Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio in Glorious High Res

Caravaggio: The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608), Photographic Print

Caravaggio spent the majority of his career in Rome. Art critics describe his works as blending realism of both the physical and emotional state of the human being with a dramatic use of lighting. His work has a fundamental influence on Baroque painting.

Caravaggio: The Taking Of Christ (1602) Photographic Print

Dramatic chiaroscuro, or tenebrism, was the fundamental technique used by Caravaggio. He turned the technique into a defining aesthetic component, engulfing his objects in vivid shafts of light and deepening shadows.

Caravaggio: The Lute Player (Badminton House) 1596, iPhone Skin

Caravaggio clearly depicted significant events and scenarios, frequently including brutal combat, torture, and death. He preferred to avoid sketching and move directly into the canvas while working quickly with live figures.

Caravaggio: The Fortune Teller (1598) Tapestry

In his twenties, Caravaggio relocated to Rome after completing his painting training in Milan. He gained notoriety as a provocative, belligerent, and violently touchy man. He had to flee to Naples after a fight resulted in a murder conviction and a death penalty.

Caravaggio: The Cardsharps (1595), Jigsaw Puzzle

In Naples, he rose to fame as one of his generation’s most well-known Italian artists. In order to obtain a papal forgiveness for his sentence, he first travelled to Malta and then to Sicily in 1607. He returned to Naples in 1609, when he was embroiled in a violent altercation and where there were rumours of his demise.

Caravaggio: Saint John The Baptist (1604) Mouse Pad

To better comprehend Caravaggio, art historians and academicians have debated the homoeroticism implied in his paintings since the 1970s. Howard Hibbard noted the absence of erotic female figures in Caravaggio’s work: “In his entire career he did not paint a single female nude,” and cabinet-pieces from the Del Monte period are replete with “full-lipped, languorous boys… who seem to solicit the onlooker with their offers of fruit, wine, flowers—and themselves,” suggesting an erotic interest in the male form.

Caravaggio: The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (1602), Poster

The artist may have been in love with Cecco di Caravaggio, who resided with him in Rome and remained with him even after he was forced to leave the city in 1606.

Caravaggio: Boy With Basket Of Fruit (1593) Canvas Print

His unpredictable and odd actions raised questions about his mental status.
In 1610, while his route from Naples to Rome, Caravaggio passed away under mysterious circumstances.

Over in the high-res-art shop you can discover some exquisite high-resolution prints of Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Latest Wall Art from Elvakvadrat

Over at Elvakvadrat we’ve been focusing this month on adding a new range of attractive vintage posters and high resolution wall art to our range, adding new designs to our astronomy, book cover, Gustave Doré, and Hilma af Klint collections.

First up, Francis Cugat’s superb illustration “Celestial Eyes” for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby:

This poster is available in five background colors, as well as on over 100 different products in our Elvakvadrat store.

Next up we have a dramatic, high resolution woodblock illustration from Dante’s Divine Comedy drawn by renowned artist Gustave Doré. The illustration features the malebranche – the demons ensure that bankers and moneylenders get their just reward in the afterlife! We have both the original black and white print as well as a carefully tinted version, which you can see here as a photographic print:

Again, this print is available as prints and posters, tapestries and canvases, and on over 100 different products in our Elvakvadrat store.

It will be no surprise to our followers that we are obsessed with the spiritual abstracts of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint. We have featured some of her work before but now we have decided to really focus in on her best works. Here from 1915 is the utterly gorgeous Altarpiece No.2:

Above we show you the canvas print. Posters and more are available in our shop.

Finally, let’s round off with a bit of science. The Webb Space Telescope has been getting all the buzz lately but we should never forget that the now-venerable Hubble Space Telescope has been serving us well with wonderful images for decade, including this one of the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius:

Visit our Tiokvadrat and Elvakvadrat shops to see 1000’s more designs!

Introducing Chester Rabbit!

