Sunday, October 25, 2009

Inside Looking Out

The Houston International Quilt Festival springs to life each year in the George R. Brown Convention Center. I've always liked this convention center, whose structural elements are acknowledged, not hidden, and accentuated with red or blue paint. Circles are a recurring design element. This is the view from inside the convention center one minute before the doors open for the day of the show. I was struck by the rhythm of the circular windows and the white posts between each pair of doors. Look through the windows and you will see long lines of people waiting to get in, just a few of the many thousands who came to shop and be inspired by the quilts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Autumn is the time for those who love orange. While it's not my favorite hue, I can easily be seduced by a pyracantha bush laden down with shiny orange berries or by a pride of pumpkins, like these here. Being so similar in color and size, the subtle differences in shapes become important. But it's the stems that keep me looking. Thick or thin, straight, curved or set at a jaunty angle, they give each pumpkin a distinct personality. I'll bet the stems have a lot to do with what type of face might be carved into these pumpkins waiting to become Jack O' Lanterns

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Fate of Statues

The Maine Monument stands at the southwest entrance to Central Park, across from Columbus Circle. Do today's schoolchildren learn about the Spanish-American War and the sinking of the battleship that led to the slogan "Remember the Maine?" How many of us remember that the explosion was actually an accident? Time eventually separates all those guys on horses and women in Grecian drapery from their historical context. In 1913 when sculptor Attilio Piccirilli won this commission, allegorical figures were the fashion. The public knew how to "read" a work of art. I circled the monument, trying to figure out which figure was Courage, which was Fortitude and which was Peace. But here's my question: Do sculptors admit to themselves that birds will end up sitting on the heads and outstretched arms of their artworks? Do they secretly plan ahead for this so it looks graceful and attractive? Let's face it, that is the fate of statues consigned to live outdoors.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Confetti Toss

Yesterday was a perfect day for the local street fair. Music and the scent of grilling bratwursts drifted through the air as we dodged dogs straining on leashes and baby strollers the size of small sports cars. I am shy about photographing people, but there was a day at another street fair when I got lucky. A little boy wearing his newly-created crown of paper "feathers" turned and looked me right in the eye. Then he threw a handful of green confetti at me. I'd seen his clenched fist and knew what was coming. Somehow I clicked the shutter at exactly the right moment. When I saw the results, I felt like Henri Cartier-Bresson, master of the Decisive Moment.