Portrait of Jessie

Helloooo friends! Hope you all had a great weekend. Is it just me or is this summer just flying by? I need to get more sun because pretty soon I’ll wake up one morning and it will be Labor Day already!

I’m hoping to get down to DC this week for two shows: Degas/Cassatt  at the National Gallery and Artists and their Models at the Archives of American Art. I also have two modeling gigs and possibly – hopefully – a family sit-down to straighten out our issues. Oblivious to all of this human drama is Jessie the cat, who hasn’t made an appearance on Museworthy in a long time. I realize that cat pictures are not exactly rare on the Internet, but I couldn’t resist sharing this one with all of you. Sweet Jessie was taking a nap in the garden this afternoon so naturally I had to disturb her for a little photo shoot. My girl :-)

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I’ll Fly Away

Hello dear friends.  I believe I alluded to some family strife in a previous blog post. I wish I could report that the situation has improved. Sadly, it hasn’t. The last couple of days have been difficult. Of course you all understand that it’s not appropriate for me to go into detail here, as it is family stuff and I don’t want to speak negatively on my blog about people I love and care deeply about, no matter how incredibly frustrated I am. Just pray for us, if you’re so inclined.

For now, I’d like to share a video that I discovered through Fred Hatt’s blog Drawing Life. Fred posted about his photography experiments with the GoPro camera, which captures very cool visual perspectives. Here, a GoPro was strapped to an eagle as it soared through the French Alps. It is absolutely breathtaking; a real “bird’s eye view” that makes we wish I was riding on the eagle’s back, flying away from turmoil, taking in the extraordinary splendor of the earth, without a care in the world. See you all very soon.

Our Birds Besieged

What the hell. Have I left my little blog idle for almost a week? This is outrageous! Bad blogger. Bad bad blogger :lol:

Much badder than me is the Port Authority of New York, which has enlisted contractors to gun down over 18 species of migratory birds and waterfowl in the area of JFK Airport. Many of these birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. But they’re being shot anyway. The rationale behind this program is to prevent bird strikes on planes and nesting activities too close to runways. Didn’t the waterfowl get the memo? They cannot conduct their flying, migrating, mating, and nesting along the Atlantic coast or around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge unless they stay safely away from planes. That’s the rule. Because jet airliners own the skies now. Those foolish ospreys and herons and egrets have to understand that they must accommodate the needs of modern man, and the millions of years of instinctual behavior embedded in their DNA cannot be acted upon, their natural primordial impulses to survive and breed must be squashed. And those snowy owls that were nesting on top of a taxiway sign at JFK? Those dummies should have known better. Now they’re on the kill list too.

Herons, by Christian Rohlfs, 1936:

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I apologize for the sarcasm, as I don’t mean to minimize the issues with regard to bird strikes and airplane safety. But this wanton killing of our coastal feathered friends upsets me a great deal. Among the birds being targeted are herons, egrets, plovers, ravens, and the gorgeous American kestrel. And redwing blackbirds! They’re shooting redwing blackbirds for heaven’s sake. There must be a better way. Surely we can find a solution more humane than just blasting innocent birds out of the sky?

Winslow Homer, watercolor, Redwing Blackbirds:

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It was disturbing enough to learn recently that our magnificent North American eagles – hundreds of thousands per year – are being sliced up in the blades of wind turbines at wind farms throughout the country. Our government has now granted the wind energy companies permission to allow these deaths without fear of penalty, for the next 30 years. Ain’t that grand?

Geese In Flight Before A Full Moon, Ohara Koson:

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I love birds so much. I honestly don’t understand how anyone could not love them. They warble and sing outside my bedroom window every morning. They hop across my front lawn. They cheerfully perch in rows across telephone wires. They soar in the skies above my neighborhood. Eradicate all their colors, movements, and sounds from daily life and the absence would be sadly felt. And the observation of bird comings and goings inspires much of my other blog, The Salt Marsh. At this very moment as I’m typing on my laptop, one of those little downy woodpeckers is inching his way up the tree outside my kitchen. What a cutie :-)

Paper Animals

Last Friday night my niece and I spent “A Night at the Museum”, a popular children’s event at the American Museum of Natural History. With sleeping bags and flashlights in tow, city kids and their adult chaperones had free reign to explore the museum to their hearts’ content, or until they passed out in their pajamas at midnight! Throw in an iMax film, storytelling, and a captivating visit to the Butterfly Conservatory, (one of my favorites) and a super fun time was had by all.

While there is certainly no shortage of fascinating displays at the Natural History museum, I was blown away by the museum Christmas tree which was still up in the main lobby, and the subject of many a camera click. Adorned completely in origami animals, the tree was one of the most enchanting things I’ve ever seen. I don’t think my photos fully capture the charms of this tree as they appeared live, but you can definitely get the idea.

