This is just a quick post and announcement to say this blog will be operating on a loose schedule through May so time and attention can be given to completing a website update + new designs and my son’s graduation from college, with family coming in town.
My original intent was to post my Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog post here this week but then I received these incredible pictures of animal sculptures made with cut paper. I’ll do a little of both. Plus, you’ll see an appropriate mention at the bottom in light of Mother’s Day this Sunday.
Firstly, here’s a snippet of the Animal Inspiration post:
I recently learned of a new video about one of my favorite artists, Jane Kim, of Ink Dwell Studios. The video not only depicts her creative process but explains how she paints with Nature always in mind, through animal inspiration.
Jane’s artistic talent is tremendous as is some of her projects.
Jane has also completed an ocean collage mural at Baltimore’s National Aquarium, which I’m dying to go see, using a combination of paint and cut paper techniques, and that perfectly leading into part two of this post.
Another amazingly talented artist using Nature and animals as their inspiration is Calvin Nichols. He creates incredibly intricate paper sculptures. He’s such a keen observer of his subjects. It’s almost as if he’s created a 3D format for scientific illustration. I love how the pieces break their framed boundaries, which is very indicative of trompe l’oeil artwork, but this is not because you know it is not real, however, the intricacy and detail is just as jaw- dropping in wonderment.
(Most of the wording below is taken from the email that I received — so I cannot take credit for it.)
He has worked 25 years to perfect his method. First he draws his subject, then he cuts paper shapes to create the foundation or form upon which more intricate cut paper is adhereed on top. It must take pain-staking patience. (Something I lose more and more as I get older.)
This particular series is appropriately titled, “Paper Zoo.”But he doesn’t just draw on it. He shapes it to create intricate works of staggering detail and beauty.To make the art, he starts by observing real-life animals and their movements. He takes numerous sketches that he will later use as reference for his paper art. He then cuts up thousands of tiny pieces of paper and pastes them together to form each animal.The texture he is able to achieve with this technique is astounding.Given that he’s only working with white paper, the details must be exactly right in order to create the appropriate depth and shadowing.Each small piece can take many weeks to complete.It’s incredibly delicate work.Each small piece can take many weeks to complete.While the bigger ones can take months, or even years.
The texture he’s been able to achieve gives the illusion that it must be soft. Make you want to touch it to find out.
His work has been featured in National Geographic, as well as numerous galleries and art shows all over the world.
The porcupine is probably my favorite with all those wispy paper pieces.He uses X-ACTO knives, scalpels, and scissors in the construction of his critters.This intricacy of this money and his face captures our emotion when viewing.The commitment these amazing pieces of art require is just mind-blowing. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you messed up a little detail on those pieces? Talent like this just doesn’t come around that often.
I’m not sure how he was able to achieve the realism of these zebras with different colored paper but his work is for sale and he does demonstrations, so worth looking into.If you’d like to learn more, for there is not much info about this artist on his website except that he is from Canada, go to his Facebook page to see his most recent news.
In keeping with our animal inspiration theme and with Mother’s Day this weekend, here’s a beautiful mural that could use some motherly care in the Mothers Building, which was originally designed to be a resting place for nursing mothers at the San Francisco Zoo. The building, with its Greco-Roman style and WPA project murals, was built in 1925 but has been closed to the public since 2002. The murals visually depict the story of Noah’s Ark in the largest existing, egg tempera work in the Western US. They could soon be lost and are in need of repair. Click here to read more of the story.
Most people will say as they get older, or as their children get older, or as their wedding anniversaries fly by, “where did the time go?!” Well it’s true. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed. My husband and I celebrated our wedding 28th anniversary recently and have discovered what has become a somewhat traditional way for us to celebrate.
We had dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. We’re lucky we can just walk down the street to Vermilion. This is particularly beneficial after a full Tasting Menu with wine pairings for each course. The dinner was delicious, as it never disappoints! I wish I had taken more pictures, especially of the black gnocchi which was divine, but after cocktails, champagne and the first wine, I wasn’t thinking any longer of taking pictures — just immersed in the moment of pure dining pleasure — as it should be.
Artistic plating with a swish! These are our appetizers.