Caroline Laursen

I remember sitting night after night reading Beatrix Potter books to my children when they were young – secretly however it wasn’t the words I was interested in.  Sure, the stories of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and Benjamin Bunny were lovely but really my concentration was on the incredibly beautiful illustrations. What a talent she had!

At that point I had no reason to create my own but having more recently opened my shop CarolineLaursen.Redbubble.com, a creative dream of many years came to fruition and Chester Rabbit was born.

So far I have 35 variations of designs including him sitting on his own, sending hugs to the people we miss, giving a message of hope, love or maybe saying sorry with his gesture of a daisy and even playing marbles in all sorts of colours.

A small selection from the Chester Designs I currently have

These make really great children’s designs and look beautiful in youngsters rooms on bedding, blankets, cushions and wall art on a choice of canvas, metal print or posters…

and also on accessories such as a variety of bag styles, phone cases, cards and note pads, and water bottles.

Black and white marble range
Pink and aqua green marble range

I’d love to hear what you think of Chester. Once you’ve had a browse through my store join me on Facebook to get in touch!


How I Made The NASA Perseverance Mission “Dare Mighty Things” Poster on Redbubble

As a space and astronomy nerd, I have been excitedly following the NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Mission, which has just succeeded now in late February in landing a new exploration vehicle on the surface of the Red Planet. Yesterday, I learned that NASA hid a secret massage in the colored panels of the parachute that lowered the rover to the surface of the planet!

Figure 1: NASA Perseverance Mission’s Rover Parachute

The red and white panels of the inner parachute ring were arranged to make a binary code of 0s and 1s, which spelled out the mission slogan “Dare Mighty Things”, while the outer ring encoded the coordinates of the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Earth: 34 11 58 N 118 10 31 W. How cool is that! Here is how I went about turning that blurry original image into a poster.

First, I made a simple outline of the 80 segments of the parachute using the free Photoshop-like tool called Gimp. (Gimp is my go-to for pretty much any kind of detailed image work because it is free and I love free things, plus it is surprisingly powerful.) I drew one segment with the Paths Tool, then copied and rotated and pasted until I had this:

Figure2: The 80 parachute segments drawn

Using the same drawing tools, I outlined the individual panels and other main areas of the parachute, like this:

Figure 3: Panel outlines complete

Next it was time to color the panels. Using the eyedropper tool I sampled the colors in the original photographic image (including the beautiful dark blue Martian sky!) as well as various sunlit and shadow areas on the panel. This gave me good and varied color palette for the rest of the work. Now it was time to bucket fill each panel with the appropriate base color:

Figure 4: Base colors of the parachute panels, including transparent areas (dark blue)

To give the design a little depth, I added a new “shadow” layer to the image to darken the edges of the individual panels a little. Technically this was at the limit of my graphic design skills and involved much fiddling with Gaussian blurs and masks and other yucky things. However, I think the effect was worthwhile. Here’s how it looked in close-up:

Figure 5: Panel shadows to give 3D depth

Next it was time to create a ring of outer text. To do this, I switched to my other favorite free graphic tool, Canva. It’s a great online tool for quickly putting together basic designs. It doesn’t have the power of Gimp, but it is very flexible for mocking up ideas — it is also great for creating curved text! And it comes with thousands instantly usable fonts too. I found a really good NASA-looking font called “HK Modular” and used that to create a ring of text to go around the main image:

Figure 6: The text ring in Canva. The inner circle element helps with text alignment

(The circular element approximated where the parachute would go and helped me to align the text perfectly.) The text ring was made at the largest free image size in Canva (5000 x 5000 pixels) and after downloading it I needed to remove the background as the free version of Canva doesn’t allow you to export transparent images. (One day I will take a Canva subscription because it really is worth it, but for now I’m just a happy freeloader.)

