I happened to find myself in downtown Rockville and came across this building with a lovely mosaic on the wall. Then I realized I knew the business housed there. This is the home of History Associates.
Tagged With: Art
This tree is a steel and concrete sculpture called Graft by Roxy Paine. It’s between the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art. We especially enjoyed the hawk that was perched in it. What would be really funny would be a woodpecker.
Our Community Group (our church’s small groups) met this evening at Kofi and Danielle’s apartment building. It’s a newish building and a lot more swanky than anywhere we’ve lived. I’m not complaining, mind you. We’re pretty happy where we are. All of the apartments we’ve lived in had doors off of (mostly open) stair wells. The first place we lived, which was in Chevy Chase, had an enclosed stair but the others had open stairs. That’s not counting the Quonset Hut we lived in when we first moved to Juneau. After that we moved to an apartment that opened off a balcony across the bridge on Douglas Island. That and the apartment we moved into back in Maryland after our around-the-world trip in ’88 were both on the third floor of three story buildings.
Anyway, we met in one of the common rooms in the apartment building because there were about fifteen of us, which would have been a crowd in their one bedroom apartment. In addition to this stone sculpture on a table, there was a gas fire burning in a long, low fireplace. Needless to say, however, the real warmth came from the people we were with.
I was looking around for something to photograph today and took a few pictures of this carpet in Margaret’s room. It’s not a huge carpet but it’s certainly quite pretty. I love the colors and the fineness of the weave. We have a few carpets but that includes a few imitation Persians. When we got married, Karabet gave us some cash as a wedding present and we bought two relatively inexpensive carpets. They aren’t nearly as nice as this one, but then again, he gave us the gift out of his relatively modest means. We still have them and I still think of him when I consider them. That’s often where value lies (but I’m not saying it lies like a rug).
Cathy and I were in a local medical office building today and I, you’ll be surprised to learn, had my camera with me. I didn’t take pictures in the actual doctor’s office but in the lobby of the building was some art. The wall opposite the entrance was covered with these lined, glass panels, lit from behind. So, when it was time to leave, I took a few moments to get my camera out and take a few pictures. I don’t really have a lot to add. It is what it is. I wouldn’t call it high art, but decorative art seems appropriate. If nothing else it did add some color and interest to an otherwise nondescript office lobby.
Cathy has a roll-top desk that we got from some friends who where ready to get rid of it. Along the top of the roll-top, which is never closed, there is a little ledge where the top doesn’t go all the way into the carcass. She has a few little things sitting on that ledge including a line of dice of various sizes and side-counts. In the middle is this line of little bird statues. I don’t rightly know where she got them (I suppose I could have asked) but there they are. They are quite colorful—as you can see—and they stand about an inch tall. This green on is one of my favorites, along with the dark blue peacock colored bird in the center of the photo.
This was, apparently, half of a pair of bookend vases, produced by Pukeberg, probably in the middle of the 20th century. Pukeberg was founded in 1871. In the 1930s, Pukeberg began producing decorative glass. We don’t really know a lot about it beyond that. We found a pair listed on eBay for $89, so they aren’t terribly valuable. I wanted to show off the various colors of the glass. In everyday room light it is basically amber colored. But I’ve shone a light through the glass and you can see reds at the bottom and greens towards the top. I think a more complicated light set up would do better but this was done with a flashlight sitting behind it and a flash bounced off the ceiling.
We had dinner at mom’s this evening. My cousin Becky and her boyfriend were there, as well, having come up for Jason’s wedding on Saturday. I took a bunch of pictures in the yard. The camellias are finishing up and the azaleas are just starting. I also took some pictures of Kai. But the picture for today is this quilt that my mom just made. It’s a pretty elaborate thing, with each segment on each wing being a separate piece of fabric. I also think the fabric she chose for the background is terrific, really showing off the dragonflies to good effect.
About the time I got to work this morning I got a text from one person and an email from another asking if I had anything to do with the appearance of this little garden statue next to our parking lot. The text message was particularly cryptic, although I suppose if I had been responsible, I’d have known what it was about. As it happens, I had nothing to do with it. Later in the day, two other people asked me if I put it there. I think it’s a little funny that so many people think this is the sort of thing I’d do. Maybe it is, but not this time. One said, “well, okay, I’ll believe you, but I know you’re responsible for the geckos.” I have no idea what that’s about and didn’t even know about the wire geckos that someone has put in trees around the parking lot. But apparently I have a reputation, mostly undeserved.
Cathy, Dorothy, and Dorothy’s cousin, Abba, and I went to a few art galleries today. If you’re looking for something to do on Thanksgiving day, you could do a lot worse than visit the National Gallery of Art or any of the Smithsonian museums. The Smithsonian museums are open every day except Christmas and the National Gallery every day except Christmas and New Years Day. Parking is free and there are fewer people than most weekends (and the day after Thanksgiving is generally a lot worse). We started with the National Gallery, parking just over a block away and starting with some sculpture and some other things on the lower level. Then we went up and through the rotunda and to the impressionists. This picture of Abba shows her sketching a painting titled Interior, after Dinner by Claude Monet.
