Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Mossy Redbuds

The  morning began gray, with light showers, as I walked from 
the IUPUI campus to the Central Canal.
I was on my way to the River Promenade, which continued
the path where the canal walk ended, taking it over the 
White River to the limestone lined River Promenade.

I've walked the Promenade before and always found new beauty 
in the huge blocks of limestone stacked along the sides of
the shaded lane. Spring showed in the many redbud, magnolia and
dogwood trees blooming along the lane. Moss and lichen
gave the trees a new wardrobe of plush mottled green.

Monday, April 29, 2013

April Showers ...

After a winter that lasted much longer than anyone wanted, 
April eased into spring living up to its couplet,
"April showers bring May flowers."
The flowers have started to show, but I'm hoping their
best show will start later this week, with May.
This grouping of umbrellas hangs in the hallway
of the Herron School of Art and Design.
They appear to be motorized, although I don't
think I've ever seen them move.
The weather was dreary all day yesterday,
began raining in the afternoon,
continuing throughout Sunday. The rivers are
swollen and overflowing, an astonishing difference
from last year which saw a drought that had
begun with winter and lasted into fall.
The Herron umbrellas seemed an appropriate
expression for the outdoor mood.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Art Where You Find It

Student projects are displayed throughout the halls 
and galleries of the Herron School of Art and Design. 
The swooping, dipping swags
 and shadows along one wall caught my eye. 
Draped paper was anchored by black dots 
and cylinders undulating like a broken necklace, 
beads held only by the links of string.
It must have been the result of of a "Design in
Materials" class, inspired by generations of graduation
pranks just about everywhere.
Other than for its intended purpose, I don't think
I've seen toilet paper put to better use.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Bit of Norwich in Speedway :-]

While out walking around a Speedway neighborhood earlier this week, 
I happened to see this bird house. It reminded me of photos
posted by Dive of Small Glass Planet of his town, Norwich UK.
While the birdhouse is covered with just plain river rocks,
it nevertheless reminded me of Dive's photos of the beautiful old
buildings made of flints.

Friday, April 26, 2013

How Cubism Was Invented ...

...The model moved.
For several weeks I attended a painting class that was divided
into sessions for still life and portrait painting. I hated the first sessions;
I spent four years in high school art classes drawing still lifes 
and swore I'd never do another one. The ones set up for the little class 
were nothing I'd have chosen for myself; I was neither stirred 
nor motivated by them. 
I also did four years of drawing portraits where I showed 
a knack for distorting the features of my subjects. 
Over time, I learned to draw them "correctly,"
but at the cost of individuality, of any distinct personality of line.
So I was torn when I drew this young woman, between the need to 
regain that ability make the painting "look like" my subject
and just painting for the love of color. 
Yep, she sure is crooked, but she resembles her real self, too.
I hadn't painted a human from life for, like, forever, and it shows, 
but I am happy that I just chose to let the brush sort of
fall where it wanted, to let the color do its job.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Color of Clouds

For the past several weeks, I have been attending a small painting class downtown 
at the Herron School of Art and Design, on the IUPUI campus.
It has been interesting to see the displays of student projects that have
been hung in various spots throughout the building.
Among the ones I saw tonight was this project that I assume was meant
to  demonstrate the effect of reflected light on a surface.
I couldn't see inside the cones other than for some bits of solid color
at the scalloped edges of the shapes. The color inside each reflected 
a pastel version of itself onto the cone above.
As pretty as it is, it could make a really stunning effect
if enlarged to spread over a bigger surface.

