Faces of France: The Panthéon

 Faces of France: The Panthéon

In the neighborhood of the Panthéon

 in the Latin Quarter of Paris,

there is a strange alignment of carved heads sitting on benches…

as if they had just escaped their sentinel posts on buildings, above doorways.

Simply sitting there.

There was a placard nearby, a seemingly long and wordy explanation, but even though I speak and can somewhat read French, I did not understand  why the heads were there, except perhaps to surprise, and delight.

 I know there must be much more behind it then this, but surprise and delight was my response to this discovery, on our first, jet-lagged afternoon in Paris.

It was our first trip “back” in ten years, and we were ready for surprise and delight. Of course, Paris never disappoints.  That would be impossible.

With all of that liberté, égalité, fraternité, 

the magnificent architecture,

les homages to illustrious philosophers,

and the appropriation, engagement with, and use of ancient public spaces…there is more then enough to gasp at, delight in, and contemplate at any given moment.

Jet lag or no…Paris is a garden of earthy delights, a moveable feast, and a city so breathtakingly beautiful, so moving, so eternal yet transformative  that even wartime folly could not destroy it. Paris lives and continues to create, to give and to nourish our hearts and souls and spirits.

I think now we need its gifts more then ever, this place of repose, yet excitement and incredible vibrancy amidst its foreverness. I am not sure the world could survive without Paris and the fantasy and dreams it represents, its extensive place in history, and its rich out pouring of continual treasures.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.” – Ernest Hemingwayto a friend, 1950

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To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

WEB1What a wonderful experience to introduce young artists to the wondrous wood work of the artist Louise Nevelson…and what better way than for them to create their own (mini) wood sculptures!

WEBaWorking on simple cardboard bases, students worked with an assortment of new and repurposed wood objects, in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and sizes.

WEBbPlaying with shape, space, form, pattern, dimension and design, they arranged their chosen pieces into sculptures (“built environments”), and secured them  using “tacky glue“.

WEBcSome used aspects of symmetry to create harmony and balance.

WEBddSome built their pieces up,

WEBfinto elegant and contained structures,

WEBhsome out, into strong, repeating patterns,

WEBeand some built up and out producing a magical sense of movement that is a joy to behold.

WEBgThey used the color, texture and utility of the materials to establish strong compositions, sustain visual interest

WEbiand just plain have fun!

It was beautiful to see them build….their worlds.

Gratis Louise Nevelson.

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.

Walking with Sculpture 3

Walking with Sculpture 3

A walk through the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park on a moody late November afternoon…

WEBj3What Sights / Sights

“The land along McCormick Blvd. and the north channel of the Chicago River that runs though the Village of Skokie is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. This land had been sorely neglected for a number of years, and by the mid-80’s had become a community eyesore. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District developed guidelines and wanted suggestions for its improvement.  The Village of Skokie came forward with plans to turn the area into a recreational park with biking and jogging paths and picnic areas. At the same time, a group of private citizens proposed using the park to display large scale contemporary sculptures.” —   http://sculpturepark.org/park-history/

WEBj2aSighting / Siting.

WEBj1Just landed…

WEBj2or, ready to take off?

WEBm1Hello.

WEBm2Hello to you too.

WEBm3Relationships and contemplation.

It’s all about relating…

 

Walking with Sculpture 2

Walking with Sculpture 2

A walk through the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park on a moody late November afternoon…

“The land along McCormick Blvd. and the north channel of the Chicago River that runs though the Village of Skokie is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. This land had been sorely neglected for a number of years, and by the mid-80’s had become a community eyesore. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District developed guidelines and wanted suggestions for its improvement.  The Village of Skokie came forward with plans to turn the area into a recreational park with biking and jogging paths and picnic areas. At the same time, a group of private citizens proposed using the park to display large-scale contemporary sculptures.” —   http://sculpturepark.org/park-history/

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Giving new meaning to the phrase…“Walking with Sculpture”…with, through, among and around.

Walking with Sculpture 1

Walking with Sculpture 1

A walk through the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park on a moody late November afternoon…

WEBnature2

“The land along McCormick Blvd. and the north channel of the Chicago River that runs though the Village of Skokie is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. This land had been sorely neglected for a number of years, and by the mid-80’s had become a community eyesore. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District developed guidelines and wanted suggestions for its improvement.  The Village of Skokie came forward with plans to turn the area into a recreational park with biking and jogging paths and picnic areas. At the same time, a group of private citizens proposed using the park to display large scale contemporary sculptures.” —   http://sculpturepark.org/park-history/

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The sculptures augment, and are augmented by, nature’s moody moments.

That Ribbon of…2

That Ribbon of…2WEB1It is fascinating to explore ways of integrating ribbon and tying mechanisms into book structures. An integrated tie mechanism encourages the user to engage with the object…opening and closing, tying and untying.

WEB4In an ongoing process of attempting to meld bookmaking, decorative painting, conceptual, and “fine” art into the mysterious form of the “artist’s book“, I am exploring the use of tissue paper and the like combined with adhesives to create a textured, tactile surface, and incorporating the ribbon or tie as an integral part of the piece. Simple cardboard is covered with crinkled tissue once used to separate sheets of metallic leaf.

