Thursday, April 26, 2018

April almost seemed like winter at times but now, at last, it is Spring.  We had lunch outside today and I noticed that almost overnight everything looks greener.  The two inches of rain we had yesterday probably helped with the greening.  A friend and I had intended to hike in the park yesterday, but figuring it would be soggy, we opted for coffee and a stroll in downtown York.  We found blooming trees and colorful murals and sculpture to brighten the day.

I always have a travel photo project going and just don't want to think about how far behind I am.  Travel is a big part of our life, and for me, documenting these travels is important.  I've already made the iPhone my travel camera which helps with sharing photos along the way.  Now to go directly to publishing an album/journal from the device.  I'll fine tune this approach in the coming weeks.  In the meantime here are two photos that grabbed my attention from a trip we took two years ago.  I think I took these from the in-flight magazine on a Lufthansa flight.  I call one Pillow Fantasy and the other Carpet Fantasy.

While in Skopje, Macedonia this past fall, we visited the excellent National Archaeological Museum. We were fortunate to have an excellent guide and scholar to interpret the collections.  The rooms were darkened with the objects beautifully lit.  Talk about fantasy--sometimes I felt like I was walking in a jewel case.  

And I've finished a couple of paintings.  I have been interested in painting in an abstract way for sometime.  The last few weeks I've been getting up early as I normally do, but instead of doing this and that, I've been going directly to the studio and painting.  I am a morning person and I am most creative then.  So far, it's working.  These abstract expressionist paintings are inspired by Venice.

Venice: Broken Water
Acrylic on canvas 24' x 18"

Venice From a Boat
Acrylic on canvas 24" x 18"

Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring arrived since my last post.  Yesterday it was finally warm enough to melt all the snow from our last two storms.  Actually, there are still some piles around the driveway as a result of all the shoveling, but there's no going back now.  Spring is here and the snow will melt.  I thought the above image had a very Spring-like feel (because of all the pinks) even though it was October on the island of Monomvasia--a Greek island linked by a causeway to the Peloponnese.  I love to go in and out of past times through photography.  All the snow and freezing weather days gave me the opportunity to work on the photo book of our travels to the Baltics and St. Petersburg.  I finished Vol. I some time ago (Poland and Lithuania).  I'm getting close to the finish line with Vol. II (Latvia, Estonia & St. Petersburg).  Barry wonders how I can remember so many details of our travels.  The answer is simple and also a lot of work.  I take photos, make notes and eventually put it all together in a photo book--although I'm always way behind with the photo books.  Another thing I do since acquiring an iPhone, is sharing short videos and photos with family and friends via Instagram or Facebook.  Most of my travel photography these days is with an iPhone.  Since St. Petersburg, Russia is my current project, here are a few photos of our first afternoon in the city that calls itself the Venice of the north. Our guide told us there are very few days with clear, blue skies such as we had that first day.

Below are some Easter colors in Tallinn, Estonia.  Also in Tallinn, a view from a walk in the old town and a relief sculpture of Voldemar Pansa outside of the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre.  Panso was the first leader of the drama school at the Academy and had an illustrious career as director, actor, drama theatre critic and author.

Just added these two drawings to the "Drawings, Prints" pages.  

Purple Grackle - pen, ink & wash sketch

Icarus - pastel

Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Posting on St. Patrick's Day 2018 from my library/study where I usually post.  Winter weather is still very much with us, so I continue to have time in my basement studio where I have been very productive so far this month.  The fake pear above which I photographed with a tinting filter reminds me of the winter scene below even though trees and shadows make it much darker.  Even so, these two photos make a connection for me.

Sometime ago I received a promotional booklet from The Folio Society.  I tore out the two images below, put them aside and recycled the rest.  After a couple of years they resurfaced and, sadly for me, I can't remember the context of why those images where in that booklet.  The title of the first image is Wolf Girl and the second is Born.

These are both lithographs from original work by Kiki Smith who is a living artist best known as a sculptor, but who has also been significantly involved in printmaking since the late 1970's.  "Born" does not depict the Little Red Riding Hood I know.  Kiki explores a close relationship between wolf and woman in her sculpture and lithographs.  I dug up a NY Times review of her exhibit at the International Center of Photography in 2001. The name of the exhibit was "Kiki Smith:  Telling Tales".   If these two images make you curious, you can read about the related exhibit here.

