in the accessibility of watercolours could have radical consequences, as images from collections across the world are aggregated by theme, saving researchers considerable time and money.

    A Tibetan Weaver (1895), William Simpson.

    A Tibetan Weaver (1895), William Simpson. © Private collection

    Having acquired considerable backing – the initiative is funded entirely by the Marandi Foundation, and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are joint royal patrons – Hohler and his co-CEO Andra Fitzherbert have still grander ambitions for the future of the Watercolour World. With many more international collections to rifle through, there is a particular interest in the potential of crowdsourcing. In a sense the project launch is a call to arms for all watercolour enthusiasts. Its journey is still in its infancy but it is one, Hohler promises, through which we will ‘encounter our predecessors, and observe how they lived, loved and played’.

    Gulf Oil chose Mahindra Logistics to strengthen its supply chain

    Gulf Oil Lubricants India Limited (Gulf Oil), a leading lubricant manufacturing and marketing company in India announced its association with Mahindra Logistics Ltd. (MLL), one of India’s largest 3PL solution providers, to strengthen its supply chain and to implement its post GST supply chain consolidation strategy which is focused on achieving efficiencies in total cost.

    As part of this association, a Central Distribution Center (CDC) has been set up in Chennai with state-of-art Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) to serve the entire product portfolio of Gulf Oil. MLL is the first 3PL company to work with Gulf Oil and will handle this fully compliant warehouse, the first CDC of its kind for them. Gulf Oil has plans to open similar large format warehouses, across the country soon.

    Mr. Pirojshaw Sarkari, CEO – Mahindra Logistics, said, “We are happy to be part of Gulf Oil’s expansion and growth story. Technology-driven, unrivaled logistics solutions is what this association is about. We are certain that our unparalleled dedication and efforts will add value to Gulf Oil and will enable them to achieve the desired cost efficiency and more importantly, for their products to reach the end-user, on time.”

    Mr. Ravi Chawla, Managing Director, Gulf Oil Lubricants said, “Logistics is a key service differentiator for efficient and on-time delivery, in a cost-effective manner to end users. The main objective of this partnership is to ensure a robust yet compact distribution system, which will give operational advantage and meet customer demand in totality. Through this partnership, we will be able to save on warehousing costs, minimize stocks, free up the working capital and save on freight cost.

    Mahindra Logistics’ proven expertise and flexibility to meet future growth objectives at optimal cost will help us serve our customers in an efficient and timely manner.”

    Shares of Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd was last tr ading in BSE at Rs.881 as compared to the previous close of Rs. 876.15. The total number of shares traded during the day was 81 in over 21 trades.

    The stock hit an intraday high of Rs. 882.95 and intraday low of 854. The net turnover during the day was Rs. 71013.

    Shares of Mahindra Logistics Ltd was last trading in BSE at Rs.436.6 as compared to the previous close of Rs. 441.3. The total number of shares traded during the day was 297 in over 38 trades.

    The stock hit an intraday high of Rs. 445 and intraday low of 427.25. The net turnover during the day was Rs. 129303.

    Vikash Jha To Display Recent Works of Abstract Expressionism in Clio Art Fair 2019

    Vikash Jha To Display Recent Works of Abstract Expressionism in Clio Art Fair 2019

    Vikash Jha, a contemporary artist based in the Greater New York area, will show paintings from his most recent series of works, ‘Introspection’, at Clio Art Fair 2019, 550 West 29th Street, from March 7 to March 10. Clio Art Fair is a definitive art fair in the United States curated from an international selection of artists. The fair will feature several of Vikash’s recent works from the series ‘Introspection’ focusing on the emotions evoked when the artist starts to look inward. These emotions range from joy, happiness, sadness, satisfaction, hopefulness, hopelessness, openness, shyness, and to all the different shades in-between.

    For more information and admission, please go to: www.clioartfair.com

    Born and brought up in eastern India, Vikash’s paintings are influenced by the vibrant colors and textures omnipresent in Indian cultural landscape, fabrics and daily-life. His paintings have a flamboyant, colorful yet pensive style. Having lived in the U.S. for over a decade, his paintings present the western influence of modernism juxtaposed with his inherent meditational and bucolic charm. Skillful usage of bold brush and palette-knife strokes, opportune use of mixed mediums to create textures and visuals, and imaginatively generous use of bright and shuttle colors transforms Vikash’s abstract paintings into joyful, exuberant and purposeful experiences.

