Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cold link

I've been sick with a bad cold this week, and until my head gradually clears, I'll offer up a good link:
“Courtesy of The New York Public Library.”

NYPL Digital Gallery is a free service from The New York Public Library offering hundreds of thousands of digital images of historical materials from the Research Libraries' original, rare and specialized holdings. NYPL provides free and open access to its Digital Gallery and images may be freely downloaded for personal, research and study purposes only. Spanning a wide range of visual media, NYPL Digital Gallery offers digital images of drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books, and more. This website works beautifully, you can search a subject, and when you click on a thumbnail it brings you to a page which gives a larger version of the image (you can sometimes even flip it around and look at the back), a "card catalog" list of info, and the ability to search for more images by the artist, subject, or collection. A great image reference resource.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Biking the Providence river

A while ago I went on a walk along the river and wrote this.
"I crossed the river and walked along the east bank, it was low tide so I could see the bottom of the river, soft with silt and pollution, like the paint that settles at the bottom of my solvent jars. In shallow relief was a bicycle, probably stolen years ago and tossed in the river, now thickly coated in algae, mud and rust. It looked beautiful and mysterious through the 2 feet of river water and I wished I had my camera so I could post a picture."
Well it took awhile for the confluence of low tide, camera, and lunchtime walk, but here is what the river revealed.

I'm gearing up for riding my bike into work soon, now that the Washington Bridge is open to bike traffic again. I'll pack my watercolors into my bike pack for the way home, the view across the river to the industrial waterfront is beautiful, and Queen Ann's Lace and beach roses bloom along the bike path. If I'm lucky they'll be a family of white egrets in the cove....

Monday, May 18, 2009

RISD Graduate Student Show

This week I went to the opening of the RISD graduate student show at the RI Convention Center, conveniently across the street from where I work. The opening was mobbed, mostly students and teachers, so it was hard to really see the work, but the snippets of overheard conversations were priceless. I wished I had brought my audio recorder so I could do a sound piece. Hmmm, then I could have loaded it onto an ipod, come back and surreptitiously attached it to the wall, hung a pair of headphones nearby....and yes, I'll accept that MFA now for my brilliant thesis project, thank you.

I went back yesterday for another look, and found my first impressions, or lack thereof, lingered. Nothing really struck me, I left feeling very flat, and I'm not really sure why. A few pieces were interesting. I played with a piece that recorded my movements and rendered them with sketchy lines, that was kind of amusing in a techy kind of way...

This hot pink sculpture was covered in cotton candy at the opening, and a few students added "interactivity" by handing out wads of the stuff. A few days later, this is what cotton candy looks like. Who knew? Much more interesting than the original piece.

And of course, what would a exhibition these days be without the obligatory bunch of stuff piled in a corner.

I just got the feeling that a show of brand-new art should have more of an impact. I reject the idea that I just didn't "get it", because even if I didn't understand it, it should have made me curious. Some pieces just looked so bland I wasn't tempted to invest any time in trying to figure out the point. Some seemed to be heavy handedly illustrating an ironic idea. But sometimes an idea is just an idea. I dunno, maybe I just DON'T get it...

Studio safety sans sacrifice

As a result of a guilty conscience about my wastebasket full of paint rags and their possible environmental impact, I started reading labels, with the same results I get when reading the fat content of a bag of anything from the candy machine at work. I cleaned up my act.

I quit using W&N Titanium White and started using Weber's Permalba because it had a non-toxic label, but found it had the consistency of Marshmellow Fluff. It also came in a puffy plastic tube, which may be why I found disturbing bits of dried paint when squeezing out the last inch of the tube. I just found a better alternative in Gamblin Titanium White. It has the same consistency as W&N, a sturdy metal tube and a health label I can live with.

Ingestion: No known adverse health effects Skin contact: No know adverse health effects

Not listed as a carcinogen by the NTP, IARC, or OSHA; no adverse long-term effects are known.
No known adverse health affects to linseed oil.

Waste disposal method: Rags and absorbent materials should be immersed in water. Small amounts can be dried and disposed of as ordinary trash.

Respiratory protection: none normally required
Ventilation: none normally required
Protective gloves: none normally required


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

bad, bad blogger

I know I've been neglecting this blog, but the harsh reality of money-making demanded I put in so much computer time that I got a little burnt out. Hopefully the results will make up for eye strain and back ache, but most of it is out of my control.

I haven't always been such a bad blogger, once upon a time, long ago in the awkward internet age of 2005, I began my first art blog . It was hosted by and I was surprised during an internet search to find it still exists, unlinked and unloved. It was done in straight html, without blogging software, so was quite work intensive. That, and the shifting environment of the projo website contributed to its downfall.

But looking back, I think it wasn't half bad. Links are apt to be broken by now, but I'm going to resurrect some of the content in this blog, starting with some interesting links. The first one is a cool site called The Cloud Appreciation Society, and here's what I wrote about it.

The Cloud Appreciation Society
The Cloud Appreciation Society is a fun site which celebrates the just how cool clouds can be. They have a Photo gallery by category, (do you fancy a Nimbostratus, or are you more in the mood for a Stratocumulus?) clouds that look like things, and, because they recognize that artists have always appreciated clouds, they have a section of cloud art, you can even upload your own! Now, what are you doing at the computer? Go outside and look up....
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