Friday, December 2, 2011


December 2, 2011.  I end my day walking over this pool of tar minnows massing at the end of the platform.  Little tails, bulbous bodies, bumping in to each other, swimming over and under.  They cross over a golden median, a divide to their worlds, a meaningless, shallow barrier, traversed with little effort.  Tadpoles often puddle together, maybe for protection, maybe to become familiar, maybe for community.


December 1, 2011.  Location, location, location.  I get off the subway on the wrong end of the train and what do I see?  Something I've never seen before, that's what.  How many people contributed to this and how did each person decide to add to, or erase, what came before?  Sometimes the MTA's lack of attention and slow repairs allow a thing of beauty to emerge, grow and adapt.  It lifts my day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


November 12, 2011.  I was walking.  The wind was moving the remaining leaves northward, and the sun was shining from its new southern slant.  It was a crisp morning.  And then I saw these Sumac leaves - red, orange, yellow, green and brown - they were being whipped by the wind.  So slight and crinkled, hanging on by a thread, pliable in the wind.  The sun highlighted their color, dappled by shadow in the early morning.  I stopped, others stopped too, curious as to what I was looking at.  And then they saw it.


October 30, 2011.  I love the milky white of subway tiles.  They are meant to just be background, to lull us, to not initiate any conflict, any struggle, any awareness.  Yet, they do the opposite.  On to them is projected a multitude of statements.  Maybe it is graffiti, or maybe it is a poster.  Just as often there are cracks that bleed through a multitude of glazes, glues and tar.  And then there is mold or some fungus.  In this case a wonderful green is growing and spreading, a Rorschach of sorts - small, isolated and exquisite.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


October 20, 2011,  Paul.  Paul stares up from the sidewalk.  Paul knows you are looking and that is ok.  He is mildly amused tonight because of everyone that is passing by, some noticing him, some not.  It is after all, just a sidewalk, and any portrait there is bound to be stepped on, marred, altered, diminished or maybe enhanced.  Here is a face of expectation for himself and maybe only hope for others.


October 16, 2011.  I am on my way to the closing of the BWAC Fall Show.  I take my favorite bus ride and I see this portrait as I ride by.  I know I have to go back.  I want to liberate you from this fence.  But I have no tools, and not the will to do this thing, to remove you from your designated place.  Will you be there later?  How will your form weather the coming frost, the winter, this season's sun?  This is your place, you will manage as best you can, as you were intended to do by whomever made you.  I will look for you again.  And in the darkness I will want to take you with me.


October 16, 2011.  Are our lives like this?  So many words pushing out, wanting to be heard, and what rises?  The biggest, the loudest, the brightest.  Or can I endeavor to hear you no matter where you are?  And if I see you, can I wade through all the noise to reach you and hear your voice?  All those voices, all those statements, all that importance, but in the end it sifts down to the singular.  Can I hear you when you are speaking to me and can I connect with your sorrow, your happiness, your worries - today, right now?  I want to come through the layers to find you and understand you.  Tomorrow I can reach another.  Today belongs to where I am and with whom I am.

Friday, October 21, 2011


September 18, 2011.  A view out the window on a clear day at the what is left of a factory on the waterfront.  All that remains are the bones of what was once a thriving scene where hundreds were employed in a backbreaking job.  Now it sits, picturesque on blue waters, framed by the window I had earlier opened to let in the crisp afternoon air. It has been painted, photographed, eulogized, romanticized, its roughness forgotten in a world that has moved along.  We no longer wish to toil with our hands in this way - we leave that to others as we pursue finer things.


September 11, 2011. 
Chairs to infinity.  Simple folding chairs, lined in straight rows, waiting for an audience that never came.  There were viewers, like me, mostly silent, reflective, but no one moved to sit in the green space, leaving only the painful reminders of those that were.  A few grey pigeons that did not mind witnessing and participating in the memorial.


September 10, 2011.  A small silvery planet circled by rings and four moons floating in a vast sea of stars lighting the sky, whether it is day or night.  I walked on the subway and there it was, ready to make me look and consider that there are others out there.  A little distraction, a flight of fancy, during a subway ride.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


September 5, 2011.  Keith doesn't like this pair.  Two faces watching passersby.  They are large, outsize statements that I am here.  I see you, do you see me.  They are reminiscent, but still original.  Fang mask symbols, but all New York.  They could be spectral images, but they are substantive, made of readily available materials and a free canvas.  The scraps of paper add texture and body to the figures.  Images within the image, random, but fully part of the overall work.


August 20, 2011.  How much can we absorb, how fast, and is it in time?  So many things vie for our attention - warnings, information, help, directions.  The placement here is haphazard, the messages blurring or covering each other.  How will our future look when we understand the organization of complex messaging, moving things into pleasing formations that our mind will remember, recognize over and over and register without outright effort.


