summer skies

Our summer skies this week have been cloudy and pouring rain.  I thought my internet was down yesterday as a consequence, and then found that I had a loose plug.  Was wondering why my email would jump in for two minutes then quit connecting.

The J. Paul Getty Museum (just north of L.A.)  has an exhibit opening that is just right for summer:  In Focus:  The Sky runs until December 4.

Martin MunkacsiMartin Munkacsi, Fireworks., 1932. Gelatin silver print.

In these days of digital printing, it is fun to look back on the early, experimental days of the art of photography. This type of print is created from a film’s negative. The film suspends light-sensitive silver halides in a gelatin which is rinsed away during processing.

Joel Meyerowitz Joel Meyerowitz, Fence, Truro, negative 1976; print 1992
Chromogenic print

In a chromogenic print, the image is formed using three main dye layers – cyan, magenta and yellow. 

Alfred Stieglitz Alfred Stieglitz, Songs of the Sky, 1924
Gelatin silver print

Stieglitz began shooting photos of the sky in 1922. Originally labeled “Songs of the Sky”, he later called them “Equivalents”, saying that these photos were “equivalents of my most profound life experience.”

Our Midwest skies are bright and blue today – take a look with new eyes at the beauty above.

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balance

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, from my spring garden

* Take the time to remember the gifts in your life – treat yourself

* Embrace forgiveness – it will result in healing

* Treat your mind to a rest, the same as when you treat your body to a rest. Read something just for pleasure. Look outside at the world around you and notice the beauty in small things.  Watch a child and remember how they see the world with wonder.

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.
Henri Matisse

functional art

I love it when art is functional.  Drinking from a pottery mug is always more satisfying than using a glass from Target. I also wish I could completely furnish my house with artistically designed pieces, rather than economical fixtures from the hardware store.  I admire some of the work done by Alicja Wasielewska, a Polish designer with a degree in Product Design.

Alicja WasielewskaAlicja Wasielewska, Morph Chandelier

So maybe this wouldn’t quite be the thing for my little country-french-type kitchen.  I wonder what it looks like in daylight – maybe just like a nest of wire?  But in this photograph, in the night, it looks like a magical swarm of fairie lights, or tiny firefly trails. Alicja uses optic fiber technology to create her Morph Chandelier.

Alicja WasielewskaAlicja Wasielewska, Essence Glass

Wasielewska designed this glass for the Bombay Sapphire Martini Glass competition. She was inspired by the unique way in which Bombay Sapphire is made, where the spirit is distilled through botanical leaves. Her intention is that the glass is essentially transparent, and it is as if you are drinking from the leaves.

Alicja Wasielewska

Alicja Wasielewska, Ribbon Bike Stand

Her elegantly designed bike stand is simple.  Designed for the Delft Technical Library in the Netherlands, it relates to the geometrical structure of the interior design of the Library. A beautiful, functional piece of art.

800 years of watercolor

Imagine a typical watercolor painting at an art show.  Do you think of soft colors, a landscape, or maybe flowers? Looking back through the ages, it’s interesting to find that the history of this art medium includes use in illuminated manuscripts, drawings for recording information and map making.

Rachel Pedder-SmithRachel Pedder-Smith, Bean Painting:   Specimens from the Leguminosae family

The Tate Museum in Britain has been running an exhibition since February, which will continue on through August 2011.  Their premise behind this exhibition is to challenge your preconceptions of watercolour. (“colour” being the British spelling)

Dante Gabriel RossettiDante Gabriel Rossetti, The Tune of the Seven Towers

(Rossetti uses)” lots of lots of gum and varnish, trying to deny watercolor’s transparent qualities by making it thick and heavy, giving it the appearance of something painted on wood.” – curator Alison Smith

Wenceslaus HollarWenceslaus Hollar, View from Peterborough Tower, Tangier Castle

 Hollars earned his living by working for various authors and publishers, creating etchings and prints. Later in his life he was sent by the king to draw the forts and towns of Tangiers. Though his works were well-regarded, he died in poverty.