The service was exceptional, especially since I mentioned it being our wedding anniversary. Word spread from the bartender, where we had Vieux Carré cocktails in the lounge to start, to our waiter, who greeted us with a glass of sparkling champagne. It was an exceptional evening! And even though I may not remember the meal exactly as time meanders on, I have our menu to remind us of what a good meal it was.
Since this was our second wedding anniversary to celebrate this year, we also went to a relatively new restaurant, called Lapis. It’s located where the old Napoleon restaurant was in Adams Morgan. Peter and I had a fabulous tasting meal there too. We contemplated going to dance it off at the Black Cat because it was 80’s music but after walking the 18 blocks there, we felt like we got our exercise and would save our dancing for next month.
This is a quick post announcement from several alerts I just received indicating that at least two well known murals are changing. As one will be vanishing soon, so see it while you can, another gets a fresh redesign and new placement.
The beloved Luzianne mural by Robert Dafford in downtown New Orleans will be partially covered when a new residential unit gets built. So sad, this is a lovely mural that I enjoy seeing each time I go back home. However, the Reily family, the owners of the mural and property, plan on making part of the mural visible to the interior of the building. They also will digitally scan the Luzianne-cart section in hopes to reproduce and place on another wall.
Robert Dafford is the same artist who painted the wonderful Clarinet Mural. The Reily family not only started Luzianne tea but also Blue Plate Mayonnaise — two iconic Nola brand-name products. The highly accomplished Rozas Ward Architecture firm with Myles Martin as the lead architect are chosen to manage the project.
The Brennan family and Reily family share a common wall / section of the mural and there is a written agreement not to change or destroy the mural for 50 years from 1991. This could be problematic if agreeable measures to preserve the mural are not found.
One thought comes to mind, Casart coverings can digitally print the mural onto wallcoverings that can be removed without damage when and if needed.
Luzianne Mural by Robert Dafford. Photos via Times Picayune
Yes, that’s a “real” tree but certainly hard to tell with Dafford’s painterly skill.
Existing Reily Builidng by Rozas Ward Architecture
Proposed Reily Residential via Rozas Ward Architecture
Proposed Reily Residential via Rozas Ward Architecture
Jumping to the West, the locally known LA Lady Freeway mural by Kent Twitchell, which had retired due to being tagged and covered from view, is now being resurrected with an updated look and new Afghan Shawl. It will be rehung at the LA Valley College. Hopefully this will be a better placement for this lively lady mural to stay and for all to enjoy.
Personally, I think the added shawl extending onto the adjacent wall works wonders with the new location. Sometimes changing murals are a positive improvement.One interesting side note, I’ve recently discovered Great Big Story, “a video network dedicated to the untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing.”
They’ve featured a lot of art oriented stories like the Mumbai Taxicab fabric and others that I’ve also posted. I’ve added them to my Blogroll.
3. If you have nothing better to do on April 26th, here’s an interesting Christie’s auction to look forward to snagging some historically prestigious trompe l’oeil panels.
The panels are painted by Martin Battersby for Lady Diana Cooper, who sounds like she was a rebel rouser.
martin-battersby-1914-1982-pleasures-of-life via Christie’s
4. I am very excited to learn there will be a sequel to the movie Finding Nemo, called Finding Dory, coming out this June.
I have 2 Clown Fish in my tank due to the first movie and because they are very hearty fish. No telling what I’ll get next. 😉
I’ll take this opportunity to mention that in the midst of my Month of Celebrations, sadly, I lost the very first fish in our salt-water tank, my Cardinalfish (Banggai). He was 5 years old. They normally last only 4 years in a tank and maybe 2 years in the wild. His demise is still somewhat of a mystery in that he had symptoms that none of the other fish had with a what looked like a white bulbous tumor under but partly visible from his right gill. He had progressive fin and tail rot that I hadn’t noticed until it appeared too late. This is normally a sign of bad water conditions but I change the tank regularly, check the chems and this did not seem to be the case. I did a little research (WebMD for fish) and found that many owners of this type of fish had similar symptoms. It could have been related to food and a virus that was affecting those in captivity. I can’t say for certain but since the frozen brine shrimp I was using is from China (as is most things these days) and even though, it says free of bacteria and diseases, do we really know for sure or if this is even regulated there? Perhaps it transported the virus that infects only this type of fish. Evidently they are now hard to come by because they have been over-fished for aquariums and the disease has affected so many.
