Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday Rain...

...mixed with some hail. I think the last time I witnessed hail falling from the sky was in my youth when I was around 10. We were visiting the home of one of our family friend's parents house. The friend was older, so the parents were much older. The house itself was built during the civil war era. It was haunted, or so the owners said. Knowing that both excited and terrified me. I had a few experiences there that I still remember vividly. Only one was witnessed by others, so that is the only one I can say I knew occurred beyond a shadow of a doubt. While sitting in the "sitting room" where they had a grand piano situated in the area of a bank of windows (it was quite beautiful), I was hanging out with a few family members when the piano started to play. No tune in particular. Just a series of keys being struck. The owners shrugged it off. A regular occurrence, nothing to be alarmed by. I thought it was extremely fascinating. It was during that weekend that golf ball size hail fell. I remember seeing it bounce along the ground when it hit.

(These first four photos were taken before the rain arrived today. A cool exhilarating wind was blowing, and the deep blue gray of the storm was quickly encroaching on the sky. The white puffy clouds were rapidly turning into moody dark clouds as if the storm were a contagion. It was interesting to witness.)






(The billowy Cumulus roiling above, as the storm moves in to take over.)

The hail we had here in Savannah was about the size of small Jawbreakers. It, too, bounced when it struck the ground.

I was sitting here on the computer thinking how the rain sounded especially heavy. As soon as the thought passed through my mind, Glenn came back to tell me that he hoped his truck was going to be okay because it was hailing. Hopping up, I grabbed for the camera (everything is a photo op to me), and made for the front door. It was a fascinating sight seeing the balls of ice falling in torrents. Initially, the hail fell sans rain. It was falling so heavily that it covered the sidewalk and grass forming small mounds. The ground quickly became a solid white. Once the gout's of rain started falling, the hail started to flow away. I wish I could have gotten my act together quicker so I could have gotten some pictures of the hail before the rain washed it away. No such luck...

(The photo above is of some of the hail. It's not as impressive as it was at one point due to the rain.)

According to the Weather Channel, we are supposed to have rain every day this week. Knocking wood over here. I absolutely love rain. Wish it would rain all the time. Rain always puts me in a state where I'm my most productive. I have writing projects I need to make some serious dents in. Here's hoping it holds up...


Friday, March 25, 2011

Houdini...

Prestidigitation...legerdemain...magic. Who is the first person I think of when the subject of magicians and the world of magic comes up in conversation? Houdini. Even now there is a sense of mystery that surrounds his life. The magic of today in some respects transcends the 'tricks' of his time, but 'mystery' isn't much of a force anymore. Yes, I do find what many magicians do quite fascinating and amazing, but there are too many that are quick to divulge the mechanics of their trade. Many of them are well known, too. Then you have the masked magician who has done a series of television specials geared towards giving it all away. Killing the mystery. The fantasy. The wonder. Would Houdini approve? I think not.

The son of a Rabbi, Erik Weiss (Houdini) was born in Budapest, Hungary, on March 24, 1874 (starting around 1907, he would tell reporters that he was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on April 6, 1874). The middle child of seven, he came to the U.S. with his mother in 1878. They lived in Appleton, which is why he picked it as his 'new' birthplace. He worked a number of jobs in his youth, his first public appearance being as a trapeze artist. He called himself, "Erich, the Prince of the Air". Heavily influenced by french magician Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, he became a professional magician. Houdin is obviously how he came up with his new name. One of his friends told him that adding an "i" to 'Houdin' would mean 'like Houdin' in French...which wasn't true. He claimed that his first name of 'Harry' was an homage to another magician he admired, American Harry Kellar.

He officially started a career in magic in 1891. In the beginning he didn't see much success, mostly performing card tricks in sideshows. He even doubled as "The Wild Man" in a circus. It wasn't long before he began experimenting with escape acts.

Coney Island was the stage for his first meeting with Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner. He was performing as part of "The Houdini Brothers" (Harry and his brother 'Dash'). Bess was also a performer there. Harry and Bess fell in love, and married. She would replace 'Dash' as Harry's performing partner under the act name "The Houdini's". They would appear on stage together for the rest of his career, Bess as his Stage Assistant.

