Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

real life

i wish i had some before and after pics but i am the world's most impatient project starter. i am an exceptionally quick draw with the sawz-all. that sawz-all and i are thick as thieves and as soon as my hubs turns his back, we are on it. more than a few times hubs has returned from a trip to find a kitchen or a wall or two missing without a trace. nothing that spectacular happened in this room...

this is our condo, the result of my failure to commit to life here. everything is recycled from the last house and the house before that except for this obscenely uncomfortable sofa. i wanted something narrow with no arms. total disaster (are you listening lee industries?) this is the first time we have not made our own sofa and it will also be the last. i have added extra cushions on the back but it really doesn't help much. and they really don't match.

uncomfortable sofa, grade school art

my room is too narrow to get a pic of the whole fireplace wall. all the mess on the table and in front of the fireplace are lamp making parts. we sit here on the floor for days and make them. i drew the charcoal on the left of the mantel in a fundamental drawing class. it was my copy of a master, pavonia, by lord frederick leighton. i was so happy with myself that i had it framed. then a friend walked in one day and said "why do you have a portrait of madonna?", and when she says madonna, she does not mean the virgin. back to the drawing board...

one day the perfect over mantel piece will present itself. until then, drum playing chicken riding elephant. so chic, so fancy.

a lovely cabinet by talented hubs.

jesus, mary, bear and donkey. i have a thing for these old wind up toys. i also have a thing for portraits with wonky eyes. this mary has a wonky eye. my friend nancy gave me the elf baby. she makes the tiniest little babies out of clay and crochets them tiny outfits. she keeps plates of tiny heads in her refrigerator... i will put my elf in a terrarium. design note: if you back your bookcase in mirror on an exterior wall, find a mastic that does not fully harden. sadly, three pieces of our glass cracked last (their first) winter as seen here. we used plain mirror mastic.

collection of fine sculpture.

piglet, model for fine sculpture.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

bob sherman

my favorite piece of real art that i own is the photograph "garland cow" by my friend bob sherman. i love it for so many reasons; the color, the texture, the architecture, the dark man in the striking white beard and striking red robe, the exotic locale steeped in a deep history of everything i have never known... and then there is the cow. the cow, WALKING DOWN THE STAIRS behind the striking dark man. WALKING DOWN THE STAIRS, MUNCHING THE FLOWER GARLAND he managed to get from around his neck. i can't get enough of that. i enjoy it every day, the idea of being there in a moment of something so beautiful and so silly in such a heavy place. i don't know, i just really feel it.

bob was born and raised in queens, ny and began taking pictures with his kodak brownie hawkeye around the age of 7. now he is always off to some far-flung, fabulous land soaking up some life. i have selected the following photographs from his website, including my own, and asked him to tell me a little about them. i will post his beautiful portraits separately

Garland cow: taken in Varanasi, India , 2/97. Varanasi is the holiest city of India. Garlands of flowers are a common form of showing devotion and worship. This part of Varanasi is on the Ganges River. The photo shows the steps, called "ghats" that lead down to the river. I was in a boat on the river when I took this shot. I was at least 200 yards away from the man in the shot and I was surrounded by many other boats. Yet the first 4 times I attempted to take the shot the man in the scene covered his face. An hour later I walked up to the man and he spontaneously said to me that it was rude of me to attempt to take his picture without first asking him. I immediately agreed and we spent the next 1 1/2 days talking about the necessity of the experience of lonliness on the spiritual path.

Afghan horsemen: taken in Band-i-Amir Afghanistan, 7/75. These men are playing a game called bushkazee in which a dead goat is "the ball" that is taken to the opponents goal. The bushkazee can last for days and spectators need to be on horseback to see the entire game. I was standing in the middle of their "playing field" when I took the shot. Band-i-Amir was a spectacularly beautiful place. The surrounding mountains look like a scene from Monument Valley with the addition of 7 amazingly beautiful lakes. The area is in the middle of nowhere so hopefully it has not been destroyed by recent events.