It was very sad to see him wither away because he got to the point where he could not swim and the other fish were picking on him. At one point he appeared to be getting better with the antibiotics I was treating him and the tank with to also proactively protect the other fish; although it only seemed that the Cardinalfish was prone to this disease. When the medicine was finished and it was time to do my weekly water change he rapidly declined. He’s buried in the Memory Garden with very healthy plants due to the other fish buried nearby.
He was a very pretty and fast swimming fish with striking markings. He often outwitted the other fish getting prime food morsels before they could. He’d often break dried shrimp pellets apart spit them out for others to eat along with him.
Going back to The Soul of an Octopus, even fish have a personality and he had a good one. I’ll miss him but he brought a lot of joy.
I’ve just backed Rafael Araujo’s Kickstarter project to bring his beautiful architectural illustrations to light in an adult coloring book. Araujo is a Venezuelan architect in Caracas, who’s been using the Fibonacci Sequence or Golden Ratio for over 40 years to create his artwork.
Rafael Araujo at work
The Golden Ratio uses “Phyllotaxis,” which is the tendency in nature for things to grow in spiral patterns. This concept can be seen in mathematically sequenced spirals in seashells and butterflies — two of my favorite things — among many other elements that are found in Nature.
He’s left all the mathematical plotting points intact to show the diagram of the object he’s illustrating, similar to Leonardi’s famous image of the Vitruvian man, which in this case also shows how the circle and the Golden Ratio Rectangle come together.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man via Stanford University
Araujo’s shells using the Golden Ratio
Blue Morpho Butterflies in flight by Rafael Araujo
I’m loving this coloring book because it epitomizes the apex of where art and science come together. I’m excited to receive one but more importantly, I’m very happy, Mr. Araujo and his printers have already reached their fundraising goal. I’m just pleased to be a part of the effort to bring his exceptional art to others. You can still be a part of the effort too until April 27th, so get on board and surf the Golden Ratio wave!
In the spirit of energy and renewal, this is quick post as we get ready for our annual Easter Brunch, to show solidarity with the Belgium people. The world has come together, yet again, to express their sympathy and support after the latest terrorists attacks.
It is a sad coincidence that as I wrote my blog post last week, the remaining terrorist in the Paris attacks had been caught in Belgium. I noted that I hoped this victory would give the French and other nations information to prevent future attacks. Tragically in just a week’s time, in between the writing of the last post and this, another horrific terrorist crime has occurred. More innocent people are dead and countries, particularly Europe is on high alert. In the midst of this wake, I’m more encouraged by the unification around the world expressing solidarity with Belgium and efforts to fight terrorism.
via Washington Post
This image spoke a message about the human spirit — free and defiant, not afraid to gather, called into action, paying respects to the lives of the dead, offering hopes and prayers for their families and the future.
Thinking about the book Big Magic’s concept that the idea is powerful and can be realized by those who think and act upon it, collectively as more people embrace prayer and thoughts for hope, I believe we can win this war.
Human + Butterfly merge
The butterflies are symbolic for God’s miracles, transformation, and rebirth. They indicate for me that peace will come.
Butterflies are free and in some ways represent transcendence from constraints and this world. Hopefully you’ll see why I like butterflies.
My husband and I were excited to be invited as guests to attend the annual Prevent Cancer Gala, held at the National Building Museum. Peter’s Committee Chairman, Congressman Fred Upton and colleague Diana DeGette were the honorees for their tireless efforts to introduce and push legislation through Congress to help find, fund and speed the process for 21st Century Cures for today’s illnesses.
Organization President and Founder and event Chair, Carolyn Aldigé, Congressman Fred Upton and wife Amey
The theme was La Vie En Rose, which was fitting in light of the Paris terrorist attacks that linger in our collective consciousness. In fact, as I write this post, the remaining terrorist has just been caught in his hometown in Brussels. I hope the French get the information they need and that will help protect other countries from terrorist activities.