In 1899, Houdini met manager Martin Beck who advised him to concentrate on his escape acts. Beck was impressed by Houdini's handcuff work. Harry quickly made a name for himself on the Vaudeville circuit. 1900 would take him on a European tour that started off cool, but after impressing cops at Scotland Yard with a handcuff escape that left them completely gobsmacked, he got a lengthy gig at the Alhambra Theater.

He became known far and wide as "the Handcuff King", escaping from prisons. cuffs, and shackles through out Europe and Russia. He returned to America a wealthy man.

I think Harry Houdini's feats of magic are known to most people. A few are:

"The Chinese Water Torture Cell" where his feet were secured to the top of a square glass tank filled with water, and he would be lowered into the water head first for his death defying escape. Houdini always referred to this one as the USD, or the "Upside Down".

"The Overboard Box Escape" where he was locked in cuffs and leg irons, and nailed into a wooden crate that was bound with rope and weighed down with 200 pounds of lead before being lowered into water. Onlookers would be awed by the fact that once Houdini had escaped, the crate would be intact with the handcuffs inside.

When I think of Houdini, I immediately picture the "Suspended Strait Jacket Escape". I know it to be one of his more popular escapes, so I'm sure I'm not alone. He would perform this one by being secured in a strait jacket, and being suspended by his ankles from a crane or tall building.

What was his secret? How did he manage to do all of these impressive escapes? I've heard two versions. One is that he would swallow the necessary key prior to his act and vomit the key up at the proper time (not my favorite version). The other is that Bess would always kiss him right before he began...when they kissed, she would pass him the key (definitely more romantic than throwing up).


'Houdini' by Kate Bush

I wait at the table,
And hold hands with weeping strangers,
Wait for you
To join the group.

The tambourine jingle-jangles.
The medium roams and rambles.
Not taken in,
I break the circle.

I want this man
To go away now.

With a kiss
I'd pass the key
And feel your tongue
Teasing and receiving.
With your spit
Still on my lip,
You hit the water.

Him and I in the room
To prove you are with us too.

He's using code that only you and I know.
This is no trick of his.
This is your magic.

I'd catch the cues,
Watching you,
Hoping you'd do something wrong.

Everybody thinks you'll never make it,
But every time,
You escape:

'Rosabel believe,
Not even eternity
Can hold Houdini!'

"Rosabel, believe!"

Through the glass
I'd watch you breathe.
("Not even eternity--")
Bound and drowned,
And paler than you've ever been.
("--will hold Houdini!")

With your life
The only thing in my mind--
We pull you from the water!

(Houdini!)

You ("Hou-di-ni...")
And I
And Rosabel believe.

Interestingly enough, the thing I find the most fascinating about Harry Houdini is not his magic, but the energies he put into debunking purported mediums and psychics after his mother passed away. He was part of a "Scientific American" group that said they would give any spiritualist who came forward and showed authentic psychic talents a monetary prize. The winnings were never collected. Houdini's greatest asset in revealing the fakeries was his magical training. Once he started making a name for himself as a dubunker, he would don a disguise and with a police officer and journalist in tow, would attend seances. He was able to unmask a number of notable psychics of the times. His success destroyed his friendship with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was a staunch believer in the spiritual world and mediums. Doyle actually believed Houdini to be a medium himself, which he thought explained how Houdini performed his escapes. He thought Houdini to have paranormal abilities.

Before Houdini's death, he and Bess agreed that if his spirit came back, he would say a secret code word that would tell her it was him. "Rosabelle believe" was pulled from a play Bess was in when they first met. For ten years after his death, Bess would hold seances on Halloween to see if she would hear those confirming words. She had no success, and after the tenth seance in 1936, she put out the candle she had kept continually burning beside Houdini's Picture. She would later say that "ten years is long enough to wait for any man". Magicians world wide still hold Halloween seances each year hoping to hear Houdini's words from beyond the grave.

The official diagnosis as to Houdini's death was peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix. Documented reports of an eye witness to an incident that was said to have been the catalyst for his death caused rise to speculation. Houdini had always bragged that he could take any blow above the waist without injury. A student, J. Gordon Whitehead, punched Houdini a number of times in the abdomen to test his claims. The following is one of the witness accounts:

"Houdini was reclining on his couch after his performance, having an art student sketch him. When Whitehead came in and asked if it was true that Houdini could take any blow to the stomach, Houdini replied groggily in the affirmative. In this instance, he was hit three times before Houdini could tighten up his stomach muscles to avoid serious injury. Whitehead reportedly continued hitting Houdini several more times and Houdini acted as though he were in some pain."

