Thursday, June 25, 2020

Floating holiday of monotyping

I had an actual VACATION DAY that would expire if I didn't use it.  So I used it, in that fanatical way that I use days off.  It was FUN, and I learned new things.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Bowl brush

I prefer this style of "bottle brush"for its upright-ness, and the rounder, fuller shape of the shrub.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Bay breezes with distancing

Yes, the wind still picks up in the afternoons, creating whitecaps.  Yes, people really were keeping their distance from each other.  No, I don't own a watercolor paint that is the exact color of the bay in these images, and I am trying to resist buying one, because I should be able to mix it from my various blues.

Socially distant daisies

You can tell something is wrong in this picture, because the sun is shining, yet you can see the lawn.  

Pandemic times are the strangest times.

PofA in the sunshine

So, we still have coronavirus restrictions in place, and under those restrictions, we shouldn't GO anywhere.  The instructions say things like, if you can't walk there, you shouldn't go.  This sounds like a dare (if you know me), but I haven't taken it that way, and so my world has been pretty small.  I've ventured out no more than 3 miles from home in any direction, in a city that is 7 miles wide and 7 wide the other way.  (Saying 7 long and 7 tall doesn't sound right, because I am describing a square.  Argue with the screen if you want - I have the comments turned off.)

However, a friend flew 10+ hours into town for a funeral for an immediate family member, and those same pandemic restrictions applied to the series of events associated with a funeral, which made the funeral not really happen,.  Those of us who would ordinarily attend to support him unable to do so.  (Based on what we know of funerals in Italy, these are sensible precautions, and we respect them.) 

So we had a picnic, because that is something we can do while staying about six feet apart and wearing masks, aside from the eating times.

The sun was shining.  I was nearly 7 full miles from home.  I was able to speak with my friend about his loss.  It was a good use of time.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Vividly [an ambiguous color]

One of the visible limits of digital sensors is their struggle with intense red-violet-fuchsia colors, which never seem quite right in the image.  This is pretty close to how it looked, though I believe that is because it was in part shade.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Holiday colors

If I go too long without painting, I kind of forget how, and have to teach myself again with simple exercises.  It's awkward, really.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Feeling “mallow”

I hadn't really noticed the tiny hairs in the center between the petals before...  The buds are interestingly shaped as pods, and the petals are rolled up beautifully...  I keep thinking that it must be difficult to grow such delicate, separate layers when they are so tightly wound, but plants are great at it!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Triangle testing

I exhausted my supply of letter-sized photo paper, and finally got a new order in.  What better way to test it than with some abstract, software-derived, photo-based compositions?

Conclusions: the paper is good. 44 lbs / 165 g weight holds the ink much better than my prior selections.  I wish I'd increased the resolution of some of these abstracts sooner (I had intended to print them very small when I first started generating them).  I've used a couple as the back of stationery recently, and if I keep that up, I should really consider having my printer do a run of them for me, because this is a lot of photo-quality, archival ink!  Yes, I really do sit around, converting photos into triangles.  Yes, it is rather therapeutic, now that you mention it.  

Friday, May 15, 2020

Halos of detail

I like to show the flowers on these succulents as a sort of carpet, but they are interesting up close as well!

Early summer color

Yes, I left the house today. 

Yes, it felt strange.  I've been indoors engaging in self-quarantine / shelter-in-place to quite successfully minimize the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infections for TEN WEEKS now, going out only for essential supplies, and just twice for exercise.  So, I am well-supplied, but also in terrible physical shape!

Here are some plants within half an hour's walking distance of my house, from various domestic gardens in my area.  

Unfurling of the bottle brush

I've always founds plants in the Callistemon family to look rather "messy," as many shrubs that grow upward and then have hanging branches look to me.  (Yes, I'm in some European-style garden, talking to other plants with similar structure in an encouraging tone: "Weeping willow, pull yourself together!") 

I do like the way the buds unfurl to show all those wild stamens, though.  The complexity of those buds, with so many separate bits growing together, coiled tightly, is impressive. 

So here is a set of three images showing the buds when they first begin to open, as the stamens spread, and when they are completely out.  I like them more up close than I do from afar!

Friday, May 1, 2020

Cupping the sun (succulent-ly)

Cotton swab buds

So soft!

Fancy protea


Golden light

Boathouse and hills

San Francisco has some great public parks!  Which are largely closed, but not REALLY closed.

During the health order, we are supposed to stay within walking distance of home.  For those of us who used to walk 7 miles a day, that is limiting, but not completely oppressive...  though I miss many of my favorite walking spots that are usually a streetcar away.  (My streetcar stopped running during the health order.)

There are signs up all around this lake encouraging us to take precautions: to exercise alone, to not play sports that involve sharing a ball, and to keep at least six feet away from others.  We did a reasonably good job, I think.

Wide open spaces

I left the house and went for a long walk for the first time in... seven weeks?  Yes, I think so.  SEVEN WEEKS.  I had been a 10-11k daily step count person before the pandemic.  But staying at home, that dropped down to 2-3k. 

I've missed the outside world.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Altering reality: adventures with photo software

In the evenings, to take my mind completely off of my job, I have been using the same digital software I use to make holiday cards to play with architectural and geometric images.

I have been having fun.  Perhaps too much fun.  (As if there is any such thing.) I'm learning new things!

Here are links to recent experiments: first up, a very new version of New York City's most dramatic PATH station, with an imaginary (and very still) reflecting pool:

Digitally Altered: Oculus

Digital fun with New York City's most dramatic PATH station.

Fun with some beautiful plaster columns carved by Moroccan artisans in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Digitally Altered: Moroccan Plaster

The Metropolitan Museum in New York has a spectacular Moroccan courtyard (indoors), which has some remarkable plaster work created by craftsmen on site. (Many of their impressive installations were created by living artists who were paid to do the work, which makes me heart sing.) The detailing is completely beautiful.

