There was a time, not so very long ago, when the only way you could reach a friend was to write a letter. No telephones, no computers, no email or FAX machines existed. So, the desk with its paper and writing instruments at the ready, was your communication station.
In order to write a letter to a friend you had to dig deep inside and think about what had happened recently, say within the month, and reflect on how you felt about that. Letter writing was a time of contemplation, and receiving a letter — those wonderful fat, hand addressed envelopes, was a real occasion. The whole procedure had an esthetic component, from the hand writing, the choice of words, the stationary, to the stamp chosen for the envelope.
The mailman was the trusted carrier of the most personal words from person to person over time. We were a diferent species, I think, when we were letter writers.
Here is a link to the latest in my video series, SQUARES LOOKING FOR A HOME.
This one is called IMPERATIVE as the squares are moving inevitably towards their final destination. http://youtu.be/aNzPdYW7RT0
Here is a link to the first video in the series EQUIPOISE. http://youtu.be/a9AQ8r0o3b0
I love tulips. They are so pure and simple. The sun shinning through their rich colored petals seems the essence of new life and the heart of spring.
This from Wikipedia
"In Persia, to give a red tulip was to declare your love. The black center of the red tulip was said to represent the lover's heart, burned to a coal by love's passion. To give a yellow tulip was to declare your love hopelessly and utterly."
Here is alink to a very fine poem by Sylvia Plath about tulips she received in the hospital.
Okay, here is where the trumpets blare and the fanfare announces the finished piece. If you are still with me on this design journey, we have reached our goal. This piece again created in Flash started with music as a guide to the length of the piece. I decided I wanted to have each square be one measure of the music so I knew how long it had to be. I found a piece of music that I thought would suit the idea and began placing the squares on the screen in the order that they would eventually reach, after a small journey. The journey ended up being quite interesting (at least to me). Some cool things happen along the way and it all turns out as planned and then some. In the middle of the piece I decided the music I had chosen did not say what it should, so I had to go searching again, but this time I found just the right tone with the Satie. The animation works on the idea of imbalance and resolution and the Satie has an oriental feel to it that is just what I wanted. It also has a very regular beat which fits the design. The whole thing turns out to be quite calming and meditative. It does take almost 4 minutes so put your feet up, have a martini at the end of the day and give it a try.
My first try at a video that might show the joy of arranging colors didn't work out because I was not able to capture the screen in Photoshop the same way each time and presenting colors randomly was not visually satisfying. So I decided to play a bit in Flash to see what might work there.
I didn't have a plan, just wanted to fool around to see some affects I have not tried before.
After a pretty short time I decided I liked the way the squares moved around and the way they came on to the screen but I definitely wanted to have a specific plan in the next attempt.
The music in this piece and yesterday's was chosen after I made the video just for fun. It is music that I can use, as it is copyright free, a very nice feature. I have a collection that I store in itunes and in this case I tried out those pieces that were the same length as my animation and found ones that seemed to be in the same spirit as the video.
Since I last posted I had an opening and a new idea for some visual music. I did not paint all last week, in part because I was busy getting ready for the show, planting and weeding my garden and working on the new idea.
I have not talked much about the process of making art on this blog but since I have at hand 2 examples of how this idea evolved I thought I would give it a try.
After posting HAPPINESS ATTACK I got to thinking that what thrills me about working with color is that, given any set of colors, there is always an arrangement that seems "right," and it is the process of finding the arrangement that is as good as looking at the final product. So making a video of the process might give an idea of that fun and maybe be fun to watch.
I decided to go with the colors in this photo because I really don't know how I can paint this scene again yet, although I love the colors and every year I do paint this tree, as I planted it to celebrate my mother's birthday, April 15.
At first I decided to just randomly grab colors in Photoshop and place them in squares in a grid in imovie. I like the transition option called "cross dissolve" which does not exist in Flash so I decided to make the squares appear and move gently into each other in this very time consuming way.
I liked the way it looked at first but I soon realized that it was going to be almost impossible to "screen grab" the colors in Photoshop and get each grab exactly the same. I also had not arranged the colors previously so unless I could scoot them around they would not be in order. I continued to fill in the squares just to be sure random wouldn't work. It didn't........ so I simply morphed the arranged colors on at the end.
Here is that video. Don't worry if you get tired of looking at it pretty quickly, I did too. It is only 2 minutes and 18 seconds so you might like to see the whole thing however.
While I am busy getting ready for the show at the Graver's Lane Gallery and weeding and planting my garden, I thought I would bring you some prints that I especially like.
These prints are produced in Photoshop. I choose a painting whoose colors particularly appeal to me, scan the painting into Photoshop and select colors from it at random. Then I arrange them in order from dark to light filling squares as I go. Once I have a very large group I select portions of the group and combine and recombine them until I have a combination that I like. This is a way for me to combine my love of painting and pattern making.
Here is one of my favorites. It represents my state of heart in the Spring.
This print can 12" x 12" - $100.00, 20" x 20" - $300.00, 36" x 36" - $500.00
Inside an antiques shop on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill I spoted these textures and light. I love old things with there patina of experience. The edges are worn away and only the essence of a previous time shine through in a lovely old artifact.
"The Chestnut Hill Hotel is a 36-room boutique hotel on Germantown Avenue in the heart of Chestnut Hill. Starting with an inn on that location in 1772, the hotel was rebuilt in 1865 and was refurbished in 2011 to have a historic look and modern convenience. It is surrounded by the Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market, the Chestnut Hill Grille and an outdoor restaurant."
