Saturday, February 28, 2009

this past week's orange etc.

lock arms 
DC is full of beautiful monuments this one stands across from NGA in front of the Federal courts building.
I stopped to admire the figures and wondered how many models posed for this interesting composition. I like the way the sculptor created this circle of figures. Notice how carefully he arranged their intertwined hands and arms.

Notice the big table sized board sheer with the blade in the air waiting on a board to slice. It is over 100 years old I believe and works like a dream. These tools of the past, along with Linda Rollins' expertise in how to use them, make this studio a real treasure for the DC area. 

Thursday lunch at NGA
Joseph, Doug, Keith (seated left to right)

I was out a lot this week starting with my visit to the clinic to get my sore tooth evaluated. Then Monday evening I held my drawing group with a new 21 year old red headed model from Peru. Tuesday, I took some photos of a  flower arrangement here at home Keith made earlier. Orange or close to orange orchids are all over the house imported from Holland.  Tuesday, I enjoyed an afternoon visit with Dan Murray again for coffee and cookies and discussion of his figure drawings and paintings. Wednesday, I hung out at the Pyramid Atlantic Studios up in Silver Spring,  Maryland with Linda Rollins building my own Barcelona Book Box anew. The original Barcelona book box ended up being a tad too tight for my copy of Cor Windhouwer's Barcelona book copy; Linda showed me a new way to build the box. It was a lot of fun working slowly in a good space with her help and all the right tools and good company. Thursday, Keith and I went to National Gallery of Art for a gallery talk about the exhibition of Robert Frank's Americans and other photographs that proceeded his famous book of 1959. We met Joseph Hall one of my newest friends who is also a photographer for the talk and really learned a lot from the lecture leader Mr. With. Then Doug Kingsbury, who was there working on his copy painting of Daniel in the Lion's Den by Rubens,  joined us for lunch after the Robert Frank gallery talk. Then after lunch and art discussions we walked up to the Flashpoint gallery on F St. to see the DCist blog photo contest winners with Joseph and discussed it over a coffee at Starbucks where we happened upon Matt Hollis another artist who does some really beautiful macro photography and lots of interesting things with fiber and sculpture. National Gallery has had a cafeteria for as long as I have been going there. It is an artifact of the era when all government agencies had food service for employees and visitors. I can remember as a kid going to the cafeteria with Mom and my Aunt Betty. I remember it was in the west building then before there was an East Building! I recall it was kind of hidden down on the ground level near the stairs in an area that is now closed to the public. Friday, I went back to NGA to hang with Doug for lunch and we went and looked at the new exhibit of Dutch Masters from the golden era of the 1600's when the city scape painting was invented. We examined them in detail looking over all those tiny brush strokes that represented people and buildings. Saturday and Sunday I took a break and just stayed home. After all these weeks of being ill and tooth aches it was nice to get out and see lots of friends and art. Still there are more I want to see and more art to enjoy. DC has so much for free and as I discovered years ago hundreds of artists living and working here.  I did not expect to find so many artists here after living in New York for 11 years. I figured that Wash. DC would be full of political people and bureaucrats but many of them moon light as artists to express their inner feelings and enjoy the relief of expression.  Today we have snow and very cold weather in Washington DC. It is the first snow of the year and the biggest in a long time. I think 2003 was the last time we had measurable snow. The cold that is blowing in from the north today is going to make the snow stick around after it blows up in drifts for a day or two. I dread going out in this very cold weather.  Normally, if there is such a thing anymore when related to weather, snow in March isn't so cold and blustery in Washington DC.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

teeth update

Early this morning I went in to see my dentist at the Whitman Walker Clinic and he did x-ray of my molar and found that it is infected or impacted as they say. He showed me where the roots of the tooth that hurt was all inflamed and said that the gums were also red. He says the earlier filling came very close to the nerve and that may be where the inflammation set in and slowly worked its way into the nerves. Once a tooth's nerve is infected they never recover and have to be drilled out or they cause damage to the bones of the jaw. This means I have to have an infamous root canal performed or alternatively an extraction.  He offered to try to do the root canal, and since he did my first root canal for me before I am confidant about a second. Normally a specialist would be called in for this difficult task but specialists don't take a "fee for service" that my clinic doctor does.  Clearly if I had lots of money or some private dental insurance I could have it done by and expert or maybe they would suggest extraction and an implant to replace the tooth but since I am on assistance I have to take what is available from my clinic Doctor.  I am happy to have a root canal option because the alternative would leave me with a missing molar.  I have to say that my first root canal was kind of long and involved but since it was done and my tooth is crowned I feel much better. At least after the root is taken out there isn't going to be anymore pain in that tooth! By the end of March or mid April I should have my second crown. Crunchy cookies and pop corn are my downfall but it was just the tipping point of a deep infection that was bound to come out and display eventually. 
The antibiotics I am taking calmed the infection so the pain has waned since Sunday afternoon. I still have to be careful not to jar it with chewing hard stuff like my favorite crunchy cookies with nuts and fruits. Thanks for your support with this and other illness I have been suffering the past couple weeks. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

