Abstract 1: Barnet Newman’s “Achilles” – National Gallery of Art
Abstract 2: National Gallery of Art – East Wing, Exterior
Abstract 3: Volcanic Cliff
Simple lines of abstract art are intriguing. They can be found everywhere. Some are works created in art mediums (paintings, sculptures, etc.). Others are created by architectural forms. Still others are found in nature.
Abstract 1 is an oil painting created by Barnet Newman titled “Achilles”. I stood and looked at this piece for quite a long time. Rather than try to figure out “what it is meant to be”, I tried to focus on what feeling it brought out in me. The red made me feel a little anxious. I did not resonate with this piece.
Abstract 2 is a photograph of the exterior of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. I was walking along, looked up and saw these contrasting shapes of shadows and light. It just grabbed me.
Abstract 3 is a photograph of the sheer basalt cliffs cut by the Palouse River during the Ice Age Floods. Nature’s artwork stops me in my tracks. Sometimes I just do not want to leave. It instills me to think about how our would was formed and just enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding me.
Every time I visit Washington DC and walk around the Capitol, chills run through my body. Being there gives me a perspective of our history and what our Nation represents. Looking at the Capitol reflecting on the water, caused me to reflect in turn about how our Nation has grown and changed over the years.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Capitol with my Aunt. It was her first trip. Visiting Washington DC was one thing that she wanted to do before she passed. Walking with her, I could see the sparkle in her eyes and the pride she had on her face. Her parting remark was that every child should visit Washington DC to gain a perspective of what our Nation is really about.
I have been lucky over the years to have had the opportunity to live in the Washington DC area and visit the Capitol many times. Prior to 911, access to the Senate and House chambers was not restricted. I recall sitting up in the galleries listening to various sessions. What a great experience that was.
I still try to visit Washington DC on a relatively frequent basis. I can never get enough!
How lucky we are to live in such a great Nation! The current time is extremely challenging and full of discord. But it is not even close to the times our Nation bas persevered in the past. On a recent visit to Washington DC, I walked by this Civil War Memorial sculpture with the Capitol in the background. It stimulated me to think about what our Nation was going through over 150 years ago. So no matter how bad we may think things are now, lets have the strength and confidence that we all will survive together as a united Nation.
This image ties the images from the two prior posts together. The contrast here are the differences in the design elements (triangular geometric vs. sweeping curves, color vs. monochrome, and smooth marble vs. sculptured metal). The horizontal (diagonal) lines of the cornice moulding and the vertical lines of the wall designs also provide a geometric contrast.
This post continues my self-assignment to look for contrasts. This image was taken from the same location as my previous post. It is the corner of the wall/ceiling cornice moulding. I saw the contrast of colors, shapes, lines and light/shadows. The foyer of this historic building is full of “eye candy”.
I gave myself a photographic assignment to search out contrasts. The contrast could be in relation to many different aspects/perspectives: color, shapes, patterns, light/dark, old/new, etc., or simply an item that does not belong in a specific setting. I decided to walk the streets in downtown Yakima, WA for my search.
My first stop was the A.E. Larson Building. The Larson Building is itself a contrast to its surroundings. With its eleven stories, it towers above adjacent structures. Its Art Deco design stands out from the simpler buildings of downtown Yakima. The interior first floor lobby is heavily decorated with stone and elaborate bronze in the Art Deco style; pretty fancy for a farming-based community.
The above image is from the main lobby entryway. What caught my eye is the contrasting adjacent design. One is horizontal, the other is vertical. One is light, the other dark. The simple spirals tie the designs together.
Door Handles – Raymond Library, Yakima Valley College
My friend exclaimed “LOOK!”. I turned and saw these interesting door handles. They looked more like little sculptures than handles. As I squinted, the glass doors became darker and the light reflecting off the handles became less harsh. It gave me a little feeling of mystery, “What is behind these doors?”.
Look forward, turn and look around, look down, look up … it is amazing what gifts are out there waiting to be received. Light, shadows, shapes, diagonals abound everywhere. It is ours for the seeing. This simple skylight in Glenn Anthon Hall (Yakima Valley College) caught my interest. I just walked around to get the diagonal perspectives and balance I was looking for.
The bright red-orange roof against the blue sky caught my eye as I was walking down Front Street. The color and shape of the building. looking through a street tree caught my interest. But ofd memories kept my attention.
When I was just a little boy, I remember my grandfather taking me down to the train station to see Uncle Ben off and to pick him up from his annual winter trip back to Pittsburgh. I became fascinated with the idea of riding a train across the country. When I was five, I had my opportunity for such a grand trip. My grandfather took me back to Pittsburgh to see the “Aunts”! I remember anxiously sitting in the “grand train station” waiting for the train to stop and pick us up. It seemed like an eternity, the ceiling was so high, and the room so large. I could not sit still. It seems like just yesterday.
My last trip through the station was in the late 70’s. My wife and I decided to take the train from Seattle to Yakima instead of driving. It was a wonderful trip over the Pass and through the Canyon. My father and a brother picked us up at the station. It was still such a great place.
So many wonderful memories. I am thankful that the old station has been put back in productive use.