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Archives for February, 2008

Blind, Deaf and Dumb

Change, the oft heard mantra of Democratic campaigners, has made an early stop in our house.

This post may serve as a small contribution to the ongoing conversation between Steve and myself about waterfalls as a cascade has here come undammed. It was time to get a new printer, and we got one. This drip was followed by a new Laptop to supplement our revered, but elderly desktop. I found that my equally elderly and revered Olympus camera could not be supported on the laptop. Not to worry as Jo received a new Canon Powershot for Christmas – but then its USB cable disappeared. Meanwhile the jewel case to my Photoshop program has itself gone missing. At this point the video card on the desktop went out, stranding my installed Olympus and Photoshop programs, leaving me with the option of buying a “new” card. These problems are – most of them – solvable with a precipitous flow of time and money. So, in the nonce, and failing anything new to show, I wish to present a little song and dance about t-shirts.

For the last four or five years I have done t-shirts for family and friends. I use simple iron-ons and depend upon humor and sentimentality to carry the day. Call it a little hobby of sorts, and different from anything else I do. So, granted my predicament, I beg your patience and forbearance.


I thrust my camera at a goose and added the moniker in recognition of my daughter”s – in – law old English major.


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The Refuge

The back wall of the Hewitt Downstairs studio at the Montana Artists Refuge is about 15 feet by 20 feet. It was that wall that became the repository for a series of oil-painted panels called The Refuge. The Artists Refuge is in Basin, Montana; The Refuge is oil on canvas, a product of my two-month residency in Basin.


The Refuge is a visual rendition of a psychogeography of Basin, Montana — paintings that recall scenes and feelings arising from that particular place in that particular time and space of my life.


The Refuge, oil on canvas, Approximately 6′ x 10′.

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On not letting go

When it comes to created work, most artists have little choice but to move on once they’ve produced a piece (admittedly, it can sometimes be difficult to identify or reach an endpoint). Photographers are blessed or cursed with a real choice. Probably most, having once achieved a satisfactory rendition of an image, are willing to leave it there. From that point, with digital technology, endless identical copies can be made (I’m ignoring printing technicalities, a different subject altogether). In the non-digital world of printing from negatives, a new print request may entail a repeat visit to the darkroom, but careful photographers certainly have notes on paper choice, development time, and any dodging or burning they might have settled on. Reproducibility is one of photography’s greatest strengths, despite the headaches and posturing over pricing that it may induce.


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Is your moon my moon?

Thinking as an artist, of course not. Thinking as a scientist, of course yes. This certainly reflects a difference in approach, but I don’t think there’s a true disagreement. Rather, the response depends mostly on how the question is interpreted: does my moon mean what the moon means to me or is it the moon in the sky that I see.


Somewhere between physical stimulus and mental concept lies perception. Does how I perceive the moon depend on whether I am German or Spanish, male or female? A fascinating (and amazingly readable) paper by Lera Boroditsky, Lauren Schmidt, and Webb Phillips (Dept. of Psychology, Stanford) suggests that it might. The authors didn’t study the effect of biological gender, but I suspect it could play a role because the language/culture seems to be related to grammatical gender. In German der Mond is masculine, while in Spanish la luna is feminine.

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Drawn to Water or Psychogeography II

Personal psychogeography (see previous post) has provided food for thoughts for many days to come. Listening to Will Self’s lecture on this subject, I enjoyed the image of a busy novelist who, intellectually, made the decision to allow ‘drift’ into his own life. He explained that he used to live in ‘microenvironments’ consisting of the city of London and, on his book tours, the hotels that he was transported into by airplanes and taxis. To appreciate more of his surroundings, he now walks from airports to hotels or takes buses.

I, too, find it more enjoyable to take a bus from La Guardia airport through the streets of Queens to Manhattan. Part of my enjoyment is watching the ethnicity of people boarding or leaving the bus in the different neighborhoods. Psychogeography accompanied by anthropology, an interest in the lives of people?

First of all, a common thread in my personal psychogeography has been Water. Having grown up in a small town at the North Sea, I often jogged with my dog along a bay in the ocean.


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Personal psychogeography

Psychogeography: the word conjures for me. I came across it a scant few weeks ago, and immediately it brought some coherence to many thoughts that have clattered around my mind for a while. It was like finding the framing for a photograph that brings the picture elements into good relationship.


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Basin, Montana, in winter: a Celebration of Place

I promised a final reckoning of my two-month residency in Basin Montana.

Here are a few stats: Jer and I were in Basin, population 255, from December 1 through January 28. I stopped painting January 22, having produced 70 paintings (not counting the ones I threw away). I painted 10 –14 hours a day, having little access to computers, no need to cook or clean, and the whole of Basin from which to work. The lowest temperature was 30 degrees below zero; the highest was 30 degrees above zero. I did one plein air watercolor.

Brad’s Place


Mariah and Eli’s House

Observation #1: I got better at painting. more… »