This is to prove that digital images can be grainy. 
The photographer (me!) insisted on recording for posterity 
the reflection of moonlight on the edges on clouds.  
It looked to me like a milky streak in a chunk of blue agate.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Rainy Day

It was gray all day. Rain had been forecast and I delayed going for a walk 
even though I knew Now would definitely be better than Later.
Grass in the Coke Field is already ankle high, much of it squishy
underfoot from earlier showers.
As I skirted the edge of the little woods, I looked up to see a large nest,
too big for most birds in the area, too weird to be a squirrel's abode.
Glancing into the still leafless branches, I saw I was
being watched by a large hawk. She was at least a foot tall, 
her herringbone patterned breast echoing the patterns of 
the naked trees behind her. Too fast, I reached for my camera,
startling her into flight. I looked for her, but she had flown
to another shelter, waiting for me to leave.
I'll go back another day. And another.
I walked on, feeling a mist of rain on my face that
turned into drops, then became a shower.
Somehow, I convinced myself I could walk between
the raindrops and enjoy the shower without becoming sodden.
I took the time to visit some trees, to check on 
a couple redbuds and a plane tree in the neighborhood,
and to try for pictures of rain on these pretty trees.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Double Stop Helix

Last week, the American Pianists Association hosted the finals of the 
2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards.
The APA has as its mission to "discover, promote and advance the careers
of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists."
Every two years, the association produces either the Classical or Jazz
Fellowship Awards, seven-month long competitions featuring
talented American pianists 18 to 30 years.
The winners receive a $50,000 cash award plus career assistance,
publicity, and professional representation. 

In conjunction with the competition, the Indianapolis Downtown Artists &
Dealers Association sponsored a public art project using pianos
to create works of art. Of the eight artists chosen, four painted grand
pianos, while the others used their instruments to create sculptures
from the parts. The pianos were on view on Monument Circle from
April 11 through April 20, during which time bids were taken
for their sale at auction.

For the sculpture shown above, artist Mark Sommers used 
the internal bracing, piano wire and hammers 
to construct "Double Stop Helix," 
while base was made from the piano's keys.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ducks Think They're Pigeons ...

Earlier, this pair of mallards had been seen shopping at the neighborhood pharmacy 
just down the street, where they had tried to buy lip balm. 
The cashier asked them how they wanted to pay for the Chapstick,
the drake told her, "just put it on my bill."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Budding Beauty

The dreary rain this past week matched the sad events playing out in Boston. 
With some resolution, the weather dawned sunny and chilly on Saturday
to relieve the mood. The rivers and streams all over the area 
are flooded, but people are happy to be out and about, 
doing errands, taking part in events all around the city.

The magnolia that bloomed just a week ago already are battered
and worn from the the rain and winds. But they have been replaced 
by another round of flowers, such as these delicately hued
flowers on the trees in front of the Federal Court House.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Can Dots Also Be Square?

For some reason, my eye just loves the way the grid of the heat vent 
works with the printed design on the flank of a city bus.
They seem to complement each other.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Waiting for the Moment to Pass ...

This Canada goose waited while its mate took a few moments 
to de-stress. They were standing in the drive at work,
surrounded by parked cars and people walking in and out 
of the building. The black surface of the parking lot
must resemble that of a lake, especially when it's been raining
and water streams over its surface. Why would the geese be
so attached to it otherwise? Even the flat roof of the building would
be more private, a veritable goose spa, compared to the busy lot.
The geese leave turds the size of cigarillos and have chased some 
employees, so goose wranglers have been called in to limit
their presence. Other than the turds, I don't much mind them;
 they're the closest things to office pets we have.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Back in the Sticks

There I was, just walking along the street, wondering where 
I might find a picture, when buried among the twigs and branches 
of a tall bit of shrubbery, I saw these fresh bits 
of red and green leaves emerging from their long winter
to perform their seasonal duties. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Bit of Pink

It has rained all day, beginning this morning with a light shower 
and increasing to thunderstorms.
 This evening, I noticed some of the magnolias' petals, new blooms, 
have already become tattered  and fallen from the trees. 
There are now leaves showing in that beautiful shade of light green 
that always speaks of fresh promise.
When the rains have gone, this redbud, which had only shown
a few tiny clusters of buds, will be covered in its own 
fuzzy sweater of tiny pink flowers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Circles in Dimension

The circles moved in and out, acquiring dimension,
becoming hexagons. 
They hypnotized me. They spoke to me.
 They form the sides of a trash can.

