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Photo Flash: The Hummingbird Tradition

August 12, 2011 Photography

One of my favorite memories of my grandma’s house in Ohio was the hummingbird feeder she kept hanging from the big tree in her front yard. My mother carried on the tradition and regularly attracts hummingbirds to her feeders each season, so when we started our garden in the spring I decided that I too would become a hummingbird aficionado.

Fail. I was so disappointed in my lack of ornithological skills that I said screw it, and just let the feeder hang there all summer while the syrupy nectar melted down to nothing.

But then…Monday morning while standing outside admiring our tomato and herb plants, a hummingbird started hovering right in front of me just a few feet away! I cleaned the feeder, made some food and put it back out in hopes of securing the little lady to stay. We now have at least two (they’re so fast it’s hard to keep track) female ruby-throated hummingbirds living in our backyard (males actually have a ruby throat and are very protective of their feeders). Feels nice to continue the tradition.

Learn more about attracting hummingbirds here

Artist Shout Out: Walter Inglis Anderson

July 14, 2011 Art

Walter Inglis Anderson was an American painter, writer, naturalist and bicycle enthusiast.

Artist Bio:

Walter Inglis Anderson was born in 1903 in New Orleans to George Walter Anderson, a grain merchant, and Annette McConnell Anderson, an artist. His mother’s love of art, music, and literature strongly influenced Walter (called “Bob” by his friends and family) and his two brothers, Peter and Mac. Anderson was educated at a private boarding school, then attended the Parsons Institute of Design in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where his drawings earned him a scholarship for study abroad. He traveled throughout Europe and was particularly impressed with the cave art he saw at Les Eyzies in France. His wide-ranging interests included extensive reading of poetry, history, natural science and art history. He pursued man’s search for meaning in books of folklore, mythology, philosophy, and epics of voyage and discovery.

Anderson returned to Ocean Springs and married a Radcliffe graduate, Agnes (Sissy) Grinstead, started a family, and went to work creating molds and decorating earthenware at Shearwater Pottery, founded by his brother Peter. Anderson felt that an artist should create affordable work that brought pleasure to others, and in return, the artist should be able to pursue his artistic passions. In the 1930s, he worked on regional Works Progress Administration mural projects and began to view his role in art as a muralist.

It was in the late 1930s that Anderson first succumbed to mental illness. He was diagnosed with severe depression and spent three years in and out of hospitals. Following his hospitalizations, Anderson joined his wife and small children at her father’s antebellum home in Gautier, Mississippi. The pastoral tranquillity of the “Oldfields” plantation provided an ideal setting for recuperation. During this period, he rendered thousands of disciplined and compelling works of art which reflected his training, intellect, and extraordinary grasp of the history of art.

In 1947, with the understanding of his family, Anderson left his wife and children and embarked on a private and very solitary existence. He lived alone in a cottage on the Shearwater compound, and increased his visits to Horn Island, one of a group of barrier islands along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He would row the 12 miles in a small skiff, carrying minimal necessities and his art supplies. Anderson spent long periods of time on this uninhabited island over the last 18 years of his life. There he lived primitively, working in the open and sleeping under his boat, sometimes for weeks at a time.

He endured extreme weather conditions, from blistering summers to hurricane winds and freezing winters. He painted and drew a multitude of species of island vegetation, animals, birds, and insects, penetrating the wild thickets on hands and knees and lying in lagoons in his search to record his beloved island paradise. Anderson’s obsession to “realize” his subjects through his art, to be one with the natural world instead of an intruder, created works that are intense and evocative.

Omitted from mainstream histories of American painting, Anderson’s work has not received sufficient critical attention, perhaps because he chose to live in a small Southern town, patiently acquiring what he called “definite knowledge” of local forms. Fiercely independent in spirit, indifferent to his own “career,” Anderson did nothing to cultivate fame or critical attention and sometimes seemed to flee them. When the Brooklyn Museum invited him to an exhibition of his linoleum block prints in 1948, he chose instead to travel to China, where he hoped to gaze upon unknown landscapes and examine Tibetan murals (the China trip ended, deep inland, when his passport and other belongings were stolen and Anderson returned, partly on foot, to his point of departure in Hong Kong.)

Among Anderson’s most vivid writings are logbooks recording his travels by bicycle to New York (1942), New Orleans (1943), Texas (1945), China (1949), Costa Rica (1951) and Florida (1960); an account of his life among the pelican colonies of North Key, in the Chandeleurs; and about 90 journals of his trips to Horn Island, off the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, in which he combines close observation of the natural world with reflection on art and nature. Another noteworthy log describes a walking tour to a colony of sand hill cranes north of Gautier, Mississippi in January 1944.

Walter Anderson died at the age of 62 in a New Orleans hospital of lung cancer. Much of the work survived only by chance; it was discovered in drifts, like autumn leaves, throughout his cottage after his death. Those found treasures present the viewer today with a fascinating opportunity to share Anderson’s vision.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed much of Walter Anderson’s work which was housed in the concrete vault on the Anderson’s property in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. A group of professors and students from Mississippi State University (and others) volunteered their time and facilities to help save and preserve Anderson’s work.

See four more works by Anderson at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Form and Fantasy: The Block Prints of Walter Anderson features full-color and black-and-white reproductions of over 250 of the artist’s prints.

Bio taken from the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and Wikipedia.