It certainly looks inviting on any sunny day in the warm weather as people sit outside under the porch and enjoy a meal. I love the way the sky is reflected in the windows on this beautiful spring day. This painting will be in my show at the Graver's Lane Gallery in May.
This month the Virtual Paintout traveled to Bulgaria and I went along for the ride. Google's car with camera was there in the winter in the parts of Bulgaria that I traveled through, and it was pretty dismal scenery with lots of ramshackle housing and grey fields piled with junk. Finally came accross this old building overlooking the mountains and settled down to paint. I was attracted to the grey-blues and dusty oranges.
Right in the heart of the shopping district in Chestnut Hill there is this lovely place to sit down and relax amid some well kept nature. What a difference this kind of old faashioned town is compared to shopping in a mall with piped in music and nature confined to the very outskirts of the parking lot.
This house in Chestnut Hill seems almost to contain sunshine. It's cheery countenance is for me a smile. That may be because it is very similar to a house I lived in when I was growing up in the country. My mother looked for years for a house with windows down to the floor and finally found one in Worcester, Pennsylvania. It looked a lot like this but was in the middle of several acres that were for me a little paradise, a refuge from the sturm und drang of adolescence.
For me buildings always have an expression of some kind. I was so entranced by the greens and cream of this old building on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, that I didn't notice the expression on its face. Eyes set high in its' "head" with several "teeth" missing, it resembles a smiling jack - lantern.
I have always been fascinated by the inside of people's houses. Rooms without people are an invitation to imagine. For that reason I love to walk the streets of Park Slope because there it is possible to see into windows and doorways and imagine what goes on behind the curtains or the bars. On this sunny day someone has left the light on, or were they reading and left to answer the phone, or is it a welcoming light for a daytime assignation?
This woman will be standing on this corner in Parkslope in her flowered dress with her little dog forever, and the man in black will never get where he is going. Such is the power of a painting or snapshot. We look back at pictures we have saved and they become our history. The artist and the photographer shape our memories in ways so subtle we don't even notice.
Glass is such a unique surface. It is transparent and also reflects images. It takes its identity from that combination, as without seeing what is reflected on the surface or what is behind the glass we would not know it was there. If there were dirt on the surface we would be aware of the glass but even that is not inherent in the glass itself.
In this painting there is a lot of space, beginning with the sky itself which goes on into infinity, then the tree outside the wall, the ceiling moving towards us, the candelabra, the clock and finally, the edge of the clock, getting right up close. All brought to us by a piece of glass which isn't actually visable at all. Is the artist like a piece of glass, revealing some version of reality, while also showing what's under the surface?
I like to stroll in Bala Cynwyd because of all the wonderful old houses with their many tales ready to be painted. This little red wheelbarrow is waiting for the imagination of some child to carry - what? What will this girl or boy dream up to tote around the yard in that semi dream that only childhood make-believe produces.
I can't resist changing William Carlos William's lovely poem THE RED WHEEL BARROW to fit this painting.
So much depends
a red wheel
bathed in sun
beside the white
Don't miss this animated version of the original poem on youtube. I didn't realize when I spotted that wheelbarrow that I was not the only one who found red wheelbarrows resonant with more than their carrying potential.
The virtual paintout traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania this month. I put myself down in the oldest part of town because my father-in-law originally came from the countryside right outside of, what was then, Vilna. He went to school in the town so I imagined him on these streets. Once when asked if he would like to go back and visit the old country he said, "Are you nuts"?.
I can see why when I travel along these streets and see a magnificent church around almost every turn. I imagine Charlie as a young Jew, who was frightened by pograms, gazing from one of these narrow streets at one of these churches and experiencing nothing but anger. It is ironic that when he came to America he ended up on the south side of Chicago and forever after spoke with an irish brogue. He came to this country when he was 11, not speaking a word of English, with very little money, eventually working in the stock yards while going to medical school, graduating when he was 27. He was a tough guy, a man of few words, who was forever grateful to be an American.
Every year since I began this blog I have painted at least one crocus composition. I am always thrilled to see the crocus covering the banks of the stream in Merion Park. This year I caught the light just as the crocus were in the sun and shading their background. They are perfectly beautiful, pure flowers with their pale violet petals and their yellow and orange centers. It is almost as if they represent a great sigh of nature as winter gradually passes.
This door knocker seems to be saying, "I dare you to use me". A wonderful mixed message found on 6th Avenue in Brooklyn's Park slope. Who lives there, I wonder, a fortune teller, sorceress, or little old lady with a good sense of humor?
I love the morning after a snow storm when no footprints, except the bird's and the squirrel's, mar the pure rounded sculpture the snow creates. This Sunday morning in Brooklyn no one has even opened the door to see what's out there.
In Merion it is a different story altogether. This older work painted outside contains a bit more of the wild beauty of nature the morning after a snow storm.
We share our small place on earth with a very few people. The sun shines on us at almost the same angle day after day but how much do we really know about our neighbors?
If your neighborhood is threatened in any way, it is possible to find out some important things about your neighbors. Do they bury their head in the sand. Do they embrace the enemy, or do they join with you to appose the threat? If you have a party do they show up with something home made to eat, a bottle of wine or Entenmann's Donuts. If either one of you do something that could be construed as unneighborly - play music too loud late at night, have a dog that barks a lot early on Sunday morning, or a cat that eats your birds, can you speak to your neighbor about it without coming to blows? All the most basic human interactions begin between neighbors.
In this painting there is a small separation between houses. Is this a composition in white, gray and siena, or a meditation on that separation?