Monday, April 15, 2013

They're He-e-e-re!

I spent quite of bit of time recently keeping an eye on the magnolia trees, 
watching for signs that the buds would shed their little sweaters,
blooming into the beautiful flowers that swathe the trees
in gowns of mauve and white.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Finally ...

After seemingly interminable days of cold and drear,
the flowers have arrived.
The hyacinths have opened in a neighborhood flower bed ...

This colony of daffodils converse among themselves
on a traffic island, their chatter sounding
like petals fluttering in the chilly breeze ...

And this little fairy door in the tree
looking for all the world like a tiny pope hat,
waiting for the gnomes who reside there to return
from their winter in Florida.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Head for Beauty

Eunice spends her days traveling back and forth 
between work and home in a hot pink tote.
She serves mutely, with no thought given 
to her personal tastes and desires, as her mistress
learns the basics of hair styling.
She begins her career with a full head of hair then,
as the course progresses, her hair is cut, braided, partitioned
with foil for coloring, and cut again until, her career
complete, her brunette tresses have disppeared. 
Eunice will become bald, sacrificed to beauty.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rainy Spring Evening, Downtown Indy

Last night during my painting class, heavy rain swept through the area. 
The noise from the hail on the roof of the art building was alarming; 
stones the size of walnuts were reported in some areas. 
The rain has continued since, although reduced to gentle showers.
Thursday evening, as I walked downtown from 
the Indiana Landmarks Center to meet my bus, I enjoyed
seeing the the flowers on the trees beginning to bloom
and the lights reflecting off the streets, glistening from the rain.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Irony, Oxymoron, and WTF?

I looked up this morning from my reading, 
to see this young woman 
on her way to work, a dress shoe on one foot 
and a surgical boot on the other.
While the heel is not ridiculously high,
I still wonder about the need to wear it while
the other foot is recovering from an injury.

UPDATE:  A friend, who had to wear this style
of surgical boot for nine months, told me that the girl is probably
wearing the one shoe from her closet that most closely matches
the height of the boot. My friend had to find this out on her
own; after suffering from hip and back pain because
of unaligned heel heights, she took it upon herself to wear
a shoe that matched that of the boot. Problem solved.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


As the bus approaches the stop where I am waiting, 
I contemplate the work for today - not the job where I am expected,
but the outline and shape for my next book. 
What do I want to say? What will be it's purpose?
How can I tell my story so that other people, who
may know nothing about the topic, will be affected by the 
people I want to present to them?
I go to this little part-time job to help cover expenses
and to keep myself socialized; it would be so easy to become
isolated and turn into the neighborhood cat lady.
On the way into town,one rider boards in tears - 
she has lost her hat and the little
pocketbook in which she carries her bus tickets.
Profoundly deaf, she communicates by sign language
and grunts, tears streaming down her face
as she attempts to make her difficulty known to us,
the hearing world.  When I left the bus, I felt inadequate;
all I could offer was a pat on her shoulder and a smile as I left,
my sad attempt to communicate to her that it will all work out.

My little concerns are nothing.
I can see. I can hear.
I spend my time trying to find ways to make interesting pictures 
and to string words together in way that people will want to
read them. I am among the fortunate who can, to a degree, extend
that ability a bit further than usual practice. 
I do not yet have the misfortune to struggle to find 
ways to make myself understood without words,
either vocally or in writing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Downspout at Glossbrenner House

Admittedly, the shot is fuzzy but I just had to share this.
When one thinks of guttering for one's house, the images generally
include the ubiquitous downspout. These days, it usually 
takes the shape of a long, rounded rectangle. When I was a kid,
it more often than not was a fluted tin tube hanging 
from the sides of houses. Now, it is bought in sections at the
big box hardware store, or extruded on-site by contractors
using shaping machines designed especially for the task.

