Sunday, January 27, 2019

Oil Slick Rainbow

In the middle of the slushy parking lot, an oil slick spread across the asphalt. As a child, oil slicks were fascinating sights, magical things, rainbows dropped to earth, spreading gorgeous colors in all directions. Those were the days before iridescent fabrics, "interference" paints and glitter or sequins on everything. It was a less sparkly world. My friends and I would swirl or pull out the colors in the puddle with sticks, marveling at the way it changed as we viewed it from different angles. Now we know that it's a toxic thing, bad for the environment. Toxic, yes, but a bit of the magic remains in all those colors.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Snow Covered Branches

We've finally had our first real snowstorm of the winter. Flakes sailed steadily through the air for twenty-four hours. It was the best kind of snowfall, arriving conveniently on a weekend and with plenty of warning. On Sunday, the neighborhood was silent. Eventually we heard the muted scrape of shovels against sidewalks. No snowblowers ruined the magic. The snow was relatively light and dry. It clung to the trees long enough for everyone to admire the fairy tale quality of the lacy branches.  Then we all got back to shoveling sidewalks and sweeping off steps.  

Sunday, January 13, 2019

John singer Sargent's "Repose"

I have many favorite artworks in the National Gallery of Art. This is one of them. "Repose" was painted by John Singer Sargent in 1911. His niece, Rose-Marie Ormond is the elegantly languid model. Sargent painted it at a time when he was tired of the restrictions of commissioned portraits which required capturing a likeness and hinting at a personality, but in a flattering way. This painting strikes me as more about a creating a feeling of calmness. I can easily get lost in the subtle colors and the luminous texture of her satin dress, but it's the composition that holds me. It's all about the horizontal shapes and lines. I cannot visit "Repose" right now and neither can you. The National Gallery is closed because of the government shutdown.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A View of the Construction

A large building is going up on a busy street where a church used to stand. The plot of land adjacent to the building has become a defacto park, with welcoming signs, a bench and birdbath. It's the row of colorful chairs that attracts my attention when I walk on the quieter streets behind the new building. Neighbors can watch the building rise. After all, young children are not the only ones fascinated by swinging cranes and daring construction workers. The park was empty on this gloomy day, but the chairs wait for visitors.