    “This series (Introspection) is culmination of many such introspective imageries that I experience and visualize every time I close my eyes thinking about my life experiences in a deeply personal way. It brings out a plethora of emotions almost always manifested and expressed in a positive and colorful way” – Vikash Jha Vikash was born in eastern India with extensive cultural influence. The attraction to the colors and love for painting came to him early-on in his life. The cultural influence eventually inspired him to graduate in Fine Arts through a prestigious non-profit university affiliated program. Vikash also holds an MBA degree from a top institution in India and works in Financial Services industry. He has been a student of fine arts all his life and has experimented in multiple mediums – from water colors, acrylics and oil paints to charcoals, pastels and mixed media throughout his student and professional life that has taken him to New Delhi and the western state of Gujarat in India, Dubai in UAE and New York.In recent years his works have been focused mostly on abstract expressionism – with both modern and post-modern/contemporary influences.Vikash has drawn inspiration from the greats such as Vincent Van Gogh, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, James Rosenquist, and Robert Rauschenberg and the likes and many Indian greats like S.H.Raza and V.S.Gaitonde as he is growing as an artist and developing unique style and sensitivity of his own.His paintings have been shown at various prestigious galleries and locations in New York City and New Jersey and also at Sotheby’s New York as part of AD ART SHOW 2018.
    To follow his art, please visit – Instagram (AdvayaCreatives) and website www.VikashJha.com Related Articles View More Visual Arts Stories

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    Ambidextrous Artist Draws Photo-Realistic Pencil Portraits with Both Hands at the Same Time

    Drawing hyperrealistic color portraits with your dominant hand is difficult enough, but try simultaneously drawing two separate portraits with both hands. It sounds almost impossible, which makes Dutch artist Rjacenna’s skill that much more impressive.

    Rajacenna first made news headlines in 2010, as a child prodigy able to create incredibly realistic portraits of celebrities with a simple pencil. She has been honing her skills as a photorealistic drawing artist ever since, and somewhere along the way she discovered that she could draw just well with her left hand as she did with her right. Not only that, but she could draw with both hands at the same time, somehow distributing her attention to two separate and completely different portraits.

    I first wrote about Rajacenna in 2011. She was already making international headlines for her amazingly realistic-looking pencil, not least for the fact that she had only taken up drawing just two years before. At 18 years of age, this young girl had already done modelling for various brands, had starred in films, soap-operas and tv-series, and had been the host of Kinderjournaal, the first Dutch web-tv for kids. Now she was turning out to be an insanely talented artist as well.

     

    Rajacenna’s drawing skills have improved significantly over the years, but she also discovered another rare talent – drawing simultaneously with both hands. However, this ridiculously rare skill has been met with some scepticism online simply because people think it’s impossible. It’s one thing to draw some simple portraits or sketches simultaneously, but working on such insanely detailed artworks at the same time? It does sound a bit crazy.

     

    “This is beyond ridiculous I would have to see video proof that she can coordinate one hand while focusing visually on her other hand,” Reddit user nogodones1 commented on a video of Rajacenna showing off her ambidextrous drawing skills. “I can understand writing two languages at once because the muscle memory for writing is more easily mimicked. To fill in a “photorealistic portrait” without downtime while shifting gaze seems to good to be true. She would have to have savant style abilities and without a video, Occam’s Razor says no.”

     

    So far, all we have to go on is a couple of videos Rajacenna posted on her YouTube account, but if this skill turns out to be legit, it would make her the first hyperrealistic artist to pull it off.

    One thing’s for sure, Rajacenna’s new skill is already drawing a lot of attention. Her most recent videos are being shared online, and Dutch national TV has already interviewed her about it.

    ‘Hitler watercolors’ fail to sell at auction amid forgery concerns

    Five paintings, purportedly by Adolf Hitler, failed to sell on Saturday at a controversial auction in the German city of Nuremberg — the location of several major Nazi rallies during the 1930s.

    The watercolors, and a wicker chair emblazoned with a swastika symbol that was also believed to have been owned by the dictator, were among the items on sale at an auction criticized by several of the city’s politicians and citizens.

    But none of the works met their lofty starting prices, AFP reported, after suspicions about their authenticity were raised.

    Among the paintings was a watercolor depicting a mountain lake, which had a starting price of $51,000. The collection comes from “Austrian or European private ownership,” from the estates of collectors, and from heirs, according to the auction house.

    It remains illegal in Germany to hold public displays of Nazi symbols, except in certain educational or historical contexts. The auction house was consequently obliged to blur out Nazi insignia and symbols in their brochure to comply with German law.

