So starts chapter nine from THE FURNISHINGS OF A MODEST HOME by Fred Hamilton Daniels
I bought this delightful little book awhile back from Gustavs Library. It was written in 1908 by the Director of Drawing for the Public Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts. It has ten chapters and my favorite, by far, is this ninth one: Pictures & Casts. I referred to it recently when matting, framing and hanging some new pieces in my small art collection. Daniels' intructions are seldom ambiguous (e.g. "a dark picture appears to the best advantage against a dark ground.") It's comforting to think of a time when there was less confusion - when someone had all of the answers. Of course, that time didn't exist then - or ever. He does a good job of creating the illusion though - which isn't such a bad thing to indulge in now and then.
A new addition to my collection; an exquisite ink drawing by Steven LaRose - front view with piano lamp . . .
and a side view
I just went out and picked these and, for some reason, laid the fist-full on the scanner bed. It's an interesting image, I think - requiring some thought and effort to discern what's happening.
You can read a recent review of my work at J.T. Kirkland's blog, Thinking about Art. He's generously put together a very rich-multi-layered project there called "Artists Review Artists."
my breakfast, freshly picked and scanned
A wild turkey hen and her brood surprised me out back today. I was impressed with how large those things are - something that's driven home when you're less than 15 feet from them. Even the five babies were big - each were about the size of an adult wild duck. The mother watched me closely as I watched them, as closely as I dared, as they made it out of the woods and into the tall grasses - the babies nibbling tender little green plants all the way.
After watching them for awhile, I went inside to get my camera but they were gone when I returned. So I took this photo of the garden instead - which is just above, and to the right of, the grasses.
The Sunny Garden in July; with petunias, rue, green beans, pumpkins, carrots, tomatoes and morning glories - to name a few
updated July 14, 2008: I finally got a photo of them (through a window) this morning at 7am - the mother is in the center with her back to the camera - you can see a baby just below and to the left of her in silhouette - the other babies are there but are difficult to see
The '500 years old' part is what amazes me as these structures are made primarily of mud clods - sand, clay-soil, straw and water formed into hand-sized balls - lots and lots of hand-sized balls.
There's a contemporary movement promoting these sustainable building practices. A Google search on "cob houses" opens a window into that world in the form of links to workshops, books, plans, contractors, blogs and videos. To get an idea of the wide variety of modern designs out there, here's a short you tube video that provides a nice overview. It also shows, briefly, a bit of the building process, including the mixing-of-the-cob-substrate-with-bare-feet-on-a-tarp image - my favorite.
Today, I managed to keep from buying a bale of straw and getting my tarp dirty. But I did make lots of drawings and a couple of crude models for a child's playhouse - a photo of the least crude model (which really isn't saying much) is below:
cardboard, spaghetti noodles (uncooked), Elmer's glue and tissue paper; 15 x 7 x 7 inches where one inch is meant to equal one foot
On the topic of birds, these two art weblogs have been catching my eye lately: Kit Eastman's and Frank Gonzales'. Both of these artists have a very sensitive understanding of the bird's form. Their multilayered approaches create environments where the subject seems secure and at ease - making it all the more enjoyable to view them.
I went to see the Minnesota Orchestra play in Excelsior last night - with a spectacular fireworks display over Lake Minnetonka afterwards. Maybe it was because I biked there - or because there was such a wide variety of tattoos parading past me as I sat listening to the orchestra - or maybe it was recently seeing Pretty Lady's lovely tattoo and then being reminded of Steven LaRose's one with all of its layers of meaning, or it could be, I was simply missing the good ol' days when we all used bicycle grease - for whatever reason, I found myself thinking about, and designing, my very own tattoo.
Fireworks seen from the bike path, over Lake Minnetonka - 2008, photo by Robert Klein
updated July 7, 2008: For more images, information and history of Lake Minnetonka, check out Chip Drewry's blog, Minnesota's Lake Minnetonka.