…on the art of expression

Archive for Off the Top

Reading ..a Celebration

At work, a copy of this painting ‘The Valley of Arconville’ (c. 1887) by Theodore Robinson (1852-1896) …sits on a wall, just off the 2nd floor elevator door. It depicts a young woman sitting on a slope, comfortably on grass and reading.  Perched in natural surroundings, she is lost to the World …transported into her indulged tale.

Theodore Robinson 'Valley of Arconville'

Paintings of women reading, for me – often invoke an excitement and camaraderie – of Literature, to bask in and explore. A  sense of concentrated  immersion ..into a tale, an idea, another world – concrete or abstract. The energy leaps from the picture as an aroma of adventure experienced ..horizon expanded or frontier discovered. All within confines of mind, book, iBook, outdoors ..on the grass, amongst the trees – with scents and sounds mingled in a gentle breeze…

Claude Monet 'Dans la prarie'

So along the same vein of ‘Impressionism-Inspired’ ..Spring …and because I adore paintings of women reading – especially outdoors ..it’s only fitting there be a celebration of both.

Berthe Morisot 'Reading'

As we get into the last leg of Spring ..the pollen and ragweed still linger ..weather warms and effort to sprawl outdoors on grass, a mat, blanket… or cozied up in a comfortable chair with a good book…

Robert Reid 'Reverie'

..becomes an endless longing.


iBooks Love..

I am in love obsessed with the iBooks app, on my iPhone!

Apple iPhone

Imagine an entire library of your favorite books – even books 1300 pages long ..all condensed in an application, stored on your cell phone?  Ah! The invention is practically THE phenom of the decade!

So, if ever I should be caught gazing at my cell with a giddy smirk or lost in some reverie? — it is only because I was bitten by the iBooks bug.

Now, when doing any kind of waiting or at whim – it’s such a treat to whip out the cell and immerse in a tale ..humdrum through debates and opines ..excite from literary musings ..or simply lose oneself in a poem ..sigh!

Image: tipb.com

A Frenzied Stillness..

Claude Monet’s ‘hoarfrost near Vetheuil’ posseses a stark quietude.

But, what seems like ‘captured stillnes’ ..on closer inspection and depicted in its detail – is a frenzy of paintbrush strokes. Creating a visual bareness abound with hues of varied light and neutral tones – all in formation of miniscule tumult. An arrangement irregular, yet controlled.. A picture, complex in its austerity. A beautiful contradiction in stillness and frenzy.

I saw this painting last December. It was part of the exhibit: ‘Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay’ at the San Francisco De Young. The Exhibit was the second installment of a Tour. An impressive collection on loan from the Musée d’Orsay’, Paris, France.

The entire exhibit was varied and wonderful …but this painting turned into one of my favorites. I guess amidst my frenzied December, it emanated a peace ..its solitude, resolute.

On Walking More..

Since the month began – I am happily affirming plans to ‘Run Less and Walk more..”.  So, on a cool but sunny Winter’s day in the middle of February’s first work week — I spontaneously took a day off!  By the end of the afternoon – found myself at Piccolo Caffe in Sausalito — relaxing on the outdoor patio, sipping on a whipped cream laced Mocha and enjoying the Sunset’s amber light turn pink over the East Bay and San Francisco skylines ..absolute Bliss!

This was followed by a long walk – south, along Bridgeway Blvd — well past the row of stores and restaurants. As I leisurely strolled, drank in the early evening air – embasked in the sound of gentle waves splashing on pebbles and delighted in the night views of the San Francisco Bay and City skyline. It was utterly delicious, relaxing and enjoyed…

Image: samasc.com ..San Francisco Bay and partial city skyline at night,  from Sausalito..

Run Less ..Walk more

This is my first post of the year ..so on that note: A Happy, Hopeful 2011 and ‘Year of the Rabbit’ Wishes!
My year began with a “Bang!” …well, with the usual fireworks, parties and all that.. heehe!
It is now three weeks into February and I am still recovering from both the beginning of this and last year.. lol
Anyhow ..as I think back to the moment 2011 was toasted in — I remembered what a great 2010, I had — with the exception, it sped by so fast — it’s a bit of a blurr.

Like most of my years — 2010 was filled to its brim with Work, Projects and Activities – social and personal. (..this from a year I barely travelled ..phew!)
Apart from my head, and its endless mulling over ‘to-do lists’  …days and its nights were jam-packed with a schedule, where on average — most things are confirmed two weeks to months in advance ..and spontaneity a rare but coveted diversion.
It seemed like I was always running from one thing to the next.. (operative word: “running”)

There is always something or so many things to do, indulge or amuse oneself with — the perks of living between the city of San Francisco and Wine Country in Northern California.  Much as I appreciate all the wonderful things I have the privilege to enjoy — I couldn’t help but think it was missing its essence of “joie de vivre”.

Generally, I am good at being “present” in my moments ..but it is, in this one — I can understand and value the notion and need ..of being completely and wholly submerged.
When I was discussing this with a friend, they commented: “yes, you can’t see anything if you’re always speeding by”. I agreed.

So, for 2011 ..I’ve made a commitment to slow down — I am tired of running, I want to walk..
Since it would be unrealistic to expect myself to stop running altogether — I think, I’ll start with Run Less and Walk more..

A Stroll

Image: artistandart.org — ‘A Stroll’ ..by Czech Impressionist Artist: Antonin Slavicek (1870-1910)

Sweet December

There is something about the energy of December that ushers in an almost candy-wanton, child-like excitement.

The ebullience, infectious.  I entertain a visual of running fingers through clusters of candy …and in a swirl enthused dance, throw them in the air and watch it spray down like cascading confetti..

The delicious anticipation of the Holiday Season and  all its rituals will unfold through the month like the slow unwrapping of a gift — only toward the end is ferociously ripped through …as everything culminate to firework explosions of New Year celebrations.

So, as we choose and decorate Christmas trees ..adorn everything with lights ..shop for gifts and prepare to celebrate with Family and Friends — I also look forward to sipping hot chocolate laced with Mexican spices and Rum — while tucked under a cozy blanket by a warm fire ..evenings.

Image: painting by Judy Unger ‘Candy Medley’

Mid-Spring Groove..

It’s  mid-way through Spring. The air still wears  the dewy scent of rain ..now laced with sweet pungence of blooming flowers and stray pollen.  What is there not to love about Spring?

It is the season for renewal — when the landscape is sprouting color, vibrance and everything smells of sunshine and song.  When translated to the immediate? — all I want to do is clean, organize, adorn and re-decorate.

Clean everything from jewelry boxes to the balcony.  Organize: e-files on the desktop, online …to even the dis-array of shoes.  Adorn the excitement and novelty of Spring fashion and accessories.  Re-decorate rooms with the aroma of a vanilla cake baking to a vase of fuchsia roses harmonized with lavender and eucalyptus.

This is my mid-spring groove …this kaleidoscope of color, sights, scents and sounds of the season.

Image: Spring-Bloom, Debra Hurd  fineartamerica.com