brian rea

i was reading the new york times online yesterday. while i adore many things about the nyt, i really enjoy the modern love column. it is quite interesting. —anyway, in reading it yesterday, i noticed brian rea's artwork adorning the page, so it was doubly excellent. what do you think?

witty. simple with detail in the right places (i.e. in the facial expressions). this is the type of illustration that makes you perceive a story differently. or perceive the writer in a different way, perhaps. i'm so glad that the new york times decorates their articles with these little gems, because a) they are appropriate and aesthetically pleasing; and b) they give me something to write about on a slow day.

buenos días, miercoles.
until next time...!



how many books is too many? i am sitting in a chair right now that is surrounded, mostly, by books—books i've bought recently, or that i'm currently reading (the count is up to five, i think, but the three listed at the left are my serious reads), or that i've checked out from the library. i've started wanting to purchase a little milking stool (i know, don't even ask) on which to stack these books, so that i can actually use the ottoman for my feet.

now the question is not, "how many books is too many to own"...  no, no. it's the usual: "how many books is too many to read at once?" i still haven't figured out the answer, unsurprisingly. i've been quite distracted lately—oh, just thinking about life and my future and where i see myself in ten years and that sort of light mindfare—and apparently that translates into my reading needs changing a lot... depending on my mood at that moment. on one hand, it makes me endlessly happy that i can go over to my little bookshelf and pluck out the book i want to read right then. that tells me that my library is coming along nicely. on the other hand, when i have twelve books stacked up around me at any given time, that seems problematic.

didn't i just write a post about how i wasn't going to read any more than one book at a time, mostly because i was devoting myself to david foster wallace's infinite jest? why yes. yes i did. and now i am here to tell you that while i am still reading ij, i am also reading... a few other things. i've made my peace with it, though. the heart wants what the heart wants. so does the mind.

small book report: wildwood is going beautifully. i haven't read a young adult novel in some time, and i'm really enjoying the ease and fantasy of meloy's story. and, of course, ellis's drawings. (some of which are incomplete in my advance reader's edition, which i find charming.) it comes out in september! mark your calendars!
let's see... i'm also reading franny & zooey. i have read it before, a couple years ago, but i picked it up again and upon reading the first bit of it i couldn't put it down. salinger's way with words is just so... savory. that is the word that comes to my mind. also exquisite.
and of course, infinite jest. i am reading it slowly, enjoying it piece by piece. some writers have the amazing ability to pull you into even the most mundane of scenes, and david foster wallace is one of them. (incidentally, so is salinger.)

and thusly my rambling reader's confessional ends.
thank you for your attention in these matters.

it is monday... let's get this over with.
hasta luego. un beso. 

images 1, 2 + 4 found here.
studs terkel found here.


eisenberg revisited

only because i discovered, via the millions, that she has a new short story, "recalculating," and it is available to read fo' free here, at nyrb...! happy sunday to YOU. deborah eisenberg is wonderful, so enjoy.

even sid vicious would love eisenberg. via

p.s. see more awesome people reading here.



i just acquired strunk + white's elements of style... illustrated by maira kalman, who i've written about before. it's so good. i already loved her illustrations, but they take on a different life in this little book. you get a whole other interpretation of kalman's paintings when you see examples of grammatically correct sentences below them. observe:

"well, susan, this is a fine mess you are in."

so good. and it's perfect, really, because with her illustrations tempting me from the cover, i keep picking the book up and looking through it, even though it is a style manual.

it's such a beautiful day today—perfect for reading in the park.
off i go then!



ellsworth kelly.

i know this kind of simple, bold art is hard for some to appreciate, because it looks too easy. in my opinion, that is the perfect opportunity to take notice of and embrace the aesthetics of such images. kelly's work is graphic and clean, the colors are pure and matte. he said:
"In my work, I don't want you to look at the surface; I want you to look at the form, the relationships. "
some art is all about thought + perception—i always appreciate that. the artist doesn't offer up the meaning or intention of his work, but rather asks you to extract what meaning you can out of it. which, needless to say, makes the experience of looking at it much more... meaningful.


hello, thursday.



surprise! i'm still here. i just took a little hiatus from posting. sometimes it's all right to let these things grow a little mossy and wild, but now i'm back, with a vengeance.

let us begin. just today i was introduced to the artwork of uk-based artist angie lewin, whose prints and engravings instigate my semi-annual craving for a press of my own. lewin doesn't limit herself to one form of printmaking, which i thoroughly appreciate—she makes woodcuts, linocuts, lithographs and engravings, all of which are full of tangled grasses and blossoms. lewin actually studied horticulture, apparent in the substance and detail that she incorporates into her work.

