City lights at night

Dark comes so early now – it’s hard to make myself get out and exercise. But the evening was warm, the air moist, a lovely mist had rolled in. I went for a walk in the city. Even that early, 6:15 p.m., the city seemed quiet. Still lots of traffic, but the air itself muffled … read more City lights at night

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

A spooky hike

Yet another day of sunshine and 80+ degrees. I put aside the work I couldn’t finish, and went to do the toughest hike in the community. Fall colors relaxed my eyes as the dry leaves crackled under my feet. But something was strange… The forest was silent. Completely silent. I puzzled over it, then realized that … read more A spooky hike

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

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

In black and white

The other day, an old friend who’s a photojournalist complimented me on my Facebook profile photo. “Black and white is very cool,” he said. He and I both learned photography with black and white film cameras. But it’s not just nostalgia that makes us love B/W. It is a different art form altogether, when color … read more In black and white


What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing, according to lots of people who saw it on the Facebook page of Robert Elzey. They called this and similar photos that he shot in a local garden “gorgeous” and “beautiful” and “vivid.” I’d call it overcooked. This was apparent even to a non-photographer, who said, “I don’t like the color … read more Overcooked

The tugboat and the snowboarder

It’s just a messy pile of color – seven pieces of construction paper that I drew at random this morning and tossed on the board. What I saw in the pile was pleasant because of the colors. But no one would say it had beauty. I played. The triangles suggested mountains. First I did “A Stoplight … read more The tugboat and the snowboarder