Friday, October 29, 2010

Magical Beauty

Rainbow Sendoff  Digital Photography

Flight delays were worth it when I looked out the window soon after settling in my seat - double rainbows actually - and I was able to capture at least one by the time I fished out my camera.  I love the   image with the blurry colors and shapes and the rain drops on the window pane. 

I have been home for a week now,  enjoying the trip all over again going through the hundreds of photographs. As I was looking at the pictures, I was reminded of artist and photographer Vik Muniz's words in a New York Times article Where Art Meets Trash and Transforms Life I had just read couple of days ago : "The real magical things are the ones that happen right in front of you. A lot of time you keep looking for beauty, but it is already there. And if you look with a bit more intention, you see it." Vik Muniz's exceptional creativity, art and photography are legendary. The article talked about his newest project "Pictures of Garbage" series -monumental photographic portraits made from trash, and a documentary "Waste Land" about making of the series- -a collaboration with the garbage pickers of Jardim Gramacho, a 321 acre open-air dump outside Rio that is one of the largest landfills in Latin America. I am very touched to know that he has devoted his time and money to non-profits that provide education and job training for street children and was recently honored as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. A clip of the the documentary in the NYT website shows the scale and  the unusual and surprising materials he uses to make the portraits. It was International Artists Day on Oct 25 (Picasso's B'day), and  I celebrate it by giving a shout out to artist Vik Muniz.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Art Surprises

Partial view of Bellagio, Las Vegas  3.5"x11"

Waiting for the spectacular water fountain show in front of Bellagio I sketched the wings of the massive hotel/casino building from across the body of water.  I have a small sketch book  (3.5x5.5" )which easily fits into my purse and is handy for fast little sketches, even though, as I recently discovered, it  is difficult to photograph. Still, I love it because I tend to pull the book out more often as I find myself getting a little bolder about sketching in public. Next step is to equip myself with a small watercolor field kit and try my hand at doing small studies -until then I will happily play with my camera :) The Bellagio also has a beautiful glass ceiling installation by the artist Dale Chihuly in their lobby and a chandelier in the casino area. I also saw an exhibit  there : 'Figuratively Speaking: A survey of the human form'  showcasing about 30 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture by artists from 1800 to present day. I enjoyed  the unexpected opportunity to see the works of Picasso, Renoir, Degas, Hockney, Lichenstein, Chuck Close, and others. 

Closer to home, I have two color pencil pieces - Hot Shadows and Reflections in the 'Small Works : Miniatures by Hampton Roads Artists' at the Charles Taylor Arts Center/The Hampton Arts Commission, Hampton, VA.  The opening yesterday was fun and the show will run through Dec. 5.    

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gambling Life

Casino sketches 
Rather than play and gamble at the casinos in Las Vegas, I sat just outside the halls and spent a little time sketching the slot machines etc and as usual clicked away merrily with my camera. May be,  if I wasn't so terribly allergic to cigarette smoke and perfumes, I might have spent more time and money inside the casinos:), but this gave me a chance to wander around the strip with my camera outdoors. It was my first visit to the amazingly surreal city where it is a fine line between what is real and make-believe; where Italy, Paris, New York and Treasure Island all are right next to each other; where Michael Jackson, Wonder Woman, Elvis and space aliens roam the streets making you wonder if you are in a dream!!!. We enjoyed a couple of  amazing and excellent shows - La Reve and  The Jersey Boys. My body being in Eastern Standard Time, woke up every morning to breathtaking view of desert sunrise and distant mountains in the background and I had to make an effort to stay past 8PM there to see the city-lights and life at night :). I could see the truth in Artie Lange's  quote: " Vegas means comedy, tragedy, happiness and sadness all at the same time."  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Determination and Perseverance

Chicago Maraton Runners  Digital photography

I remember reading a running poster that proclaimed " The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running." (google search said it is by Nike). That was true this past Sunday in Chicago, as the temperatures soared to 90F during the marathon. Once again, I am extremely proud and in awe of my son and daughter-in-law, who despite the unseasonably hot day, ran and completed their second marathon! They ran, and we cheered - cutting across to various points along the course to catch up with them - at one point even taking a cab to beat them to the 21 mile marker :) - and of course, took too many photographs! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shadow Ladders

Shadow ladder  digital photography

Between the idea 
And the reality
Between the motion 
And the act 
Falls the shadow 
-T. S. Eliot

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vibrations in the Soul

Vibrations in the Soul watercolor 12x9"

"Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul. " -Wassily Kandinsky

Recently I read about Kandisky and loved what he had to say about color, art and music. Kandinsky felt  "music is the ultimate teacher" and  thought of art and colors in musical terms calling his paintings "improvisations" and "compositions." He said he heard chords and tones as he painted colors - a condition known as synesthesia.  For him "color yellow was middle C on the piano or a brassy trumpet blast; black is the color of closure, end of things.." and "white acts like a deep and absolute silence full of possibilities." 

There is a fascinating article in Discover magazine from some time ago that asks "Are We all Synesthetes? - Hear a painting, taste a symphony, and smell a color - is that what we do subconciously?"  I like that :) 

During the summer, I attended a concert where the musicians were making music under a tent on a very bright beautiful day. I could only see the musicians near the edge of the tent and catch glints of sunshine on the instruments deeper inside.  "Vibrations of the soul"  was painted with memories from that day. 
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