Varanasi alley: (left) taken in Varanasi, India, 3/03 in a back alley of the oldest bazaar. This is a 3 1/2 minute time exposure that was taken at 4 in the morning. The blue cast is how film records shade. If one looks closely there appears to be a ghost at the end of the alley. In reality this is a man that has a bicycle at his side. As soon as he entered the alley he froze when he spotted my tripod. He was only in the shot for the last 20 seconds of the exposure. It was so dark that his image appears ghostlike. The time before dawn is quite magical in India.
Pink Prayer: (right) taken in another holy India City, Haridwar, 2/05 at around 8 p.m.. The Ganges River here is quite clean as Haridwar is much closer to the source of the river. There are chains along the river here because the current is so strong. Bathing in the river is a vital part of worship. Every night there is a wonderful prayer ceremony performed at the river that involves many burning candles. This shot was taken just after the cremony ended.

bob is also a clinical psychologist and sends a "daily dose" with a photograph every day and tells me something like this: "Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days... What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe". you can sign up for that via his website

Fenway Park: Under Left Field Grandstand - photo by rnolan1087.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

claude nature, paris

i have taken the decorno original content challenge this week so you will be hearing a bit more about me. not usually something i write about...but here goes.
so, my visit to claude nature. this spring i went to paris for the first time ever and naturally, upon my arrival, the weather took a turn for the worse. in a few hours the rain had arrived to stay for the duration of our trip and it was pouring rain that drove us into claude nature the very first night, just trying to escape the downpour. we fell into the door looking like we had just swum over from the ile st louis and it was not until i wiped the fog from my glasses that i realized my great fortune. it was a REAL cabinet of curiosities, cases and cases of insect specimens, fossils, shells, just enormous beauty from the far reaches of the earth. if i ever realize the dream of my own boutique, it will have a section devoted to just this.
the couple keeping shop (the owners i assume) did not speak a word of english but we had a lovely visit nonetheless. the more interested and exclamatory i became about the specimens, the faster they would talk and the more treasures they would drag from the back.

when i chose the saddle color bug with the curved horn for my box, the woman proudly produced from the back a specimen 100x it's size. seriously the size of a teacup puppy and sporting a tremedous horn. as my good fortune continued, the man who ordered the giant bug like mine arrived to pick it up. i told him in butchered french and grand hand gesture how i admired his bug and he returned the favor, patting me on the back and shrugging (i translated this as a good natured "i agree with your taste, but see how mine is so grand?"). so there we were, me selecting bugs, mr. big bug and shopkeeper giving me feedback in fast exclamatory french, opening and reopening box after box of strange specimens, the holding up to the light, the looking at the backs, the reading of the scientific names, the measuring, the pinning, the remeasuring and finally standing back in admiration. two hours later.
this little box of bugs does not even measure 8x10" but the experience was so great. it is amazing how genuine interest and and a little kindness completely erased the language barrier.

here is my box of bugs on the bookcase that my husband built. a few weeks ago my son came home with the tessellation artwork that matches the bugs exactly. go figure! soon i will replace the scotch tape with a frame. i love it.

and here is a better shot of the hubs handiwork. his cabinet making improves with every house. he is now quite good and i am quite lucky.

Monday, October 22, 2007

francis bacon and the kindness of strangers

crucifixion 1933, said to be his first success. the work came across strong enough to be purchased by telegram by foremost english collector sir michael sadler. later the same year sadler sent an x-ray of his own skull to be incorporated in one of 2 further crucifixion pieces he purchased that year.

study for a portrait, man screaming 1952 is a masterpiece lost for 40 years after a collector bought it in the early 60's for £3000. it resurfaced at christies, london in 2000 and was expected to sell for around £1.8m. obviously they were very excited to have it show up! his screams, no matter the screamer, are considered by some the best in the art world.

apparently francis was highly allergic to dogs because of his asthma. they show up in quite a few works throughout the years, as does a major series of unsettling shrieking popes suggested to mirror strong feelings about his father and the horrible war years. but that's another post entirely.

and now, the kindness of strangers.

i would never have found this great francis bacon website with tons of history and explanations had jessica of the the shiny squirrel not mentioned in a comment that whitney mcveigh reminded her of francis bacon. because of her quick note, i looked up an artist i had never heard of and enjoyed something completely new. thank you jennifer!

if you are ever visiting and recognize or are reminded of something, i hope you will leave a quick note if you have the time. i appreciate the chance to look at things in a new way and explore something completely new altogether. all i know of art and design and architecture is whether i react to it emotionally. even if i am moved by the architecture of a building, my immediate reaction is to want to hug it, to pick it up and carry it around and i feel frustrated that i can not. maybe it's not a bad thing that i can not pick it apart academically, that i can just enjoy it how i feel it. or not. either way, after a little research, learn a little about the building, the architect, and it's place in history i can appreciate it beyond wanting to hug it (although the urge never leaves me). so, if something crosses your mind while you are here, i hope you will leave a note and that concludes more about me than you bargained for!

