Friday, June 23, 2017

Thinking Big

At the end of May I bought a Sunday New York Times.  Because I have so many demands on my reading time, it takes about two weeks to finish reading it.  I save the Art and Books for last--like dessert.  My favorite article in Art was about the recent opening of Building 6 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts.  This is a museum that can handle some really big installations along with performing arts events.  The museum is on 16 acres that had formerly been a 19th c. factory complex.  Although the original plan in 1986 was to simultaneously rehabilitate all 28 buildings, economic necessity required a slower development.  This past May marked the opening of Building 6 which houses works of James Turrell, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson,  Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg and Gunnar Schonbeck.  The article discusses each of these artists/artist estates and the works that will be on exhibit over the next several years.  I am ready to plan a trip during a slow time and simply enjoy exploring the site and discovering artists that are relatively new to me.  Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson are most familiar to me.  I'm most interested to see James Turrell's light and space installations.  "The showstopper here is Mr. Turrell's Ganzfeld installation, one of the tallest he's ever constructed.  Stairs lead to a large rectangle of color that you can step into: a 30-foot high chamber bathed in slowly shifting hues that slide through the spectrum from the softest gray to a saturated tangerine red, challenging depth perception.  Mr. Turrell has programmed a quick strobe blast every nine minutes as a palette cleanser for your eyes."  Read the article here.  I was thinking I would like to blow up some of my glass images as an installation.  Even better would be super-sized chunks of the glass itself with special lighting.

Last night was the opening of Ophelia Chambliss' "Contiguous" exhibit.  Experiencing diversity through art by representing the diversity, connectedness and commonalities of York County, PA residents.  She chose 60 of her York County contacts on Facebook, and using only their profile photo, made a contiguous line portrait (drawing the complete portrait without lifting the drawing instrument from the surface until the drawing was complete).  I was one of the chosen and I loved the experience of being part of this project and meeting new people who support the arts in York county.  Part of the project included writing a statement about ourselves.  Here is a short sampling of the statements:

1. Adult children have crashed 5 cars in 1 1/2 years.
2. Artist that paints large pieces with glass.
3. Commissioner for the PA Liquor Control Board.
4. Fresh Meat with York Roller Derby Dames.
5. Drives a yellow corvette that was a gift in high school.
6. Mosquito hunter who also keeps York beautiful.
7. Stone sculptor

I didn't include my statement because you would know right away it's me.

Other photos from the opening:

Check out more works by Ophelia Chambliss here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Art and Life and Gardening

The peonies are finished in our neighborhood.  We feel lucky to have space for our one tree peony.  Thankfully, our neighbors have several of the herbaceous type and we were the recipients of a large bouquet when they had peaked.  When the flowers started to fade, I cut off their heads and floated them in a bowl of water just to keep the scent going.  Even though the pink color faded each day, the scent carried on for several days.  I just threw the petals into the compost today.  More and more I'm appreciating what a creative and artistic activity landscaping gardening can be.  I think I always knew it, but I'm appreciating it more as I get older.  We've had a few hot days in a row lately, so I've taken some time in the shade with a cool drink and a few garden books.  One is Rosemary Verey's, THE AMERICAN WOMAN'S GARDEN, published in 1984.  I purchased it not long after that and still feel inspired by the stories of visionary gardeners.  The photography is inspiring too.  Tucked into this book was an article from the Wall Street Journal by Sara Lin (the date is lost) about Courtnay's Daniels 350 acre garden near Charlottesville, Virgina.  At the time of writing, Ms. Daniel's garden was believed to be one of the largest privately owned gardens on the East Coast.  Before turning to gardening full-time she was a trained painter and now looks at her work as painting with plant material.  "It's a painting that's never finished".  That's how Barry and I feel about our garden.  

A new book in my gardening library is GARDENISTA by Michelle Slatalla (with the editors of Gardenista).  The volume is full of kindred spirits and stories of how they developed their gardens--some very tiny and some grand.  It's also a source book for garden furnishings, tools and expert advice.  Just love this book.  I've been dragging it around the house and outdoors since my sister presented it to me as a gift.  

Here are four images from our garden.  The snake is most recent.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hiroshi Sugimoto

The above image is not a Hiroshi Sugimoto.  In looking through some of my images, it was the first thing that seemed a bit suggestive of his work.  Make no mistake, my image is not the studied and professional work of Mr. Sugimoto.  I've been researching his artwork and photography as a result of reading this article in the New York Times Style Magazine.  Photography and architecture--I was hooked.  Sugimoto is known for his meditative black and white images, wax figures and seascapes.  After a very long and productive photography career, he has become a self-described "unlicensed architect".  He co-founded  the firm New Material Research Laboratory with architect Tomouki Sakakida in 2008.  A quote from the New York Times article:  "Most of my ideas are illegal, " say Sugimoto, who considers it Sakakida's job to make it look legal."  His most recent and ambitious project is his own Enoura Observatory about an hour from Tokyo.  The complex is multipurpose and includes exhibition spaces.  I would love to visit when it opens its doors this coming Fall.  Sugimoto aims to create buildings that will still look nice after civilization is gone.  I think they look quite nice and most interesting now.  Read more about Sugimoto and see some of his earlier works here.