    And the sale sparked anger among politicians and the public, with Ulrich Maly, the mayor of Nuremberg, accusing it of being “in bad taste” in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

    The auction house was also forced to remove 26 artworks from its brochure over authenticity concerns. “Unfortunately, we must inform you that some of the pictures have been dropped because of a review,” the auction house said in a statement sent to German newspaper Spiegel.

    This came shortly after prosecutors confiscated 63 artworks bearing “A.Hitler” or “A.H.” signatures from the Weidler premises on Wednesday.

    Antje Gabriels-Gorsolke, spokeswoman for the Nuremberg-Fuerth prosecution department, told Agence France-Presse that they had opened an investigation into certain individuals “on suspicion falsifying documents and attempted fraud.”

    “If they turn out to be fakes, we will then try to determine who knew what in the chain of ownership,” she said.

    Stephen Klingen and Christian Fuhrmeister from the Central Institute for Art History in Munich, south Germany, told CNN that people are “rightly concerned” with the auction. “We are negotiating the past, in this case German past and Nazi memory, which is embodied in Adolf Hitler,” they said.

    “Something that has been taboo in the past, now pops up — there are collectors who love to buy these objects.”

    Klingen and Fuhrmeister said, however, that auctions such as this should go ahead despite widespread criticism. “It is a necessary discussion — to reevaluate the way Germany looks back at its Nazi past in the 21st century,” they said.

    “It is an ethical and moral question — I believe any modern democracy should be able to cope with this.”

    They added that they would rather see open discussion surrounding the history of Hitler and the Nazis, rather than it once again becoming taboo.

    The Weidler auction house had described the event as a “special sale” in its brochure, and said the collection of works includes “rare pictures and furnishings.” The auction house did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

    Hitler was an aspiring “would-be” artist in his early years, but was rejected twice from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He earned money by selling watercolors and “post-card style” pictures for newlywed couples before enlisting in the German army prior to the First World War.

    Klingen described Hitler’s artistic skills as “a moderately ambitious amateur,” but noted that his artworks were comparable to “hundreds of thousands” of others from the period.

    The Weidler auction house has sold a number of alleged pictures by Hitler in recent years, the most expensive of which fetched $147,000 in 2014.

    Scots artist Peter Howson learned to paint with left hand after crippling arthritis pain

    Artist Peter Howson learned to paint with his left hand after crippling arthritis left him unable to work.

    Howson, 60, was working on his oil painting Prophecy when symptoms of the debilitating disease first started to show.

    Instead of resting and waiting for a diagnosis he adapted and improved as a painter.

    Read More
     

    “I’m having to hold the brush in such a funny way, but strangely it’s working for me technique-wise.

    “For some reason I get more control,” he said.

    The Scot underwent Botox treatment two years ago to help him continue working, after his wrist and other joints started to swell.

    He was given injections in the wrist after developing a hand tremor and pain in his joints.

    “It was a terrible, deep pain. I couldn’t sleep for it. I did a whole experiment for about six months where I tried working with my left hand only.

    “Everything was facing the opposite way to the way I normally draw”, he told the Scottish Mail on Sunday.

    Doctors initially thought he may have diabetes or gout but the treatment failed to remedy the problem.

    The artist who lives in Glasgow was finally diagnosed with arthritis a few weeks ago.

    Read More
     

    He revealed suffering joint pains for years, which at times was so bad he was unable to work.

    “If I get a bad episode of arthritis like I’ve had in the past few weeks, I can’t do anything,” he said.

    A film documenting Howson’s canvas creation Prophecy will premiere at this month’s Glasgow Film Festival.

    Read More

    Top news stories today

    6th Annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival

    This post was contributed by a community member.

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    Join us in South Straub Park, across from the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, on February 23-24, 2019 to explore original, handmade art at the 6th Annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival. The event is a ’boutique’ festival of about 140 of Florida’s and America’s top artisans. The event is co-sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg and coordinated with the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. Admission is FREE.

    South Straub Park is transformed into an outdoor gallery showcasing extraordinary artwork that is all original and handmade by the artisans in attendance. These artisans and their works weave a tapestry of creativity from works in painting, glass, mixed-media, ceramics, sculpture, photography, metalwork, digital art, fiber art, woodworking – and more. Within each medium is a diversity of styles, materials and creative vision. Meet the artisans creating the works as they are all at the event. Learn how they became artists and how your specific pieces were made. If you do not find exactly what you want, consider commissioning a piece of art made expressly for you! Know that many of these artisans are represented in America’s top museums and art galleries and their works found in the most prestigious private collections.

