Reflections on Calder at LACMA

Reflections on Calder at LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a magnificent selection of outdoor sculpture, and one of the most enticing, is Alexander Calder‘s Three Quintains (“Hello Girls”), (1964), an amazing example of  his “stabiles“.

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Installed in the reflective pool in the Director’s Roundtable Garden, these wonder of these remarkable works is amplified by their softly rippling reflections in the water.

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These reflections enchant,  reflecting the ethereal yet whimsical wafting of movable parts through the space above.

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Kinetic yes, but in such a peaceful, natural way that one feels part of their creator’s universe and the universe they reflect in the viewing.

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Walking through the wafting air, by the rippling water,  amidst Calder’s gently moving creations may just help us to feel closer to our own creative force and a greater part of our own universe.

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Let’s celebrate one of LA’s treasures, a movable feast for the eyes, soul and spirit.

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The Art of Reflection

The Art of Reflection

MAUSaCompelling design, part of a work of art of stained glass, at the Woodlawn Mausoleum

The seasons they are a-changing.

It is Autumn, the season of cooling weather and quickening hearts. The end of fluid Summer, and beginning of the school year, another stab at academic rigor, goal setting, focus, and pushing forward the vision. Perhaps re-visioning the vision.

After a bout of white-hot Los Angeles weather, I awoke recently to a cool(er) gray Santa Monica morning, and walked to the Woodlawn Cemetery & Mausoleum.  As I strolled through its spacious corridors, punctuated by magnificent stained glass windows, I was entranced by their reflections spreading pools of colored light across the smooth floors.

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I was struck by the nature of reflection. Fascinated by these “secondary” works of art, a byproduct of the stained glass works they mirrored, I first photographed just the reflections, marveling at what was created by the transitory meeting of light with and travel through the colored glass.

The reflections reflected light itself.  They were transitory. They would change with the changing light. But that fact didn’t make them any less real. I was compelled to document them as I was privileged to see them right then, right there, on an overcast day, wandering alone in the Mausoleum

Here they are.

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MAUSgDouble reflection..on both the gleaming floor and the wall of niche spaces.

An extraordinary place for reflection…of all sorts.

What are You reflecting on during this time of seasonal change and transition?

Shedding Light on Color

Shedding Light on Color

What is color really?


We tend to think of color as being a property of, a part of, or existing within or on something.  We think of an object or surface having, or containing color.  As color is so emotionally, psychologically and even physically powerful, we concretize  it, i.e., we  see it as a Thing, unto itself.

But actually, as IACC color designer Frank Mahnke says, “Color exists only in our brain.”  He further explains, “Color is actually the result of different wavelengths of light stimulating certain parts of the brain. The experience of color depends on the intensity of light, the way it is reflected from a surface, and the colors surrounding objects.”


The Artist’s handbook of Materials and Techniques by Ralph Mayer states, “Each paint pigment owes its color to the kind of light rays it absorbs and reflects.  White light (daylight) is composed of a number of waves or impulses of various dimensions or wavelengths, any single one of which, if isolated, would have the property of producing a specific color sensation on the eye.  When a ray of white light falls upon a pigment, the pigment absorbs certain waves and reflects others; this determines its color effect.”


When we consider that white  light is composed of the color spectrum, we can then understand that the color that we see is composed of the light waves that are NOT absorbed by the surface we are looking at.  This may seem counter-intuitive, because aren’t we looking at a color that IS part of the surface we see, and not the color that isn’t?

Well, actually, no.

We are perceiving a color that is, to a great extent,  the light wavelengths NOT being absorbed by the surface, which ARE being scattered, or reflected “back to us”, and thus we perceive the surface as “being” that color that we see.  I say “to a great extent”, because our perception of color  is also affected  by ambient lighting, as well as the color of objects nearby.

When we think of the surface (actually, it is the material, or pigments on or in the surface, but for the sake of simplicity…) as absorbing the light waves we DON’T see, and reflecting back to us those we DO, then the whole phenomenon becomes a bit easier to understand.  In a sense, the colors we see are not really “there”, objectively speaking.  Indeed, one might say that our perception is a phenomenon of light.  Comprehending this, we can understand why the Impressionists declared that they were “painting light”.

However much we study the science, the facts as we understand them, and various color theories from Newton to Goethe, there is an aspect of color that remains a mystery, and perhaps rightly so.

The fact that color is not an inherent part of objects, but is, among other things, an effect of light, which is mutable, changes our perception of both ourselves and the world around and within us.  Our comprehension is tweaked, and may become  just that much broader.  Learning about, experiencing, and understanding aspects of color may color our view on hue, the world, our lives.  Color, and the art, science and magic of it really can be transformative; white light splintering into all the colors of the Rainbow…

What scientifically magical or mysterious aspects of color have YOU discovered lately?

If you are so moved, please share them with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all coloring our way through this thing called Life, together