More is know less no more

元宵节快乐

The Chinese Lantern Festival , a 2000 year old tradition, is held around this time, the fifteenth day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar or the 26th— last Friday. For the children there were lanterns, riddles and, dancing lions and dragons, and for everyone, a full moon.

Brush painting by Janney

Design is about creating and then resolving visual tension. Creating visual tension attracts the eye, it is interesting, it can be either or both, related to the common content ·what is it—where, when etc— or the visual elements of line, shape, texture, etc.

Sometimes the line, color, shape, texture are interesting in themselves, they are the image..

Alameda Creek

It is difficult to make blanket statements about causes which have meaning, the more specific they are, the less general or common they are.and the meaning is increasingly diluted..

Rubber necking on the highway, it commonly happens and always there is someone to comment that it “means people are morbid,” the commenter is trying to put a “content” meaning on it implying people enjoy seeing other people suffering. But some people are, some are not, some are just stuck in the traffic line and others maybe concerned about danger, but it clear that there is a visual interest which attracts the eye.

It is a tension, not necessarily good or bad, its just most people want resolve that tension, connect the dots . . . answer the question . . . solve the riddle. The viewer is interested because there is a question. Resolution means the viewer finds an answer. In successful design this is all done unconsciously, the viewer just “knows without thinking” the question and the answer.

its a photograph, and one part of that tension is, What is it?

For some a photograph is a record of a moment of time—a feeling of happiness, a wedding, a Pulitzer Prize image, a portrait of someone famous or infamous, a moment of personal achievement. Sometimes its some quality of the subject, enhanced, unique, an artistic image of some everyday thing or something we have never seen before such as an aerial image of patterns.

I think my images do not make judgements about the subjects . .
and the whole photograph is the subject, not any “thing, or sub-subject in it..

Design likes odd numbers which can always be reduced into two more and less groups, movement and stillness, large and small, anything which makes the viewer unconsciously, feel a question and seek an answer—this is visual interest.

Unconsciously? without thinking?. Humans have instincts, with a complex biological database-like relationship between the senses and the brain. The body is like radar, senses are always working but only call it to the attention of the brain when there is a reason, a sensual question which cannot be answered or the answer needs thinking. When you wake in the morning, sit up, put your feet on the floor and then stand up, you never think  “Will this floor hold me?”. Yet when the floor gives out your body knows it without thinking and responds..

Finding relationships and “causes for things to happen” is a successful pragmatic for survival but in the universe its just the universe, there are no reasons or causes or effects.

Things are this way or that way, there may or not be a “cause” but there is a relationship and for survival humans, as do other living things, have learned to increase their chances for survival by avoiding harm, and found successful in relating causes to danger. Its a tool of survival., if humans did not do it they would not have survived . . .

Still even after you have past the memory, Heart Sutra lingers on:
In this case, Shaariputra,
form is voidness and voidness is itself form;
voidness is not different from form, and form is not different from voidness;
that which is form is voidness, and that which is voidness is form.

Less is know more no less

Line is no line, color is no color, texture is no texture, form is no form.

A simple example of contrasting odd numbers, three mountains and five antelopes, or including reflections can be seen. as seven antelopes. Three mountains in groups of 1 and 2, and five antelopes in groups of 3 a2 or 3 and 4, the three are moving and the two are drinking.The mountains which are bigger in “real life” while than the smaller antelopes are bigger in the weaving, contrasting “illogical” big and small to create perspective.

Janney‘s painting also uses a creative sense of design— Surprise, The “empty space” is in the middle. It uses the elements of the Lantern Festival—the moon, lanterns swinging from tree branches and vendor stalls, and the children on a road to adventure, one with her lantern urges the other onward as the rhythm of the color red calls them up the road.

Japanese TV shows

I have been enjoying Japanese TV shows for decades. In the 1980s a local TV station broadcast them on Saturday and Sunday evenings and They stopped broadcasting about 2008 and I would buy them on DVD to play with an all region modified DVD player. Later thanks to WWW was able to get more from direct downloads. 

Sources  started to dry up. For years I have heard from others how great Netflix is and two months ago I read about the “great five new Japanese TV shows” on Netflix,, and from the PR description, they sounded interesting so I subscribed.

Most Japanese TV shows easily available in US , such as from Netflix, Amazon, or Raku are bizarre anime, violent horror or young people falling in love with stupid sex stuff. The only redeeming factor for me was that Netflix had some of the Midnight Diner series, but I already owned it, and watched again so not feel cheated, but after four weeks I canceled.