It was October 24, 1926. Houdini arrived at the Garrick Theater for what was sadly to be his final performance. He had a fever of 104, and was suffering from acute appendicitis. He wasn't going to let it stop him and he took the stage anyway. He was said to have passed out during the performance, was revived, and went on to complete it. Once off stage they rushed him to the hospital. Harry Houdini died on October 26, 1926. He was only 52.

Houdini died 85 years ago, yet his place at the top of the Magician's list is solid. In my book, anyway. Yesterday was his posthumous Birthday...#137.

Truthfully, even if I knew the 'secrets' to all of Houdini's escapes, they are still quite miraculous. I really don't WANT to know how he repeatedly escaped death. Just because he always had an escape plan mapped out doesn't make them any less dangerous. In the world of magic, I choose to be among the unknowing. The ones who watch completely spellbound, wondering all the while 'how did they do that'. Call it...the kid in me.

Happy Birthday, Harry...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Virgo Moon...

Tonight's full moon was gorgeous. As it started it's ascent past the horizon, it was an incredible deep shade of orange. I made several attempts to capture a picture of it, but my camera's limitations made it difficult. The above photo was the best of the bunch. The road over the land bridge to Tybee is just below where the moon is. This particular moon is in apogee, which means that it's closer to the Earth. The closest it's been in two decades. The stream of lights in the picture are headlights to the many car loads of people who made it over to the island for sunset and the beginning of the moon's rise. It appears that this full moon was quite an event here in Savannah. A neighbor who was returning home said that the traffic was terrible trying to get over to Tybee. I can believe it. There is only the one road over.

I waited a bit to get some more shots. My favorites of those are below. I mentioned before the limitations of the camera I currently use. Those limitations can sometimes give me some rather dramatic and abstract photos. Cloud cover moving in helped add to the mood.







Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan...

The temple bell dies away
The scent of flowers in the evening
Is still tolling the bell.
~ Matsuo Basho

I feel such sorrow for Japan. I've always had an affinity for all things Japanese. The music, the food, the over all design aesthetic. There is so much beauty and spirituality there. So much that I have longed to see first hand. Japan has long been a place I have wanted to visit.




(Bento Box)

When I still lived in Los Angeles, there was a small street near where I worked in West L.A. called Sawtelle. There is a small capsule of a Japanese community there. I frequented a couple of the restaurants, as well as the Japanese market. A collection of shops of various kinds dotted the street on both sides. One inparticular that I used to visit frequently. Japanese pottery, kimonos, wall art, stationary, saki sets, and the list goes on. In the back there was a small tea garden. Down the street from there were a couple of nurseries, one exclusive to Bonsai. That was a favorite stop. I would get an Oolong tea at the market and kill some time walking among the various Bonsai trees they had for sale. So beautiful.

( Geisha & Kabuki Actor)

The main thing that struck me on my lunch time and after work trips to those businesses was the people. Yes, many of them were of Japanese decent, but the large percentage were from Japan. Some of the warmest people I've ever met.

( Ikebana (flower arrangement) & Bonsai tree )

In addition to Sawtelle, there was a Japanese restaurant near the Beverly Center just a bit south of where I lived in West Hollywood. A dear friend of mine and I were 'fixtures' there. The restaurant Japon was run by Koji-san, a wonderful cook with a bright and smiling face. The moment Kathi and I walked in and headed to our regular seats at the sushi bar, he would put on the sauteed asparagus I loved. He knew what I liked and would change up his recipes to cater to my tastes. We had lots of laughs and would share a Sapporo on occassion. I have a lot of fond memories associated with Koji, and Japon.

I know it might sound odd my sharing a few of my Japanese based memories given what Japan is going through. They probably seem a tad insignificant. It's just that seeing the horror and destruction happening on that island country has put me in mind of all those Japanese people that I have met and have known. Koji returned to Japan in the mid-90's. I worry about how he is faring even after all these years. The people that I met in passing have families, and I'm sure that some of them are over there. I have gone through a few earthquakes in my lifetime, and one was in the mid-7 ranges. I can only imagine what an 8.9 would be like.