Queen Victoria's watercolorsQueen Victoria’s watercolour set, on preview at the Tate Museum Exhibition, “Watercolour”

Queen Victoria was quite a prolific painter, and enjoyed collecting and supporting art as well as creating it.  In the 1800’s, women were taught the art of watercolour for the purpose of creating decorative and domestic arts. Maybe I’ll put that on my list of things to do.

sparkle wave

Here is a piece I have been working on for a while:

Linda Oeffling:  sparkle waveLinda Oeffling, Sparkle Wave

The wood came first.  It was a great chunk of driftwood, but pretty flat on the back surface.  I decided to put it upright and place glass behind it. I really didn’t want to use a bottom base of glass; that has never really worked out looking as good as I envision.

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Sparkle Wave

I found another chunk of wood to suit the back and support the piece to stand up.  The back of a fused piece turns out a with more of a matte finish.  Some glassworkers cold work their pieces, meaning using tools to further shape a piece after it comes out of the kiln. I don’t have equipment for cold work polishing (yet).  So back to the kiln.  I fused pieces of frothy sea foam.

Linda Oeffling

Linda Oeffling

Some bits of sparkly water on the wood, and the piece is finished. I am considering putting this piece in the show in September, “Art of the Land”, at the Starline Gallery.  I’ll keep you posted.

ephemeral art

If you spent hours upon hours creating a magnificent art piece, could you let it then melt?  let the wind blow it away?

Andy GoldsworthyAndy Goldsworthy, Rowan Leaves & Hole

I especially love this piece, it being rowan leaves, the inspiration for my studio name and logo.  The rowan tree is commonly known  as the mountain ash, a tree with delicate leaves and clusters of orangey-red berries.

Andy GoldsworthyAndy Goldsworthy

“Overnight – wind – overcast went to arch – early – still there!!
but melting quickly.
Lifted out supports – very
easy!
Very beautiful
– a melting
ice arch.

would have perhaps
preferred it not to have melted so much
-softened it somewhat.
However melting
made it easy
to remove stone
supports.

Visable from long distance – attracted someone from long way – good to show it.
Went back later to draw it – arrived just in time to see a very old man knock it down
with a gun – sad.” – excerpts from Andy Goldsworthy diary

Andy GoldsworthyAndy Goldsworthy
Leaves polished, greased made in the shadow of the tree from which they fell, pinned to the ground with thorns.

“Movement, change, light growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. I want to get under the surface. When I work with a leaf, rock, stick, it is not just that material itself, it is an opening into the processes of life within and around it. When I leave it, these processes continue.” – Andy Goldsworthy

looking at bugs with an artistic eye

Here in the Midwest we are in the middle of sweltering summer.  It’s buggy, as usual. I think everyone reminisces about catching lighting bugs when they were younger, but using bugs as art is another concept altogether. Artist Jan Fabre was invited by the Queen of Belgium in 2002 to bring contemporary art into her 19th century palace.

Jan Fabre, Heaven of DelightJan Fabre, Heaven of Delight

Fabre created a dazzling masterpiece mosaic on the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors.  It took Fabre and over 20 assistants three months to apply swirls of beetle carapaces to the ceiling and niches.

Jan Fabre, Heaven of DelightJan Fabre, Heaven of Delight

Over 1.5 million Jewel Beetle wings were used to cover the space. The elytra, or forewings, are actually a by-product of the Thai food industry.  The beetle grubs are served as food, and the elytra are thrown away.  Well, in this case, used as artwork.

Jewel Beetle

And Fabre is not the only artist to appreciate these iridescent colors. . .

Olivia's OublietteHeart of Isdes, Susan Tooker

Artist Susan Tooker features beetle art in her Etsy shop, OliviasOubliette. She says, “The wings make a wonderful tinkling sound when worn!”