Openly Admired: Andres Amador

Andres Amador Arts: Playa Painting- Kelp IV.

Early in the morning, when the tide is out, the sand on a beach is Just So. Specifically on the foreshore, which is the bit of sand that is underwater only when the tide is high. And this guy, Amador, goes out there with a rake and brushes it a bit, creating all manner of patterns. Reminiscent of meditation mandalas, ornamental elements of a dozen cultures, sometimes words, these patterns are utterly ephemeral.  However long it takes the tide to come and go once or twice is how long they survive.

I spent an hour digging through his site, looking for The Picture that would make you understand what he is doing, and how it can affect the viewer. (in this case: Me.) But I finally gave up and decided you need to go look for yourself. On some fundamental level, I feel a kindred spirit in Andres Amador. Some of his works are so very like some of mine, I can only think the act of creating these lines and forms is as rewarding to his brain as it is to mine.

They say a picture is worth 876 words (inflation, y’know…), so here is one of my sketches. Totally different scale, materials, etc, but I think you’ll be able to see what I am rattling on about here. (Click to see it bigger.)

sketch20141This sketch isn’t something I had to go digging for, this was the first piece of paper on a stack of loose pages of sketches on the corner of my desk. There are pages of sketch like this oozing out of every crevice of my life. There is a certain pleasure in arranging lines against a background, especially a smooth one, that is hard to beat. I suspect this kind of work is somewhere in the overlap between meditation technique and aesthetic preference.

I was pretty excited to see that the guy teaches workshops on this, but then I realized I don’t need a class, I just need a rake. And maybe a beach. I know I would get sick of it eventually, because (hold on tight for my logical tour de force here) if this were my Thing, I would already be doing it. THEN I thought, it might be kinda cool to meet him, but then realized we probably wouldn’t have much to talk about… because most of the reward in this is doing it, not talking about it. But after that, I realized a collaboration of some kind might be ultra-fun.

Andres, if you’re reading this, let’s do something, OK?

theOrnatelier on Etsy


I have been adding various work to my Etsy shop. My goal of adding one listing per day (5 day / week) has been going OK so far. I have — literally — hundreds of items that will eventually be listed there. Even for people who do not wish to make any purchases, it might be an interesting browse, because in time it will be a pretty solid visual archive of my work. … until the things are sold, or the listings expire.

Abstract Symmetrical Motif by theOrnatelier on Etsy.

Site Update & Some Nifty Links

I am going to start with the links, because they are more interesting than the site update, and also because if you find those really boring, you won’t want to know about the site itself (meaning, this blog).

First up, a printer that prints with water on special reusable paper. Because sometimes you just need to read a thing in the conference room, but you don’t need to have it on your desk until the end of time. The major problem I see with this is people wanting to write on the prints, and being left with a paper covered editing marks without any content. However, I would like to emphasize for the benefit of anyone from Jilin University that I would love to test drive one of these things!

Next, a collection of unusual public statuary, democratically selected by the internet. I really haven’t been able to pick a favorite, but the various unLenin monuments and the noble tribute to the immortal question, “Hey, does this smell like ether to you?” are definite contenders. I would like to see Braddock’s Rock, too, but I don’t have a parachute.

Final Link is something I will, someday, definitely acquire and revel in. There is no question that I am the target user of the Prazi Accutrax Graphite Blade, a graphite utility blade that allows the user to mark with the same precision and the same motion as making a cut with a utility blade. I will have this someday. Oh yes.

If there is any one unifying theme to these links, it must be this: I have already read Gizmodo for you. You are welcome.

Speaking of themes, we come to the site update part. Buckle up, kids, this is gonna be exciting!

As much as I love the Spun theme, which is the WordPress software that makes all my posts appear in little circles on the front page, it isn’t really working for me. Because there are other things I want to put there, like links to my other homes on the internet (Flickr, Etsy, Twitter, Zazzle, Sequential Tart, the Weekly Alibi…), and Spun just doesn’t offer that. That means I have to find some other way to structure this site, and then I have to make that happen, and and and. Sounds like a lotta work, right?

Well, the good news is, I am lazy, so I will try to make this as painless a changeover as possible. The other good news is, I won’t be blogging quite as much while I am working on that, because my blogging time will be devoted to cursing at web publishing software. I am going to miss those little circles, though. I really do adore them. Maybe I can find some way to keep them. Somehow.

Anyway, if you have suggestions for things I could implement that would improve your visits here, do let me know. Now is the time. Later, when I have used up all my profanity already, is not the time. I will only say, “Hey, why didn’t you tell me this when I still had some novelty curses on deck?”

Openly Admired: Rafael Araujo

In my daily browse of interesting-ness, I came across a post on the Colossal blog. (If you do not follow Colossal, you probably should, because their percentage of breath-takingly cool stuff is way, way above average. Disregard this advice if you are not really into getting your breath taken away by cool.)

The artist Colossal brought me to most recently is Rafael Araujo. His web site tells you everything about him that he wants people to know, so I am going to skip that and tell you what I like about these particular drawings.

These images combine a royal flush of things I love: natural geometry, a multi-century tradition of illustrating real life objects with obsessive attention to detail, work done by making marks on a surface (which is to say, not on a computer*), and a slightly less tangible quality … they are kinda dreamy. Not Sean Cassidy dreamy. Alice in Wonderland dreamy. He’s captured the emotional tint of life-in-dreams, while being so solidly grounded in provable life around us that the images’ veracity is never questionable. To put it another way, if Araujo slipped a drawing of a unicorn into the mix, I don’t think I would wonder about that, except to consider where he had found one to draw a picture of.

Venezuelan Artist Rafael Araujo.

Click through the images to see them a bit larger, and browse around the Calculations gallery to get a giant eyeful of awesome.

* Nearly forgot to say: I don’t have anything against computers as art tools, far from it! But as a huge fan of making marks on paper, I am particularly appreciative when I come across the work of someone who is also (clearly!) a fan of making marks on paper.

Competitive Aquascaping


About this time every year, a glut of amazing aquascaping images comes into the world. And they are worth looking at, every year. Sure, there are frequently images of former years’ champions, but that is OK. Generally, an aquascape that is worth looking at once is worth looking at over and over again. The world of aquascape is so freaking appealing to me… a controlled environment with (if done right) a fantastic otherworldly quality, that is at once exciting and soothing.  Some day I will probably try my hand at this, but for now, I will be content with the amazing pictures. As each scene is more amazing than the one before, and there are LOTS of these, I highly recommend clicking through and looking at them until you can’t stand it anymore.

The Incredible Underwater Art of Competitive Aquascaping | Colossal.