And lastly, some heavily modified Korean palaces and temples I photographed in Seoul, and modified a few nights ago here at home.

Digitally Altered: Grand Palaces and Temples

To relax after work, I turn wide pavilions into narrow ones. These images were taken in Seoul, in both the Gyeongbokgung complex and (for one particular set of details) on the grounds of the Buddhist temple headquarters. I've exaggerated the colors with filters to break my subdued color habits.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Spring continues

I went outside to buy groceries earlier this week!  While sweating inside my mask, I spotted these irises, which are blooming happily, and not sweating under a mask at all.

Irises arrive late spring/early summer around here.

It was difficult to compose this image, because the irises and some native wildflowers sit in a deep drainage basin that helps prevent localized flooding near the base of my hill, but the basin also (unintentionally) collects plastic bags and discarded face masks.  'Lots of cropping happening here to eliminate those.  (Now is NOT the time to go touching discarded medical masks on the street for the sake of composition.)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter photo bouquet

These flower are in spring-like, happy, pagan Easter colors, and I enjoyed them in place of candy today (which I have been resisting, so there is none in the house). 

It feels good to see something bright and natural, and to enjoy it with enthusiasm...  Life is complicated for humans right now, due to unwise human behavior, and so little celebrations of being alive are appropriate.  Really, little celebrations of being alive are ALWAYS appropriate, there is just more to contrast that with right now...

Wishing everyone safe and healthy spring holidays!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Closer. No, closer.

I have lots of images like this in my archive, though the better ones are zoomed in beyond recognition, and show abstract colors in film grain...

Calla curves, detail

Yes, it was still raining.  We need the water desperately after the driest February in 150 years.

Wet calla

I went outside as far as my garden today.  And got my shoes wet.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Lilac time

At least, it is lilac time in my little microclimate.  Your local seasons may vary!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Inner Blossom Jasmine

I ran out of tea, and can't get to Rainbow to buy my favorites during this stay-near-home period, so I ordered from Red Blossom Tea, and My Jamsine set included these "blossoming" (expanding when brewed) types.  Aren't they pretty, all bundled up like this?  

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dreaming of the outdoors

The thing about being indoors under a health order during a pandemic AND in cold, wet weather is that it becomes harder to make excuses not to do things that are on your indoor to-do list. 

I'm low on postcards to use for my postcard exchange club, and I finally found some of my long-lost 2007 Yosemite photos, plus some scans of my trip to Desolation Wilderness.  So, I slaved over a hot stove Lightroom album all morning, and placed my order with my printer for 20+ designs.

I also repaired a vacuum cleaner, taped shut a drafty window, vacuumed the back of a couch, and baked a pie.  Because: INDOORS.

New, white tea

Whole leaf tea like this is rather odd looking...  If I didn't know what it was, it would be hard to guess from this image.  

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ever grander wisteria

Every time I look at it, there is MORE of it...

Sunday morning in my garden

Last year, I had my yard violently cleared beyond what I intended (who tosses out potted plants from a patio when clearing overgrowth in yard??) in preparation for construction that... should have already been completed.  My yard was quite bare, which is giving me a chance to start over after construction (should that ever occur!).

The autumn rain pleased my established plants, and delighted many hidden seeds, which are eager for more rain.

I've been engaging in SF's Social Distancing experiment to prevent the rapid spread of coronavirus for two weeks, and wanted to spend some socially distant time outdoors, without venturing far from home.  A little time in the garden with a cup of hot sencha and my iPhone camera allowed me to appreciate the expanding vision of spring that my yard contains.

Top: tea tree (maybe Leptospermum scoparium), local alyssum, some kind of crocosmia
Middle: local flower (Fumaria capreolata!), euphorbia, camellia (likely japonica)
Botton: California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta), camellia (Camellia japonica).

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ruffles (but not the ones I’m craving)

Eucalyptus bark

While we don't appreciate that these trees tend to explode while on fire, they sure have interesting bark!

Plum time warp to earlier spring

The plum trees with purple leaves lost their blossoms in my neighborhood weeks ago, yet just over a mile to the west, in an adjacent neighborhood, I found one that was in the early stages of leafing out, and still had blossoms.

When we speak of microclimates in San Francisco, they are much smaller than you think they are, sometimes just a few blocks that are in a different season than the adjacent ones.

Bird of paradise in the city

Bird of the City doesn't have the same ring to it.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Wisteria (being more so)

The image posted earlier was just a warm up for this, I see now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Deep blue-violet

I love living near the Pacific Ocean SO VERY MUCH. 


Afterward, the colors are EVEN BETTER.



The other version of this photo shows a dozen or more people standing on a bluff, eager to watch the impending sunset.  I hadn't remembered what a crowd-pleaser sunsets are. 

Street pear

Now I feel like I am neglected any street tree in my neighborhood whose blooms I have not reported on.  (Sorry, magnolias!!  So sorry!)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Heavy with pink

It is still so SPRING.

Creative range (Soul of a Nation)

Collage of participatory art event (left), sculptures, and paintings at Soul of a Nation.  It is such a great show.  And LOTS of work by women!

Healthy crowds love art (Soul of a Nation)

It was lovely to see entire families and other confident art-lovers taking in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983 at the deYoung.  The art is FANTASTIC, and the audio tour features Danny Glover AND Belva Davis!! 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Friday, February 21, 2020

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday (holiday) camellias

Camellia season is one of my favorite seasons...

A morning of acrylic ink drawing

I needed this.  I apparently have lots of geometric thoughts I need to sort out....  :D

Saturday, February 15, 2020