Occasionally, I write original stuff and post it here. More commonly, this is where I store pictures of art, museum exhibits, film stills, and other stuff I find interesting.

 

Work’s been hell. After having so much control over the finances at my old job, giving it over to a centralized Accounting Department has been extremely difficult. There are also two huge events we’re organizing in May that are still in such infant planning stages that I want to tear out my hair. Added to that an injury in the tendon of my right thumb, which has effectively rendered it useless and me unable to enjoy fun and stress-lowering physical activities such as yoga and hooping, and I’ve been an unhappy camper as of late. The end is in sight, but oy, there are weeks yet to go until I’m there.

Saturday’s river trip helped, and Monday’s evening jaunt to Marfa helped even more. We met up with a Shambhala acquaintance of mine who lives part-time in Marfa with her partner, an artist who works by commission. We had beers and tasty food at Jett’s Grill, and I hadn’t realized how much I missed hanging out with intellectual non-Christian pinko commie LGBTQ kinds of folks. My people! Though we’ve met tons of cool people in Alpine (including a bunch of hoopers, whom I intend to befriend more readily once my hand heals up), a lot of folks are more conservative, and since so many of them are also my coworkers, conversation tends to stay fairly surface and safe (though not unpleasantly so). It felt so freeing to hang out with someone who knew me in my Austin life, and who shared so many perspectives and interests with Josh and me. 

(I miss my Austin friends so much.)

After dinner, we parted ways with our new friends and went to Ballroom Marfa to listen to Marisa Anderson, a guitar virtuoso from Portland whose albums have been on heavy rotation on our shared Spotify. Her stage was the parking lot behind a community art center, decorated with carpets, candles, and her guitars. I had a free beer and watched local Marfan families and their kids jostle for chairs and carpet space. Anderson herself was a stout and unassuming middle-aged woman whom I liked the instant I saw her. I loved her plainness, her humility, and her sure mastery of her instruments. She joked easily with the kids up front, many of whom she’d met earlier at their elementary school, where she had let them try playing her slide guitar.

Her set drew heavily from her latest album, which was a series of solo covers of songs and hymns in the public domain. She spoke a little bit about each song before playing, and it was obvious that she, though truly a master at her art, was still very much a student, too. She was passionate about the history of the songs, and that passion seeped into her performance. I’m typically not one for guitar solos, but these were so engaging, so deep and beautiful, and sometimes funny, too. Once all the kids had gone home (either due to the coming desert evening chill, or to short attention spans), she described a song as “Me at age 19 on mushrooms at a bluegrass festival, where all the hundreds of people playing banjos in the parking lot dissolved into ONE SONG,” which described exactly what she played next. (The old tattooed knee-sock wearing artist weirdo old dude next to me kept replying, “Yep, that’s it,” and nodding in agreement.) 

Josh bought two of her albums after the show, and we spent a few minutes chatting with her. Her last song during her set was a medley of songs on the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music, and we had a nice, short chat about its various (and mostly sucky) tribute compilations that have come out over the past decade or so. I was glad to hear her medley would be on a future album. I was so happy to tell an artist to her face how much I appreciated her, and how I hoped her future travels would be safe and fun. Hearing such music on a beautiful spring night carried me into the next day on a raft of contentment, and today wasn’t as hellish at all.

archiemcphee:

Today we learned about a species of moth made of cotton candy.

Okay, not really, but these beautiful creatures are still awesome, even if they aren’t made of spun sugar. This is the Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda), a small North American moth most often found in southern Canada from Ontario to Nova Scotia. They live in deciduous forests and feed mainly on maple trees, but we suspect that some specimens prefer to follow traveling carnivals where they hover over the cotton candy machines.

Photos by Svdmolen, Rhododendrites, Kristi Decourcy, Patrick Spurlock, Ezra S F, MacroscopicSolutions, and Lynette Schimming respectively.

[via Neatorama]

arsvitaest:

The Waterwheel
Author: Eric Ravilious (British, 1903 – 1943)Date: 1934Medium: Watercolor

arsvitaest:

The Waterwheel

Author: Eric Ravilious (British, 1903 – 1943)
Date:
1934
Medium: Watercolor

arsvitaest:

Gray and Gold
Author: John Rogers Cox (American, 1915 – 1990)Date: 1942Medium: Oil on canvasLocation: Cleveland Museum of Art The painting was produced shortly after the United States joined the Second World War. The Cleveland Museum of Art bought the painting from a traveling exhibition, ‘Artists for Victory’, consisting of works by artists who wanted to help in the war effort. The exhibition opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York on December 7, 1942, the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The painting won the Second Medal in the ‘Artists for Victory’ exhibition at the Met. (source)

arsvitaest:

