Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter Graffiti

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In Minneapolis my friend took me to see a row of long, low buildings. They were abandoned and soon to be demolished. Every inch of the exterior had been painted with the most glorious graffiti: the front, the sides, even the back facing an alley. This statement, with its accompanying little trees, was on the back, where only those seeking it out would ever see it. How frustrated the artist sounds.. But if you are an artist, you are compelled to create, to continue to make art, regardless of whether anyone might actually see it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ice Carvers

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The Winter Carnival takes place in St. Paul each January. Sculptors wielding chain saws and chisels transform rough blocks of ice into castles, mythical creatures or thrones worthy of an ice princess. As they sculpt and polish the ice, the light flowing though it casts a magical glow. We all must find our medium. Some of us work in watercolors, clay or fabric. Others choose ice.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bryant Park

I like trees best in winter. That is the time to see the differences in structure and branching patterns. Dangling nuts and seed pods, temporarily abandoned birds' nests, all are up there on view. Walking through Manhattan's Bryant Park on a gloomy winter day, I stopped to look up. All around me are buildings normally shrouded by the canopy of leaves. The bare branches look like black lace, a beautiful tangle against the winter sky.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Colored Light

Washington's National Cathedral is an imposing landmark that I can see from way off across the river. Inside, all is calm and yet all is a riot of color. Hundreds of stained glass windows illustrate scenes from the Bible and events from the history of our nation. Created over 87 years, the windows range from painterly Edwardian masterpieces to swirling modern abstracts. All of them work in harmony to pour colored light over the walls, the floors and the people. Sometimes the light is a crisp mirror image of the shapes found in the window. More often the light transforms the columns and arches into tie-dyed extravaganzas. I stand, washed in the colors and letting them soak in, hoping that they reach that place inside where all the ideas start.