    The 6th Annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival is held both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is FREE. Wallets and purses mandatory as all artwork is for sale. Come enjoy the surrounding environs of downtown St. Petersburg while you explore art – and something of yourself in the process!

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    Halsey performs “Eastside” on ‘SNL’ while painting giant upside-down portrait

    Halsey pulled double-duty as both host and musical guest for last night’s Saturday Night Live episode, and our queen did NOT disappoint. From starring in a Riverdale sketch to giving an incredible performance of “Without Me”, Halsey proves she is anything but a one-dimensional artist. The songstress even goes above and beyond by painting a beautiful portrait upside-down while flawlessly singing “Eastside.”

    Is there anything our emo queen can’t do?

    Read more: Gerard Way addresses MCR reunion rumors, discusses breakup

    Halsey took the SNL stage sporting her Gerard Way-inspired red hair, commanding the attention of viewers everywhere.

    Her second musical performance of the evening showed off her lesser-known talents. Doing a solo performance of “Eastside”—which usually features Benny Blanco and Khalid—Halsey held her own while painting a huge portrait on the floor upside down.

    Check it out, below!

    So. Much. Talent.

    However, one of the most moving moments of the night came from her performance of her most recent single “Without Me”.

    Our queen dons a gorgeous black dress, giving a performance you can tell comes straight from the heart.

    As the background she’s singing in front of comes to light, we see scribbles of “Ashley I cheated” along with numerous different places and a few that say “I’m sorry”.

    Is this a possible call-out to her ex G-Eazy?

    Watch the moving performance, below.

    I love the way she wears her confidence in this one.

    Halsey took to Twitter today to comment on last night’s performances.

    We love a multi-talented, confident queen.

    Did you catch Halsey’s performances on SNL last night? Which one was your favorite? Sound off in the comments below!

    See more: The 10 most metal cartoon characters

    Roger Klotz, ‘Doug’

    Roger Klotz, ‘Doug’

    ‘Hitler paintings’ fail to sell at auction

    AFP Watercolour paintings are displayed on an easel The auction house had been hit with accusations they were selling fakes 1

    Five pictures said to have been painted by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler have failed to sell at auction in Germany.

    A watercolour signature says ' A Hitler': The five paintings that remained on sale failed to spark interest © AFP The five paintings that remained on sale failed to spark interest

    Weidler auction house had set a starting price for the watercolours of €45,000 (£40,000; $51,000).

    The auction was held in Nuremburg – the German city once notorious for Hitler’s mass rallies, where leading Nazis were later tried for war crimes.

    Accusations of forgery marred the auction and city mayor Ulrich Maly described it as being in “bad taste”.

    The sale also included items said to have been owned by the dictator, including a vase and a wicker chair with a swastika on its arm.

    Under Hitler’s rule (1933-45), Nazi Germany began World War II, pursuing a genocidal policy that resulted in the deaths of some six million Jews, and tens of millions of other civilians and combatants.

    Watercolour paintings are displayed on an easel: The auction house had been hit with accusations they were selling fakes © AFP The auction house had been hit with accusations they were selling fakes

    Public displays of Nazi symbols are against the law in Germany – except in some contexts, such as for educational or historical reasons.

    The auction house got around the law by pixelating the symbols within their catalogue.

    What problems did the auction face?

    Dozens of artworks, including some set for sale, were seized from the auction house last week by German police.

    Prosecutors said a total of 63 items bearing the signatures “AH” or “A Hitler” were confiscated over forgery concerns.

    An investigation was opened into unidentified individuals “on suspicion of falsifying documents and attempted fraud”, Nuremberg-Fuerth chief prosecutor Antje Gabriels-Gorsolke told AFP.

    She confirmed the auction house had co-operated and handed the works over voluntarily.

    AFP A watercolour signature says ‘ A Hitler’ The five paintings that remained on sale failed to spark interest 1

    Sales of paintings purporting to be from the dictator regularly generate controversy and accusations of forgery.

    Last month German police seized a collection due to go on sale in Berlin over concerns over their authenticity.

    Hitler, who was twice rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, is known to have sold his artwork in his youth.

    A wicker chair with swastika shape in arms: A Swastika wicker chair said to have belonged to Hitler also failed to sell at the auction © AFP A Swastika wicker chair said to have belonged to Hitler also failed to sell at the auction

    Dozens of works attributed to him, which were regarded by art experts as being of poor quality, have been sold over the years.