Gray and Gold

Author: John Rogers Cox (American, 1915 – 1990)
Date: 1942
Medium: Oil on canvas
Location: Cleveland Museum of Art


The painting was produced shortly after the United States joined the Second World War. The Cleveland Museum of Art bought the painting from a traveling exhibition, ‘Artists for Victory’, consisting of works by artists who wanted to help in the war effort. The exhibition opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York on December 7, 1942, the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The painting won the Second Medal in the ‘Artists for Victory’ exhibition at the Met. (source)

archiemcphee:

Just in time for Easter, here’s a brand new entry from the Department of Extraordinary Eggshell Artists: Polish artist Piotr Bockenheim spends countless hours using a tiny electric drill, an awesomely delicate touch, and immeasurable patience to turn goose egg shells into exquisite sculptures.

Head over to Piotr’s DeviantART gallery to view more.

[via Colossal]

I’m very pleased with my new hiking hat.

Josh and I have been together for two years now, and to celebrate, we spent a leisurely weekend in Terlingua and Big Bend. I booked us a full-day river tour of the Rio Grande via Big Bend River Tours, who were especially accomodating. They make a habit of running smaller, more intimate tours, so it was just Josh and me and our guide, Andy, on the river Saturday morning. We dropped our canoes off at Gravel Pit near the River Road for an easy, relaxing float past hot springs and spectacular canyons.

The springs were truly hot, the near-scalding temperature that is my preferred soaking level, and it was fascinating watching them bubble up from sandy shores and limestone outcroppings. They were a little less inviting as the day’s heat increased, but I never lost an opportunity for a soak. For lunch, we stopped at an old hot springs resort that had last been in operation in the 1940’s. Before lunch, Andy showed us a raven’s nest high up on a cliffside, and we scouted for hummingbirds near yellow-flowered tobacco trees. We listened to canyon wrens’ melodic songs as we lunched under the shade of the cliffs, and had yet another soak in the ruins of the old hot spring tubs (punctuated by cool dips in the river). 

Andy was a terrific guide. He shared my love of birds, and he helped us spot twenty or more different species as we floated on the gentle current downriver. Black-necked stilts, black phoebes, blue teals, Mexican mallards, blue kingfishers, killdeers, plovers, swallows, more songbirds than I could name or place—I’ve never seen so many different kinds of birds in one day! Andy also knew a lot about the local plants, and we were finally able to place Mormon tea, lechugilla, pitaya cactus, leatherstem, and resurrection ferns under his guidance. 

We were blessed with perfect weather: warm, but with plenty of occasional cloud cover that shielded us from the worst of the sun, and just a little breeze. Andy would soak in the springs fully clothed, letting his wet clothes act as a natural air conditioner during the hotter parts of the river. (I soon followed suit.) With the Mexican border just on our right, we encountered lots of folks out enjoying the riverside for the holiday weekend, including a couple of vaqueros on horses and a big family laughing as one of their teenaged sons repeatedly doused himself trying to bicycle kick soccer balls in the middle of the river. We waved and cried “Hola!” as we passed by.

Mountainous thunderheads presaged rain after we got back to our hotel. Too tired to clean up and go out, we nicked a couple of errant bar chairs and sat in the desert behind our room, drinking wine from styrofoam cups and snacking on Triscuits and cheese as we watched four separate thunderheads come together over our heads. Lesser nighthawks and tiny bats fluttered just a few feet above us, while futher into the air, lightning seared purple afterimages inside our closed eyes. We headed inside just before rain slammed down on the tin roof of our hotel.

I feel drunk on the beauty of this magical place, so alive and wild with creatures and vivid cactus flowers and strange, tough people. My heart is full and flooding.

Hot springs next to the Rio Grande, bubbling up through sand.

archiemcphee:

Maybe this year the Easter Bunny can take the day off and we can celebrate with the Easter Snake instead. Meet Crescent, or in this case “Bunny Crescent”, Canadian DeviantARTist NocturneJewel's leucistic Texas Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoletus). She’s almost 9 years old, just over 4 feet long, and is probably better suited to hide Easter eggs simply by swallowing them, rather than trying to hide them for the rest of us to find. But we don’t mind.

NocturneJewel had a seamstress friend make this cute pair of bunny ears for Cresent, who apparently didn’t mind wearing them, but only had to do so long enough to take these awesome photos.

[via Neatorama]

It’s Excellently Eccentric Easter Day on Geyser of Awesome!