Sunday, March 31, 2013

And on the Third Day ...

... It's a rose pansy, again.

Not really. They were quickly replanted. 
Other pansies still lay dead in their pots.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blue Building, Too

The dominant building on the Indianapolis skyline is the J.W. Marriott hotel.
Sited on the east side of the downtown area, the building doesn't impress me 
much for any outstanding architectural features, but I do love 
its blue glass exterior and the way the color changes with the weather.
Yesterday morning, the building formed a blue grid, resembling
an Excel printout, that looked especially nice against the morning sky.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Little Blue Building: John's Fish Market

This little building has been a near daily landmark of my trips downtown 
since I moved here. No matter the color scheme, it has always been John's Fish, 
a neighborhood business that has catered to the people of Haughville 
for well over thirty-five years. Some years, it has been painted white, 
others dark red, with another incarnation of daffodil yellow.
The lighted sign over the front door shows a painted catfish and lobster
to mark its business. The little wing above is a part of the small
complex, but I have no idea what goes on there.
But I do like the dark red door against the beautiful blues
on the walls. The bright, sunny day with a clear sky
seemed just the right time to catch the building's
pallet at its springtime best.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just Not In the Mood ...

Downtown Indy at approximately 8:30 P.M.
I went to my evening art class, where the wall clock is broken.
I left too late to make my connection for the bus home.
I was stranded for two hours until the next bus was due.
Need I tell you it is also the LAST bus?
So there I was - by myself, with no place to go 
in downtown Indy on a week night to wile away
two hours. But I didn't want to wile away the time!
I wanted to go home!
People have complained for years about 
the public transportation in this city and the complaints 
are well-earned. The people of the city are frustrated and visitors
to Indy find the situation laughable, but politicians cater to themselves
and the businessmen, not the citizens so little to nothing gets
done. And it's only getting worse.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting for the Bus, for Spring ... Whatever

Four days into Spring, a snowstorm dumped nine inches of the sodden
 fluffy stuff on our area. For the most part, women who have just about given 
up hope of ever being able to wear their pretty floral prints, pastel ballet
flats, and petal pink lipcolor just hunkered down to tolerate another
of Mother Nature's little jokes. In black parkas, ugly Uggs,
and barren stares we all just wait for our buses 
and trudge through the slush ... one more day. 
One more day until we can wear flowers. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oh, the Bloomanity!

The gardeners planted pansies on Saturday in the large concrete pots
 around downtown Indy, possibly in anticipation of 
the NCAA Basketball Tournament games being hosted 
later this week. What they surely didn't plan on was the early spring
snowstorm that blew into town late Sunday, dropping about 
10 inches of snow onto the newly planted blooms.
The daffodil above had its neck snapped by the weight of the snow.
Its death in the yard of Christ Church Cathedral recalled
the albino killer in The DaVinci Code, while the poor pansies,
just planted, well, surely a failed Arctic expedition.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Winter, Etched in the Sidewalk

The snow storm, anticipated since last night, has finally arrived.
Last night's snowfall was benign and melted by late morning,
leaving instead a leaden cloud cover, full of the storm that has finally
edged into town. On my walk to the store, I found this gray gift,
left by the concrete finisher who installed a driveway a couple blocks away.
The sweeping arcs he made are intended, I suppose, to add
a bit of traction for tires. Here, the bits of soil and mulch left by
run-off from the lawn, have filled the grooves, making the concrete
resemble a dry-point etching, complete with "impressions"
made by the copper plate on a nice piece of Rives paper.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What? Little Green Things! Really?

Yep. There they were, little green plants beginning their reach towards the sun, 
emerging from the faded brown of last year's mulch.
This patch made a heart-shape offering to spring, wreathed
by the fringe from last year.

We got this bit of glorious sun, warming the earth and us.
Unfortunately it is the lure, drawing us into the light 
to serve as targets for six to nine inches of snow forecast
for tomorrow. Bleh and, to quote a blog-friend,
"Fuck, fuck, fuckity,fuck."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dunno ... Not Here

This, again, is a tree from last year, showing beautiful green buds.
(Hint, hint. Spring?) Nor were they to be seen on more 
sun-warmed branches.The news telecasts have told us to expect 
a snowstorm early Sunday. The snowplows will 
begin patrolling and plowing the streets Saturday night.
Maybe they will scare away Suzy Snowflake 
and her frigid denizens.

This lil guy has been catching a lot of flack the past few days, 
with the blame dumped at the door of his burrow.

Friday, March 22, 2013

On the Second Day of Spring ...

 ... I appeared, squalling and protesting the ham-fisted efforts
 of my mom's doctor to drag me into this world.
When my daddy saw me for the first time, he looked
at my long legs and skinny, bruised frame and
christened me "Sally Bedslats" on the spot. 
I've been "Slats" or "Shanks" ever since.