    In 2015, Weidler auction house sold more than a dozen paintings attributed to Hitler for almost €400,000.

    AFP A wicker chair with swastika shape in arms A Swastika wicker chair said to have belonged to Hitler also failed to sell at the auction 1

    Bidders then reportedly came from Germany, China, France, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

    In 2014 the auction house sold a Hitler watercolour of Munich’s city hall for €130,000.

    The sale of Nazi memorabilia remains a divisive topic around the world.

    Some buyers say it is for historical reasons, but campaign groups warn items are also purchased by far-right group members who idealise the regime.

    Last year, some UK-based groups lobbied online retailers to better regulate Nazi memorabilia sales.

    Local veterans’ art featured in traveling exhibit

    The Kentucky Veteran Project Exhibit has landed in Berea. The traveling show presents 44 works of art created by Kentucky military veterans and spouses and children of veterans from 23 counties, including three from Madison County.

    The project is currently on display at the Kentucky Artisan Center through March 2 and is free to the public. It will travel throughout the Commonwealth until December.

    Last fall, the Kentucky Arts Council sent out a statewide call for art work by veterans and their families. The project, the first of its kind in Kentucky, was intentionally curated without a theme to give creative freedom to the artists.

    “There is an amazing array of expression,” said Gwen Heffner, curator of the exhibit at the Artisan Center.

    A Myriad of Talent

    “It’s not just veterans out there, it’s ‘what is it like to be a spouse whose husband or wife has been deployed or a child who’s had to move around?’,” said Dave Blevins of the Kentucky Arts Council. “We wanted to keep the criteria loose to capture a large spectrum.”

    Images of war, patriotism, military symbolism, landscapes, abstracts and animal portraits travel to five locations and four veterans’ centers across the state. The exhibit offers a range of media, from acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings to sculpture, stained glass and photographs from professional and hobby artists.

    Some of the work is intimately raw, like Kimberly Mohammed’s sobering Battle Scars of the Invisible War, that includes Mohammed’s personal photos and handwritten letter describing the effects of her PTSD. Hanging just feet away on a wall featuring children’s artwork is her 7-year-old daughter’s painting, titled The War, with three figures screaming for help.

    Local Creatives Featured

    Three local veterans, Richmond residents Greg Elswick and Bert Norris, and Berea native Damon Farmer, are exhibiting work. Elswick, an Army Veteran who works full time as a defense contractor, offered his piece titled Quoth the Raven to the exhibit, created with Coptic marker. An art school graduate, Elswick says he creates art for fun, as a hobby.

    “I was excited to have my work included, not being a professional artist,” he said.

    “The military is hyper-masculine,” Elswick notes, who spent the early aughts serving in Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom. “If you do art, you don’t share it. I hope something like this project brings that to light.”

    Berea native Damon Farmer creates art full time at Shadetree Studio. He is internationally known for his sand sculptures as well as his paintings, sculptures like the Tin Hand in Old Town Berea and horses he designed for Horse Mania, and murals in the Versailles, Frankfort and Somerset Kroger stores. Farmer served in the Army in the early 70s, in Fort Knox and Newark, New Jersey.

    His painting, Visualize the Future Peace, is a large acrylic on canvas featuring a large tree growing over a rusted battle tank, with a child happily swinging from its cannon.

    “I like the concept of visualizing a peaceful planet because there are so many negative images of the future today,” he said.

    Healing Art

    Blevins said the inspiration for the exhibit started two years ago, when the Council’s executive director Chris Cathers approached the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs to get more art programming into veterans’ centers. This stemmed from discussions with the Creative Forces Initiative, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and state and local arts agencies. They work to support and increase access to creative arts therapies for service members with traumatic brain injury and associated psychological health issues.

    The Council held a meet-and-greet for the artists in Frankfort in November, and almost all of them came.

    “Many hadn’t done many exhibits, and many were new artists I’d never encountered before,” said Blevins. “I didn’t know that some professional artists we’d worked with were veterans. They came out of the woodwork.”

    The event enabled the artists to meet other veterans, ask each other questions, and share their work. The feedback on the project has been positive to date, and the venues engaged have expressed interest in making this a regular exhibit.

    Many of the pieces are for sale, with prices set by and proceeds going to the artist, as many venues waive their commission. When an artist’s work sells, the Kentucky Arts Council requests a new piece from the artist to replace it. Elswick’s asking $120 for his Raven, while Norris and Farmer’s paintings are available for $1,800 each.