WEBa This tissue, for lack of a better term, is thin, fine, ultra flexible, crushable, porous, adherable and absorbent. Perfect for texturing, and when combined with adhesive, becomes almost like a glue itself.

WEB5The textured surface combined with the ribbon or tie, can create a compelling, intriguing, and in some instances, incredibly satisfying object to gaze upon, to touch, to hold, and to use. Here the brown gauze ribbon and found object sewn to the front cover complete the piece.

WEB6The ribbon is slipped under the signature stitches, and one of a line of stitches keeping the strip of cloth (in this case brown felt) to which the signatures are sewn, in place.

WEB7 The polka-dotted ribbon adds an element of pattern and lightness and creates a striped effect when laid down next to the brown felt.

WEB9WEB8WEB90Oranges and browns are set off by the brilliant, saturated colors of the pages.

WEB2  The ribbon add sensuality and languidness, and has a life of its own. Depending on how it lays, the completed book can look demure, like an attentive, obedient student,

WEB3  or, even like a Buddha.

 We have to turn each page…in turn…if we don’t want to miss the in-between. Which might be the most interesting part of the story…

T.B.C.

That Ribbon of…1

That Ribbon of…1

WEBa

It is fascinating to explore ways of integrating ribbon and tying mechanisms into book structures. An integrated tie mechanism encourages the user to engage with the object…opening and closing, tying and untying.

WEBb

In an ongoing process of attempting to meld bookmaking, decorative painting, conceptual, and “fine” art into the mysterious form known as the “artist’s book“, I am exploring the use of tissue paper and the like combined with adhesives to create a tactile, textured surface, and incorporating the ribbon or tie as an integral part of the piece.

WEBc

The textured surface combined with the ribbon or tie, can create a compelling, intriguing, and , incredibly satisfying object to gaze upon, to touch, to hold, and to use.

WEBdHere simple cardboard is covered with crinkled tissue once used to separate sheets of metallic leaf.

WEBaThis tissue, for lack of a better term, is thin, fine, ultra flexible, crushable, porous, adherable and absorbent. Perfect for texturing, which, when combined with adhesive, becomes almost like a glue itself.

WEBeHere, one ribbon defines the spine of the structure, while another is embedded between layers of tissue and glue, with tieable ends emerging.

WEBfHere gold cord is sandwiched between layers of adhesive-saturated tissue, connecting the two covers and creating a built-in tying mechanism.

WEBgThe thin tissue takes on the shape of the cord underneath it, creating a sculptural relief  or raised effect.

WEBjjpgA similar technique was used for this piece, with the ribbon is adhered to the surface, creating a strong graphic element.

WEBijpgEnds are left loose to tie the book closed.

WEBhWhat will go inside?

One step at a time.  We have to turn each page…in turn…if we don’t want to miss the in-between.

Which might be the most interesting part of the story…

T.B.C.

 

 

 

 

Straight is the Gate: NOT!

Straight is the Gate: NOT!

The Venice Canals are a fantasy-land of visual whimsey.  Art and architecture, design and details, color, form, texture and landscaping intersect with the natural world of earth and water, mingling in a magical way.  Here, the lines between privacy and the public are both diffused and defined.  Visitors stroll past homes that buttress right up to the sidewalk, but often are shaded by trees, and hidden behind hedges, walls and gates, or a combination of all three.

Metal, wood, and foliage flow together  to create both art and utility.  We are are so caught up in observing the material mix, we forget to peer beyond the gate.  Mission accomplished.

Creative cutouts provide contrast to the wood and metal geometry below, and make of this gate a work of art, both two and three dimensional.

No-one is getting past this gate, unless the owner wants you to.  So arrested by its beauty, we forget how formidable it is. Flanked by bamboo, the strength of its materials, shape and detailing stops us in our tracks.

The simplicity of repeated squares which form a pattern is further softened by curving grasses, and enlivened by the use of stones on the ground in front.

A similar repeated shape creates a grid, reflecting the larger tile-like stones before it, creating a starker, and more stream-lined feeling.

What magnificent and magical gates have been in YOUR purview lately?

If you feel so inclined, please share about them with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all traversing this thing we call Life, together.

Cheers!

Santa Monica’s Magical Style: Convex, Concave and Curvilinear

Santa Monica’s Magical Style: Convex, Concave and Curvilinear

By turns magical, moving, and magnificent, Santa Monica exemplifies the outsized and over the top sensibility Los Angeles is known for. However, this beach town also holds quiet gems often discovered by happenstance.  Join me for a magical, mufti-faceted look at the ebb and flow of this “home of the California beach lifestyle”.

Organic meets geometric, creating magic in concrete forms.

A magical curvilinear wall of stones stands in front of Santa Monica’s Yahoo Center.

An over-sized exterior sculpture bubbles out from the side of a building, adding a bit of magic to the urban landscape.

A flowing window grate creates artful protection, as well as magical  beauty.

The Zebra car plugs in…stay tuned for another post devoted to this magical car.

Madame Chou Chou  bistro and patisserie on Main Street, offers spiral magic with its cutlery, as if the delightful patisseries weren’t enough!

What magical convex, concave and curvilinear sights have You seen lately?

If You feel so inclined, please share them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all in the ebb and flow of this magical thing called Life, together.

Wishing You a magical holiday filled with a heightened awareness of the extraordinary all around us.

Cheers!