August 16, 2011.  I don't know.  These just appeared on utility poles and have continued to multiply.  Neon colors, transforming everyday metal poles into supple totems of color - pink, orange, blue, purple.  The plastic strips crawl up the poles, high, drawing your eye upward to the sky, away from the movement of the street.  And why not?


Thursday, August 4, 2011.  Curls, curls, all curls.  It waits, like some giant unfolding snake head, malevolent, maybe not.  It sits in this green lushness, patient, older than I can imagine, having existed in this form forever.  Then it unfurls, soft and green, wide.  A dew catcher.  A place of rest for thirsty insects.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Thursday, August 4, 2011.  Offerings at the bottom of the falls, around the pool, mist playing around the rocks tossed to earth by beings unknown or unnamed.  And then there are the rocks placed into the nook on the right.  Who has crawled there, scaled the wall, to place these gifts that mark the presence of the seeker, the penitent or the loyal?  The stones, worn smooth by time and water, sprayed by the shower of the water or the falling rain, nestled in a cranny.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011.  These Koi have taken flight against a clouded sky.  They no longer swim, they have been released by the beauty and serenity of their setting.  Accident of nature, or design?  What shapes their color - the gold, the orange, the brilliant white?  They are denizens of the temple ground; guarded, cared for, asked to help us reflect on beauty in a place given to lamentation.


Monday, August 2, 2011.  Thousands of miles away and the familiar is there.  Color and absence, the carving away to expose what lies beneath, the disaffection of youth.  No sorrow, no joy, just the question about where am I, who am I?  Did I see a reflection, did I see something that questioned my training, did I realize that I haven't been told the entirety of the situation?  Youth  matures into knowledge.


Sunday, August 1, 2011.  From the City of black and white to a land of lush color.  This red hanging on a tree was a hue that was not the blood red that would make a statement in New York, or the pinkish tone favored by the Barbie set.  But here it was, hanging in profusion, bright, insistent, awake.  It was right for the forest, belonging here in proximity to the ocean, showy.  What happens when it is moved?  Does it retain its pride of place, and in what context?  Regional.  Is it an example of what belongs where it is?

Saturday, July 30, 2011


July 30, 2011.   This horse climbs upward, over the white mountain, riderless, but not directionless.  It has purpose and it has substance.  Does it call to its companions, or merely protest against its conditions?   How wonderful to be aboard such a steed, to accompany him on this adventure, no matter the destination.


July 29, 2011.  A little round silver horse, mouth agape, charging across a red landscape.  What has driven the horse on this path, where is it going to?  I love the reflection of life in red - the blood, the sun sometimes, the sky at others.  I am calmed by it.


July 24, 2011.  Walking down 112th Street I cam upon this side yard, with this wonderful sculpture tucked at the end of a brick path.  Grasses moved in the breeze and added life to the reed work behind the fence.  It rose upward between the buildings, perhaps trying to see what is up or maybe just trying to stretch itself and live within more of its space.


July 22, 2011.  Twigs, grass, twine, leaves green and dried.  These pieces combined to build a nest, a hut, a home.  It was surrounded about with wooden flats laid on the ground, a forest fence.  For what?  The roof opens to the sun and elements and to allow me a glimpse in.  What is life like in this hut?  Who are the inhabitants of this little world, this bower?  The morning light gives a purple hue to the wood and softness to the setting.


July 9, 2011. A weed, or an early flower, the origin of what progeny? Thistles were something to be hacked away, the scourge of neat farmers, the killers of precious crops. But what beauty in those soft purple heads, guarded by thorny leaves. My sister's land runs rampant with these stunning beauties, taller than I remember them from childhood.


July 4, 2011. I rounded the curve on a highway in western Minnesota a day or so earlier and this is what I saw, two rises, hillocks, in a vast green scape. Nothing really, just small rises in a flat landscape, but it stuck in my mind. Everything was farmed, except for the tops of each mound, leaving a tiny untouched oasis on the prairie.


June 26, 2011. I am often amazed by something that I didn't see before. Why didn't I see this? What sorry shortening of vision caused me to miss it? What extraordinary vision caused this to come into being when there were so many options to do far less? The repitition of patter and the directing of the eye, subtly, but still insistent.


June 19, 2011. A short walk on hot dunes and then this, these little points of life, lifting up from the sand like some alien life form. They reach through the sand and increase their range, only to fall back in the heat and the dryness. How long does it take to expand and create this pattern, driven by the ability to still live and sustain.