Japanese TV, like TV everywhere, is lowest common denominator. However some of the Japanese shows, in my opinion, have other redeeming qualities. In Still, Life Goes On as a child the young man lost his young sister to a brutal sex crime and murder committed by the older brother of the woman. Time passed, people moved on, the killer brother, now an adult, is released from prison, the couple meets, first without knowing their relationship, later discovering it, and having to deal with their feelings about themselves, towards each other and, in the past of shame and in the ugly head of recidivism, face challenges to their commitments and obligations to their family members and each other.

In Mother a young woman, with her own mother psychological baggage discovers a child in the garbage—wrapped & sealed in a black garbage bag— and undertakes a picaresque mission to protect the child, winding through a web of mothers so the viewer sees what it means to be a mother from different perspectives

If only people would do what I tell them to do, the world would be at peace, I guess its the same for 7.647 billion other people except the world would not be at peace, there is no way any one person can get every one else in the world to do things , though that does not seem to stop those who aspire to be political authortatians, dictators, who seek to use political power to force others do what they want. And knowledge, pragmatism and just common sense do not work either—especially look at the so-called “religious” groups who think “their “rights or perhaps “rites” is a better word, are being denied because as a group they want to spread the Covid disease in the name of worshipping their god. A lesson learned, you cannot even get the paid help not to leave the door open.

The side of San Francisco building on a corner on a Market Street corner, up near Civic Center, painting by Alicia McCarthy. I had an interesting conversation about this work with her father one day, not knowing it was him, we talked as if we were strangers who had just met on the street.

Mal Sharpe (April 2, 1936 – March 10, 2020) at the Savoy Tivoli across Columbus Ave on Grant Street, North Beach. Sometimes on a Saturday I would be walking around San Francisco, and late in the after noon work my way over to the Savoy Tivoli where for years a Mal Sharpe, playing trombone and band would be performing. For years on Lous Armstrong’s birthday he would put together a band— I have three CDs from three different performances.

Whatever about Mal Sharpe it would be great a understatement to say he enjoyed playing music, he enjoyed performing, and people enjoyed listening to him and whatever group of musicians he got join him. At the Tivoli the front of the bar was open to the street where the crowd on the sidewalk often blocked the way. Later I was told that the performances were stopped because the computer hi-tech new residents did not like the “noise” on a Saturday afternoon.

The gate of no gate, the person of no person, the light of no darkness, how to no my self.

Gate Gate, paragate,
parasamgate
Bodhi svaha

Pilgrim’s mean reversion

Living in an apartment in a city is a reasonably anonymous experience, but in a small rural town where short term rentals may be few, every time locals visit the shopping area they see how you live. Once I lived in a such a place as an undergrad in a small rural town a half& half basement from the street side and first floor from the back.

The main street was built on the side of hill, At street level my apartment would be in the basement, but go around 180 degrees and there was the back door entering into the kitchen. The “front door” was on the side with steps down to the living room. On top, the first floor enter the local bar from the street, a hangout for college students, they did not bother me much and it was owned by a local judge.

Somewhere in New England 1970

In Maine sometimes I would drive over to this house and wonder why such a big tree was so close to the house, there was no paved road to here, only a dirt road, and there was an old tractor and a couple pieces of trailer farm equipment busy rusting nearby.

Is there something to see of the previous people who lived here or is it a lonely house left with some secret memories of once being a home. Maybe it was rejected because the occupants could not make it a home.

Imagine how long it took to establish a common set of standards for building houses. Many gothic churches began construction with a defined, incised in stone, standard measurement for every worker on the site to use. They may have been different for different sites, though I would imagine professional builders would develop their own and any ex-employees or apprentices would likely learn, adopt and adapt them.

Western Massacheusetts, 1970, I liked the contrast of the textures of the living things to the building.

Houses—perhaps homes at one time—and the questions they raise, was it a house before it became a storage building? Is there any sign of happiness happening in this house? Maybe kids slept in the attic and kept a collection of little flip books and Edgar Rice Burroughs books so and when their cousin visited he could spend hours up there reading.

One day this house just appeared beside the road, it once had electricity, were there ever shutters on the first floor windows?

Imagine how many workers were displaced by standardization of building materials, workers who might’ve used a different measuring standard for every house. Maybe at the moment it put a lot of people out of work, but in the long run it made houses increasingly affordable for more people by reducing the labor needed to create materials, standardized the skills needed to build a house, and as society changed, resulted in lower prices for houses, more houses being built and more jobs for people building houses needing less skills than before.

