Archive | March 2022

Drawing a Door for Thursday Doors

The paper waits.
There’s nothing on it yet.
I print the photo,
measure in my mind
where to place the door.
Is that the focal point of my drawing,
or is it the guardian, the mirror?

The paper waits.
With tentative lines,
my pencil begins.
Lines, circles and squares
fill in the details.
And then with pen in hand I scribble ink–
and gradually a form starts to  appear.

I’ll be the first to admit that architecture is not my artistic forte. Still, since Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt was to share a photo from your day and write a poetic accompaniment, I decided to give it a try for my Thursday Door. The poetic form I used was Duodora.

I don’t always pencil in things first, but in this case it seemed necessary if I wanted any kind of successful result. The proportions are off, but you can definitely tell it’s a door.

And you might even recognize it as the side door to the Lucerne Hotel, on West 79th Street. The entrance is quite wonderful too, but I’ll need to get up early to try to capture it when there’s not much traffic, as I need to take the photo from across the street. The Lucerne was used, controversially, as a shelter for the homeless during the Covid lockdown, but I think now it’s back to just being a hotel. You can read a bit more about its history here.

The Kick-About #50 ‘Linear Construction No. 2’

Inspired by the sculpture of Naum Gabo.

Red's Kingdom

The swirling spiral introducing Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is one of Saul Bass’s most iconic designs, and our last Kick-About celebrated Bass’s bold, pared-back visuals with all the usual eclecticism and creativity. Our latest Kick-About originates from another spiralling form, Naum Gabo’s Linear Construction No. 2.

Charly Skilling

“I love the shapes Gabo created – the magic of straight lines working together to create curves, and curves working together to create depth and movement. I started playing around with some yarn and metal shapes, and found myself thinking about the shadows these artifacts could create, with the right backdrop and well placed lights. I’m really pleased with the results.”

Tom Beg

“In my other creative endeavours I recently came across the peculiar visual effects that can occur when you layer up uneven lines in a 2D or 3D space. In some cases this effect could be seen as undesirable but…

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Guardians (Thursday Doors)

Too many glass boxes
disguised as buildings–
a mirror of themselves–
efficient, unadorned.

I prefer a threshold
under a stone guardian–
one that remembers landscapes
filled with foliage and wings.

I’m lucky to live in a city with a political climate that leans towards saving some of its beautiful architecture. No, they don’t build them like this any more–it’s too expensive.

Here’s another guardian on West End Avenue, with some lovely metalwork too.

Another door with multiple guardians. When I looked through my photos, there were a lot of them, but I’ve saved some for future posts. And I’m sure there are many more left for me to discover.

The poem was written for Sarah’s dVerse prompt, where mirror was one of the suggested words.

And as always find more Thursday Doors here.

Weekend Work 3/21/22

I did a little painting this weekend, catching up on a few already started. This one I’m probably going to cut up. The three images are too crowded, not enough space around them.

A good luck piece for my husband. Chai is Hebrew for life. Today is the first day he says he feels better.

Not finished but in a way I like it like this.

Best regards to all WordPress friends. Thanks for your kind words and support during my husband’s bout with Covid.

St Agnes Branch NYPL (Thursday Doors)

a book of luminous things–
the sun and the moon,
the beautiful things that heaven bears

St Agnes is now my local library branch. I’ve been going there for years, though, because once a month, pre-pandemic, they had a booksale in their basement with thousands of books, CDs, DVDs, and paper ephemera donated by patrons. I’m anxiously awaiting its return, not only as a source for books to read, but for inexpensive reference books for my collages.

I decided to do a book spine poem in tribute–the top two books are books I’m currently reading, and the bottom one is one I’ve already read, all courtesy of sales from years past. All highly recommended.

Here’s the well-worn and welcoming front door. There’s a ramp on the left side for strollers or wheelchairs, and an elevator inside, making the books wheelchair-accessible. I was so happy when it reopened at the end of last summer.

The library originally housed the NYPL Library for the Blind, which has since moved to 25th Street. The building was designed by architectural firm Babb, Cook & Willard for the West End Club, taken over by a bicycling group, the Century Wheelmen Club, and acquired by the city in 1905 when Andrew Carnegie donated over 5 million dollars to establish free libraries in NYC. The original book collection was housed in space owned by the St. Agnes Chapel on West 91st Street, and, having outgrown itself, was sold to the city in 1901 for one dollar.

You can read a more complete history, and see more photos, here.

My mother was a librarian, so books have always had an important place in my life. Libraries are truly a gift we should support and cherish, a world of knowledge open to everyone.

And see more Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion, here.

The Kick-About #49 ‘Saul Bass’

Inspired by graphic designer Saul Bass. You know his work, even if you didn’t know his name.

