Haiku ~ The Wedding

Haiku ~ The Wedding

Today another Royal couple were created for the House of Windsor (or rather, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, until the political change) and also for the paparazzi. After months of build up we will see further weeks of pictures of the wedding followed by the usual “is she pregnant yet?” speculation  for months on end up until the point at least two royal sproglets are dutifully produced to (Royal) Order.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t watch the wedding, but instead decided to use the opportunity to celebrate the day by restarting my blog (yet again – I’ve been very busy) with the following haiku.

Enjoy, or not, the choice is yours!):

 

Worldwide coverage.

Amid pomp and vanity,

Privileged couple wed

160214_LoveIsAllYouNeed

Having said all this, I obviously wish them all the best for a long and happy future together.

~Richard

The Art of Lyme Disease

As part of our bucolic Pennsylvanian environment we have many deer traipsing across our property throughout the year. These pleasant little groups, especially when they have the fawns with them, are nice to see, although, despite the best attempts of Disney, they do have a few annoying, and even darker traits.

The most direct impact they have is their relentless browsing on many things in our garden. We have had many plants, both vegetables and flowers taken, and much damage done to young trees and shrubs too by these marauding hordes. In their defense, it’s understandable as to them we are nothing more than a provider of a herbivorous smorgasbord from which to dine, but it’s bloody annoying nevertheless.  

That being said, these hoofed visitors are generally harmless to us, though, with two notable exceptions. Firstly, they have a tendency to leap out in front of traffic, so injuring or killing not only themselves but many drivers who hit them and, secondly, they are a significant part of the lifecycle for the parasite that causes the Lyme disease that is so prevalent in our area.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the spirochete parasite Borellia burdorferi which is carried by the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, and delivered when the tick is having a good blood meal on a human being. This little payload can cause a classic “bullseye” rash of concentric red rings on the skin as the infection spreads, although it does not occur in all cases. Once infected the victim exhibits flu-like symptoms of fever, fatigue, muscle aches and generally feeling unwell. If it is diagnosed quickly enough then one or two 28-day treatment cycles of oral doxycycline should take care of it, although there can be long term effects which include joint pain, arthritis and neuropathies.

The weird thing, from my perspective, is that a person does not obtain immunity from the infectious agent, but can be reinfected. I know this as I have been immunologically diagnosed with this twice in 3 years so far.

So, as I sat here over the weekend I thought I’d create some “Lyme inspired” artwork, in the style of those pop art posters. Lyme Disease – the gift that keeps on giving!

Lyme1

Lyme3

Lyme2

Richard

May Day, Kitchener redux and Voting.

May Day Celebration isn’t a big thing in the USA. We don’t celebrate it as the start of Spring and there’s certainly no National Holiday for us on what is largely International Worker’s Day in many countries in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, it usually just passes us by as a regular working day. This year, though,  many are talking to the streets, mainly protesting the current state of affairs in the government and the recent policies of the US Executive.

I find all this latter day engagement in the system fascinating. It is interesting to see just how much politics is being talked about these days compared to only a few short years back. This is a good thing as perhaps more people are finally taking active interest in the way they are being governed.

170501_KitchenerVOTE.jpg

That being said, my point today is to highlight the still pathetic engagement that voters generally have in our Western democracies. It is staggering that we pontificate about installing democracies onto other cultures, rightly or wrongly, and belittle anyone who does not espouse our values and yet, when it comes around to election time quite often fewer than half of eligible voters actually turn up to the polls to actually make their mark in the box.

The next big election in my little transatlantic world is in the UK next month and I could not but help create this poster based on one of the many (in)famous WWI recruiting posters put out with Lord Kitchener’s prominent mustachioed visage.

My perspective – get out there and do your democratic duty by casting your vote – even if it means writing in someone else’s name because you don’t like any candidates. If you don’t make this small effort what right do you have to even comment on our government?

~Richard

A Story – Keyhole Figures

It was only a brief vision, but it left him stone cold nonetheless. They had said that early in the morning, when the place was quiet that strange things happened near that door. He had been doing his regular rounds but was a little delayed when he passed the space. Maybe only ten minutes but it made all the difference. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and and a deadening silence as he passed. Glancing over his left shoulder as he walked down the incline he saw the figures quite clearly. A young woman in a shawl and a small boy. They just stared at him as if they were expecting him to be someone else. Their gazes bored into him with longing. He blinked and they were gone, but he shivered and quickened his pace. He made up the ten minutes by the time he reached the end of his rounds. He would definitely not be late again…

170422_KeyholeDoorStory

~Richard

Banksy or Pranksy?