BizzBash rates the gala as one of Washington’s top events in 2014. It was definitely decorated to the nines, complete with a huge Eiffel Tower replica at the bar with bartenders in berets serving French 75 champagne cocktails. Other French flair attributes included: cabaret dancers, antiqued-mirrored rectangular tables, beautiful floral bouquets of spring flowers in tall vases and individually set en masse down the center of the table. The food was delicious and typically French: bouillabaisse with mussels (my favorite) in a saffron aioli, charred beef tenderloin in red wine jus and cauliflower puree, poirier (pear) au chocolat (chocolate sponge cake with Poire William ice cream) and a demitasse café or tea with macaroons, cappuncino eclairs and almond madeleines. Surprisingly, this was not all that filing.
Photo by Alfredo Flores. 22nd Annual Prevent Cancer Spring Gala. National Building Museum. March 11, 2016
French 75 via Gin Foundry
I wish I had taken pictures but unfortunately I got so caught up in having a good time that it was not on my radar, except for the first floor shot above. We dress up so infrequently in ballroom attire — long dress and tux — that it would have been nice to document. Dommage!Tant pis, pour les temps prochain!
The French Ambassador spoke. Andrea Roane, our local news anchor was the MC and the most clever method was used for their fundraising. Upon arriving, guests registered their cell phone and credit card with a bevy of young staffers inputting all this info on laptop computers. Guests were then sent a link on their phones to download the Prevent Cancer Org app. There was a floor auction in the bar area that could also be bid online and during the meal. This raised 1 million dollars! Another $40,000 in cash donations was raised during the evening from guests giving any increment using the app and their name would be displayed on the large teleprompters that were conveniently located on either side of the room. These really helped everyone see and hear the speakers as well as stay informed about the fundraising, which cleverly became a competition with those who gave not only pressing others to donate with their names flashing for all to see but anyone who contributed was handed a flashing necklace. You wouldn’t want to be caught without one. Smart!!
Table arrangement. Photo by Josh Hartman
The most impressive thing, however, remains what this organization does with all the dollars it receives.
This is a quick update. “Who” knew Roger Daltrey of The Who fame, would be involved in the 21st Century Cures regarding his effort with childhood cancers through Teen Cancer America, the organization he founded with Pete Townsand. This can be viewed via the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing just yesterday.
Along with a month of celebrations, comes the pressure with lack of time to create new designs, which I’m trying to complete now for a presentation. In light of this, this will be a quick post on beautiful cloud formations as seen in this time-lapse video (via Gothamist) of artist James Wall Finn painting a ceiling mural panel for New York Public Library’s Bill Blass Catalog Room.
I find this quite inspiring, especially with other Cloud Murals that I’ve created and always looking to do more. Clouds are pretty amazing, always forming something new.
This is what the library’s sky mural looked like before — pretty dark. The new mural will be light and airy and certainly help to open up the space.
This has been quite a month of celebrations, so much so that I haven’t had a lot of time to document but here it goes — in bullet formation.
• January – a Birthday is always great when it happens to land on a long holiday weekend, as my husband’s does with Martin Luther King Day. We took advantage when taking our son back to UVA for his final semester. We had recently discovered a new place, where we’ll be staying in May, and decided to test it out by staying over a night before heading back to DC. What a great decision! Shenandoah Crossing, in Gordonsville is a part of the BlueGreen Resorts and lives up to its promise of high style glamping. Although we stayed in the lodge during this cold, winter visit, we’ll be staying in a yurt and a 3-bedroom cabin with extended family later this spring.
Shenandoah Crossing Lodge
Clever way to display framed pictures in the room
The Lodge Restaurant
Shenandoah Crossing Yurt
• February –Valentine’s Day is one that we don’t usually celebrate but this time it fell on a Sunday and luckily Monday was a holiday — Presidents’ Day. Yippie, we could actually enjoy the Wine Bars with the wine pairing I had planned in advance because this day didn’t fall on a work / week day or break our vow to give up drinking during Lent, which we sacrifice — except for the weekends.
