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.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

Hello!  This is me freezing in Iceland a few days ago.  It was an amazing trip which I'll be sharing more about in the near future.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the less windy environment of Pennsylvania.  Before we left I had been working (in spurts) on photos I had taken in Macedonia.  On a rest stop between Triana, Albania and the Matka Canyon near Skopje, we visited the Sarena Dzamija (Painted Mosque) in Tetova.  What a treat it turned out to be on a chilly, sunless day.  I have seen many mosques in my travels, but nothing this fanciful and Baroque-ish, or as welcoming.  The only requirement was to leave shoes outside.  The mosque was built by the daughters of Pasha Abdurraham in 1485, and decorated to celebrate his life.  It was rebuilt/restored in the 1800's.  So here is a photo of the outside followed by a tour of the interior.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy New Year 2018

For days and days it has felt like scenes from the film, Dr. Zhivago, around here.  The frozen house with the frozen room comes to mind, although our situation wasn't anything close.  Today is sunny with a promise of above freezing temperatures--hooray!

This week I got back into the studio for the first time since leaving for Northern Greece on November 17.  There is always some fussing and reorganizing to do.  Besides that, I warmed up with some speedy sketches of faces in a Vanity Fair magazine using India ink and a skinny stick.

Before our trip, I invited a friend over and we worked on an individual collage and then a collaborative one on a 20 x 16 inch canvas.  It needs a lot of work, but some parts of it are very interesting and over all I love the color palette.

Before Christmas, I was looking through some old works on paper and found this leaf done in watercolor a few years ago.  I really love it and remember how much I was enjoying painting outside on a beautiful autumn day.   I should have photographed it before it was framed, however.

Another project is ordering photography prints for upcoming exhibits and also for my photo greeting cards.  I believe I have been making photo greeting cards (for my own use) for almost 30 years.  In the last few years, I have been selling them.  When I use them myself, I like to start with a quote that somehow fits the season or purpose for writing.  I have a small loose leaf notebook for my ongoing collection.  It occurred to me recently that I should share some of my favorites on a Page in this blog and have a smaller selection tucked into the packaging of the cards I sell.  So that will be another project.  I will start the blog page today and make it available, but just know that it is under construction.  Here is one of the prints on order.  The Buddha in our garden is so inspiring.

This coming Sunday, January 14, is the opening of the next York Art Association exhibit.

You can find more information at the YAA website:
220 S. Marshall St., York, PA
Runs through February 10, 2018

I plan to be there taking photos for publicity and archives.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, December 29, 2017

November and December Endings

We returned from discoveries and adventures in Northern Greece, Albania and Macedonia in early December.  Greece was like a homecoming with many familiar sights and a foreign language I was somewhat familiar with.  But the world is getting smaller and the two largest cities in Greece (Athens and Thessaloniki) are very cosmopolitan.  English is widely spoken and everyone is connected to the Internet.  Venturing outside the major cities is different.  With the exception of three days in Thessaloniki, we often felt like time travelers--at least 50 years back in some cases--except that we always had wifi in our hotels.  I can't deny that I enjoyed staying in touch with home and sharing photos and videos on Instagram.  Here are a few photos taken around our hotel in Meteora.  The village is Kastraki.  We visited two monasteries and hiked from one of them (Varlaam) back to the village. We had a guide who first fortified us with mountain tea and pastries.  The above photo was taken in Macedonia--my first donkey ride, and in the pouring rain no less.

View from the terrace of our hotel (Doupani Hotel). You can see the village of Kastraki and the rock formations which became populated with monasteries during the Byzantine period.  

Private home among the rocks.  These rocks are talking to me.

Roses still blooming here and there.

Barry and I relaxing at the end of our day on, around and down from the rocks.

I will share other stories of my travels in future posts.  We returned home the first week in December to very mild weather and piles of fallen leaves.  Back to work!  While working on the driveway border we came upon one of our garden snakes and a very large woolly caterpillar.  It was a warm autumn.

As the song says, there are twelve days of Christmas so I'm not too late to share some Christmas moments seen at a family gathering.

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year 2018!