Cathedrals and Time

Buttresses of the Cathedral of M-14. Nice long walk in Bandemer towards Argo

A photo posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on

Over the years I have always loved bridges. They have great acoustics. They are beautiful in their way, even the ones that are very boring infrastructure have their moments of numinous beauty. Over the last few years, I’ve been taking pictures of the bridges that cross over the parks in Ann Arbor. Watching for that difference of the light, much as Monet painted quotidian haystacks over and over. In a way, it is even more impressionist than the Impressionists, this photographic documentation. But it misses something of the feeling that I get from the bridges. From the human-made space as it interacts with the natural world. The most beautiful of the bridges have not only the organ music of the freeway traffic, but the rose windows of the sunlight reflected up onto their latticework from the reflected light on the water.

Cathedral of M-14 A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on

But even that sound misses the numinous nature of my meditation under bridges. There is a moment when the bridge turns from being dark to being light that makes it mysterious and beautiful. The transformation from shaded cavern to glowing life and light is a numinous experience, and so I’ve started to take time-lapse videos to document this metamorphosis.

 

Time lapse with less frames. Watch the bridge light up

 

A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on

We Build grand structures these days, but they are not always built for their beauty as the cathedrals and basilicas of old. They are build for practical purposes, their architects and builders are nearly invisible to us, but this does not mean that they cannot be beautiful.

Bracelets for Ecoride

Photo of 2 Bracelets

Next Sunday, the 23 of June, is the forty-first annual EcoRide. It has a couple of different loops for local bicyclists that stop at a variety of eco-conscious area sites. Ann Arbor is rife with ecologically conscious farmers, recycling and re-use places, etc, so the EcoRide only stops at a few, but it is nevertheless a fun day.

This year, I’ll be participating in their new pop-up art gallery event in Riverside Park (the ANN ARBOR one, not the Ypsi one), bringing along my rag rug (and maybe some little things) and sharing my skills as a fiber artist to raise awareness about sustainability. Just like the now slightly tarnished “Live Strong” bracelet, participants will be invited to make their own recycled t-shirt bracelets, titled, reCYCLE bracelets. Hopefully it will not only be fun for the young riders, but will inspire others to share what they know about recycling.


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Here’s a video I made for the Ecology Center so they can promote the EcoRide.

In addition, my mother will be at the Leslie Science Center in the Project Grow Garden there. She makes recycled garden sculptures that can be used as trellises, light trees, or scarecrows as well as looking really cool.

Recycled Planter with pink flowers

087:365 Dancing in Light

087:365 Dancing in Light

What is different about today’s drawing? Any guesses?

That’s right, it’s a lefty!

Gracie fell asleep on my right hand, and it was getting late so, without thinking I started the drawing left-handed. It took 5 minutes before I realized why it felt funny.

Is that a sign?

Inspired by today’s beautiful sunny sky, but not drawn from my photos of said invocation of the Hudson River School or Dutch Masters.

Tomorrow? Maybe?

072:365 Think 3 Steps Ahead

072:365 Think 3 Steps Ahead

072:365 Think 3 Steps Ahead
This morning, despite Monday’s brief foray into shorts-weather, there was nearly an inch of snow on the ground when I went out the door. Although it was barely an inch, it was more slippery than some of the piles of snow we got in February, maybe because it is a little warmer outside and so it melts and re-freezes as you drive on it.

After my morning errands, I arrived home and decided to walk in the bright cold air to get us some coffee and donuts. I realized that I haven’t taken many snow-photos, so I snapped a few.

So much for an early spring!

Then on the way back, one patch of sidewalk had been un-trampled and I decided to do a playful photo of my footsteps being laid out before me. Of course it is a simple photo to take, you just jump off your footprints, walk around the outside of where you’re going to frame the photo, and then snap it. But it adds a touch of surprise since the footsteps usually go behind the person, not vice versa.

And it got me thinking about how people make plans, play games, run politics. It’s almost as if we think we can know what the next three steps are in life. But it isn’t like chess, which already has a lot of permutations of moves, in life, there are so many ways of being that who we were and who we are do not predict who we will become as people.

Making the choice of studying to be an artist or an engineer; a lawyer or a novelist, changes the possible outcomes to an extent because in a world as big as ours, having qualifications is extremely important.

But I have a friend who has an engineering and a law degree who works as a circus artist and teacher. And I have an art degree, but am currently making the most money from the little bit of computer-geekiness at manipulating data and light coding that I’ve accrued by osmosis and necessity. Even my father, who speaks several languages and graduated with English and Russian majors, didn’t work in his fields of study until retirement, now publishing articles, teaching, and researching.

And those are only the very concrete things that make us who we are. How we treat other people, how we choose to react to problems, and how we are able to solve daily problems are a whole other field of being that qualifications say nothing about on paper. We may guess that a person who is good at engineering will have a neat house, or that a lawyer likes to argue, but I’ve met messy engineers and reserved lawyers.

When I was twenty, I knew who I was. It was a certainty that I had defined. Allida is this, she isn’t that. But in the last several years, choices and opportunities have come that changed my direction. I’ve met and got along with the kinds people who I always thought hated me. I’m more flexible and stronger than I thought, and though life has been difficult sometimes, I now feel a graceful balance at the core of myself. It was always there, but now I feel it more deeply.

But now, seeing all the choices ahead of me; all the steps that show the way forward in the snowy sidewalk of life, I’m not sure of myself. Those three steps ahead seem to open up an infinite number of other steps in an infinite number of directions. There are limitations set down by the first step which will mar the snow. Perhaps I’m afraid that this next first step will limit the next three.

By now, I know that you can’t always go back, but with a little creativity, like the photo, you can get around things and get somewhere that seems impossible when you start.

069:365 Flash

069:365 Flash

Today, this past week really, was a roller-coaster, so I wanted to do a drawing that showed motion abstractly.

The space on the picture plane is divided into stripes that are delineated horizontally with both varied and fixed bands of color to create an illusion of depth.

Vertically, the lines are organized in changing curves with strokes that go from almost vertical to horizontal along an imaginary point of rotation to create the illusion of a solid, if flexible object, like the folds in a skirt, traveling through space at a regular rate.

Though the drawing is made up mostly of lines, the blending of colors and the allowance of the paper to shine through in places are instrumental to the illusion of motion, if not so much depth.  By blending similar, but distinct colors, the contrast in each vertical stripe spins into the next related color, but stands out against the background, while the horizontal stripes create the illusion of light and shadow by using high-contrast without blending colors as much.

Further, the transparency of the colors chosen for the vertical stripes, which were layered on top of the more opaque colors of the horizontal stripes, allows the viewer to imagine that he is looking past them as they move rather than seeing them as a series of stationary objects that block the view of the receding space.

Though all this is dry and formal, because this is an almost purely formal drawing, all artists think about how to show space and motion or stillness in their drawings.  All drawing, even figural work, is an abstraction because it is the attempt of the artist to put something they see or think about into a limited medium for others to see.  Whether those limitations are the 2 dimensions of the picture plane; 3 dimensions of a sculpture or installation; or more dimensions of temporal and performative artworks, whatever the artist sees cannot be directly communicated, and even the choice of medium influences who hears the message and how it is interpreted.

I should write more about this, but I’m falling short tonight.  Maybe the next time I’ll play around with this idea some more.