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Bourgeois Spiders

So where were the spiders while the fly tried to break our balls? — Mike Pence David Bowie

Last summer I saw a collection of Louise Bourgeois’s spider sculptures in the gardens at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I’d seen them before, indoors at the MOMA in San Francisco, but I liked them even better when I saw them outdoors set against the formal brick building and gardens. And I appreciate them even more now after drawing them; they’re quite varied and each one looks different from every angle and the context around them can create a lot of interesting effects.

This one reminds me of a tree as much as a spider, as if Bourgeois or her fabricator had been snorkeling in a mangrove swamp.

But most of them have a strong metal spider vibe. H. R. Giger with a little bit of Tolkien thrown in, the Hobbit spiders rather than the scarier Lord of the Rings one.

Her largest and most famous spider is called ‘Maman’, which means ‘Mother’. I haven’t seen it in person, but I’m a sucker for these kinds of installation videos with cranes and cherry pickers and shots of the lug bolts holding it all together. I’ve seen other videos with her talking about the symbolism and ideation of it all, but I think underneath it all she just realized that big metal spiders would look cool. Very very cool.

Amsterdam to Italy

I did another bicycle trip this summer, riding from Amsterdam to Italy. Fun times. I started in Dutch canal and windmill country, rode down through Belgium, bits of France, Luxembourg and Germany, then to Basel, Zurich, and Innsbruck, and then down through the Dolomites to just outside Venice. I went through 9 countries all told, though that includes just 20 minutes crossing Liechtenstein. I took lots of photos of gardens and stone along the way which I’ll be showing in the future. For now, these are my drawings from the trip.
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Italy Drawings

Bolgona, Via Rizzoli

These are my drawings from Italy. Mostly piazzas. I found it very pleasant to sit at a cafe or on some steps and draw a lovely Italian piazza. Towards the end are a bunch of bridges in Venice. Drawing saved Venice for me. I was shocked by the onslaught of crowds and felt bad to be a part of it, but I eventually found a bench to sit and draw Piazza San Marcos, and it felt like catching my breath. Later I drew a bunch of the bridges and ignored everyone taking selfies on them. I missed a lot of the famous sites, but I felt good about what I did see and glad I got to see such a unique city. Venice is amazing, Italy is amazing, I hope to go back as soon as next summer. (more…)

Switzerland Drawings

These are my drawings from Switzerland. They loosely track my progress across the country. The furthest west is from Lausanne on Lake Geneva. The last is a view from Guarda, a town in the lower Engadine near the Austrian border. The interior view and the pool are from Therme Vals, Peter Zumthor’s phenomenal thermal baths.


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Foothill Watercolors

Anyone want to buy some beef? The two cows that wander our property have outgrown the space and are heading to the butcher as soon as we have enough orders for the meat. It’s time. They’re full size, they’ve eaten pretty much everything there is to eat on the property, and recently they learned how to break through the fence to get to our neighbor’s literally greener pastures. I’ve had to track them down and drive them back onto our property half a dozen times in the past month. So as soon as the meat is spoken for, they’re going off to the abattoir.

Our landlord has found takers for quite a bit of it but not all. Two full-sized cows is a lot of meat. Anita and I will take some, though it will be strange to eat animals we’ve known by name. I don’t really want to, but I feel like I have to eat them on principal, either embrace the reality of meat or become vegetarian. We’ve bought shares of free-range, grassfed cows like this in the past. The flavor was good, but it was leaner than supermarket beef and we found we needed to cook all of the cuts like game, almost always braising even when that was not the traditional way to cook the cut. The ground beef made great burgers. Our landlord wants five dollars per pound. I’m not sure how the logistics would work but anyone interested should comment or email me at ryan at buenoluna dot com and we can figure it out. (more…)

Puerto Rico Watercolors

Watercolors from a trip to Puerto Rico. I used a variety of paper and tried to play around with different styles and subjects. A lot of fun, I managed one for every day of the trip. A great trip, a great place. Coquí!


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