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Archives for June, 2009


My latest opus, a duck rushing along the river during mating season:

12 x 16, oil on board more… »

Photography on sculpture

Jerry Rankin is a Montana artist who seems able to come up with completely new ideas in every project he undertakes. Only a few of these from his career are available on his web site. Recently he created two sculptures, variants of a theme, that have no precedent in anything he’s done before. Of thin, flat, black steel, they are very simple in design, being straight-edged boomerang-like shapes with one or two slots, respectively, cut into them. Yet they are intriguingly rich in perceptual surprises. I had the opportunity to borrow the cardboard maquettes, thinking I might try to illustrate these effects. Instead, I discovered an unforeseen aspect of how these objects relate to their surroundings.

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Cheap, Easy and Maybe Just Wrong

Bruce Marsh Commented on Josef Albers in reference a recent post on Giorgio Morandi. He presented the challenge of finding three colors that would create the sense of two colors overlapping – if I understand correctly. It made me wonder if this daunting task could be automatically solved by the computer.

I heid to my Adobe Illustrator and drew two identical rectangles.  One I colored green and the other a lavendar. I rendered both 50% transparent and slid one rectangle partially over the other.  This created an intermediate hue; the rectangles acting like translucent panes. I then rearranged the panes by sending one back, and where the intermediate hue had been a green over lavendar, the new effect was lavendar over green. Overdoing it, I then introduced a offset shadow effect, which created the appearance of actual translucent objects. Not done, I tried red and yellow at a greater opacity.

Would Albers – having been kept ignorant of the means employed – approved?

Form follows format


My day in Yellowstone last month was a long and varied one (see previous posts one, two, three). As I was leaving the park along the Madison river (almost the longest in the U.S.), I stopped occasionally to photograph the line of mountains on the opposite side of the valley.


As I was doing this, I had in mind the images from the month before of the landscape by Tepee Creek (post here). I was hoping to catch some of the rhythm, perhaps even musicality, that I found in both places. I’ve nurtured such a poetic and mostly unrealized hope since I read about photographer Michael Smith’s epiphany with sonograms, like the one below of a hermit thrush. Smith was inspired by the beauty of such sonograms in creating some of his wide landscapes. (Though it’s worth pointing out that Smith’s wife, Paula Chamlee, in her own way, succeeded as well or better.)

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