Convergence

Wow! All I can say is that lecture last Friday by David Stork was phenomenal! I learned so much about the convergence of art and science to prove non-optical methods of master artists. He debunked Hockney’s theory that great painters from the 1430’s on “cheated” by tracing optical reflections in their paintings. I didn’t know how the lecture was going to go. I was happy that I made the 120 person cut by about 30 people in the double line. The room was filled and curators sat directly behind me saying, “This guy is a rock star.” They weren’t sure how it was going to go either. I was introduced to terminology that I never knew existed: occluding contour algorithms used in forensic technology, uniform reflectivity albedo effect, lambertian (diffused lighting), Bayesian integration of estimates (cast shadow probability). He was using complex math and physics equations, something that my 20 year old son, a civil engineer student, would understand and 3D computer graphic modules and vectoring that my 16 year old, math whiz student could get in order to explain the source of lighting. This same light source is also needed in Hockney’s theory and he disproved it by setting up the parameters that would be needed for optical reflection and proved that it couldn’t exist. With all this high-tech lingo, he basically displayed how the great artists had incredible talent to paint with precision and human error exactly what they saw in their mind’s eye. I loved it! He bridged art and science for understanding human artistic ability and put human imperfection as well as talent back into art.

This brings to mind some conversations my husband and I have been having with our son Jackson, who’s been asking us what college do we think would be best for him. We have to start that search second round. He asked about art school, since he is the more creative of our two boys. Peter and I both gave the same answer that although we were not opposed to art school, we felt it would give him only a technical education over a liberal arts one, which we both think offers a more broad foundation. He’s fortunate in that he can take courses at our alma mater right down the road and they will count for both high school and college credit. There were at least three articles related to college in the paper this weekend. However, when I read this article in the Washington Post this Sunday, I was reminded of the practical need for getting a well-rounded, broad based education and then going on to train in a specialized field of interest. It was also interesting to read that Dennis O’Neil, who was my professor for the time I attended the Corcoran School of Art (after receiving my undergraduate degree), is still teaching and he runs the Hand Print Workshop International. Good to know.

Just a follow up to a previous post on Patrick Dougherty, who is a magician when it comes to the artistic possibilities of the meager twig. I’m just now getting to catch up on all my magazines for inspiration and saw that Southern Accents profiled him in their May/June issue. Here’s one of his surreal creations, Na Hale ‘Eo Waiawi (20 x 30 x 20 feet) in Hawaii, made of strawberry guava and rose apple saplings.

twig-art by Patrick Dougherty via Southern Accents, May/June 2009

Urban Design Elegance & Science of Light

The Washington DC Design Center’s new Design House has just opened with the theme, Urban Elegance, on view. I hope to get by and see it (April 24 – June 25). It’s usually inspirational and tends to validate decorative ideas that I have been following and or have used.

The DC Design House is another interior design exhibition of sorts. A client of mine tells me it is very worthwhile attending (April 18 – May 10) and proceeds benefit the Children’s Medical Center.

Another exhibition I hope to see before it closes May 3rd, is the Pride of Place, Duch Cityscapes of the Golden Age. I’ve been so busy with managing my work that I just haven’t had the time, so I hope to get on it today. While I’m at the NGA, there is an interesting lecture that I found quite fascinating to read about recently. David Stork will discuss the actual light source in Velasquez, Vermeer and Caravaggio’s paintings by using math and science to reconstruct 3-D models to reveal the light source, and in doing show demystify what the artist may have been trying to depict. I personally like the mysterious elements to these master paintings and feel that is the artist’s prerogative and vehicle for depicting the age old mystery that life’s events cannot be fully explained. Here are the two I particularly like.

Girl with Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1655)

The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio (1599-1600)

It’s Friday and while I don’t have a musical video to post * (seems to be something to try on a regular basis to kick start the weekend), I do have a link to a charitable group called Roots of Music, located in New Orleans. Its primary purpose is to have a free musical program for kids to teach them to play an instrument, boost their self esteem and keep them off the streets. New Orleans needs this type of program. I’m sending them money today. Sounds like my home town’s version of Three Cups of Tea. Changing the cultural dynamic starts with education in youth and what a better way than through music and the arts. Fantastic mission and great way to continue where Jazz Festival week is ending on May 3rd.

* What am I thinking, of course I do have this one — of my favorites, Complicated Life by Preservation Hall Jazz Band and vocals of Clint Maegden of the New Orleans Bingo Show. And, catch them playing in New Orleans this weekend. Perfect! Now the weekend can begin.