The quiet hours

The tea cup warms my hands as I sink back into the leather recliner and snuggle my feet under a fleece blanket. The only light comes from the lava lamp on the mantel and the faint glow of the skyscrapers across the way. There are no sounds at all. Branches make a sumi painting of … read more The quiet hours

Claims on me

It’s a rather long list. Coffee table, stained glass lamp, two storage bins, Turkish stone vase, Baluch tapestries, stoneware crock and mixing bowls, fireplace, patio table, cantina lights, solar driveway lights, window blind … Twenty items, all told, that were damaged or destroyed in the past six months – when the tree fell, during house … read more Claims on me

New house

[Sunday, Jan. 15] We slept soundly, and woke up this morning in our own bed at last. It squeaked. Loudly. In the dozen years we’ve owned it, the frame hasn’t squeaked before. The movers left off some screws when they reassembled it. I’ve always loved the smell of this house that emanates from the raw wood … read more New house

Playing with 13 Rectangles

In making a fused glass version of Kandinsky’s 13 Rectangles, I intended to explore his philosophy of color while translating the painting from oil to another medium. I certainly learned about his use of values, which I didn’t expect; and a bit about blending, which isn’t possible in glass the way it is with paint. After playing with 13 … read more Playing with 13 Rectangles

Decision fatigue

I read that high-powered executives try to limit the number of trivial decisions they have to make each day, so that they can save their mental energy for the important decisions. They have a rack of identical suits, they have tightly scheduled routines, they let someone else order lunch. There is actual science behind this. … read more Decision fatigue

Copying a master

Art students are always told to study the masters, and to copy them. Coming from a journalism background, I was at first taken aback by this approach – it seemed at worst a kind of plagiarism, and at best an exercise that would stifle originality. But once I tried it a few times, I realized that it … read more Copying a master

Making room for art

About a year ago, I took a few drawing classes that made me very unhappy. The teachers offered little in the way of actual instruction. There were no learning objectives set out, no clear progression of skills outlined for us. We drew the model and the instructor made random comments and remarks that were intended … read more Making room for art

Kandinsky on materialism

Feeling deprived of spirit and art, I started the morning by re-reading Wassily Kandinsky’s “Concerning the Spiritual in Art.” That got my day going right. One of the quotes I highlighted: Our minds, which are even now only just awakening after years of materialism, are infected with the despair of unbelief, of lack of purpose and … read more Kandinsky on materialism