26 March 2010

painting series :: part 1 (finally a beginning)

So I have a new project I've decided to FINALLY work on. It's been way too long since I did my last painting series, and I've been thinking about doing another study now for a few years - and what better time than now?

*I'll probably use this blog as a somewhat journalling, exploration, and recording process throughout, so if you mainly like the travel talk, feel free to skip the art section :) Plus, I think sharing the process will help me stay focused and keep me accountable to actually DO it!

It look me a couple of years to really narrow down what I wanted this series to be about, although I figured it would be somewhat related to (one of my favorite artistic subjects) color theory. My senior series as a fine arts student in college was color and spacial relationship studies and the small pieces I've done since then have still been related to the breakdown of color and perspective.

One of my past projects that I wish I'd explored more was an initial look into the correlation of "chance" in art. I started with the writings and ideas of John Cage, one of the most influential modern composers of the 20th century, as I'd studied him a bit during my years studying piano. Throughout his life he experimented with combining charts, ideas, thoughts in an overlapping way with music. He broke "music" down to just "sound"...and sometimes "silence" as his most famous piece is 4'33" where the pianist sits at the piano for exactly 4 minutes and 33 seconds without playing a single note. The inconsequential sounds of room become the piece.

book I worked from • key explination • detail (and some of my scribbles) of the key instructions

He also experimented with various sounds, like in his pieces for "prepared piano" which I ended up performing. Here he gives a full detailed "key" to follow to prepare the insides of a grand piano. Rubber stoppers, pieces of plastic, nuts, and bolts are all placed in specified distances between strings before the piece is performed...thus transforming the piano into something else. *Since the recording I have of my performance was before digital cameras :) I'll just include this other video that shows some great shots of the preparation and an example of the sounds. *email readers must click to online page to watch*

Another idea Cage experimented with was that of chance. In some cases he would use chance in techniques like tossing coins on charts to determine pitch, duration, and tone of musical compositions. That's what I wanted to try and show in visual sense rather than an auditory. For a simple showing of this, I sat in 3 locations for 30 minutes each and recorded what passed on the road (at the beach, on my street, downtown near the college). Each "passer-by" (car, suv, bike, truck, dog, walker, etc) were color-coded and the canvas was divided into the number of occurrences in the half-hour and colors placed in order of occurrence. There wasn't anything too complicated about this - but was just a quick study for a presentation I had to do... But ever since then, I've really wanted to dive in and do a proper series of well-documented pieces.

detail of an Interlude • couple of the "chance" painting studies

...that led me to various studies from Aristotle and Newton to modern scientists and thinkers like Longuet-Higgins. Theory of music and color. Visual and audio wave correlation. LOTS of reading. ...and hopefully soon, some actual paint.

(to be continued)

25 March 2010

poste italiane & soaps

good smelling envelope • contents of said envelope • photo from saponissimo.com

Look what I got in the mail today!

I opened up the mailbox to find a very fragrant envelope from Italia! From the beautiful Amalfi Coast nontheless...

Soaps from my friend at Saponissimo in Positano. Seeing how you never know about the service from Poste Italiane, this shipment didn't take long at all...and arrived completely intact. BRAVA!

She crafts the soaps from olive oil from Sorrento and beeswax from Positano...and lots of other wonderful things like flowers, herbs, and spices.
My choices:
• COCCOBELLO: "This soap is made with coconut milk and contains 15% cocoa butter, coloured with cocoa powder and smells of real coconuts, not like sunscreen!"
• SCIROCCO: "An ever popular exfoliating soap made with honey and beeswax from Cousin Alfonsos bees in Positano and fresh goats milk. It is unperfumed to let the natural aromas of the honey and toasted oats come through."

Can't wait to smell like coconut, cocoa, honey, vanilla, and caffe! Check out the soap shop here: Saponissimo :: Etsy, and read all about "Charlie's" adventures in Positano on her blog: Figs & Lemons".

09 March 2010

spring sprung :: a mix

Time for another mix. Spring is officially here, although we're still waiting on the warm weather to arrive (and stick around). Nevertheless, I'm really excited for the seasonal change and have been enjoying some tunes which seem to herald in the sunshine.

Plus, since it's March, it means that bathing suits, sandals, sand, and blooms are not far away! So take off your coat, trade the hot chocolate for a mint iced tea, put a flower in your hair...and enjoy:

right click HERE to download

Excuses :: The Morning Benders (Big Echo)
Let's Call it Off (Girl Talk Remix) :: Peter Bjorn & John (Writer's Block)
Kisses :: Kisses (The Heart of the Nightlife)
In the Sun :: She & Him (Volume Two)
Lifted :: Lemonade (Pure Moods EP)
Generator^Second Floor :: Freelance Whales (Weathervanes)
Our Inventions :: Lali Puna (Our Inventions)
Undercover Martyn Flexin' It (Passion Pit Remix) :: Two Door Cinema Club (Untitled)
Humdrum Town :: Theophilus London (Green Label Sound)
Chérie Lé (Sabbo Remix) :: Vieux Farka Touré (Other Roads: Fondo Remixed)
I Think Ur A Contra :: Vampire Weekend (Contra)
Animal (Peter Bjorn & John Remix) :: Miike Snow (Miike Snow)
Giving Up the Sunshowers (M.I.A vs Vampire Weekend) :: ABX (Untitled)
Boy Lilikoi :: Jónsi (Go)
The End :: Lo-Fi-Fnk (Boylife)

08 March 2010

back to it

mimosas given to me for La Festa Della Donna in Firenze

First thing: BUONA FESTA DELLA DONNE. Happy Women's Day! I'm not sure why we really don't celebrate this here in the States, but I always remember what a lovely day it was in Italy with yellow mimosa flowers everywhere.


I think I've been in a bit of an identity crisis on here lately as my blog has gone through many transitions over the years...it started out as a place to journal our preparations to move to Italy both for personal reflections and to update family and friends on the progress and plans. Then after we moved, it shifted more to a streaming postcard about our time in the bel paese. While away it seemed so easy to write almost daily of the new experiences and adventures, but when we returned, the subject of the blog naturally shifted a bit, and even the drive to write as much faded.

I went through periods of silence, and not knowing if I should keep it Italy-focused, or more of a mélange of interests. Over the last year and a half it seems to be a bit travel related with a smattering of random thoughts and events. I miss writing more though, and just decided that I really don't care to label it as much anymore and it is what it is...my blog. I'm not interested in writing everyday just to write something everyday, and I'm not doing this for any commercial interest. Just personal reflection and things I'd like to share.

That to say...Italy is an underlying theme, as it is in my head at most times. And, recently a few things came up worth mentioning.

Just last week I began private Italian tutoring lessons - for a refresher course to keep up with my practice. My tutor is a lovely ragazza from Rome and she teaches Italian and International Film at my alma mater as well. Not only did we hit it off immediately, but she also invited me to a "L'ora del caffe" at a cafe last week where I met a handful of others (including 2 other professors, some students and a couple of non-school related people) and enjoyed an hour of Italian conversation over espresso. Later she mentioned wanting to start an Italian club of sorts in town and asked for my help in setting it up - which I'm excited to do.

This week I'm attending two Italian film meet-ups as well and have another private lesson. It's been great to actually speak again, as almost daily I read, listen to, and/or watch Italian books/music/news...but I'm getting rusty when it comes to getting words out of my mouth.

It's almost been a year now since I visited Italy, and I'm getting quite antsy again. We're really hoping to start seasonal living soon and the thought of getting back to a second-home really saturates my thoughts at times. So, maybe through this year, this blog may take on a similar theme as it did in its beginning - a journey back.