Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jan 31, 2010 Droplets

Like a string of pearls, the water droplets on this bush cling to
every horizontal branch. Each drop of rain is a different shape,
heavy, bulbous, bouncing a bit, but attached with tension.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jan 30, 2010 Crocosmia

No longer dormant, these sprouting Crocosmia are vibrantly green and unfolding as they grow inches per day (or so it appears). I like the forms created by the lift and overlapping of the leaves. Looking at these reminds me that spring is coming and there will be many surprises in the natural world in the months to come.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jan 29, 2010 buds

It seems somewhat appropriate that these pink buds, as seen on the UW
campus, are heralding in spring, February and Valentine's Day. There's
the curve of the buds and the light pink flowers in contrast to the
dark pink/red flower cluster.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jan 28, 2010 Bus Stop Tree

Lighting and position can be everything. This morning the tree at the
bus stop was lit from above and below, highlighting that the branch
divisions are clustered rather than staggered.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jan 27, 2010 Bromeliad

This cotton candy colored bloom, bumpy and electric in intensity,
looks as though it was frozen in mid-eruption. It is quite a contrast
in form and color from the dark green flat leaves of this bromeliad.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jan 26, 2010 Cabbage

I like the way the overlapping leaves of this cabbage subtly
transition from blue green at the base to a lime green at the center,
meanwhile the white veins break up each leaf with various intensity.
The center leaves form a series of nested cups.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan 25, 2010 Water

Walking along the Tacoma waterfront, my attention was drawn by a slow
paddling flock of Canadian geese--they kept in formation, but because
they turned their heads or bodies slighty and slowly, the the outline
of their flock changed dynamically. But what really caught my eye was
the texture of the water with its gentle overall ripple pattern.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jan 24, 2010 Austin Botan. Garden

When you visit a botanical garden in the middle of winter you have to
be prepared to see the plants dormant, pruned back, leaf-less and
flower-less. Yet there are always surprises. The cactus section of
Austin's Botanical Garden was beautiful in all it's prickliness.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jan 23, 2010 Garlic-like pods

On a long walk through Austin's neighboods I came acoss this tree. The
hard brown pods hanging from it reminded me of garlic bulbs. However,
inside, tucked in individual compartments, there were hard redish-
brown berries. I liked the way the pods were split open to hint at
their conents and the way the pods formed a cluster.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jan 22, 2010 Yuca

Austin is very arid but people seem to make the most of any garden or
planting space. I found this yuca in front of a condo building. While
it is an interesting, puff ball shape when it is static, the wind
separates the leaves and the plant takes on completely different
shapes. It reminds me of how temporal art can be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jan 21, 2010 Grackle

Last night in Austin, at dusk, the sky filled with swaking, diving,
swarming Grackles. It was an incredible show. They landed enmasse in
trees and on buildings and electrical wires, spaced apart one bird
width, creating a sort of animated string of pearls.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan 20, 2010 Palm

Austin has quite a few palms in the downtown area, both potted and
planted in the ground. Palms look so different from other trees. All
the branches (fronds) are attached at the top of the trunk rather than
along the sides. To me, palms seem to think outside the box of what a
tree needs to look like.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jan 19, 2010 Potted Plants

I came across this large pot of plants outside a restaurant in Austin.
It reminded me of a successful installation--a variety of interesting
forms and textures arranged into an environment. I found the
combination of colors, textures, and structures very inspirational.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jan 18, 2010 Cactus

'In Austin and just stepped outside baggage claim to find a cactus.
The blooms are spent, now giving the "leaves" an eerie spor shape.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jan 17, 2010 Stump

I'm in the process of creating tree trunks for an upcoming
installation and am trying to figure out how to finish off the tops
where they have been "cut." The age rings of this stump are a lot more
subtle than I would have imagined. I like the way the barely visible bark contrasts to the almost clean cut.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jan 16, 2010 Lemon

When I picture a lemon in my mind I "see" yellow and a particular
shape. But here, with a Ponderosa lemon, I can see that the skin isn't
always yellow and that instead of being smooth, the surface of the
shape is actually bumpy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jan 15, 2010 Artichokes

One of the things I love about artchokes is thier transformation from
a tear drop of tightly bound, overlapping, green leaves to the shape
of an exploded, prickly volcano with wispy purple lava.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jan 14, 2010 Bromeliad

