Thursday, June 28, 2018

Without You

Dear Cruel World,

Here is your song for the day  Sing it like you mean it.  I adore Lene Lovich.  She makes the fourth in a quartet of singers that were a part of my youth and that I remain devoted to: Nina Hagen, Siouxsie Sioux, and Exene Cervenka.  These women used their voices in exciting, varied, riotous, raw, and unusual ways.  I adore both the intelligence of their songs and the operatic sound of the vocals. 

Can you imagine Adele or Lady Gaga covering one of these songs?  I was one lucky 12 year old to have women like these four around to sing to me.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

New Music.

Dear Radio Listeners,

Here is a piece from an album that I cannot play often enough.  In my usual remarkable good fortune, a kind fellow at the place I work introduced me to it.  If you need to arrange forms in appealing patterns, or compose little bits of dark on pale fields, then Landfall is your music.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Andrew Borde's 1542 Diagram Depicting the Universe

Dear Sundown,

Researchers at the Dodo have corroborated an observation:  the sun does set slower on your porch, with pink wine and a cheap guitar, in the summer.  It does it in the winter, too.  Read about it here, and be sure to enjoy the heck out of the extra half a minute of the sun slipping down and out. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

fiftieth state















Friday, June 8, 2018

How To: Look at Pictures.

Flesh Art, Joan Snyder, 1974.

Dear Nancy Drew,

I thought for today we'd talk about how to look at pictures.  How to look at art really, and specifically, how to look at the flat, illusion-of-space of paintings.  Approach the painting with the thoroughness of a detective.

Begin by noting how you feel- in many ways, looking is an awareness thing:  Like a guided meditation on seeing pictures.

So, how do you feel?  Itchy?  Confused?  Comfortable?  Are you anxious, sad, or elated?  Do you feel something subtly or Big Time?  Are you hugely impressed?  Why?  Be as specific as possible- does looking at this painting feel like a slice of cake?  Like a bad news phone call?  Like another election?  Like finding a lost earring?

Okay, now, what else is here- where are your eyes sent?  Observe where your eye is resting, moving, and returning to.  Where are the edges?  Where are the directional lines?  Where are the brightest bits?  What is, or isn't, in the center?  What are the darkest places?

What is the rhythm, the sound of it?  Are the colors a clue to the emotions the painting might be trying to evoke?  Are there feisty colors?  Angry or sad colors?  Is it somber or punchy?  Quiet or loud?

Lastly, and really do try to do this step last, what specifically is here?  Is it purple, is it insects, is it sky, is it skin?  What is it that we could name?  What, now, then, do these things suggest?  What is the story of this painting?

What tale could this be telling?  Who are these characters, and what are they doing, what is their purpose in the world of the painting?  This step isn't just a list of what is in the painting, for example, a barn, two trees, a rock, and a cow.  Your questions should be along this line:  Why is that cow heading away from the barn at this hour?  Has the tree grown up around the barn, or was the tree there long before the barn?  How is the weather?  Is a storm coming?  Is that rock there to prevent my eye from leaving the canvas, or is it a symbol of some kind?  An immovable chunk of prehistory that will remain long after the cow, barn, and tree have been blown away by the passage of time?

My Life, Joan Snyder, 1996.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tickled Pink

Dear Pink,

A short film for you today, filled with sight gags and silliness, illustrating the perils of street skating.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

flip, flop, fly

Dear Builders,

Here's the thing:  I am completely in love with that little object in the middle- Richard Tuttle's White Rocker.  You might be thinking it doesn't look like much, but, oh!  It's absolutely perfect.

I insist.  It is a perfect sculpture.  You will need to stay with it, examine it, until you cry uncle and admit it's fabulousness. 

Once you let it into your life, you may thirst for more Richard Tuttle.  Try these works on paper, and when you have absorbed a goodish bit of that beauty, consider getting a book, like this one.  As for me, I am going out to my studio to make little Tuttle-esque watercolors, plywood assemblage paintings, and wire drawings.