Below is a black and white seascape from my early June visit to Ocean City, Maryland.  The time was early morning.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A used book I purchased in Annapolis, Maryland several years ago.  Subtitle of this book:

Series of Studies
Designed and Engraved After
Historical and Critical Notes
Composed by
M. T. B. Emetic-David,
Member of the Institute of France
The Chevalier F. Bonnemaison, Painter

American Edition
reproduced by the heliotype process


Some of the drawing plates are missing.  A couple have pencil grid lines over them, drawn there by one of the previous owners as an aid to copying.  I am thinking of copying one or two myself, but I will make a digital copy and put grid lines over that.  The plates have held up very well and are simply beautiful.  This lovely book (if a bit ragged) is off the shelf for the next few weeks as I study and copy some of these Raphael's.

The paintings reproduced are:

The Visitation
The Holy Family, called "The Pearl"
The Madonna of the Fish; or, The Virgin and Tobias
The Bearing of the Cross; or, Lo Spasimo

from The Visitation

from The Holy Family

from The Holy Family

from The Holy Family

from The Madonna of the Fish

from The Madonna of the Fish

from The Bearing of the Cross

from The Bearing of the Cross

from The Bearing of the Cross

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What is a photo walk?  It means the camera and I need some quality time together.  Where will we walk?  Doesn't matter as long as we're together--preferably alone.  What happens on my photo walks?
I walk and look around me and walk some more.  I stop frequently for close observation.  I don't take photos of everything interesting thing I see even though the urge is strong.  The idea is to try a new setting on the camera or a new point of view and return home with a few interesting images--images that are full of meaning for me.    I took the image above while attending a wedding on the eastern shore of Maryland.  I strolled out on a pier by myself and sipped on this wine as the light was fading. This is not the best image technically, but it is full of memory and meaning for me.

"Am I Blue?" is an oldie from my days working at a construction yard.  I took many photo walks there and created a body of work I called "Design in Decay".  I took this photo with a macro lens and when I saw the teary eye, I got very excited about what other images/designs I might find looking at the scratches and decay on the containers and things stored outside using a macro lens.

I found "Candy Smash" on a walk in a suburban neighborhood.  I was happy with the original framing of the image at first, but now think I should crop it and emphasize the central part of the candy along with the ant.

"Glass Spillway" was taken on a morning walk around the house.  I saw two glass bottles on the window sill and couldn't get enough of the way reflected light was playing across painted wood.  Sometimes you don't have to walk far.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pat the Spy

Or "Four Dummies".  Yesterday I published and ordered a photo book from using mostly my photos title and text by my friend, David.  I am "Pat the Spy" in a story about my twin granddaughters puzzling over some of the European places I've visited  and some of the hats or napkins I have worn.  It will be colorful if nothing else.  Don't worry, my beloved Dr. Seuss.

For several years I was very active on Flickr--you can still find me there, although I haven't posted anything new since I started Instagramming.  One of the cool tools available to Flickr users at the time was a poster maker.  I used it to create this:

I still love all the photos I included.  Sometimes I think I did my best work during that period.  Of course, at the time I had lots of doubts.  Now I feel it's time to dig deeper into photography.  I haven't done a photography workshop in months.  By workshop I mean spending time with the camera to learn something new.  I'll explain more about this in my next post.  It's a great day outside and I have some garden chores waiting for me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Greetings on a Sunny but Chilly May Day

Maintaining our woodland garden takes lots of work in Spring and Fall.  These are my favorite seasons and so it is good to be outdoors working.  This past week we had many things to plant and transplant which we accomplished even in the rain, until the storms moved in with very heavy rain and lightening.  That gave me time for the studio where I'm working on a mixed media piece on wood.   I also went through a stack of vintage papers that will find their way into a future collage.  It's like going into a treasure house entering my sunny basement studio.  Next week is "take-in" for the next exhibit at the York Art Association.  I had hoped to have two new paintings done by now, but I don't, so it will be photography.  This photo of the Baltimore Harbor will be one of my submissions:

In a previous post I wrote about the zebra finch we adopted.  Just this week when I was looking through the archives I found this photo of Benjamin, the parakeet we adopted after the zebra finch died.  He was already an old bird by that time and only lived about a year with us, but he was beautiful and seemed to enjoy his time with us.  Unlike the zebra finch, he did not mind perching on a finger and sitting on a shoulder.  

Speaking of birds, I really like this garden sculpture seen at Downs Park in Pasadena, Maryland.

Our neighbors sometimes call their house "Mile High Lodge".  I took a series of photos a few years ago which, because of the bare trees and mist, evoked a sense of mystery.  I played around with some cutting, pasting, sketching and layering in Photoshop.  In the original, the house is recessed in a tangle of trees and mist.  In the manipulated version, I've added some sunlight and brightened the green textured layer.  The intention is that the house is the focal point but the image still evokes mystery.

Until next time.  Follow me on Instagram @tuesdaycafe