One August afternoon on a country road in southern Vermont, the corn is high, When its ripe the farmers often have some on a roadside stand, if its a small stand it may have been an honor-pay practice. Corn picked, brought in that afternoon and eaten the same night is a country treat never available to city dwellers.

Japanese “Folk” Pottery

In the US there is this sense that somehow “folk art”often called craft, primitive art or “homemade,” is never to be “Art ” because it lacks an intellectual meaning component. “Great Art” is supposed to make a “statement” about the meaning of life, a statement which appeals to, or perhaps celebrates, the humans sense of “reason,” a sense beyond see, hear, smell, taste and feel and unlike our five biological senses with which we are naturally endowed, result from the additional effort of the individual—some appreciate Art more than others and we know who they are because they can express this extra sensory quality in Art. Its a little different in Japan. Craft is recognized ones as Art and the meaning of life is to be found in the doings of daily life

A guinomi is different than a choko a term also used to designate a small cup to drink sake. Guinomi means one gulp, a chokes usually smaller, more like what is used to drink sake at most Japanese restaurants in the US. There are cheap guinomi and expensive choko, but most guinomi are not cheap though not necessarily expensive and has its own individual presence while most choko are cheap and lack a presence, Generally when you drink sake with a guinomi made by a potter who has been true, you discover the meaning of the sake.

Ki-Seto guinomi (Yellow Seto), the basic glaze is yellow background with green and brown scorches,

Think of the unknown potters through history who figured out to form clay into a container, how to fire it and made the extra effort to decorate it—to make an everyday object fun and enjoyable to use. Its the using everyday that makes it have a meaning which “Art” in a museum can ever have —hell, you have to pay to see it and then you cannot even touch it, andsometimesyo have to stand-in line and then view with wit ha bunch of other people hanging around. Better to use it to eat and drink from and then wash it after and put it away to be used again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Hidasuki Bizen guinomi Pots are fired with wood ash “glaze” and while they feel unglazed they hold liquid. In the kiln the pots may be stacked and tied together with twine which burns leaving traces of the twine. Bizen is located on the main island in Okayama Prefecture between Kobe and Hiroshima on the Shinkansen.

Every culture has folk art and examples of GREAT DESIGN!!. Thee is no ”My culture has better design than yours.”
Folk art arises from the everyday experiences of small societies which share similar values and behavior and the art expresses the culture or “the common feeling of the people.” As societies grow they increasingly include more people from diverse backgrounds bringing behaviors which results in conflicts, and changes.

Aka Shino (Red Shino) guinomi. Often shino has a strong white glaze but red shino is also popular.

Bizen, Hagi, Mashiko, Shigaraki, and others are examples, and sometimes the word “Rokkoyo” which specifically refers to  Echizen, Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tanba and Bizen Jomon pottery is considered one of the oldest pottery dating from 13,000 BCE.

e-Karatsu guinomi and Shigaraki tokkuri i. When pouring from a Shigaraki tokkuri or drinking fro m a shigaraki guinomi don’t be surprised to feel solid particles from the Earth embedded in the clay. Karatsu often has a wonderful experience of depth of transparency in the glaze, like a da Vince glazed painting.

Folk artists learn one way of doing something which works fine in a common society, but a diverse society has multiple standards and contemporary artists may find an audience in unique personal expressions where popular Ar is defined not so much by the unique individual achievement of the artist, but by its commonality to any lowest common denominator.

Kuro Oribe Chawan Kuro-Oribe. kuro or guro means black

Seto and Mino, cites in Japan near Nagoya, have a long history of kilns with some sharing of skills and techniques and some differences— Kilns in this area have been operating for centuries. Some may be referred to as Seto or Mino style which are often more personal expressions of the potter. I like the various other Seto/Mino styles which have a tradition and the potter’s personal creative expression includes the tradition—Shino, Oribe, Ki-Seto, and Seto-guro,

Often Oribe wants to challenge the pottery user in shape or in decoration, If nothing else—but there is much more— Oribe is fun to hold and use.

This is one place Japan pottery and Japanese folk art in general (and in my opinion also USA Pueblo pottery) is different than pottery traditions in other societies. There is a tradition in which potters find their personal expression within the tradition— When you see Oribe, or Shino or etc. you know is Oribe or Shino yet the great potters have also found creative and unique ways to express themselves personally. Japan has a cultural value for Folk Art which is lacking in the USA and in Japan this creates a common cultural bond, again lacking in the USA.

Thus Art, as Folk Art, in Japan is part of the common everyday experience contrasted to in the USA where the experience of Art is separated from the personal experience of most people —Look, don’t touch the Art please!and often the property of an elite.

