Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vanishing Point

I got an iPhone, which replaces several of the items I had been carrying with me everywhere: my iPod, small camera, and phone. The camera aspect leaves something to be desired, but does give me some flexibility to grab a shot when I see it. So my small travel camera is now in my desk drawer, and the small iPod in my gym bag.

I find this shot simplistically satisfying. Simple vanishing point, primary colors, high contrast. Might have been more interesting if the train were moving. The iPhone with it's small lens and lack of flash, generally has a long "exposure" time, so movement can be captured.

This is the blue line at Aquarium in Boston.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


This is a somewhat abstracted sketch of an African instrument called an Mbira. It's one of my favorite drawings. I particularly like the composition and the asymmetry of the "buttons" on the bottom. (In reality, they are bottle caps nailed on to the instrument to add a percussive quality to the finger-piano sound.) This was done on the same day as the cello.
You can see the instrument as it appears in the Boston MFA collection here. As you can see, the composition was the instrument-maker's, not mine.
I find that others are frequently indifferent to this drawing, and yet I've returned to it for inspiration several times, and I find myself repeating that pattern of buttons unconsciously, often echoing it with the arrangement of nine objects in a composition in another medium and with other objects.

PS: Listen to the sound of this on the MFA site. The piece they have, played on this instrument, has a repetitive quality that reminds me of the repetitive quality that this drawing has had for me. I love when themes are echoed and repeated with improvisation, whether in art, music or life.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Sketched at the MFA in Boston. I don't even remember sketching it, although it was in with some other instrument sketches I had made one day a while back. I'm sure it was not meant to be a cartoon character. If Prosopagnosia is the term for the inability to recognize faces, what do we call it when we see faces everywhere? We're so wired for recognizing faces we see them where none exist.

So speaking of the cello, I heard a third-or-fourth-hand story about a Boston area cop who pulled over a famous cellist. Returning to his precinct office, he announced "What the hell kinda name is Yo-yo? Who names their kid yo-yo?" His fellow officers filled him in.

And speaking of Yo-Yo Ma, I've heard some criticism of the piece played at the inauguration (derivative of Copland, too simple, not classical enough, not Hollywood enough etc.) but I found it to be lovely.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chihuly Installation at Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

I spent several hours exploring the exhibit, going from broad daylight to dusk to darkness. Really a stunning exhibit. Full sun:

For photos of entire pieces, see the exhibit description. I tend to be more interested in details or context-free compositions, yet I like the photo above because it's showing a detail of the piece, and yet the full context of the piece.

This one catches the desert light as the sun begins to drop toward the horizon.

This was all done with a little point-and-shoot auto-focus digital camera. No polarizing lenses, no star-effect lenses, nothin'. The light is really that spectacular.