And here's something a little sweeter, my latest sheep painting.  It looks perfect for Spring, although the inspiration for painting sheep again was inspired by our 2014 trip to the Lake District in Britain.  I took several photos of Herdwick sheep  and their cute faces tempted me to try another assortment.  I like bunching them together.

Herdwick Sheep II, oil on canvas  16"x 20"

Next are a few photos of our January trip to Iceland.  The light was so beautiful.

Have added a few more quotes appropriate for photo greeting cards to the Quotes Page.  Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Looking This Way and That

Had a dazzling early morning visit at the Harpa Concert Hall & Convention Center in Reykjavik, Iceland a few weeks ago.  This concert hall is beautifully situated in the city center near the North Atlantic--the pre-dawn views were outstanding.  Inside was dazzling.  I truly felt like I was walking around inside a gemstone labyrinth.  Our little group took the elevator to the top and then just went into our own world of discovery.  The architectural shape and the glass facade are inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland.  You can see a beautiful photo of the exterior here.  My own exterior photo was taken in the afternoon on a very gray day and just doesn't do it justice.  If you are a fan of "Black Mirror" on Netflix, you might have seen this building in the episode "Crocodile".  Below are some of my interior shots.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rolling into the last week of February with many signs of Spring here at home and all around my corner of Pennsylvania.  I have been struggling off and on trying to figure out how to use the iPad for my posts.  When I try to add photos, it does not allow me to access my camera roll and I am given options that are a bit strange and limited.  These photos were offered in a Google album entitled Iceland 2018 but there are not actually any Iceland photos in that album--just these.  Time is limited so I'm going with them.  Above is some graphic art I saw on a building in Orhid, Macedonia.  What can I say--it made me smile and I love it!

Below is an art installation along the Mediterranean sea walk in Thessaloniki, Greece.  Somehow I managed not to photographic it and so this is a photo of a photo in a tourism magazine.  I hope to visit here again.  It's a "just the right size" city with a good vibe.

The next four photos were taken inside an art-filled cafe in Tirana, Albania.  We met a retired professor here and listened to him discuss life under the dictatorship.  It's hard to imagine living in forced isolation as a country with very few freedoms--even to express oneself.  But he also discussed how he was able to stay under the radar while teaching and writing.  After we said our good-byes, enjoyed the eclectic collection of art decorating every surface in the rooms of this cafe as well as drooling over the cakes and other sweets on offer.

This Sunday I'll be photographing the art and artists of the annual youth exhibit at the York Art Association.  It will probably be raining on Sunday, but I can guarantee all will be sunshine and smiles from these talented young people.  I will share some of the fun in my next post.

In the studio, I've told the sheep I can't play with them anymore and they will have to be happy as they are. Barry walked in and right away said, "Oh, look at those cute sheep!".  That's what I was looking for--cute.  My work is done.  I am restless and ready to start a new series of paintings.  Cheers!

Monday, February 12, 2018

February Greetings

The above photo has a slightly creepy Valentine's Day look thanks to my painting hanging on the wall behind the flowers.  I completed that painting a few years ago, but it has never hung in my house except in the studio until recently.  The title is "Passage" because it was created during a very troubling time in my life.  Now that I have passed through it--so to say, the painting is an affirmation that I survived and that life is still good--that it always was good.  I completed other paintings during that time that could be classified as therapeutic paintings--- with no regard for creating something "beautiful" but rather to say something with paint and canvas that I could not get out any other way.  I've talked with other artists who have had similar experiences with painting.  I'm thankful I have the urge to express myself through painting and photography.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Majorana at his studio in Manchester, Maryland.  I was so dumbstruck at the size of the studio and the variety of things Charlie makes there that I didn't take a single photo inside.  He is a painter, tile maker, sculptor, mosaic artist and general maker of things.  I'm thinking of taking one of his workshops just for the sake of getting out of my comfort zone in art making.  Here is what he and his friend, Thomas Sterner (woodworker) have in store for spring.

I did get this reflection of me in one of his outdoor sculptures.