I imported the text ring into Gimp, removed the background, then resized it to wrap around the main image:

Figure 7: Main elements aligned

The final graphic design step was to imitate the effect of sunlight on the parachute as a whole. To do this I selected the white panels and tinted them towards the blue, before using the spray-gun with white to lighten the parachute areas in the sun. A similar effect was applied to the red panels. The finished design has a nice harmony I think:

Figure 8: Sunlight falling on the panels

My design was then ready for uploading to my Redbubble shop, where you can now find it on:

and 91 other products.

This project stretched my graphic design skills to the limit, but I am secretly pleased just how much I have learned in the last year, both about the tools of the trade and about how to design good-looking products. Now it is on to the next challenge!


The Importance of Fonts for Redbubble Designing

Caroline Laursen

In 2009 I found myself in need of an extra income on top of my day job in estate agency, and when my then new boyfriend asked if I could design some leaflets to promote his business as a pianist, he recognised that I could be good at making a go of this. Within a blink of an eye ‘Design by Caroline’ – Bespoke Invitations and Stationery was born.

I had no real experience in this kind of thing other than to create flyers for my day job, but set out to see where this might take me.  I bought a decent printer able to print on thicker card types and started letting people around me know what I was doing.  Within a month or so I came across my first real client – a lovely lady who was looking for all the stationery required for her son’s Bar Mitzvah, everything from save the date cards to invitations, reply cards, items for the day such as name place cards, table numbers and menus, and then thank you cards for her son to write afterwards… When all was done she turned out to be so happy with what I came up with, she emailed her son’s entire list of classmates to promote my work.

Design by Caroline grew at an astonishing rate. Before long I had a 6-12 month waiting list which was in part due to my USP of offering a different design for every customer.  Common themes requested included everything from graffiti style, social media themes such as Twitter and Instagram, iPhones and iPads, all sorts of sports, science enthusiast designs and ticket style invites were particularly popular.  But of course, every single person was given something different and with around 500-600 clients over the 8 year period alongside my current POD business at CarolineLaursen.Redbubble.com with almost 800 designs in itself, that’s a lot of ideas to come up with! …and so fonts play a huge part in my designs.

Take for example this beautiful Audrey Hepburn quote… ‘The Best Thing to Hold onto in Life is Each Other’ – not wanting to detract from the words themselves, I carefully chose three fonts that I felt work together perfectly on all of the 50 products the design is available on (homeware, clothing and accessories).  Do you agree? 

Beautiful love quote, The Best Thing to Hold onto in Life is Each Other by Caroline Laursen | Redbubble

Equally, I felt this popular ‘No Rain, No Flowers’ quote for different reasons – being actually quite deep and meaningful required simplicity, and I chose just two fonts to sit alongside the elegant flower I drew, also available in a selection of colours…

Think happy thoughts – simple and elegant, No Rain No Flowers by Caroline Laursen | Redbubble

And the last example I’d like to show you today for something very different, relates to a passion of mine.  Having become an avid wild swimmer this year I’ve made a range of collections including the ‘Born to Swim’ shown here, as well as ‘Just Add Water’, ‘I’m a Chilly Dipper’ and ‘The Water is my Happy Place’ among others… and in this design you’ll see I’ve used a font that reminded me of splashing water…

Calling all wild open water swimming, winter bathers. Born to Swim by Caroline Laursen | Redbubble

Caroline 🙂

To get in touch and keep up to date with all my latest designs, join me on Facebook: @CarolineLaursenPhotography
Keep Smiling • Be Kind • Love Always

The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn — in case, like me, you missed it

Like many people living in the Northern Hemisphere, the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in late December 2020 was hidden behind a mass of boring cloud. The only view of the event I got to see was a secondhand blurry image made available on Wikipedia by user KSPFanatic102 under a Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license.

I got to wondering what the conjunction on the winter solstice would have looked like if I had been able to see it through a really powerful instrument, like the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Maybe I could create some sort of mosaic image based on other higher-resolution images?

It turns out that there are many high resolution images of the individual planets and their moons in the public domain. Using the original image as a template, I set about replacing each blurred planet and moon with an appropriately rotated, scaled down, de-saturated, high-resolution image, lightened or darkened to match the planet or moon’s correct albedo.

