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Thursday, July 22, 2010


I hadn't known of Julius Rosenwald until today when I visited the Montclair Art Museum's exhibit, A Force for Change, which features work by the recipients of the grants provided by him during the 20's, 30's and 40's.

The Rosenwald Fellows, all from the south and mostly (but not all) African-American could be compared to today's McArthur fellows. The grants were just one thousand dollars, but that amount went a long way toward allowing artists the freedom to work and study without financial pressure.

No photos were allowed but I also enjoyed seeing the work being done by children in the summer art camp downstairs. Much of it was based on or inspired by the Rosenwald Fellows' work.

Here, for example, (from the catalog), is a clay head by William Ellsworth Artis:

And here's the childrens' work:

And here's more of what the kids have been doing. Good stuff!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh dear

You can see how parched the garden is after the drought and heat wave.

But look again:

Bambi begone! And where'd you come from anyhow???

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tool libraries

One of my many favorite blogs is the Tiny House Blog which celebrates tiny hand-made houses.

Today's post describes the building of this roughly cylindrical wooden "prairie schooner" on wheels, built by amateurs for under $2000 in under four months. What particularly got my attention was the mention that all the tools were borrowed from a local "tool library".

What a great idea! I googled "tool library" right away only to learn, sadly, that I live in a state that doesn't have such a thing. I guess my homebuilding days will have to wait.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Meadowlands

Current read. Brilliant writing, subject so close-to-home familiar yet so exotic. First sentence sucks you in as he describes boarding a Secaucus-bound bus at Port Authority equipped as for a wilderness hike.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Paper sculpture

Captivated this morning by the sprawling organic paper sculpture in the Amthropologie windows:

Later I get an email promoting a show at the New York Studio School:

Synchronicity I guess.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


It's going to be 104 today, so i hear. Guess it's finally time to give up and turn on the AC. But why is it that setting the thermostat at 80 feels normal and comfortable? If I turned the heat up to 80 in the winter I'd be roasting! For winter, 67 or 68 feels about right. But if I were to turn the AC down that low right now I'd be freezing to death.

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Sunday, July 04, 2010


Getting much more control now. Understanding how to use layers and opacities and manipulate the various "brush" types. Addictive!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Brushes again

Well it's not that easy. But i had to try. And I'm starting to get the hang of it. Like any software program you just have to buckle down and figure it out. So that's what I've been doing. Baby steps. Practice!

Supposedly Hockney did lots of his paintings before he got out of bed in the morning. So I tried that.

The dark vertical is the bedpost. I think i may erase it. Or maybe just lighten it up Easy to do.

Later I went and sat in McDonalds and did some quick sketches of people. One of the virtues of phone-sketching is that nobody knows you're doing it. It looks as if you're checking your email. I like that.

I don't have a link handy but on the New Yorker website there is a weekly fingerpainting blog by Jorge Columbo, including little videos of the process, which is a part of the software. They seem to me to be more magical than instructional. Worth a look.

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Friday, July 02, 2010


Boy am I ever late to the party. First of all I just started reading The Economist - my new favorite magazine for news and current events. It was on their website that I read about how David Hockney - one of my all-time favorite artists - had been "painting" with an iPhone.

He has since moved on to the iPad. This is all old news to the rest of the world, but it inspired me to download the Brushes app (he preferred the simpler original version) to see what it was all about.

It's a virtual cult. There's a special Brushes section on Flickr. At leat two New Yorker covers were created with it. Where have I been?

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Little Saigon?

Nope. Just a quick lunch at home. I often get a craving for one of these refreshing Vietnamese salads. So I figured it was time to learn to make them. I'm pretty happy with my first effort.

It's easy to improvise. You need some cooked and cooled rice noodles of some kind. Something green and crisp - lettuce is fine. Some cucumber slices are good to throw in. And some fresh herbs. I used basil, mint, chives and Vietnamese coriander - all from the garden. The "Everyday Pickled Carrots" from the book pictured are essential. I used a good handful of these:

Mix equal parts white vinegar and sugar (3/4 c each) and add 1 1/2 c water and 1 tsp salt. Cook 3-4 m to dissolve the sugar. Cool, then add 3/4 lb grated carrots (use food processor for this). Set aside 20-30 m. Keeps up to five days in fridge.

The protein can be anything or nothing. I had a little grassfed flatiron steak that I brushed with a mixture of soy and fish sauce and hoisin and grilled.

Other ingredients that I could have included: fresh lime, roasted peanuts, Ginger, bean sprouts, hot peppers in some form....another time!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Spectacular show of Monet paintings at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea. Such a striking change from the early smaller and more controlled works (c1907-1909) to the later (1916-1919) much larger and more exuberant pieces. Worrh a special trip.

Chelsea always offers serendipitous art. Right next door was this:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, June 14, 2010

New shoes

Arche - my favorites. From eBay. Just arrived! My kind of shopping.



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Saturday, June 12, 2010


If this thing actually works it will have been twenty-five cents well spent.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I've barely mentioned the youngest family member. Here he is, playing tiddly-winks with the last few Cheerios... What a cutie!

Note that the video was taken on daughter H's iPhone, emailed to me, then transferred by me from the email to Blogger. Isn't technology (when it works) amazing!

Van Vleck Tennis Court Garden

Still struggling with getting photos to post from the Mac.  These were done using Picasa as an intermediary.  There must be a simpler way!

The formal garden that occupies the site of the Van Vleck family tennis court must be one of the town's best kept secrets. 
Fine with me if it stays that way.
The little trees that anchor each quadrant seem to be rhododendron standards of some kind.  Fitting, since rhododendrons are the theme of the garden as a whole.

 Looking toward the wisteria-covered arbor.  I imagine that was for the tennis spectators once upon a time.   A lovely place.
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Saturday, May 29, 2010


As part of the ongoing lawn reduction program, a large round strawberry bed was created last year  in the back yard, at the bottom of the steps to the deck. The broken bluestones from the sidewalk repair were used to create a path through the middle.

Today - my first harvest!   Delicious.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A cool saw

Both neighbors are having their houses painted. On the west I'm being subjected to the noise of an extremely loud radio. It's a one man operation and it's been going on for several months now. I'm used to it.

The job on the east just started this morning. There's a big crew and one of the first tasks was to clear away a lot of overgrown shrubbery. What got my attention was the battery-powered saw the guy was using, which made very fast work of it all.

The photo you see was snapped through the window above my desk. Later, when I was outside, I asked the guy about it. It's a Ryobi from Home Depot, and it has interchagable "bits" that allow it to do other things. He even showed me how to use it.

I think i need one of those!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gardening by mail

Feast or famine, right? No posts for months then two, back to back. Well I was on my way to check things out on the garden, which, by the way, is looking remarkably spiffy so far, when I spotted the Bluestone package by the door.

You know about them, I hope? They're somewhere in Ohio and they have an enormous inventory of perennials and shrubs - more every year. And right now they're having their famous 50% off sale.

The plants? Well the three-pack is the impossible to find verbena bonariensis that I've been lusting for. It's going to send little lavender flowers on almost invisible wiry four foot stems floating airily over the roses.

The other is clematis terniflora, or sweet autumn clematis. I had almost been WISHING for a nice dead tree for it to wander through when - ta da - the redbud at the base of the hill in back chose to oblige.

Won't that look cool?

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