The only problem to the way the evening ended was pretty humorous, actually. Peter normally cooks melt-in-your-mouth steaks. For some reason, the ones we got from Whole Foods maybe had more fat than normal? Not sure but when flash pan-frying, they created so much smoke that the fire alarm went off. It wouldn’t have been a problem normally but since we’ve “upgraded” to a digital phone service, the alarm folks couldn’t get through the home phone to reach us as the alarm had hijacked the phone system with blasted warnings, “FIRE ALARM, leave the premises immediately!!” Well, the fire truck made it to our house before we could alert ADT to stop them — can only go through their 1-800 number. OK, as if this wasn’t embarrassing enough on a street with close-knit neighbors. The fire alarm went off again and guess what, yep, the fire truck paid us another visit. Crap! Lesson learned, we changed the phone alert pathway and at least we didn’t get charged. At this point, more wine and chocolate pairing was the best plan.
• February – a Birthday is always great when it starts with a Friday. Actually my celebration started a few days before, on Wednesday, when we went to listen to Big Sam’s Funk Nation at Gypsy Sally’s. What fun!! I always get excited when I see bands from my hometown playing. This big brass New Orleans band with the lead singer, Big Sam Williams, gives a jiving, “urban funk” performance that just gets you up off your feet. He’s the former trombonist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The 8 Ohms Band started the set and gave a great foot-stomping performance and certainly prepped the crowd for Big Sam, who came out and played a song before intermission.
8 Ohms Band
On Friday, my real birthday, my good friend Liza had these gorgeous flowers delivered. My other good girlfriend, Marty, delivered her famous individual size coffee cake. Soooo nice! Sometimes, I get so busy, I forget my birthday. This wasn’t a big year and still people remembered.
These look so lovely with the portrait that was retrieved from my Aunt Katherine’s painting stash.
Relatives sent cards and my wonderful in-laws really surprised me with with beautiful vintage style, mother-of-pearl handle, double-blade, Congress Muskrat, pocket knife from A.G. Russell. There will be all sorts of uses for this beyond what I might know. I just have to remember to remove it before traveling on a plane.
We topped off the evening with a fun night of pool at No. 9 Lounge (above the Majestic Lounge) at Evening Star Cafe. This is a somewhat hidden spot upstairs for pool, beer, meeting new pool buddies, listening to cool tunes and eating scrumptious food. I loved my cream of cauliflower soup with raisins. I need to get that recipe!
Unfortunately I couldn’t find a recent picture with the pool table in the far back (via Biz Bash)
Afterwards, we saw 13 Hours at the movie theater, which we rarely do these days but this is big screen worthy, as is The Revenant, The Martian and the latest Star Wars, all of which we’ve bucked up to see on the big screen. The movie tempered the mood but was well worth seeing. In fact, if everyone saw it, they would certainly question those publicly conveyed chain of events and the government’s role in them. Makes you think, if only….!
• A Leap Year Anniversary — that comes every 4 years, gives us two times to celebrate in one year. This is our 7th special anniversary and we celebrated it at Magnolia’s On King, a relatively new Southern style restaurant that gets it right. We started out with the appetizers I love to have each time I’ve gone, stuffed dates with blue cheese and wrapped with bacon. Mouth-watering good! I’m using for our Easter Brunch! I had the best meal. Evidently, we lucked out because our celebratory night was on Monday — Gumbo Night. Wow! Excellent! A larger meal than Peter’s and just the right amount of spice.
The best part was heading upstairs to the Palm Lounge. It reminds me so much of New Orleans with the exposed brick wall, deep red walls brightened by firelight and rattan ceiling fans that I’ll go back to see in action when it gets warmer out. Tyler, the welcoming and talented bearded bartender, was willing to create a drink of our choice as long as he had the base to work with. We asked him about amaros and he said he was really liking Caramaro right now. Well, it’s one of my favorites so I asked him to please make a drink with it. This is the divine delicacy that he crafted with 1/2 oz gin (that I normally don’t drink), topped with egg white (Ramos Gin Fizz style) and a spritz of Angostura bitters.
Specially concocted Cardamaro Sour at Magnolia’s
I can’t think of a better way to end the month, except, we may continue the celebration. We learned from our friendly bartender about Captain Gregory’s, a new (but not so) secret speakeasy to try, “a hole in the wall” inside the Sugar Shack Doughnut (hole) Shop, of all places. Looking forward to continuing new discoveries into March… 😉