oranje - recent posts from my current home

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mourning Doves

I know the picture is a little dark, but I took this on the zoom setting through my back door. These mourning doves have been nesting in our backyard for a few years now. I caught them when they were beginning their mating ritual. They have clutched once already this season. The baby has left the nest and now this pair is getting ready for another clutch.

They have a really sweet call and when I'm up early enough, I like to sit and listen to them while I'm having coffee and waking up.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Labels are a shortcut, lining up a series of interlocking premises that are used to conveniently catalog perception. In relying on premises, perception of meaning becomes a matter of matching the general contours of a concept with a set of premises that affirm previous experience. The outlines that imperfectly fit previous experience are discarded as inapplicable.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yesterday was a studio day

The first thing I did when I got to the studio yesterday was to trundle my dolly over to Typecraft Press to pick up a paper donation for an upcoming Origami project. Thank you, Typecraft! The paper is going to go a long way in helping with this project. In June, I'll be working with the Three Rivers Arts Festival to create giant Origami animals in their family area. It sounds like it's going to be really fabulous. I'll be posting more about this closer to the date.

I worked on my piece for the upcoming BARE II exhibit. I am posting some documentation pictures about the work as it progresses. I think in my last studio post, I mentioned that the piece is going to be a floor piece. I am working with a theme of the four elements in this work. At this point I am still considereing different configurations for the individual units. At far left is the interior structure of the drawer. At left is the drawer after the vellum drawings were affixed. There are two drawings with one having piercings. Two of the units are completed. I think this is more of a model for a future work. I think I might pursue this further.

Over the weekend...

It was a really packed weekend. So much happening and not enough time to do everything.

Saturday, 12:30pm

I attended a lecture given by Harry Schwalb at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts about the interest in drawing. Mr. Schwalb is a very engaging speaker. Since most of the audience were artists, the emphasis was on drawing techniques and on defining contemporary drawing. Mr. Schwalb brought examples of his own work as well as pieces from his personal collection to illustrate his points. This was more interesting than slides because you could actually see the techniques that he was referencing.

While I was there, I took a moment to look at the exhibits installed in the galleries. I have to get better about taking notes. This drawing in the second floor gallery was really exceptional. It was charcoal on stretched cavas, no protective covering. It looks like the artist used water to set the charcoal. but aside from that, it was a really beautiful piece.

Saturday, 8:00pm
Jean McClung had an extra ticket to the Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre performance at the Benedum. Prelude To Night was an exceptional work. Set to Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnole and Alborado del Graciosa, the piece was haunting. The dancers were exceptional and the choreography kept the eye and the mind engaged. In the imagination sequence, the principal dancer, Penelope Gonzales, actually seemed to float and dive above the chorus dancers. A really inspirational performance.

Sunday, 2:00pm
My brother, Chuck Busha, and I have been touring Pittsburgh's abandoned industrial sites with our digital cameras for the last year or so. On Sunday, we thought we'd try a new site. The site we went to look at was not abandoned, however, and we ended up walking down the railroad tracks to an auto wrecking yard. There really wasn't much to shoot, but we did find this old motorcycle standing next to the tracks. His photographs are posted online at Shutterpoint. We've been having a lot of fun doing this. A lot of the images I take on these excursions go into digital collages, which can be viewed in my portfolio.

Sunday, 4:30pm
My niece, Alex, was in a student exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. She has been taking Saturday art classes at the museum since she was in fourth grade. She is in eighth grade this year and has one more year left on her scholarship. She had a small painting and a sculpture of a dragonfly in the exhibit. She does digital photography, too. Her work is posted on the DeviantArt site.

It was a really great weekend.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Whistler's Ten O'Clock Lecture

I was poking around in Artblog this morning. Great thing to do while having coffee early on a Saturday morning. There was a reference to this lecture by Whistler.

About art...
She is withal selfishly occupied with her own perfection only – having no desire to teach – seeking and finding the beautiful in all conditions, and in all times – As did her high priest Rembrandt, when he saw picturesque grandeur and noble dignity in the Jews' quarter of Amsterdam – and lamented not that its inhabitants were not Greeks. –
This particular quote interests me because of the comment about art having no desire to teach. I think he was referring to the allegorical art of his time, but this comment is as applicable today.