( Left: Yoshikatsu Hiratsuka grieves in front of wreckage where the body of his mother is buried in Onagawa on Thursday. Hiratsuka kept crying out, saying "Sorry, Sorry" that he couldn't have saved her from the tsunami. Right: Tsunami waters over taking the Japanese Coast )

The above photos really struck me, especially the one on the left. A man on his knees in front of a destroyed building grieving for his mother who is buried within. Such unfathomable grief. My heart aches for the Japanese people. Blessings to them all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Mother's Paintings...

(My mother in the art room at the University of Tennessee.
I think this was one of her favorite photos of herself.)

My mother was a painter. This I know. The presence of oil paints and palette knives...the pungent aroma of turpentine...the scratching sounds of brushes connecting with canvas...these were all things I remember. She was extremely talented, and I inherited my artistic streak from her. Geneva Jo Blazek (she legally changed back to her maiden name many years ago) passed away in August of last year. About seven months ago. It doesn't quite register with me yet. It's not a 'space' I can properly articulate. I'm experiencing a neutrality of feeling that has me in a sort of solitary confinement. How can I describe how I feel, when I don't even know how I feel?

I have been planning to post this entry for a few days now, but not knowing what to share was making me put it off. There are many things about my growing up that laid the foundations for the distance I placed between my mother and I. I spent the bulk of my life trying to get her to meet me half way. Something that I finally learned would never happen.

I had not seen nor spoken to my mother since the mid-1990's. I severed things. I know I have family members who don't understand why I did so. That's okay. Thinking about the questions that might arise from my even posting this much is what was holding me back from writing anything. My mother is gone now. What purpose would be served by delving into the details now? I will write my "memoirs" soon. If not to share, then just for me to get everything out. The last few years, there had been a prominent thought hanging around the vaults of my mind. If my mother passed away and I had not seen her again, how would I feel? Well...I have no idea how I feel. My mother and I corresponded for the last year or so on a very casual level. An effort being made on my part to keep it that way. I wasn't quite prepared to see her. I was working on it though. Then I got an e-mail that my mother was in the hospital. My aunt and uncle had found her disoriented on her bedroom floor (she had Alzheimer's). Later that evening I got a call saying that she was doing better. Less than an hour after that I got the call that she had passed. (She had signed a 'Do Not Resuscitate' order when she learned she had Alzheimer's.)



Known as Jeep to her friends and family, my mother had a great sense of humor, and a rapier wit. An extremely talented artist, she had tried to motivate herself a few times to approach painting as more of a career and had a little success here and there. I wish she had pushed herself more because I think she really could have gone places artistically. I've had a few friends ask to see pictures of some of her work, so that was going to be my chief reason for posting this. The slide show is of various paintings she did. Most of the pictures were on slides, so I took photos of the projections. Not the best way to capture them clearly or get the vividness of colors, but close enough. I have four of them, two of which were in her garage to be tossed. I'm glad I was able to get them.

(Another college photo...)

The slides were among many in a box from my mother's condo. I had finally gotten around to sifting through them. In the bottom of one of the boxes was a collection of papers and photos from her earlier years. The time before I came on the scene. Looking through photos from her days in college made me feel like I didn't know her at all. That's my mother in those pictures and I know nothing about her. Not really. I don't think we ever really knew each other. To her I wasn't me, I was the person who didn't meet her expectations of who she wanted me to be. There are many things I wish could have been different between us. Now I'm just trying to sift away all of the garbage to hang on to the good stuff. I need to get rid of this confusion before everything stagnates.

The above piece is one that she won several art competitions with. It's one of her college pieces, and is called "Brushy Mountain". When my brother and I were going through my mother's belongings, we came across this hanging next to my mother's desk. We assumed it was my mom's work. Assumed. This was something she had done in college, had had for years under the same roof as me, and I couldn't remember ever seeing it. It wasn't until I was going through the boxes of slides and saw the articles in an old scrapbook that I realized what it was.

This drawing was done by one of my mother's fellow art students at the University of Tennessee, Manfred Rink. It's his interpretation of her. It's hard to see the finer details in this photo, but it is done in pen and ink, and quite detailed. It's all done with fine lines, right down to the shading.

Whatever transpired in my past with my mother, it's all water under the proverbial bridge. I'm just happy that I have these elements of parts of her that she passed on to me. Her creative gene, and her love of art.