now i am off to investigate the shiny squirrel.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

desire to inspire by midcenturyjo

midcenturyjo has opened a new etsy shop for her illustrations. i hope everyone will head right over and share some love and support. bravo jo!

jo and kim from desire to inspire not only inspire me daily with design and architecture from around the globe, they are lovely about supporting other folks in their art, their websites and other endeavors. i am happy to have the privledge of returning the favor.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

whitney mcveigh

something about these works by whitney mcveigh. my favorite is above. while investigating, i came across this entry on her blog. how very exciting and good for her! oh what i would give for such an invite...endless gratitude for sure.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

june schwarcz

gold plated copper and enamel

also at de vera, this beautiful work by june schwarcz. read a very interesting interview for the archives of american art, smithsonian institution, here. i enjoyed this interview very much, especially in the way ms. schwarcz is so honest and matter of fact. i enjoyed it in the same way i enjoy a great studio shot. it makes the art seem possible and all the more fascinating.

mattte silver plated copper

patinated copper with enamel

de vera

on suggestion of a VERY stylish david, i paid a visit to de vera while in new york. if you have not been yourself, you must go straight away. not only is everything there spectacularly beautiful, wildly unusual and interesting, but the folks keeping shop are....FRIENDLY, INFORMATIVE and HELPFUL! is it just me who inspires keepers of fabulous shops to only reluctantly give fragments of information when i ask about their beautiful wares? perhaps they can tell by looking at me that i will not be purchasing the bowl with the price in the five digits and decide that information on the beautiful vessel will be given on a need to know basis. not so at de vera.

it was obvious we would not be buying the $45,000 temple bear when my husband made an involuntary noise upon hearing the price, but a very nice man answered all of our many questions anyway. when my son was convinced that the glass hermit crab was small enough for him to afford given he had $22 in his pocket, the very nice man went downstairs, opened the case, let my son hold the glass crab, took it upstairs, looked up the price in the catalog and did not even hint at annoyance when my child was $353 short.

if i could, i would shop there for anything and everything i ever needed. i hope that if you can, you will. and if you need an ancient brass temple bear about the size of very fat bulldog...... i'm telling you, it is really gorgeous!

dear claudia

claudia (designer, author, entrepreneur extrordinare and all around lovely, generous person) of the paris apartment was kind enough to squeeze me into the most busy of her days while i was in new york. i very much enjoyed our visit and walked away with a greater resolve to keep moving forward and try new ideas, to not be a chicken.... it is so great to talk with someone who has created opportunities for themselves and done something about it. thank you, claudia, for the inspiration. bonne chance and bonne santé in your new endeavors!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

ingo maurer

today was a fabulous day for us in new york. because our child will freakishly withstand hours of modern art and design we decided to spend the morning at the cooper-hewitt.....and the retrospective on show? none other than INGO MAURER !!. it was beyond exciting to see his work in person. so much of it i had never even seen in a photograph.

we were greeted by a sharpie embellished mr. and mrs. carnegie who, when motion detector sensed a visitor approaching, began moving their eyes back and forth and whispering to each other from their frames. love it!

"a memory from shanghai, or was it cairo?" it is hard for me to pick a favorite, but if i had to pick one work to save from impending doom, it would have to be this. the fact that the mice are wearing little red sleep masks really seals the deal for me.

led wallpaper. even if i were to take up residence in the chateau de versailles itself, i would find a way to work this in.

"l'eclat joyeux", my husband's favorite. son especially appreciated the upside down guy at the bottom.

"one can't be tall without the small!!!", my son's favorite.

something we have in common! love of circuit boards!

sadly, they were sold out of the catalog but i have ordered one to be shipped when they are replenished. i WILL be holding my breath.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

hella - ella - ella

nice texture for a change. love the seals and that red is a knockout. hella jongerius for makkum.

UPDATE: i saw these in person at the cooper-hewitt shop and they are large, of beautiful proportions and really lovely. the red one was calling for me...

more makkum

jan broekstra. again with the texture. makkum.


metalaceart by talila abraham. i choose gold.

Friday, October 5, 2007

new york city

photograph by premshree pillai.

i'm off to kick around the city for the week. if you have suggestions for interesting art or fabulous boutiques that are off the beaten path, i would be so grateful for the tip! have a happy weekend and i will post this week from the road.

i would like eleven or so, arranged as a chandelier. just the thing to lighten up a dark, masculine room. from cox & cox via the lovely esprit boheme.