“Hummingbirds”

“Blue Crabs” – 1960

“Frogs, Bugs Flowers” – 1960

“Thistle”

Photo Flash: Joplin, MO – The Aftermath (And How to Help)

Residents of Joplin, Mo, walk west on 26th Street near Maiden Lane after a tornado hit the southwest Missouri city on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses. (AP/Mike Gullett)

I’ve got some family living in Joplin, MO and I’m happy to say that to the best of my knowledge none of them were hurt. At least 89 people died and countless others were injured in the most destructive tornado in Missouri’s history. My Grandmother’s house of 53 years was completely destroyed. Luckily 82-year-old Treva was out of town visiting her sister when the tornado struck. My father, who also lives in Joplin, said this in an email last night, “The center of Joplin is gone – looks like a nuclear bomb went off…”

See more photos of the destruction here

Read about 4 ways to help the tornado victims

Watch a video of the tornado here

Donate money to the Red Cross here

Facebook pages of note:  Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery / Joplin, Mo. Tornado Survivors

Photo Flash: The Camel Thorn Trees of Namibia, Africa

May 20, 2011 Photography, Web

photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic

Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park.

In 1990 newly independent Namibia became one of the world’s first nations to write environmental protection into its constitution. Read more about Namibia’s unqiue efforts at land stewardship here.

See more photos of Namibia’s stunning “Super Parks” here

*Note: This was not photoshopped

Read: Tsunami Warnings, Written in Stone

April 29, 2011 News

A stone tablet in Aneyoshi, Japan warns residents not to build homes below it. Hundreds of these so-called tsunami stones, some more than six centuries old, dot the coast of Japan.

Lesson: In the words of poet/philosopher George Santayana, ”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

According to NY Times:

The stone tablet has stood on this forested hillside since before they were born, but the villagers have faithfully obeyed the stark warning carved on its weathered face: “Do not build your homes below this point!”

Residents say this injunction from their ancestors kept their tiny village of 11 households safely out of reach of the deadly tsunami last month that wiped out hundreds of miles of Japanese coast and rose to record heights near here. The waves stopped just 300 feet below the stone.

“They knew the horrors of tsunamis, so they erected that stone to warn us,” said Tamishige Kimura, 64, the village leader of Aneyoshi.

Hundreds of so-called tsunami stones, some more than six centuries old, dot the coast of Japan, silent testimony to the past destruction that these lethal waves have frequented upon this earthquake-prone nation. But modern Japan, confident that advanced technology and higher seawalls would protect vulnerable areas, came to forget or ignore these ancient warnings, dooming it to repeat bitter experiences when the recent tsunami struck.

“The tsunami stones are warnings across generations, telling descendants to avoid the same suffering of their ancestors,” said Itoko Kitahara, a specialist in the history of natural disasters at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. “Some places heeded these lessons of the past, but many didn’t.”

Read the full article here

Art

Artist Shout Out: Walter Inglis Anderson

Artist Shout Out: Walter Inglis Anderson

Walter Inglis Anderson was an American painter, writer, naturalist and bicycle enthusiast. Artist Bio: Walter Inglis Anderson was born in 1903 in New Orleans to George Walter Anderson, a grain merchant, and Annette McConnell Anderson, an artist. His mother’s love of art, music, and literature strongly influenced Walter (called “Bob” by his friends and family) ...Read More

Music

New Music Review: Widowspeak “Widowspeak”

New Music Review: Widowspeak “Widowspeak”

With a Cat Power alto and Mazzy Star whisper, Widowspeak‘s self-titled debut LP embodies the essence of the 90′s. But with band members born just at the cusp of the decade,  singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton, drummer Michael Stasiak and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas offer not a retelling of the 90′s but a new generation’s interpretation of ...Read More

Fashion

Runway Style: Thomas Tait Fall 2011

Runway Style: Thomas Tait Fall 2011

Canadian-born designer Thomas Tait began his career as the youngest graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins, completing the program at just 21. His graduate collection was then chosen as a feature in the CSM fashion week show for the Fall 2010 season, after which he went on to receive the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize on ...Read More

Photography

Photo File: Saga

Photo File: Saga

From the photographer: “I am Saga. I am from Iceland but currently live, study and work in London.” See more of Saga’s work on: Flickr The Neverending Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...Read More

Film

Style Watch: Harmony Korine for Proenza Schouler “Act Da Fool”

Style Watch: Harmony Korine for Proenza Schouler “Act Da Fool”

To showcase their Fall 2010 line, Proenza Schouler teamed up with legendary cult filmmaker Harmony Korine to create Act Da Fool. With the influx of short fashion films in early 2010, designers now seem to be stepping it up a notch in the video department – and in my opinion Act Da Fool takes the ...Read More

TV

Style Trends: Beverly Hills 90210

Style Trends: Beverly Hills 90210

With the DVD release of its first six seasons and an updated CW remake, Beverly Hills 90210 has yet again become a source of entertainment and fashion inspiration for girls (and grownup girls) everywhere. References to the show in the fashion world began popping up in late 2006, around the time of the 90210 Season ...Read More

Web

Photo Flash: The Camel Thorn Trees of Namibia, Africa

Photo Flash: The Camel Thorn Trees of Namibia, Africa

photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park. In 1990 newly independent Namibia became one of the world’s first nations to write environmental protection into its constitution. Read more about Namibia’s unqiue efforts at land stewardship here. ...Read More

News

Infographic: Sitting is Killing You

Infographic: Sitting is Killing You

See the entire infographic here Read an article about a Canadian sitting study here . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...Read More

Funny

Funny Video: Charlotte Young’s Artist Statement

Funny Video: Charlotte Young’s Artist Statement

Any artist will tell you, the worst thing about being an artist besides being poor is writing a bullshit artist statement. Don’t worry though, Charlotte Young is actually a comedian and not a depressed artist so don’t feel guilty for laughing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...Read More