Some care to identify the World’s highest paid living artist, others don’t. I like what s/he does, as an anonymous artist either way. (See what I did there?)

This article came to my attention today. Am I the only one to notice that it occurred around April 1st?  Time will tell…

170403_Pranksy.jpg

~Richard

Vermeer Revisited

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) was an astounding Dutch painter who specialized in fairly mundane scenes of 17th century domesticity around his home town of Delft.

I don’t know what possessed me really, but I have recently seen his famous painting from 1665, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” so many times that this image has lodged itself in my brain rather in a similar way to a musical earworm. As a result I spent several hours over the last couple of days revisiting this classic work and adding my own interpretations.

170222_vermeer2
Girl with No Earring
170222_vermeer3
Girl with a Razor Blade
170222_vermeer1
Girl in a Space Helmet

~Richard

What you feel, or why a painting is like a pizza

This is the first time I have composed a book review for this blog (I have reviewed hundreds of items on Amazon, but that’s another story), however, I felt compelled to mention this particular book simply because of the effect it has had on me, which has been little short of transformational.

I have been a photographer for several years and I maintain that the simple act of using a camera viewfinder and considering the composition of a shot has literally and figuratively opened my eyes on how I see the world. As someone with little formal art background and a career in a scientific world this subjective area of my life has always played “second-fiddle,” so to speak, to the practicalities of successfully raising a family in an ever-changing world.  

Recently we visited MoMA in New York and I was amazed by much of the artwork and confused by much of the more abstract works too. I was fortunate to visit another gallery the following day (The Frick Collection) with an extremely knowledgeable friend and, importantly, I listened as he explained the nuances of many of the historical art pieces on display.

This outing spurred me on to visit my local library and the selection of the book, Why a painting is like a pizza, by Nancy Heller so that I may get to grips with contemporary art. I am so glad I did.

170121_ArtPizza.jpg

Heller’s introduction and simple comparison to real-world examples at the start of this relatively compact book suddenly made everything click into place. Working through the concise chapters and the color and monochrome plates I was drawn into the world of contemporary art through abstractionism and abstract art forms. I now have a much clearer understanding of these highly complex pieces of art and appreciate the why monochrome works and minimalist pieces can evoke responses in critics which appeared often insane to me, but a few short weeks ago!

To be honest, reading this single book, timed as it was with my gallery visits and friendly guidance, has been like an epiphany to me. Needless to say, I have now ordered a copy and I am sure I will keep coming back to it again and again. Heller’s work is by no means comprehensive, nor does it profess to be. It does however extend from painting to sculpture and installation art forms, and has certainly whet my appetite to explore more. I cannot wait to get back to MoMA and other art museums…

To paraphrase what I have learned from this small book:

“art is not what you see, but what you feel

~Richard

 

Stock Market Skylines

If you have been observing the online art world over the last few years you may have noticed just how popular have become city skyline silhouettes, often in dark colors but also as watercolors.

As graphic artwork they have a certain appeal and the other day as i was looking at the stock market online I noticed that the daily trade volume of shares could also be viewed as a sort of “skyline.” I have therefore created a series of graphic art images based on the volumes of shares traded daily on the Dow Jones Index tracker over an entire year.

It would certainly make for a conversation piece on the wall of a stock trader. Here’s the one for 2009 – what do you think?

161212_stockvolume

If you click the image it will take you to my art website and show you more from the series.

~Richard

Flip Top Head

I admit it, have a problem. When I come home from work I am like some half-starved animal desperate to eat anything that I can my hands on. If I can find an opened bag of chips or some other savory snack then I will attack it and pour it down my throat to satisfy my need for crunchy carbs.

Weird thing is though, if the bags haven’t been opened I am able to resist the urge to do so. It’s almost like there’s a magical charm on them. It’s a bit like inviting a vampire into your house, once the invitation is there it’s a free for all.

This also gives me the excuse to blame other people for my piggish behavior. “If you hadn’t opened the bag, I wouldn’t be eating it,” I cry as a pathetic excuse.

Sometimes I feel as though I may as well have a flip top head…

20160824_fry_guy
~Richard

(*ChipGuy animation by Georgie)

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