Seto Guro chawan. Guro means black, This is a large, heavy, demanding chawan needing both hands to hold it firmly

In western Art, the artist eclectically studies other artists as the basis to make Their Own Creation, separate from tradition, The Nakamura family makes Bizen, as do many others, but there is one lip to a guinomi which is Nakamura family and still its Bizen. Often in wester nart often the achievements of the“great clay artists” is referenced as non -functional pottery—a long way from the making of pots y used by people everyday sharing a common experience, and meaning, of using them.

Oribe tokkuri and Setoguro guinomi. Often Oribe has green and brown on a beige background, there may be an illustration from nature and a drip.

New Years with Shigaraki tokkuri, e-Karatsu guinmoi and small dishes.

Alameda Creek

There are days when the simple movement of the Earth traveling 67,000 mph through space fails to summarize my mind, that is when I like to walk along the Alameda Creek.

You could say its like I am spying on people, taking “secret pictures” of them. Look closely, my images are not about the people, but the line, color, shape, gesture, Well there are some that are about the people but in those its clear that I have their permission and they are posing.

What is it we do in our lives that makes living worthwhile? Walking along Alameda Creek.

For many the truth of a photograph is about about something that is real, a moment of insight into a person, but for me its just the color, shape, line, texture, how it gathers everything together to create a personal visual experience separate from the restriction of thinking—the mental differentiating and defining of the reality in the image to fit what we should think about what we saw and not enjoy the visual experience in and of itself.

Is there something about the movement of the shapes that give a feel to how things interact with other things—straight lines contrast to curved lines, dark contrasts to light.

Again you could say that its like I am spying on people, except these images are not about the people, I am not talking to them, I don’t care how they are, whether they are sick or feeling angst, are they lonely or happy, and you do not find yourself asking those kind of questions or making personal judgements about them. But I and you can experience the shape, the color, the gesture and the line without looking at a photograph and feeling obligated to even mentally ask “What is it?

Who is spying on who? There is a little parking lot along Alameda Creek at the Beard Rd trail head, which has a toilet and regular delivery persons who work this area know this place, PG&E, Amazon, FedEx, mail carriers, its a common bathroom available for free.

End Papers

Do I know who I am at any moment when I am being me? Domy photographs hold some kind of truth about who I am. or are they simply random 1/125 seconds of my life? Why did I make this image? Is a windshield one level of separation?

Sometimes its like being a Monday quarterback I should have seen this moment then and not now but after fifty years how many different time have I told myself t he same thing after seeing this or that photograph. Are my photographs memories of missed opportunities ?

My photographs can only hold truths about myself, maybe most of the time I am lying to myself in my photographs or should I have found more hope them anthem than I could. They are like Oracle Bones from the Shang dynasty waiting for a moment of divine inspiration.

What good are these images if I cannot divine some good fortune to come? Or cannot wonder and know what it is like to be sitting in front of a grocery store with my possessions asking others for money.

My father one early morning in Sparks about 2005, He passed in 2006, I see this image, it was one of the last I made of him, certainly the last using film. He was older than I am now—I’m 75—Mom and Dad retired in 1984, spending 20 years in Albuquerque and, for him two more years in Sparks. Maybe I never knew him well enough, maybe I do not know how to know somebody or anybody well enough. I remember these lines fromWoody’s song written to the tune of Irene Goodnight byHuddie Ledbetter:

My father hoped that I would be
A man of some renown.
ButI am just a refuge
As I go ramblin’ ’round, boys,
As I go ramblin’ ’round.

Ramblin’ ‘Round’ lyrics by Woody Guthrie

After his passing my mother lived in Reno at a retired facility, in 2008 sh had a stroke suffering memory loss and Expressive Aphasia and moved to a memory care facility near me, where I got to know her in another way. We used to go out, here we are at the shopping center. What use is photography if it is not fun?

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha, may it forever hide my shameless theft of Sengai.

Hear whee goe, sloe, a gain

I like to listen to music like l read books, just open it up, anywhere, and start reading, anywhere, enjoy reading for awhile and close the book. I oten watch tv the same way, At lunch I make a salad with pita bread, turn on the tv, watch while I eat, and turn it off or sometimes get interested and finish the show, It works well with stations which play the same tv show all day, such as Law & Order. Sometimes I see the end or middle before the beginning or see the middle without seeing the beginning or end and then later see another part.