As the actual conjunction occurred in Sagittarius, I took the liberty of adding a faint but appropriate starry background. The resulting image is, I believe, as close as possible to what you would have seen if it was possible to “look through” as powerful a scope as the Hubble in orbit:

The 2020 Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, ultra high resolution astronomy mosaic.

In the composite image we see Jupiter bottom right with, from right to left, its moons Europa, Io, and Ganymede. Top left we see Saturn with, above it, its moon Titan. In close-up you can see the planets and moons in high-resolution:

Close up Jupiter with Io and Ganymede during the Great Conjunction 2020.

Astronomy is a deep passion of mine and I love to contribute to its great body of knowledge in anyway I can. If anyone is interested, I have made this image is available as a poster, a print, and in various other forms in my Redbubble shop.

10 Beautiful Space & Astronomy Gifts

Here are some stunning astronomy gift ideas that are perfect for the stargazer, cosmologist, or astronaut in your family … even if that’s yourself!

Space is fascinating, educational and entertaining! We marvel at the asteroids, comets, moons, planets, stars and galaxies. We wonder about all that is to be discovered across our vast universe. And space science provides us with some of the most gorgeous images ever captured by mankind. Here are some stunning astronomy gift ideas that are perfect for the stargazer, cosmologist, or astronaut in your family … even if that’s yourself!

1. The Horsehead Nebula in Orion Wall Poster

An eye-catching and gorgeous wall poster featuring the Barnard 3 nebula in the constellation of Orion, based on a photograph taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Perfect for dorms, bedrooms, offices, studios, classrooms, or anywhere blank walls aren’t welcome, Printed on 185gsm semi gloss poster paper. Size 99.3 x 84.3 cm (including a 5mm white boarder). Available in other sizes and on 50 more products. Available on Redbubble

2. The Crab Nebula Chiffon Top

A bright and beautiful addition to any wardrobe, this stunning image of the Crab Nebula was taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Available in a wide range of sizes, this garment’s front panel is edge-to-edge custom printed using a sublimation transfer print technique that embeds dye into the fabric allowing it to stay soft and drape. Option of black or white back panel, sleeves and binding. Slightly sheer 100% Polyester chiffon with silky hand-feel, ideal for wearing as a layering piece. Loose cropped boxy style fit. Available on Redbubble

3. The Tarantula Nebula iPad Case

A stunning and colorful iPad case featuring the famous Tarantula nebula in Dorado, based on an original Hubble telescope photograph. Slim impact resistant poly-carbonate case with protective lip. Design wraps around the sides of the case and the colors are embedded directly into the case. Case allows full access to device ports. Fits 4th, 3rd, and 2nd iPad models, as well as model numbers A1395, A1396, A1397, A1403, A1416, A1430, A1458, A1459, A1460. Thickness 3/64 inch (1mm), weight 35g. Also available as a form-fitting removable vinyl decal with laminate top coat iPad skin, and on 50 more products. Available on Redbubble.

4. Galactic Center Throw Blanket

A rich and glorious throw blanket featuring the heart of the Milky Way, based on radio and x-rays images from the Chandra X-ray and MeerKAT observatories. The throw blanket is 100% polyester fleece with soft, fluffy hand-feel. Printed on front with ivory colored back. Edge-to-edge sublimation print. Machine washable. Available in small (101 x 76cm), medium (152 x 127cm) and large (203 x 152cm) sizes. Also available on 75 more products. Available on Redbubble.

