Monday, August 18, 2014

Colorful Ideas

I've been exploring color in my paintings quite a bit lately, so it was quite fortuitous to attend the Rensselearville Writers Conference and hear about the new book The Secret Language of Color by Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut.  The book analyzes the role of color in our world, touching upon science, nature, history, culture, and beauty.  Essentially humans are able to use their three cones of vision to perceive 10 million colors; however our perception of these colors is contingent upon many subjective factors.  Transparency, memory, taste, context, anatomy, even gender influence our relationship to color.  The conference comes on the heels of the recent edition of the design magazine Uppercase, which devoted itself exclusively to color.  What is it about color that captivates us?  The excitement of vibrant color can lift a mood, attract a mate, even relate to evolutionary behavior.  Cornell's Lab of Ornithology recently produced an incredible film documenting the beauty of birds of paradise and their use of color in their mating practice.  From color bombing to a resurgence of neon clothing, perhaps the world's zeitgeist needs a little color to lift its mood right about now.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Flower Power

We treat flowers as sweet and delicate, as an inconsequential idea, as a romantic weakness, but without flowers, there is no fruit nor vegetable, no food for bee or butterfly.  When the medians on the highway remain uncut, what first returns is the wildflower-- bachelor buttons, Queen Anne's lace, thistle-- flowers dot the landscape offering seeds and beauty instead of cropped greenery. Leaving the landscape to her own devices inspires me. Nature has a way of healing itself, and in a world of upheaval and turmoil, I can only hope that we humans can step aside long enough to allow nature to rejuvenate and prosper. As an artist, the only imagery that makes sense right now to me is the power of flowers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Garden Days

Like many before me, I am taking inspiration from the garden these days.  The bursts of color, the blossoms turning into food, it's all such a happy summertime metaphor about life's bounty.  But it needs tending, of course.  The watering, the weeding, and the harvesting is dividing among our family, making it a communal experience.  Best yet, we are eating healthful food-- zucchini practically every day, cucumber salads, tomato soups, and the like make this season's experiment in eating local food even more successful and delicious.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bouler Pfluger Bayshore and Brooklyn

Bouler Pfluger Architects' downtown Bayshore office is humming with several recently hired employees and a flurry of incoming projects-- ranging from a large commercial hardware store (no, not a big box!) to a new waterfront home.  Being in a downtown area is great, but being next to the gourmet deli is even better.  Come by, say hello, and get yourself a hero sandwich at Frank and Maria's.  Tell them James sent you.

Things in NYC expanded as well, so BPA needed a second office, which just opened this week in Industry City, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  Right now, the Brooklyn office is primarily working on the Build it Back projects in the Rockaways and Staten Island, but certainly open to new and interesting projects in the boroughs.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Not-So-Great South Bay

 Sludge in Orowoc Creek, Islip NY

Another reason to ban plastic bags

Parking lot garbage we picked up in five minutes

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


 This book amazed me in its philosophy about living beings, especially moss. After I read this book, I wandered Potic Mountain in search of all the different types of moss we  had on our little spot of earth.  The results were surprising, and quite life affirming.

I love this author-- from BEAN TREES to LACUNA... and now this book.  I totally enjoyed the audiobook. As I drove to work each morning, plus a couple of trips up the Hudson Valley, this 12-disc book inspired me to attempt to eat locally and to perhaps even grow my own food this summer.

And in the midst of all this botany love, I enjoyed everything about Black Horse Farms in Athens, NY. Owner Chellie is a doll, and the plants are brilliant, the soups are savory, and don't get me started on the bloody mary mix.  I'm going to try and 'eat the seasons' this year-- buying produce locally as it comes into season.  With climate change now a reality, food consumption, habitat restoration, and bike transportation are added to my list of eco-friendly considerations. Eating locally offers so many benefits. Taste, community, environment, economics all come into play. And please don't even get us started on local beers.  Crossroads in Athens, NY and Great South Bay Brewery in Bayshore, NY can attest to James' love of a full growler.

Bouler Pfluger Architects is now investigating native plantings for many of their Sandy relief projects.  By using native plantings, habitat can be improved.  Properly considered, the platings can serve as habitat for wildlife as well as improving drainage for flood zones.  Best yet is landscaping that doesn't require mowing or pesticides.  If NYC-LI truly considered strategic wildlife and drainage zones, not only could future storms be mitigated, people could experience the return of wildlife to their backyards.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day Celebration

As the earth wakes up today, hopefully people feel a renewed sense of purpose.  Spring has that effect on the spirit.  Earth Day, a funny sort of remembrance, should remind us that our earth is central to our renewal.  The days grow longer, the plants poke out of the soil, and we defrost our spirits.  Instead of the grim admonishments to reduce, reuse, and recycle, we should smile that we still have the capacity to improve our earth's situation.  From eating locally to using fewer fossil fews, renewing our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint is hopefully a goal the entire world community can celebrate.