Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays to All

Enjoy your time with family (ok, maybe), friends (definitely), and your art, books, movies, TV, naps, and, most of all, lots and lots of bad-for-you food.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


You want to try to stuff your turkey, not yourself. Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Snake Pot

Here's another tall neck pot. I think I got a little carried away with the neck on this one. Susan said it looks like something a snake charmer would use.

Our maintenance staff man, Dennis, found this snake skin under his porch. Of course we wanted it.

 Peter McFarlane does some really great work with snake skins:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Turrell, Monet, and No Banana for Me

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is actually in two separate buildings with a busy street between them so they put in an underground tunnel to connect the two  A sensible idea that becomes a GREAT idea if you commission James Turrell to make a permanent installation in the tunnel, The Light Inside, made with neon and ambient light. 
The picture above is what you see as you start along the elevated walkway. The colors gradually change during the day, from blue to red to magenta, so you never know what it's going to be. The only difference in the reality as opposed to the picture is that there is always a guard posted in there to be sure you don't step or fall down off the walkway which is raised up about a foot. The pink square is the wall at the end, you walk toward it and then around it to enter the other part of the museum. 

The museum's featured show was Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River. Yeah, we all know about Monet's water lilies but before he moved to Giverny and did those he painted scenes near where he lived. He actually painted more river scenes (over 100) than he did of water lilies.

The show grouped the paintings by site and subject matter which was interesting to see because you could compare how he changed his view and style depending on the time of day. Also, the show had gathered in paintings from many different sources, both museums and private collections. Below, two paintings of the same site, one painting from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the other from Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.

Finally, a lesson based on my life experiences. If you go to a park and sit down to eat a banana, don't set it down when you walk away to take some pictures, even if for just a few minutes. Unless you want to share it with a bird. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Austin Street Art

There's my bike, parked in front of one of our major streets into downtown Austin. Every weekend I find something new is added to the wall. Eventually it will be painted over with tan - a futile gesture, because within a day there will be fresh new street art added. One of my favorite ones was right after it was painted over with tan and someone did the color pours at the top.

Albert Einstein didn't have the mask at first and now he actually has a cap on. We like to keep Austin weird.  As the wall says, Sweet.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Skinny Pots

This is stained with slips instead of being glazed, but not yet fired. And below is how it turned out, which has definitely pleased me.

I'm really getting into the skinny neck stuff.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remember: Veterans Day, November 11, 2014

To our oldest generation:
Thank you for believing that freedom was worth fighting for.
To our youngest generation:
Thank you for volunteering to serve to protect our freedom.

Today, less than 0.5% of the American population serves in our military armed forces. Here's hoping that today, Veterans Day, the other 99.5 % of Americans will take the time to thank a veteran and to thank an active duty service member. They've earned your respect and your thanks.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Designer Breakfast and The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Susan hates fruit so I try to entice her with Designer Breakfasts. She especially hates raisins and calls them "rabbit droppings" but she did actually eat these. And the Cheerios. And the banana slices. A small victory for the Healthy Eating team leader.

This is the start of a pot that was made from two types of clay, raku and Gruene Butter. Their colors are different definitely different. The structure to hold the base while I'm making it is a half of a gourd.

After shaping, as it dries.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Oliver and The Pod

This is Oliver. He had a broken leg that I glued back into place. He wasn't glazed except for some of the black copper oxide in the groves around his shoulders. And he looked bad. But I sort of liked him anyway. Susan said I needed to do something about the fact that the glue job on his leg showed up, didn't really like that I had glued him to the base piece of wood, said the pod was too dark, and he looked too ghost-like. I really hate it when she's right.

So we attacked him with acrylic paint, trying to disguise the leg fix and make the pod less dominant by putting some grey areas on him. It just wasn't working well and all of the sudden she accidentally made a drip on the front. That I really didn't like - I told her drip looked "high school" and I wasn't happy because once paint has settled on an unglazed surface there is no way to get it off.  She said that when a quilter is making a quilt and one color is just too dominant that means the quilter needs to add more of that color. So she made more drips on Oliver and now he looks pretty darn good.  Did I mention that I really hate it when she's right?


The pod in Oliver's belly comes from the Turtle Pond. Below is the sequence of how the pods develop. At the end, after the flower petals drop off, the pale green pod keeps growing larger until it pops open with the new little pod seeds in it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

This vase was an experiment in a different technique and it just didn't feel right to me after it was done. The inner layer of the clay shows the raku smoke color because it isn't glazed, the outer layer is glazed. Sometimes you wander down a road just  because the view is nice but then you realize you are going in the wrong direction from where you want to be.  So the vase, with some green stuff growing nearby, wound up being a Give-Away in a tree.

Next weekend I was surprised to see it was still there.  Someone added more flowers and a snail shell (there are lots of them there).

This weekend it had evidently fallen out of the tree (a squirrel? wind? a little kid?) and someone had carefully picked up all the pieces and put them back in the hole in the tree  -- a nice gesture.  I took them out and threw them away because a new piece will go there next weekend. The people in my neighborhood who walk in this area very seldom take pieces away at first but gradually, after a few weeks, they do. That's fine with me because that's what Give-Away is all about.

These pictures are taken at the Turtle Pond on the UT campus and this little Sweater Child disappeared in one week. 

Our Netflix for the weekend was Words and Pictures, we debated between 3 and 4 stars and finally decided on 3 because the story and plot was thin. But the acting was pretty good and we liked the fact that they accurately depicted what rheumatoid arthritis does to people. We'd liked to have given Juliette Binoche 5 stars alone for her painting, especially the large black-white piece. In case you didn't know, she did all her own painting for that movie - look for that clip on YouTube.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not Moving On and a Flawless Locke

This little Sweater Child didn't make it on the train because the train was moving. As Susan says, "I have standards. They may be low but they are standards." Getting close to a moving train, slow as it might be, does not meet my standards. So watching from the box on top of the telephone pole will have to do. That's my sissy City bike in the foreground. I love it because it has a basket and because I can ride sitting straight up. When I had a road bike mostly all I saw was the pavement in front of me.

 A little birdie has found a new home.

Watched a Netflix movie that we gave 5 stars to (and it deserved at least 6): Locke. A totally flawless movie. No, it's a film, not a movie.

The character played by Tom Hardy is alternately despicable, pitiful, sympathetic,  motivating, strong, cold, warm, caring, cruel, loving, heartbreaking, you name it, he is it. In the first 10 minutes of this film you will form an opinion of Locke and of  his character, but hang on because it will continually change. One movie, one actor only, on screen the whole time. An incredible script that will suck you in and turn you around. One 90 minute movie, one actor -- as opposed to the pallid Wolf of Wall Street with a zillion actors and extras, 180 minutes of puff and wretched excess. Locke makes you glad people still make films.

Our only regret is that we didn't think it would be any good ("one actor? boring?") so we had it sitting around for about a month before we watched it. Big mistake.