I don't remember my family as being big on recording
our lives on film, so there are very few pictures around of me,
my brother, or sister. This is the only one I have, probably because
I remember when it was taken. From the time I was a toddler,
I've loved horses; the pages on my little dictionary were 
worn and dog-eared at the spot for "H is for Horses"
because I'd stare at the artist's drawings for hours.

One summer afternoon, I was playing in the yard when I saw a man
walking up our street, carrying a big camera on a wooden tripod 
over his shoulder and leading a black and white pony.
I begged my mom to have my picture taken on the pony;
I was in heaven, thrilled beyond belief to be sitting on the back
of a real horse. To this day, I can remember the smell of the leather
saddle and the pony, the feel of my hands on the pommel,
and my bare feet in the stirrups.  I believe my little brother had his picture
taken as well, but mine is the only one that survives, possibly
because the love of my life, a real live pony, walked up
my sidewalk and I got to sit on his back for a few minutes.

When I look at this picture and think across the years in between,
I see a sweet, happy child and I love her to bits.
Happy Birthday, little girl.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guess Which One Is Not the Lawyer

A group of people passed by the other day, on their way 
to somewhere important, with what looked like everything 
they treasured in crammed-full totes.
Guess which one is not the lawyer?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lost His Keys

There he stands, day after day, year in year out; 
barefoot in freezing weather, overdressed for blazing summer heat.
Continually patting down his pockets,
looking for the car keys which, inevitably, will be
in the last place he chances to look.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Straddling the Seasons

Earlier this evening, I looked at the weather forecast 
for the next ten days. Apparently the temperatures will remain 
approximately the same throughout, in the 30s, 
as we leave winter and enter spring. Clouds have covered
my part of the country for quite some time. There has been no contrast;
everything, every damn thing seems gray, so my camera remains
in my pocket because there is no contrast, no shadow.
I am looking for the graceful line of a tree branch with buds
emerging, the palest turn of color to signify the awakening
of the Earth. It's there. Almost.

I went back to some pictures I took a couple weeks
ago to find a bright pink sunrise. The sun emerging from the treeline
in the top picture did not beat the teachers to the elementary
school, some of whom were already getting ready for their students.
The frost would still be on the soccer field when they arrived.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Aaaagh! They Live Among Us!

All this time, I've held the belief that SpongeBob SquarePants 
is a cartoon character who only comes to life inside the TV.
I had no idea he rode around the Speedway neighborhoods on the 
back of a tiny humanoid with little pointy knitted ears.
Sadly, SpongeBob reminds me of myself at "that age,"
when I had big blue eyes and a pair of Chiclets for front teeth.
Still have the blue eyes, but had the teeth fixed.
Eyes, too, if truth be known.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Watcha Doon?

I caught my classmate Dorothy as she was rummaging through her purse. 
We were waiting in the IMA lobby for the other members of our group
with the intent of checking out the museum's still life paintings,
primarily those done by artists from the Impressionist period.
Most of us come from some sort of professional background 
and enrolled in a painting class for various reasons; 
Ms. Dorothy was recently widowed and felt she needed 
to begin to meet people, one man is an aeronautical engineer, 
while I am looking for feedback as well as
contact with people who share my interests.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art seems empty in this photo.
In fact, people were continually moving in and out 
of the galleries, as well as this lobby.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Smile at the Top of the Stairs

Yesterday evening, I met a group of other women for a class 
at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where we were to examine and sketch 
the layouts for numerous still life paintings in the IMA's collection.
While I enjoyed our conversation and became engrossed 
in my sketches of a couple paintings, the high point was when 
I got off the escalator to the second floor of the museum 
and found Ai Weiwei's 2003 installation, Forever, at the entrance
to the second floor galleries.

 Of course, I'd seen photos of the piece in 
numerous art publications, but encountering its gleaming self
here, in Indy, was special. I only had the opportunity to take a couple
of pictures, but I enjoyed the rhythm of the bicycle frames and wheels,
the contrast in size, and the shadows cast onto the floor; 
Ai Weiwei had taken an everyday object and turned 
it into something else, had given it deeper meaning.
We here in the United States may be barely aware of Ai Weiwei
as an artist, but very aware of him as a dissident voice in his own country,
where he has been openly critical of the Chinese government and their
positions on democracy and human rights. We may also be more aware 
of him as the designer of the "Bird's Nest" stadium, the main arena 
for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Forever is at the IMA as a precursor to the exhibition,
Ai Weiwei: According to What? which will feature over 30 of his works,
including models for the "Bird's Nest." The exhibition opens
April 5th and will remain until July 32, 2013.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Giverny's Colors

Inspired by the colors of Claude Monet's water garden in Giverny, France, 
artist Spencer Finch designed this installation. Using a pallet based on colors drawn
from his own photographs of the gardens, color samples taken at the site,
and the pigments used by Monet, Following Nature changes as the light source
changes with the weather, as well as the time of day. 

