Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Non-pc Intended


These (they) are bookends. Used as door stoppers. Now I feel very guilty about 
having these finely sculptured objects in our house used as such:


More Rain


Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum 'Schwarzkopf', ‘Black Rose’.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inari Kiuru


Photo: Inari Kiuru

I've been following Inari Kiuru's blog (ORDiNARI OBSERVATIONS) for some 
time now. She is a Finnish artist living in Melbourne, Australia, and recently 
she's been having a series of posts about their vacation during last southern 
hemisphere summer, starting in Switzerland, and ending in Los Angeles, U.S.A. 
The posts have featured very subtle, moody and beautiful impressions of their 

She describes her blog as 'my attempt to remember: do document, preserve 
and reflect on the ordinary and the breathtaking in each day'.

Her latest post (April 27, 2011) does exactly that. It certainly starts that way, 
you don't necessarily know what's featured in her photos of shades, shoes, 
colours, etc. until you realise that the trousers are black tie, the colour is the 
red carpet, the blurred photo of a crowd is the paparazzi - and Inari and her 
husband are in the middle of it all: It's their red carpet entrance to the Kodak 
Theatre February 27, to witness the granting of an Oscar to Inari's husband, 
Shaun Tan!

For the rest of the images see Inari's original post here.

From the WWW.ABC.NET.AU (Website):

Aussie short wins surprise Oscar

Updated Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:42pm AEDT

Australian Shaun Tan has won his first Oscar for best animated short at the Academy Awards in Hollywood.

The Perth-born Melbourne artist won for The Lost Thing, which was praised by critics but considered a long shot for the Academy Award.

The 15-minute computer generated and hand painted movie was only supposed to be a picture book.

"Wow, this is quite surreal," he said on stage.

"Our film is about a creature that doesn't get any attention so this is quite ironic."

Tan's surprise win mirrors another Australian animator, Adam Elliot, whose claymation short Harvie Krumpet ended up picking up an Oscar in 2004 after being given little hope against much-hyped entries from Pixar and Disney.

More than a decade ago, Tan was an unemployed illustrator and not sure where his life was headed.

Fast forward to the present and life has worked out nicely for the 37-year-old born in Fremantle but now a resident of Melbourne.

"I started off as an illustrator with no formal training other than high school," Tan said, stunned as he stood backstage at the Kodak Theatre with his gold statuette.

"I originally wrote this story in 1998," he explained.

"I was an unemployed illustrator. I wrote it on the kitchen table of my share house, worked on it for a year, developed it as a picture book, which was then published in Melbourne around 2000.

"Shortly thereafter it was exhibited at an international book fair in Italy, which is where [producer] Andrew [Ruhemann] came across the story."

The story is set in Melbourne and is about a boy who, while collecting bottle caps near a beach, discovers a strange creature that seems to be a combination of an industrial boiler, a crab and an octopus.

Ruhemann loved the idea of turning the story into an animated film, but Tan was not so sure.

"When Andrew and our producer Sophie [Byrne] first approached me and suggested we adapt this for animation, my first reaction was 'I'm not a filmmaker' and secondly 'Well I've never been anything'," Tan said.

Mr Tan graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature.

Wood model of dome and drum for Saint Peter's Basilica


I was inspired for this post by the book I'm reading:  Michelangelo Architect.


"Saint Peter's in the Vatican

For a strong believer such as Michelangelo, what had the responsibility for 
constructing the mother church of Christianity meant in a time when the Christian 
community was shattered, the dogmas refuted, and the authority of the pope 
and Curia contested? Was this conflict not the perfect opportunity and pretext, if 
not the true motive, for the rebuilding of the Vatican church in Rome? Not just in 
Germany but everywhere, the scandal over the selling of indulgences had spread 
and rekindled the old argument about the extravagance of the Curia and the 
corruption of the clergy. More important, it had opened up the critical doctrinal 
issue of the legitimacy of the very existence of the Church, of its mandate, its 
presence, and its actions. Faith was the axis of Michelangelo's thought and the 
basis of his internal dispute with the methodical skepticism of Leonardo da Vinci. 
This faith, rendered more combative in his youthful ardor by the apocalyptic 
preaching of Savonarola in Florence, brought him close to the supporters of 
Catholic reform in Rome. He condemned the immorality of the clergy and the 
luxury of the Curia, and he told Julius II, at the time of his work on the Sistine 
Ceiling, that he would not use gold to decorate the clothing of the ancestors of 
Christ depicted there, because they had been poor. The mandate to continue the 
new Saint Peter's, with the permission to change what had already been done 
(although within reasonable limits), meant first of all to reduce the empty 
triumphalism of the sumptuous and complex design of Antonio da Sangallo the 
Younger, then to render visible in architectural form the true doctrine, and finally 
to make the church-Church a strong weapon in the struggle against heresy. It is 
well known that Michelangelo was scrupulous about this commission to the point 
of obsession; the salvation of his soul would depend upon the result obtained in 
carrying out this enormous task. He was old, and death was near."