About art product....
The taste of the tradesman, supplanted the science of the artist – and what was born of the million, went back to them – and charmed them – for it was after their own heart – and the great and the small, the statesman and the slave, took to themselves the abomination that was tendered, and preferred it, and have lived with it ever since –

And the Artists occupation was gone – and the manufacurer and the huckster took his place –
Here, Whistler seems to be decrying the trends of the art market, where some become art stars by virtue of imitation. Actually, the bulk of the lecture from this point forward seems to be centered on this theme. Further along, he says:

Vulgarity – under whose facinating influence ‘the many’ have elbowed ‘the few’ – and the gentle circle of Art swarms with the intoxicated mob of mediocrity, whose leaders prate and council, and call aloud, where the Gods once spoke in whisper! –

A very interesting and pertinent lecture. It seems that things haven't changed much in the last 125 years.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Why did you become an artist?

Every child must have been asked the same question by an ernest teacher "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I remember sitting there listening as students' hands went up and some of their answers.

The teacher told us that "You should pick a job that has something to do with what you like to do." So I sat there and thought about all of things that I liked to do and all of the things I was interested in. It seemed to me that the only job that would contain all of the things I was interested in was art. That's the earliest memory I have of a conscious decision to become an artist. Over time, I found that the arts was a perfect place for me to explore my interests and share my conclusions and ideas with others.

While I was in college and for a couple years afterward, I got away from the idea of sharing my ideas. I found that the work I was producing early on was far from hitting the mark when it came to communicating. In fact, it was downright obtuse. So, for the sake of clarity, I re-focused my work on representational images.

I have found a greater satisfaction in my work since forsaking the obtuse. And I still am a student, always searching and unwilling to deny my curiosity.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Recursive Videos

Okay, so I follow YouTube a little too much.

There was an article in the New York Times today...

People Who Watch People: Lost in an Online Hall of Mirrors

I admit it. I have watched my share of Nornna videos.

Speaking of YouTube, this is featured not just on the mother site of video blogs, but also on Salon:

Imagine This

Who would have imagined?

Untitled, as yet

I spent the day in my studio working on a piece for BARE II. The exhibit is at SPACE 101 at Pittsburgh's Brew House in May. I thought it might be fun to document this piece. So, here's the plan....

All of the work in the exhibit is supposed to be generated or based on work generated during the open model sessions at the Brew House. Since most of the work is 2D I thought it would be interesting to create a piece that had more dimension.

I found this old dresser and removed the drawers. I will be inserting silhouettes of figures and then placing drawings on vellum over them. The drawings are simple line drawings done with very thin sumi ink. I need to get a better picture of them.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shadow as a metaphor

An idea can attach itself to your mind, becoming so integrated that the roots of it are long lost and all that's left is the actions that are precipitated by it.

You are walking down the street on a bright summer day. Glancing down, you see the intricate layerings of leafy shadows. The shadows are not all the same value. The leafs that are further away cast a fainter shadow. In some places, the brightest shots of light are surrounded with soft shade. Where the branches are thin, the shadows seem to smear away from the direction of the light.

Shadow as a metaphor for experience. Not just any shadow, but the shadows cast by living trees in all their seasons. Events that happened long ago cast the faintest shadow. But in some places the shadows are so thick that the original pattern of leaf and branch is no longer discernible. Experiences that are numerous, related, blend to such a degree that you can no longer see the original incident as separate but only as reinforcing the subsequent, similar experiences.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Feeding Frenzy

The New York Times has a recent article that addresses the hunger of some dealers for the work of emerging artists. The article states that there is not enough good work out there for a burgeoning market.

Perhaps they should learn to navigate the wide lands beyond the borders of New York City. Really, it's not that difficult, especially since so many large metropolitan areas actually have comprensive transportation systems in place. And if they think that the prices of student work in New York MFA shows is reasonable, maybe they should look at the prices for the work of mid-career artists who are producing in, oh I don't know, Pittsburgh? Philadelphia?

Another suggestion for this art-hungry market? The internet! I dare you to run a search on your favorite search engine for contemporary art. You can even be specific and search for work in just your favorite medium. You'll be overwhelmed.

What are you afraid of? Making up your own mind?

a small life

Alright, so I’m procrastinating and writing in my blog instead of doing what I’m supposed to be doing today.

But it’s a beautiful day, and I don’t feel like working on my poetry project.

So I did a load of laundry

… listened to some music (Annie Lennox)

… went to the store.

