Our blogs arranged in collective subjects, the history and information background behind some of the canvas prints and paintings available to buy now from Modern Canvas Art

The Great English Football Demise

England world cupSo, the FIFA World Cup is over for another four years and what a fine tournament it was too.

In England, our hopes were not high going into the tournament it has to be said. Even so, the England team surpassed all expectations by being even more rubbish than the whole country thought they would be. There were only two high points for England and they were Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser against Italy and Wayne Rooney’s equaliser against Uruguay. Both were tap-ins and both couldn’t miss. The brief excitement generated by these goals was soon extinguished by certifiable madsters, Mario Balotelli and Luis Suarez. England then “dug-in” for a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica in the last game. As it turned out, Costa Rica were quite good and after finishing top of the group got to the quarter finals where they were eliminated (and unluckily so) by the Dutch.

That’s it then. If you ask me what’s wrong with English football then I will say two things to you:

Firstly, go and watch junior teams playing against each other in leagues up and down the country on Saturdays and Sundays. These junior team ages range from under 7’s and above. Most of the coaches are “dads”. Some are good, the majority are not. Listen to the screaming, snarling, swearing, anger that gets hurled at these poor kids by the coaches in a lot of instances and you will see where I’m coming from. My kids have both been playing since they were 6 years old and I have seen it all. The attitude is “win at all costs” and that is about it. People skills leave a lot to be desired too. My eldest son is 15 and a referee. When he was 14 and was officiating in a junior football tournament during summer 2013, he was shouted at by a coach during one game who screamed in front of everybody that my refereeing son “was an effing cheat”. Charming.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people working at junior league level who are devoted and give incredible amounts of time to the cause. There are plenty of good people. However, there is an awful lot of “bad” too. An awful lot.

Secondly, I will say to you – “just what are the England football team and who exactly do they represent?”. When a team have to be told (for the third tournament running) that they must sing the national anthem then you have to ask yourself, is there much going in the way of national pride here? Compare that to the Germans, the Chileans, the Brazilians etc and the contrast is incredible. Players representing other countries sing the anthem as if they are about to go to war – they would almost die for their countries. Our players do not play with this mindset.

Is the England football team representing England? If so, why do we sing the same anthem that is also the anthem of the United Kingdom? The Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish sing their own national anthems at sporting events and why shouldn’t they? They have national pride which centres on their own identity and national heritages.

There is no one answer to the English football crisis but there are a number of factors, that’s for sure. In the meantime, we turn nostalgic. Our England football canvas prints turn the clock back to 1966. By my calculation that’s now 48 years of “hurt”. Ouch.


Categories: Sport, Subjects | Tags: , ,

Ugly Woman Painting – I Feel Sorry for the Woman

"Ugly Woman" PaintingOne of the more amusing news stories over the last few days is the story of an elderly couple in Winchester, Hampshire who received “out of the blue” a framed painting delivered to them by post.  As one of our customers you might expect this if you had ordered one, but Keith and Sue Webb had not ordered a painting so it became a mystery as to why they were sent it.

What makes this an even more interesting story is that the painting in question was an oil painting of what is commonly termed as an “ugly woman”. Don’t quote me here, it’s everywhere already. I am just reporting that bit. Take a look at the picture and judge for yourself. Beauty and ugliness is a subjective thing – we all need to be thankful for that.

If I were to receive this I would be worried. I mean, it is disturbing. Not only are you not expecting to receive anything of this nature, but the subject of the painting turns out to be a beauty like this. Mrs Webb described her as a “horrid old crone” which is a little unkind. Mrs Webb – you don’t even know this woman.

The reports are that the mystery has been solved but actually it hasn’t really. It was something to do with the Webb’s long-distance relations but that’s about it. Nobody knows who sent it or why. It costs a lot to ship art across the world (we should know) so why on earth would somebody undertake to do this and incur the cost. I think the Webbs have got a cheeky relative somewhere.

But aside from all that, spare a thought for the old woman. She did not ask to be pilloried on the internet for being ugly and the only saving grace is that she is unlikely to be alive today to suffer such humiliation. If she commissioned this portrait you have to say she got it wrong. If she commissioned a portrait of her sucking a lemon then she got it right. Poor old woman – you caused a stir but will never know.

On the Modern Canvas Art website we focus on a lot of beautiful women (Kate Moss is one of the favourites) but after long and hard consideration we elected not to put the Ugly Woman painting in our gallery of famous artist paintings to buy. For one reason, we don’t know who painted it and for another, well that’s obvious really!