(One of the rare pictures I have of the two of us.
This was taken on a trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

12/21/2012...Is It To Be, Or Not To Be...


(Ophiuchus; symbol)

The Mayan calendar, conspiracy theorists, hobbyist astronomers, Nostradamus devotees...what's going to happen in 2012? More specifically, what is going to happen on 12/21/2012? Personally, I figure that I'll find out when everyone else does.

What do I think will probably happen? I don't believe that the Earth is going to get slammed into by the planet X/or Nibiru as the ancient Sumerian's supposedly called it. If I'm wrong? Needless to say, that would really suck.

The existence of Nibiru is said to have been known about as far back as 6000 years ago. The belief is that some aliens the Sumerians called The Anunnaki's came to Earth and through DNA mixing created the first male humanoid (sounds like "missing link theory" to me). The ancient Sumerians are said to have had knowledge about the existence of the planets and a clear understanding of the placement of them within our solar system (along with the proper size of each planet), which was well beyond the Sumerians capabilities at that time which is said to prove the alien visitors. (Note the representation of the solar system on the Sumerian tablet below which includes an extra planet.)


(Ancient Sumarian tablet)

Enter Nibiru. It is a planet whose orbit is said to pass through our solar system, and it takes 3630 years to complete it's orbit. Now, there is quite a lot about Nibiru on the World Wide Web, and although pretty intriguing in a sci-fi novel sort of way...well, I can see how the prospect of something like this could truly freak a lot of people out. Before I continue, I just want to say that I'm delivering a 'Reader's Digest' version of the various accounts I have read. This is kind of an amalgamation of the theories, and I purposefully left out the extraneous.

Is Nibiru coming at us? A lot of people believe so. Some believe that Nibiru is going to hit the Earth. Some believe that thousands of years ago, Nibiru hit a larger planet that predates the existence of Earth (the name of said planet is escaping me at the moment). It predated Earth because Earth is believed to have been created out of half of the older planet. When Nibiru initially hit it, the older planet cracked in half. Through repeated blows over thousands of years, the Earth and the asteroid belt were created.

The larger consensus seems to be that on the Winter Solstice of 12/21/2012, Nibiru will pass right next to the Earth. It will be so close we will be able to see it clearly. This will supposedly cause our poles to shift, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. Total planetary devastation.

The ancient Sumerians knew about the existence of Nibiru. The Mayan calendar ends on the date in question. Nostradamus has written quite a bit on predictions that are said to describe a comet planet hitting or passing next to the Earth. What does it all mean? Is a lot being read into the tablets, calendar, and predictions? As I've said before and I will say again, I am one who doesn't believe or disbelieve something until it's proven to me one way or another...but this? There are a lot of people in this world that thrive on conspiracy theories. Many of them want to scare the crap out of people because they have the potential to make a few bucks. Maybe they have written a book, or are giving a seminar at The Learning Annex? Maybe they just get a charge out of it? Okay...and maybe, just maybe they believe it? Honestly, if something that catastrophic were going to happen, don't you think there would be more noise being made about it by the powers that be?


(Ophiuchus; Constellation)

Then there is the introduction of Ophiuchus into the mix. Although this 'Secret Sign' wasn't thrust into the realm of mainstream news until the recent story about peoples Zodiacal symbols changing (which they didn't), Ophiuchus has been around for a long time. I must say that this slant on the predictions about 2012 intrigues me. In some ways it makes more sense. The alignment with the Milky Way. The magnetic poles switching places (the Earth is apparently over due). A great "transition". That's how it's referred to in the video below. "Ophiuchus, The 13th Cycle". It features several viewpoints on what will happen. Environmentally, physically, spiritually. I scarcely know how to discern the wheat from the chaff, but this approach to 12/21/2012 is fascinating to me.




("Ophiuchus, The 13th Cycle")

I found this second video on Ophiuchus while video surfing. It's not an informative video so much as it's a creative piece about the sign. It's kind of a short art film, with a Lynch-eon edge.





There is also talk of another solar event in 2012. Red super-giant, Betelgeuse, is losing mass which is a sign of gravitational collapse. It's basically running out of fuel. Fuel which helps make it the ninth brightest star in the sky. When the fuel runs out, the star will quickly collapse in on itself. The resulting explosion will be tens of millions times brighter than our sun, giving us 24 hours of light here on Earth. It'll stay pretty bright for a couple of weeks or so, and then over time it will slowly fade until we hardly notice it at all.