As a graphic art, photograph, like the other graphic arts, has its own unique character, part technical/part meaning and people can “know that character by feeling.” Artists learn how use a combination of the two. People “trust” a photograph and have learned to “feel” the medium is a photograph and, photograph has an expectation of “some real thing.“

Makes no difference what kind of photograph—news, fashion, catalog, snapshot, selfie, arrest, driver’s license, PR, Art, advertising etc. There is a common expectation of something “real” which include the experience of seeing an image which you know by feel” is a photograph and at the same time “know by feel it” is not real, but you understand that the unreal image is a device to understand something else, a metaphor, so to speak, which is “real”.

Kite Day in Franklin Park circa 1970 at Bob and Karen’s crepe stand. You know in this photograph that the color in the sign was not real, but you also know I am not trying to fool or trick you into believing it is or was real and so its visually fun.

You know in Maine it does not really look like this to the human eye, you might like it, you might not, and you may even feel it offends your sense of photography.

Some Japanese Stuff


Hagi, an old Japanese kiln —kiln being an area where the same natural resources were available to an interactive group who shared similar potting and firing techniques and influenced each other.

I went with my son to see him off at Tokyo Station, we ate some curry in an olde style small place, visually it was like being in Master’s Midnight Restaurant run by an elderly couple with a prime piece of Tokyo real estate.

Later in the afternoon bought some sake and takoyaki at Shibuya and as darkness was approaching on a whim exited at Nihonbashi where I came across a store selling Shigaraki art and crafts, where there was a small little bar with tall stools for four people to sit, where you could sample three types of sake from Shigaraki for ¥1000, after which I purchased the one below, very good, very there, and only about $17.


Before drinking I made a poster with tokkuri and guinomi by Shigaraki potters. When drinking and using the guinomi it feels like I just reached over, off the wall grabbed a handful of clay using my hands to mold it into a container and instantly use it to satisfy my thirst. I feel a closer, more direct relationship to the sake.

Folk Art

Every peoples has a folk art appreciated as part of their tradition and usually considered as un- or less-adulterated by society, less alienation from your roots. Japanese folk art has a pureness of artistic intent and technique which is instantly communicated to many people all over this earth.

I used to like shiokara—salty squid— with sake, I still do, but its very salty so now just on special occasions The small ekaratsu plate was made Maruta Munehiko

Yanagi contrasted the contemporary potter who attends Art School, takes courses, absorbs and studies different technique of others to present their final creative style to the world, “their own unique style,” to the traditional potter who as kid grows up sweeping the floor, cleaning the kiln, doing odd jobs, delivering to customers. and learns one piece of one technique here and there, alwyas with some responsibility for the product , that culminates into one style, the stye of the kiln, the “true style.”

For Yanagi, the pots of the contemporary potter come from the intellect while those of the traditional pottery come directly from the heart.

That is Folk Art, it comes directly from the heart

In Japanese folk art may be referenced by the term Mingei or  民芸. It has a certain distinctive superficiality—i.e. the visual experience is easily, directly and with minimal, if any, viewer effort preparation, communicated to most people.

For some purposes one may, traditionally, differentiate Japanese pottery into Kyoto style, kyo-yaki and folk style or Rokkoyo kilns which specifically refers to six old kilns, yet all over Japan are found “folk kilns” with a history and style of a their own. Yaki refers to “fired thing.”

Kyo style is associated with Kyoto, the emperor, nobility, sophistication .complexity, technical perfection as differentiated from folk style. of simple , common, everyday and technical imperfections may be highly valued.

Celedon pots, a kyo style could hold hold liquid—an essential quality of a pot— before that ability was part of folk style pottery. Kyo style may often be made with porcelain and have more complex design requiring a sense of disciplined effort and knowledge to appreciate it while the folk stye may evoke the appreciation simply, directly and instantly.

Father; tokkuri and son; guinomi. Ki-seto is from the Mino-Seto area. My understanding is that Ki-seto was the first Japanese folk-style which enabled mass producing of pots which would hold liquid.

Alameda Creek

These are “blanket designs” using a small image of myself usually holding the small camera in my hand, repeating it to create patterns as a blanket or rug. Below is the image I used and the pattern created using it.

Still daily I walk, with the Covad crowd, its my everyday escape from the house. People come out, it seems safer than other activities. I guess I am pretty lucky, I have house on the suburbs to live in, a place near my house to walk everyday, reasonably safe convenient areas to shop.

How do you think the path to “normal” will unfold? Will there be a “new normal?” Of course it will be different, Does a “reversion to the mean” have meaning here.

The first couple weeks the Alameda Creek Levee was crowded with new walkers and bicycle riders who had their own rules about the unspoken path protocols .