Categories: Art World, History, The Bright Side of Life | Tags: ,

Ian Dury Retrospective Exhibition – Royal College of Art

Pop Art Painting (1) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (1) by Ian Dury

If you thought that the late Ian Dury was famous for his music, including such celebrated hits such as “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “What a Waste”, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Billericay Dickie” and many more, you might be surprised to learn that Dury was in fact a very talented artist. He painted a large collection of paintings in the 1960s before giving up art to dedicate his career to his other passion, music, whereupon he formed his first band called “Kilburn & The High Roads” in 1971 prior to forming Ian Dury and the Blockheads a few years later.

Now, for the first time ever, Dury’s collection of art is being put on show at the Royal College Art. The new show has been curated by Dury’s daughter, Jemima, who has brought together 30 artworks painted by Dury in the 1960s.

Pop Art Painting (2) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (2) by Ian Dury

Ian Dury studied painting at the Royal College of Art between 1963-1966 and he was particularly interested in the pop art scene. Many of his works were in the pop art style and these have been hidden away for the last 50 years in an old plan chest – until now. Ian was heavily influenced by his close friend, the  artist Sir Peter Blake. It was Blake who encouraged Dury to paint with expression and to use anything he loved as the subject of his artworks. Dury immersed himself in the popular culture of the time and took images from music, film and fashion and fused them with stencils and other media techniques creating bright colourful patterns and imagery. This was a style that was evocative of the 1960s and lives on to this day.

Pop Art Painting (3) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (3) by Ian Dury

Once he graduated from the College, Dury found some success working as a freelance illustrator for The Sunday Times and London Life magazines, shortly before he embarked on his musical career which proved ultimately to be very successful. Dury’s life was turbulent and he endured many ups and downs along the way. He was also partially disabled following the contraction of polio as a young child but it did not hold him back. He was a colourful and controversial character in many ways and this is is reflected in his art that the public is now able to view at the new show.

The show at the College has been funded by Robbie Williams, the record label “Demon Records, the College itself  and also through a fundraising campaign (called “Kickstarter”) which raised over £10,000. It runs from 23rd July to 1st September and admission is free.

You can buy from a large selection of pop art prints at Modern Canvas Art. Take a look now.


Categories: Art World, Music, Pop Art, Subjects | Tags:

The History of the Union Jack

The Union Jack

The Union Jack

The “Union flag”, commonly known as the “Union Jack”, is the flag of the United Kingdom. The terms “Union flag” and “Union Jack” are both historically correct for describing the national flag of the United Kingdom. Whether to call it the “Union flag” or the “Union Jack” is a matter of debate by many but “Union Jack” is now sanctioned by use, has appeared in official use and is confirmed as the national flag by Parliament. It remains the popular term.

The current design of the Union flag dates from the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. The flag combines aspects of the three national flags: the red cross of Saint George, the red saltire of Saint Patrick’s Flag, both superimposed on the Flag of Scotland. The Union flag is normally twice as long as it is wide, a ratio of 1:2. In the United Kingdom land flags are normally a ratio of 3:5; the Union flag can also be made in this shape, but is 1:2 for most purposes. The three component crosses that make up the Union flag are sized as follows: the white diagonal St Andrew’s Cross and the red diagonal St Patrick’s Cross sit side-by-side along the centre-lines of the diagonals. They each have a width of 1⁄15 of the flag’s height with a 1⁄30 flag height fimbriation. The crosses are slightly pinwheeled with St Andrew’s Cross leading in the clockwise direction. The centre-lines of the diagonals must meet in the centre. The three crosses retain their thickness whether they are shown with a ratio of 3:5 or 1:2.

The origins of the Union flag date back to 1603, when James VI of Scotland inherited the English and Irish thrones (as James I), thereby uniting the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland in a personal union (which remained separate states). On 12 April 1606, a new flag to represent this regal union between England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree, according to which the flag of England (a red cross on a white background, known as St George’s Cross), and the flag of Scotland (a white saltire on a blue background, known as the Saltire or St Andrew’s Cross), would be joined together, forming the flag of Great Britain and first union flag. The flag was variously known as the King’s Jack, the Jack Flag or simply the Jack, and by 1674 was being called His Majesty’s Jack. Incidentally there is no uniquely Welsh element to the Union flag. This is because Wales was part of the Kingdom of England when the flag was created in 1606.