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Origami, as everyone knows, is the art of paper folding. A Japanese tradition dating back almost 2000 years, origami, in its more skilled and advanced forms, is much more elaborate than the common origami cranes many of us learned to make as children. In fact, I asked my niece if she ever attempted origami and she responded, “Yes. It was a big fail!”. Ha, I know what she means. Anyone who’s ever struggled with the crane can feel only awe at the sight of origami giraffes, eagles, horses, dinosaurs, kangaroos, buffalos, geese, rabbits, alligators … the incredible range of diversity to be found in the animal kingdom. The origami artists who decorated the museum tree did it all.

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Check out the cobra at the bottom of this picture. Love it!

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Besides the sheer variety of animals to be found on the tree, the colors were also dazzling to the eye. What is it about colored paper that makes you want to play with it and create with it? Brings out our inner 2nd grader perhaps. The paper collage I made for the Museworthy Art Show makes even more sense now :-)

One more photo. Notice the red cardinal on the right side. So cute.

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For the Elephants

Heyyyy everyone. The heat wave returned this week and it returned with a vengeance. I won’t bore you all with another whiny “it’s so hot” blog post. Nor can I offer anything in depth on our usual topics of art history, modeling, music, etc. My brain feels too fried to produce thoughtful writing or analysis. Reading comes more easily, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading these past couple of days. I thought I’d share an article I read recently about a subject close to my heart – elephant poaching in Africa and the ivory trade which drives it. The piece is titled “Inside the Global Industry That’s Slaughtering Africa’s Elephants” and it was written by Matthew Scully. Scully is the author of a magnificent book about animal welfare called Dominion which I consider to be a true masterpiece on the subject of animals, and I’ve read almost all of them. The elephant article is very long and it’s not my intention to give a homework assignment to my readers. There won’t be a quiz! But the piece is extraordinarily well-written and thorough. It addresses all aspects of this cruel, ruthless practice and the politics involved. China is largely the villain but certainly not the only one.

Two Elephants by Amrita Sher-Gil:

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I have loved elephants ever since I was child. Accounts of baby elephants witnessing their parents getting murdered by poachers and having their tusks ripped out, often when the animal is still alive, are extremely hard to take. And when we consider the emotional bonds these  highly intelligent creatures share with each other and their habitats, this operation becomes nothing less than a vicious, barbaric, epic crime. The elephants, being such intuitive animals, literally live in fear. Frankly, it makes my blood boil. This excerpt reveals the callous mentality behind elephant poaching:

Scientists tell us that elephants have death rituals. They will, for instance, cluster around a dead individual and touch the carcass with their trunks, and then return much later to caress the bones. Mkanga, the first poacher, is asked if he knows that elephants mourn their dead. He shifts in his chair, adjusts his Safari Beer cap, and smirks. “Sometimes when they have a funeral, it’s like a party for me,” he says. “You shoot one, and before he dies the others come to mourn for the one who is injured. And so I kill another one, and kill another one.”

Appalling. Scully goes on to write, “rarely will you find so much depravity converging on such innocence. After ages in our midst, the most powerful of creatures and among the most gentle, so completely unoffending and yet so endlessly persecuted”,  butchered just so people can eat their noodles with ivory chopsticks. One need not be a lifelong animal welfare supporter like me to recognize that what’s happening to the African elephants is an obscenity that must be stopped.

An elephant sketch in black chalk by Franc Marc:

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Try to keep cool my friends. If I don’t see you sooner, I’ll see you here on Monday for my birthday. Be well.

Happy New Year Wishes From the Muse

So 21013 is almost here folks. Woo hoo!!!! 2012 was very good to me, and I have reason to believe 2013 will be even better :-)

What can I say about Museworthy except that we had a terrific year of blogging. Art, music, modeling tales, stories, laughs, poetry. All the usual goodies. And it’s going to continue, you can count on that. The support and enthusiasm of my readers keeps me motivated and inspired. It truly is a privilege to blog for all of you.

A New Year’s Nocturne, New York, 1892, Childe Hassam.

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And I haven’t forgotten that today is Monday. So the last day of 2012 brings the last Music Monday of the year. What song is more fitting than the classic “Auld Lang Syne”? Here is a memorable version of it :lol:

A happy, happy New Year to everyone! Be safe. Be joyous. Enjoy your evening. I’ll see you on the other side.

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The noise, the noise. Must block out the noise. The voices. The incoherent words and tortured logic. Dipshit talking heads on television, opportunistic politicians, and an assortment of shrieking jackasses. Oh, you have all the answers? Forgive me, I must have forgotten that I’m supposed to capitulate to your unfailing wisdom. Because I love being lectured. LOVE IT!!!

As the human race continues its descent into soullessness and depravity, earth’s last uncorrupted souls remain in god’s other creatures – the animals. For a bit of sweet serenity during a tragic, painful time, this is Jessie and Calvin having a cat nap in my garden.

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I’ll be back very soon, friends.