Will there be sitcoms which enable us laugh at ourselves,? until we finally become so sick of the stereo types and look around to find Covad is in past. something about which we we fondly warn our children who do not understand what we are talking about —and we say “You will have had to be there”

I was burnin 1945 and remember while growing up in the 1950s and1960s thinking the 1940s was way back history and the ’20s and ’30s was ancient history. Yet today, in my mind, the 1950s seems like yesterday.

I have been walking this creek almost every day for at least 20 years. One young woman who I have seen twice now, once about six months ago and again a few weeks ago. At our first encounter she was made at me for walking on the side of the path because she was walking on it. Its not paved and better for my knees. I walk there eveyr day.

On the second encounter ,probablyfour to five months after the first , she again was angry at me, beginning her “comments” with“What is wrong with you I told you before you cannot walk there!!!

But the people using the path has changed, some regulars stopped going because there were too many path newbies who were too rude, or perhaps too dangerous for the Covad,

Many them were left

Its hardest of all to see homeless with their collection of possessions.

Shado Blankets

When I read about “String Theory” And when it started talking about more dimensions I cannot logically go there. Dimensions are the units our five biological senses measure and are tools human created for survival. Dimensions are how we as humans interact with the universe.

These are “blanket designs” using a small image of myself usually holding the small camera in my hand, repeating it to create patterns as a blanket or rug. above is the image an below is the pattern created using it.

What are these things we call dimensions. One dimension— a point?? There is no such thing as a point. Two dimensions? Euclid (the author of The Elements) is clear, there are no one or two dimension things in reality.

But then I thought how about a shadow? A shadow has no dimensions yet humans share the same sensaul experience of a shadow, there is a common word for it in all languages , we can measure it in two dimensions and there is no height to those two dimensions. that is when I started making photos of my shadow andthenlater making these Shado-Blanket designs.

My parents retired to Albuquerque in early 1980s and when visiting I would browse “Old Town”and especially an Indian rug store where I would spend time s if in a museum looking at the designs of the “rugs” or “blankets.” Of course the Pueblo weavers used imagary based on nature while this “self absorbed” designer uses images based on himself.

Then and now I also had an interest in pottery, which was wetted by seeing Pueblo pottery and the combination of the design ideas of both pottery and blankets was interesting.

Its not that these these look like Pueblo Indian blankets or are even meant to imitate them or culturally mis-appropriate them, they are fun.

I once remember Stephen Hawking say (my summary) “Philosophy had been leading Science and guiding Knowing for a long time, but now Science was ahead of Philosophy (in knowing) and Philosophy would never catch up until Science “knew everything”— and then he said that day was coming.

I may not have stated his exact words but I believe they express his opinion as concerns Knowing and the relstionship between Science and Philosophy. And my personal opinion, like Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus it just goes on and on, there is no end.

The book Flatland by Edwin Abbott, published 1884 is a satirical novel which described how humans would function in a two-dimensional world.

End Closing

Krishna, Where are you when I need you???

Its obvious what Krishna is doing and can be doing it twice at the same time, the wonders of painting, but I wonder what everyone else is doing.

Previously I mentioned Shigaraki sake and pottery and did not want to mix this with that but still wanted to mention San Fransisco potter Bonita Cohn who has been influenced by Shigaraki potters, she has dug her own clay from the SF area, and her work may show Shigaraki influences, including firing using Amagama kiln (wood fired kiln).
Chawan by Bonita Cohn

Feet always make think I am at the end,

But hundreds of years later Shakespeare is still being heard.

The artless dodger

All through human history its obvious that people like Art— paintings, drawings, music, decoration, poetry, dance, sculpture, and so on. While different individuals may have different “tastes” in Art or they may argue what is or is not Art, people like Art.

Here I am stepping on a piece of Art, off to the side there is a sign that says “Please take off your shoes“ but I did not. Not intentionally, but when I realized it, I did not come down immediately, it was too much fun.

In pre-digital graphic design, art (small “a”) referred to anything which was pasted up on a board, photographed using high contrast film which was used to burn an offset printing plate to be put on a printing press.

Along Alameda Creek Levee , I walk everyday, well not exactly everyday, but very close . . .

We know the universe through our five senses, and and, maybe in some part, reason—another human created tool. In Art sensual feeling is another way of knowing. The eye of the visual artist feels information about the qualities of things and expresses those qualities.

Its been over five months since Covad 19, everyday walking along the creek levee with my little Nikon 8200 camera.

Where for most people what they see goes through the eye to the brain which defines what they have seen—I see a house!. But for the visual artist the image does not go to the brain, but stays on the eye and is known visually as line, texture, color, shape, gesture, and the relationships between them —the visual qualities.

