Two Feet Down and a Light Dancer

Two Feet Down

Two Feet Down - 2012

A journey into abstraction is an experiment in using color, value and texture to reach for meaning beyond the literal.

Some art can be enjoyed for the pure pleasure of the color and form. At other times a work can also draw the viewer into the process of finding their own meaning. While both responses are valid, is one more lasting than the other?

Light Dancer

Light Dancer - 2012

Tension and Context

door with barred window

Door with Barred Window - 2012

The little building had a single door with a turquoise frame and a narrow barred window. A few of those details provide tension and context for a reflection on this small piece of the urban landscape.

In contrast, “Hooked”, below, is purely a landscape of the mind, with no detail left to link it to reality. That level of abstraction is disturbing to some, but does it make the sense of being hooked any less real?


Hooked - 2012

Singular by the Sea

Red Beware

Red Beware! - 2011

Two singular items. Their colors and shapes speak. Does it matter what they are, or is it better just to wonder what they might be?

Bird Key Beach Ball

Stone Ball in Sand - 2011

More on “The Kiss”

The Kiss Frozen in Time -- 2011

The images here are a more abstract follow-up to the previous post, which focused on the the somewhat controversial “Unconditional Surrender” sculpture by Seward Johnson.

The warm toned image above shows the sailor’s almost feminine closed eye at the moment of the kiss frozen in time. His eye is framed by other elements from the work — elements that suggest some of the strangeness one feels standing beneath this out-of-scale couple, looking up at their embrace.

The abstract below was inspired in part by the splash of red paint that had been used to deface the sculpture in what was probably a social statement, and by the emotional triggers being pulled.

Colors of the Kiss -- 2011

What the Sea Dragged In

Rusty Tank on the Shore

Rusty Tank -- 2010

Even when storms pass hundreds of miles away they can send large waves that leave surprises on the beach. The rusty tank above was most likely a fuel tank from a boat, washed away from one shore, and deposited here in front of the red fort in Frederiksted. The bold geometric blocks of color seemed to call attention to what the sea had left behind.

Rocks also seem to shape-shift and come and go from the shoreline, although in many cases they have not moved at all. It is the sand that is brought in by the waves for a while, and then carried away again, revealing the rocky remains underneath. The constant change is the only thing that really stays the same.

Living Rocks

Living Rocks -- 2010

Pointers in Red and Green

Pointing to the Red

Pointing to the Red - 2010

If there were such a thing as compass points within the picture frame, both of these images would be pointing off to the north-northeast. But they seem to be pointing to something else, too.

green coconut

Immature Coconut - 2010

A Feast of Fruit for the Eyes

Mamey Sapote Seed

Seed of the Mamey Sapote - 2010

Each summer, the local botanical garden hosts “Mango Melee”, a festival focused on mangoes and other tropical fruit. Many of these fruits are unusual in their texture and flavor, and unfamiliar to those of us used to the apples, grapes, peaches and pears more common in the temperate regions.

Some tropical fruits are a bit sour, others cloyingly sweet, some firm and crunchy, some soft and pudding-like, and others almost liquid inside. And each is unique in flavor and appearance, unlike anything else.

These two images suggest the feast of fruit for the eyes. Unfortunately as I took the photos, I didn’t do a very good job of taking notes, so the names are my best attempt at post-facto fruit ID!

star apple

Star Apple - 2010

Visual Sorbet


Geometrics 1 - 2010

The newly painted walls of Fort Christiansvaern beg to be abstracted. As I worked with these pictures, I began to view them as visual sorbet, or palate cleansers for the eyes that appeal to the senses without carrying any other message.

Abstractions that lack any implicit social or emotional message may be a cop-out, or art-lite. On the other hand, perhaps their straightforward appeal to the senses, and the emptiness of mind with which one must approach an abstract image in fact is the message — and an important one at that.


Geometrics 2 - 2010



Tethered I -- 2010

To be tethered is to be restrained, tied down, prevented from moving about freely. And that can feel uncomfortable to those of us whose moving about is usually unrestricted. However, some actions, when totally unrestrained or untethered, can trample the rights of others. So being tethered can also refer to being grounded, in touch with reality, one’s actions balanced by consideration for others and for nature’s limits.

The predominant feelings within a community or culture toward restraint or being “tethered” may help set the tone for economic and social discourse. And problems may arise when one attitude toward restraint gets out of balance with the other.

Tethered 2

Tethered II -- 2010

Head to Toes

listening to the scratch band

Sittin' in the sun -- 2010

People can be interesting from all angles. I was listening to a scratch band playing at a benefit in the forest when the man in front of me removed his hat. The graphic image created by his orange shirt and glistening scalp totally distracted me from my intended goal of getting some images of the musicians.

A similar thing happened with the dancing woman in the image below, whose billowing skirt and shuffling feet as she danced near the curb distracted me from my intended subject. These images illustrate how “distractions” can turn out to be serendipitous — and why it is important sometimes to disable one’s left-brain focus in order to allow the right-brain to take over.

dancing feet in Frederiksted

Dancing Feet -- 2010

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