teeth tulips & Jerome Robins

orange & red tulips detail 

It is Friday, and I have a developing tooth ache. A call to my dentist took awhile to get a response but once I got Dr. Hughes on the phone and told him about the type of pain and location he was pretty quick to say " Oh, that sounds like a possible fracture." I told him how it developed while chewing on a cookie with walnuts and dates. Which was well worth this discomfort I might add. He wants me to get up early on Monday and come over to see him for an exam and X-ray, meanwhile he is calling in antibiotics and pain medication and told me to avoid hard foods and chewing on that side. I have had a fracture before and he had the broken tooth pulled out but that was a rare fracture  that could not be repaired. I will skip that story. I know just thinking about a visit to the dentist can make some people sick to their stomachs and I sure don't want to injury my readers with my stories. In addition to my toothache I woke up this morning with a serious case of dizzy! Alarmingly so that when I turned over in bed, the room kept going! Yikes, I thought what the heck is going on here. I laid still for a moment and things leveled off. Then I tested it again and whee once again the room swam uncontrollably round and round for a few seconds. I figured it had something to do with my tooth. Dr. Hughes reassured me it was not uncommon to have this sort of symptom from the pressure on nerves or inner ear parts close to that part of the mouth that control our balance. My treatments should be ready tonight at the local pharmacy and I am sure that Dr. Hughes can get to the bottom of the problem once he gets a chance to examine the unhappy tooth. The cure may be a while off but just knowing someone is going to help makes getting through this easier and I don't have to do any fast moves that might cause me to fall from lack of balance this week. 
On a lighter note, earlier this week I had the pleasure of delivering a couple bouquets of red and orange parrot tulips to my Mom out in Manassas  from Keith who brought them at the market for her when he went to get his flowers for this weeks ikebana arrangements . I visited with her and we went to the movie "He's not that into you" which we enjoyed. It was filmed  in Baltimore, Maryland. Famous the Domino's Sugar sign showed up in a few of the night time harbor views. 
At home Mom had the dinning table all decked out with new linens and the traditional candles  and the small replica of Mount Vernon for Presidents day. Mount Vernon is one of my favorite little objects in her collection and is very old, though not quite as old as me.  
On Public Television Mom and  I enjoyed a profile of the choreographer Jerome Robins a American Masters program and I was delighted to learn about him and realize his impact on my life of childhood visions of dance. He was the guy who created the deliciously theatrical play and dance about "Uncle Tom's Cabin" within "The King and I" which to this day I still have to watch to the final bow if I see it on TV. The invention in movement expression and character development  make it pure delight. He also invented the Russian Jewish folk dances in Fiddler on the Roof which had the men down on their knees doing squat kicks in the dust. Seeing it made me rush to try those squat kicks in my class room dance studios as a young teenager. I wanted to be a dancer as a kid and I tried out  a lot of the moves that I saw on TV and in the movies at home to begin with then later in my dance classes where we had some time to try out moves. I think my sister and I danced everywhere as kids. Including on the furniture and in the field out back of the house in the deep grass. Down the side walk in mock parades and in the wreck room on the linoleum tiles polished slick for good slides and turns but not so good for falls. We survived but now I find few opportunities to dance with such abandon. It was enlightening to discover on gay man had so much impact on my vision of what dance was from Fiddler to West Side Story and some ballet that I saw later in New York theaters and on TV. I never before put all that together with the name Jerome Robins sadly. Now I know and I celebrate his work today in my post. I looked for a clip of the Uncle Tom's Cabin scene on You Tube but they have none of the original movie posted  there. Subsequent High School play productions are there but lack the panache of a Robins in the original form so watch for reruns and think of him when you see poor Eliza chased by wicked King Simon Legris and his masked men dressed as scent tracking  hounds.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