Red's Kingdom

From the lovely free-wheeling associations of our last Kick-About together, to the pared-down, typographic compositions of graphic designer and film-maker, Saul Bass, welcome to another showcase of new works made in a short time.

Vanessa Clegg

“Lots of ideas came and went with this prompt, including the darkness of present day Ukraine but, finally, I settled on something that had, hopefully, a sense of vertigo, as well as a tinge of Hitchcock. I remembered a trip to New Zealand, during which there was a minor earthquake. I was standing outside having walked in a surprisingly calm manner out of the vibrating house (no damage) and watched frozen to the spot, the feeling of the earth beneath my feet no longer being solid, static and secure but moving in waves – a living thing – resulting in a true loss of balance.” Tracing paper, string, cracked mirror, graphite and watercolour…

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Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Volodymyr (Thursday Doors)

Stop war.  Help.
Where to go?
The life left.

Tried to flee.
Stop war.  Help.
For what?  What?

So much grief.
Can’t go back.
Stop war.  Help.

I wanted to wait until the scaffolding on the left side came down to photograph St. Volodymyr, but now seems like the time to look at its front door, scaffolding or not.

The door is a simple one, of plain wood with lace curtains, in contrast to the ornate building itself. The interior is quite spectacular, to judge from the photos here. St. Volodymyr “was first constructed in 1894-96 to be a synagogue by noted New York architect Arnold W. Brunner and became a church in 1958.”

There was an interfaith prayer service held at the cathedral yesterday, attended by Gov. Kathy Hochul and other religious and political dignitaries.

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt this week was to Create Your Own Syllabic Form. I’m calling mine “333”:
3 verses/3 lines in each verse/3 one-syllable words in each line
Line one repeats as line 2 in second verse and line 3 in third verse

The words in my poem were taken from interviews with Ukrainian refugees and inspired by the signs on St Volodymyr’s door.

Dan Antion hosts Thursday Doors here.

Baltimore Oriole (Draw a Bird Day)

my eye attempts to join
with wings, lifted
by an unseen wind–
a blurred displacement
of air expanding the horizon
beyond all sense of limits–
the sky trembles, held
in a featherlight embrace,
as if it, too, would rise,
into the cosmic sea

A quadrille that includes the word eye for dVerse, hosted by Bjorn. It’s not specifically about an oriole, but in the spirit of Draw a Bird Day.

The Baltimore Oriole, named for its orange and black feathers that are the same colors as Lord Baltimore’s coat of arms, summers in the Northeastern and Central United States and Canada, migrating to Florida, the Caribbean islands, and Central and South America in winter. New World orioles are not related to Old World orioles, but are part of the blackbird and meadowlark family.

Residing in forest edges and open woodlands, the oriole’s diet includes insects, flowers, and fruits. They especially like ripe fruit, and can be attracted to bird feeders with orange slices or sugar water. They weave unique hanging nests that look delicate but are remarkably strong. You can see photos and read more about their nests here.

Females and young males have a subtle grey and golden coloring although females grow more orange with each molt, and may end up close to the bright male coloring as they age.

Orioles are not endangered, but they are in decline, partially due to their preference for nesting in elm trees, which have been devastated by Dutch Elm Disease.

Orioles are the second of my orange and black birds for the Year of the Tiger. You can see the first one, the Rufous Treepie, here.

Weekend Work 3/7/2022

Woman with red hair, inspired by “The Gilded Age” currently on HBO. It was fun painting in all the details. The background is one of the great stone mansions. It’s a good show and the costumes are inspiring.

Landscape growing out of the sea. It was especially fun to paint the sea on the bottom.

Things have still been difficult as far as my husband and Covid. I made him go back to the doctor on Friday. She said the infection is lingering in part because he didn’t get treated earlier (he was four weeks in before he sought medical treatment) but she believes he will make a complete recovery. He went in to work today, still coughing but says he feels better.

Some little shoots are starting to come up in my yard. Spring is coming. Have a good week! Nina

Green (Thursday Doors)

Childhood doors–
half-remembered in
side faded
innocent of the leaving
that has no return.

You know the
adage—when one door
it’s true, this
world contains millions of doors–
they are everywhere.

I still greet
each new door with hope–
a portal
by unjaded promises–
freshly painted dreams.

Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt of the color green led me to look through my files for green doors. I love the detail on both the entrance to the building above, and its door.

I’ve never lived behind a green door, but this one, a few steps down, in inviting.

I like the grand surround to this door, especially when contrasted with the simplicity of its brick house.

Dan Antion hosts Thursday Doors here.

My poem is a shadorma chain. I can’t help it, it’s my favorite form.