The Union flag retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada and it is used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas territories. The Union flag also appears in the canton (upper left-hand quarter) of the flags of several nations and territories that were former British colonies. The British Army’s flag is the Union flag, but in 1938, a “British Army Non-Ceremonial Flag” was devised, featuring a lion on crossed blades with the St Edward’s Crown on a red background. This design is used at recruiting and military or sporting events when the Army needs to be identified but where the reverence and ceremony due to the regimental flags and the Union flag would be inappropriate.

The Union flag is generally only flown on public buildings on days marking the birthdays of members of the Royal Family, the wedding anniversary of the monarch, Commonwealth Day, Accession Day, Coronation Day, the Queen’s official birthday, Remembrance Sunday and on the days of the State Opening and prorogation of Parliament. It is also flown at half mast from the announcement of the death of the Sovereign (save for Proclamation Day), or upon command of the Sovereign.

The Union flag is a brand icon and has been used by many music artists ranging from The Who, Freddie Mercury, Morrissey, Oasis, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, to the pop girl group the Spice Girls. It is commonly used on computer software and internet pages as an icon representing a choice of the English language where a choice among multiple languages may be presented to the user. The Union flag has also been embroidered on various “Reebok” equipment as a mark of the brand’s British origin.

You can buy a Union Jack canvas print from Modern Canvas Art. Take a look also at our Who canvas print and Oasis canvas print, both depicting the Union Jack.

Categories: History, Subjects | Tags: ,

Wayne Rooney’s 2011 “Goal of the Season”

Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick v Man City at Old Trafford in February 2011

Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick v Man City at Old Trafford in February 2011

Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick goal against Man City the season before last was voted best goal of the Premier League in 2011. You can buy this Wayne Rooney pop art canvas print from Modern Canvas Art.

Hundreds of thousand fans from all over the world voted for the award, which was created to celebrate the 20th season of the Premier League. Rooney’s spectacular strike in February 2011 received 26% of the vote. Dennis Bergkamp (19%) was second for his 2002 goal at Newcastle, and Thierry Henry (15%) against Manchester United was third.

Rooney was delighted with the award. “I grew up watching the Premier League so to be voted the best goal in the history of the Premier League is a great feeling,” Rooney said. “There’s so many good goals in that shortlist, goals that I watched in my living room as a kid: Alan Shearer’s goal, Paolo Di Canio’s, Tony Yeboah’s, David Beckham’s. “To be competing with them and winning is a great honour for me and something I’m very proud of. I’d like to say a big thank you to all the fans that voted for me.”

Rooney hailed the derby bicycle kick winner as best goal of his professional career. Rooney had struck in the 77th minute after David Silva’s fortunate equaliser had cancelled out Nani’s first-half opener for United. The England striker said it had been an instinctive finish from Nani’s cross. “I saw it come into the box and thought ‘why not?’, Rooney told Sky Sports. “I was trying to get in a good position for when Nani crossed it. Nine times out of 10 they go over the crossbar. Today it ended up in the top corner. It is instinct. You don’t have time to think about it. Thankfully it finished up in the top corner.” Asked when he had last scored with an overhead kick, Rooney replied: “In school I think. It’s the first one since I started playing professionally.”

Rooney’s strike ensured United bounced back after losing their unbeaten record to Wolves the week before. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Rooney’s winner as the best goal he had seen at Old Trafford. “It was stunning,” he said.

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For those who may not know what a bicycle kick is, it is a physical move made by throwing the body up into the air, making a shearing movement with the legs to get one leg in front of the other without holding on to the ground. The move can either be done backwards or sideways. Performing a bicycle kick can be quite dangerous when performed incorrectly as a player must take care to brace himself with his arms as he lands back on the ground. The difficulty of the move makes it unanticipated and the player runs the potential risk of getting hurt or harming another player. However, as described by BBC Sport, this is one of the acrobatic moves that makes the game much “richer.” The common English name comes from the two legs that look as if they are pedaling a bicycle, with one leg going forward to the ball and the other backward to create an opposite moment. In football it is thought to be so difficult that even Pele has described it has not easy to do. As such, only a few players have been able to perform the move (either as a defensive or offensive play) in an official football match making it one of the most praised plays in the game, especially when a goal is managed to be scored from it.

You may be interested to know that the following strikers have scored more than once from a bicycle kick in a top tier club match or competitive international match:

* David Arellano
* Peter Crouch (yes – Peter Crouch!)
* Klaus Fischer
* Leonidas
* Carlo Parola
* Pele
* Billy Bremner
* Hugo Sanchez
* Ramon Unzaga
* Alejandro Villanueva
* Uwe Seeler
* Wayne Rooney
* Ronaldinho
* Jean-Pierre Papin

Categories: Pop Art, Sport | Tags: , ,

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