But how many of us have ever seen spirally fluted copper
downspouts, held in place by 2-inch straps with
fleur-de-lis attaching points and diamond-head rivets?
And the fact that it remains in place over 100 years after
the home was built is nothing short of miraculous.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Glossbrenner House

During the early 20th Century, North Meridian Street provided the setting 
for the homes of many of the city's wealthy and influential citizens. 
One of these people was Alfred Glossbrenner, a prosperous businessman who, 
along with his wife Minnie and their three sons, were active politically 
and socially in the city's affairs. 

An English architect, Alfred Grindle, who immigrated to the United States in 1888,
was commissioned by Glossbrenner to design this house, which was
completed in 1910. The family hosted many gatherings in their home, many
of which were held in the third floor ballroom.
After World War II, the house was sold to Dr. Joseph Walther,
who converted it to medical offices for his clinic, added an extension
to the house, then built Winona Memorial Hospital in 1966,
the first of the city's private, for-profit hospitals.
The doctor sold the hospital in 1985, it closed altogether in 2004 and became
an increasingly worrisome blight on the area. 
After those buildings were finally razed and the addition removed, 
the Walther Cancer Foundation donated the house
to the Indiana Landmarks Foundation, which they knew would protect it.

The ILF hosted a showing last week for potential buyers. 
A portion of the exterior facade that had been connected to the extension has been
restored by the Foundation, along with some features on the first floor, 
and the roof has been repaired. 
It was surprising to me that so much of the original features of the home remain.
Even though many of the rooms were cut up into smaller enclosures,
the woodwork seems intact, many of the lighting fixtures remain, as well as
a lot of the doorknobs, with English primrose decorations 
that are featured throughout the house, 
including the main staircase and stained glass windows.

For many years, I passed this house on my way to and from work, 
and was dismayed at the tan-colored brick extension 
growing from its north side. When the hospital was closed and 
no buyers could be found, I was afraid the house would fall 
to the wrecking ball, along with the decaying 1960s structure 
to which it was conjoined. Thankfully, that did not happen, but the
house needs someone to love it, who will restore its
polished glory, as well as bring it safely into the 21st Century.


Upon seeing the electrical conduit stuck through the ballroom floor,
I overheard one man remark that he didn't realize there
were pole dancers working in 1910. The red pipes are for the
sprinkler system that was added to satisfy the fire codes.
I am virtually certain the new owners will have a new system imbeded 
in the ceiling, when he replaces the cracked, crazed, 
and broken plaster that exists throughout.


The original home had features that constituted the cutting edge technology 
of the time, including an electric butler call, intercom system, and a central vacuum cleaning system. The home originally had six bedrooms and with
7,000 square feet of space available, it could certainly be beautifully adapted
to suit many different types of needs. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

End of Day

Headed west on 10th Street at the White River Bridge, 
we had our way lighted by the bright orange sun, 
as it briefly sat poised on the horizon, then dipped below the tree line.
I had begun my day with the sun turning the eastern sky
mauve, then pink, then orange as it lit our path, 
then guided me towards home in the evening.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Men in Holes, Part 793

Well, not 793 exactly, maybe more like 627, but if I see men working in a pit,
 I feel compelled to find out just what they are doing.
Inquiring minds want to know, ya know?

On the same day I watched men bringing old transformers out of a pit, 
I found these men just outside the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
They were working to repair some pipe; one man was welding 
while the others assisted to maneuver the pipe,
hold it in place, measure, cut and to assist with assisting.
(They all had some assigned task, really, just that as their role
was completed, they moved to helping out the others.) 

You've seen those bright red tool boxes on wheels? 
Like the ones race teams have in their trackside pit boxes?
Well, the rolling tool box for the welders is shown above.
It is a box truck, containing everything they need 
to dig, cut and weld pipe.