By Giulio Carlo Argan and Bruno Contardi
Translated from the Italian by Marion L. Grayson
ISBN 0-8109-3638-0

Étienne Dupérac. Exterior view of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, according to Michelangelo's design.

Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta and Luigi Vanvitelli. Wood model of dome and drum for Saint Peter's.

Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta and Luigi Vanvitelli. Wood model of dome and drum for Saint Peter's.

Michelangelo. Elevation of drum and lantern of dome for Saint Peter's.

Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta and Luigi Vanvitelli. Wood model of dome and drum for Saint Peter's.

Michelangelo. Studies for dome and lantern of Saint Peter's.

Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta and Luigi Vanvitelli. Wood model of dome and drum for Saint Peter's.

Domenico Passignano (1559-1638)

The painting by Passignano (1619) shows Michelangelo at the ceremony when the 
model of St. Peter's, with the dome he designed, was presented to the Pope. 
With the rebuilding of St. Peters during the Renaissance, the Popes built the 
largest church in the world as a manifestation of their claim to be "Caput mundi", 
the head of the world. Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel are also 
world famous.

Michelangelo. Study for Tomb of Julius II (pontiff supported by angel).

Étienne Dupérac. Section of elevation of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, according to Michelangelo's design.

Washed-Up Whale Carcass


I drove down to Newport Beach after reading this article in the local paper -

From this morning's Manly Daily (Website story):

Shark bait: a whale of a problem


AUTHORITIES are tonight deciding how to remove the 12-tonne sperm whale lodged on rocks at Newport as shark sightings in the surrounding waters increased.

Sharks were spotted nearby when The Manly Daily was on the scene this morning.

The animal’s blood was running into the water, attracting sharks closer to the shore.

Surf Life Saving officials were forced to close the beach today, but this did not prevent them from having to pull four people out of the water due to concerns about sharks.

The removal of the animal became a tug-of-war today between National Parks and Wildlife Service, ORRCA and Broken Bay Water Police.

Northern beaches area manager for National Parks and Wildlife Service Chris Grudnoff said that a number of factors contributed to the failure to remove the animal today.

“The tide was wrong, the mass size of the mammal makes this situation difficult and there was a choppy southerly blowing which made getting a boat in impossible,” Mr Grudnoff said.

“We haven’t had that much experience in Sydney with large dead whales, it’s a whole new ball game so we are waiting for advice from a marine expert in the morning before we make a decision as to how we will move it.”

ORRCA spokeswoman Kris Madden said two options were available.

“The first is to wait until surf conditions improve to enable the animal to be towed down, but how that would actually happen as it is in a fairly bad state has not been determined and needs to go through a few authorities,” Ms Madden said.

“If it is found that they can’t move it, the other option is to dissect it.”

Ms Madden said the whale will be difficult to move as large portions were missing.

“The tail looks like it has been taken off by sharks based on teeth marks and it has been attacked from underneath, on its head and a bit on the dorsal,” she said.

The whale continued to draw crowds throughout the day, including Newport resident Deb Einspinner.

“Everyone is standing around hoping something will happen,” Ms Einspinner said.

The dead mammal is an adolescent sperm whale
It is believed to be around 15 years old
When measured today it was 10.1m, but if the tail was intact it would be 12m. It weighs an estimated 12 tonnes
The cause of death is unknown
It was first spotted floating off Long Reef early yesterday


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Observing V


Listening to Quatuor Ébène playing Debussy: String Quartet In G Minor, Op. 10:

Avalon: Scales and Signs


I found this working vintage (?) Soehnle (?) scale in the Avalon Red Cross Op-Shop:

Books by Ridou Ridou