Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Early Music

Early December 2012. 

This is Royce Hall , the symbol of UCLA
This is the Powell Library. It faces Royce Hall. Note the illuminated clerestory filled with early voices.

There's a new collaboration: Will I. Am with Brittany Spears called "Scream and Shout". Is that really new? I guess. I haven't heard it but December 1st I sat in the Rotunda at the Powell Library, UCLA and heard people singing. I mean singing, no vocoders, without microphones, not even a musical instrument and it was quite wonderful. I'll tell you what else was wonderful: the Powell Library. That's not new. It's been wonderful since 1929 when it opened.

At the end of the performance a little audience participation involving Perrier bottles lead by this fellow.

Upon closer inspection I felt I saw Maya influence in the tile. Could that be?
Elisabeth Le Guin on the right, a founding member of Philharmonia Baroque.

Now here you get a better sense of the space. The dome is 45 feet high.

These are the windows throwing off light that you see in  my exterior shot  (above).

In typical southern California fashion the architecture of UCLA is a mish mash of styles but the Powell Library and Royce Hall are dominated by a Northern Italian Romanesque influence. Yes, you'll find Byzantine and Spanish Moorish notes but it all really blends quite nicely and fittingly. The Architects, George W. Kelham and David Allison got the Italian vibe from the L.A. basin and that became their guiding principle. You may know our climate here is Mediterranean like Italy and there are so many natural vistas throughout the state that could easily stand in for the Italian peninsula.

I stayed long enough to see the space cleared of chairs and people and took a few more shots.

I wandered across the hall to the main reading room.

I thought this was pretty special. The dome in the main reading room is decorated with  antique printer's marks.
This is a diagram showing some of the marks.

Like many blogposts this one is a kind of failure. I can't reproduce the experience of hearing marvelous voices filling the acoustically brilliant rotunda and I've only got a cursory selection of photos to share with you. But the Powell Library has been included on lists of the most beautiful college libraries in the world so you can find of photographs of it elsewhere. And just for your information the program listing for the night's entertainment:


UCLA Early Music Ensemble and Contempo Flux:

'Ad Te Levavi'

Saturday, December 1

6 p.m.

Directed by Elisabeth Le Guin, Joshua Fishbein, and Gloria Cheng, these two ensembles will unite to present early music by Hildegard of Bingen, Pérotin, and Guillaume de Machaut, which sonically resembles contemporary works by Frank Ferko and David Lang.

In the center that's Gillian Wilson, curator emerita of the Getty.


Now, tell me. What have you been up to?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

small works on paper

DSC04494 by scott_waterman
DSC04494, a photo by scott_waterman on Flickr.
Colorful days of November.

A restaurant in Mexico City I've never been to.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Here's a logical follow up to my last post:

Art Image L.A.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gallery X

grimes03 by scott_waterman
grimes03, a photo by scott_waterman on Flickr.

From my Gallery X series on view now, right now.

And you're in it again.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You Know the Type.

You know the type.
I drove what is otherwise a healthy walk to the Clark Library. They had an open house on Tuesday which included a lecture on Eric Gill. The Clark houses Eric Gill's library and personal papers and is an unbelievable beautiful place, okay, it's believable, it's just that it's such a surprise given it's location, a modest working class neighborhood. It is in fact basically in my 'hood. It's a shame I didn't stay for the lecture. I bet it was good. You should read the Wikipedia entry on Gill. It will curl you hair. 

The approach to the Clark Library.
This is the back of the Clark  Actually there was a good turn out for the open house. Everyone else is crowded around the buffet. It's that tight cluster of people to the left of the building.
A beautiful autumn evening.
Oh dear. The Clark needs help. Don't we all?
It's nice to see the modernist touches in this place that is otherwise so redolent of  the Renaissance.
Okay, let's go inside, shall we? This is what you see immediately upon entering the front door. You owe it to yourself to click on this image to see it larger.

So I didn't hear the talk and can't speak to it but I will give you a number of snapshots and then you can supply me with your own personal story of Gill Sans Light, Floriated Capitals, or Perpetua Greek. Or tell me about you own neighborhood rare books library housed in an ornately decorated edifice. 

Look at these two! Naked and casual as can be.
Those nudes face this view of one of the library rooms stacked double height with books.
I mean just look at all those books! And this is but a small fraction.
Are those chairs ergonomic?
This is where the lectures are held.

I could be wrong but this painting smacks of Hollywood set work but I suppose that's the sort of mindset you develop when you live here. Everything looks like some kind of Oz.

There were some wonderful sketch books and assorted ephemera from Eric Gill in glass cases lining the central hall of The Clark. And the book shelves had even more, Gill sculptures, books, posters, so much.

He's sketching Gothic tracery and thinking type. I just know it.
That shadowy bit  really makes this view.
Love the subtly of this.
Here we really get into Eric's head.
A pictorial diary. Isn't that fun?

This shot and the one above are not the best. I was shooting through glass so that's a challenge.
Here's some of his work in stone.
This caught my eye. Not Gill but isn't this great? The Clark is so rich.
The intercom system at The Clark Library, my final image, along with my usual plea to please leave a comment! And I thank you very much.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Site Seeing

It's so close to going live I'm going to declare this my last blog-post before I announce my revamped website of (mostly) commissioned artworks. So I'm giving you one last little tease with another composite picture. This composite represents one of my most diverse commissions. There were three parts to the commission, one part consists of three works, one part consists of four works, and the third part is a single mural. Actually the set of four works were ready made for the Henderson Village,  the designer bought them finished right out of my studio. The mural and silhouettes are very 19th century which is the look and architectural period of the resort but the four works from my studio while contemporary also fit beautifully as they recall twisted wrought iron associated with rural country life. And I thought it was especially clever of Amelia Handegan to include them to bring the place into the present while maintaining the atmosphere.  Then again the period quilt hung like a painting reminds us that abstraction is nothing new.

