Tuesday, September 28, 2010

addicted to distractions/unfinished birds

I decided that it's high time to start filling up those empty curtain-hooks over my window.

With a bird-mobile.

Meaning, I get to cut out the same bird motif over and over again (in cereal box-type cardboard), glue string through the center, and sandwich the string by gluing on a cutout of newspaper on top.

And then painting it with gold acrylic paint.

Quite therapeutic work, actually.

And I think it will be pretty calming to look at when I finish.  The goal is to fill up as many curtain hooks as I can with these strings of birds, without making it look like my window has been completely invaded, say, by a flock of (highly stylized and rather small) birds flying south for the winter.

I'm excited.

Monday, September 27, 2010

in the mood for food - biscuit day

I don't know what's up with me and my obsession with food lately.  Seriously.  It's more overpowering than, say, my desire to own a Vespa.  So this morning, instead of writing my art history essay comparing an original painting with its reproduction on postcard (and how reproduction changes the meaning of art...), I was looking up different recipes online.  See, a computer is a dangerous thing.

I wanted to make some real bread, and then realized that I would either have to deal with the hassle of yeast, and kneading, or buy some buttermilk, which is entirely useless for purposes other than baking bread-y type stuff (in my opinion).

The winner - biscuits (the american kind).  such comfort food.  and it uses so few ingredients (although I did end up having to go out and buy some baking powder).

Drop Biscuits:
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup milk (or more if needed)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Measure flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add butter to bowl and rub butter into flour with your fingers or a fork. Add milk to make a thick batter, stirring only until dough sticks together. Drop by teaspoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes.

makes 9

I ended up making two batches - 9 weeny little biscuits just aren't enough.

And this is all that's left.  Yes, that's right.  Of the biscuits consumed today I must have been responsible for at seven or eight of them.  Well - they're best hot out of the oven, anyway!

I think I'll make more biscuits next weekend.  Or something else.  Maybe I'll have enough time to make more than one thing :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

nichols house + some vespa spotting

Yesterday I went on a nice 2-or-something-mile walk from MIT to Nichols House Museum, in Beacon Hill.  It was Smithsonian Museum day across the country - meaning all you had to do was sign up and print out a ticket, to go to a participating museum for free!

Nichols House was a very nice place - beautifully furnished, and it was an interesting family that lived there.  They had a lovely self portrait by John Singleton Copley there - far better looking than some of those portraits he is famous for, like Paul Revere, John Hancock, Mercy Otis Warren...

My highlight of the morning though?

Walking down Beacon St!  For the ten (or something) blocks that I walked down Beacon St, towards Boston Common, I got to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and beautiful row houses.  So peaceful.

Of course, it didn't hurt that I passed by two different Vespas on the way - one tomato red and the other black.  Wow, this Vespa thing is getting to not be so much a joke any more.  I seriously want one more than ever now.

unfortunately, inopportune timing kept me from taking a picture of the more beautiful red one.  and from taking a nice picture of this black one :(

Saturday, September 25, 2010

sometimes nighttime camera fail is good?

Last night we went on a boat cruise (the sailboat kind) of the Boston Harbor - at sunset!  The views were lovely...and as I am still familiarizing myself with all the buttons on my camera, I did not find the nighttime landscape mode until about five minutes before we were going to dock.  The resulting squiggle light lines were kind of interesting, though.

Rather dizzying too, I think.

(Norwegian Cruise Lines - I didn't know cruise ships docked out of Boston harbor...)
(Boston skyline)

Friday, September 24, 2010

claude glass...

Claude glass - small mirror, slightly convex, tinted, and carried like a pocketbook, named for Claude Lorrain, the 17th century landscape painter - when people looked at the reflection in the claude glass, they would see a world not unlike that in a painting.

So, rich people in the 18th and 19th centuries would go out into the country, in their posh carriage or what have you, and instead of looking out directly at the landscape, they would turn their back to it and look into the reflected image in their fancy Claude glass.

We groan about how people would rather sit inside and watch movies instead of going outside and enjoying the fresh air.  But is it really that much different from back then?

Thomas Gainsborough - Artist Using a Claude Glass, c. 1750

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
-William Shakespeare

Saturday, September 18, 2010

a question of perspective -

Head of a Prophet
France (Strasbourg), around 1300

on view at boston's mfa

Friday, September 17, 2010

what, 15th century?

Giovanni Bellini, St. Francis in the Wilderness - c. 1480

Okay, so a bit stylized, and the perspective a bit off - but I love the rocks, the landscape, the detail, the way St. Francis blends into nature...

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Kalinnikov - Russian composer, 1866 - 1901.

Another one of those starving musician types; when he finally got a nice theatre post as director (thanks to the recommendation of Tchaikovsky), his tuberculosis got to the point that he had to resign - and move to the Crimea for the warmer climate.  There, he wrote the majority of his music.

Today at symphony orchestra rehearsal (MITSO), we started playing the second movement of Kalinnikov's 1st Symphony.  And it's gorgeous.  Literally, tears to my eyes (if I'm in a particularly sentimental mood) gorgeous.  The harp that starts out, and then....oh goodness.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


"The bogus religiosity which now surrounds original works of art, and which is ultimately dependent upon their market value, has become the substitute for what paintings lost when the camera made them reproducible.  Its function is nostalgic.  It is the final empty claim for the continuing values of an oligarchic, undemocratic culture.  If the image is no longer unique and exclusive, the art object, the thing, must be made mysteriously so."

-Ways of Seeing, John Berger


Saturday, September 11, 2010

on art.

"The uniqueness of every painting was once part of the uniqueness of the place where it resided.  Sometimes the painting was transportable.  But it could never be seen in two places at the same time.  When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image.  As a result its meaning changes.  Or, more exactly, its meaning multiplies and fragments into many meanings."

-Ways of Seeing, John Berger

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

how does this happen...

first day of classes; less than a week of living in my dorm room, and already my desk looks like a tornado swept across it.

okay, an excuse to put off the neuroscience and biology reading at least another hour.  must. clean. room.

to escala's [intense] palladio.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

fashion @ the mfa

I went to this exhibit earlier this week - hadn't been too familiar with Richard Avedon's work before, but now...wow!

some of my favorites - from the series In Memory of the Late Mr. and Mrs. Comfort

and I especially love his 1950s work (maybe it's just because I love the glamorous New Look)...
Dovima with Elephants

Thursday, September 2, 2010


OH THE HEAT.  And then good ol' Hurricane Earl's supposed to come...

Anyway, I put my camera around my neck, put it on "continuous" mode, and randomly held down the shutter button while walking down the street.  With interesting results.  Most of them rather bad, or of the sidewalk or something.  But interesting - to me, anyway!

approaching lady...
ooh, i'm a fast walker; past the lady and onto construction!
my shadow...


back in cambridge, mass. - and getting ready for school!  first day of classes next wednesday!

took these pictures of, presumably, l.a., from my airplane window, all lit up and fascinating! plus you can see one of the wings in the background. the purple around the bottom border is from the lighting in the inside of the plane...leave it to virgin (america) to try to make things hip.