Dorothy had asked each of us to bring a sketch book and to sketch at least three things that caught our eye. Since both of the girls are artists, this came naturally to both of them. Cathy and I had to force ourselves a bit. I drew a sketch from a sculpture by Paul Manship, one of my favorite twentieth century sculptors. It isn’t very good, frankly, and not something I’d be proud to show to anyone.
Abba drew from this Monet and Dorothy from a painting next to it, Théodore Duret, by Edouard Vuillard. The girls have very different styles of drawing but are both pretty tallented. They are quite a lot alike in other ways, however. Beyond the similarity of their hair, they have almost identical taste in clothes, they like much of the same music, their senses of humor fit together quite well, and the basically just get along.
From the National Gallery’s main building, we went through the tunnel to the East Wing, where we saw their collection of more modern art, including Picasso, Calder, and others. On the roof terrace, Cathy was excited to find the large blue cock in the third picture, in front of which she was happy to pose. When the girls were sketching the impressionists show here, Cathy was admiring Child with Toys—Gabrielle and the Artist’s Son, Jean, by Auguste Renoir, in which Gabrielle is holding a toy chicken. So, I guess she just likes chickens. I don’t think she planned her outfit to match the chicken, but she couldn’t have done any better if she had tried. We saw this cock in London, in Trafalgar Square, in 2013, so to see it here was something
We went back to the tunnel between the wings of the National Gallery and had lunch (it’s outrageously expensive, but they know there aren’t any other alternatives anywhere nearby). Then we went to the Freer gallery to see the Peacock Room, by James Whistler, as well as other works in their collection. That room, in particular, is a favorite and Abba had never been there. We also went to the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum (which are in the same building). They have a smaller version of Paul Manship’s Dancer with Gazelles, that I drew from in the National Gallery. They also had an interesting exhibit of works by Kumi Yamashita with shadows being cast that formed faces or bodies but where the objects casting the shadows were basically random. Abba also found a painting by John Singer Sargent that was picked as a match for her by an app that find the classical painting that you most resemble. I have to say, the resemblance was there. In fact, it looks a lot like Laura, another of the cousins.
I thought I’d post a second picture from our walk at Lake Needwood this afternoon. In the woods, behind the boat house, is this sculpture of a bear. It’s a cool, laid back sort of bear, wearing flip-flops and sun glasses. Cathy figured it was a good day to kick back and watch the world go by, so that’s what she did. There wasn’t a lot of world going by, as it happened. There were occasional walkers but not really enough to keep you interested for long. So, we continued our walk, crossing the dam and walking on a smaller trail around to the Gude Trail before returning to out car.
This is a plate that my mom made in 1955 and I’ve always loved it. She was at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She insists it wasn’t graduate school because she didn’t get a degree, but I still think of it as grad school. She had finished college and was in art school. Ceramics wasn’t her main thing, but they did a little of everything including painting and sculpture, as well. Her interests were in textiles and she did a lot of silk screening. I still have the curtains that she made and which we now use as drop cloths for painting. But this plate is, I think, really nice. I wish we had some clue about the composition of the glaze, which is lovely. We have her wheel and kiln and would really like to get around to using them again.
After we took up the wall to wall carpet in our living room, we planned to put down a large rug that was at Cathy’s mom’s house. Because I having actually finished, though, we haven’t done that yet. There is still carpet under a bookcase, the TV, and the piano. We could probably fit the rug in already, but simply haven’t done so. In the meantime, we’ve put this rug down in the middle of the room. It’s too small for the space, actually, but it keeps the coffee table from sliding on the hardwood. It’s also a very nice rug in its own right adding color to the room.
As you know, if you’ve been following me for a while, my mom moved from the house she lived in for 59 years into a retirement community nearby. As they do with most new residents they published a short bio of her for the community paper. In that she talked about some of the art she has created over the years and she was asked if they might display a sample in their small gallery. They have a dozen or so display cases like the one shown here and she gave them some painted china and some small quilt work that she has done, to be displayed for six months.
I saw the display a month or so ago but Cathy wasn’t with us that day so after brunch with mom today we went to see it. The plates she painted include a nuthatch in the upper left, which is actually displayed incorrectly with the bird appearing to be on the ground instead of creeping down the trunk of a tree, as they do. At the upper right is a white-throated sparrow and the two birds on the lower plates are a black-capped chickadee on a wild rose (left) and a Carolina wren. The small quilt at the back of the bottom of the display was inspired by a Pablo Picasso painting of fish on a plate.
She has much more, of course, and has made quite a few much larger quilts but they would not fit into the display case. Also, most of the quilts have been distributed to her children and grandchildren. She showed us one she is working on now and I took a picture of her with that but decided to keep it secret until it is finished and given to its recipient.