mid winter's day


I had a great week up until Wed. when I suddenly became sick and came quickly home to bed. I had a trip to visit both my pals named Dan for coffees and a few exhibits including some great figurative work at the Hirshhorn museum I didn't even know was hanging. There was good food and fun book binding at Pyramid Atlantic Studios in Silver Spring where I learned a new way to make a covered box from Linda Rollins the resident binding master. At the Hirshhorn naturally I took pictures and have some posted on Flickr. pages. Monday I did some community work with an AIDS research meeting and drawing group got short circuited when the figure model forgot he was suppose to model and didn't show up. I had my groceries ready and my Valentines day gift all packed up for my sweetheart when I came home Wed. and basically dropped into bed with a thermometer to measure the heat in my head. 101.5ºF  after a treatment for the aches and pains with Alieve I was really sick. Not a happy day after that news sunk in . I had to miss the local poetry reading which I have missed for several months.  I wanted to attend after rearranging the weeks I go out to visit in Manassas to fall opposite the monthly readings always on the second Wednesday of each month.  I resolved to be happy. I had lots of art in my head, visited several  friends in person, and learned a new thing along the way. I resolved to sit back and wait to feel better.  I soon discovered many of my friends have already experienced this bug. Keith helped out with a trip to the dreaded Giant for Gatorade and he brought me a bucket beside our bed from the cold porch outside in case the nausea got the best of me. Soup was the most I wanted to eat and he made it ready when I was. 
The days rolled by and Friday 13th I was presented  with a beautiful bouquet of soft white parrot tulips and a bunch of clipped green orchids by my desk. Yesterday Valentines day and winter came back after days of warmer than seasonal weather. My tulips were happy and began to blush pink as they grew and stood taller. I had an encouraging talks with my many friends and even Mom called to say feel better soon. 
I took some pictures to share the thrill and save the memory of this special feeling of being loved and happy even when I wasn't feeling 100%. Facebook has been keeping me busy when I have time to interact with the screen. I posted my flowers there first and then on and now here. Seems I am everywhere and no where all at once. I love the Internet connections but real face time with any person is so much better unless you are sick when the Internet can be just right. A little at a time and not too much and clearly no guilt about infecting anyone with a bug of the biological kind. Since the I connected to the Internet I find I read much more and write volumes more than I ever expected I would as a child, who fought against the very notion that one had to know about reading. Thanks to my parents, some teachers, a few tutors and supportive aunts and grand parents they somehow got me through the struggle to overcome my dislike of the written word. Now, I think I want to post my pictures and slip back to my new book, a gift from my sweetheart.  Omnivore's Dilemma  A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan is challenging me and answering questions that everyone needs to consider. It looks kind of thick and long but I am as a slow reading finding it hard to put down. What one does on a mid winter's day? Read a good book and glance at your pretty pink tulips and count your blessings large and small. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

photography last week

NGA tunnel of undulating lights

Calder silhouettes & moon in the sky

I had a very busy week with some travel to visit and see art and make photos....
Keith and I went to NGA to see a lecture on the Dutch City Scape exhibition which opened last Sunday and enjoyed the introduction but due to the large crowd and the unseasonable warm Februray weather the gallery was just too stuffy to go see the pictures on that day. Instead, we walked the mall and went to the Smithsonian's Sackler Asian Art gallery. I was very disappointed that we couldn't take pictures of Anish Kapoor's lovely "S" curved mirror sculpture. It is a giant fun house mirror  in the lobby  space. So we looked and then enjoyed the gardens and the sky and the warm air. Keith is learning to use his digital Single Lens Reflex camera and after his class that Friday he wanted to go practice using the manual settings. The weather was perfect for working outdoors with our cameras. We took loads of photos and had a very good time. I used my point and shoot and tried to help him with the settings on his SLR digital camera. The first thing we noticed on the way to the galleries was the Alexander Calder sculpture at the corner of the East wing and the waxing moon high in the sky at one in the afternoon! We discussed how to get all that in a photograph before we went indoors to try gallery lighting problems. The tunnel light installation downstairs near the lecture hall has been a lot of fun to go watch and Keith and I went to see if we could catch it on film. I think the best of my captures was the short video below.
 If you are getting this as an email please click here to go see the webpage version where the video of the lights in the tunnel is loaded. Or just follow the link back to the Blog page on the net. 

Winter came rushing back Monday an arctic cold blast blew in as I traveled out to Manassas to finish the bird  puzzle and visit my family. It was bitterly cold with highs below freezing all day and night. The car door froze shut on my side one night when I took Mom to see the Clint Eastwood movie Grand Turino which was entertaining but deserted for the 10:00 PM show we chose. To drive home I climbed over from the passenger side to get in the drivers seat. Warm quilts were in order last week and I was delighted to sleep under one my great grand mother made with her sisters as a teenager. That means it was more than one hundred years old.  We completed the bird puzzle and did some shopping and lots of laundry. My brother Dave was home one day and we got the lowdown on his job and the Microsoft server facility he works in very long hours. It's amazing the management thinks that putting these guys to oversee and maintain all those huge banks of servers in the windowless buildings for 13 hour days is a way to get better productivity. I feel it is burning up the skilled laborers even if they get 3 or 4 days off in between and a little extra pay for overtime. But I am not in management or productivity is not one of my strong points so maybe they are on to something. I just hope he decides to get some health and disability insurance soon because it is optional he opted out. Meanwhile he seems happy to be earning a good paycheck after many years depressed and unemployed. 
I loaded dozens of my recent photos on my photo pages at all with titles and tags today. Please drop over and take a look here >>>>  Frederick on 
Comments are always welcome here and on my photos at flickr.