Friday, April 22, 2016

Art I'm Making: Untitled Collage No. 138 (Santa Rosa)

Another new collage, although the first I've done in a couple of weeks. This one was inspired by a piece of Japanese textile stencil I found at a rummage sale. I usually avoid found paper in my work, because I don't trust ephemera not to fade, discolor, or stain the other papers I use. Found papers often have too strong a personality of their own, drawing attention away from the abstract qualities of the composition, which, for me, always are primary.

I loved the color of the stencil, though—a deep maroon or oxblood with an ever-so-slightly iridescent effect when side-lit—impossible to reproduce photographically. I'm confident this paper will retain its qualities: it's already decades old, and these stencils, stained with persimmon tannin for water repellency, always seem to be this color or something close to it, thus stable.

Untitled Collage No. 138 (Santa Rosa), acrylic on paper, acrylic monoprint, found paper (Japanese textile stencil), collage. Image size 23 x 27cm, matted to 16 x 20 inches. Signed on dated on reverse. Signed on the mat.

Click on the image for a larger view. For more, use the Art I'm Making tab here, or visit my collage website at:

Serendipitous Art: Scratched Window

Although this looks like a piece of modern calligraphy, it's scratches on a window I saw somewhere in San Francisco not long ago. The window had been painted over. Looked like art to me. Unintended art, serendipitous art.

For more unintended art, see my blog Serendipitous Art.

Book I'm Reading: Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

Much has been written about Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. I've read five or six biographies myself. This one—Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia (By Michael Korda, Harper, 2010)—is probably the best of those. It seems unusually well researched, it's fluidly written, and, perhaps most important, while it details Lawrence's time in the desert with the Arab Revolt, it presents a balanced picture of his life, devoting more space than usual to his childhood and also to his later days, after he attempted to retreat into anonymity as an airman in the budding RAF. In the first instance, Korda elucidates Lawrence's relationship with his religiously zealous mother in particular, in the latter, his uncanny ability to stay connected with and influence the most influential people in Britain even as an airman. His intellect was irresistible. Reading Hero, I'm left wanting to read Seven Pillars of Wisdom again.

Rain: Another Half Inch Overnight (April 21-22, 2016)

Rain has been in the forecast for today, Friday, for the past couple of days, but it started early, late on Thursday and it was enough to make a difference. I found 0.55 inches in the rain gauge this morning. It's still drizzling. So far that brings our total for the 2015–2016 rain year to 29.90 inches at my Santa Rosa location. That's still below normal (historically, almost 34 inches by this time of year), but the most rain we've had in three or four years.

[Update: It rained hard again later in the day. By the end of the 22nd we had had 0.90 inches of new rain, this 0.45 inches in addition to the amount reported above. So, the total at my location now stands at 30.35 inches for the 2015-2016 rain year. This may be the last significant rain of the year. If it is, we will end up about six inches below normal but still far ahead of the last couple of years. So, much better in the short term, but not real relief from the long-term drought.]

[Sudden rain again on the night of April 26-27 sounded impressive, but left only 0.05 inches in the rain gauge, raising the total to 30.40 inches.]
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