Earth with Robert Francis

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I follow Plato only with my mind
Pure beauty strikes me as a little thin
A little cold, however beautiful.

I am in love with what is mixed and impure
Doubtful, dark and hard to disencumber
I want beauty I must dig for, search for.

Pure beauty is beginning and not end
Begin with the sun and drop from sun to cloud
From cloud to tree, and from tree to earth itself

And deeper yet to the earth dark root.
I am in love with what resists my loving
With what I have to labor to make live.
– Robert Francis

Piecework, A Photograph of Life

“It was piecework, and she was apt to have a family to keep alive; and stern and ruthless economic laws had arranged it that she could only do this by working just as she did, with all her soul upon her work, and with never an instant for a glance at the well-dressed ladies and gentlemen who came to stare at her, as at some wild beast in a menagerie.”
– Upton Sinclair

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Everything, A Photograph of Love

“I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Superb, A Photograph of Beauty

“We do not have to spend money and go hungry and struggle and study to become sensual; we always were. We need not believe we must somehow earn good erotic care; we always deserved it.

Femaleness and its sexuality are beautiful. Women have long secretly suspected as much. In that sexuality, women are physically beautiful already; superb; breathtaking.

Many, many men see this way too. A man who wants to define himself as a real lover of women admires what shows of her past on a woman’s face, before she ever saw him, and the adventures and stresses that her body has undergone, the scars of trauma, the changes of childbirth, her distinguishing characteristics, the light in her expression. The number of men who already see in this way is far greater than the arbiters of mass culture would lead us to believe, since the story they need to tell ends with the opposite moral.”
– Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

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A Proud Flower, A Photograph of Nature

“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. It seems that they are very beautiful.
And if not the butterflies– and the caterpillars– who will call upon me? You will be far away. . . as for the large animals– I am not at all afraid of any of them. I have my claws.”
And, navely, she showed her four thorns. Then she added:
“Don’t linger like this. You have decided to go away. Now go!”
For she did not want him to see her crying. She was such a proud flower. . .”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

The white you see in the photo is a river of flowers flowing through the farm. Although I prefer black and white photography, photos such as this are meant to be colorful, natural, proud.

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A Place of Myths

“How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I know a place…

High up on a hill, with walls thick and tall…magical.

A fortress guarded on every side by ancient olive trees and wild cats who demand attention when not hunting the field mice.

A quiet place, where you can hear the sound of the sheep’s bells from miles away and the faint whispers of warriors past that rise from the cobblestone pathways.

Their whispers feel like a soft breeze and carry with them the scent of oranges, lemons, magnolias and lavender which grow from every garden in the village. 

Bright white are the walls and red are the rooftops – but lush green are the hills which like waves in the ocean, are as vast as the eye can see. A green ocean dotted with ancient whitecaps/houses.

And if you sit quietly enough on the steps of the fortress when the sun begins to leave you for the day, you’ll witness a fire in the sky. Close your eyes for a moment or two, then open as quickly as you can, and you’ll see off in the distance, the (your) dragon coming home to sit beside you. 

(Évoramonte)

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What IS, A Photograph of the Mysterious

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
– Albert Einstein

I took this photo in a garden grotto – while exploring its caves. I like that nature has made the bold statement of “IS.”

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Moment, A Photograph of Thought

This is what I have.
The dull hangover of waiting,
the blush of my heart on the damp grass,
the flower-faced moon.
A gull broods on the shore
where a moment ago there were two.
Softly my right hand fondles my left hand
as though it were you. 
-Mary Oliver

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I and You, A Photograph of Salamanca, Spain

“I know what I have given you…
I do not know what you have received.”
– Antonio Porchia

I am spending some days exploring/driving inland Spain – away from the busy coastal cities. I like being inland. As when on my road trip through the Cote d’Azur region of France last year, I find myself surrounded by farms, medieval towns and lovely people.

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A Path, A Photograph

“Perhaps her faults and follies, the unhappiness she had suffered, were not entirely vain if she could follow the path that now she dimly discerned before her, not the path that kind funny old Waddington had spoken of that led nowhither, but the path those dear nuns at the convent followed so humbly, the path that led to peace.”
W. Somerset Maugnham

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Modern Love

I’ve loved design and architecture for the whole of my adult life. While a Fine Art major in college years ago, I had considered studying design instead of scientific illustration (I ended up with a degree in Literature and Writing in the end…go figure..)

There are many different types of architectural design I like, but none so dear to my heart as Midcentury Modern – Desert Modernism to be specific. Brought on by a mixture of both the International style and Bauhaus Movement, each building has function, style and a grace that makes my heart go pitter patter.

There is nowhere else in the world you can find more mid-century marvels than in Palm Springs, California. Recently the Art Museum of Palm Springs (a fantastic place to visit if given the opportunity) opened the Architecture and Design Center in the historic Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan building designed by renowned modern architect E. Stewart Williams.

Palm Springs itself (one of my favorite places to visit in the United States) has managed to keep its Hollywood flare. It wasn’t a place stars like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and the likes went to bask on the beaches. It’s where they went to have dinner parties, lounge by private swimming pools like desert lizards. It’s where the cocktail hour was serious business…and still is.

I’ll not forget the residents of today though. They are as contemporary and modern as the architecture itself and I adore their flamboyancy. I’ll write about them in another post though. This post is strictly architecture and design.

I was salivating at the idea of the new museum so naturally this week I headed to Palm Springs.

Being a small city, I was able to walk to most places although I did rent a bike (a lovely city cruiser with a basket and bell) for three house early in the morning. This helped me cover more ground on my tour of homes. It was a sunny 75 degree and not a cloud in the sky. I had headed into the neighborhoods and downtown. I had wanted to view my favorite house – The Kaufmann Desert House. The Frey House II (designed by Albert Frey, another favorite of mine) sits on a hillside and is private so I was unable to see one of my other great loves..but oh well.

After my long ride, I showered, changed and set out on foot to the museum. First I stopped by the Art Museum to do some Christmas Shopping and see the exhibits. I then headed to The Architecture and Design Museum – saving the best for last.

Deep sigh….

It was quiet inside as it was mid-day and everyone else was having lunch or just waking from the last nights partying (they party a lot there.)

I was in heaven. The current exhibit, An Eloquent Modernist: E. Stewart Williams, Architect, showcases Williams’, as well as his sons, dedication to both good city planning and even better modern architecture.

I could go on and on here and I can’t recommend the exhibit enough. So for anyone interested, you can find more information at http://www.psmuseum.org/architecture-design-center/

With regards to my favorite Kaufmann Desert House, I was hoping the house, designed by Richard Neutra (http://www.ncmodernist.org/neutra.htm) would be open to the public in February during Modernism Week (February 12-22nd) but I believe it wont be (insert sad face here.) I will, however, be viewing the Frey House II (insert happy face here.)

Below are a few photos I took while on my cruiser. I’ve chosen not to convert them to black and white as I believe the desert colors are quite lovely. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.
-Frank Lloyd Wright

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