Composite of my work at Henderson Village

The little detail of my mural, the boat and the figure on the side, is taken directly from a work by Rufus Porter. His work has the charm and stylization of an itinerant naive folk artist artist but in fact he worked out some very sophisticated ideas of pictorial perspective and published his ideas in Scientific America. Actually he held more than 100 patents for inventions. It's quite fascinating that he was also an itinerant muralist. His works are found throughout New England and he inspired countless followers including me!

What's your inspiration?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Business up Front, Party in the Back

Come on in. I've been waiting for you. (Since 1984!)
A view of the front door from the inside.

Are you with me? I'm still in Atlanta (for the purposes of this blog only). And you and me we're going to revisit one of my early, early projects. Look at my previous post and you'll see the funky digs I called home. Meanwhile a typical client of mine lived in wild and wooly Buckhead and by wild and wooly I mean staid and sedate. So here we go back to my grisaille mural for a Neel Reid house. In the 1910s and 20s Neel Reid was the go to architect when you made a killing in cotton futures or whatever. Living in a Neel Reid house meant you had arrived. His work has impeccable lines, perfect proportions, and fastidious attention to detail and this was a great foil for my wild, organic, tropical, leafy mural.

1984 at the top and 2011 on the bottom. There's hardly any difference, an added widow's walk and some  changes to the landscaping are all I can see. Classical architecture ages well.
Work in progress and me on a ladder laboring in the shadows.
Look at those magnificent moldings! And by the way this corner was where most of my work took place.
Me, caught in the act of painting.

A signature of the designer, Jim Young's work, was the bullseye mirror. I think he managed to find a place for one in most all of his projects. Alas, Jim, a celebrated designer with a stellar client list is remembered by few today.

What else can I tell you about this project? After beginning decorative painting on a grand scale for the Fabulous Fox Theater and then the stately Edwardian lobby at The Ponce I had a series of rather forgettable projects in homes that weren't very special until the Neel Reid project came my way. Having really fine architecture to work on makes all the difference. I can still take pride in the painting I did in 1984, the colors seem right and the composition isn't bad, though naturally I could do a much better job of it today. Atlanta has a number of extant Neel Reid homes and many too of his successor, Philip Schutze so I suppose there's always a possibility I might have  a chance to revisit the experience of working in some really splendid Atlanta residence.

This is an overhead view of the Neel Reid house where I painted the grisaille mural.

A short walk from the Reid house is Philip Shutze's Swan House. Yes, this is front and back of the same house. It is!

As a sort of side note I've included a pictures of the front and rear facades of Swan House by Neel Reid's protégé, Philip Shultze. It's actually within walking distance of the house on Andrews Drive where I painted my mural. As you can the see the front and back look as if they're from two entirely different houses. Do you think the pupil was trying to upstage the teacher with this bit of daring showmanship? 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Artist's Daring Dream House

The David Ireland article in HG magazine (1985?).

More of David Ireland's home in San Francisco.

Crash, collapse, derelict, disaster area,  in a word a wreck. That's just what I found when I ventured back to the bungalow rental home, the last place I lived in Atlanta's charming Lake Claire neighborhood. Let's be clear, when I moved in the house had not been lived in for years and had the predictable deferred maintenance but I went with that and made decadence my esthetic. In fact I had help.

An old church niche and decorative frieze inspired by it. I made the paper star on top, some  stark white and strict geometry for contrast.
A lot of decorative painting used to detract from an ugly space heater. The candelabras are fashioned out of  twigs painted white and that's a real stem of ivy on top of the mirror.
My Atlanta kitchen with pentimento walls inspired by David Ireland.
A detail of the "space heater decoration", a simple trompe l'oeil technique.
The walls are varnished "as is" and I painted the door to (sort of ) match. You can see a bit more of the mantle  painting and the frieze all based on the Victorian Gothic niches.

David Ireland pointed the way for me with his San Francisco Victorian which I saw published in HG magazine. A brilliant conceptual artist, David realized while rehabilitating his home that he needn't return the place to it original condition or conform to any conventions for that matter. He soon realized the significance of the unfinished, of pentimento, and of the mystery of the ordinary.

This was the bedroom/sitting room of my place. Notice the carved wooden curtains. There are more wooden carved pieces on the mantle and the library is actually created out of a hallway.
Another shot of the bedroom/sitting room. The birds and rings motif is based  on Etruscan mural depicting the afterlife.
Soon after I moved into my bungalow I discovered an architectural salvage warehouse just down the road from me which instigated my collection of church artifacts and assorted carved wooden forms. Also, at this time in the world of decorative architectural painting Pompeii was once again being mined for it's stunningly creative murals, wall glazes, and schemes so that was another influence on me.

This is my Atlanta bungalow. I added the yellow stripes to the  awning.
Then/Now. I painted the front door Frida Kahlo blue but currently (as seen on the right) you'll note there's no door to be found!

This Wally Aero Eagle from the 50s was parked across the street from my old house. If only my old house looked this good. It's a shame because the Lake Claire neighborhood is otherwise in great shape.
This was in the window of the Wally. 

It's a little ironic that when I left Atlanta and moved to San Francisco I couldn't wait to paint all the walls stark white. I'm still pretty much that way. I like a neutral background. That's my dream house. Actually for the past several years I've been into traditional Japanese architecture, dark stained wood against white. What do you like?
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