5. Horsehead Nebula Close Up Throw Pillow

An stunning close up photo of the famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion. This vibrant double-sided print floor pillow cover is a versatile seating or lounging option that will update any room. Durable 100% spun polyester cushion cover. 90 x 90cm. Fills must be purchased separately for this floor pillow. Concealed zip opening for a clean look and easy care. This image is available on 75 other products too. Available on Redbubble

6. “Pale Blue Dot” Framed Print

“Pale Blue Dot” is a famous photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 from 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) by the Voyager 1 space probe at the request of famous scientist, writer and Cosmos presenter Carl Sagan. The Earth is shown as a tiny blue speck against a ray of sunlight. This image is available as a framed print in three sizes. The print itself measures 23.9 x 20.3cm, 35.9 x 30.5cm or 47.9 x 40.7 cm. Both box and flat frame styles are available and the frame is a high-quality timber frame finishes to suit your decor. Premium perspex completes the frame – clearer and lighter than glass. Available on Redbubble

7. Earthrise Over the Moon Tote Bag

This elegant tote bag features the image of the Earth rising over the Moon’s horizon that was captured by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission as it orbited the Moon. The tote bag is a durable, easy-to-carry shopping bag with sublimated print on both sides and is available in small, medium and large sizes. It has a super strong 1 inch (2.5cm) wide cotton shoulder strap and is made from soft yet durable 100% spun polyester poplin fabric. Gentle machine wash. This image is also available on a cotton tote bag and 50 other products. Available on Redbubble

8. BOSS Great Wall Graphic T-Shirt

This wonderful and unique T-shirt features the “Great Wall” imaged by the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey mapping project. The front panel is edge-to-edge printed using a sublimation transfer technique for crisp, bold colors. The printed front panel is 96% polyester, 4% spandex. Solid color back panel, sleeves and neck bind are 100% cotton. This amazing image is also available on 50 other products. Available on Redbubble

9. The Pillars of Creation Duvet Cover

A fabulous bed covering featuring the “Pillars of Creation”, the amazing clouds of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula in the Serpens constellation, some 6,500–7,000 light years from Earth. This machine-washable duvet cover has a vivid, full color print on the front, white on the back. 100% polyester top, 50% cotton / 50% polyester back. Concealed zipper opening and internal insert ties for easy assembly. Available in multiple sizes from twin to king. Twin size (173 x 224 cm) fits most extra long dorm beds. Duvet insert not included. Available on Redbubble

10. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation A-Line Dress

This beautiful dress pattern comes from the CMBR, the electromagnetic radiation remnant from an early stage of the universe. This faint cosmic background radiation fills all space. The dress has a loose swing shape for an easy, flowing fit. Sizes run large, so order a size down from your usual. Print covers entire front and back panel. 97% polyester, 3% elastane woven dress fabric with silky hand-feel. This pattern is available on 50 other products. Available on Redbubble

These and many many more space and astronomy-themed products can be found in the Astronomy Collection in the Tiokvadrat store on Redbubble. Available products include colorful astronomy design for tops, t-shirts, skirts, scarves, leggings, socks, bags, phone cases, covers, mugs, notebooks, coasters, cushions, pillows, duvets, mats, blankets, clocks, prints, shower curtains. Perfect gift idea for astronomy and space sciences loving boy, girl, friend, wife, husband, partner, brother, sister, colleague, or the office. Happy shopping!

A Flower Under a Darkening Sky

A Flower Under a Darkening Sky.
Acrylic on Canvas.
Chris Hughes (2012)

This acrylic work was produced late in 2012 just as the Swedish winter started to bite. We were already looking forward to the Spring and its early crocuses, but that was still many months away. Like many winter paintings my palette turns dark as the evenings closes in. In spring my palette lightens considerably and warms towards oranges, yellows and reds.

This original acrylic artwork was one of the first of this type to be uploaded to Redbubble. RedBubble likes large images but we were limited somewhat by the original scan size, so we achieved only 4634 x 6266 pixels after limited enlargement which are rather awkward dimensions to try to use on Redbubble products and led to some compromises. Usually we aim for at least 7632 x 6480 pixels.

Nevertheless, some products really shone with this work as design. As is typical, both throw pillows and floor pillows (cushions) worked well:

Floor pillow, available on Redbubble