she says:
Attracted to the relationships between plant communities on an intimate level, even the fine lines of insect eggs on a flower bud are observed in my work. Still lives often incorporate seedpods, grasses, flints and dried seaweed collected on walking and sketching trips. 
when i was little, i spent a lot of time sitting in the grass, picking up sticks and rocks and weeds, and looking very carefully at them. there is something endlessly cool about plants and the things you can find in nature—you notice something new about it each time you look closely. so i love that angie lewin doesn't ignore the insect eggs.

have a lovely wednesday!


wishy-washy summer

is it summer? maybe it's still spring. it is forty degrees cooler here today than it was two days ago. oh, midwestern seasons. i can't be sure if this is a result of human beings + our consumption of the earth, or if it's just the typical fickle style of weather in the midwest.

i came across a poem set in the summer. i like it because it articulates the anticipation and possibility of the season. for some reason, the summer has always meant endless possibility to me. and we are just at the beginning...!

i tried each thing, only some were immortal and free.
elsewhere we are as sitting in a place where sunlight
filters down, a little at a time,
waiting for someone to come. harsh words are spoken,
as the sun yellows the green of the maple tree. . . .

so this was all, but obscurely
i felt the stirrings of new breath in the pages
which all winter long had smelled like an old catalogue.
new sentences were starting up. but the summer
was well along, not yet past the mid-point
but full and dark with the promise of that fullness,
that time when one can no longer wander away
and even the least attentive fall silent
to watch the thing that is prepared to happen.

—from john ashbery's "as one put drunk into the packet-boat"

it is FINALLY friday.
let's go—!

images: 1+2



in the future i will be checking out more art books from library. for some reason i have never really taken advantage of the art section of my library (why NOT? i don't know), but this summer i absolutely will. right now i'm going through hide/seek, a book about the role and codes of homosexuality in the work (particularly portraiture) of several artists, such as winslow homer, marsden hartley, and one of my favorites, charles demuth. looking at and learning to read these sometimes-hidden messages in artwork is reminiscent of being in college english classes; i'm being taught to see things that i never would have if someone didn't inform me of the possibility of their existence.

so let's have a look at some of demuth's work. i love his watercolor technique—it almost blooms, as a result of his use of water and diluted colors.

i don't yet feel qualified to say whether there are hidden codes in these, but you can kind of see, in the first image, a sort of tension between subjects. like i said, i'm still learning, but i think it's quite something to be able to look at an image and get not only its aesthetic, but also its underlying narrative.

well, it's going to be another meltingly hot day today. time to secure the premises.
have a lovely wednesday!


carson & colin

really i just want to talk about carson, but colin will come in later. for now, allow me to present carson ellis, lady illustrator! i hadn't realized it but i'd been staring at her distinct book cover designs for quite some time...:

composer is dead / american nonrequired reading / mysterious benedict society

pretty brilliant, right? i'll come back to her book covers in a second. first, i want to show some more of her actual artwork, which is meticulous and often employs warm, antique-y colors. it makes you feel as though you are looking at an old, sepia-tone photograph, kind of brought to life through her pen + ink.

her illustration style reflects, in my opinion, the lyrics + music of her husband, writer + decemberists frontman colin meloy. in his songs, meloy uses a seriously fantastic vocabulary, including words like tarlatan, dalliant, languor, and fontanelle. he decorates his lyrics with these words in much the same way that ellis adorns her art with tiny details, such as the stitching in clothing and nails in the roof.

ellis + meloy have joined forces before—she's created album art for the decemberists. well, now the two of them are bringing their work together in the form of....

b o o m ! it's wildwood, a young adult novel, and because we happen to get advance copies of things in my line of work, i managed to get my lucky hands on this. hooray! it has been some time since i've read a ya novel, so that will be fun. plus, it's so pretty.

well, that's the word on ellis + meloy, folks: they make beautiful things together.
now let's all have a very lovely monday, shall we?


stylish explosions

hey f r i d a y ! today i have more photography for you, by the great nick knight. he makes a mean photograph, full of color and flowing abstraction. his fashion photography transcends the usual sort of documentary-style of such work, because the composition of his images is captivating on its own—they don't lean on their fashionable content for merit. (of course that's not to say that their content isn't also terribly stunning.) and then, of course, there are his paint explosion photographs...! so here is a little friday selection for yous.

have a wonderful little weekend!



richard barnes is a photographer. many of his series focus on animals, some alive, others not. his series refuge is a collection of photographs of birds' nests, each one looking as though the birds that built it had had specific color + design ideas.

he did another series having to do with birds, which is what i really wanted to show here today. i've seen and been mesmerized by the videos of birds flocking and shimmering in the sky on the shoreline. in this series, barnes captures the curve and grace of the forms these flocks take against the sky.

makes me want to let the wind take me in whatever direction it's going...! teehee.
have a nice thursday.