June 19, 2011. P-Town. Rust and dirt and sand. Basic elements have come together and without a design plan produce an arresting visual. The larger rust colored areas, so flat and smooth, are coverd by layered texture in opposition to the underlying movement, and then there is the rough piling of sand in little mounds and spits of shape. I could have stayed much longer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


May 23, 2011. In death this little bird takes on a grace that maybe didn't exist in its short life. It's outstretched wing, fans into a cushion for its head, a graceful crown attesting to its holy place in our world. The tiny feet are poised as if to scamper away from the danger that it met in falling. The action of moving is still evident as it lays on the road to await what comes next, which to it is now inconsequential. I think that it still matters to us, but by now, I have also moved on from my consideration of its end.


May 20, 2011. This figure has also reappeared, this time at 14th & 8th. He was tucked away, on a metal surface and almost unseen. A clown in uniform, his scalp brightly colored, maybe in a premonition of what is to come, of what might happen in war. He has a firm grasp on his weapon, but his feet hold the possibility that he could simply scamper away in a nonsensical dance, betraying the weapon, but holding true to the spirit of his uniform.


May 19, 2011. Central Park morning walk. This azalea has dropped its buds into the soft ground below so that it looks like each bud is sprouting from the ground, like some spore growth. The ground was soft, wet, and dark and the buds were shiny in the early morning light. The dispersal pattern is at once random and pleasing, making the dirt enticing, beckoning, but not entirely convincing since no one had laid down.


May 7, 2011. We've seen him before, over in Chelsea at the Highline. Here, the Prussian occupies the space in front of the shadow of the white figure behind him. The artist has pressed all three into a single space, improbable and impossible, but still, there it is. Done. He walks, colored in a uniform more brilliant than we might expect. And he is oblivious to what lurks behind. How often do we move along just like this, lost in our reveries, unknowing and so sure that one day will follow the next, until it doesn't. Or is it that he is here, today, and this is the day he has, and tomorrow may or may not come, but it doesn't matter, because he has made this day what it could be.
May 7, 2011. Why not? What cruel spirit would impose such an edict and rub out what expression? Or is it someone commenting on the absence of art on this surface, and inviting someone to add art. Ah, punctuation. It can add to the meaning of the words we use and completely change the meaning. Whose word to I take, or do I supply my own interpretation?


May 7, 2011. The mosaic tiles pressed into this barrier fence are a soft morning glow of yellow and orange on a back street in Dumbo. They rise from the traffic barrier which is assertive and dominant in those blood orange and white blocks. the diagonals rise over them, in contrast, not necessarily harmonious, but sure of their place. What being spent time to press these into the fence, one square at a time?


May 4, 2011. I anticipate this every year, when the cherry trees shed their blossoms and blanket the bridle trail around the reservoir. The wind blows the petals into drifts, catching them in the shallow gullies left after heavy spring rains. The pattern is like a river drifting out of a lake and running over the countryside, spreading its color along the way. And our feet softly pad over it, giants on the tiny flowers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


April 23, 2011. What lies behind red windows encased in this brick. The repetition of 2 and 4, the singular irons, the brick columns. Why did they choose red as the color? Did someone have extra cans of this, or was it a choice of what would look good with the brick. And is this now permanent, preferred to glass? Red windows fronting on the street, facing the church across the street.


April 20, 2011. What makes up a vision? So many discarded pieces can be repurposed into endless combinations, an infinity variety bound only by individual imagination. A long black figure anchors this piece, surrounded by the red porcelain plates. The snake wraps the figure in an undulating dance. The entire scene is locked into place, constrained. The figure pushes against it in a continual conflict.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


April 14, 2010. In the early morning light the grasses and moss have an electric edge to them and their colors shimmer in the indirect rays of the coming sun. The moss wraps and caresses this old root, the edges soft and rounded from exposure and wear. It curves across this space where it is exposed, like a snake before it disappears again below the dank earth. I want to remove it, take it with me, retain the beauty that it is, outside of its setting. I don't.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


April 10, 2011. Sometimes I almost abandon any semblance of good sense and want to do something stupid like clamber down on the tracks to save art. Such was the case here. I almost couldn't bear to see this mask lying there, repeatedly crossed over by the subway. Impassively challenging, red lips wanting to speak, drawing you to them. Green face growing in front of you. I still wonder if it is there and if I need to add a tool to my briefcase, a telescoping hand to grasp things beyond my reach but not my appreciation.


April 9, 2011. Craftsmen so often create beauty out of utility. This fan was only meant to work, to fulfill its function. Did the metalworker know that the metal would rub in ways that would create a shimmering surface, while the rest became covered with the grime of air and fumes? Did he think about the star shape coming to rest randomly in different spots every day, always contrasting with the sharp and straight cross shapes, and all of it contained within the eternal circle. The pigeon guards sprout from the flat surface above. Another world, a different universe, a microcosm of a word filled with belching smoke and barren trees? And then the city reflected below. A living tree and life behind the windows of the apartment building. It all came together just by chance.


