Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 30, 2008

"You find in solitude only what you take to it."
Juan Ramon Jimenez

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November 29, 2008

Studying the paintings of Georgia O'Keefe inspires careful inspection of the forms around me. This close-up of cacti is protective and threatening simultaneously. Would I rather be on the inside looking out? Or on the outside, looking in?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

November 27, 2008

On this Thanksgiving morning, a different sort of bounty - seed pods from Australia continue to fascinate with their charismatic strangeness. The natural world is a mysterious and wonderful place. Today I am grateful to be an observer in it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November 26, 2008

Without actually planning it, I've accumulated a small collection of handmade objects. A carved stone bust from Ghana, a bone spoon from Germany, an antique table broom from England, three Native American spirit totems from New Mexico - each imbued with a quality worth cultivating. These beautiful objects remind me not only of time and place - where each was acquired, what I saw, who was accompanying me - but also remind me of life lessons, some of which were not easy. 

Clearer boundaries? Working on it. 
A generous spirit? My daily challenge. 
Choosing to be nonjudgmental when faced with pain or hurt? At least I'm trying. 

The ray of morning sunlight filtering through the screen softens my small collection of memories, reminding me that time alters perspective, and smoothes out rough edges. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I choose to be grateful for the many lessons presented to me in this lifetime. Not easy, but certainly a sign that I'm alive and well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 25, 2008

"The beautiful is that which pleases universally without a concept."
Immanuel Kant

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24, 2008

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

Tao te Ching; Verse 76
Stephen Mitchell translation

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 23, 2008

"Size determines an object, but scale determines art"
Robert Smithson

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008

Colors seen by candle-light
Will not look the same by day.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, November 21, 2008

November 21, 2008

When are we working with Nature as artists, and when are we working against her? Is this image about art, vanity or vandalism? Or is it about all three simultaneously?

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

How does color set a mood? The soft gray and white of the carpet, the cat Marshall, and the sunlit window contribute to to the sense of calm repose. What does blue mean to you or me? We all have symbolic associations for colors; some based on personal experience and some instilled culturally. 

The cobalt blue of the vase provides a point and counterpoint to the composition, in addition to providing elements that balance.
Keeping the cat in the lower third of the composition weights the image and is another visual door into the picture world.

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

This picture tells several stories. It references the human desire to order the world around us - the lettering on the wall establishes the alley as a No Parking zone, and the broken glass-  jutting out at the top - is another message of fear and frailty. Whoever lives behind this wall wants to be left alone.

But there is beauty in the contrast of the rough brick surface and the smooth translucency of the broken glass bottles. A contrast of textures makes for an interesting composition. And the abstract nature of the printed letters against the structure of the bricks would be worth emulating in another sort of composition.

There is as much beauty in decay as there is in a bouquet of fresh flowers. And aren't decay and fresh growth just two different spots on the same continuum?

November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

The Hydrangeas offer a lesson in the effective use of color. The pale blue and lavender are roughly the same value, so they balance each other beautifully. I am challenged to mimic that combination of analogous colors on silk Habotai!

This photograph would be considered beautiful even without the red-orange and yellow flowers at the bottom. But the addition of the complements to the blue and purple creates a focal point and generates some nice contrast because of the complementary pairing. And imagine how different this composition would be, were the red-orange and yellow at the top instead of at the bottom. The current placement adds important visual weight.

November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008
Being and Non-being

Substance and Light

November 16, 2008

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside 
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the space inside
that holds whatever we want.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao te Ching; Verse 11
Stephen Mitchell translation