Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hirshhorn Fountain

The Hirshhorn Museum is a big donut of a museum, hovering on concrete legs over a concrete plaza . It is dramatic but not the most welcoming spot along the National Mall. The fountain helps. People, especially children, help more. Their laughs bounce off the curved walls as they run round the edge of the fountain. The children give me a reason to stop. I  look at how everything is curved---the shadows, the legs supporting the building,, rippling lines of light reflected from the fountain onto the curved walls above. People help make a modernistic space feel welcoming. Children make it fun. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Black Eyed Susans

Back eyed susans have taken over the side yard of a lovely old Victorian house. You can see the long swath of yellow from two blocks away. The picket fence has temporarily failed in its mission to promote order and create a sense of containment. Like that long ago crowd of music lovers at Woodstock, the flowers had spread beyond the space originally allotted to them. They all looked in the same direction, enjoying the summer sun. Like those Woodstock flower children, soon they will be gone. The fence will remain.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Just About the Entire Rainbow

The day I was deemed old enough to receive the biggest box of crayons was a big deal; sixty-four colors, their little pointy ends waiting to be pulled out and worn down in the service of creating gardens of fantastical flowers or horses in colors not found in nature. Here is the adult equivalent for those who are into using rubber stamps, carefully laid out in chromatic order in the Stampland booth at a show. For any artist, feeling like you "have all the colors" is to feel rich, to feel creatively empowered.  Anything is possible when you possess a sampling of the entire rainbow. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Totally Tubular

We are so used to the objects around us that we pretty much don't see them any more. Sometimes it takes a glance from a different angle to change that. I dropped something on the floor and when I looked up, the stack of chairs in front of me suddenly became a regimented network of  angles and crisp curves. Sitting on the floor, staring into the tunnel of chair frames, I thought about how some industrial designer struggled to decide what was exactly the right not-quite-ninety-degree angle for those back legs. How many different barely-curving curves did he or she try?  The subtlety involved in designing what looks like a simple and straightforward chair is something to be noticed and appreciated. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Squirrel Takes a Break

Sol LeWitt's "Four Sided Pyramid" rises from a patch of lawn in the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. Once in a while, small children escape from their parents and attempt to scale the white stone blocks. The garden's four-legged residents think nothing of climbing on the sculptures.  But I rarely see a squirrel lounging quite like this. A small crowd of tourists grew at the base of the pyramid, pointing and chattering in English, German and Chinese. A tiny girl let out a happy squeal. With that, the squirrel twitched his tail and bounded off, sending the birds scattering.