We spent most of the day on the road today, driving up to Massachusetts to visit Dorothy for the weekend and see her senior art exhibit tomorrow evening. It was four of us, Cathy, me, and our two moms (Dorothy’s grandmas). We didn’t have traffic problems to speak of until we got onto Interstate 95 around Boston. Then it took us two hours to go 25 miles. We met up with Dorothy and went to the art building where the final preparations are under way. I’ll post a picture of Dorothy’s art tomorrow. Today, here’s Dorothy pointing out an article about a woman being attacked by a beaver.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Cathy, Dot, Margaret, and I drove up to Massachusetts to see Dorothy’s senior art show, which was from 4:00 to 6:00 PM this evening. Considering school is nearly 500 miles from home, I think Dorothy had a pretty good crew of guests. Kendra and Jacob came the farthest, flying up from North Carolina. Emily and Jessica drove from Virginia and Rob and Susie drove from Maryland. Jean flew in this morning. Abba and Josh drove from Rhode Island. Of course there were a lot of her school friends there, as well. This is her piece and here’s her artist’s statement.
What makes a person? What dictates how we remember them, what we keep of them when they go away? How much of the story can we get from objects left behind, and how can our impression of that story change the trajectory of a family? We all encounter things that change us—spirits pass through and transform. To what extent do these encounters, proclivities, and transformations get passed down from parent to child?
This work explores the footprints we leave, the things we keep, and the things we throw away. We inherit traits genetically, but we receive much more from our families than genetic material. Repetitive, mythic cycles appear in family narratives, from a history of tight hip muscles, to a history of alcoholism, to a history of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Stepping past the story of the individual, our family legends can teach us about the tasks that belong to us, the roads we are to take, and the whole to which we ultimately belong.
Dorothy and Rachel, another of the senior artists, are in a creative writing class together and their final project was related to their art project. Together they put together a book which read one way had Dorothy’s writing and flipped over had Rachel’s. I think the show was a success from pretty much every perspective. I enjoyed talking with the three art professors and they all had very nice things to say about Dorothy’s work.
One problem with this picture is that it’s a little hard to get the scale. The ceiling in this room is about 12 feet high, so this is a rather large installation.
As the weekend wound down, we had a busy but nice Sunday. After church we had a very nice lunch with Emiko and her family at a house they had rented for the weekend. It was really nice to get to know them a bit better. After that we returned to the art gallery to dismantle Dorothy’s installation. Before taking it down I took a series of photographs of various parts of the piece. I have overall views taken two weeks ago but I wasn’t able to get many closeups then. With a tripod and a bit of time, I was able to get them, some from the top of a scaffolding, so I wasn’t looking up from the floor. Then we pulled all the pins and collected the various pictures, booklets, and related paraphernalia that made up much of the piece. The painted portions will be painted over, of course. If you were not able to see it, I’m sorry, it is gone forever.
But not without photographic evidence.
For a while now I’ve bought butter in two-pound rolls. It’s a bit cheaper and we go through it quickly enough. In fact, I try to have one roll in the freezer that I take out (and replace) when the one in the fridge runs out. When Cathy’s niece Abba was here last year she took a photo on her phone of my two-pound roll on the counter. Sometime later She posted a photo of this painting on Instagram, titled “Our Own Mound of Butter.” I asked if I could buy it and now it’s hanging in our dining room.
I wasn’t able to get out into the garden to take any photos today. After going to the Motor Vehicle Administration (my favorite place) to register a new old car we bought my back started bothering me. By 1:00 in the afternoon I was having a really hard time. I got on the floor and did my “Say Goodbye To Back Pain” exercises. I went home shortly after 2:00 and spent the rest of the day on an ice pack. Late in the evening I got up and took a few pictures, including this one. I hope you enjoy it.
With apologies for Margery Allingham (whose book was the inspiration for the title of my post), this is art work in a cemetery near where we live. I went to a burial there today, followed by a memorial service in Clarksburg. I didn’t really know the woman who died but I’ve known her husband for over 45 years. We’ve lost touch a bit but we’d run into one another occasionally. Nevertheless, he’s one of a small number of men who influenced me pretty significantly in my early life. After the service, I drove back to the cemetery and wandered around a bit and took some pictures. This art is in a Jewish section of the cemetery and I really like it. There was another similarly designed piece with Moses parting the waters of the Red Sea. I’m assuming that this is Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, who:
…took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
She was not mourning, of course, but as this artwork is decorating a cemetery, I thought that title might fit well.
Dorothy gave me a set of four prints for Christmas. Three of them are portraits of the three of us, herself, Cathy, and me. The fourth was also of her so technically a portrait but it’s her walking and not facing the viewer. Anyway, she asked me to take photos of them for her and I did. She also said I could use one of those as my photo for the day. So, while I took this photograph, the actual content isn’t mine.
Of course the actual content of most of my photographs isn’t mine. I just photograph what I see. Sometimes it’s a man-made object and sometimes it’s something found in nature. Rarely is it a me-made object and even then, I only make things with materials that already exist. I like these prints and I think I like the one of me the best, which sounds egotistical but I think it’s the best of the three technically and I just like the way it looks.
I don’t really know anything about this painted box. We assume it’s Persian but don’t know if it was bought in Afghanistan or Iran (Cathy’s family lived in both). It has some writing around the top edge (not seen here) and if I can find someone familiar with the languages, perhaps we can get it translated and that will tell us more. It was difficult to get a good picture of this, because it has a high gloss finish and getting a picture with a large area of reflection was tricky. This one turned put pretty well, though.