Art does not have to be anything in particular, it can be political, it can be decorative, it can have hidden meanings or superficial meanings, it can serious, it can be light hearted fun. Its often said that Art is in the eye of the beholder and rules are made to be broken.

But there are some rules to Art. Visual Art, like music, is about creating tension and resolving it, visual art creates a visual tension and resolves it visually; music creates an audio tension and resolves. it.
In visual art, the tension— a visual question which seeks an answer— attracts your eye like an accident on the road attracts rubber neckers. The resolution is when the visual question is visually answered, and when this process is successful the viewer feels it instantly. for and if this is not resolved the reader moves on.

Design is different than art . . . Design is how how the pieces fit together and often what the pieces are.

Design is a part of Art, but also it is its own distinct and separate thing. Artists are often good at design, but not necessarily and designers are designers, not artists by intent. Art may often pose visual questions but commercial or graphic design, such as in designing an advertisement, or a brochure is not about posing visual questions, but eliminating visual questions. NO reader of an adorable a brochure should ask “Is this an ad Isthis a brochure? Where do I start reading? or How do I read this? What is going on here?—yet all may be legitimate questions for the Artist .

On weekends its crowded with bike riders, and a general increase in dog poop.

For the commercial designer, design is an end in itself. In marketing communications design, marketing has an objective (hopefully) and a strategy to realize that objective (hopefully). The work of the designer is to visually implement that strategy to realize the marketing objective—the feel of the visual experience of the ad should communicate through feeling any questions about how to read the ad—such as this is an ad (its not an editorial or article) ; where to start reading; where to go next; where to end reading; where is the message—it wants to get you to the message which you may accept or reject.

The goats are back again along Alameda Creek. A goat herd is hired to eat up the growing stuff along the creek and sides of the levee. Sheep were there last month.

The designer wants to minimize the time spread between the moment the viewer initially experiences the ad and the viewer getting to the content of the ad—unless the strategy of the visual experience of the ad is make that difficult. These are decisions made instantly by feelings. This is when you are reading a magazine and you turn the page “without thinking” —you are not “thinking ” but you are “knowing by the feeling of the page and instantly have made a decision to go on that honest page. The opposite is true too, if there is something on that page that interests you, you will know that by the feel of the page and make a decision without thinking.

Maine is cold in the winter time

A painting or drawing hanging on my wall would be very boring if everyday I had the same visual experience with it. Visual Art needs to have a visual experience which grows with the viewer.

When I see images of the cold in Maine I remember the fun snow is , but then the memories of the reality are automatically recalled.

Photographs as Art have their own situation, people commonly associate a photograph as a visual record of a real moment in time. If they do not recognize what they see, they begin thinking about What is it? and alienate themselves from the visual experience.

Finding out who you are can get very competitive and introverts like myself tend to try to hide among the feelings —if yuo saw me here you would think I was someone else.

On the other hand an advertisement wants to create a common visual experience. The purpose is not to encourage the viewer to have their own independent experience but to have the same experience as everyone else an dwhen that works is that common experience positive towards the content.

At the cross roads where both choices go up

We may expect the artist have the skill in their own hands to create their vision. For the designer its the vision that matters and the designer, as art director, may use others for their skills to realize their vision. This is reasonable as the designer is a “commercial artist,” their vision is to design a solution which works for others while the artist is about creating their own vision. How close do you think the artist should be to the skills needed to produce the art?

Before I came to California in 1979 I lived in Cambridge MA. Once a year Philip Guston would hold an evening presenting works, comments and taking questions,— I attended once, he showed his klan series. Link to a new exhibition of Philip Guston. In his early career before this style he was known as an abstract expressionist.

The artist practices their skill to respond to their feelings without thinking.

Daruma is the historical character of the man who brought “zen” from India to China in the 6th century. More specifically he brought Dhyana to China which became Chan and in Japan is Zen. A KnoWay Daruma .

When Japanese get a new Daruma “doll” there are no eyes in it, just two white circles. Make a wish, draw in an eye, if the wish comes true draw in the second eye. Many people buy a Daruma at New’s Year or at Jindaiji Temple Daruma Doll Fair where people come to buy a new Daruma and burn an old one.

Sometimes to much of a good thing makes yo stop wondering.

There is another interesting use of the word “art.” When a skill or profession for which there is very specific training yet some individuals have a special “knack” outside of and beyond that specific training is described as “the art of” —the art of the medicine ; the art of sales; the art of carpentry. In the West that is what often some use to separate Craft from Art.