… sent a few really frivolous emails

… made coffee

and now I’m doing this. And this isn’t really going to take long enough to occupy or satisfy.


today I have a really small life, focused on day-to-day concerns. Seeing everything in the lens of me instead of the facets of them: sun on face, cool breeze, river scents, warm sweet coffee, harsh acrid smoke from cheap cigarettes, stiff back, bird song.

Yes, there are larger issues. But for today, I want only to rest.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Barely Brunch

We had a wonderful time at the Brew House yesterday. I love Barely Brunch days!

My friend, Pat Barefoot, and I coordinate an open model session at the Brew House once a month. We book two models, and the session runs three to four hours. This is Pat, with our friend Rich Brown, at the session yesterday afternoon.

We've been running the Barely Brunches for nearly four years. In May, we'll be having our second exhibit. Last year, we had a really nice exhibit. I think this year's will be just as terrific.

If you want to find out more about the session schedules or the exhibit, just click here. We welcome all skill levels and ages. Really! Our youngest is 14 and our oldest is 80. We have doctors, lawyers, professional artists, students and, well, you get the picture.

We call it Barely Brunch for a reason! We always have food, even if it's just coffee and doughnuts. Yesterday, we had a spread to celebrate the Easter holiday. Lots of bread, cheese, assorted cookies and candy. This is a really fun group of people to spend an afternoon with.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Emerging artist

I put a comment into a blog asking "What is an emerging artist" The comment seemed a little long, so I thought I'd bring it to my blog.

At the ripe age of forty, I decided to re-focus my life in the arts. I left my corporate design-type job and am happily starving in Pittsburgh. I have been working as an arts worker here for the last several years because this affords me some flexibility in my scheduling and I only work part-time.

So, with that said, I would have considered myself emerging because, even though I was exhbiting and producing for twenty years, it was not my main focus.

Well, I'm not emerging by the current definitions. The emphasis in Pittsburgh is focused exclusively on the under-40 crowd or the late-career established artist. The definition for emerging that I have heard here is an artist who is within ten years of achieving their degree. At least, that is the criteria the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts uses as the cut-off for their emerging artist of the year selection.

I think that the appeal of young artists began as an interest in fresh work by naive artists. Youth has the tendency to state the obvious, which can be refreshing. At first glance, these works seem to fall into social/political commentary or observation of humanity. In a lot of cases, I find that I am mistaken and seem to be attributing qualities to the works that are of my own manufacture. On closer examination, many of these young artists are working in an insular and exclusionary manner, referencing trends within their own circles of experience. Many produce works that appear to be autobiographical. What at first appears to be an observation about human nature upon closer inspection reveals itself to be a conglomeration of images from a limited culture.

This trend is highly disturbing in so far as it reflects the limitations of our current social dynamics. Our social circles seem to be homogenous, showing a distinct lack of intercourse with members of other economic, career or ethnic communities. Young artists seem to be participating in this dynamic, embracing only their own peers and forsaking the world that exists beyond the surface of their own skins.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My fingers are sore

I was working on installing the April exhibit at Digging Pitt Gallery today. Since this is a flat file gallery, the director slotted this month for a show curated from the flat files. All of the selected works are on paper. The works included drawings, collage, photography and prints.

Everything was installed with push pins, which is why my fingers are sore. Have you ever seen a show installed this way? It looks really cool; the works look like holes in the walls. Well, some of them do.

I especially like the works we installed of Kate Temple and Jason Seder. Very different aesthetics, but both are really exceptional printmakers.

But my fingers really are sore.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

One good thing

On the corner of 44th and Butler streets...

A crossing guard was helping grade school children across the street. She cheerfully called out "Only one more day, my kids!" to each group as she shepharded them accross. She even complimented me on my street crossing skills. Even though we are probably just a couple years apart in age, I found myself caught up in her pleasure.

Sometimes, Pittsburgh strikes me as an antique town. So many people in my neighborhood know me. And I know so many of them. It's getting warmer. Soon, everybody on my block will be sitting on their stoops in the evening. It can take an hour to walk this block on a nice evening. Stopping to talk to Denise and Sandy, Beverly or Chrissy.

I can hardly wait.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Something silly to start off with

Okay, i thought that this was a pretty funny little film...


I have gotten really addicted to You Tube lately. probably more than I should. But really, what a wonderfully intimate look into people. I mean, there are flicks on here of people eating corn dogs, you know?