Creating a kaleidoscope for visitors 
to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the glass panels used for
Following Nature turn on the breezes created as people enter the 
Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion, picking up their colors
from the tinted film installed on the windows.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

This Time, Last Year

Yesterday, I went looking for evidence of Spring, something other 
than the mere promise of a number on the calendar telling me 
it is just one short week away. The magnolia buds were still wearing 
their little sweaters, while the crocus plants were just beginning 
to emerge from the insulation of dead leaves 
that protected them from the cold.

To verify for myself that it was not my imagination, 
that indeed, the flowers had appeared about this time, 
I checked past pictures and found the top one, taken March 16, 2011. 
The one above was taken on the same date last year.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


As I walked up to the bus stop near the Federal Court House, 
I saw a flock of sparrows worrying a stale dinner roll.
Together they nipped at the roll, bit by bit, rolling and turning
it around the courthouse lawn.
Not long after my arrival, the pigeons flew in to claim
a share of the roll, driving the sparrows away.
The smaller birds attempted to reclaim their prize, but only
got as far as an occasional nip at the bread; while the sparrows
fed en mass, the pigeons did not share. One cock expressed
his claim by turning in circles, looking like a body builder
striking poses, flexing his shoulders to dominate
the little birds. As the cock circled, one of the sparrows
would dart in behind him to steal a bite off the roll, 
and the pigeon was none the wiser.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Up and Down

I met a group of people on Saturday, to sketch our surroundings 
at Circle Centre Mall and to have lunch. It was good to meet with people
who share a common interest. Passersby would stop to chat
with us about our work, some of whom also enjoy drawing.
I scribble, making sketches in attempts to catch the gestures of the people,
their postures, shapes, and movement; I could care less whether it's
"accurate" in a photographic sense. It's an activity I need 
to practice more often, as one easily gets stale. 

I couldn't resist taking pictures, however. 
The top photo is of the skylight above one of the public areas 
of the mall, a center for people coming 
and going via the escalator.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

To Remember

I've lived in Indianapolis a long time now. 
I've passed Christ Church Cathedral thousands of times over the years, 
attended services, and gotten homemade shortcakes at the annual 
Strawberry Festival. Until today, however, I'd never noticed
this little sculpture set in a corner of the church yard.

Incised in the base of the sculpture are the words, 
To Remember ALBERT SPLATT, 1940-1977.
I only found one mention of him on-line, in the caption
for a newspaper photo, showing him making a presentation
to one of the church's Strawberry Festival founders.
Whoever Mr. Splatt was, he was sufficently respected by members
of the church for them to want to make a small memorial
in his honor. The humble statue of St. Francis sits just off the sidewalk 
around Monument Circle, a bird in hand and his toes 
curled over the edge of the base.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Downtown, Thursday, 8:45 a.m.

People of myriad personalities and appearance cross my path 
every day I am downtown. Many are focused on their path to work,
too busy to pay attention to what is around them.
For others, being downtown appears to be their work
and their social life, an existence for which they have formed
personas that will help them get through days with no purpose, no work.

While for many people Indy is a place to achieve dreams of  a career,
a nice house and the means to support their family,
for too many others it is a place of dreams not merely deferred,
but somehow gone entirely awry.

Friday, March 8, 2013

City Trees

The sun and blue sky put in a brief appearance this afternoon.
It was a pleasure to look up to see blue reflected from the glass carapace of
the AT&T building in the background of the trees, giving the
illusion of a fair morning in downtown Indy.
Earlier, I passed the park in Speedway, where the grove
of trees forms a pattern of variegated stripes
in the cold morning air.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Night Colors

I like to always sit on the right hand side of the bus whenever 
I get the choice of a seat. First of all, I just like to see where I am going
at all times and second, I love the colors of the traffic signals
and enjoy seeing them arrayed over streets for miles
into the distance. My favorite times are when the green lights
shine out from the backdrop of a blue gray sky. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Little Hangy Down Seed Thingys with Raindrops

I don't know what this shrub is. It doesn't make pretty flowers, 
but it makes attractively colored leaves in the fall,
while providing a privacy wall between yards and streets.
Its seeds are provided in these long things that
look like nascent pinecones.
Or sections of tiny rope. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Pink Lava, Blue Frost

The sunrise had not yet touched the spot where I stood 
to catch the bus Monday morning.
The hot pink sun had just risen above the horizon,
while the place where I stood was bathed in crystal frost
and the two created a layered study of contrasts,
pink and blue, hot and cold.

Monday, March 4, 2013


In a paean to the sun, the little hydrant raises chained arms
to sing to the sunlight, to tell it of its joy;
finally the days of having cold snows thrown onto him
by passing plows are over. The sunny yellow
hydrant casts a shadow that boasts of water pressure
within that far exceeds his visible size.

Lurking in a shadowed corner of a downtown building, 
this riser boasts four heads, its spigots thoughtfully
arranged for easy access by the firefighters who may
need them.

While the red door indicates the risers within have their own shelter, 
the yellow one remains outside, perhaps as sentry.