"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Goethe

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Birds

Over a week ago Meredith and I went to the TCM presents one day showing of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.  Even though we knew what was going to happen, the big screen experience was retrospectively novel.  Novel because I still got nervous.  I noticed that it was the total package of sound and visuals that cued my anxiety.  Plus, all of those birds on the monkey bars were certainly more menacing on the big screen.  Retrospectively, I was refreshed by movies as they used to be--a conscientiously constructed film that could not rely on computer generated explosions to fill most of the time.  I was, however, worried beforehand that clumsy special effects of the pre-computer era would now seem so unrealistic that it would be distracting.  It was not the case.  Even though the blood obviously came from a bottle, it was only one part of an experience that was well-orchestrated on many other levels. 

That brings me to all of the movies that I did not write about this summer.  (Now that the DVDs are coming out, maybe I'll give them a short mention.)  I was not impressed.  For the most part, they were 30-minute storylines sent off to the computer graphics shop with instructions to stretch it into a full-length film.  Watching fantastically over-the-top explosions and violence over and over in film after film has a de-humanizing affect.  The worst was Snow White and the Huntsman.  It was unduly menacing and sinister; the twist on the kiss was frustrating and unproductive (a bad attempt to be innovative and modern); and in the end we are left with a stern, Joan-of-Arc wanna be heroine with no happily ever after. 

Interestingly, the best movie of the summer was the other Snow White movie, Mirror, Mirror.  Like The Birds, it effectively used all of the movie making tools to create an experience and tell a story.  Special effects were expertly used as part of the package--it was really fun to watch the aging and magic in the story, but it never became the reason for the story.  Evil wasn't sugarcoated, innocence was preserved, and modern innovations were unexpected and delightful.  This twist on the kiss was full of anticipation and humor.  In the end, we get a Bollywood happily ever after that is a perfectly unexpected fairy tale ending.  I'd like to see this one again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Painting Class

Today I started a painting class in Kansas City, Mo, with the artist, Mark Weber.  I just happened on him in a google search when I discovered that the class I was going to take at the Kansas City Art Institute had been cancelled.  I think that was to my advantage.  I feel like a real amatuer after what I learned and saw today.  I am going to stop work on everything I've got going until I learn some more. 

I'm glad the class was worth it because I got a $130.00 speeding ticket on the way there.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Still Life with Crayons

We decided to make the 18-hour drive home from SC in one day, which means I was home to go to the LCAA meeting on Tuesday night.  (It also means I could hardly straighten up when I got home Monday night.)  As an activity at the end of the meeting, we all got a box of crayons and a piece of paper to draw a still life--I guess to stretch our idea about possible media choices. This is what I ended up with.  I liked doing the shadows as abstract shapes.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Glass Fusing

I learned a new art skill while here at Kiawah--glass fusing.  I am hooked.  I think it is so fun and so beautiful.  I only made a nightlight, but now I want my own kiln so I can make dishes and such.  I doubt that will happen anytime soon, so I need to find a friend that has one.

Here's a picture of the beach--it deserves equal time with the marsh.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kiawah Island, SC

We are spending the last of our summer on Kiawah Island near our hometown of Charleston, SC.  It is fabulous.  We rented some bikes that we scoot around the island on, but the beach and marsh are both within walking distance.  I tried some plein air painting of both the beach and the marsh, but each was just a so-so experience.  I thing I need some instruction or a little more practice to be able to enjoy it.  I'll just do some sketching.

One particularly nice thing about the beach house we rented is that it has very nice paintings on the walls of varying styles.