    Some donate their proceeds to veterans’ charities, like Bobby Newton Sr., of Fayette County. Newton is a disabled Vietnam Veteran who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, among other honors. He paints as therapy and is asking $60 for his mixed media piece, Untitled.

    For more information, including the compete touring schedule and to view the exhibit online, visit artscouncil.ky.gov/KAC/Showcasing/VeteransExhibit. Visitors can speak with their current host venue to purchase a piece on-site. To purchase online, contact Dave Blevins at (502) 892-3120.

    The Kentucky Artisan Center’s lobby is open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and features the exhibit through March 2. The next stop is the Kentucky Crafted Market held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington March 15-17.

    Leaked Star Wars 9 Art Shows Old Lando, New Characters & Kylo’s Mask?

    Star Wars 9 still doesn’t have a title, but we may have our first look at a bunch of new characters, along with updated costumes for our returning favorites. Also included is our first hint at what Billy Dee Williams will look like as Old Lando. And Kylo Ren has his mask all fixed up and repaired with that red glue-like substance we heard about in a previous rumor.

    The images were posted by a Redditor going by the name JediPaxis. There is no indication that what we see here is authentic Lucasfilm art. But the character designs and updates match some of the rumors we’ve heard previously. If this does pan out, we get our first look at a couple of the new actors, with their characters hinted at, yet not named.

    In the A block we have one of the new aliens that will be shown in Star Wars 9. He wears goggles and a scarf, with a holster around his waist. The unnamed creature has a white mustache, appearing older and friendly. He’s ready for flight or battle, and most likely an ally to the Resistance. In Block B we have our alleged first look at BB-8’s new side kick, a droid that will reportedly bother and annoy his counterpart in what is described as a C-3PO and R2-D2 type relationship.

    Related: BB-8 Wraps on Star Wars 9, Will We See Him Again After This?

    Block C allegedly gives us our first look at Richard E. Grant’s unnamed character. There were early rumors that he was playing Thrawn. But he appears to be playing a human First Order Officer. In Block D we get our first look at the new Resistance Soldiers. This matches with E Block, which gives us our first look at Dominic Monaghan as a Resistance Officer who has a vendetta against the First Order though he’s not entirely on the good guys’ side. Block F gives us another look at an unnamed alien.

    Block G shows off one of the Young Mon Cal, who may be related to the recently decease Admiral Ackbar. Next to him in Block H we get to see Rey in her new all-white ensemble. Block I gives us a hooded Kylo Ren, and in Block J, we see Kylo Ren’s fixed helmet, which shows off the blood red bonding material that he reportedly uses to glue it all back together. Poe returns in Block K, wearing what is being referred as his Adventure Costume. And in Block L we see another Alien mask, though it’s noted as being ‘unfinished’.

    Moving onto the last row of reveals, we see a ‘Horned Pilot’ in Block M, supposedly one of the Resistance allies. Block N gives us yet another new alien, this one not exactly on the good guys’ side. Perhaps a background player that doesn’t get much screen time. Finally we come to Block O, which gives us our very first look at what is being referred to as Old Lando. Billy Dee Williams is rumored to have only signed up for a small cameo. He returns in his yellow satin shirt and cape, looking very much like the Lando we saw Donald Glover play in Solo: A Star Wars Story. The costume is definitely a call back to that standalone, an d not Empire or Jedi, which may confuse and upset some fans. Does this mean we’re getting the controversail Pando Lando in this sequel?

    In the final P and Q Blocks we get a look at even more aliens. It’s not unusual for a new Star Wars movie to be introducing so many unique creatures. It’s expected. And makes for an exciting Star Wars 9 toy line. Aside from the descriptions of who each character is, there are no solid details, or even names given for the new guys in the bunch. The concept only shows one female character, being Rey. Though it looks like the Aliens in P Block are feminine in nature, though we wouldn’t want to assume their gender.

    This concept art has not been verified at this time, so it could be fake news. But it’s quite authentic looking to some of the art leaks we’ve seen in the recent past. Poe’s costume does match set photo leaks from last year. J.J. Abrams returns to direct Star Wars 9, which will bring the Skywalker family saga to a close, l eading to new trilogies that will have noting to do with the reestablished characters. Starring in the movie are Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Matt Smith, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. We’ll all finally get to see Star Wars 9 when it hits theaters this December. This latest alleged leak spilled out on Reddit.