( Betelgeuse, as seen through the Hubble Telescope)


Believers in 2012 as the coming Apocalypse (the Mayan calendar predicts Armageddon) will most likely believe it to be the work of the devil, as the name Betelgeuse has strong association with Satan. Betelgeuse going Super Nova will signal the Apocalypse to some, and to others (my camp) it'll just be another cool event to witness within their lifetime. If it does happen in 2012, that is. There is a possibility it won't happen for another million years.

So...believe? Disbelieve? On the fence? I have my thoughts on the matter. I can see the planet going through a transitional period, and I doubt it will happen overnight. I think it could all even be for the positive. But like I said...for the most part, I'll find out when everybody else does.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Stroll...

Winter is almost past, but in some ways it feels like it's just setting in. I felt the need for a stroll , so I took a walk up to the corner. The temperatures were in the upper '60s, but the wind that has been present for several days had whipped a slight chill into the air. It was really lovely walking weather. Slightly overcast (we're supposed to get a few showers overnight into tomorrow).

Small blades of green were knifing up here and there through the thick carpet of muted browns and beige's covering the ground. Spring is clearly making it's approach known, but the effects of winter still rule. For the time being, anyway. There were several trees near the transformer station that I pass on my way to the condo entrance that were yielding red leaves. It felt like they were offering up remembrances of my favorite season, Autumn. Although there are many trees that stay relatively green throughout the seasons, there are still quite a few that drop their leaves to stand gangly and naked until Spring returns. I looked up into a morass of the stripped limbs, and noticed a collection of twigs and moss at the top of a tree. Not sure of the residents, but most likely birds of some kind. The only other ornaments were some sparse groupings of Spanish Moss. They reminded me of dingy haphazardly tossed tree tinsel. As I looked up at the stark branches, I appreciated the abstractness of it all. Like an intricately done line drawing. Before much longer the trees would be covered with leaves, and the intricate design would be gone. Until next year.

There is one particular tree that I always visit on my walks that is covered with moss. It's beautiful during it's leafy time of the year, but I really love how it looks in winter. When it drops it's leaves, the moss looks all the more full and dominant. The Spanish Moss is one of the things I really love about Savannah. It makes me think of history. It makes me think of Gothic ghost stories, and vampires. It makes me think of mysticism. The mood here in Savannah is exhilarating, and I definitely count the 'Moss' as a cause.

I've had people ask me why the moss is here. How did it get here? Did some Spaniards bring it over from Spain some how? If not them, who brought it and when? Why have they only seen it here? I decided to do some research. Figured that since I live in Savannah, it would be nice to be able to answer the questions when asked.

The truth is, it's not even a "moss" or a lichen. It is an 'epiphytic' plant, which means it grows on the surface of other plants. An angiosperm that is part of the bromeliad family, it is referred to as an "air plant" as it gets its nutrients from the air and rain. It flourishes here in the south because of the humidity, and can be found in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, eastern North Carolina, southeastern Virginia, South Carolina, Texas, and Alabama.

No one brought it here, and it's indigenous to the American South. Here's how it got it's name:

When the French first arrived in Louisiana, they asked the Indians about the strange hair-like plant growing on the trees. The Indians said that it was 'Tree hair'. The French said that it reminded them of the long black beards of the Spanish explorers who came before them, and a better name was 'Spanish beard'. It didn't take long for this name to be seen as ridiculous, so it was changed to 'Spanish moss'. (That's the "Reader's Digest" version.)

I've often fought the urge to harvest some of the 'moss' for decorative purposes, as it's commonly known to be full of chiggers. Chiggers are tiny mites that are pretty much invisible to the naked eye. They bit and produce itchy red welts. I've had the bites, and they are not fun. For some reason a lot of people believe that chiggers burrow under the skin, and that brushing clear nail polish over the resulting bump will suffocate them. That's what I was always told when I was young. The welts can get rather big, so it had seemed plausible. Kind of glad that they bite as opposed to digging holes in ones skin. Rather creepy thought. I have found instructions online about how to kill the chiggers on moss using a pesticide that doesn't harm the plant itself. Before hand you have to dress in clothing just short of a 'Haz-mat' suit. I'll give it a go at some point.

