As I was working on a couple of different posts I have been very distracted with my youngest’s endeavors with drawing monsters.

I know that every parent thinks their kid’s drawings are amazing and the best ever, but, all prejudice aside, I must say these are some really excellent monsters:

First, the dreaded cat monster.  Carefully note the cat monster has itself as a logo on its cat monster costume.

Next, the super-girl monster.  I’m not really sure if this is a monster at all, but super-girl in our house has many powers, some wielded without discretion or mercy.  You will see that the cape is quite dynamic and of course the utility belt is present.

I don’t really know the name of the next monster, but let’s call him birthday-cake monster.  He may seem festive at first blush, but do not be fooled.

And finally, the most feared monster of all, Emi herself.  I think she drew this because in our discussions on monster she remembered that I call her a little monster quite frequently.  So, there she is, Emi-monster (not sure about the ear rings, but the expression is dead on).  You will see in all these depictions that the monsters are not really so scary as they are mischievous and unpredictable.  All art is reflective.


on the particular and the universal


Ode To The Lemon

by Pablo Neruda

From blossoms released by the moonlight,

from an aroma of exasperated love,

steeped in fragrance,

yellowness drifted from the lemon tree,

and from its planetarium lemons descended to the earth.

Tender yield!

The coasts, the markets glowed with light,

with unrefined gold;

we opened two halves of a miracle,

congealed acid trickled from the hemispheres of a star,

the most intense liqueur of nature,

unique, vivid, concentrated,

born of the cool, fresh lemon,

of its fragrant house,

its acid, secret symmetry.

Knives sliced a small cathedral in the lemon,

the concealed apse, opened,

revealed acid stained glass,

drops oozed topaz,

altars, cool architecture.

So, when you hold the hemisphere

of a cut lemon above your plate,

you spill a universe of gold,

a yellow goblet of miracles,

a fragrant nipple of the earth’s breast,

a ray of light that was made fruit,

the minute fire of a planet.

Abelardo Morell

I have briefly mentioned the work of photographer Abelardo Morell in a previous post and a recent purchase, a new monograph of his work published by Phaidon, has brought many more of his amazing photos.  This book has a number of different series of photographs, including the beautifully melancholy camera obscura images.  However, the collection of photographs of books has most resonated with me.

Four Old Books, 1995
Six Dictionaries, 2000

Many of these images treat the books as objects, sculptural and architectural edifices.  For those of us that live with many books, at home and at the office, these images remind us of their physical presence, their mass and weight, texture and smell, beyond their collective rank and file order on the shelves.  Morell is a master at re-presenting the ordinary, transcending the stuff of everyday life into hauntingly contemplative objects.

Two Tall Books, 2002

These photos are great lessons for architects.  That we could make buildings of such beauty and weight, of such substantial stuff as these.  We often mistake our memory of books for the information they contain.  It is why the Kindle and other electronic reader devices are mere conveniences, not objects of adoration and contemplation.

All images are low resolutions scans from the book, Abelardo Morell, published by Phaidon 2005.

the colors of white

what color is white? The great American painter John Singer Sargent has plumbed the depth of ‘white’ as much or more than anyone.

Marble Quarries at Carrara
The Wyndham Sisters, 1899

White receives the reflected colors of its neighbors, the smallest change in angle or direction, bouncing light from different sources.

Sargent saw more colors of white in a single field than most of us will in our lives.

weather, paint, wood

As regular visitors to this blog might recognize, there have been rather a lot of photos of old and worn trucks that I have taken and posted.  These are all from the same couple of places here in Boulder where these semi-trailers are rented out as storage spaces.  It may be my favorite place in Boulder and certainly a source of inspiration.

Today, just patterns from the wearing of paint off plywood:

most of the truck photos are gathered in a set on my Flickr page if you are interested:

different cities, different art?

This is a quick watercolor sketch I did last week of the Chicago skyline from the north side of Belmont Harbor.

this view is always interesting early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is shining on either the left or right side of the buildings.  The distant view is possible because of the distance that the harbor entrance creates, making a layer of Lincoln Park trees run along below the layer of tall buildings.

Different cities inspire people in different creative mediums.  I think of New York as a writer’s town.  By far the most sketching I have ever done was a two-year stint working in Boston.

Maybe the picturesque plazas and squares in Boston establish those views for sketching in a way that the grid of streets in New York and Chicago doesn’t allow.

The watercolor above  is a bit unusual in that most of my looking around Chicago has been done with a camera.  The hard, straight rationality of Chicago’s grid of streets and the regularity of office windows may lend itself more to the shifting light and perspective best captured on film.

I’ve now lived in Boulder longer than I did in Chicago.  And so, Boulder’s medium of expression?  I guess I’m still working on that.

Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, Chicago

Millennium Park in Chicago has become a very interesting foil to the Art Institute.  The band shell/amphitheater by Frank Gehry is a bit disappointing (too 2-dimensional), but the Crown Fountain is one of the best pieces of public art in the city.  Designed by Jaume Plensa, the fountain is two 50 foot high glass block towers with video projections on their facing sides.  The projections are faces of people from the wide spectrum of citizens of Chicago.

In warm weather the fountains ‘spit’ a stream onto a slate plaza, usually filled with kids playing in the stream.

On a recent trip to Chicago, the Midwestern rain had the fountains turned off, but the reflection in the plaza doubled each image, making a kind of visual skyscraper to join the others in the city.

Crown Fountain 02

north tower

Crown Fountain 01

south tower

photos by Mark Gerwing