Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Springtime Photo Shoot

Out by the south fence is the old playhouse my dad built for me when I was a little girl. Now only gardening supplies and memories live there. But on a recent Sunday afternoon, I attempted to gather all the elements of warm weather, backyards and childhood for a series of photographs - library cards and the scent of pink jasmine vines, t-strap sandals and sidewalk chalk, worn white Keds and a trusty pup at my heels. Set against crackled paint, rusty coffee cans and patches of moss, they're reminders to find beauty in all things.

Just like the elementary school library. Remember writing in your name on the line?

My little assistant.

Traveler with a straw hat.

Chalk pastels and a bed of moss.

Keds on the porch.

Tennessee Williams.

What's beyond the back fence.

The littlest porch.

Color on a garden spade.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slide Projector: L'Etoile

With final exams nearing conclusion, I've decided I'll miss the overload of 19th century art; I took two courses on the subject this term, which allowed for the revisiting of old favorites (like this slide) and the discovery of fascinating new ones (from the Pre-Raphaelites in particular - but that's another post!). I have dim memories of trying to copy a print of L'Etoile in a grade school art class, searching for just the right colors in the slender boxes of broken pastels. I loved the work then as I do now, mostly that costume of gauzy tulle with its dappled adornments of poppy and gold. Studying it in light of its social-historical context somehow heightens its grandeur, juxtaposing such prettiness with the darker realities of the Parisian opera. Degas's is an art of cruel beauty, an art of alighted dancers and top-hatted men, of shadowy solicitations, glaringly present but wonderfully overpowered by the golden stage light and the subtle sheen of satin toe en pointe.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Slide Projector: A New Series

One by one I would take them out of the carousel. Sometimes as I transferred them from the projector to the light box they’d catch the 5th period sun streaming through the classroom’s open doorway; red and green glinted in the van Eyck, a daub of blue blinked in the Vermeer. When at last they were all arranged on the light box I’d reach for the switch and unveil a curated row of tiny illuminated works. I’d read and record the names on each cardboard frame before it was time to pull the heavy volume of Gardner’s out of the veneered cabinet and read while sitting at the orange laminate countertop.

I’m thankful for those afternoons emptying the slide projector and for the high school teacher that agreed to let me take art history as an independent study course – that’s where art history started for me after all. I’ll always have a sentimental affinity for slide projectors, their whirring fans and mechanical clicks seem to be as much a part of the discipline as the art. Nowadays at the university it seems only the most revered professors still use projectors, accompanying their lectures with image collections that seem to have been decades in the making.

For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to catalog my favorite art historical works. Every now and then there'll be a moment of utter captivation in the middle of an early morning lecture, and I’ll jot a note in the margin of my composition book. Lest they be forgotten amidst highlighter markings and fading ink, I’ve decided to post them intermittently on this blog – placed within slide projector frames (recreated by me). Be on the look out for the first edition of the Slide Projector Series!

Slide projector image source: Wikipedia.
Image in first frame above is a detail of one of Constable's Cloud Studies, but you'll likely be seeing more of those later!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Natural Historie Notebook: Drawings

Today you can take the "field journal" reference quite literally! I am pleased to present pages fallen from the loose binding of a naturalist's sketchbook. Well, not exactly. But, in a manner of speaking I really did "collect" all these little renderings - these ink and watercolor drawings have been scanned (finally!) from the pages of my personal sketchbook. They're compiled in this fashion for inspiration's sake I suppose. Kind of a drawing board to figure out the style and direction I want to take the dormant Etsy shop in. Perhaps there will be more "Natural Historie Notebook" entries to come as I muse over font decisions and other creative choices. Do you ever find it just helps to start putting things down on paper (or onto a Photoshop canvas as the case may be)? I suppose mulling too much over creative options is just what slows me down; sometimes it's best to put analysis aside and just let ideas flow. But I ramble, and I'm keeping you from the imaginary travels you're about to embark on...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Laundry Day and Old Things

It was warm and breezy enough to open the windows all weekend, and last Friday was a perfectly lazy laundry day topped of with an evening Vivaldi concert in the library's rotunda. Somewhere between folding the whites and the Spring concerto I took these photos, which all strangely enough seem to have the influence of both. The photo above is of something I've been meaning to post about for a long time. It's the other wall of our kitchen, where a narrow, shallow little cupboard houses a pull down ironing board (or rather "fall down" as nothing holds it in place but the weight of the door). That's right, we've got an ironing board that folds out of the wall. In the kitchen. Presumably so we can master the feminine arts of cooking and ironing simultaneously. I'm sure this was all the rage in 1947. When we moved in the ironing board part of it was just bare wood, so I requisitioned some thick batting and floral cotton and made a cushioned drawstring cover for it. I will quite miss the whole little arrangement when we move away after graduation, it's so terribly pretty and convenient. As for the rest of the vintage beauties below, they were photographed for the "A Few of My Favorite Vintage Things" series that Grace is running this week at Poetic Home. I had such fun selecting my favorite old objects and remembering how they came to be in my possession... for the tales behind all these trinkets head over to Grace's for a visit. I can't wait to see the favorite vintage finds from other contributors throughout the coming week - something to look forward to despite the fact that final exams are looming just around the corner. Happy March everyone!