Tag Archives: art

chocolandscapes

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I’m sure anyone who regularly eats chococolate has had the disappointing exerience of having some that was exposed to heat before you had a chance to eat it. You eagerly open the package, and find that instead of a silky smooth and evenly dark brown surface, you have a blotchy discolored mass. Even more disappointingly, the texture of the chocolate is usually a bit changed, and not for the better.

I recently had several such moments, but instead of unadulterated disappointment, my disappointment was tempered by surprise and admiration. Somehow, my chocolate had transformed itself into little canvases, with fascinating abstract landscapes.

I ate them anyhow. After taking a few photos.

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What do you see in these? In the first one (shown once cropped, and once in a hand), several people saw a winter scene.

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What else do you see? I mean, aside from chocolate?

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Somehow, I have made it to day 29 of (almost) daily blogging.

concrete composition

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In spite of the many hours I spent working on it over the last couple of days, the abstract I was working on last night failed to completely materialize. I did make substantial progress in bringing about the substance of the study, but my co-author was not available for the final push before the submission window closed.

The good news is that the project is much more substantive, and I was able to scare up some concrete data that will move us forward.

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And on the theme of concrete, since that’s the way my mind works, I figured I would share these photos of some concrete art. The installation pictured was one I saw at Heritage Gardens and Museum in Sandwich, Massachusetts back in June. I really wish I could remember and/or find the name of the artist and the piece (or pieces?) because I found the installation quite enjoyable. What looks from afar like a field of gray rocks, upon closer examination turns out to be varied little concrete forms, created by pouring wet concrete into little cloth bags. The resulting abstract figures have a lot of character.

 

When in doubt, post a trout

 

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A fish sculpture in Paris. 2007.

When it gets late, and it gets tired, I typically find I don’t have the energy to do actual writing. All too often, this is what motivates me to post photos. Not to say that I don’t often have photos that I want to share, but posting photos over text has been my default when I’m tired.

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The Majestic Cod of the Massachusetts State House, Boston. 2016.

And then I try to come up with a catchy title. But sometimes, a catchy title catches me. And makes me laugh a little inside. And makes me hunt down (or in this case, go fishing for) appropriate content to go with it. When in doubt, post a trout.

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A gleeful boy taking a grouchy fish for a joyride. As seen on a bridge in Paris. 2007.

And so it was that I remembered that I have quite a few fish photos. Even more specifically, I have a bunch of photos of fish statues and sculptures, taken over quite a long period of time, and in quite a few different locations. (I was sorry to not find any fish sculptures in my photos from Asia, so it looks like I have only 2 continents represented. Unless you want to consider this startlingly shiny gold fish furniture from my hotel in Shanghai.

 

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A shark shack in small town near Dublin, Ireland. 2014.

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A surprised looking fish in Boston. Probably not a trout. 2016.

But I have a terrible confession to make: while I may have lots of photos of fish, I really don’t know whether there is a trout among them.

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A deranged looking fish in London. Almost certainly not a trout. 2005.

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A fish bone sculpture from the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts. 2012

So, what say you? Can you find a trout among today’s catch?

rust blossoms

I’ve said before that I love the patterns produced by rust and weathered paint. The bold compositions produced by the elements working away at metal surfaces covered in their flimsy dressing of paint can rival those of some of the most venerated abstract expressionists. These canvases, however, are not so much the kind you find in museums, but rather on dumpsters, storage containers, parking lot barriers and such. Here are several examples of compositions of rust and weathered pain that caught my eye, several for producing patterns that were almost floral in appearance. (I realize that what these also look like are inkblots. What do you see in the pictures?)


The base of a lamp post in a parking lot in Providence, RI.


This was in Dublin. I think it was some sort of a garage door.


A parking lot barrier post in New York.


A parking lot post of some sort. In Massachusetts.


Some sort of wall at the Völklingen Ironworks, in Germany.

wet windshield impressionism

In a variation of my recurring theme of fall leaves in the rain I offer you photos of fall leaves taken through the rain. In this case, through a rainy windshield. We went apple picking today, and while it mostly did not rain, there were a few minutes at the end when the rain came down in bucketloads.

Happily for me, the rain happpened to fall most heavily while I was sitting parked in my car, facing some beautiful fall foliage. I always enjoy looking at the patterns formed by rain on the glass, and the view of the pretty fall colors did not disappoint.

In fact, the distortion of the view made the trees look like they were painted in thick, blobby brushstrokes, reminding me of an impressionist painting. But much wetter.

Last night my front porch was visited by the ghost of William Morris

William Morris (1834-1896) was, among other things¹, an Englsh artist and textile designer. His iconic designs featured intricate and highly stylized plants and flowers. I became familiar with his work largely through my familiarity with the variations of his Acanthus leaf design that was used for the wallpaper, signage and even wrapping paper in Barnes & Noble stores through the late 1990s.

It came as quite a surprise to me this morning to find evidence that his ghost had visited our home in the night, and apparently had a tryst with Jack Frost on our front porch.

Intricate patterns of ice covered the whole width of the porch, and varied in detail and density and style.

There were ferns, leaves, flowers, and brambles.

Mr. Morris also included some beadwork in some of his designs.


Thorns.

A view from my standing height, to give a sense of the scope and size of the patterns.

Wherever I looked were more things to photograph. (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version and zoom in. You will be very impressed by the designer-ghost’s attention to detail.)

It snowed overnight here, and there was apparently freezing rain and wind as well. I had opened the front door to get a look at the snow in the front yard, and was greeted by all of this. As best I can guess, little drops of watery ice that landed on our porch were blown around by the wind, leaving little streaks of ice behind them. (This is much like what I guessed happened the morning I found frost feathers on my car.) Either that or it was indeed the ghost of William Morris, and he spent the whole night drawing his patterns on the porch.


¹ I had no idea that he was also an author of fantasy novels. This may support my ghost theory.

Giant spiders of Northern California (friday foto finder: spiders)

Back in June of 2008, we had a trip to California to see my family in Oakland. One of our favorite things to do is to take the ferry over the bay to San Francisco. This particular visit, we were greeted by this cheerful fellow:

This is a sculpture by Louise Borgeois, and it apparently left the piers of San Francisco not too long after I saw it there.

The spider sculpture may have left, but I believe that there may be other giant spiders in the greater San Francisco area. At the Oakland Zoo, for example, the playground has a super cool spider web made of ropes for kids to climb on. At least, I believe it to be made of ropes. It is just possible that it was made by a giant spider who was scared off by the swarms of small children.

This week’s friday foto finder challenge was to find and share photos of spiders. I’ve got quite a few photos of real spiders in my library, as well as photos of their webs. I have posted photos of real spiders before, too. (One of my favorite posts with photos was about a little green spider.) Come to think of it, I also have a fairly large collection of things with a spider or web motif, thanks to my love of Halloween. (I did, in fact, put spiderweb placemats on my wedding registry.) When it came time to post, though, this spider scuplture came to mind. (Perhaps because I missed the statue fff a couple of weeks ago.)

To see what other spiders have been caught, or to find out more about joining in on the foto-sharing fun, check out the fff blog.

I feel I must offer an apology to Sally, who has a phobia relating to all sorts of arthropods, for the images and especially the title of this post. Sorry, Sally. I hope that I haven’t given you nightmares!

I also thought of YTSL, who has displayed many photos of interesting spiders and webs from her hikes around Hong Kong, including some real giant spiders. Check out her tag critter spottings to spot a few such critters. (Sally, I strongly recommend that you don’t do this…though you may enjoy some of her other photos of critters, some of which have fewer than 6 legs!)