Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Grains of Sand Actually Look Like

I am pretty floored by these photos, taken by Gary Greenberg using an extremely high-powered microscope, and showing what individual grains of sand from various beaches around the world really look like up close. The variety! The shapes and colors and patterns! This is exactly the kind of marriage of art, science, and the hidden astonishing world all around us that just inspires the heck out of me. Thanks to Beautiful/Decay for drawing my attention to these amazing images.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wildflowers in Oregon

Driving along on the back-roads of southern Oregon, we stopped to pick a small bouquet of wildflowers. It's typing sentences like that one, and looking at photos like the above one, that make me feel I am an extremely lucky human.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis

When I was in Portland for the ICON illustration conference I had dinner with the lovely and charming Vanessa Davis. I got her book Make Me a Woman and she signed it for me. Having now read it, and loved it, I wanted to share some of my favorite images with you. The way she draws girls' cloths is perfection for one thing (I'm pretty sure I wore the exact outfit above to a party in the aughties). And then I especially love her sketchbook pages that are included in the book--full of brilliant single-point perspective, barely-there yet oh-so-evocative settings, laugh-out-loud humor, and even mistakes like the image at the very bottom of this post featuring a somewhat poorly-drawn tiger and the note to self to "look up tiger."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Next Installment in the Ongoing Poem Saga About the Spring of 2006

April 19, 2006
The second warm day in a row

Just walking from the building to lunch
was an actively enjoyable experience
The sun shining on my back
so that I could feel it
toastily soaking in
through my black sweater

As little as I usually like the heat
the sun’s warmth felt great
More like the way I enjoy a hot bath
or wrapping my hands around a mug of tea
or burying my face in laundry just out of the dryer
or holding a sheaf of papers freshly extruded from the printer
the lovely sensation of

localized warmth

rather than that
inescapable hot heat
the heat of hot weather
that I do not like

image source is here

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Judging a Book by its Cover

Am currently reading a book that I picked up at Powell's while I was in Portland. And I must admit I chose this book, entitled Souffle, almost entirely for it's exquisitely designed cover. A tale of three unrelated people each redeemed from personal tragedy by cooking? If it were a book by an American author that description would just sound too corny, and would likely have had a corny cover to match. But this is novel in translation from Turkish writer Asli Perker (pictured below), and as such turns out to offer a whole different take on reality than that once sentence plot summery might suggest to an American audience. And it was the cover that clued me, right away, that something interesting and different was going on here. As a person who works in book publishing and spends a lot of time thinking about and discussing covers, who witnesses the care and attention book designers spend on covers, I actually think it might not be too strong to say that you can in fact judge a book by its cover. After all, lot of smart people have gone out of their way to try and make sure there's a cover on there that tells you if this is the sort of book you, particular reader, are going to like.

The Redwoods

Somewhere or other in the past year or so, Mabel heard about the giant redwoods. And she developed a great enthusiasm for the idea of seeing these huge trees--trees big enough to drive a car though!--for herself. So this summer, when we left Portland, instead of hopping on a plane, we spent three days driving home down through the redwood forests. And it was just as magical as we'd all hoped. We stayed in motels, and ate in greasy diners, visited Glass Beach (one of my favorite spots on earth) in Forth Bragg, and saw lots and lots of trees so huge our minds could almost not take them in. We were happy as clams.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Super Man

A penchant for dress-up comes and goes in waves around our house. The above was taken during once such period of enthusiasm earlier this summer. Here are some of the things I love about how Mabel plays dress-up: she is always totally clear as to which garments from the bin of dress-up clothes ought to be put on; once they are on she has pithy words to explain exactly what she is dressed up as (in this case, obviously: Super Man); and, when the attire really clicks for her, she suddenly--like the great method actresses--inhabits a whole new physicality of movements and gestures to represent to character of the moment.