I always feel invigorated after a walk around the homestead here. So peaceful. So relaxing, and centering. I've been rather preoccupied with several things lately. The walk was very welcome. Think I'll go on another one tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kandinksy, et al...


"The true work of art is born from the 'artist': a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being."
~ Wassily Kandinsky
________________________________________________

I have many painters on my favorites list. Great artists that inspire me on a number of levels. Creatively, spiritually...some reach me in a very cerebral way. Through composition...geometry. Others project beauty in it's truest form through realism. My artistic tastes are rather eclectic. I love all forms, styles, and media. Bacon, Picasso, Van Gogh, Alma Tadema, Dali, Warhol, de Kooning, Matisse, Rembrandt, and the list goes on. Beauty takes many forms in the varied works of all of these artists. Even the dark and disturbing Pope series by Francis Bacon. I've been fortunate enough to have seen many, many works by all of these artists up close and personal. My mother was an abstract artist (she painted in oils), so I was exposed to different forms of art at an early age. Growing up in Atlanta, I visited the High Museum on many occasions. I even had a piece of my own artwork in a student exhibit they had there. A piece of pottery I made as a junior in High School.


("The Absinthe Drinker", Pablo Picasso ~ 1902)

While living in L.A. I had the luxury of having the Getty Museum at easy access. Didn't frequent it nearly as often as I would have liked. They have probably the most enviable art collection I have seen. There are several paintings in their collection that I would get lost in every time I saw them. One inparticular. A huge, land/seascape. It's of several boats moored at a dock along a fishing town. (I've been wracking my brain trying to remember the artist. Oh well...it appears that I'll be spending some quality time on Google and the Getty site. These kinds of things drive me nuts until I either find the information, or I suddenly remember.) There is a bench in the center of the room it's in, and I loved sitting there immersing myself in the scene. I could hear the gulls calling to one another, and the rush of the waves against the boats and the dock. I could feel the hint of spray hanging in the air, smell the briny aroma of the sea, and feel the breezes blowing in off of the water. Such a beautiful piece. Looking at art is another escapist activity of mine.


("The Screaming Pope", Francis Bacon)

My preferred medium is acrylics, and I paint on canvas among other things. I lean a bit more towards the realm of multi-media. When I'm in my space of creating an art piece, I usually have a visual in my head of the basic design. Then I embellish on that. My talents do lie within the more traveled forms, but I spend some quality time with that space outside of the box.


("Mark Burgess", Lisa Erin Brown 2005)

The above painting is one I did...well, about six years ago. The photo is not the greatest quality. It definitely doesn't capture it well. One thing people always comment on about my paintings involving people are the eyes. Can't see them very well here. Anyway, I painted this in acrylics. I used three canvases, nuts & bolts, couple of different kinds of washers, and some used bass strings a musician friend gave me. This is one of a series I started, but haven't yet finished. It's of singer/lyricists I admire. I am not a songwriter by any definition, but there are certain lyricists that resonate with me as a writer. Mark is one of those lyricists. If you are reading this, you obviously have my blog up on your computer. That's Mark you hear singing his own lyrics as the front man/bassist for the Chameleons U.K. He seemed to like the painting. I sent him a copy of the photo. Maybe one day I'll get to show him the actual piece. He's a great guy. (Yes, I know him. He's fun to hang out with, and is a rather deep and intense conversationalist.)

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Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky sits at the top of my favorite painters list. He is considered to be the founder of abstract art. I find his paintings fascinating, and beautiful. His use of color. The geometry of his designs is so exact. So...interesting. They are really exquisite. They appeal to me...because my artistic styles are somewhat reminiscent of Kandinsky's. A person is featured in my painting above, but I on the whole do not paint people. I usually draw or paint abstract designs. I can't even presume to know how someones mind works, but I really dig how Kandinsky's worked. The mood and emotion are so strong. Just brilliant.


("Composition 8", 1923)


("Yellow, Red, and Blue")


("Transverse Line", 1923)
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Art is born from inspiration. Art is inspiration.
It is a creation of the mind, the heart, and the soul.
Not necessarily in that order.
Sometimes one. Sometimes the other.
Every piece is unique. Every piece tells a story. A story that changes with each person.
Art is...art.

(That makes perfect sense to me. Probably because I wrote it...hee hee...)