Monday, April 30, 2012

China News

It's hardly the fifth month of 2012, things, big things, explosive, political, things, have been erupting in China. Two of them dropped, free-fall style, smack dab in the middle of the already tricky chessboard of the Sino-U.S. diplomacy. This is the latest one bursting on scene just last week, starring (read the story, you'll see why I use this word) this man:

Mr. Chen Guangcheng

The incident was preceded by this, other, explosion, on a scale hasn't been seen in decades, the ramifications of which no one can see the end of, starring this man, and his powerful, glamorous wife and son:

the formerly extremely-powerful,  Mr. Bo Xilai

Mr. Bo and his wife and son, portrait of a Chinese, Communist aristocracy

A Perfect Photo

KDM's daughter-in-law, Mandy took this photo of her daughter Kyleigh petting a calf (you can't see the calf, just the hair on its neck). I like it so much I'm using it on my desktop. It's a perfect picture. The dramatic light-dark contrast is balanced by the subtle contrast of textures: Kyleigh's skin, her wind-blown hair, her sweatshirt, the weaves in her sweater, the hair on the calf's neck. I also adore the non-symmetrical, but stable division between the fence as horizontal and Kyleigh as the vertical. The simplicity of this under-pattern makes the fuzzy, soft, flowing movement of the textures ever more enjoyable:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not Your Port Religion

Spotted at The Anchoress; I'm glad for the quotation marks around the word "happy." Yeah, it's not THAT kind of "happy." Hehe.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why Our Dogs Don't Eat Carrots

We had house guests during Spring Break, who boarded with us for two nights while en route relocating to the Southwest. Along with the four humans were two full-sized dogs who had lived indoor suburbia life with a penchant for healthy food. I was floored to be told that they liked vegetables such as the carrots I was peeling for dinner, and almost passed out when they gently took the carrots from my hand and consumed them with apparent regularity and delight. My guest assured me that all dogs like carrots and took some to our dogs to prove the point. With a straightforwardness characteristic of country dogs, all four turned away from the orange sticks of goodness and health. My guest was baffled at such indifference and rejection to healthy life style. What you see in these photos may be an explanation. I would be remiss if I neglected to point out that these scenes are by no means rare occurrences here on the farm. What's rare was my quickness in responding with a camera: 

What's on My Mind


First Hours

It is 8:30 AM.

  • I have said my morning prayers
  • done my morning stretching
  • greeted four dogs at the door
  • serenaded by the summer tanager from the summit of an oak tree: one scarlet among clouds of green, is he the same sojourner from last year?
  • drunk one cup of coffee
  • eaten two slices of toasts
  • read one paragraph of Chesterton (the one on the first man who ever rode a horse)
  • interrupted by the urge to blog my peppiness while changing bedsheets
  • distracted by thoughts of what sorts of painting I would do today
  • had conflicting visions of my wardrobe: should I start buying larger sizes, or lose weight and return to normal? 
  • realized that, at this rate of progression of spirit, my day would be a series of regression
  • decided to interrupt the interruption and return to changing bed sheets.
  • Good Day, all!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Notes on an Ordinary Day

I got a call from KDM while in class today. He was in town running errands, and knowing it was nearing the end of the work day, he wanted to know if I would meet somewhere for a drink. I counter-propsed a dinner somewhere and met with a whole-hearted approval. I hang up the phone, winked at my students, announcing that I just fixed myself a date for the evening.

Dinning in town proved to be a profitable idea. Besides getting to sample a new restaurant, I'm using the regular cooking time for something I was planning to do tomorrow. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day: making hot cross buns in the morning, an appointment in town at noon, RCIA by 7.

I am making hot cross buns. Last year hot cross buns were served only after Easter because I couldn't manage it by Good Friday - having to do with the fear for the two ingredients: yeast and egg white. Since then I've overcome the fear for using yeast. But egg white? I still don't like it. The idea of separating the yellow from the white strikes me as unfair and violent.

Still don't like it, but making myself do it.

This means that I could use the morning for something like painting.

Speaking of painting, here are two recent ones. I have a small class in the morning which easily allows me to sit down and paint with the students. These two are one-session studies from models.

"Ally", oil on canvas, 8"x10"

Head Study, oil on canvas, 8"x10"

I'm also doing a series of copy work from the 19th century American painter Thomas Cole, one of the leaders of a group of painters known as the Hudson River School, a group I paid the least attention to while studying art history, leaving a gaping hole in my knowledge in that discipline. I hope to make up some by way of "conversing" with the old master through the copy work. Once I have photos of these reproductions, I'll post them here to illustrate the idea.

It's the Holy Week. I solute and hold all of you and your intentions in my prayers. Peace to all.