Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art @ Home

About a month ago my daughter asked me to come over with the tripod and the digital SLR and do my best to imitate a real photographer. She had been invited by an art & design site called Little Paper Planes to submit a spread for their ongoing feature called Curated Walls.

Mabel Watson Payne and her Daddy took themselves off to the playground. It felt quite surreal to me – being left behind on a trip to the playground – but my daughter had other ideas in mind for my time and energy as she led me around the apartment pointing out the artwork she wanted to feature and suggesting angles and groupings. 

This project made me change my mind about the best next piece of camera equipment to covet. I'd assumed what I wanted most was a zoom lens of roughly the same medium-to-high quality as the prime lens I have been working with for the past six months. Now I am thinking it might be more useful to get a good wide-angle lens first. The complete, wall-size views I tried to take for this project turned out to be rather tragic due to technical limitations (and I omit them here).

Needless to say my easy favorite of all these photos is the last, featuring a just-framed drawing of exceptional loveliness by my granddaughter (hanging above her mother's small, efficient desk-at-home).

Art credits –

1. Jessica Dacher (glowing squares)
2. Street artist (miniature chair)
3. Vintage gift (whale needlepoint)
4. Tjasa Owen (tiny square seascape)
5. David Maisel (photo) Jenny Vorwaller (painting)
6. Etsy print in Mabel's room (polar bears)
7. Jen Altman, Anna Beard, Kari Harer (photos)
8. Robbi Behr (circular sculpture)
9. Mabel Watson Payne (felt pens, crayons)


If I am early this afternoon and arrive at her building while Mabel Watson Payne is still taking her nap, I can pass the time like I did last Friday, contriving photos of the surrounding buildings. The challenge of doing this increases over time as I use up the obvious angles and am driven (as above) to invent new ones.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jil Sander

My trainer at the gym was rhapsodizing recently about his small collection of Jil Sander clothes (for men), mostly acquired at an out-of-the-way shop called Jeremy's on 2nd Street near South Park in San Francisco, where the occasional fugitive piece can (on lucky days) be found at a bargain price. These remarks of his triggered a wish on my part to look at a wider range of images and firm up my comprehension of the Jil Sander look (those shown here drawn mostly from the last five years of collections and campaigns). I did of course find abundant menswear examples and certainly as a group they looked attractive enough, but not so utterly striking that they screamed out for reproduction on this personally curated rolling screen. No, it was Jil Sander for women that made me sit up straight most often and hit the copy button.

Tangerine Tango

My daughter intorudced me to the Pantone color of the year for 2012, Tangerine Tango. I discovered that Miuccia Prada had as usual got there first. She showed the sweater above in 2005 and the dress below in 2010. People who speak sneeringly about the awfulness of Italian political life can console themselves with the transcendence of Italian fashion life.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Polaroids

Baa Baa

Mabel Watson Payne lined up the water sipper she took to Huntington Park alongside her other water sippers, one of many jobs she helped with after we got home at the end of Friday afternoon. During an ordinary day she will spontaneously create a chaos of toys and books and art supplies throughout the apartment, as is the ordinary way of babies. At the same time there will be signs like the above behavior that Mabel inherited a good many of the neatnik, hyperorganizational genes which undeniably govern a major component of her mother's character and my own.  

When Mabel and I arrived (a bit damp and dirty) we found the apartment empty. Her parents had gone out to dinner and a movie. So it was up to us to wash hands and assemble dinner and set the table and eat the meal and clear up the dishes and take a bath and get into pajamas and read a bedtime story and drink down the small bedtime bottle of milk. This ritual bottle is always taken in the rocking chair and there is always singing to go along with it. On Friday evening Mabel instructed me to sing Baa Baa Black Sheep – and before I had sung it even fifty times, she was sound asleep.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Huntington Monochromes

At Huntington Park on Friday afternoon Mabel Watson Payne spent a good while dabbling in the little side fountain (or baby fountain as it is known to her – the center of the park being occupied by a large fountain, copied in every detail after the famous fountain-of-the-turtles in Rome). Mabel liked to feel the constant motion of the water against her arms.

She also (as seen below) was strongly determined to take off her shoes and socks. This she accomplished during snack-time, with provisions spread out on a tree stump. 

Mabel was in the mood to play in the grassy part of the park, and found a safe spot behind a hedge where she could watch the many dogs socializing in the middle of the park without coming into direct contact with their large wriggling selves.

Steep Sidewalk

Mabel Watson Payne (sharing supremely buoyant spirits with me on Friday afternoon) set herself to climb one of the steepest blocks in San Francisco all on her own as we made our way to the playground at Huntington Park (situated opposite Grace Cathedral on the top of Nob Hill).