The pink on this bromeliad makes the whole plant "pop." But what
fascinates me here is that the plant looks like it had pink ink
dropped on it. Note how the pink fades into the green at the margins.
Looking at this I'm tempted to use ink in my work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jan 13, 2010 Folds

I like to keep a vase of fresh flowers in the house. I'm more
interested in taking in the contrasts in colors and forms than the
fragrance. The delicate, haphazard, but cohesive folds of these carnations are so elegant.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jan 12, 2010 Cattail

Seeing this cattail, I was reminded that being inspired by nature has
it's challenges--when I create a sculpture I often spend a lot of time
figuring out how to get it to support itself. Cattails, which are top
heavy, are supported by their unseen roots, so some engineering would
have to be figured out in a version I'd make.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan 11, 2010 Stalk

Sometimes I'm caught off guard by the beauty and form of the plants we
cultivate, harvest, and eat. I recently bought brussels sprouts on the
stalk and kept them on the kitchen counter for a few days. I enjoyed
looking at the tightly layered sprouts and how they were attached to
the stem in a spiral pattern, and marveled that the overall form
looked like an odd bumpy bat. I'd love to make a sculpture that
captures the essence this stalk.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jan 10, 2010 Land Art

Sometimes I think about branching out to use other materials for
sculpture. Land Art is tempting, especially when you come across human
made landscapes that have been repurposed and reshaped. But somehow
this intriguging moonscape seems so wasteful. This former mine is now
a Scottish links golf course.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jan 9, 2010 Roots

For an upcoming installation I'm creating tree trunk forms. I've begun
closely observing the area where trees connect with the earth. I've
been pleasantly surprise by the visibility and invisibility of root
structures. Here, in this example, the root forms create their own
mountainous landscape, but I've also seen trees with very regular
cylintrical trunks that penetrate the ground like a light pole, not
revealing any sort of hint of roots. I'm trying to decide how I'll
handle this aspect of my sculptures so that they'll be recognizeable
as tree trunks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jan 8, 2010 Shorn Plants

This human made landscape reminded me of a larger scale installation
that Maya Lin created at Bowling Green State University; huge bushes
on a grass slope were trimmed to look like big bocci balls. In this
planting bed I like the repitition of color, slightly irregular
placement, and the tight but rough shorn shapes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jan 7, 2010 Bark

I've been studying tree bark in preparing for my upcoming
installation, "Cover"; I found this moss covered specimen on the PLU
campus. While the orange, yellow, and green provide nice highlights,
the smooth versus rough bark makes the overall texture especially

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jan 6, 2010 Cactus

Three of my favorite artists are Maya Lin, Isamu Noguchi, and Ruth
Asawa. The forms they create really resonate with me; elegant,
contemplative, and somehow familiar. I would love to be able to
capture the essence of this cactus (seen at Volunteer Park
conservatory) in a sculpture. Ruth Asawa's tied wire and crocheted
wire sculptues capture similar forms, see

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jan 5, 2010 Real or Fake

The Volunteer Park conservatory has many interesting plants, but this
one made me reflect on my art-making. While I use botanical forms as my inspiration I usually don't try to make exact replicas of them--when I've tried to do that my versions have looked ridiculously fake. And yet here is a real plant that looks fake. It's as if someone decided to paint the branch and leaf structure of one type of plant on to another. Inspirational but not replicate-able.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jan 4, 2010 Severed Branch

Yesterday while walking through Volunteer Park in Seattle I came
across a giant severed branch cordoned off with "caution" tape. I was
struck by the multilayered scar left on the tree, long and shallow,
smooth and jagged. A fantastic relief/sculpture.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jan 3, 2010 Paperwhites

The starburst form of these flowers combined with their strong perfume is fantastic but a little overwhelming, not just for me but for their thin, elegant stems--which now lean on the window for support. This is a reminder that even the best sculptures need a well thought out and constructed base.

Jan 2, 2010 Pod in Studio

Very rainy today so I looked in my studio for inspiration from my pod
collection. I love how primordial this pod looks--the stem reminds me
of a palm tree while the top part is oversized and somewhat fuzzy.
The very different textures add to the mystery of this form.

Jan 1, 2010 Floating Tree

Walking along the Tacoma waterfront I saw a fallen tree floating in the sound. The root system was beautfully polished by the water. Was this a tree that was destined for the mill (but escaped in transit) or was it the casulty of a storm?