The reality of art

Reality imitating art

The Phoenix Art Museum has a wonderful wing devoted to installation art, modern art, post-modern art. Imagine my surprise when I viewed this picture, looked for the artist’s name, and discovered it wasn’t “art” at all, but rather a shadowed window into the museum loggia. Great fun!

 There’s a saying among prospectors. Go out looking for one thing, and that’s all you’ll find.
~Robert Flaherty, explorer~

A complement of opposites

rock on rickety bench

Would the smooth pot shine as brightly without the dark roughness of the bench? Would the bench sit so solidly without the weight of the pot?

Each needs the other to complete the whole, Yin and Yang. Perfectly complementing each other, perfectly balanced in their asymmetry.

Challenges are what make life interesting
and overcoming them
is what
makes life meaningful.

~Joshua Marine~

 

Snow in Zion National Park

Zion black and white

Ansel Adams used to hoist his huge large-format camera onto the roof of his “woody” station wagon to get the exact shot that he wanted. He was working with plates, rather than film, which made getting just the right shot so important. He planned ahead.

I’m no Ansel Adams. Call me an impulse photographer. Yet, I was pleased when I discovered all seven of Adams’s “zones” in this snapshot, white to black.

I almost always use color in Zion National Park, yet black and white can equally dramatic. How can you lose when you are photographing red rocks and snow!

I work from my gut. I just work and out it comes.
I don’t know what it is until it’s finished
and often I title a piece after it’s done.
Call it chance, call it fate.
There’s more than one thing going on.

~Dale Chihuly~

Split color wheel with analogous hues

blue green lavender gold

I was delighted to discover this tableau!

Can you see the color wheel? Green, blue, lavender, and then a whirl of the wheel over to the yellow-gold side. Just perfect.

My former art teachers would love it. I did, too.

I can’t understand it when people say
they don’t like a particular color.
How on earth can you not like a color?

~Dale Chihuly~

 

Keep your eye on the sky

Sunlight behind the clouds

I had just come out of the grocery store. My mind was filled with eggs and celery and pork cutlets. Then I turned around and saw this.

I was transfixed, and so was everyone else in the parking lot. We stopped and stared. And then turned and nodded to each other, aware that what had transfixed us had halted others, too.

For one moment, we were united in a community of beauty. Water vapor and sunlight. Transformed just for us.

Happiness sneaks in through a door
you didn’t know you left open.
~John Barrymore~

 

Know your rock and trust your mason

Picture of dry rock wall

Old historic buildings in Sedona were often constructed of red sandstone. And skilled craftsmen paid attention to the type red sandstone that they used, for the sandstone was formed by inland seas that rose and retreated. And each time the seas receded, a different type of sandstone was built.

One sediment layer was formed in thin brittle layers of shale while another was the “hold together” sandstone that erodes in soft rounded shapes, similar to Bell Rock near Sedona. If you built a house with the first type, the layers would crumble and shatter, and the house along with it.

I was reminded of that when I visited New Hampshire recently. There, the building rock of choice is granite. The stuff that tombstones are made from.

A house constructed of granite will be there a long time from now. And yet this building material, too, has its own idiosyncratic ways. View the skill it must have taken to construct this granite wall over a hundred years ago.

It pays to understand your rock. And to trust the skill of your stone mason.

It can be everything to have found a fellow bird
with whom you can sit among the rafters while
the drinking and boasting
and reciting and fighting
go on below.

~Wallace Stegner~