March 31, 2011. This drawing of a mask wasn't meant for everyone. The artist applied it to the back of a phone booth in the subway. To see it, you had to stop, turn away from the tracks and look behind a support post. Why? Was it to force you to look for it? Was the act of standing in front of it, or simply walking past it too easy? Here you had to make a conscious decision to view it. And this seems to be the view the artist wanted - the far side of the face was only to be imagined.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


March 20, 2011. You can't have any idea what will happen if you follow this command. To what extent does the writer expect you to consider your action, or does he expect you to simply follow the instruction? To what end, this order? As if the words were not direct enough, the arrow moves your eye and the 'l's are equally insistent, elongated to move you to action. And what if you resist? Or is it futile?


March 15, 2011. Almost overnight the blossoms of spring came through, enveloping the old leaves and grass. The colors of spring, these milky yellows, the strong green of the leaves and then the brilliant little blue flowers. They push against the dirty, earthy browns to remind us about renewal and color. But you have to look to see - it isn't all just offered to the casual observer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


March 11, 2011. Should a work of art remain unchanged? When is that decision made, who makes it, and is it right. There are those works we would probably not want to see changed in any way. But is there room for interactive pieces such as this? Did the first artist decide the work could be changed and do so? Did another come along and decide it could be improved? Was the first sad to see the original go away, ephemeral as a sand mandala? I would have liked to see them continue, alongside each other.


March 10, 2011. The artist Elspeth Meyer created a subway series of collage faces, which she has slowly unveiled at successive shows at BWAC. I anticipate with eagerness her studies of the people that she observes on and off the trains. Here, under CPW at 96th street, an unnamed artist creates observations of their own, but from the billboards that line most platforms. I like that selective tearing away reveals a layer of random color and shifts the face into another dimension, unknown except for the fact that I know.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Bonaire N.A. Pink hued flecks of clouds accent the deep blue of this sunset sky and the darkening sea. It happened upon us after the setting of the sun disappointed us. Our expectation wasn't met, and we were in danger of missing what came next, except that someone continue to watch and was ready to engage us all in what unfolded. How often is it like that? Having missed out on what we hope to experience, we miss what comes next, which can be equally as glorious, with the addition of being unexpected.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


February 19, 2011. There is little snow to hide this lost mitten, and so it is evolving, gathering bits of leaves and grass to cover itself and ensure its ability to survive. All is lost if someone picks it up and tames it. Then it will stop evolving and live a comfortable life in someones drawer, with other gloves, safe and comfortable, but never challenged. What will it become if left alone. How deep will it go to become one with its surroundings and stay to see another day in Central Park.


February 12, 2011. Snow blankets the ground as far as you can see, and meets the sky but barely changes color, impacted only by the difference of sky and earth. There must be a gradual rise behind the figures moving against this backdrop, but maybe not, maybe it is a sheer cliff. I know what it is because I am familiar, and I understand the figures and playing snow softball. We are compelled to go outdoors and vigorously trammel the snow, expand ourselves against the elements, exert our right to be - here and now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


February 8, 2011. I finished an early and strenuous day, filled with faces and forms and questions, and then passed this portrait. I imagine that the artist saw this gray shape, and like a sculptor, could see how to liberate the form within. Did she look at it and think that it was a shame the rest of us couldn't see it, or did she think that the face was longing to become visible? It was there and was brought out to life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


February 1, 2011. There is no picture, except that which is now lodged in my memory. My camera could not pierce the darkness to capture the moment, but in my mind it still sits there, vivid and compelling. I was at the bottom of Cat Hill, they were at the top. Five runners, their frozen exhalations hung above their heads, hanging in the air around them. The light from the street lamp illuminated the space between their bodies and between their legs. They were like stick men in the distance, but with muscle and mass. They walked slowly toward me, ambling, talking, casual. The shadows bounced off the wet roadway, shimmering from the drops of sleet that peppered my face.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


January 30, 2011. Sometimes a burden can be 19 inches of snow, and sometimes it can be love. In either case, it seems, we learn to bend, and maybe with time we stand straight and tall again. In the spring I will visit this site again and see what has become of this tree, and me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


January 29, 2011. The snow causes everyday images to suddenly take on new dimensions and the usual twists and turns of branches are suddenly made all the more vivid and stark. What seemed so natural and perhaps unremarkable before the snow, is now wholly spectacular and riveting. This stand of trees, maybe because of the direction I was traveling, and the coming of the morning light, was enthralling to me.