An Acoma bowl, maybe 1950s or later? Acoma is one style of Southwest Indian pottery. If you are ever about 45 miles west of Albuquerque on Highway 40 stop and buy some pottery. If you take the tour you may get the opportunity to purchase inperson from the artist.

The sense of Art is that its a meaningful human expression beyond the ability of words. Except that using words is an Art, or is the writer just a craftsman with unexplainable word abilities, a wordsmith, theocrat of writing and only some of them have the Art of writing? (That’s a joke.)

Gary Holt , chawan, Berkeley potter, It was one of his early “soluble” (I think that was his term) chawans. It felt like Miro to me.

Last night I broke a piece of pottery, every once in awhile it happens, it tears out a piece of my heart, it reminds me how impermanent is my life—but then there is the zen of it, I buy a pottery because I like it, I enjoy using it, when it breaks, because it will, get another one.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, bodhi svaha

From my collection of “functional pottery ” which includes work from Berkeley potters during the 1980s, other local areas of San Francisco, four Chinese bowls with hand painted roosters, one bowl from Roswell NM, purchased as a set of four from the local Art Museum and one bowl from an Old Town pottery store which featured local potters around Albuquerque.

Whatever is Art, knowing what Art is is not as important as having it.

Cameras in search of a moment

Generally a photograph is accepted as a visual documentation of a real moment in time.

Three boys, a dog and a cola sign, it was a “real moment” between me and these boys. It could have been a “set up,” the boys might have been actors hired to pose and the cola sign just a prop. Three boys, a dog, a sign and myself came together and parted, never to see each other again and this is a record of that “1/125 of a second’ moment.

Because of digital technology how we experience photography and photographs has changed.

Before digital a photographer could afford an excellent camera and lens, expose film, develop and print— The technology got better at a slower pace. With film you were aware of the financial cost of each image. In the 1960’s I rolled my own tri-x , 30 exposures on a roll.

When you approach Yasukuni Jinja the torii feels massively dominating.

With digital the cameras rapidly improve technologically and just as fast, the cost of the everything except the cost per image, I never think about it.When you buy expensive professional digital equipment it is soon out of date. And there are plenty of low priced digital cameras on phones that are very good quality.

The priest goes one way, the people another.

And its easy, no film to develop and keep clean, no darkroom, no waiting time.

For these Japanese, the photo being taken is an affirmation of their faith in the survival of Japan or maybe its just what you do when you are old and visit Yasukuni Jinja .

The phone has developed into a personal portable multifunctional computer enabling people to communicate more information more effectively and the camera is an essential part of that machine.

Its been over the past five months that much of these images are from Alameda Creek .

Make a photograph (or a video) and send it almost anywhere from a computer you carry around in your pocket— instantly. You can communicate more information than the receiver can comprehend in real time, is that communication? If you send more information than the other person can grasp they may only get part of the message, and you may not know which part they missed.

Digital has turned the world into a global village. Good? A global market can give more competition, more value, higher quality goods, lower prices.

Like in a small-town electronic media enables global gossip, hypocrisy, judging, fear mongering, bullying conspiracy theories and ever more bad behaviours.
Are these bad behaviors the natural result of people living in a small town? Or the effects of modern society which for social solidarity, requires individuals to repress their natural urges?—alienation from our true selves.

Which moments are more important? The ones in your photo album?; The ones you send someone else?; The ones that never happened?; The ones that could have happened? The ones that should have happened?

The moment inside you when the feeling of seeing the photograph is better than was the reality of being in the moment. And no one else knows but you.

Which moments are our true natural selves? Could photographs really be a visual image of ourselves?

We think a photograph is an image of a reality independent of us, an object separated from the subject, take care not to be all in the abyss of positivism,

Last week I walked by a blue heron standing intensely still —often they are bothered just by walking by them on the trail—I walked up a mile and back and the heron was still standing intensely still as I approached and then, Whack!! its beak struck itoa hole and came up with a mole, flew across the creek, drowned it and then ate. I had only seen that one other time in 27 years . ..

And then the next day as I approached the same place, the same bird intensely standing still again and then Whack!! again another mole, another drowning, another meal . . .

still most see the tranquility moments of Alameda Creek.

A San Francisco moment of truth . . .

A San Francisco moment of power . . .

A Jamaica Plain moment of family.

When I livd in Jamaica Plain this family used to pass by our house regularly to and from shopping.the man looked to be about the same age as myself, I used to wonder what kind of relationship he had with his family. What were his friends like? Did he like school? What kind of job did he work?

You may no me before you know me, isn’t that the truth.